Friday, July 24, 2015

Obama won't let Congress see all of Iran nuclear deal - Rick Moran

by Rick Moran

 It makes sense from Obama's point of view to keep Congress in the dark about what concessions the IAEA is making to Iran to get them to sign off on the agreement.

Two key parts of the Iran nuclear deal will be kept from the prying eyes of Congress.  These "side deals" with Iran involve inspecting a military site long suspected of carrying out nuclear and ballistic missile research and development.

National Review:
Under the terms of the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA), the International Atomic Energy Agency would negotiate separately with Iran about the inspection of a facility long-suspected of being used to research long-range ballistic missiles and nuclear weapons.
“The Obama administration has failed to make public separate side deals that have been struck for the ‘inspection’ of one of the most important nuclear sites—the Parchin military complex,” said Representative Mike Pompeo (R., Kan.) in a statement Tuesday. “Not only does this violate the Iran Nuclear Agreement Review Act, it is asking Congress to agree to a deal that it cannot review.”
The IAEA has been trying to gain access to the Parchin site since 2005, but Iran has refused, even as it apparently demolished various parts of the complex. “The hardliners do not want to grant any concessions unless Iran is suitably rewarded,” International Institute for Strategic Studies director Mark Fitzpatrick told the BBC in 2014, after reports emerged of explosions at the base.
The terms of the current agreement wouldn’t allow Congress to review any concessions the IAEA makes to get into the site. “Even members of Congress who are sympathetic to this deal cannot and must not accept a deal we aren’t even aware of,” said Pompeo. The IAEA will also separately negotiate “how the IAEA and Iran will resolve outstanding issues on possible military dimensions of Iran’s nuclear program,” according to a release from Pompeo’s office.
Senator Tom Cotton is wondering if there is anything else in the deal the president may be hiding from Congress:
Senator Tom Cotton (R., Ark.) and Pompeo, who serves on the House Intelligence Committee, learned of the arrangement while meeting with the IAEA in Vienna, Austria last week. “That we are only now discovering that parts of this dangerous agreement are being kept secret begs the question of what other elements may also be secret and entirely free from public scrutiny,” Cotton said in a statement to the press.
Under the direction of former IAEA chief Mohamed ElBaradei, the agency was one of Iran's nuclear enablers.  But that changed when Yukiya Amano took over in 2009.  Since then, the IAEA has become much more aggressive in trying to determine Iran's intent and is a lot more skeptical of Iran's claims about the nature of its nuclear program.

But the IAEA will be under tremendous pressure from the big powers to acquiesce to Iranian demands in order to keep the agreement on track.  It makes sense from Obama's point of view to keep Congress in the dark about what concessions the IAEA is making to Iran to get them to sign off on the agreement.  But even Democrats have to acknowledge that keeping these side deals from Congress violates the spirit and probably the letter of the law that gives Congress the right to review the agreement.

Rick Moran


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How and Why to Kill the Deal - Caroline Glick

by Caroline Glick

The devil in Obama’s agreement with Iran is not in the details, but in the big picture.

Originally published by the Jerusalem Post. 
Washington Post columnist David Ignatius is a reasonable man. After hearing back to back interviews with US Secretary of State John Kerry and Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu about the Obama administration’s pact with Iran’s ayatollahs, he tried to balance them out.
Speaking Sunday on CBS’s Face the Nation, Ignatius equivocated that on the one hand, “My takeaway [from Kerry] is that the details of this deal are pretty solid, that it’s been carefully negotiated, that it will hold up for 10 years or more.”

On the other hand, he said, “Netanyahu is right. Iran is a dangerous destabilizing force in the Middle East. So somehow good policy seems to me to use the deal to cap the nuclear threat that Iran would pose for 10 years but work on that other problem.”

Ignatius’s remarks serve to justify supporting the deal. After all, if Obama’s agreement caps Iran’s nuclear program for 10 years, then it’s a good thing. As for the other stuff, it can be dealt with separately.

Unfortunately, while eminently reasonable sounding, Ignatius’s analysis is incorrect. Kerry’s details of the deal are beside the point. The big picture is the only thing that matters. That picture has two main points.
First, the deal guarantees that Iran will develop nuclear weapons. Second, it gives $150 billion to the mullahs.

The details of the deal – the number of centrifuges that keep spinning, the verification mechanisms, the dispute resolution procedures, etc. – are all debatable, and largely irrelevant, at least when compared to the two irrefutable aspects of the big picture.

According to the administration, today Iran needs a year to use the nuclear materials it is known to possess to make a nuclear bomb. Other sources claim that Iran requires several months to accomplish the task.

Since these materials will remain in Iran’s possession under the deal, if Iran abandons the agreement, it will need at most a year to build nuclear weapons.

Then there are the unknown aspects of Iran’s nuclear program. We must assume that Iran has ongoing covert nuclear operations in unknown installations through which it has acquired unknown capabilities.

These capabilities will likely reduce the time Iran requires to make bombs.

Under the deal, the US and its negotiating partners are required to protect Iran’s nuclear assets from sabotage and other forms of attack. They are required as well to teach Iran how to develop and use more advanced centrifuges. As a consequence, when the agreement expires, Iran will be able to build nuclear bombs at will.

If Iran remains a threat, the deal bars the US from taking any steps to counter it aside from all-out war.

The agreement ends the international sanctions regime against Iran. With the sanctions goes any prospect of an international coalition joining forces to take military action against Iran, if Iran does walk away from the deal. So sanctions are gone, deterrence is gone. And that leaves only war.

In other words, far from diminishing the chance of war, the deal makes it inevitable that Iran will get the bomb or there will be a full scale war, or both.

Then there is the jackpot payback.

Who knows? Maybe the mullahs will use their $150b. to finance new women’s universities in Tehran and Mashhad, and a seminary for Islamic liberalism in Qom.

Or maybe the money will be used to fund insurgencies and proxy wars and terror campaigns throughout the region and the world.

The extraordinary thing about the deal is that the only person who gets a say in how that money is spent is Iran’s dictator Ayatollah Ali Khamenei. And Khamenei has been pretty clear about how he intends to use the cash.

In back to back anti-American rants on Friday and Saturday, Khamenei repeatedly threatened the US and extolled calls for its destruction. Speaking in front of a banner at Friday prayers which declared “We will trample America,” Khamenei praised calls for “Death to America.”

Saturday he promised to continue to fund and sponsor terrorism and proxy wars. Just as notably, he refused to commit to upholding the nuclear deal with the US and the other five powers.

As far as the Obama administration is concerned, now that the UN Security Council has anchored the agreement in a binding resolution and so given the force of international law to a deal that guarantees Iran will receives the bomb and $150b., the deal is done. It cannot be walked back.

But this is not necessarily true. Congress may have more power than it realizes to kill the deal before Iran gets the money and before its other provisions are implemented.

Over the months leading up to the conclusion of negotiations last Tuesday, Obama refused to acknowledge that he was negotiating a treaty. Rather he said it was nothing more than an executive agreement.

Consequently, he argued, the US Senate’s sole authority to ratify treaties by two-thirds majority would be inapplicable to the deal with Iran.

Obama also said he would further sideline Congress by anchoring the deal in a binding UN Security Council resolution. This resolution would force Obama’s successor to uphold the deal after he leaves office.

