VIDEO: Green Beret Subjects Himself to Waterboarding to Support Trump CIA Nominee Gina Haspel

Breitbart, by Katherine Rodriguez, May 14, 2018:

Former Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC) fighter and Green Beret Tim Kennedy posted a live-streamed video of himself being waterboarded on Saturday in support of President Trump’s nominee to lead the CIA, claiming that the controversial interrogation tactic is not torture.

Kennedy said in the 41-minute video posted to Facebook that he pulled this stunt to show that CIA nominee Gina Haspel has been unfairly criticized for overseeing a CIA black site where “enhanced interrogation techniques” were used on terrorist detainees shortly after 9/11.

The video showed the former UFC fighter’s towel-covered face being doused with water from a hose.

After the experience, the Green Beret wrote a caption explaining his “waterboarding” experience.

“We did this yesterday for almost 45 minutes. The average pour was anywhere from 10 to 60. They wouldn’t tell me when they were going to put the towel on. They would just smash it on my face and start pouring. You can’t hold your breath while they do it because the water runs down your sinuses,” Kennedy wrote. “The water runs through your eyes, down your nose and pools at the back of your throat. It was a baptism in freedom. It’s not torture! Hell we had elk tacos and wine afterwards. Wake up people.”

Kennedy claimed waterboarding is uncomfortable but not torture.

“If I can change one person’s mind about what torture is and what I would do to protect American freedom, I will do this for years,” he said.

Not everybody agreed with Kennedy. Counterterrorism expert Malcolm Nance wrote on Twitter that Kennedy’s technique is “wrong” and there is more to waterboarding than pouring water on someone’s towel-covered face:

During her Senate Intelligence Committee confirmation hearings on Wednesday, Haspel pledged not to restart the CIA’s controversial interrogations program if selected as CIA director.

“Having served in that tumultuous time, I can offer you my personal commitment, clearly and without reservation, that under my leadership, on my watch, CIA will not restart such a detention and interrogation program,” Haspel said at the hearing.

Trump has backed his decision to nominate Haspel despite concerns from Democrats and some Republicans in the Senate. The president tweeted last week that his “highly respected nominee” has been criticized for “being too tough on terrorists.”

***

This analysis is very interesting. (h/t Vlad Tepes)

Also see:

Mr. Mitchell, a retired Air Force officer and former CIA contractor, is the author of “Enhanced Interrogation: Inside the Minds and Motives of the Islamic Terrorists Trying to Destroy America”

The Waiting Period

THOMAS COEX/AFP/Getty

By Jonathan Spyer, The Australian,  

It is spring in Israel. On the face of it, all appears normal. Yet underlying the everyday is the hint of tension. The low buzz that presages violent events. We know it well in Israel and it has been all around for weeks.

Two nights ago, there was an eruption. The special forces unit (Quds) of Iran’s Islamic Revolutionary Guards Corps launched 20 missiles at northern Israel. Israel’s Iron Dome shot down four of them. The others landed in Syria. Israel’s Air Force launched a counter attack. Iranian storage facilities and logistics sites in Syria were targeted along with five Syrian air defence systems.

As the smoke cleared, an uneasy calm returned. Probably not for long.

A series of milestones is approaching in coming weeks, any of which could precipitate further strife. The extended period in which Israel managed to keep itself largely one step removed from the chaos of the Middle East seems to be drawing to a close.

Donald Trump announced this week he will withdraw the US from the nuclear deal with Iran. The stage is set for a return to open confrontation between the US and Iran.

The US has commitments in the region (in Iraq and eastern Syria, in particular) which would be vulnerable to violent pushback by Iran through its proxies.

Israel’s ongoing efforts to roll back Iranian gains in Syria will constitute an element of this larger contest. This, in turn, will increase the chance of confrontation between Israel and Iran.

As Israeli Housing Minister (and former general) Yoav Gallant told Bloomberg News this week, “It’s clear that friction between Iran and the U.S. can lead to a situation in which Iran decides to deploy Hezbollah against Israel … That’s their tool.”

Meanwhile, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu this week expressed Israel’s readiness for such a confrontation, if it comes. ‘“We don’t want an escalation, but we are prepared for every scenario. We don’t want confrontation, but if there needs to be one, it is better now than later,” the Prime Minister told reports following a meeting of Israel’s Cabinet.

With the situation regarding Iran at such a point of tension, other events which would normally command centre stage are being relegated to a secondary role. Nevertheless, the opening of the new US embassy in Jerusalem on May 14 is set to cause an uptick in tensions between Israelis and Palestinians. The opening will be followed on May 15 by the culmination of Hamas’s six-week “March of Return” campaign in the Gaza Strip. This series of marches to the border fence is intended to revive the fortunes of Hamas, whose Gaza domain is isolated and cash strapped. May 15 is also the anniversary of the State of Israel’s declaration of independence (though strictly speaking the declaration took place on the 14) and is remembered by Palestinians as the date of their Nakba (catastrophe).

It is possible there will be attempts to break through the border fence. Israeli communities are located as little as one kilometre from the fence, so the situation will be tense.

