Gitmo prisoner reveals that Saudi ‘terrorist rehab’ center is a scam

Photo: Kate Brooks/Redux

Photo: Kate Brooks/Redux

New York Post, by Paul Sperry, November 28, 2016:

Counterterrorism experts have long suspected Saudi Arabia’s “rehabilitation” center for terrorists does a poor job of de-radicalizing jihadists. But a Saudi detainee at Guantanamo Bay now reveals it’s actually a recruiting and training factory for jihad.

According to recently declassified documents, senior al Qaeda operative Ghassan Abdullah al-Sharbi told a Gitmo parole board that the Saudi government has been encouraging previously released prisoners to rejoin the jihad at its terrorist reform school, officially known as the Prince Mohammed bin Naif Counseling and Care Center.

The Obama administration has praised the effectiveness of the Saudi rehab program — which uses “art therapy,” swimming, ping-pong, PlayStation and soccer to de-radicalize terrorists — and conditioned the release of dozens of Gitmo prisoners, including former Osama bin Laden bodyguards, on their entry in the controversial program.

To date, 134 Saudi detainees have been transferred to the Saudi reform camps in Riyadh and Jeddah. Last year, nine Yemeni detainees were sent there, as well, and more are expected to follow over the next two months, as Obama strives to meet his campaign goal of closing Gitmo.

Photo: Kate Brooks/Redux

Photo: Kate Brooks/Redux

Al-Sharbi dropped a bombshell on the Gitmo parole board at his hearing earlier this year, when he informed members that the Saudi kingdom was playing them for suckers. “You guys want to send me back to Saudi Arabia because you believe there is a de-radicalization program on the surface.

True. You are 100% right, there is a strong — externally, a strong — de-radicalization program,” al-Sharbi testified. “But make no mistake, underneath there is a hidden radicalization program,” he added. “There is a very hidden strong — way stronger in magnitude — broader in financing, in all that.”

Al-Sharbi is one of the longest serving, and most unrepentant, prisoners at Gitmo. A Saudi national with an electrical engineering degree from King Fahd University, he attended a US flight school associated with two of the 9/11 hijackers. He traveled to Afghanistan in the summer of 2001 and trained at an al Qaeda camp, building IEDs to use against allied forces.

Al-Sharbi was captured March 28, 2002, at an al Qaeda safehouse in Faisalabad, Pakistan, with senior al Qaeda leader Abu Zubaydah. According to his US intel dossier, he told interrogators that “the US got what it deserved from the terrorist attacks on 9/11.”

Given a chance at parole after 14 years, however, Al-Sharbi was surprisingly frank with the board.

He explained that Riyadh is actively recruiting and training fighters to battle Iranian elements in neighboring Yemen and Syria. Saudi views Shiite-controlled Iran as a regional threat to its security.

“They’re launching more wars and the [United] States is backing off from the region,” he said. “They’re poking their nose here and here and there and they’re recruiting more jihadists, and they’ll tell you, ‘Okay, go fight in Yemen. Go fight in Syria.’ ”

Al-Sharbi said the Saudis also are “encouraging” former detainees “to fight their jihad in the States.”

Photo: Getty Images

Photo: Getty Images

“It’s not like a past history,” he said. “It’s increasing.”

A growing body of evidence backs up his claims. Last month, for example, a Wikileaked e-mail from Hillary Clinton revealed, citing US intelligence sources, that Saudi has provided “clandestine financial and logistic support to” ISIS and other Sunni terrorist groups in the region.

Al-Sharbi said the kingdom is playing a double game.

“They will proudly tell you they will fight terrorism,” he said. “That means they will support it.”
Al-Sharbi told the Gitmo board he doesn’t want to enroll in the Saudi rehab program, because he would be used to “fight under the Saudi royal cloak.”

“This is in the cause of a king. This is not a true jihad,” he said. “And I’m not going to Saudi unless I am sure they’re not gonna be using me.”

The Saudi rehab ruse has carried a lot of weight with the Gitmo parole board. Earlier this year, it released “Saudi al Qaeda recruiter and fighter” Muhammed Al Shumrani after his lawyers insisted that repatriating him to Saudi Arabia and enrolling him in its “well-established reintegration program” would cure his admittedly “problematic behavior.”

Photo: Kate Brooks/Redux

Photo: Kate Brooks/Redux

Last year, the defense team of longtime bin Laden bodyguard Abdul Rahman Shalabi insisted that the same Saudi rehab program would make sure he’s reformed. In approving his release, the board said that it was “confident about the efficacy of the Saudi program.”

In both cases, US intelligence warned the board that the hardened terrorists would more than likely “reengage in terrorist activity.”

By Riyadh’s own numbers, some 20% of the terrorist enrollees at its rehab club — which features golf carts, palm trees and an Olympic-sized pool — go back to the jihad, returning to the ranks of the Taliban or al Qaeda. US officials believe the recidivism rate is much higher, but Saudi does not disclose criteria for evaluation.

One high-profile failure was Said Ali al-Shihri. After his graduation from the Saudi program, he returned to Yemen where he ran an al Qaeda branch and helped plan the deadly bombing of the US Embassy and mastermind the failed plot to blow up a 2009 Christmas flight over Detroit, before a drone-fired missile finally caught up to him.

The Saudi center is more holiday resort than halfway house for paroled inmates. Jihadists are rewarded with gourmet meals, video games, ping pong, jacuzzis and newly furnished private apartments reserved for conjugal visits. They also are allowed unescorted visits to family members. In September, the center granted “beneficiaries” Eid al-Adha holiday vacation for 12 days.

Photo: Getty Images

Photo: Getty Images

Graduates are further rewarded with young brides and new cars.

Lending credence to al-Sharbi’s charges, the three-month program includes a few hours a day of lessons in Islam from Saudi clerics and “Shariah specialists.”

“Beneficiaries spend 15 hours a week in the Shariah program,” according to a local Jeddah press report, which is triple the amount of time devoted to psychological counseling.

Al-Sharbi’s parole was declined; he is still in Gitmo, along with 60 detainees — down from the 241 who were there when President Obama started his term.

But with the administration rushing to reduce that number even further before the end of Obama’s term, how many more jihadists will be released into this highly suspect program?

Congress has an obligation to ask hard questions: Is this a preemptive campaign to prevent terror attacks or more likely an incubator for facilitating more attacks?

Paul Sperry is author of “Infiltration: How Muslim Spies and Subversives Have Penetrated Washington.”

Iran’s proxy missile attacks

Missile Attack Illustration by Greg Groesch/The Washington Times

Missile Attack Illustration by Greg Groesch/The Washington Times

The Islamic regime seeks control of Middle East waterways

Washington Times, by James A. Lyons, October 25, 2016:

The recent missile attacks attributed to Yemeni Houthi rebels, with assistance from the Iranian Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC) and Hezbollah, demonstrate Iran’s classic use of proxies to promote its political agenda. The Houthi rebels denied any involvement in the missile attacks. However, they certainly were not fired by camel herders. The Houthis never would have launched an attack on the U.S. Navy without being ordered to do so by their Iranian sponsors. To think otherwise would be delusional.

Iran has the failed to honor the Obama administration’s nuclear weapons agreement. There is actually no agreement, since nothing has been signed. With Russia’s support in Syria, Iran clearly feels emboldened to challenge the United States directly. And with the $150 billion sanctions relief windfall, plus planeloads of hard cash totaling more than $33 billion, Iran can easily expand its role as the leading state sponsor of terrorism, which is what we are witnessing in Yemen. The Iranian use of proxies has cost thousands of American lives, but, fortunately, this time they failed.

Clearly, Iran wants to be able to control the strategic Bab al Mandab Strait, which would give it de facto control of the Suez Canal. More than 10 percent of the world’s maritime shipping passes through that strait on a daily basis. Such control, when combined with control of the Strait of Hormuz, would give Iran control of all Arab oil shipments as well as all Israeli shipping emanating to and from the port of Eilat in the Red Sea. Iran would also like to see our 71-year alliance with Saudi Arabia terminated.

With the help of the IRGC and the Iranian proxy terrorist group Hezbollah, two radar sites were recently constructed outside of Yemen’s two principal Red Sea ports, Mokha and Hudaydah, which are currently under the control of the Houthi rebels. These sites, according to various reports, were operated by IRGC and Hezbollah radar and missile teams. The missiles fired were an upgraded version of the Chinese C-802 anti-ship missile. It should be remembered that on July 14, 2006, Hezbollah successfully fired a C-802 missile against the Israeli missile ship INS Hanit, inflicting heavy damage.

