5 Key Takeaways From The House Hearing With FBI Counterintelligence No. 2 Peter Strzok

Photo Washington Post / YouTube

Yesterday’s joint hearing in front of the House Judiciary and Oversight Committees was the first public hearing Congress held with the official who launched the Russia probe two years ago.

The Federalist, by Mollie Hemingway, July 13, 2018:

An embattled FBI official who led investigations into both Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump testified in a cantankerous open hearing on the Hill yesterday. Peter Strzok, formerly the second in command of the FBI’s Counterintelligence Division, lost his position after texts he exchanged on government systems with his also-married lover and colleague Lisa Page revealed extreme bias against President Trump and his voters.

Yesterday’s joint hearing in front of the House Judiciary and Oversight Committees was the first public hearing Congress held with the official who launched the Russia probe two years ago. Here are a few key takeaways from that hearing.

1. This Is What DOJ Obstruction Looks Like

The country is two years into the FBI’s probe of whether Donald Trump colluded with Russia to steal an election. Not a single charge has been brought by the FBI or by the Office of Special Counsel alleging collusion or treason or anything close to the charges that supposedly necessitated this investigation.

Congress began asking some questions of the FBI and Department of Justice about how it was conducting the investigation. Through the oversight process, Americans learned that the infamous “dossier” that laid out a case of collusion was secretly bought and paid for by the Hillary Clinton campaign and the Democratic National Committee. This dossier was used to secure wiretaps against Trump associates (other surveillance methods, including human informants, were also used).

The dossier was fed to both the FBI and State Department. Top intelligence officials were leaking about the Russia investigation to CNN and other media outlets. A top DOJ official’s wife worked for the firm that Hillary Clinton hired to run the “Russia” operation. That firm fed their opposition research to the FBI through him.

The Senate Judiciary and House Intelligence Committees, along with the Senate Homeland Security committee, House Oversight, and House Government Reform committees, have worked hard to uncover these details and in the face of unprecedented obstruction. Requests for documents are met with stonewalling, delays, redactions, leak campaigns, and outright refusals. Threats of subpoenas are routinely made to force even minor compliance.

Despite the length of yesterday’s hearing, congressional overseers were able to elicit almost no substantive answers to the questions they asked. Strzok claimed he was not answering questions because the Department of Justice told him not to answer questions. No matter the question, Strzok refused to answer any question about his role in the Russia probe, with almost no exceptions.

The hearing was a public revelation of the stonewalling and obstruction the DOJ has enforced against congressional oversight.

2. Strzok Somehow Came Off Even Worse Than He Did In His Texts

Despite his significant role in the Russia and Clinton investigations, the only picture Americans had formed of Strzok was based on his text messages. He spoke of his loathing of President Trump, Trump’s voters, and congressional oversight. He talked of stopping Trump’s election, of insurance policies to deal with his candidacy, and fantasies of impeachment.

The texts were between him and his also married colleague, another top-ranking official in the Department of Justice. The hearing demonstrated the texts were at best an accurate reflection of the man who wrote them. If anything, the texts were understated.

Strzok chose to present himself to the world as a smug, arrogant, and peevish man. He was defensive and condescending. His answers were almost mind-blowingly implausible. It wasn’t just that he lacked good judgment or even-handedness. It’s that he didn’t seem to have a grip on reality. He kept saying he wasn’t biased, when his bias is indisputable.

He told investigators that he would like to answer a question but that his attorneys weren’t letting him. If they later told him he could answer, he’d say he didn’t remember. He implausibly said that his affair didn’t put him at risk of compromise, in contrast to his agency’s policy.

3. Democrats Run Interference

Almost immediately, Democrats on the House and Government Reform Committee attempted to shut down the hearing. When that failed, they resorted to near-constant parliamentary inquiries and objections. At one point they actually cheered and applauded Strzok, despite his ethical failings and poor judgment, which have threatened the entire Russia investigation. The man is under internal investigation for his behavior. Yet one Democrat said he’d like to offer Strzok a Purple Heart, a military decoration awarded to those wounded or killed while serving in the U.S. military.

As silly as this behavior may seem, it indicated how Democrats hope to handle all oversight of the FBI and DOJ’s handling of the Russia probe. The message went out that every hearing will be a clown-show, even by the typical grandstanding attendant to congressional hearings. Democrats on oversight committees have fought transparency of the Russia investigation, portraying it as obstruction of a legitimate probe. All signs indicate that opposition to oversight will continue.

4. DOJ Clearly Hiding Its Relationship With Democratic-Funded Smear Group

The FBI and DOJ frequently instructed Strzok not to answer substantive questions from Republicans. One line of inquiry pursued by Rep. Jim Jordan, R-Ohio, was regarding communication between the FBI and Fusion GPS, the group that concocted the “Russia” dossier and messaging plan on behalf of Hillary Clinton and the Democratic National Committee. Strzok generally declined to answer questions.

But Strzok did admit that Bruce Ohr, husband of Fusion GPS operative Nellie Ohr, funneled documents to the FBI related to the Russia case. He refused to say what those documents were. Yesterday, Sen. Chuck Grassley asked DOJ to declassify the dozen reports summarizing Ohr’s 12 information-sharing meetings with the FBI.

