Saturday, April 27, 2013

The Bar Kochba Debate

by Dore Gold

Among the historical events associated with "Lag Ba'omer," celebrated in the days ahead, is the Second Jewish Revolt led by Bar Kochba which was a war of national liberation against the Roman Empire. It mostly took place in Judea, during the years 132 through 135, some eighty years after the destruction of the Temple.

At the early stages of the revolt, Bar Kochba's forces actually defeated whole Roman armies. A Roman legion that was dispatched from Egypt to help was completely annihilated by Jewish forces. Bar Kochba fought to liberate Jerusalem and apparently extended his rule beyond Judea to much of what is today the territory of Israel. Thousands of coins were issued by his government celebrating the "Redemption of Israel." 

In the modern period, two schools of thought emerged with respect to his revolt. Israel's first prime minister, David Ben-Gurion, and most of his generation, saw in Bar Kochba a heroic leader who could be a source of inspiration for the youth of Israel who were being asked in 1948 to fight for the reestablishment of their homeland. On the other side of the political spectrum, the Revisionists led by Zeev Jabotinsky named their youth movement after Beitar, where Bar Kochba’s forces were finally defeated by Rome. 

Bar Kochba continued to be an important symbol for Israel in the years after its independence. As defense minister, Ben-Gurion authorized the IDF to assist Prof. Yigal Yadin, the second IDF chief of staff, and his archaeological teams to uncover artifacts from the Bar Kochba Revolt that were hidden in caves in the Judean Desert. These included Bar Kochba’s written communications with his forces and also religious items like tefillin used in daily prayer. In 1982, Prime Minister Menachem Begin gave a eulogy at the grave where the ancient bones of the last 25 survivors of the Bar Kochba Revolt were buried with full military honors. 

The second view of Bar Kochba was represented by Yehoshafat Harkabi, a former head of military intelligence. In the late 1970s he accused Bar Kochba and his supporters of bringing national disaster upon the Jewish people by conducting a war against all odds to defeat the Roman Empire and by relying upon an "unrealistic assessment of the historical and political circumstances" they faced. 

There is no dispute that Jewish losses after three years of fighting were staggering. According to the Roman account by the historian Dio Cassius, written in the third century, 985 Jewish settlements were destroyed by the end of the war and 580,000 Jews were killed. After the revolt, Emperor Hadrian (117-138) forbade Jews from even entering Jerusalem. The leading sage, Rabbi Akiva, who hailed Bar Kochba as the Messiah, and other members of the Sanhedrin were tortured and executed by the Romans at the end of the revolt.

Harkabi influenced a whole generation of intellectuals and politicians. Israel's former foreign minister, Shlomo Ben Ami, who was known for his dovish positions in Israeli-Palestinian negotiations, credits Harkabi with "the erosion of old mythologies" that could change what he called Israel's "messianic obsession" with the territories.

A prevalent opinion is that if the Jews had been content with a mainly spiritual identity, based on the example of Rabban Yohanan ben Zaccai, who re-built Jewish life in Yavneh after the destruction of the Temple, the Romans would have left them alone. But from the year 70, when the Temple was destroyed, until 132, when the Bar Kochba Revolt began, there was growing evidence of a renewed Roman enmity against the Jews, particularly in Judea, but also in the communities of the Diaspora. The Yavneh option did not appear to be any longer realistic to many at the time. It was notable that the Jews were far more united behind Bar Kochba in 132 than they were during the earlier revolt in 70.

Under the Emperor Domitian (81-96), Roman armies hunted down any potential Jewish leaders who were descended from the House of David. From 115 to 117, under the Emperor Trajan (98-117), Roman forces massacred Jewish populations in what is today Iraq as well as in Egypt, Cyrenaica (Libya), and Cyprus. Learning the lessons of these wars in the Diaspora, the Jews in Judea apparently began preparing for another round with Rome, by building fortifications and escape routes to caves near the Dead Sea.

Fifteen years later, Emperor Hadrian instituted a ban on circumcision. He also planned to build a temple to the Roman god, Jupiter, on the ruins of the Temple. Rome sought to crush the national will of the Jewish people by adopting laws that were intended to destroy the ability of the Jewish people to remain constituted as a nation. In fact, after the revolt, Hadrian renamed Judea as Syria-Palestina, to erase the memory of the Jewish connection to the land.

One of the mysteries of the Bar Kochba Revolt was why the Roman Empire concentrated such a massive military force to defeat what was essentially a guerilla army in a backwater province like Judea. At the height of the war, Hadrian dedicated no less than 12 legions to his campaign against Bar Kochba; there were only 28 legions in the entire Roman Empire. During the previous century, a major revolt in what is today Germany was vanquished with just three Roman legions.

Hadrian appointed Julius Severus, the commander of Roman forces in Britain, to take his own legions to Judea along with units from the Danube provinces.

The reason for Rome appearing to have decided that it needed to defeat Bar Kochba at all costs may be linked to the Jewish struggle for freedom having much wider implications. Dio Cassius, wrote that "many gentiles came to their aid." The Jews in the Diaspora and some Samaritans, who in the past had a hostile relationship with the Jews, also joined the rebellion. Dio Cassius summarized the effects of the revolt, as follows: "the whole earth, one might almost say, was being stirred over the matter." Clearly from this perspective, had Bar Kochba succeeded, he could have brought down the whole Roman Empire, whose vanquished peoples might have arisen against Rome as well. Hence its determination to do anything possible to defeat the Second Jewish Revolt.

So how should we relate today to Bar Kochba? Should he remain as a legendary hero as he was depicted by Israel’s founders? Prof. Yigal Yadin made the point that it is hard for us today to judge the wisdom of those who launched a guerilla war against Rome in 132. The main Roman historian Dio Cassius lived more than a century later. There was no Josephus witnessing the Bar Kochba Revolt and writing its history as it occurred the way there was for the Great Revolt eighty years earlier.

Moreover, there are serious dangers emanating from misusing the history of the Bar Kochba Revolt, and its results, to analyze Israel's political options in modern times. Had the Jewish leadership of the Yishuv in 1948 relied upon the alternative interpretations of Bar Kochba as a guide, they might not have declared Israel's independence, fearing the invasion of six Arab armies (they probably would have invaded anyway, just to grab territory). Also, Israel would not have launched a preemptive strike in the 1967 Six-Day War when Egypt, Syria, Jordan and Iraq were massing their armies along its borders.

Finally, acts of heroism are not to be evaluated only by the immediate results they obtain, but rather by the mark in history that they leave and the extent to which they inspire future generations. If that were not the case, then the world would have already forgotten the valor of the Spartans who halted the Persian advance on Greece at Thermopylae, or the bravery of the Americans at the Alamo, or even the Russians who lost nearly a million soldiers holding back the Germans at Stalingrad. The fact of the matter is that Bar Kochba ultimately won the war he launched nearly two thousand years earlier, for the Jews returned to their land and re-established Israel, partly inspired by his example, while the tyrannical regime of the Roman Empire that he fought is no longer.

