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travel ban countries

Since President Trump took office over 2,400 refugees from travel-ban countries entered U.S.

Pew Research has done a handy little summary of where we stand with refugees admitted this fiscal year, but most importantly they made a useful graph of how many entered from travel-restricted countries since the first week of December, through Trump’s inauguration and up to last Friday.

There is nothing we haven’t already been talking about as we reported also from Wrapsnet over recent weeks and months, but they put it in a neat little package for your review on the eve of the 120-day moratorium on refugee resettlement.

Pew Research Center:

A total of 2,466 refugees from six countries under new travel restrictions – Iran, Libya, Somalia, Sudan, Syria and Yemen – have resettled in the United States since Donald Trump became president, according to a Pew Research Center analysis of U.S. State Department data. The number of refugees from the six travel-restricted countries represents 32% of all refugees who have entered the U.S. since Trump took office.

Pew continues….

Including refugees from countries with no travel restrictions, a total of 7,594 refugees have entered the U.S. during Trump’s first seven weeks in office (Jan. 21 to March 10). Of these refugees, 3,410 are Muslims (45%) and 3,292 are Christians (43%), with other religions or the religiously unaffiliated accounting for the rest.

So far in fiscal 2017 (which began Oct. 1, 2016), refugees who hold citizenship from the six restricted countries have accounted for more than a third (34%) of 37,716 refugee admissions.

More here.

President Trump has set the ceiling for the entire 2017 fiscal year at 50,000, a number we explained here is not that low!

This post is filed in our Trump Watch! category as well as ‘refugee statistics’ and ‘where to find information.’

EndNote: It is amusing to me to see research/articles like this because for years and years (I started writing RRW in 2007) no one paid any attention to the numbers, religions and ethnicities of refugees entering the US. It is nice to see so many news outlets educating the public!

RELATED ARTICLES: 

Flow chart for refugee admissions shows where Trump team could downsize program with funding cuts

California judge seeks to prevent immigration arrests inside state courts

Horowitz: Where is Congress? Why are they not helping Trump on immigration?

Middle East experts: Kurdish safe zones could thwart Iranian threat to Israel

One report: Trump Department of State to cut funding to UN by 50%

quassem sulemani iran

The Crimes of Qassem: The U.S. should shut down Iran’s top terrorist

He might not be a household name in America — at least, not yet. But throughout the Middle East, Qassem Suleymani makes the righteous and the innocent tremble.

To the righteous — meaning, from his perspective, the Shiite zealots who believe the Islamic state of Iran should establish the caliphate and dominate the world — he is an awe-inspiring figure.

He is powerful. He is brash. He brazenly shows up on the battlefield to encourage his troops. In Iraq, he has become the maker of prime ministers and governments, and commands a militia of 100,000 men.

To his innocent victims, he is the face of Terror, Inc. As head of the Islamic Revolutionary Guards Corps – Quds Force (IRGC-QF), Qassem Suleymani is Iran’s top terrorist.

The Quds Force is euphemistically in charge of “extraterritorial” operations for the IRGC. I call it their expeditionary overseas terrorist wing.

In the early days, they were the ones who sent terror trainers to Lebanon to teach Hezbollah how to build better car bombs. Later, they knocked off a Lebanese prime minister and launched an all-out war on Israel in the summer of 2006, firing thousands of rockets at Israeli schools, hospitals and towns.

When Iran’s leaders decided in the early 1990s to forge an alliance in terror with a Saudi dissident named Osama bin Laden, they turned the file over to the Quds Force for action.

The Quds Force has been implicated in terror plots all around the world, including a failed 2011 attempt to blow up the Saudi ambassador at a Washington, D.C. restaurant. Suleymani and his operatives were also implicated in the September 11 plot, helping 10 to 12 of the Saudi “muscle” hijackers travel clandestinely through Iran to Afghanistan and providing logistical and other support.

In February 2007, Pentagon officials briefed reporters in Baghdad on Quds Force assistance to insurgents in Iraq.

The briefing included information and documents seized from Quds Force operatives detained by U.S. forces in Iraq, and photographic evidence of Iranian-made roadside bombs, known as Explosively Formed Projectiles, or EFPs.

The introduction of EFPs onto the battlefields of Iraq and Afghanistan by Suleymani and his men changed the scope and scale of U.S. casualties, ultimately accounting for as many as 1,500 U.S. battlefield dead.

I spoke recently to medically retired U.S. Army Sgt. Robert Bartlett about his encounter with an Iranian EFP. The force of the projectile “cut me in half from the left corner of my temple down to my jaw, and took my gunner’s legs off. Because of this Iranian bomb, I died three times in five days.

“Only my faith kept me alive,” he said.

The U.S. Army told Samantha Balsely that her 23-year old husband Michael had been killed in Iraq by an Improvised Explosive Device. Later, it became apparent that he, too, had been killed by an Iranian EFP.

“When I found out the government had given Iran billions of dollars, it was the biggest slap in the face,” Samantha told me. “How can you say you respect what our men and women do when you order them over there and then you pay their killers. It’s not right.”

Samantha Balsley is right. It’s just not right for the U.S. government to continue rewarding the Iranian regime, when they continue to kill Americans.

We know who these killers are. They have names. And they work for an organization: the Islamic Revolutionary Guards Corps and its “expeditionary” Quds Force.

As an immediate step, the Trump administration should follow through on hints that it is contemplating designating the IRGC and the Quds Force as international terrorist organizations.

The United States should take additional steps against Suleymani personally, blocking his assets, punishing businesses that transact with him or his Quds Force killers, and seeking an international travel ban.

Beyond that, the U.S. intelligence community should investigate reports from officials and media in Iraqi Kurdistan that Suleymani and the Quds Force facilitated the ISIS takeover of Mosul and the Nineveh Plain in June 2014, acts that could qualify as war crimes.

The crimes of Qassem Suleymani are many. After Osama bin Laden, he has more American blood on his hand than any terrorist. It’s time we shut him down for good.

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Views on Radical Islam: An interview with Dr. Sebastian Gorka, Deputy Assistant to the President

The Trump Administration spearhead of the ideological war against Radical Islamic Jihadism is Dr. Sebastian Gorka, Deputy Assistant to President Trump and member of the White House Strategic Initiatives Group. He has recently surfaced as spokesperson for the Administration on this and related issues and been the subject of a number of media reports. We had prior knowledge of his views on Radical Islamic jihadism from our New English Review book review and interviews prior to his involvement in the Trump transition team.  Subsequently, following the President’s election he was selected to serve in the Executive Office of the President.  We were afforded an opportunity to interview him on a wide range of current issues on Northwest Florida’s Talk Radio 1330 AMWEBY.  The program aired February 28, 2017.

