Meet the New Authoritarian Masters of the Internet

Getty Images

Getty Images

Breitbart, by John Hayward, Sept. 29, 2016:

President Barack Obama’s drive to hand off control of Internet domains to a foreign multi-national operation will give some very unpleasant regimes equal say over the future of online speech and commerce.

In fact, they are likely to have much more influence than America, because they will collectively push hard for a more tightly controlled Internet, and they are known for aggressively using political and economic pressure to get what they want.

Here’s a look at some of the regimes that will begin shaping the future of the Internet in just a few days, if President Obama gets his way.

China

China wrote the book on authoritarian control of online speech. The legendary “Great Firewall of China” prevents citizens of the communist state from accessing global content the Politburo disapproves of. Chinese technology companies are required by law to provide the regime with backdoor access to just about everything.

The Chinese government outright banned online news reporting in July, granting the government even tighter control over the spread of information. Websites are only permitted to post news from official government sources. Chinese online news wasn’t exactly a bastion of freedom before that, of course, but at least the government censors had to track down news stories they disliked and demand the site administrators take them down.

Unsurprisingly, the Chinese Communists aren’t big fans of independent news analysis or blogging, either. Bloggers who criticize the government are liable to be charged with “inciting subversion,” even when the writer in question is a Nobel Peace Prize winner.

Chinese citizens know better than to get cheeky on social media accounts, as well. Before online news websites were totally banned, they were forbidden from reporting news gathered from social media, without government approval. Spreading anything the government decides is “fake news” is a crime.

In a report labeling China one of the worst countries for Internet freedom in the world, Freedom House noted they’ve already been playing games with Internet registration and security verification:

The China Internet Network Information Center was found to be issuing false digital security certificates for a number of websites, including Google, exposing the sites’ users to “man in the middle” attacks.

The government strengthened its real-name registration laws for blogs, instant-messaging services, discussion forums, and comment sections of websites.

A key feature of China’s online censorship is that frightened citizens are not entirely certain what the rules are. Huge ministries work tirelessly to pump out content regulations and punish infractions. Not all of the rules are actually written down. As Foreign Policy explained:

Before posting, a Chinese web user is likely to consider basic questions about how likely a post is to travel, whether it runs counter to government priorities, and whether it calls for action or is likely to engender it. Those answers help determine whether a post can be published without incident — as it is somewhere around 84 percent or 87 percent of the time — or is instead likely to lead to a spectrum of negative consequences varying from censorship, to the deletion of a user’s account, to his or her detention, even arrest and conviction.

This was accompanied by a flowchart demonstrating “what gets you censored on the Chinese Internet.” It is not a simple flowchart.

Beijing is not even slightly self-conscious about its authoritarian control of the Internet. On the contrary, their censorship policies are trumpeted as “Internet sovereignty,” and they aggressively believe the entire world should follow their model, as the Washington Post reported in a May 2016 article entitled “China’s Scary Lesson to the World: Censoring the Internet Works.”

China already has a quarter of the planet’s Internet users locked up behind the Great Firewall. How can anyone doubt they won’t use the opportunity Obama is giving them, to pursue their openly stated desire to lock down the rest of the world?

Russia

Russia and China are already working together for a more heavily-censored Internet.Foreign Policy reported one of Russia’s main goals at an April forum was to “harness Chinese expertise in Internet management to gain further control over Russia’s internet, including foreign sites accessible there.”

Russia’s “top cop,” Alexander Bastrykin, explicitly stated Russia needs to stop “playing false democracy” and abandon “pseudo-liberal values” by following China’s lead on Internet censorship, instead of emulating the U.S. example. Like China’s censors, Russian authoritarians think “Internet freedom” is just coded language for the West imposing “cultural hegemony” on the rest of the world.

Just think what Russia and China will be able to do about troublesome foreign websites, once Obama surrenders American control of Internet domains!

Russian President Vladimir Putin has “chipped away at Internet freedom in Russia since he returned to the Kremlin in 2012,” as International Business Times put it in a 2014 article.

One of Putin’s new laws requires bloggers with over 3,000 readers to register with the government, providing their names and home addresses. As with China, Russia punishes online writers for “spreading false information,” and once the charge is leveled, it’s basically guilty-until-proven-innocent. For example, one of the “crimes” that can get a blogger prosecuted in Russia is alleging the corruption of a public official, without ironclad proof.

Human-rights group Agora estimates that Russian Internet censorship grew by 900% in 2015 alone, including both court orders and edicts from government agencies that don’t require court approval. Censorship was expected to intensify even further throughout 2016. Penalties include prison time, even for the crime of liking or sharing banned content on social media.

Putin, incidentally, has described the entire Internet as a CIA plot designed to subvert regimes like his. There will be quite a few people involved in the new multi-national Internet control agency who think purging the Web of American influence is a top priority.

The Russian government has prevailed upon Internet Service Providers to block opposition websites during times of political unrest, in addition to thousands of bans ostensibly issued for security, crime-fighting, and anti-pornography purposes.

Many governments follow the lead of Russia and China in asserting the right to shut down “extremist” or “subversive” websites. In the United States, we worry about law enforcement abusing its authority while battling outright terrorism online, arguing that privacy and freedom of speech must always be measured against security, no matter how dire the threat. In Russia, a rough majority of the population has no problem with the notion of censoring the Internet in the name of political stability, and will countenance absolutely draconian controls against perceived national security threats. This is a distressingly common view in other nations as well: stability justifies censorship and monitoring, not just physical security.

Turkey

Turkey’s crackdown on the Internet was alarming even before the aborted July coup attempt against authoritarian President Recep Tayyip Erdogan.

Turkey has banned social media sites, including temporary bans against even giants like Facebook and YouTube, for political reasons. Turkish dissidents are accustomed to such bans coming down on the eve of elections. The Turkish telecom authority can impose such bans without a court order, or a warning to offending websites.

Turkey is often seen as the world leader in blocking Twitter accounts, in addition to occasionally shutting the social media service down completely, and has over a 100,000 websites blacklisted. Criticizing the government online can result in anything from lost employment to criminal charges. And if you think social-media harassment from loyal supporters of the government in power can get pretty bad in the U.S., Turks sometimes discover that hassles from pro-regime trolls online are followed by visits from the police.

Turkish law infamously makes it a crime to insult the president, a law Erdogan has already attempted to impose beyond Turkey’s borders. One offender found himself hauled into court for creating a viral meme – the sort of thing manufactured by the thousands every hour in America – that noted Erdogan bore a certain resemblance to Gollum from Lord of the Rings. The judge in his case ordered expert testimony on whether Gollum was evil to conclusively determine whether the meme was an illegal insult to the president.

The Turkish example introduces another idea common to far too many of the countries Obama wants to give equal say over the future of the Internet: intimidation is a valid purpose for law enforcement. Many of Turkey’s censorship laws are understood to be mechanisms for intimidating dissidents, raising the cost of free speech enough to make people watch their words very carefully. “Think twice before you Tweet” might be good advice for some users, but regimes like Erdogan’s seek to impose that philosophy on everyone. This runs strongly contrary to the American understanding of the Internet as a powerful instrument that lowers the cost of speech to near-zero, the biggest quantum leap for free expression in human history. Zero-cost speech is seen as a big problem by many of the governments that will now place strong hands upon the global Internet rudder.

Turkey is very worried about “back doors” that allow citizens to circumvent official censorship, a concern they will likely bring to Internet control, along with like-minded authoritarian regimes. These governments will make the case that a free and open Internet is a direct threat to their “sovereign right” to control what their citizens read. As long as any part of the Internet remains completely free, no sector can be completely controlled.

Saudi Arabia

The Saudis aren’t too far behind China in the Internet rankings by Freedom House. Dissident online activity can bring jail sentences, plus the occasional public flogging.

This is particularly lamentable because Saudi Arabia is keenly interested in modernization, and sees the Internet as a valuable economic resource, along with a thriving social media presence. Freedom House notes the Internet “remains the least repressive space for expression in the country,” but “it is by no means free.”

“While the state focuses on combatting violent extremism and disrupting terrorist networks, it has clamped down on nonviolent liberal activists and human rights defenders with the same zeal, branding them a threat to the national order and prosecuting them in special terrorism tribunals,” Freedom House notes.

USA Today noted that as of 2014, Saudi Arabia had about 400,000 websites blocked, “including any that discuss political, social or religious topics incompatible with the Islamic beliefs of the monarchy.”

At one point the blacklist included the Huffington Post, which was banned for having the temerity to run an article suggesting the Saudi system might “implode” because of oil dependency and political repression. The best response to criticism that your government is too repressive is a blacklist!

The Saudis have a penchant for blocking messaging apps and voice-over-IP services, like Skype and Facetime. App blocking got so bad that Saudi users have been known to ask, “What’s the point of having the Internet?”

While some Saudis grumble about censorship, many others are active, enthusiastic participants in enforcement, filing hundreds of requests each day to have websites blocked. Religious figures supply many of these requests, and the government defends much of its censorship as the defense of Islamic values.

