Internet Group ICANN Boosted Member Who Transferred U.S. Technology to Iran

 (AP Photo/Tim Hales, File)

(AP Photo/Tim Hales, File)

Washington Free Beacon, by Adam Kredo, Sept.15, 2016:

The international organization the Obama administration is pushing to hand control over the internet to has provided official accreditation to people who have transferred technology to Iran, worked with North Korea, and ordered “murders-for-hire,” according to congressional testimony that raises questions about the organization’s practices.

Obama administration efforts to hand over control of America’s Internet to The Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers, or ICANN, an international coalition of 162 countries and entities, have sparked outrage on Capitol Hill, where critics allege the move would stifle the free flow of information.

Experts familiar with ICANN’s structure testified before Congress on Wednesday that the organization has failed to act in a transparent and accountable fashion, raising questions about how it would operate free from U.S. government oversight.

On multiple occasions, ICANN has provided official accreditation to people operating as an “arm of a criminal network,” including one person who pled guilty to transferring U.S. technology to Iran, according to testimony by John Horton, president and CEO of LegitScript, which works with international governments.

ICANN continues to provide legitimacy to these organizations despite mounting evidence they have engaged in illegal activity, according to Horton, who explained that these criminal sites “remain online because ICANN green-lighted the registrar’s refusal to investigate or take action.”

One of these outfits is ABSystems, a “rogue internet pharmacy network” that provided cover to its founder, Paul Le Roux, who has been dubbed the “most successful criminal mastermind you’ve never heard of.”

“In December 2013, Paul Le Roux pleaded guilty to crimes involving North Korean methamphetamine trafficking, the transfer of US technology to Iran, and several murders-for-hire,” according to Horton’s testimony, which was offered to the Senate Judiciary Committee. “Mr. Le Roux, a Zimbabwean national … remains in US custody, pending sentencing.”

Le Roux financed his illegal endeavors “by operating as an ICANN-accredited domain name registrar, creating a rogue internet pharmacy network through his ability to register domain names unimpeded,” according to Horton.

Oversight failures on ICANN’s behalf led to Le Roux being accredited until at least 2013. However, “it wasn’t until 2016 that information about the link between Mr. Le Roux’s accreditation by ICANN as a registrar and his diversion of US technology to Iran, murders-for-hire, trafficking in North Korean methamphetamine, and arms smuggling [came] to light,” according to Horton.

Horton highlighted ICANN-accredited organizations across the globe that operate illegal black market pharmacies, including one that has been found to be operating as “part of a Russian cybercriminal network.”

These oversight failures just scratch the surface, according to Horton, who testified at a hearing led by Sen. Ted Cruz (R., Texas), who is leading an effort to stop the Obama administration from handing control of the Internet to ICANN.

Cruz is spearheading legislation that would block the Obama administration from spending any money on this effort. The bill is backed by at least 25 other senators.

One senior congressional source working on the matter told the Free Beacon that ICANN cannot be trusted to preserve internet freedom.

“Proponents of the transition want us to simply take their word that freedom on the Internet will be protected by ICANN, a multistakeholder organization consisting of 162 foreign countries, private corporations and other interests, because its bylaws prevent it from fleeing U.S. jurisdiction and are designed to prevent any one bad actor from gaining too much influence,” the source said.
“But bylaws can be changed, as was established during the hearing today,” the source explained. “Mr. Marby, CEO of ICANN himself, admitted ICANN is not subject to the First Amendment to the U.S. Constitution. Bylaws intended to prevent one bad actor from gaining influence can be changed to allow them greater influence. This is not the kind of organization the American people should feel confident in protecting their interests and protecting freedom on the Internet.”

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Iran May Have Received as Much as $33.6 Billion in Cash, Gold Payments From U.S.

John Kerry, left, and Javad Zarif / AP

John Kerry, left, and Javad Zarif / AP

Washington Free Beacon, by Adam Kredo, Sept. 8, 2016:

Iran may have received an additional $33.6 billion in secret cash and gold payments facilitated by the Obama administration between 2014 and 2016, according to testimony provided before Congress by an expert on last summer’s nuclear agreement with Iran.

Between January 2014 and July 2015, when the Obama administration was hammering out the final details of the nuclear accord, Iran was paid $700 million every month from funds that had previously been frozen by U.S. sanctions.

A total of $11.9 billion was ultimately paid to Iran, but the details surrounding these payments remain shrouded in mystery, according to Mark Dubowitz, executive director at the Foundation for Defense of Democracies.

In total, “Iran may have received as much as $33.6 billion in cash or in gold and other precious metals,” Dubowitz disclosed.

New questions about these payments are emerging following confirmation from top Obama administration officials on Thursday that it was forced to pay Iran $1.7 billion in cash prior to the release of several U.S. hostages earlier this year. The administration insisted that cash had to be used for this payment.

Top administration officials were adamant that the cash payments were the best way to ensure that Iran got immediate access to this money due to its ongoing difficulty accessing international funds still sanctioned by the West.

Lawmakers and others are now pressing the administration to disclose how a slew of other payments to Iran were made in the years leading up to the final nuclear accord.

“In July, the Associated Press cited U.S. officials who estimated that Iran ‘brought home less than $20 billion.’ Were these funds repatriated to Tehran in cash or in gold and precious metals? Through the formal financial system? Or through some combination?” Dubowitz asked in his testimony before the House Financial Services Committee.

“The administration should also clarify if the $20 billion dollars is inclusive of the $11.9 billion in [Joint Plan of Action] funds, or if the $20 billion was in addition to the $11.9 billion,” he said. “Either way, it is important to understand how funds were sent. The worst-case scenario here is that Iran may have received as much as $33.6 billion in cash or in gold and other precious metals.”

At least some of this money was likely sent in cash and other assets, according to Dubowitz.

The Obama administration was forced to disclose on Thursday that current sanctions and banking restrictions prohibited it from transferring funds to Iran via electronic methods.

The cash payment of $1.7 billion earlier this year was the easiest way to ensure Iran got immediate access to the money, according to these officials.

“Iran had to have it in cash,” Paul Ahern, assistant general counsel for enforcement and intelligence at the Treasury Department, told lawmakers. “Iran was very aware of the difficulties it would face in accessing and using the funds if they were in any other form than cash, even after the lifting of sanctions.”

A cash delivery “was the most reliable way that they received the funds in a timely manner and it was the manner preferred by the relative foreign banks,” Ahren said.

Given the situation, it is likely that the multiple past payments to Iran were conducted in a similar fashion, according to Dubowitz.

“If the White House could only send cash to Iran from the start of the JPOA period through the Tribunal payment that could amount to a grant total of 33.6 billion,” he said. “Did any of this money go through the formal financial system? If so, the administration is not being truthful about the 1.7 billion. If many billions arrived in Iran on pallets [of cash] this would be a pretty astounding revelation.”

Michael Rubin, a former Pentagon official and expert on rogue regimes, said that cash payments of this nature are “highly irregular.”

“There’s no reason it needed to be paid now. After all, successive administrations, both Democratic and Republican, have delayed payments so as to avoid funding Iranian terrorism,” Rubin said. “Likewise, if the United States freezes accounts linked to al Qaeda or Hamas, releasing it and saying, ‘It’s their money anyway,’ would not be a tenable explanation. Cash payments are highly irregular.”

The Iranians have been clear that they “perceived the payment to be a ransom” despite the administration’s protestations, Rubin explained.

“Not only has the delivery of the millions of dollars been perceived as a ransom, provided as an incentive to seize more hostages …. but because the money was delivered in cash the payment bolstered the strength of the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps and augmented its ability to finance and conduct terrorism,” he said.

What’s the Plan for Winning the War?

iranian-nuclear-weaponDoes anyone in the administration recognize that we’re in one?

CounterJihad, Aug. 25, 2016:

Michael Ledeen makes a clever observation:

Everyone’s talking about “ransom,” but it’s virtually impossible to find anyone who’s trying to figure out how to win the world war we’re facing.  The two keystones of the enemy alliance are Iran and Russia, and the Obama administration, as always, has no will to resist their sorties, whether the Russians’ menacing moves against Ukraine, or the Iranians’ moves against us.

The moves are on the chessboard, sometimes kinetic and sometimes psychological warfare.  Like a chess game, we are in the early stages in which maneuver establishes the array of forces that will govern the rest of the game.  Russia’s deployment of air and naval forces to Syria stole a march on the Obama administration.  Its swaying of Turkey, which last year was downing Russian aircraft, is stealing another.  Its deployment of bombers and advanced strike aircraft to Iran is another.  That last appears to be in a state of renegotiation, as Ledeen notes, but that too is probably for show.  The Iranians have too much to gain in terms of security for their nuclear program, at least until they’ve had time to build their own air force.

