Saturday, September 10, 2016

Mahmoud Abbas and Other Soviet Ghosts - Caroline Glick

by Caroline Glick

What the revelation of Abbas’s KGB service tells us about the Russian game of subversion.

Originally published by the Jerusalem Post

Channel 1’s report Wednesday that in 1983, current Palestinian Authority Chairman and PLO chief Mahmoud Abbas served as a KGB agent is hardly the story of the year, but it does remind us of certain half-forgotten facts about the Cold War that are becoming ever more relevant today.

The PLO’s close and servile relationship with the KGB was first exposed in a systematic way in 1987, with the publication of Red Horizons: Chronicles of a Communist Spy Chief, the exposé of Soviet and Romanian Cold War operations written by former Romanian intelligence chief Lt.-Gen. Ion Pacepa. Pacepa, who defected to the US in 1978 after serving as the head of the DIE – Romania’s KGB – was the highest ranking intelligence officer from the Soviet bloc to ever defect.

In his book, Pacepa revealed that “the PLO was dreamt up by the KGB.” 

Pacepa explained how Romanian dictator Nicolae Ceausescu, at the direction of Moscow, convinced Yasser Arafat to employ political warfare, centered on phony protestations that he had abandoned terrorism, to weaken the West’s resolve to defend itself and to cause Israel to doubt its own legitimacy.

Wednesday’s Channel 1 report on Abbas was based on new revelations from the Mitrokhin Archive. Vasili Mitrokhin was a senior archivist in the KGB who surreptitiously copied KGB documents for many years and hid his copies in his home. In 1991 Mitrokhin defected to Britain and took his archive of 25,000 copies of documents with him.

In 2004, the second volume of his edited archive was published. The volume, titled, The World Was Going Our Way: The KGB and the Battle for the Third World, focused on the KGB’s efforts to use the Third World as a strategic weapon in its battle against the West. The volume devotes two chapters to the KGB’s campaign against Israel.

Mitrokhin revealed that for the KGB, Israel was a target of subversion second only in importance to the US. The KGB fielded multiple political agents on the Israeli Left and multiple Palestinian agents in the PLO’s terrorist nexus.

According to the Channel 1 report, Abbas began his official service for the KGB in 1983.

In truth his KGB ties were already longstanding by 1983.

In 1982 Abbas received a doctorate from the Patrice Lumumba University – or KGB U – in Moscow. According to KGB defectors, 90 percent of the university’s faculty and staff received their paychecks from the KGB. Its purpose was to train KGB agents from the developing world, including terrorists. Abbas’s fellow alumni included master terrorist Carlos the Jackal and future Iranian dictator Ayatollah Ali Khamenei.

Abbas received a doctorate for a thesis denying the Holocaust. That is, he used the cover of academia to vilify the Jewish state and deny Jewish history and suffering – a practice that has been his stock in trade in trade ever since.

Rather than devote his energies to murdering Israelis, along the lines of the subversive program Ceausescu presented to Arafat, Abbas’s main focus was the subversion of the European and the Israeli Left.

Until the mid-1970s, Arab terrorists were unable to make inroads in Israel because there were no significant political forces in Israeli society that questioned the justice and morality of the state or saw the PLO as anything other than a terrorist organization bent on the annihilation of Israel and the massacre of its citizens.

The situation changed with the rise of the Likud and the Right to power in 1977. As the Likud supplanted Labor as the largest party in Israel, the far Left became more susceptible to subversion.

Abbas focused his efforts on developing ties to the Israeli far Left. His efforts culminated in the 1993 Oslo peace deal which Abbas negotiated with Israeli leftist activists affiliated with then-foreign minister Shimon Peres through his deputy Yossi Beilin.

The PLO’s success in convincing the Rabin- Peres government that it had abandoned its goal of annihilating Israel came two years after the demise of the Soviet Union. In other words, the KGB’s campaign of anti-Western subversion outlived the Soviet Union.

Indeed it carries on with ever greater force and consequence. Today, the subversive campaigns that first bore fruits in the Vietnam War have brought about a situation where increasingly, Western elites cannot accept the basic morality of their societies.

Consider the case of NFL quarterback Colin Kaepernick. Last month Kaepernick caused a public outcry when he refused to stand up for the US national anthem at the beginning of a football game. Kaepernick defended himself by arguing that the US is immoral. “I am not going to stand up to show pride in a flag for a country that oppresses black people and people of color,” he said.

Rather than defend the US against his assault and insist that its symbols required respect, President Barack Obama said only that Kaepernick had a right to his opinion.

Then there is Germany. This week Chancellor Angela Merkel’s CDU party came in third place in regional elections on Merkel’s home turf behind the far-right, anti-immigration AfD party.

Merkel’s political collapse owes entirely to her refusal to budge on her open border policies.

That policy enabled more than a million, predominantly Muslim, immigrants to stream into Germany last year. An additional 300,000 are expected this year.

Merkel’s associates claim that she operates under the conviction that Germany’s Nazi past precludes any attempt to protect German society from Muslim immigrants. For Merkel, Germany is inherently immoral and therefore has no right to defend its identity or culture.

The sense among Western elites that Western culture and history as a whole are morally impaired has dampened their concern about their future. This diminished commitment to securing their societies into the future is most apparent in the West’s fertility rates, which have been below replacement rate for more than a decade. Last year for the first time, deaths in Europe outnumbered births.

The situation is similarly fraught on the other side of the former Iron Curtain. Russian society was economically and culturally broken by the Soviet defeat in the Cold War and by its post- Cold War leadership’s inability to present a life-affirming vision for a new Russia.

In some ways, post-Cold War Russia is the mirror image of the subverted West. While Western leftists insist on adopting the socialist economics of swelled welfare states, which given demographic realities are unsustainable in the long-term, to expiate their guilt for capitalism and colonialism, Russia’s leaders have largely abandoned their people to their fate.

