Another Major Democratic Email Scandal the News Media is Ignoring

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Center for Security Policy, by Fred Fleitz, Feb. 22, 2017:

In the midst of allegations of Russian ties to the Trump administration and in the aftermath of the hacking of Clinton campaign and Democratic National Committee emails, there is a new scandal email involving Democratic House members that could amount to a covert effort by foreign actors to penetrate the House of Representatives computer system.

According to the Daily Caller, three brothers who managed information technology (IT) for Democratic House members – Abid, Imran, and Jamal Awan – were suspended on February 2, 2017 for serious misconduct, including accessing the computer accounts of House members without their knowledge and stealing equipment from Congress.  Two other House IT staff – Imran Awan’s wife, Hina Alvi, and a fifth unnamed person – also reportedly are under investigation.

The five IT staffers reportedly were “shared” staff for the personal offices of a dozen or more House Democrats.  Some or all of the IT staffers reportedly had significant financial problems, including a repossessed car, bankruptcy and second mortgages.

This story suggests congressional Democrats learned nothing from last year’s hacking of Democratic computers.  It also raises serious questions about the security of the House computer system.

The House reportedly only required background investigations of House IT staff in 2016.  These investigations were to be applied retroactively to existing House IT staff unless a member signed a waiver attesting to their “trustworthiness and judgment.”

If the suspended IT staffers were investigated and cleared, these background investigations are obviously worthless.

It would be a much more serious matter if the IT staffers were given waivers from background investigations by House Democratic members.  If this is the case, the American people deserve to know the names of Democratic members of Congress who exempted these miscreants from background investigations.

So far there have been no reports that the five IT House staff members had access to classified material.  However, they did support the personal office computers of Reps. Joaquin Castro, Andre Carson, and Jackie Spier, all members of the House Intelligence Committee.  Although personal office computers are not supposed to be used for Intelligence Committee business or classified material, accessing these computers is a high priority for foreign intelligence services because of the information they could glean about the committee’s work from unclassified emails. (Some press reports have claimed the five IT staff members also had access to classified information and the House Intelligence Committee’s classified computer system.  These reports are untrue.)

Were these IT staffers part of an plot by foreign actors to penetrate the House of Representatives and its computers?  There has been speculation by some conservative journalists and experts that they may have had ties to the Muslim Brotherhood.  A former CIA officer told me she worries that the three Awad brothers, who reportedly are Pakistani immigrants, may have ties to the Pakistani intelligence service, ISI.

No evidence has been made public on whether the IT staffers had any ties to foreign actors. However, it is difficult to believe this case was only about stealing computer equipment if press reports are true that the IT staffers illegally accessed the computers of members of Congress and stole data.  The FBI needs to fully investigate whether this was an effort to penetrate the House intelligence system by a foreign intelligence service or a foreign jihadist organization.

Democratic House members have some difficult questions to answer about this case aside from which Democratic members may have granted the IT staffers waivers from background investigations.  Which members originally hired these individuals?  Who referred them?  And why didn’t House Democrats tighten their computer security practices after the hacking of DNC and Clinton campaign emails last year?

The House Republican leadership needs to explain why it didn’t require background investigations for IT staff until last year and why it allowed waivers for existing IT staff.  Has the waiver rule been abolished?  If the IT staffers passed their background investigations, what it being done to toughen them to screen out people like this?  The Senate’s Republican leadership should look into whether it has similar cyber vulnerabilities and take appropriate steps to address them if necessary.

While no evidence has been made public that this was an effort by hostile foreign actors like the Muslim Brotherhood or Chinese intelligence to penetrate the computer system of the U.S. House of Representatives, it still represents a major scandal because foreign actors could have easily done this.  It is time for the mainstream media to stop ignoring this important story.

European Counter-Terror Official: IRGC, Muslim Brotherhood Are Not Terror Groups

Peter Neumann / AP

Peter Neumann / AP

Washington Free Beacon, by Adam Kredo, Feb. 22, 2017:

A leading European counter-terrorism official is facing criticism after claiming that the Muslim Brotherhood and Iranian Revolutionary Guard Corps, or IRGC, are not terrorist groups.

Peter Neumann, an Austrian counter-terrorism official charged with working to combat violent extremism under the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE) attracted criticism this week after stating that both the Brotherhood and IRGC are not terrorist groups and should not be formally designated as such.

Neumann’s stance elicited criticism from U.S. terror experts who told the Washington Free Beacon that this line of thinking would not help European officials combat a rising threat from radical terrorists, many of whom have become radicalized through extremist doctrines promoted by the Muslim Brotherhood and the theocratic regime in Iran. The position also runs counter to views held by the Trump administration, which has vowed tougher action on radical organizations.

A senior White House official who spoke to the Free Beacon about the matter disclosed that the Trump administration is keeping a keen eye on all of these groups and will not hesitate to take action as the administration works to combat radical groups.

“Like with Muslim Brotherhood, the main argument against designating them as terrorist organisation is that they aren’t one,” Neumann stated on Twitter Tuesday, a day before he was appointed as a special representative on radicalization for the OSCE.

Neumann, who also serves as director of the International Centre for the Study of Radicalization and Political Violence based in London, is tasked with helping the OSCE combat the rise of Islamic terrorism amid reports of growing threats across the continent. An estimated 10,000 individuals from OSCE member countries are reported to have traveled to Syria to wage jihad.

Neumann’s stance appears to clash with the national security vision backed by the Trump administration and many U.S. lawmakers, who view both groups as terror agents and have sought to formally designate them as terror outfits.

The White House is already considering a designation for the Brotherhood and could pursue similar designations for the IRGC.

“It is no secret that President Trump is deeply concerned about the threat of radical Islamic terrorism, and he’s made clear that while he’s prioritizing defeating ISIS, he knows the issue doesn’t end there,” one senior White House official told the Free Beacon. “We’re going to have to look at the root causes if we’re actually going to fight this enemy.”

The Muslim Brotherhood is already designated as a terror outfit by Egypt, Israel, and other nations due to its efforts to foment unrest and violence. The IRGC is a primary backer of Hezbollah, Hamas, and other terror groups that have wreaked violence across the Middle East.

Michael Rubin, a former Pentagon adviser and expert on rogue regimes, said that the IRGC, in particular, represents the type of terrorism gripping the Middle East and other regions.

“The IRGC sees the world in black-and-white terms, and so it’s ironic that Western diplomats and academics want to read nuance into the group,” Rubin said after reviewing Neumann’s comments. “They can slap themselves on the back and believe they are sophisticated but, in reality, they are becoming useful idiots and legitimizing the bureaucracy of terror.”

The IRGC not only directly supports terrorism forces but also runs a massive propaganda effort meant to indoctrinate new recruits.

“Some analysts say the IRGC isn’t monolithic, and some Iranians only join for the privileges,” Rubin said. “Well, a designation would put these opportunists on notice that the short-term gain in gasoline rations isn’t worth a lifetime blacklist from seeing relatives abroad or visiting beaches without burqas.”

One U.S.-based terrorism expert who liaises with many in Congress told the Free Beacon that efforts to downplay these organizations harm the global response to terrorism.

“Neumann’s equivocation on the IRGC’s role in Iran’s state sponsorship of terrorism is precisely why many don’t take the ‘experts’ so seriously,” said the expert, who requested anonymity to speak freely. “But what makes Neumann so dangerous is not that he is some fringe crackpot academic, but at the very pinnacle of the international ‘countering violent extremism’ effort. We already have these so-called ‘experts’ talking about ‘moderate al Qaeda’. What’s next in this effort to define down terrorism, ‘moderate’ ISIS?”

Countering Islamist Extremism the Right Way

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Groups that preach Islamism must not be relied upon to counter violent extremism.

National Review, by Sam Westrop, Feb. 22, 2017:

As part of President Trump’s unapologetic promise to defeat “radical Islam,” critics expect an overhaul of the previous administration’s Countering Violent Extremism (CVE) program. Under Obama, officials adopted counter-extremism policies that European politicians tried over a decade ago and have since deeply regretted.

To tackle the threat of Islamism, the new administration must identify and challenge the specific groups and networks within American Islam that advocate extremist ideas, or officials may inadvertently repeat Obama’s practice of legitimizing Islamists as leaders of all American Muslims.

The British Experience
In 2005, a month after the 7/7 London bombings, the British journalist Martin Bright sought answers to a question that, somehow, no one in government or the media had ever thought to ask before: Who exactly were the people in charge of the Muslim community, and what did they believe?

After the Salman Rushdie riots in 1988, the British government blindly accepted the claims of self-declared community leaders to be representative voices of British Muslims. The government gave these leaders millions and millions of dollars of community funds, and, after 9/11, counter-extremism grants.

Bright’s investigation, however, revealed something quite different from what these Muslim leaders had been telling credulous politicians. The leading recipient of taxpayer funds, the Muslim Council of Britain (MCB), was in fact run by a violent Islamist group from South Asia, Jamaat-e-Islami (JI), which had close ties with the Muslim Brotherhood and had been involved in the mass killing of Bangladeshis during that nation’s 1971 Independence War.

The government embraced Islamist groups such as the MCB so tightly that, as Bright revealed in 2005, Britain’s foreign secretary, Jack Straw, and MCB leader Iqbal Sacranie (an early supporter of Iran’s fatwa for the killing of Salman Rushdie) even used the same speechwriter. With the MCB in charge, Muslim organizations could not receive government backing for projects without the MCB’s stamp of approval. Naturally, the Islamists prospered. Moderate Muslims, meanwhile, were left without a voice.

Over the next decade, the true extent of Islamism’s grip over British Islam was slowly revealed, thanks to a motley collection of journalists, bloggers, and anti-Islamist Muslims willing to challenge government wisdom. Prison chaplains, it emerged, had been chosen primarily from the Deobandi sect, a hard-line branch of South Asian Islam from which the Taliban had emerged. Taxpayer-funded schools in Birmingham, the U.K.’s second-largest city, had been taken over by a network of Islamists who preached hard-line Islamist rhetoric to young children. Compelling evidence was uncovered to show that prominent Muslim charities controlled by JI and the Muslim Brotherhood were funding terrorism abroad. Counter-extremism funds were being handed to Salafist and Jamaat-e-Islami groups. And in 2009, the Labour government cut off ties completely with the Muslim Council of Britain after its officials were found to be signatories to the Istanbul Declaration, a document that advocated attacks on British troops and Jewish communities.

By 2011, the new Conservative prime minister, David Cameron, understood enough to signal a distinct change in government policy, telling the Munich Security Conference:

As evidence emerges about the backgrounds of those convicted of terrorist offences, it is clear that many of them were initially influenced by what some have called “non-violent extremists,” and they then took those radical beliefs to the next level by embracing violence. . . . Some organizations that seek to present themselves as a gateway to the Muslim community are showered with public money despite doing little to combat extremism. As others have observed, this is like turning to a right-wing fascist party to fight a violent white supremacist movement.

The British government overhauled its counter-extremism programs and cut off dozens of Islamist groups from taxpayer funding. Politicians and journalists learned a very important lesson about Western Islam: It is a diverse mix of dozens of different political and religious sects, which includes both violent and non-violent extremists. No single group could represent all Western Muslims, and it was only by delineating British Islam into its diverse, competing constituents that extremism could be effectively tackled and suitable Muslim allies identified. After all, if policymakers did not know which networks and groups within Western Islam were the bad guys, then how could they learn who the good guys were?

As increasingly radicalized Muslim communities across Europe produced eager volunteers for jihad at home and abroad, governments finally began to understand what moderate Muslims had been desperately trying to tell them for years: Non-violent Islamism is not a bulwark against violent Islamism. Extremists are not allies in the fight against extremism.