The FBI used Fusion GPS-hired Christopher Steele until the end of October, when he was terminated for lying about his leaks to the media. But Fusion and Steele were able to continue funnelling information to the FBI using colleague Nellie Ohr and her husband Bruce Ohr, a top DOJ official who worked closely with acting Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein.

When the Russia story first broke, Americans didn’t realize that the dossier was a secret Clinton/DNC operation, or that the unverified opposition research was sent to various Obama officials in multiple agencies. Americans didn’t know that a top DOJ official was married to an employee of the group that created the dossier, or that he was used to get information into the government.

5. The Mystery Of Why The Investigation Started

Strzok said he didn’t see the dossier until mid-September. His electronic communication that started the probe didn’t include official intelligence. Given the politically explosive nature of the investigation, the FBI and DOJ have failed to explain what they were thinking in starting a probe of the Trump campaign.

The entire investigation has major problems from start to finish, whether it’s the use of a dossier that Steele created and Bruce Ohr sent to the FBI, or the fact that Strzok ended up having to be removed from the investigation for his obvious and extreme bias. Strzok said Mueller never asked him about his texts, and didn’t seek to find out more from him about what his “insurance policy” or “impeachment” rhetoric meant.

Again, the hearing was less than substantive because of the ongoing obstruction and stonewalling campaign engaged in by DOJ. That was itself instructive.

***

Also see:

On Islam Is on Target

(Photo credit: Islamic State / VOA)

Crisis Magazine, by William Kirkpatrick,, July 12, 2018:

One of the interesting aspects of Fr. James Schall’s refreshing collection of essays, On Islam, is that it provides a chronological record. The first essay appeared in 2003, the last in 2018. This allows the reader to see how our understanding of Islam has changed over those years.

Unfortunately, it hasn’t changed much at all. In 2003 we understood next to nothing about Islam, and in 2018 it’s still next to nothing.

One of Fr. Schall’s main themes is that we must try to understand Islam as Muslims understand it, not as we would like it to be. But instead of adjusting our theories to fit the accumulating facts, we keep trying to force the facts to fit the theory. This, says Schall, is the main reason we have failed to stem the tide of terrorism. We still assume that Islam is a religion like our own and that terrorism is a misunderstanding of genuine Islam.

On the contrary, writes Schall, terrorists are arguably more faithful to the essence of Islam than peaceful Muslims. As he puts it:

The terrorists themselves do claim with considerable historical and doctrinal evidence, on Qur`anic grounds, that they are in fact the true interpreters of Islam.

I don’t mean to oversimplify Fr. Schall’s argument. His essays are chock full of solid philosophical, theological, and historical evidence for his conclusions. But one of his conclusions is that:

advocates of the Islamic State are Muslims who faithfully follow what this religion allows and encourages them to do… To look on them as heretics or aberrations results in policies that only make the Islamic State’s success more likely.

Our insistence on seeing Islam through Western eyes, says Schall, means that we will be blind to the larger picture. Thus, “each bombing, shooting, knifing, or truck-crashing incident” is treated “as an individual problem of some usually ‘fanatical’ or otherwise confused youth acting on his own.” The authorities can’t bring themselves to admit that each incident is part of a pattern—that these actions are motivated by a world view that is shaped by the Koran and the example of Muhammad.

Likewise, the West’s leaders will fail to understand Muslim migration:

The trouble is that such large numbers of young and mostly male Muslims in every Western country are not there simply because they are poor or have been expelled…They are there to expand Islam.

“The purpose of Muslim expansion,” he continues, “is not to assimilate into a new nation and culture but rather to change it so that it conforms to Muslim ways.”

And what is the overall purpose of the expansion? Schall answers with refreshing candor: “Briefly, the assigned mission of Islam is to conquer the world for Allah.” But this simple truth about Islam flies in the face of politically correct and religiously correct notions that all religions are peaceful and opposed to violence. “To conquer the world for Allah?” Religious people, we assume, just don’t think like that. Thus, we convince ourselves that terrorist acts committed in the name of Allah, have “nothing to do with Islam.” “Dealing with Islam,” writes Schall, “is a function of understanding Islam,” and until we admit some very basic facts about Islam we will be unable to meet the challenge of Islam. The result? “I think it very possible, if not likely,” he writes, “that Islam will successfully establish itself in many areas of Europe and America.”

As might he expected, Fr. Schall also addresses the Church’s role vis-à-vis Islam. In an essay on dialoguing with Islam, he suggest that Church leaders, like secular leaders, fail to see Islam for what it is. Instead they prefer to look at it through Catholic eyes and have therefore convinced themselves that the two faiths have very much in common. But, says Schall, “What Islam and the Bible have in common is very little when it comes to doctrine … only with the greatest stretch of the imagination can we say that Muslims believe in the same God as Christians and Jews.” As a result, the dialogue is without resolution because there really is precious little common ground. For example, when Muslim and Catholic dialoguers use the word “peace,” they mean entirely different things. According to Islamic tenets, true “peace” will only come when all the world is Muslim.

Quite obviously, Schall’s position on Islam is at odds with the policies pursued by many in the Church leadership. He asserts that Islam is not a religion of peace, but of conquest. He maintains that terrorists are not misunderstanders of Islam, but are faithful to the plain meaning of the Koran. Moreover, he suggests that many Muslim immigrants to the West are not coming simply to find jobs or escape violence, but to convert the world to Islam.

