Friday, August 4, 2017

State Department Officials Quitting Over “Complete and Utter Disdain for our Expertise” - Robert Spencer

by Robert Spencer

Break out the champagne.

The New York Times reported last Friday that “an exodus is underway” in the State Department. The Times didn’t think this was good news; it gave space to one career diplomat who lamented that there was “complete and utter disdain for our expertise.”

This could be the best news to come out of Washington since the Trump administration took office.

We can only hope that with the departure of these failed State Department officials, their failed policies will be swept out along with them. Chief among these is the almost universally held idea that poverty causes terrorism. The United States has wasted uncounted (literally, because a great deal of it was in untraceable bags full of cash) billions of dollars in Afghanistan, Iraq, Pakistan, Egypt, and other countries in the wrongheaded assumption that Muslims turn to jihad because they lack economic opportunities and education. American officials built schools and hospitals, thinking that they were winning over the hearts and minds of the locals.

Fifteen years, thousands of lives and hundreds of billions of dollars later, no significant number of hearts and minds have been won. This is partly because the premise is wrong. The New York Times reported in March that “not long after the attacks of Sept. 11, 2001…Alan B. Krueger, the Princeton economist, tested the widespread assumption that poverty was a key factor in the making of a terrorist. Mr. Krueger’s analysis of economic figures, polls, and data on suicide bombers and hate groups found no link between economic distress and terrorism.”

CNS News noted in September 2013 that “according to a Rand Corporation report on counterterrorism, prepared for the Office of the Secretary of Defense in 2009, ‘Terrorists are not particularly impoverished, uneducated, or afflicted by mental disease. Demographically, their most important characteristic is normalcy (within their environment). Terrorist leaders actually tend to come from relatively privileged backgrounds.’ One of the authors of the RAND report, Darcy Noricks, also found that according to a number of academic studies, ‘Terrorists turn out to be more rather than less educated than the general population.’”

Yet the analysis that poverty causes terrorism has been applied and reapplied and reapplied again. The swamp is in dire need of draining, and in other ways as well. From 2011 on, it was official Obama administration policy to deny any connection between Islam and terrorism. This came as a result of an October 19, 2011 letter from Farhana Khera of Muslim Advocates to John Brennan, who was then the Assistant to the President on National Security for Homeland Security and Counter Terrorism, and later served in the Obama administration as head of the CIA. The letter was signed not just by Khera, but by the leaders of virtually all the significant Islamic groups in the United States: 57 Muslim, Arab, and South Asian organizations, many with ties to Hamas and the Muslim Brotherhood, including the Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR), the Islamic Society of North America (ISNA), the Muslim American Society (MAS), the Islamic Circle of North America (ICNA), Islamic Relief USA; and the Muslim Public Affairs Council (MPAC).

The letter denounced what it characterized as U.S. government agencies’ “use of biased, false and highly offensive training materials about Muslims and Islam.” Despite the factual accuracy of the material about which they were complaining, the Muslim groups demanded that the task force “purge all federal government training materials of biased materials”; “implement a mandatory re-training program for FBI agents, U.S. Army officers, and all federal, state and local law enforcement who have been subjected to biased training”; and moreto ensure that all that law enforcement officials would learn about Islam and jihad would be what the signatories wanted them to learn.

Numerous books and presentations that gave a perfectly accurate view of Islam and jihad were removed from coounterterror training. Today, even with Trump as President, this entrenched policy of the U.S. government remains, and ensures that all too many jihadists simply cannot be identified as risks, since the officials are bound as a matter of policy to ignore what in saner times would be taken as warning signs. Trump and Tillerson must reverse this. Trump has spoken often about the threat from “radical Islamic terrorism”; he must follow through and remove the prohibitions on allowing agents to study and understand the motivating ideology behind the jihad threat.

The swamp needs draining indeed. This news from the State Department, and the New York Times’ grief over it, are good signs that the U.S. is on its way back on dry land.

Robert Spencer is the director of Jihad Watch and author of the New York Times bestsellers The Politically Incorrect Guide to Islam (and the Crusades) and The Truth About Muhammad. His latest book is The Complete Infidel’s Guide to Free Speech (and Its Enemies). Follow him on Twitter here. Like him on Facebook here.


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U.S. Military Infiltrated By Alien Recruits? - Michael Cutler

by Michael Cutler

Pentagon investigators discover fatal flaws in vetting process.

On August 1, 2017, Fox News reported the worrying headline, "Pentagon investigators find ‘security risks’ in government's immigrant recruitment program, ‘infiltration’ feared."

Military bases are among the most sensitive facilities to be found in the United States. Classified materials, weapons and, of course, our members of the armed forces, can all be found on every military base. Time and again, we have seen terrorists in the Middle East carry out “Insider Attacks” by joining the military or police and then, when the opportunity presents itself, turn their weapons on their trainers and other soldiers.

Military training is highly prized and sought after by terrorists and criminals. Many terrorists travel around the world to attend terror training camps. Undoubtedly, the training our military recruits receive is a quantum leap above anything that terror training camps provide. Additionally, our soldiers learn the “playbook” employed by our military forces on the battlefield.