As with other censorious regimes, the Saudi monarchy worries about citizens using web services beyond its control to evade censorship, a concern that will surely be expressed loudly once America surrenders its command of Internet domains.

For the record, the Saudis’ rivals in Iran are heavy Internet censors too, with Stratfor listing them as one of the countries seeking Chinese assistance for “solutions on how best to monitor the Iranian population.”

North Korea

You can’t make a list of authoritarian nightmares without including the psychotic regime in Pyongyang, the most secretive government in the world.

North Korea is so repressive the BBC justly puts the word “Internet” in scare quotes, to describe the online environment. It doesn’t really interconnect with anything, except government propaganda and surveillance. Computers in the lone Internet cafe in Pyongyang actually boot up to a customized Linux operating system called “Red Star,” instead of Windows or Mac OS. The calendar software in Red Star measures the date from the birth of Communist founder Kim Il-sung, rather than the birth of Christ.

The “Internet” itself is a closed system called Kwangmyong, and citizens can only access it through a single state-run provider, with the exception of a few dozen privileged families that can punch into the real Internet.

Kwangmyong is often compared to the closed “intranet” system in a corporate office, with perhaps 5,000 websites available at most. Unsurprisingly, the content is mostly State-monitored messaging and State-supplied media. Contributors to these online services have reportedly been sent to re-education camps for typos. The North Koreans are so worried about outside contamination of their closed network that they banned wi-fi hotspots at foreign embassies, having noticed information-starved North Korean citizens clustering within range of those beautiful, uncensored wireless networks.

This doesn’t stop South Koreans from attempting cultural penetration of their squalid neighbor’s dismal little online network. Lately they’ve been doing it by loading banned information onto cheap memory sticks, tying them to balloons, and floating them across the border.

Sure, North Korea is the ultimate totalitarian nightmare, and since they have less than two thousand IP addresses registered in the entire country, the outlaw regime won’t be a big influence on Obama’s multi-national Internet authority, right?

Not so fast. As North Korea expert Scott Thomas Bruce told the BBC, authoritarian governments who are “looking at what is happening in the Middle East” see North Korea as a model to be emulated.

“They’re saying rather than let in Facebook, and rather than let in Twitter, what if the government created a Facebook that we could monitor and control?” Bruce explained.

Also, North Korea has expressed some interest in using the Internet as a tool for economic development, which means there would be more penetration of the actual global network into their society. They’ll be very interested in censoring and controlling that access, and they’ll need a lot more registered domains and IP addresses… the very resource Obama wants America to surrender control over.

Bottom line: contrary to left-wing cant, there is such a thing as American exceptionalism – areas in which the United States is demonstrably superior to every other nation, a leader to which the entire world should look for examples. Sadly, our society is losing its fervor for free expression, and growing more comfortable with suppressing “unacceptable” speech, but we’re still far better than anyone else in this regard.

The rest of the world, taken in total, is very interested in suppressing various forms of expression, for reasons ranging from security to political stability and religion. Those governments will never be comfortable, so long as parts of the Internet remain outside of their control. They have censorship demands they consider very reasonable, and absolutely vital. The website you are reading right now violates every single one of them, on a regular basis.

There may come a day we can safely remand control of Internet domains to an international body, but that day is most certainly not October 1, 2016.

***

Technology CEOs Shamefully Lubricate Internet’s Surrender by Frank Gaffney

Congress has just showed why so many Americans are sick of their politicians and ready to throw the bums out. The Senate and House leadership have agreed to President Obama’s surrender of your Internet to freedom’s enemies.

The deed was done yesterday when Majority Leader Mitch McConnell pushed through the Senate a funding bill without a prohibition on the Internet give-away.  The House is expected to rubber stamp it today.

Political cover came from something called the Technology CEO Council.  This group of interested parties, whose lobbyists give generously to politicians’ campaigns, blithely assured Congress: “Placing stewardship of these technical but important functions beyond the control of any one government or group of governments will best secure the principles of Internet freedom and de-politicization of technology.”

Shame on the CEOs for disseminating such transnational rubbish – and the Congress for swallowing it.

***

UTT Throwback Thursday: Ground Zero Mosque Swindler Feisal Rauf

Understanding the Threat, by John Guandolo, Sept. 29, 2016:

Imam Feisal Abdul Rauf is an Islamic scholar who continues to pass himself off as a “moderate Muslim” yet he refuses to condemn the terrorist group Hamas, blames U.S. policies for 9/11, advocates for sharia in America, is a “key figure” inPerdana Global, the largest funder of the flotilla that tried to break the blockade of Gaza by Israeli defense forces, and works closely with jihadi organizations like the U.S. Muslim Brotherhood and state sponsors of terrorism like Iran.

In his book, Islam: A Sacred Law, Rauf writes, “And since a Shari’ah is understood as the law with God at its center, it is not possible in principle to limit the Shari’ah to some aspects of human life and leave out others…The Shari’ah thus covers every field of law – public and private, national and international – together with enormous amounts of material that Westerners would not regard as law at all.”

Imam Rauf is also the founder and director of the Sharia Index Project whose mission is to create an “index” to measure the degree of Shariah governance in all nations.

raufAs a scholar, Imam Rauf understands that all sharia obliges the Islamic community to wage jihad until the entire world is under Islamic rule.

Imam Feisal Rauf is also the man who led the charge to build a mosque at the site of the 9/11 attacks in New York, which came to be known as the “Ground Zero Mosque.”

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Interestingly, Imam Rauf wrote a book about his true intentions of the Ground Zero Mosque.  Like all Islamic leaders he had one message for Americans – which appears to be friendly but is a lie – and one message for Muslims.

His book in English is titled “What’s Right with Islam is What’s Right with America” giving it a nice ring.

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His message to the Muslim community was very different.  The same book – for Muslims outside America -was titled “A Call Azan from WTC (World Trade Center) Rubble:  Islamic Daw’ah in the Heart of America Post 9/11.”  As UTT readers know, Daw’ah is the Call to Islam required under sharia before Muslims can legally wage jihad.

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Also of note is a page in this publication in which Imam Feisal Rauf thanks the International Institute for Islamic Thought (IIIT) and the Islamic Society of North America (ISNA) for their help in publishing the book.  Both IIIT and ISNA are Muslim Brotherhood organizations and ISNA was identified by the U.S. government as being a funding channel for the designated terrorist organization Hamas.

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Imam Feisal Rauf also founded the Cordoba Initiative named for the center of the previous Islamic Caliphate in Spain, which was conquered by the Muslims for almost 800 years.  The Cordoba House, renamed Park 51, continues the subversive work of putting a nice mask over the totalitarian system of sharia.

Imam Rauf’s Sharia Index Project has a number of entities including Park 51 (formerly Cordoba), the American Society for Muslim Advancement (led by Rauf and his wife) which is the fiscal agent, SOHO Properties led by Sharif El-Gamal, and others.

The Park 51 spokesman, who also handles the social media for them is Oz Sultan, another sharia advocate who passes himself off as a “conservative Republican” Muslim.

OZ  SULTAN

OZ SULTAN

Imam Feisal Rauf, like Alamoudi, Awlaki, and so many other “moderate” Muslims turned out to be another suit-wearing jihadi advocating for the barbaric sharia.

Known Wolf Terrorism: A Dozen Cases of FBI Failure on Obama’s Watch

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PJ Media, by Patrick Poole, Sept. 28, 2016:

FBI Director James Comey was called-out by Senator Rand Paul (R-KY) this week on the growing problem of what I have termed “Known Wolf” terrorism – an act of terror committed by someone already known to law enforcement.

During a Senate Homeland Security Committee hearing on Tuesday, Comey said the FBI is reviewing the missed opportunities in both the recent NY-NJ bombing and the mass killing in Orlando in June.

But as seen in the video of the exchange between Comey and Sen. Paul, the FBI director seemed unconcerned about the problem.

Sadly, “Known Wolf” terrorism is rising rapidly, with four such incidents already this year and a dozen incidents during the Obama administration.

In fact, virtually every Islamic terror attack under President Obama’s watch has been by a “Known Wolf” suspect.

As my friend and PJ Media colleague, former federal prosecutor Andrew McCarthy, noted here last week for years the Obama administration has pushed a narrative that Islamic terrorists operating in the U.S. were “lone wolves” – striking out of nowhere and without warning.

But in virtually every case these “lone wolves” were already on law enforcement’s radar, and in some cases, had been placed on the terror watch lists.

As I’ve noted here at PJ Media going back to October 2014, the “lone wolf” canard was spun by the Obama administration to exonerate themselves whenever one of these terror attacks occurred.

However the “Known Wolf” terrorism problem is finally being addressed. Senator Jim Lankford (R-OK) is in the process of conducting a six-month investigation into the break down in these cases.