Obama mitigated his position slightly when Senator Bob Corker, chairman of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, drafted the Corker-Cardin bill with veto-proof majorities in both houses. The bill, which Obama reluctantly signed into law, requires Obama to submit the deal to an up or down vote in both houses. If more than two thirds of Senators and Congressmen oppose it, then the US will not abrogate its unilateral sanctions against Iran.

In other words, Obama agreed that if Congress turned the Constitution on its head by replacing the two-thirds Senate majority required to approve a treaty with a two-thirds bicameral majority necessary to disapprove his executive agreement – then he wouldn’t go to the Security Council until after Congress voted.

When Obama betrayed his pledge and went to the Security Council on Monday, he gave Congress an opening to reconsider its position, ditch the restrictive Corker-Cardin law and reassert the Senate’s treaty approving authority.

As former US federal prosecutor Andrew McCarthy argued in National Review last week, by among other things canceling the weapons and missile embargoes on Iran, the six-power deal with Iran went well beyond the scope of the Corker-Cardin law, which dealt only with nuclear sanctions relief. As a consequence, Congress can claim that there is no reason to invoke it.

Rather than invoke Corker-Cardin, Congress can pass a joint resolution determining that the deal with Iran is a treaty and announce that pursuant to the US Constitution, the Senate will schedule a vote on it within 30 days. Alternatively, Congress can condition the Iran deal’s legal stature on the passage of enabling legislation – that requires simple majorities in both houses.

Dan Darling, foreign policy adviser to Republican Senator and presidential hopeful Rand Paul wrote Monday that senators can use Senate procedure to force the Foreign Relations Committee to act in this manner. Darling argued that House Speaker John Boehner can either refuse to consider the deal since it is a treaty, or insist on passing enabling legislation under normal legislative procedures.

Monday Netanyahu explained that by keeping US sanctions in force, Congress can limit Iran’s capacity to move beyond the current sanctions regime even after it is canceled. Every state and firm considering business opportunities with Tehran will have to weigh them against the opportunity cost of being barred from doing business with the US.

Iran for its part may walk away from the deal entirely if Congress acts in this manner. If it does, then the US will not be obligated by any of the deal’s requirements. The continued viability of the Security Council resolution will be something for the lawyers to argue over.

The devil in Obama’s deal with Iran is not in the mind-numbing details, but in the big picture. The deal guarantees Iran will get the bomb. It gives the Iranian regime $150b.

To secure these concessions, Obama has trampled congressional authority.

If the American people think this doesn’t advance their national interest, they should encourage their congressional representatives to ditch Corker-Cardin and use their full authority, as a co-equal branch of the government, to scupper it.

Caroline Glick


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Is the Temple Mount ours? - Nadav Shragai

by Nadav Shragai

[Jews] are prohibited from moving their lips in prayer, even if they make no sound. They are not permitted to close their eyes, lest the Muslims interpret this as prayer. They are not even allowed to say "Allahu akbar" the way the Muslims do. They are not allowed to bring apples onto the mount lest they bless the fruit.

The Temple Mount. The month of Av 5775. Exactly 1,945 years since the destruction of the Second Temple. The images are difficult to see, almost inconceivable. Reminiscent more of Tehran or Gaza than Israel in 2015. The following is a textual interpretation of what the camera lens has been recording for months. All rights reserved to the Muslim websites that have been proudly documenting the scene. These are images that you will not find in the Israeli media. 

The facade of the Dome of the Rock: A huge Hamas billboard features a masked fighter, a (fake) rendition of the dog tags belonging to fallen Israeli soldiers Shaul Oron and Hadar Goldin (whose body parts have been held by Hamas for over a year), and a drawing of a clenched fist detaching itself from handcuffs. 

True sights from mosque courtyards: Women carrying photos of terrorists in their hands; children holding toy guns and rifles in menacing poses; youngsters waving Hamas and PLO flags; a masked man climbing to the top of Al-Aqsa mosque and planting a Palestinian flag atop it; a group of young people, whose shirts feature an image of Egypt's deposed Muslim Brotherhood President Mohammed Morsi, waving Muslim Brotherhood flags; masked women standing at the entrance of the Dome of the Rock. 

Also: Calls of "Khaibar Khaibar ya Yahud, jaysh Muhammad sawfa ya'ud," which means "remember Khaibar, Jews. Muhammad will return" -- an implicit call to murder Jews. Islamic State is also in the picture: A group photo featuring smiling faces and thumbs up signs supporting the organization that likes to decapitate. And no essay would be complete without the new-old libel suggesting that Jews make matzah out of children's blood. 

There are also giant portraits of Yasser Arafat and Mahmoud Abbas and calls of "ya Qassam, ya ayouni, blow up Tel Aviv and Kiryat Shmona." 

Meanwhile, the mount is generally closed to Jews. On the odd occasion that Jews are permitted entry, the wait in line in interminable, and only small groups are allowed in, accompanied by heavy security and facing a barrage of insults and curses from bands of paid assaulters. The Jews are not permitted to respond. They cannot react. They are prohibited from moving their lips in prayer, even if they make no sound. They are not permitted to close their eyes, lest the Muslims interpret this as prayer. They are not even allowed to say "Allahu akbar" the way the Muslims do. They are not allowed to bring apples onto the mount lest they bless the fruit. 

One Jew, who cannot hold it in any longer, breaks down crying at the sight, but he is quickly removed from the area for fear that his tears will "disturb the peace." 

Nowadays, even the secular Israelis are not spared. The Muslims have learned to distinguish the Israelis from the tourists and recently barred Jews from drinking at the water fountain on the northern side or the mount. And the press? Near complete silence. These hate crimes are of no interest to journalists. 

The Temple Mount is the heart, but we have lost our head. 

Tisha B'Av 5775. The Temple Mount is not in our hands, it is in theirs. Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, Education Minister Naftali Bennett, Justice Minister Ayelet Shaked and Public Security Minister Gilad Erdan -- are you in power or is this a dream?

Nadav Shragai


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The Iranian threat to Arab states - Dr. Edy Cohen

by Dr. Edy Cohen

Leading commentators in the Arab world have strongly condemned the nuclear agreement, which they believe will not drive oil prices down, but will also turn Iran into a nuclear and economic power, which will use its newfound strength to undermine the Gulf states' financial stability, and even threaten their national security.

For the first time in history the Arab states are united, but this time not against Israel but against Iran. The Islamic republic's neighbors, especially Saudi Arabia, do not believe the statements made by the White House and several European nations on the nuclear agreement. 

This is not a historic agreement that will inspire stability in the Middle East. On the contrary: A covert war has been being waged for years between Shiite Iran and Sunni Saudi Arabia and, if anything, the agreement is expected to increase tension and speed up the nuclear arms race in the Persian Gulf, whose nations fear Iran's aspirations to dominate the region. 

Leading commentators in the Arab world have strongly condemned the nuclear agreement, which they believe will not drive oil prices down, but will also turn Iran into a nuclear and economic power, which will use its newfound strength to undermine the Gulf states' financial stability, and even threaten their national security. 