The thought that foreign terrorists may have successfully infiltrated our military and gained access to all of the above is highly disturbing, to put it mildly. One recruitment program, known as MAVNI (Military Accessions Vital to National Interest), has especially raised serious concerns in this context. Under this program, according to the Defense Department:
The Secretary of Defense authorized the military services to recruit certain legal aliens whose skills are considered to be vital to the national interest. Those holding critical skills – physicians, nurses, and certain experts in language with associated cultural backgrounds – would be eligible. To determine its value in enhancing military readiness, the limited pilot program will recruit up to 5,200 people in Fiscal Year 2016, and will continue through September 30, 2016.
The Fox News report on MAVNI began with this excerpt:
EXCLUSIVE: Defense Department investigators have discovered “potential security risks” in a Pentagon program that has enrolled more than 10,000 foreign-born individuals into the U.S. armed forces since 2009, Fox News has learned exclusively, with sources on Capitol Hill and at the Pentagon expressing alarm over “foreign infiltration” and enrollees now unaccounted for. 
After more than a year of investigation, the Pentagon’s inspector general recently issued a report – its contents still classified but its existence disclosed here for the first time – identifying serious problems with Military Accessions Vital to the National Interest (MAVNI), a DOD program that provides immigrants and non-immigrant aliens with an expedited path to citizenship in exchange for military service. 
Defense Department officials said the program is still active but acknowledged that new applications have been suspended.
First of all, it is extremely important to not forget the honorable and dedicated service of many foreign nationals who have served in our nation’s military.   Many have made the ultimate sacrifice to safeguard America and Americans, while others have suffered grievous injuries. Those are facts that we must never lose sight of.

However, I ask that you stop and take notice that none of the aliens who participated in MAVNI were illegal aliens. All of the aliens in this program -- among whom are those who have apparently gone missing and may have used this program to infiltrate the United States and gain access to military bases and military training -- were, as a requirement, legally present in the United States.

Nevertheless, even as you read this, Congress is considering the creation of a similar program for illegal aliens under the auspices of the ENLIST Act (H.R. 60) The term “ENLIST” is an acronym for: “Encourage New Legalized Immigrant to to Start Training.” This dangerous and wrong-headed program would provide illegal aliens who, in the parlance of the open borders/immigration anarchists, entered the United States “Undocumented.”

The cold, hard, irrefutable truth is that these are illegal aliens who entered the United States surreptitiously, without inspection. In other words, they are undocumented. And you cannot tell a “good guy” from a “bad guy” without a scorecard.  Undocumented aliens have no scorecards.

If there is a serious problem in vetting aliens who entered the United States with passports and visas, how in the world could our officials begin to vet aliens who evaded the inspections process conducted at ports of entry to prevent the entry of criminals, fugitives and terrorists?

Of course my question is not a really a question in search of an answer, but a rhetorical question. The answer should be self-evident.  There is no easy or effective means of vetting such aliens.

I addressed the threats that these aliens pose to national security and public safety in my recent article, When "Compassion" Endangers National Security. The lack of integrity to the vetting process for aliens who are admitted into the United States has created a deadly nightmare for America and for those who fall victim to crimes and terror attacks that these failures facilitated.

It is this lack of integrity to this vetting process that prompted President Trump to attempt to suspend the entry of aliens into the United States who are citizens of six countries associated with terrorism and whose identities and backgrounds cannot be determined with certainty. Incredibly, the Supreme Court has decided against the President’s law-based Executive Order that the media has described as a “Travel Ban,” refusing to use the actual name of that Executive Order, Protecting the Nation from Foreign Terrorist Entry Into the United States.

That very title of that Executive Order makes its purpose crystal clear.  It is a purpose that the vast majority of American’s would undoubtedly accept and, indeed, support. Because of the de-facto censorship of “journalists”, many Americans have likely never heard the actual title of President Trump’s Executive Order. The term “Travel Ban” for citizens of “Six Muslim Majority Countries” has evoked an emotional response from many Americans who have been snookered by the media. Those six “Muslim Majority” countries have been properly identified as having an association with the threat of terrorism.

President Trump has stated that because of his concerns about the entry of potential terrorists and criminals into the United States, he has called for subjecting aliens seeking entry into the United States to “extreme vetting” when they are citizens of certain countries.

Given the unsettling findings of the Pentagon investigators -- along with many other findings in the investigations conducted by a long list of other investigative agencies -- the entire vetting process for aliens seeking visas and entry into the United States needs to be tightened dramatically.

This problem is not a new one. Back on May 20, 1997, I participated in my first Congressional hearing on the topic of Visa Fraud And Immigration Benefits Application Fraud. That hearing was conducted by the House Immigration Subcommittee and was predicated on two deadly terror attacks carried out in 1993 at the CIA Headquarters in Virginia in January of that year, followed the next month by the deadly bombing at the World Trade Center.

All of the perpetrators of those terror attacks were aliens who had, in one way or another, gamed the immigration system by securing visas through fraud, including the use of aliases and/or counterfeit and altered passports, by making false claims to political asylum or by committing fraud in applications for participation in the massive amnesty program that was an integral part of the Immigration Reform and Control Act of 1986 (IRCA).

Many terror attacks in the years after the terror attacks of September 11, 2001 involved aliens who had entered the United States through ports of entry and then embedded themselves in communities around the United States as they went about their deadly preparations.

Today, the U.S. Chamber of Commerce is far more concerned with head counts on airliners than body counts at the morgue. Consequently, they and their allies in industry, special interest groups, government and the media, have been pushing hard to dismantle our nation’s borders, expand the Visa Waiver Program and flood America with cheap foreign labor, foreign students and foreign tourists.

That Visa Waiver Program, incidentally, should have been terminated, not expanded, after the terror attacks of September 11, 2001.

The sobering report about possible foreign malevolent infiltrators in our military must serve as a warning and a reminder that, if our leaders err, they must err on the side of caution, putting national security and public safety first.