Meanwhile, in America
Across the Atlantic, American officials distinctly failed to note the lessons that Europe has learned the hard way. The Obama administration’s foreign policy treated Islamists as forces of democratization, and its domestic policy legitimized Islamists as gatekeepers to the Muslim community.

First envisioned in 2011, the Obama administration’s Countering Violent Extremism (CVE) program promised to “support and help empower American communities and their local partners in their grassroots efforts to prevent violent extremism.” In February 2015, the government launched CVE pilot programs in Boston, Minneapolis, and Los Angeles. To kick things off, the White House hosted a three-day summit. Writing about the conference in the Los Angeles Times, Obama reiterated that the “focus” of CVE “will be on empowering local communities.”

Whom exactly was the White House empowering? Representing the pilot program in Boston, leaders from the Islamic Society of Boston (ISB) and the Islamic Center of New England (ICNE) were invited to the White House summit. The ISB was established by the al-Qaeda operative Abdulrahman Alamoudi, who was jailed in 2004 for his role in a Libyan plot to assassinate a Saudi crown prince. The mosque’s trustees have included prominent Islamist operatives, such as Yusuf al-Qaradawi, the spiritual leader of the global Muslim Brotherhood. According to a report published jointly by Muslims Facing Tomorrow and Americans for Peace and Tolerance, twelve congregants, supporters, staff, and donors of the ISB have been imprisoned, deported, or killed or are on the run — all in relation to terrorism offenses.

The ICNE was once a moderate local mosque, until its imam was ousted by Abdulbadi Abousamra (the father of ISIS terrorist Ahmad Abousamra) and Muhammad Hafiz Masood, who is now a spokesman for the Pakistani terrorist organization Jamaat-ud-Dawah. Masood’s brother, Hafiz Saeed, is responsible for the 2008 Mumbai attacks and was arrested this month by Pakistani law enforcement.

Taking part in the government’s CVE program was not just an opportunity for Islamists to rub shoulders with America’s political elite; it was also a chance to obtain taxpayers’ money. As part of the Boston CVE pilot program, a group based at the ISB named United Somali Youth received over $100,000, despite having initially joined protests against the CVE organized by Islamist groups, which claimed that the program was designed to demonize Muslims.

In 2016, despite widespread media criticism of the CVE pilot programs, Congress approved a further $10 million of CVE grants. As Obama was leaving office, the Department of Homeland Security awarded $393,800 to the Muslim Public Affairs Council (MPAC), an organization with a long history of ties to extremism. MPAC was founded by individuals closely involved with the Muslim Brotherhood. Its founder, Maher Hathout, declared that the Iranian-backed terrorist group Hezbollah was “fighting to liberate their land” and exhibiting “an American value — freedom and liberty.” Before being offered almost half a million dollars, MPAC had also expressed opposition to the CVE program.

Another $800,000 of taxpayers’ money was awarded to Bayan Claremont (an Islamic graduate school in Claremont, Calif.), whose president, Jihad Turk, was recently a member of the executive council of the Islamic Society of North America (ISNA). In 2008, federal prosecutors named ISNA as an unindicted co-conspirator during the Holy Land Foundation terrorism-financing trial. A judge later ruled that “the government has produced ample evidence” connecting Hamas and ISNA. Bayan Claremont faculty includes Ihsan Bagby, a former senior member of the Council on American–Islamic Relations, which was also designated an unindicted co-conspirator in 2008; Suhaib Webb, a former imam of the ISB who decries the “evil inclination” of homosexuality and “understands . . . animosity” towards Jews; and Edina Lekovic, an MPAC official who was the managing editor of an Islamist student magazine that, in 1999, called on Muslims to “defend” Bin Laden as a “freedom fighter.”

To flaunt its anti-Trump credentials, Bayan Claremont recently returned the $800,000 it received, despite successfully applying for the grant under Obama. Regardless, are these really the “community” leaders that the government’s “countering violent extremism” program should empower?

Making America Safe Again?
The Trump administration’s plans for CVE are not fully known. Most recently, White House sources announced that CVE would focus solely on Islamic extremism and would be renamed “Countering Islamic Extremism” or “Countering Radical Islamic Extremism.” Under Obama, all White House, Homeland Security, and Justice Department documents concerning CVE conspicuously omitted any mention of “Islam” or “Islamism.” Clearly, we should be pleased that the new administration is prepared to name the issue that occupies headline news almost every day. But we still do not know what Trump’s counter-extremism plans actually entail, although it seems unlikely that Muslim Brotherhood groups will receive more government grants.

Among moderate Muslims, however, there is some concern that a ham-fisted approach could be just as ineffective as Obama’s flawed ideas. If Trump fails to delineate American Islam into its various components, and instead treats all American Muslims as part of the same problem, then the government will find it impossible to tackle extremism effectively.

By cataloguing and excluding the “lawful” or “non-violent” extremists now in America, and the role they play in the radicalization of American Muslims, the government can work with genuinely moderate Muslim organizations to identify and prevent Islamists from, for example, operating schools and chaplaincy programs, obtaining taxpayer funds under the guise of community work, or using charitable endeavors to fund Islamist terrorism overseas.

President Trump’s former national-security adviser, Michael Flynn, reportedly wanted to “wage ideological warfare” against radical Islam using social media. But, as with all attempts to tackle Internet problems, this would be a Sisyphean task, and a distraction from the threat posed by homegrown extremists, who carry out their most dangerous work offline.

Islamist groups thrive on legitimacy, which they obtain either by being treated as representatives of ordinary Muslims (as happened under Obama) or by leading unifying protests against the government (which is happening under Trump).

American Muslims are not going anywhere, nor should they. Islamism, however, should be fought. To do so, state and federal governments must delegitimize Islamism in political and civic circles. This cannot be achieved without the cooperation of moderate Muslims. Only a considered, intelligent approach to counter-extremism can effectively tackle the Islamists who have gripped American Islam so tightly.

At the cost of whole Muslim communities becoming isolated from Western society, tens of thousands of radicalized Muslim youth joining terrorist groups overseas, and civil unrest increasing, Europe has discovered that the pernicious effect of extremism is just as dangerous as an explosive act of terrorism. In America, let’s not learn these lessons too late.

— Sam Westrop is a fellow of the Gatestone Institute and a writer for Islamist Watch, a project of the Middle East Forum.

NatSec advisor Michael Anton outlines a way forward with an alternative to the “New World Order”

Michael Anton, center, at a White House news briefing Feb. 1. At left are Michael Flynn and K.T. McFarland. (Photo: Carolyn Kaster/AP)

Michael Anton, center, at a White House news briefing Feb. 1. At left are Michael Flynn and K.T. McFarland. (Photo: Carolyn Kaster/AP)

Note: Michael Anton is Deputy Assistant to the President for Strategic Communications, National Security Council. This article was prepared before the author accepted his current position. The views here reflect only those of the author. They do not represent the views of the Trump administration, the National Security Advisor, or the U.S. government.

American Affairs Journal

Trump’s campaign was driven by the basic awareness of ordinary citizens that American peace, prestige, and prosperity were not being served by our foreign policy. Among the many reasons to be hopeful about President Trump’s foreign policy is that he seems to understand that correcting the errors of the neo-interventionists does not require adopting those of the paleo-isolationists.

Excerpt:

Reforming the Liberal International Order

How best to remain safe, rich, and respected? Let us consider the ways in which the LIO might be reformed.

First, our trade policy is in obvious need of reform. The LIO elevates “free trade”—really, phonebook-thick agreements that regulate every aspect of trade, mostly to America’s disadvantage—to holy writ. It does so for political reasons as well as ideological ones, such as the often-inappropriate invocation of David Ricardo. The office of the United States Trade Representative (USTR) has been composed entirely of true believers in the free trade doctrine for several decades. But the world economy has changed significantly since 1945, to state the obvious. In certain cases, at least, the conditions underlying that period’s commercial policy orientation (and the theoretical impulses behind it) no longer apply. The Trump administration is right to be skeptical of free trade ideology and to revisit trade policy based on core interests and commercial realities.

We could also be more sensible about our alliance structure. NATO is far from irrelevant today, but it could surely be made more relevant. Certainly, decades of joint exercise, interoperability rules, interchangeable weapons systems, and the like should not be tossed aside lightly, especially among countries with long histories of deep bonds and common interests. But it is reasonable to ask: What is the alliance for once its original purpose has evaporated? If it can be reformed to better address the threats of our time—terrorism, mass illegal migration—all to the good.

We must also ask: Why is it in our strategic interest to push that alliance’s borders ever outward? What do we gain by pledging American blood to defend places where it would take us a 48-hour airlift to mount a forlorn defense with one regiment? In what way does committing to impossible things enhance prestige?

The case for continued expansion of the LIO seems feeble indeed and has recently been taken to absurd extremes. One school of thought—let us call them the “neocons”—holds that since democracy is “our team,” and that team’s overall health improves when its prospects are expanding, then surely it is in our interest to democratize the world. No?

No. That is to say: America would likely be better off if the world were more democratic than it is, given that democracy correlates highly with friendliness or at least non-opposition to American interests, whereas “authoritarianism” (or, to be more precise, “tyranny”) correlates highly with opposition and even hostility to American interests. But in some regions, democracy also correlates highly with instability, which breeds war and chaos that are antithetical to American interests. In others, the rhetoric and mechanism of democracy are used—one man, one vote, once—to squelch robust democracy and impose a tyranny worse than what preceded the “democracy.”

Sticking with the LIO’s original context between 1945 and 1989, its first purpose was to preserve democracy where it already existed and was under threat, either by foreign conquest or foreign-directed internal subversion. Second, it was to restore democracy to “captive nations” whose liberty had been seized by a foreign power. Third, it was to develop democracy (gradually) in countries with substantial economies, deep reserves of human capital, and civil intuitions capable of serving as soil in which democracy could grow. Never did it mean imposition of democracy—much less suggest this imposition was a vital American interest.

Democracy is a precarious flower. It will not grow just anywhere. There are a great many patches of land we could easily seize that are nonetheless fit for growing only cacti or weeds. If we see the democratic flower struggling to bloom in a place where and at a time when we have the capacity to water it, and it is in our interest to do so, by all means we should consider it. But the fact that America has a “team interest” in the success or non-failure of democracy does not mean that we have an interest in trying to impose democracy in places where it is almost certain to fail. In fact, the opposite is true, because glaring failures undermine our prestige.

I would ask careful readers to please note that, for all the criticism of the foreign policy establishment, nothing here has specifically criticized the LIO per se. It served our interests well in the times and places for which it was built. It remains superior to most alternatives, including paleo-isolationism and neocon overreach. Confusion may arise from the implicit conflation of the LIO with the latter. It is not an outrageous error to make, precisely because the neocons have expended a lot of effort since the end of the Cold War to meld the two in the public mind, beginning with the so-called Wolfowitz Doctrine strategy paper drafted in the Pentagon in 1992 and continuing in 2014 with Robert Kagan’s New Republicthink piece “Superpowers Don’t Get to Retire.”

The very phrase “liberal international order” hints at the problem. It is at least a better term than President George H. W. Bush’s “new world order,” for the simple reason that the LIO has never prevailed over the entire world and never had a chance to. The failure to see this limit was, it seems, the core mistake of America’s post–Cold War foreign policy. The establishment thought it could take a system built (more or less) for the OECD or the Rich Nations Club and make it work everywhere. That was never possible and still isn’t. The “liberal international order” is thus better termed the “liberal rich-country order” or—if you prefer foreign policy jargon—the “liberal functioning-core order.”