These commentators have leveled harsh criticism at U.S. President Barack Obama, accusing him of taking sides in the Shiite-Sunni war. Obama, they argue, has favored Shiite Iran over the Sunni states for several reasons, primarily Iran's war against the Islamic State group, and America's own narrow economic interests. U.S. arms sales could potentially skyrocket through sales to Iran or its enemies, which will seek to protect themselves from the very nation with which the U.S. signed a deal.

The recent statements by senior White House officials, as well as U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry, have only corroborated what the Arabs already know: Iran's animosity toward other Gulf states was never considered during the negotiations. As far as the U.S. is concerned, the deal seeks to prevent Iran from getting nuclear weapons -- not to protect other Arab nations. 

Many Arab commentators believe Obama has sold his Arab allies out as he did Israel, and see the deal as a failure of Arab diplomacy.

Iran has a long history of cruelty and oppression against its Arab neighbors. In 1971, for example, the Islamic republic occupied the Greater and Lesser Tunb islands, as well as Abu Musa island in the eastern Persian Gulf, to which the United Arab Emirates laid claim. Iran's move illustrated the danger it poses to its neighbors, and sovereignty over these three islands remains contested to this day. 

Iran has also repeatedly claimed that Bahrain is a province of the Islamic republic, citing the Shiite majority in this small island country was proof of the legitimacy of its claim. Bahrain, for its part, has accused Iran of subversion.

The Iranian efforts to destabilize other Arab countries via subversion and aiding Shiite groups, and other dissident groups, have considerably aggravated tension in the Persian Gulf. The Iranians are lending logistical, financial and military support, to Syrian President Bashar Assad's regime, the Shiite groups in Lebanon (including Hezbollah), the Houthi rebels in Yemen and the Shiite groups in Iraq. 

Iran sees itself as a regional empire and its strategy aims to substantiate its clout in the Persian Gulf and Middle East. The collapse of Saddam Hussein's regime in Iraq, the American withdrawal from Iraq, and Iran's fight against Islamic State, has provided Iran with a rare opportunity to expand its influence over other countries in the region.

Unlike Obama, the Arab nations have long realized that undercutting Iran's nuclear ambitions is their top priority, as Tehran's military, financial, and religious sway over the region spells a strategic threat to their national security.

A post-nuclear-deal Iran would pose a far bigger threat to the moderate Arab states -- a situation that may provide a golden opportunity for Israel and these nations to foster closer relationships. 

Edy Cohen is a research fellow at Bar-Ilan University.


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Iran's Prison Archipelago - Lawrence A. Franklin

by Lawrence A. Franklin

  • Iran's negotiations with the P5+1 powers are narrowly defined to include only the Islamic Republic's nuclear program. However, Tehran's abysmal record on human rights should reveal to the world what to expect by way of compliance on any nuclear deal.
  • In facilities under their control, both the IRGC and the MOIS are permitted to execute prisoners without trial or effectively any judicial proceeding.
  • Iran will also have permission to import or develop Intercontinental Ballistic Missiles (ICBMs) with the ability to deliver a nuclear weapon to other continents, including to the United States.

The Islamic Republic of Iran's human rights record is among the earth's worst. Iran's horrific treatment of its own citizens, however, has long been obscured by headlines of the ongoing nuclear negotiations, from which human right issues have been excluded.

Lost in the daily detailed reporting about nuclear talks is the regime's increased rate of executions of its own citizens during the negotiations. Iran now has overtaken China as having the highest per capita rate for inflicting capital punishment.

While the Islamic Republic dons a reasonable and sophisticated face to the world as it negotiates with P5+1 powers in Switzerland, the authoritarian theocracy's intelligence services continue to arrest journalists, Bahai and Sunni religious minorities as well as ethnic minorities like Kurds from Kordestan Province and Arabs from Khuzestan Province.[1]

The regime runs such a vast network of prisons and detention centers, many of them still secret, that it has taken on the dimension of a state within a state.[2] This "Prison Archipelago," similar in relative size and brutality as the network once run by the Soviet KGB, is the primary instrument of terror that keeps the Iranian ruling class in power.

To grasp the magnitude of this domestic terror apparatus, one has only to consult the semi-annual reports on the human rights record of Iran published by United Nations Special Rapporteur Ahmad Shaheed.[3] While Westerners are treated to the smiling countenance of Iran's President Hassan Rouhani and the sophisticated, reasonable, Westernized image of Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif, Iran's citizens must contend with the visage of the real Iran: the face of the Islamic Revolution Guard Corps (IRGC) storm-trooper.

The IRGC and the Ministry of Intelligence and Security (MOIS) run their own network of prisons, detention centers and separate wards within certain jails. Ward 209, for instance, of Iran's infamous Evin Prison in Tehran, is run by the MOIS.[4] Prison 59, also known as Detention Center #59, in Tehran, is run by the IRGC.

In facilities under their control, both the IRGC and the MOIS are permitted to execute prisoners without trial or effectively any judicial proceeding. Hundreds of extra-judicial executions have been carried out by the regime at Mashhad's Vakilabad Prison.[5] Although many of those executed at Vakilabad are reported to be drug offenders and smugglers, some are ethnic Baluch irredentists and Sunni Muslims living in Sistan-Baluchistan Province, in Iran's Far East.[6] Moreover, occasionally, regular prison guards initiate raids in which prisoners are beaten and sometimes killed -- especially those inmates who have managed to embarrass the regime by secretly passing information to the Western media concerning human rights violations. [7]

In contrast to the media's "soft image" portrayal of Hassan Rouhani since his election to Iran's presidency in June 2013, the rate of executions in Iran has increased dramatically.[8] Moreover, among those executed last year were human rights campaigners, political activists, and religious and ethnic minorities.[9]

Eyewitness accounts, many of them testimonies by former "citizens" of the prison archipelago state, have attested to the use of widespread torture in Iran's prisons. One type of torture noted by a former victim of the technique is called "the chicken" (jujeh kabob): an individual's arms are bent back and tied to his ankles while being suspended in mid-air. Karaj's Gohardasht Prison has a suite of cells called Section 1, referred to by veterans of Iran's Prison Archipelago as "Khane Sag" or the "Dog House," where prisoners are usually subjected to constant torture, sometimes resulting in death. [10]

Gohardasht Prison, Karaj, Iran. (Image source: Ensie & Matthias/Flickr)

Rape of female prisoners increased after the arrests young people who protested the results of the 2009 presidential elections, which returned former President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad to office for a second term.[11] Rape in Iranian prisons is also visited upon young males, a practice referred to as "under-bedding." Homosexual males in Iranian prisons are referred to as "vach" a slang word that connotes sexual slavery.[12]

In the archipelago, the prisons are overcrowded, with many inmates forced to sleep on the floors of hallways outside the filthy cells. Detention centers, meant only to hold people for a few days while they are processed to prisons, often have only a couple of toilets for hundreds of detainees. Moreover, access to medical care is usually denied, leading to many unnecessary deaths of prisoners whose offenses may have only been minor.[13] Conditions were so bad in Ghezel Hasr Prison in Karaj -- with cells holding four times their capacity -- that inmates staged a revolt in March 2011, resulting in as many as 50 deaths.[14]

Iran's Prison Archipelago reflects the core of the true nature of the Islamic Republic -- not the Javad Zarif tableau that Kerry & Co. and the compliant media would evidently have us imagine.
If Congress wants to insert itself more effectively in defining what U.S. policy should be toward the Islamic Republic, it might borrow a page from the era that produced the Jackson-Vanik legislative initiative of 1975, which promised economic trade benefits to the USSR that were linked to the Soviets allowing their captive citizens to leave the country. This legislation helped liberation of hundreds of thousands of Russian Jews.