Despite Iran’s assurance about not providing weapons, the Houthis received a delivery the week prior to the missile attacks, the largest shipment of Iranian weapons to date. Obviously, this shipment, apparently undetected by our intelligence resources, included Scud D surface-to-surface missiles with a range of 800 kilometers as well as the upgraded Chinese C-802 anti-ship missiles. The Scuds went to the northern border to be used against Saudi Arabia, and the C-802 anti-ship missiles went to the Houthi’s Ansar Allah faction, which is under the direct control of the IRGC.

The same day missiles were fired against the USS Mason, Oct. 9, the Houthis, with the assistance of the IRGC, fired Scud-D missiles at the Saudi town of Ta’if, which is 700 kilometers from the Yemeni border — but, more importantly, only 70 kilometers from the holy city of Mecca. The message to the Saudis was clear. Iran intends to challenge the Saudis’ control of Islam’s most holy sites.

The Red Sea is a very narrow strategic body of water. It is only 62 kilometers from the Saudi coast to Africa. All shipping can be threatened and easily attacked with the current inventory of missiles transferred to Yemen.

The Houthis have also landed and taken control of Perim Island in the mouth of the Bab al Mandab Straits. Since the main maritime route is only 20 kilometers wide at this point, it serves as a natural choke point and a threat to all shipping as long as it remains under Houthi-Iranian control.

How did we get involved in this classic Sunni-Shia sectarian war? Very briefly, in late 2014, Shia Houthi rebel forces captured the capital city of Sana’a. The Houthis, backed by Iran, are fighting against the internationally recognized government of Yemen’s Sunni president, Abdrabbuh Mansour Hadi. In March 2015, the Saudis led a campaign to overthrow the Houthi rebels. President Obama, in an attempt to get Saudi Arabia’s support for his nuclear weapons agreement with Iran, agreed to support the Saudi effort. We proceeded to provide limited intelligence, in-flight refueling, command and control guidance and some weapons.

The missile attack on our forces in the vicinity of the Bab al Mandab Straits is another manifestation of Iran’s contempt for America and disregard for international norms. Further, with little to fear from an Obama administration response, they clearly have been emboldened to further their hegemonic objectives by challenging our forces directly. While the Houthi’s missile attack on the United Arab Emirate’s HSV-2 Swift Catamaran vessel was successful on Oct. 1, their attack on the USS Mason was, fortunately, a failure. While it took us four days to respond, the USS Nitze’s tomahawk missile strikes destroyed the three Iranian radar sites, which eliminated the immediate threat to shipping in the area.

This was a minimum response — a tit for tat — which will most likely invite more attacks, since C-802 missiles can be fired without radar. When an enemy attacks one of our U.S. Navy ships, our response must be overwhelming. =We should have destroyed not only the radar sites but also any missile-launching sites and any associated ammo storage sites. Any known Iranian installations should have been destroyed. Electrical utility grids that provide power to support Houthi rebels and Iranian forces in the two areas should also be destroyed. The Houthi installation on Perim Island should be eliminated. The message must be clear: “Don’t tread on me.”

James A. Lyons, a U.S. Navy retired admiral, was commander-in-chief of the U.S. Pacific Fleet and senior U.S. military representative to the United Nations.

John Brennan is completely unqualified to be Director of Central Intelligence

john_brennan

Jihad Watch, by Michael J. Del Rosso, October 26 2016:

Robert Spencer wrote this yesterday:

Is it widely known that there is a top intelligence official in the Obama Administration’s CIA who has converted to Islam? Yes. It was reported in none other than the Washington Post in 2012. Why couldn’t it be Brennan? The movie Zero Dark Thirtyabout the killing of Osama bin Laden, for which the moviemakers gained access to classified material (the Obama administration was criticized for making it available to them) featured a top counter-terror official who strongly resembled Brennan and was shown performing Muslim prayers. Were the filmmakers hinting at something they knew? Did La Miere speak to Brennan?

Allegations that Brennan is a convert to Islam are based upon firsthand reports of those who served with him in Saudi Arabia.

  1. Those allegations include that Brennan was the target of a Saudi intelligence influence operation, one outcome of which was Brennan’s conversion to Islam.
  2. At that time, Brennan was chief of station, a billet that is designed for an operationally trained officer with experience in the CIA’s Directorate of Operations, which Brennan was not. Brennan’s background is that of an analyst, which may explain why he lacked the sophistication and experience to understand that he was being played by the Saudis in an influence operation.
  3. Anyone so inept as to be oblivious to basic hostile intelligence tactics such as this influence operation is unqualified to be DCI.
  4. Furthermore, Brennan’s definition of jihad, “meaning to purify oneself or one’s community,” is incorrect as a matter of fact, since all four schools of Sunni jurisprudence say that the primary and paramount definition of jihad is kinetic war against non-Muslims to forcibly establish submission to Islamic law globally.
  5. If Brennan truly believes his fictitious definition of jihad, he is unqualified to be DCI, since he obviously is unaware of or indifferent to the fact that he is directly contradicting all published Sunni jurisprudence. Al-Qaeda’s bin Laden, ISIS’s al-Baghdadi (who has a doctorate in Islamic law), Hamas, the Muslim Brotherhood, and all the other numerous violent jihadi terrorist groups all say that they are at war with us because Islamic law makes such war — jihad — obligatory for all Muslims. They also point out that Islamic law makes the funding of jihad obligatory, as well as lying to further jihad. That 15 years after 9/11, Brennan has yet to drop $40 on Amazon.com to purchase a certified English translation of an authoritative textbook on Islamic law, such as Reliance of the Traveller, is professional malpractice of the highest order for someone who has held the senior counter-terrorism and intelligence positions he has.
  6. Furthermore, the fiction that Brennan is espousing is not just any fiction, it is a deliberate propaganda lie by America’s enemies in our 15+-year war. It is designed to disorient us from understanding our enemy’s Threat Doctrine. If he is truly unaware of this, he is a useful idiot in espousing enemy propaganda in time of war, and is unqualified to be DCI.
  7. If Brennan does know the factual Islamic legal definition of jihad, then he is deliberately espousing enemy propaganda in a time of war, in which case Brennan is a traitor — and unqualified to be DCI.

The high-ranking CIA official who converted to Islam, who was called “Roger” in a Washington Post report, was outed last year, confirming that he is not Brennan, but another official named Michael D’Andrea. As the Washington Post reported in 2012, D’Andrea “married a Muslim woman he met abroad, prompting his conversion to Islam.”

Brennan just happens to be another Muslim. Where Spencer wrote of Roger, “Why couldn’t it be Brennan?,” more accurately the question should have been, “Why couldn’t Brennan be a convert to Islam, too?” At the time of the Washington Post article, Brennan was White House Counter-Terrorism Coordinator, and was not in the CIA, while “Roger” was running CIA counter-terrorism operations.

As far as Brennan’s conversion to Islam is concerned, a U.S. asset assigned overseas with Brennan in Saudi Arabia when he was station chief confirmed years ago their firsthand account that Brennan was indeed the target of a Saudi intelligence influence operation that led to his conversion. Brennan has also stated publicly that he visited Mecca, which is impossible for a non-Muslim to do unless he is a special guest of the Saudi King.

When John Guandolo wrote an op-ed in February 2013 to try to rally Senators to oppose Brennan’s nomination to be DCI, I advised John that Brennan’s conversion was de facto irrelevant, given the fact that the Washington Post had recently reported that “Roger,” the CIA’s chief of counter-terror operations, was a Muslim, and that was a non-issue to everyone.

A more compelling disqualifier for Brennan is that he consistently says that “jihad” is a good thing. For example, in 2009, Brennan said: “Nor does President Obama see this challenge as a fight against ‘jihadists.’ Describing terrorists in this way—using a legitimate term, ‘jihad,’ meaning to purify oneself or to wage a holy struggle for a moral goal—risks giving these murderers the religious legitimacy they desperately seek but in no way deserve.” And in 2010, he said: “Nor do we describe our enemy as ‘jihadists’ or ‘Islamists’ because jihad is a holy struggle, a legitimate tenant of Islam, meaning to purify oneself or one’s community, and there is nothing holy or legitimate or Islamic about murdering innocent men, women and children.”

None of what Brennan says is true regarding the legal definition of jihad in Islamic law. The opening sentence in the Reliance of the Traveller chapter on jihad is crystal clear: “o9.0 – Jihad. Jihad means to wage war against non-Muslims, and is etymologically derived from the word mujahada, signifying warfare to establish the religion.” (Italic emphasis in original.)

