Meet the New Authoritarian Masters of the Internet

Getty Images

Getty Images

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

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

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

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

China

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Russia

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Turkey

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

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

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

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

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

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

Saudi Arabia

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

North Korea

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

***

Technology CEOs Shamefully Lubricate Internet’s Surrender by Frank Gaffney

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

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

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

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

***

First Debate

ontheradio2

The Gorka Briefing, by Dr. Sebastian Gorka, Sept. 27, 2016:

I discussed last night’s first presidential debate and the candidate’s coverage of national security with the hosts of AM560 Chicago’s Morning Answer.

John Bolton on Obama’s Internet Handover: ‘Within Ten Years, the Internet as We Know It Will End’

icann-tim-halesassociated-press-640x480Breitbart, by John Hayward, Sept 22, 2016:

On Thursday’s Breitbart News Daily on SiriusXM, former U.N. ambassador John Bolton predicted that the impending transfer of Internet domain control from American supervision to an international body will mean the end of the Internet “as we know it.”

Speaking to Breitbart Editor-in-Chief and SiriusXM host Alex Marlow, Bolton explained that we should be “very concerned” about the transfer from “a national-security perspective.”

“What we’ve gotten out of the Internet, under the shelter of a private American organization that contracts with the Commerce Department, [is] one of the few cases that I can think of in our history where we’ve had that kind of government involvement without regulation and interference,” said Bolton.

He continued:

But because it’s entirely a U.S. government proposition with U.S. people involved, the Internet has been free and open. If, as the Administration wants to do, it’s transferred to an international body, I will predict right here: within 10 years it will come under the control of the United Nations, and the Internet as we know it will end because there are governments around the world that are already doing everything they can to prevent a free and open Internet in their countries, and it will extend to ours in due course.

Bolton called the Internet handover “a mistake of such colossal proportions that you would have thought we’d have a huge debate about it in this country.”

LISTEN:

“Ted Cruz has been leading the charge in the Senate to prevent this from happening,” he said. “There may be legislation passed in these last days of this Congress, as they try and wrap the budget up. But really, people need to wake up to this. This is something from Obama I have feared for eight years, his tendencies toward global governance. I’ve been surprised to have to say he hasn’t done more, but in his last days in office, we may see the full flowering of it, and this transfer of control of the Internet is perhaps the worst example right at the moment.”

Bolton elaborated on what he meant by the Internet as we know it dying within 10 years:

What they’re talking about is succumbing to the demands of foreign governments and foreign interests who say, in what is effectively a global means of communication, it’s just wrong to have the United States in charge of it.

But the fact is, under American control, it’s had remarkable growth. It’s been kept free. It’s been able to withstand a lot of pressure to try and set rules that favor one side or another. And in an international environment, I can tell you from my own experience, when you get all kinds of governments from all over the world setting standards and making decisions, it will be far less free than it is now.

And I don’t think the particular kind of transfer we’re talking about now is the end of the game. This is a black-and-white, binary choice: it’s either under American control, or it’s not. And once we let go of it, we are never getting it back.

Marlow turned the conversation to Barack Obama’s final speech to the U.N. General Assembly, describing it as a “toned-down Obama” with a few condescending lines, but not as much “fiery rhetoric” as he anticipated.

“I think he wanted this to be his swan song,” said Bolton. “It was a very pedestrian speech, so I think he certainly failed in that effort. A lot of was just domestic American politics, which personally I think is unseemly in a speech to the U.N. or an international forum. I think the President, especially a lame duck President, should be above that.”

“I think it shows that, really, Barack Obama is not a statesman. He is a political hack, when it comes right down to it,” Bolton judged. “He was unsparing in his criticism of many countries — criticism I agree with, in the case of Russia, North Korea, and so on — but he couldn’t withstand the temptation to criticize America. Thank God he’s the smartest man in the country, and he can tell us what we’re doing wrong.”

Bolton said he was “utterly struck” by “the reaction in the hall — which was essentially no reaction.” He noted there was “very perfunctory applause by the international community, after years where they’ve repeatedly interrupted him.”

“My sense was, they understand he’s a lame duck now. Maybe they’re just as tired as many Americans of being lectured by this morally superior being, and they’re happy to see the back of him.”

Marlow asked for Bolton’s take on the state of the United Nations and if there was still anything productive emerging from its meetings. Bolton replied that “things are happening, but not because it’s the U.N.”

He explained:

This week in September is just a very convenient point, where a lot of leaders come to New York. You can do a lot of business in a short period of time without having to travel all over the world, although traffic in New York makes it feel like it takes forever to get from one place to another. But it’s less about the U.N. than it is about other forms of diplomatic business.

That said, I believe that if Hillary Clinton wins, she will do what I expected Obama to do, which is try to transfer more and more American sovereignty into international organizations across the range of issues — whether it’s climate change or the conduct of international affairs. I think Obama didn’t do as much as I expected in that vein because he really just doesn’t care about international affairs as much as he cares about ‘fundamentally transforming’ our country.

I think Hillary does have even grander ambitions, and so that’s why what we started off, the end of ICANN or the effective control of ICANN over the Internet, is an excellent example of global governance replacing American sovereignty in effect. And I think she’ll be much more on that. I hope that’s something Trump emphasizes in the upcoming debate.

Turning to last weekend’s terrorist attacks, Bolton said they were “evidence that the terrorist threat continues to increase, as senior intelligence officials of the Obama Administration itself have testified in an open session of Congress.”

“It’s a demonstration of the diversity of the sources of terrorism and the kinds of terrorism that we see,” he continued, referencing the Chelsea bomber’s evident affinity for al-Qaeda, rather than ISIS, and the Somali origins of the Minnesota mall stabber. “It doesn’t all come from Syria or Iraq in the Middle East. It comes from as far away as Somali or Afghanistan.”

“And I think it’s also a measure of the kind of terrorism, that some people want to call it ‘lone wolf’ terrorism because they’re trying to downplay its significance. But it’s not lone wolf terrorism,” Bolton argued. “We’re seeing increasingly the networks, the connections of these two terrorists. ISIS has claimed credit for the one in Minnesota. We see how the terrorist arrested in New Jersey was in communication with terrorists in Afghanistan.”

“Terrorism doesn’t look like a corporate organization chart. That doesn’t make it any easier to deal with, or any easier to prevent,” he warned. “I think it’s one reason what that issue is so important in the 2016 campaign, and it should be.”

Marlow brought up the nuclear threat from North Korea, saying that “half the time, I feel like this is a joke, and half the time I feel like this is one of the scariest things happening on Planet Earth.”

“Unfortunately, it’s the latter,” Bolton said, explaining that the Communist dictatorship in Pyongyang presents a real danger to the United States and its allies:

The regime has always struck most Americans as a joke. Who can believe these people who talk and look the way the Kim family dictatorship has over the years?

But serious military officials, both American and South Korea, have repeatedly ramped up their judgment of what the North is capable of, and they’ve been saying for some time now that it’s only a very short period of time before North Korea is able to take their nuclear devices — and they’ve now tested five — and miniaturize them, and put them under the nose cone of their increasingly sophisticated ballistic missiles, and hit targets on the U.S. West Coast.

So the need for missile defense, at an absolute minimum — national missile defense for the United States, a program the Obama Administration gutted when they came into office, with the full support of Hillary Clinton. Dealing more effectively with North Korea, and I think trying to get more intelligence on whether and to what extent there is a connection between the nuclear programs of Iran and North Korea — because these may seem like very different threats, but we know that for 20 years, if not more, they’ve cooperated on their missile programs, and I personally think there’s every reason to believe they’re cooperating on the nuclear programs as well.

We just don’t have enough information, and people don’t take this threat of the ‘Axis of Evil’ seriously enough. But if either or both of them get the capability to deliver nuclear by ballistic missile, we’ll take it seriously then.

Bolton concluded with his thoughts on the situation in Syria, where he sees the Russians and Iranians as having a “very distinct interest,” namely keeping Bashar Assad in power, while Obama’s goals and strategies remain vague and ineffective:

The ISIS threat is something that could have been dealt with a year, year and a half ago, if the Obama Administration had had a coherent foreign policy, but it doesn’t. And I think now we’re seeing continued chaos in Syria. ISIS may have lost some territory, but it’s still there, still recruiting terrorists. The Assad regime is still in place. Russian influence has increased, Iranian has increased, American influence has decreased. Really, how could it get much worse?