Russia spends a bit more than a third of what OECD countries spend on public health. And the low investment shows.

According to the World Health Organization, a third of all deaths in Russia in 2012 were caused by alcohol. Russian male life expectancy is 64 – lower than it was a hundred years ago.

Drug addiction rates are soaring, as are HIV infection rates.

Like the Europeans, Russians have lost interest in the future, which increasingly will not include a Russia. With fertility rates below replacement levels, the UN estimates that by 2060, Russia’s working age population will have shrunk by 15 percent.

Due to the scarcity of workers, like Europe, Russia is experiencing massive, predominantly Muslim immigration. Russian immigration levels are second only to the US. In response, xenophobia is a large and growing social force in Russia.

According to David Satter, author of the recently released, The Less You Know, the Better You Sleep: Russia’s Road to Terror and Dictatorship under Yeltsin and Putin, Russia’s gloomy prospects, reinforced by the long-term outlook for reduced oil and gas prices, have brought about a situation where President Vladimir Putin and his associates do not think about the long-term future of their country. Their international considerations, specifically, are based on their assessments of immediate potential payoffs.

Since the Russian leadership doesn’t suffer from the civilizational neurosis the Soviets inflicted on the West, like the Soviet leaders before him, Putin’s short-term game empowers him to adopt policies with potentially high short-term payoffs regardless of the long-term dangers they create. Russia’s policies in Syria and toward Iran are case in point.

On the other side of the divide in Europe, the elites devote their remaining days in power to absolving themselves of imperialist and capitalist guilt. To this end, they have adopted the causes of those they falsely believe were most victimized by their predecessors.

The same is true, albeit to a lesser degree, in the US.

This then brings us back to KGB agent Abbas and his target, Israel.

Against great odds, and at a steep price, over the past 10 years Israeli society stopped listening to the voices on the Left parroting Abbas’s lies that Israel was born in sin, as a Western colonialist implant. Given the stakes, most Israelis today also have come to realize that our national self-confidence is a vital component of our long-term survival.

This understanding, along with a clear-eyed assessment of what drives our interlocutors in Moscow, Paris, New York and Brussels, must inform our foreign policy in the coming years.

When faced with foreign governments whose societies lack long-term prospects, Israel needs to put aside its yearning for long-term peace and stability and focus on short-term cooperative ties. It must also recognize that our partners’ interests are subject to change at a moment’s notice.

The revelation of Abbas’s KGB service requires us to recognize that the Soviets’ long game of subversion continues on today. Whether or not Western societies persevere and reject the Soviets’ central contention that they are unworthy of survival is not for Israel to decide. So, too, Israel will not convince the Russians to embrace a future based on freedom and the sanctity of life.

All we can do is wish them the best and play the short-term game with them – while keeping our long-term interests front and center in our minds.

Caroline Glick is the Director of the David Horowitz Freedom Center's Israel Security Project and the Senior Contributing Editor of The Jerusalem Post. For more information on Ms. Glick's work, visit


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Is It Time to Turn the Tables on Iran? - Stephen Bryen and Shoshana Bryen

by Stephen Bryen and Shoshana Bryen

There are major political, psychological, and military gains for the Iranians from these provocations

On April 24, 2004 the USS Firebolt, a Cyclone-class coastal patrol boat in the Persian Gulf, launched a rigid-hulled inflatable boat (RIB) when its crew observed a dhow -- a traditional boat, in this case likely owned by Iran -- fast approaching the Al Amaya oil terminal in Iraq. Suspecting an attempt to destroy the terminal, the RIB's seven-man crew pulled alongside the Dhow in order to board it. The dhow blew up in a blast intended for the terminal. Two sailors, Navy Petty Officers Michael Pernaselli and Christopher Watts, were killed instantly. Coast Guard Petty Officer Nathan Brukenthal died when the RIB turned over in the water. Brukenthal was the first Coast Guardsman killed in action since the Vietnam War.

Last week, the USS Firebolt was back in the news.

On September 4th a swarm of seven Iranian fast boats, armed with guns and missiles and belonging to the Iranian Revolutionary Guard naval force, harassed the Firebolt and forced it to divert from its heading to avoid a collision. In an incident that lasted some eight minutes, three of the Iranian boats maneuvered within about 500 yards of the Firebolt and then pulled away.  Another Iranian boat sped in front of the Firebolt and blocked its path. From what can be ascertained, the Firebolt sent radio warnings that were not answered and then -– closing in at about 100 yards -– the Firebolt turned away to avoid the "parked" Iranian attack craft. The Firebolt did not fire warning shots or blast its foghorn.

The Iranians were once again clearly testing swarm boat techniques and seeking to provoke the United States. It was the fourth time in less than a month.  American official said there have been 31 similar events this year, almost double the same period last year. This incident follows other recent harassment of vessels including the guided missile destroyer Nitze, the patrol ships Tempest and Squall and the destroyer, the USS Stout.

General Joseph Votel, commander, U.S. Central Command, said the Iranians are conducting “unsafe maneuvers” to exert their influence in the Gulf. He is correct.

There are major political, psychological, and military gains for the Iranians from these provocations.

On the military level the Iranians are learning a lot about the speed of the U.S. Command Structure –- how long it takes for a warning to be made and what happens when the first radio broadcast, foghorn, or gun is fired. One can imagine the Iranians with stopwatches. A successful swarm attack that can do real damage to major U.S. naval assets needs to be correctly sequenced, as the Iranians surely know. Even though U.S. warships are poorly equipped to deal with swarming fast attack boats, they are not without resources. And air power can be called in to augment U.S. ships under attack. If Iran's objective in such a situation involving a real attack is to cause serious damage to a U.S. aircraft carrier or a guided missile cruiser, by now they know pretty much what they have to do and what price they will pay.