Dore Gold


Copyright - Original materials copyright (c) by the authors.

Obama's National Security Fraud

by Thomas Lifson

Andrew McCarthy, the former federal prosecutor who handled the Blind Sheikh and thus a man to be reckoned with, calls out the fraud at the heart of the Obama Administration's handling of the Tsarnaev case in National Review Online today.   It is an absolute must read, for McCarthy explains the technicalities of law that make the case for fraud - selling something on the basis of an untruth.

This is serious business, for a person of McCarthy's standing to charge fraud. But systematically, he lays out the four "canards" (lies would be another acceptable term) describing the false premises sold to the public over the handling of Dzhokhar Tsarnaev. He is a master of the technicalities, and lucidly explains them.  Equally important is his explanation of why the administration is basing its national security policy on this fraud.

McCarthy sees through the Obama administration game, he's got their number. First they softened the public up with the public safety exception argument, which McCarthy points out was bogus from the start. This was the first con:

...the administration rolls out canard No. 1: the "public-safety exception." The public is led to believe that this exception means agents have at least 48 hours of freewheeling interrogation before Miranda kicks in and the terrorist clams up (upon lawyering up). This is brazenly false.
The public-safety exception is an exceedingly limited end-around. It applies only when arrest is accompanied by an immediate threat to public safety. It is not designed to provide the government with an information-gathering advantage against the arrestee. It is narrowly tailored to address the threat that triggers the exception.
There is no 48 hours. The exception ends when the threat ends - which, in the view of most courts, happens as soon as the detainee is rendered defenseless.

The administration realizes the public doesn't understand this. They are being duped. It is just a little bit complicated to explain, so the media aren't going to do the job.

McCarthy lists three other canards, all of them insightful. He understands the inner workings of the legal processes and explains them clearly in the course of unmasking the fraud.  I won't summarize them because you really should read this essay. It ought to define our further discussion of the Obama administration's handling of the case.

The Obama administration sells falsehoods to the public as standard operating procedure, and most of the time succeeds because the public is ignorant, and the media uncurious. They are fraudsters, or as I like to call them, con men. And the smooth talker in chief is a really good one.

Thomas Lifson


Copyright - Original materials copyright (c) by the authors.

Ignoring Jew-Hatred in the Islamic World

by Evelyn Gordon

Western opinion leaders too often ignore the Islamic world’s rampant Jew-hatred, argues a new book reviewed recently in The Jerusalem Report. It’s unfortunate that Tibor Krausz’s review is behind a paywall, since it’s a must-read for anyone who doesn’t plan to read the full book: In example after chilling example, it demonstrates the depth and extent of this Jew-hatred, while also showing that it has nothing to do with Israel’s “occupation of Palestine.” In a televised sermon in 2009, for instance, Egyptian cleric Muhammad Hussein Ya’qub said, “If the Jews left Palestine to us, would we start loving them? Of course not … The Jews are infidels not because I say so but because Allah does… They aren’t our enemies because they occupy Palestine; they would be our enemies even if they had not occupied anything.”

But what moved Neil Kressel, a professor of psychology at William Patterson University, to write The Sons of Pigs and Apes wasn’t merely the existence of this hatred; rather, Krausz noted, it was his dismay over “what he sees as a blind spot — ‘a conspiracy of silence’ — among Western academics, policymakers and journalists about the extent of Muslim anti-Semitism.” Policymakers may not actually belong in this list; I suspect many are genuinely ignorant about this hatred. But if they are, it’s because of this “conspiracy of silence”: The journalists and academics whose job it is to inform them consistently fail to do so.

A salient example occurred in January, when MEMRI released a video of a 2010 television interview given by Mohamed Morsi, today the president of Egypt. In it, Morsi referred to “Zionists” (a term, as the continuation of the interview made clear, that he considers interchangeable with “Jews”) as “descendants of apes and pigs.” This bombshell was ignored by the mainstream media until one courageous Forbes journalist launched a crusade: He contacted numerous leading news outlets to ask why they didn’t consider it newsworthy that a recipient of billions in American aid was spouting anti-Semitic incitement, then published a story documenting their nonresponse. Only then did the New York Times finally run the story, after which other major media outlets followed suit (the Times claimed its story had nothing to do with Richard Behar’s crusade; I confess to skepticism).

But even once the story ran, it left readers ignorant of the scope of the problem. Granted, they now knew that one individual had made anti-Semitic slurs, but every country has such individuals. What they didn’t know is that Morsi is the Egyptian norm rather than the exception. They didn’t know, for instance, that just days after this story broke, a senior Morsi aide called the Holocaust a “myth” that America “invented” to justify World War II, and claimed the six million Jews Hitler slaughtered really just moved to the U.S. Or that two months earlier, the head of Morsi’s Muslim Brotherhood movement, Mohammed Badie, called for jihad against Israel, after having previously called Israel’s creation “the worst catastrophe ever to befall the peoples of the world.” Or about Ya’qub’s televised sermon. And so on.

Nor did they know that such incitement is routine throughout the Islamic world, even in “moderate” U.S. allies like Turkey or Jordan.

For people to know, it would have to be reported on a regular basis. But it isn’t. So policymakers remain blithely ignorant of a defining fact of Middle Eastern life. And then we wonder why they so often get the Middle East wrong.
Evelyn Gordon


Copyright - Original materials copyright (c) by the authors.

If Obama's Syria Promises Mean Nothing, How Can We Trust Him on Iran?

by Jonathan S. Tobin

The Assad regime has been sounding more confident lately, as it has become apparent that many of those fighting to oust the dictator are Islamists. As the New York Times noted in a front page feature today, Western concerns about turning Syria over to radical Muslims with strong connections to terrorism has emboldened Assad’s loyalists to begin pitching the idea that his murderous government is not only the lesser of two evils but a potential ally.

They’re dreaming if they think even Secretary of State John Kerry is foolish enough to buy into such thinking. The Obama administration has committed itself to opposing Assad and it’s not likely anything will deter them from working for his ouster. Nor should it, since for all of the justified worries about the rebels Assad remains an ally of Iran and Hezbollah. Nevertheless, the effort to separate the West from the opposition dovetails with the thinking of some Americans, like scholar Daniel Pipes, who think it probably is in America’s interests to keep the two sides in Syria fighting until exhaustion.

But the announcement today that the United States believes Damascus has used chemical warfare against the opposition ought to put an end to any idea that Assad could gain Western indifference, let alone support. The White House admission confirms the information that has been filtering out of Israel that pointed to the use of these extremely dangerous weapons by a Syrian government that has already slaughtered 70,000 people in the course of their war of survival. The question now is not whether the U.S. will be neutral about the regime’s survival but just how far it will go in order to secure his demise.