Dr. Sebastian Gorka: Chelsea Bomber Is ‘A Man Who Has Taken Sides in a War,’ Not ‘Just Another Criminal’

Fox News/Screengrab

Fox News/Screengrab

Breitbart, by John Hayward, Sept. 23, 2016:

Breitbart News National Security Editor Dr. Sebastian Gorka, author of the best-selling book Defeating Jihad: The Winnable War, addressed the idea of treating Chelsea bomber Ahmad Khan Rahami as an enemy combatant, rather than a criminal, in a Fox News appearance.

“I think it’s very compelling to make an argument that this isn’t just another criminal,” Gorka told host Neil Cavuto. “This isn’t a member of the Mafia, this isn’t a bank robber. This is a man who has taken sides in a war, and he is on the side of an enemy entity – in this case, the Islamic State, the new caliphate, run by Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi.”

“If you look at World War II, we did not treat enemy agents captured on U.S. soil as just common criminals,” he pointed out. “In fact, they were treated as enemy combatants, and if they were U.S. citizens, the treason statutes applied. So if you believe we’re at war, Neil, then there’s a very compelling case to be made that you don’t treat this guy just like a common criminal.”

Cavuto noted that Rahami apparently will be treated as a criminal, with defenders of the practice arguing that other terrorists have been handled through the criminal courts successfully.

“It’s a question of perspective: do you think we are at war?” Gorka maintained. “I think we are. I think we are now in the 16th year – we just had the 15th anniversary of 9/11, and we are in the longest war America has ever waged, since 1776.”

“This isn’t just a bunch of random criminals. They’re not people making profit. These aren’t psychos. This isn’t Jeffrey Dahmer. These are jihadis who wish to destroy America and Western civilization. As such, i think they should be treated as enemy combatants, and not enjoy the rights and privileges that Americans enjoy, who are citizens of this nation, and don’t wish to destroy this nation.”

Cavuto asked Gorka if he thought Rahami had help, “maybe a lot of help.”

“Oh, my gosh. This is a man who, I’ve read the contents of the journal, this man was not just a consumer, he was a propagator of jihadi narrative,” Gorka responded, referring to the notebook taken from Rahami after his capture.

“Not only did his father turn him in, or try to turn him in, he made blatantly anti-American statements in public. He made blatantly homophobic statements. And then what does he do? He travels to South Asia and he visits Quetta. Quetta is the hotbed of jihadism,” he said.

***

Andrew McCarthy, former Assistant U.S. Attorney for the Southern District of N.Y., discusses calls for Ahmad Khan Rahami to be treated as Enemy Combatant

The 3 flaws in Rep. McCaul’s plan to secure the homeland

Carolina K. Smith MD | Shutterstock

Carolina K. Smith MD | Shutterstock

Conservative Review, by Daniel Horowitz and Nate Madden, Sept. 21, 2016:

It’s impossible to craft a solution to a security threat when policy-makers refuse to identify the nature of the threat, its source, and its threat doctrine. Given that Democrats refuse to even recognize any correlation between any form of Islam and Jihad, their policies reflect a perfectly consistent and unvarnished willful blindness of the modern jihadist threat. In releasing the House GOP’s plan to combat Islamic terror, however, Homeland Security Chairman Michael McCaul, R-Texas. (F, 58%) exhibits the same systemic misdiagnosis of the problem, albeit one that is a step or two closer to the truth than the Democrats.

Yesterday, Chairman McCaul unveiled “A National Strategy to Win the War against Islamist Terror.” While the plan at least references Islamic terror as the key threat and very broadly and generally outlines worthy end-goals, the overarching outline has two fatal flaws.

  • It still refuses to name names when it comes to specific threats and;
  • The overall policy objectives, strategies, and suggestions, are overly general, almost vacuous, and obfuscate the true common sense path forward screaming out for much-needed attention from our political leaders.

This all stems from McCaul’s refusal to identify the specific threat of mass Sharia-adherent immigration, unreformed-Islam in general, and the fifth column that operates within this country to ensure that Muslim communities become disenchanted with America’s constitutional system of government.

The introduction sets the tone for the entire policy paper. McCaul asserts that “Islamist terrorists have perverted a major religion into a hateful worldview, and while most Muslims do not share their beliefs, their influence is spreading like wildfire.” While this definitely sounds more refreshing than the Democrat refusal to mention Islam at all, it is still a factually troubled statement because it completely divorces the problem from anything inherent in the practice of the religion itself by those who strictly adhere to Sharia. That is not a small group of people perverting a religion and it’s not isolated to terrorist groups such as Al Qaeda and ISIS. While ISIS’s successful propaganda campaign has definitely fanned the flames and provided Sharia-adherents with a fulfillment of the caliphate, the problem existed long before 2013 and will continue after the caliphate collapses.

McCaul continues down this false narrative of divorcing “terrorists” (the scary network people abroad) from the general population of Sharia-supporting Muslims already living in America or those who seek to immigrate: “Terrorists are trying to send operatives to our shores and radicalize new ones in U.S. communities.”

Once again, McCaul believes that the threat is limited to potential infiltration of known terror networks into immigrant or native Muslim populations, completely disregarding the inherent threat of large populations of Sharia-adherents clustered together in the West. It’s as if McCaul can’t find Europe on a map.

Moreover, McCaul completely ignores the fact that civilization jihad is being waged on our shores, within the government, and within our political class by the Muslim Brotherhood to radicalize Muslim communities and marginalize reformists. They don’t need to send operatives to our shores when Hamas fundraisers are already here, obtaining security clearances and downright training our law enforcement in “counter terrorism.”

While this is not the bold Hillary/Obama form of willful blindness, it presents us with Bush 2.0, a woefully inadequate approach – especially after eight years of Obama’s malfeasance.

The willful blindness in identifying the threat and its doctrine manifests in many of the polices laid out by the report:

Immigration/Refugees

McCaul’s report speaks of the need for better “vetting” of immigrants. He even mentions researching an applicant’s social media posting to see if they have pledged support to a terror group. But foundationally, he has no inherent problem with the record-high immigration from the Middle East. While this approach is one step ahead of the Obama blindness, in which applicants have a right to “privacy” from DHS officials investigating their social media activity, it misses the point. This is not merely about vetting for known individual terrorists or those espousing support for terrorist networks. This is about those who subscribe to the ideology that cultivates the climate of homegrown terror in the family, neighborhood, and community.

Take the case of Somali immigration, for example. We have admitted well over 100,000 Somali refugees over the past two decades — in contravention to America’s national interests on any level. Dozens from the Minneapolis community have been charged with terrorism-related activities, and statements from the U.S. Attorney in Minnesota indicate that there is a culture that runs much deeper than those numbers suggest. Was this something we could have weeded out through “vetting” 15-25 years ago? Perhaps in a few cases. But for the most part, this is a cumulative problem inherent in mass migration from dangerous Islamic countries.

This is the enduring lesson from the jihadists of Boston, Ft. Hood, Chattanooga, San Bernardino, Orlando, and the pair of Somali and Afghani immigrants who perpetrated attacks this past weekend. Typically, the parents will not engage in terrorism. Nonetheless, they cluster in communities that adhere to Sharia and are educated through Muslim Brotherhood propaganda. The attackers in each of these cases were the second generation; the children brought to America by their parents or born on American soil. McCaul’s plan to look myopically for connections or allegiance to a specific terror group might save a few more lives than under the Obama Administration, but it fails to identify the core of the problem and the enduring lessons from Europe.

Prison jihadism

To its credit, the report rightly warns that our prisons have become veritable jihadist breeding grounds, but it declines to name the biggest contributor to that reality. “As the number of convicted homegrown terrorists grows, so does the risk that our prisons will become wellsprings of fanaticism,” it reads. The report continues,

The federal government must examine non-governmental rehabilitation options for convicted terrorists to prevent more individuals from entering the prison system primed to spread their hateful ideology. The Bureau of Prisons should also take steps to combat prison radicalization, including proactively monitoring known extremists and putting measures in place to prevent them from inspiring fellow inmates to embrace terror.

One can only hope the federal government would be watching for groups with ties to organizations like the Muslim Brotherhood. Or how about the Islamic Society of North America, which was found on a list of Chaplaincy Endorsers provided by the federal government earlier this year. However, without making that clear, we cannot expect the federal government to do just that.

Thirteen years ago, the FBI arrested Abdurahman Alamoudi,the man responsible for establishing the entire Muslim chaplaincy program within the Bureau of Prisons, for funding Al Qaeda. In 2003, Chuck Schumer railed against the Bush administration for doing nothing to investigate all the people Alamoudi appointed (more on this from Ben Weingarten’s article yesterday). What is McCaul doing to this very day to go after the Muslim Brotherhood in the chaplaincy?