The sight of U.S. warships running away from Iranian fast boats is great political propaganda that, for the Iranians, plays well at home and abroad. It is the perfect David and Goliath moment in which the Great Satan is forced to turn and run. Iran, in fact, made a video purporting to show the sinking of the Nitze as a result of Iranian “courage and righteous anger” at an “American invasion.” Internally, such propaganda boosts the Revolutionary Guard, increasing its leverage. Outside, it helps Iran spread its influence in the region and as far afield as South America.

American allies and clients in the Persian Gulf and Middle East feel the opposite impact. If the United States does not stand up to aggression, smaller and less capable countries may find it necessary to accommodate Iran. 

President Obama and American policy compound their distress. The president told Jeffrey Goldberg in an Atlantic magazine interview that Saudi Arabia -- a U.S. ally and Iranian adversary -- "needs to find an effective way to share the neighborhood and institute some sort of cold peace." Reflexively backing the Saudis against Iran, he said, "would mean we have to start coming in and using our military power to settle scores. And that would be in the interest neither of the United States nor of the Middle East."

The president quickly eschews the idea of military force in the Gulf, but what other response is there to the problem posed by Iranian-created incidents? The Iranians have already captured American sailors, and it is only a matter of time before an American is killed by Iranian action -- on purpose or in error.

To stop an evolving and increasingly dangerous game, the United States has to take aggressive action against Iranian fast attack boats before they come after us. The goal is not to start a war -- the Iranians are already working on that -- but low passes by fighter planes or helicopter gunships, rapid firing guns, and aggressive chase will make it clear to the Iranians “this far and no farther.”

The U.S. must not be chased out of international waters. The U.S. Navy surely has the assets to do the job. We just need courage from our politicians.

Stephen Bryen and Shoshana Bryen


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How the FBI went easy on Hillary Clinton - Paul Sperry

by Paul Sperry

Hat tip: Dr. Jean-Charles Bensoussan

--the nearly 60 pages of documents expose both the systematic destruction of subpoenaed evidence by Clinton’s aides and the curious lack of interest by investigators in recovering it

It’s clear now the FBI conducted a sweetheart investigation into Hillary Clinton’s email shenanigans that appears to have been fixed from the start to go nowhere.

Far from exonerating Clinton, the nearly 60 pages of documents expose both the systematic destruction of subpoenaed evidence by Clinton’s aides and the curious lack of interest by investigators in recovering it.

Agents also failed to resolve unanswered questions, reconcile contradictory testimony or sweat uncooperative witnesses.

Comey declared the investigation free of undue influence three days after his agents interviewed Clinton at FBI headquarters under special terms.

What’s more, Comey made the two FBI agents who interviewed Clinton — along with all agents and forensic analysts involved in the so-called investigation — sign non-disclosure agreements gagging them from talking about the case even with other employees.

Comey even let Clinton’s State Department aides Cheryl Mills and Heather Samuelson sit in on the interview with Clinton’s other lawyers, despite the glaring conflict of interest. FBI documents make clear Mills and Samuelson led the effort to search for and destroy Clinton’s subpoenaed emails and should’ve been prime targets of the investigation.

Comey didn’t even attend her interview and, per his testimony, only read a “summary” of it.

The FBI failed to pursue even the most basic lines of questioning. When Clinton pleaded ignorance about basic classification symbols, agents could’ve produced the State documents she signed acknowledging she was briefed about how to ID and handle classified information at the highest levels.

When Clinton claimed she couldn’t recall “ever contacting” the government computer specialist who set up her unsecured home email server, Comey could’ve produced the same evidence the State inspector general found showing Clinton had in fact paid the aide, Bryan Pagliano, “by check or wire transfer in varying amounts between 2009 and 2013.”

Pagliano was a critical witness. But instead of pressuring him to sing on Clinton and other higher-ups, Comey agreed to give him immunity from criminal prosecution.

Nor did Comey squeeze the Platte River Networks engineer who agents complained gave them “inconsistent statements over the course of three interviews regarding from where on the server he extracted Clinton’s emails.”

Comey also failed to push back against Mills’ claims of “attorney-client privilege” when she refused to divulge details about how she sifted through Clinton’s emails. Her name was on many of the emails containing classified information. At the time, she was Clinton’s chief of staff, not her lawyer. Agents agreed to drop the line of questioning when she threatened to walk out of the interview.

Ron Sievert, a former assistant director at the Justice Department and member of the DOJ’s National Security Working Group, said Comey easily could’ve gone to court to challenge Mills’ privilege claim. He didn’t.

There was also prima facie evidence of obstruction, yet Comey let that slide, too.

FBI investigators were denied two out of five Clinton iPads, 13 of her mobile devices (some of which were smashed with hammers) and even an Apple laptop and a thumb drive containing a 2013 archive of Clinton’s emails that aides claimed got “lost” in the mail. The FBI accepted the story without even determining if the laptop was sent by UPS or USPS.

It’s plain Comey never planned to recommend charges. He didn’t even impanel a federal grand jury to hear the evidence investigators had gathered.

What’s more, Comey and his investigators came across emails that showed signs of a possible pay-for-play scheme between Clinton Foundation donors and the State Department. Yet Comey chose not to expand the email investigation into a probe of public corruption.

“There seems universal agreement among those of us who know the law that no regular US government employee could get away with this,” Sievert said.

Unless Congress forces more public transparency on this Nixonian coverup — demanding the release of not just the FBI case summaries in full, without redactions, but also the supporting documents and transcripts of statements from key witnesses, along with the computer forensics reports — Clinton could waltz into the White House with Mills as her general counsel, where they’ll have the power of executive privilege to cover up even worse scandals.

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


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Germany: Beginning of the End of the Merkel Era? - Soeren Kern

by Soeren Kern

A September 1 poll showed Merkel's popularity rating has plunged to 45%, a five-year low. More than half (51%) of those surveyed said it would "not be good" if Merkel ran for another term in 2017.

