Friday, January 22, 2016

Judicial Watch Uncovers New State Department Records Confirming Arab Smuggling “Cells,” Al Qaeda Leader in Mexico - Judicial Watch

by Judicial Watch

Hat Tip Jean-Charles Bensoussan

Though the Obama administration has vehemently denied that there is terror-related activity on the southern border, recent revelations tell a very different story

ShukrijumahFor more than a decade the U.S. government has known that “Arab extremists” are entering the country through Mexico with the assistance of smuggling network “cells,” according to State Department documents obtained by Judicial Watch that reveal among them was a top Al Qaeda operative wanted by the FBI. Some Mexican smuggling networks actually specialize in providing logistical support for Arab individuals attempting to enter the United States, the government documents say. The top Al Qaeda leader in Mexico was identified in the September 2004 cable from the American consulate in Ciudad Juárez as Adnan G. El Shurkrjumah. The cable was released to Judicial Watch under the Freedom of Information Act.

The new intelligence records were released as a result of an ongoing JW investigation into the critical national security threats on the southern border, specifically those created by Islamic terrorists teaming up with Mexican drug cartels to infiltrate and attack the U.S. In response to JW’s reporting in the last two years the Obama administration—through various spokespeople, including FBI Director James Comey—has vehemently denied that Islamic terrorists are operating in Mexican towns near American cities or entering the U.S. through the famously porous southern border.

The State Department documents, which include substantial redactions supposedly to protect classified and personal information, contradict this. JW obtained them as part of an investigative series into Shukrijumah, an Al Qaeda operative also known as Javier Robles. In December, 2014 Shukrijumah was killed by the Pakistan Army in an intelligence-borne operation in South Waziristan. But before he died Shukrijumah helped plan several U.S. attacks, including plots to bomb Oprah Winfrey’s studio and detonate nuclear devices in multiple American cities. For years Shukrijumah appeared on the FBI’s most wanted list and, despite being sought by the agency, he crossed back and forth into the U.S. from Mexico to meet fellow militant Islamists in Texas. JW has reported that, as one of the world’s most wanted terrorists, Shukrijumah piloted an aircraft into the Cielo Dorado airfield in Anthony, New Mexico.

The new State Department records show that U.S. authorities knew Shukrijumah was in Mexico because they say that the Regional Security Office (RSO) at the consulate in Ciudad Juárez used newspapers to distribute information throughout Sonora and Chihuahua, Mexico about the Al Qaeda operative at the request of the FBI’s Joint Terrorism Task Force in El Paso. This appears on page 17 of the documents, which are linked above in their entirety. Of interesting note is that the government uses an exemption that applies to classified information to continue to withhold some of the records when the entire file was already declassified back in September, 2014.

Information about Middle Eastern terrorists entering the U.S. through Mexico appears in a September 2, 2004 cable—declassified 10 years later—titled “CONFIDENTIAL INFORMANT, A PROVEN CI TO USG IN THE PAST, REPORTS ARAB CELLS WITHIN MEXICO.” It explains that a reputable government informant went to the U.S. Consulate in Ciudad Juárez and provided information pertaining to suspect Arab extremists who have been smuggled into the U.S. through the Mexican border. “The confidential source (SUBJECT) stated his family member, who is a human trafficker, knows the exact whereabouts of three Arabs who are currently being hidden in Agua Prieta, Sonora, Mexico,” the State Department cable reads. “Although not absolutely positive, one of the three is likely Adnan G. El Shukrijumah, alleged to be a Saudi Arabian terrorist cell leader thought to be in Mexico. SUBJECT also provided information on two smuggling networks, “cells,” that specialize in providing logistical support for Arab individuals attempting to enter the United States.”

Many questions remain about the U.S. government’s relationship with Shukrijumah, but last spring JW obtained records from the Florida Department of Law Enforcement (FDLE) that indicate he was a Confidential Source/Informant for the government. Shukrijumah lived in South Florida’s Broward County and graduated from Broward Community College with a degree in computer engineering. Four months before the 9/11 terrorist attacks Shukrijumah fled the U.S. He was one of the suspected actors in a number of planned terror attacks in the U.S., including a plot to simultaneously detonate nuclear devices in several U.S. cities. Convicted terrorist Jose Padilla claimed to have trained with Shukrijumah to blow up U.S. apartment buildings using natural gas explosions.

In 2010 Shukrijumah was indicted in the Eastern District of New York for his role in a terrorist plot to attack targets in the United States—including New York City’s subway system—and the United Kingdom, according the FBI. The plot against New York City’s subway system was directed by senior Al Qaeda leadership in Pakistan, the FBI says, and was directly related to a scheme by Al Qaeda plotters in Pakistan to use Western operatives to attack a target in the United States.

A year earlier Shukrijumah helped plan a terrorist truck-bomb targeting Winfrey’s Harpo Studios in Chicago as well as the iconic Sears Tower. Two of his fellow conspirators—Emad Karakrah and Hector Pedroza Huerta—were arrested in 2014 for unrelated state crimes in different parts of the country. Karakrah got busted in Chicago on charges of making a false car bomb threat after leading police on a high-speed chase with an ISIS flag waving from his vehicle. Huerta, an illegal alien twice convicted for driving intoxicated, got nabbed in El Paso for drunk driving. Both Karakrah and Pedroza were released from custody in 2015 under highly unusual plea deals.

The men formed part of a sophisticated narco-terror ring, exposed in a JW investigative series, with connections running from El Paso to Chicago to New York City. The operation includes an all-star lineup of logistics and transportation operatives for militant Islamists in the United State, drug and weapons smugglers for the Juarez drug cartel in Mexico, an FBI confidential informant gone rogue and two of the FBI’s most wanted terrorists. Shukrijumah was one of them and, though he’s dead, he is an important part of the puzzle and extremely relevant when connecting the dots in the narco-terror ring.