The replacement of Assad by a government dominated or even run by Islamists is a scary proposition. It’s even scarier if you think of these people being able to put their hands on Assad’s stockpile of chemical weapons. But rather than inducing the U.S. to stand aside and let the dictator finish the job of massacring the opposition, the admission by the administration that Assad has succumbed to the temptation of employing his chemical arsenal may make it imperative that Washington step up its support of non-Islamist rebels.

Though Syria hawks sometimes talk as if we can pick and choose our friends in Syria, it’s probably not as simple as that. While it might have been easy to empower genuine pro-democracy forces in Syria two years ago when the rebellion started as part of the Arab Spring protests, the administration’s waffling on the issue has complicated this process. Islamist radicals now are an integral part of the opposition to Assad and it may not be possible to create a new Syrian government without incorporating some of them. But unless the West takes action to ensure that the more presentable Syrians gain the upper hand now, it’s probably a given that we will be stuck having to choose between a murderous Iranian ally and al-Qaeda types.

More to the point, this is a moment when the United States must reassert its responsibility to stop humanitarian disasters. While many, if not most, Americans don’t care whether Assad or some other thug rules Syria, the notion of the West standing back and watching while mass murder is taking place is unacceptable. Having already said that the use of chemical weapons is a “red line” Assad cannot cross without triggering Western action, the president cannot continue to stay on the sidelines.

For too long, President Obama’s Syria policy has been one of “leading from behind” and hoping that the problem will be solved before we are forced to do anything. But Assad won’t be toppled without Western involvement. Nor will we be able to keep his chemical weapons out of the hands of extremists by praying that others will do the job for us.
Jonathan S. Tobin


Copyright - Original materials copyright (c) by the authors.

Time to Confront Obama

by Caroline Glick


Originally published in The Jerusalem Post. 

The time has come for Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu to confront US President Barack Obama.

A short summary of events from the past three days: On Tuesday morning, the head of the IDF’s Military Intelligence Analysis Division Brig. Gen. Itay Brun revealed that the Syrian government has already used “lethal chemical weapons,” against Syrian civilians and opposition forces. Brun described footage of people visibly suffering the impact of chemical agents, apparently sarin gas.

Hours later, US Secretary of State John Kerry said Netanyahu had told him on the telephone that “he was not in a position to confirm” Brun’s statement.

It is hard to imagine the US was taken by surprise by Brun’s statement. Just the day before, Brun briefed visiting US Defense secretary Chuck Hagel on Syria. It is not possible he failed to mention the same information.

And of course it isn’t just the IDF saying that Syrian President Bashar Assad is using chemical weapons. The British and the French are also saying this.

But as a European source told Ma’ariv, the Americans don’t want to know the facts. The facts will make them do something about Syria’s chemical weapons. And they don’t want to do anything about Syria’s chemical weapons.

So they force Netanyahu to disown his own intelligence.

Thursday afternoon, in a speech in Abu Dhabi, Hagel confirmed, “with some degree of varying confidence,” that Syria used chemical weapons, at least on a “small scale.”

What the administration means by “some degree of varying confidence,” is of course, unknowable with any degree of varying confidence.

Then there is Iran.

Also on Tuesday, the former head of IDF Military Intelligence, Maj.-Gen. (res.) Amos Yadlin, said that Iran has already crossed the red line Israel set last year. It has already stockpiled 170 kg. of medium-enriched uranium, and can quickly produce the other 80 kg. necessary to reach the 250 kg. threshold Netanyahu said will mark Iran’s achievement of breakout capability where it can build a nuclear arsenal whenever it wants.

Yadlin made a half-hearted effort Wednesday to walk back his pronouncements. But his basic message remained the same: The die has been cast.

Due to American pressure on Israel not to act, and due to the White House’s rejection of clearcut reports about Iran’s stockpile of enriched uranium, Iran has crossed the threshold. Iran will be a nuclear power unless its uranium enrichment installations and other nuclear sites are destroyed or crippled. Now.

True, the Americans set a different red line for Iran than Israel. They say they will not allow Iran to assemble a nuclear bomb. But to believe that the US has the capacity and the will to prevent Iran from climbing the top rung on the nuclear ladder is to believe in the tooth fairy – (see, for instance, North Korea).

Iran has threatened to use it nuclear arsenal to destroy Israel. Have we now placed our survival in the hands of Tinkerbell? And yet, rather than acknowledge what Iran has done, Netanyahu, President Shimon Peres and Defense Minister Moshe Ya’alon carry on with the tired act of talking about the need for a credible military option but saying that there is still time for sanctions and other non-military means to block Iran’s quest for the bomb.

Perhaps our leaders are repeating these lies because they want to present a unified US-Israel front to the world. But the effect is just the opposite.

What their statements really demonstrate is that Israel has been brought to its knees by its superpower patron that has implemented a policy that has enabled Iran to become a nuclear power.

Indeed, the US has allowed Iran to cross the nuclear threshold while requiring Israel to pretend the course the US has followed is a responsible one.

The announcement that the US has agreed to sell Israel advanced weapons specifically geared towards attacking Iran should also be seen in this light. Israel reportedly spent a year negotiating this deal. But immediately after its details were published, the US started backing away from its supposed commitment to supply them. The US will not provide Israel with bunker-buster bombs.

It will not provide Israel with the bombers necessary to use the bombs Israel isn’t getting. And anyway, by the time Israel gets the items the US is selling – like mid-air refuelers – it will be too late.

When, after overthrowing Saddam Hussein’s regime in Iraq, the US failed to find chemical weapons in the country, then-president George W. Bush’s Democratic opponents accused Bush of having politicized intelligence to justify his decision to topple Saddam. In truth, there is no evidence that Bush purposely distorted intelligence reports. Israel’s intelligence agencies, and perhaps French ones, were the only allied intelligence arms that had concluded Saddam’s chemical weapons – to the extent he had them – did not represent a threat.

The fact that Bush preferred US and British intelligence estimates over Israeli ones doesn’t mean that he politicized intelligence.

In contrast, what Obama and his advisers are doing represents the worst case of politicizing intelligence since Stalin arrested his senior security brass rather than heed their warnings of the coming German invasion of the Soviet Union in June 1941.

Never in US history has there been a greater misuse and abuse of US intelligence agencies than there is today, under the Obama administration.

Take the Boston Marathon bombings. Each day more and more reports come out about the information US agencies had – for years – regarding the threat posed by the Boston Marathon bombers.

But how could the FBI have possibly acted on those threats? Obama has outlawed all discussion or study of jihad, Islamism, radical Islam and the Koran by US federal government agencies. The only law enforcement agency that monitors Islamic websites is the New York Police Department.

And its chief Ray Kelly has bravely maintained his policy despite massive pressure from the media and the political class to end his surveillance operations.

Everywhere else, from the Boston Police Department to the FBI and CIA, US officials are barred from discussing the threat posed by jihadists or even acknowledging they exist. People were impressed that Obama referred to the terrorist attack in Boston as a terrorist attack, because according to the administration-dictated federal lexicon, use of the word terrorism is forbidden, particularly when the act in question was perpetrated by Muslims.