Hence Brennan is either, as explained above, too stupid to live and shouldn’t be DCI, or lying about the true definition of jihad (which deception is also obligatory according to Shariah), in which case he is guilty of treason and again shouldn’t be DCI, but rather prosecuted.

This is not a religious issue. Americans believe in freedom of religion for religions that believe in freedom. Rather, it is a national security issue. It is a statement of fact that pious, observant Muslims are required to adhere to Islamic law, which is not scripture, but legal texts written by men. A cursory examination of Reliance of the Traveller will show that it uses the word “obligatory” hundreds of times, and enumerates mandatory acts for all Muslims which are felony violations of the U.S. Code, including terrorism, material support of terrorism, perjury, espionage, treason, making war against the United States, sedition, and misprision of treason. Please let that sink in.

Every American should have a problem with this.

And why don’t we? Because blame isn’t limited to John Brennan. America’s political and national security elites, and especially our mainstream journalists, are guilty of professional malpractice, dereliction of duty, and worse, for being willfully ignorant of these easily verifiable facts.

The net result is that America has not only lost this war, but we changed sides and are aiding our enemy. We need look no further than what Hillary Clinton and the Obama Administration did to Libya, Yemen, Iraq and Syria, and tried to do to Egypt, for evidence of that.

Michael J. Del Rosso is a Senior Fellow for Homeland and National Security for the Center for Security Policy.

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Analysis: A new crack in the Sunni bloc?

showimage-3The vacuum left by America’s disengagement has thrown the Middle East into a dangerous state of instability, wherein extremist groups thrive and thwart any hopes for peace.

By Zvi Mazel, JPOST, October 16, 2016

There seems to be a growing rift between Saudi Arabia and Egypt, the twin mainstays of the Sunni front against the major threats of Iran’s terrorist operations and nuclear building on the one hand, and against the rogue Sunni Islamic State on the other. The two countries no longer see eye to eye on a number of regional issues, although they deny it and insist that they are still coordinating their actions.

The Egyptian president has stated on a number of occasions that the security of the Gulf is essential to the security of his country, while the Saudi king wrote to Abdel Fattah al-Sisi that any attack on Egyptian security would be seen as an attack on Saudi Arabia.

Simmering tensions came to the boil at a special meeting of the UN Security Council on Syria on October 8.

Egypt not only voted with Russia to defeat the French proposal calling for a stop to bombing on Aleppo, it also voted for the Russian counter-proposal opposed by the West. The Saudi representative strongly condemned the two votes, which led to a spate of acrimonious articles in Egyptian and Saudi media. Sisi had to intervene; he declared that though Egypt remained committed to good relations with Gulf countries, it had its own interests.

The so-called pragmatic Sunni bloc, which included the Gulf states, Jordan and Morocco, emerged during the Mubarak years, and enjoyed the powerful support of the United States. Israel played a significant role behind the scenes, because the Gulf states and Egypt believed that it would be able to pressure Washington into stopping Iran’s nuclear program, while at the same time hoping that Israel might bomb Iran’s nuclear installations and deliver the region from that threat.

Barack Obama’s gradual disengagement from the Middle East, while favoring Shi’ite Iran over Sunni countries, was a game changer. America jettisoned Mubarak, its long-term ally, and welcomed the Muslim Brotherhood; it turned its back on President Sisi and made a deal with Iran on its nuclear program.

Saudi Arabia and the Gulf states felt betrayed and lost their trust in the United States, while Egypt, losing political, economic and military American support, turned to Russia and China for sophisticated weaponry and to develop economic projects – including building a nuclear plant to produce energy with the help of Russia. The Russian and Egyptian armies are conducting joint exercises, further testimony to the deepening ties.

In short, deprived of the strong American backing which was the basis of their common policy, Egypt and Saudi Arabia took different paths based on their divergent interests. Egypt, fearing an Islamic takeover, believes Syrian unity must be preserved at all costs, and aligned itself with Russia with regards to Syria, whose goals are similar to those of Iran, which wants President Basher Assad to remain in place in order to ensure its continued access to its Hezbollah ally in Lebanon through Syria.

Riyadh is steadfastly supporting Sunni rebel groups fighting to eliminate Assad and set up a Sunni regime. These groups include Islamic terrorist organizations such as the Muslim Brotherhood, and therein lies the crux of the problem. The Brotherhood is still manufacturing terrorism in Egypt, presenting a very real threat and hampering the country’s economic development. As to Saudi Arabia, although it expelled the Brothers following the 9/11 attacks in New York – 15 of 18 perpetrators being Saudi Muslim Brothers – and has declared that the Brotherhood is a terrorist organization, just as Egypt did, it is now in the uneasy position of forbidding its activities in the kingdom while supporting them abroad. In Yemen, it backs al-Islah, a “Reform” party which is an offshoot of the Brotherhood, against the Shi’ite Houthi rebels, in the hopes that they will rule the country after defeating the rebellion.

Egypt emphatically does not want that to happen. It reluctantly joined the Saudi-led coalition again the Houthis, but is not taking part in military operations beyond patrolling the entrance to the Suez Canal, which is in its own interests. The situation regarding Libya is similar. Egypt backs Gen. Khalifa Belqasim Haftar, who is battling extremist groups with great success, while Saudi Arabia helps Brotherhood organizations.

In short, for Egypt, the most pressing threat is that of the Muslim Brothers, which enjoy the support of Turkey and Qatar. Saudi Arabia is more afraid of Iran, and therefore reluctantly allies itself with Sunni terrorist organizations it abhors. It has even grown closer to Turkey, a country at odds with Egypt over the removal of Morsi and the overthrow of the regime of the Brotherhood.

Sometimes logic goes overboard: Sunni Egypt and Sunni Saudi Arabia should have been united in condemnation of the relentless bombing of Aleppo by Russian and Syrian planes, driving the Sunni population out of the town with the intent to replace them with Alawites – but Egypt voted against the French resolution to end the bombing.

On the other hand, Saudi Arabia has given Egypt $15 billion in outright grants, loans or deposits into Cairo’s central bank, in order to bolster the Egyptian economy and currency, and has supplied Egypt with natural gas and oil. Both countries will try to overcome their differences, but it will not be easy. Riyadh is sending conflicting signals. It suspended regular deliveries of refined oil in spite of the 25 year contract signed in May, estimated at $23b.; it also significantly raised the price of visas for the pilgrimage to Mecca.

On the other hand, it deposited $2b. into Egyptian banks in September to bolster the Egyptian currency. A high-ranking Egyptian delegation is soon expected in Riyadh to “discuss regional issues and the implementation of the cooperation agreements signed in Cairo, during the visit of King Salman in April,” as well as the Syrian issue. The Saudi ambassador to Egypt has been called home to prepare for the visit.

The vacuum left by America’s disengagement has thrown the Middle East into a dangerous state of instability, wherein extremist groups thrive and thwart any hopes for peace. The Sunni bloc is in disarray. It is every country for itself. This has led to a quiet strengthening of security and intelligence cooperation with Israel, and even greater economic exchanges. But this is kept under wraps. Neither President Sisi nor King Abdullah of Jordan dared attend Peres’s funeral, as this newfound collaboration does not bode well for the much-touted “regional solution” of the Palestinian issue.

The writer, a fellow of The Jerusalem Center for Public Affairs, is a former ambassador to Romania, Egypt and Sweden.

US strikes three radar sites in Houthi-controlled part of Yemen

07b471aabad84e558627fb4f9d68508b_18Long War Journal, by Thomas Joscelyn, October 14, 2016:

The US has launched missiles against three radar sites in the Houthi-controlled part of Yemen. The strikes came in response to two attacks on the USS Mason, which operates in international waters off the Red Sea coast of Yemen. The Houthis are also thought to have fired rockets at an United Arab Emirates military vessel earlier this month.

The US military “targeted radar sites involved in the recent missile launches threatening USS Mason and other vessels operating in international waters in the Red Sea and the Bab al-Mandeb,” according to a statement by Pentagon Press Secretary Peter Cook. The Bab al-Mandeb is a strait located between Yemen and the Horn of Africa. “These limited self-defense strikes were conducted to protect our personnel, our ships, and our freedom of navigation in this important maritime passageway,” Cook continued.