What, then, does he suggest as an alternative policy? His general prescription is to replace the utopian view of Islam with a more realistic one. A viable Islam policy must be based not on what we wish Islam was, but on what it actually is.   Otherwise, things will continue as they have, and we must face the real prospect of a world converted to Islam.

Among other things, getting real means that Christians must insist that the Koran is not of divine origin. Moreover, they should do what they can to cast doubt about the Koran in the minds of Muslims. Why? Because the Koran is the key motivating force for jihad. The terrorism and the warfare will continue because that is what the Koran commands. The remedy, then, is not to assert that terrorists have misunderstood the Koran, but to assert that the book they follow is not from God:

The first step needed, then, is the affirmation, from the Christian side, that these views are as such false. They cannot be divine revelations.

As long as Muslims continue to believe that the Koran is the direct word of God, then the bloodshed will continue. It should therefore be the aim of Christians to disabuse them of this notion by means either subtle or direct. “What has never really been faced, even by the Church,” says the author, “is the truth content, or lack of it, in the Muslim world view…”

In the context of most current thinking about Islam, what Fr. Schall proposes here is quite radical. On the other hand, it also seems quite realistic. As Pope Francis put it in Evangelii Gaudium, “Ideas disconnected from realities give rise to ineffectual forms of idealism” (232). Unfortunately, the ideas that many Catholic leaders, including Francis, have about Islam seem to be based more on fantasy than reality.

In an essay entitled “On the Fragility of Islam,” Fr. Schall points out that the Koran is Islam’s weakest link. It’s authenticity as a direct revelation from God rests solely on the testimony of Muhammad. There is no other corroborating evidence. To the normal observer, says Schall, the Koran borrows heavily from the Jewish and Christian Scriptures: “Yet, if this historical origin is shown, then the Qur`an is merely the product of a confused effort to rewrite the Scriptures already in existence.”

Fr. Schall hopes that the eventual publication of a critical edition of the Koran by German scholars will make many of these problems evident. Possibly so, but there is already sufficient evidence in any standard edition of the Koran to cast doubt on the authenticity of the revelation. The Koran is almost completely lacking in chronology, continuity, and structure. At the same time it is full of mind-numbing repetition and formulaic prose. It strains credulity to believe that it was written—as Muslim scholars claim—by the Author of Creation.

Fr. Schall’s hope is that when all the many contradictions and incoherencies of the Koran become clear, “Islam may be as fragile as communism”:

Can we expect, as it were, a John Paul II effect, which saw a seemingly unbreakable communism suddenly collapse because its ideas were finally recognized as incoherent and evil?

Schall realizes that Islam is far older than communism and more resilient, and he admits that its fall is unlikely to come as quickly. Nevertheless, there is hope. Until the Iranian Revolution of 1979, there was a good deal of evidence that Islam was losing its hold on the Muslim world. Turkey had become a secular state, and many in Iran, Iraq, Egypt, and other Muslim nations found Western values more attractive than Islamic ones. Sadly, this laxity of faith was the catalyst that spurred the formation of the Muslim Brotherhood, Al-Qaida, and other groups dedicated to returning Islam to its original zeal.

But memories of better, less-Islamic times remain. Recent events give hope that what has happened once can happen again. In the last several months there have been numerous large demonstrations throughout Iran calling for an end to the theocratic regime. And last week in Paris, 100,000 people participated in a “Free Iran” rally. One minor news story is also telling. A recent study of thirty three deradicalization programsin the UK showed that all but two were either ineffective or counter-productive. The two effective initiatives were, “one defying political correctness and tackling difficult issues head-on and the other directly addressing extremism in religious [Islamic] texts.”

The effective initiatives sound rather like the approach Fr. Schall advocates: tell the truth about Islam, and challenge Muslims to look more closely at the problems of the Koran. The ineffective initiatives resemble the ones the Church leadership has been pursuing. No one can accuse them of tackling difficult issues head-on. Indeed the only issues they tackle with gusto are Islamic-approved ones such as the anti-Islamophobia initiative. If Western leaders and Church leaders keep insisting that Islam is fine just the way it is, there will be very little incentive for Muslims to reform their faith or—if it is irreformable—to leave it.

If and when Church leaders come to the conclusion that their current approach to Islam is both ineffective and counter-productive, they will find in Fr. Schall’s gem of a book a clear guide to a more promising direction.

William Kilpatrick taught for many years at Boston College. He is the author of several books about cultural and religious issues, including Why Johnny Can’t Tell Right From Wrong; and Christianity, Islam and Atheism: The Struggle for the Soul of the West and The Politically Incorrect Guide to Jihad. His articles have appeared in numerous publications, including Catholic World Report, National Catholic Register, Aleteia, Saint Austin Review, Investor’s Business Daily,and First Things. His work is supported in part by the Shillman Foundation. For more on his work and writings, visit his website, turningpointproject.com

Also see:

How Islam Apologists Like John Esposito Dupe Americans About Sharia

PJ Media, by Raymond Ibrahim, July 9, 2018:

Does Islam itself promote hostility for and violence against non-Muslims, or are all the difficulties between the West and Islam based on secondary factors such as “radical” interpretations of Islam, economics, and other grievances?

This is the fundamental question.