Michael Cutler is a retired Senior Special Agent of the former INS (Immigration and Naturalization Service) whose career spanned some 30 years. He served as an Immigration Inspector, Immigration Adjudications Officer and spent 26 years as an agent who rotated through all of the squads within the Investigations Branch. For half of his career he was assigned to the Drug Task Force. He has testified before well over a dozen congressional hearings, provided testimony to the 9/11 Commission as well as state legislative hearings around the United States and at trials where immigration is at issue. He hosts his radio show, “The Michael Cutler Hour,” on Friday evenings on BlogTalk Radio. His personal website is


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The Third Lebanon War: Not A Matter Of 'If,' But 'When' - Ari Lieberman

by Ari Lieberman

Israel reflects on history and weighs its options.

In the weeks preceding the Six-Day War, Israel was faced with ever increasing existential challenges which warranted resolute action. Israel’s generals correctly argued to the political echelon that with each passing day, Israel’s strategic position became more compromised. The situation was particularly acute on Israel’s southern border with Egypt where the Egyptian army deployed seven divisions including three armored divisions. Official Arab government pronouncements, with ever increasing shrill[ness] and belligerence, made clear that the intention was to wipe Israel off the map.

On June 5th 1967, Israel launched a preemptive strike aimed at destroying the Arab armies before they could launch their own attack (some historians have argued that the Arabs fired the first salvo by closing the Tiran Straits). Codenamed Operation Focus, the Israeli Air Force implemented its well-rehearsed plan of action and struck first, catching most of the Arab air forces on the ground and destroying the bulk of them. Contemporaneous with the air assault, the Israel Defense Forces (IDF) sprang into action, quickly routing the Arab armies in a matter of days.

It was a complete and decisive Israeli victory with few parallels in military history. Israel’s success in the Six Day War was attributed to many factors but chief among them was the fact that Israel had robbed the enemy of the initiative. Had the Arab’s attacked first, Israel would have still emerged triumphant but at a much higher cost in terms of men and material.

The doctrine of preemption is one that is ingrained in Israel’s military thinking. Israel is a small country with little strategic depth and a vulnerable civilian population. Preemption, the concept of striking the enemy first when there is a clear, present and imminent danger coupled with intent to injure, is a strategically sound doctrine and this is especially true in Israel’s case given its unique vulnerabilities, regional challenges and genocidal enemies.

In addition to exercising its right of military preemption, Israel has also acted preventative manner. Conceptually, this doctrine differs slightly from preemption as the threat while real, is not necessarily imminent. In 1981 and 2007, Israel destroyed the nuclear facilities of Iraq and Syria – both implacable foes – after intelligence confirmed that those facilities were capable of manufacturing atomic bombs. Israel has also struck Sudan and Syria dozens of times in efforts to thwart weapons transfers to Hamas and Hezbollah.

Hezbollah is currently mired in Syria’s civil war with 1/3 of its forces actively engaged in Syria to prop up Assad. In light of this, most Israeli experts agree that the probability of war breaking out in the near future is low. The last thing Hezbollah needs now is a two-front war. Nevertheless, Hezbollah’s raison d'être is to serve the Islamic Republic’s interests and do battle with Israel. A showdown with the terror group is therefore inevitable. The only question is “when,” not “if.”

Confluences of several factors make the probability of war more likely in the intermediate term. First, thanks to Iranian, Russian and Hezbollah assistance, Assad’s grip on power is the strongest it’s been since the beginning of the civil war while rebel groups opposing Assad are divided and often battle each other. This development will enable Hezbollah to shift its emphasis and resources toward Israel.

Second, though Hezbollah has suffered substantial casualties since it began its military entanglement in Syria – at least 2,000 of its members have been killed – the group has emerged militarily stronger. It has been lavishly equipped by Iran with modern weapons, including T-72 tanks, weaponized drones, Konkurs anti-tank missiles and Yakhont anti-ship cruise missiles, and thanks to the Russians, improved its electronic warfare and special operations capabilities.

Third, in 2006, Hezbollah was believed to have possessed 11,000 rockets and missile of various calibers and guidance systems. Today, Hezbollah is believed to possess between 100,000 and 150,000 missiles and rockets. To place things in proper perspective, that figure is more than the combined arsenal of all NATO countries, with the exception of the United States. 
Moreover, with Iran’s assistance, the terror group has managed to build subterranean factories buried 50 meters below ground. These factories are capable of producing everything from small arms to Fateh-110/M-600 surface-to-surface missiles, making Hezbollah partially self-sufficient in arms, a capability that it lacked in 2006. If Iranian claims are to be believed, the Fateh-110 has a range of 300km and carries a payload of 500kg. The missile is believed to possess an accuracy level of 100 m CEP, which means that there’s a 50/50 chance that the missile will fall within 100 meters of its intended target. Hezbollah’s leader Hassan Nasrallah has made clear on numerous occasions that his missiles would target a vulnerable ammonia plant in Haifa, Israel’s nuclear research facility in Dimona and other critical civilian infrastructure in any war with Israel.

Fourth, in any future conflict with Israel, Hezbollah will be able to mobilize assistance from other Iranian proxies. Thanks to the Iran deal and concomitant cash infusion resulting therefrom, including $1.7b in ransom payments from the Obama administration, the Islamic Republic has successfully raised additional proxy Shia armies whose members include Pakistani, Afghani, Yemini, and Iraqi recruits. The largest of these militias is the Iraqi Hashd al-Shaabi, an 80,000 strong force that can easily be transported to Lebanon should Iran call upon them to fight.

