Former CIA Station Chief In Moscow: ‘Brennan And Clapper Are Doing Putin’s Bidding’

A former CIA station chief is worried that Brennan and Clapper are doing Putin’s bidding when they sound off about their Russia collusion theories.

The Federalist, by Bre Payton, Aug. 2, 2018:

A former CIA station chief in Moscow is worried that top former intelligence agency officials John Brennan and James Clapper are doing Russian President Vladimir Putin’s bidding, when they sound off about their Russia collusion theories without verifying the facts.

The former CIA director and former director of National Intelligence have both been fanning the flames on the notion that Donald Trump’s campaign colluded with Russian officials in order to steal the election away from Hillary Clinton on cable TV and in various media interviews. As a result, the White House threatened to revoke security clearances from these men and a few others for misusing their access to top secret documents to promote their own agenda.

Former CIA case officer Daniel Hoffman, who was stationed in Moscow, told Real Clear Investigates that Brennan and Clapper are doing Putin’s bidding when they speculate without facts.

“In Brennan’s case that Putin could blackmail Trump, and in Clapper’s that the Kremlin’s interference swung the election to Trump,” Hoffman said. “Senior intelligence officers should know we speculate at our own peril.”

“While they get a favorable response from the ‘Amen’ chorus of Trump opponents, we should also consider the risk they are taking of feeding Trump’s speculation they were partisan officials who sought to do him harm,” he said.

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Former CIA chief of station Daniel Hoffman on how Russia has undermined Americans’ faith in the U.S. political system.

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Also see:

Diplomacy 101 Versus Politics Writ Small

Photo credit: Chris McGrath/Getty Images

American Greatness, by Angelo Codevilla, July 17, 2018:

The high professional quality of Donald Trump and Vladimir Putin’s performance at their Monday press conference in Helsinki contrasts sharply with the obloquy by which the bipartisan U.S. ruling class showcases its willful incompetence.

Though I voted for Trump, I’ve never been a fan of his and I am not one now. But, having taught diplomacy for many years, I would choose the Trump-Putin press conference as an exemplar of how these things should be done. Both spoke with the frankness and specificity of serious business. This performance rates an A+.

Both presidents started with the basic truth.

Putin: The Cold War is ancient history. Nobody in Russia (putting himself in this category) wants that kind of enmity again. It is best for Russia, for America, and for everybody else if the two find areas of agreement or forbearance.

Trump: Relations between the globe’s major nuclear powers have never been this bad—especially since some Americans are exacerbating existing international differences for domestic partisan gain. For the sake of peace and adjustment of differences where those exist and adjustment is possible, Trump is willing to pay a political cost to improve those relations (if, indeed further enraging his enemies is a cost rather than a benefit).

In short, this was a classic statement of diplomatic positions and a drawing of spheres of influence.

Flexibility and Inflexibility 
As Putin listed his agenda, he showed that today’s Russia is a status quo power, whose primary objective is stability. Having come to power over a country diminished and dispirited, he sought to recover as much as possible of what Russia had lost in the Soviet break-up. He forcibly took back parts of Georgia and Ukraine. In doing so, he pushed against open doors.

Today, no other doors are open. Now being ahead, he wants to stop the game. He knows that this is possible because nobody is going to wage or even risk war against Russia to try disgorging Abkhazia and Crimea. He wants Trump to acknowledge that. Warning against extending NATO to Ukraine and Georgia, he signaled that all else is negotiable.

He also has rebuilt Russia’s military and wants to protect its edge by persuading Trump to keep U.S. missile defense in its current dysfunctional mode. This is an inflexible demand that deserves an equally inflexible rejection. Trump had already delivered it by ordering the establishment of the U.S. Space Force.

By securing his naval and air bases in Syria, Putin succeeded in returning Russia to warm-water sea power. That required backing the Shia side in its intra-Muslim war against the Sunni in Syria, while the United States backed the other side. Today Iran, Syria, Iraq, and Turkey are much as Putin wants them. He wants Trump’s acknowledgment of this status. Russia continues to argue to Americans that both countries have suffered far more from Sunni terrorism—ISIS and the Muslim Brotherhood—than from the Shia version.

No Desire for War over Israel, Eastern Europe
The two made clear that their commitment to stability in the Middle East outweighs support for either side, and signaled wider cooperation, especially with on military matters.

Trump, leaving no doubt that America’s commitment to Israel’s security is absolute, faced Putin with the choice of partnering with America in restraining Iran or of being drawn into an Israeli-American war against an Iran with whose forces Russia’s are interwoven. Putin, for his part, seemed to concur with Trump’s priority. That along tripartite security consultations with Israel is likely to cool Iran and Hezbollah’s ardor for war.

Trump signaled that America’s interest in Eastern Europe lies in re-establishing peace there, and in safeguarding the independence of its states. Poland and the Baltic States are not just NATO members, but also close to the American people’s hearts. By stressing peace, he made clear that America does not intend to make its defensive commitments there the occasion for a war at or beyond the extreme reach of American power.