It is worth remembering that Gaza is not hermetically sealed off from the stand-off with Iran in the north. Teheran possesses its clients among the Palestinians, who may be directed to escalate the situation. The small Palestinian Islamic Jihad organisation is a wholly owned franchise of Iran. Hamas’s relations with Teheran are more complex and the movement sought in recent years to distance itself from the Iranian regime. Hamas Gaza leader Yahya Sinwar has worked to patch up relations over the last year abd in August Sinwar declared that Iran was once again the largest backer of Hamas.

But it the northern tier of Syria and Lebanon that remains by far the gravest concern for Israel. It is here the ambitions and agendas of Iran appear most directly set on a course of potential collision with the Jewish state.

Iranian assistance has been vital to the cause of Bashar al Assad since the the uprising against him in early 2011. The Syrian president, whose regime rests on a narrow platform of sectarian support, was beset from the beginning by a problem of insufficient loyal manpower. It is the Iranians, not the Russians, who addressed this vital issue throughout the war.

However, Iran, in its usual fashion, did not elect to strengthen the existing, regime-controlled Syrian Arab Army. Rather, in accordance with similar methods pursued in Iraq and Lebanon, Iran has preferred to create its own, Revolutionary Guards-controlled structures in Syria. These defend the Assad regime, to be sure, but they are not under its sole control. Thus, Iran organised and created the National Defence Forces, consisting of Syrian volunteers, mainly from non-Sunni communities and now numbering 50,000 to 60,000 fighters.

Iran also mobilised its proxies throughout the region and brought them to Syria to plug the manpower gap. Thus, there are today about 6000 Lebanese Hizballah fighters on Syrian soil, along with perhaps 3000 Revolutionary Guards personnel and an additional 10,000 to 15,000 members of other Iran-supported Shia militias from Iraq, Afghanistan and Pakistan.

As the rebellion against Assad has continued to lose ground, so the construction of Iranian infrastructure in Syria has continued. The examples of Hizballah in Lebanon and the Popular Mobilisation Units in Iraq indicate that Iran’s version of assistance is not dismantled when the threat has subsided.

Israel is concerned that this infrastructure, with its contiguous land link to Iraq and thence to Iran itself, is intended primarily for use as a tool of pressure and violence against the Jewish state. Iran is openly and noisily in favour of the destruction of Israel. It wishes to achieve this goal through a long-war strategy of attrition and harassment. Entrenchment in Syria would significantly increase the Iranian ability to pursue this strategy.

While the local and regional militias pose a challenge, the main worry in Jerusalem is the hardware that Iran is seeking to import and base in Syria. Consolidation of this infrastructure – UAV bases, surface-to-surface missiles and anti-aircraft batteries – appears to be what Israel is most determined to prevent.

On April 9, Israeli aircraft struck at a drone facility maintained by the Revolutionary Guards’ Aerospace force at the T4 base near Palmyra. Fourteen people were killed, among them seven Iranians, including a Revolutionary Guards colonel, Mehdi Deghdan Yazdeli.

On April 30, Israeli aircraft carried out a larger scale raid on two points – the 47 Brigade base south west of Hama, and the Nayrab military airbase close to Aleppo. The New York Times reported that the strikes killed 16 people, including 11 Iranians, and destroyed 200 missiles.

On May 9, following reports of “irregular Iranian movements” in southern Syria, explosions were heard south of Damascus. Israel opened public bomb shelters in the Golan Heights. Regional media reported that Israel attacked an army base south of Damascus, where Iranian personnel were based. Nine militiamen were killed, according to the usually reliable Syrian Observatory for Human Rights.

Then, in the early hours of May 10, the Iranians launched their 20 missiles, and Israel responded. The Iranian strike was not successful, and it is not clear whether Teheran will consider it to have constituted sufficient retaliation for the Israeli action on April 30. Given the scale of the Israeli response to the attack, this seems unlikely.

What form is further Iranian action likely to take?

Iran has a number of options. It possesses a global terror infrastructure and might seek to attack an Israeli facility or an Israeli or Jewish target abroad. In the past, Teheran and Hizballah have sought retribution in this way. The attack in 1994 on the Amia Jewish community centre in Buenos Aires, and the murder of Israeli tourists in Burgas, Bulgaria, in 2012 are examples of this.

Alternatively, Iran could instruct its Lebanese Hizballah proxies to carry out an attack on Israeli forces across the border from Lebanon. This is how Teheran sought to retaliate for the killing by Israel of a number of Revolutionary Guards and Hizballah personnel close to the Golan Heights in January 2015.

Israeli planners were expecting Iran’s retaliation for the nine dead militiamen was likely to be carried out in Syria, probably with the help of Shia militia personnel on the ground. It was not the first time Iranian personnel have been killed by Israel on Syrian soil. But it was the first time Iranian facilities, not those of proxy groups, were targeted. The Iranian action on May 10 was the first time Israel was directly targeted in a real-time conventional military operation led by the Revolutionary Guards. This is likely to set the pattern for further events to come.