Iran is making strategic moves as well.  Ledeen notes the “Shi’ite Freedom Army,” a kind of Iranian Foreign Legion that intends to field five divisions of between twenty and twenty-five thousand men each.  Overall command will belong to Quds Force commander Qassem Suliemani, currently a major figure in the assault on Mosul, having recovered from his injury in Syria commanding Iranian-backed militia in the war there.  The fact of his freedom of movement is itself a Russian-Iranian demonstration that they will not be governed by international law:  Suliemani is under international travel bans for his assassination plot against world diplomats, but was received in Moscow and now travels freely throughout the northern Middle East.

Turkey, meanwhile, has been effectively cut off by Iran’s and Russia’s success in the opening game of this global chess match.  As late as the Ottoman Empire, the Turks looked south through Iran and Iraq to power bases as far away as Arabia.  Now the Ayatollahs are going to control a crescent of territory from Afghanistan’s borders to the Levant, leaving the Turks locked out.  One might have expected the Turks to respond by doubling their sense of connection to Europe and NATO.  Instead, the purge following the alleged coup attempt is cementing an Islamist control that leaves the Turks looking toward a world from which they are largely separated by the power of this new Russian-Iranian alliance.  The Turks seem to be drifting toward joining that alliance because being a part of that alliance will preserve their ties to the Islamic world.

For now, the Obama administration seems blind to the fact that these moves are closing off America’s position in the Middle East.  This is not a new policy.  Eli Lake reports that the Obama administration told the CIA to sever its ties to Iranian opposition groups in order to avoid giving aid to the Green revolution.  Their negotiation of last year’s disastrous “Iran deal” has led to Iran testing new ballistic missiles and receiving major arms shipments from Russia.  Yet while all these moves keep being made around them, the Obama administration proceeds as if this were still just an attempt to crush the Islamic State (ISIS).  The commander of the XVIIIth Airborne Corps has been given a task that amounts to helping the Iranians win.  Our incoherent policy has left us on both sides in Syria.  Our only real ally in the conflict, the Kurds, stand abandoned by America.

Who is even thinking about how to win the war?  Will the legacy of the Obama administration be a shattered NATO, a Turkey drawn into Russia’s orbit, an Iranian hegemony over the northern Middle East, and a resurgent Russia?  It certainly looks to be shaping up that way.  Russia is playing chess while the US is playing whack-a-mole.  The absence of a coherent governing strategy is glaring.

The Trickle-Down Erosion of Honesty in Obama’s White House

ap_barack-obama-john-kerry_ap-photo-e1471008064574-640x480Breitbart, by  James Zumwalt, Aug. 12, 2016:

The Association of Certified Fraud Examiners (ACFE) conducts fraud prevention training for U.S. businesses. Training focus is both internal and external—preventing fraud against the business as well as fraud by company employees against others.

An important standard taught is the tone set for ethical integrity leadership:

An organization’s leadership creates the tone at the top – an ethical (or unethical) atmosphere in the workplace. Management’s tone has a trickle-down effect on employees. If top managers uphold ethics and integrity so will employees. But if upper management appears unconcerned with ethics and focuses solely on the bottom line, employees will be more prone to commit fraud and feel that ethical conduct isn’t a priority. In short, employees will follow the examples of their bosses.

Obviously, the larger an organization, the more difficult to hold all within it accountable to this standard. However, when numerous examples of a lapse in an organization’s ethical conduct exist, the tone set at the top comes into question.

Next week, a five-month long investigative report will be released finding U.S. Central Command intelligence ISIS and al-Qaeda threat assessments were intentionally downplayed. While offering no definitive evidence President Barack Obama ordered it, determining whether he did or not creates a need to look at the tone set for truth-telling.

Recently, the U.S. Department of Justice (DOJ) ordered more ethics training for its attorneys based on a judge’s findings he was misled by DOJ lawyers in a high-profile lawsuit initiated by 26 states opposed to Obama’s immigration policies.

Apologizing for any confusion, DOJ lawyers deny making intentional misstatements. But their soft-pedaling contrasts significantly with the judge’s finding, “The misconduct in this case was intentional, serious and material.”

A recent Hillary Clinton email release suggests DOJ may also have blocked a Clinton Foundation probe.

For those believing it unfair to pin transgressions of one wayward federal agency as an indictment of the president under whom it serves, let us turn to Obama’s executive branch staff—where he held the most direct influence.

Ben Rhodes is Obama’s foreign policy guru. He is credited with setting the tone for the Iran nuclear deal both via his interactions with the press and Congress. Throughout the process, he maintained a low profile.

However, with the deal concluded, it has been difficult for Rhodes to contain his successful deception of the media and Congress. In a New York Times interview, he boasted about doing exactly that. And, anyone who knows Rhodes, knows he and Obama enjoy a mind-meld mentality.

For Obama defenders still believing DOJ misconduct and one self-admitted lying foreign policy guru do not an unethical president make, we continue.

Concerning the Iran nuclear deal, Secretary of State John Kerry attempted to deceive Congress there were no side deals. We now know there were at least three.

As reported by the Associated Press, under one side deal, restrictions imposed by the known agreement “will ease in slightly more than a decade” rather than the 15 years originally claimed, thus reducing “the time Tehran would need to build a bomb to six months from the present estimates of one year.”

An aspect of the Iran deal making more recent headlines is the $400 million cash payment to Iran—sold to Congress at the time as a release of “Iranian” funds. Disclosures now suggest the fund release was actually a devious way for Obama to pay a ransom for Americans the mullahs held hostage. Senior DOJ officials objecting to the payment were overruled by Kerry.  Obama continues to deny it was ransom money despite evidence strongly suggesting Tehran viewed it as such.

Meanwhile, Hillary Clinton’s vice presidential running mate, Senator Tim Kaine, also denying it was ransom, claims, “We don’t pay for hostages. We don’t negotiate for hostages, absolutely not. We’re a nation of laws…” Yet, the White House, admits some of the money paid Iran could go to fund terrorism—a clear violation of U.S. laws.

Tehran even boasts about Obama’s efforts to deceive Americans on the nuclear deal. The Iranians were told not to discuss their missile tests, conducting them in secret so as not to draw attention to a flawed deal.

Evidence has also come to light that the U.S. State Department manipulated data given to Congress, downplaying anti-Israel bias charges against the UN Human Rights Council.

But, enough about State Department lies. Let us now turn to other federal agencies.

The Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) confirmed this month the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) had inappropriately targeted tea party and other conservative groups seeking non-profit status. As IRS targeting became an issue, it tried blaming it on “rogue agents.” However, internal documents reveal the tone was set at the agency’s top level.

Director of National Intelligence James R. Clapper also suffered effects of the tone. In June 2013, he apologized to the Senate Intelligence Committee chairman for lying during a hearing. He had responded “No,” when asked specifically if NSA was spying on Americans. Only after Edward Snowden leaked classified documents revealing secretive U.S. government programs monitoring hundreds of millions of Americans did Clapper’s lie come to light.

The tone from the top includes misrepresenting facts tied to our national security and Muslim immigration.

The Senate Judiciary Committee determined in June 2016 the number of refugees arrested for terror in the U.S. was more than three times higher than what State Department reported.

Additionally, concerning criminal aliens in general, it was determined the number reported by Immigration and Customs Enforcement as released in 2014 who then went on to commit additional crimes was under-reported to the House Judiciary Committee by almost 90 percent. This led Committee Chairman Bob Goodlatte to say Obama was creating “a sanctuary for tens of thousands of criminal aliens.”

The Secret Service also fell victim to Obama’s unethical tone, releasing a congressman’s personnel file in retribution for his disclosures about agent misconduct.

Obama’s unethical leadership has had a trickle-down effect. While 42 years ago such leadership caught up to a U.S. president, it appears Obama, inexplicably, will be spared a similar fate.

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

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Also see:

Obama Admin Hid Details of Multi-Million Dollar Cash Payout to Iran From Congress

John Kerry and Javad Zarif / AP

John Kerry and Javad Zarif / AP

Washington Free Beacon, by Adam Kredo, Aug. 4, 2016

The Obama administration took steps to withhold from lawmakers the details of a $400 million cash payout to Iran and continues to rebuke inquiries from Congress for information about how another $1.3 billion in taxpayer funds was awarded to the Islamic Republic, according to multiple conversations with congressional sources apprised of the matter.

U.S. officials familiar with the recent transfer of $400 million in hard currency to Iran withheld details of the exchange from Congress during briefings in classified and unclassified settings, the Washington Free Beacon has learned.

The disclosure threatens to complicate efforts by the administration to downplay new reports detailing how U.S. officials used an unmarked aircraft to transfer $400 million in “pallets of cash” to Iran on the same day it freed several U.S. hostages.

Lawmakers and others have claimed for months that the payment was part of a “ransom” aimed at securing the release of the hostages. The White House denies this claim and has said the payment was part of a settlement to resolve decades-old legal disputes with the Islamic Republic.

Nearly eight months after congressional officials demanded a formal accounting of this payment–which amounted to $1.7 billion in total–the administration is still declining to provide lawmakers with the full story, sparking outrage on Capitol Hill.