Collusion and the Known Facts
Though Russia has backed North Korea in the past, Putin signaled that he is not happy with its acquisition of a modern nuclear force that is effectively China’s pawn. He seemed to promise pressure on North Korea to denuclearize—something that would displease China. Though that was a minor part of both sides’ press conference, it may well signal both sides’ recognition of their mutual interest in not letting China become the Western Pacific’s overlord. Such an understanding would be no minor achievement.

The American ruling class’s attribution of the 2016 election to Trump-Putin collusion, which has characterized U.S.-Russia relations for two years, provided the press conference’s fireworks. Both denied any such thing and insisted there was no evidence of it. In response to a question about whether Putin would make available the 12 Russian state intelligence employees indicted for interference in that election to Special Counsel Robert Mueller, Putin pointed to the existence of a treaty of cooperation on criminal matters and promised Mueller that access to the accused through the treaty.

This led to the final flourish. The Associated Press reporter demanded that Trump state whether he believes the opinions of U.S. intelligence leaders or those of Putin. It would be healthy for America were it to digest Trump’s answer: The truth about the charge that Russia stole the contents of the Democratic National Committee’s computer server is not to be found in the opinions of any persons whatever. The truth can be discovered only by examining the server in question—assuming it has not been tampered with since the alleged event. But, said Trump emphatically, those making the accusations against Russia have refused to let the server be examined by U.S. intelligence or by any independent experts. What is the point of accusations coupled with refusal of access to the facts of the matter?

The classic texts of diplomatic practice teach that diplomacy advances the cause of peace and order only to the extent that its practitioners avoid contentious opinions and stick to demonstrable facts.

The AP reporter, who should be ashamed, is beyond shame. Then again, so are the ruling class representatives who have redoubled their animus against Trump. Cheap partisanship is not all that harmful. It is the transfer of domestic partisan animus to international affairs, however, that has the potential to start wars.

Not so long ago, American school kids had to read George Washington’s farewell address, which warned in the most emphatic terms at his command to avoid that sort of thing for the sake of peace with other nations as well as among ourselves.

What that ignorant “journalist” was demanding of Trump—precisely what the credentialed experts should know better than to have demanded—was that the president of the United States scream at the president of Russia for all his evils. Competitive “virtue signaling” has become the way of political life in America. To the extent that it bleeds into America’s foreign policy, we are all in big trouble.

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New Center Occasional Paper Documents how the Kremlin Fosters Destabilizing Refugee Flows into Europe

For Immediate Release

Contact: Clare M. Lopez 202-719-2423

Center for Security Policy, May 29, 2018:

Refugees the world over fleeing economic hardship, natural disaster, and warfare have long looked to Europe as a prime destination.  The impact of their mass migration there has, predictably, been deeply traumatizing for the host nations and their citizens.  That is especially true of the hijra – the Islamic practice of migrating Muslim populations to spread the faith and its supremacist doctrine known as Sharia – that followed the outbreak of the so-called “Arab Spring” across the Middle East in 2011-2012.  What ensued in much of the European Union was a tidal wave of predominantly single, military-age young men, in numbers unseen there since the invasions of the Ottoman Empire.

It is an open secret that Vladimir Putin has sought to rebuild and exercise Russia’s influence for the purpose of exacting revenge against those he holds responsible for the “greatest catastrophe of the 20th Century” – i.e., the fall of the Soviet Union.  Preeminent among them is Western Europe and the NATO alliance.

Putin’s desire to get even can only have intensified with Europe’s imposition of sanctions against Russia for its seizure of Crimea and ongoing intervention elsewhere in Ukraine.

In a new Occasional Paper issued by the Center for Security Policy entitled “Vladimir Putin’s Revenge: Russia as a Catalyst for the Refugee Crisis that is Destabilizing Europe,” co-authors Jeff Nyquist and Dr. Anca-Maria Cernea offer evidence that suggests that the Russian government is deliberately contributing to the world’s worst refugee crisis and exploiting its geostrategic effects.

For example, the impact of the Russian offensive in Syria – much of it delivered by massively destructive air strikes – was felt quickly in the targeted areas and greatly exacerbated the human suffering experienced by those who lived there.  As would have been expected by the Kremlin and its allies in Damascus and Iran, a sizeable proportion of them would flee and for most the destination of choice would be Europe.

Nyquist and Cernea argue that, in some measure at least, the massive flows of refugees out of areas as far-flung as Afghanistan, the Middle East, and North Africa are actually managed flows, either precipitated or encouraged by Russia – together with its increasingly aligned strategic partner, Recep Tayyip Erdogan’s Turkey – with a view to destabilizing Europe.

As could have been reliably expected, the incessant influx of predominantly Sharia-adherent Muslims not only burdened European economic and social capacities. It has also served to exacerbate tensions between the EU nations’ political left (that has generally supported open borders and an unchecked refugee flows) and their political right (whose opposition to that immigration sometimes propelled it to closer ties with Russia).