  • The anti-immigration party Alternative for Germany (AfD) surged ahead of Angela Merkel's Christian Democratic Union (CDU) in elections in her home state of Mecklenburg-West Pomerania.
  • The election was widely seen as a referendum on Merkel's open-door migration policy and her decision to allow more than one million migrants from Africa, Asia and the Middle East to enter Germany in 2015.
  • Merkel rejected any course correction on migration policy: "I am very unsatisfied with the outcome of the election. Obviously it has something to do with the refugee question. I think the decisions that were made were correct." She went on to blame German voters for failing to appreciate her government's "problem-solving abilities".
  • Many of the AfD's positions were once held, but later abandoned, by the Merkel's CDU.
German Chancellor Angela Merkel suffered a major blow on September 4 when the anti-immigration party Alternative for Germany (AfD) surged ahead of her Christian Democratic Union (CDU) in elections in her home state of Mecklenburg-West Pomerania.

With 20.8% of the vote, the AfD came in second place behind the center-left Social Democrats (SPD) (30.6%). Merkel's CDU came in third place, with 19% of the vote, the worst result it has ever had in Meck-Pomm, as the state is called for short.

The election in Meck-Pomm was widely seen as a referendum on Merkel's open-door migration policy and her decision to allow more than one million migrants from Africa, Asia and the Middle East to enter Germany in 2015. The migrant influx has resulted in a notable increase in crime in the country. The growing sense of insecurity has been exacerbated by a series of attacks this summer by Muslim migrants in which ten people were killed and dozens more were injured.

The CDU debacle in Meck-Pomm yields two main conclusions: 1) Merkel's hopes of winning — or even running — for a fourth term in general elections in 2017 are now in doubt; and 2) the AfD is a force to be reckoned with in German politics. It can longer be simply dismissed as a "fringe party."

Observers from across the political spectrum seem to agree that the election in Meck-Pomm marks a turning point for Merkel, who has been head of the CDU since 2000 and chancellor since November 2005. Some say her political career may effectively be over if the CDU suffers heavy losses to the AfD in state elections in Berlin on September 18.

"This was a dark day for Merkel," said Thomas Jaeger, a political scientist at the University of Cologne. "Everyone knows she lost this election. Her district in parliament is there, she campaigned there, and refugees are her issue."

The CDU's secretary general, Peter Tauber, agreed: "The strong performance of AfD is bitter for many, for everyone in our party. A sizeable number of people wanted to voice their displeasure and to protest. And we saw that particularly in discussions about refugees."

The leader of the AfD, Frauke Petry, said: "This is a blow for Merkel, not only in Berlin but also in her home state. The voters made a clear statement against Merkel's disastrous immigration policies. This put her in her place."

German Chancellor Angela Merkel (left) suffered a major blow on September 4 when the anti-immigration party Alternative for Germany, led by Frauke Petry (right), surged ahead of her Christian Democratic Union in elections in her home state of Mecklenburg-West Pomerania.

Local AfD leader Leif-Erik Holm told supporters: "We are writing history. Perhaps this is the beginning of the end of Angela Merkel's chancellorship. This must be our goal."

Gero Neugebauer, a professor of political scientist at Berlin's Free University, said:
"People will see this defeat as the start of the 'Kanzlerdämmerung' (twilight of the chancellor). If a lot of CDU members start seeing this defeat as Merkel's fault, and members of parliament start seeing her as a danger for the party and their own jobs next year, the whole situation could escalate out of control. If the AfD defeats the CDU again in Berlin in two weeks, things could get ugly fast."
In an interview with Der Spiegel, Ralf Stegner, the vice president of the SPD, said the CDU was in a "state of panic" over the rise of the AfD and that Merkel has become a liability to her party:
"Merkel has clearly passed her zenith. It is a disaster for her that the CDU has fallen to third place with under 20% in her own state. This is a serious crisis for the CDU and it bears the names of Merkel and Seehofer. Some people now believe that Merkel no longer leads the debate with Seehofer about her 2017 candidacy. Throughout its history, the CDU has been merciless to its chancellors if there was the impression that the party was facing a massive loss of votes."
Stegner was referring to an August 27 report by Der Spiegel which said that Merkel has postponed an announcement about her candidacy due to opposition from the CDU's Bavarian sister party, the Christian Social Union (CSU), which has been increasingly vocal in its criticism of her migration policy:
"Angela Merkel will delay until the spring of 2017 her decision whether to run for another term as chancellor of the CDU in the general election next year. The delay was necessary because only then will CSU chief Horst Seehofer decide whether his party will support Merkel again, according to CDU insiders. This is the second time that Merkel has had to postpone the announcement of her plans.
"Actually, her decision should have been announced a long time ago. The original plan was that Merkel would declare her intentions as early as last spring. But then the refugee crisis and the fierce dispute with the CSU got in the way. The Chancellor decided to wait until this fall.
"This time the delay is more problematic for Merkel. In December, the CDU party congress takes place in Essen, where Merkel wants to be elected as party chairman for another two years.
"But she can only be party chairman if she is a candidate in the general election. The party congress should send a signal that the CDU fully supports the Chancellor. This will not work if the party does not know if Merkel wants to continue.
"From Merkel's perspective, the alternative would be more risky: If she announces her candidacy for chancellor without Seehofer's support, it could hurt her politically."
In a September 6 interview with Süddeutsche Zeitung, CSU leader Horst Seehofer, said the "disastrous" election outcome in Meck-Pomm was a direct consequence Merkel's migration policy. He added that Merkel had ignored "multiple prompts for a course correction" and that her refusal to budge threatens the future of the CDU. "Confidence in the government is dwindling rapidly," he warned. "People do not understand how policy is made in Germany."

CSU Secretary General Andreas Scheuer reiterated the call for Merkel to change course: "We need a cap on refugees, faster deportations and better integration."

Bavarian Finance Minister Markus Söder agreed: "The result must be a wake-up call for the CDU. The mood of the people can no longer be ignored. A change of course is needed in Berlin."