Even if one were to assert that America’s national interest is to build and maintain a liberal order in every corner of the globe (which it isn’t), we would still face the thorny problem that America lacks the means to do so. We have to choose. What do we choose and on what basis?

In sum, the reach of “liberal international order”—while mostly beneficial to American interests—is in practice a lot smaller than the whole world. Even when created in 1945–1950, it was never intended to encompass the globe. It was built to protect the interests of America and its non-Communist friends in Europe and Asia and (in an update to the Monroe Doctrine) keep Communism out of the Western Hemisphere. The Middle East was added later, in stages, as Anglo-French hegemony collapsed after Suez, as the original Western-friendly Arab kings fell, and as the West (and the United States especially) became net oil importers. The attempt, beginning in 1991–92, to extend that order over the whole world was a case of American eyes being much bigger than our stomachs (or teeth), a confusion of ideology and interests. In fact, however, such expansion was never necessary to core American interests—peace, prosperity, prestige.

The uncertainty of the present moment does not derive primarily from President Trump’s supposed disregard for the fundamentals of the liberal international order. On the contrary, the uncertainty arises from a growing awareness of the disconnect between the instrumental policies of that order and its overriding purpose. In restoring a sense of the core objectives behind the LIO’s institutions, Trump actually shows a greater regard for it. These institutions will survive only if prudently amended to serve their essential purposes and meet their members’ needs.

Trump’s campaign was driven by the basic awareness of ordinary citizens that American peace, prestige, and prosperity were not being served by our foreign policy. Among the many reasons to be hopeful about President Trump’s foreign policy is that he seems to understand that correcting the errors of the neo-interventionists does not require adopting those of the paleo-isolationists.

While orienting foreign policy around American peace, prestige, and prosperity still leaves room for disagreements in policy formation, focusing on the ends rather than the means marks a dramatic change in the way our diplomats see things. The quicker we make that change, the quicker we will find clarity in strengthening the institutions that make the American people safe, respected, and wealthy—and the quicker we can reform those that do not.

This article originally appeared in American Affairs Volume I, Number 1 (Spring 2017): 113–25.

Also see:

House Dem IT Staffers Owed Money To Hezbollah-Connected Fugitive

Imran Awan, target of a House security probe, worked in IT for Rep. Andre Carson, a member of the intelligence committee

Imran Awan, target of a House security probe, worked in IT for Rep. Andre Carson, a member of the intelligence committee

Daily Caller, by Luke Rosiak, Feb. 21, 2017:

Congressional aides suspected of criminally misusing their access to House computer systems owed $100,000 to an Iraqi politician who is wanted by U.S. authorities and has been linked to Hezbollah, the Iranian-backed Middle Eastern terrorist outfit.

Imran Awan and four of his relatives were employed as information technology (IT) aides by dozens of House Democrats, including members of the intelligence, foreign affairs and homeland security committees. The aides’ administrator-level IT access was terminated earlier this month amid a criminal probe by U.S. Capitol Police of a suspected security breach, including an off-site server housing congressional data.

The Daily Caller News Foundation Investigative Group has reported that while working for Congress, the Pakistani brothers controlled a limited liability corporation called Cars International A (CIA), a car dealership with odd finances, which took–and was unable to repay–a $100,000 loan from Dr. Ali Al-Attar.

Philip Giraldi, a former CIA officer, wrote that Attar “was observed in Beirut, Lebanon conversing with a Hezbollah official” in 2012–shortly after the loan was made. Attar has also been accused of helping provoke the 2003 U.S. invasion of Iraq as a leader of Iraqi dissidents opposed to Saddam Hussein.

After moving to the U.S., Attar made his money practicing medicine in Maryland and Virginia and defrauding Medicare, Medicaid and insurance companies by billing for non-existent medical procedures. The FBI raided his offices in 2009 and the Department of Health and Human Services sued his business partner in 2011.

Attar was indicted in March 2012 on separate tax fraud charges after the IRS and FBI found he used multiple bank accounts to hide income. He fled back to Iraq to avoid prison.

“He’s a fugitive. I am not aware of any extradition treaty with Iraq,” Marcia Murphy, spokesman for federal prosecutors in Maryland, told TheDCNF Tuesday. “If or when he returns to the U.S., the prosecution will continue.”

Brothers Imran, Abid and Jamal Awan, as well as their wives Natalia Sova and Hina Alvi, were all on the congressional payroll.

Not long before the indictment, Pakistani-born Virginia resident Nasir Khattak, who co-owned CIA with Abid, still had access to some bank accounts holding Attar’s assets.

Khattak was a realtor, and with Attar’s permission, “acquired the money through adjustments to the accounts that he controlled as the realtor for al-Attar,” court documents say.

Abid managed CIA’s daily operations, even though he was also employed full time running computers for representatives that have included Emanuel Cleaver of Missouri, Tammy Duckworth of Illinois and Yvette Clark of New York. But the car dealership was hemorrhaging money. Customers were often shown cars borrowed from a dealership next door.

“It was very bad record-keeping in Cars International … it is close to impossible to make any sense out of all the transactions that happened,” Khattak said in court documents.

CIA’s finances interwove with the House’s. A car-dealing associate who was owed money by the brothers, Rao Abbas, was placed on the congressional payroll.

Khattak said CIA was a “family business” and by 2010 Imran was its primary manager instead of Abid.

Abid Awan filed for personal bankruptcy in 2012 because the dealership was in his name, listing $1 million in liabilities. Bankruptcies are a major security red flag in background checks for employees in sensitive positions.

The loan from Attar was never repaid, leading to a lawsuit over the dealership’s future. Attar claimed the loan default meant the dealership became his, but refused to testify in person, giving power of attorney to someone else to give evidence on his behalf.

Khattek said in court documents that was because “Ali Al-Attar was out of the country as he was involved in politics and the formation of the Iraqi government.” Though he was fugitive, that was also true.

Giraldi, the former CIA officer, wrote in the American Conservative in 2013 that Attar advised President George W. Bush’s key Iraq policy advisors that U.S. forces would be “greeted as liberators.”

“In late 2002 and early 2003, [then-Deputy Secretary of Defense Paul] Wolfowitz regularly met secretly with a group of Iraqi expatriates, consisting mostly of Shias but also including several Sunnis, who resided in the Washington area,” Giraldi wrote. “The Iraqis were headed by one Dr. Ali A. al-Attar.”

Attar’s prediction was wrong, and his qualifications for making it — supposedly based on what the D.C.-area Iraqis were hearing from relatives — were questionable because, although Attar was born in Iraq, his parents were Iranian.

But the U.S.-backed regime change served Attar well, as in 2003, he told The New York Times that “he was one of four people chosen by General Garner to re-establish the Iraq Ministry of Health, and that he expected to be called Baghdad next week.”

That stay in Iraq apparently did not last long, as in 2009, his medical license was suspended by Maryland for separate instances of billing patients and insurance companies for unneeded services.

In November 2010, the Maryland State Board of Physicians brought still more charges of “unprofessional conduct in the practice of medicine and failure to cooperate in a lawful investigation.”

Attar’s attorney said the board was a “Trojan horse” for the FBI. The board said Attar’s “failure to cooperate with the board investigation was deliberate, longstanding and defiant,” and in March 2012 revoked his license.

The Awan brothers worked for members including Andre Carson of Indiana, one of two Muslims in Congress and a member of the ultra-sensitive intelligence committee.

“Moderate” Muslim Brotherhood Mourns Terrorist’s Death

blind-sby John Rossomando
IPT News
February 21, 2017

Calls for revenge and glowing eulogies for Sheikh Omar Abdel Rahman by the Muslim Brotherhood and its followers dealt a blow to efforts to paint it as a moderate group.

Abdel Rahman, known as the “Blind Sheikh,” died Saturday in a U.S. prison where he was serving a life sentence for a seditious conspiracy to launch what prosecutors called a “war of urban terrorism” against targets around New York City. He also helped plot the first World Trade Center bombing in 1993 that killed six people and injured 1,042.

“May Allah’s blessings be upon him, the deceased of the Islamic call, who was imprisoned by different repressive regimes, who was falsely and unfairly accused of terrorism by the Unites States of America, while being old and blind Sheikh, it also prevented him from receiving medical care until he met his Lord, Oh Allah please accept him and have mercy upon him,” the Muslim Brotherhood General Office said.

Andrew McCarthy, who prosecuted Abdel Rahman, noted in a National Review Online column that the “Blind Sheikh” was proud of being a terrorist. This fact ought to raise red flags about the character of the Muslim Brotherhood.

McCarthy cited this Abdel Rahman statement as an example: “Why do we fear the word terrorist? If the terrorist is the person who defends his right, so we are terrorists. And if the terrorist is the one who struggles for the sake of God, then we are terrorists. We . . . have been ordered with terrorism because we must prepare what power we can to terrorize the enemy of Allah and your enemy. The Koran says ‘to strike terror.’ Therefore, we don’t fear to be described with ‘terrorism.’ . . . They may say, ‘He is a terrorist, he uses violence, he uses force.’ Let them say that. We are ordered to prepare whatever we can of power to terrorize the enemies of Islam.”

1988The Muslim Brotherhood’s official Facebook page posted another statement Saturday that was quickly taken down. The message, asking “God Almighty to bestow His Mercy, and ensconce him in the highest paradise of Heaven with the prophets, the saints, the martyrs, the righteous and the best of them as companions” was cross-posted on Ikhwanonline, the Brotherhood’s Arabic website.

Although Abdel Rahman left the Muslim Brotherhood to form the radical jihadist group Gamaa Islamiya in 1970 after the Brotherhood’s leadership renounced violence against the Egyptian government, Brotherhood leaders still mourned him in terms echoed by ISIS and al-Qaida. Mohamed Al-Sagheer, a former deputy minister of endowment in Egypt during the Muslim Brotherhood rule, called Abdel Rahman a “Mujahid” or holy warrior, in a video posted on Facebook. Muslims, he said, lost one of their most prominent scholars.

“May Allah avenge from those who did him (the sheikh) injustice, the Arab despots, and the crusaders, who loath and hate the faith and its followers,” Al-Sagheer said.

Al-Sagheer has ties to violent elements of the Muslim Brotherhood that have worked against the Egyptian government since the military forced the Brotherhood out of power in 2013, the Middle East Media Research Institute (MEMRI) reports.

Mohamed el-Feky, chairman of the economic committee of Morsi-era Egyptian parliament who now resides in Istanbul, similarly lamented Abdel Rahman’s death.

“May God have mercy on Sheikh Omar Abdel Rahman and gather him into the troop of prophets, friends (of God) martyrs and the righteous, with the best of them as companions. Oh, God, compensate him for his imprisonment, and the wrong done him, and bless him with good and increase. Oh God, curse those who wronged him, Oh Lord of the worlds,” el-Feky wrote on Facebook.

Ordinary Muslim Brotherhood supporters like Abdel Rahman Muhammad Lotfy Abdel Rahman called for American blood.

“If they killed you O Omar, Allah has chosen you among the martyrs! Allah will fight you O America … Today, America has killed one of the Muslim scholars after unjustly detaining him for close to a quarter of a century, that is Dr. Omar Adel Rahman, the pious scholar, who always uttered the word of truth, which resonated out of his mouth, he did not fear anyone but Allah, and we present him to Allah. We ask Allah to accept him as a martyr, they killed him for America and its allies, who participated in killing him,” Rahman wrote.