Cook added that the “United States will respond to any further threat to our ships and commercial traffic, as appropriate, and will continue to maintain our freedom of navigation in the Red Sea, the Bab al-Mandeb, and elsewhere around the world.”

Separately, the US Navy released a video, just over one minute long, of the USS Nitze launching Tomahawk cruise missiles at the radar sites. The cruise missile were fired just hours after the USS Mason was forced to respond to an incoming missile for the second time this week. No one was injured in the failed missile attacks, but the USS Mason had to employ “defensive countermeasures.”

The Houthi rebels in Yemen have been backed by Iran. And their rise to power in the country was a blow to the US government’s counterterrorism strategy. The Obama administration relied on President Abdrabbuh Mansour Hadi’s government as a key, on the ground partner in the fight against al Qaeda in Arabian Peninsula (AQAP).

But in late 2014 and early 2015, the Houthis seized large swaths of Yemen from Hadi’s government. AQAP capitalized on the instability by launching its own offensive throughout the southern part of the country. The al Qaeda branch controlled contiguous territory along the coast from April 2015 until April 2016, when an Arab-led coalition moved to dislodge the jihadis. AQAP’s fighters slipped away from strategic locations, such as the port city of Mukalla, in order to fight another day. AQAP portrayed the move as an effort to protect local residents and civilian institutions, such as mosques and markets, from the ravages of war.

Subsequently, Osama bin Laden’s son Hamza released an audio message in which he accused Saudi Arabia of attacking al Qaeda’s men at a time when they were “preoccupied” with the Houthis. Hamza portrayed the ground assault launched by the Saudi-led coalition that entered Mukalla as boon to the Houthis, even though the Saudis are opposed to the Houthis’ expansion.

In addition to AQAP, the Islamic State took advantage of the turmoil in Yemen by establishing a small upstart branch comprised of AQAP defectors and others.

The State Department has formally accused Iran of backing the Houthis. In its Country Reports on Terrorism 2012, State said that “Iran actively supported members of the Houthi tribe in northern Yemen, including activities intended to build military capabilities, which could pose a greater threat to security and stability in Yemen and the surrounding region.” The report also cited an incident from July 2012, when Yemen’s Interior Ministry “arrested members of an alleged Iranian spy ring, headed by a former member of the IRGC” (Iran’s Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps).

However, Foggy Bottom dropped the language about Iran’s sponsorship of the Houthis from the 2015 version of Country Reports on Terrorism. Asked why similar language was not included in the report for 2015, acting coordinator for counterterrorism Justin Siberell responded: “There’s a serious concern about Iran’s activities in Yemen, yes.”

In February, Director of National Intelligence James Clapper delivered the US Intelligence Community’s “Worldwide Threat Assessment” to Congress. Clapper noted that Iran “continues to back the [Houthis],” has shipped “lethal aid” to them, and referred to the “Iranian-backed [Houthi] insurgency.”

Thomas Joscelyn is a Senior Fellow at the Foundation for Defense of Democracies and the Senior Editor for The Long War Journal.

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Russian media reporting:

Also see:

Hillary’s Leaked Memo Accuses Saudi Arabia and Qatar of Supporting Terror Groups

fsaNational Review, By Andrew C. McCarthy — October 12, 2016

As has been widely reported this week, Hillary Clinton has accused the governments of Saudi Arabia and Qatar of “providing financial and logistic support to ISIL and other radical Sunni groups.” She made this explosive claim in a memorandum outlining what is portrayed as her nine-point plan to defeat the Islamic State (the jihadist network also known as “ISIL” and “ISIS”) in Iraq and Syria.

The allegation against these two regimes is far from the only bombshell in the memo, which Mrs. Clinton sent to the White House in August 2014, a year and a half after she had stepped down as secretary of state. She sent it to John Podesta, who was then a top adviser to President Obama and is now the chairman of Clinton’s presidential campaign. The memo is included in the trove of e-mails hacked from Podesta’s accounts and published by WikiLeaks in recent days.

Another passage that has thus far received little attention is this one (the italics are mine):

We should return to plans to provide the FSA [i.e., the Free Syrian Army], or some group of moderate forces, with equipment that will allow them to deal with a weakened ISIL, and stepped up operations against the Syrian regime.

There has been no small amount of controversy regarding Obama-administration plans to arm so-called rebels fighting Bashar Assad’s regime in Syria — including questions about Mrs. Clinton’s knowledge of those plans. In particular, Congress has inquired about the administration’s participation in the shipment of weapons from Libyan Islamists to the Syrian rebels, including in 2012, while Clinton was still secretary of state.

As I noted in a recent column, one major weapons shipment from Benghazi to Turkey for eventual transit to Syria occurred just days before jihadists affiliated with al-Qaeda murdered four American officials in Benghazi on September 11, 2012. One of the officials killed was J. Christopher Stevens, the American ambassador to Benghazi who reported directly to Clinton — both in that capacity and in his earlier capacity as Obama-administration liaison to Islamist groups the Obama administration was supporting in Libya’s civil war. Siding with Islamists against the regime of Moammar Qaddafi, which was previously touted by the State Department as a key counterterrorism ally, was a policy spearheaded by Secretary Clinton.

The September 2012 weapons shipment was coordinated by Abdelhakim Belhadj, an al-Qaeda–affiliated jihadist with whom Stevens had consulted during the uprising against Qaddafi. Belhadj, one of the Islamists empowered by the Obama-Clinton Libya policy, took control of the Libyan Military Council after Qaddafi was overthrown. The 400 tons of weapons he dispatched from Benghazi arrived in Turkey the week before Stevens was killed. The ambassador’s last meeting in Benghazi, just before the September 11 siege, was with Turkey’s consul general.

While under oath in early-2013 Senate testimony, Clinton denied any personal knowledge of weapons shipments from Benghazi to other countries.

In the 2014 memo to Podesta, Clinton refers to the administration’s past “plans” to equip Syrian fighters, specifically either the Free Syrian Army or other “moderate forces.” Those plans undoubtedly included coordination with Saudi Arabia, Qatar, and Turkey to steer weapons to Syria, ostensibly to fight both Assad and ISIS. Nevertheless, Clinton’s memo asserts the Saudi and Qatari governments both support ISIS and other “radical Sunni groups.”

These “radical” groups include jihadists tied to al-Qaeda, who thread the “moderate forces,” the arming of which Clinton’s memo urges the administration to “return” to. Moreover, as I explained in an August column, the Free Syrian Army has long been coopted by the Muslim Brotherhood — an anti-American sharia-supremacist, pro-jihadist organization that the Obama administration (very much including the State Department under Secretary Clinton) portrays as “moderate.”

It must be noted that critics, including yours truly, have opposed working with Saudi Arabia, Qatar, and Turkey to arm Syrian fighters because these countries aid and abet jihadists. Whether our government has colluded with these countries to steer weapons to Syrian groups, or has directly provided weapons to groups backed by these countries, many of the weapons so provided have ended up in the hands of anti-American jihadists, including ISIS and al-Qaeda.

The allegation in Mrs. Clinton’s memo that the Saudi and Qatari governments support ISIS and “other radical Sunni groups” (a reference that obviously includes al-Qaeda-affiliated groups) is extremely controversial. It has long been the U.S. government’s position — including that of the State Department when Mrs. Clinton was running it — that while jihadists are supported by some individual people and entities in Saudi Arabia and Qatar, including some with government ties, the regimes themselves are strong counterterrorism allies of the U.S. For example, the State Department’s most recent international-terrorism report outlines extensive efforts to combat terrorism undertaken by those two governments, even as it concedes that “some individuals and entities in Saudi Arabia continued to serve as sources of financial support for Sunni-based extremist groups, particularly regional al-Qa’ida affiliates such as the Nusrah Front.”

Critics (including yours truly) have long contended that, for all their ostensible opposition to “extremism,” the Saudis and Qataris endorse and enforce the ideology that leads inexorably to jihadism. The Saudi regime in particular turns a knowing blind eye to influential Saudis and Saudi institutions that support jihadists. The U.S. government’s portrayal of them as reliable counterterrorism allies is based on the wayward notion that “violent extremism” can be separated from the ideology that catalyzes it; thus, the administration’s theory goes, as long as the Saudis and Qataris oppose “violent extremism,” they are allies — regardless of how much the regimes’ sharia-supremacist policies promote worldwide jihadist terror.