Judicial Watch


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

High Court To Hear Amnesty Challenge - Matthew Vadum

by Matthew Vadum

Will Democrats' gain 5 million new voters with the stroke of a pen?

The Supreme Court has decided to hear 26 states' challenge to President Obama's unpopular and constitutionally dubious plan that amnesties up to 5.5 million illegal aliens and provides incentives for foreigners to have so-called anchor babies in order to gain legal immigrant status here.

After the Obama administration lost twice in lower courts, the high court gave the administration a win Tuesday when it decided to review a November ruling by the U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit upholding Brownsville, Texas-based U.S. District Judge Andrew Hanen's order earlier last year halting implementation of Obama's executive amnesty.

As attorney Gabriel Malor writes at The Federalist:
"At the most basic level, this case is about stopping yet another President Obama end-run around Congress. In accordance with its constitutional authority, Congress has established an elaborate immigration scheme governing which aliens may enter the United States, how long they may stay, and which aliens must be removed. Obama and the Democrats do not like Congress’ immigration scheme, but they lack the votes to change it."
The decision to take up the politically explosive issue sets the high court up for high drama in this election year in which illegal immigration, and immigration policies in general, figure prominently. The Supreme Court is expected to render its decision on the merits of the case by June. Led by Donald Trump, most Republican presidential candidates oppose amnesty in varying degrees while all Democrats favor it.

After the court acted, Senate Democrats succeeded in blocking a common-sense measure that would have paused the resettling of refugees from terrorist-producing  Syria and Iraq in the U.S. until the FBI could certify they didn't constitute a threat to the U.S. The vote Wednesday was 55 to 43, which fell short of the 60-vote threshold needed for the Senate to move forward. The House approved the legislation in November. The president vowed to veto the bill if it reaches his desk.

Obsessed with his legacy, President Obama is determined to unravel America's immigration system in order to flood the country with desperately poor, illiterate peasants from the Third World, especially those from Mexico, who come to the U.S. and depress labor markets while they suck the nation's welfare state dry. Obama wants to do this in order to wash away the rule of law tainted as it is by Anglo-Saxon jurisprudence, along with whatever stubborn residue of American Revolutionary enlightenment that remains deeply embedded within the tissues of our culture and free institutions.

Conservative champion Sen. Jeff Sessions (R-Alabama) has previously accused President Obama of “systematically” dismantling the nation’s immigration enforcement system. Obama’s attacks on America’s immigration laws, including his embrace of so-called sanctuary cities that unlawfully shield illegals from the law, are “undermining the very rule of law upon which our nation was founded and upon which its greatness depends.”

The litigation arises from Obama's post-2014 election maneuvering. Obama stuck his finger in voters' eyes and embarked on his massive Democrat-voter importation plan in late 2014 after his party's policies were dramatically repudiated by voters in congressional elections.

Trotting out tired old mantras like "coming out of the shadows," the president said at the time:
"So we’re going to offer the following deal: If you’ve been in America more than five years. If you have children who are American citizens or illegal residents. If you register, pass a criminal background check and you’re willing to pay your fair share of taxes, you’ll be able to apply to stay in this country temporarily without fear of deportation. You can come out of the shadows and get right with the law. That’s what this deal is."
Texas and 25 other states are suing to halt the amnesty.

Obama's executive actions aim to shield from deportation illegal alien parents of U.S. citizens and children who were raised in this country, by way of his legally haphazard Deferred Action for Parents of Americans and Lawful Permanent Residents (DAPA) program and by expanding the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program.

DAPA institutionalizes "anchor babies," which are children born in the United States to a mother who is not legally present in the country. Under current law, the child is automatically a U.S. citizen who can eventually sponsor other family members as immigrants to the U.S., but that doesn't mean its parents get to stay in the U.S. in the meantime.

DAPA lets the illegal alien parents obtain temporary lawful immigration status if their child is an American citizen or a lawful permanent resident (green card holder).

"In other words, for the first time, the Obama administration brought the 'anchor baby' concept into practice in the United States," attorney Malor explains.

The high court is also asking counsel in the case to address whether Obama's actions run afoul of a provision of the U.S. Constitution that requires the president to "take care that the laws be faithfully executed." (The Heritage Foundation has a good primer on the Take Care Clause, also known as the Faithful Execution Clause.)

Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton (R) said Obama went beyond his legitimate presidential powers and usurped the authority of Congress.

"The court should affirm what President Obama said himself on more than 20 occasions: that he cannot unilaterally rewrite congressional laws and circumvent the people's representatives," Paxton said.

"President Obama is not a king, and impatient presidents don't get to change the law," said Jay Sekulow, chief counsel at the American Center for Law and Justice. "This executive overreach is both unlawful and unconstitutional."

On the left, Frank Sharry, executive director of America's Voice, urged the court to let Obama's questionable executive fiats slide. "We believe the Supreme Court will use common sense to advance the common good. Justice is finally near."

Progressives have long complained that the immigration system is broken, but they attach a special meaning to the word broken.

They mean it is functioning in a less than optimal manner, failing to lure every single prospective illegal alien available to wade across the Rio Grande or walk across the nation’s largely undefended border with Mexico. To them, immigration policy is a taxpayer-subsidized get-out-the-vote scheme for Democrats and the best reform they could imagine would be to abolish America’s borders altogether.

Obama's amnesty plan is a step in that direction.

Which is why the Left is praying the Supreme Court sides with Obama.

Matthew Vadum is an award-winning investigative reporter and the author of the book, Subversion Inc.: How Obama’s ACORN Red Shirts Are Still Terrorizing and Ripping Off American Taxpayers.


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

ISIS Is Not the Main Problem in the Middle East - Jonathan Spyer

by Jonathan Spyer

ISIS is not a unique organization; rather, it exists at one of the most extreme points along a continuum of movements committed to Sunni political Islam.

Originally published under the title "We've Got It Wrong: ISIS Is Not the Main Problem in the Middle East."