Obviously, if “anti-infidel” hostility is inherent to Islam itself, then the conflict becomes existential — a true clash of civilizations with no easy fixes and lots of ugly implications along the horizon. Because of this truism, those who whitewash Islam’s image in the West insist on the opposite: that current difficulties are temporal, and not rooted to innate Islamic teachings.

Enter Shariah: What Everyone Needs to Know, co-authored by John Esposito and Natana J. Delong-Bas. The authors’ goal is to exonerate Sharia — which they portray as enshrining “the common good (maslahah), human dignity, social justice, and the centrality of the community” — from Western criticism or fear, which they claim is based solely on “myth” and “sensationalism.”

In their introductory chapters, they define Sharia as being built upon the words of the Koran and the Sunna (“example”) of the Muslim prophet Muhammad as contained in sahih (canonical) hadiths. They add:

Shariah and Islamic law are not the same thing. The distinction between divine law (Shariah) and its human interpretation, application, and development (Islamic law) is important to keep in mind throughout this book …

Whereas Shariah is immutable and infallible, Islamic law (fiqh) is fallible and changeable.

Next, the authors highlight how important Sharia is to a majority of Muslims. They cite a 2013 Pew Poll which found that 69% of Muslims in the Middle East and North Africa, 73% in South Asia, and 55% in Central Asia believe that “Sharia is God’s [Allah’s] divine revelation.”

Pew found that even larger numbers “favored the establishment of Shariah as official law”: 99% in Afghanistan, 84% in South Asia, 74% in the Middle East and North Africa, and 64% in sub-Saharan Africa.

So far so good: The authors’ introductory claim (that Sharia is fundamental to Islam) and statistics (that hundreds of millions of Muslims revere Sharia and wish to see it implemented) are correct.

Now, the aforementioned question: Is Sharia itself behind the intolerance, misogyny, violence, and terrorism committed in the name of Islam?

Here, the hitherto objective authors shift gears and take on the mantle of apologists. Their thesis is simple: Any and all negative activities Muslims engage in are to be blamed on anything and everything — as long as it’s not Sharia.

In order to support this otherwise unsupportable position, and as might be expected, the remainder of the book consists of obfuscation, dissembling, and lots and lots of contextual omissions and historical distortions. A small sampling follows.

Sharia regarding women

The authors quote and discuss at length many Koran verses about women that seem positive (Koran 30:21, 3:195, and 2:187), without alluding to counter verses that, say, permit husbands to beat their wives (4:34) and treat them as “fields” to be “plowed however you wish” (2:223). Nor do they deal with Muhammad’s assertions that women are “lacking in intelligence” and will form the bulk of hell’s denizens, as recounted in canonical hadith.

They partially quote Koran 4:3: “[M]arry those that please you of other women, two or three or four. But if you fear that you will not be just, then marry only one.” This suits the authors’ purpose, which is to present the Koran as implicitly recommending only one wife, since it acknowledges the near-impossibility for a man to treat all wives equally.

Yet the authors deliberately left out the continuation of Koran 4:3. Perhaps because it permits Muslim men to copulate with an unlimited number of sex slaves (ma malakat aymanukum), even if the men are married.

Esposito and Delong-Bas also dissemble about child marriage, saying “classical Islamic law” permits it, but only when “the child reaches a mature age.”

Yet they make no mention that, based on Muhammad’s marriage to Aisha — that is, based on his Sunna, which is immutable and part of Sharia — this means nine is considered a “mature age.”

Freedom of religion and non-Muslims

The authors claim that “[t]here are more than 100 Quranic verses that … affirm freedom of religion and conscience.” They quote many at length, and then assert: “The guiding Shariah principle … underscored by Quran 3:28, 29:46, and 60:89, is that believers should treat unbelievers decently and equitably as long as the unbelievers do not behave aggressively.”

Yet they fail to mention or sideline the many contradictory verses that call for relentless war on non-Muslims — who are further likened to dumb cattle in Koran 25:44 — until they surrender, one way or another, to Islam (e.g., 8:39, 9:5, 9:29). They also fail to quote the verses that form the highly divisive doctrine of al-wala’ w’al bara’ (“Loyalty and Enmity”). This includes Koran 5:51, which forbids Muslims from befriending Jews and Christians. And Koran 60:4, which commands Muslims to harbor only “hate” for non-Muslims, until they “believe in Allah alone.”

Needless to say, they also ignore Koran 3:28, which permits Muslims to feign friendship for non-Muslims whenever the former are under the latter’s authority. (Such is the doctrine of taqiyya; see herehere, and here for examples; for other sanctioned forms of deception, read about tawriya, and taysir.)

It is, incidentally, because of all these Koran verses — because of Sharia — that the Islamic State forthrightly explained: “We hate you, first and foremost, because you are disbelievers.”

The closest the authors get to addressing these issues is in a section titled “Can Muslims in the West be Loyal Citizens?” They respond with a “yes.” However, the evidence they cite are polls (based on wishful interpretations), which of course tell the reader little about the topic at hand: Sharia.

Jihad

As might be expected, when the authors reach the topic of jihad, their dissembling reaches a new level. They repeatedly insist that jihad, as enshrined in Sharia, is simply the Muslim counterpart of Western “Just War” theory, which teaches that war and aggression are permissible only in defense or to recover one’s territory from occupiers. They write: “The lesser or outer jihad involves defending Islam and the Muslim community.”