And this past Saturday, a New York Post board editorial noted my identification and two year documentation the “Known Wolf” problem in the West:

FBI Director James Comey notes that searching for lone wolves is like “looking for needles in a national haystack.” But Rahami was less a lone wolf than what Pat Poole at PJ Media calls a “known wolf” — i.e., someone who had been flagged by authorities but then forgotten.Poole cites at least eight other such “known wolves” — including the Underwear Bomber, the Fort Hood shooter and perps in the Orlando nightclub massacre and Boston Marathon bombing as well as jihadis in Garland, Texas; Little Rock, Ark.; Seattle; West Orange, NJ; and Columbus, Ohio.

In fact, there have been a dozen “Known Wolf” terrorism cases on the Obama administration’s watch:

New York-New Jersey: After stabbing a family member in 2014, September 2016 NY-NJ bomber Ahmad Rahami‘s father told New Jersey police that his son was a terrorist, which prompted the FBI’s Joint Terrorism Task Force to open an assessment and Rahami was flagged in the FBI’s Guardian system. The arresting officer told the court that Rahami was likely “a danger to himself and to others,” but no charges were filed. At some point a neighbor contacted authorities concerned that associates of Rahami were trying to procure explosives.

Roanoke, VA: In August 2016, Wasil Farooqi attacked a couple outside their apartment complex shouting “Allah Akhbar” and repeatedly stabbing the couple. He was caught when he arrived at the hospital to have his own injuries treated. While the media has played up his claims to have been “hearing voices” leading up to the attack, he had been on the FBI’s radar after he had traveled to Germany and Turkey, and had attempted to enter Syria, possibly to join ISIS there, but was never charged for the attempt.

Orlando: The mass killer who attacked at The Pulse nightclub in June 2016, Omar Mateen had been interviewed by the FBI on three separate occasions, including an open preliminary investigation in 2013 lasting 10 months, after telling others about mutual acquaintances shared with the Boston bombers and making extremist statements. He was investigated again in 2014 for his contacts with a suicide bomber who attended the same mosque. At one point Mateen was placed on two separate terrorism databases but was later removed.Columbus, OH: In February 2016 when Mohamed Barry attacked patrons with a machete at an Israeli-owned deli and later charged police shouting “Allahu Akhbar,” at which time he was shot and killed, he hadalready been investigated by the FBI for making extremist statements. Barry had been entered on a federal watch list and it appears remained on it until the time of the attack as his car had been flagged by authorities, but no further investigation was made.

Garland, TX: In May 2015, Elton Simpson and Nadir Soofi were killed in a shootout with law enforcement outside a convention center where they had planned to attack a Muhammad cartoon drawing contest. But Simpson had been known to the FBI for years before going back to his involvement in a terror cell in Phoenix. He was even prosecuted for his involvement, and while a judge found that the had lied to the FBI about his plans overseas, he ruled that there was not sufficient evidence to prove Simpson intended to commit terrorism. He was subsequentlyplaced on the no-fly list, and the FBI opened up another investigation after he had made statements online in support of the Islamic State. Remarkably, evidence in a related terrorism trial revealed that the FBI not only had a paid informant inside the cell, the informant was aware of the attack plans and was reportedly on the scene at the time of the attack.

Columbus, OH: In May 2014, Zakia Nasrin, her husband Jaffrey Khan, and Zakia’s younger brother Rasel Raihan traveled to the capital city of the Islamic State, Raqqa, Syria, to join the terror group. According to U.S. intelligence officials, Rasel was killed there. Jaffrey and Rasel werealready known as extremists by the FBI after an informant’s tip. Suspicions were further raised when Jaffrey and Zakia claimed to have “lost” their passports while in Kenya. Rasel admitted to friends that he had been interviewed by the FBI. The report also claims that they were indeed on the terror watch list. And at the height of ISIS recruitment of Muslim-Americans, the FBI took no measures to prevent their travel to Syria.

Seattle, Newark: From April-June 2014, Ali Muhammad Brown went on a cross-country killing spree murdering 3 victims in Washington and another in New Jersey claiming that they were “vengeance” for U.S. actions in the Middle East. As a teenager Brown had reportedly trained at one of the first known U.S. terror training camps, and was later arrested in 2004 as part of a Seattle terror cell. At the time of his killing spree, prosecutors said he was on the terror watch list.

Boston: Prior to the bombing of the Boston Marathon by Tamerlan and Dzhokhar Tsarnaev in April 2013 that killed three people and injured 264 others, the FBI had been tipped off, twice, by Russian intelligence warning that Tamerlan was “a follower of radical Islam.” Initially, the FBI denied ever meeting with Tamerlan, but they later claimed that they followed up on the lead, couldn’t find anything in their databases linking him to terrorism, and quickly closed the case. After the second Russian warning, Tamerlan’s file was flagged by federal authorities demanding “mandatory” detention if he attempted to leave or re-enter the U.S. — but his name was misspelled when it was entered. An internal report of the handling of the Tsarnaev’s case unsurprisingly exonerated the FBI.

Underwear Bomber: When Umar Farouk Abdulmutallab boarded Detroit-bound Northwest Flight 253 on Christmas Day 2009 with 289 other passengers wearing a bomb intended to bring down the plane, he was already well-known to U.S. intelligence officials. The month before the attempted bombing, Abdulmutallab’s father had gone to the U.S. embassy in Nigeria and met with two CIA officers telling them he wasconcerned about his son’s extremism. His name was added to the Terrorist Identities Datamart Environment (TIDE) database, but not the FBI’s Terrorist Screening Database or the no-fly list. When asked about the near-takedown of the flight and the missteps, then-Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano remarkably told CNN that “the system worked.”

Fort Hood: Within days of Major Nidal Hasan’s November 2009 shooting rampage at Fort Hood, killing 13, news reports indicated that the FBI was aware of his email correspondence with al-Qaeda cleric Anwar al-Awlaki nearly a year before he launched his terror attack. The FBI was quick to issue a press release absolving themselves of responsibility, claiming that the email exchange was innocuous and consistent with Major Hasan’s religious research. But after the emails intercepted by the FBI were made public in 2012, there were clear indications of Major Hasan’s terrorist intent. Hasan had also repeatedly given PowerPoint briefings that proved to be highly controversial to his fellow Army colleagues because they threatened insider attacks by Muslims if they weren’t released as “conscientious objectors.”

New York City: On September 10, 2009, Najibullah Zazi drove his car into Manhattan loaded with backpack bombs intending to bomb the New York City Subway during rush hour. Zazi had received training from al-Qaeda in Afghanistan in 2008 and orders to conduct a domestic terror attack. British intelligence subsequently intercepted an emailbetween a senior al-Qaeda leader and Zazi inquiring about when he was going to conduct the attack and alerted American officials. The FBI then began conducting surveillance on Zazi, and followed him as he drove from Colorado to New York, during which time he lost the FBI tail (requiring FBI agents to fly to St. Louis to catch up with him), was stopped twice by police along the way, and then had his car searched on the George Washington Bridge by New York and New Jersey Port Authority police at the request of the FBI. The explosive device in the trunk was not discovered in the trunk because the trunk was never searched, most likely because the FBI had failed to obtain a search warrant. As Mitch Silber noted in an op-ed in the Wall Street Journal, the FBI allowed Zazi to drive into New York City with the bomb. Spooked by the stops and the search, and then by a tip from an imam who told Zazi that authorities were asking about him, Zazi disposed of the bomb materials in a toilet at a local mosque and flew back to Colorado, where he was arrested several days later. Despite the FBI’s repeated bungling of the case, the bureau publicly tried to pin the blame on the NYPD.

Little Rock: When Carlos Leon Bledsoe gunned down two U.S. Army soldiers in front of a Little Rock recruiting center in June 2009, killing Pvt. William Long, it was not his first contact with the FBI. Bureau agents had interviewed Bledsoe in Yemen and after his return to the U.S. in 2008, but had failed to follow up. After the Little Rock shooting, FBI officials said that he was motivated by “political and religious motives,” but refused to identify the incident as a terrorist attack.

In virtually every single Islamic terror attack inside the U.S. since Obama took office, excepting Chattanooga and San Bernardino both last year, the suspects were extremists already known to the FBI. And in the case of San Bernardino shooter Tashfeen Malik, she had been vetted by the U.S. government in June 2014and given a K-1 visa, though the FBI believes she had already been radicalized by then.

So after two years of reporting here at PJ Media on the ongoing “Known Wolf” terrorism problem, it seems that some members of Congress are beginning to begin to acknowledge problem.