Iranian-Americans possess the potential to mobilize to achieve the same result for thousands of political prisoners in Iran, while educating American citizens about the real nature of the Islamic Republic.

Moreover, the Islamic Republic of Iran -- until it completely changes its behavior, should not be permitted to pursue nuclear research that could lead to the development of a nuclear weapon or the capability to deliver one. The deal made with Iran will give it permission to import or develop Intercontinental Ballistic Missiles (ICBMs) with the ability to deliver a nuclear weapon to other continents, including to the United States.

Such an outcome would leave in tatters any worthy legacy of the current U.S. administration and of the politicians who support the deal.
Dr. Lawrence A. Franklin was the Iran Desk Officer for Secretary of Defense Rumsfeld. He also served on active duty with the U.S. Army and as a Colonel in the Air Force Reserve, where he was a Military Attaché at the U.S. Embassy in Israel.

[1] Iran Human Rights 6 March 2014, "Arab-Iranian Sunni Converts arrested." Human Rights Watch: Summary and Recommendations 1997; "Sunni Persecutions in Iran," by Neda Shakiba 30 Nov 2010.
[2] "Rights Disregarded: Prisons in the Islamic Republic of Iran," 18 March 2015 Iran Human Rights Documentation Center.p.1.
[3] March 2015 Report on the Situation on Human Rights in Iran by the United Nations Special Rapporteur Ahmad Rasheed. See Rasheed's exhaustively detailed reports on Human Rights in Iran published every six months as commissioned by the UN Secretary General.
[4] Ward 209, Former Inmate Report that it is run by VEVAK-the MOIS. See also report of journalists and bloggers Faribah Pajoh and Nafiseh Zareh Kohan, both of whom were arrested in August 2009 and who have been subsequently released.
[5] The International Campaign for Human Rights in Iran, Reporting on Executions in Vakilabad Prison. See testimony of former inmates, such as that of Ahmad Ghabel. Executions carried out in Vakilabad Prison have been primarily for drug-related crimes.
[6] Sistan-Baluchistan Province is where Sunni Religious and Baluch ethnic minorities are most concentrated in Iran. But it is also the center of drug smuggling routes into Iran from Afghanistan's vast expanse of opium poppy fields.
[7] "Letters from Iran's Hellish Prisons" by Jason Shams, 19 September 2010. On 17 April 2014, guards at Evin Prison in an event described as "Black Thursday," Evin Prison guards attacked prisoners in Ward 350.
[8] See Amnesty International Statistics for 2013 and 2014.
[9] Report of Secretary-General on the Situation of Human Rights in the Islamic Republic of Iran. Human Rights Council 11 March 2014.
[10] New List of Political and "Security Risk" Prisoners in Gohardasht (Rajaishahr) Prison in Iran by Sayeh Hassan.
[11] PBS/News Hour 10 June 2012 "Center for Investigative Journalism."
[12] Surviving Rape in Iranian Prisons, Paper published by Iran's Human Rights Violation Documentation Center.
[13] Advance Unedited Version of the 11 March 2014 Report of the Secretary General on the Situation of Human Rights in the Islamic Republic of Iran. P.6. Rights Disregarded: Prisons in the Islamic Republic of Iran.
[14] Rahana Human Rights News Agency 17 March 2011. Report on Massacre of Inmates in Zaidan-e-Ghezel Hesar.

Lawrence A. Franklin was the Iran Desk Officer for Secretary of Defense Rumsfeld. He also served on active duty with the U.S. Army and as a Colonel in the Air Force Reserve, where he was a Military Attaché at the U.S. Embassy in Israel.


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Watch: Ex-Congressman Allen West Tears into 'Weakling' Obama - Arutz Sheva Staff

by Arutz Sheva Staff

No holds barred: In fiery, emotional speech, outspoken commentator says what most Americans think of Iran deal, 'charlatan' Obama.

Outspoken political commentator and former Florida Congressman Allen West pulled no punches yesterday at a mega-rally against the Iran deal, slamming the Obama administration for its agreement with Tehran over the Islamic Republic's nuclear program.

Speaking to at least 10,000 protesters at Wednesday's mega-rally in New York's Times Square, West tore into President Obama, deriding him as a "weakling" and a "charlatan," to enthusiastic applause.

We'll let the video do the talking - it really is a must-watch:

Other speakers at the Stop Iran Rally spanned the political spectrum, including former New York Republican Governor George Pataki, and senior Democrat Alan Dershowitz.
"We're here as Americans to speak with one voice to say stop Iran now, reject this deal," Pataki said.

"This is a God-awful deal, this must be rejected. Congress must do its job and stand up for the American people, stand up for our safety and say no to this Iranian deal," he added.
Scholar Alan Dershowitz, a Harvard law professor, appealed to fellow liberals to side with Republican opposition.

"It is a bad deal for Democrats. It is a bad deal for liberals. I am here opposing this deal as a liberal Democrat," he declared.

He called the deal bad for America, bad for world peace and bad for the security of the Middle East.

Arutz Sheva Staff


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The BBC Really Wants You to Believe the Qur’an Is Authentic - Robert Spencer

by Robert Spencer

-- the BBC article raises more questions than it answers, and reveals more about the wishful thinking of the academic and media establishments than it does about the Qur’an.

The BBC announced enthusiastically Wednesday that “what may be the world’s oldest fragments of the Koran have been found by the University of Birmingham.” This news is not only of interest to scholars and Muslim intellectuals; it appears to buttress the Islamic claim that the Qur’an’s text has remained unchanged for 1,400 years – which is purported to be proof of its divine origin.

There is only one problem with all this: the BBC article raises more questions than it answers, and reveals more about the wishful thinking of the academic and media establishments than it does about the Qur’an.

The article is riddled with academic and journalistic sloppiness. We’re told that the radiocarbon dating shows, “with a probability of more than 95%, the parchment was from between 568 and 645.” Very well, but does the ink date to that time as well? We are not told. Parchment was often reused in the ancient world, with the earlier text erased and written over, and so if a parchment dates from 645, that doesn’t necessarily mean that the text does.

However, it is impossible to discover any more details from this shoddy BBC presentation. The best photo of this manuscript that the BBC provides shows clear traces of another text underneath the main text. It is not clear from the photo whether that is the text from the other side bleeding through on the photograph, or even if there is any text on the other side; nor does the BBC tell us whether or not the parchment shows signs of having been a palimpsest — that is, a parchment that was used more than once for different texts. There is also some red ink in the top lines of the manuscript in the photo but not in the succeeding lines. Has the red ink faded from the other sections, or is it itself evidence of the ink fading? Or is it a later hand filling in areas that had faded away (and possibly altering the text)? The BBC doesn’t tell us, yet this is an extremely salient point. Another recently discovered and much-touted fragment of the Qur’an, now in Germany and dated from between 649 and 675, shows clear signs of alteration, raising the possibility that the Qur’anic text was altered over time (image available here). If this is a possibility also for the University of Birmingham manuscript, the BBC should tell us so. But it doesn’t.