So where is all this heading? Israel’s Defence Minister Avigdor Lieberman has said that allowing Iran to consolidate its infrastructure in Syria would be “agreeing to the Iranians placing a noose around our necks”. This, the defence minister said, would be prevented “at all costs”.

It is not entirely clear, of course, what “consolidation”, “entrenchment” and their prevention actually mean, or could entail. Does Israel require that all presence of the Iranians be removed from Syria, down to the last proxy fighter? If so, then conflict between Teheran and Jerusalem is a near inevitability, since there is no chance of Iran acquiescing to this except by coercion. On the other hand, if the Israeli intention is to prevent the Iranians from transferring certain weapons systems into Syria – advanced anti-aircraft systems, ballistic missiles, UAVs – then conflagration may not be so imminent.

Iran has an interest in keeping to what it is good at. What it is good at is developing paramilitary proxy political-military organisations. This is the key to its success in Lebanon, Syria, Iraq and Yemen. What it is much less good at is conventional warfare, particularly in the air. The country has a poorly equipped, Cold War-era air force. It possesses ballistic missiles capable of reaching Israel, to be sure. But Israel has in recent years developed in cooperation with the US some of the most advanced missile defence systems in the world. Iran’s own defences against Israeli retaliation, meanwhile, are far less developed.

This means that Iran may well prefer to absorb Israeli strikes, carrying out a token retaliation for form’s sake. Such an approach would derive not from pacific intentions. Rather, the Iranians would calculate that it is in their interests to continue to quietly build their strength in Syria, while absorbing periodic Israeli disruptions of their arrangements. Since the Iranians may well be engaged, as in Lebanon and Iraq, in a project concerned with the long-term transformation of these countries into clients/puppets of the Islamic Republic of Iran, the immediate settling of scores may not be deemed of paramount urgency.

Of course, this begs the question as to whether Israel will wish to acquiesce to the pursuit of such an Iranian strategy, with all it implies for the future security of Israel. In the meantime, following the fire and smoke of the night of May 10, and until the next move, we are back to the waiting period.

Also see:

***

Zumwalt: A Pyongyang Defector May Give Trump an Upper Hand in Negotiations with Kim

AFP PHOTO / KCNA VIA KNS

Breitbart, by James Zumwalt, May 9, 2018:

In a totally unexpected development, the defection of a high-level North Korean official has caught both North Korea and the U.S. by surprise days before the yet-to-be-scheduled meeting between President Donald Trump and dictator Kim Jong-un.

Its impact on negotiations to end Pyongyang’s nuclear program remains to be seen.

If Pyongyang delays, it may well be due to an advantage Trump will have gained beforehand. If so, the advantage will be eerily similar to one President John F. Kennedy attained over the Soviets during the 1962 Cuban Missile Crisis negotiations.

Tipped off earlier by a spy working for the U.S. in Moscow that the Soviets were deploying nuclear missiles to Cuba, U.S. Navy ships began patrolling the waters off the island, preparing to intercept additional Soviet vessels en route to bring missiles to the island nation. As Kennedy and his Soviet counterpart, Premier Nikita Khrushchev, stared eyeball-to-eyeball in a game of nuclear poker, the world appeared to be on the brink of war.

But if Kennedy were to force Khrushchev to blink first, he needed to know what cards the Soviet leader was holding. Kennedy needed to know if the missiles photographed on launchers were operational and guidance systems functioning.

For this critical intelligence, Kennedy turned to his spy in Moscow, who was not an American but a colonel in the Soviet military intelligence (GRU): Oleg Penkovsky. Getting the intelligence back to Washington in a timely manner, however, risked Penkovsky’s identity being uncovered.

Knowing the risk, Penkovsky sent Kennedy the answers he needed. Now knowing the missiles were not operational, the President could demand Khrushchev remove them. Kennedy negotiated a quid-pro-quo with the Soviets (removing missiles in Turkey) so they would not lose total face. Later, however, the Soviets were able to determine Penkovsky’s identity, for which he was brutally executed. The means of execution, if true, only underscores the inhumanity of which humanity is capable. Tied down on a slab, he was allegedly slowly inserted into a raging furnace fire, feet first to draw out the pain. The execution was witnessed by others to get the message out as to the fate awaiting traitors. While an unsung hero of the Cuban Missile Crisis, Penkovsky ultimately paid a heavy personal price helping to avoid nuclear war.

This brings us to what recently happened in North Korea. Kim Jong-un received the unpleasant news in February that a high-ranking official had defected, not only taking with him a large amount of cash but, more importantly, a treasure trove of nuclear secrets. He apparently fled to England but could be anywhere in Europe or, even possibly, the U.S. Undoubtedly, the documents he had with him are eagerly being translated and shared with U.S. intelligence agencies. Kim Jong-un knows whatever the documents contain will give Trump an advantage as far as what demands to make of Kim at the talks.

The defector, only identified as “Mr. Kang,” is believed to be a colonel and senior counter-espionage official. He defected while in China, disappearing on February 25th from a facility operated by both the North Korean and Chinese governments, reportedly serving as an office for the former’s hackers working in China. It is said Kang was responsible for getting information for the North’s nuclear program to scientists.