Nyquist and Cernea quote the former Romanian Minister for Communications and Information, Marius Bostan, who said that the interlinked global refugee crises “should be regarded as a hybrid war operation against the West.”  Its principal perpetrator is Vladimir Putin.

The concerns raised in this paper demand serious review by the U.S. and allied governments as they assess – and determine how to respond to – a variety of other Russian threats to the West across a strategic span of warfare techniques that is only sometimes kinetic.

Upon the release of this newest of the Center’s Occasional Paper series, its President, Frank J. Gaffney observed:

There is a growing sense that, as a result of the unassimable masses that have effectively invaded the European Union in recent years, much of the region – especially the nations in its west – are approaching a tipping point.  Some may actually have been so severely destabilized that they are actually beyond the point of no return.

While there are, of course, multiple factors that have contributed to this dire situation, not least the policies of many of the affected countries themselves, it is important to examine Russia’s role and the degree to which it is, at least in the near term, a principal beneficiary of the mayhem now unfolding in Europe.  The evidence in this regard presented by Jeff Nyquist and Dr. Anca-Maria Cernea is compelling.  It demands careful consideration by the Trump administration and our NATO allies – apart, of course, from another of the wellsprings of Europe’s destabilization: Turkey. If validated, appropriate countermeasures must be developed and implemented with the utmost urgency.

“Vladimir Putin’s Revenge: Russia as a Catalyst for the Refugee Crisis that is Destabilizing Europe” is available for purchase in Kindle and paperback.  It can also be viewed and downloaded for free in PDF format below:

Russia_Refugee_05-28-18

Assad’s Horror, and Those Who Enable It

hoto credit: Muhammed es Sami/Anadolu Agency/Getty Images.
Demonstrators draw picture on a wall to describe the poisonous gas attack and protest against the Assad regime’s alleged gas attack on Douma in Syria on April 08, 2018

Russia, Iran, and North Korea all play a role in the Syrian regime’s chemical attacks on its own people.

The Weekly Standard, by Thomas Joscelyn, April 8, 2018:

Horrific images from the aftermath of a suspected chemical weapons attack in Syria are once again circulating online. The scene of this gassing is the eastern Ghouta suburb of Damascus. Both the location and the timing of this apparent war crime are symbolically important. And while the immediate focus will be on Syrian dictator Bashar al-Assad and his willingness to gas his own people, any long-term solution will require understanding the role of the rogue states that enable and support him.

It was one year ago, on the morning of April 7, 2017, that the Trump administration launched punitive airstrikes against Assad’s regime at the Shayrat Airfield in response to a Sarin gas attack days earlier. Those targeted bombings were intended to send a message to Assad: Stop using banned weapons of war against your own people. Assad was undeterred.

He had failed to adhere to a previous deal, negotiated by the Obama administration and Russia, that was intended to end his chemical weapons capability. The concord was struck in the aftermath of the August 21, 2013, nerve agent attack on eastern Ghouta–the same suburb hit in the last 24 hours. The U.S. government determined that the Assad regime was responsible and “that 1,429 people were killed … including at least 426 children.”

Just a few weeks later, in September 2013, the U.S. and Russia agreed to “special procedures” for the “expeditious destruction of the Syrian chemical weapons program and stringent verification thereof.” Secretary of State John Kerry claimed in 2014 that the agreement had worked, saying “we got 100 percent of the chemical weapons out” of Syria. That obviously wasn’t true, or at least highly misleading, as Assad retained the capability to regenerate and use certain weapons.

And now—one year after the U.S. attempted to punish Assad with airstrikes, and in the same neighborhood that was terrorized in 2013— the Syrian regime has seemingly struck again.

Many details concerning this most recent attack remain to be confirmed. But the world has already learned some valuable lessons regarding the behavior of rogue actors when it comes their pursuit and use of banned weapons.

There is no real question that Assad has continued to use chemical weapons even after he agreed to give them up. As the State Department was quick to note yesterday, the U.S. has concluded that he was responsible for the April 4, 2017, Sarin gas attack in Khan Sheikhoun—the same incident which prompted the Trump administration’s bombing. And both the U.S. government and the UN have found that Assad’s goons used other chemical weapons, namely crude chlorine bombs, more than once. While some of these bombs struck areas held by jihadi rebels, they have also indiscriminately killed civilians.

Assad’s principal international backer, Vladimir Putin, hasn’t stopped him from using of them. Nor has Iran, which is deeply embedded in Syria alongside Assad’s forces. In fact, the Assad-Putin-Khamenei axis has a legion of online apologists who argue that the high-profile chemical weapons assaults aren’t really the work of the Syrian “president” at all. This noxious advocacy on behalf of mass murderers is readily available on social media.

It gets even worse, as another rogue state has reportedly facilitated Assad’s acquisition of chemical weapons: North Korea. This facilitation is especially worrisome in light of the two nations’ previous cooperation on a nuclear reactor that was destroyed by the Israelis in 2007.