Terrorist travel

Here, again, the report confronts us with a premise that, as a baseline, nobody can find much fault. However, in doing so, the report muddles the details. It rightly states that jihadists leaving the United States to visit high-risk countries is a massive security concern, but says very little substantively to directly confront the problem. Perhaps the worst part of the report is that it calls on the Obama administration — which did a phenomenal job of enlisting Muslim Brotherhood affiliates for its ‘Countering Violent Extremism’ program — to develop a plan to stop jihadists from re-entering the United States. It says nothing of the plans already before Congress, like the Expatriate Terrorist Act, which would strip the citizenship of anyone who leaves to train with a foreign terror organization.

Instead, it says, “The White House should produce a strategy to combat terrorist travel and to prevent Americans from leaving to join terrorist organizations.” This is nothing short of laughable, given Obama’s track record.

Conclusion

McCaul is absolutely correct to observe that, fifteen years after 9/11, our counterterrorism policies have failed miserably. But they have failed because we didn’t accurately identify the threat confronting us, and that willful blindness did not begin with the Obama administration. Until political correctness is put aside and the threat is accurately identified, policymakers will continue missing the target with their solutions. This isn’t to say that it’s completely errant, however. Make no mistake, while McCaul’s proposals are far closer to the mark than anything we’ve seen from the Obama Administration thus far, they’re just far enough off of it to still be dangerous. And given McCaul’s prominent role in advising Donald Trump on homeland security, that should concern everyone who wants a bold change in direction.

Dr. Sebastian Gorka: Anyone Surprised by Weekend’s Islamic Terror Attack ‘Has Been Asleep for the Last Two Years’

Justin Lane-Pool/Getty Images

Justin Lane-Pool/Getty Images

Breitbart, by John  Hayward, Sept. 19, 2016:

On Monday’s Breitbart News Daily with SiriusXM host Alex Marlow, Dr. Sebastian Gorka said, “All of the attacks over the weekend, all three of them, and the detonation of a backpack that we had just now, is part and parcel of the new jihadi tactic that we’ve seen in the last two years.”

Gorka added:

ISIS has encouraged, since it declared the Caliphate, the use of classic guerilla warfare. It’s not like al-Qaeda. It’s not about giant spectacle. It’s not 9/11-style attacks. It’s cheap, low-investment, high-yield return.

We have seen, literally, scores of knife attacks in Israel since September. They’ve taken a leaf out of the Palestinian playbook. We’ve seen the attack, the murder of the French priest. We’ve seen the lorry attack, the truck attack in Nice, France.

These are all very, very simple to do, and the ISIS mantra, from their magazine Dabiq, has been clear: look for high concentrations of unarmed civilians. What did we see? We see a food court in St. Cloud. We see in New Jersey a Marine Corps five-mile run. If those pipe bombs had detonated when the runners were going past – by the grace of God, the runners had been delayed at the registration desk – it would have made the weekend’s events much worse.

Another bit of “connective tissue” between these terror attacks highlighted by Gorka was the use of pressure-cooker bombs, similar to those favored by the Tsarnaev brothers in Boston. “A lot of people miss the fact that when they were being chased by the police, after the marathon attack, they also used pipe bombs,” he added. “They threw pipe bombs at the police officers that were trying to neutralize them.”

“Anybody who says they’re surprised by what happened over the weekend has been asleep for the last two years,” he declared.

Marlow trenchantly noted that Hillary Clinton seemed to have literally been asleep during the latest round of terror attacks: “sleepwalking through it, she can barely keep her eyes open as she first declares it a bombing and then condemns Donald Trump for using the word ‘bomb.’”

Gorka addressed Marlow’s point about the danger of Americans growing accustomed to terrorist atrocities:

Let’s just look at the numbers. Three attacks, okay? Eleven devices. There were five that were found in a backpack just last night. There were four; only one detonated in New Jersey. Then we have the two pressure-cooker bombs, and on top of that, we have the knife attack. This is the kind of density of attack and devices that we recall from the Cold War. This is like the IRA period.

The war is real, and the war has arrived at America’s shores, and I think it makes the November decision all the more a decision about which candidate you think is going to be the more effective commander-in-chief, who takes this war seriously, and who doesn’t have just incredible gaffes, like Johnson, or just complete non-sequitur oxymoronic statements, such as Secretary Clinton?

Gorka said there are two big reasons the Left is more obsessed with policing language than stopping terrorism:

Number one, if they admit this is a jihadi threat coming from Arab or Muslim communities or Egypt, then the whole multicultural narrative is proven to be bankrupt. Number one is this huge failure, for the last 30 years, of politically correct multicultural narratives.

And secondly, the other reason the administration, and people like Secretary Clinton,have to deny the reality of the escalating threat is the natural conclusion everybody will draw. So what does that mean about the last seven-and-a-half years of your counterterrorism policy? It means it is an utter, abject failure.

Dr. Sebastian Gorka is the National Security Editor for Breitbart News, and the author of the best-selling book Defeating Jihad: The Winnable War.

Breitbart News Daily airs on SiriusXM Patriot 125 weekdays from 6:00 a.m. to 9:00 a.m. Eastern.

LISTEN:

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Islamic State Adapting & Improving Its Escape/Evasion Tactics/Tradecraft

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Image source: http://www.wsj.com/articles/new-tricks-make-isis-once-easily-tracked-a-sophisticated-opponent-1473613106

Fortuna’s Corner, by R. C. Porter, Sept. 12, 2016:

Sam Schechner and Benoit Faucon had a September 11, 2016 article in the Wall Street Journal with an all too familiar theme — that the adversary is evading our attempts to surveil them — by adapting and enhancing their escape and evasion tradecraft.  Our lack of critical human intelligence (HUMINT) can be blamed on a clever adversary who has learned from their past mistakes, our inability to deeply penetrate their inner sanctum, and self-inflicted/unforced errors like closing Guantanamo Bay Prison without identifying a viable alternative.

     Getting a reliable, and highly successful human spy ensconced deep within the adversary’s lair has always been one of the most difficult intelligence collection challenges since time immemorial.  Napoleon Bonaparte once said that “one well placed spy was worth two battalions.”  Now, one well-placed spy could be worth an entire city.

     Our success in the targeted killing of the ISIS leadership no doubt sowed a heavy dose of mistrust and paranoia within the group’s ranks; and, ultimately forced those remaining to change and adapt their techniques, tactics, and procedures (TTPs) with respect to  how they communicate, plan operations, and travel — both locally and abroad.  The adversary gets a vote; and, it is to be expected that ISIS would adapt, change, and enhance its operational security (OPSEC) — especially as the targeted killing campaign eliminated their top leadership.  But, leaks by Edward Snowden, which revealed sensitive and highly lucrative NSA sources and methods, seemed to instill ISIS with a renewed sense of OPSEC, resulting in their use of enhanced encryption software, and other techniques to avoid our attempts to surveil them.

      As Mr. Schechner and Mr. Faucon note, “the extremists group’s communications, once commonly conducted on phones and social media accounts easily tracked by authorities [and intelligence agencies], have evolved into a mix of encrypted chat-app messages over What‘sApp and Telegram, face-to-face meetings, written notes, stretches of silence, and misdirection.”  The use of couriers, and disposable cell phones also remain a staple of their tradecraft.  The group’s move to enhanced encryption occurred within three months after the Edward Snowden leasks.  Additionally, as expressed on the group’s social media websites, ISIS members and followers were warned about Western surveillance techniques — as revealed by the Snowden leaks, and what to do to avoid them.

     The POTUS’s insistence on closing Guantanamo Bay Prison, means the United States lacks a dedicated interrogation facility where high-value targets can be taken and interrogated over a prolonged period of time.  As a result, the U.S. is forced to conduct tactical/limited interrogations overseas; and/or, depend on an ally or foreign partner to conduct these investigations — and never really being sure that such interrogations were adequate.  The next POTUS needs to reinstate Guantanamo as a dedicated interrogation facility, or settle on a useful alternative that does not unduly deprive our, and our intelligence agency partners of the opportunity to thoroughly question those who wish to kill as many Americans and Westerners as they can.

     As former CIA officer Philip Giraldi wrote in the July 23, 2014 edition of The American Conservative, “terrorists now know that using a cell phone is dangerous, that transferring money using commercial accounts can be detected [thus the increased use of Bitcoins], that moving around when a drone is overhead can be fatal [thus the increased use/employment of human shields — women/children, etc.]; and, that communicating by computer is likely to be intercepted or exposed unless it is encrypted.

