Friday, August 25, 2017

National Security Cover-Ups, Missteps, and Miscalculations - Janet Levy

by Janet Levy

The Muslim Brotherhood has penetrated every one of our national security agencies, including our intelligence agencies, according to retired Navy admiral James "Ace" Lyons, former commander of the U.S. Pacific fleet.

The Muslim Brotherhood has penetrated every one of our national security agencies, including our intelligence agencies, according to retired Navy admiral James "Ace" Lyons, former commander of the U.S. Pacific fleet. Adm. Lyons made this startling declaration Jan. 16, 2015 during a conference sponsored by the Center for Security Policy, a conservative Washington, D.C. think-tank.

In the two years since, no action has been taken to reverse this dangerous situation. Empowerment of individuals of questionable loyalties within our intelligence community continues unabated, as does a counterfactual view of Islam and thwarting of terrorist investigations. Our government routinely targets and cashiers productive, legitimate counter-terrorism experts and fails to label terrorist organizations as such. U.S. intelligence failures and feckless politicization have gone on for years, rendering our protections against terrorism ineffectual and putting our country at grave risk.

Post-9/11 Infiltration of the FBI

The terrorist attacks of 9/11 paradoxically led to major infiltration, according to Paul Sperry, author of Infiltration: How Muslim Spies and Subversives Have Penetrated Washington. After 9/11, the FBI sought to rapidly hire more Arabic-speaking translators, Perry writes in his 2005 book. Arabic-speaking Jews applied, many of them retired linguists formerly with Israeli radio and the Israeli army, but only one was ever hired. Then-FBI director Robert Mueller, who had mandated Muslim sensitivity classes for agents, confirmed that the hires were blocked by misgivings over "dual loyalty" and concerns for Arab Muslims who might be offended to work with Jews.

Further, Mueller onerously screened Jewish applicants but expedited Arab Muslim candidates, hiring some without full background checks. One Pakistani woman earned a top-secret clearance despite a prior FBI investigation of her father's Taliban and al-Qaeda ties. Once hired, she proselytized, led prayer groups, and lobbied for separate bathrooms for Muslim translators. Six months later, the FBI discovered its radio frequencies leaked to Pakistan. Even more astonishing, the woman's sons were later hired to translate classified material.

Sperry's book details how Mueller allowed thousands of potential terrorists to apply by seeking translators from CAIR, ISNA, and the American Muslim Council, an organization founded by convicted terrorist Abdurahman Alamoudi.

Indeed, some Arab Muslim translators who were hired went on to warn individuals under government investigation, failed to translate large sections of surveillance log conversations, and created a backlog by translating slowly. Translators also accepted gifts from foreign targets and had romantic ties to terrorists.

Sperry recounts Sibell Edmonds's experience. A Turkish-American translator, Edmonds was shocked at 9/11 celebrations in the translators' office on her first day of work. She was approached by a Turkish translator working for a Turkish spy and for Turkish groups under surveillance. Another translator, also from Turkey, tried to engage her in espionage. She reported her encounters and conferred with her supervisor; no action was taken. After reporting the incidents to upper management, she was fired.

Destruction and Ignoring of Able Danger Data

Destruction of crucial data also puts the U.S. at risk. In 1999, Able Danger, a data-mining program, was created to provide the military with links to al-Qaeda-associated individuals. It identified five al-Qaeda cells, including the "Brooklyn cell" of 9/11 hijacker leader Mohamed Atta and 9/11 hijackers Marwan Alshehhi, Khalid Almihdhar, and Nawal Alhazmi. 

In April 2000, Able Danger contractor James Smith was fired, despite having done much of the data-mining and analysis on al-Qaeda and discovering a link between Atta and Sheikh Omar Abdul Rahman, the first World Trade Center bomber. Further, Pentagon official Major Eric Kleinsmith, who said Able Danger's extensive data could map al-Qaeda's worldwide threat, was ordered to destroy all 2.5 terabytes of program data, equivalent to 25% of the Library of Congress's print materials.

Philip Zelikow, 9/11 Commission executive director, did receive a detailed account of the program from Able Danger intelligence officers, but commission members later said they were never informed that Able Danger had identified Atta and other hijackers. Records were destroyed that identified Atta and three hijackers more than a year before the attacks and the information not utilized or mentioned in the final 9/11 Commission Report. Further, security clearance for Lt. Col. Anthony Shaffer, a former Able Danger intelligence operations officer, was revoked when he tried to testify before the commission.

Shutting Down Operation Green Quest

After 9/11, scores of federal agents led by the U.S. Customs Service raided more than 100 homes, businesses, charities, and think-tanks in Herndon, Virginia, outside Washington, D.C. Codenamed Operation Green Quest, the multi-agency unit netted seven trucks of files and computers seized from the Safa Group, also called the SAAR network, after Sulaiman Abdul Aziz al-Rajhi, a Saudi banker and billionaire. Sulaiman was close to the Saudi royal family and part of the Golden Chain, early 1988-1989 al-Qaeda supporters. He was also connected to Osama bin Laden's personal secretary, Wadih El-Hage, who was convicted of the 1998 U.S. embassy bombings in Africa.

Federal investigators were particularly interested in connections between the SAAR network and Al Taqwa Bank, a Swiss bank closed after 9/11 for suspected ties to al-Qaeda and other terrorist groups, including the Muslim Brotherhood. U.S. officials tracked $20 million flowing from the SAAR network through Al Taqwa Bank, as well as ties to Muslim Brotherhood leaders, according to a report by author Douglas Farrah.

But the Mueller-compromised FBI demanded control of Green Quest and got it from the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) in 2002. DHS would later accuse the bureau of sabotaging Green Quest and other terror-financing investigations implicating Saudis. In particular, Ptech, a Boston-area software developer, was reported to the FBI by a Ptech whistleblower who cited government contracts with a major Saudi investor identified as a terrorist financier. After the bureau allegedly failed to act, the National Security Council supported a raid of Ptech offices by other Green Quest federal agents.