Then there are the Palestinians. On Thursday, it was reported that in the midst of everything happening in the Middle East, Obama is planning to host a peace conference in Washington in June to reinstate negotiations between Israel and the Palestinians.

The terms of reference for the conference are reportedly the 2002 Arab League “peace plan.”
Among other things, that plan requires Israel to accept millions of hostile foreign-born Arabs to whatever rump state it retains following a “peace” agreement with the PLO. In exchange for Israel agreeing to destroy itself, the Arab peace plan says the Arabs will agree to have “regular” relations with Israel. (“Regular” by the way, is a term devoid of meaning.) During his visit here last week, Kerry announced that the new US policy towards the Palestinians is to pour billions of dollars into the Palestinian economy. Among other things, the administration is going to convince US companies like Coca-Cola to open huge plants in Judea and Samaria.

Sounds fine. But as usual, there is a catch. The administration wants US firms to build their factories in Area C, the area of Judea and Samaria over which, in accordance with the agreements they signed with Israel, the Palestinians agreed Israel should hold sole control.

In essence, the policy Kerry announced is simply an American version of the EU’s policy of seeking to force Israel to give up control over Area C.

Area C, of course, is where all the Israeli communities are, and almost no Palestinians live.
Those Israeli communities and the 350,000 Jews who live in them are the strongest assertion of Israeli sovereign rights to Judea and Samaria. So the EU – and now the Americans – are doing everything they can to force Israel to destroy them. The campaign to coerce Israel into surrendering its sole control over Area C is a central component of that plan.

It cannot be said often enough: The administration’s focus on the Palestinian conflict with Israel in the midst of the violent disintegration of the Arab state system and the rise of jihadist forces throughout the region, coupled with Iran’s steady emergence as a regional power, is only understandable in the framework of a psychiatric – rather than policy – analysis.

For the past five years, perhaps Netanyahu’s greatest achievement in office has been his adroit avoidance of confrontations with Obama. With no one other than the US willing to stand with Israel in public, it is an important national interest for Jerusalem not to have any confrontations with Washington if they can possibly be avoided.

This attempt to avoid confrontations is what made Netanyahu agree to Obama’s anti-Jewish demand to deny Jews their property rights in Judea and Samaria in 2010. This is undoubtedly what stood behind Netanyahu’s decision to apologize to Turkish Prime Minister Recep Erdogan during Obama’s visit to Israel last month. That apology constituted a moral abandonment of the IDF naval commandos who Netanyahu’s government sent – virtually unarmed – to face Turkish terrorists affiliated with al-Qaida and Hamas aboard the Mavi Marmara terror ship.

To a degree, all of Netanyahu’s seemingly unjustifiable actions can be justified when weighed against the need to avoid a confrontation with America.

But by now, after five years, with Iran having passed Israel’s red line, and with chemical weapons already in play in Syria, the jig is up.

Obama does not have Israel’s back.

Contrary to the constant, grinding rhetorical prattle of American and Israeli politicos, Obama will not lift a finger to stop Iran from becoming a nuclear power. He will not lift a finger to prevent chemical weapons from being transferred to the likes of al-Qaida and Hezbollah, and their colleagues in Syria, or used by the Syrian regime.

From Benghazi to Boston, from Tehran to Damascus, Obama’s policy is to not fight forces of jihad, whether they are individuals, organizations or states. And his obsession with Palestinian statehood shows that he would rather coerce Israel to make concessions to Palestinian Jew-haters and terrorists than devote his time and energy into preventing Iran from becoming the jihadist North Korea or from keeping sarin, VX and mustard gas out of the hands of Iran’s terrorist underlings and their Sunni competitors.

No, Israel doesn’t want a confrontation with Washington. But we don’t have any choice anymore.

The time has come to take matters into our own hands on Syria and Iran. In Syria, either Israel takes care of the chemical weapons, or if we can’t, Netanyahu must go before the cameras and tell the world everything we know about Syria’s chemical weapons and pointedly demand world – that is US – action to secure them.

As for Iran, either Israel must launch an attack without delay, or if we can’t, then Netanyahu has to publicly state that the time for diplomacy is over. Either Iran is attacked or it gets the bomb.

Caroline Glick


Copyright - Original materials copyright (c) by the authors.

Obama & Clinton’s Benghazi Lies Exposed

by Arnold Ahlert


A searing new Interim Progress Report released by the GOP chairmen of five House committees reveals the disturbing extent of the Obama administration’s deceit and manipulation over the Sept. 11, 2012 terrorist attack on the U.S. consulate in Benghazi, Libya. As the 43-page document details, not only was gross incompetence to blame for the success of the attack that cost four Americans their lives, but a concerted effort at the highest levels of government was undertaking to cover up the debacle, deceive the public and shield officials, including then-Secretary of State Hillary Clinton and President Obama, from responsibility.

Ranking Democrats on the same five committees, who said they were not included in writing the report, dismissed it as politically motivated. “You are sacrificing accuracy in favor of partisanship,” they said in a letter to House Speaker John Boehner (R-OH).

Hardly. Dividing the timeline into three sections — before, during and after the attack — the report paints a damning picture of the Hillary Clinton-led State Department, which knew “the threat environment in Benghazi was high and that the Benghazi compound was vulnerable and unable to withstand an attack, yet the Department continued to systematically withdraw security personnel.”

The smoking gun revealed in the report — contrary to Hillary Clinton’s congressional testimony that requests for additional security in Benghazi never reached her — was that “an April 2012 State Department cable bearing Secretary Hillary Clinton’s signature acknowledged then-Ambassador Cretz’s formal request for additional security assets but ordered the withdrawal of security elements to proceed as planned.” A Senate report, “Flashing Red: A Special Report on the Terrorist Attack at Benghazi,” released on December 31, confirmed the lack of security, citing ”extremely poor security in a threat environment that was ‘flashing red.’”

President Obama was blamed for the lack of security as well, in that he “failed to proactively anticipate the significance of September 11 and provide the Department of Defense with the authority to launch offensive operations beyond self-defense.” The report noted that the Intelligence Community was not to blame for anything, in that they “collected considerable information about the threats in the region, and disseminated regular assessments to senior U.S. officials warning of the deteriorating security environment in Benghazi, which included threats to American interests, facilities, and personnel.”

The 2013 report’s most scathing assessments concern the post-attack response by the Obama administration that “willfully perpetuated a deliberately misleading and incomplete narrative that the attacks evolved from a political demonstration caused by a YouTube video.” The report excoriated the administration’s so-called “talking points,” revealing that
after a White House Deputies Meeting on Saturday, September 15, 2012, the Administration altered the talking points to remove references to the likely participation of Islamic extremists in the attacks… removed references to the threat of extremists linked to al-Qa’ida in Benghazi and eastern Libya, including information about at least five other attacks against foreign interests in Benghazi.
Furthermore, the report states, “Senior State Department officials requested–and the White House approved–that the details of the threats, specifics of the previous attacks, and previous warnings be removed.”