Fifth, while Hezbollah never felt constrained by UNSC resolution 1701 – which prohibited the group from operating south of the Litani River and called for its disarmament – it exercised some measure of discretion when operating near the Israeli border, alternatively known as the Blue Line. Today, that is no longer the case. Hezbollah terrorists brazenly operate right up to Blue Line, taking pictures and videotaping Israeli patrols, an ominous development mimicking the situation that existed before the 2006 Second Lebanon War. The IDF has videotaped Hezbollah terrorists erecting observation posts under the guise of a fake NGO called “Green Without Borders.” Repeated Israeli complaints to the United Nations regarding Hezbollah violations of UNSC resolution 1701 and its nefarious activities along the Blue Line have predictably fallen on deaf ears. What’s more, the United Nations Interim Force in Lebanon (UNIFIL), a military force created by the UN tasked with enforcing UNSC resolution 1701, has become virtually useless and many Israelis actually view it as a hindrance.

Sixth, Hezbollah can no longer be viewed as merely a separate entity operating alongside the government of Lebanon. Hezbollah and by extension Iran, exercises near full control over Lebanese affairs and has fully absorbed Lebanese state institutions. The Lebanese army (LAF) has openly cooperated with Hezbollah in the latter’s efforts to suppress anti-regime forces in Syria and Lebanon’s president, Michel Aoun, who is almost certainly on Iran’s or Hezbollah’s payroll, has expressed open support for the terror group. As such, the LAF has been reduced to a mere auxiliary unit for Hezbollah.

Lastly, Hezbollah has transformed south Lebanon into one large armament storage facility without regard to civilian infrastructure and population centers. Hezbollah is utilizing civilian housing to store its wares often providing homeowners with pecuniary inducements in exchange for storage space. This practice of shielding is a clear violation of the laws of war.

Armed conflict between Israel and Hezbollah is inevitable and can unfold in one of two ways. Hezbollah receives its marching orders from the mullahs of the Islamic Republic. If Iran orders its proxy to attack, it will dutifully obey. Iran would almost certainly employ the Hezbollah card if it is attacked by the United States or Israel.

A war could also begin if Hezbollah miscalculates by provoking Israel with a localized attack along the border. This was the case on July 12, 2006 when a Hezbollah border provocation resulted in full scale conflagration.

In either case, Israel must not allow the initiative to rest with the enemy. As such, it must act preemptively or preventively to rob the enemy of this vital strategic asset. Hezbollah and Iran must not be allowed to dictate the war’s timing and location.

During the Second Lebanon War, Israel responded in reflexive fashion but did so in a haphazard and staggered manner. It first employed its air force but after a few days, the air force began running out of targets. Only in the final days of the 34-day battle did Israel commit itself to a more robust ground assault but by that time, the framework for a ceasefire initiative had already been agreed upon.

Many Israelis bitterly viewed the Second Lebanon War as a wasted opportunity. Though Israel inflicted severe devastation on the enemy, established deterrence and obtained real strategic benefits, it failed to inflict a knockout blow against Hezbollah despite being given one month’s time to do so.

In the next war, Israel will likely broaden the theater of operations to include Syria where Hezbollah maintains a significant presence. It will also likely commit itself to boots on the ground in a more expeditious fashion so as to deny the enemy a platform from which it can fire its rockets. More importantly, Israel will commit itself to total war from the outset in shock & awe-like fashion with the aim of breaking Hezbollah’s back. This is a realistic goal that would have wide regional backing, particularly from Sunni states like Saudi Arabia, which views Hezbollah as a malign influence. Israel would also receive considerable political support from the Trump administration, which is far more sympathetic to Israel than the previous administration.

The next Lebanon War will be brutal and devastating but will be fought with the achievable aim of breaking Hezbollah’s back and degrading its military capabilities to the point where Lebanon can once again reassert its sovereignty. Hezbollah may have dodged a bullet in 2006 but in the next war, it will not be so lucky.

Ari Lieberman is an attorney and former prosecutor who has authored numerous articles and publications on matters concerning the Middle East and is considered an authority on geo-political and military developments affecting the region.


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Putin Unmasked - Daniel Ashman

by Daniel Ashman

Fusion GPS ostensibly broke the law to hide its relationship with Moscow, and the company is not exactly trying to improve the situation when it refuses to testify.

Congress just passed a sanctions bill directed at Iran, North Korea, and Russia, by margins of 98-2 in the Senate and 419-3 in the House. 

There is a significant faction of Republicans who yearn to have better relations with Putin. They berate Congress for "poking the Russian Bear" and wish that President Trump had vetoed this bill, if only for symbolic reasons.

Patrick Buchanan is something of an ideological relative to Trump. He asks, "Is Russia really our enemy?" while mocking "our heroic Senate" for passing this bill. Rand Paul, one of Trump's best allies in Congress, voted no on the sanctions, while his dad writes that the true reason for the sanctions is because the "military industrial complex" wants to "continue getting rich terrifying Americans."

Perhaps one can understand the impulse of conservatives to defend Putin in the past. Putin was a strong man, as opposed to weak Obama. And who in his right mind would want war with Russia who now possesses significantly more nuclear weapons than America? Admittedly, a threatening Putin – "[Americans] do not feel a sense of the impending danger – this is what worries me" – can be frightening.

Given recent developments, though, it seems harder to countenance the idea of improved Moscow-American relations as a realistic possibility. While the fake story about Trump-Russia collusion has collapsed, the real story about collusion among Democrats, Hillary, Comey, and Putin is more explosive than ever.