But in 2003, following extensive internal government battles and rumors of Saudi and Muslim Brotherhood indignation over the raid, Green Quest was permanently shut down. Charges were dropped against Ptech, which continued to operate under a different name.

The 9/11 Commission Report never mentioned Ptech, Al Taqwa Bank, the Muslim Brotherhood, or any entities in the SAAR network. Instead, the report "largely exonerated" the Saudi government of any involvement in the financing of al-Qaeda terrorists.

Presenting Counterfactual Views of Islam

Another continuing government misstep puts a benign face on Islam. President Trump's national security adviser, Lt. Gen. Herbert McMaster and his counter-terrorism adviser, Sebastian Gorka, both espouse a counterfactual understanding of Islam, according to former FBI analyst and Muslim Brotherhood expert John Guandolo. Guandolo says the two believe that the "terrorist threat America faces has nothing to do with 'true' Islam."

McMaster told the National Security Council that the term "radical Islamic terrorism" is not helpful to characterize terrorism, Guandolo recalled. Further, McMaster said being a terrorist is "un-Islamic" and that ISIS uses a "perverted interpretation of religion to justify violence."

However, Guandolo asserts that Islamic doctrine mandates jihad, or warfare, against non-Muslims. Thus, the more intensely Muslims study Islam, the more likely it is that they will support and wage jihad. Further, he says Gorka falsely claims that 99.9% of Muslims do not support terrorism, despite substantial polling data proving this untrue.

Sabotaging Experts on Islam

The U.S. fight against terrorism is also weakened when individuals are removed from intelligence functions and military positions because of their views on Islamic ideology and threat doctrine. Two examples stand out.

In 2008, attorney Stephen Coughlin, a decorated intelligence officer and recognized specialist on the Muslim Brotherhood and Islamic doctrine, was cashiered from the Pentagon. Hesham Islam, who worked on the Pentagon's outreach program to Muslims and was suspected of ties to the Muslim Brotherhood, successfully sought Coughlin's dismissal. According to Steve Emerson, executive director of the Investigative Project on Terrorism, Islam was "an Islamist with a pro-Muslim Brotherhood bent who brought groups into the Pentagon who were unindicted co-conspirators."

In 2009, Philip Haney, a DHS specialist on Islam, was ordered to delete or modify hundreds of records tied to individuals, schools, mosques, and Islamic centers that would have established links to thwart terrorist attacks. Haney was reprimanded repeatedly, left the agency, and wrote a book, See Something Say Nothing, documenting his experience. He maintains that if his work had continued, he might have identified San Bernardino shooter Syed Farook and prevented the attack that killed 14 Americans and wounded 22. Instead, he said DHS conceded to the demands of the Obama State Department, with its overt political alliance with the Muslim Brotherhood, and shut down his work.

Failing to Designate Terrorist Entities

Despite copious information on subversive activities obtained from research, investigations, surveillance, undercover operations, and open-source documents, two major terrorist entities are still not on the State Department's designated terrorist group list.

Jamaat ul-Fuqra, or Muslims of America, maintains several dozen paramilitary camps in the U.S. It has committed attacks and robberies, has acquired contraband weapons and recruits, and attracts followers within U.S. prisons. Founded by Sheik Gilani in 1980, members participated in the 1993 World Trade Center bombing. A 2007 report by the Center for Policing Terrorism called Jamaat ul-Fuqra the "best positioned group to launch an attack on the United States, or, more likely, help Al Qaeda to do so."

Meanwhile, for several decades, one of the world's largest sponsors of terrorism, the Muslim Brotherhood, has developed an extensive network of front groups across the United States, infiltrating our government and national security agencies. Founded in 1928, the Brotherhood supports extremist Islamic ideology and has direct ties to Hamas, al-Qaeda, and other jihadist groups. Its terrorism fundraising web of entities in the United States was exposed during the 2008 Holy Land Foundation trial, the largest terrorism funding trial in our nation's history.

Yet Muslim Brotherhood's leaders have been to the White House during the Obama, Bush, and Clinton administrations. During his presidential campaign, Trump pledged to place the group on the terrorist entity list, but it remains a back-burner issue.


Not everyone has ignored the threats from Islamic infiltration. As vice chair of the Subcommittee on Crime, Terrorism, and Homeland Security, Rep. Louis Gohmert (R-Texas) repeatedly and unsuccessfully sought access to the documents supplied to terrorist defendants during the Holy Land Foundation trial. He and four other Republican members of Congress have documented Muslim Brotherhood infiltration at the highest levels of the U.S. national security apparatus, only to have their calls for investigations ignored.

Meanwhile, Judicial Watch recently obtained documents revealing that the FBI under director Robert Mueller purged hundreds of pages of training curricula related to Islamic terrorism at the behest of Muslim Brotherhood front groups who were unindicted co-conspirators in the Holy Land Foundation case.

This sampling of past national security fiascos and cover-ups and the more recent documentation of Islamic penetration and sabotage may be only a fraction of what is actually occurring. It is abundantly clear that many of those pledged to protect Americans have engaged in national security malfeasance. James Lyons's assertion about infiltration of our intelligence community must be heeded and investigated. For our nation to be protected against Islam's virulent threat, we need an immediate course correction and removal of those in Washington who have long ignored the threat. As Trump rightly says, "the swamp must be drained."

Janet Levy


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History May Not be Kind to Angela Merkel - Joseph Puder

by Joseph Puder

Sharia-adherents are flooding Europe to conquer and destroy it.