     And, as Mr. Giraldi correctly observes, “technical intelligence has its limitations:  while it is excellent on picking up bits and pieces, and using sophisticated computers to work through the bulk collection of chatter, it is largely unable to learn the intentions of terrorist groups and leaders.  To do that,” he argues, “you need spies, ideally someone who is placed in the inner circle of an organization; and who is therefore — privy to decision-making.”

     But, the Intelligence Community has a very poor record when it comes to deeply penetrating a terrorist group with a well-placed human spy.  To be fair, these groups are typically close-knit, very suspicious of new-comers, and vet new members through family and tribal connections — thus making a successful HUMINT penetration challenging to say the least.

     At the end of the day, intelligence collection against a low-tech adversary, who learns our sources and methods from leaks such as Edward Snowden’s, and adapts their TTPas in clever and unexpected ways, makes them a ‘hard target’ for a reason.  All the more important that we avoid self-inflicted wounds like shuttering Guantanamo  Bay Prison — without a viable alternative — and, consider establishing a leading-edge, deep penetration center of excellence, designed to try new means and methods to collect against low-tech, hard to penetrate adversarial entities.  V/R, RCP

Also see:

Lessons America didn’t learn from 9/11

(Photo: Twitter)

(Photo: Twitter)

WND, by Paul Bremmer, Sept. 10, 2016:

This Sunday Americans mark the 15th anniversary of the terrorist attacks of September 11, 2001. It will be a day of solemn remembrance, as most Americans now living still remember that horrible day.

But has the United States learned all the lessons it should have learned from the events of 9/11?

Only six days after 9/11, then-President George W. Bush delivered an address at the Islamic Center of Washington, D.C., in which he declared “Islam is peace.”

“These acts of violence against innocents violate the fundamental tenets of the Islamic faith,” President Bush said that day. “And it’s important for my fellow Americans to understand that… The face of terror is not the true faith of Islam. That’s not what Islam is all about. Islam is peace. These terrorists don’t represent peace. They represent evil and war.”

The idea that Islam is a religion of peace is nonsense, according to former Department of Homeland Security officer Philip Haney.

“In retrospect, 15 years later, was President Bush correct?” Haney asked during an interview with WND. “Has Islam proven itself to be, with the hindsight of 15 years, a religion of peace? There have been 29,100 and counting violent jihad attacks around the world since 9/11, scattered all over the world, not to mention conflicts in probably 15 to 20 different countries, with massive atrocities across the globe.”

The answer is obvious, according to Haney. Islam is a violent religion, and its adherents receive their commands to kill from the Quran itself. Haney cited Surah 9:111 of the Quran, which reads in part: “Indeed, Allah has purchased from the believers their lives and their properties [in exchange] for that they will have Paradise. They fight in the cause of Allah, so they kill and are killed.”

He also pointed to Surah 2:191, which reads in part, “And kill them wherever you overtake them and expel them from wherever they have expelled you.”

So the lesson to be taken from the 9/11 attacks and the subsequent 15 years is that Islam is not peace, as President Bush stated.

“We’ve had 1,400 years of history to evaluate the effect of Islam, and if they were really serious about proving what George Bush said, haven’t they had plenty of opportunity to do so since 9/11?” Haney reasoned.

Not only did Bush fail to learn his lesson, but President Obama has refused to learn it.

Haney noted the Obama administration has allied with the Muslim Brotherhood, an organization whose members hold dying in the service of Allah as their highest aspiration. He said the Muslim Brotherhood considers the Quran its highest law, not the U.S. Constitution. Article VI of the Constitution states the Constitution is the supreme law of the land, so there is a fundamental conflict between the Muslim Brotherhood and American democracy.

But last weekend Secretary of Homeland Security Jeh Johnson spoke at the annual convention of the Islamic Society of North America, a Muslim Brotherhood front group. ISNA was exposed as a front group during the 2008 Holy Land Foundation trial, as Haney documents in his revealing book “See Something, Say Nothing: A Homeland Security Officer Exposes the Government’s Submission to Jihad.”

“So the department that was founded in March of 2003 to protect our country from terrorism and threats from terror has now formed an open and overt alliance with the very organizations that state plainly that they intend to oppose all forms of human government, including the Constitution, and implement Shariah law,” Haney said.

Not only did the Obama administration fail to see the connection between Islam and terror, but they have not taken national security as seriously as they should in a post-9/11 world, according to Haney. He pointed to a directive signed by HHS Secretary Johnson in February 2014 that stated individuals only marginally affiliated with known terrorist organizations may still receive a visa from the State Department. This directive severely hamstrung Haney and his fellow counterterrorism officials.

“The U.S. Southern Command notified us a week or so ago that in 2015 at least 31,000 individuals from countries of concern regarding terror crossed the southern border,” Haney revealed. “That means we’re abrogating our responsibilities to protect our citizens from threats, that we’re not doing all that it takes to protect our border, both the actual physical border and the more abstract border of our civil liberties and our right to life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness.”

Haney stressed that national security must come first when deciding who to let into America.

“Immigration, helping refugees are noble things, but not at the expense of the freedom and safety and civil liberties of American citizens,” he said.

Perhaps the most enduring legacy of 9/11 has been the War on Terror, which has included crusades to overthrow a number of dictators in the Middle East and replace them with democratically elected governments. But this is a fool’s errand, according to Haney, because devout Muslims prefer to Shariah law to Western-style democracy. Therefore, if they have the chance to vote, they will vote for Shariah and all the repression it brings.

“You know a tree by its fruit,” Haney said. “You look at the countries where Shariah law is practiced, whatever spectrum of intensity, from mild to Saudi Arabia-type – are any of those countries free democracies? Is there a single free democracy anywhere in the Islamic world?”

Haney noted whenever Middle Eastern Islamic countries have the choice, they always move toward Shariah, not away from it. Yet the United States often supports these countries under the banner of supporting democracy. The former DHS officer warned Shariah could creep into America if our leaders continue to ally themselves with Islamic supremacists.

“There are many provisions of the Declaration of Independence and/or the U.S. Constitution that are in direct conflict with Shariah law, and when you have Shariah law, those freedoms go,” Haney said ominously. “They do not make provision for the freedoms discussed in the Declaration or the Constitution. They are eliminated, and if it was to happen here, the same process would happen.”

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CSPAN, Sept. 6, 2016:

Act for America 2016 Conference, Part 6 Phil Haney, a former Customs and Border Patrol officer with the Homeland Security Department, talked about his allegations of an Islamic infiltration of the U.S. government. He said that his work tracking people affiliated with the Islamic Deobandi movement was stopped so as not to offend the Muslim community. He used slides during his presentation and then responded to questions from members of the audience. Mr. Haney is the co-author of the book See Something, Say Nothing: A Homeland Security Officer Exposes the Government’s Submission to Jihad.

“Refugee Vetting: Is Our National Security at Risk?” was a Refugee Resettlement segment of ACTCON 2016, Act for America’s “National Conference and Legislative Briefing: Taking Back America’s Security.”

philip-haney

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Urgent messages from Ann Corcoran at Refugee Resettlement Watch:

FBI: Islamic State Jihadis Targeting Theaters, Churches, Sports Arenas

REUTERS

REUTERS

Breitbart, by Edwin Mora, Sept. 9, 2016:

The FBI and U.S. Department of Homeland Security have reportedly identified restaurants, theaters, churches, and sports arenas as possible targets of Islamic State (ISIS/ISIL)-inspired jihadists and homegrown violent extremists, urging law enforcement to remain vigilant for potential attacks against civilian venues.

Both the FBI, a component of the U.S. Department of Justice (DOJ), and DHS have learned that the extremists have shifted their focus from law enforcement, military, and government venues to civilian facilities, reports CBS News.

In a joint bulletin sent out to law enforcement agencies across the country on August 31, the two government agencies said that “analysis indicates that homegrown violent extremists, and ISIS inspired terrorists, appear to have shifted their focus to target attacks on civilian venues,” adding, “These sorts of venues include places like restaurants, theaters, churches, and sports arenas, with less focus on law enforcement, military and government facilities,” notes the news agency.

“The bulletin said that according to analysis, more than 75 percent of homegrown violent extremists disruptions and attacks over the last 12 months have focused on civilian targets,” it adds.

Citing an unnamed law enforcement source, CBS News points out that as less secure and easily accessible soft targets, terrorists prefer civilian facilities.

“Attackers may be more familiar and comfortable with those venues,” notes CBS, continuing, “The source said that this is an important distinction because it shows they may be altering their priorities.”