On a recent reporting trip to Iraq and northern Syria, two things were made apparent to me -- one of them relatively encouraging, the other far less so. The encouraging news is that ISIS is currently in a state of retreat. Not headlong rout, but contraction.

The bad news? Our single-minded focus on ISIS as if it were the main or sole source of regional dysfunction is the result of faulty analysis, which in turn is producing flawed policy.

Regarding the first issue, 2015 was not a particularly good year for ISIS. In the course of it, the jihadis lost Kobani and then a large area to its east, bringing the Syrian Kurdish fighters of the YPG and their allies to within 30 km of the Caliphate's "capital" in Raqqa city.

In late December, the jihadis lost the last bridge over the Euphrates that they controlled, at the Tishreen Dam. This matters because it isolates Raqqa, making it difficult for the Islamic State to rush reinforcements from Aleppo province to the city in the event of an attack. Similarly, the Kurdish YPG advanced south of the town of al-Hawl to Raqqa's east.

ISIS is not the sole, or even the main, source of Middle East dysfunction.
In Iraq, the Iraqi Shia militias and government forces have now recaptured Ramadi city (lost earlier in 2015) following the expulsion of ISIS from Tikrit and Baiji. The Kurdish Pesh Merga, meanwhile, have revenged the humiliation they suffered at the hands of ISIS in the summer of 2014. The Kurds have now driven the jihadis back across the plain between Erbil and Mosul, bringing them to the banks of the Tigris river. They have also liberated the town of Sinjar.

The city of Mosul nestles on the western side of the river. It remains ISIS's most substantial conquest. Its recapture does not appear immediately imminent, yet the general trend has been clear. The main slogan of ISIS is "Baqiya wa'tatamaddad," "Remaining and Expanding." At the present time, however, the Islamic State may be said to be remaining, but retreating.

This situation is reflected in the confidence of the fighters facing ISIS along the long front line. In interviews as I traversed the lines, I heard the same details again and again regarding changing ISIS tactics, all clearly designed to preserve manpower.

This stalling of the Islamic State is the background to its turn towards international terror, which was also a notable element of the latter half of 2015. The downing of the Russian airliner in October, the events in Paris in November, and the series of suicide bombings in Turkey since July attest to a need that the Islamic State has for achievement and for action. They need to keep the flow of recruits coming and to maintain the image of victory essential to it.

Regarding the second issue: seen from close up, the Islamic State is very obviously only a part, and not necessarily the main part, of a much larger problem. When talking both with those fighting with ISIS and with those who sympathize with it in the region, this observation stands out as a stark difference in perception between the Middle Eastern view of ISIS and the view of it presented in Western media. The latter tends to present ISIS as a strange and unique development, a dreadfully evil organization of unclear origins, which is the natural enemy of all mainstream forces in the Middle East.

ISIS has the same ideological roots and similar practices as other Salafi jihadi groups in Syria.
From closer up, the situation looks rather different.

ISIS has the same ideological roots and similar practices as other Salafi jihadi organizations active in the Syrian arena. ISIS treats non-Muslims brutally in the areas it controls, and adheres to a rigid and fanatical ideology based on a literalist interpretation and application of religious texts. But this description also applies to Jabhat al-Nusra, the al-Qaeda franchise in Syria.

Nusra opposes ISIS, and is part of a rebel alliance supported by Saudi Arabia, Qatar, and Turkey. In March 2015, when Nusra captured Idleb City in northern Syria, the city's 150 Christian families were forced to flee to Turkey. Nusra has also forcibly converted a small Druze community in Idleb. The alliance Nusra was a part of also included Muslim Brotherhood-oriented groups, such as the Faylaq al-Sham militia, which apparently had no problem operating alongside the jihadis.

ISIS is not a unique organization; rather, it exists at one of the most extreme points along a continuum of movements committed to Sunni political Islam.

Meanwhile, the inchoate mass of Sunni Islamist groups -- of which ISIS constitutes a single component -- is engaged in a region-wide struggle with a much more centralized bloc of states and movements organized around the Islamic Republic of Iran, which is committed to a Shia version of political Islam.

The Middle East -- in Yemen, Iraq, Syria, and to a lesser extent Lebanon, all along the sectarian faultline of the region -- is witnessing a clash between rival models of political Islam, of which ISIS is but a single manifestation.

The local players find sponsorship and support from powerful regional states, themselves committed to various different versions of political Islam: Iran for the Shias; Saudi Arabia, Turkey, and Muslim Brotherhood-supporting Qatar for the Sunnis.

The long awakening of political Islam as the dominant form of popular politics in the Middle East started decades ago. But the eclipse of the political order in the region, and of the nationalist dictatorships in Iraq, Syria, Egypt (temporarily), Tunisia, and Yemen in recent years, has brought it to a new level of intensity.

States, indifferent to any norms and rules, using terror and subversion to advance their interests, jihadi armed groups, and the refugee crises and disorder that result from all this are the practical manifestations of it.

This, and not the fate of a single, fairly ramshackle jihadi entity in the badlands of eastern Syria and western Iraq, is the matter at hand in the Middle East.

Jonathan Spyer is director of the Rubin Center for Research in International Affairs and a fellow at the Middle East Forum.


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

The Inside Track From Israel's Gaza Border Defenders - Paul Alster

by Paul Alster

Israel remains alert for the jihadists turning their attention and firepower from Sinai, but for now believes that Gazan-based terror poses its most immediate threat.

Photos courtesy of IDF Spokesperson.
Like it or not, the Iran nuclear deal is done. In much of the Middle East, defense officials in many states believe that a sizeable proportion of the soon-to-be released $100 billion Iranian windfall will be directed toward funding proxy armies of the Islamic Republic, for whom the Jewish state remains the prime target. Israel's focus is now, more than ever, on defense and surveillance.