Among the following national security and foreign policy issues addressed in the 1330amWEBY interview with Dr. Gorka were:

  1. Why the Trump Administration is concerned about the threat from radical Islamic Jihadism?
  2. Who are the ‘self-styled’ counterterrorism experts criticizing the Administration for exposing the ideology behind Radical Islamic Jihadism?
  3. The dangerous threat of Iran’s nuclear and missile development, state support for global terrorism and hegemonic aspirations in the Middle East.
  4. Importance of Israel, Jordan, Egypt as allies in support of US national security interests in the Middle East.
  5. Possible formation of a NATO-type regional military alliance composed of Sunni Arab Monarchies, Emirates and states with possible links to Israel.
  6. Administration views on Turkey and the Kurds in the war to defeat ISIS.
  7. Global spread of Radical Islamic Jihad especially in Sudan, Nigeria, Niger and Mali in Africa.

What follows is the interview with Dr. Gorka:

Mike Bates: Good afternoon welcome back to Your Turn. This is Mike Bates. With me in the studio Jerry Gordon is the Senior Editor of the New English Review and its blog The Iconoclast and joining us by telephone Dr. Sebastian Gorka, Deputy Assistant to the President in the strategic initiatives group. Dr. Gorka, welcome.

Dr. Sebastian Gorka: Thank you for having me.

Bates: Dr. Gorka, you have been criticized significantly by so-called counter-terrorism experts for concentrating on addressing the ideology behind radical Islamic terrorism. Is there any merit to that criticism at all?

Gorka: It’s quite ironic that the individuals that have written these recent critiques are in many cases the people who are responsible for the last eight years of Obama administration policies. That completely ignored the ideological component of groups like ISIS and Al Qaeda and simply resulted in the atrocious situation we have today with ISIS declaring a caliphate of remarkable affiliates across the globe and with attack after attack occurring not only in America but especially in Europe. So the fact is denying the reality of what your enemy believes makes it very difficult to stop them recruiting new terrorists in the future. That’s my bottom line.

Bates: So how are you advising the Trump administration concerning the threat from radical Islamic terrorism?

Gorka: The President, even before he became the Commander in Chief, was very clear on these issues so we are just continuing the work of the presidential campaign. If your listeners look at a very important speech that wasn’t paid adequate attention to it, the Presidents’ Youngstown speech which was very clear on the ideological components of this war. Then we have the inauguration which was very specific, his fifteen minute speech that talked about the radical Islamic terrorist threat the phrase of your former President denied and refused to use.  Then we had  last Friday his address to CPAC which was just as strenuous and talked about obliterating the threat and wiping them from the face of the earth.  Our belief is that this is a war against individual organizations like ISIS. However, in the long term it is really a counter-ideological fight that has to resolve finally in the delegtimization of the religious ideology that drives groups like ISIS.

Jerry Gorda: Dr. Gorka, speaking about obliterating ISIS what changes might we expect in administration policies towards the Kurds in the war to defeat ISIS and the resolution to the conflict in Syria?

Gorka: Unlike previous administrations we don’t give our playbook away in advance. We don’t talk about the specifics of our war plan. However, the President has been clear that whether it’s the Kurds or whether it’s others in the region America is not interested in invading other peoples’ countries; that’s un-American. Our nation was born in a rejection of imperialism not the colonization or occupation of other countries.  Whether it is the Kurds or local Sunnis or the forces of Iraq, we are interested in helping our partners in the region win their wars for themselves. It’s not about American troops being deployed in large numbers, it’s about helping those Muslim nations and forces in the Middle East who want to be our friends help them win their battles for themselves.

Bates: Well speaking about them winning the battles for themselves there have been some news reports about some administration discussions about the possible formation of a NATO type regional military alliance in the Middle East. Is there anything developing there?

Gorka: Again we are going to keep our powder dry and we are not going to give away our game plans in advance. The bottom line is not the labels or not what we wish to package things into. The issue is the local actors stepping up to the plate with our assistance to fight their backyard war.  I mean it’s not, Christians who have been decimated, Yazidis have been decimated but by far the largest number of victims of the jihadist groups are their fellow Muslims. They are not just the Shia who they deem to be heretics but in many parts of Iraq and Syria and elsewhere the ISIS forces, the related groups are killing other Sunnis that they disagree with.  Whatever the coalition it will be very different from the smoke and mirrors coalition that was created under the Obama years which really wasn’t a serious force.

Gordon: Dr. Gorka, how dangerous is the threat of Iran’s nuclear and missile development, state support for global terrorism and hegemonic aspirations in the Middle East?

 Gorka: That’s a question that could have a PhD dissertation level response. Let’s just talk about the facts. We know Iran according to the U.S. Government is a state-sponsored terrorism, the largest state-sponsor of terrorism. It is not doing this recently it has been doing this since 1979 whether it is from the Iranian hostage siege crisis all the way down.  This is a nation that I like to depict as an anti-status quo actor. This is a nation that doesn’t share basic interests with the normal values of the international community. They are not interested. If you are a theocratic regime that wishes to forcibly and subversively export  your theocratic vision around the world what is the common interest you could have with America or with any of our allies? That’s the false premise upon which U.S. Iran relations were based in the last eight years and the idea that a nation that has that destabilizing ideology wishes to acquire weapons of mass destruction including nuclear capability means that they do represent a threat to all nations that believe in a global stability.

Gordon: Dr. Gorka, how important is Israel as an ally in support of U.S. National Security interests in the Middle East versus resolution of the impasse with the Palestinians?

Gorka: There is no greater partner of the United States in the Middle East. We are very close and we help the Jordanians, Egypt, UAE  redressing and improving the very  negative relationship that was established between the White House under the Obama administration and Egyptian President Sisi’s government. Israel, as a beacon of democracy and stability in the Middle East, is our closest friend in the region and the President has been explicit in that again and again So it would be difficult  to overestimate just how important Israel is not only to America’s interest in the region but also to the broader stability of the Middle East.

Bates: And what kind of role do you foresee for Turkey?

Gorka: I think that is in many ways up to Ankara. Historically, after it’s accession to NATO, Turkey became one of the most important nations in the alliance. It had the largest army in Europe. As a result of its location it was highly important during the Cold War geo-strategically. Recent events with an emphasis to rising fundamentalist attitudes have questioned the future trajectory of Turkey. The administration and the President is clear that it wishes to be a friend to those who wish to be our friends.  I think you know any good relationship depends upon both parties willingness to work together. We would like to continue a fruitful relationship with Turkey but that depends upon the government in Ankara itself.

Gordon: Dr. Gorka, the Obama administration lifted sanctions against the Islamic Republic of the Sudan on the cusp of leaving office. This despite evidence that the regime of President Bashir is raising a terrorist army literally to foment jihad in the Sahel region of Africa. What remedies might the administration consider to combat this?