What’s more, if the text along with the parchment really dates from between 568 and 645, it may not be a fragment of the Qur’an at all. The Qur’an, according to Islamic tradition, was compiled in its definitive form in the year 653 by the caliph Uthman, who ordered all variant texts burned and the canonical version distributed to all the provinces within his domains. 

As I show in my book Did Muhammad Exist?, however, there are numerous reasons to doubt this story. The principal one is that if the entire Islamic world had copies of the Qur’an by the mid 650s, why is it that not until the latter part of the seventh and early part of the eighth century do mentions of the Qur’an begin to appear? The Dome of the Rock inscriptions date from 691; they are made up of many Qur’an verses, but out of their Qur’anic order and some with notable changes in wording. Who would have dared to change the words of Allah? And the first clear reference to the Qur’an as such occurred around the year 710—eighty years after the book was supposedly completed and sixty years after it was supposedly collected and distributed. During a debate with an Arab noble, a Christian monk of the monastery of Beth Hale (of which there were two, one in northern Iraq and the other in Arabia; it is not known in which one this monk lived) cited the Qur’an by name. The monk wrote, “I think that for you, too, not all your laws and commandments are in the Qur’an which Muhammad taught you; rather there are some which he taught you from the Qur’an, and some are in surat albaqrah and in gygy and in twrh.

By this point Arab armies had conquered a huge expanse of territory, stretching from North Africa, across the Levant, Syria, and Iraq, and into Persia, and yet those eight decades of conquest had produced scarcely a mention of the book that supposedly inspired them. And when the Qur’an finally was mentioned, it appears that the book was not even in the form we now know. Surat albaqrah (or al-Baqara) is “the chapter of the Cow,” which is the second, and longest, sura of the Qur’an. The eighth-century monk thus quite clearly knew of a Qur’an that didn’t contain this sura; he considered surat albaqrah to be a stand-alone book, along with gygy (the Injil, or Gospel) and twrh (the Torah). It is unlikely that the monk simply made an error: who ever mistakes a chapter of a book for a separate book?

So if this is a fragment of the Qur’an as it now stands (and what portion of the Qur’an is it, anyway? Neither the BBC nor its quoted academics tell us), and yet it could date from as far back as 568, two years before Muhammad is supposed to have been born, it might not be a fragment of the Qur’an at all. It could instead be a portion of some source that later became part of the Qur’an, as did Surat al-Baqara.

The BBC quotes Professor David Thomas, who also doesn’t tell us what exact portions of the Qur’an this manuscript contains, and who raises even more questions when he says: “These portions must have been in a form that is very close to the form of the Koran read today, supporting the view that the text has undergone little or no alteration and that it can be dated to a point very close to the time it was believed to be revealed.” 

This is a very strange statement. The BBC, and apparently the University of Birmingham, are advertising this as an ancient fragment of the Qur’an. Presumably when Thomas says that “these portions must have been in a form that is very close to the form of the Koran read today,” he means that the larger whole of which they once formed a part was “very close” to the Qur’an. But how close is “very close”? Mainstream Muslims maintain that the Qur’anic text has undergone no alteration at all since it was first “revealed.” 

So when Thomas says that his fragments were once part of something “very close to the form of the Koran read today, supporting the view that the text has undergone little or no alteration,” he is already departing from the standard story of Qur’anic origins that he is claiming to support. The text has undergone “little or no alteration”? Well, which is it? Little alteration, which no matter how little would explode the Islamic claim of its divine origin and perfect protection, or no alteration, which would support that claim?

The Guardian illumines some of this in its own report when it says: “The significance of Birmingham’s leaves, which hold part of Suras (chapters) 18 to 20, was missed because they were bound together with another text, in a very similar hand but written almost 200 years later….The verses are incomplete, and believed to have been an aide memoire for an imam who already knew the Qur’an by heart, but the text is very close to the accepted authorised version.”

Suras 18 and 20, with their long stories of Moses (very odd ones in 18, along with material about Dhul Qarnayn, who is usually assumed to be Alexander the Great, and the Christian story of the Seven Sleepers of Ephesus), and sura 19, with its extended retelling of the Virgin Birth of Jesus Christ, are some of the most obviously derivative sections of the entire Qur’an — reinforcing the impression that this could be a fragment of a source of the Qur’an, not the Qur’an itself. And indeed, it is not the Qur’an itself, we are finally told, for “the verses are incomplete, and believed to have been an aide memoire for an imam who already knew the Qur’an by heart, but the text is very close to the accepted authorised version.” Very close is how close? Any deviation could just as easily be not an aide memoire for an imam, but evidence of editing and change, as Islam was being developed in the latter part of the seventh century and the early part of the eighth.

In sum, the more one looks at this curious story, the less there is to see. It seems indisputable that an ancient manuscript has been confirmed to be ancient. Has its text been altered? We aren’t told. Is it part of the Qur’an? We can’t be sure. Does it correspond to the modern standard Qur’anic text? We aren’t told. The only thing we can really be sure of about this story is the closing statement from Dr. Muhammad Isa Waley: this “is news to rejoice Muslim hearts.” As is so often the case with the mainstream media, that may be the primary objective all along.

Robert Spencer


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Nuclear Creepout: Iran's Third Path to the Bomb - Gary C. Gambill

by Gary C. Gambill

-- more worrisome is the prospect that Iran's nuclear policy after the agreement goes into effect will be much the same as it was before—comply with the letter and spirit of its obligations only to the degree necessary to ward off unacceptably costly consequences. This will likely take the form of what I call nuclear creepout—activities, both open and covert, legal and illicit, designed to negate JCPOA restrictions without triggering costly multilateral reprisals.

Originally published under the title, "Creepin': Here's How Iran Will Really Build the Bomb."

In assessing whether the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA) signed by the P5+1 world powers and Iran last week is an adequate safeguard against the latter's pursuit of a nuclear weapon, Obama administration officials and arms control wonks typically discuss two heavily stylized breakout scenarios.

In an overt breakout, Iran brushes aside nuclear inspectors and begins openly racing to enrich weapons grade uranium (WGU) using its two declared enrichment plants at Natanz and Fordow. The JCPOA ostensibly blocks this path by limiting the number of centrifuges Iran can operate to 5,060 and capping the amount of low-enriched uranium (LEU) it can keep on hand to use as feedstock at 300 kilograms. This supposedly lengthens its breakout time—how quickly it can produce sufficient fissile material for one atomic bomb should it make a rush to build one—from two or three months at present to at least a year, giving the international community more time to mobilize a response to the breakout.

In a covert breakout, or sneakout, Iran builds parallel infrastructure in secret to produce the fissile material for a bomb. The JCPOA ostensibly blocks this path with an inspections regime designed to detect the diversion of fissile material, the construction of illicit centrifuges, off-the-books uranium mining, and so forth.

The terms of the JCPOA make small-scale cheating virtually unpunishable.
Though much ink has been spilled about whether these two "paths" to the bomb have been blocked, both presuppose a decision by Iran to sacrifice its reconciliation with the world in the next ten to fifteen years for the immediate gratification of building a weapon (the purpose of a covert breakout is less to avoid detection before crossing the finish line than to make the process less vulnerable to decisive disruption).