“It has been seven months since President Obama announced that he was giving the Islamic Republic of Iran almost $2 billion,” Rep. Mike Pompeo (R., Kan.), a member of the House Intelligence Committee, told the Free Beacon on Wednesday.  “And we are just now finding out damning details about how $400 million, which is less than half of the total, was sent to Iran using foreign aircraft and foreign currencies.”

Pompeo led several unsuccessful inquiries into the cash payout. He said the administration has been stonewalling efforts to obtain a full readout of the exchange in both classified and unclassified settings since January.

Pompeo expressed anger that the administration is “totally stonewalling congressional inquiries,” while leaving it to the press to unearth the details of the exchange.

“That is far too long of a timeline, especially as it is in the face of the Obama administration totally stonewalling congressional inquiries into this matter since January,” Pompeo said.

“We still do not know how the other $1.3 billion was sent, and we still have three Americans sitting in prisons in Iran,” Pompeo said, explaining that the bulk of the cash to Iran remains shrouded in mystery.

Congressional sources with knowledge of the situation told the Free Beacon that the State Department and other administration officials withheld details regarding the payment for more than three months–and only then provided a barebones accounting of the payout that omitted all mention of the secret cash delivery.

Sources who spoke to the Free Beacon said this was an intentional effort by the administration to keep lawmakers in the dark and prevent them from receiving a full accounting of the $1.7 billion payout.

A timeline centered around these inquires reveals that administration officials stonewalled Congress for months before providing responses that omitted any mention of the hard currency transfer.

Pompeo launched an inquiry seeking further details in January, when the legal settlement was first announced.

By mid-March, the State Department still had not responded, as was first reported by the Free Beacon.

The State Department informed Pompeo later that month in a hand-delivered letter that the information he was seeking was classified.

A classified briefing was held in late April. Sources familiar with the briefing told the Free Beacon that administration officials made no mention of the $400 million cash delivery. This information was only made public when the Wall Street Journal reported it late Monday.

One congressional source working on the issue said that the Obama administration could now spend funds set aside for American victims of terrorism on further payments to Iran.

“This just makes you wonder how far President Obama is willing to go to appease the Iranians,” the source said. “Iran keeps taking American citizens hostage because it knows the administration will cave. It wouldn’t surprise me if the president has authorized negotiations with Iran over the $2 billion that is meant to go to the families of the victims of Iranian terror.”

“Every action this administration has taken toward Iran has been in furtherance of the regime’s interests and at our expense,” the source added. “What else is currently being negotiated between the administration and Iran? The American people deserve to know and they should demand full transparency.”

A second congressional source involved in the issue told the Free Beacon that obfuscation by the administration has become a pattern and practice when it comes to Iran.

“Congress continues to press the Obama administration on every change and new policy regarding Iran,” the source said. “At every turn, we are met with ‘no comment’ and further secrecy, which is why the American people do not like this deal and understand it does not make them safer.”

Another source familiar with the administration’s thinking said that administration efforts to downplay the latest disclosures do no comport with the reality that this payment was part of a secret negotiation.

“The Obama admin is hoping to convince people that there’s nothing new in this scandal,” the source said. “But they can’t convince members of Congress because members know that they weren’t told all the details about this cash payment for hostages. For instance, the administration has refused to fully disclose all the ways in which it has transferred money to Iran all of the time.”

The White House declined on Wednesday to offer further details to reporters.

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Also see:

Top Intel Official: Al Qaeda Worked on WMD in Iran

713_missile

New evidence of the bin Laden-Iran connection.

Weekly Standard, by Stephen F. Hayes and Thomas Joscelyn, July 12, 2016:

Al Qaeda operatives based in Iran worked on chemical and biological weapons, according to a letter written to Osama bin Laden that is described in a new book by a top former U.S. intelligence official.

The letter was captured by a U.S. military sensitive site exploitation team during the raid on bin Laden’s Abbottabad headquarters in May 2011. It is described in Field of Fight, out Tuesday from Lieutenant General Michael Flynn, the former head of the Defense Intelligence Agency, and Michael Ledeen of the Foundation for Defense of Democracies.

“One letter to bin Laden reveals that al Qaeda was working on chemical and biological weapons in Iran,” Flynn writes.

Flynn’s claim, if true, significantly advances what we know about al Qaeda’s activity in Iran. The book was cleared by the intelligence community’s classification review process. And U.S. intelligence sources familiar with the bin Laden documents tell us the disclosure on al Qaeda’s WMD work is accurate.

Flynn notes that only a small subset of bin Laden’s files have been released to the public. The “Defense Intelligence Agency’s numerous summaries and analyses of the files remain classified,” too, Flynn writes. “But even the public peek gives us considerable insight into the capabilities of this very dangerous global organization.”

It’s not just al Qaeda.

“There’s a lot of information on Iran in the files and computer discs captured at the Pakistan hideout of Osama bin Laden,” Flynn writes in the introduction. The authors note that the relationship between Iran and al Qaeda “has always been strained” and “[s]ometimes bin Laden himself would erupt angrily at the Iranians.” Previously released documents and other evidence show that al Qaeda kidnapped an Iranian diplomat in order to force a hostage exchange and bin Laden was very concerned about the Iranians’ ability to track his family members.

And yet the book makes clear that Flynn believes there is much more to the al Qaeda-Iran relationship than the public has been told. And that’s not an accident. Obama administration “censors have been busy,” Flynn writes, blocking the release of the bin Laden documents to the public and, in some cases, to analysts inside the U.S. intelligence community. “Some of it—a tiny fraction—has been declassified and released, but the bulk of it is still under official seal. Those of us who have read bin Laden’s material know how important it is…”

Not surprisingly, Obama administration officials bristle at Flynn’s characterization of their lack of transparency and lack of urgency on jihadists and their state sponsors. “Mike Flynn, in true Kremlin form, has been peddling these baseless conspiracy theories for years. Anyone who thinks Iran was or is in bed with al Qaeda doesn’t know much about either,” an Obama administration official told THE WEEKLY STANDARD.

It’s an odd line of attack, given the fact that the Obama administration has repeatedly accused Iran of directly aiding al Qaeda. The Treasury and State Departments publicly accused the Iranian regime of allowing al Qaeda to operate inside Iran in: July 2011, December 2011, February 2012,July 2012,October 2012, May 2013, January 2014, February 2014, April 2014, and August 2014. In addition, in congressional testimony in February 2012, Director of National Intelligence James Clapper described the relationship as a “marriage of convenience.”

Asked about the administration’s own repeated statements pointing to the Iranian regime’s deal with al Qaeda, the administration official who dismissed Flynn’s claim as a “baseless conspiracy” theory declined to comment further.

The Flynn/Ledeen claim about al Qaeda’s WMD work in Iran comes with an interesting wrinkle. The authors preface their disclosure of al Qaeda’s work on “chemical and biological weapons in Iran” by suggesting that the revelation was included in documents already public.

But the only document released to date that seems to touch on the subject is a March 28, 2007, letter to an al Qaeda operative known as “Hafiz Sultan.” The letter, which discussed the possibility of Iran-based al Qaeda operatives using chlorine gas on Kurdish leaders and includes a likely reference to Atiyah ‘Abd-al-Rahman, was released by the administration via the Combating Terrorism Center at West Point in May 2012. President Obama’s Treasury Department has claimed that Rahman was appointed by Osama bin Laden “to serve as al Qaeda’s emissary in Iran, a position which allowed him to travel in and out of Iran with the permission of Iranian officials.” It is not, however, addressed to bin Laden and it does not include a reference to biological weapons.

And while the U.S. Treasury and State Department have repeatedly sanctioned al Qaeda’s operatives inside Iran and offered rewards for information on their activities, as noted, statements from Treasury and the State Department do not mention al Qaeda’s “chemical and biological weapons” work inside Iran.

The takeaway: It does not appear that the al Qaeda document referenced by Flynn has been released by the U.S. government.

Flynn and others who have seen the documents say there are more explosive revelations in the bin Laden files kept from the public. Those already released give us a hint. One document, released in 2015, is a letter presumably written by Osama bin Laden to the “Honorable brother Karim.” The recipient of the October 18, 2007, missive, “Karim,” was likely an al Qaeda veteran known Abu Ayyub al Masri, who led al Qaeda in the Iraq (AQI) at the time.

Bin Laden chastised the AQI leader for threatening to attack Iran. The al Qaeda master offered a number of reasons why this didn’t make sense. “You did not consult with us on that serious issue that affects the general welfare of all of us,” bin Laden wrote. “We expected you would consult with us for these important matters, for as you are aware, Iran is our main artery for funds, personnel, and communication, as well as the matter of hostages.”

That language from bin Laden sounds a lot like the language the Obama administration used in July 2011, when a statement from the U.S. Treasury noted that the network in Iran “serves as the core pipeline through which Al Qaeda moves money, facilitators and operatives from across the Middle East to South Asia.”