Gorka: Again you are trying to tease out very concrete policy prescriptions from us and I’m really not prepared to do that at this point. Remember we are in week six of the administration.  However, we do recognize and we are very serious about the fact that of what I call the global jihadi movement isn’t just an issue in the Middle East. We like to focus on the so-called five meter target. It was Al Qaeda for a decade then it morphed into the Islamic state or ISIS.  There are large swaths of territory in Africa that are unstable, are not sovereign in the sense that the local government exercises full control over them. The mere fact alone if you look at Nigeria, the Boko Haram, the black African jihadi group has sworn allegiance to ISIS and Ab? Bakr al-Baghdadi and has been incorporated into the Islamic state, changed its name to the West African Province of the Islamic state. That shows you just how serious the situation is.  Jihadism truly spreads from whether it’s Aleppo, whether it’s Raqqa, whether it’s Africa, Mali, Nigeria or to the streets of Brussels or San Bernardino. We fully appreciate just how global the threat is and that includes Africa as well.

Bates: Dr. Gorka, it obviously includes the United States as well.  One of President Trump’s very first executive orders had to do with the restriction of entry into the United States from people from seven countries. The administration was criticized by the Democrats and the media, my apologies for being redundant there.  However, if you look at the numbers of those seven affected countries, Iran, Iraq, Libya, Sudan, Somalia, Syria and Yemen,  have a combined population of  220 million people and there is a global Muslim population of 1.6 billion.  That means that 86 percent of Muslims in the world are not prevented from entering the United States and yet it was portrayed as a Muslim ban. How does the administration intend to come out with a revised plan that can avoid that criticism or do you think the criticism will come no matter what?

Gorka: The criticism will come no matter what because there is a fundamental disjuncture between the mainstream media, a perception of the world and the actual reality of how serious the threat is. These are the countries that either are state sponsors of terrorism or are the hotbeds of jihadist activity today be it Islamic State or Al Qaeda. This is a threat analysis we inherited from the Obama administration.  The idea that it is controversial is asinine and secondly you’re absolutely right. If this had been an Islamaphobically generated executive order then how is it the most populous Muslim nation in the world, Indonesia, was left off of the list? How is it the most populous Arab Muslim nation in the world  Egypt was left off the list? The challenge that was politically brought was that there was some ulterior motive behind the listing of these seven countries.  The fact is it is an unemotional cold analysis of the threat to America that was the reason for the drawing up of that moratorium of that list of seven nations.  But if you have a political agenda then of course you will spin things politically.

Bates: Another nation that’s not on that list is Saudi Arabia. Can you address the cooperation we are getting from the House of Saud regarding the overall global war on Islamic terrorism?

 Gorka: Again, it’s getting a little too specific.  However,  I will talk about some good things that have occurred. We know that there were issues with certain elements of Saudi society propagating or supporting the propagation of radical ideologies around the world. That attitude changed quite drastically in about ’05, ’06 when Al Qaeda started targeting Saudi officials on Saudi soil.  A nation that may have been problematic for several years has recently been reassessing its attitude to these international actors.  We expect to see even more positive things coming out of Saudi Arabia as we in the White House, especially the President and Secretary Tillerson start to rebuild the relationships with all our allies in the region that were so detrimentally affected by the treatment they received at the hands of the Obama White House.

Bates: Well if I may editorialize for just a moment, it is a relief to see an administration that is taking the threats seriously and is dealing with the world as it is and not as it wishes the world were. Dr. Sebastian Gorka, Deputy Assistant to the President in the strategic initiatives group, thank you so much for joining us this afternoon on Your Turn on 1330 AM WEBY.

LISTEN to the 1330 AM WEBY interview with Dr. Gorka.

RELATED ARTICLE: Swede Democrat leaders pen WSJ op-ed imploring Americans to avoid the mistakes Sweden made 

EDITORS NOTE: This column originally appeared in the New English Review.

Michael-Flynn

Former Obama officials, loyalists waged secret campaign to oust Flynn to preserve Iran deal

“Former Obama Officials, Loyalists Waged Secret Campaign to Oust Flynn,” by Adam Kredo, Washington Free Beacon, February 14, 2017:

The abrupt resignation Monday evening of White House national security adviser Michael Flynn is the culmination of a secret, months-long campaign by former Obama administration confidantes to handicap President Donald Trump’s national security apparatus and preserve the nuclear deal with Iran, according to multiple sources in and out of the White House who described to the Washington Free Beacon a behind-the-scenes effort by these officials to plant a series of damaging stories about Flynn in the national media.

The effort, said to include former Obama administration adviser Ben Rhodes—the architect of a separate White House effort to create what he described as a pro-Iran echo chamber—included a small task force of Obama loyalists who deluged media outlets with stories aimed at eroding Flynn’s credibility, multiple sources revealed.

The operation primarily focused on discrediting Flynn, an opponent of the Iran nuclear deal, in order to handicap the Trump administration’s efforts to disclose secret details of the nuclear deal with Iran that had been long hidden by the Obama administration.

Insiders familiar with the anti-Flynn campaign told the Free Beacon that these Obama loyalists plotted in the months before Trump’s inauguration to establish a set of roadblocks before Trump’s national security team, which includes several prominent opponents of diplomacy with Iran. The Free Beacon first reported on this effort in January.

Sources who spoke to the Free Beacon requested anonymity in order to speak freely about the situation and avoid interfering with the White House’s official narrative about Flynn, which centers on his failure to adequately inform the president about a series of phone calls with Russian officials.

Flynn took credit for his missteps regarding these phone calls in a brief statement released late Monday evening. Trump administration officials subsequently stated that Flynn’s efforts to mislead the president and vice president about his contacts with Russia could not be tolerated.

However, multiple sources closely involved in the situation pointed to a larger, more secretive campaign aimed at discrediting Flynn and undermining the Trump White House.

“It’s undeniable that the campaign to discredit Flynn was well underway before Inauguration Day, with a very troublesome and politicized series of leaks designed to undermine him,” said one veteran national security adviser with close ties to the White House team. “This pattern reminds me of the lead up to the Iran deal, and probably features the same cast of characters.”

The Free Beacon first reported in January that, until its final days in office, the Obama administration hosted several pro-Iran voices who were critical in helping to mislead the American public about the terms of the nuclear agreement. This included a former Iranian government official and the head of the National Iranian American Council, or NIAC, which has been accused of serving as Iran’s mouthpiece in Washington, D.C.

Since then, top members of the Obama administration’s national security team have launched a communications infrastructure after they left the White House, and have told reporters they are using that infrastructure to undermine Trump’s foreign policy.

“It’s actually Ben Rhodes, NIAC, and the Iranian mullahs who are celebrating today,” said one veteran foreign policy insider who is close to Flynn and the White House. “They know that the number one target is Iran … [and] they all knew their little sacred agreement with Iran was going to go off the books. So they got rid of Flynn before any of the [secret] agreements even surfaced.”

Flynn had been preparing to publicize many of the details about the nuclear deal that had been intentionally hidden by the Obama administration as part of its effort to garner support for the deal, these sources said.

Flynn is now “gone before anybody can see what happened” with these secret agreements, said the second insider close to Flynn and the White House….