Inspiration For al-Qaida

Abdel Rahman’s ideas inspired Osama Bin Laden, al-Qaida and ISIS. He acted as al-Qaida chief Ayman al-Zawahiri’s “mentor.” Al-Zawahiri frequently attended Abdel Rahman’s lectures as a young man in Egypt.

Al-Zawahiri and Osama bin Laden handed out copies of Abdel Rahman’s will at a 1998 press conference.

The will demands vengeance after his death. “But, take revenge for me against them with the most extreme and violent revenge.”

Bin Laden and al-Zawahiri also passed out a fatwa from Abdel Rahman smuggled from prison authorizing attacks against the U.S. at the 1998 press conference.

“Cut all relations with [the Americans, Christians, and Jews], tear them to pieces, destroy their economies, burn their corporations, destroy their peace, sink their ships, shoot down their planes and kill them on air, sea, and land. And kill them wherever you may find them, ambush them, take them hostage, and destroy their observatories. Kill these infidels,” the fatwa said.

Al-Qaida responded to Abdel Rahman’s death by including the incendiary will in its latest newsletter Al-Nafir. Numerous jihadi social media sites followed suit, and the will accompanied a joint statement by al-Qaida in the Arabian Peninsula (AQAP) and al-Qaida in the Islamic Maghreb (AQIM), both of which are openly loyal to al-Zawahiri.

The joint AQAP/AQIM statement calls on their followers to “viciously avenge the sheikh against his oppressors and wardens.”

Supporters Remember Abdel Rahman

1986Said Abbasy, a Muslim Brotherhood supporter living in New York, wrote on Facebook, “The passing of Sheikh Omar Abdel Rahman in the prisons of America after 24 years of incarceration. Oh God take vengeance on those who wronged him.”

Muhammad Shoubir, a self-described Muslim Brotherhood supporter who lives in New York, called Abdel Rahman “our martyr sheikh” in a since deleted Facebook post.

1987“A martyr to the interests between Egypt and America,, (sic) A martyr to the injustice done to him during his trial and the concocting of an accusation against him,, No Egyptian defended him,, but they thrust upon him a guard and a translators (Egyptian) who spied on him, and misled him,, so that he was sentenced in 93 to imprisonment for life,, the man died after 24 years in prison … May God have mercy on our noble Sheikh Omar Abdel Rahman,, He was wronged in your country, and elsewhere,,” Shoubir wrote.

Jihadis aligned with various undefined factions used similar rhetoric in their social media eulogies.

“Not with tears but with red blood. We will lament Imam Omar Abdel Rahman,” said handle @ Yubayatajrasi09, who lives in the Tampa area.

In an inflammatory Twitter post on Saturday, an individual identifying himself as Obamajahid pushed a baseless conspiracy theory to blame the Trump administration for Abdel Rahman’s death.

“Sheikh Omar Abdel Rahman is among the first victims of the rule of the tyrant Trump where pressure was exerted upon him in his prison, and he was deprived of his medicine and his radio as was mentioned someone who contacted them last week,” Obamajahid wrote.

Another follower of Abdel Rahman’s, Yubayatajastri09, called for vengeance.

“Oh God, forgive us for our shortcomings with regard to him. And raise his degree and accept him among the number of martyrs. And take vengeance on the head of the viper America,” he wrote.

It’s hard to claim the Muslim Brotherhood opposes terrorism when it laments the death of the man who inspired an attack on New York City, plotted even greater bloodshed and inspired bin Laden and al-Zawahiri.

***

 

 

5 Points About New National Security Adviser Gen. McMaster

U.S. President Trump with NCA-appointee General H.R. McMaster (left) and US Ambassador to Israel-appointee David Friedman (R) (Photo: © NICHOLAS KAMM/AFP/Getty Images)

U.S. President Trump with NCA-appointee General H.R. McMaster (left) and US Ambassador to Israel-appointee David Friedman (R) (Photo: © NICHOLAS KAMM/AFP/Getty Images)

Clarion Project, by Ryan Mauro, Feb. 21, 2017:

President Trump has chosen General H.R. McMaster as the national security adviser and there’s plenty to be happy about. Below are five points to consider with his choice.

1. General McMaster is known for winning the most difficult of battles. As explained in this lengthy New Yorker article from 2006, he performed an amazing turnaround in the city of Tal Afar in Iraq. I remember when he arrived in 2005 and shocked observers by needing only about six months to change the situation by building strong relationships with Iraqis on the ground to kick the jihadists out and to quickly build up the local police force.

His warrior side will come in handy as the top U.S. commander in Afghanistan bluntly refers to the situation as a “stalemate” requiring several thousand more troops for progress to happen.

2.He will never forget how Iran killed our servicemen and women in Iraq, Afghanistan and elsewhere.  McMaster blasted the media for repeatedly referring to “alleged” Iranian support for militias and targets, saying it was “damn obvious to anybody who wants to look into it” that Iran’s proxy warfare against our troops was confirmed. He will never forget or forgive the Iranian regime for harming his brothers and sisters in the U.S. military.

3. He criticizes the ““almost narcissistic” U.S. expectations in Iraq and Afghanistan that don’t take into account the limitations of our abilities to shape those situations. Authorities on counter-insurgency like McMaster, Mattis and Petraeus are often criticized of pursing idealistic nation-building, but McMaster’s words reflect a realism about what can and cannot be achieved.

4. He wrote an acclaimed book about the Vietnam War, Deriliction of Duty: Johnson, McNamara, the Joint Chiefs of Staff and the Lies That Led to Vietnam. The title alone shows he is cynical towards the senior political class. If you are skeptical about President Trump, you can rest assured that McMaster will not be a puppet.

5. Jihad Watch just broke the story that McMaster said the “Islamic State is not Islamic” in a 2014 lecture. Comments like that by the Obama Administration were rightly criticized and so must his.

However, we should be fair to McMaster. Did he say it because he doesn’t believe we should focus on the radical Islamic ideology or, more optimistically, he does understand the ideology and was using the line to try to undermine ISIS’ legitimacy?

The record of McMaster points towards the former, as does the records of those he will be serving with. Defense Secretary General Mattis, for example, explicitly identifies political Islam as the enemy ideology that a strategy must be crafted around.

***

Jim Hanson defends H. R. McMaster’s counter-insurgency strategy (COIN) which is based on taking into account the political sensitivities on the ground in order to recruit Muslim allies:

 

Trump’s Immigration Guidance: The Rule of Law Returns

A U.S. Border Patrol agent on the U.S.-Mexican border in Nogales, Ariz. (Reuters phoot: Lucy Nicholson)

A U.S. Border Patrol agent on the U.S.-Mexican border in Nogales, Ariz. (Reuters phoot: Lucy Nicholson)

PJ MEDIA, BY ANDREW C. MCCARTHY, FEBRUARY 22, 2017:

On Tuesday, John Kelly, President Trump’s Secretary of Homeland Security, published a six-page, single-spaced memorandum detailing new guidance on immigration enforcement. Thereupon, I spent about 1,500 words summarizing the guidance in a column at National Review. Brevity being the sole of wit, both the memo and my description of it could have been reduced to a single, easy to remember sentence:

Henceforth, the United States shall be governed by the laws of the United States.

That it was necessary for Secretary Kelly to say more than this – and, sadly, that such alarm has greeted a memo that merely announces the return of the rule of law in immigration enforcement – owes to Obama administration abuses of three legal doctrines: prosecutorial discretion, preemption, and separation of powers (specifically, the executive usurpation of legislative power).

To the extent President Obama declined to enforce immigration law (notwithstanding his constitutional obligation to execute the laws faithfully), he did so under the guise of prosecutorial discretion. In the pre-Obama days, prosecutorial discretion was an unremarkable, uncontroversial resource-allocation doctrine. It simply meant that since resources are finite, and since it would be neither possible nor desirable to prosecute every crime, we target law-enforcement resources to get the most crime-fighting bang for the taxpayer buck. That means prioritizing enforcement action against (a) the worst offenders and (b) the unlawful causes of the activity.

This is easily illustrated by federal drug enforcement. There are comparatively few federal narcotics agents, compared, say, to police in a major city. But while both feds and cops have authority to arrest traffickers and consumers of illegal drugs, only federal jurisdiction is interstate and international. Consequently, the best use of finite federal enforcement resources is to limit them to prosecutions of significant felony importation and distribution offenses, leaving it to the states and municipalities to handle street pushers and misdemeanor violations involving the use of drugs.

Significantly, the fact that federal enforcement policy, which is made by the executive branch, does not target lesser felons or users does not mean this policy effectively repeals federal drug laws, which are written by Congress. The non-targeted crimes are still crimes, and the feds reserve the right to prosecute them in appropriate cases (e.g., if they encounter these offenses in the course of carrying out other criminal enforcement missions).

In the area of immigration enforcement, Obama contorted this resource allocation doctrine into a de fact immunity scheme. That is, the Obama Homeland Security Department announced what it labeled enforcement “priorities.” If an illegal alien did not fit into the priorities, it was as if the alien were insulated against prosecution – effectively, it was as if there was nothing illegal about being an alien unlawfully present in the United States; it was as if Obama’s policies were a legal defense against Congress’s duly enacted laws.

This was complemented by a second legal distortion: Obama’s mangling of the so-called preemption doctrine. As we’ve noted, there are certain areas of law – like immigration and narcotics enforcement – in which the federal and state governments have concurrent jurisdiction: both are permitted to regulate and prosecute. This can work well (it generally does in drug enforcement); but it can be counterproductive if the dual sovereigns work at cross-purposes.

In some areas, like immigration, the courts have ruled that the federal government is supreme (on the dubious but now well-rooted theory that immigration-law enforcement is primarily a federal responsibility). This means that the federal government has the power to preempt state action. Importantly, preemption is a power of Congress. That is, in an area of federal supremacy, states are prohibited to act in a manner that would contravene federal law.

Obama, to the contrary, took the position that states were forbidden to take action that contravened Obama immigration policy. This was brought into sharp relief by the administration’s conflict with the state of Arizona. Far from seeking to countermand federal law, Arizona sought to enforce Congress’s statutes. Yet, Obama took the position that the state was bound not by Congress’s statutes but by Obama’s proclaimed enforcement policies – even if those amounted to non-enforcement of Congress’s statutes.

This was a perversion of both preemption and prosecutorial discretion. As long as Arizona was taking action consistent with federal law, its enforcement measures could not be preempted. Moreover, even if Arizona’s enforcement policy was broader than Obama’s, that should not have mattered: as we’ve seen, a federal exercise of prosecutorial discretion just means lesser crimes are not targeted, not that they are no longer crimes. If Arizona took action against those lesser crimes, that was completely appropriate; it was filling a gap in federal enforcement, not defying federal law.

The obstacles imposed by Obama’s immigration proclamations bring us to the third legal abuse: the usurpation of legislative authority. In effect, Obama’s announced priorities became not guidelines for immigration enforcement but new federal laws. According to the administration, only those aliens who fit Obama’s guidelines could be prosecuted. The Homeland Security Department was instructed to halt enforcement action at the earliest possible stage – i.e., once it was understood that an illegal alien did not fit a priority category, all investigative activity was to stop, even though it was known that the alien was acting illegally.

In effect, the Obama priorities operated like law. They controlled what federal investigators and prosecutors could do, and they were used to block states from enforcing their own laws. In this, at least for as long as Obama was president, they supplanted Congress’s laws – a clear violation of separation of powers.

All the Trump guidance announced in Secretary Kelly’s memo really does is repeal Obama’s decrees. The memo essentially says: the law of the United States is back to being the law of the United States. That’s the way it’s supposed to be.