Nevertheless, the source highlighted the need for “continued vigilance of law enforcement and military,” noting that “the timing of the bulletin was not meant to coincide with the upcoming 15th anniversary of the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks.”

The Islamic State has no qualms urging its followers to attack civilians. Some “kill lists” that were distributed by its supporters online earlier this year contain the names, addresses, phone numbers, and email addresses of ordinary American citizens.

More than 2,000 New Yorkers were mentioned in one list and about 1,500 Texans in another.

In anticipation of the Muslim holy month of Ramadan, the Islamic State called on its supporters to carry out violent attacks against civilian and military targets within the United States and Europe.

The Islamic State and other jihadi groups do not distinguish between combatants and civilians when they attack. The terrorist group is responsible for killing hundreds of thousands of civilians in various countries.

During Ramadan this year, jihadists, the majority of them affiliated with the Islamic State, killed an estimated 421 people and wounded at least another 729 in nearly 15 countries. The majority of victims were civilians.

Erik Prince: Clinton’s ‘Foreign Policy Record Is a Disaster,’ Trump Is ‘Willing to Take a Different Direction’

Getty Images

Getty Images

Breitbart, by John Hayward, Sept. 8, 2016:

Retired Navy SEAL and former Blackwater CEO Erik Prince thought it was “shocking indeed that Matt Lauer asked any question that wasn’t pre-scripted from the Clinton team” during Wednesday night’s national security forum.

“I think perhaps the lies, the distortions have reached a tipping point, that the rest of the media is saying, we can’t be this dishonest all the time on these matters, we have to do something right,” Prince told Breitbart Editor-in-Chief Alex Marlow on Thursday’s Breitbart News Daily on SiriusXM.

He thought Trump was stronger on content during the forum, because “Hillary doesn’t have anything to be strong on, content-wise.”

“Her foreign policy record is a disaster, whether it’s being part of pulling out of Iraq, basically when the war had been won and the country had been stabilized, all that blood and treasure and effort, literally thrown down the drain by the Obama Administration,” Prince said.

“And then her leading a cavalry charge into Libya, to cause what was a cooperating state on counter-terrorism, they’d given up their nuclear weapons, and she turned it into an Islamic fascist kinda hell-hole that is still melting down – a transit point for millions of refugees a year, thousands of which drowned, people being beheaded, Coptic Christians being murdered, the list of terribles. So she has no record to go on,” he pronounced.

Prince agreed with a caller that Trump could do more with Hillary Clinton’s sale of American uranium reserves to Russia, calling the story “an under-explored question, certainly by the mainstream media.”

Clinton Cash does an excellent job of covering it. Unfortunately, enough of America hasn’t seen it yet,” he said. “To elaborate, due to a significant donation into the Clinton Foundation, the State Department ended up approving the sale of a company that owns 20% of the uranium in the United States, certainly a strategic fuel stock for us here, for nuclear energy production, and of course for nuclear weapons, if necessary. It’s now in the hands of a Russian state enterprise.”

Marlow asked for Prince’s take on Donald Trump’s often-repeated call for “taking the oil” after an operation such as the Iraq War. During the Wednesday night forum, Trump more specifically called for seizing oil production before the Islamic State could take it.

“The caliphate, ISIS, operates with legitimacy in their minds because they control land,” Prince noted. “That land they control holds oil. They sell that oil, they sell it off – oddly enough, by truck, to Erdogan’s son, the ruler of Turkey, so that even the Erdogan family is in on the criminal enterprise of it all. But when he says ‘take the oil,’ if friendly forces occupy that territory, that oil is no longer available to the enemy for sale.”

He said that holding land even allows ISIS to run its own science programs, since they have “taken over the University of Mosul, their science department, and they are using it as a weapons lab for doing research on weapons that will evade detection in the West.”

“You have to take away any legitimacy that the caliphate has by owning or controlling land. They cannot have a state,” he urged. “Doing so will cut off a major part of their money supply. They would still get money, like al-Qaeda does, via some high-net-worth radical Islamist donors, and there’s other ways to deal with that, but you have to take away the legitimacy of the caliphate, by denying them sanctuary anywhere. That’s going to take them from conventional-sized units that can go from battalions, up to even brigade size, thousands of people, down to at least operating at no more than two- to four-man terror cells.”

“It was interesting in the forum last night, Hillary saying ‘I will never use U.S. ground troops,’ and she’s going to try to phone it in from the air – clearly a strategy that hasn’t been working for the last two and a half years, because ISIS is still very active, and still ever as deadly,” Prince said.

“Whether you use U.S. ground forces, whether you use local Arab forces, or whether you use contracted forces, it’s not that difficult to assemble a force – a few thousand people, we’re not talking tens of thousands. If you give it to the conventional military, they will insist on tens of thousands, just because they move with a much, much larger logistics footprint,” he said. “If you think about, what was the most effective response the U.S. has had to terrorism, I would say it was the first 12 months after 9/11, where you had a few case officers, a handful of special operations officers, supported by capable air and agency air, and it literally turned the Taliban back in a matter of weeks.”

“The U.S. military’s war plan, going back to 9/11, was basically bombs, missile raid, and a ranger raid for the first six months. They didn’t want to put any significant boots on the ground until the following April, of 2002, and this is while their headquarters, the Pentagon, was still smoking under attack,” Prince recalled. “A light, unconventional, again contracted or indigenous force, ought to roll up and destroy any conventional pockets of ISIS, in the entire Iraq/Syria theater.”

“You have to negotiate a deal with what Syria looks like, post-ISIS, with Putin,” he continued. “You know, the Alawites, the Assad family are from the Alawite tribe, that’s a Shia minority. He can’t leave, because if he does, the Alawites will be slaughtered. A Shia minority being in charge in Syria is almost like the untouchables running India – it just doesn’t happen. So it’s been that way for 40 years, and you have to separate them, because those two are in a blood feud, and unless they have a very clear boundary, they’re going to continue to fight.”

“You have to basically have the Russians and Assad be willing to shrink the footprint of what Assad’s going to run, and I would take eastern Syria, western Iraq, and put it into a greater Sunni country, call it Sunnistan,” he proposed. “Give the Kurds, who have been our most steadfast allies, fighting against Daesh and radicalism there, give them their own homeland. With that, you could actually have a homeland for Christians, because Christianity’s been in the Middle East for longer than Islam, for the past 2,000 years. And they have largely been run out of Dodge by continued attacks and violence.”

On the matter of giving Christians a homeland, Prince said there will be a conference called “In Defense of Christians” in Washington this very weekend.

He talked about how the maps of modern Iraq and Syria were drawn by the Sykes-Picot treaty in 1916, and that old world has “gone away.” He advised drawing a new map along “tribal and religious lines,” and then allowing good borders to make good neighbors.

Prince said the persecution of Christians draws relatively little media coverage in the United States because “when you have very few people who believe anymore here, who are in those positions of writing, it’s easy for them to ignore.”

Meanwhile, in the Middle East, Christians find themselves in a “war of tribal extinction, where you have ISIS rolling into a village, lining everyone up, and asking them what they believe. You’ve even seen other cases of that in Somalia, or Nigeria, or wherever, where radical Islamist terrorists are lining up people and murdering them, if they can’t recite lines from the Koran.”

Prince predicted Trump would “have his hands full” if he became Commander-in-Chief.

“He’s gonna have a military bureaucracy that needs massive reform,” he said. “When you throw hundreds of billions of dollars onto an organization, year after year after year, it creates a lot of bad habits, it creates a lot of fat. It makes for a very heavy triathlete that’s going to have a hard time bobbing, and moving, and flexing, and moving quickly to fight non-state actors.”

Prince said of Hillary Clinton’s position, “There’s no there there.”

“To announce that you’re never going to use ground troops is wrong. It means basically to ISIS saying, yes, we can sit back and tear away at these Americans, because they’re afraid to commit their people to come and get us,” he said. “Her position is untenable. It’s just saying well, we’re going to get our Arab allies to do more.”

“There’s no there there,” he repeated. “You’re not going to trust the Turks. The Turks’ main interest is in destroying the Kurds. Remember, Turkey was a major transit point – and still is – for ISIS fighters and weapons, et cetera. It’s a mess that someone’s going to have to go clean out.”

“You’re not going to get Saudi Arabia to send troops,” he continued. “They’re being destroyed left, right, and center along their southern border in Yemen. Jordan is pretty much tapped out. And so there’s not a lot of other real military capability in the Middle East.”