Kang must not have had much concern about getting caught as he also is said to have taken with him a counterfeit machine used to print U.S. currency.

Based on Kang’s knowledge alone and, thus, the intelligence he could provide the U.S. and its allies, Kim, reportedly, has dispatched a ten-man hit squad to locate and execute Kang. It is an act Kim has no reluctance to do as evidenced by the execution he is believed to have ordered last year of his half-brother while he was in an airport terminal in Malaysia.

The hit squad, undoubtedly, has motivation to be successful as their failure would probably result in their own execution upon returning to North Korea.

While there are some espionage similarities between the Cuban Missile Crisis and this incident, there is one major difference concerning the motivation of the two colonels involved. Colonel Penkovsky’s motivation was ideological in nature; Colonel Kang’s is believed to be financially-driven. Apparently, evidence was discovered in North Korea that Kang had been taking money while out of the country. Rather than return home to plea for his life, he opted to go rogue, leaving his family behind. Unfortunately, it is they from whom a heavy price will undoubtedly be extracted.

Defections are somewhat common in North Korea, a sufficient number over the past few decades probably to populate a small country. It is estimated there have been about 30,000 defections. But those by high-level officials, who enjoy living the high life of the elites, are rare.

Kang’s defection offers us a great opportunity to learn much more about North Korea’s nuclear program. Coming on the heels of Israel’s release of over 100,000 pages on Iran’s secret nuclear arms program it surreptitiously smuggled out of that country, both caches of documents should prove most illuminating – not only about their own individual programs but about their contributory efforts to arm two members of the Axis of Evil with nuclear weapons.

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.

Caroline Glick: Time to Leave the Iran Deal

AP Photo/Wilfredo Lee

Breitbart, by Caroline Glick, April 29, 2018:

Newly-confirmed Secretary of State Mike Pompeo’s travel schedule mainly signals how concerned the Trump administration has become about the growing probability of war breaking out imminently between Israel and Iran, with Iran’s Syrian and Lebanese proxies fighting on Iran’s behalf against the Jewish state.

Pompeo went straight to Andrews Air Force base from his confirmation ceremony at the Supreme Court last week to embark on his first diplomatic mission.

He travelled to Brussels for a summit of NATO members and is scheduled to continue on to Israel, Jordan and Saudi Arabia before returning to Washington late next week.

Several Israeli media outlets claimed Pompeo’s decision to visit Israel during his first trip abroad as Secretary of State is an expression of his support for the Jewish state.

While that may be true, the administration is also worried about the region.

Speaking to Congress Thursday, Secretary of Defense James Mattis said that war between Iran and Israel, in Syria is “very likely.”

The likeliness of war, he said, owes to the fact that “Iran continues to do its proxy work there [in Syria] through Hezbollah,” and is “bringing advanced weapons for Hezbollah through Syria.”

Israel, he said, “will not wait to see those missiles in the air and we hope Iran would pull back.”

During the same testimony, Mattis repeated his support for the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA), better known as the nuclear deal with Iran, which the Obama administration — together with France, Britain, Germany, Russia and China — concluded with the Iranian regime in 2015.

Mattis argued that the nuclear deal limits Iran’s nuclear capabilities through its inspections regime. In his words, “It is written almost with an assumption that Iran would try to cheat. The verification, what is in there, is actually pretty robust as far as our intrusive ability to get in,” to Iran’s nuclear installations is concerned.

It is notable that Mattis addressed the prospect of war between Israel and Iran in Syria and the JCPOA in the same testimony.

Throughout the Obama administration’s nuclear negotiations with Iran, and since the deal was concluded in July 2015, its supporters have insisted that Iran’s support for terrorism, its regional aggression, and its ballistic missile program have to be dealt with separately from Iran’s illicit nuclear weapons program.

During his address to the Munich Security Conference in February, former Secretary of State John Kerry, who led the U.S. negotiating team with Iran, defended that position. Kerry said that singling out Iran’s nuclear program and ignoring the rest of its rogue activities “was not a concession, but was a matter of strategic thinking.”

Kerry has acknowledged that Iran used the billions of dollars it received as a result of acceding to the nuclear agreement to finance terror. But, he insisted at the Munich conference, Iran’s nuclear program was so advanced by the time the talks began in earnest, that the only way to stop Iran from developing a nuclear arsenal without bombing its nuclear facilities was by concluding a deal that dealt only with limitations on its nuclear progress and ignored all the other things Iran does to destabilize the Middle East.

That is, according to the circular reasoning Kerry and his colleagues employed during the nuclear talks with Tehran and continue to employ today, any attempt to restrain Iran’s rogue operations in terror, regional aggression, and ballistic missile development – which all exacerbate the risk of war — endanger the nuclear deal. And without the nuclear deal, there will be war.

In other words, the nuclear deal was necessary to prevent war, while any effort to prevent war threatens the nuclear deal, by Kerry’s illogic.