As usual, they spend much time quoting and elaborating on Koran verses that comport with this position, while ignoring or sidelining the many contradictory verses. In reality, mainstream Islam holds that the Koran’s “Sword Verses” (especially 9:5 and 9:29) abrogate all the peaceful ones, and declare that warfare against non-Muslims — for no reason other than that they are not Muslims — to be not just permissible but obligatory.

Koran 9:29 reads:

Fight those who do not believe in Allah nor the Last Day, nor forbid what Allah and his Messenger have forbidden, nor embrace the religion of truth [Islam] from the People of the Book [Jews and Christians], until they pay the jizya with willing submission and feel themselves subdued.

What, exactly, is “defensive” about this verse?

Similarly, they claim that dar al-harb, or “abode of war” — Islam’s designation for all non-Muslim territories (such as Europe) that Muslims were historically in a permanent state of war with — “applied to other parties with whom Muslims were in conflict.” Again, they fail to mention that the primary reason Muslims were “in conflict” with them was because they were non-Muslim, and that all non-Muslim territories were by default part of the “abode of war,” except when treaties advantageous to Islam were drawn.

Instead, the authors write: “The territories classified as the abode of war were those that refused to provide such protection to Muslims and their clients” — thereby implying Muslims were hostile to, say, Europe because Europe was first hostile to Muslims. (The historical reality, chronicled in my book Sword and Scimitar: Fourteen Centuries of War between Islam and the West, was exactly opposite.)

The authors engage in other forms of subterfuge to defend their point and exonerate Sharia. For example, they frequently project a Western definition to Islamic terms and concepts. They write that Sharia is ultimately about “promoting good and preventing evil,” which sounds admirable. They then fail to point out that, based on the Koran and Sunna (that is, Sharia), conquering non-Muslim territories is “promoting good.” And that keeping women under wraps, indoors, and beating them as required is about “preventing vice.”

While admitting that Christians and other non-Muslim minorities are currently being persecuted, not only do the authors insist this has nothing to do with Shariah, but they invoke relativistic thinking: “Just as Muslims living in non-Muslim countries are often concerned with their rights and civil liberties as minorities, so some consider the rights and status of non-Muslim minorities living in Muslim countries to be a parallel issue.”

In other words, because Americans may view Muslims in their midst with suspicion, the ongoing enslavement and slaughter of Christians — more than 6,000 in Nigeria alone since January 2018 — and ban on or destruction of churches is a tit-for-tat. A “parallel issue,” which can only be solved when the West becomes less critical about Islam.

Relativism is also invoked during the authors’ brief treatment of apostasy in Islam: “Historically, apostasy was sometimes punishable by death in Judaism, Christianity, and Islam.” They claim that apostasy is still a major issue in Islam only due to “radical” interpretations or politics, and they bolster their position by again quoting the same Koran verses that seem to support freedom of religion. They do not mention, for example, the canonical hadith (meaning part of Sharia) in which Muhammad said: “Whoever leaves his religion [Islam], kill him.”

Such is how Islam’s skilled apologists dupe the West: they admit to some of the more controversial aspects that many other apologists shy away from — namely that Shariah is indeed foundational to Islam, and that most Muslims revere and wish to see it implemented — and then, having established trust with the reader, they slip back into the “game.” They portray all the intolerance, misogyny, violence, and terrorism committed daily in the name of Islam as products of anything and everything except Sharia: fallible Muslim interpretations, self-serving clerics and terrorists, socio-economic pressures, Western criticism or encroachments.

Contrary to its title John Esposito’s and Natana J. Delong-Bas’s Shariah is not “what everyone needs to know.” Rather, it’s what non-Muslims need to believe in order to give Sharia, which is fundamentally hostile to all persons and things un-Islamic, a free pass.

Congressional Muslim Brotherhood Hearing Reveals Danger of Not Speaking Truth About Islam

Understanding the Threat, by John Guandolo, July 12, 2018:

This is, as UTT has made clear in the past, an important line of operation in this war and one which should be pursued with great vigor.

However, statements made during the hearing raise serious concerns of a continued gross lack of understanding of the threat by drawing broad distinctions between Muslim Brotherhood doctrine and “true Islam.”

Since the “true Islam” referred to during the hearings does not exist, and in fact the “version” of Islam articulated by the International Muslim Brotherhood – as well as Al Qaeda, ISIS, and others – is core Islamic doctrine, the difference between the two is a fantasy and is no place to try to build strategies for victory.

Testimonies Raising Concern

The testimony of Dr. Hillel Fradkin from the Hudson Institute agreed the Muslim Brotherhood’s goal is to establish an Islamic State, yet placed the root of this idea at the feet of the Muslim Brotherhood founder Hassan al Banna, and did not acknowledge Muslim Brotherhood doctrine is core Islamic doctrine.

Fradkin went on to say that “This approach entailed the gradual transformation of society to Brotherhood principles before the seizure of political power, in Egypt and elsewhere.”  Dr. Fradkin attributed this “gradualist” approach as an invention of al Banna.

In reality this “approach” comes from core Islamic doctrine.  It is progressive revelation, and simply reaffirms the exact same methods used by Islam’s perfect man, Islam’s prophet Mohammad, to implement Islam in society.