He recalled the CIA’s use of indigenous forces after 9/11, “led by CIA officers, supported by American air power,” and suggested Trump tap the same kind of intelligence teams to conduct a similar strategy against the Islamic State on the ground, combining “cash, authority, and a real will to fight.”

“DOD can support that, but it must be an Agency-led effort,” Prince specified. “If I were in the Trump Administration, I would say that the Pentagon does not have a leading role to play, battling non-state actors. It should be an intelligence function. The Pentagon, as Mr. Trump laid out, needs to beef up its conventional military capabilities, which have been eroded and chewed up, trying to fight basically guys with pickup trucks, with our first-rate, very expensive military equipment.”

Instead, he advised using “other guys in pickup trucks” to combat these non-state irregular forces, adding “a few elements of technology to give your side the advantage.”

“You focus on going cheap,” Prince said. “This is the Long War. This is not an invasion of Grenada that’s going to be done in five days. This is a long, drawn-out, long and slow-burning fight, and you have to provision and plan to fight the enemy, to be able to outlastthem. When the Pentagon gets involved, and you start rolling blocks of 10,000 people in, it comes at an enormous cost. That’s why we’re still spending $44 billion a year in Afghanistan, and right now the Taliban controls more land in Afghanistan then they did on 9/11, 15 years ago.”

“To go at this the same way it’s been done is the definition of insanity, because we keep going around and around in circles,” he said of Hillary Clinton’s counter-terrorist agenda. “Again, the most effective time the U.S. had against terrorism was about the first year, post-9/11, and the more the Pentagon got involved, and the more battalions of lawyers and bureaucrats got involved, everything slowed down, and all progress stopped.”

In response to a caller who had military experience in Iraq, Prince talked about the restrictive rules of engagement and burdensome force-protection policies imposed on U.S. troops, pronouncing them too cumbersome for dealing with a vicious irregular enemy.

He cited legendary military theorist Carl von Clausewitz’s idea that military courage comes in two forms: the individual courage of the soldier, which the U.S. has a “surplus” of, thanks to our “fantastic soldiers, NCOs, and junior officers.”

“The other kind of courage it takes are senior leaders that are willing to commit their people to action, with an uncertain outcome,” he said. “I think that’s what we’ve suffered from. We’ve built up this massive barrier mentality when we’re trying to engage with the enemy, and it prevents effective action.”

For example, he said that “if you’re fighting in Afghanistan, you have to call a U.S. lawyer sitting in an air-conditioned office in Qatar, at some U.S. Air Force base, to get permission to drop a bomb.”

“That’s wrong. That is a non-serious way to fight a war,” he declared.

“To me, that’s disqualifying for Hillary, because that’s what she would default to,” Prince said. “I think Mr. Trump is willing to take a different direction. He’s listening to some different voices on this, and who knows what that would look like, but I have way more confidence in Mr. Trump doing the right thing than Hillary.”

LISTEN:

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Also see:

Dr. Sebastian Gorka: Americans Will Vote for the Candidate Who Will Keep Them Safer, and ‘They Understand the Danger of Choosing Hillary’

Justin Sullivan/Getty Images

Justin Sullivan/Getty Images

Breitbart, by John Hayward, Sept. 8, 2016:

On Thursday’s Breitbart News Daily on SiriusXM, Dr. Sebastian Gorka told Breitbart Editor-in-Chief Alex Marlow that he believes the 2016 election will be focused on national security issues and which Commander-in-Chief will keep America safer.

“I’m biased by my field, but I really believe this will be a national security election,” Gorka predicted.

“If somebody had told you, two years ago, or three years ago, that this is a national security election, you would have laughed at them,” he said. “You would have talked about ObamaCare, the economy. No, the majority of Americans, I believe, when they go into that polling station, will be making a very simple choice: Is my family, is America, going to be safer under the Commander-in-Chief guidance of Hillary Clinton or Donald Trump? And I think they understand the danger of choosing Hillary.”

Gorka thought Clinton’s “statements on Iraq, that she’s sorry that she kind of took responsibility for the disaster that is the withdrawal from Iraq, and American Iraq policy, is going to hurt her in the long run.”

“I also think the new lies cut from whole cloth, with regard to the emails, are just stunning,” Gorka added. “We’ve had excuse after excuse, and now we have another excuse made up about the headers of the information.”

“So I think there’s very little she could point to that’s going to bring her back in the polls, because she fumbled. She fumbled yesterday, and I think that will not serve her well, when it comes to the American people,” he concluded.

Dr. Sebastian Gorka is the senior National Security editor for Breitbart News, and author of the best-selling book Defeating Jihad: The Winnable War. [And recently became Vice President and Professor of Strategy and Irregular Warfare at the Institute of World Politics in Washington, DC.]

Breitbart News Daily airs on SiriusXM Patriot 125 weekdays from 6:00 a.m. to 9:00 a.m. Eastern.

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More Gorka: Knowing the enemy

World Magazine, by  | September 7, 2016

The current issue of WORLD Magazine features a Q&A with Sebastian Gorka, one of the world’s leading counter-terrorism experts and author of the 2016 New York Times bestseller Defeating Jihad: The Winnable War. Here are additional excerpts from our interview that we didn’t have space for in the print edition.

How can the United States know itself and the enemy? First, we have to rediscover ourselves. We have to understand it’s not our partnership with Israel or our foreign policy that makes people want to behead us. It’s what we stand for: the principles of the founding, the values of man created in the image of his maker. Second, we have to get politics out of the threat assessment—none of this political correctness censoring what you’re allowed to say about the enemy. The attorney general of the United States, after 49 Americans are murdered in Orlando, tried to censor the 911 dispatchers’ transcripts to remove mention of Islamic State, Islam, and jihad. During World War II, if you’d tried to edit a Nazi communication to remove the word “Nazi” or “Hitler,” you would have been court-martialed or perhaps tried for treason.

Why is the idea of root grievances fueling terrorism absurd? If you push the [Obama] administration on where terrorism comes from, they say it is unemployment and lack of education. As anybody with beyond a double-digit IQ can tell you, this is utterly absurd and fallacious. If poverty and lack of education caused terrorism, then half of India would be terrorists—but they’re not. What’s missing? The ideology, the catalyst that takes the individual who is aggrieved, perhaps, and turns him into a person willing to kill his fellow man or woman. This administration cannot admit that truth because they’ve stated as an article of faith, not fact, that religion can have nothing to do with this war. They’ve painted themselves into this absurd corner where they deny the Islamic State is Islamic.

Why do you say there is no such thing as lone-wolf terrorism? Lone-wolf terrorism is a phrase that is designed to make Americans stupid. The idea that a person is an upstanding American citizen on Monday and then on Tuesday suddenly becomes a raving jihadi decapitating his fellow man is absurd. It doesn’t happen. The connection between Nidal Hassan at Fort Hood, the Chattanooga shooter, the Tsarnaev brothers in Boston, or Omar Mateen in Orlando is the ideology of jihad. It’s not about a mastermind in a cave somewhere operating a joystick 8,000 miles away. It’s sharing the same belief set.

What can the average person do to defeat the global jihadist movement? Every American who loves the Republic has a role to play in this war. Buy a Quran and read it. Educate yourself about the enemy. Read their publications, like Inspire from al-Qaeda and Dabiq from ISIS. Prepare your friends and the people around you for what is going on. If you have the mental fortitude and it’s legal, think about getting a license to carry a firearm. Take responsibility for your safety and practice the rights we’ve been given. Even if you can’t do that, take the “if you see something, say something” seriously. If the neighbors of the San Bernardino shooters had done so, we probably would have prevented that massacre.

EmailGate and the Mystery of the Missing GAMMA

Democratic presidential nominee Hillary Clinton. (Photo: Justin Sullivan/Getty Images)

Democratic presidential nominee Hillary Clinton. (Photo: Justin Sullivan/Getty Images)

Hillary Clinton’s ‘unclassified’ email included highly classified NSA information—why didn’t the FBI mention this fact?

Observer, by John  R. Schindler, Sept. 6, 2016:

Last week’s Federal Bureau of Investigation release of materials relating to their investigation of Hillary Clinton has reignited the political firestorm surrounding EmailGate. How the Democratic nominee mishandled her emails while she was secretary of state is again front-page news, which is bad news for Hillary. Particularly because the FBI’s data dump demonstrates clearly that Clinton is either dumb or dishonest—and perhaps both.