And now as Mattis told Congress, and as Pompeo’s hasty trip to the Middle East make clear, even as the U.S. has maintained the nuclear deal, the prospect of war has become a near certainty.

Which brings us to the question of the desirability of retaining the nuclear deal.

President Donald Trump set a May 12 deadline for U.S. and European negotiators to improve the nuclear deal in key areas. These include improving the inspections regime and eliminating the deal’s so-called “sunset clauses,” which lift all restrictions on Iran’s nuclear activities between 2025 and 2030. If, as appears likely, the U.S. and its allies to do not agree on changes to the nuclear deal, Trump will abandon it. His act will cause the reinstatement of U.S. sanctions against Iran’s banking and oil sector, which were suspended with the conclusion of the nuclear deal.  Although France and Germany have pledged to remain loyal to the agreement, the practical effect of such a move by the U.S. will be to end the deal.

In light of Trump’s apparent determination to walk away from the nuclear deal in two weeks, Mattis’s defense of it before Congress was notable for several reasons.

First Mattis’s defense of the deal’s verification regime was disingenuous. Contrary to Mattis’ claims, the agreement’s verification mechanisms are not strong. The nuclear deal does not allow UN inspectors to freely access nuclear sites. Under the deal, Iran can label any nuclear site it wishes a “military site.” And under the agreement, UN inspectors need to request permission to enter military sites and Iran can refuse them access.

An appeals procedure to an Iranian move to block access to “military sites” is drawn out — and in the event Iran’s veto of inspections is overruled, Iran can delay UN inspectors’ arrival for 24 days, more than ample time for the Iranians to remove or conceal anything they don’t want inspectors to see.

As a consequence, the UN inspectors’ claim that Iran is in compliance with the agreement does not mean that Iran is not developing nuclear weapons. It simply means that within the narrow limits of UN inspection power, Iran is cooperating with inspectors.

Military sites are not the only sites that UN inspectors are blocked from visiting. The deal does not permit UN inspectors to visit suspected nuclear sites.

As Israel’s Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu explained in his speech before the joint houses of Congress in 2015, Iran hid the existence of its key nuclear facilities – at Isfahan and Qom – from the International Atomic Energy Agency. Given its track record, the notion that Iran does not have other covert nuclear installations is absurd. And under the deal, if such installations are discovered by foreign intelligence agencies, Iran is not required to permit UN inspectors to see what is happening inside them.

Finally, the question of inspections, while important, is not central to the problematic nature of the nuclear deal. Under the deal, Iran retains its nuclear installations. It is permitted to develop the means to produce far more advanced centrifuges than the ones it was known to be operating in 2015.

So even if Iran follows the deal to the letter, it will still be able to develop nuclear weapons as soon as the nuclear restrictions it accepted as part of the deal expire in seven years.

Far from blocking Iran’s path to a nuclear arsenal, the deal guarantees Iran will become a nuclear power.

Given that the inspection regime is not “robust,” and that even if it were robust, it still wouldn’t prevent Iran from developing a nuclear arsenal, Mattis’s decision to lump together his position on the nuclear deal with his warning of imminent war between Israel and Iran indicate that Mattis views the two issues as related.

Specifically, Mattis’s defense of the deal signals that he agrees with Kerry’s view that the risk of war will rise if Trump abandons the nuclear deal.

If Mattis – and Kerry – are right, then Trump should simply maintain faith with the nuclear deal as the Germans and French are hoping he will.

But are Mattis and Kerry right?

If Trump maintains the nuclear deal, he will empower the Iranian regime. He will signal to the Europeans that Iran is open for business and give a lifeline to the rapidly collapsingIranian economy. Trump will communicate to the Iranian regime and the Iranian people alike that the U.S. is deterred by the regime’s threats.

Conversely, abandonment of the nuclear deal by the U.S. will weaken, if not cripple the regime. Reinstituting U.S. sanctions against Iran will hasten the downfall of the Iranian economy, which is already coming apart at the seams. Iran’s current economic woes owe to its limited access to foreign currencies through the international banking system. Further U.S. economic sanctions will limit that access still further, and send hundreds of thousands of Iranians into the streets to protest as what is left of their rial-backed savings are rendered worthless by skyrocketing inflation.

If the regime is destabilized, its desire to go to war against Israel will likely diminish rather than increase. During the countrywide anti-regime protests last December and January, the demonstrators protested against the regime’s diversion of billions of dollars away from the public to pay for the war in Syria and to underwrite Hezbollah, Hamas, and the Houthis. The protesters called out, “No Gaza, No Lebanon, No Syria, My life for Iran!”

At the UN Security Council on Thursday, Israel’s UN Ambassador Dani Danon revealednew details about Iran’s burgeoning military presence on Syria. “There are over 80,000 extremists from all over the Middle East who are members of Shia militias in Syria under Iranian control,” he said.

Danon shared satellite imagery of what he claimed is an Iranian recruitment center just five miles outside Damascus. His presentation dovetailed with satellite imagery released by the Israeli military earlier in the month detailing five Iranian-controlled air bases in Syria. The release of the air base data was interpreted as a signal to the Iranians that Israel intends to bomb the bases if Iran carries out its threat to retaliate for Israel’s air assault on the Iranian drone base T-4 outside Palmyra, Syria immediately after the US-led airstrikes on Syria’s chemical weapons installations on April 7.