The most interesting development in the Russia saga since Comey's bizarre testimony, or even since the story originally broke, was revelations this past week that the anti-Trump Steele Dossier was a product of Russian agents. 

Bill Browder, a billionaire with extensive Russia experience, testified that Fusion GPS, the company behind the anti-Trump dossier, should have registered under the Foreign Agents Registration Act due to its ties to Russia. He further stated that "in the spring and summer of 2016[, Fusion GPS was] receiving money indirectly from a senior Russian government official."

If Russia pushes out articles on Sputnik News that Trump is a bad guy with a sexual deviancy problem, that is propaganda; if Russia disseminates this story but hides the source, it is disinformation. The distinction is significant. Disinformation is highly subversive. Fusion GPS ostensibly broke the law to hide its relationship with Moscow, and the company is not exactly trying to improve the situation when it refuses to testify

Lest anyone assume that ex-KGB Putin was merely an innocent bystander being snookered by rogue Russian operatives funding Fusion GPS, it is informative to examine the dossier itself. The first source cited is a "senior Russian Foreign Ministry figure," and the second source is a "former top level Russian intelligence officer still active inside the Kremlin" (8). 

The anti-Trump dossier was created with assistance from the highest levels in Moscow. They engaged in a sophisticated disinformation campaign to harm Trump...and succeeded.

But it is even worse than that. This dossier was disseminated to the public not just to make Trump look bad. Comey actually used the dossier as justification to spy on Trump. This spying operation was then leveraged into getting a special prosecutor. Mueller has the power to destroy the freely elected president of America due to a Kremlin-orchestrated campaign.

How could the FBI director use a Russian disinformation product to give himself the power to spy on Trump? Comey effectively acted as a pawn in this Kremlin operation to harm Trump.

The absolute most generous explanation for what occurred is that a man with a thirty-year-long career, who was savvy enough to beat all the treacherous swamp monsters to the top of the pile, the American in charge of stopping foreign powers from nefariously affecting American society and government, didn't know he had to check the source of the anti-Trump dossier before beginning what is arguably the most politically charged investigation of America's history.

This is not the first time Comey has been caught up in the Clinton-Russian nexus. Bill Clinton gave out the most egregious pardon in American history to Marc Rich, who, among various illegal activities, laundered billions of dollars for Russia's elite KGB and communist leaders. Comey handled a criminal investigation of Bill Clinton's pardon and ended the case quietly. No prosecution.

Mark Levin opines that "Vladamir Putin, the Russians, did not pick sides in this election. Some have argued that he wanted to help Trump; some have argued he wanted to help Hillary. No, that's not it at all. They just want to disrupt America." Unlike Buchanan and the Pauls, this opinion would concede the fact that Russia does pose a serious problem for America. But it still falls short.

If Fusion GPS is just a raw tool for Russian destruction, one would suspect that it would be used to attack Democrat politicians as well. So when did Fusion GPS release an anti-Obama dossier?

Fusion GPS did help attack Romney in 2012. It is also a stalwart defender of Venezuela's communists. Oh, and by the way, Putin is also a friend to Maduro.

Russia's meddlesome support for America's left wing can be traced back even farther. As Peter Schweizer documented in his excellent book Clinton Cash, the Clinton Foundation was given 145 million dollars from Uranium One shareholders right as Hillary Clinton permitted the sale of American uranium to Russia. Russia paid Uranium One, and Uranium One paid the Clinton Foundation. In effect, the Russians laundered a massive amount of money to the Clintons. 

Hillary has gotten so many millions of dollars from foreign entities, and especially Russia, that the feasibility of her recent political career without that funding is questionable. The Clinton Foundation used that money in its massive operation touching on countless politicians, lawyers, and media figures, who influenced citizens.

If Putin did consciously choose to do these indirect deals with Hillary, which were hugely beneficial to her, because he somehow knew she would act in ways pleasing to Russia, he made a wise decision. Hillary Clinton opposed the Magnitsky Act, infamously gave the "reset button," and opposed modernization of American nuclear forces. 

Hillary wanted to place severe limitations on exploitation of America's energy reserves. This is possibly the policy Putin desires above all else. His bank accounts, and the Russian economy, are dependent on gas and oil exports. If America limits energy production, the price goes up, and Russia gets more money.

Then there is the case of Hillary's missing – BleachBitted and hammer-smashed – emails. Her security was unbelievably bad. Russia almost certainly has those emails. If the Russians released the special access program emails, it would have caused pandemonium in America. But instead of hurting Hillary with information they already possessed, they invented obscene Trump stories.

The anti-Trump dossier had an interesting line in it, prominently highlighted in the summary: "PUTIN motivated by fear and hatred of Hillary CLINTON." The question is, why would Russian disinformation want to create the impression that Putin hates Hillary?

American Thinker's excellent writer Clarice Feldman wrote that Trump is good at "unmasking" frauds. These frauds are commonly known to be the RINO politicians, the far-left Democrats, and the crazed media. Putin can now be included. This is a guy who pretends to support national sovereignty and conservative values. Yet Trump's very existence has provoked Putin into aggressively interfering in America's most sensitive domestic matters, all while coming in strong on the Democrats' side.

Putin was behind a massive flow of money to Hillary Clinton – so much money, in fact, that he has altered the course of American politics forever. Beyond that, the Kremlin's disinformation is now responsible for a special prosecutor. 