In March, the U.N. issued a report on North Korea’s active “prohibited military cooperation projects…stretching from Africa to the Asia-Pacific region, including ongoing ballistic missile cooperation with the Syrian Arab Republic and Myanmar, widespread conventional arms deals and cyberoperations to steal military secrets.”

The U.N. traced a number of visits by North Korean officials to Syrian soil, finding that “multiple groups of ballistic missile technicians” have been inside Syria. Citing intelligence received from a “Member State,” the U.N. explained that these “technicians … continued to operate at chemical weapons and missile facilities at Barzah, Adra and Hama.” The Assad regime tried to deflect this accusation by claiming the North Koreans were in town simply for “training athletics and gymnastics.”

But the U.N. documented additional suspicious details, including previously unknown illicit shipments and transfers. The U.N. investigative body’s “investigations into several cases of hitherto unreported arms shipments and cooperation with front companies of designated entities between 2010 and 2017 showed further evidence of arms embargo and other violations, including through the transfer of items with utility in ballistic missile and chemical weapons” programs.

In one such transfer, the North Koreans provided the Assad regime with “special resistance valves and thermometers known for use in chemical weapons” programs. U.N. member states also interdicted suspicious shipments, including bricks and tiles that may be used as part of a chemical weapons program. Although the U.N. found these specific materials weren’t banned, a member state noted that they “can be used to build bricks for the interior walls of [a] chemical factory.”

The U.N. found it especially suspicious that North Korean front companies were doing business with the Syrian government’s Scientific Studies and Research Center (SSRC), which oversees Assad’s chemical weapons development.

The U.S. Treasury Department sanctioned 271 SSRC staffers in the aftermath of the April 2017 Sarin gas attack in Khan Sheikhoun. Treasury explained that the SSRC is “the Syrian government agency responsible for developing and producing non-conventional weapons and the means to deliver them.” And the sanctioned SSRC employees “have expertise in chemistry and related disciplines and/or have worked in support of SSRC’s chemical weapons program since at least 2012.”

Therefore, the U.N.’s conclusion that North Korea has been working with the SSRC is especially noteworthy.

The U.S. and its allies will continue to face daunting challenges when it comes to restraining rogue nations and their pursuit of banned weapons. As Syria’s ongoing work on chemical weapons shows, such proliferation concerns often involve multiple rogue states. Assad’s chemical weapons attacks inside Syria are principally his own doing, but not solely. He has friends outside of Syria who are willing to help.

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Gorka: Left Cares About Alinsky Tactics and Political ‘Triangulation’ More Than Safety of Americans

Scott Olson/Getty Images

Scott Olson/Getty Images

Breitbart, by John Hayward, February 13, 2017:

Deputy Assistant to the President Dr. Sebastian Gorka, formerly National Security editor for Breitbart News, addressed the controversy over National Security Adviser Mike Flynn’s pre-inauguration phone calls to Russian Ambassador Sergey Kislyak on Monday’s Breitbart News Daily.

“I can’t comment on what was said, or what wasn’t said, on those telephone calls even though the good general himself says that he can’t remember all the details,” Gorka said. “All I can tell you is my personal experience. I spent several months working very closely with General Flynn and the transition team, in his National Security Council transition team. He’s a man you would trust with your life. He’s a great patriot, man of honor, worn the cloth of the Republic.

“The bottom line is, he shook things up in the DIA, and there are a lot of people who want to take revenge on him. Names I’m not going to list across the airwaves right now, but people who do a little bit of research can work out. The Establishment doesn’t like General Flynn, and for me, that’s a good thing,” he told SiriusXM host Alex Marlow.

Marlow proposed that Flynn was but the latest target of the Left’s “pick a target, freeze it, personalize it, and polarize it” strategy, as defined by Saul Alinsky in Rules for Radicals.

“You’re absolutely correct,” Gorka said. “Whether it’s Steve Bannon, whether it’s Stephen Miller, whether it was Monica Crowley, or whether it’s General Flynn now. Important point for the listeners, and this is what has to be grasped: it’s never about the issues. It’s not about Russia, it’s not about the safety of Americans, it’s not about preventing attacks like Paris or Nice happening in America. It’s the triangulation. We have to isolate and take down the individuals, separate them from their community, pillory them, and then just make their position untenable. It’s classic Alinsky, and I’m sorry, they’re just picking on the wrong guy, because this guy is as hard as nails.”

[CJR: I feel very bad about Monica Crowley. She deserves her reputation back. Read this – Rising to Monica Crowley’s defense ]

Turning to President Donald Trump’s meeting with Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe, Gorka said “the message that has to be taken home by everybody – our allies, our partners, and our competitors and our potential enemies – is that our relationship with Japan is back on track.

“Do you remember the ‘Asia pivot’ that wasn’t a pivot, that ended in China intimidating all her neighbors, building fake atolls with military installations on top of them? That age is over. Whether it’s sending a message to put Iran on notice, or whether it’s rekindling one of our closest ties in the region with Japan, this is a new age for America in foreign policy.”

Gorka said Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s upcoming visit to the White House would cover the “obvious issues,” such as “what can we do, as the outside potential interlocutor, to bring stability, to bring some kind of lasting peace to the region?”