The British Daily Mail came out this week with a headline, “Meet baby Angela Merkel Muhammad: Syrian refugees living in Germany name their newborn after Chancellor.”  Unfortunately for Germany and Europe, many babies named Muhammad will be born in the coming years, and within a generation or two, both will have more people bowing to Mecca than those attending churches or calling themselves Christians.

History alone will have a fair judgment on Angela Merkel, Germany’s chancellor.  Yet, given the admission of over a million Middle Eastern and African migrants, many if not most are seeking economic opportunities their home countries failed to provide.  Islamist invaders, seeking to turn the heart of Europe safe for Islam, are among those migrants.  In the meantime, before history can render judgement, Islamist terror is gripping Germany.  The latest episode occurred in Hamburg.

On July 28, 2017, Ahmed A. (German authorities haven’t release his last name because of political correctness), carrying an 8-inch knife which he stole from a local supermarket in the Barmbek neighborhood, stabbed three shoppers in the supermarket, killing one of them.  The 26-year old Palestinian-Arab, originally from Gaza, then charged out of the store and attacked four other people in the street shouting, according to eyewitnesses “Allahu akbar” (God is Great).  According to a CNN-TV report, Torsten Voss, Hamburg’s state’s chief of the Constitutional Protection Office, said the “suspect” was one of 800 registered Islamists under observation in Hamburg, but that so far, he was not linked to any extremist network.  Both Angela Merkel and Interior Minister Thomas de Maiziere avoided calling it terrorist attacks, despite clear evidence from eyewitnesses.  Hamburg’s mayor, Olaf Scholz, said it appeared that the attacker was someone who should have been forced to leave Germany.

The Hamburg attack was the latest reported Islamist attack on German civilians.  Last summer (July 19, 2016), a 17 year old Afghan refugee, yielding a knife and an axe on a train, attacked passengers near Wurzburg, Germany, slashing five of them around the head and torso while shouting “Allahu akbar.” He then fled the train and attacked a woman walking her dog before being cornered and killed by the German police.  A week later (7/26/2016), another refugee detonated a backpack full of explosives near a bar in Ansbach, Southern Germany.  The 27 year old Syrian blew himself up outside a wine bar, wounding 15 people.  He had recorded a cellphone video in which he professed his loyalty to the Islamic State.

The train attacker and the Ansbach terrorist both pledged allegiance to the Islamic State (IS). Anis Amri, the Tunisian man who drove a truck into Berlin’s Christmas market on Dec. 19, killing 12 people in the country’s worst terrorist attack in decades, also pledged allegiance to IS.  An Israeli national, Dalia Elyakim, 60, was killed in the Berlin terrorist attack.  Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu responded to the attack by saying, “This attack joins other reprehensible attacks; terror is spreading everywhere and can be stopped only if we fight it, and we will defeat it, but we will defeat it much quicker if all free nations under attack unite.”

The European Union has done little to consider PM Netanyahu’s call.  Open borders, lenient punishment for Muslim immigrant rapists, and oftentimes siding with Islamist groups such as Hamas in Gaza, the Palestinian Authority in Ramallah, Hezbollah, and other terrorist groups against Israel, defeats the call for unity and European self-preservation.

Merkel’s Germany and the European Union states (except Poland, the Czech Republic, and Hungary) have abandoned the most important value any government must adhere to – the protection of their citizens’ lives.  Both Merkel and French President Emanuel Macron, the two major European Union (EU) leaders, are childless.  Therefore, they are less attached to what the consequences of their actions.  For Merkel and many of the EU leaders in Western Europe and Scandinavia, multiculturalism and political correctness are supreme values.  Pride in their Judeo-Christian heritage is not a prized nor a considered value.

Bret Stephens, at the Wall Street Journal, (now at the New York Times) wrote in 2015 about Angela Merkel’s suicidal immigration policies, which he argued will contribute to the destruction of European civilization.  He pointed out that the European civilization has already lost its moral compass.  They no longer believe in the sources from which their comfortable beliefs in human rights, peace and progress spring - Judaism and Christianity, the enlightenment, capitalism, etc.  They have lost the capacity for what Pope Benedict called “self-love.”

Imre Kertesz, the Nobel Prize winner for Literature, more than a decade earlier, dubbed Europe’s problem as “suicidal liberalism.”  He argued that Europe’s dominant set of values leaves it “wide open to Islam.” Explaining her husband’s thoughts in an article he wrote between 2002 and 2009, which has now resurfaced, the 86-year old wife explained in a Hungary Today article that, “I should say something or other about politics, but it really would be an unnecessary and boring waste of time to do so.  I should recall how Muslims are flooding Europe to later conquer, in other terms, destroy it; about how Europe manages all this, on suicidal liberalism and brainless democracy; democracy and suffrage for chimpanzees…This is always what it concludes to: the civilization arrives at an overbred condition in which it is not only unable but also unwilling to protect itself; when, mindlessly, it worships its own enemies…”

Srdja Trifkovic wrote in the Chronicles (March 6, 2016), “Not for the first time the government of Germany is acting as if it owned Europe. On two occasions in the 20th century it sought to occupy most of Europe; this time, with almost equal arrogance, it is trying to bully the rest of Europe into not resisting the ongoing Muslim occupation. The consequences of its actions today, if not checked, are likely to be as tragic as those of its predecessors had been in 1914 and 1939.”  Trifkovic pointed out that Merkel wants to keep Germany’s borders open to migrants.  In defiance of the demands by her Bavarian CSU coalition partners and others, she rejects any set of limits on the number of newcomers.  About warning of the implications of an ‘Open Door Immigration’, she responds with “It is good for Germany’s reputation.”