All of these recent events, and the rising threat of war, show that opponents of the Iran nuclear deal were correct and that Kerry’s circular reasoning, which prevented the U.S. and its allies from taking effective action against any of Iran’s nuclear and non-nuclear operations, was dead wrong.

Not only does the nuclear deal pave Iran’s path to a nuclear arsenal rather than block it, by enriching Iran, the deal also rewarded Iranian aggression and increased the chance of a major regional war.

The way to diminish that prospect is not to empower the Iranians still further by maintaining the deal. The way to diminish the chance of war is by weakening Iran. Leaving the deal, while standing with Israel and with opponents of the regime inside Iran, means doing just that.

North and South Korea Agree to ‘Complete Denuclearization,’ End of Korean War

Pool/Getty Images

Breitbart, by John Hayward, April 27, 2018:

At their historic summit meeting in Panmunjom on Friday, North Korean dictator Kim Jong-un and South Korean President Moon Jae-in announced they would work for the “complete denuclearization of the Korean peninsula” and formally end the Korean War after 55 years.

“The two leaders declare before our people of 80 million and the entire world there will be no more war on the Korean peninsula and a new age of peace has begun,” said the summit declaration.

North and South Korea cannot unilaterally end the Korean War on their own, as China and the United States must also sign the peace treaty. The summit led to a commitment from both Korean governments that they would begin working with Washington and Beijing this year to formally end the war.

Seoul and Pyongyang also agreed to hold more high-level talks and bilateral events, establish a joint liaison office in the Kaesong industrial zone, jointly participate in international sporting events such as the 2018 Asian Games, work on reuniting families separated by the Korean War, and resume joint economic projects that were canceled when inter-Korea relations soured.

Another significant development is that both sides agreed to stop throwing propaganda at each other across the Demilitarized Zone – South Korea uses loudspeakers, while North Korea favors printed leaflets – and establish a “peace zone” along their maritime border to ensure the safety of fishermen.

The American and Chinese governments both welcomed the Korean declaration. Naturally, President Donald Trump did so on Twitter:

China’s congratulations were delivered in a more formal style by the Foreign Ministry, as quoted by South Korea’s Yonhap news service:

Today, the leaders of South and North Korea held their summit successfully. (They) announced a joint declaration on their common understanding of inter-Korean relations, easing military tension on the Korean Peninsula, denuclearizing the peninsula and a permanent peace. The positive outcome of the summit is helpful for inter-Korean reconciliation and cooperation, peace and stability on the peninsula and the political resolution of Korean Peninsula issues.

Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe praised the summit agreements as “positive news,” but injected a note of skepticism into his congratulations, stating that his government will “keep watching North Korea.” He suggested he would withhold final judgment until he speaks with President Moon directly.

“Japan will compare the latest declaration to the previous ones and respond according to the analysis. Japan will solidly unite with South Korea and the United States, as well as with China and Russia, for the resolution of abduction, nuclear and missile issues,” said Abe.

The summit agreements are, at the moment, primarily symbolic in nature, but the symbolism is powerful. Observers around the world marveled at surreal photos and videos of Kim Jong-un walking onto South Korean soil and shaking hands with Moon.

“It was a very courageous decision for you to come all the way here,” Moon told Kim.

Kim then broke from the tightly scripted ceremony to invite Moon to walk back across the border with him. “Maybe this is the right time for you to enter North Korean territory,” he said.

Moon accepted the offer, so Friday saw the leaders of both nations walking on each others’ territory for the first time since the armistice in 1953.

Moon later announced that he will visit Pyongyang this fall, and expressed a desire to visit historic Mount Paektu near the Chinese border.

“Wow, if you invite me to the Blue House I am willing to go to the Blue House anytime,” Kim said after Moon broached the possibility of a visit to the presidential house in Seoul.

Kim poured on the charm with a number of little jokes during the summit, such as his humorously-phrased promise to discontinue the provocative early-morning missile tests that brought the Korean peninsula to the brink of war: “President Moon, I heard you didn’t sleep very well because you had to take part in a National Security Council meeting, and you have habitually been waking up very early … I will make sure I won’t interrupt your morning sleep anymore.”

Of course, it will take more than a few symbolic gestures and witty remarks at a summit meeting to ease the tensions North Korea has created. It should be noted that the South Korean opposition was strongly critical of the summit, calling it a “show camouflaged as peace” where Moon “wrote down the words Kim called out.” Opposition leaders also criticized Moon for committing to bilateral denuclearization instead of insisting on North Korea’s nuclear disarmament.

While President Moon stressed the importance of the two Korean governments leading the way in resolving their differences, South Korean Foreign Minister Kang Kyung-wha told CNN on Friday that her government appreciates President Trump’s role in advancing the peace process, or “stepping on the accelerator,” as she put it.

“Clearly, credit goes to President Trump. He’s been determined to come to grips with this from day one,” she said.