In stark contrast, Mrs. Clinton’s memo to Podesta, which she clearly expected to be for the White House’s eyes only, adopts the view of the Saudi and Qatari governments that Mrs. Clinton and the Obama administration publicly reject. This underscores an overarching theme Mrs. Clinton made explicit in private speeches to financial institutions that she adamantly refused to disclose during the Democratic nomination contest against Senator Bernie Sanders: She holds private positions that often differ sharply from her public positions.

There are other eye-popping assertions in the memo.

In addressing “the regional restructuring that is taking place” across the region, Clinton laments that Turkey has “move[d] toward a new, more serious Islamic reality” (emphasis added). This is startling. It is plainly an allusion to the fact that the government of Recep Tayyip Erdogan has transitioned Turkey from a Western-leaning secular democracy to an increasingly repressive sharia state. This transition to sharia supremacism is the focus of Spring Fever: The Illusion of Islamic Democracy, a book I wrote at the height of “Arab Spring” uprisings. The theory is that as societies move toward what Mrs. Clinton refers to as a “more serious Islamic reality” — i.e., as more sharia compliance is imposed — they become substantially less democratic, in the sense of democracy as a culture of freedom, equality, and respect for minority rights.

When this theory is touted (I am hardly its only proponent), Mrs. Clinton publicly joins the chorus of Islamists and Leftists shouting “Islamophobia!” In fact, as secretary of state, Clinton worked closely with Erdogan’s government, which the administration depicted as “moderate,” “democratic,” and a strong American ally — even as Erdogan imprisoned journalists and political opponents while backing Hamas, Hezbollah, and the Muslim Brotherhood. Now, however, we learn that when speaking privately, Mrs. Clinton appears to have a quite different conception of the “Islamic reality.”

Remarkably, Clinton’s memo also reports:

A source in Tripoli stated in confidence that when the U.S. Embassy was evacuated, the presence of two U.S. Navy jet fighters over the city brought all fighting to a halt for several hours, as Islamist forces were not certain that these aircraft would not also provide close ground support for moderate government forces.

This is remarkable. For four years, critics have bewailed the Obama administration’s failure to take any military action to rescue or at least defend Americans during the aforementioned terrorist attack in Benghazi. It has frequently been pointed out that, even if American aircraft were not equipped to fight, their mere appearance could have intimidated the “Islamist forces” and stopped the siege, enabling a rescue. But though Clinton’s memo notes how effective just such a display American air power can be, neither she nor President Obama dispatched military aircraft to Benghazi when they were needed. Instead, they collaborated on a deceptive strategy to blame an anti-Muslim video for the attack.

It seems Hillary will have some explaining to do.

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

Frank Gaffney: Hillary Clinton’s Immigration Policies Put U.S. on ‘Road to a Sharia State’

hillary-clinton-saudi-arabia-ap-640x480

Breitbart, by John Hayward, October 12, 2016:

Frank Gaffney, president and founder of the Center for Security Policy, joined SiriusXM host Alex Marlow on Wednesday’s Breitbart News Daily to share his observations on the latest WikiLeaks disclosure of Hillary Clinton documents.

Gaffney said his biggest takeaway was that revelations about Hillary Clinton’s “personal involvement in corrupt activities and policy choices that have been disastrous for America” are coming so rapidly that it is difficult to keep up with them all – and the mainstream media have very little interest in keeping up with any of it.

“This stuff is hemorrhaging out now, and I think that especially when, as you say, we’ve got to spend really all of our available time focusing the banter, and the locker room, and so on. We’re not doing justice to a fraction of it,” he lamented.

He zeroed in on a particular disclosure from an email revealed by WikiLeaks, in which Clinton privately said the governments of Saudi Arabia and Qatar were secretly funding the Islamic State.

“It really puts back into focus – I know Mrs. Clinton doesn’t want that, but we sure need it – it puts back into focus the double game the Saudis have been playing, and for that matter, other Islamic supremacists doing business under other banners, notably the Muslim Brotherhood,” Gaffney said.

“But we’re watching this election play out, and it’s not just the progressive Left – which you’ve made some very important points about, and Andrew Breitbart, of course, was determined to defeat. Andrew was also, as you know so well, Alex, determined to prevent the Islamic supremacists, the jihadists, from accomplishing here what they’ve sought to do in Europe and elsewhere, which is to subvert us from within,” he warned.

Gaffney recommended a “very powerful film” called The Enemies Within by New Zealander Trevor Loudon, which explores “the ties between the Clintons, and for that matter, a whole bunch of other Democratic Party operatives and leaders, in Congress and elsewhere, the labor unions and on and on – both with respect of course to the hard Left, and I’m talking not just the so-called progressives; I’m talking about the socialists, I’m talking about the communists, the radical Left – and the Islamists.”

Gaffney called The Enemies Within a “staggering indictment of what has been happening in our government now for many years.”

“What Trevor does, a scrupulously careful researcher, and he’s showing how you connect the dots between the people who have essentially penetrated our institutions – academia, the labor movement, the government, the media, and on and on, and how they have wrought this subversion from within by essentially grabbing the people who were coming up through the ranks of the Democratic Party over the years, and how they were training them, how they were getting them elected, and how they were now able to essentially direct and dominate the kinds of statutory work that they do in Congress, the kind of administrative policies and orders that the President’s been executing, and so on.”

“It’s that combination of what Trevor, and the rest of us, I think, are increasingly calling the Red-Green Axis that’s so important here,” Gaffney stressed. “It’s not just the Left we’re dealing with, it’s not just the so-called Red. It’s not just the Islamists, the so-called Green. It’s the combination of the two. And oh, by the way, you can throw in the Black, as well, because they are very actively working, as Trevor documents in The Enemy Within, the Black Lives Matter movement, Soros money, and on and on.”

“You can write this down if you want, as some elegant and exhaustive conspiracy theory,” he acknowledged, “but the dots are there to be connected. It’s not a conspiracy theory; it’s a conspiracy. We are facing the decades-long legacy that if we don’t stop it now, if we don’t prevent it from having another four years to metastasize further, I’m sorry to say I’m not sure it’s reversible.”

“These are the sort of things that ought to be front and center in this election campaign, and I thank God for the work you’re doing every day, trying to get this back into focus, and make sure that the kind of information that is coming out – not in dribs and drabs but in a fire hose, from WikiLeaks and other sources – about Hillary Clinton’s judgment, policy predilections, associations, and corruption is given the kind of attention that it has to have before we turn over the country to her and her ilk,” Gaffney told Marlow.

Returning to the question of the Saudis and Qataris funding the Islamic State, Gaffney said, “It’s not exactly news, but the fact that they were also funding her, and her husband, and their family foundation, and the library, and on and on, is a big deal.”

“To have it now out in her own words, according to these leaked documents, is a big deal, and the fact that it has allowed the Clintons – and, I’m sorry to say, the Bushes, too – to engage in a policy that has effectively supported people who are trying to take us down, namely the Saudis. They’re supporting both the Islamic State, and the Muslim Brotherhood, and every other Islamic supremacist entity, with the possible exception of the guys that the Iranians, the Shiites, are supporting,” Gaffney charged, adding that “there seems to be a lot of crossover there, too.”

He said this was nothing less than “the betrayal of our country, and it ought to be front-and-center in an evaluation of whether this woman is fit to be our commander-in-chief, let alone what she would do if she were able to exercise the reins of power in that position.”

Gaffney agreed with Marlow that the “connective tissue” between other leaked Clinton emails is that “like those on the hard Left, Hillary Clinton does, in fact, admire central statism, and globalism, and yes, the elimination of our country.”

“They can dress it up with other terms, but fundamentally, as you’ve said, and several of your callers did this morning, that’s what open borders gets you,” he argued. “And, by the way, there was a terrific piece at Breitbart London yesterday about this woman, Dr. Machteld Zee out of the Netherlands, it turns out a former, pretty leftist academic there, who has done a study; she’s published it in a book that talks about what she calls the holy alliance … a powerful new book about the road to a sharia state. That is, in fact, what we’re dealing with when we talk about at least some of the people that are intent on coming across, that Hillary Clinton is intent upon bringing across our open borders, or bringing in as refugees.”

(The book Gaffney referred to is entitled Holy Identities: On the Road to a Sharia State. Breitbart London’s article about Dr. Zee can be read here.)

“When you look at these various leaks, when you look at the documentation that’s coming out, when you look at her record, when you look at Huma Abedin, as we’ve been talking about, and her influence, it couldn’t be more clear that Hillary Clinton’s objective – as is true of so many others like her on the radical Left, and their Islamist allies – is mutating beyond recognition this country,” Gaffney warned. “The President called it ‘fundamentally transforming’ it. And if they can get away with it, over the next four years, we’re done. We’re literally done as a republic, recognizable by anyone who is familiar with our Constitution, at least.”