In the north, Hizballah, Iran's proxy Lebanese army, remains a massive threat to regional stability, siding with Syria's disgraced President Bashar Assad and his saviors from Russia. In Gaza, it is no secret that a previous rift between Iran and Hamas has been smoothed over to further mutual objectives and that another, and possibly more brutal round of hostilities between Israel and Hamas may not be far away.

"The sanctions relief and the nuclear deal with Iran represent a strategic shift that the IDF will have to tackle over the next decade," Israel Defense Forces (IDF) Chief of Staff Gadi Eizenkot said Monday in a speech at the INSS conference in Tel Aviv. "We also see [Iran's] attempt to influence Arab Israelis and those in the Gaza Strip, and the estimation is that as Iran's economic situation improves, over the next one-to-two years, it will divert considerably more resources into opposing Israel, via the Iranian military industry."

Last week, the Investigative Project on Terrorism (IPT) saw first-hand the situation on Israel's south-western border, meeting with a senior IDF source who cannot be identified for security reasons. Close to the Kerem Shalom border crossing, where Israel oversees the transfer of many hundreds of tons of goods and supplies every day into Gaza,  we scrambled up a sizeable sand dune that offered a panoramic view of the situation on the ground toward the closed Rafah crossing from Egypt into Gaza.

"We hear the explosions and the fighting [against the Islamists] on the Egyptian side. The Egyptian army is taking it seriously," the senior IDF source explained as we looked across the triangular border junction and heard distant noises, apparently explosions. "We hear this every day. Terrorists continue to try to cross from Egypt into Gaza."

Minutes later, a text message announced that the Keren Shalom crossing suddenly had been closed. It turned out that the Egyptian army reportedly engaged and killed 13 jihadists  just a couple of miles away. Two days earlier, an attempt to breach the Israel-Gaza border fence and plant an IED resulted in an Israeli airstrike reportedly eliminating a member of the Al Aqsa Martyrs Brigade.

Meanwhile, Hamas continues to test fire rockets into the sea, and in recent months other Islamic militants in Gaza sporadically lob rockets toward Israel. On the other side of the border triangle, Egypt is doing its best to keep a lid on ISIS and other Islamist forces in the Sinai Peninsula.

It's clear that relations between the Israeli and Egyptian militaries are good, a dangerous common enemy helping to focus minds. Under President Abdel Fattah el-Sisi, Egypt (despite a lack of support from the United States), has taken the fight to the terror organizations, often at a significant cost in Egyptian military lives. The horrific October downing of the Russian passenger jet out of Sharm el-Sheikh brought the scale of the task facing Egypt into focus. Israel remains alert for the jihadists turning their attention and firepower from Sinai, but for now believes that Gazan-based terror poses its most immediate threat.

"It's been quite quiet with Hamas [since the 2014 Protective Edge war], but they don't keep quiet for long," the IDF source said. "We're not looking for a fight – we have an interest that there will be quiet here – but if we have to deal with Hamas, this time we'll deal with them properly."

Many Israelis were dismayed when Israel unilaterally pulled out of Gaza in 2014 without a ceasefire, some criticism coming notably from members of the left-wing opposition and media for allowing Hamas off the hook when many believed it was in utter disarray. Now, despite ongoing attempts to stem the flow of weapons, reports suggest Hamas is rebuilding fast and may have some surprises in store for Israel if there's another round of fighting.

"Look, we're quite certain they are still building tunnels," the official said, planting his heel in the sand and showing how easy it is to dig. "And yes, I'm sure they have new weapons – anti-tank, anti-aircraft etc. Like us, they will want to be better next time, but we understand more. The reality is different. We're learning all the time what is going in Gaza. The army is always preparing for the war to come and [Hamas] won't meet the same thing as in [Protective Edge]."

While Israeli soldiers and advanced technology such as its Guardium unmanned patrol vehicles are the first line of defense – the IDF indicated last year that the development of underground tunnel detection systems is also a priority project – the eyes of the military are actually in special units of female soldiers, known as the tazpitanyot. They monitor all movements, looking for suspicious activity, known terror operatives, and attempts to breach the border.

They work in a series of non-descript trailers and shipping containers belying the fact that inside are massed banks of video screens and radar images, and the ability to combine pictures filmed from aerial blimps with other cameras – both day and night vision. This arrangement allows operatives to zoom in and see Gazans as far as a mile from the border fence.
When anything, or anyone suspicious pops up, there are pictures of 'Wanted' terror suspects close to the screens.  They instruct 
the on-the-ground forces to investigate. Never averting their gaze from the screen during a four-hour shift, each soldier has been trained to identify every landmark, tree, or rock within her specific area of surveillance. "If there's even a single branch missing from a tree, they'll spot it" the women's commanding officer said. They also have remote control of the machine guns sited on border watch towers.

No security system is 100 percent foolproof, and during the first two weeks of the last round of fighting, four terror tunnels emerged on the Israeli side, only being detected at the last moment.  In two cases, the IDF fought gun-battles leaving  at least 10 terrorists and six Israeli soldiers dead. Hamas had hoped to kill civilians before luring Israeli soldiers back through the tunnels then kidnapping them or causing mass casualties.

Methods and practices of surveillance are being continually reviewed, but no-one in the Israeli military doubts the tatzpitanyot's crucial front-line role in its border security, both north and south.

Paul Alster is an Israel-based journalist. Follow him on Twitter @paul_alster and visit his website:


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

The nuclear agreement and reform in Iran - Elliot Abrams

by Elliot Abrams

Having more money will embolden Iran's rulers and do ‎nothing for its citizens, who detest the tyranny under which they live.