Merkel remains defiant. A day after the debacle in Meck-Pomm, Merkel rejected any course correction on migration policy:
"I am very unsatisfied with the outcome of the election. Obviously it has something to do with the refugee question. I think the decisions that were made were correct." She went on to blame German voters for failing to appreciate her government's "problem-solving abilities" (Lösungskompetenz).
On September 7, in a fiery address to the German parliament, Merkel said the AfD's anti-immigration stance posed a threat to Germany. "All of us should realize the AfD is a challenge not only for the Christian Democrats... they are a challenge for everyone in this house." She may also have indicated that she intends to seek another term as chancellor when she said: "There is still a lot of work to be done."

Alternative for Germany (AfD)

In more ways than one, Angela Merkel is directly responsible for the rise of the AfD. In her more than ten years as chancellor, she has moved the CDU to the left on so many key issues that the party is no longer conservative in any meaningful sense of the word.

Under Merkel, the CDU's policies on nuclear energy have become essentially identical to those of the Green Party. Merkel has also adopted many of the social policies of the SPD. In terms the open-door migration policy, the CDU's position is virtually indistinguishable from both the SPD and the Greens. This has created an opening for the AfD.

Launched in 2013, the AfD is now present in nine of Germany's 16 state parliaments. It is poised to enter the federal parliament for the first time in 2017. According to an Insa poll cited by Bild on September 5, if the national election were held today, the AfD would win 15% of the vote, making it the third-largest party in Germany.

The Insa poll also found that in the Meck-Pomm election, the AfD siphoned off more than 55,000 votes from other parties. More than 22,000 CDU voters cast their ballots for the AfD; 15,000 SPD voters voted for the AfD; and more than 22,000 voters affiliated with other parties gave their votes to the AfD.
The party was originally founded to protest the German government's handling of the eurozone crisis. Its founding manifesto stated:
"The Federal Republic of Germany is facing the most serious crisis in its history. The euro currency area has proved to be unworkable. Southern European countries are sliding into poverty under the competitive pressure of the euro. Entire states are on the verge of default.
"Hundreds of billions of euros have already been pledged by the federal government. An end to this policy is not in sight. This is excessive and irresponsible. We, our children and our grandchildren will have to pay for this with taxes, stagnation and inflation. At the same time, this is eroding our democracy. In this situation, the CDU, CSU, SPD, FDP and the Greens know only one answer: Keep it up!"
In April 2013, the Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung revealed that CDU insiders viewed the rise of the AfD as "the end of Merkel's chancellorship." A strategy was set in place to conduct opposition research and paint the AfD as a "national conservative" party driven by proponents of "market radicalism."

The AfD — similar in many ways to the upstart Tea Party movement in the United States — has suffered self-inflicted wounds as a result of political infighting and internal power struggles. Establishment politicians and the mainstream media have repeatedly seized on outrageous comments made by some within the party to portray it as a "far right" party that poses a threat to German values.

In an interview with the Guardian, Frauke Petry, the AfD leader, said the party has sometimes felt forced to use outspoken language to get its message across. She said:
"Well, sometimes, I don't deny, we think we have to use provocative arguments in order to be heard. Because we tried very hard at the beginning of 2013 to be heard with lots of very sensible thinking and arguments, and we simply couldn't get through to anyone. So what do you do? You put forward a provocative argument, and sometimes you are given the chance to explain what you meant. I know it's a difficult choice to make but sometimes, for us, it feels like the only way."
Petry also said the AfD is not opposed to "real refugees," but it is against the hundreds of thousands of economic migrants who are posing as refugees. "There is enough space for refugees in Germany, but the problem is that we don't distinguish anymore between migrants and asylum seekers," she said.

A comprehensive party manifesto published in May 2016 called for: limited government; term limits; campaign finance reform; reducing the power of political parties; direct elections for chancellor; devolving power to federal states; a referendum on the euro; reforming the United Nations; a strong military based on the NATO alliance; reintroducing conscription; stronger police enforcement; justice reform; gun rights; protecting German borders; labor market reform; eliminating burdensome bureaucracy; promoting the traditional family; encouraging Germans to have more children rather than resorting to mass migration to fix its demographic problems; protecting the rights of the unborn; promoting German culture rather than multiculturalism; promoting the German language as the basis for German identity and for integration; banning the foreign financing of mosques; eliminating government subsidies for radio and television; and so on. Many of the AfD's positions were once held, but later abandoned, by the CDU.

Meanwhile, a September 1 poll for ARD television showed Merkel's popularity rating has plunged to 45%, a five-year low, and down from a high of 67% one year ago. More than half (51%) of those surveyed said it would "not be good" if Merkel ran for another term in 2017. If national elections were held today, the CDU would win just 33%, down from 42% one year ago.

The poll showed one factor in Merkel's favor: the lack of a political rival strong enough to challenge her.
Soeren Kern is a Senior Fellow at the New York-based Gatestone Institute. He is also Senior Fellow for European Politics at the Madrid-based Grupo de Estudios Estratégicos / Strategic Studies Group. Follow him on Facebook and on Twitter.

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Obama purged military of those who sought victory - Daniel John Sobieski

by Daniel John Sobieski

Almost as soon as he took office, President Obama began a military purge not dissimilar to those routinely conducted by third-world despots, with the goal of eliminating voices that might oppose his withdrawing America from the world stage

It was not hyperbole when GOP presidential nominee Donald Trump said that under President Obama and Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, the U.S. military had been "reduced to rubble" and left floundering without a coherent strategy or meaningful capability to win wars.  It is a fait accompli, engineered by our commander-in-chief to reduce America's global footprint, an America he has profusely apologized for, and one he blames for all the world's ills.