The timeline following the attack reveals a carefully orchestrated disinformation campaign that began with the president, Hillary Clinton and Susan Rice peddling the YouTube video story, even as government emails surfacing six weeks later revealed that both the State Department and the White House were told during the attack that terror group Ansar al-Sharia took credit for it. The video charade continued until September 19, when Matt Olsen, director of the National Counterterrorism Center, became the first administration official to label Benghazi a terrorist attack, even as Obama continued to push the video lie a day later. On September 24, during a taping of “The View,” the president still refused to label Benghazi a terrorist attack. “We’re still doing an investigation,” he said.

As the facts became known, Clinton blamed ”the fog of war” for her initial lies, while White House spokesman Jay Carney claimed the White House was giving out the best information it had at the time, but the information had “evolved.”

Other lies by the administration are also forcefully rebutted in the 2013 report, including claims that the talking points were altered to protect classified information of the FBI investigation, noting that the FBI itself  “approved a version of the talking points with significantly more information about the attacks and previous threats than the version that the State Department requested,” and that even “limited due diligence” of an Intelligence Committee (IC) report would have made it clear that “the situation was more complex than the narrative provided by Ambassador Susan Rice and others in the Administration.”

The final post-attack conclusions noted that the administration’s decision to conduct an FBI investigation, as opposed to one by military or other intelligence sources, “contributed to the government’s lack of candor” and “significantly delayed U.S. access to key witnesses and evidence and undermined the government’s ability to bring those responsible for the attacks to justice in a timely manner. ”

That delay was underscored by the reality that 15 days after that attack, it was reported by CNN that the FBI was still waiting to get access to the area. That would be the same CNN that found ambassador Christopher Stevens’ journal on the floor of the unsecured compound — three days after the attack.

Unsurprisingly, the White House pushed back Wednesday, accusing Republicans of creating a political distraction. White House National Security Council spokeswoman Caitlin Hayden claimed that the report goes over old ground and that some of its conclusions conflict with those reached during an internal investigation conducted by the State Department itself. “The State Department’s Accountability Review Board–the independent body charged with reviewing the attacks and evaluating the interagency response–released its report which specifically found that the interagency response was ‘timely and appropriate’ and ‘helped save the lives of two severely wounded Americans,’ while also making important recommendations to improve security that we are in the process of implementing,” she said.

Hayden is, unfortunately for the Obama administration, misrepresenting reality. The thrust of the State Department’s Accountability Review Board’s report was completely different. “Systemic failures and leadership and management deficiencies at senior levels within two bureaus of the State Department … resulted in a special mission security posture that was inadequate for Benghazi and grossly inadequate to deal with the attack that took place,” it said.

Hillary Clinton supposedly took ”full responsibility” for those deficiencies –responsibility best described by Clinton herself in a testy exchange with Sen. Ron Johnson (R-WI) during a Senate Foreign Relations Committee hearing, when he accused her of blaming non-existent protests for the deaths of four Americans. “What difference at this point does it make?” Clinton asked.

Furthermore, the four officials ostensibly terminated because of their mistakes leading up to the attack remained on the State Department payroll. And while spokeswoman Victoria Nuland said Clinton “has accepted [Assistant Secretary of State] Eric Boswell’s decision to resign as assistant secretary for diplomatic security, effective immediately,” she neglected to mention that Boswell gave up only the presidential appointment as assistant secretary, not his other assignments. House Foreign Affairs Committee Chairwoman Ileana Ros-Lehtinen (R-FL) illuminated reality. “State Department officials proclaimed …that heads would roll…Now we see that the discipline is a lie and all that has happened is the shuffling of the deck chairs.”

White House spokesman Jay Carney defended Clinton, contending that her signature on the damning cable mentioned above was standard procedure for all diplomatic cables, essentially meaning that any State Department cable has the head of the Department’s signature on it. ”In this way, Secretary Clinton and others before her signed hundreds of thousands of cables” as secretary, he said. “Efforts to politicize this have failed in the past and they are not helpful to the broad national security interests we share.” Neither is the fact that Carney is apparently suggesting that Clinton signed something she didn’t read, despite the deadly consequences that occurred as a result.

Regardless, the Republican chairmen weren’t buying it. ”An April 19, 2012, cable bearing Secretary Clinton’s signature acknowledged requests for additional security, but nevertheless ordered the withdrawal of security assets to proceed as planned,” they said in a letter to the White House. “Given the gravity of this issue, we request that you immediately make the April 19, 2012, State Department cable public.” So far the White House has not responded.

Despite the stonewalling, House Republicans will press on. On Wednesday, the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee announced that the investigation into Benghazi will continue next month. This part of the investigation is likely to become compelling, because it will include testimony from whistleblowers within the administration. “Next month, the Oversight Committee will convene a hearing on the Benghazi terrorist attacks to examine evidence that Obama Administration officials have attempted to suppress information about errors and reckless misjudgments,” said Chairman Darrell Issa (R-CA). “The American people still don’t have the full truth about what happened both before and after the murders of four brave Americans.”

Adding fuel to Issa’s fire are the allegations made by former special ops forces that the revelations contained in the current report don’t go far enough, especially regarding why the administration seemingly abandoned its responsibility to protect those who came under attack. “As a former soldier it pains me to think that for hours upon hours and more hours they waited in vain for someone to come to their rescue,” retired Special Forces Col. Jamie Williamson told the Washington Free Beacon. 

Williamson is the cofounder of OPSEC, a non-profit organization that protects US special ops forces and intelligence operatives from “political exploitation and policies, and the misuse of classified information, that unnecessarily exposes them and their families to greater risk and reduces their effectiveness in keeping Americans safe.” The group is asking critical questions that remain unanswered, such as “why were no U.S. military assets immediately deployed in response?” and “why did the commander of Africom tell a member of Congress that he had available assets but was never given order to deploy them?”

In testimony before the Senate Armed Services Committee on February 7, then-Defense Secretary Leon Panetta and Army Gen. Martin Dempsey insisted assets could not have reached the scene in time. Yet Panetta and Dempsey were not alerted about the attack until almost an hour after it began, and they didn’t raise the issue with Obama until their previously scheduled 5 p.m meeting, one hour and 18 minutes after the attack began. Moreover, Africom commander Carter Ham told Rep. Jason Chaffetz he was never given the order to secure the consulate in Benghazi. And according to Fox News, neither was a Special Operations team in Sigonella, Italy, despite being only two hours from Benghazi.

OPSEC also illuminated another potential hazard for the administration, claiming that the 20-30 survivors of the attack have been intimidated into remaining silent. “They’re afraid and reasonably so,” said Williamson, who says his group has had direct contact with them. “It appears there has been overt or subtle intimidation and they’re afraid to come forward with their stories.”