More disturbing is her insistence on redistributing the migrants arriving in Germany throughout the EU states, through a system of Brussels-imposed compulsory quotas on all 28 member-states. She does not have a Plan B for cutting immigrant inflow.  Angela Merkel wants to present the rest of Europe with two faits accomplis: Germany will accept unlimited numbers of migrants, and Brussels will force the rest of Europe to share in the resulting cost and burden, not to mention the terror and disintegration of the EU societies by the influx of conquering Muslims.  All this for the sake of Germany’s reputation.

The admission of millions of Muslims into Germany, indoctrinated with hatred toward Jews and Israel, and intent on making Europe safe for Islam, won’t restore Germany’s “reputation.”  Nazi Germany murdered Six Million Jews, and many of the new Muslim arrivals would like to finish what Hitler’s Nazis started.

Joseph Puder


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The DNC: America's Most Notorious Hate Group - John Perazzo

by John Perazzo

Now we're told that some racism and supremacism is perfectly okay.

Riddle: What does a Democratic National Committee member say the moment he wakes up from a sound sleep?

Answer: The same thing he says during all his other waking hours, and the same thing DNC members have been saying for many decades: “Conservative racists and white supremacists are lurking everywhere.... Yeh-yeh-yeh … everywhere, everywhere.”

Consider the DNC's latest pathetic ad campaign, which reads: “If Trump wants us to believe he does not support white supremacy, tell him to fire the enablers of white supremacy working for him in the White House.” What's remarkable is that while the imaginary “white supremacy” of Trump's aides and advisers makes Democrats squawk with fiery indignation, the DNC not only countenances a number of very real, impossible-to-miss racial supremacists of its own, but it actually celebrates and honors them.

In August 2015, for instance, the DNC issued a formal resolution officially endorsing Black Lives Matter (BLM), a black supremacist movement founded in 2013 by a coterie of revolutionary Marxists. Numerous BLM activists have openly called for the murder of white police officers — and in some cases white people generally. Moreover, the demonstrators at all BLM events invoke a famous call-to-arms by the Marxist revolutionary, former Black Panther, convicted cop-killer, and longtime fugitive Assata Shakur, in which Shakur quotes a passage from her beloved Communist Manifesto.

Notwithstanding BLM's racist and violent (and Marxist) track record, the movement's leaders were frequent guests at the White House during President Obama's second term in office. One of those occasions was September 16, 2015, when BLM activist Brittany Packnett — making her seventh White House visit — proudly told reporters that the president had offered her and her comrades “a lot of encouragement” while exhorting them to “keep speaking truth to power.” The following month, the DNC invited BLM activists to organize and host a town hall forum where the Democratic Party’s presidential candidates could discuss “racial justice.” In December 2015, President Obama lauded BLM for shining “sunlight” on the problem of racist policing in America, and on a subsequent occasion he likened BLM to the abolition and suffrage movements, which he said were also “contentious and messy” but ultimately noble. And on July 13, 2016 – a mere six days after a BLM supporter in Dallas had shot and killed five police officers and wounded seven others – Obama hosted three BLM leaders at a lengthy White House meeting along with the legendary racist anti-Semite, Al Sharpton.

By then, Sharpton was well-established as “Obama's go-to man on race.” Indeed, Obama had addressed Sharpton's National Action Network on multiple occasions, lauding the organization for its “commitment to fight injustice and inequality,” and for doing work that was “so important to change America.” He had also characterized Sharpton as “a voice for the voiceless and ... dispossessed,” and had praised Sharpton's “dedication to the righteous cause of perfecting our union.” From January 2009 through December 2014, Al Sharpton – the most visible racist anti-Semite of the past generationvisited the Obama White House on 72 separate occasions, including 5 one-on-one meetings with the president and 20 meetings with staff members or senior advisers.

And the DNC had no problem with any of this.

Nor is the DNC troubled by the fact that its own National Chairman, Thomas Perez, who served as Assistant Attorney General for the Justice Department's Civil Rights Division during President Obama's first term, has repeatedly shown himself to be a profoundly ugly racialist. Under the rubric of “disparate impact” theory, for instance, Perez believes that bankers and mortgage lenders who reject the loan applications of blacks at a higher rate than the loan applications of whites — regardless of the reason — are akin to Klansmen. While such lenders discriminate “with a smile” and “fine print,” says Perez, their subtle brand of racism is “every bit as destructive as the cross burned in a neighborhood.”

Former Justice Department veteran J. Christian Adams has given damning testimony about how Perez and other Obama officials believed that “civil rights law should not be enforced in a race-neutral manner, and should never be enforced against blacks or other national minorities.” Christopher Coates — the Justice Department's former Voting Section Chief — has corroborated Adams' assertion that the Obama Justice Department routinely ignored civil rights cases involving white victims. And an Inspector General's report released in March 2013 stated that Perez believed that voting-rights laws do “not cover white citizens.”

Again, the DNC is perfectly fine with all this. Remember, Perez is its National Chairman.

The runner-up to Perez in the race for DNC Chairman last January was Congressman Keith Ellison, who has a long history of openly supporting Nation Of Islam leader Louis Farrakhan, who in turn has a long, well-documented history of venom-laced denunciations of “white devils” and Jewish “bloodsuckers.” Even though Farrakhan has referred to none other than Adolf Hitler as “a very great man” who “rose Germany up from nothing,” Ellison has described Farrakhan as “a role model for black youth”; “a sincere, tireless, and uncompromising advocate of the black community and other oppressed people around the world”; and “a central voice for our collective aspirations.”

Ellison also praised the incendiary Nation of Islam spokesman and black supremacist, the late Khalid Abdul Muhammad, who smeared Jews as “slumlords in the black community” that were busy “sucking our [blacks’] blood on a daily and consistent basis”; who claimed that the “white man” is “not devil, [but] is the Devil”; who said that Jews had provoked Adolf Hitler when they “went in there, in Germany, the way they do everywhere they go, and they supplanted, they usurped”; and who praised Colin Ferguson, a black man who had gunned down some twenty white and Asian commuters in a racially motivated shooting spree aboard a New York commuter train, as a hero who possessed the courage to “just kill every goddamn cracker that he saw.”