Although Team Clinton has responded in their customary fashion, with lawyerly lies and evasions—nothing was “marked” classified, this is really about over-classification, classification is too complex for anybody to understand anyway—the FBI’s assessment has thoroughly debunked all of them. Hillary’s professed inability to even recognize classified information, thinking the “C” (for Confidential) meant alphabetical order, will now enter the pantheon of laughable Clinton infamy, alongside her husband’s debating the meaning of “is” while under oath.

The Bureau’s assessment establishes once and for all that there was classified information—and lots of it—on Hillary’s email server and bunches of Blackberries, many of which she lost. In fact, the FBI concluded that roughly 2,000 of her “unclassified” emails included information that was Confidential, the lowest level of classification.

The FBI examined 81 Clinton email chains, determining that they included classified information relating to the CIA, the FBI, the Pentagon, NSA, and the National Geospatial Intelligence Agency or NGA. In other words, Hillary compromised classified materials representing the full range of American espionage: human intelligence or HUMINT from CIA, signals intelligence or SIGINT from NSA, and imagery intelligence or IMINT from NGA.

Of those 81 classified email chains, the FBI assessed that 37 of them included Secret information while eight included Top Secret information. Worse, seven email chains included Special Access Program or SAP information, which is tightly protected by the Intelligence Community and shared on a restricted, need-to-know basis only.

Three more email chains contained Sensitive Compartmented Information or SCI, which was almost certainly SIGINT from NSA. SCI always requires special protection and handling. In fact, you’re only allowed to access it inside a specially-built Sensitive Compartmented Information Facility, a SCIF (pronounced “skiff”) in spy-speak. Any exposure of SCI brings severe penalties—at least if you’re not named Clinton.

It’s nice to see the FBI finally confirm just how much highly classified information got exposed here, but I reported this many months ago from Intelligence Community sources, including that Hillary’s “unclassified” emails included Top Secret SAP information from CIA and Top Secret SCI information from NSA.

Which leads to a troubling matter: What the FBI did not mention in its big data dump on EmailGate.

As I told you in this column back in January, Hillary emails included very highly classified intelligence from NSA. In early June 2011, the secretary of state received a long email from her longtime friend and factotum Sid Blumenthal regarding Sudan. This was an astonishingly detailed assessment of high-level political and military machinations in that country, specifically inside information about coup plotting.

This explosive information was timely and deep in the weeds on Sudanese happenings. It’s difficult to see how Blumenthal—a lawyer and Washington fixer, no sort of Africa hand or James Bond—got his hands on such juicy intelligence. As I’ve noted, “Blumenthal’s information came from a top-ranking source with direct access to Sudan’s top military and intelligence officials, and recounted a high-level meeting that had taken place only 24 hours before.” How did Sid obtain this amazing scoop for Hillary?

Read more

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Chief intelligence correspondent Catherine Herridge reports from Washington

Emails Suggest Clinton Team Manipulated 2013 Benghazi Hearing Questions

 

Hillary’s health: Emails show Clinton obsessed with sleep, “exotic drugs”

clinton-health-thumbnailThe Rebel Media, by Ezra Levant, August 26, 2016

Four years ago, she had a concussion, and a blood clot in her brain sent her to the hospital. Later, her head was still so injured that she was seeing double. That’s why she wore those Fresnel prism glasses: to counter double-vision.

Have you seen that video of her apparently having a seizure while being asked a question? The Clinton spin doctors say that’s just a joke. Really?

And then there’s the guy who is always with her, but he’s not Secret Service. He’s a paramedic — you can see by the badge he sometimes wears. He carries an injection device, maybe it’s anti-seizure medication. He’s been seen talking her through a stressful situation.

Why does Hillary Clinton always wear the strangest pant suits that look like they’re specifically made to order. Are they tailored to conceal things underneath? A medical device?

Here’s an e-mail that Clinton originally hid from the public, that was released only after a court ordered it. In it, Huma Abedin, Clinton’s closest aide, says her boss is “often confused” and needs to take naps.

That topic comes up a lot.

I typed the word “sleep” into a searchable archive of Clinton e-mails, the ones a court ordered the State Department to disclose.

WATCH to see what I found.

There were a lot of troubling results:

Clinton herself says she’s “chronically exhausted”. Her staff calls her a “champion napper”.

And then there’s her email about the symptoms of “decision fatigue.” Another about Provigil, a drug “often prescribed to treat excessive sleepiness in patients with Parkinson’s, Alzheimer’s, and multiple sclerosis.”

That’s just the beginning…

Being president is the most stressful job in the world. You need energy — both physical and mental.

What exactly is wrong with Hillary Clinton? This is an important issue that needs to be addressed before the election.

Why isn’t the mainstream media interested in covering it?

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CAIR Attacks Ryan Mauro over ‘Islamic Terrorism’ Police Training

Jessica Gresko/Associated-Press

Jessica Gresko/Associated-Press

Breitbart, by Adelle Nazarian, Aug. 20, 2016:

The San Diego chapter of the Council on American Islamic Relations (CAIR) has taken aim at the Clarion Project’s National Security Analyst Ryan Mauro, whom they refer to as an “anti-Muslim conspiracy theorist” and “Islamophobe.”

CAIR, which has been declared a terrorist organization by the United Arab Emirates, and was named by federal prosecutors as an unindicted co-conspirator in a Hamas terror-funding operation, is calling on the San Diego Police Department (SDPD) and other law enforcement agencies in California to prevent officers who attend the “Symposium on Islamic Terrorism” taking place in San Diego between August 24-25 from receiving credit.

In a letter to San Diego Police Department Chief Shelley Zimmerman, CAIR-San Diego Executive Director Hanif Mohebi wrote: “We urge you to ensure that SDPD personnel are warned of the conspiracy theories promoted by the featured speaker, that no taxpayer dollars go to pay for attendance and that any officer who attends in his or her private capacity does not receive continuing education credit.”

Both Mauro and Mohebi spoke exclusively with Breitbart News on Friday.

Mohebi told Breitbart News, “I don’t think that thy should be given credit for attending. It is exactly like if KKK is proving training and then officers go there and get credit for professional development.

“I’m kind of surprised that people who are putting this together are actually OK with this. For me, it is like bringing the head of the KKK to speak about blacks and then claiming that it’s OK. You cannot have a head of KKK come and train the police on blacks. It just doesn’t work,” Mohebi said.

“CAIR is working overtime in trying to influence anyone they can to stop me from speaking and punish anyone who comes to this event at all,” Mauro told Breitbart News. “If police officers attend this event, they will try to get the officer’s education credits taken away.”

He added, “the press release attacks me for talking about the ‘No Go Zones’ on Fox. But what they’re referring to — and this is telling — is the Jamaat ul-Fuqra villages within America. So they are attacking me because they are defending ul-Fuqra which is a ferociously antisemitic cult with a history of terrorism.”

Jamaat ul-Fuqra, which is described as a Pakistani militant group, is known in the United States as “Muslims of America.” It was reportedly founded by a Pakistani named Sheikh Mubarak Ali Gilani; a Sufi cleric.

In its press release, CAIR writes that “Muslim no-go-zones” are a “debunked myth.”

This is not the first time CAIR has targeted Mauro personally. Mauro said he was similarly targeted by CAIR several months ago when he was giving training to police officers in Upstate New York. “They did this in conjunction with the War Resisters League (WRL) — a purely anti-police league.” He said the WRL “even have a ‘No SWAT’ zone” and that both groups’ “statements are filled with deliberate misrepresentations.”

Mohebi told Breitbart News, that Mauro “has proven himself to be an Islamophobe. There have been many agencies that have taken that step to say, ‘Hey we recognize that, and it has been on the release that he simply does not qualify as someone who is not biased.’ I don’t mind if there’s an expert that believes I am wrong. But this is someone who is discredited by Southern Poverty Law Center and keeps saying these things that are not true.”

Mohebi added, “I am afraid, that when professionals from security, whether it’s from SFPD or other law enforcement hear that Muslims are a threat, then the more they see someone like me or others immediately they are thinking this is a threat.”

However, Mauro told Breitbart News, “I include a section about violence directed towards Muslims and the importance of Muslim allies.”

Mohebi told Breitbart News that he had requested the ability to monitor the police training. “I requested the entity that is bringing him to allow us to take part in this to see if there is anything that he says that is not factual. And if we do find something that is not factual, to give us time to clarify. And they did not allow us.”

However, Mauro said, “CAIR is not qualified to be in that session. It’s a law enforcement session and CAIR is not qualified to be there.” The symposium’s website states that the training “is open ONLY to full-time law enforcement. You must present valid law enforcement ID for entry.”