David Cohen, who was then a top Treasury official and is now the number two official at the CIA, told us back then: “There is an agreement between the Iranian government and al Qaeda to allow this network to operate. There’s no dispute in the intelligence community on this.”

Why, then, is the Obama administration attempting to dismiss the cooperative relationship between Iran and al Qaeda as a “baseless conspiracy?” Good question.

And it’s one that releasing the rest of the documents could help answer.

Note: Flynn’s co-author Michael Ledeen is a colleague of Thomas Joscelyn at the Foundation for Defense of Democracies.

Homeland Security Report Calls for Rejecting Terms ‘Jihad,’ Sharia’

An ISIS propaganda shows Omar Mateen who killed 49 people at the Pulse nightclub in Orlando, Florida, with 'Islamic State' blazoned behind him / AP

An ISIS propaganda shows Omar Mateen who killed 49 people at the Pulse nightclub in Orlando, Florida, with ‘Islamic State’ blazoned behind him / AP

Washington Free Beacon, by Bill Gertz, June 17, 2016:

A new Department of Homeland Security report urges rejecting use of Islamic terms such as “jihad” and “sharia” in programs aimed at countering terrorist radicalization among American youth.

The Homeland Security Advisory Council report recommends that the department focus on American milliennials by allocating up to $100 million in new funding. It also urges greater private sector cooperation, including with Muslim communities, to counter what is described as a “new generation of threats to the Homeland related to the threat of violent extremism.”

The funds would be used for hiring experts and new social media programs and technology to influence young people not to join terror groups.

“The department’s CVE efforts are an attempt to protect our nation’s young people from extremists who prey upon the Millennial generation,” the report says.

“The department must reframe the conversation to reflect this reality and design a robust program around the protection of our youth, which must include predator awareness and an understanding of radicalization. In doing so, our citizens will be better equipped for this threat.”

Under the section on terminology, the report calls for rejecting use of an “us versus them” mentality by shunning Islamic language in “Countering Violent Extremism” programs, or CVE, the Obama administration’s euphemism that seeks to avoid references to Islam.

Under a section on recommended actions on terminology, the report says DHS should “reject religiously-charged terminology and problematic positioning by using plain meaning American English.”

Government agencies should employ “American English instead of religious, legal and cultural terms like ‘jihad,’ ‘sharia,’ ‘takfir’ or ‘umma,’” states the June 2016 report by the Council’s countering violent extremism subcommittee.

Jihad is the Islamic concept of holy war that is the primary call to arms for Islamic terrorist groups around the world, including the Islamic State, al Qaeda, and the Muslim Brotherhood. Sharia law is the anti-democratic Islamic supremacist legal code that critics say has prevented U.S. Muslims from assimilating into American society. Takfir is the Arabic term for apostasy, and umma is the word used to describe the entire Muslim community.

The DHS report stated that to avoid a confrontational “us versus them” stance in public efforts to counter Islamic radicalization, government programs should use the term “American Muslim” instead of “Muslim American.”

The limits on counterterrorism terminology outlined in the report are the latest sign of verbal censorship within government imposed by President Obama. The president this week launched into an angry public denunciation of Republican critics of his policy of avoiding use of the expression “radical Islam.”

Obama sought to deny charges that political correctness was behind the policy of not linking Islamic terrorism to its religious roots, and dismissed those who favor highlighting the links as a Republican political ploy.

The comments prompted a backlash from counterterrorism experts who say that failing to publicly link Islamic terrorism to its religious tenets makes it more difficult to counter jihadist ideology.

The terrorist attack Sunday in Orlando was carried out by a radical Muslim, Omar Mateen, who declared loyalty to ISIS during the rampage that killed 49 people at a gay nightclub on Sunday. The FBI said Mateen was “radicalized” through the Internet.

President Obama’s program to counter ISIS came under fire from CIA Director John Brennan during a Senate hearing Thursday.

Some gains are being made in taking back territory controlled by ISIS and limiting its finances, according to Brennan.

“Unfortunately, despite all of our progress against ISIL on the battlefield and in the financial realm, our efforts have not reduced the group’s terrorism capability and global reach,” he said.

“The resources needed for terrorism are very modest, and the group would have to suffer even heavier losses on territory, manpower, and money for its terrorist capacity to decline significantly.”

The DHS report said the average age for foreign fighters joining ISIS is 26, with the Internet “playing a primary or contributing role” in radicalization.

Rep. Mike Pompeo (R., Kansas) a member of the House Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence, criticized the DHS language restrictions.

“The Department of Homeland Security’s (DHS) Interim Report makes the dangerous recommendation that the Obama administration continue to deny the threat that radical Islamic terrorism poses,” Pompeo said.

“Jihadists are the ones who have made this fight ‘us vs. them’ with every violent terrorist attack—from bringing down the World Trade Center towers, killing American soldiers overseas, beheading journalists, or shooting Americans in Orlando,” he added. “DHS’s emphasis here on political correctness is absolutely dangerous and places America and our military at risk.”

In the Senate, Sen. Ted Cruz (R., Texas) said the administration’s failure to properly address radical Islam has made the country less safe.

“Over and over again, we have seen the Obama administration having ample information to stop a terrorist attack, and yet because of the political correctness, because of the ideology of this administration that won’t even say the word ’jihad,’ won’t even say the words ’radical Islamic terrorism,’ they look the other way and the attacks go forward,” Cruz said in a Senate floor speech Thursday.

Sebastian Gorka, a counterterrorism expert, said that banning the jihadist terminology is similar to “Newspeak,” the fictional language used for totalitarian control in George Orwell’s book 1984.

“This is simply outrageous from the perspective of national security,” said Gorka, the Horner chair of military theory at Marine Corps University.

“Banning words that our political elite don’t like is not only a contravention of the First Amendment, it directly endangers the lives of Americans,” he added.

“When the enemy that slaughters our citizens in Orlando, San Bernardino, and Boston calls themselves ‘jihadis’ no one, not even the president, has the right to censor that reality and give them another name.”

Michael Rubin, a former Pentagon official now with the American Enterprise Institute, said the report’s concerns about terminology are hindering counterterrorism efforts.

“If the Obama team and DHS used half the effort they expend debating vocabulary actually advancing strategies to stymie and defeat enemies, America would be safer,” he said.

The report also recommends using former terrorists in “programming and messaging” efforts, including “far right, anti-government, and other extremists groups.” The report also mentions white supremacist, sovereign citizen, and anarchist groups as posing a terror threat but makes no mention of left-wing extremist groups.

The report also calls for a focus on “gender diversity of youth through careful attention to the range of push and pull factors that attract individuals of differing gender.” The gender focus was not further explained.

On the use of social media, “the department must fully understand and leverage social media in its policy and programmatic activities,” the report said.

America’s children, the report says, will grow up in a world of expanding human ingenuity and knowledge. “As that process of human evolution, including the expansion of freedom and liberties across the globe proceeds, our government must remain vigilant, adapt, and evolve to protect them,” the report concludes, adding that “we must do so by demonstrating faith in the American people, in their government, and we must be confident in the power of America’s ideas.”

A DHS spokeswoman had no immediate comment.

Farah Pandith, a Council on Foreign Relations fellow, and chairman of the panel that produced the report, did not return emails seeking comment.

Obama Admin Awards $270K to Controversial Islamic Charity

Palestinian Hamas militants take part in a rally / AP

Palestinian Hamas militants take part in a rally / AP

Washington Free Beacon, by Adam Kredo, @Kredo0, April 20 2016:

The Obama administration has awarded $270,000 to an Islamic charity that has been outlawed by some governments for its support of the terror group Hamas and other jihadist organizations, according to grant documents.

The Department of Health and Human Services has provided a $270,000 grant to Islamic Relief Worldwide, a charity that has repeatedly been linked to terrorism financing and support for Hamas and the Muslim Brotherhood, according to recent grant information.

The grant was awarded as part of a larger project to provide health services in Nairobi, Kenya, through the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, according to the grant.

Some terrorism experts have expressed concern that the administration is providing funds to Islamic Relief given its past ties to the Muslim Brotherhood and Hamas, ties that have led some governments to outlaw the charity.

The United Arab Emirates and Israel both banned the charity in 2014 after investigations revealed that Islamic Relief had ties to Hamas, the Muslim Brotherhood, and other entities engaged in terror financing, according to reports.

An investigation by the Israeli government led to accusations that the charity was providing material support to Hamas and its operatives.

The charity “provides support and assistance to Hamas’s infrastructure,” Israel’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs determined in 2006. “The IRW’s activities in Judea, Samaria, and the Gaza Strip are carried out by social welfare organizations controlled and staffed by Hamas operatives.”

The charity further “appears to be a hub for donations from charities accused of links to al Qaeda and other terror groups,” according to an investigation conducted by the Gatestone Institute.

The charity’s “accounts show that it has partnered with a number of organizations linked to terrorism and that some of charity’s trustees are personally affiliated with extreme Islamist groups that have connections to terror,” according to the investigation, authored by terrorism analyst Samuel Westrop.