***

On ‘Hannity,’ ‘Defeating Jihad’ author slams Hillary’s hypocrisy uncovered in the WikiLeaks dump

Hillary Funded By Same Governments as ISIS?

orya-n-hillary-1

A story told in disclosure forms, leaked emails, and erased statements to the press.

CounterJihad, October 11, 2016:

A leaked email chain allegedly from Hillary’s campaign highlights the former Secretary of State’s apparent conviction that American “allies” Saudi Arabia and Qatar are financing the Islamic State (ISIS).  The Daily Caller ran the story after trying to confirm the validity of the email, but neither the Clinton campaign nor those featured in the chain responded to confirm or deny that the emails were real.  However, they note that Clinton herself did not dispute the validity of the emails, nor did her campaign spokesman, during the recent debate.

“[W]e need to use our diplomatic and more traditional intelligence assets to bring pressure on the governments of Qatar and Saudi Arabia, which are providing clandestine financial and logistic support to ISIL and other radical Sunni groups in the region,” Clinton wrote.

The former secretary of state added: “This effort will be enhanced by the stepped up commitment in the [Kurdish Regional Government]. The Qataris and Saudis will be put in a position of balancing policy between their ongoing competition to dominate the Sunni world and the consequences of serious U.S. pressure.”…

Qatar has given between $1 million and $5 million to the Clinton Foundation and Saudi Arabia has donated upwards of $25 million dollars to the Foundation.

Those figures do not represent the only financial connection between the Clintons and those she apparently claims are funding ISIS.  Hillary’s campaign chairman’s lobbying firm — the Podesta Group — gets $140,000 a month from Saudis. As uncovered by CounterJihad’s Paul Sperry, John’s brother Tony Podesta is a registered foreign agent for the Saudis.

In addition, Clinton’s campaign may be receiving fast sums of illegal foreign contributions from Saudi Arabia if a news report citing a Saudi Prince is to be believed.  Jordan’s Petra News Agency quoted Saudi Deputy Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman claiming that the Saudi government was funding fully one-fifth of Hillary Clinton’s campaign for President.  Petra later deleted the quotes, and stopped responding to requests for comments on the article.  Saudi-owned Al Arabiya news later claimed that Petra was hacked, and the comments were false.  Foreign influence of US elections by financing candidates is illegal, but was quite commonly practiced in the 2008 Democratic primary to which Clinton was a party.  Her campaign was fined hundreds of thousands of dollars for her corrupt practices here.

Clinton certainly served the Saudis well as Secretary of State.  Shepressed for the rubber-stamping of vastly increased visas for the Middle Eastern nation, in spite of terrorism concerns.  Another leaked document, this time a diplomatic cable, has her stating that “More needs to be done since Saudi Arabia remains a critical financial support base for al-Qaida.”  Nevertheless, she nearly doubled the number of visas issued to Saudi nationals during her tenure.  She apparently broached the subject on a trip to a radical mosque arranged by her aide, Huma Abedin.

Saudi Arabia was one of several Middle Eastern governments who obtained greatly increased access to US military weaponry under the Clinton State Department.  Their large-scale donations to her foundation show every sign of having been persuasive in her decisions to permit them to buy advanced weapons of war.  If they are indeed funding her campaign as well, that is all the more reason to think they will continue to receive preferential treatment under a prospective Clinton administration.

All of this occurs even though Clinton is not herself blind to the danger that the Saudi government represents.  At least some of these documents, such as the foreign agent registration, are public records or otherwise undisputed.  The others are plausible given what we know to be true.  Clinton knows what she is doing is wrong.  She does it anyway.  For her, it appears that the national interest of the United States comes in second to the personal interest of Hillary R. Clinton.

Also see:

Saudi Arabia and Qatar Funding The Islamic State

Understanding the Threat, by John Guandolo, October 10, 2016:

Why wouldn’t Saudi Arabia, Qatar, and all other wealthy Muslim countries fund ISIS, ISIL, or whatever we are calling the leading army of Mohammad this week?

In the latest Wikileaks download, a series of emails between then Secretary of State Hillary Clinton and John Podesta, former Chief of Staff to President Bill Clinton and Counselor to President Obama, dated August and September 2014 reveal Saudi Arabia and Qatar are funding and providing support to ISIS.

In the email Mrs. Clinton states:  “We need to use our diplomatic and more traditional intelligence assets to bring pressure on the governments of Qatar and Saudi Arabia, which are providing clandestine financial and logistic support to ISIL and other radical Sunni groups in the region.”

saudi

We know from the recently released portions of the 9/11 Report a large volume of evidence exists revealing Saudi Arabia funds jihadi training materials and Islamic Centers/Mosques in the United States, among other direct support to fund the global jihad against the U.S. and the West.

Pakistan provided direct support via their intelligence agency (ISI) to Al Qaeda fighters after the attacks on the United States on 9/11/2001, and, provided safe haven for Osama bin Laden.

Turkey’s policies and open hostility towards the United States make clear they cannot be trusted at all.

Saudi Arabia and Qatar are giving financial and logistical support to ISIS.

The questions that remain:

*Why are key facilities in Saudi Arabia and Qatar not on our target list?

*Which Muslim country in the world is not hostile to the United States and supporting the armies of Mohammad (ISIS, Al Qaeda, Hamas, etc)?

The Saudi-Iran Rivalry and Sectarian Strife in South Asia

sunni-vs-shia

Iran and Saudi Arabia are recruiting and radicalizing local Muslim populations in Afghanistan, India, and Pakistan.

IPT, by Abha Shankar
The Diplomat
October 6, 2016

Note: This article originally was published at The Diplomat website.

Hillary Clinton’s “play for pay” campaign

14470645_10154552129456585_593521090828643343_nWarsclerotic,, by Lee Kaplan, October 5 2016:

President Harry Truman once said that any politician who became wealthy as a result of being in public service was a crook. As the American presidential election looms near, Hillary Clinton is showing the former president’s statement to be true.

On leaving the White House at the end of her husband’s presidency, Hillary Clinton cried poverty. Yet today, after her stint in Congress and as the U.S. Secretary of State, her net worth is in excess of 100 billion dollars. To this day Mrs. Clinton has not openly told the truth about where all the money is coming from. Most of this largesse is the result of donations from foreign dictators (notably the Gulf Sheikhs in Saudi Arabia, Qatar, Kuwait and the UAE) and the Organization of Islamic Cooperation (OIC) to which these dictators belong.

What is the OIC?

It is a consortium of the Gulf Sheikjs that also became a part of the United Nations. One of its key purposes of late is to try and have blasphemy laws created in the West and worldwide when criticism of Islam is voiced. It is also designed to get the Gulf Sheiks whatever they want from pusillanimous diplomats in the West.

The crux of the matter is how Hillary Clinton criticizes her presidential opponent by trying to suggest he is xenophobic, or more specifically “islamophobic” ( a silly term touted and promoted by UC Berkeley Hamas apparatchik Hatem Bazian, who also called for an “intifada” in America).  She says this is anathema to her humanitarian concern for Syrian refugees with which she wants to flood American shores.

Whereas Barack Obama brought in 10,000 such refugees and seeks to double the numbers, Ms. Clinton insists she wants this number increased to 550,000 or possibly even 600,000. Voters should note not only the fact that such a large number is bound to have many more refugees who are not vetted for security purposes – as is already being discussed in the Press. In fact, her insistence on these increased numbers is a glaring example of her engaging in “Pay for Play”:

The OIC pays her and she promises them she will absorb the refugees so OIC member nations won’t have to do it.

While European countries are being lectured about their failure to take in enough refugees, Saudi Arabia – which has taken in precisely zero migrants – has 100,000 air conditioned tents that can house over 3 million people sitting empty.

While European countries are being lectured about their failure to take in enough refugees, Saudi Arabia – which has taken in precisely zero migrants – has 100,000 air conditioned tents that can house over 3 million people sitting empty.

And one doesn’t need a deleted email to see this. To date, not one Gulf sheikh who donated to her foundation has offered to take in even one Syrian refugee. The Saudis, incredibly, have housing and bedding for three million refugees in their country. Originally created to house visitors for the Hajj pilgrimage to Mecca every year, these domiciles have air conditioning, running water and all the facilities to take in more than the 600,000 refugees that Hillary is proposing.