Oct. 24, 2014: ‘Lone Wolf’ or ‘Known Wolf’: The Ongoing Counter-Terrorism Failure

Dec. 15, 2014: Sydney Hostage Taker Another Case of ‘Known Wolf’ SyndromeJan. 7, 2015: Paris Terror Attack Yet Another Case of ‘Known Wolf’ Syndrome

Feb. 3, 2015: French Police Terror Attacker Yesterday Another Case of ‘Known Wolf’ Syndrome

Feb. 15, 2015: Copenhagen Killer Was yet Another Case of ‘Known Wolf’ Terrorism

Feb. 26, 2015: Islamic State Beheader ‘Jihadi John’ Yet Another Case of ‘Known Wolf’ Terrorism

Apr. 22, 2015: Botched Attack on Paris Churches Another Case of “Known Wolf” Terrorism

May 4, 2015: Texas Attack Is Yet Another Case of ‘Known Wolf’ Terrorism

June 26, 2015: France’s Beheading Terrorist Was Well-Known By Authorities

July 16, 2015: Report: Chattanooga Jihadist Was Yet Another ‘Known Wolf’ Terrorist, Anonymous Feds Dispute

Aug. 22, 2015: European Train Attacker Another Case of ‘Known Wolf’ Terrorism

Oct 14, 2015: Yet Again: Turkey, Israel Terror Attacks Committed by “Known Wolves”

Nov 14, 2015: One Paris Attacker Was Previously Known to Authorities, Marks Fifth ‘Known Wolf” Attack in France This Year

Feb 16, 2016: Machete Attack in Ohio Yet Another Case of ‘Known Wolf’ Terrorism

May 16, 2016: News Reports Yet Another Case of ‘Known Wolf’ U.S. Terrorists

June 12, 2016: Orlando Night Club Attack by “Known Wolf” Terrorist Previously Investigated by FBI

July 14, 2016: Senate Intelligence Committee to Investigate “Known Wolf” Terrorism Problem

July 26, 2016: ISIS Suspect in Normandy Priest’s Killing Already Known to French Authorities

August 10, 2016: Canadian ‘Known Wolf’ Terrorist Planned Suicide Bombing of Major City, Killed in Overnight Police Operation

August 19, 2016: Man Who Stabbed Rabbi Thursday in Strasbourg, France Involved in Prior Attack

Sept. 20, 2016: NY-NJ Bomber Ahmad Khan Rahami Already Known to Law Enforcement Authorities

Will there be adequate changes made inside the FBI to prevent future attacks by known suspects? It seems unlikely until there are consequences for the long catalogue of failure by FBI leadership.

But as I’ve documented here, the “Known Wolf” terrorism problem is the rule under the Obama administration, not the exception.

Islam is a religion of peace and war—and it’s not bigotry to acknowledge it

Getty Images

Getty Images

The Hill, by Shireen Qudosi, Sept. 28, 2016:

Last week, I warned a House Homeland Security Subcommittee that Islamist pressure groups were making it impossible for my fellow Muslims to do the crucial work of reforming and liberalizing Islam. Within hours, these grievance professionals were attacking me for Islamophobia and bigotry.

I’ve spent the last 15 years since the 9/11 attacks working toward reform in Islam; I recognized that, in order to change the potent and dangerous tone of the politics of global Islamism, Islamic theology must advance, as well. I am grateful that Rep. Scott Perry (R-Texas) chaired a Oversight and Management Efficiency Subcommittee hearing, “Identifying the Enemy: Radical Islamist Terror,” and gave me opportunity to tell Congress about my work with the Muslim Reform movement.

In order to defeat radical Islamist terror, we must first normalize our relationship with Islam itself, treating it the way we do Christianity, Judaism or any other religion over the last century. My fellow Muslims must be able to countenance criticism of Islam, from within and without—the theology, the political ideology, everything. Only by approaching the religion’s tenants with a new spirit of inquiry can we ever disentangle the Islamic faith from the Islamism that is a metastasizing threat to human rights around the world.

We must not be afraid to approach and contend with the complexity of Islamic law and history, the good, the bad, the ugly and the viscously anti-democratic. Muslim grievance professionals and well-intentioned liberals whitewashing the aspects of the Qur’an that conflict with the values of American society in the 21st Century do us no favors. “We must realize,” I said in my opening statement, that “we are dealing with a political ideology that is parasitically feeding off a religion that is already complex by being both peace and war.”

According to sacred Islamic sources themselves—not hated Islamophobes—the Prophethood of Muhammed was, in fact, both peaceful and war-mongering. Indeed, the Prophet would have been viewed as a violent terrorist to his opponents. I encouraged the audience to not withdraw from threats of bigotry, racism and “Islamophobia.” Muslims will find that, first, we do not suffer when we are offended; even more importantly we will learn that no ideas are above scrutiny, including our own most cherished ones.

Within hours of the hearing, however, the Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR) launched an attack on me in a breathless video hit piece, alerting the world that I “call[ed] the Prophet Muhammad a ‘Warmonger’ and Islam Terroristic.” They branded my criticism Islamophobic—choosing to ignore that I, too, am a Muslim. Do I have a right to critique my religion without being called a bigot?

On social media, Zahra Billoo, Executive Director of CAIR San Francisco, and the Executive Director of CAIR Los Angeles, Hussam Ayloush, piled on, opened up a flood of hate Tweets that has jeopardized my personal security.

They are well aware that, by framing my historical assessment of early Islam as an attack on the Prophet, they are potentially marking me for death, either as an apostate or a slanderer, under Islamic law. They’ve opened up a flood gate to a not insubstantial number of Muslims that will do anything to protect their Prophet against slander. In this way, organizations like CAIR are no different than the most extreme radicals or Islamic states.

Islamist groups like CAIR use shame tactics and exclusionary practices to silence minority voices of reform in Islam – voices like mine – all the while crying that they themselves are a minority in America deserving of special protection. Even more alarmingly, many on the left and in the media instinctively defend aspects of Islam they neither practice nor understand; what they believe to be a chivalrous defense of Muslims has the effect of keeping Islam frozen in time.

In their attack, CAIR has proven my point: Muslim grievance professionals are quick to silence minority voices in Islam, reinforcing the idea that Islam doesn’t require any change or modernization. Worse, however, is the signal these groups send to non-Muslims: that any criticism aimed at liberalizing aspects of the faith—even from Muslims themselves—is tantamount to bigotry and Islamophobia.

This must stop in order to pave the way for real reform, like the embrace of human rights for women, Jews, the LGBTQ community, and others. This is the sometimes painful and messy work that needs to be done to make Islam just another religion in America.

Shireen Qudosi is a Muslim Reformer who lives on the West Coast. She writes at Counterjihad.com

Missing Afghans Raise Terrorism Fears

Afghan National army soldiers line up during military training / AP

Afghan National army soldiers line up during military training / AP

Washington Free Beacon, by Bill Gertz, Sept. 28. 2016:

Several Afghan nationals undergoing military training in the United States disappeared from U.S. military bases this month, according to Pentagon and Homeland Security officials.

“During the month of September, seven Afghan students were considered absent without leave (AWOL) during international military student programs,” Pentagon spokesman Cmdr. Patrick L. Evans said.

Three of the Afghan military trainees fled from a Pentagon training program two weekends ago during the bombing spree in New York and New Jersey by Afghan-born bombing suspect Ahmad Rahami, raising concerns among security officials that the missing Afghan students may be linked to terrorism or plans for attacks in the United States.

The disappearance of the Afghans comes amid heightened fears of increasing Islamist terror attacks around the country. The attacks have included the New York area bombings and attempted bombings, a knife attack at a Minnesota mall by a Somali jihadist, and other regional shootings.

Two of the missing Afghans had been training at Fort Leonard Wood, Missouri, and one was training at Fort Gordon, Georgia.

An Army source said the Afghans who left the weekend of the New York area bombings appeared to be part of a coordinated effort. The three men are being probed for possible connections to Rahami. “Initial assessment is that there is not relation and the timing is coincidental,” the source said.

Evans declined to comment on whether the Pentagon has security concerns about the missing Afghans.

Sarah Rodriguez, a spokeswoman for the Immigration and Customs Enforcement service, said authorities are pursuing the Afghans.

“ICE Homeland Security Investigations is aware of the situation, and is actively working to locate these individuals in coordination with the State Department and the Department of Defense,” she said, declining specifics because of the ongoing investigation.

However, the service, which tracks illegal aliens, was notified of the missing Afghans.

Four other Afghan military trainees fled over the Labor Day weekend, two from Fort Benning, Georgia, one from Fort Lee, Virginia, and one from an Army facility in Little Rock, Arkansas.

A defense official said two of the Afghans were accounted for and suggested the two men may have fled the United States.

It is not the first time Afghan military students have disappeared. Two maintenance airmen from the Afghan Air Force disappeared from Moody Air Force Base in Georgia in December. One was later found in Virginia.

Retired Army officer Joe Myers, who was posted in Kabul, Afghanistan, said the U.S. military frequently trains foreign military students as part of a security assistance and international training and education program.

“It is not unusual at times for some foreign students to use the opportunity to not return to their country of origin,” Myers said.

“In the case of Afghanistan it is more sensitive for homeland security when their students disappear, especially in light of actual graduates of programs such as the new ISIS military commander, Gulmurod Khalimov, who attended and completed several State Department sponsored counterterrorism programs,” Myers said.

The missing soldiers were part of the International Military Education and Training program under the Pentagon’s Defense Security Cooperation Agency.