Over the years, Ellison has spoken numerous times before the national conventions of such organizations as the Council on American-Islamic Relations, the Muslim American Society, the Islamic Circle of North America, the Islamic Society of North America, and the  Muslim Public Affairs Council. All of these groups have deep ties to the Muslim Brotherhood, the ideological wellspring of genocidal Islamic supremacist groups like Hamas, Al-Qaeda, and Palestinian Islamic Jihad.

It is nothing short of astonishing that the DNC can so shamelessly turn a blind eye to all this ugliness — to all this very obvious endorsement of racism and supremacism by the very people to whom it is closest — while feigning outrage over the “white supremacy” that has supposedly infiltrated the Trump White House. More than any other organization in America, the DNC itself reigns supreme over the “Empire of Lies” that George Orwell identified as the place where “truth is treason.”

John Perazzo is the managing editor of


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Strides in the Struggle for an Independent Kurdistan - Lawrence A. Franklin

by Lawrence A. Franklin

The Kurds' dream of a separate state is more than a century old.

  • The regional regime that is in the best position to threaten the drive for a free Kurdish state is that of Iran.
  • The country that has the most to lose in the event of an independent Kurdistan is Turkey, due to its huge population of ethnic Kurds, some of whom support the militant Kurdistan Workers Party (PKK), which has battled Turkey's military for decades.
  • Ironically and thankfully, this combination of recently acquired combat experience on the part of the Kurds -- plus widespread unrest in the region, still reeling from the "Arab Spring," and the loss of Syrian and Iraqi sovereignty over swaths of their territories -- improves the chance of a peaceful secession of Kurdistan from Iraq.
On September 25, 2017, the people of Iraqi Kurdistan will vote overwhelmingly in favor of establishing an independent nation-state. All ethnic groups, from Erbil to Zakho -- and in other disputed areas claimed by the Kurdistan Regional Government (KRG), such as Kirkuk, Sinjar and Makmoor -- are eligible to take part in the referendum.

Although the result of the plebiscite will not be binding, it is likely to enhance existing secessionist sentiment among the populace and increase pressure on KRG officials.

The Kurds' dream of a separate state is more than a century old. Yet geography and the imperialist designs of outside forces have conspired to render that goal a nightmare. Predictably, the most vehement opposition to the establishment of an independent state for the Kurds comes from the major powers with large Kurdish minorities -- including Iraq, Iran, Turkey and Syria. Apparently fearing that a Kurdish state would heighten irredentist sentiment among the Kurdish minorities within their territories to merge with a "Greater Kurdistan," the governments of these countries view any form of Kurdish independence as a national-security threat. It is thus quite possible that one or more of the KRG's neighbors will move militarily to prevent a Kurdish secession from Iraq.

The regional regime that is in the best position to threaten the drive for a Kurdish Free State is that of Iran. It already employs small pro-Iranian militias -- the Kata'ib Sayyid al-Shuhada, Asa'ib Ahl al-Haq and the Badr Organization -- on KRG territory, operating under the rubric of the Popular Mobilization Forces (PMF). Should Iran decide to take military action to prevent a Kurdish secession from Iraq, it will likely deploy the PMF to do so.

However, while the political and military asymmetry between Iraq's Kurdish region and outside regional powers have seemed fixed, the historical inequality no longer exists. Currently, in fact, no state in the region easily could crush a determined effort by the Kurds to sever the artificial ties that have bound them, disadvantageously, to the Arab people of Mesopotamia.

This is chiefly due to the Peshmerga ("those who defy death"), Kurdish fighters who have become combat-hardened warriors; so much so that, with NATO air support in August 2014, they fought the Islamic State fighters to a standstill outside the gates of their regional capital, Erbil. In the event of a confrontation against the Peshmerga, even the pro-Iran PMF militias would pay a heavy price.

Greater Zab River near Erbil Iraqi Kurdistan. (Image source: jamesdale10/Wikimedia Commons)

Most of Iran's Kurds live in the western part of the Islamic Republic, in Kordestan, West Azerbaijan and the Kermanshah provinces. Although regionally concentrated, they are not in a position to secede from Iran, due mainly to the efforts of Tehran's intelligence services to suppress Kurdish irredentism by eviscerating rebel organizations. That could change, however, if Iraq's Kurds are successful in seceding from the central government in Baghdad. For one thing, it might buoy Iran-based Kurdish groups -- such as the Komela (Society of Revolutionary Toilers of Kordestan), the Kurd Democratic Party of Iran (KDPI) and the Free Life Party of Kordestan (PJAK) -- and spur them to rise up against the regime in Tehran.

The country that has the most to lose in the event of an independent Kurdistan is Turkey, due to its huge population of ethnic Kurds, some of whom support the militant Kurdistan Workers Party (PKK), which has battled Turkey's military for decades.

Although Turkey is also the greatest obstacle to Kurdish independence, Turkish troops have become entangled in the Syrian civil war. They have also not recuperated from the failed coup attempt against President Recep Tayyip Erdogan in the summer of 2016, an act that resulted, among other things, in a massive purge within the Turkish military.

To allay Istanbul's apprehensions that an independent Kurdish state on its borders might energize Turkey's Kurds to seek autonomy, KRG political leaders are likely to forswear any assistance to the PKK, at least publicly. Kurdish spokesmen will probably also point out that Turks could benefit from a stable Kurdistan's pledge to keep the oil flowing to Turkey from Kurdish fields around Kirkuk.