In his testimony,  Jonathan Schanzer from the Foundation for Defense of Democracies stated, “Many Muslim Brotherhood branches subject their members to rigid indoctrination processes and vet their
members for their commitment to the organization’s ultimate goal, which is to empower the Brotherhood’s politicized and deeply intolerant interpretation of Islam.”

The question must be asked, since this comment was made in testimony on Capital Hill, how is the “Brotherhood’s politicized and deeply intolerant interpretation of Islam” different from what 12 year old muslims are taught in U.S. Islamic schools?  How does it differ from what the highest authority in Islamic jurisprudence – Al Azhar – teaches Islamic scholars?

It does not.

Mr. Schanzer went on to say, “Factions of the Brotherhood without a history of violence or terrorism finance do not warrant scrutiny,” and recommended the U.S. should “Designate the violent actors while keeping a close eye on non-violent ones.”

Since the global Islamic Movement’s primary  road to victory is in the non-violent realm, to focus primarily on the violence – as the enemy wants us to do – is to lose the war.

Zuhdi Jasser, a muslim doctor from Arizona identified himself as a “devout muslim” in his testimony.

In his statement, Dr. Jasser said, “Neither Islam nor Muslims are monolithic and should not be treated as such by anyone.”

The problem with this statement is two-fold.  First, it is untrue.  The thing that binds the Islamic world together is the obligation, under penalty of death, for muslims to obey sharia and work to impose it on the world.  There is no “version” of Islam that does not require this.

Secondly, the statement that Islam is not monolithic and very hard to understand, is something UTT teaches its students to repel with the truth.  It is on UTT’s radar because it has been a talking point for the Islamic Movement for over 20 years.

Dr. Jasser also asserted, “For us (muslims) it is a very personal mission to leave our American Muslim children a legacy that their faith is based in the unalienable right to liberty and to teach them that the principles that founded America do not contradict their faith but strengthen it.”

In fact, there is no book of Islamic law or any Islamic school text used in the United States – or elsewhere for that matter – which teaches muslims to adhere to America’s founding principles.  In fact, the most widely used text book in U.S. Islamic schools, What Islam is All About, reads:  “The duty of muslim citizens is to be loyal to the Islamic State.”

In the end, Dr. Jasser recommends the designation of the Muslim Brotherhood gradually beginning with a few Islamic nations overseas, but NOT in the United States.

The testimony of Ambassador Daniel Benjamin denied the clarity of the International Muslim Brotherhood’s objectives and their controlling doctrine (sharia) when he testified, “There is no singular, monolithic Muslim Brotherhood…there is no central administration linking these disparate groups.  In character and matters of doctrine, they vary greatly…Does the Muslim Brotherhood constitute a global threat?  Here too, I would answer that it does not.  Most of the groups that are said to be Muslim Brotherhood affiliates or franchises support democracy and abjure violence.”

Setting aside the fact the leadership of the International Muslim Brotherhood hosts regular meetings to discuss strategy and assess their progress, these comments leave listeners/readers with the idea that different levels of sharia implementation in different Islamic nations by the Muslim Brotherhood is synonymous with a lack of unified doctrine or modus operandi, which is demonstrably untrue.

To say the MB rejects violence is to be wrong.  See their by-laws here.

The Brotherhood calls for the implementation of sharia on the planet.

It is all about sharia.  That is what links the entire global Islamic Movement together.

Notable are the comments by Congressman Stephen Lynch of Massachusetts during the hearing which reveal a continued lack of understanding of the Islamic threat by major components of the U.S. government.  After listing examples of violence advocated and perpetrated by the Muslim Brotherhood, Mr. Lynch said, in part, “Meanwhile, democratically elected political parties that also fall within the Muslims Brotherhood umbrella represent a significant voting block in the Parliaments and government coalitions of some of our key counterterrorism allies in the middle east and north Africa…the State department lists Tunisia along with Jordan and Morocco as our committed partners in the coalition to defeat the Islamic State.”

And therein lies the problem.  Tunisia, Jordan, and Morocco are all parties to the OIC which served the “Cairo Declaration on Human Rights in Islam” to the United Nations in 1993 which states how all 57 Islamic states on the planet view the rest of the world and how non-muslims are to be treated – through the lens of sharia.

The Enemy’s Unified Objective

The enemy in this war unambiguously and unanimously identifies itself as “muslims waging jihad in the cause of Allah to establish an Islamic State under sharia.”

Different elements of the enemy’s army have different roles and different methods to get to the same end – an Islamic State under sharia.

Every Islamic nation on earth is a party to the Organisation of Islamic Cooperation (OIC) which calls for sharia on the earth.

Al Qaeda, ISIS, and thousands of violent jihadi organizations on the earth state their objective is an Islamic State under sharia.

The Muslim Brotherhood’s By-Laws state their purpose is to establish an Islamic State under sharia.

All Islamic doctrine (sharia) requires muslims to wage war against non-muslims, in accordance with sharia, until an Islamic State is established under sharia.

Enemy’s Main Line of Operation:  Non-Violent Action

The idea the U.S. should only focus on groups or individuals engaged in violence is the same failed idea bringing the U.S. closer to defeat in this war.

The enemy’s line of operation that continues to be wildly successful against the non-muslim world is their ability to create the optical illusion that one part of their forces is pitted against another part and, therefore, friendly to us.