Ex-Guantanamo detainee carried out suicide attack near Mosul, Iraq

17-02-21-ronald-fiddler-isis-suicide-bomber-near-mosulLong War Journal, by Thomas Joscelyn, Feb. 22, 2017:

The British press buzzed yesterday with news that a former Guantanamo detainee known as Jamal al Harith (formerly Ronald Fiddler) had blown himself up in a vehicle-borne improvised explosive device (VBIED) in Iraq. Al Harith reportedly took part in the Islamic State’s defensive suicide attacks around Mosul, which is one of the organization’s de facto capitals. The so-called caliphate claims to have launched scores of suicide VBIEDs in defense of the city.

On the same day al Harith executed his attack (Feb. 20), the Islamic State’s Amaq News Agency released a short video of three SUVs being deployed as bombs. All three vehicles had armor added to the front. One of the three was presumably driven by al Harith. The Islamic State released a photo al Harith (seen above), identifying him by the alias Abu Zakariya al Britani. The group also issued a claim of responsibility for his bombing.

Al Harith’s death brings to an end one of the strangest stories in the history of the detention facility at Guantanamo. Along with four others, Al Harith was transferred to American custody in early 2002 after being found in the Taliban-controlled Sarposa prison.

According to leaked Joint Task Force-Guantanamo (JTF-GTMO) threat assessments, jihadis in Afghanistan accused all five men of being spies for foreign powers looking to infiltrate the Taliban’s and al Qaeda’s ranks. Sarposa (spelled “Sarpooza” and “Sarpuza” in JTF-GTMO’s files) was overrun by the Northern Alliance in late 2001 and the men (subsequently dubbed the Sarposa Five) were handed over to the Americans and then transferred to Guantanamo.

Read more

Also see:

Clash of the Radical Titans

 

dnc-chairman-election-tom-perez-keith-ellison

Front Page Magazine, by  John Perazzo, Feb. 22, 2017:

It is a classic matchup that places the Democratic Party’s unwavering commitment to diversity on full display: The two front-runners in this week’s election for DNC chairman are a race-obsessed black hate monger and a race-obsessed Hispanic hate monger. The former is Congressman Keith Ellison of Minnesota. The latter is Thomas Perez, who served as Assistant Attorney General in the Obama Justice Department’s Civil Rights Division, and subsequently as Obama’s Secretary of Labor. A clash of titans, if there ever was one.

Consider, first, Ellison’s track record. At various times, he has characterized the U.S. Constitution as “the best evidence of a white racist conspiracy to subjugate other peoples”; advocated slavery reparations as well as the creation of a geographically self-contained “homeland” for black people; and defended the late Nation of Islam spokesman and black supremacist Khalid Abdul Muhammad, who famously rejoiced in the murder of white and Jewish “devils.” From the late 1980s through the late ’90s, Ellison spent at least a decade as a spokesman for that same Nation of Islam and its leader, Louis Farrakhan, whose long history of venom-laced references to “white devils” and Jewish “bloodsuckers” is well documented.

Over the years, Ellison, who is a Muslim convert, has been a featured speaker at major conferences held by such organizations as the Hamas-linked Council on American-Islamic Relations as well as the Muslim American Society, the Islamic Circle of North America, the Muslim Public Affairs Council, and the Islamic Society of North America. All of these groups have deep ties to the Muslim Brotherhood, which in turn is the ideological wellspring from which both Hamas and al Qaeda were born.

Moreover, Ellison’s very obvious Jew-hatred only enhances his resumé as a Democratic leader. Aside from his aforementioned ties to the anti-Semitic cesspool known as the Nation of Islam, Ellison in 2010 authored a Congressional letter calling on President Obama to use diplomatic pressure to end Israel’s “blockade” of Gaza—a blockade which had been imposed in order to stop Hamas terrorists from continuing to import deadly weaponry for the slaughter of Jews. At a 2010 fundraiser hosted by jihad supporter Esam Omeish, Ellison made plain his belief that Israel played far too large a role in controlling American foreign policy. During a 2014 Israeli military incursion that was launched in response to myriad rocket attacks by Hamas-affiliated terrorists in Gaza, Ellison argued that any ceasefire should be predicated upon Israel ending its Gaza blockade. That same year, Ellison was one of only eight House members to vote against a resolution to increase the amount of U.S. financial aid earmarked to help Israel maintain the Iron Dome missile-defense system that had successfully intercepted hundreds of Hamas rockets aimed at Israeli population centers.

And of course, no Democrat worth his salt would ever approve a measure that might actually strengthen the national security of the United States. Thus when President Obama announced in September 2015 that he planned to admit 10,000 Syrian refugees to the U.S. during the ensuing year, Ellison complained that this was not nearly enough. That same month, Ellison voiced his unequivocal support for the passage of the Iran Nuclear Deal, an agreement that allowed the Islamist regime in Tehran to enrich uranium, build advanced centrifuges, purchase ballistic missiles, fund terrorism, and be guaranteed a near-zero breakout time to a nuclear bomb approximately a decade down the road.

Perez’s credentials are equally rife with racial obsessions and bad judgment, making him an equally perfect choice for DNC chairman.

In 1996, for instance, he was instrumental in facilitating the passage of the Church Arson Prevention Act, a bill founded on a massive hoax claiming that African American churches were being targeted by arsonists at a disproportionately high rate.

In 1998-99, as a deputy assistant attorney general in President Clinton’s Justice Department, Perez helped establish a Task Force to improve the working conditions of illegal aliens. Moreover, he worked to eliminate the disproportionate assignment of black and Hispanic students to special-education programs; to increase the number of nonwhite students in “gifted and talented” programs; and to eliminate racial profiling by law-enforcement. Also during the late 1990s and early 2000s, Perez was a board member of Casa de Maryland, a George Sorosfunded advocacy group for illegal aliens.

As President Obama’s Assistant Attorney General for Civil Rights in 2009, Perez declared that his mission was to help those Americans who were “living in the shadows”—a reference not only to illegal aliens, but also to “our Muslim-American brothers and sisters subject to post-9/11 backlash”; “communities of color disproportionately affected by the subprime meltdown”; “LGBT brothers and sisters … forced to confront discrimination”; and “all too many children lacking quality education.”

As Perez sees things, the list of those who are victimized by American inequities is endless. On the premise that discrimination—both “blatant” and “dangerously subtle”—“persists … in so many of our institutions,” he laments that “women [are] still fighting for pay equity in the workplace”; that “newcomers to our country face bigotry and hate because of the language they speak, the clothes they wear, the color of their skin, or the accent in their voice”; that “[Klansman] crosses are still burned in yards across the nation’s heartland”; and that “acts of violence are still committed because of an individual’s skin color, or because of who they love, or because of where they come from.”

Perez reflexively politicizes everything he touches. In 2011, PJ Media published a 12-part series of exposés revealing that, without exception, every attorney hired by Perez’s Civil Rights Division had a leftist or Democrat activist pedigree.

Also a few years ago, DOJ veteran J. Christian Adams gave damning public testimony about how Perez and other Obama Justice Department officials believed that “civil-rights law should not be enforced in a race-neutral manner, and should never be enforced against blacks or other national minorities.” Soon thereafter, DOJ official Christopher Coates corroborated Adams’ assertion that the Justice Department had routinely ignored civil-rights cases involving white victims. And a 2013 Inspector General’s report stated that as far as Perez was concerned, voting-rights laws did “not cover white citizens.”

So, the two leading contenders for the position of DNC chairman perfectly embody the values of a party that stands unequivocally for the promotion of racial and ethnic divisions, inter-group jealousies and hatreds, the dissolution of America’s borders, and the weakening of U.S. national security. Consequently, this may rank among the most irrelevant elections in American political history. Whoever wins will be more-than-qualified to lead the Democratic Party ever-deeper into the sewer of racism and Marxism.

John Perazzo is the managing editor of DiscoverTheNetworks.org

Also see:

A White House Initiative to Defeat Radical Islam

trump5MEF, by Daniel Pipes
The Washington Times
February 20, 2017

Originally published under the title “Defeating Radical Islam: How a New White House Initiative Can Get the Job Done.”

Who is the enemy? It’s been over 15 years since 9/11 and still this fundamental question rattles around. Prominent answers have included evil doers, violent extremists, terrorists, Muslims, and Islamists.

As an example of how not to answer this question, the Obama administration convened a Countering Violent Extremism (CVE) Working Group in 2010 and included participants who turned up such gems as: “Jihad as holy war is a European invention,” the caliphate‘s return is “inevitable,” Sharia (Islamic law) is “misunderstood,” and “Islamic terrorism is a contradiction in terms … because terrorism is not Islamic by definition.”

The result? The group produced propaganda helpful to the (unnamed) enemy.

In contrast, then-candidate Donald Trump gave a robust speech in August 2016 on how he, as president, would “Make America Safe Again.” In it, he pledged, “One of my first acts as president will be to establish a commission on radical Islam.” Note: he said radical Islam, not some euphemism like violent extremism.

The goal of that commission, he said, “will be to identify and explain to the American public the core convictions and beliefs of radical Islam, to identify the warning signs of radicalization, and to expose the networks in our society that support radicalization.”

How not to do it: The White House Summit to Counter Violent Extremism, starring Barack Obama.

How not to do it: The White House Summit to Counter Violent Extremism, starring Barack Obama.

The commission “will include reformist voices in the Muslim community” with the goal to “develop new protocols for local police officers, federal investigators, and immigration screeners.”

On Feb. 2, Reuters reported that, consistent with the August statement, the Trump administration “wants to revamp and rename” Obama’s old CVE effort to focus solely on Islamism. Symbolic of this change, the name Countering Violent Extremism will be changed to “Countering Radical Islamic Extremism” (or a near equivalent).

To make the most of this historic opportunity, the Middle East Forum has crafted a comprehensive plan for a White House Commission on Radical Islam for the administration to use. Here’s a summary of how we see the commission working and having an impact:

Structure. To be successful, all its members must be selected by the president. Too many commissions have included contrasting ideologies and agendas, grinding out sausage-like self-conflicting reports that displease the administration and end up discarded. Also, learning from the struggles of the Tower Commission, which lacked sufficient powers, and the precedent of the Three Mile Island Commission, which actually had them, the commission needs the power to subpoena documents, compel testimony, and grant immunity.

Personnel. The commission should include a mix of experts on political violence and radical Islam, as well as elected officials, representatives of law enforcement, the military, the intelligence and diplomatic communities, technology specialists, Muslim reformers (as the president insisted), and victims of radical Islam. It should also include liaisons to those who ultimately will implement the commission’s recommendations: secretaries of the departments of state, defense, and homeland security, the attorney general, and the CIA director.

Mandate. The commission should expand on Trump’s commitment to explain the core convictions of Islamists (i.e., the full and severe application of Sharia), to expose their networks, and to develop new protocols for law enforcement. In addition, it should examine where Islamists get their resources and how these can be cut off; figure out how to deny them use of the Internet; offer changes to immigration practices; and assess how political correctness impedes an honest appraisal of radical Islam.

Implementation. For the commission’s work to be relevant, it must coordinate with federal agencies to gather data and craft recommendations, draft executive orders and legislation, provide supporting documents, prepare requests for proposals, outline memos to state and local governments, recommend personnel, and work out budgets.

Finally, the commission should be prepared that its reports may be used as evidence in criminal proceedings, such as was the case several times in the past (e.g., the Warren, Rogers, and Tower commissions).

The overall goal of the White House Commission on Radical Islam should be to bring the American people together around a common understanding of the enemy’s nature, how that enemy can be defeated, and specifics to accomplish this objective.