RELATED ARTICLES:

Obama’s Shadow Presidency

Why does General Flynn hate Iran? – The Duran

James Mattis’ 33-Year Grudge Against Iran

Islamic State video shows two young boys blowing themselves up as jihad suicide bombers

Robert Spencer: Answering an Islamic apologist (Part V)

EDITORS NOTE: This column originally appeared on Jihad Watch.

trump-extreme-vetting

1,051 Refugees from banned countries admitted to U.S. since Presidential Executive Order

And, since October 1, 2016 (the first day of fiscal year 2017) we are up to 34,430—still time for the Trump Administration to cap entry for this year at less than 50,000 (my suggestion is 35,000).

I’m glad to see so many news outlets now tracking refugee numbers, something not done until the last year or so. (You will see some slight discrepancies in numbers depending on what parameters are entered at Wrapsnet and what time of day the reporter accessed the State Department data base.)

Here is what I have this morning:

Since President Trump’s Executive Order on the evening of 1/27, the State Department and its contractors have hustled and placed 2,305 refugees.  (Remember that although the ‘ban’ has been stymied by court wrangling, the 50,000 ceiling, a reduction from Obama’s proposed 110,000, stays in effect.)

Of the 2,305, 1,051 come from the countries that were included in the ban as follows:

Iraq (341)
Iran (115)
Somalia (156)
Sudan (37)
Syria (402) (400 of the Syrians are Muslims and only 2 Christians)
Libya (0)
Yemen (0)

Total:  1,051

Religions?

An Indonesia policeman distributes used clothes to migrants believed to be Rohingya inside a shelter in Lhoksukon, Indonesia's Aceh Province May 11, 2015. Nearly 600 migrants thought to be Rohingya refugees and Bangladeshis were rescued from at least two wooden boats stranded off the coast of Indonesia's northern Aceh province, authorities said on Sunday. REUTERS/Roni Bintang

An Indonesia policeman distributes used clothes to migrants believed to be Rohingya inside a shelter in Lhoksukon, Indonesia’s Aceh Province May 11, 2015. REUTERS/Roni Bintang

One thing you need to know is that all of those coming from places like Iran and Iraq are not Muslims, some are Christians and other minorities.

It defies all common sense to believe Rohingya boat people can be security screened. Story and photo here. 

But the total number of Muslims in the group of 2,305 is 1,022.

In addition to those countries above, we admitted Muslim refugees from the following countries: Afghanistan, Burma, DR Congo, Eritrea, Ethiopia, Jordan and Palestine.

In fact 19 of the 87 Burmese we admitted are Muslims.  These are probably the Rohingya boat people who went illegally to places like Malaysia, and I maintain cannot be thoroughly vetted any better than Syrians or Somalis.

This post is filed in our Trump Watch! category as well as ‘refugee statistics’ and ‘where to find information.’

RELATED ARTICLES: 

Refugees entering U.S. doubled in rate since ruling on Trump travel ban – Washington Times

Virginia: Immigrant Ex-National Guardsman Gets 11 Years for ISIS Support

Springfield, Mass mayor blasts Jewish Family Services for placing more refugees without notice

U.S. halts vetting of Australia’s rejected asylum seekers

Hohmann’s “Stealth Invasion” is Amazon #1 best seller in Terrorism category

travel+ban+countries2

Trump Admin Releases List of 24 Terrorist Cases from Travel Ban Countries

The Trump administration is working on a “brand new order” on immigration, but in the meantime, his first one was entirely within the bounds of the law and much needed. In its ruling against Trump, the leftist appeals court didn’t even mention the law that clearly gives the President the right and responsibility to place restrictions upon immigration. Shameful.

“Trump Admin Releases List of Terrorist Suspect Cases From Travel Ban Countries,” by Cameron Cawthorne, Washington Free Beacon, February 9, 2017:

President Trump responded to his critics who claim his travel ban goes too far by releasing a list of terror cases that involve suspects who traveled to the U.S. from the seven countries listed in his executive order.

Trump signed an executive order two weeks ago imposing a 90-day travel ban on the citizens of seven Muslim-majority countries, outraging many Americans. A federal judge blocked the order, arguing that there hadn’t been any terrorist-related arrests from the seven target countries since September 11, 2001, Washington Free Beacon reported.

Judge James Robart, who sits on the U.S. District Court for the Western District of Washington state, said in court Friday that no foreign nationals from the seven countries targeted by Trump’s travel ban–Iran, Iraq, Libya, Somalia, Syria, Sudan, and Yemen–have been arrested in the U.S. for terrorist activity.

Robart asked Justice Department attorney Michelle Bennett to tell him how many such arrests have been made. When the government lawyer did not have an answer, Robart said the number is zero.

Robart’s claim is false. The White House circulated a list providing 24 examples of refugees and other immigrants from Somalia, Sudan, Iraq, Iran, Yemen, Syria and Libya who have been arrested on terror-related charges, Fox News reported.

The White House document itself names 10 individuals from Somalia, six from Iraq, one from Yemen, two from Sudan, two from Iran, two from Libya and one from Syria. The cases span the last eight years, and include most recently a case in June in which two Somali refugees were jailed for conspiring to commit murder in Syria on behalf of ISIS.

It also includes a case from March of last year, where a Yemeni native who became a U.S. citizen was sentenced to 22 years in prison for attempting to provide “material support” to ISIS and planning to shoot and kill members of the U.S. military who had returned from Iraq.

The dossier also sheds light on a case in January 2016 involving a Palestinian, born in Iraq, who came to the U.S. as a refugee and allegedly tried to provide materials to terror groups abroad. The dossier cited multiple media reports that the suspect told his wife, “I want to blow myself up … I am against America.”…

RELATED ARTICLES:

Refugees entering U.S. doubled in rate since ruling on Trump travel ban – Washington Times

‘The real bad guys’ are coming from Canada, not Mexico, Daily Beast report alleges

10 Disturbing Facts You Should Understand About the Travel Ban and Dramatic Court Cases [Judicial Activism]

Virginia: Immigrant Ex-National Guardsman Gets 11 Years for ISIS Support

EDITORS NOTE: This column originally appeared on The Geller Report.

door handcuffs breitbart

Do You Lock Your Door at Night?

If you have an open mind, and want to analyze the travel ban from one professional perspective, read on.  If not, close your mind – at our nation’s peril.

What is the travel ban?  You may try to read it before you judge it.

Summarized, the U.S. government will not allow travelers from 7 countries of “particular concern” into the United States – Iran, Iraq, Syria, Libya, Somalia, Yemen, and Sudan for 90 days.  All refugees are halted for 120 days, Syrian refugees indefinitely.

Why? To evaluate the post 9/11 vetting processes required to enter the U.S., in order to protect U.S. citizens from violent extremist attacks.  Questions that must be addressed:  1. Is there a threat? Is there weakness in the system? 2. How can we make us safer?