Almost as soon as he took office, President Obama began a military purge not dissimilar to those routinely conducted by third-world despots, with the goal of eliminating voices that might oppose his withdrawing America from the world stage.  As Investor's Business Daily editorialized:
We recognize President Obama is the commander-in-chief and that throughout history presidents from Lincoln to Truman have seen fit to remove military commanders they view as inadequate or insubordinate. Turnover in the military ranks is normal, and in these times of sequestration and budget cuts the numbers are expected to tick up as force levels shrink and missions change.
Yet what has happened to our officer corps since President Obama took office is viewed in many quarters as unprecedented, baffling and even harmful to our national security posture. We have commented on some of the higher profile cases, such as Gen. Carter Ham. He was relieved as head of U.S. Africa Command after only a year and a half because he disagreed with orders not to mount a rescue mission in response to the Sept. 11, 2012, attack in Benghazi.
Rear Adm. Chuck Gaouette, commander of the John C. Stennis Carrier Strike Group, was relieved in October 2012 for disobeying orders when he sent his group on Sept. 11 to "assist and provide intelligence for" military forces ordered into action by Gen. Ham.
Other removals include the sacking of two nuclear commanders in a single week – Maj. Gen. Michael Carey, head of the 20th Air Force, responsible for the three wings that maintain control of the 450 intercontinental ballistic missiles, and Vice Adm. Tim Giardina, the No. 2 officer at U.S. Strategic Command.
From's Facebook page comes a list of at least 197 officers that have been relieved of duty by President Obama for a laundry list of reasons and sometimes with no reason given.
Retired four-star general and Fox News analyst Jack Keane, architect of the Iraq surge that produced the victory Obama threw away, recently spoke on Kilmeade and Friends about Obama's ongoing purge of the military of officers who oppose his isolationist and defeatist policies:
It's also a fact that a number of our general officers, not all of them but a number of them, were asked to leave before what would normally be accepted as the routine tenure for that particular position, and General Mattis is a case in point who had very strong views on Iran. Most of us agree with those views but I know the administration did not agree with them. General Flynn, who you know very well and had on your show, was an outspoken proponent for understand radical Islam, how dangerous this particular threat was and was trying to communicate that, he was not able to server out his full tenure. So yes, that's another fact that we can substantiate, that there were generals who did leave earlier than what their tenure would be and the characteristic they all shared together is they did disagree with the administration on various points.
General Mattis is an old-school warrior known for his colorful rhetoric and his commitment both to his men and to his mission.  He, along with other generals like David Petraeus and Stanley McChrystal, did have a problem with Obama's quest for a substitute for victory in Iraq and Afghanistan.  As the New York Post reported:
Lost in the inaugural hullabaloo was Tuesday's news that President Obama has relieved Gen. James "Mad Dog" Mattis, the colorful and highly decorated Marine who's been in charge of the crucial US Central Command, which oversees the various wars in the Middle East, since 2010[.] ...
But why? Could it be that, as Obama prepares to cede Afghanistan back to the Taliban, the last thing he needs is an obstreperous general gumming up the surrender?
For an administration whose relationship with the military is, to put it mildly, fraught with tension, Mattis is yet another wall trophy, to go alongside the heads of Gen. Stanley McChrystal (fired in 2010 as the commander of the US forces in Afghanistan) and David Petraeus, who left CentCom to be buried alive at the CIA (and later resigned over the Paula Broadwell sex scandal).
Officially, the administration offers a nothing-to-see-here explanation for Mattis' departure, noting that his tenure in the crucial job was about average for the post.
Maybe. But politics is at play here as well. The brusque Mattis apparently fell afoul of National Security Adviser Tom Donilon, an Obama apparatchik. Why? Because Mattis says things the Obama team doesn't want to hear, especially about what might well become the next theater of operations – Iran.
Retired U.S. Army major general Paul Vallely, also a Fox News analyst, shares the view that President Obama has actively purged the military of "hawks" willing to give him contrary advice:
Retired U.S. Army Maj. Gen. Paul Vallely, an outspoken critic of the Obama administration, notes how the White House fails to take action or investigate its own officials but finds it easy to fire military commanders "who have given their lives for their country." Vallely thinks he knows why this purge is happening.
"Obama will not purge a civilian or political appointee because they have bought into Obama's ideology," Vallely said. "The White House protects their own. That's why they stalled on the investigation into Fast and Furious, Benghazi and ObamaCare. He's intentionally weakening and gutting our military, Pentagon and reducing us as a superpower, and anyone in the ranks who disagrees or speaks out is being purged."
As Donald Trump was making his remarks about our depleted and emasculated military, word came that President Obama wants to cut the Army further from its current depleted size of 475,000 to 450,000 by 2018.  Obama wants to cut an Army that as it is cannot meet its military readiness requirements, according to retired Army major general Bob Scales, who noted the hypocrisy of President Obama's tribute to Sgt. First Class Cory Remsburg at the 2014 State of the Union address:
Gen. Bob Scales, a retired U.S. Army major general and former commandant of the U.S. Army War College who is now a military analyst for Fox News, told Greta Van Susteren the day after the State of the Union of the sad state of U.S. military preparedness and expressed a fear it would lead to more Cory Remsburgs.
"Yeah, it broke my heart," Scales said. "This great guy, Sgt. 1st Class Cory Remsburg, think of this, Greta: 10 tours in Iraq and Afghanistan in 10 years. What does that say about the overcommitment of our Army? And here is a president who uses him as an icon for the State of the Union.
"And yet the very service that he comes from, the Army, has 85% of its brigades not combat-ready. It does not have one single developmental program for a combat system at all. Zero."
President Abraham Lincoln kept firing generals until he found the likes of Sherman and Grant, with the will and ability to win.  Somehow I don't think victory anywhere is President Obama's goal.  Donald Trump was right: President Obama has reduced the U.S. military to rubble.  And he is about to make the rubble bounce.

Daniel John Sobieski is a freelance writer whose pieces have appeared in Investor's Business Daily, Human Events, Reason Magazine, and the Chicago Sun-Times among other publications.