Such an abrupt change of heart by the Iranian regime is certainly possible, but more worrisome is the prospect that Iran's nuclear policy after the agreement goes into effect will be much the same as it was before—comply with the letter and spirit of its obligations only to the degree necessary to ward off unacceptably costly consequences. This will likely take the form of what I call nuclear creepout—activities, both open and covert, legal and illicit, designed to negate JCPOA restrictions without triggering costly multilateral reprisals.

The text of the JCPOA appears designed to give the Iranians wide latitude to interpret their own obligations.
It is important to bear in mind that the JCPOA bars signatories from re-imposing any sanctions or their equivalents on Iran, except by way of a United Nations Security Council resolution restoring sanctions. "That means there will be no punishments for anything less than a capital crime," explains Robert Satloff. The language demanded by Iranian negotiators, and accepted by the Obama administration, makes small-scale cheating virtually unpunishable.

Moreover, the specific terms of the JCPOA appear to have been designed to give the Iranians wide latitude to interpret their own obligations. Two, in particular, should raise eyebrows.

The LEU Cap

About 1,000 kilograms of LEU is supposedly needed to produce, through further enrichment, enough weapons grade uranium for a nuclear explosive device (let's assume for sake of argument that that the Obama administration's erroneous math is correct). This is what inspectors call a "significant quantity" (SQ). The JCPOA's requirement that Iran "keep its uranium stockpile under 300 kilograms" would force it to enrich a substantial quantity of natural uranium all the way up to weapons grade, thereby lengthening the process of producing a SQ by several months.

Iran is allowed to operate 5,060 IR-1 centrifuges under the terms of the JCPOA.
But what exactly happens to LEU produced by Iranian centrifuges in excess of the 300-kilogram limit? The JCPOA appendix says it "will be down blended to natural uranium level or be sold on the international market and delivered to the international buyer." Maintenance of the 300 kilogram limit relies upon Iran continually and punctually reprocessing or transferring material it already possesses.
What happens if Iran's handling of all this is less than perfect? Suppose 100 kilograms or so of LEU in the process of being down-blended or delivered to an "international buyer" of Iran's choosing routinely remains recoverable at any one time because of apparent inefficiencies and bottlenecks. Would the international community be willing to cancel the JCPOA over this infraction? Almost certainly not.

What if this number swelled periodically to 150 or 200 kilograms every so often because of some special complication or another, like a breakout of plant machinery or truck drivers' strike? Probably not. Since an overt breakout attempt would likely commence at one of these peaks in LEU availability (and when smaller amounts of medium enriched uranium have yet to be converted or transferred), we can knock a month or so off its breakout time.

The Centrifuges Cap

The Obama administration's one-year breakout time calculation assumes that Iran uses only the 5,060 IR-1 centrifuges it is allowed to have spinning under the JCPOA—and that it does not bring more into operation for a whole year after kicking out inspectors and beginning a sprint for a nuke. This could have been achieved by dismantling the large majority of its roughly 15,000 excess centrifuges falling outside this quota, but Iran insisted from the beginning that it would never destroy any of them and its adversaries eventually caved.

Although U.S negotiators reportedly proposed a variety of disablement mechanisms designed to slow down the process of reconnecting them, all were rejected by the Iranians and the final agreement makes no mention of any. The JCPOA requires only that excess centrifuges and associated equipment at Natanz be disconnected and put into IAEA-monitored storage on-site. At the Fordow facility, buried deep underground, Iran is allowed to keep "no more than 1044 IR-1 centrifuge machines at one wing" installed, but not enriching uranium.

There is considerable disagreement among informed analysts about how long it would take the Iranians to get an appreciable number of these excess machines up and running, with estimates ranging from a few to several months. Whatever that length of time is, the Iranians can surely shorten it by training personnel to rapidly reactivate centrifuge cascades, modernizing equipment, acquiring new technology, and other methods not explicitly barred by the JCPOA.

The real danger is that the mullahs will put off a breakout attempt while creeping out of their vaguely worded obligations.
Indeed, the JCPOA appears to have been drafted by diplomats who failed to imagine that the Iranians might seek to bolster their latent nuclear weapons capacity under the new rules of the game with as much guile and gusto as they did under the old. Considering that the Obama administration's one-year projected breakout time for Iran is deeply flawed to begin with, Iranian exploitation of these loopholes could bring it perilously close to the finish line even while remaining officially in compliance with the JCPOA. If the international community has less time to respond to a breakout attempt, an attempt presumably becomes more likely.

But the real danger is that the mullahs will put off a breakout attempt in the next decade or so, while creeping out of their vaguely worded obligations. With so many opportunities to escape the strictures of the JCPOA, the mullahs would be fools not to offer the minimal degree of compliance necessary to keep it in force (while continually stretching the boundaries of how minimal that degree can be). Openly exploiting the JCPOA's loopholes while enjoying its rewards will do more to intimidate Iran's regional rivals than a reckless dash for the end zone or a high-risk covert attempt, while paving the way for eventual grudging international acquiescence to the Islamic Republic's construction of a bomb.

Gary C. Gambill is a research fellow at the Middle East Forum.


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Tackling Islamism, Post-Chattanooga - Tarek Fatah

by Tarek Fatah

There is something wrong in America when as senior a person as Tom Fuentes, former assistant director of the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) is unwilling to conclude the mass murderer was a Muslim.


It has been almost a week since the Chattanooga terrorist Mohammad Youssef Abdulazeez issued the equivalent of an Islamic declaration of war on America in a text message before killing four U.S. Marines and a Navy petty officer.

Yet there are still some Americans refusing to see the writing on the wall, and wondering about the 24-year-old jihadi terrorist's "real" motives.
On July 15, the night before the mass murder, Abdulazeez texted a declaration on behalf of Allah, quoting from Prophet Mohammed's sayings in the Hadith titled "The loyal friends of Allah." It reads: "Whosoever shows enmity to a friend of Mine, I [Allah] will indeed declare war against him." This particular Hadith is from a collection of the 40 most important sayings of Prophet Mohammed.

The text message was not the only clue to Abdulazeez's jihadi frame of mind. In a "manifesto" posted in early July, the mass murderer quoted the Prophet Mohammed as saying for Muslims, life on earth should be seen as a life in a prison, but for non-believers (Christians, Jews, Hindus, pagans and atheists) earth is the paradise.

Some Americans are still wondering about the 24-year-old jihadi terrorist's 'real' motives.
This is a common call by Islamists when recruiting suicide bombers or jihadi fighters for the Islamic State, al-Qaida, the Taliban and Boko Haram. In essence, they claim earth is merely a transit lounge in a journey that will take Muslims to eternal life in Paradise, surrounded by all things that were forbidden to them in this world.

Abdulazeez mocked Muslims (like me) who separate Islam from politics, saying such a separation was contrary to Islamic practice.
He wrote in his manifesto:
So this picture that you have in your mind that the Prophet's companions were people being like priests living in monasteries is not true. All of them [were] leaders of an army at the frontlines ... very involved in establishing Islam in the world ... Every one of them fought Jihad for the sake of Allah. Every one of them had to make sacrifices in their lives.
All of this evidence stares us in the face, yet we are now being asked to believe a statement from Abdulazeez's family claiming that their son was a depressed youth on drugs. The family claims they sent him to Jordan, so he could get away from the influence of the bad company he kept.