The Obama administration labeled 3 of these countries as states sponsors of terrorism – Iran, Syria and Sudan. With the exception of Iran, each of the countries has a failed central government or is locked in deadly civil war.  Obama ordered attacks on 6 of them.

Is there a threat?  Sophisticated and well-resourced Islamic extremists, including ISIS and Al Qaeda, are fighting on their territories.  Thousands of men, women and even children have planned, trained and sworn oaths to kill Americans as a religious duty.  Their numbers have grown exponentially in the last 7 years – while we tried to be accepting.  It is not easy to distinguish the fighters from the innocent.

Is there a weakness? As a former Counter-Terror professional, Intelligence Officer and Security Assistance Officer at multiple US Embassies, I can say with high confidence that the visa system still has weaknesses.  The system still depends on people.  People make mistakes.  A few are corrupt.

According to the 9/11 Commission report, the attack plotters submitted 23 visa requests, 22 were approved.  Only two terrorists were actually interviewed, and a single consular officer issued 11 of the 19 hijackers’ visas.  The commission believed that without these visas, the plot would have likely failed.

After the devastation of 9/11, the visa process changed dramatically.  It now depends on much improved information sharing and cooperation among many federal agencies, foreign governments, DHS Visa Support Units (VSUs), data bases and biometrics.  Many of my U.S. State Department friends, government bureaucrats, and vocal partisan activists defend the process, and say we owe people entry.

However, the system depends on the effectiveness of the intelligence community.  It depends greatly on cooperation with the traveler’s host nation government to provide accurate information, background checks and criminal histories.  And finally, it rests on the consular officer who issues the visa.  The complex system is only as good as the data collected, and the people involved.

These 7 states have either supported terror, or have very weak institutions torn by war.  The U.S. doesn’t have effective relations with their police, intelligence or military. No one is taking biometric scans of every teenage ISIS fighter, or female jihadists.  Often a State Department junior officer, doing his or her mandatory one-time consular tour, approves a visa.  For these places of concern, the consular is probably not even in the applicant’s home country.

Consular officers are fallible; a few are convicted of fraud and corruption. Cut every year.  My wife’s former boss, Pat Raikes, the senior consular in Beirut just before 9/11, traded airline tickets for visas.  In 2015, Michael Sestak, pled guilty to trading over 500 visas for more than $3 million. Prior to the Foreign Service, Sestak was a police officer, Federal Marshall, and Navy Intelligence Officer.  Apparently Shayna Steiner, the Foreign Service Officer who issued those 11 hijackers’ visas, still works for the Department of State.  She may not be a criminal, maybe a good person – but she made mistakes that cost thousands of lives.

The intelligence community missed 9/11 (2,996 killed, 6,000+ wounded.)  Good people missed clear terror ties to the San Bernardino shooters (14 killed, 22 wounded.)  FBI agents interviewed, investigated and released the ISIS aligned Pulse Nightclub shooter – twice (49 killed, 52 wounded), and the recent Ft. Lauderdale shooter (5 killed, 6 wounded.) The FBI knew of the Boston bomber (3 killed, 264 wounded.)  US Army Major Nadal killed 14 soldiers after openly briefing other Army psychologists on his growing animosity and fundamentalist awakening.  In each of these cases, the system failed.  Good people missed it – or were too arrogant, incompetent, or in fear of politically-correct retribution to act.

Every consular knows applicants lie, even if they are not terrorists.  Good people will say anything to get to America.  You can bet trained ISIS or Al Qaeda fighters will lie better.  It is hard to sort the innocent from the evil.  Ultimately the system rests on the competence and personal judgments of thousands of dedicated but imperfect people, often with flawed data.  The vast majority of our people are fantastic professionals, but Americans pay dearly for the bad ones and the mistakes.

How can we make us safer?  We must listen to what we don’t want to hear, and wish wasn’t true – accept that many religious fundamentalists want to destroy America, whether you believe it is America’s fault or not.  Accept that we have weaknesses and can improve our system. Accept that our elected government has the fundamental responsibility to protect all U.S. citizens, and our constitution above all else – not foreign citizens or failed states.

We should demand reviews like this one.  We must update our processes continually.  We must ensure our good people are alert and accountable, or we guarantee another 9/11, Boston or San Bernardino.  If our enemies have their way, the next attack will be much worse.

We should protect our borders and enhance our safety, just as we lock our doors when we know there is danger.  Leaving your door open doesn’t keep bad guys away, it invites them in.

EDITORS NOTE: The featured image is courtesy of Breitbart. In wake of Paris terrorist attacks, below is a map of the states shutting their doors to Syrian refugees.

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Kentucky Gov.-elect Matt Bevin, who took office on December 8th, 2016, also said he opposes resettlement efforts.

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Rex Tillerson is neither a yes man nor will he be boxed in on U.S. foreign policy

In a The Daily Signal article titled “9 Issues Discussed at Rex Tillerson’s Confirmation Hearing to Be Trump’s Secretary of State” Josh Siegel reported on the confirmation hearing of U.S. Secretary of State designate Rex Tillerson.

Reading Siegel’s article I came away with two impressions of Mr. Tillerson, first he will not be boxed in and second he is not a yes man. How refreshing.

First let’s look at Tillerson as a man who will not be boxed in when it comes to U.S. foreign policy. Siegel reported:

Sen. Marco Rubio, R-Fla., who ran for president against Trump, pressed Tillerson on whether he backs the assessment of U.S. intelligence agencies about Russia’s election-year hacking.

“Do you believe during the 2016 presidential campaign that Russian intelligence services directed a campaign of measures involving the hacking of emails, the strategic leak of emails, the use of internet trolls, and dissemination of fake news to denigrate a presidential candidate and undermine faith in our election process?” Rubio asked.

Tillerson described the findings by the intelligence agencies as “clearly troubling,” and called cyber attacks from foreign actors such as Russia “the greatest and most complex threat” facing the country today. He labeled Russia’s annexation of Crimea to be “illegal” and proposed tougher measures to combat the Kremlin’s invasion of eastern Ukraine, vowing that he would advocate providing Ukrainian soldiers with weapons.

But Tillerson expressed hope that he could help improve relations with Russia, potentially seeking to ally with it in areas of common interest even if America “will not likely to be ever friends with the Kremlin.”

“Dialogue is critical so these [issues] don’t spin out of control,” Tillerson said. “We need to move Russia from adversary always to partner at times.”

Read more…

Tillerson clearly understands that Russia, and many other countries, act in their own self interests and against the interests of the United States. His reply was measured in that he understood that cyberwarfare is a national security threat, that invading another country is wrong and both must be punished. However, diplomacy is not just about jumping into a hot or cold war, as Senator’s Marco Rubio, John McCain and Lindsey Graham seem to want. Rather it is about pressuring those who would do us harm using all means available. The above interaction shows the sophistication of Tillerson, a man who thinks outside the box. Tillerson’s statement, “We need to move Russia from adversary always to partner at times” is that of a man who understands Russia more than some members of the U.S. Senate, Republicans and Democrats alike. Again, refreshing.