It was widely assumed that with the end of sanctions, Iran would "join the world" and ‎become a less repressive state. To take just one example, the Iranian philosopher Ramin ‎Jahanbegloo argued in Huffington Post that the nuclear deal created "the opportunity for ‎Iranian civic actors to enable and empower Iran's civil society space" and "help the country ‎to become more open, transparent and susceptible to international pressure on issues like ‎the death penalty and the imprisonment of civic actors in Iran." Last summer, Reuters ‎carried this story: "Iranian pro-democracy activists, lawyers and artists have thrown their ‎weight behind last month's nuclear deal with world powers, hoping it will lead to a promised ‎political opening that President Hassan Rouhani has so far failed to deliver."‎
Oh well. That was the last thing Iran's rulers had in mind, and they have acted quickly this ‎week to crush such reformist efforts. Here's The Wall Street Journal account:‎

"Days after Iran secured relief from economic sanctions under a contentious nuclear deal, ‎the country's powerful hard-liners are moving to sideline more moderate leaders who stand ‎to gain from a historic opening with the West.‎

"Almost two-thirds of the 12,000 candidates who applied to run in next month's ‎parliamentary elections were either disqualified by Iran's Guardian Council or withdrew.‎"

Actually the picture is even worse: 99% of reformist candidates were rejected.‎

So the hopes that the nuclear agreement would lead to reform are vanishing very quickly. ‎As is, and always was, logical: Reform was never the intention of the Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, ‎the Iranian Revolutionary Guard Corps, the Quds Force, the Basij thugs, or any of the groups and individuals that hold a ‎monopoly on force and hold real political power in Iran. As we just saw in the seizure of ‎American sailors in the Gulf, having more money will embolden Iran's rulers -- and do ‎nothing for the vast majority of its citizens who detest the tyranny under which they live.‎

That's the real problem with the nuclear deal, and with the whole Obama approach to Iran ‎since he became president. He has always sought an improved relationship with the Iranian ‎regime, not with the Iranian people. When the people rose up in 2009, he was silent in the ‎crucial early days -- because the uprising was inconvenient, threatening to spoil his ‎diplomacy with the ayatollahs.‎

One cannot condemn Iranian reformers for seeing some hope in the nuclear deal. One can ‎only feel sorry that the United States and others in the P5+1 made an arrangement with ‎their oppressors that will likely lengthen the life of this criminal regime.‎

Elliot Abrams is a senior fellow for Middle East Studies at the Council on Foreign Relations. This piece is reprinted from Abrams' blog "Pressure Points."


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

Senate Dems thwart Syrian refugee bill - Rick Moran

by Rick Moran

Bill would have drastically tightened screening procedures

Senate Democrats narrowly blocked a bill that would have severely slowed the flood of Syrian refugees who are headed for America by drastically tightening the vetting process that's supposed to screen out criminals and terrorists.

Common sense has left the building.

"This bipartisan bill would allow Washington to step back, take a breath and ensure it has the correct policies and security screenings in place," Republican Majority Leader Mitch McConnell said in the Senate before the vote.
Democrats called the legislation an attack on people who are fleeing war. They accused Republicans of holding the vote to allow their 2016 presidential candidates serving in the Senate to back legislation touted as tough on security.
All three Senate Republican 2016 presidential hopefuls, Ted Cruz, Rand Paul and Marco Rubio, backed the bill. Democratic presidential candidate Bernie Sanders missed the vote.
Democrats also sought to play politics. They tried and failed to reach a deal with Republicans to set up a vote on an amendment establishing a religious test for would-be immigrants.
That vote was planned to see if Republicans would side against presidential candidate Donald Trump, who has advocated barring Muslims from entering the United States.
The Syria refugee bill passed the House by a large margin days after the Nov. 13 Islamic State attacks in Paris. The bill was supported by dozens of Democrats who defied Democratic President Barack Obama's veto threat.
"We need to talk about efforts to defeat ISIS, not creating more paperwork for cabinet secretaries," Harry Reid, the Senate Democratic leader, told reporters before the vote.
It currently takes 18-24 months for Syrian refugees to be screened before they can move to the United States.
It was recently revealed that 113 refugees have been ordered deported for ties to terrorists discovered after they arrived in the U.S.  The government has lost track of most of them.  So the question of whether the screening process is adequate to keep terrorists from sneaking into the country has already been answered.  The question that should be asked is why Democrats are so cavalier about our security when it is so obviously threatened by bureaucratic incompetence.

Besotted with political correctness and fearing to be seen as "intolerant," Democrats would rather see you dead than sacrifice their perceived political advantage with the American people.  That says all we need to know about what will happen if the Democrats win back the Congress in November.

Rick Moran


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

Palestinians: Western Media's Ignorance and Bias - Khaled Abu Toameh

by Khaled Abu Toameh

  • Foreign journalists based in Jerusalem and Tel Aviv have for years refused to report on the financial corruption and human rights violations that are rife under the Palestinian Authority (PA) and Hamas regimes. Palestinian "suffering" and the "evil" of the Israeli "occupation" are the only admissible topics.
  • Another Ramallah-based colleague shared that a few years ago he received a request from a cub correspondent to help arrange an interview with Yasser Arafat. Except at that point, Arafat had been dead for several years. Fresh out of journalism school and unknowledgeable about the Middle East, the journalist was apparently considered by his editors a fine candidate for covering the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.
  • Western reporters would do well to remember that journalism in this region is not about being pro-Israel or pro-Palestinian. Rather, it is about being "pro" the truth, even when the truth runs straight up against what they would prefer to believe.

Two Western journalists recently asked to be accompanied to the Gaza Strip to interview Jewish settlers living there.

No, this is not the opening line of a joke. These journalists were in Israel at the end of 2015, and they were deadly serious.

Imagine their embarrassment when it was pointed out to them that Israel had completely pulled out of the Gaza Strip ten years ago.

You have to have some pity for them. These foreign colleagues were rookies who aimed to make an impression by traveling to a "dangerous" place such as the Gaza Strip to report on the "settlers" living there. Their request, however, did not take anyone, even my local colleagues, by surprise.

These "parachute journalists," as they are occasionally called, are catapulted into the region without being briefed on the basic facts of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. Sadly, correspondents such as these are more the rule than the exception. A particular clueless British reporter springs to mind:

When Israel assassinated Hamas's founder and spiritual leader, Ahmed Yasmin, in 2004, a British newspaper dispatched its crime reporter to Jerusalem to cover the event. To this reporter, the region, as well as Hamas, were virgin territory. His editors had sent him to the Middle East, he said, because no one else was willing to go.