But that might interfere with the solid gold faucets planned for the next palace. Just as American boys can die to save Kuwait, so to can the American taxpayer absorb the flotsam and jetsam of the Arab world.

As Secretary of State, Clinton oversaw a state department that somehow lost 3 billion dollars in tax dollars that are unaccounted for according to the GAO, that spent other tax dollars on building mosques overseas through USAID, that funds UNWRA “camps” where Palestinian children are taught they are to be the next generation of suicide bombers and terrorists, and that pays salaries to convicted terrorist murderers in Israel jails. Those salaries are sometimes greater than many Americans earn. USAID also funds 100% of Palestinian television that incites Arabs to murder the Jews.

In fairness, many of these things were started under the Bush administration, but just as many others were started or propagated during Bill Clinton’s presidency.

As Secretary of State she could have stopped much of this, but she chose not to do so. She let the Arab world indirectly have the US as a piggy bank for totalitarians, letting the Saudis fund world terrorism and rule the roost in Washington. All of this was part of “Pay for Play” as she solicited funds from the Sheikhs for her foundation.

One campaign clip had Clinton saying “We must not insult Islam!”  This was spoken like a true IOC campaigner and an example of a politician pandering to her money source. As terrorist attacks come to the U.S. in St. Cloud, in Phoenix and New York, we can hear Hillary carrying on about how the US must swallow up 600,000 more Muslim refugees – because she must have promised this to the Shieikhs. That’s real play for the pay.

Every one of those Syrian refugees will cost the US taxpayer dearly as well. They will require government health care that we can ill afford, plus food, education and other benefits. Even those who have no terrorists connections will bring with them anti-Semitism and a support ideology that will promote the Sheikhs and other totalitarian enemies of the United States, just as President Obama has done in surrendering nuclear control over Iran. Remember – Hillary presided over that one too. Meanwhile, Mrs. Clinton will be paying back her funders at the expense of the American taxpayer as billions pour into her foundation in the form of funds that she can ultimately draw on, starting with daughter Chelsea.

Harry Truman obviously knew what he was talking about.

Huma Abedin: Will She Repudiate Family’s Islamist Views?

Huma Abedin (left) and Hillary Clinton (Photo: © Reuters)

Huma Abedin (left) and Hillary Clinton (Photo: © Reuters)

Clarion Project, by Meira Svirsky, October 2, 2016

Concerns about Huma Abedin, a top aide to Hillary Clinton, both when she was secretary of state and now, as the Democratic presidential nominee, began surfacing in 2012. According to leaked emails, Abedin is slated to become secretary of state if Hillary Clinton is elected president.

In 2012, Rep. Michele Bachmann and four other members of Congress requested information about the influence of Muslim Brotherhood-tied groups and individuals in the U.S. government, including Abedin, who worked for 12 years as an assistant editor of an Islamist journal that spewed extremism.

Abedin’s tenure at the Journal of Muslim Minority Affairs began in 1996, the year she began working as an intern at the White house.

Clarion Project covered that request extensively, as the Congressional members who made it were pilloried by their colleagues. We also covered the extremism of Abedin’s mother, father and other family members.

Now more information has been uncovered regarding the Islamist beliefs of Abedin’s parents. While it is certainly possible to disavow the ideology of one’s parents, Abedin has remained silent on their extremism as well as her work with on journal. It remains to be seen whether or not she will repudiate these new findings.

Syed Abedin, Huma Abedin’s father who died in 1993, was a Muslim scholar connected to the Saudi Arabian government. According to exclusive video footage from 1971 recently obtained by the Washington Free Beacon, Syed Abedin advocated the following:

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

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

Abedin’s mother, Saleha, has an especially strong Islamist ties. She is a member of the female counterpart of the Muslim Brotherhood in Egypt and the Muslim World League. She leads a group called the International Islamic Committee for Women and Child, a subsidiary of a Muslim Brotherhood-led group that is banned in Israel for its links to Hamas.

In 1999 and three years after Huma began working for the journal, the journal and Saleha Abedin’s group published a book in Arabic titled “Women in Islam: A Discourse in Rights and Obligations.”

The book states that man-made law is inherently oppressive towards women, while sharia law is liberating. According to the text, Muslim women have an obligation to contribute to jihad, apostates are to be put to death, adulterers should be stoned or lashed, freedom of speech should be conformed to the boundaries set by sharia and wives must have sex with their husbands on command, “even if she is not in the mood.“

In addition, the organization led by Huma Abedin’s mother “advocates for the repeal of Mubarak-era prohibitions on female genital mutilation, child marriage and marital rape, on the grounds that such prohibitions run counter to Islamic law, which allows for their practice,” according to an analysis by the Center for Security policy.

The book advocates against laws to assure equality of women, saying, “Man-made laws have in fact enslaved women, submitting them to the cupidity and caprice of human beings. Islam is the only solution and the only escape.”

In terms of women working in high positions, the book states, “Her job would involve long hours of free mixing and social interaction with the opposite sex, which is forbidden in Islam. Moreover, women’s biological constitution is different from that of men. Women are fragile, emotional and sometimes unable to handle difficult and strenuous situations. Men are less emotional and show more perseverance.”

However, an exception does exist: “Women can also participate in fighting when jihad becomes an individual duty.”

The New York Post reports that Saleha is on the payroll of the Saudi government and part of her job is to advocate for sharia law in non-Muslim countries like the United States.

“In 1995, less than three weeks before Clinton gave her famous women’s-rights speech in Beijing, Saleha headlined an unusual Washington conference organized by the Council on American-Islamic Relations [CAIR] to lobby against the UN platform drafted by Clinton and other feminists. Visibly angry, she argued it runs counter to Islam and was a “conspiracy” against Muslims.

“Specifically, she called into question provisions in the platform that condemned domestic battery of women, apparently expressing sympathy for men who commit abuse,” reported the newspaper.

We hope that Abedin does not hold the same opinions as her parents or the journal of which she was the assistant editor. And it would certainly be nice to have to tell us that.

***

Jamie Glazov outlines the concerns about Huma Abedin’s Muslim Brotherhood influences and the need for answers on her beliefs. I would point out that neither Hillary or Huma would pass a proper background check.

After Islamic State, Fears of a ‘Shiite Crescent’ in Mideast

Members of Shiite militias, known as Popular Mobilization Forces, parading in Baghdad in July. These groups have emerged as the most powerful military force in Iraq and exercise control over many “liberated” Sunni areas. PHOTO: HADI MIZBAN/ASSOCIATED PRESS

Members of Shiite militias, known as Popular Mobilization Forces, parading in Baghdad in July. These groups have emerged as the most powerful military force in Iraq and exercise control over many “liberated” Sunni areas. PHOTO: HADI MIZBAN/ASSOCIATED PRESS

The mullahs’ regime in Tehran is no less brutal, no less jihadi than the Islamic State – so why on earth should we of the West have anything to do w/propping up Tehran’s puppet regimes in Baghdad, Beirut or Damascus? Besides, bomb Raqqa into the ground tomorrow (not a bad idea!) & the global jihad would hardly skip a beat – that’s because jihad is wherever there is a cell, a community, or a network of faithful, devout Muslims obedient to shariah – and that means, already living among us. Jihad is upon us where we live now, not just ‘over there.’ – Clare Lopez

WSJ, by YAROSLAV TROFIMOV, Sept. 29, 2016:

From the point of view of Sunni Arab regimes anxious about Iran’s regional ambitions, Islamic State—as repellent as it is—provides a silver lining. The extremist group’s firewall blocks territorial contiguity between Iran and its Arab proxies in Syria and Lebanon.

This means that now, as Islamic State is losing more and more land to Iranian allies, these Sunni countries—particularly Saudi Arabia—face a potentially more dangerous challenge: a land corridor from Tehran to Beirut that would reinforce a more capable and no less implacable enemy.

Pro-Iranian Shiite militias such as Lebanon’s Hezbollah and Iraq’s Badr and Asaib Ahl al-Haq are filling the void left by Islamic State in Syria and Iraq, and they are much better equipped and trained than the Sunni extremist group. They are also just as hostile to the Saudi regime, openly talking about dismantling the kingdom and freeing Islam’s holy places from the House of Saud.

That rhetoric only intensified after January’s breakup in diplomatic ties between Riyadh and Tehran.

Many Western officials see these Shiite militias—which currently refrain from attacking Western targets—as an undoubtedly preferable alternative to Islamic State’s murderous rule, and some of the groups operating in Iraq indirectly coordinate with U.S. air power. But that isn’t how those militias are viewed in Riyadh and other Gulf capitals.