Syria also has a Kurdish minority, making up about 10% of the general population, most of whom reside in the north and northeast -- where they have established the Democratic Administration of Rojava. Due to the raging civil war, Damascus currently cannot spare the troops and resources it would take to suppress this Kurdish enclave. Nor does the Assad regime have the current capability to dismantle the Kurdish military opposition in Syria, particularly the effective Kurdish People's Protection Units (YPG). In additions, tens of thousands of Syrian Kurds -- along with Syria-based Turkmen, Arabs, Assyrians and Armenians – have banded together to form the Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF), which have been fighting ISIS, particularly in Raqaa.

Even if the Assad regime survives the bloody war, now in its sixth year, it will be too weak initially to suppress secession from its own Kurds.

Furthermore, the Syria that eventually emerges is likely to be a good deal smaller than its current size, which would force it to rely its Russian, Iranian and Hezbollah allies to conquer Rojava. Such a scenario would be thick with dangers, including a possible American military response.

Ironically and thankfully, this combination of recently-acquired combat experience on the part of the Kurds -- plus widespread unrest in the region, still reeling from the "Arab Spring," and the loss of Syrian and Iraqi sovereignty over swaths of their territories -- improves the chance of a peaceful secession of Kurdistan from Iraq.

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


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Solar Superstorms and the US Electric Grid - Rovvy Lepor

by Rovvy Lepor

Though 158 years have passed since the Carrington Event, the United States remains under threat from a solar superstorm that could bring down the electric grid.

America’s existence is dangerously threatened from a devastating electromagnetic pulse (EMP) from a solar superstorm (aka a coronal mass ejection or CME), and neither Republican nor Democratic leaders have resolved to fix it. This must change quickly -- before it’s too late.

A powerful geomagnetic storm, known as the Carrington Event, occurred on September 1-2, 1859. The Carrington Event is named after the British astronomer Richard Carrington who witnessed a dramatic and large white light flare that was associated with a solar CME and resultant major geomagnetic storm. This solar storm knocked out the telegraph system across the United States, demonstrating the devastating effect powerful solar storms can have on an unprotected electric grid.

Though 158 years have passed since the Carrington Event, the United States remains under threat from a solar superstorm that could bring down the electric grid. In fact, on July 23, 2012, the Earth barely missed a solar superstorm comparable in strength to the Carrington Event. Had the 2012 solar storm occurred a mere nine days earlier, the Earth would have been hit. And if the solar superstorm had hit, according to Daniel Baker of the University of Colorado, “we would still be picking up the pieces” in 2014. In an article published in the journal Nature Communications, research physicist Dr. Janet G. Luhmann, who is part of NASA’s STEREO (Solar Terrestrial Relations Observatory) team said that if the 2012 solar storm had hit Earth, “it probably would have been like the big one in 1859, but the effect today, with our modern technologies, would have been tremendous.” Another author and fellow STEREO colleague Dr. Ying D. Liu described the results of a direct hit by a solar storm of this magnitude as follows:
An extreme space weather storm -- a solar superstorm -- is a low-probability, high-consequence event that poses severe threats to critical infrastructures of the modern society. The cost of an extreme space weather event, if it hits Earth, could reach trillions of dollars with a potential recovery time of 4-10 years. Therefore, it is paramount to the security and economic interest of the modern society to understand solar superstorms.
In a 2011 report, the Department of Homeland Security conceded the significant deleterious effects of major geomagnetic storms but claimed that cost-benefit analyses did not justify work toward hardening the electric grid. However, according to a 2012 study by physicist Pete Riley published in Space Weather and quoted by NASA, there is a 12% chance of a solar superstorm comparable to the Carrington Event hitting the Earth within 10 years. This means that within 20 years there is a 23% chance of a destructive solar storm, within 50 years a 47% chance of occurrence, and within a century a 72% chance.

While such looming danger necessitates Congressional approval of legislation that requires hardening the U.S. electric grid from EMP attacks in a thorough and expeditious manner, members of both parties have either not taken the threat seriously enough or have actively stood in the way of protecting the national electric grid. According to a study by the Foundation for Resilient Societies that was presented in 2015 before a Congressional hearing on the EMP threat, the cost of hardening the electric grid would range from $10 billion to $30 billion. In a 2013 letter to President Obama about the threat of EMP, Thomas Popik, the
Chairman of the Foundation for Resilient Societies, wrote that “grid failure is an existential threat to the survival of the United States as a nation and to the American population.”

According to an estimate by Dr. William Graham, chairman of the blue-ribbon Congressional EMP Commission, as much as 90% of the U.S. population could perish from a solar EMP. According to the Foundation for Resilient Societies, “the projected costs of a regional or nationwide electric grid outage lasting months or years vary widely, but range from $1 trillion to over $10 trillion -- plus potential widespread loss of life for the substantial majority of the 320 million people living in this nation.”

According to researchers from the University of Cambridge’s Centre for Risk Studies and other institutions, if the nation’s electric grid fails from a powerful geomagnetic storm, it would cost the U.S. economy up to $41.5 billion per day. This means that a halt to the U.S. economy of even one day would surpass the high estimate for hardening the nation’s electric grid. For perspective, if the outage lasted one year, it would cost up to $15.15 trillion or over 80% of the U.S. GDP, which stood at $18.57 trillion in 2016.

Even in a more “optimistic” scenario where only 10% or even 1% of the population died from the results of a powerful geomagnetic storm, the investment needed to prevent that would be far more than worth it. For perspective, the total number of U.S. military deaths in all American wars throughout the nation’s history amounts to less than 0.5% of the current U.S. population.

The economic costs, and certainly the potential cost in life, easily necessitate swift action to harden the grid. A cost-benefit analysis based on the chance of a major solar storm (even leaving aside the risk from manmade EMP attacks) coupled with the cost of inaction lead to the inexorable conclusion that the nation’s electric grid must be hardened immediately. It is a betrayal of the highest order to leave U.S. citizens in such grave danger.