Tillerson is not a yes man for President-elect Trump either. Siegel noted:

In the presidential campaign, Trump questioned the NATO alliance, and said members need to do more to earn the U.S.’ support.

Tillerson expressed a stronger commitment to NATO, promising to follow Article 5 of the treaty that enshrines the principle that an attack against one member is an attack against all.

“The Article 5 commitment is invaluable and the U.S. will stand by the commitment,” Tillerson said.

He also expressed concern for Baltic states that worry about Russian incursion on their borders.

“Our NATO allies are right to be alarmed about a resurgent Russia,” Tillerson said.

[ … ]

In another contrast with Trump, Tillerson did not say he explicitly opposes the Obama administration’s Trans-Pacific Partnership trade deal.

“I do not oppose TPP, but I share some of Trump’s concerns that it doesn’t fully support American interests,” Tillerson said.

[ … ]

Echoing Exxon Mobil’s evolving calculus on climate change, Tillerson said he recognized the threat of a warming planet, and that the U.S. should “be at the table” in coming up with solutions to limit greenhouse gas emissions.

If confirmed, he said he and others in the Trump administration would review the 180-country Paris climate change agreement before deciding whether to remain party to it.

“It’s important that the United States maintain its seat at the table with the conversations around how to deal with the threats of climate change,” he said.

As chief of Exxon Mobil, Tillerson publicly backed a tax on carbon in 2009, and expressed support for the Paris Agreement in 2015.

Yet, late in the hearing, he seemed to downplay the threat of climate change.

“I don’t see [climate change] as the imminent national security threat as perhaps other do,” Tillerson said.

Read more…

Tillerson will, on some issues, present a President Trump with differing views. That is healthy. It shows that President-elect Trump is filling his cabinet with quality people who think differently than him and provide opposing views. Once again, refreshing.

Donald Trump’s selection says as much about the President-elect as it does about Mr. Tillerson. There is a new way of thinking about foreign policy and a fresh approach that is pro-U.S. interests.

After reading Mr. Tillerson’s testimony it is clear he will not be foreign a policy rubber stamp as were former Secretaries Hillary Clinton and John Kerry and that he will think outside the foreign policy box of the Obama administration.

Very refreshing indeed.

RELATED ARTICLE: Secretary of State Nominee Tillerson Criticizes U.S. Decision to Abstain from UN Israel Vote

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U.S. Allows Russia to Send Iran Enough Uranium for 10 Nuclear Weapons

Meanwhile, the U.S. ships fired warning shots toward Iranian fast-attack vessels that were closing in on U.S. ships and refused to slow down.

Russia is sending a large shipment of natural uranium to Iran in exchange for an Iranian shipment to Russia of nuclear reactor coolant. The shipment of 116 metric tons (130 tons) was approved by the United States and the five other countries involved in orchestrating the nuclear deal with Iran.

United Nations Security Council approval of the shipment is expected soon as a formality.

The shipment is enough to make more than 10 simple nuclear bombs, according to David Albright, an expert with the Institute of Science and International Security, “depending on the efficiency of the enrichment process and the design of the nuclear weapon.”

Two senior diplomats leaked the information to the Associated Press under the condition of anonymity and said they were not authorized to discuss details of the program.

The Iranian shipment is legal under the terms of the nuclear deal and will be “subject to the careful monitoring and inspections that are included in the deal to ensure that Iran is living up to the commitments that they made,” White House spokesman Josh Earnest said.

An upcoming conference this week of representatives from Iran, the United States, Russia, China, Britain, France and Germany in Vienna will focus on alleged violations of the nuclear deal by the United States, following Iranian complaints.

Outgoing U.S. President Barack Obama sold the nuclear deal to the American people on the understanding that the deal would make it more difficult, rather than easier, for Iran to build nuclear weapons.

At the same time as receiving huge Iranian shipments while complaining about alleged U.S. violations of the nuclear deal, the Iranian navy has come close to combat with U.S. ships in international waters in the Straits of Hormuz.

Iranian fast attack vessels closed in rapidly to a U.S. destroyer on Sunday and ignored repeated warnings to slow down. This forced the destroyer to fire three warning shots at the Iranian ships.

The Iranian vessels came within 900 yards of the ship according to U.S. Defense officials.

“This was an unsafe and unprofessional interaction, and that is due to the fact that they were approaching at a high level of speed with weapons manned and disregarding repeated warnings,”  Captain Jeff Davis, a Pentagon spokesman, told media.

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EDITORS NOTE: The featured image of a nuclear reactor  is for illustrative purposes only. Photo: © Reuters.

Iran's former president Ali Akbar Hashemi Rafsanjani delivers his speech during Friday prayers in Tehran April 24, 2009. Rafsanjani urged the United States on Friday to stop threatening Iran with more sanctions if it wanted to hold talks with the Islamic state over its disputed nuclear work.  REUTERS/Morteza Nikoubazl (IRAN RELIGION POLITICS) - RTXEBPS

Rafsanjani the Terrorist and Father of Iranian ‘Hit Squads’ Dies

The Foundation for Democracy in Iran reported on the death of Ali Akbar Hashemi-Rafsanjani:

Jan. 8, 2017: Rafsanjani dies of heart attack; Khamenei loses cover.

Former president Ali Akbar Hashemi-Rafsanjani died today of a heart attack at the age of 82. A central figure in the Islamic Republic hierarchy since its inception, Rafsanjani tricked every U.S. president since Ronald Reagan into believing he was a “moderate,” somehow opposed to the “hard-liners” in charge of the regime’s affairs. In fact, Rafsanjani operated at the core of the regime and supported its doctrine of absolute clerical rule and its terrorist operations, from the taking of U.S. hostages in Lebanon to the bombing of U.S. servicemen in Dahran, Saudi Arabia, including Iran’s support for al Qaeda and the 9/11 plot.

Rafsanjani was indicted in Argentina for his role in the AMIA bombing that killed 86 Argentinean Jews in 1994, and was also cited in the 1996 Mykonos murders in Germany for his role in directing “hit squads” that assassinated Iranian opposition leaders living overseas. He was also named as a defendant in Havlish v. Islamic Republic of Iran, litigation brought by family members of 9/11 victims against the Iranian regime that led to a $6 billion judgment against the regime and against Rafsanjani personally.

Rafsanjani invited nuclear scientists to return from exile in the mid-1980s and is widely viewed as the “father” of Iran’s covert nuclear weapons program, having famously declared his belief that Iran could destroy Israel with a single nuclear weapon. (“The use of an atomic bomb against Israel would destroy Israel completely, while the same against Iran would only cause damages. Such a scenario is not inconceivable,” he said in a sermon at Tehran University on Dec. 14, 2001).