Abuses committed by Iranian proxies in Sunni areas are just as bad as those of Islamic State, argued Prince Turki al-Faisal, the former head of Saudi intelligence and a nephew of the current king.

“They are equally threatening, and one feeds off the other,” Prince Turki said in an interview. “Both of them are equally vicious, equally treacherous, and equally destructive.”

The West, he added, fundamentally misunderstood Iranian intentions in the region. “It’s wishful thinking that, if we try to embrace them, they may tango with us. That’s an illusion,” he said.

Fears over a “Shiite crescent” of Iranian influence in the Middle East aren’t new. They were first aired by Jordan’s King Abdullah a year after the 2003 U.S. invasion of Iraq brought pro-Iranian politicians to power in Baghdad.

In the following years, the huge U.S. military presence in Iraq and the Sunni insurgency there kept Iranian power in check. Then, just as the U.S. withdrawal and the taming of the insurgency seemed to herald a new era of Iranian prominence in the region, the 2011 upheaval of the Arab Spring unleashed the Syrian civil war.

The dramatic rise of Islamic State that followed created a Britain-sized Sunni statelet in Syria and Iraq—and severed all land communications in the middle of that “Shiite crescent.”

“Prior to 2011, Iran already had overwhelming influence in Iraq, Syria and Lebanon. So Iran has not significantly expanded its influence in the region, but rather it has been forced to provide military protection to pivotal allies it risked losing,” said Ali Vaez, Iran expert at the International Crisis Group. “If this has caused panic in Riyadh, it’s mainly because the Arab world is in a state of disarray.”

In both Syria and Iraq, however, Shiite militias controlled by Iran now play a far greater role than in 2011. Last month, Iraq ended the brief tenure of the first Saudi ambassador to the country since 2003, expelling him over his criticism of the Shiite militias. These groups, known as the Popular Mobilization Forces, have emerged as the most powerful military force in Iraq, and exercise control over many “liberated” Sunni areas.

In Syria, too, the survival of President Bashar al-Assad—allied with Iran but autonomous in many of his policies before 2011—has become impossible without the support of Hezbollah, an Iranian proxy that has grown into a regional military force. Other Shiite militias in Syria are staffed by Iranian, Afghan and Pakistani recruits.

“Iran’s power has spread further afield than before in terms of direct military power. We have never had so many Shiite militias operating in so many different areas, and fighting in traditional Sunni strongholds,” said Andrew Tabler, a fellow at the Washington Institute for Near East Policy.

With Islamic State also under attack by U.S. airstrikes, Kurdish forces and a Turkish offensive, it’s possible that these Iranian proxies and allies would link up along the Iraq-Syrian border in coming months. The question is whether they would be able to hold that land and rule over the remaining Sunni populations without a degree of power-sharing—something that neither Baghdad nor Damascus seem ready for.

Absent that, it is likely that a new insurgency would bubble up soon in those areas—likely fomented by Sunni Arab states eager to break up the region’s “Shiite crescent” once again.

Saleh al-Mutlaq, a leading Sunni Iraqi politician and the country’s former deputy prime minister, warned that keeping the Sunnis disenfranchised would lead to precisely such an outcome.

“Unless you start thinking about the conditions that created ISIS in the first place and try to overcome these conditions,” he said in an interview, “there will be a new ISIS again, maybe of a different kind.”

Also see:

Iranian Proxy Hezbollah Says Saudi’s Islam “More Evil than Israel”!

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Consider a world in which theology is even more important than oil.

CounterJihad, Sept. 28, 2016:

The head of Iran’s greatest proxy force in the Middle East, Hezbollah, has joined Iranian calls to view Saudi-backed Wahhabi Islam as a perversion and an enemy of true Islam.  Guerrilla leader Hassan Nasrallah said that the form of Islam promulgated by Saudi Arabia is “more evil than Israel,” and that Wahhabi Islam seeks to “eliminate whatever thing that has to do with Islam and its history.”

It is clear that these remarks are no accident.  They follow a declaration from Iranian Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei that Saudi Arabia was not fit to serve as a guardian for the Islamic cities of Mecca and Medina. Likewise, Iran’s Foreign Minister, M. Javad Zarif, published an op-ed in no less than the New York Times calling for a unified global effort to destroy the Wahhabi form of Islam.  Zarif pointedly referred to it not as “the Wahhabi form of Islam,” but as “Wahhabism,” implicitly denying that it represents a legitimate form of Islam.

The Saudis have responded in kind, with their top religious figure declaring that Iranian Shia Islam is not really a form of Islam at all.

Saudi Arabia’s Grand Mufti Sheikh Abdulaziz Al al-Sheikh said[,]  “We have to understand that they are not Muslims. … Their main enemies are the followers of Sunnah (Sunnis)[.]”… He described Iranian leaders as sons of “magus”, a reference to Zoroastrianism, the dominant belief in Persia until the Muslim Arab invasion of the region that is now Iran 13 centuries ago.

The feud over who represents real Islam occurs alongside two more physical disputes between these nations.  The first is the set of proxy wars that they are fighting in Syria, Iraq, and Yemen.  The second is a major dispute over oil production.  The elimination of the sanctions against Iranian oil occasioned by US President Barack Obama’s “Iran deal” has opened the floodgates to Iranian gluts.  The result is a driving down of oil prices for crude, crippling nations across the globe who rely on crude oil exports for their budgets.  Iran and Saudi Arabia walked away from a deal in the last week, leaving no hope but for oil prices to continue to freefall through November at least (when OPEC has its next meeting).

Given the existence of both proxy wars and oil disputes, the theological argument takes on potentially serious ramifications.  From the West, it looks like the gathering of stormclouds over a Middle East already at war.  Yet consider these writings from Malaysian security analyst Mathew Maavak, who is describing how it looks from the Islamic world’s Pacific theater.  He scans as someone whose analysis has a marked preference for Iran, but this is the future he sees:

The US has lost credibility on all fronts. Even its vacuous boast of being a “Christian nation” is belied by omnipresent national symbols such as the Eye of Horus on the dollar note, Ishtar masquerading as the Statue of Liberty and Jezebel reincarnated as Hillary Clinton….  Many are however taking belated note of this devil’s pact between the United States and the Saudi-led Gulf Arab world. Winning hearts and minds and attempting geostrategic pacts like the “Asian pivot” is impossible under current status quo. The Wahhabi and his ilk stand in the way of a reinvigorated US global outreach. The obscurantists need to go. Redacted portions of the official 9/11 report must be released to implicate the Saudis; legislation allowing families of 9/11 victims to sue Saudi Arabia must be allowed to gain momentum; and former ally Pakistan needs to be declared as a terrorist state….

Iran naturally has been tinkering with age-old plans to break this monopoly and replace Mecca with Karbala as the centre of (Shia) Muslim pilgrimage. Either way, once the Middle East turns into an inferno, the Sunni world may not have the WMDs and military backing of a Pakistan preoccupied with battling India. This scenario is not a chimera, for there is no shortage of spoilers and usurpers in the region.

Russian President Vladimir Putin himself had notably warned of ISIS’ designs on Mecca, Medina and Jerusalem. While Jerusalem poses an almost insurmountable obstacle, ISIS may yet be able to level the Saudi cities under the patronage of a new, non-Wahhabi master.

That is an even more apocalyptic vision of the future than Western analysts proffer.  The United States’ moral authority is dismissed as paganism pretending to false Christianity — it is interesting that he feels it important to say this, as it implies that a true Christianity would enjoy some moral force.  All of America’s allies, both the Wahhabi Saudis and the Pakistanis, are likewise false Muslims.  The inferno to come may “level” the traditional holy cities of Islam.  Out of the fire, he expects perhaps Iran, perhaps the Islamic State (ISIS) to emerge as the new face of Islam.

While this vision is in many ways implausible, it is important as a demonstration of what serious thinkers in the eastern Islamic world are considering as possible futures.  In the West we think of theological disputes as merely rhetorical:  what is real, we would tend to say, is the dispute over the price of oil.  That is not the case here.  For these actors, the theological dispute is the really important thing.  That is why it is important to dismiss not only Saudi Arabia’s standing as a Muslim power, but America’s standing as a Christian power.

If Western diplomats and security professionals fail to understand this central place of theology, they will act as if oil were the center of gravity for this dispute.  In doing that, they will lose any capacity to prevent what increasingly looks like a terrible regional war.

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.

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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.

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