According to the agency’s website, the military education is aimed at training future leaders, fostering a better understanding of the United States, and establishing closer ties between the U.S. and Afghan militaries.

Evans, the Pentagon spokesman, defended the program to train Afghan troops. “It is important to note that the majority of Afghans who train in the U.S. successfully complete their training and return to their country,” he said.

“However, there have been occasions where [military officials] have learned of plans to go AWOL. In some of those cases, those students have been returned immediately to their country,” he said.

A manual for training foreign military personnel states that the training can include “potentially sensitive or lethal training.”

Foreign military students that are absent from scheduled activities for more than 24 hours are considered “AWOL.”

Once declared missing, details about the foreign military students are sent to military police as well as to the Defense Intelligence Agency, FBI, and U.S. Northern Command.

A working group currently monitors the status of all missing foreign military students. The group is composed of officials from ICE, DIA, FBI and Northcom.

Update 10:51 A.M.: This post has been updated to reflect comment from Immigration and Customs Enforcement.

Congress rejects Obama veto of 9/11 bill, in first override of presidency

694940094001_5145353620001_senate-votes-to-override-president-obama-s-veto-of-911-billFox News, Sept. 28, 2016:

Congress on Wednesday overwhelmingly rejected President Obama’s veto of a bipartisan bill letting families of Sept. 11 victims sue the Saudi Arabian government, in the first successful veto override of Obama’s presidency.

Marking a significant defeat for the White House, the House ensured the bill will become law after voting 348-77 to override Wednesday afternoon. This followed a 97-1 vote hours earlier in the Senate.

Despite last-ditch warnings from the Obama administration that the legislation could hurt national security and was “badly misguided,” lawmakers dismissed the concerns.

“This bill is about respecting the voices and rights of American victims,” Sen. John Cornyn, R-Texas, said.

Sen. Charles Schumer, D-N.Y., speaking on the Senate floor moments before Wednesday’s vote in that chamber, pushed back hard on Saudi government objections to the legislation.

“It’s very simple. If the Saudis were culpable, they should be held accountable. If they had nothing to do with 9/11, they have nothing to fear,” Schumer said.

Lawmakers in both chambers needed to muster a two-thirds majority to override, and did so easily. The lone “no” vote in the Senate was Senate Minority Leader Harry Reid, D-Nev.

With elections just over a month away, many lawmakers were reluctant to oppose a measure backed by 9/11 families who say they are still seeking justice 15 years after the attacks that killed nearly 3,000 people. A group of senators pledged to find ways to improve the measure during a post-election, lame-duck session of Congress.

Despite an expectation that Congress would override, the White House made a last-ditch attempt to fight it. In a letter to Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell and Reid, Obama warned the bill could cause chaos in U.S. foreign affairs, as other countries would use the measure to justify the creation of ways to target “U.S. policies and activities that they oppose.”

“As a result, our nation and its armed forces, State Department, intelligence officials and others may find themselves subject to lawsuits in foreign courts.” Obama wrote in a letter delivered Tuesday.

But Cornyn, one of the bill’s leading proponents, dismissed Obama’s concerns as “unpersuasive.” Cornyn, the Senate’s No. 2 Republican, and other supporters said the bill is narrowly tailored and applies only to acts of terrorism that occur on U.S. soil.

The Justice Against Sponsors of Terrorism Act, or JASTA, moved to the floor of the Senate in May and passed by voice vote. The bill cleared the House earlier this month, also by voice vote.

Defense Secretary Ash Carter, in a letter Monday to a senior member of Congress, said he’s sympathetic to the intent of the measure. But the legislation could lead to the public disclosure of American secrets and even undercut counterterrorism efforts by sowing mistrust among U.S. partners and allies, according to Carter.

With the override, the bill will now become law. During his nearly two full terms in office, Obama had never had a veto overridden by Congress.

The legislation gives victims’ families the right to sue in U.S. court for any role that elements of the Saudi government may have played in the 2001 attacks. Fifteen of the 19 Sept. 11 hijackers were Saudi nationals.

Courts would be permitted to waive a claim of foreign sovereign immunity when an act of terrorism occurs inside U.S. borders, according to the terms of the bill. Saudi Arabia has objected vehemently to the legislation.

Obama vetoed the measure last week, telling lawmakers the bill would make the U.S. vulnerable to retaliatory litigation in foreign courts that could put U.S. troops in legal jeopardy.

But the bill’s proponents have disputed Obama’s rationale as “unconvincing and unsupportable,” saying the measure is narrowly tailored and applies only to acts of terrorism that occur on U.S. soil.

Kristen Breitweiser, a 9/11 widow and co-chair of September 11th Advocates, criticized Carter’s assessment, saying that the defense secretary had testified before Congress last week that he wasn’t an expert on the bill.

***

Also see:

Huma Abedin’s Father: “Arab states must police the upholding of Sharia, or Islamic law”

abedin-1Washington Free Beacon, by Adam Kredo, Sept. 28, 2016:

Syed Abedin, the father of top Hillary Clinton aide Huma, outlined his view of Sharia law and how the Western world has turned Muslims “hostile” during a wide-ranging video interview that shines newfound light on the reclusive thinker’s world views, according to footage exclusively obtained by the Washington Free Beacon.

Abedin, a Muslim scholar who was tied to the Saudi Arabian government until his death in 1993, has remained somewhat of a mystery as the media turns its eye to his daughter Huma, a top Clinton campaign aide who recently announced her separation from husband Anthony Weiner following his multiple sex scandals.

Syed Abedin explained his views on the Muslim world and spread of Islam during a 1971 interview titled The World of Islam, which was first broadcast on Western Michigan University television.

pic2

Abedin said that Arab states must police the upholding of Sharia, or Islamic law, and explained why the majority of Muslims view Israel and the Western world in primarily “hostile” terms.

The video provides a window into the Abedin family’s ideology, which has been marred by accusations it is connected to the Muslim Brotherhood.

Abedin, who was then a professor in the university’s college of general studies, said that Western intervention in the Arab world has sparked a backlash among many faithful Muslims.

“The response to the West has been of two kinds,” Abedin said. “By and large the response has taken more of a hostile form.”

“The first impulse of the average Muslim in the Islamic world is that this kind of borrowing [culturally] would be somehow an alien factor into our social fabric and thereby destroying the integrity of our ethos … the integrity of our culture,” he added.

In a separate discussion on the state’s role in a person’s life, Abedin said it is necessary to police the application of Sharia law.

“The state has to take over” as Muslim countries evolve, he argued. “The state is stepping in in many countries … where the state is now overseeing that human relationships are carried on on the basis of Islam. The state also under Islam has a right to interfere in some of these rights given to the individual by the Sharia.”

“Suspicion” runs rampant in the Muslim world, Abedin said, citing it as a reason why Western governing values have not been quickly adopted in the region.

“In the contemporary Islamic world, religious leadership is of very crucial significance because any change that will be abiding, that will make any positive contribution to the development of Muslim life, must come from that source, and that is one reason why ideologies like socialism or communism that have been introduced into the Muslim world have never really taken root,” Abedin said. “They have always been considered as foreign importations. … It’s a kind of suspicion.”

Abedin also discussed the clash between modernity and the Islamic world.

“When you talk of an Islamic state … does it have to have a caliph?” he asked. “What does it mean? What is the Islamic concept of good in the present day world?”

Any cultural change, Abedin concluded, will have to be validated by the tenets of Islam.

“The main dynamics of life in the Islamic world are still supplied by Islam,” he said. “Any institution, as I said before, any concept, any idea, in order to be accepted and become a viable thing in the Islamic world has to come through … Islam.”

Abedin’s views on religion have become a central topic among those who have questioned Clinton’s choice to elevate Human Abedin into such a prominent role.

The Abedins helped create the Journal of Muslim Minority Affairs, a publication accused of having ties to the Muslim Brotherhood and of promoting a hardline Islamic ideology.

Huma Abedin served as an assistant editor of the journal for 12 years and also played a role in its offshoot, the Institute of Muslim Minority Affairs, a think-tank established in Saudi Arabia by an accused financier of the al Qaeda terror group, according to the Jerusalem Post.

Orlando Terror Attack ‘Triggered’ by Pentagon Drone Strike

Orlando Police officers direct family members away from a multiple shooting at a nightclub in Orlando, Fla., Sunday, June 12, 2016. (AP Photo/Phelan M. Ebenhack)

Orlando Police officers direct family members away from a multiple shooting at a nightclub in Orlando, Fla., Sunday, June 12, 2016. (AP Photo/Phelan M. Ebenhack)

Washington Free Beacon, by Bill Gertz, Sept. 28, 2016:

The domestic terrorist behind the Orlando nightclub massacre was motivated by a Pentagon drone strike in Iraq a month before the shooting, according to police transcripts made public last week.

Conversations between Omar Mateen and an Orlando police negotiator on June 12 were kept secret by FBI and local police until Friday. The secrecy contributed to misleading media accounts of the terrorist’s motives in the days after the killings.