A March 1 letter sent to Secretary of State John Kerry by Reps. Frank Wolf (R-VA) and Jim Gerlach (R-PA) demanded the names and contact information for “as many as 30” Americans that were injured in the attack “so that we can make appropriate arrangements.”

OPSEC and other like-minded organizations are calling for a Watergate-like select committee to investigate. Rep. Wolf has been the primary advocate for such a committee, and has garnered the support of 120 lawmakers who believe that such a committee, which would have the power to issue subpoenas compelling key officials to testify, is vitally necessary.

Four dead Americans, 20-30 survivors, and every other American frustrated with the media-abetted lying perpetrated by the Obama administration deserve nothing less. Those on the left who deride the effort to get to the bottom of this scandal have certainly demanded much more for far less serious transgressions. That they would reject the same effort here reveals a level of ideological bankruptcy and hypocrisy that is nothing short of appalling.

Arnold Ahlert


Copyright - Original materials copyright (c) by the authors.

Palestinian Journalists Declare War On Israeli Colleagues

by Khaled Abu Toameh

How can anyone talk about resuming the peace process when Palestinians are being told by their leaders, on a daily basis, how bad and evil Israel is? If Israel is so bad and evil, then how can any leader go to his people and say he is negotiating with them?
Palestinian journalists have declared an intifada against their Israeli colleagues.
In recent weeks, Israeli journalists who cover Palestinian affairs have been facing increased threats from Palestinian reporters.

On a number of occasions, the threats included acts of violence against the Israeli journalists, particularly in Ramallah.

Human rights organizations and groups claiming to defend freedom of media have failed to condemn the campaign of intimidation waged by Palestinian journalists against their Israeli fellow-journalists.

It is one thing when governments and dictators go after journalists, but a completely different thing when journalists start targeting their counterparts.

An Israeli journalist had his microphone damaged during an assault, while another was thrown out of a press conference. Behind the two incidents were Palestinian journalists, angered by the presence of Israelis in Ramallah and other Palestinian cities.

The threats and harassment came as more than 200 Palestinian journalists signed a petition, for the first time ever, calling on the Palestinian Authority to ban Israeli correspondents from operating in its territories "without permission."

The Palestinian Authority, for its part, has complied, issuing instructions requiring Israeli journalists to obtain permission from its Ministry of Information before entering Palestinian cities.

Palestinian Authority officials and journalists later explained that the ban does not apply to some journalists working for the Israeli daily Ha'aretz and who report on "Palestinian suffering."

The Palestinian journalists campaigning against their Israeli colleagues have justified their action by saying that Israeli authorities do not allow them to work freely inside Israel. They also accuse the Israeli authorities of refusing to issue them with [Israeli] government press cards.

If anything, these claims represent a hypocritical approach.

In recent years, Palestinian journalists have strongly opposed to "normalization" with Israelis, including meetings with Israeli colleagues. Some Palestinian journalists who violated the ban and met with Israeli counterparts were denounced as traitors and expelled from the Palestinian Journalists Syndicate.

So while Palestinian journalists are opposed to "normalization" with Israel, they are at the same time demanding that Israeli authorities grant them permission to work inside Israel.

Even more, the Palestinian journalists are demanding that Israel provide them with press cards issued by none other than the Israeli government.

Won't the Palestinian journalists be violating their own rules and ideology once they accept press cards issued by the Israeli government? And if they enter Israel and meet with Israelis, won't they also be acting against their own boycott campaign?

What is disturbing is that foreign journalists based in Israel have not come out against the campaign of intimidation against their Israeli colleagues. Could it be because these foreign journalists have also been facing threats and want to stay on good terms with Palestinian reporters, and will also agree to report only on "Palestinian suffering"?

Gone are the days when Israeli and Palestinian journalists used to work together and exchange information on a daily basis, in the days before the peace process started.

Today, there is a new generation of Palestinian journalists who have evidently been radicalized to a point where any meeting with an Israeli is being viewed as a "crime." This is the result of anti-Israel incitement by the Palestinian Authority and Hamas, especially over the past two decades.

Aware of the growing radicalism of Palestinian journalists, the Palestinian Authority, together with the American security detail, banned a large number of Palestinian journalists from covering the visit of US President Barack Obama to Ramallah last month.

The biggest fear was that a Palestinian journalist would either throw a shoe at Obama or engage in a rhetorical attack against him and US policies.

If Palestinian journalists have been so radicalized that some are even willing to resort to threats and violence against colleagues, what must one say about the rest of the Palestinians who, for the past two decades, have also been exposed to messages of hate by their leaders?

How can anyone talk about resuming the peace process when Palestinians are being told by their leaders, on a daily basis, how bad and evil Israel is? If Israel is so bad and evil, then how can any leader go to his people and say that he is negotiating with them?

Khaled Abu Toameh


Copyright - Original materials copyright (c) by the authors.

The Danger of Repeating the Cycle of American Isolationism

by Joseph I. Lieberman and Jon Kyl

The case for American retrenchment has gained new traction in Washington. Much as in the past, economic problems and public war-weariness have spurred calls from Democrats and Republicans alike for neo-isolationist policies — demands for retreat from the world clothed in the language of fiscal prudence and disinterested realism. Although there may be short-term political benefits in calling for a diminished U.S. role in the world, history shows that retreat comes with substantial long-term costs for our country.

After World War I, disillusionment with war and then the Great Depression brought a widely popular U.S. retreat from internationalism, economic as well as political. But the attack on Pearl Harbor demonstrated that the United States could not avoid the responsibility of engagement with the world in the cause of freedom and democracy.


After World War II, skepticism about the extent of the communist threat led to a sharp reduction in military spending and a willingness to ignore ominous developments along the Pacific Rim and in Eastern Europe. But when communist aggression reached a boiling point on the Korean Peninsula, moral duty and national interests again compelled the United States to lead. The cost of the war that followed certainly exceeded that of effective deterrence and of steadily maintaining U.S. armed forces.

When the Soviet Union fell in 1991, some argued that the United States had fulfilled its obligation to lead the world and had defeated all plausible opponents; defense funding was slashed. Ten years later, the attacks of Sept. 11 reminded us of the risks of assuming that peace will always prevail.

Today, we are in danger of again repeating this cycle. Progress in the fight against al-Qaeda and the perceived costs of global leadership have led some to question whether the United States should retain — or is even capable of retaining — a robust international economic and political presence. Yet missing from the debate are analyses of both the benefits of this role, rather than just the costs, and whether the strategic ends to which the country aspires have somehow changed.

History has shown that, once the United States chooses to lead, we and the world benefit. After World War II, U.S. aid helped rebuild shattered European and Asian economies. Those nations are now not simply at peace — they are among our most important trading partners. The U.S. naval presence on the high seas has guaranteed the free flow of goods. Without it, increased piracy, lower trade flows and higher prices would result — not just for our country but for the world. The hundreds of millions who rose out of poverty in the latter half of the 20th century are markets for U.S. goods and forces for stability that might never have existed without the global compact secured by U.S. leadership.