For all of Putin's whining about how awful it is that America has a military alliance with Poland, or how America had an ambassador in Ukraine when the Ukrainian people ousted the corrupt clown Yanukovych, none of it compares to what Putin has done to harm Trump. Putin's publicly known interference in American affairs is far worse than even the alleged things America does to Russia.

Daniel Ashman


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The Military Options for North Korea - John R. Bolton

by John R. Bolton

It is past time for Washington to bury this ineffective "carrots and sticks" approach.

North Korea test-launched on Friday its first ballistic missile potentially capable of hitting America's East Coast. It thereby proved the failure of 25 years of U.S. nonproliferation policy. A single-minded rogue state can pocket diplomatic concessions and withstand sustained economic sanctions to build deliverable nuclear weapons. It is past time for Washington to bury this ineffective "carrots and sticks" approach.

America's policy makers, especially those who still support the 2015 Iran nuclear deal, should take careful note. If Tehran's long collusion with Pyongyang on ballistic missiles is even partly mirrored in the nuclear field, the Iranian threat is nearly as imminent as North Korea's. Whatever the extent of their collaboration thus far, Iran could undoubtedly use its now-unfrozen assets and cash from oil-investment deals to buy nuclear hardware from North Korea, one of the world's poorest nations.

One lesson from Pyongyang's steady nuclear ascent is to avoid making the same mistake with other proliferators, who are carefully studying its successes. Statecraft should mean grasping the implications of incipient threats and resolving them before they become manifest. With North Korea and Iran, the U.S. has effectively done the opposite. Proliferators happily exploit America's weakness and its short attention span. They exploit negotiations to gain the most precious asset: time to resolve the complex scientific and technological hurdles to making deliverable nuclear weapons.

Now that North Korea possesses them, the U.S. has few realistic options. More talks and sanctions will fail as they have for 25 years. I have argued previously that the only durable diplomatic solution is to persuade China that reunifying the two Koreas is in its national interest as well as America's, thus ending the nuclear threat by ending the bizarre North Korean regime. Although the negotiations would be arduous and should have commenced years ago, American determination could still yield results.

Absent a successful diplomatic play, what's left is unpalatable military options. But many say, even while admitting America's vulnerability to North Korean missiles, that using force to neutralize the threat would be too dangerous. The only option, this argument goes, is to accept a nuclear North Korea and attempt to contain and deter it.

The people saying this are largely the same ones who argued that "carrots and sticks" would prevent Pyongyang from getting nuclear weapons. They are prepared to leave Americans as nuclear hostages of the Kim family dictatorship. This is unacceptable. Gen. Joseph Dunford, the chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, has it right. "What's unimaginable to me," he said last month at the Aspen Security Forum, "is allowing a capability that would allow a nuclear weapon to land in Denver." So what are the military options, knowing that the U.S. must plan for the worst?

First, Washington could pre-emptively strike at Pyongyang's known nuclear facilities, ballistic-missile factories and launch sites, and submarine bases. There are innumerable variations, starting at the low end with sabotage, cyberattacks and general disruption. The high end could involve using air- and sea-based power to eliminate the entire program as American analysts understand it.

Second, the U.S. could wait until a missile is poised for launch toward America, and then destroy it. This would provide more time but at the cost of increased risk. Intelligence is never perfect. A North Korean missile could be in flight to a city near you before the military can respond.

Third, the U.S. could use airstrikes or special forces to decapitate North Korea's national command authority, sowing chaos, and then sweep in on the ground from South Korea to seize Pyongyang, nuclear assets, key military sites and other territory.

All these scenarios pose dangers for South Korea, especially civilians in Seoul, which is within the range of North Korean artillery near the Demilitarized Zone. Any military attack must therefore neutralize as much of the North's retaliatory capability as possible together with the larger strike. The U.S. should obviously seek South Korea's agreement (and Japan's) before using force, but no foreign government, even a close ally, can veto an action to protect Americans from Kim Jong Un's nuclear weapons.

The U.S. and South Korean militaries fire missiles into the East Sea during a South Korea-U.S. joint missile drill aimed to counter North Korea's ICBM test on July 29, 2017. (Photo by South Korean Defense Ministry)

China clearly has enormous interests at stake, not least its fear that masses of North Korean refugees will flow across the Yalu and Tumen rivers into its territory. Neither the U.S. nor China wants conflict between their respective forces, so immediate consultations with Beijing would be imperative once military action began. Both considerations underline why urgent diplomacy with China now to press the benefits of peaceful reunification is vital.

The Pentagon's military planners already should be poring through the operational aspects of a potential military strike. But politicians and policy makers also ought to begin debating the military options—for North Korea and beyond, since similar issues will arise regarding Iran and other nuclear proliferators.

For decades the U.S. has opposed attempts by any state without nuclear weapons to develop them. Washington has consistently failed to achieve that objective, and the world has become increasingly nuclearized. Stopping North Korea and Iran may be the last chance to act before nuclear weapons become a global commonplace.

John R. Bolton, former U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations, is Chairman of Gatestone Institute, a senior fellow at the American Enterprise Institute, and author of "Surrender Is Not an Option: Defending America at the United Nations and Abroad".
This article first appeared in The Wall Street Journal


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Brandeis Prof Pascal Menoret: 'Hanging Out with Islamists Is Crucial' - Benjamin Baird

by Benjamin Baird

Hat tip: Dr. Charles Bensoussan

By assigning texts by Islamist sympathizers who in some cases have embedded with their subjects, Menoret portrays these radicals as harmless souls seeking escape from imperialist oppression through spiritual rebellion.