The transcripts were released by Orlando police Friday after a Florida court hearing held in response to a lawsuit filed by several news organizations.

Mateen killed 49 people during the attack on the Pulse, a gay nightclub, and wounded 53 others. Police eventually stormed the club and killed Mateen in a shootout after talks aimed at convincing him to surrender failed.

During an exchange in the early morning hours of June 12, an Orlando Police Department negotiator identified only as “Andy” asked Mateen, who was speaking by cell phone from inside the club, to tell him what was going on.

“Yo, the air strike that killed Abu Wahid a few weeks ago… that’s what triggered it, okay?” said Mateen, who earlier in the conversation identified himself as a follower the Islamic State terror group.

“They should have not bombed and killed Abu Wahid,” the former security guard declared. “Do your fucking homework and figure out who Abu Wahid is, okay?”

Additionally, Mateen praised one of the bombers of the 2013 Boston Marathon, Tamerlan Tsarnaev, and another domestic terrorist whose name was transcribed as unintelligible in the released transcript.

At other points, Mateen told the negotiator that the United States needed to stop all bombing in Iraq and Syria.

Initial reports from several news outlets reporting on the mass shooting variously described Mateen as gay, a “homophobe” and a “wife beater,” despite his having made claims of allegiance to the Islamic State.

The New York Times, for example, stated in an editorial three days after the shooting that the “precise motive [of Mateen] remains unclear.” The editorial then said it was “evident that Mr. Mateen was driven by hatred toward gays and lesbians.” Investigators later dismissed as a false claim that Mateen was driven to the killing spree by gay self-hatred.

The Orlando attack was the deadliest terrorist incident since the September 11, 2001, attacks. The FBI would later reveal it investigated Mateen twice but claimed there was a lack of evidence he was linked to Islamic terrorism.

The Orlando attack came just over a month after the Pentagon announced on May 9 that a U.S.-led coalition air strike killed Abu Wahib, a middle-level Islamic State military leader in charge of Iraq’s Anbar province on May 6.

Wahib was blown up along with three other jihadists in a drone strike on the car they men were riding in. The terror leader had been a high profile figure who appeared in several gruesome execution videos.

A defense official said the raid that killed Wahib employed a missile-firing unmanned aerial vehicle against the terrorist’s car. The fact that a drone was used in the attack also may explain the government’s reluctance to release the transcript.

The secrecy surrounding the transcripts of Mateen’s comments appears based on Obama administration fears that publicizing the jihadist’s statements would fuel further attacks.

The administration has sought to play down domestic ISIS-inspired terror attacks as disconnected from the Islamic ideology. The number of ISIS-linked attacks has increased over the past year.

FBI and Orlando police spokesmen declined to comment when asked why the full transcript was not made public earlier.

Heather Fagan, deputy chief of staff in the Orlando mayor’s office, said the transcripts were withheld by the FBI during the Joint Terrorism Task Force investigation and released last week.

“The Department of Justice and the FBI recently advised the city of the FBI’s determination that the 911 calls no longer need to be protected as their release would not compromise the ongoing investigation into the Pulse nightclub massacre,” she told the Free Beacon.

The FBI and Justice Department released a partial transcript of the calls June 20—eight days after the attack. But those transcripts made no reference to the Iraqi airstrike that killed Wahid, or the Boston Marathon bomber.

Rep. Mike Pompeo (R., Kan.), a member of the House Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence, said during his first call with the crisis negotiator, Mateen explicitly stated U.S. involvement in Syria and Iraq motivated the attack.

“This fact differs dramatically and widely from the initial media and police reports,” he said. “It is important for us to understand why that was the case. If officials intentionally sought to downplay the threat from radical Islamic terrorism, that would not only be wrong, but would also be a disservice to the American public.”

Counterterrorism experts questioned the FBI’s failure to release the full transcript sooner and suggested it is part of U.S. government efforts to obscure the nature of the domestic terror threat.

Sebastian Gorka, a counterterrorism expert, said the 911 transcript “completely destroys” the White House policy narrative of so-called “lone wolf” terror attacks.

“Omar Mateen isn’t a random individual discontented from a broader conspiracy,” Gorka said, noting the terrorist’s claim of allegiance to the Islamic State ties him to a broader global jihadist movement.

Also, Mateen’s references in the transcript to the Islamic observance of Ramadan and fasting the day of the attack “flies in the face of the administration’s argument that these attacks are wholly disconnected from Islam,” added Gorka, a professor of strategy and irregular warfare at the Institute of World Politics.

“Justifying the attack as a response to our targeting of Abu Wahib, the ISIS head of the Al Anbar Lions, reemphasizes to reality that this is a borderless war in which the individual neutralization of high value targets with not bring us ultimate victory,” Gorka said. “Only the delegitimization of the ideology that men like Mateen adhere to can do that.”

Former Rep. Pete Hoekstra, former chairman of the House Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence, said the failure to release the Mateen transcript earlier highlights the government’s reluctance to expose the threat.

“It is very disappointing that information like this is consistently withheld,” Hoekstra said. “It’s a pattern that is deeply troubling and calls into question the FBI’s whole strategy of keeping America safer by hiding information.”

Said Andrew McCarthy, a former federal prosecutor who handled terrorism cases: “The catalyst for all jihadist terrorism is Islamic supremacist ideology and its agenda to impose sharia.”

“We remain willfully blind to this ideology, so we are increasingly vulnerable to attacks,” McCarthy added. “And by failing to expose and discredit the ideology, we fail both our security and our pro-Western Muslim allies at home and abroad.”

The transcript also reveals that Mateen used deception in his calls to police in an apparent effort to prevent SWAT teams from conducting a raid against his location. Mateen falsely told the negotiator that he had planted car bombs around Orlando and was preparing to outfit four explosive vests on hostages, which he described as similar to the suicide bomb vests worn by Islamic terrorists in the November 2015 mass shootings in Paris.

During the initial conversation, Mateen was asked his name and told the negotiator, “My name is I pledge of allegiance to (unidentifiable name) of the Islamic State.”

The FBI statement said the 911 calls made by Mateen would not be released “out of respect for the victims” of the mass shooting. It stated that Mateen wanted the United States to stop bombing in Iraq and Syria. The FBI said Mateen told police, “I’m in Orlando and I did the shootings” and that he pledged allegiance to ISIS leader Abu Bakr al Baghdadi.

A joint Justice Department-FBI statement issued June 20 included a partial release of the Mateen calls but did not disclose the details made public on Friday.

“The purpose of releasing the partial transcript of the shooter’s interaction with 911 operators was to provide transparency, while remaining sensitive to the interests of the surviving victims, their families, and the integrity of the ongoing investigation,” the statement said.

“We also did not want to provide the killer or terrorist organizations with a publicity platform for hateful propaganda.”

The statement went on to say that unreleased portions of the transcript that named the terrorist organizations and leaders “have caused an unnecessary distraction from the hard work that the FBI and our law enforcement partners have been doing to investigate this heinous crime.”

“As much of this information had been previously reported, we have re-issued the complete transcript to include these references in order to provide the highest level of transparency possible under the circumstances.”

The statement was referring to the first 911 call made by Mateen. The detailed calls to the police negotiator were withheld from release.

Police in Orlando released a number of 911 calls from victims in and around the club during the attack, but are withholding 230 calls made by victims to 911 emergency dispatchers under a law that allows keeping audio and transcripts secret when the calls involve a person being killed.

Also see:

National Security Professionals and Cyber Experts Call for Pentagon Intervention on Surrender of the Internet

703990296

Center for Security Policy, Sept. 28, 2016:

For more information contact: Jody Westby at 202-255-2700 | westby@globalcyberrisk.com

NATIONAL SECURITY PROFESSIONALS AND CYBER EXPERTS CALL FOR PENTAGON INTERVENTION ON SURRENDER OF THE INTERNET

Washington, D.C.: Dozens of experienced national security professionals and experts on cyber threats and warfare joined forces today to urge the Secretary of Defense and Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff to oppose the transfer of the last vestige of U.S. control of the Internet to a non-profit organization in less than a week.

As things stand now, on 1 October, President Obama intends to transfer all responsibilities for naming and numbering domain addresses on the Internet to a non-profit organization known as the Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers (ICANN). Should that happen, the United States will no longer have any control over the addresses that serve to make all websites accessible and allow users to connect to the Internet. Currently, the U.S. Department of Commerce’s National Telecommunications and Information Administration (NTIA) reviews all new addresses and authorizes them to be posted to the authoritative root server (the “A Server”) by Verisign.

In the attached letter to Defense Secretary Ashton Carter and Joint Chiefs of Staff Chairman Gen. Joseph Dunford, current and former leaders in industry, national security, homeland and cyber security express strong concerns about the likely implications of such a step and seek a one-year delay to allow full consideration of these issues:
The Internet Assigned Numbers Authority function is critical to our nation’s ability to effectively defend our national assets and civilian population and ensure integrity in our cyberwarfare capabilities….DoD is reliant upon private sector critical infrastructure for its operations, and the integrity and security of the IP addresses associated with these assets are equally important to the protection of the American people.