Rather than cutting first and then asking how we can manage with what’s left, we must define our priorities and interests — and only then determine how to allocate resources. If the United States is still committed to fostering a freer and more democratic world, supporting free trade, maintaining international stability and meeting threats abroad, then there must be a reasoned discussion of the ways in which diplomatic retrenchment and military budget cuts may limit our capacity to achieve those critical national goals.

Just as the benefits of U.S. global leadership are often ignored, so, too, are the costs of retrenchment. Proposed cuts in aid and military strength, especially when implemented under strategic guidance that calls for a “small footprint” in the world, will affect our ability to deter the threats posed by Iran, North Korea, Syria, a more assertive China, al-Qaeda and other terrorist organizations and individuals. U.S. disengagement will also foster the emergence of military, diplomatic or economic forces that will fill the vacuum created by our absence. We cannot predict how much it might ultimately cost to counter those forces but, again, experience dictates that the price will be high.

Time and again when we have sought to predict the nature, timing and location of the next crisis, we have been wrong. In 1948, President Harry S. Truman and Senate Foreign Relations Committee Chairman Arthur H. Vandenberg — an erstwhile isolationist — came to a consensus that would shape our foreign policy for decades; it took the Korean War for this country to fully accept both the burdens and the benefits of a robust internationalism.

We must not wait for another catastrophe to persuade us of the continuing importance of American internationalism. Regardless of party or ideology, our leaders must forge a new consensus about the U.S. role in the world. That will require engaging with those who disagree to rebuild and reaffirm a bipartisan foreign policy consensus based on the lessons of history. Our country and our world are more secure, free and prosperous when America is prepared to lead. History may repeat itself but only if we allow it.

Joseph I. Lieberman, an independent Democrat, is a former senator from Connecticut. Jon Kyl, a Republican, is a former senator from Arizona. They co-chair the American Enterprise Institute’s American Internationalism Project.


Copyright - Original materials copyright (c) by the authors.

Being Had For Dinner In Ottawa

by David B. Harris

Canadians are on their guard against the growing Islamist threat. After all, the last month alone brought the Boston Marathon bombing, and arrests in Canada of suspected Iranian-linked al-Qaeda bomb-plotters targeting Canada-US passenger train routes. Add to that, repeated stories of Islamist radicalism in Canadian neighborhoods and young Canadian Muslim terrorists abroad.

Against this backdrop, the last thing to be expected at this fraught time would be a public event in Canada's capital showcasing a radical Islamist, boasting a master of ceremonies from the tax-funded Canadian Broadcasting Corporation, involving a respected mental health foundation, and including the wife of the highest office-holder in the land. Nonetheless, this is what is being planned for Ottawa, this weekend.

The Ottawa Muslim Women's Organization (OMWO) holds its 12th Annual Festival of Friendship Dinner Sunday evening. The master of ceremonies will be major local CBC personality Lucy van Oldenbarneveld, whose name – along with the official CBC logo – appears on event advertising. Proceeds are to benefit the Royal Ottawa Foundation for Mental Health, an arms-length fundraiser for the public Royal Ottawa Hospital. In an email pitching the dinner and attributed to former Liberal Member of Parliament Marlene Catterall, the presence of Her Excellency Sharon Johnston, wife of the Governor General of Canada, is a selling point.

The keynote speaker will be Dr. Ingrid Mattson, Chair in Islamic Studies at Huron University College in London, Ontario, an institutional affiliate of the University of Western Ontario. Mattson, a convert from Christianity to Islam, was president of the Islamic Society of North America (ISNA). The United States government designated ISNA an unindicted co-conspirator in the successful Holy Land Foundation terror-funding prosecution. ISNA is included in a key Muslim Brotherhood document as one of the "organizations of our friends." Other evidence abounds of ISNA's Brotherhood inspiration and connections.

From the captured Muslim Brotherhood plan for Canada and the United States that was accepted as evidence in a US criminal court:

"The process of settlement is a 'Civilization-Jihadist Process,' with all the word means. The Ikhwan [Muslim Brotherhood] must understand that their work in American [sic] is kind of a grand Jihad in eliminating and destroying the Western civilization from within and sabotaging its miserable house …"

The Brotherhood's motto is "Allah is our objective. The Prophet is our leader. The Qur'an is our law. Jihad is our way. Dying in the way of Allah is our highest hope."

A joint statement of representatives of the moderate American Muslim Congress, Center for Islamic Pluralism, American Islamic Forum for Democracy and the International Quranic Center condemned "groups like ISNA, in which radicals are camouflaged as moderates." The statement especially warned Jews against linking up with ISNA because of the risk of "legitimizing a radicalism that, regardless of ISNA's rhetorical claims, is fundamentally hostile to Jews and suppresses the intellectual and social development of Muslims."

Mattson has been criticized as an "apologist for Wahabbism," the Islamist strain that fuels the Islamic-supremacist theology of Saudi Arabia, the country that gave us Osama bin Laden and 15 of the 19 9/11 terrorists. Mattson once astonished scholars by telling CNN that Wahabbism was simply "analogous to the European protestant reformation."

According to the Center for Security Policy in Washington, D.C., Mattson responded to a question on behalf of "Muslim youth," with the assurance that "probably the best work of Tafseer [Quranic commentary] in English is by Maulana Abul A'la Maududi." The Center quotes Maududi's Jihad in Islam:

"Islam wishes to destroy all States and Governments anywhere on the face of the earth which are opposed to the ideology and programme of Islam regardless of the country or the Nation which rules it. The purpose of Islam is to set up a State on the basis of its own ideology and programme, regardless of which Nation assumes the role of the standard bearer of Islam or the rule of which nation is undermined in the process of the establishment of an ideological Islamic State. It must be evident to you from this discussion that the objective of Islamic 'Jihad' is to eliminate the rule of an un-Islamic system and establish in its stead an Islamic system of State rule. Islam does not intend to confine this revolution to a single State or a few countries; the aim of Islam is to bring about a universal revolution."

Mattson's chair endowment benefits from substantial contributions from two notable groups: the Muslim Association of Canada (MAC) and the Virginia-based International Institute of Islamic Thought (IIIT).

As I pointed out in Canadian Senate committee testimony in 2011, MAC has "boldly declare[d] on its website its allegiance to the tradition of Hassan al Banna and the Muslim Brotherhood – the organization causing dread in Egypt and beyond."

MAC runs a number of Canadian Muslim schools, including Ottawa's Abraar Islamic School. The school itself has had a mixed history: A good academic record, but in 2005, then-principal Aisha Sherazi was dragged before the media to explain why teaching staff supervised an Abraar student's producing of anti-Jewish hate material. Two teachers were suspended. In 2000, the Ottawa Muslim press reported that Imam Siraj Wahhaj "headline[d]" an Ottawa Muslim community fundraising event. Imam Wahhaj was an unindicted co-conspirator in the 1993 World Trade Center bombings.