Resolution of this threat must not be placed on the back burner as Congress and previous presidents have allowed for all too long. The Critical Infrastructure Protection Act (CIPA) that was passed into law as part of the National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA) in December of 2016 is a toothless bill that requires research “to the extent practicable” into protecting the electric grid. CIPA only mandates that the Department of Homeland Security produce recommendations within a year about hardening the grid, with updates to Congress every subsequent two years. After years of superior bills (like H.R. 2417) being held up in committee or otherwise blocked, CIPA is at least a first step. However, it doesn’t directly mandate any implementation of hardening the electric grid, includes vague language, and is far from adequate to effectively address the EMP threat. The bill expressly grants no regulatory authority to the Administration and no funding for the grid-hardening program.

Congress and President Trump must take accelerated steps to harden the vulnerable U.S. electric grid as well as take further steps to protect all areas within the U.S. military and civilian infrastructure that may remain vulnerable to a solar storm.

Rovvy Lepor


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Terror Averted in Rotterdam - Matthew Vadum

by Matthew Vadum

A tip from Spanish authorities saves Dutch lives.

Authorities in the Netherlands foiled an apparent Muslim terrorist plot to attack a concert venue in Rotterdam while an American rock band with an Islamic-sounding name was performing there.

Authorities shut down the scheduled performance by Los Angeles act Allah-Las at a 1,000-person capacity club called Maassilo. The band’s name has attracted some unwanted attention in the Muslim world. Band members say they selected the name Allah, Arabic for the Muslim deity, because they wanted something that sounded “holy.” Lead singer Miles Michaud said: “We get emails from Muslims, here in the U.S. and around the world, saying they’re offended, but that absolutely wasn’t our intention.”

After being tipped off by Spanish police, on Wednesday Rotterdam police and counter-terrorism personnel located a van near the Maassilo venue bearing Spanish license plates and that reportedly contained “gas bottles.” The driver, a Spaniard, was detained, after he was observed by police going to and from the concert site repeatedly.

About 120 gas canisters were found at the suspected lair of the terrorist cell that used a rented van to mow down pedestrians last week in Barcelona, Spain. The night before the August 17 vehicular attack, two members of the terrorist cell are thought to have inadvertently blown themselves up in Alcanar, Spain, possibly while preparing terror materiel. At least 15 people were killed and 130 injured in a series of attacks by the cell.

According to one British media outlet,
It has since been claimed that the 12-strong terror cell planned to rent three large lorry-type vehicles, pack them each full of butane gas and TATP plastic explosive, and drive them into busy hotspots in Barcelona city. One van was to be driven into the Sagrada Familia, another was to be detonated on Las Ramblas, and the third was going to be blown up in Barcelona’s port area.
Of course, the foreign-born Muslim mayor of Rotterdam urged people not to connect the dots.
Ahmed Aboutaleb told a presser that there was no proven connection between the Spanish tip and the van. "We should not draw conclusions too fast."
The ring that the police set up around the (concert hall) led to the detention of a bus with gas bottles. It would be wrong at this moment to pile up these facts and conclude: thus there was a plan to attack with gas bottles, et cetera, because that was the picture last week in Barcelona. I would be careful with that. Whether the bus with gas bottles can be linked to the threat, that cannot now be established.
Not that the judgment or public pronouncements of Aboutaleb, a Muslim immigrant of Riffian Berber ancestry who was born in Morocco and is a Dutch-Moroccan dual citizen, can necessarily be trusted.

Aboutaleb’s lax approach to Muslim terrorism is hardly uncommon on his continent. National and sub-national governments in European countries generally range from being partly to wholly in denial about the Islamofascist threat as they bend over backwards to appease their enemies and not be smeared as Islamophobes.

Islamists themselves are increasingly targeting music venues.

Islamic State claimed responsibility for the bombing of the Ariana Grande concert in Manchester, England, on May 22 that claimed 22 innocent lives.

Four men shouting “Allahu akbar” burst into the Bataclan concert hall in Paris on Nov. 13, 2015, as part of a coordinated, simultaneous assault on various sites around the French capital. A total of 130 people were killed in Paris, including 89 at Bataclan, and more than 300 were injured around the city. The band performing at the Bataclan was the Palm Desert, California-based Eagles of Death Metal.

England has been a hotbed of Muslim terrorist activity, with at least three deadly, mass-casualty events so far this year.

Apart from the Manchester bombing, on March 22, a car was driven into pedestrians on Westminster Bridge, London. Five people lost their lives and almost 50 were injured. On June 3, men in a van drove into people on London Bridge, crashed, and then stabbed other people at Borough Market. The end result was 8 dead and 48 injured.

France has also been heavily targeted by Islamists this year.

On Feb. 3, there was a machete attack on a soldier at the Louvre in Paris. On March 18, a man was killed when he tried to seize a police officer’s gun at Paris Orly Airport. On April 20, police were fired on at the Champs-Élysées. Islamic State claimed responsibility. On June 6 a police officer was attacked with a hammer outside Notre-Dame Cathedral. On June 19 there was a car ramming attack on a police vehicle at the Champs-Élysées. The attacker claimed allegiance to Islamic State. On August 9, a car was driven into soldiers in Levallois-Perret, Hauts-de-Seine, injuring six.

Elsewhere in Europe so far this year, there was the April 7 truck attack in Stockholm, Sweden (5 dead, 14 injured) and the July 28 mass-stabbing at a supermarket in Hamburg, Germany (1 dead, 6 injured). On April 3 there was a suicide-bombing on public transit in St. Petersburg, Russia, with 15 victims killed and 87 injured. An al-Qaeda affiliate claimed responsibility but a security service blamed Islamic State.

And there is still a little over four months left in 2017.