Perhaps this will start the long-delayed process of winning a war that has already gone on far too long. The United States has all the economic and military advantages; it lacks only a policy and a strategy, which the new administration, relying on a first-rate commission, can finally supply.

Daniel Pipes (DanielPipes.org, @DanielPipes) is president of the Middle East Forum. Christopher C. Hull (IssueManagement.net, @ChristopherHull) is president of Issue Management, Inc.

Get Seb! A Case Study of Rufmord (Character Assassination)

The Weichert Report, by Dr. Marek Jan Chodakiewicz, February 20, 2017:

Rufmord is character assassination. My good friend Sebastian Gorka has become its latest target. Sometimes the media assassins also enjoy sniping at his wife, Katharine. Since this formidable lady has been swatting at cyber hacks most successfully on social media, I shall focus on her rather restrained husband. I am only sorry I had to wait so long before speaking up because certain crucial facts from Dr. Gorka’s life have been made public only recently. I was not at liberty to divulge them.

There are several charges against Seb.

Dr. Sebastian Gorka is a patriot, not a Nazi.

Dr. Sebastian Gorka is a patriot, not a Nazi.

The most serious one is that he allegedly lacks credentials and experience to serve as Deputy Assistant to the President of the United States Donald Trump and that he sports “Nazi sympathies.” That is complete bunk. Dr. Gorka actually has had a stellar, sustained track record in national security and military affairs for over 25 years. However, because the target of the Rufmord campaign worked for a long time in such type of vineyards where discretion is a must, there is precious little about his accomplishments outside of primary sources and eye witnesses, most of them sworn to secrecy. Suffice it to say that already in college in the UK, he was affiliated with the British military intelligence. Afterwards, Seb handled sensitive information and worked in confidential matters. In other words, he was involved in national security.

As for academic credentials, Sebastian Gorka earned his BA at the University of London and his Ph.D. at Corvinus University in Budapest. He also held fellowships at NATO Defense College in Rome (1997) and Harvard (1998). He co-founded and/or headed a number of think tanks and policy outfits, including The Council on Emerging National Security Affairs, The Center for Euro-Atlantic Integration and Democracy, The Institute for Transitional Democracy and International Security, Threat Knowledge Group, and The Westminster Institute. He also worked for the RAND Corporation.

Further, focusing on irregular warfare and counterterrorism, Dr. Gorka has taught in a number of specialized schools focusing on national security and military affairs. Those included George C. Marshall European Center for Security Studies in Garmisch-Partenkirchen, Germany; United States Special Operations Command Joint Operations University, MacDill Air Force Base, Tampa, FL; National Defense University, Fort McNair, Washington, DC; Marine Corps University Foundation; and Georgetown University.

Dr. Sebastian Gorka was a highly popular professor at the Institute of World Politics. His class on “Enemy Threat Doctrines” in particular was not only popular, but also incredibly useful for the many students who were planning on entering the intelligence community. His presence at IWP’s campus is greatly missed.

Dr. Sebastian Gorka was a highly popular professor at the Institute of World Politics. His class on “Enemy Threat Doctrines” in particular was not only popular, but also incredibly useful for the many students who were planning on entering the intelligence community. His presence at IWP’s campus is greatly missed.

In 2005 Sebastian Gorka first became acquainted with The Institute of World Politics: A Graduate School of International Relations and National Security, Washington, DC. He taught for us as an adjunct for several years, before coming on board as full time faculty last year. It was at IWP that Dr. Gorka had an opportunity to become involved with the Boston Marathon Bombing case. I know because I likewise chimed in on the Tsernaev Brothers at the time. Rather than l’art pour l’art of mindless punditry of talking heads, this was intended for America’s protectors in the intelligence services. The nature of our school facilitates permanent, interactive links to the intelligence community. I mention this because Sebastian’s detractors have doubted the account of his involvement.

***

[CJR: I would add here the letter Dr. Gorka received affirming his contribution as an expert witness]

512u9tc8ll-_sx330_bo1204203200_Also at IWP, Dr. Gorka dealt with the global jihadi threat to the West. However, instead of producing a scholarly monograph (of the sonorous kind with a gazzillion footnotes I specialize in), he published a popular volume on this burning topic which became a bestseller: Defeating Jihad: The Winnable War. To put his point across, the author decided to pursue a non-academic format because we live in a democratic country. In a democracy the people ultimately decide policy. Dr. Gorka has passionately argued for years for a decisive and comprehensive showdown against the global jihadi terrorists. Hence, the objective was to persuade the persuadable – the American people – and not the politically correct and incestuously hermetic foreign policy elites in DC. Apparently, the author has succeeded. That also explains why Dr. Gorka agreed to become a national security editor for the populist Breitbart.

At IWP we teach the art of strategic communications. In electoral politics Breitbart carries more weight than Foreign Policy, Foreign Affairs, and many other expert periodicals on international relations (perhaps also because most of them wax lyrical about “global security”, instead of focusing on national security which tends to be much more near and dear to the heart of the American people). Incidentally, before hooking up with Breitbart, Seb contributed for over a decade to prestigious Jane’s Intelligence Review from the early 1990s to the early 2000s. Did anyone notice outside of the esoteric circle of experts and friends? Exactly.

Hungary’s anti-communist Prime Minister, József Antall, Jr.

Hungary’s anti-communist Prime Minister, József Antall, Jr.

In addition to all the above, after 1989 Sebastian Gorka volunteered to assist in protecting freedom in newly liberated Hungary. He worked at the Ministry of Defense for the staunchly anti-Communist prime minister József Antall Jr., the nation’s first freely elected leader following decades of Soviet occupation. A passionate transatlaticist, Dr. Gorka’s duties included paving the way for Hungary’s admission to NATO. Of course, discretion was a must. However, when matters of principle were at the stake, my intrepid friend lifted up his visor and stepped up.

First, in the wake of 9/11 he championed America’s anti-terrorist cause for the Hungarian media in a stellar tour de force of public diplomacy and Western unity. Second, Dr. Gorka risked his career to unmask Hungary’s post-Communist prime minister Péter Medgyessy as a pre-1989 Communist secret police agent. Unvetted and unremorseful, Medgyessy disingenuously claimed that he had neither spied nor harmed anyone, a standard default position for the likes of him throughout the old Soviet bloc. Seb helped unleash forces which ultimately swept post-Communism away in Hungary a few years later. And when he disagreed with the direction the new government was taking, he moved away and became a US citizen.

So much for an alleged lack of credentials and experience of Dr. Gorka. Now for accusations of “Nazi sympathies”. You know that you have arrived when the scribal assassins resort to the reductio ad Hitlerum historionics against you. They are not bothered by the general rule that if one descends to name calling and, in particular, to invoking Hitler, one has already lost an argument.

What prompted the historionics?

The Hungarian Revolution of 1956. Dr. Sebastian Gorka’s father, Paul, had been tortured and brutalized by the ruling Communist Party and only escaped when the Hungarian people overthrew their Communist overlords–albeit temporarily. The thirst of freedom and rebellion against tyranny is ingrained in the Gorkas.

The Hungarian Revolution of 1956. Dr. Sebastian Gorka’s father, Paul, had been tortured and brutalized by the ruling Communist Party and only escaped when the Hungarian people overthrew their Communist overlords–albeit temporarily. The thirst of freedom and rebellion against tyranny is ingrained in the Gorkas.

Seb has been publicly wearing with pride the Order of Vitéz (Vitézi Rend). For him, this is a sentimental symbol on several levels. First, the Order was awarded to his late father Pal (Paul) Gorka by the Hungarian émigré authorities in 1979. Coming from a conservative Catholic milieu, Gorka senior opposed both the Nazis and Communists. After 1945 he became involved with the British intelligence and organized a youth group preparing ground for Hungary’s liberation. He was caught, tortured, and sentenced to death. This was commuted to life at hard labor. During the Hungarian Rising of 1956, the anti-Communist insurgents broke into his prison and liberated Pal. He fought against the Soviets and then fled to the West with a teenage girl he would shortly marry: Seb’s mother. The Order of Vitéz is practically the only recognition Pal ever received for his gallantry and perseverance. It would be churlish if his son failed to cherish it.

The Order of Vitéz, the medal that Dr. Gorka proudly wears to honor his father. This is not a symbol of Nazism, despite what the anti-Trump Left would have you believe.

The Order of Vitéz, the medal that Dr. Gorka proudly wears to honor his father. This is not a symbol of Nazism, despite what the anti-Trump Left would have you believe.

Further, the Order of Vitéz, is not just a decoration, it is an actual order of chivalry. It is based upon the medieval paradigm of chivalric orders, like the Knights of Malta. The Order of Vitéz was established in 1920 after the Hungarian patriots (with some outside help) triumphed over the short lived Soviet Hungarian Republic of Bela Kun. Having vanquished the Bolsheviks, the newly elected regent of Hungary, Vice-Admiral Miklós Horthy de Nagybánya, devised a land distribution program to benefit Hungarian military veterans. Those who served the nation well and acquitted themselves gallantly on the battlefield were awarded farms. And they were invited to join the Order of Vitéz. The Order remained a prominent reservoir of Christian conservatism and patriotism in the interwar period and afterwards. However, during the Second World War, it experienced internal splits with some members opposing Nazi Germany. Since that was the position of the Gorka family (and people like József Antall Sr., who was a Righteous Gentile), there should be no reason why either Pal should refuse the distinction or Seb to continue the tradition.

Finally, Sebastian Gorka appreciates the Order of Vitéz because of his family’s background. The Górkas are medieval Polish nobility of Wielkopolska. In 1848 some of them traveled to help their Hungarian brothers to fight for freedom during the Hungarian Insurrection at the time of The Spring of Nations. A few stayed behind and became Magyarized. But they never forgot that “vitéz” (witeź in Polish) means an intrepid knight.  And that Seb is. QED.  #CyberhatepurveyorsofRufmord beware.

Dr. Marek Jan Chodakiewicz is the Kościuszko Chair at the Institute of World Politics in Washington, D.C. where he conducts research on East Central Europe and Russia. His expert areas include History, Democracy Building, Communism, American Foreign Policy and International Relations. His most recent book, “Intermarium: The Land Between the Black and Baltic Seas”, was published in 2012 by Transaction Publishers.

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Gorka continues to set the record straight on the Strategic Initiatves Group:

And the smears keep coming:

Analyzing Palestinian Propaganda on CNN: Rashid Khalidi on “Fareed Zakaria GPS”

zakaria-and-khhalidiCAMERA, February 20, 2017:

On Feb. 12, 2017, Columbia University professor Rashid Khalidi was invited onto CNN’s global affairs program hosted by Fareed Zakaria (Fareed Zakaria GPS) to defend and justify the Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions (BDS) campaign against Israel. This followed an interview on the same program a week earlier with French philosopher Bernard-Henri Lévy where he charged the BDS campaign with being “an anti-Semitic campaign” which “takes its roots a long time ago, 60 years ago, in the fringes of dying Nazism.” Lévy’s words so enraged Khalidi and other proponents of the anti-Israel campaign that Khalidi complained to the host, then appeared himself on the show the following week.

Khalidi, an experienced propagandist, used classic propaganda tactics (name-calling, transfer/association, glittering generalities, logical fallacy, bandwagon, plain folks, and card stacking, as described by the The Institute for Propaganda Analysis) to defend BDS, and to delegitimize Jewish sovereignty over Jerusalem, much as he had done several weeks earlier on WBEZ’s Worldview.