I find that hard to believe given Abdulazeez's own declarations, plus the fact his father was investigated twice by the FBI for sending money to questionable charities in the Middle East (he was eventually cleared) and wanted to marry a second wife in the Palestinian territories, saying this was allowed by Islamic law.

Former FBI Assistant Director Tom Fuentes claimed not to be sure if "Mohammad Youssef Abdulazeez" is a Muslim name.
There is something wrong in America when as senior a person as Tom Fuentes, former assistant director of the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) is unwilling to conclude the mass murderer was a Muslim. John Berman of CNN asked Fuentes "Now that we have the name (Mohammad Youssef Abdulazeez) the key questions are what?" Fuentes replied, "I know ... what the name sounds like, but we don't know that it's a Muslim name. We know it's an Arabic name."
On the opposite side are those like former Democratic presidential candidate Gen. Wesley Clark, who has proposed the internment of U.S. Islamists identified as anti-American.

For 15 years now the question of "how to combat Islamism" has been avoided in the West so as not to offend the powerful urban Islamist lobbyists and vote banks.
Here are three suggestions:
  1. Interview and debrief every adult male arriving alone from Arab countries, Pakistan, Iran, Afghanistan, Nigeria and Somalia, irrespective of religion, colour and nationality.
  2. Tell every mosque in North America to end any and all derogatory references to "kufaar" (Christians, Jews, Hindus and atheists) including in ritual prayers, or lose their charitable status.
  3. End cash donations in mosques and overseas donations from Saudi Arabia and other Gulf Arab sources.
If we do not take these steps now, there will eventually be a very large appetite for Clark's harsh prescription to prevent Islamist terror on Western soil.

Tarek Fatah is a founder of the Muslim Canadian Congress, a columnist at the Toronto Sun, and a Robert J. and Abby B. Levine Fellow at the Middle East Forum. He is the author of two award-winning books: Chasing a Mirage: The Tragic Illusion of an Islamic State and The Jew is Not My Enemy: Unveiling the Myths that Fuel Muslim Anti-Semitism.

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"Refugee Children" Invade Sweden - Ingrid Carlqvist

by Ingrid Carlqvist

  • The number of children seeking asylum in Sweden has exploded over the last ten years, presumably because children are granted asylum much quicker than adults, and Swedish authorities don't verify the age of these "children." Refugees are allowed to bring their entire family to Sweden once they get residency status.
  • Swedish journalists do everything in their power to maintain this image of "refugee children."
  • "I'm risking my job by telling you this. ... Many of us are under state orders to keep quiet. It's professional misconduct to contact, for example, immigration services with information about someone lying on their asylum application." — "Isak," an employee at a facility for unaccompanied children.
  • During the last few years, violent incidents at homes where the "children" live have become more and more prevalent.
  • Unaccompanied refugee children are the next billion-dollar industry in Sweden. With an average cost of 2000 kronor ($233) per child per day, the 7000 refugee "children" who came last year cost 5.1 billion kronor ($595 million).

One of the fastest growing refugee groups in Sweden is the so-called "unaccompanied refugee children." The number of children who seek asylum has exploded over the last ten years. It is presumed that the reason for this is that children are granted asylum much quicker than adults, and that Sweden does not verify the age of these "children." Refugees are also allowed to bring their entire family to Sweden once they get residency status -- even if you claimed to be alone in the world when you arrived.

In June alone, 1500 asylum-seeking children came to Sweden; authorities are now struggling to find accommodations for them.

Asylum-seeking children are a relatively new occurrence among the Swedish migration flora. The earliest figures are from 2004, when 338 came to Sweden. Ten years later, the number increased to 7,049, a figure that will most likely be even higher this year.

The children come mostly from Syria, Eritrea, Afghanistan and Somalia, but as very few possess any kind of identification papers, authorities really do not know where they are from.

The problem is that they are neither unaccompanied, nor refugees, nor children. In many instances, they are considerably older than 18 (as can clearly be seen in pictures); and more often than not, they are very aggressive young men between the ages of 20 and 30. Everyone knows that their chances of getting asylum increase drastically if they claim to be under 18.

The official Swedish term "unaccompanied refugee children" is seductive. It leads your thoughts toward a 7-year-old in ragged clothing, holding a beaten-up teddy bear -- a barefoot child in the world.

Older Swedes inevitably think of the Swedish efforts to help the Finnish Winter War children who, in the beginning of World War II, came pouring into Sweden. In 1939-1940, about 9,000 Finnish children were placed in Swedish foster homes, while the Finns fought the invading Soviet Union in the Winter War, two months into the Second World War. A few days after the war ended in March 1940, authorities started shipping the children back to Finland. By mid-June, virtually all of them had returned to Finland.

Swedish journalists do everything in their power to maintain this image of "refugee children." One of the more grotesque examples is from 2011, when a reporter from Malmö's free daily paper, City, visited a housing project for young men, and placed a stuffed polar bear doll in the arms of Ahmad Farid from Afghanistan. Ahmad is said to be 16 years old, but looks considerably older. So to make the Swedes perceive him as a defenseless child, the journalists use the stuffed animal as a prop. But not even the Swedes are that naïve. The picture is one of the most commonly used in alternative media, to prove what is commonly termed "the unaccompanied refugee children fraud."

So why would men between 20 and 30 years of age choose to pose as children and be put in foster homes and schools for teenagers? The answer is that "children" get their applications fast-tracked, and 75% receive permanent residency status in Sweden.

Another example of Swedish journalists' ineptitude in distinguishing children from adults comes from the daily, Kristianstadsbladet. In 2012, the paper told the story of "the fastest 14-year-old in Sweden," Saad Alsaud, reported to hold the record in the 100-meter dash for Swedish 14-year-olds (11.82 seconds). In the picture, you can see the "14-year-old" running with actual children around 10 years of age -- except he looks more as if he is their father than a few years older than them.

Saad Alsaud (left frame, center), an unaccompanied "child refugee," is pictured in 2012, when he was reported to be Sweden's fastest "14-year-old". In 2011, a newspaper reporter from Malmö shared a teddy bear and some laughs with "16-year-old" Ahmad Farid (right frame), an unaccompanied "child refugee" from Afghanistan.

It is considered unreasonable for children to wait longer than six months for a decision on whether they get to stay or not, and thus it is a huge advantage, when seeking asylum, to claim that you are under 18. As children cannot be placed in regular refugee accommodations, they end up either in foster homes with Swedish families, or in institutions for young people with social problems, such as drug abuse. This costs the Swedish taxpayer up to 5,000 kronor (about $580 USD) per person, per day. In some cases, counties have paid 70,000 kronor ($8,100 USD) a month for a one-bedroom apartment.