For instance, when suit-wearing jihadis from Hamas doing business as the Council on American Islamic Relations (CAIR) stepped in front of television cameras and condemned the killings in San Bernardino, they appeared reasonable and “moderate” relative to the two jihadis and the dead bodies they left behind.

As the Islamic Movement moves forward and gains ground, they are increasingly willing to hold out the Muslim Brotherhood as the problem so long as it keep U.S. leaders from ever identifying Islam as the problem.

The concern UTT continues to voice is this:  time is growing short.

Leaders in the Islamic Movement know they need to keep us off target just a little bit longer.  So the closer American’s get to the truth, the more finely Islamic leaders parse the truth.

U.S. Muslim Brotherhood leaders have kept this administration from designating the MB terrorists for over a year and a half.  As there is a growing consensus to designate them, the calls now come for a partial designation because – we are told – people who want to non-violently overthrow America’s Constitutional Republic and replace it with a barbaric system which enslaves human beings (sharia/Islam) – should not be the focus of U.S. efforts against the Brotherhood.

In focusing primarily on the violent elements of the Islamic Movement, the United States is in grave danger of losing a war it could easily win if it simply identified the threat – sharia adherent muslims.

Coda

Yesterday’s hearing did a good thing by moving the ball forward in America’s effort to designate the Muslim Brotherhood a terrorist organization.  As government officials move forward in their efforts to protect and defend this Republic, they will do well to remember that TRUTH is the standard to which national security professionals must cling if victory is still the objective.

Our objective, not the enemy’s.

Desantis Hearing Establishes the Muslim Brotherhood Must Be Designated as a Terrorist Organization – the Sooner, the Better

Center for Security Policy, 

NEWS RELEASE, July 11, 2018

For more information contact:

Deborah Hamilton, Media@HamiltonStrategies.com, 610.584.1096, ext. 102, or Patrick Benner, 610.584.1096, ext. 104.

DESANTIS HEARING ESTABLISHES THE MUSLIM BROTHERHOOD MUST BE DESIGNATED AS A TERRORIST ORGANIZATION – THE SOONER, THE BETTER 

Washington, DC:  It is no longer a question of whether the United States will designate the Muslim Brotherhood as a foreign terrorist organization. It is only a matter of when and how.

That’s the principal take-away from a congressional national security panel this morning that addressed “The Muslim Brotherhood’s Global Threat” and what the US should do about it.

“This hearing is an opportunity to discuss what the United States’ next step should be in combatting the Muslim Brotherhood’s threat,” said Congressman Ron DeSantis (R-FL), chairman of the Subcommittee on National Security of the House oversight committee.

“The Muslim Brotherhood is a militant Islamist organization with affiliates in over 70 countries,” DeSantis said. “There’s no question that the Muslim Brotherhood’s affiliates are involved in terrorism.”

The historic hearing follows a June 28 Center for Security Policy Decision Brief that called on the Trump Administration to declare the entire Muslim Brotherhood and its fronts and affiliates as terrorist organizations.

“Thankfully the Trump Administration has discarded the Obama-era policy of treating the Brotherhood as a potential ally,” DeSantis said. “Now, the questions are focused on how expansive to make the terror designation, and whether it should be done through the State Department or Treasury Department.” 

Dr. Zuhdi Jasser, President of the American Islamic Forum for Democracy and a longtime associate of the Center for Security Policy, was one of the four witnesses who testified. He was the only Muslim witness, and made the case powerfully for Center-recommended policy of designating the entire Muslim Brotherhood and its fronts as terrorist entities.

In the course of his testimony, Dr. Jasser rebutted characterizations by the Brotherhood’s apologists and enablers of its critics as “haters” and “Islamophobes”:

Nothing would be more pro-Muslim than the marginalization of the Muslim Brotherhood and its direct affiliates. Making the Muslim Brotherhood radioactive would allow the light to shine upon their most potent antagonists in Muslim communities – those who reject political Islam and believe in liberty and the separation of mosque and state.

He also discussed national security risks associated with failing to designate the Muslim Brotherhood and its affiliates as terrorist entities. One of them is censorship of jihadist terminology in U.S. government agencies.  Dr. Jasser correctly observed that such censorship impedes analysts’ ability to protect the nation:

To think that these words and concepts, and others are off limits in the freest nation on earth, censored [in] our agencies, is just incredulous considering the growing threat we face today from violent Islamism.  It smacks of a bizarre invocation of blasphemy laws in America. It is groups like the Muslim Brotherhood that have benefited from our refusal to discuss these elements of Islam and Islamism.

The three other witnesses – Hillel Fradkin of the Hudson Institute, Jonathan Schanzer of the Foundation for Defense of Democracies, and Daniel Benjamin of the Qatar-funded Brookings Institution – agreed to varying degrees that the Muslim Brotherhood constitutes a threat.  They recommended, however, more narrow terrorist designations of specific Muslim Brotherhood entities.

Chairman DeSantis observed: “It is clear that the Brotherhood constitutes a real threat to the national security interests of the United States.  We can debate the best way to counter this threat, but simply ignoring the threat is not an acceptable answer.”

The Center for Security Policy has submitted a statement for the hearing recordendorsing Rep. DeSantis’ assessment and laying out the factual basis for designating the Muslim Brotherhood as a terrorist organization.