“As part of that, it’s going to have to be a discussion of settlements, what is the status of settlements,” he said. “On top of that, one of the things that we are very keen on is to represent an understanding to the world that Israel isn’t alone. It’s not the threat to Israel from local terrorists. It’s the same thing as Orlando, as the attacks in New York, in Boston. There is this, what I like to call the global jihadi movement, and Israel is as much on the frontline – if not more – than any other country. So we want to bring that international recognition that Israel isn’t just our strongest partner in the region, it’s also really on the frontline of the war against the global jihadists.”

Gorka said the White House was not so much “shifting policy” with its latest statements on Israeli settlements, but offering a “nuanced explication of what our policy is.”

“I’m not part of that team, but I’ve spoken to the people that are working that issue, and it’s a fine line,” he said. “What we have suggested is that when it comes to the settlements, you can build on what you’ve already got. So if you’ve got a building, and you want to go up another story, it’s fine. But going to new territories is not going to help anybody. So we’d like to see a little bit of a snapshot in time. Let’s not have any more territory taken as part of the settlements, so that we can get down to some serious negotiations right now.

“That’s a nuanced policy statement from the team, but I think it bears recognition as acting in good faith, so we can bring the partners to the table.”

Another imminent presidential meeting will involve Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau, described by Marlow as “pretty much the anti-Trump” for being “a young man who is very photogenic,” raised in an atmosphere of deep left-wing politics for his entire life.

Gorka thought the two leaders might find common ground by acknowledging “there are issues that have to be dealt with in every country,” including “the tension with regard to the terrorist threat internally.”

“We may be from different political communities, but the bottom line, it’s our northerly neighbor. They share a lot of the same issues that we share, especially when it comes to national security,” he observed. “President Trump is the master of the deal, and he can negotiate with people who even have different political opinions. So let’s see what the day brings, but I think it will be a substantive meeting for both parties.”

Gorka said President Trump will soon decide how to proceed on his immigration executive order, after the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals upheld a judicial restraining order against it. He praised the analysis Breitbart News has offered on the decision.

“Let’s not talk about the fact that the Ninth Circuit Court has been reversed 82 times. That’s their batting average. What Breitbart has very, very rightly revealed is that of the seven nations on the list that came from the Obama administration, 72 nationals of those nations have been convicted of jihadi terrorist activity in America since September the 11th,” he said.

“This narrative, this politicized narrative that it’s Islamophobic, and it has nothing to do with terrorism, and nobody from those countries has ever committed terrorist acts in America is so totally and utterly fallacious that we need to reset the standard of the discussion. It’s about national security. Seventy-two people – think about that. That’s more than five times the number of hijackers that did September the 11th. So we are going to maintain our commitment to that executive order and those seven countries being on a temporary halt.”

Same interview:

Gorka: Radical Islam Has Grown ‘Much, Much Stronger’ Since 9/11

On Monday’s Breitbart News Daily, SiriusXM host Alex Marlow asked for Deputy Assistant to the President Dr. Sebastian Gorka’s assessment of radical Islam and its position in the world today, compared to its influence on the morning of September 11, 2001. “Is radical Islam stronger now as a movement, or has it been weakened since 9/11?” he asked.

“Superb question,” Gorka replied. “And the answer is unequivocally, without a doubt, much much stronger.”

“Just think about one metric. Let’s look at ISIS. ISIS, the Islamic State, has achieved that which no other jihadi group has been able to do in 90 years since the dissolution of the Caliphate by Mustafa Kemal Ataturk in 1924. He fired the caliph, he dissolved the Caliphate, when he created the secular republic of Turkey. For 90 years, the bad guys – al-Qaeda included – have tried to re-establish a theocratic Caliphate. ISIS didn’t talk about it. They did it,” he noted.

“They did it in 2014 from the pulpit of the Grand Mosque in Mosul,” he continued. “According to our own counterterrorism center – this is open source – ISIS has 18 operational affiliates around the world. Compare that to just three years ago, when they had seven. They are getting stronger.”

“This is why it’s very important to understand, we’re not at war with Islam, but there is a war inside Islam, for which version is going to win. And right now, it’s the wrong version,” he warned. “It’s the seventh-century atavistic bloodcurdling version that is represented by the Islamic State. The version that is portrayed by Jordan, by Egypt, by the Emiratis, that needs our support because we cannot see the Islamic State expand any more. That is why the president used the phrase, ‘We are going to eradicate the Islamic State.’”

Gorka said there were two important conclusions to draw from the foreign policy speech President Trump gave in Youngstown, Ohio, during the campaign, principles that continue to shape his policy outlook since the election.

“Number one, it’s very clear, he’s given the generals 30 days to come up with a war plan to defeat the Islamic State, as the epitome of the threat right now – destroy it in theater with our allies, with our partners,” he said. “But that’s the smaller part. We’re the most powerful nation the world has ever seen. We can do that relatively easily.”