Well, our hero reported on the assassination of Ahmed Yassin from the bar of the American Colony Hotel. His byline claimed that he was in the Gaza Strip and had interviewed relatives of the slain leader of Hamas.

Sometimes one feels as if one is some sort of a lightning rod for these tales. Another Ramallah-based colleague shared that a few years ago he received a request from a cub correspondent to help arrange an interview with Yasser Arafat. Except at that point, Arafat had been dead for several years. Fresh out of journalism school and unknowledgeable about the Middle East, the journalist was apparently considered by his editors a fine candidate for covering the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.

In the three decades of covering this beat, journalists of this type have become quite familiar to me. They board a plane, read an article or two in the Times and feel ready to be experts on the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.

Some of them have even assured me that before 1948 there was a Palestinian state here with East Jerusalem as its capital. Like the ill-informed young colleagues who wished to interview the nonexistent Jewish settlers in the Gaza Strip of 2015, they were somewhat taken aback to learn that prior to 1967, the West Bank had been under the control of Jordan, while the Gaza Strip had been ruled by Egypt.

Is there some difference between an Arab citizen of Israel and a Palestinian from the West Bank or Gaza Strip? My foreign colleagues may well not be able to say. Does the Hamas charter really state that the Islamist movement seeks to replace Israel with an Islamic empire? If so, my international co-workers may not be able to tell you.

One memorable journalist, several years ago, asked to visit the "destroyed" city of Jenin, where "thousands of Palestinians had been massacred by Israel in 2002." She was referring to the IDF operation in the Jenin refugee camp where nearly 60 Palestinians, many of them gunmen, and 23 IDF soldiers were killed in a battle.

Pity aside, this degree of incomprehension -- and professional laziness -- is difficult to imagine in the Internet age.

But when it comes to covering the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, ignorance apparently is bliss. Misconceptions about what goes on here plague the international media. The binary good guy/bad guy designation tops the list. Someone has to be the good guy (the Palestinians are assigned that job) and someone has to be the bad guy (the Israelis get that one). And everything gets refracted through that prism.

Yet the problem is deeper still. Many Western journalists covering the Middle East do not feel the need to conceal their hatred for Israel and for Jews. But when it comes to the Palestinians, these journalists see no evil. Foreign journalists based in Jerusalem and Tel Aviv have for years refused to report on the financial corruption and human rights violations that are rife under the Palestinian Authority (PA) and Hamas regimes. They possibly fear being considered "Zionist agents" or "propagandists" for Israel.

Finally, there are the local journalists hired by Western reporters and media outlets to help the cover the conflict. These journalists may refuse to cooperate on any story that is deemed "anti-Palestinian." Palestinian "suffering" and the "evil" of the Israeli "occupation" are the only admissible topics. Western journalists, for their part, are keen not to anger their Palestinian colleagues: they do not wish to be denied access to Palestinian sources.

Thus, the international media's indifference in the face of the current wave of stabbings and car-rammings against Israelis should come as no surprise. One would be hard-pressed to find a Western journalist or a media organization referring to Palestinian assailants as "terrorists." In fact, international headlines often show more sympathy toward Palestinian attackers who are killed in the line of aggression than toward the Israelis who were attacked in the first place.

Of course, the above tales hardly apply to all foreign journalists. Some correspondents from the US, Canada, Australia and Europe are both very knowledgeable and very fair. Unfortunately, however, these represent but a small group among mainstream media in the West.

Western reporters, especially those who are "parachuted" into the Middle East, would do well to remember that journalism in this region is not about being pro-Israel or pro-Palestinian. Rather, it is about being "pro" the truth, even when the truth runs straight up against what they would prefer to believe.

  • Follow Khaled Abu Toameh on Twitter

Khaled Abu Toameh is an award-winning journalist based in Jerusalem.


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

Revealed: Who's funding Israel's far-left? - Ari Yashar

by Ari Yashar

Leftist NGOs have driven public discourse, but just which foreign governments and foundations prop them up? New database discloses all.

As radical leftist NGOs continue to garner attention for their politicized impact on public discourse, Jerusalem-based research institute NGO Monitor this week released a database revealing just where they get their massive funds from.

The database discloses all grants reported annually by a full 27 Israeli NGOs between the years 2012 and 2014, sorting the data between private and governmental donors, and likewise indicating funds from church groups.

"The information in this database is crucial for the advancement of democratic transparency and accountability," said NGO Monitor President Professor Gerald Steinberg. "Clearly Israelis are attentive to grants given by foreign governments to political NGOs. Accurate data on this issue is important, but in recent weeks rumors and misinformation have dominated the public discourse."

"This resource provides the facts and figures currently missing from the discussion. The data provided can inform the debate over funding guidelines, and make it more accurate."

From the findings of the database, several crucial points become clear.

A staggering total of over 261 million shekels ($66 million) was received by the 27 NGOs in the course of the two years, and of that amount 65% - consisting of nearly 170 million shekels - came from foreign governments. Another 34%, nearly 89 million shekels, was raked in from private donors and foundations, while the last 1%, over two-and-a-half million shekels, came from unclear sources.

A full 20 NGOs out of the total 27 investigated received over half of their funding from foreign governments.

The three with the highest proportion of foreign governmental funding were Yesh Din at 93.5%, Terrestrial Jerusalem with 91.2%, and Emek Shaveh that got 90.2% of its funds from foreign states.

The NGO which received the largest amount of foreign state funds was B'Tselem.

Follow the money

NGO Monitor took a look at what foreign governments are funding Israel's radical left, and found that they include 21 governmental and intergovernmental entities, including the EU, UN, and the Human Rights and International Humanitarian law Secretariat, which is itself funded by Denmark, Sweden, the Netherlands and Switzerland. 