Fareed Zakaria, with a history of skewing the Palestinian-Israeli conflict, helped Khalidi along, not only providing him with an unfettered platform to disseminate his misinformation, but having photos and drawings televised to illustrate Khalidi’s  deceptive analogies, and in the case of Jerusalem, disseminating some half truths of his own.

Here are the facts on BDS and Jerusalem, followed by an analysis of the propaganda disseminated on Zakaria’s CNN program.

BDS: The Facts

Soviet dissident, author and human rights activist Natan Sharansky has proposed a test for the “new anti-Semitism” which he describes as the three D’s—double standards, discrimination and delegitimization— to indicate whether a movement, organization or campaign is anti-Semitic in nature. The BDS campaign employs all three: it uses double standards to single out the Jewish state for delegitimization and discrimination.

Proponents of the BDS campaign have made it clear that they oppose Jewish self-determination and that their ultimate goal is the elimination of a Jewish state in the region. This is what they say:

“A Jewish state in Palestine, in any shape or form, cannot but contravene the basic rights of the land’s indigenous Palestinian population…most definitely, we oppose a Jewish state in any part of Palestine. No Palestinian — rational Palestinian, not a sellout Palestinian—will ever accept a Jewish state in Palestine.”(Omar Barghouti, founding member of the Palestinian Campaign for the Academic and Cultural Boycott of Israel)

“..That [the real aim of BDS is to bring down the Jewish state] should be stated as an unambiguous goal. There should not be any equivocation on the subject. Justice and freedom for the Palestinians are incompatible with the existence of the state of Israel.” (A’sad AbuKhalil,Stanislaus State College political science professor and supporter of BDS)

“…civil society says Israel is the oppressor, not the settlements.…” (Hind Awwad, national coordinator of the Palestinian BDS national committee)

“…we wish to report and confirm that our corporation boycotts all Israeli products and services, and encourages other institutions, companies and individuals to cease and avoid all economic, academic and cultural activity that supports the racist state of Israel until that state dissolves itself…”(Paul Larudee, International Solidarity Movement, Free Palestine, and BDS activist)

“So BDS does mean the end of the Jewish state…I view the BDS movement as a long-term project with radically transformative potential… Ending the occupation doesn’t mean anything if it doesn’t mean upending the Jewish state itself.” (Ahmed Moor, political commentator and BDS activist)

In addition to the BDS activists’ articulated goal of eliminating a Jewish state, their actions demonstrate anti-Semitic motives rather than a quest for civil rights. Here are just a few of the numerous examples of how Jews are singled out for bullying by BDS activists:

  • As part of its “Globe to Globe” festival in May 2012, London’s Shakespeare Globe Theatre invited companies from around the world to perform Shakespeare’s plays in their native languages. After the Palestinian Ashtar company performed Richard II in Arabic, BDS activists attempted to shut down the Israeli Habima company performance of The Merchant of Venice in Hebrew.
  • Regarding Justin Bieber’s 2011 performance in Tel Aviv, BDS activists reportedly threatened Justin Bieber’s Jewish manager with “the Jew manager will die.”
  • In August 2013, BDS activists protesting the performance of Israeli jazz musician Daniel Zamir at Johannesberg’s Wits University, chanted and sang out “Shoot the Jew.”
  • In August 2015, BDS activists in Spain pressured organizers of a music festival to exclude singer Matisyahu from performing unless he publicly denounced Israel and declared his support for a Palestinian state. The American performer, who was singled out solely because of his Jewish identity, refused to cooperate and his performance was canceled. But following fierce criticism by the international press, Spanish government and others of this overtly anti-Semitic action, organizers reinstated the Jewish singer’s participation in the festival. A Spanish court has now admitted a criminal complaint against the BDS activists, filed by an association of human rights lawyers fighting against anti-Semitism.

The BDS campaign against the Jewish state has been condemned as anti-Semitic by German Chancellor Angela Merkel’s Christian Democratic Union(CDU) party, France’s Supreme Court, and the UK’s Minister of Justice:

The German CDU party passed an anti-BDS resolution comparing it to the Nazi boycott of Jews in 1930’s Germany, noting that, “Who today under the flag of the BDS movement calls to boycott Israeli goods and services speaks the same language in which people were called to not buy from Jews. That is nothing other than coarse anti-Semitism.”

In France, BDS is considered a hate crime; The French Supreme court upheld the anti-BDS Lellouche law to rule promoters of BDS guilty of anti-Jewish hate and discrimination and as a result of this law, a major French bank shut down the account of a BDS group.

The UK Secretary of Justice Michael Gove has slammed the BDS campaign as “indulging prejudice” and a new manifestation of an old anti-Jewish hatred.

BDS: The Propaganda

Here is what Khalidi said regarding the BDS campaign (interspersed with the author’s comments in italics):

Khalidi: “[The statement that the BDS campaign is anti-Semitic] is grotesque, in a time when there is real anti-Semitism, Jew hatred that is being publicly expressed by people who are supporters of President Trump …that people are talking about boycott, divestment and sanctions as anti-Semitic.”

This is an example of how Khalidi uses the tactic of “name-calling” –i.e. “grotesque”– to discredit the charge.

Khalidi: “Many of the people who support it are Jewish, so presumably they’re self-hating?”

Khalidi employs a logical fallacy—a false extrapolation– to imply that because someone is Jewish, he or she cannot be anti-Semitic. In fact, the radicals who support BDS and single out the Jewish state for demonization and delegitimization include Jews on the margin who publicly distance themselves from mainstream Jewry and its support for Jewish self-determination.

Khalidi: “Moreover, this is a time-honored tactic. The Boston Tea Party was a boycott, Selma, Montgomery– every major campaign in civil rights involved boycott– the South African freedom struggle used boycott, divestment and sanctions as a central element. But why are the Palestinians not allowed to do this?”

Here, Khalidi uses the propaganda techniques of “glittering generalities” – i.e. vague, emotionally laden phrases like “time-honored tactic”— to evoke a positive feeling, and “transfer” of the positive cause of civil rights to the negative one of BDS. In fact, neither the Boston Tea Party—a protest act by colonists who were unfairly taxed by a government in which they had no representation; nor the civil rights marches in the 1960’sthe non-violent demonstration for African American voting rights; nor the Montgomery bus boycottwhere African Americans refrained from using segregated buses in which they would be forced to the back, were in any way akin to the BDS movement. These were all examples of colonists and citizens attempting to secure their own constitutional rights through non-violent demonstrations. They were not, as BDS’ often violent actions are, an attempt to obstruct other people’s constitutional rights (for example, the rights of Jews or Israelis to gather, speak or perform), or to delegitimize a state and to deny another people’s right to self-determination.

Khalidi: “There’s absolutely nothing anti-Semitic. Boycott, Divestment and Sanction says Israel has to end the occupation, Israel has to treat its discriminated-against, second-class Arab citizens–20% of the population–equally, and Israel has to give Palestinians who lost their homes, whose homes were stolen in 1948, the right to get those homes back and/or to return. There’s nothing anti-Semitic in that.”

Khalidi is using the technique of “card stacking” – manipulating the audience’s perception of an issue by exaggerating one side and repressing the other. Here, he deliberately misrepresents the status and situation of Israeli Arabs, and the issue of Palestinians who became refugees in 1948. He stacks the cards by falsely implying that Arab citizens of Israel do not enjoy equal rights under the law and that Israel stole Palestinian homes and continues to discriminate against those who became citizens. He hides the fact that Arab citizens enjoy the same voting rights, civil rights and representation in parliament as do other citizens. And he hides the reason why Palestinians lost homes, namely, because their leaders urged them to temporarily vacate their homes while they waged an aggressive war against the nascent state of Israel. Instead of presenting the facts, card-stacking propaganda exaggerates or downplays information in order to suit the propagandist’s goal.

Khalidi: “Property rights? What’s anti-Semitic about property rights? The right to live in your homeland? What’s anti-Semitic about that?” An end the longest occupation in history? What’s anti-Semitic about that?”

Khalidi uses the “plain folks” strategy here to falsely imply that BDS is “of the people” with the same goals as any plain folk. But BDS is not about property rights, the right to live in your homeland, and ending occupation. It is about denying Jewish property rights, the rights of Jews to live in their homeland by eradicating the Jewish state.

Khalidi: “I think that when you are defending the indefensible as Bernard-Henri Levy and many extreme supporters of Israel are doing, you have no alternative but to resort to smears and slurs against the people who are, in my view, making a very, very strong case that the United States has not done, that the international community has not done what it said it wanted to do in terms of stopping occupation, settlement, land theft, and that it’s up to people, ordinary people to try and push their government and push people with a moral conscience to put pressure on Israel so that it stops all of these violations of human rights and of civil and property rights.”

For his dishonest finale, Khalidi mixes “name-calling” – calling Levy “extreme” – with role reversal – suggesting that it is Levy, and not Khalidi, who is the one “resorting to smears and slurs.” He again uses “card stacking” as he manipulates the facts and reverses the role of the attacker and victim. He culminates with the propaganda technique of “bandwagon” calling on all those “with a moral conscience” to jump on the bandwagon and join the BDS movement.

Jerusalem: The Facts

The status of Jerusalem is contested: Israel considers Jerusalem – both western and eastern– the country’s eternal, undivided capital based on its historical, religious and political claims to the holy city. Since Israel’s reunification of Jerusalem in 1967, following 19 years of division during which Israeli Jews were excluded from the eastern part, the government through successive administrations has vowed never to re-divide the city again. In 1980, the Israeli Knesset passed a Basic Law declaring reunified Jerusalem the eternal capital of Israel, while providing for freedom of access to each religion’s holy sites.

The Palestinians view eastern Jerusalem as part of the West Bank, which it considers Arab territory that Israel is illegally occupying. While Palestinians reject Israeli sovereignty over any part of Jerusalem, they claim eastern Jerusalem – with holy sites to three religions – as the capital of their future state and view the permanent status of western Jerusalem to be subject to final negotiations.

International law firmly establishes the right of Israelis to settle and reside anywhere between the Jordan River and the Mediterranean Sea, an area which includes eastern Jerusalem. This international legal right is vested in political and legal agreements drawn up in the post-World War I years between 1919 and 1923. A Mandates System established in Article 22 of the Covenant of the League of Nations, was contained in the Treaty of Versailles and other peace treaties made with the Central Powers. The Supreme Council of the Principal Allied Powers officially recognized Palestine as a mandated state for the Jewish people at the 1920 San Remo Conference. The San Remo Resolution of April 25, 1920 served as the basis for the future administration of Palestine which would henceforth be recognized as the Jewish National Home, as envisioned by the Balfour Declaration. The resulting 1922 Palestine Mandate, which incorporated the resolution into its preamble, confirmed Jewish historical and national rights and converted the Balfour Declaration from a statement of British foreign policy to binding international law.

According to Article 6 of the Mandate, “close settlement by Jews on the land, including State lands not required for public use” was to be encouraged. Article 80 of the U.N. Charter preserved this Jewish right to settlement by specifying that nothing in the U.N. Charter’s chapter on the administration of Mandate territory shall be construed ” to alter in any manner” the rights of people and the terms of “existing international instruments” (for example, the Mandate).

Eugene Rostow, a legal scholar who served as U.S. under-secretary of state under the presidency of Lyndon B. Johnson, explained that “the Jewish right of settlement in the area is equivalent in every way to the right of the existing Palestinian population to live there.”

Jerusalem: The Propaganda

The host, Fareed Zakaria, in his introduction serves up his own propaganda on Jerusalem.