An employee at one of the facilities for "unaccompanied children" spoke anonymously to alternative media about the fraud. "Isak" (a pseudonym) had this to say, when he spoke to Dispatch International in September 2014:
"I'm risking my job by telling you this. ... Many of us are under state orders to keep quiet. It's professional misconduct to contact, for example, immigration services with information about someone lying on their asylum application. Imagine being in that situation! Ask yourselves if you would risk your family's financial position and your career, if you're wondering why I've kept quiet for so long. This is the reason why so few dare tell. However, internally, a majority of the supervisors at the asylum seekers' homes talk to each other about the fact that the "children" are in fact adults, as if it is perfectly natural. But if what I'm saying now garners any attention, you can be sure some tabloid will find and talk to the minority of supervisors who are not yet aware of the scope of this deception -- you do not see it until you have worked for a few years in the business, you gradually realize what is going on. It is a process."
In June alone, 1500 "children" arrived in Sweden -- the highest number ever for a single month. Several new residences are being hurriedly opened, while staff on holiday were forced back to work immediately to care for the new arrivals. The situation is particularly urgent in Gothenburg, a city that has received 403 new children so far this year.

Louise Parbring, temporary Director of Integration in Gothenburg, told the daily, GT, about the situation: "It is an extreme increase, far higher than we could ever imagine. We have an incredibly urgent situation in the city if we are to meet up with, and take care of, them." Thus, Parbring hopes that the denizens of Gothenburg will open their homes. "We shall need families who can take care of them. And volunteers for different activities at the homes would be great."

But the problems are not just about taxpayers' money and interrupted holidays for the staff. During the last few years, violent incidents at the homes where the "children" live have become more and more prevalent. In December 2014, even Swedish public television, otherwise known to do its best to hide the truth, reported about a 15-year-old from Afghanistan who had beaten and threatened the staff as well as other residents. He had also, among other matters, choked a 14-year-old and shoved his face in a bowl of ice cream. He also tried to molest the girls at the home; several were so scared of him that they ran away.

Finally, the 15-year-old was moved to his own apartment, and is now well known by the local police.

Some "children" leave the homes willingly. A couple of years ago, eleven children disappeared from Notgårdshemmet in Ludvika, reportedly because they were "dissatisfied with the food and the lack of transportation and activities." The incident caused the daily newspaper Dalarnas Tidning to try to get to the bottom of what the conditions are really like for the "children." Are they truly living under such dire conditions that running away is a logical solution? Bo Sundqvist, head of the county Culture and Leisure Administration, and responsible for integration issues, had this to say:
"All the people living at Notgårdshemmet have their own room with a bed, desk and chair. They get a bus pass every month; bicycles and computers are available on loan at the home. But they have to pay for things like mobile phones themselves."
The reporter wrote:
"In addition to room and board, they get about 1900 kronor ($220 USD) a month. Of this, 1050 kronor are a regular children's or student's subsidy, while the other 855 kronor are a special subsidy for unaccompanied children who lack parents."
The reporter's claim that they lack parents is not quite true, though. Let's go back to Ahmad from Afghanistan, the guy with the stuffed polar bear. Ahmad told City that he and his family lived "under threat" in Kabul, and that his family decided to "pay a trafficker to bring the then-16-year-old Ahmad to safety. Safety as in Europe."

And that is where Ahmad's memory ends. City states laconically that Ahmad cannot remember how long the trip took, or the name of the city he arrived from when he got off the train at Malmö Central Station. However, he knew exactly where to go: Immigration Services at Celsiusgatan, where he submitted a claim for asylum. The newspaper skirts the issue of how this was possible. Other countries have been successful in using various methods to establish the age of people claiming to be children, but this practice is considered invasive and "bad" in Sweden these days. Recently, a survey in Denmark showed that 72% of asylum-seeker "children" were actually adults. The fact that Denmark carries out these controls could explain why only 818 children sought asylum there last year, compared to Sweden's 7,049. Finland and Norway also conduct age tests, and estimate that 66% of those tested are over 18.

In September 2014, social commentator Merit Wager wrote:
"That there should be such a huge discrepancy between Sweden and other Nordic countries when it comes to the age of unaccompanied 'children' seems highly unlikely."
Wager quoted Anders Thomas, who worked for the Immigration Service for eight years:
"It was a bizarre experience, to sit there and investigate '16-year-olds' who were obviously closer to my age. Back then, you had the option to do age verification; that is not the case today, when pretty much all the people who claim to be children are let in. What happens when these grown men start high school along with real 16-17-year-olds?"
In 2013, Wager wrote on her blog that as many as 86% of those who come to Sweden claiming to be children may be adults. That year, 134 asylum-seeking children were age tested -- and 116 turned out to be over 18. The other 1072 "children" were never tested.

Wager wrote:
"The cost of the 'unaccompanieds' is huge for the 86 percent adults seeking asylum as 'children', if one calculates from the numbers given by Immigration Services, and applies this to all the people claiming to be under 18. There is no doubt we are talking about hundreds of millions of kronor every year. Not for these 116, but if we assume this is true of 86 percent of all the alleged underage people who come to Sweden (as of September 2013, 2558 in total), the numbers are staggering. Staggering!"
And the numbers, to be sure, are staggering. In a November 2014 article in the daily tabloid, Expressen, Immigration Service press officer Fredrik Bengtsson admits that the unaccompanied refugee children are the next big billion-dollar industry in Sweden. And the people who profit from the "children" are in many cases private entrepreneurs who provide housing. With an average cost of 2000 kronor (about $233 USD) per child each day, the 7,000 refugee "children" who came to Sweden last year cost 5.1 billion kronor (nearly $595 million USD).

The latest jolting story about an unaccompanied refugee child concerns a 17-year-old who was sent as an "anchor" to Sweden in 2013. His family reportedly paid about $11,000 to send him to Sweden; once he got residency status, they would execute their plan for the rest of the family to follow. But the 17-year-old was not content with his family merely being allowed to come. He thought Swedish taxpayers ought to pay for their trip. He sent a bill for airfare to social services, totaling 25,000 kronor ($2,900 USD), which was rejected. Not to be discouraged, the 17-year-old appealed the decision -- and won.

A relatively new situation is of children -- genuine underage children -- from Morocco. But as Morocco is not at war, the children have no grounds for asylum. However, before their applications are denied, they often run away from the refugee homes, to roam the streets of Stockholm. Last year 381 Moroccan children sought asylum in Sweden. They are usually street children from Tangiers or Casablanca, who started doing drugs at an early age, and they distrust all authorities.

Police officers Christian Frödén and Mikael Lins, who work in Stockholm, told Swedish public television SVT on May 10 2015:
"A low estimate is that we have 200 kids from Morocco roaming the central city evenings and nights, committing crimes. They are ages nine and up. In many cases, they smoke hashish and are completely uncomprehending of the Swedish attitude towards drugs."
The Moroccan boys commit crimes such as theft, petty larceny, pickpocketing and muggings, but the authorities do not know how to handle the kids who decline the help offered by the Swedish state.

"We can lock them up in institutions, but that is just short term, to save individual lives. I think we need national co-ordination to get at this problem," Christian Frödén says.

The Immigration Service states that they intend to consult with other European countries and "maybe create some new type of home for these children."

As usual, Sweden demands that its taxpayers open their wallets. Far be it from the authorities to put their foot down and refuse asylum to Moroccan street children and full-grown men posing as children, something that would bring down the number of asylum applications from "unaccompanied children" in no time.
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Ingrid Carlqvist


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