Of…immediate concern to us…is the prospect that the United States might be transferring to future adversaries a capability that could facilitate, particularly in time of conflict, cyberwarfare against us. In the absence of NTIA’s stewardship, we would be unable to be certain about the legitimacy of all IP addresses or whether they have been, in some form or fashion, manipulated, or compromised. Given the reliance of the U.S. military and critical infrastructure on the Internet, we must not allow it to be put needlessly at risk.

The signatories, headed by storied leaders of the defense industrial sector and cyberspace, CACI International’s Executive Chairman, J.P. “Jack” London, and the former Chairman of Network Solutions, Michael A. Daniels, represent several centuries’ worth of experience in safeguarding America and its computer systems. They conclude with the bottom line: “There is, to our knowledge, no compelling reason for exposing the national security to such a risk by transferring our remaining control of the Internet in this way at this time.”

To learn more about what is at stake and the necessity of the executive branch and/or the Congress preventing this needless and avoidable disaster, contact Jody Westby, CEO of Global Cyber Risk LLC, at 202-255-2700 or westby@globalcyberrisk.com.

Here is the letter:

September 26, 2016

Hon. Ashton B. Carter
Secretary of Defense The Pentagon
Washington, D.C. 20301

General Joseph F. Dunford, Jr.
Chairman, Joint Chiefs of Staff The Pentagon
Washington, D.C. 20301

Dear Secretary Carter and Chairman Dunford:

As individuals with extensive, first-hand experience with protecting our national security, we write to urge you to intervene in opposition to an imminent action that would, in our judgment, cause profound and irreversible damage to the United States’ vital interests.

On October 1st, the contract between the Commerce Department’s National Telecommunications and Information Administration (NTIA) and the Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers (ICANN) will expire. Upon expiration, the President will allow the Government’s remaining control over the Internet to transfer to ICANN. This includes the Internet Assigned Numbers Authority (IANA) function and NTIA’s review of all Internet Protocol addresses and authorization for them to be placed on the authoritative root server (the A Server). In simple terms, nothing now is accessible on the Internet until it has undergone an IP address assignment and NTIA review and NTIA has authorized Verisign to post the address to the A server.

The IANA function is critical to our nation’s ability to effectively defend our national assets and civilian population and ensure integrity in our cyberwarfare capabilities. As Congress has considered this transfer of authority, it has stated that ICANN should ensure that .mil and .gov remain exclusive to DoD and that all IP addresses assigned to DoD are used exclusively by the Government. That ignores the fact that DoD is reliant upon private sector critical infrastructure for its operations, and the integrity and security of the IP addresses associated with these assets are equally important to the protection of the American people.

In the absence of U.S. Government involvement in IANA, it seems possible that, over time, foreign powers – including potentially or actually hostile ones – will be able to influence the IANA process. Even coercing the delay in approving IP addresses could impact military capabilities. From a broader view, given the well-documented ambition of these actors to restrict freedom of expression and/or entrepreneurial activity on the Internet, such a transfer of authority to ICANN could have far-reaching and undesirable consequences for untold numbers of people worldwide.

Of more immediate concern to us, however, is the prospect that the United States might be transferring to future adversaries a capability that could facilitate, particularly in time of conflict, cyberwarfare against us. In the absence of NTIA’s stewardship, we would be unable to be certain about the legitimacy of all IP addresses or whether they have been, in some form or fashion, manipulated, or compromised. Given the reliance of the U.S. military and critical infrastructure on the Internet, we must not allow it to be put needlessly at risk.

Indeed, there is, to our knowledge, no compelling reason for exposing the national security to such a risk by transferring our remaining control of the Internet in this way at this time.

In light of the looming deadline, we feel compelled to urge you to impress upon President Obama that the contract between NTIA and ICANN cannot be safely terminated at this point. At a minimum, given the irreversible character of this decision and its potential for grave and enduring harm to our national security and other vital interests, the decision should be delayed.

See the signatories to the letter

Also see:

Joint Chiefs Chairman Rejects Obama Plan to Share Syria Intel with Russia

The Associated Press

The Associated Press

Breitbart, by James Zumwalt, Sept. 26, 2016:

Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff (JCS) Marine Corps General Joseph Dunford has just gone where no JCS chairman has ever gone before! Unsurprisingly, it took a Marine general to stand up to President Barack Obama in the wake of yet another of his dubious national security decisions.

The same mindless Obama/Kerry negotiating team that brought us an Iran deal undermining our national security, recently sought to bring us a similarly questionable deal with Russia. This one mandated the Pentagon’s participation in an intelligence-sharing agreement with the Russian Central Command in Syria—built upon a ceasefire paving the way for peace negotiations in Geneva, Switzerland.

But, unlike the Iran nuclear deal where the JCS Chairman did nothing, our current Chairman, General Dunford, publicly voiced his objection.

Testifying before the Senate Armed Services Committee on September 22, Dunford made clear the military would refuse to execute what was the central element of Obama’s new Syria policy, i.e., intelligence-sharing with Russia—despite the president’s order it be done.

Calling it a bad idea, Dunford said, “The U.S. military role will not include intelligence sharing with the Russians.” Sitting at Dunford’s side during the testimony was his civilian boss, Defense Secretary Ash Carter, who raised no objection.

The implication of his testimony was obvious—the president’s deal with Russia was undermining U.S. national security. Dunford, having freed himself from Obama’s vortex, was having none of it.

During his eight years in office, Obama has demonstrated an uncanny ability to endanger U.S. national security interests without ever being challenged by those responsible for doing so.

Congress completely abandoned its responsibility in this regard, most notably allowing Obama to end run the Senate to make a nuclear agreement with Iran effective. The deal—legally a treaty necessitating two-thirds approval by the Senate—was packaged as a non-treaty, i.e., an executive order, as Obama knew he could not muster such approval.

The agreement with Iran, after both presidential candidate Obama and President Obamapromised over two dozen times not to, paved the way for Tehran to get nukes—legally inten years; sooner if done illegally.

Unbeknownst to Congress was the fact the deal also included secret side deals—one of which allowed Tehran to conduct its own inspections with not even U.S. top negotiator Secretary of State John Kerry knowing the details. It also resulted in the lifting of sanctions against Iran and the transfer of billions of dollars, some of which cash transfers were hidden from Congress.

The Senate votes of those either knowing the details of the nuclear deal with Iran or, despite a responsibility to know them, failing to learn them, ultimately enabled Obama to subvert the U.S. Constitution and pass a treaty with less than the mandated two-thirds majority.

The agreement, which Obama promoted as opening the door to better relations between the U.S. and Iran, has resulted in that door being slammed in our face. Since the Senate passed the agreement, the number of naval confrontations with Iran has doubled, with Tehran now even threatening to shoot down our spy planes operating in international airspace.

But it was not the Senate alone that failed the American people in ensuring our national security interests were given top priority by killing the Iran nuclear deal.

Our Founding Fathers imposed limitations upon our military within the Constitution to ensure it always remained subordinate to civilian authority. For over two centuries now, the Constitution has worked effectively to ensure this.

Thus, last year, when the JCS reviewed the terms of an Iran nuclear agreement negotiated by civilian authority, and then JCS Chairman U.S. Army General Martin Dempsey gained full knowledge of its terms and secret side deals, it became incumbent upon him to act in our country’s national security interests as permitted within the Constitution’s guidelines.

There is no way a responsible military leader could have endorsed this deal, knowing secret side deals paved the way for a nuclear armed Iran. Dempsey had an obligation to advise Obama of such. And, when Obama disregarded his advice, Dempsey should have been driven by ethics to tender his resignation. This would have conveyed the message to the Senate it should reject the deal as well. Dempsey failed to do so, allowing the Senate to pass an unconscionable treaty.

It has become clear, as Obama manages to get Kerry and others in government, as well as in the military, to support his questionable national security initiatives, he wields a mesmerizing ability to lure others into his web of dangerous national security thinking.

Clearly, Obama has created a vortex in Washington spinning in a direction contrary to U.S. national security interests. That vortex has proven capable of sucking into it those in government responsible for ensuring a president’s questionable national security actions do not go unchallenged.

But hope may now lie on the horizon due to Dunford’s principled stance.

It is inconceivable to think our president sought to share intelligence with Russia for two reasons.

Firstly, as an ally of Iran, Moscow would obviously share what it learned with Tehran, compromising future U.S. collection efforts.

Secondly, Dunford, during his July 2015 confirmation hearings, had warned Congress that Russia posed “an existential threat to the United States… if you look at their behavior, it’s nothing short of alarming.”

Fourteen months later, Dunford’s assessment had not changed, testifying, “a combination of their behavior as well as their military capability would cause me to believe that they pose the most significant challenge, potentially the most significant threat, to our national interests.”

Fortunately for us, but unfortunately for the Syrians, the ceasefire failed after 300 violations negating, for the near-term at least, Obama’s intelligence-sharing scheme with Russia and thus sparing us any further compromise of our national security.