An audit of the organization’s accounts showed that it had donated thousands of dollars to a charity established by a terrorist affiliated with al Qaeda, according to Westrop.

Israeli authorities arrested the charity’s Gaza coordinator, Ayaz Ali, in 2006 due to his alleged work on Hamas’s behalf.

“Incriminating files were found on Ali’s computer, including documents that attested to the organization’s ties with illegal Hamas funds abroad (in the UK and in Saudi Arabia) and in Nablus,” Israel’s foreign affairs ministry said at the time. “Also found were photographs of swastikas superimposed on IDF symbols, of senior Nazi German officials, of Osama Bin Laden, and Abu Musab al-Zarqawi, as well as many photographs of Hamas military activities.”

The charity attempted to mend its image in 2014 by performing an internal audit. However, experts criticized the effort as unreliable.

“The information provided by [Islamic Relief] on its internal investigation is insufficient to assess the veracity of its claims,” the watchdog organization NGO Monitor wrote in a 2015 analysis. “NGO Monitor recommends that a fully independent, transparent, and comprehensive audit of IRW’s international activities and funding mechanisms be undertaken immediately.”

Patrick Poole, a reporter and counter-terrorism analyst for Unconstrained Analytics, noted that USAID, a taxpayer funded organization, also has donated funds to Islamic Relief.

“Time and again we see federal agencies and departments using taxpayer money to support the enemies of the United States and our allies,” Poole said. “USAID is a persistent culprit in this regard. In 2005 it took an act of Congress, led by the late Rep. Tom Lantos [D., Calif.], to stop USAID from funding Hamas institutions in Gaza. Now we see them doing the same thing, but only using a middleman.”

The Department of Health and Human Services did not respond to a request for comment on the grant.

Keane: Saudis Don’t Believe Obama Admin Would Defend Them in Conflict with Iran

Washington Free Beacon, by Aaron Kliegman, Jan. 5, 2015:

Gen. Jack Keane said on Tuesday that Saudi officials have told him they believe the United States under the Obama administration would not defend Saudi Arabia if it came into conflict with Iran and are waiting for a new American president to take office.

Keane, who is a former Vice Chief of Staff for the U.S. Army, told Fox News host Bill Hemmer that the Iran nuclear deal and American disengagement from the Middle East, among other factors, have all contributed to the perception in Riyadh that Washington is trying to create a new strategic partnership with Iran at the expense of Saudi Arabia and other U.S. allies in the region.

“I can tell you for a fact because I’ve spoken to Saudi officials, they believe that the United States during this [Obama] administration … would not defend them if they got into a conflict,” Keane said. “And that’s a fact. They are waiting for this administration to go.”

Keane made this statement while analyzing the ongoing Saudi-Iranian feud that has reached new heights after Saudi Arabia cut off diplomatic ties with Iran on Sunday, which was extended the next day to include all flights and trade.

These moves were triggered when Iranian protestors attacked the Saudi embassy in Tehran on Saturday, which was in response to the Saudi government executing a prominent Shiite cleric who had been calling for a new regime in Riyadh. Events of the past few days escalated the ongoing competition between the two Middle Eastern powers for geopolitical influence, a rivalry fueled in part by strong ethnic and religious differences.

sunni-shiaIran is a mostly Persian, Shiite country while Saudi Arabia is Arab and sees itself as the vanguard of Sunni Islam.

But the dispute goes beyond these factors, according to Keane. He argued on Fox News that seeing the Saudi-Iranian spat as simply a Sunni versus Shia conflict is a “superficial understanding of what’s taking place.”

“This is Iran seeking regional domination,” Keane continued. “They have control and influence over four countries already – that’s Lebanon, Syria, Iraq, and Yemen. And they are seeking to undermine the Sunni Arab countries in the region.”

Keane believes the “accelerant” for this increasingly tense strategic environment has been the nuclear deal struck this summer between the United States, along with five other world powers, and Iran.

“That has been done at the expense of our Arab allies in the region.”

Keane added that the Obama administration’s “overall policy of disengagement from the region” has led to the Saudis’ alienation with the United States, “which began politically with Iraq in 2009, militarily in 2011, and one thing after another. Not dealing with the Syrian issue early on in 2012, when his national security team had recommended arming and training the Syrian rebels, not responding to the chemical [red] line that was crossed over by [Syrian president] Assad’s regime.”

Analysts have also cited the lack of U.S. action in supporting former Egyptian president Hosni Mubarak when he was ousted from power in 2011 as an important turning point in the downturn in relations between Riyadh and Washington. Mubarak was close to the Saudi government, and Saudi leaders were furious with the Obama administration over its handling of the Arab Spring in Egypt. Mubarak was also a strategic ally of the United States.

Beyond American policy, Keane told Hemmer that the other important cause of growing Saudi aggression to counter Iranian expansion is the new leadership in Riyadh.

The general described how Saudi Arabia’s King Salman bin Abdulaziz Al Saud, who came to power in January of 2015, and his son and deputy crown prince Mohammad bin Salman Al Saud, who is also Minister of Defense and rose to prominence after his father took the throne, have both taken a more aggressive posture toward Iran.

“That is why military action has taken place in Yemen against the Iranians. They were willing to push back very aggressively to do that.”

Keane added that Saudi Arabia’s recent decision to form a 34-nation coalition to fight terrorism is also the result of the Saudi leaders’ outlook on the region.

Obama White House Turns To Islamists Who Demonize Terror Investigations

by John Rossomando
IPT News
December 28, 2015

Jihadist attacks in San Bernardino and Paris have Americans on edge. Yet part of the Obama White House’s response to the attacks has been to invite Islamist groups that routinely demonize the FBI and other law-enforcement agencies to the White House to discuss a religious discrimination. “If we’re to succeed in defeating terrorism we must enlist Muslim communities as some of our strongest allies, rather than push them away,” President Obama said in his speech following the San Bernardino attack.

But partnering with such organizations sends the wrong message to the American people, said Zuhdi Jasser, president of the American Islamic Forum for Democracy (AFID).

“I think it says a lot when the president uses those organizations that have an ACLU-type mentality. They should have a seat at the table. That’s fine,” Jasser said.  “But not to include groups, which have completely different focuses about counter-radicalization, counter-Islamism creates this monolithic megaphone for demonization of our government and demonization of America that ends up radicalizing our community.”

A White House spokesperson acknowledged to the Investigative Project on Terrorism that the Dec. 14 meeting on countering anti-Muslim animus included Hassan Shibly, executive director of Council on American Islamic Relations (CAIR) Florida chapter. The same forum – attended by Senior Adviser Valerie Jarrett and Deputy National Security Adviser Ben Rhodes – also included Farhana Khera, president and executive director of Muslim Advocates; Maya Berry, executive director of the Arab-American Institute (AAI); Mohamed Magid, imam of the All Dulles Area Muslim Society (ADAMS); and Hoda Hawa, director of policy and advocacy with the Muslim Public Affairs Council (MPAC) among others.

The White House guests, or the organizations they represent, have long histories of criticizing counter-terror investigations. CAIR leads the pack. Its Philadelphia chapter is advertising a workshop, “The FBI and Entrapment in the Muslim Community,” which features a spider with an FBI badge on its back, spinning a web of entrapment around an image of a mosque. The workshop “provides the tools needed to prevent entrapment of community members to become terrorists in the commonwealth of Pennsylvania.”

Since 9/11, CAIR has repeatedly taken the side of defendants accused of financing or plotting attacks, calling their prosecutions a “witch hunt” against the Muslim community.  For example, CAIR denounced the prosecution of Sami Al-Arian, who turned out to be the secretary of the Palestinian Islamic Jihad’s governing board, as “politically motivated” and a result of the “Israelization of American policy and procedures.”

A year ago, CAIR similarly protested the incarceration of Aafia Siddiqui, aka “Lady Al Qaeda” – convicted in 2010 of trying to kill two FBI agents. The protest came after the Islamic State (ISIS) offered to spare the lives of executed American photojournalist James Foley and aid worker Kayla Mueller in exchange for Siddiqui’s release.

CAIR also denounced the December 2001 shutdown of the Holy Land Foundation for Hamas support, saying, “…there has been a shift from a war on terrorism to an attack on Islam.”

Demonizing law enforcement and spreading “the idea that America and Western societies [are] anti-Muslim – the whole Islamophobia mantra is part of the early steps of radicalization so that Muslims get separated out of society,” Jasser said. “These groups certainly aren’t on the violent end of the Islamist continuum, but if there’s a conveyer belt that goes towards radicalization then it certainly starts with this siege and separatist mentality.”

CAIR has used such inflammatory imagery and rhetoric for years, with its San Francisco chapter removing a poster urging Muslims to “Build a Wall of Resistance – Don’t Talk to the FBI” in 2011 after the IPT reported on it.

Later that year, a CAIR-New York official told a Muslim audience that FBI agents would break the law to force them to talk. That includes threats and “blackmail, seriously blackmail; that’s illegal,” Lamis Deek told the audience. “But they’ll do it.”