The largest donor to the NGOs was the EU, providing a full 28 million shekels, while Norway and Germany came in second and third.

As for the private funding, the London-based Sigrid Rausing Trust topped the list of donating foundations by providing 14% of the private total, closely followed by the New Israel Fund at 12%, and the Open Society Institute at 7%.

No less than 19% of the total funds, consisting of just over 50 million shekels, came in from Christian groups, most of which themselves receive large governmental funding. Another 5% of the total came from private religious institutions or donors.

The issue of foreign funding is particularly timely, as Israel is looking to pass an NGO transparency law modeled on laws in the US, which would obligate any NGOs that receive 50% or more of their funding from foreign states to open their finances to public scrutiny, as well as to identify themselves as "foreign agents" when lobbying in the Knesset.

Several radical leftist NGOs such as B'Tselem and Breaking the Silence have come under particular scrutiny in recent weeks, after an investigative TV report revealed how leading activists hand over Palestinian Arabs who want to sell land to Jews to the Palestinian Authority (PA), which summarily tortures and executes them.

The full report can be read here.

Ari Yashar


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

Israeli drill simulates combat on Syria, Lebanon borders - AP and Israel Hayom Staff

by AP and Israel Hayom Staff

Two-week IDF exercise combines air, ground, naval forces and was aimed at simulating simultaneous combat on borders with Syria and Lebanon • Exercise showed IDF is able to "implement operational plans in all arenas," GOC Northern Command says.

An Israeli helicopter during a military exercise [Archive]
Photo credit: IDF Spokesperson's Unit

AP and Israel Hayom Staff


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

Hillary’s Path Back to 9/11 - Arnold Steinberg

by Arnold Steinberg

It's high time for DVD distribution of a documentary that the Clintons buried.

The Iowa primary caucuses will be held one week from Tuesday.  But a defining moment happened about three months ago in Des Moines when Hillary Clinton, Bernie Sanders and Martin O’Malley held their second debate. 

That’s when Hillary was unprepared for an easily anticipated question about her connections to Wall Street.   Her incoherence reminded of when Jeb Bush, once his party’s frontrunner, flubbed his most likely question:  “Knowing what we know now, would you have invaded Iraq?”

When that Democratic debate at Iowa’s Drake University turned to a discussion of Hillary’s relationship with Big Money, Bernie Sanders was precise.  Wall Street supports Hillary, he said, because, “They expect to get something.  Everybody knows that.”  And then it was Hillary’s turn.

“I’m very proud that for the first time a majority of my donors are women, 60 percent,” Hillary responded.  After this non sequitur, she continued:   “I represented New York on 9/11 when we were attacked.  Where were we attacked? We were attacked in downtown Manhattan where Wall Street is. I did spend a whole lot of time and effort helping them rebuild.  That was good for New York. It was good for the economy, and it was a way to rebuke the terrorists who had attacked our country.”

Martin O’Malley said it was “pretty shameful” for Hillary to invoke 9/11 to rationalize her Wall Street mega-bucks, and he reiterated this criticism again in last Sunday’s debate. But there’s more to the story of the Clintons and 9/11.    Over two nights -- September 10-11, 2006, just four months before Hillary announced the exploratory committee for her original presidential campaign, ABC aired The Path to 9/11, a riveting and factual docudrama.  This acclaimed and balanced movie faulted two administrations -- Bill Clinton and George W. Bush.   But fairness was not what Hillary wanted.  Screenwriter Cyrus Nowrasteh told me he had expected the customary DVD distribution.  But the Clintons, fearing the impact of DVD release during her campaign, successfully pressured Disney, which owns ABC, to bury the movie.

Fast forward to now.  Hillary says she is too busy to watch 13 Hours, which doesn’t mention her name but chronicles the Benghazi disaster under her watch.  She hopes the issue will go away.  What about her two opponents? Politically correct Martin O’Malley is indifferent to national security.  Besides, with Bernie Sanders rapidly gaining momentum, O’Malley may not even qualify for the remaining two debates.  As for Sanders, the socialist does not believe America is worth defending and believes Hillary’s violation of security protocols is unimportant (“Who cares about your damn emails?”), so would he talk about Benghazi?

Too bad that former U.S. Senator Jim Webb dropped out of the race three months ago.   He would have been ideal to confront Hillary on Benghazi. Webb was first in his class at Annapolis and a decorated Marine officer in Vietnam.  Webb wrote the screenplay for the Samuel L. Jackson movie Rules of Engagement, directed by Billy Friedkin (The French Connection, The Exorcist).  That prophetic movie, released fifteen years ago, was about a planned mob attack on a U.S. Embassy, and a White House/State Department cover-up of radical Islamists.  But unlike Benghazi, Marines saved the day and the life of our ambassador.   At a screening last week of Rules of Engagement, released 18 months before 9-11, I heard Friedkin lament Hillary’s lying on Benghazi.

Last week Donald Trump rented a movie theater in Iowa to show 13 Hours.  Say what you will about Trump, but he is direct.  Since Hillary remains eager to talk about 9/11, and Bernie Sanders won’t, perhaps it’s time for Donald Trump to make a deal.   Buy the DVD distribution rights to The Path to 9/11, and let’s talk about the Clinton legacy.

Arnold Steinberg


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

Thursday, January 21, 2016

Israel to Zuckerberg: Stop Killing Jews - Karin McQuillan

by Karin McQuillan

The wave of stabbings in Israel are a Facebook-fueled intifada. And once it is tested in Israel, it will be coming to an American street near you.

It takes a global village to kill Israelis.  The recipe is well known.  Begin with the lie that Islam is the religion of peace.  Take U.N. (that is, U.S.)  money and hire jihadis to teach small children Jews should all be killed.   (First taught to the Moslem Brotherhood by Eichmann himself, sent by Hitler to launch the modern jihadi movement -- read here, and here).  Take Saudi money and staff every mosque with Wahhabi imams.  Use oil wealth to brainwash vulnerable teenagers with Islamic supremacist idealism and promise endless sex in heaven if they kill a Jew.  Flood the P.A. territories with billions of dollars in international aid, turning the entire place into one giant welfare state of entitlement and rage.