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How the Third World was Ruined - Spyridon Mitsotakis

by Spyridon Mitsotakis

And why "colonialism" had nothing to do with it.

Academic discussions of the reasons for Third World poverty usually sound similar to something Communist Romanian dictator Nicolae Ceausescu, who lived in luxury while his people starved, declared at a UN conference in 1974: “The division of the world into developed and underdeveloped countries is a result of historical evolution, and is a direct consequence of the imperialist, colonialist, and neo-colonialist policies of exploitation of many peoples.”

That same year, a French professor wrote in a UN publication that "the rich white man, with his overconsumption of meat and his lack of generosity toward poor populations, acts like a true cannibal, albeit indirect. Last year, in overconsuming meat which wasted the cereals which could have saved them, we ate the little children of the Sahel, of Ethiopia, and of Bangladesh. And this year, we are continuing to do the same thing, with the same appetite."

However, what really destroyed the Third World had nothing to do with the West. The Third World was irrevocably harmed by the scorched-earth economic campaign that was waged against Israel by the oil producing nations.

Bayard Rustin wrote in the NAACP journal The Crisis in April 1974 (and reprinted in Time on Two Crosses: The Collected Writings of Bayard Rustin):

And yet in raw economic terms, it is the world's developing nations that will suffer most severely from the oil embargoes and price increases which have been imposed by the Arabs. The Development Forum, which is published by the Centre for Economic and Social Information of the United Nations, notes that prior to the energy crisis the poorest countries were already paying 20 percent more for imported fuel than the industrialized world. The Forum further observed:
"The recent price rises have greatly aggravated their [the underdeveloped nations'] plight. Unless the upward spiral in the price of oil is halted, or some measure of relief provided, it could bring development of the Third World to a dead halt.... Industrial countries are also affected, but they have fallback positions: e.g., rich coal deposits that can be reactivated, and the technology to speed up the development of new resources from nuclear to geothermal and, eventually, solar energy. Above all, they have the financial means to meet the rising price of oil. No such escapes are open to the poorer nations.... Oil, which flows so easily from well to pipeline into tanker, refinery and pump, and eventually, into furnace or generator, is a convenience for the industrial countries. For the developing world, it is a lifeline which is essential to their survival."
It should be added that this was written before the oil-producing nations announced a doubling of the price of crude oil at the wellhead. The New York Times reported that these increases would cost the developing world $5 billion, an amount which represents approximately half of what it receives annually in development aid from the industrialized countries. A further dimension to the plight of the poorer nations is the fact that countries like the United States and Great Britain will undoubtedly reduce foreign aid allocations, particularly to those nations which have the least to offer in return, because of the domestic problems created by the oil crisis. World Bank officials have already predicted that India will have a negative growth rate for years to come because of oil prices; the impact on the less affluent nations of Africa could be even more shattering.

The great energy journalist and historian Daniel Yergin wrote much the same in his Pulitzer Prize winning book The Prize, and described how the poor nations tried to borrow their way out of the crisis. Debt saddles these countries to this day.

Another cause of Third World poverty is war -- and there has been no shortage of war. Writing in Commentary magazine in 1986, Edward Jay Epstein recognized a "new phase in Soviet expansion," which "was made possible economically in the winter of 1973 by the explosion of world oil prices." In the years that followed:

In Asia, [the Soviet Union] moved into Afghanistan, funded Vietnam's military domination of Cambodia and Laos, and took over the huge naval and air base at Cam Ranh Bay. In Africa, it provided the military wherewithal to establish and entrench client regimes in Angola, Mozambique, and Ethiopia. In the Middle East, it turned the pro-Soviet government in Syria into a formidable regional power, supported Libyan incursions into Chad and Sudan, and became the dominant supplier of weapons for Iran, Iraq, South Yemen, and Algeria. In Latin America, in addition to its continued subsidization of Cuba, it undertook to support anti-American regimes in Nicaragua and Grenada.

Each and every nation mentioned in that paragraph was at war, thanks to the Soviets and their new oil money.

Bayard Rustin, the Civil Rights leader and strategist who worked as Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.'s right hand man and organizer of the 1963 "March on Washington," was not an unbiased observer of these events. Not long after the Yom Kippur War was brought to a close, Rustin wrote in the Chicago Defender that "Israel, as a progressive and democratic nation, is the ultimate reflection of traditions which run throughout Jewish history and culture. Wherever Jews are, they stand firm for the extension of human rights for all people."

That includes, says Rustin, the United States: 

- In the post-Reconstruction Jim Crow era, "When the South was doing its best to keep the black man illiterate, the Rosenwald family established a fund which salvaged the Negro college system."

- In the early years of the 20th century, "when the black cause was not a popular cause, Jewish liberals [and Republicans], like Joel and Arthur Spingarn, helped establish the NAACP and were instrumental in ensuring its survival during its most difficult years."

- During the Civil Rights era, "Jews provided critical financial support for Dr. Martin Luther King during his protest campaigns: two thirds of the money donated to a defense fund established when Dr. King was falsely accused of income tax evasion were contributed by Jews. And who can forget that two Jewish youths, Michael Schwerner and Andrew Goodman, died arm in arm with James Chaney in the backlands of Mississippi." 

Rustin did not like the way the winds were blowing in 1973: 

Today anti-Semitism persists in the hearts of many men and many countries, awaiting the opportunity to rise to the surface disguised as anti-Zionism.
Blacks well understand that where anti-Semitism exists, racial prejudice ultimately follows. Those who historically have felt hatred, contempt and superiority toward Jews, have looked on Negroes with hatred, contempt and superiority. Thus it is little surprising that the most determined opponent of American aid to Israel is Sen. J. W. Fulbright [a Democrat], who during a lengthy political career has voted against, and spoken against, and filibustered against the cause of civil rights.