Jasser blames CAIR and others which spread similar rhetoric for the increased fear of Islam and Muslims in America since 9/11 because they refuse to discuss Islamic extremism and the role Muslims have in fixing the problem.

1324“This creates a climate where people don’t trust us to be part of the solution,” Jasser said. “People say that if you aren’t part of the solution then you are part of the problem, which creates more fear and distrust.”

Neither Jasser nor the AIFD, which advocates for “liberty and freedom, through the separation of mosque and state,” were invited to the White House meeting. Also shut out were Jasser’s colleagues in the new Muslim Reform Movement, whose members “reject interpretations of Islam that call for any violence, social injustice and politicized Islam” and stand “for secular governance, democracy and liberty. Every individual has the right to publicly express criticism of Islam. Ideas do not have rights. Human beings have rights.”

The White House did not reply to a request for comment about Jasser’s characterization of these groups; however, it previously said it engaged CAIR because of “their work on civil rights issues” despite the group’s Hamas ties.

Former FBI Associate Deputy Director Buck Revell also finds the White House’s choice of Muslim groups troubling.

“It’s a very confusing time and circumstance when you have the White House dealing with people who have fronted for the Muslim Brotherhood and are the spokespeople for Hamas in the United States and you bring them in for a conference at the White House and say they are supposed to speak for the Muslim community in America,” Revell said. “It’s unhelpful to have the White House essentially fronting for groups that want to make it harder to reach the jihadists in our society and in effect flush them out.”

Khera’s group Muslim Advocates has a pending lawsuit against the New York Police Department regarding its surveillance of mosques and other Islamic institutions using undercover police officers and informants.

“One of our key priorities at Muslim Advocates is ending racial and religious profiling by law enforcement,” Khera says in a YouTube video supporting the suit. “We’ve done work to combat profiling by the FBI, by Customs and Border Protection and now more recently we’ve had concerns about the way the New York Police Department – the nation’s largest police department – has been conducting itself.”

Like CAIR, Khera has called the FBI’s sting operations and informants against potential jihadists “entrapment operations” that rope in individuals who might otherwise never engage in terrorist activity.

CAIR’s Shibly also used the entrapment narrative in a June 2014 blog post in which he argued that the “FBI entrapment program targeting the Muslim community” was an example of tyranny. Many other CAIR representatives, such as Michigan director Dawud Walid, previously alleged the FBI has “recruited more so-called extremist Muslims than al-Qaida themselves.”

AAI stops short of embracing the entrapment narrative but labels surveillance programs by the NYPD and other government agencies “unconstitutional, ineffective, and counterproductive.” New York’s Mayor Bill De Blasio disbanded the NYPD unit responsible for infiltrating the city’s mosques and Muslim gathering places looking for potential terrorists in April 2014 under pressure from Muslim groups.

Another group, the Assembly of Muslim Jurists of America (AMJA), which counts Magid as a member, published an article in 2008 written by Hatem al-Haj, a member of its fatwa committee, giving religious justification for not cooperating with authorities. Al-Haj wrote it was “impermissible” for Muslims to work with the FBI because of the “harm they inflict on Muslims.”

However, the Muslim Public Affairs Council (MPAC), which formerly accused the FBI of entrapment, conceded in 2013 that informants can be useful detecting terror cells and keeping them off balance.

“To be fair, informants at times can be effective in counterterrorism investigations even against cellular structures. Because terrorist groups are concerned about their operational security, fear of informants can create and increase tensions within a terrorist cell. As a result, it may generate enough paranoia that a cell may abandon a planned operation,” MPAC said in its 2013 report “Building Bridges to Strengthen America.”

Looking for jihadis before they strike is a bit like looking for a “needle in a haystack,” so sting operations are useful in finding them before it’s too late, according to Revell.  He says such operations can be useful in preventing the next San Bernardino.

“If you don’t find them when they are talking jihad and you have to wait until they take an action then it’s too late to be able to prevent casualties and ensure that the public is safe,” Revell said. “There certainly is knowledge among those looking to do any type of jihadi activity that there is a force out there that is countering them and that they need to try to cover their activities to the greatest extent possible.”

In the past year, the Islamic State (ISIS) has published at least two documents instructing its jihadis how to evade being lured into stings by the FBI or other law-enforcement agencies.  The ISIS manual “Safety and Security guidelines of the Lone Wolf Mujahideen” devotes a chapter to evading FBI stings by testing the weapons they receive prior to using them in an attack.

Khera’s organization stood front and center in 2011 when Muslim groups called on the Obama administration to purge FBI training materials that they deemed offensive.  Shecomplained in a Sept. 15, 2011 letter that counterterrorism materials then being used to train FBI agents about Islam used “woefully misinformed statements about Islam and bigoted stereotypes about Muslims.” Such allegedly misinformed statements included characterizing zakat – the almsgiving tax mandate on all Muslims – as a “funding mechanism for combat” and that “Accommodation and compromise between [Islam and the West] are impermissible and fighting [for Muslims] is obligatory.”

Yet numerous Muslim commentators, including from the Herndon, Va.-based International Institute for Islamic Thought (IIIT), describe zakat as a funding mechanism for jihad. A footnote for Surah 9:60 found in “The Meaning of the Holy Qur’an” published with editorial assistance from IIIT, says that zakat can be used among other things to help “(4) those who are struggling and striving in Allah’s Cause by teaching or fighting or in duties assigned to them by the righteous Imam, who are thus unable to earn their ordinary living.”

The AMJA issued a fatwa in August 2011 stating that zakat could be used to “support legitimate Jihad activities.”

Top Muslim Brotherhood ideologue Sheikh Yusuf Qaradawi similarly states in his book, Fiqh of Jihad, that zakat may be spent to finance “the liberation of Muslim land from the domination of the unbelievers,” particularly against Israel and India in Kashmir.

Numerous Islamic charities have been cited or closed down in connection with terrorist financing since the September 11 attacks. Qaradawi’s actions back up his words. In 2008, the U.S. Treasury Department sanctioned the Union of Good, a network of charities headed by Qaradawi, for Hamas fundraising. That same year a federal court jury convicted the founders of the Richardson, Texas-based Holy Land Foundation (HLF) for illegally financing Hamas.

“The government’s policy has inflicted considerable harm,” MPAC’s Salam al-Marayatiwrote in 2001 after federal authorities closed the Benevolence International Fund (BIF). “By effectively shutting down these charities, it has given Americans the false impression that American Muslims are supporting terrorists. It has also given the Muslim world a similarly false impression that America is intolerant of a religious minority.”

Representatives of MPAC, CAIR and Muslim Advocates each condemned the HLF prosecution or its subsequent verdict.

In the end, the White House’s decision to empower these groups sends a mixed message to the American people that it isn’t fully interested in rooting out the causes of jihadist terror and preventing future attacks.

Great Britain Condemns Muslim Brotherhood for Terrorism Ties; Obama Isolated in Close Ties to Jihadist Organization

muslim_brotherhoodTerror Trends Bulletin, by Christopher W. Holton, Dec. 25, 2015:

Great Britain just published the results of its exhaustive investigation into the Muslim Brotherhood and it has joined the growing chorus of nations–including Islamic Arab nations such as the United Arab Emirates, Saudi Arabia and Egypt–who have fingered the Muslim Brotherhood for ties to Jihadist terrorism.

The Obama administration in the US now stands lone in its close, warm ties to what can only be properly described as the granddaddy of all modern Sunni Jihadist organizations. This illustrates the increasing degree to which Obama has become isolated in the world amid appearing completely out of touch with the reality of the Jihadist threat.

While even the overtly socialist Prime Minister of France, Francois Hollande, has embarked upon a crackdown against Jihad in France and an escalated air campaign against the Islamic State in the Middle East, the American president seems all too typically aloof and detached from what has become the overwhelming security concern of the American people.

The Obama administration has had close ties to American Muslim Brotherhood organizations since before he was even elected in 2008. Prominent members of the Islamic Society of North America (ISNA) have served in the Obama campaigns and even in the Obama administration.

What most Americans still do not know–including most Republicans–is that ISNA is Muslim Brotherhood and was named as an unindicted co-conspirator in the largest successful terrorism financing prosecution in U.S. history: the U.S. v. the Holy Land Foundation. It was the intention of the Dallas U.S. attorney’s office to prosecute ISNA–along with other Muslim Brotherhood unindicted co-conspirators, notably the Council on American Islamic Relations (CAIR) and the North American Islamic Trust (NAIT), but then-newly minted Attorney General Eric Holder shut the prosecution down.

This was followed up by Obama’s speech to the Muslim world from Al Azhar University in Cairo, Egypt back in 2009, in which he insisted that the Egyptian regime–a long-time U.S. ally–allow members of the Muslim Brotherhood to sit in the front row.

The Obama administration’s ties to an organization that has been increasingly exposed as a Jihadist terrorist organization cannot be overemphasized.