The ball is once again in President Trump’s court, as his own summit meeting with Kim Jong-un is tentatively scheduled for May or June, with the date and venue yet to be determined.

“It could be that I walk out quickly – with respect, but it could be. It could be that maybe the meeting doesn’t even take place. Who knows? But I can tell you right now they want to meet,” Trump told Fox News on Thursday.

Also see:

Brief Supports Extreme Vetting for Jihadists

AFLC Files Brief in SCOTUS on Behalf of National Security Experts in Support of Extreme Vetting for Islamist Sharia Ideology

 

Washington, D.C. (February 28, 2017) — Yesterday, lawyers from the American Freedom Law Center (AFLC), a national, nonprofit Judeo-Christian law firm, filed an amicus curiaebrief on behalf of seven national security experts (Andrew C. McCarthyCenter for Security PolicyFrank GaffneyDr. Robert J. ShillmanAdmiral James “Ace” Lyons, Jr., U.S. Navy RetiredLieutenant General William G. Boykin, U.S. Army Retired, and Ambassador Henry F. Cooper) in the United States Supreme Court in the case litigating the President’s proclamation restricting travel from certain countries.

The AFLC-authored brief argues that the President’s most recent executive proclamation suspending entry and creating a more rigorous entry vetting process for immigrants and travelers from certain high-risk countries (Chad, Iran, Libya, North Korea, Syria, Venezuela, Yemen, and Somalia) was a constitutional and statutorily permitted first step before implementing a more thorough-going “extreme vetting” of potential jihadists.  The brief lays out the policy and legal basis for an extreme vetting of Islamists who advocate or adhere to a political ideology predicated upon Sharia supremacism.  The brief argues that it is classic and extant Islamic law that is the threat doctrine underpinning jihad by the various Islamic groups, whether they be Al Qaeda, the Islamic State, or the Muslim Brotherhood.

David Yerushalmi, AFLC Co-Founder and Senior Counsel, and described by The New York Times as one of the central leaders of the anti-Sharia movement in the U.S., explained,

“The litigants and other amici will focus on the narrow statutory issues of the proclamation, and especially on the power of the executive branch to exclude travelers from failed states.  Most of the president’s adversaries will claim the revised travel ban is a disguised ban on Muslims while the President and his legal team from the Solicitor General’s Office will flee from that fight by arguing that it has nothing to do with Muslims or Islam.  This brief plants a flag of coherence on the beach we must take if we are to protect this country’s security from the quiet and legal infiltration of jihadists flowing in from not only Muslim failed states, but also Muslim functioning states, Africa, and even Europe.”

Robert Muise, AFLC Co-Founder and Senior Counsel, and considered one of the country’s top First Amendment litigators, added,

“The AFLC brief argues that the President has not only the authority for a travel ban, he has the constitutional and statutory authority to impose an ideological vetting process to screen for Sharia-adherent Islamists.  This will be the first time since 9-11 that this issue will be squarely and coherently briefed to the Supreme Court.  It begins the all too important policy discussion at the highest levels within the Halls of Justice and, as such, within the inner reaches of the law.  It turns the lawfare of the Islamists and Progressives in on itself and reshapes and indeed opens up new fronts on the legal and policy battlefields enabling those who cherish western civilization and our constitutional republic to take an offensive and ultimately rational posture into the lawfare and policy trenches.”

As one piece of the evidentiary framework for the brief, AFLC cites to a relatively recent peer-reviewed study, co-authored by Mr. Yerushalmi, revealing the statistically relevant correlation between sharia adherence at U.S. mosques and the propensity to preach and to propagate violent jihad against the West.  The study was first published by the Middle East Quarterly and subsequently in expanded form in Perspectives on Terrorism.

Copies of the National Security Experts’ amicus curiae brief may be downloaded here.

When the Government Fails In Its Primary Duty, The People Will Defend Themselves

Written by John Guandolo, President/Founder of Understanding the Threat (UTT) on March 1, 2018:

100% of Islamic Law (sharia) mandates warfare against non-muslims, and obliges stoning, crucifixion and beheading for certain crimes.  Islam’s prophet – a “beautiful pattern of conduct” for all muslims for all times – himself tortured, killed, took sex slaves, waged war on non-muslims, lied, and commanded war until the earth was under Islamic rule.  Yet, the President’s National Security Advisor, Herbert McMaster tells the public the actions of Al Qaeda and the Islamic State have nothing to do with Islam.

Presidents Clinton, Bush, and Obama all told the American people Islam is not a threat, but a peaceful religion.

They were wrong.  What they said is factually untrue and can never be true.

President Clinton’s Islamic Advisor, who also created the Muslim Chaplain Program for the Department of Defense and, as a “Goodwill Ambassador” for the State Department participated in the Middle East peace process on behalf of the United States, was actually a financier for Al Qaeda (Abdurahman Alamoudi), who is now in federal prison.

The U.S. government modeled the “Countering Violent Extremism” program after the British program of the same name which was handed to the Brits by the Muslim Brotherhood in the UK.  The FBI and DHS dragged that trojan horse into the U.S. national security apparatus, and put senior Muslim Brotherhood operatives in advisory roles across the government to implement it.