Mauro added: “There is genuine anti-Muslim sentiment out there and I know because I’ve been given info about it by authorities in the past. But groups like CAIR exploit this genuine anti-Muslim sentiment to use it as a political weapon against myself and even other Muslims. If you do not follow groups like CAIR completely, even if you are a a Muslim, they will call you an Islamophobe, and they have done that repeatedly.”

Addressing Mohebi’s analogy of the KKK and religion, Mauro said “The KKK was Christian. But their interpretation sucks. If you want to call the KKK Christian extremists, go ahead, because you need to defeat their ideology just like you need to defeat the ideology of Islamist extremism.”

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Of Course There Should Be an Ideological Test in Immigration

immigration-ideological-test-islamists-can-be-denied-admission-b

National Review, by Andrew C. McCarthy, Aug. 20, 2016:

Imagine an American government official, interviewing an alien seeking admission to our country from, say, Syria:

U.S. official: “Will you support the United States Constitution?”

Syrian alien: “Well, sure, except that I believe the government should be overseen by a caliph, who must be Muslim and male, and who must rule in accordance with Islamic law, which no man-made law may contradict. None of this ‘We the People’ stuff; Allah is the sovereign. Non-Muslims should not be required to convert to Islam, of course, but they must submit to the authority of Islamic law — which requires them to live in the second-class status of dhimmitude and to pay a poll tax for that privilege.”

“I also believe women must be subservient to men, and that men are permitted to beat their wives if they are disobedient — especially if they refuse sex, in which they must engage on demand. There is no such thing as marital rape, and proving non-marital rape requires testimony from four male witnesses. Outside the home, a woman should cover herself in drab from head to toe. A woman’s testimony in court should be worth only half of a man’s, and her inheritance rights similarly discounted. Men should be able to marry up to four women — women, however, are limited to marrying one man.”

“Oh, and Muslims who renounce Islam should be put to death . . . as should homosexuals . . . and blasphemers . . . and adulterers — at least the ones we don’t let off with a mere scourging. The penalty for theft should be amputation of the right hand (for highway robbery, the left foot is also amputated); and for drinking alcohol, the offender is to be scourged with 40 stripes.”

“There are a few other odds and ends — you know, jihad and whatnot. But other than that, will I support the Constitution? Sure thing.”

U.S. official: “Whoa, whoa, whoa, hold on a second. That’s not supporting the Constitution. That would be destroying the Constitution.”

Syrian alien: “Yeah, maybe so. But it’s my religion.”

U.S. official: “Oh, your religion. Why didn’t you say so? I thought you were spouting some anti-American political ideology. But as long as you say it’s your religion, no problem. C’mon in!”

This conversation is impossible to imagine because . . . it would be honest. In the decades-long onslaught of radical Islam against the United States, honesty went out with the benighted notions that we should “know thine enemy” and, God forbid, train our national-security agents in that enemy’s ideology, methods, and objectives.

In our alternative universe, you are not supposed to remember that there is an American constitutional framework of liberty, popular sovereignty, and equality before the law.

You are not supposed to realize that aliens are expected to exhibit fidelity to this constitutional framework as a precondition to joining our society.

You are not supposed to know that there is an Islamic law, sharia, that has far more to do with governance, economics, warfare, civil rights, domestic relations, criminal prosecution, and fashion than it does with spiritual life.

And you are absolutely not supposed to grasp that sharia is antithetical to the Constitution, to the very foundational American principle that the people may make law for themselves, live as they see fit, and chart their own destiny.

You are not supposed to connect the dots and ask, “Well, how is it conceivable that any sharia-adherent alien could faithfully pledge allegiance to our Constitution?”

So, instead, we shrug our shoulders, mumble something about “freedom of religion,” and bury our heads back in the sand — as if the structure of government and the decision of which limb to smite for which larceny had anything to do with religion in a free society that rejects the establishment of any state religion and separates spiritual from political life.

Sharia is not religion. Sharia is a totalitarian societal structure and legal corpus that anti-American radicals seek to impose. Yes, their motivation for doing so is their interpretation of their religion — the fundamentalist, literalist construction of Islam. But that does not make sharia itself a matter of “religion” in the Western sense, even if vast numbers of Arab Muslims — for whom there is no cognizable separation of mosque and state — say otherwise. If Karl Marx had said, “The workers must control the means of production because God says so,” that would not have transmogrified the tyranny of Communism into the “freedom of religion.”

Two things flow from this.

The first involves immigration. As we’ve previously demonstrated, there is no constitutional prohibition against considering religion in deciding which aliens to allow into the United States — immigration is a privilege, not a right; and our Constitution is security for Americans, not a weapon for aliens to use against Americans.

Nevertheless, even if there were a constitutional bar against “religious tests,” sharia is not religion. There are no constitutional constraints against excluding aliens on grounds of anti-American political ideology. Excluding anti-Americans from America is common sense and was regarded as such for much of our history. In a time of radical Islamic threat to our national security, Donald Trump is right to propose that aliens from sharia-supremacist areas be carefully vetted for adherence to anti-constitutional principles.

Leftists — those notorious disciples of the Framers — claim this is unconstitutional. When shown it is not, they claim that it is against our “tradition” — being, you know, big fans of American tradition. When shown that this is not the case either, when shown that our history supports ideological exclusion of anti-Americans, leftists are down to claiming, “It is not who we are” — by which they always mean it is not who they are, and who they would force the rest of us to be.

A short lesson in how we got to be who “we” are. In the last decades of the Cold War, it became progressive dogma that the Soviet Union was forever, that it was an empire we could do business with, arrive at a modus vivendi with. The real evil, the Left decided, were the anti-Communists — it was their provocations against the Soviets, not the Soviets themselves, that could trigger Armageddon. Therefore, they reckoned, we needed to do away with all this overheated nonsense about how Communists seek the violent overthrow of the United States. That, to the Left, was just a bunch of ideological mumbo-jumbo that nobody ever really took seriously (even if Bill Ayers hadn’t gotten the memo).

One major consequence of this conventional wisdom was the campaign waged by leading Democrats to eliminate radical ideology as a basis for excluding aliens. They championed laws decreeing that “mere” radical ideology, in the absence of some provable connection to violent action, should not bar radicals from entering our country. Thus, the “principle” that America must not vet would-be immigrants for anti-Americanism is not derived from the U.S. Constitution, from our traditions, or from who “we” supposedly are. It stems from the Left’s conviction that Communist ideology was not a real threat to America.

Then, about 14 months after the Soviet Union collapsed, jihadists bombed the World Trade Center. They have been attacking us ever since. See, however you come out on the question of whether Communists really posed a violent threat to our national security, there cannot be such a question with respect to radical Islam. The front line of that movement is the mass murderers, not the professors. With radical Islam, the threat of violence is not an abstract academic proposition. It is our reality.

What’s more, we know from hard experience, and from observing Europe’s new reality, that the threat is not just the jihadists. Equally important are the sharia-supremacist ideologues who seek to forge autonomous enclaves where sharia becomes the de facto law, and where jihadist radicalization, recruitment, fundraising, and training have safe haven. Our legitimate worries are not limited to the trained jihadist who infiltrates today; they include the sharia supremacist who will get his hooks into young Muslims and turn them into the trained jihadists of tomorrow.

The second thing to consider is Islam. As Robert R. Reilly unfolded in his essential book, The Closing of the Muslim Mind, there is an Islamic tradition of rational inquiry, deeply influenced by Greek philosophy, that has been overwhelmed for nearly a millennium by the fundamentalist tradition. The rationalists may be out-muscled, but they are not dormant. They are Muslims who embrace Western culture, reject the imposition of antiquated sharia as a system of law and governance, and challenge the premises and the aggression of the fundamentalists. They are Muslims who, I can attest, help us infiltrate terror cells and prevent attacks. They are Muslims who fight in our armed forces, work in our intelligence services, serve in our police departments, and thrive in our economy.

We do not have to exaggerate their numbers to recognize that these Muslims exist and that they are our allies — that they are part of us. To appreciate their value and their contributions to our society, we do not need to pretend that they typify Islam as it is lived in Syria, Saudi Arabia, or the no-go zones of Paris.

If we want to win the crucial ideological component of radical Islam’s war against us, we should be empowering these pro-Western Muslims rather than inviting the sharia-supremacist Muslim Brotherhood into our policy-making councils. Like protecting our nation, empowering pro-Western Muslims requires an immigration system that welcomes those who will support our Constitution, and turns away those who would sweep it aside.

— Andrew C. McCarthy is a senior policy fellow at National Review Institute and a contributing editor of National Review.

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