Up to this point, UK Prime Minister David Cameron has gone to great lengths to provide a unified public front with Obama on security issues, but the evidence gathered by his government apparently left him with no choice but to break ranks with Obama when it came to the Muslim Brotherhood.

Among the main findings of the British report, which expose the degree to which Obama has sympathized with and found common cause with a supremacist, totalitarian organization and doctrine:

• The Muslim Brotherhood seeks the unification of the Islamic world under a Caliphate ruled by Shariah. (This is the exact same goal as the Islamic State, Al Qaeda, and every other Jihadist organization in the world.)

• The Muslim Brotherhood has a clandestine, secretive cell structure around the world.

• The Muslim Brotherhood has a large, sophisticated international clandestine network of commercial enterprises, student organizations, small businesses and charities.

• HAMAS, a vicious Jihadist group designated as a Foreign Terrorist Organization by the US government, is in fact the Palestinian wing of the Muslim Brotherhood. The Muslim Brotherhood outside of the Palestinian areas, such as the Gaza Strip and the West Bank, provide funding to HAMAS in support of its violent Jihad against Israel.

• The Muslim Brotherhood’s founding fathers and ideological leaders, notably Hassan al Banna and Sayid Qutb, endorsed and supported violent attacks to promote the Muslim Brotherhood’s goals. Both of these monsters remain revered by the rank and file members, as well as leaders, of the Muslim Brotherhood today. Their views on the use of violence inspired Al Qaeda and continue to inspire violent Jihad today.

• Some Muslim Brotherhood leaders condemned the 9/11 attacks–but only in the context of claiming that it as a false flag conspiracy designed to give the U.S. an excuse to wage war against the Islamic world. In other words, according to these Muslim Brotherhood leaders, Al Qaeda didn’t carry out the attacks, America did.

• The Muslim Brotherhood leadership today opposes violence only when and where the use of violence would be counterproductive and stand in the way of their goals. When they see violence as serving their purposes, they absolutely support violent Jihad.

• The Muslim Brotherhood has been embedding itself in the West for over 50 years with the establishment of front organizations and clandestine groups.

• Muslim Brotherhood charities raise funds in the UK and throughout Europe, at least some of these charities have been implicated in funding terrorism.

In conclusion, the Obama administration stands alone in its close ties with, and support for, an international Jihadist organization that is conducting subversive, seditious activity in the U.S. and the West.

White House Opens Door to CAIR Rep, Ignores Muslim Reformers

obama2-640x480by IPT News  •  Dec 15, 2015 

He accused the FBI of killing two men in cold blood in separate incidents. But Obama administration officials saw Hassan Shibly as a suitable representative of the American Muslim community to include at Monday’s White House meeting on combating religious discrimination, the Investigative Project on Terrorism (IPT) has learned.

Shibly is the chief executive director for the Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR) in Florida. Since 2008, FBI policy has barred outreach communication with CAIR officials due to documents seized by law enforcement which place CAIR and its founders at the heart of a Hamas-support network at the time of CAIR’s creation. Eyewitness interviews recently obtained by the IPT further detail CAIR’s ties to Hamas and the Muslim Brotherhood.

1302Until it determines “whether there continues to be a connection between CAIR or its executives and HAMAS, the FBI does not view CAIR as an appropriate liaison partner,” a senior official wrote in 2009.

Why would the White House include CAIR when FBI policy is to avoid the group? A White House spokesperson wouldn’t say, telling the IPT in an email Tuesday afternoon that “CAIR state chapter representatives have been included in broad meetings” with the White House and other cabinet-level agencies.

The meeting’s focus is understandable, but the inclusion of a prominent CAIR official serves only to enhance the status of a group with documented ties to a terrorist-financing network. And the exclusion of voices representing non-Islamist Muslim reformers just makes their challenge of getting a fair hearing for their ideas more difficult.

Shibly’s record should have been especially troublesome for staffers compiling a list of White House guests to meet with Senior Advisor Valerie Jarrett. He is helping a familysue the FBI, alleging an agent shot and killed a friend of Boston Marathon bomber Tamerlan Tsarnaev after hours of questioning in his Orlando home in 2013.

Independent investigations, requested by CAIR, by the Justice Department and a Florida state attorney found that Ibragim Todashev, a “skilled mixed-martial arts fighter,” attacked the agent shortly after acknowledging involvement in a separate triple-murder case in Massachusetts. Todashev continued charging after being shot, prompting the agent to fire more.

948Shibly rejected the findings, saying only Todashev could “contradict the government’s narrative” but he was dead. Similarly, Shibly joined other CAIR officials in blaming the FBI for the 2010 death of a Detroit imam who refused to surrender to arresting FBI agents and shot an FBI canine trying to subdue him. Again, independent investigations CAIR requested supported the agents’ actions, and even included video showing the imam trying to conceal his Glock 9mm handgun.

During a 2012 radio interview, Shibly claimed “the imam was tied and bound and was shot. And that is very troubling. Why was a man in chains shot?”
Shibly made this statement two years after video of the shooting was released. There is no evidence supporting Shibly’s description.

1309While there was room for Shibly at the White House, the guest list included no representatives from a new coalition of non-Islamist Muslims which issued a declaration and statement of principles for the Muslim Reform Movement. The values described include “peace, human rights and secular governance,” a call to defeat “Islamism, or politicized Islam,” and a simple declaration: “We reject interpretations of Islam that call for any violence, social injustice and politicized Islam.”

These are the values that merit the endorsement of a meeting with top White House staffers.

But for the past seven years, the Obama White House has opened its doors to the entire spectrum of radical Islamist groups, just like CAIR. These groups have rationalized the actions of Islamic terrorist groups that have killed Americans, warned American Muslims against cooperating with law enforcement, smeared genuine Muslim moderates like Zuhdi Jasser and Asra Nomani as traitors and accused anyone who dared to utter the term “radical Islam” as “Islamophobic.” These are the groups that the White House should have marginalized. The fact that Obama legitimized radical Islamist groups will be his real legacy.

Video: Katie Gorka on Counterterrorism and Homeland Security

katie g

Click on the image above to hear Council on Global Security President Katie Gorka speaking for a counterterrorism and Homeland Security panel at the Heritage Foundation.

Main points:

  • Stop politicizing counterterrorism threat assessments and downplaying the problem. The 2011 purge of CT training has left law enforcement ill prepared to deal with today’s threats.
  • Stop asking what “radicalizes” terrorists. Pshychology, sociology (social movement theory) are not the answer. Terrorists are not victims. They choose to follow jihadism. For more on this see The Flawed Science Behind America’s Counterterrorism Strategy (.pdf)
  • Focus on jihadist ideology.
  • Stop treating terrorism as a crime. We are at war.

 

Council on Global Security President Katie Gorka on the San Bernardino shooting, ISIS threats and President Obama’s strategy for fighting the terror organization. With Deirdre Bolton on Risk And Reward.


 

Watch Katie Gorka (at 34.30 min. in) this video: Town Hall: The New Normal: Security vs FreedomKG


And on Fox and Friends:

Terror Slipping Through – Visa Security Gaps Causing Threat – The Rise Of Islamic Extremism

Stopping the Visa Waiver Program is like gun control….it won’t slow down the bad guys and would only constrain the good guys. Much more effective would be to get DHS and DOJ to focus more on terrorism and stop worrying so much about offending civil liberties. – Katie Gorka

 

Refugees , immigration and terror in the U.S.

U.S. Senator Jeff Sessions speaks at the 2012 Washington Update Luncheon Wed., Oct. 24 at the Von Braun Center. (Sarah Cole/al.com)

U.S. Senator Jeff Sessions speaks at the 2012 Washington Update Luncheon Wed., Oct. 24 at the Von Braun Center. (Sarah Cole/al.com)

Cultural Jihad, Nov. 21, 2015:

In the wake of the [2013] Kentucky case, the U.S. halted the refugee program for Iraqis for six months, a fact the Obama administration did not disclose to Congress at the time, officials told ABC News in the 2013 investigation.
ABC News Report

The current debate over the admission of Syrian refugees focuses on the possibility that it will help facilitate the entry of terrorists into the U.S.

This view is based on the growing trend of Islamist immigrants in the U.S. that have been involved in terrorism in the last few years.  The U.S. Senate Subcommittee on Immigration and Natural Interest reports that it has identified at least 26 foreign-born individuals inside the U.S. who have either been charged with or convicted of terrorism in the last year with even more examples going back to 2013.  From an AL.com article by Leada Gore:

Sessions said U.S. officials have no access to Syrian government data to vet refugees and no capacity to predict whether those seeking refuge are likely to join militant groups. As proof of that, the  Immigration Subcommittee, which Sessions chairs, provided a partial list of apprehended foreign-born terrorists or terror suspects since 2013:

Sessions said these incidents are just a few of those identified by his committee. They should serve as a warning against any plan for relocation of immigrants, especially those from Syria, he added.