[NER title is "Brandeis Professor Advises Hanging Out with Terrorists."]

Pascal Menoret
Students studying the modern Middle East at Brandeis University, America's only non-sectarian Jewish-sponsored college, are subjected to the disturbing, pro-Islamist worldview of Professor Pascal Menoret. One of his syllabi for spring semester 2017, obtained by this reporter, assigns readings sympathetic to violent jihadists and requires students to conduct a lengthy interview with a known Islamist. In his words, "Hanging out with Islamists is crucial to the comprehension of their politics."
The Renée and Lester Crown Professor of Modern Middle East Studies, Menoret specializes in the people and culture of Saudi Arabia, the epicenter of Wahhabi Islam. Despite the strict and brutal application of Shariah law in the Arabian peninsula, his scholarship overwhelmingly frames Islamists as the marginalized victims of state oppression.
Menoret teaches five anthropology courses, two of which are examined below. The syllabi for "Islamism" (Anthropology 141a) and "Culture and Power in the Middle East (CPME)" (Anthropology 118b) exemplify his soft approach to Islamism. By assigning texts by Islamist sympathizers who in some cases have embedded with their subjects, Menoret portrays these radicals as harmless souls seeking escape from imperialist oppression through spiritual rebellion.
The readings for "Islamism" include Francois Burgat's Face to Face with Political Islam, which attacks the West's "collective ignorance" of Islam and attempts to hide its religious foundation by cloaking it in Arab nationalism: "Much more than a hypothetical 'resurgence of the religious,' it should be reiterated that Islamism is effectively the reincarnation of an older Arab nationalism, clothed in imagery considered more indigenous." Throughout the work, Burgat sympathizes with Islamism, which he prefers to call "political Islam," to imply a nonexistent moderation derived from adopting Western political ideas.
Also assigned is Charles Hirschkind's article "The Ethics of Listening: Cassette-Sermon Audition in Contemporary Egypt," which recounts the author's acculturation through participation in a series of sessions with Egyptian Islamists as they listen to recorded copies of radical sermons. The reader almost forgets that Hirschkind is in the company of violent extremists, as they smoke cigarettes, drink tea, and tell jokes, all the while listening to impassioned exhortations from Islamist tapes banned in many Muslim countries.
Naturally, Menoret assigns CPME his own 2014 book Joyriding in Riyadh: Oil, Urbanism, and Road Revolt. The culmination of years of study in Saudi Arabia, Menoret admits he intended the book to "critique widespread stereotypes on Arab youth and to show that Islamic groups were not the hotbeds of religious radicalization." By accompanying young Islamist men as they participate in exhilarating street races, Menoret echoes the theme so common in his classroom: Islamists are nothing more than harmless, innocent reflections of rebellious American youth—a Muslim version of Fast and Furious.
But Menoret's thesis collapses when, after spending time in a rural Saudi village, he is threatened with conversion and later forcibly expelled by conservative tribesmen grown weary of his presence. As a Western tourist, he is warned that his host's relatives "have weapons, and they have been on the lookout since this afternoon." Apparently, these harmless Islamists were not as enamored with his cultural exoticism—a fitting example of the dangers of jihad tourism.
CPME's readers of Paul Rabinow's book Reflections of Fieldwork in Morocco are instructed—as noted in a review that quotes the book—to "completely subordinate one's own code of ethics, conduct, and world view, to 'suspend belief.'" Jettisoning one's critical faculties is a prescription for being propagandized, a perversion of higher education. Since Islamist ideals are so radically incompatible with universally acknowledged standards of human decency, most students can accept them only by suppressing their reason and morals.
By assigning one of the most politically divisive apologias for Islamism, Faisal Devji's essay "The Terrorist as Humanitarian," Menoret teaches students in CPME that Islamists are simply humanitarians and philanthropists. Devji quotes approvingly Osama bin Laden and Ayman al-Zawahiri and praises their alleged underlying messages of victimhood and charity in the name of Islam. He even contends that humanity "lies at the heart of militant action"—an indefensible claim that whitewashes cold-blooded murder.
Yet students enrolled in "Islamism" are taught that their preconceived notions of Islam and Muslim culture are necessarily bigoted. Key among its assignments is the late Edward Said's Orientalism, the fatally flawed and regrettably influential work that proclaims a "subtle and persistent Eurocentric prejudice against Arabo-Islamic peoples and their culture." (In fairness, Menoret assigns Bernard Lewis's comprehensive critique of Orientalism in CPME, but in this course, Said stands alone.)
Menoret shares Said's antipathy for Israel, having supported the boycott, divestment and sanctions (BDS) movement as a professor at New York University's Abu Dhabi campus by signing a petition aimed at convincing the University to sever Israeli academic and business relationships. More broadly, his syllabi indicate his predisposition for Said's unfounded condemnation of Western scholarship on the region.
Accordingly, Menoret frames ethical questions in the language of postcolonialism. In the CPME-assigned Anthropology and the Colonial Encounter, author Tal Asad describes post-WWII anthropologists as "Europeanized elites" studying the "'traditional' masses in the Third World" as part of their "bourgeois disciplines."
For Asad, Western research on the Middle East can only occur within a dynamic of "power relationships" between the "dominating" Europeans and the "dominated" non-Europeans. Consequently, he argues that most traditional scholarship on the region has been conducted "toward maintaining the structure of power represented by the colonial system."
Menoret's reliance on postcolonial theory reflects its disproportionate influence on the field of Middle East studies. Furthermore, he is part of a much larger coterie of scholars who whitewash Islamism to portray it as harmless despite all the chaos and violence it has spawned across the Middle East and in the West. This approach is disarming the West by blinding it to the enemies of liberal, pluralistic Western culture—a deadly error we cannot afford to commit.
The Crown Center for Middle East Studies at Brandeis claims to be "committed to a balanced and dispassionate approach to the Middle East." Yet, by "hanging out with Islamists" and demanding his students do the same, Menoret reveals the cynicism and hollowness at the Crown Center's core.