And then give the jihadis Facebook, to spread the message: go out and kill a Jew today.  With detailed instructions on how to do it. 

The wave of stabbings in Israel are a Facebook-fueled intifada.  And once it is tested in Israel, it will be coming to an American street near you.

Israelis are fed up. They can’t stop the U.N. from supporting jihad.  They can’t stop the Saudis.  They can’t stop Europe and America from sucking up to the Arab world by throwing money at the Palestinians with no strings attached (like: drop the anti-Semitic BS or no cash).

Zuckerberg is the step too far.  The story broke in the Jewish press Sunday, and is beginning to be reported more widely.

The crowd funding project explains:
What's the most effective way to murder Jews? The answer to this shocking question can be found on many Arabic Facebook pages: “spray the knife with anti-insect poison before stabbing” and other anatomic directions for more effective stabbings are being posted daily.  On countless other pages it is also very easy to find incitement to murder of Israelis and praises for Jew killers that become cultural heroes.
Tens of thousands have written to Facebook asking, demanding, begging Zuckerberg to stop supporting jihadi murder.  He refuses.  The Facebook reply?
"Thank you for taking the time to report something that you feel may violate our Community standards…we reviewed the page you reported for containing a credible threat of violence and found it doesn’t violate our Community standards."
So Israelis are fighting back with a class-action lawsuit filed against Facebook on behalf of some 20,000 Israeli signatories.
The Complaint alleges that Facebook is much more than neutral internet platform or a mere “publisher” of speech because its algorithms connect the terrorists to the inciters. Facebook actively assists the inciters to find people who are interested in acting on their hateful messages by offering friend, group and event suggestions and targeting advertising based on people’s online “likes” and internet browsing history. Additionally, Facebook often refuses to take down the inciting pages, claiming that they do not violate its “community standards.” Calling on people to commit crimes is not constitutionally protected speech and endangers the lives of Jews and Israelis. Shurat HaDin will pursue the claims against Facebook on behalf of its 20,0000 clients until Facebook makes it will not allow itself to serve as a tool for terrorists to transmit their rabble rousing messages to their followers and that incitement to anti-Semitic violence will not be tolerated on its website.
For once, Israelis have also decided to fight back in the court of public opinion. 

The anti-terror group Shurat HaDin has launched a campaign called Zuckerberg Don’t Kill Us. They are trying to raise $30,000 for good old fashioned billboards to go up around Palo Alto, where Zuckerberg lives, to shed light on what he is doing. (So far they have raised a measly $21,000 – far fewer dollars than the people reading this column). 

What is going on with Facebook?  The answer can be found in the Zuckerberg response to San Bernardino.  His statement:
I want to add my voice in support of Muslims in our community and around the world.
After the Paris attacks and hate this week, I can only imagine the fear Muslims feel that they will be persecuted for the actions of others.
If you're a Muslim in this community, as the leader of Facebook I want you to know that you are always welcome here and that we will fight to protect your rights and create a peaceful and safe environment for you….
Notice Zuckerberg does not mention San Bernardino other than “hate this week.”  He does not condemn Islamic extremism.  And most significantly, he does not say that Facebook will do everything possible to stop jihadis from using Facebook to incite and organize murder.  Instead, he assures Muslims he will fight to protect their rights and welcome them on Facebook. (hat tip Mike Gwiliam)

Zuckerberg does not have a leg to stand on.  The Israelis are correct; Facebook is quite willing to remove postings they consider hateful.  Their rules state “You will not post content that: is hate speech, threatening, or pornographic; incites violence; or contains nudity or graphic or gratuitous violence.”

Facebook software tracks private postings that use keywords used by sex offenders, in order to prevent crimes before they happen.  They could do this with jihadis inciting and boasting of murder, but they won’t.

The contrast with Facebook taking down pages that offend liberal causes is there for all to see.
In a remarkable display of the speed at which social media activism can work, online feminist organizers managed, after only a week's worth of work, to get Facebook to promise to revise its approach toward misogynist hate speech. The efforts started on May 21, when Soraya Chemaly, Jaclyn Friedman, and Laura Bates wrote an open letter on Huffington Post to Facebook demanding that the company take anti-woman hate speech on its site as seriously as it does racist hate speech and images deemed too sexual, which are routinely banned (including breastfeeding pictures). After a week of an email and Twitter campaign, Facebook responded late yesterday with an openly apologetic letter and a promise to do better.
An example of what Zuckerberg does censor from Facebook:
Just yesterday the social media platform removed an image posted to the Facebook fan page for A Voice for Men. It was an infographic that addressed the notion of “rape culture” and the “1 in 4” rape statistic, in part by citing the actual number of reported rapes at three major United States universities.
In the lead-up to the last election, after complaints from the Obama campaign Facebook removed this posting about Benghazi from a Navy SEAL’s Facebook page (hat tip Eric Wemple):  “Obama called the SEALS and THEY got bin Laden.  When the SEALs called Obama, THEY GOT DENIED.”  It was removed three times before Facebook admitted they had no right to remove political speech.

Mark Zuckerberg doesn’t just have the blood of Israelis on his hands.  He is knowingly and purposefully supporting Muslim murders of enough people for Zuckerberg to bathe in their blood from head to foot.  He has the nerve to tell us he is fighting Islamophobia and brazenly assures Muslims they are welcome on Facebook. 

The Israelis are not the only ones who want this to stop.  Enough.  Enough to have vicious enemies from seventh century nightmares reborn in the Facebook Age.  We must stop empowering them with high tech propaganda tools.  We must stop this liberal collusion with murder.  Facebook is a line in the sand.  Zuckerberg must not be allowed to get away with this.

Karin McQuillan


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