Zakaria: “In 1949, negotiators drew a green line that divided Jerusalem in two. Israel controlled the west, Jordan the east. It was so divided until 1967 when Israel began to occupy the east during the Six Day War.”

Zakaria is using the technique of “card stacking” where he emphasizes the facts that suit him while hiding those that do not. He emphasizes that Jerusalem was divided in two but hides the fact that this was a ceasefire line as a result of an Arab aggressive war. He hides the fact that Jordan destroyed Jewish holy sites and illegally annexed the eastern part of Jerusalem, in a move that only Pakistan recognized . He hides the fact that under Jordan’s occupation and in violation of the same ceasefire agreement, Jordan denied Jews the rights to their burial and holy sites in Jerusalem.

He emphasizes Israel’s “occupation” of the eastern part of Jerusalem but hides Jordan’s aggression that led to Israel’s capture of this territory. Zakaria hides the circumstances under which this territory, which includes Judaism’s historic holy sites, came under Israeli control: During the 1967 war, Israel appealed to Jordan to stay out of the war, but despite this appeal, Jordanian forces fired artillery barrages from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem. Although Israeli forces did not respond initially, not wanting to open up a Jordanian front in the war, Jordan continued to attack and occupied UN headquarters in Jerusalem. Israeli forces fought back and within two days managed to repulse the Jordanian forces and retake eastern Jerusalem.

And guest Rashid Khalidi provides more.

Khalidi: “In 1947, the United Nations when it gave legitimacy to the idea of a Jewish state and an Arab state said that Jerusalem had to be a separate entity. And the United States has said, and other countries have said, that until there is a final status resolution of the question of Jerusalem, nobody should change the status there, including moving embassies there, proclaiming it your capital, building settlements–there are 200,000 Israelis living illegally in occupied Arab East Jerusalem today. All of these things in the eyes of American policy– until President Trump was elected – and in the eyes of every country in the world – are illegal until and unless the Israel and the Palestinians come to terms about Jerusalem.”

Khalidi similarly uses the “card stacking” technique as he talks about the “separate entity” (corpus separatum) recommended in the 1947 UN General Assembly partition resolution. He hides the fact that the Arabs all rejected this resolution, so that it never went into effect, and further nullified it by aggressively attempting to annihilate the Jewish state. Similarly, while he categorically states that the United States views Israeli habitation in eastern Jerusalem to be “illegal” and that it has declared that embassies should be barred from Jerusalem until there is a final status resolution, he hides the fact that there is no unified US view about Jerusalem. While the State Department does not officially recognize Jerusalem as Israel’s official capital and does not recognize Israel’s effective annexation of the eastern part of the city, the US Congress passed the Jerusalem Embassy Act in 1995 to initiate and fund the relocation of the US Embassy from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem, and to recognize Jerusalem as Israel’s undivided capital. This was followed by the Foreign Relations Authorization Act signed by President Bush in 2002, maintaining the commitment to moving the embassy and recognizing Jerusalem as Israel’s capital. U.S. presidents, caught in the middle (including President Bush), have viewed these Congressional Acts as advisory and have regularly exercised presidential waivers to temporarily suspend the move of the embassy to Jerusalem “in order to protect the national security interests of the United States.”

With such disingenuous techniques employed on a mainstream U.S. news outlet, with the help of a CNN journalist, in order to influence public perception on controversial issues, it is no wonder that more and more people are talking about “fake news.” (To view the tape, click here.)

Meanwhile, Rioting Breaks Out In Sweden

67279549_0Zero Hedge, by Tyler Durden, Feb 21, 2017:

It would appear the mainstream media (along with several celebrities and Swedish politicians) is going to be apologizing to President Trump once again.

Having spent the entire new cycle trying to ignore the immigrant crisis facing Sweden, and pin the ignorant tail on Trump, both Dagbladet and Expressen reports riots breaking out in the highly immigrant concentrated Stockholdm borough of Rinkeby, Sweden with police firing warning shots as 100s of young people throw stones and burn cars.

During the evening hundreds of young people gathered in the center of Rinkeby, well known for its high concentration of immigrants and people with immigrant ancestry.

20170220_rinkeby5

In June 2010, Rinkeby was the scene of riots and attacks against the local police station and Rinkeby is the region in which the ’60 Minutes’ crew were attacked in 2016.

The problems Sweden faces integrating large numbers of Muslim immigrants is a subject on which Nordstjernan columnist Ulf Nilson has written many times. His warnings of increasing radicalization among Sweden’s Muslims – warnings he started to broadcast a decade ago – now seem eerily prophetic in light of an Associated Press investigation that found Stockholm to be a breeding ground for jihadists among Swedish Somalis.

 

According to the AP report, which first ran Jan. 24, an al-Qaida-linked group is busy recruiting anti-government fighters among Somali youths living in Rinkeby. A suburb of Stockholm, Rinkeby has earned the nickname of “Little Mogadishu” because of the number of Somalis living there. Rinkeby is also the center of the recruiting efforts of al-Shabab, a group with ties to al-Qaida.

Rinkeby is a known problem area in Stockholm. It was here NRK journalist Anders Magnus was attacked with stones last spring, and here the police never go in the evenings without reinforcements from other patrols according to Dabladet. A freelancer the newspaper spoke to, described the situation as serious.

Read more (video and photos included)

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Filmmaker-journalist Ami Horowitz sounds off on the controversial reference President Trump made about Sweden and defends his reporting on crime wave fears and problems since the country allowed an influx of refugees. Tucker Carlson last night:

Also see:

Nikki Haley Puts UN Anti-Israelism In Crosshairs

nikki-haley-un-sec-councio-640x480

New ambassador makes clear change has arrived.

Front Page Magazine, by Joseph Klein, February 21, 2017:

The Trump administration’s U.S. ambassador to the United Nations, Nikki Haley, has hit the ground running.  She spoke truth to power by strongly calling out the United Nations for its anti-Israel bias and double standards. Her predecessor, Samantha Power, never came close.

After attending her first regular meeting of the UN Security Council devoted to the Middle East, including the Palestinian-Israeli situation, Ambassador Haley remarked to reporters, “The first thing I want to do is talk about what we just saw in there.” Calling the meeting “a bit strange,” Ambassador Haley noted how the focus of blame for everything that has gone wrong in the Middle East seemed to be placed almost entirely on Israel.

“The discussion was not about Hezbollah’s illegal build-up of rockets in Lebanon,” Ambassador Haley said. “It was not about the money and weapons Iran provides to terrorists. It was not about how we defeat ISIS. It was not about how we hold Bashar al-Assad accountable for the slaughter of hundreds and thousands of civilians. No, instead, the meeting focused on criticizing Israel, the one true democracy in the Middle East. I am new around here, but I understand that’s how the Council has operated, month after month, for decades. I am here to underscore the ironclad support of the United States for Israel. I’m here to emphasize the United States is determined to stand up to the UN’s anti-Israel bias.”

Ambassador Haley was speaking against the backdrop of the anti-Israel Security Council Resolution 2334 passed last December, which the Obama administration refused to veto. “We will never repeat the terrible mistake of Resolution 2334 and allow one-sided Security Council resolutions to condemn Israel,” Ambassador Haley declared. “The outrageously biased resolutions from the Security Council and the General Assembly only make peace harder to attain by discouraging one of the parties from going to the negotiating table.”

How refreshing it is to hear such sincere words of support for Israel after eight years of Israel-bashing by the Obama administration. Former Ambassador Power had hypocritically mouthed some formulaic acknowledgements of bias against Israel in the Security Council and other UN forums, but while contributing strongly to that bias herself.

Resolution 2334 reeks of such bias. Yet Power strongly defended the Obama administration’s decision to abstain rather than veto it. The resolution outrageously declared that “the establishment by Israel of settlements in the Palestinian territory occupied since 1967, including East Jerusalem, has no legal validity and constitutes a flagrant violation under international law and a major obstacle to the achievement of the two-State solution and a just, lasting and comprehensive peace.” When it came to the resolution’s call to prevent “acts of terror” and “to refrain from provocative actions, incitement and inflammatory rhetoric,” the resolution referred elliptically to “both parties.” Power could not defend why the resolution failed to call out the Palestinian Authority or Hamas by name for committing acts of terror, incitement to violence and glorification of terrorists. Her lame explanation to reporters at her farewell UN press conference was that Resolution 2334 “was not our resolution, so I think you can probably pose those questions to the people who were negotiating the text.” Of course, she could have insisted on including such specific references to Palestinian terror and incitement to violence in violation of international law in the resolution itself as a condition for a U.S. abstention. She didn’t. Instead, add a display of moral cowardice to Power’s list of “accomplishments” during her tenure as UN ambassador.

Things will be different from now on. And it is not just a change in words and tone. Expect concrete actions demonstrating the Trump administration’s moral clarity in holding the UN organization to account.

For example, Ambassador Haley objected to the proposed appointment of the Palestinian Authority’s former Prime Minister Salam Fayyad to become the next UN envoy to Libya. Palestine is not a full member of the United Nations. It is just an observer state. Israel, on the other hand, is a full member state. Yet the new UN Secretary General, Antonio Guterres, sought to elevate a Palestinian official to a high UN Secretariat post, while Israel has been denied the opportunity to fill such a position. Inner City Press has reported that, according to its sources, “the nomination was really by Jeffrey Feltman, the Obama administration’s appointee to head the UN Department of Political Affairs.” Feltman served previously as U.S. Assistant Secretary of State for Near Eastern Affairs in the Obama administration. Through Feltman, the former Obama administration would still have someone inside the UN bureaucracy to further enhance the Palestinians’ favorable position at the UN at the expense of Israel. But this appointment was not to be.

Shortly after Salam Fayyad’s proposed appointment was announced, Ambassador Haley issued a statement, which read in part: “The United States does not currently recognize a Palestinian state or support the signal this appointment would send within the United Nations, however, we encourage the two sides to come together directly on a solution. Going forward the United States will act, not just talk, in support of our allies.”

Evidently, that was enough to block the appointment. The Palestine Liberation Organization protested, of course. It’s not used to rejection at the United Nations.

Other actions appear to be underway or are soon to come. Late last year, during the waning days of the Obama administration, the UN General Assembly approved funding for compiling a blacklist of private Israeli companies doing business in the “occupied” territories. Samantha Power claimed the Obama administration objected to the blacklist project, but did nothing to stop it from proceeding. Less than a month after President Trump took office and Nikki Haley became the U.S.’s new UN ambassador, it was reported that the anti-Israel United Nations Human Rights Council decided to delay the publication of a report in connection with establishing the database of Israeli companies with business links to settlements in the West Bank until some unspecified time later this year. There is now a good chance the database will not see the light of day.

Blank checks for the UN’s multiple pro-Palestinian programs may finally become a thing of the past. Ambassador Haley singled out the UN Department of Political Affairs – still headed by the former Obama administration Assistant Secretary of State, Jeffrey Feltman – for having “an entire division devoted to Palestinian affairs.” She added, “There is no division devoted to illegal missile launches from North Korea. There is no division devoted to the world’s number one state-sponsor of terror, Iran. The prejudiced approach to Israeli-Palestinian issues does the peace process no favors. And it bears no relationship to the reality of the world around us.”

As governor of South Carolina, Nikki Haley had a reputation for being a strong fiscal conservative. The United Nations is on notice that as UN ambassador of the country paying a disproportionate amount of the total UN budget, Ambassador Haley will continue to be a fiscal conservative with American taxpayers’ money. She will aim to sharply reduce the rampant waste in the UN budget, perhaps starting with the often overlapping, over-the-top pro-Palestinian agencies and programs the UN has established over the years.