Benjamin Baird is a graduate of Middle Eastern studies from the American Military University, an Army veteran of Iraq and Afghanistan, and a staff writer for the Conservative Institute. This article was sponsored by Campus Watch, a project of the Middle East Forum.


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You just might be a Progressive Democrat if... - Richard Kirk

by Richard Kirk

If you don't mind pressing 2 for English...

Jeff Foxworthy made it big with his "you just might be a redneck" routine. Foxworthy's success inspired me to flatter him, sincerely, with a "you just might be a Progressive Democrat" imitation. The take-off goes as follows:

If you think you are the most tolerant person in the room but label all opposing views "hate speech," you just might be a Progressive Democrat.

If you believe that being gay is hardwired and unchangeable but insist that male and female are merely social constructs and that folks can change their "gender identities" from one day to the next, there's a good chance you are a Progressive Democrat.

If you lose sleep over a possible two-degree increase in global temperature over the next fifty years and believe that 97% of all climate scientists think the Earth is getting dramatically warmer due to greenhouse gases...and that buying a heavily subsidized Tesla will make things appreciably better, there's a good chance you're a no-windmills-in-my-backyard Progressive Democrat.

If you have no idea who Richard Lindzen, John Coleman, Bjorn Lomborg, or Freeman Dyson is, you're probably a very Green Progressive Democrat. 

If you are passionate about protecting snail darters, spotted owls, and gray wolves but believe there's a constitutional right to dismember a nine-month-old human baby in his mother's womb, you are quite likely a Progressive Democrat.

If you cite Pope Francis's comments about global warming and the environment, believing they come from one of the most morally insightful persons on the planet, but pay no attention to papal pronouncements concerning abortion and the family, there's a good chance you are a Nancy Pelosi, cafeteria-Catholic Progressive Democrat.

If you support "diversity" but see nothing amiss with colleges and universities whose faculties are overwhelmingly leftist, or if you have no problem with major media that are similarly one-sided politically, you just might be a Progressive Democrat.

If you don't know that the Progressive movement and the founder of Planned Parenthood, Margaret Sanger, are closely connected with racist eugenics, you're probably a historically illiterate Progressive Democrat. 

If you still think Benghazi was caused by an internet video and have no clue that the Coptic immigrant who produced the video was imprisoned for several months in Texas, you are almost certainly a mainstream media Progressive Democrat.

If you aren't troubled by the use of the IRS to suppress conservative "Tea Party" groups prior to the 2012 election (and afterward), you just might be a Progressive Democrat.

If you are outraged by Donald Trump's about-faces and inaccurate statements but aren't at all perturbed by President Obama's misrepresentations with respect to the Affordable Care Act ("if you like your doctor, you can keep your doctor; we'll lower premiums by up to $2,500 for a typical family per year"), there's a good chance you are a Progressive Democrat.

If you think "Fast and Furious" is a remake of Eddie Murphy's 48 Hrs., you just might be a Progressive Democrat.

If you were alarmed by the never confirmed accusation that a single person in a large Tea Party crowd hurled the "n-word" at a black congressman but are unperturbed when leftists actually riot, destroy property, endanger lives, and shut down political speech on campuses – or when an organized group of Black Lives Matter protesters chant, "Pigs in a blanket, fry 'em like bacon," it is quite likely you are a Progressive Democrat.

If you are "pro-choice" but don't believe in giving Americans choices when it comes to buying a firearm or choosing their kids' schools, you just might be a Progressive Democrat.

If you are incensed by the income gap in this country but think nothing about the Obamas sending their kids to the elite Sidwell Friends School while opposing and even removing educational options for poor parents whose offspring are stuck in failing Washington, D.C. public schools, you are quite likely a teacher union-supporting Progressive Democrat.

If you don't mind pressing 2 for English, you're more than likely a Progressive Democrat.
If it doesn't give you a moment's pause to overturn marital traditions that have existed for millennia because a handful of possibly biased social science surveys say it's okay, you are probably a nearsighted, kid-unfriendly Progressive Democrat.

If you don't acknowledge the violent history of Islam but instinctively associate Christianity with the Crusades, the Inquisition, and Salem's witch trials, there's more than a good chance you are a secular Progressive Democrat for whom "the enemy of my enemy is my friend." 

If you think "lack of economic opportunity" is the primary cause of the 70% out-of-wedlock birth rate among black Americans and that fatherlessness has little to do with high crime rates in that community, you just may be an ideologically blinkered, morality-averse Progressive Democrat.

If you think the words "racist," "sexist," "homophobic," "ethnocentric," and "religiously bigoted" should be integral parts of the National Anthem and never give a thought to the fact that a million immigrants come to the U.S. each year, you just may be, and probably are, an angry, ungrateful, politically obsessed Progressive Democrat.

If you want to get me fired or boycott my business for writing this piece, you're probably a Progressive Democrat. But you're too late. I'm already retired. 

Richard Kirk is a freelance writer whose book Moral Illiteracy: "Who's to Say?" is also available on Kindle.


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