The wily pseudo-moderate provided cover to Khamenei and other “hard-liners” by offering them a life-line to the West, and is widely credited with having pushed hard for the Iran deal with the United States and the EU-3.

Nevertheless, in recent years his power has been challenged by the IRGC, which arrested his own children (since released) and protege’s, including members of Atieh Bahar, a consulting company established by Iranians in the United States with the goal of helping foreign companies do business in Iran.

Rafsanjani’s reach continues to be on display in the United States, where his sympathizers include the editor of Voice of America’s Persian News Network, Mohammad Manzarpour. When Rafsanjani’s death was announced, Manzarpour changed his Facebook page to a well-known Koranic verse used to express sympathy for someone who has just died.

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iran flag missile

Iran built on stolen property — Trump should take it back

President-elect Donald Trump was right during the campaign to call the Iran nuclear agreement “the worst deal ever negotiated” by the United States government.

Not only did it reward a terrorist state with $100 billion of frozen oil revenues (some say, $150 billion), it dismantled an extensive armature of international sanctions that had cut Iran’s oil exports in half, banned it from the international financial system, and was beginning to threaten the regime with domestic unrest.

Obama tried to set this bad nuclear deal in concrete by incorporating most of its measures into a United Nations Security Council Resolution.

This will make its undoing more complicated than some analysts imagine. It’s not just a piece of paper President Trump can rip up, as a group of American nuclear scientistsimply. The international sanctions regime Obama destroyed took years to build and cannot be reconstructed in a day.

But the incoming president and Congress have other options for ratcheting up pressure on the Iranian regime, options that can be enacted unilaterally.

A group of conservative leaders released a letter to House Foreign Affairs Committee chairman Ed Royce (R-Calif.) on Thursday, commending him for a resolution he introduced in the final days of the last Congress on the restitution of or compensation for property wrongly confiscated by the Islamic Republic of Iran.

“Totalitarian regimes historically have confiscated property from individuals whose sole ‘crime’ consisted of supporting the previous government,” the letter states.

“When the Islamic regime seized power in 1979, it followed in the footsteps of these earlier totalitarians.”

The letter, and spearheaded by the Foundation for Democracy in Iran, which I chair, recalled Congressional action against previous cases of unjust expropriation, most notably the Helms-Burton Act — also known as the Cuban Liberty and Democratic Solidarity Act of 1996 — which penalized foreign companies trafficking in property stolen from Cuban nationals.

“Pro-Castro advocates screamed that Helms-Burton would cause irrevocable harm to the United States with friends and allies around the world. Nothing of the sort occurred,” the letter states.

“We believe the time has come to envisage a similar measure for the victims of the Islamic Republic of Iran, many of whom have become United States citizens, whose properties were unjustly expropriated.”

Signatories to the letter include Colin A. Hanna, President of Let Freedom Ring; Admiral James “Ace” Lyons, Jr, former Pacific Fleet commander; Frank Gaffney, President and CEO of the Center for Security Policy; Judson Phillips, founder of Tea Party Nation; Amy Ridenour, Chairman of the National Center for Public Policy Research; Ellen Sauerbrey, former Assistant Secretary of State for Population, Refugees, and Migration; and myself.

The letter also won support and was signed by Iranian-American human rights advocates and journalists and by leaders of the American Middle East Coalition for Trump.

On July 7, 1979, the new Islamic state in Iran issued a decree seizing the assets of 51 supporters of the previous regime and their families. A few weeks later, a revolutionary Court issued a separate order confiscating the assets of another 209 individuals and their families.

According to court documents the claimants provided to me, the properties seized included major factories and industrial conglomerates, hotels, private residences, real estate, land, stock, and other holdings, which today are worth more than $100 billion.

In all, thousands of Iranians were directly robbed by the Islamic regime, and millions more were terrorized with the threat of confiscations.

Many of these individuals subsequently fled to America and became U.S. citizens. But few were American citizens at the time of the revolution, and thus have been unable to seek restitution through the Iran-U.S. Claims Tribunal in The Hague, or through U.S. courts.

Their assets were turned over to para-state foundations, known as “bonyads,” which are owned or controlled by the Supreme Leader or the Islamic Revolutionary Guards Corps (IRGC). Despite the extensive sanctions relief included in the bad Iran deal, the IRGC continues to be subject to United States government sanctions because it kills Americans in state-sponsored terror attacks around the world.

Ordinary Iranians understand that the ruling clerics have plundered their country. How else could a village cleric such as “Supreme Leader” Ali Khamenei personally own a commercial empire the U.S. Treasury has estimated to be worth more than $40 billion? A separate 2013 Reuters investigation found that the property confiscations on behalf of Iran’s clerical leadership were about $95 billion.

A Congressionally-enacted Iran Assets Recovery Plan would be a powerful weapon the ruling clerics in Iran could not ignore.

Not only would it bring justice to some of the many victims of the Islamic state in Iran, it would put the Iranian regime’s foreign partners on notice.

Traffic in stolen property at your peril. A regime founded on theft will end up bankrupt, in jail, or dead.

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Cyber Warfare — A Clear and Present Danger

In a January 2014 column titled “The Cyber Attacks are coming, the Cyber Attacks are coming!” I wrote:

According to experts like John Jorgenson, CEO and founding partner of the Sylint Group, our government is woefully behind the times in capability and capacity to deal with the threat of cyber attacks let alone the cyber warfare being conducted on a global scale by nation states such as China, Russia, North Korea and Iran.

[ … ]

“Nothing of substance to protect commercial industry, the countries infrastructure, or the citizen has come out of the [Obama] White House. From the attacks being made on the United States on the Cyber Battlefield our advisories are taking Cyber Warfare seriously while we can’t find a credible Field Marshall let alone decide what needs to be done,” notes Jorgenson.

Read more…

On February 26th, 2016 I was interviewed by Denise Simon on The Denise Simon Experience regarding the issue of cyber warfare. I spoke about the clear and present dangers of enemies, both foreign and domestic, using technology to commit crimes, steal national secrets and impact our way of life.

Denise called cyber attacks “the poor man’s nuclear weapon.”

I talked about the current threat (attacks from nation states, cyber hackers and groups like Anonymous) to the looming future threat of cyborgs, chipping and Internables.

Internables are internal sensors that measure well-being in our bodies may become the new wearables. According to Ericsson’s ConsumerLab eight out of 10 consumers would like to use technology to enhance sensory perceptions and cognitive abilities such as vision, memory and hearing.

Fast forward to December 2016 and the media’s obsession with the successful phishing of the DNC and release of John Podesta’s emails. What they are missing is:

  1. As technology has become ubiquitous, cyber warfare has become the preferred method of attacking one’s enemies.
  2. President Obama turned over control of the Internet to the United Nations in October of 2016, which increases the cyber warfare threat against U.S. public and private entities.
  3. All nation states, with the exception of the U.S., conduct offensive cyber warfare as a matter of public policy including: China, Russia, North Korea, Iran, and ISIS to name a few.
  4. The Obama administration has made neither cyber security nor cyber warfare a priority during the past 8 years.