Center President Frank J. Gaffney urged legislators, executive branch officials, the media and the public at large to examine particularly compelling evidence of the threat the Brotherhood poses: Its 1991 Explanatory Memorandum on the General Strategic Goal of the Group in North America– a secret plan for “destroying Western civilization from within” written by a top Muslim Brotherhood operative, Mohammed Akram, and introduced by the federal government into evidence in the 2008 Holy Land Foundation et.al. v. United States terrorism financing trial.

Congress Renews Push to Designate Muslim Brotherhood as Terror Group

Supporters of the Muslim Brotherhood / Getty Images

Washington Free Beacon, by Adam Kredo, July 11, 2018:

Lawmakers on Capitol Hill are renewing a years-long push to designate the international Muslim Brotherhood organization as a terrorist organization due to its support for terror organizations that threaten U.S. security interests across the globe, according to conversations with U.S. officials spearheading the effort.

The congressional effort to target the Muslim Brotherhood will kick off early Wednesday, when lawmakers on the House’s Subcommittee on National Security gather for a hearing to “examine the threat that the Muslim Brotherhood and its affiliates pose to the United States and its interests and how to most effectively counter it, including potential next steps for U.S. policy,” according to the committee.

The hearing is expected to set the stage for Congress to follow through on efforts that begun in 2015to convince the Obama administration to designate the Muslim Brotherhood as a terror group following its violent, and eventually failed, takeover in Egypt.

The State Department has opposed formal designation of the Brotherhood for some time due to efforts by the Obama administration to make diplomatic overtures to the group, particularly during its coup in Egypt. Although the Trump administration has designated various offshoots of the Brotherhood as global terror groups, the organization as a whole has escaped U.S. scrutiny.

Rep. Ron DeSantis (R., Fla.), the National Security Subcommittee’s chair, told the Washington Free Beacon that U.S. policy has failed to address the Brotherhood’s radical behavior and support for terror groups. Multiple countries, such as Egypt, Saudi Arabia, and the United Arab Emirates, have already designated the Brotherhood as a terror group.

“The Muslim Brotherhood is a malevolent force, and American policy needs to reflect this truth,” DeSantis told the Free Beacon. “Designating the Muslim Brotherhood as a foreign terrorist organization is overdue.”

Key U.S. allies such as Turkey and Qatar continue to work alongside the Muslim Brotherhood, sparking concern among lawmakers such as DeSantis who view these countries as working at a crossroads with the Trump administration as it works to eradicate radical forces in the Middle East.

“The Muslim Brotherhood is a radical Islamist organization that has generated a network of affiliates in over 70 countries,” the House committee notes on its website promoting the upcoming hearing.

In addition to hearing from Muslim Brotherhood experts on the group’s ongoing support for radical terror groups, lawmakers participating in the hearing will keep a close eye on exposing the roles that both Qatar and Turkey play in bolstering the group’s radical ideology, according to those briefed on the hearing.

While the Trump administration, as early as January 2017, indicated that it was considering a terror designation for the entire Muslim Brotherhood, little action has been taken, motivating Congress to lead the charge.

Past efforts to designate the Muslim Brotherhood failed to gain traction during the Obama administration due to its explicit policy of working with the group in Egypt, a policy that was met with much protest in the region.

U.S. Muslim advocacy organizations such as the Council on American Islamic Relations, or CAIR, have galvanized their supporters to oppose a Muslim Brotherhood designation.

In early 2017, groups affiliated with CAIR and its supporters launched a series of attacks on Sen. Ted Cruz (R., Texas), who, at the time, was pushing his own effort to formally designate the Brotherhood as a terror entity.

Homegrown Terror Threats Increasing

New York City Police Department officers and other first responders work the scene after an attempted terror attack in a passageway linking the Port Authority Bus Terminal with the subway / Getty Images

Washington Free Beacon, by Adam Kredo, July 10, 2018:

Jihadist threats from homegrown terrorists in America continue to increase each month, with at least nine foreign born individuals living in the United States arrested or convicted in June of attempting to launch attacks on behalf of ISIS and other global terrorist organizations, according to newly released information by Congress.

“Cases of homegrown Islamist extremism in the U.S. continue to be an issue of concern,” according to the House Homeland Security Committee’s monthly report of terrorism in America, which has been tracking an increase in homegrown jihadists for some time. “Since 2013, there have been 154 homegrown jihadist cases in the United States” from at least 30 different states.

The information highlights the ongoing threat posed by rogue jihadists influenced by international terror groups, but not necessarily directly tied to them, which makes these would-be attackers more difficult to track for federal authorities.

The committee’s monthly report has tracked an uptick in this activity for some time, highlighting the federal government’s difficulty in thwarting terror plots across America. Domestic terror threats in the United States also have grown due to an even greater number of Western jihadists operating in Europe, where it is much easier to travel freely into the United States.

At least nine would-be jihadists were arrested or convicted of terror plots in June alone, amounting to more than one per week, according to the House report.

On June 20 alone, three would-be jihadists either pleaded guilty or were sentenced to providing material support to jihadists. The terrorists were in New York City, Ohio, and Alabama.

Domestic terror convictions and sentencing also occurred on June 1, June 4, June 11, June 13, June 21, and June 25, according to the report.

At least 10 plots were foiled in Europe over the same period.

A full list of those arrested and convicted in June, as well as a summary of other Western terror plots can be found in the committee’s full report, found here.