The concerns have not been limited to the GOP.   Several days ago, 47 House Democrats broke rank and joined with Republicans, voting for a bill aimed at pausing admittance of Syrian and Iraqi refugees by adding requirements to an already lengthy screening process.   In the Senate, the Washington Post reported:

Longtime Sen. Dianne Feinstein (D-Calif.), the ranking member of the Senate intelligence committee, warned in a statement Tuesday “we need to be very careful about Syrian refugee admissions.”

The Hill reports that Sen. Joe Manchin (D-W.Va.) signed a letter to President Obama calling on him to not allow any more Syrians into the country “unless federal authorities can guarantee with 100 percent assurance they are not connected” to the Islamic State.

At least one Democratic was among the governors asking for the resettlement of Syrian refugees to stop until security concerns can be addressed.

UN records show a four fold increase (850,000) so far in 2015 of refugees entering Europe through the Mediterranean area compared to 2014 (216,000) with Syrians accounting for about 52% of the numbers.  From the trend, the numbers will most likely be significantly higher by the end of 2015. While the vast majority will most likely settle in Europe, U.S. allocations have been steadily increasing.

We noted last year in “Resettlement: an Islamist path to the west?,  that according to U.S. Department of State refugee statistics, in 2007 Muslim countries accounted for about 20% of U.S. refugee admissions.  In 2008 there was a marked increase, with well over 50% (35,000+) of refugee admissions coming from predominately Muslim countries.  This repeated in 2009-2013 and the  2014 allocations authorize the increased level.  For 2015, 12,000-15,000 Syrians alone, are projected for admission.

The Paris bombings raised the possibility that forged Syrian passports are being used by terrorists and this certainly brings up concerns as to the actual identify of those being processed as Syrian refugees.   Earlier this week Bloomberg reported:

A Syrian passport found next to a suicide bomber in the Paris terror attacks may have been planted, German Interior Minister Thomas de Maiziere said.

Reports that the identity in the passport may have been registered in several countries along the so-called Balkan route raise the suspicion that it could be a deliberate attempt to implicate refugees and “make people feel unsafe,” de Maiziere said.

“There are indications that this was a planted lead, but it still can’t be ruled out that this was indeed an IS terrorist posing as a refugee,” he told reporters in Berlin on Tuesday, referring to Islamic State, which France blames for organizing the violence.

Any link between France’s worst terror attack since World War II and Europe’s refugee crisis would raise the stakes for Chancellor Angela Merkel as she defends her open-door policy for asylum seekers in Germany’s debate over immigration and security.

Syrian refugee proponents are proclaiming  there has not been one terrorist act by a refugee in the United States.  When presented with the case of the Boston Bombers, these proponents counter that the Tsarnaev brothers were not really refugees.

An example of this can be found in a recent article on Reason.com that attempts to label GOP politicians as “Fearmongers”.  Ronald Bailey writes:

Note: Several commenters suggested Tamerlan and Dzhokar Tsarnaev, who committed the Boston Marathon bombing in 2013, were refugees. Strictly speaking, they were the children of asylees. As Bloomberg News explained the two were given “derivative asylum status” and didn’t come through the refugee admissions program. Apparently the legal distinction is too fine a point for some readers. So be it, but they should nevertheless keep in mind that the brothers were two people out around 1.8 million people who were granted refugee or asylee status between 1995 and 2013.

This dismissal conflicts with a recent Dailymail.com article that notes:

Six Bosnian immigrants, three from Missouri, two from Illinois and one from New York, were charged in February with sending money and military equipment to extremist groups in Syria including ISIS and the Al Qaeda-affiliated Al-Nusra Front.

Last year we reported on the case  of Bosnian refugee Edin Sakoc, 54, of Burlington, VT (a naturalized U.S. citizen) who was facing charges of lying to immigration authorities about his involvement in war crimes as well as bribery.

In 2013, an ABC news report detailed the 2009 discovery of two al Qaeda-Iraq terrorists living as refugees in Bowling Green, Kentucky — who later admitted in court that they’d attacked U.S. soldiers in Iraq:

An intelligence tip initially led the FBI to Waad Ramadan Alwan, 32, in 2009. The Iraqi had claimed to be a refugee who faced persecution back home — a story that shattered when the FBI found his fingerprints on a cordless phone base that U.S. soldiers dug up in a gravel pile south of Bayji, Iraq on Sept. 1, 2005. The phone base had been wired to unexploded bombs buried in a nearby road.

An ABC News investigation of the flawed U.S. refugee screening system, which was overhauled two years ago, showed that Alwan was mistakenly allowed into the U.S. and resettled in the leafy southern town of Bowling Green, Kentucky, a city of 60,000 which is home to Western Kentucky University and near the Army’s Fort Knox and Fort Campbell. Alwan and another Iraqi refugee, Mohanad Shareef Hammadi, 26, were resettled in Bowling Green even though both had been detained during the war by Iraqi authorities, according to federal prosecutors.

This week, ABC reported that, “Of the 31 states that have declared their opposition to taking in Syrian refugees, one state, Kentucky, has a specific reason to be wary of the background check process.”  This caused the U.S. to  halt the refugee program for Iraqis for six months, a fact the Obama administration did not disclose to Congress at the time.

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Sessions: Admin Hides Immigration Histories Of Terrorists, Then Asks For Blank Resettlement Check:

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Terrorist paradise: Counterterrorism expert says we can’t vet refugees

Also see:

Why the US government is on track to ‘normalizing’ ISIS

 (AP Photo, File)

(AP Photo, File)

New York Post, by Alex VanNess, August 23, 2015:How long will it take the United States to recognize the Islamic State as a legitimate actor?

That may sound ridiculous. After all, ISIS is a barbaric and sociopathic band of terrorists who proudly highlight their brutality over the Internet. Unfortunately, recent history suggests this doesn’t disqualify them, as horrific as it sounds, from eventual recognition.

Since before 9/11, the Taliban laid claim to numerous terror attacks on civilian populations throughout Afghanistan. They harbored Osama bin Laden, and since the beginning of Operation Enduring Freedom, they’ve been directly responsible for the deaths of more than 2,000 American troops.

Yet in January, White House Press Secretary Josh Earnest cryptically explained that the Taliban was not a terrorist group but instead falls under a “different classification.”

Earnest’s verbal gymnastics were deployed in the service of explaining away the president’s decision to trade five members of the Taliban for the release of American soldier-captive Bowe Bergdahl.

Hamas is an openly anti-Semitic terrorist organization that has claimed responsibility for the deaths of hundreds of innocent civilians, including several Americans. Since its creation, the Gaza-based Hamas has been dedicated to the destruction of Israel and the murder of Jews. Hamas is brutally repressive toward women and gays; they have a tendency to savagely drag dead bodies through the streets.

Last year, Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas swore in a new unity government that incorporated Hamas-appointed ministers. Instead of cutting off financial support to the new government, as required by US law, the Obama administration jumped through hoops to legitimize the new government. Officials said they would continue supporting the Palestinian government because the new ministers were “technocrats” that “don’t represent . . . hard-core Hamas leadership.”

The legitimacy granted to Hamas by this administration is a reflection of the trend held by many pro-Palestinian protestors who now brazenly chant, “we are Hamas!” through the streets of US cities such as Miami.

Cuba has a long history of human-rights abuse. The Cuban government regularly harasses and imprisons dissidents and has been a state sponsor of terrorism for decades. Cuba continues to serve as a safe haven for terrorists and maintains close ties to both North Korea and Iran.

In 2013, Cuba was caught sending weapons to North Korea. It aids terrorist groups like the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia, Iranian proxy Hezbollah and the Basque Fatherland of Liberty (ETA).

Despite this behavior, the administration still decided to take Cuba off the list of State Sponsors of Terrorism and has begun the process of normalizing the relationship between the United States and Cuba.

The State Department justified this removal by stating that “Cuba has not provided any support for international terrorism during the previous six-months” and citing vague promises that they “will not support acts of international terrorism in the future.”

So to recap, within this past year we have stopped referring to the Taliban as terrorists, provided de facto recognition and funding to Hamas and have opened up to the repressive terror-sponsoring Cuban government.

Why should we assume that ISIS will be treated any differently than these groups?

As each day passes, ISIS solidifies its presence in the region. Sure, ISIS commits terrible atrocities. The group regularly — and indiscriminately — beheads innocent people; rapes women and sells them as sex slaves and employs children as executioners.

But its leaders have undeniably been working to establish the Islamic State as, well, as a functioning state. They issue identification cards, pave roads, pick up trash, operate power stations and offer social-welfare programs.

ISIS has carved out its territory by filling the Middle East’s power vacuums, and are thus, in some places, the only game in town. How long before the international community recognizes the ISIS government?

The past precedent of legitimizing various terrorist groups and repressive dictatorships make this all too real of an issue. It’s imperative that the United States stops this trajectory of providing legitimacy to these regimes and turns back the ISIS tide, or we may one day soon be debating the opening of an embassy to the Islamic State in what used to be Iraq.

Alex VanNess is the manager of public information for the Center for Security Policy.