Rustin fought like hell against the anti-Semitism of the Black Power movement, railing against "these young Negroes spouting material directly from Mein Kampf" in a 1968 speech to the Anti-Defamation League. And in the aftermath of the 1982 Israel-Lebanon war, Rustin described what he saw during a trip to areas of Lebanon liberated by Israel:

We found evidence of something else which has largely been ignored in Western reporting: the widespread contempt of the Lebanese people for the PLO. In spontaneous private conversations with Lebanese citizens we uncovered extensive evidence of PLO terror. In the areas which the PLO controlled there was no civilian system of justice. There was no functioning police force, no due process, no court system, no right of appeal. What law there was was PLO law; what justice there was was PLO justice. Those of us whose black ancestors lived in areas dominated by the Ku Klux Klan have special reasons to know what that means. For the powerless, it means intense, continuous, and unending personal insecurity. In short, it means terror.

It broke Rustin's heart to watch men like Jesse Jackson working for, as he wrote in 1979, "the formation of a pro-PLO, pro-Arab black constituency in the United States" which "would be providing aid and comfort to an organization committed to racism, terrorism and authoritarianism" -- all in the name of some ideological Third World solidarity that attracted black radicals who refused to identify with the United States. Rustin demanded that black civil rights leaders "ought now to be speaking out against the PLO -- not simply to ease black-Jewish tensions, but because having won our basic rights through nonviolence and organized pressure in a Democratic nation, we have an obligation to oppose those forces in the world, like the PLO, which flaunt the political power of the gun and openly mock the values and goals we have fought for."

Spyridon Mitsotakis is a writer and former research assistant to bestselling author Paul Kengor. He graduated from New York University with a degree in History.


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The Middle East: The Other Main Sources of Law - Burak Bekdil

by Burak Bekdil

  • Apparently what Saudi Prince Al-Waleed Bin Talal understands of democracy is totally different than what the term means in more civilized parts of the world.
  • If Prince Al-Waleed so passionately defends democracy, he should spend less of his office time in showing solidarity with undemocratic leaders, and more in giving at least a bit of democratic breathing space to his own people.

In the Saudi Kingdom, the primary source of law is the Islamic sharia, based on the principles of a school of jurisprudence (Hanbali) found in pre-modern texts. Ultra-puritanical judges and lawyers form part of the country's Islamic scholars.

But there is another main source of law: royal decrees. Simple death penalty along with beheading, stoning to death, amputation, crucifixion and lashing are common legal punishments. In the three years to 2010, there were 345 beheadings. But the legal system is usually too lenient for cases of rape and domestic violence.

The common punishment for offenses against religion and public morality such as drinking alcohol and neglect of prayer is usually lashings. Retaliatory punishments are also part of the legal system, such as, literally, an eye for an eye. Saudis can also grant clemency, in return for money, to someone who has unlawfully killed their relatives.

It is not surprising to anyone that Saudi Arabia is widely accused of having one of the worst human rights records in the world -- the Kingdom is one of the few countries in the world not to accept the UN's Universal Declaration of Human Rights. There is capital punishment for homosexuality. Women are not allowed in public places to be in the presence of someone outside the kinship. They are not allowed to drive.

But what makes Saudi Arabia an even uglier country than all of that medieval legal absurdity and systematic and cruel torture of its own citizens combined, is the fact that those pre-modern laws do not apply to all Saudis. One powerful visual evidence of this was a few photographs showing a Saudi prince vacationing on an ultra-luxurious yacht off Turkey's Mediterranean coast. The very strict Quranic ban on all forms of extravagance and the command for modesty are probably not printed in Saudi copies of the Muslim holy book. But there was more than that.

Prince Nawaf al Saud spent four days with his friends and bikini-clad Swedish models on the yacht, which he rented for one million euros for a week, and was photographed partying all day. There were reports of a 4,500-euro dinner on a nearby Greek island and 1,000-euro tips for the waiters. Turkish columnist Ahmet Hakan wrote that the prince could have accommodated at least 80 Syrian refugees with the million euros spent for the chartered yacht:
"You in your country immediately draw your swords if a poor Bangladeshi [laborer] has accidental eye contact with a woman in her full niqab ... What does your [holy] book say about your extravagant partying with models in bikinis?"
Good question.

But Turkey saw another Saudi prince recently. Business magnate, investor and, according to some, philanthropist Al-Waleed Bin Talal visited a Turkish resort on the Mediterranean coast shortly after Turkey's failed coup of July 15.

Al-Waleed is a grandson of Ibn Saud, the first Saudi king, and a half-nephew of all Saudi kings since. Forbes listed him in March as the world's 41st richest man, with an estimated wealth of $17.3 billion. While in Antalya, the Turkish resort, he was interviewed by the leading Turkish daily, Hurriyet. His messages were:
  • "When the coup took place in Turkey I said to myself I should go to Turkey immediately [in solidarity with President Erdogan]."
  • "Erdogan and I defend a 'progressive Islamic' understanding."
  • "Some say that Islam and democracy cannot cohabit. But the Turkish example shows that this [argument] is totally invalid. Turkey is the best indication that Islam and democracy can cohabit. It is a country that is taken as precedent. We can see how much Turkey could internalize democracy."
If the honorable prince was not joking, he must have come to Turkey to tell millions of Turks suffocating under Erdogan's autocratic regime fairy tales from an Arab kingdom. With the third-world democratic culture it features, Turkey can be taken as a precedent only by North Koreans, almost all inhabitants of the Gulf and Arab countries and by Iranians. Apparently, what the prince understands of democracy is a totally different thing than what the term means in more civilized parts of the world.

Saudi Prince Al-Waleed Bin Talal meets with Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan in Ankara, May 6, 2015.

And if Prince Al-Waleed so passionately defends democracy, he should spend less of his office time in showing solidarity with undemocratic leaders, and more in giving at least a bit of democratic breathing space to his own people.
Burak Bekdil, based in Ankara, is a Turkish columnist for the Hürriyet Daily and a Fellow at the Middle East Forum.

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