It is discomforting to know Obama still has four months remaining in office. It is comforting to know, however, that General Dunford, having successfully freed himself from Obama’s vortex, will be there to challenge any other dubious presidential decision seeking to undermine our national security.

Lt. Colonel James G. Zumwalt, USMC (Ret.), is a retired Marine infantry officer who served in the Vietnam war, the U.S. invasion of Panama and the first Gulf war. He is the author of “Bare Feet, Iron Will–Stories from the Other Side of Vietnam’s Battlefields,” “Living the Juche Lie: North Korea’s Kim Dynasty” and “Doomsday: Iran–The Clock is Ticking.” He frequently writes on foreign policy and defense issues.

Fact-Check: ISIS Hates Us Because We Don’t Embrace Islam, Not Because of Donald Trump

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Jihadists hate us with a passion anyway; people who are on the cusp of becoming jihadis do not need Trump to convince them.

CounterJihad, by Immanuel Al-Manteeqi, Sept. 27, 2016:

One frequently hears that people like Donald Trump are playing into the narrative of ISIS and other jihadist or Islamist groups by virtue of their rhetoric. Indeed, Hillary Clinton, Trump’s contender for the highest office in the world, is fond of making such accusations.

Clinton and others state that Trump’s rhetoric regarding Islam and Muslims will only result in his playing into the hands of jihadis, who want to  propagate the view that the West is in a vicious war with Islam. On September 19th, for example, Clinton told reporters that “we know that a lot of the rhetoric we’ve heard from Donald Trump has been seized on by terrorists, in particular ISIS.” She further elaborated that “we know that Donald Trump’s comments have been used online for recruitment of terrorists.”

In these statements Hillary Clinton echoed what others, like CIA director Michael Hayden, had  affirmed. In a POLITCO interview with journalist Glenn Thrush, Hayden commented that Trump’s call to temporarily put in place a tout court moratorium on Muslim immigration has “made the United States less safe than it would otherwise be.”

Now, Michael Hayden is probably technically correct in his judgment vis-a-vis U.S. security and Trump’s rhetoric on banning all Muslims from the country—i.e., his fiery rhetoric here has increased the probability that Jihadis will hate the West, and thus increase the probability that they will attack the territories of the United States, or U.S personnel abroad.

But this criticism of Trump is not worth mentioning because this increase in probability is insignificant, and has greatly been exaggerated by people like Hillary Clinton for political gain.

We can discern the insignificance of the evidence here by stopping to think about what Trump’s critics are implicitly presupposingwhen they state that Trump’s rhetoric makes the United States less secure than it would have otherwise been. The critics believe that Trump is making the United States less secure because his rhetoric is somehow increasing the probability  that there will be jihadi attacks against the United States. And they believe this because they implicitly presuppose that Trump’s rhetoric increases the probability that jihadis hate the United States.

Jihadists hate the United States with a passion anyway; people who are on the cusp of becoming jihadis do not need Trump to convince them that they should hate the United States.

Whether U.S. politicians say that ISIS or other Jihadi groups are Islamic or not is simply irrelevant to ISIS and like-minded extremist Islamic groups—they don’t really care. As Muslim reformer Shireen Qudosi recently testified before Chairman Scott Perry for the Subcommittee on Oversight and Management Efficiency of the House Homeland Security Committee of the U.S. Congress, in a hearing entitled “Identifying the Enemy: Radical Islamist Terror,”

We keep [asking] what ISIS will say. [But] ISIS isn’t sitting there wondering what Americans will say. ISIS is going to use whatever narrative [Americans] throw at them and twist it.

That Jihadis hate the United States regardless of what its officials or prospective officials say or do– short of reciting the shahada[1] and becoming Muslims– can be readily discerned by reading what ISIS, the leader of the jihadi front, has written in an article entitled, “Why We Hate You and Why We Fight You” in the 15th issue of their magazine, Dabiq.

In this article, they make explicit that their “primary reason” for hating the West will not cease to exist until the West embraces Islam. In this regard, it is lamentable that politicians who want to preserve their appeal by uttering the falsehood that ISIS members are not motivated by religion. The Dabiq article lists six reasons why ISIS militants hate the West and why they fight Westerners. The six reasons are listed here:

1 – “We hate you first and foremost, because you are disbelievers, you reject the oneness of Allah.”

2 – “We hate you because your secular, liberal societies permit the very things that Allah has prohibited while banning many of the things He has permitted.”

3 – “In the case of the atheist fringe, we hate you and wage war against you because you disbelieve in the existence of your Lord and Creator.”

4 – “We hate you for your crimes against Islam and wage war against you to punish you for your transgressions against our religion.”

5 – “We hate you for your crimes against Muslims; your drones and fighter jets bombs, kill, and maim our people around the world.”

6 – Sixth “We hate you for invading our lands and fight you to repel you and drive you out.”

The article goes on to importantly state that

What’s important to understand here is that although some might argue that your foreign policies are the extent of what drives our hatred, this particular reason for hating you is secondary, hence the reason we addressed it at the end of the above list. The fact is, even if you were to stop bombing us, imprisoning us, torturing us, vilifying us, and usurping our lands, we would continue to hate you because our primary reason for hating you will not cease to exist until you embrace Islam. [Emphasis added]

So the jihadists hate the United States and Americans, and indeed all Westerners, with a passion regardless of what they say or do, so long as they do not embrace the Islamic religion. The implicit assumption of the critics that Trump’s rhetoric is going tosignificantly increase the probability that Jihadists hate America, and therefore significantly decrease the security of the United States, is simply false.

It should be noted that one can believe that his critics are wrong to say that Trump is indirectly aiding Islamists here without endorsing Trump’s plan of temporarily banning all Muslim immigration into the country.

So the idea that people like Trump, who take a strong stance against Islamic terrorism, are somehow enabling terrorism through theirrhetoric is nothing but a talking point that is being used by Clinton and her cohorts for political expediency.

Indeed, if anyone is making it harder to fight against Islamic terrorism, it is the Obama administration. And Hillary Clinton, if she were to become President, would continue the same failed national security policy of the Obama administration with respect to the Middle East and Islamic terrorism.

While Donald Trump wants to curb immigration from places like Syria, Barack Obama and Hillary Clinton want to continue the influx—despite the fact that the State Department has alreadyadmitted that jihadis have posed as refugees, in order to gain asylum in the United States. And Clinton and the Obama administration seem to be opposed to Ted Cruz’s commonsensical idea that we should give persecuted minorities in the Middle East priority in immigration.

Furthermore, if anyone is indeed enabling terrorism, it is none other than the Obama administration with its politically correct stance vis-a-vis Islamic terrorism. As can be discerned from the “Willful Blindness” senate committee hearing on Islamic terrorism, the Obama administration’s policies, which Hillary Clinton would no doubt continue, have resulted in the dangerous interagency wiping of terminology that associates jihadi attacks with anything having to do with Islam.

This type of self-censorship and the refusal to call a spade a spade, not Trump’s rhetoric, is what is going to make it significantlyharder to fight Islamic terrorism. There is simply no significant sense in which Trump is indirectly supporting jihadis.


[1] The shahāda is the Muslim testimony of faith, which is as follows: “I testify that there is no God but God, and that Muhammad is the prophet of God.”

Bill Warner: Reasoning about Islam

maxresdefaultPublished on Sep 27, 2016 by Political Islam

The first key is do not use the Koran and Allah, because the Koran is structured to be hard to understand. Instead, use the Sunna of Mohammed. The Koran says 91 times that Mohammed is the perfect Muslim and he is very easy to understand. We find Mohammed in his traditions, the Hadith, and his biography, the Sira.

When we use Mohammed to explain Islam, we do what the Koran commands. Some Muslims might say that a particular hadith may not valid (meaning they don’t like what it says), but know that almost every hadith that I use is called Sahih (authentic), since I use Bukhari and Abu Muslim.

Sometimes you meet a Muslim who rejects all of the Sunna, so how do you use Mohammed? Simple, the Koran by itself cannot be understood by any person, without knowing the life of Mohammed. No Mohammed equals no understanding of the Koran.

Actually, there is an oddity about the Koran. It is said to be the perfect, exact words of Allah. However, the perfect Koran cannot be understood without knowing Mohammed. However, the life of Mohammed and his traditions were written by people who never met him, but wrote down what they heard from others. In a court of law, this is called hearsay. Hearsay is usually not admissible in our courts. So the perfect book cannot be understood without evidence that cannot be used in our courts. Odd, isn’t it?

Robert Spencer: Is It “Islamophobic” to Call 9/11 Hijackers “Islamic Terrorists”?

rs092316Published on Sep 27, 2016 by JihadWatchVideo

Jihad Watch director Robert Spencer discusses two recent protests by Muslims against the labeling of the 9/11 hijackers as Islamic terrorists, and shows how they’re part of ongoing efforts to intimidate Americans into thinking it wrong to oppose jihad terror.