Then there was the Huron University College Islamic Chair's second funding source: the International Institute of Islamic Thought. Word that this organization was helping to fund the Huron chair triggered a joint April 2011 letter from an associate professor of economics of the University of Western Ontario – with which, as mentioned earlier, HUC is formally affiliated – and about two dozen former faculty, alumni and others. They appealed to college Interim Principal Trish Fulton to reject the sponsored chair and keep clear of IIIT money.

"… Shaykh Taha Jabir al-Alwani, a co-founder and former president of the IIIT, was cited as an un-indicted co-conspirator in the trial of Sami al-Arian, an Islamist activist who served a 57-month prison sentence in the United States for conspiring to channel funds to the Palestinian Islamic Jihad (PIJ), a designated terrorist group in the United States and Canada," wrote Professor John Palmer.

"Jamal Barzinji, founding member and current vice-President of the IIIT, has likewise been implicated in funding for terrorists. In a sworn affidavit filed in 2003, a senior special agent with the United States Customs Service testified: 'I believe that Barzinji is not only closely associated with PIJ as evidenced by ties to Al-Arian..., but also with HAMAS.'"

IIIT's troubling history extends beyond the FBI's raiding of the place in 2002. In a strange take on tolerance and social cohesion, the institution was said to have been the site of a meeting, years ago, to manufacture the neologism, "Islamophobia." According to various Muslim moderates, including one who said he attended the IIIT meeting, this terminology was developed by fundamentalists as a calculated means of smearing as bigots and silencing Muslims and non-Muslims who might dare discuss the building threat of radical Islam.

Referring to IIIT scholar Mahmoud Ayoub, a Mattson connection, Point de Bascule observes in terms that would arrest the attention of any self-respecting women's organization:

"The manual of sharia Umdat al-salik (Reliance of the traveller) is officially endorsed by Ayoub's IIIT. Section o1.1-2 of the manual specifies that certain types of honour killings must not be punished under Islamic law: "Not subject to retaliation (is) a father or mother (or their fathers or mothers) for killing their offspring, or offspring's offspring."

According to the 2011 Bascule analysis:

"Mahmoud Ayoub has been involved with the Libyan World Islamic Call Society (WICS) at least since 1983. WICS was set up by Muammar Gaddafi in 1972 to spread Islam in non-Muslim countries. WICS has also been known to hide its financing of terrorism behind charitable activities. In Canada, WICS is based in London, Ontario."

IIIT's record has disturbed even prospective beneficiaries of its largesse. In 2008, an outcry resulted when IIIT wanted to fund a chair at Philadelphia's Temple University to the tune of $1.5 million. The attempt foundered on Temple's concerns about possible IIIT extremist links and suspicions that such a gift could be part of a long-term Islamist influence operation.

Struck by the haste with which Huron University College, on the other hand, seemed to want to get the $2 million dollar MAC-IIIT Islamic chair endowment – a significant addition to HUC's $12 million budget – columnist Barbara Kay asked Huron's Fulton whether MAC and IIIT values were compatible with the college.

"We don't probe deeply into values held by donors," Fulton said.

Too true. HUC took the money and ran, establishing an academic chair with Islamist lucre and influence.

But few of even the most overwrought of Muslim and non-Muslim counter jihadists could have imagined that influencers would have been so brazen as to have compounded the sins of the HUC chair's founding by appointing Mattson to it.

For now, Canadians must live with an HUC Islamic chair that seems to have been maneuvered into existence with inappropriate funding sources and the aid of some senior – and troubling – London-area Muslims. These include lawyer Faisal Joseph, who is said to have played a part in HUC's surprisingly restrained "due diligence" assessment of IIIT. Joseph had previously attended – with Imam Munir El-Kassem and the IIIT's Ayoub – a 2008 conference in Libya of the extremist-flavored Gaddafi World Islamic Call Society.

El-Kassem has been a fixture of the Libyan-funded Canadian branch of the WICS organization. The branch's charitable status was revoked by the federal government, owing to what Postmedia News summarized as WICS' "transferring [of] money from Gadhafi's 'Jihad fund' to bank accounts of known terrorists." El-Kassem, is imam of the Islamic Centre of Southwest Ontario (ICSWO), yet another group contributing to Mattson's Islamic chair. He has been quoted speaking glowingly about the "leadership" of Louis Farrakhan, the notoriously racist and anti-Semitic Nation of Islam leader. This, when the imam is not sniping in the media at genuine Muslim moderates like the University of Western Ontario's Professor Salim Mansur. Or, as some might think, playing apologist for the Taliban.

Despite all this, El-Kassem is making a name for himself in the more gullible reaches of some interfaith and outreach fringes, and even policing. The apparently uninformed London police chief, Bradley S. Duncan, rewarded the imam with – astonishingly – an appointment as police chaplain.

People will see different things in the Ottawa Muslim Women's Organization invitation to Dr. Mattson. Was this the result of inattention? An attempt to spin Mattson as a moderate and insinuate her into elite national-capital media, government and other circles?

Whatever the details, the participation of various interests in the OMWO exercise invites questions.

Will pertinent CBC personnel be disciplined for the failure of professional due diligence and associated misuse of corporate resources involved in the Corporation's role in this enterprise? Will the CBC ombudsman enter the fray? Will master of ceremonies van Oldenbarneveld and CBC apologize to Christians, Jews, moderate Muslims and others who have struggled against the tendencies represented by Mattson's record of activity, associations and sponsors – especially at a time of preoccupation with the dangers of Islamic radicalism? Will the Ottawa Muslim Women's Organization join in the apology?

Will similar apologies come from the Royal Ottawa Foundation for Mental Health for managerial misjudgment involved in allowing the Foundation's good name to enhance the credibility of the ill-conceived OMWO event?

Will the Office of the Governor General explain itself, and how the Governor General's spouse could have been drawn into such a situation?

Will compromised institutions launch internal reviews to determine whether Islamist fellow-travelers within their organizations may have worked from inside to encourage involvement in this year's Mattson-tainted Festival of Friendship Dinner?

And there remains, of course, a question about double standards.

Would van Oldenbarneveld, the CBC, the Royal Ottawa Foundation for Mental Health or the Office of the Governor General of Canada ever agree to become involved in a dinner sponsored by, say, an "Ottawa Christian Women's Organization," if the proposed keynote speaker had formerly headed a foreign unindicted co-conspirator radical Christian fundamentalist organization, been an apologist for Christian extremists, and been seated in a chair in Christianity funded by domestic and foreign Christian supremacist groups with connections to intolerant, divisive ideology – and far worse?

David B. Harris is a Canadian lawyer with three decades' experience in intelligence affairs, and serves as Director of the International Intelligence Program, INSIGNIS Strategic Research Inc. He is on the advisory board of the Council for Muslims Facing Tomorrow (MFT), although opinions expressed here are his alone.


Copyright - Original materials copyright (c) by the authors.