“Long-term victory, if you read General Flynn’s book, you’ll see this explicitly laid out,” he continued, referring to The Field of Fight: How We Can Win the Global War Against Radical Islam and Its Allies by retired Lt. Gen. Michael Flynn, who is now national security adviser to President Trump’s. “Long-term victory comes when people don’t want to become jihadis anymore.”

He said this would require a longer and more difficult second-stage strategy to “delegitimize the narrative of jihad.”

“Just as Ronald Reagan undermined the narrative of the communists, we have to help our allies, the Sunnis of the region, make the totalitarian ideology of the jihadists look hollow and crumble in upon itself,” Gorka urged. “The larger part of our task is to have a very, very full-throated counter-propaganda campaign, which means the Islam of our allies against the Islam of groups like the Islamic State.”

Dr. Sebastian Gorka is the author of the best-selling book Defeating Jihad: The Winnable War and was national security editor for Breitbart News before joining the Trump administration.

Gorka: Trump ‘Incredibly Pragmatic’ About Relations with Russia, Iran

AP

AP

Breitbart, by John Hayward, Feb. 7, 2017:

White House Deputy Assistant Dr. Sebastian Gorka, author of Defeating Jihad: The Winnable War and former national security editor for Breitbart News, defended President Trump’s criticism that the media do not cover terrorism adequately.

On Breitbart News Daily, Gorka said the issue is not “how much coverage” terrorism gets, but rather, “the nature of the coverage and how much of it is spin.”

LISTEN:

“Do you recall, after the Orlando attack – 49 Americans massacred in the Pulse nightclub – the mainstream media, for almost two weeks, what was their spin on that attack? Not terrorism. Omar Mateen was clearly a repressed homosexual who was involved in some kind of act of revenge against his Latin lover,” he recalled. “For almost two weeks, that was the message, until the FBI said this is utterly fallacious, not true. But it got to a point where even the transcripts of his calls to the 911 dispatcher were doctored by the administration.”

“There was this kind of complicit relationship between the former administration and the media, downplaying how bad the terrorist threat is. And then when something occurs, just simply misrepresenting it. So that’s what we have a problem with in the White House,” he said.

SiriusXM host Alex Marlow argued that the president’s critique made it sound as if terrorism was not covered at all, prompting the media to respond by listing the stories they wrote about terror attacks throughout the years – a different dispute than Dr. Gorka’s point about misattribution and downplaying of motives in the coverage.

“I’m working on my own list that I’m going to run through the White House of all the attempted attacks,” said Gorka, pointing to another area where he felt media coverage has been insufficient. “We have dozens and dozens of attacks that really are jihadi-motivated, but don’t get reported as such, or are very simply, very rapidly dropped.”

“Let’s just talk about a couple of figures,” he suggested. “Breitbart listeners are, of course, different, but how many general members of the U.S. population know that we have arrested or killed 125 ISIS terrorists in America since the Caliphate was declared? One hundred and twenty-five. And how many people know that in the recent IED attack in New York and New Jersey, when that individual deployed a pressure cooker bomb and some pipe bombs, that only two exploded, but in one weekend, he’d actually deployed almost a dozen devices? A dozen devices in 48 hours – that’s like Beirut in the 1980s.”

“It’s quality of the reporting. It’s the spin and trying to explain it away that is the real issue,” he emphasized.

Marlow asked for Gorka’s take on President Trump’s exchange with host Bill O’Reilly of Fox News, in which O’Reilly referred to Russian President Vladimir Putin as a “killer,” and Trump replied, “We’ve got a lot of killers. What, do you think our country’s so innocent?”

“If you want to know what the White House policy is with regards to Russia or the Kremlin, you can do no better than to listen to the president himself,” said Gorka. “I don’t know if you recall, a few weeks ago, he held a press conference in Trump Tower, and during the Q&A, he was asked explicitly this question about what are our relationships going to be like with Vladimir Putin. And he was very honest. It wasn’t some half-sentence ‘gotcha’ moment on a television interview. He said, ‘Look, there are problems with Russia, I would like to be able to work with Vladimir Putin. I’m not sure if I can, and if I can’t, so be it.’”

“The real answer is, we have a Commander-in-Chief who is incredibly pragmatic. You don’t get to be as successful a businessman as he is without being eminently pragmatic. And his attitude to how we’re going to get along with Russia is, ‘Look, we’d like to, but if we can’t, that’s also a reality.’ We’ve been very clear about that from the beginning,” he said.

Marlow asked if it was fair to say the Trump administration is backtracking on its support for Israel’s construction of settlements.

“There’s a nuanced approach to this, and sometimes I think that gets missed,” Gorka responded. “The policy right now of the White House is, we want to have a little snapshot in time. If there is building to be done, it shouldn’t be on new territories. You can do building to go upwards or to add to something that’s already there, but any new settlements in new territories would be counterproductive to any kind of settlement between the parties.”

“We are very, very vested in bringing some kind of resolution to these issues. We have somebody that’s named as a negotiator who’s going to work on them. But right now, we don’t want to see any new territories with new buildings because otherwise, that’s going to make any kind of long-term resolution very difficult,” he said.