Numerous members of Congress and other government officials publicly support known leaders of the U.S. Muslim Brotherhood, including the Council on American Islamic Relations (CAIR), which the U.S. Department of Justice identifies as a “Member of the U.S. Muslim Brotherhood’s Palestine Committee” which is Hamas in the United States.

Members of Congress to include nearly all Democrats, as well as John McCain, Scott Brown, Marco Rubio, John Boehner, Paul Ryan and others have consistently failed to identify the threat from the Islamic Movement, and have attacked those who speak truth about it, like former Congresswoman Michele Bachmann.

U.S. military generals and admirals created rules of engagement, policies on training, and wartime strategies all based on a counter-factual understanding of the enemy.  This is why the military’s “win the hearts and minds” crap got thousands of our men and women killed on the battlefield, frustrated our war-fighters, and got some of them put in jail for killing Al Qaeda jihadis outside the bounds of those same rules of engagement.

The FBI investigated:  the Boston Marathon bombers; the Orlando and San Bernadino jihadis; Abdulhakim Mujahid Muhammad, who killed Private Andy Long at a recruiting depot in Little Rock, Arkansas; the Ft Lauderdale jihadi; and so many others.  Yet in all of these cases, the FBI took no action to deter these attacks or kill/capture the men and women who perpetrated them before the attacks.

Why?  Because the U.S. federal government has catastrophically failed in its most basic duty:  to wield the sword and defend this nation and the the inalienable rights given to the American people by God.

We are at war and our government is certainly not acting like it.  They treat it like it is a crime spree.

In my time doing counter-jihad work, I have been physically threatened numerous times.  It is the nature of the business.  Just ask Geert Wilders, Robert Spencer, Pam Geller, and anyone else who speaks truth about Islam.

Ask Theo van Gogh.  Oh wait, you can’t.

I have contacted my old employer, the FBI, many times and filed reports about threats to me from jihadis.  There has been zero follow up by the FBI.

2016 was the first time the FBI followed up on real threats against me.

The FBI’s Oklahoma office opened investigations on two specific threats against me in the fall of 2016.  One of the threats just happened to come immediately after I testified in the Oklahoma State House that  two muslim leaders sitting in the hearing room are jihadis.

They are:  Dr. Imam Imad Enchassi, the Imam of the Muslim Brotherhood’s Islamic Society of Greater Oklahoma City; and Adam Soltani, the leader of Hamas in Oklahoma doing business as the Council on American Islamic Relations (CAIR).

The FBI classified the case, so when they did not prosecute, state and local prosecutors could not use information because it was classified.  By the time the case was declassified, the subject of the investigation fled the country.  See an article here about this incident.

Here is the point:  The United States government has demonstrated since 9/11/01 it is not capable of protecting its citizens, primarily because it refuses to identify Islam/sharia as the doctrinal driver of the jihadis, organizations, and nation states waging war against the West.

Apparently, our leaders are also incapable of reading 1400 years of Islamic history or reading what America’s founders wrote about Islam and the threat it poses to Western civilization.

American leaders are still discussing nuanced strategies, outreach, and interfaith dialogue, while nations have been and are being overthrown, hundreds of thousands of Christians lay dead overseas, and Europe is being overrun by Islamic jihadis (sharia adherent muslims).

America’s leaders play the violin while Rome burns.

The U.S. Department of Justice and the Attorney General of the United States have shown no sign of taking any productive action.  No domestic plan has been formulated to strategically deal with this real threat.

The answer resides, as it always does, in the hands of the American citizens.

Citizens must work to ensure local police/sheriffs get smart on the threat and take action.  Citizens must positively support police in developing aggressive investigative strategies to identify jihadis and their organizations at the local level and shut them down.  Citizens must organize to meet this enemy along every line of operation the enemy has created to stop their forward progress.

This can be done.  It is why Understanding the Threat does what we do, and we are the only ones doing it.

Local media, businesses, and leaders who protect these terrorists/jihadis and minimize the threat, must pay for their actions.  There are local and state laws on the books for individuals (like reporters) aiding and abetting seditious actors and terrorists.  Businesses should be boycotted and shut down if they support jihadi organizations.  Local elected officials should be jailed for propagandizing for, defending, or providing material support to individuals and organizations working to overthrow the state and federal Constitutions.

Many states have RICO statutes which cover many of these violations of the law.  Mostly, Americans must stop being so tolerant of those who support enemies of this nation, and begin taking affirmative actions.

Speak truth boldly IN love and WITHOUT fear.

Get involved in your local school district, local politics, and with your local police and sheriff’s office.  Force them to learn this information and act on it to protect the community, or get new people in positions of authority who will.

Take the fight to the enemy.  Do not wait in a defensive posture.  Put freedom on the offensive where it belongs.

It is late August 1939 in Warsaw, Poland.  As the darkness grows, will you sit and wait or will you do your best to thin the enemy’s ranks here in the U.S. before the larger war begins?