Matthew Vadum, senior vice president at the investigative think tank Capital Research Center, is an award-winning investigative reporter and author of the book, "Subversion Inc.: How Obama’s ACORN Red Shirts Are Still Terrorizing and Ripping Off American Taxpayers."


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"It is Our Very Existence That is Unbearable to Jihadists" - Giulio Meotti

by Giulio Meotti

To paraphrase Trotsky, you may not be interested in fighting jihadism, but jihadism is interested in fighting you.

  • The Islamist attacks against Spain, Finland and Germany unmasked the central problem: Pacifism will not protect Europe from either Islamization or terror attacks. Spain and Germany were, in fact, among the most reluctant countries in Europe to take an active role in the anti-ISIS coalition.
  • The Spanish press did not participate in a discussion of the Mohammed cartoons; no Spanish writer was accused of "Islamophobia" and no Spanish personality was put under police protection for "criticizing Islam". It seemed as if Spain were not even interested in what was at stake in Islamist attacks on Europe's very existence. No Spanish city made headlines for having multicultural ghettos, as in France and Britain. The attack in Barcelona should have ended this illusion. Terrorists do not need an excuse to butcher "infidels".
  • The sad conclusion seems to be that that jihadists do not need a "reason" to kill Westerners. They attack equally France, which conducts military operations in the Middle East and North Africa, and countries such as Spain and Germany, which are neutral.
In 24 hours, Spain suffered two major terror attacks. A jihadist cell killed 15 people in Barcelona and the seaside resort of Cambrils. In the past year, Germany was the other European country hit hard by armed Islamists. First, a jihadist plowed a large truck through a Christmas market in central Berlin and murdered 12 people. Then a man wielding a knife murdered one person during an attack at a supermarket in Hamburg.

One day after the carnage in Barcelona, another terror attack took place in Turku, Finland. Two women were murdered in the market square of the country's oldest city. Jihad -- in Finland?

Jihad -- in Finland? Terrorists do not need an excuse to butcher "infidels". On August 18, an Islamic terrorist murdered two women in in Turku, Finland, during a stabbing spree in the city's market square. Pictured: The Aura River in Turku. (Image source: Arthur Kho Caayon/Wikimedia Commons)

The Islamist attacks against Spain, Germany and Finland unmasked the central problem: Pacifism will not protect Europe from either Islamization or terror attacks. Spain and Germany were, in fact, among the most reluctant countries in Europe to take an active role in the anti-ISIS coalition.

John Vinocur of the Wall Street Journal recently defined Germany as "a country where the army and air force basically do not fight". And Spanish politicians, since the 2004 train bombings, have not backed U.S. and NATO operations in countries such as Libya and Mali. Spain has been described as a "reluctant partner" in the anti-ISIS coalition.

Spain and Germany contribute less than others to NATO's efforts. US President Donald Trump has made clear that the existence of NATO is contingent on members meeting their agreed-upon obligations of spending 2% of GDP on defense. Spain spends less than half of that -- 0.91 percent. Germany does only a little better -- at 1.19 percent. Finland never even joined NATO.

The surprise of the Finnish élite over the Turku attack was noted by The Financial Times:
"The Nordic country of 5m people does not feature prominently in jihadi invective against the west. Despite Finland's armed forces having occasionally supported Nato missions in Afghanistan and Iraq, the country's longstanding nonaligned and peaceable military status has insulated it from most blowback from crises in the Middle East."
In 2004, al-Qaeda, for the first time, was able to effect a regime change in Europe after committing terror atrocities on Madrid's trains. Shortly after those bombings, Spain's election turned into a referendum on its involvement in the Iraq War. The Socialist Party's dramatic upset victory was followed by a withdrawal of Spanish troops from Iraq. Since then, Spain has been almost non-existent in the international arena. Probably assuming that pacifism shielded it from further attacks, Spain was regarded as "the forgotten front in Europe's ISIS war".

The Spanish press was diligently indifferent to any debate on freedom of expression, then, as now, under attack by Islamists in Europe. The Spanish press did not participate in a discussion of the Mohammed cartoons; no Spanish writer was accused of "Islamophobia", and no Spanish personality was put under police protection for "criticizing Islam". It seemed as if Spain were not even interested in what was at stake in Islamist attacks on Europe's very existence. No Spanish city made headlines for having multicultural ghettos, as in France and Britain. The attack in Barcelona should have ended this illusion. Terrorists do not need an excuse to butcher "infidels".

Germany, the most generous country in Europe in welcoming Muslims, followed the same fate as Spain. The German government struck a cozy deal with Turkey about the migrants; and when a comedian, Jan Böhmermann, made a joke about a Muslim politician, the German government allowed its legal system to put the comedian on trial.

The sad conclusion seems to be that that jihadists do not need a "reason" to kill Westerners. They attack equally France, which conducts military operations in the Middle East and North Africa, and countries such as Spain and Germany, which are neutral. It is enough for them to state, that, according to Islamic doctrine, land once under Muslim rule is forever under Islamic rule. As Spain ("Al Andalus" for Islamists) was under Islamic rule until the Christian Reconquista (which began in 722), and then Muslims were expelled in 1492, the country, according to Muslim extremists, permanently belongs to Islam and therefore must be taken back.

About the massacre in Barcelona, the French philosopher Pascal Bruckner commented:
"no one is immune.... The picture that comes to me is that of The Plague of Albert Camus: a scourge that falls on an innocent city. The extension of the field of jihadist struggle is universal. The terrorists charge the whole world for their failure. They knock where they can hit. Trying to please them is vain, it is our very existence that is unbearable to them".
To paraphrase Trotsky, you may not be interested in fighting jihadism, but jihadism is interested in fighting you.

Giulio Meotti, Cultural Editor for Il Foglio, is an Italian journalist and author.


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