When Marlow asked if there has been any movement on relocating the U.S. Embassy to Jerusalem, Gorka replied, “Just wait and see.” He agreed with Marlow and with others, such as frequent Breitbart News Daily guest John Bolton, that moving the embassy is a “simple” process to execute physically, and “the president is committed to that decision,” so “you can take that one to the bank.”

Marlow pointed to news about a surge in anti-Christian attacks in France and asked if the White House was following the “drastically under-reported story” of anti-Christian bigotry around the world.

“Absolutely,” Gorka said. “It goes back to the original story we were discussing. It’s the misrepresentation – one of the most powerful things, one of the greatest powers the media has is not to write stories, but to not write stories about things that are happening.”

“In addition to the spinning or misrepresentation of terrorist attacks, there’s this giant story for the last 15 years. It’s not just about bombs going off in Boston. It’s not just about murder in Orlando. It’s about genocide. It’s about the systematic extermination of religious minorities – not just the Yazidis running up Mount Sinjar; it is the Christians,” he said.

“If you look at what ISIS did after they took over Mosul, they marked every house in that city where a Christian lived with a sign for ‘follower of Nazareth.’ And they gave those Christians a very simple option: convert to Islam, or be killed, or be punished as an infidel, and pay a special infidel tax. That’s systematic genocide,” he contended.

“As you see in Europe and elsewhere, it’s not just in the Middle East. The murder of a priest saying Mass, a Catholic priest, in France – this is what the media should be talking about if they wish to give a truly honest depiction of how serious the global jihadi threat is, Alex,” he said.

Gorka said it was “great news” that Iran has taken to insulting the new U.S. President as a “newcomer” to geopolitics and rattling its ballistic-missile saber.

“They realize that it’s not just about being a newcomer. It’s about the new sheriff in town,” he said. “This is not business as usual. We are not going to underpin and support a theocratic dictatorship – that is the Iranian Republic. The Obama administration’s policy of making the mullahs in Tehran stronger and stronger, in some kind of regional balancing act, those days are over. So for all the bluster, I think the underlying message is, hopefully, they understand it’s not business as usual with regards to Washington.”

Marlow relayed a question from fellow Breitbart News Daily host and Breitbart London editor Raheem Kassam about U.K. House of Commons Speaker John Bercow effectively banning President Trump from addressing both houses of Parliament during an upcoming state visit.

Gorka expressed “disappointment,” speaking as a proud American who grew up in the United Kingdom.

“I can’t recall a Speaker making such an incredibly partisan comment about a duly, democratically elected chief executive, of one of the most important – if not the most important – allies to the United Kingdom,” he said.

He recalled British Prime Minister Theresa May having an “amazing” visit with President Trump recently and said he expected “things to be executed as planned” when Trump makes his visit to London.

Turning to the legal battle over President Trump’s executive order for an immigration pause from seven nations with severe security problems, Gorka insisted the order is “completely constitutional,” adding that the president is completely in his powers to do so, but we are doing this as a preventative measure.”

“Good counter-terrorism is done before an attack, to prevent an attack,” he explained. “The whole logic of this EO, this executive order, is the following: we are going to destroy ISIS. The president has made that commitment to eradicate the Islamic State. But as we ramp up in the near future our approach to ISIS, what’s going to happen? We are going to see an increase in the movement of jihadis further west, further north, into Europe and across the ocean into America.”

“We don’t want to see them use the immigration streams to insert their people into America so they can do things like the Berlin attack, like the Nice attack, like the Paris attacks. This is purely and solely about national security and protecting the citizens of this great nation,” Gorka declared.

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Sebastian Gorka: Trump Order About Safety, Not Religion

Also see:

Implications of Russian Presence in Latin America

putin2Center for Security Policy, January 23, 2017:

The Obama Administration expelled 35 Russian diplomats and imposed new sanctions on Russian spy agencies for espionage and involvement in hacking political sites during the last presidential election.

Let us be clear. Espionage is an act for which the U.S. has every right to take action against the country that perpetrates it. Since the Russians indeed committed these acts of espionage, the actions taken against the diplomats were justified.

Yet, this dramatic step taken by the Obama Administration constituted a rather puzzling action for an Administration that made reconciliation and reaching out to adversaries and enemies, a policy across the board . The “Obama Doctrine” as the journalist Jeffrey Goldberg called it, is that we do not get involved in conflicts that do not directly affect us. Obama believed that for Russia to claim a sphere of influence in the Ukraine is legitimate given the history and geography of both countries. Therefore, according to this view, let us stay away from unnecessary political confrontations, let alone military ones.

Russia later entered the Middle East with troops in support of its old client, the Assad regime. Russia, along with Hezbollah, helped Bashar Al Assad recover lost territory. Obama was not going to put American soldiers at risk in order to prevent genocide or disasters unless the situation constituted a security threat to the U.S. Following the same logic, in exchange for a nuclear deal, Iran was allowed to have influence in the Middle East raising panic among most countries in the region.

Latin America is the geographical neighborhood where the U.S. lives. Latin America is to the U.S. what Obama claimed the Ukraine is for Russia, namely an area where it can claim not necessarily domination but influence.

Two years ago, we reported the existence of Russian military cooperation with countries in Latin America that are hostile to the United States, mainly Cuba, Venezuela, and Nicaragua.  This includes agreements between Russia and the above named countries that would enable Russia to place their naval logistic facilities within their territory. Russia clearly seeks to increase its political influence and geo-political strategic depth.

As pointed out in the above referenced article, while Russia views the former Soviet republics as naturally belonging to Russia’s traditional area of domination, the Obama Administration views similar attachment to its neighbors in the Western Hemisphere as antiquated.

Meanwhile, countries such as Brazil, Argentina and certainly Venezuela increased their cooperation with Russia. Venezuela even purchased arms for more than four billion dollars. Part of these weapons was handed over by the Venezuela government to the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia (FARC).

Brazil, a growing power, supported the idea of “a multipolar world”. On paper multi-polarity could be seen as the recognition of the existence of many world powers and not just one or two. However, in reality, this represents a euphemism for the reduction of American influence.

For many years the leadership of the Workers party in Brazil (2003-2016) along with Hugo Chavez and others ended up creating regional groups where the U.S. was intentionally excluded. Left-wing leaders such as Lula Da Silva from Brazil, Hugo Chavez from Venezuela, Cristina Kirchner from Argentina, Evo Morales from Bolivia, and Rafael Correa from Ecuador dominated the discourse. They all rejoiced over the emergence of a second independence. The first was from the Spanish and Portuguese empires, the second from the United States. That “second independence” did not preclude these countries from increasing alliances with Russia and China precisely because part of the process of seeking “independence” was to establish anti-American political coalitions and alliances. So increasing military cooperation with Russia was an attempt to challenge the traditional influence of the United States in the Western Hemisphere.

The Obama Administration did not think that losing influence in the Western Hemisphere would have consequences. Or if he did, he thought to regain such influence through symbolic gestures. One such “deed’ was the normalization of relations with Cuba, which demanded very little sacrifice on the part of the Castro regime in return. In fact, such sloppy normalization makes us more vulnerable.

Given the presence of so many anti-American dictators, terrorist groups, Iran, and the increasing number of countries that have succumbed to anarchy in our own neighborhood – losing influence in the region is a security liability. Cuba has had relations with all these adverse elements. How exactly does this improve our security, let alone our image in the international arena? As President Donald Trump has pointed out, image is crucial to generate respect. Respect is a function of strength, of assertiveness, of the ability to dissuade the adversary from taking an aggressive stand.

The importance of being influential and having a powerful presence does not mean we are going to fight a war right away. It means we will have a say and we will be an omnipresent force that the Russians or the Chinese will have to take into account before they take any action. Today we are unable to deter the Russians or the Iranians because we do not display the will. This is the source of weakening. We allowed the Russians to do what they wanted in the Ukraine, Syria and in our own hemisphere.

In the Western Hemisphere, we have not been able to daunt the Venezuelan dictatorship. The regime of Nicolas Maduro is not only anti-American but it violates human rights and starves its’ people. Yet, we have failed to recognize the dangers of the regime and the need to at least pressure for the reinstatement of democracy or convincingly frighten them over their heavy involvement in the drug trafficking business. Even Pope Francis, an apologist of populist left-wing regimes, declared that civil disobedience and rebellion against the Maduro regime is legitimate.

In contrast, Russia supports the Maduro regime with a great deal of geo-political conviction. The Obama Administration has not even expressed concern over military exercises and the presence of Russian troops in the continent. According to General John Kelly, formerly the head of the U.S. Southern Command and now the nominee to head the Department of Homeland Security in the Trump Administration, pointed out that since 2008 we are seeing “an increased Russian presence in Latin America through propaganda, military arms and equipment sales”… As part of its global strategy, Russia is using power projection in an attempt to erode U.S. leadership and challenge U.S. influence in the Western Hemisphere”

This does not mean that Russia is a military threat. However, if Russia reinforces military alliances with U.S. enemies such as Venezuela, Bolivia (the so-called Bolivarian Alliance or ALBA), Nicaragua, Ecuador, and Cuba is this a geo-political challenge that we can live with?

As Russian influence increases within the Alba countries, this alliance protects them from human rights condemnations in the Security Council (as journalist Douglas Farrah pointed out) but worse; it secures a Russian strategic advantage in our own backyard.

Trying to find a modus vivendi with Russia is a legitimate goal to pursue but as long as we do it from a position of strength. Denouncing and counteracting cyber-espionage is important. But unfortunately if this is done while ignoring geo-politics altogether, it is not as effective as it could be. The current debate on Russian espionage lacks credibility when we lack the assertiveness that in the past was expected from the United States of America.

Donald Trump may well try to avoid interventionism and seek cooperation with Russia or any other country in the world but giving up our place and leadership in the world should not do such moves.