My greatest concern is that the United States government is only conducting defensive operations against the threat, and not doing that very well. The Obama administration does not conduct effective offensive operations against our enemies which include: China, Russia, Iran, the Islamic State, North Korea and many others.

Our warnings went unheeded by the U.S. House of Representatives, the U.S. Senate and the White House.

So who really is to blame for these unrelenting cyber attacks?

Why its U.S.!

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Trump’s CIA nominee promises to roll back Iran deal

The Iran deal is a disaster for the United States and the free world, as I detail in my book The Complete Infidel’s Guide to Iran. Rolling it back, as much as this can be done (we can’t, of course, get back the billions Obama has showered upon the Islamic Republic), could be the Trump administration’s greatest achievement, if they can pull it off.

“Trump’s CIA nominee Mike Pompeo promises to roll back Iran deal,” by Geoff Dyer, Financial Times, November 18, 2016 (thanks to Lookmann):

Mike Pompeo, Donald Trump’s nominee as CIA director, is a fierce critic of the Iran nuclear deal and wants to restore surveillance programmes stopped after the Edward Snowden revelations….

With his name circulating as a candidate for the Central Intelligence Agency post, Mr Pompeo took to Twitter on Thursday to promise action on the Iran deal. “I look forward to rolling back this disastrous deal with the world’s largest state sponsor of terrorism.”

On Friday, he issued a statement saying it had been a difficult decision to move on from representing Kansas, “but ultimately the opportunity to lead the world’s finest intelligence warriors, who labour tirelessly to keep this nation and Kansas safe, is a call to service I cannot ignore.”

If confirmed, Mr Pompeo would replace John Brennan, who has run the CIA since 2013, after serving as President Barack Obama’s chief counterterrorism adviser….

As well as opposing the 2014 nuclear deal with Iran, Mr Pompeo has sponsored a series of bills that would increase sanctions on Iran. Earlier this year, he and two other House Republicans requested visas to visit Iran to monitor the parliamentary elections in February.

In the wake of the Snowden revelations, the Obama administration closed a surveillance programme that collected information on telephone calls by millions of Americans. Mr Pompeo has introduced a bill that would restore the National Security Agency’s access to the telephone data and could also give it access to financial and lifestyle information….

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putin obama world

PODCAST: U.S. – Russia – Syria – Iran – Turkey – Israel a ‘Tectonic Policy Shift’

Listen to this compelling, yet disturbing Lisa Benson Show with guests Shoshana Bryen of The Jewish Policy Center and best selling author and investigative journalist Ken Timmerman.

The round table discussion reveals the duplicity of Turkey, with Russia and U.S. complicity in Syria throwing the Kurds under the bus gutting the war against the Islamic State (ISIS).

The discussion revealed how the Obama Administration is:

  • abandoning the Persian Gulf to Iran,
  • destabilizing the world’s energy supply,
  • getting ready to withdraw U.S. Naval assets from the region
  • and avoiding Congressional appropriation authorities by paying Tehran with $1.3 billion from a State Department “slush fund” possibly via the Swiss Central Bank.

Listen to the broadcast and share it widely as this is not being covered by mainstream media in the run up to the Presidential campaign foreign policy debate.

russia turkey iran flags axis

THE TURKEY-RUSSIA-IRAN AXIS: Dramatic developments alter the strategic balance in the Middle East

A tectonic shift has occurred in the balance of power in the Middle East since the failed Turkish coup of mid-July, and virtually no one in Washington is paying attention to it.

Turkey and Iran are simultaneously moving toward Russia, while Russia is expanding its global military and strategic reach, all to the detriment of the United States and our allies. This will have a major impact across the region, potentially leaving U.S. ally Israel isolated to face a massive hostile alliance armed with nuclear weapons.

Believers in Bible prophecy see this new alignment as a step closer to the alliance mentioned in Ezekiel 37-38, which Israel ultimately defeated on the plains of Megiddo.

Today’s Israel, however, is doing its best to soften the blow by patching up relations with Turkey and through cooperation with Russia.

Here are some of the moves and counter-moves that have been taking place in recent weeks on a giant three-dimensional chessboard with multiple players and opponents.

Russia-Turkey: It now appears that Russian intelligence tipped off Turkish president Recep Tayyip Erdogan just hours before the planned coup against his regime. When the coup plotters got wind of the Russian communications with Erdogan loyalists at the National Intelligence Organization (MIT), they moved up the coup from the dead of night to 9 PM, when the streets were packed.

For Erdogan, the Russian warning came just in the nick of time, allowing him to flee his hotel in Marmaris minutes before twenty-five special forces troops loyal to the coup-plotters roped down from the roof of his hotel to seize him.

With streets in Istanbul full of people, Erdogan’s text and video messages calling on supporters to oppose the coup had maximum impact.

After purging the military and government of suspected enemies, Erdogan’s first foreign trip was to Russia, where on August 8 he thanked Putin for his help. “The Moscow-Ankara friendship axis will be restored,” he proclaimed.

Two days later, Turkish Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu blasted NATO for its “evasive fashion” of responding to Turkish requests for military technology transfers, and opened the door to joint military production with Russia.

Cavosoglu accused NATO of considering Turkey and Russia “to be second class countries,” and pointed out that Turkey was the only NATO country that was refusing to impose sanctions on Russia for its annexation of the Crimea and invasion of Ukraine.

Russia has also been in talks with Turkey to base Russian warplanes at the NATO air base in Incirlik, Turkey, where some 2400 U.S. personnel have been quarantined since the failed July 15 coup attempt as Turkey continues to demand that the U.S. extradite alleged coup-plotter Fethullah Gulen, who lives in Pennsylvania.

These talks have alarmed the Pentagon, which on Thursday reportedly ordered the emergency evacuation to Romania of the estimated 50-70 nuclear B-61 “dial-a-yield” gravity bombs stockpiled at the base.

If confirmed, the nuclear withdrawal from Turkey constitutes a major strategic setback for the United States, with Russia poised to replace the United States as Turkey’s main military partner after 60 years of NATO cooperation.

Russia-Iran: The warming of the Russia-Turkey relationship comes as Russia simultaneously is making advances in Iran.

The two countries have a long and often troubled history. The 1921 Soviet-Iranian treaty, which ended long-standing tsarist concessions in Iran, also included a mutual defense pact. Triggered briefly during World War II, the Soviets seized the opportunity to foment a Communist coup in Iranian Azerbaijan in 1948 and only withdrew after President Truman threatened to use nuclear weapons.

Successive Iranian regimes remained suspicious of Soviet intentions for the rest of the Cold War.

In recent years, Iran and Russia have joined together to evade international sanctions, with Russian banks clearing payments for Iranian oil purchases and serving as a conduit for Iranian government purchases abroad.

Last week, the specter of the 1921 defense treaty suddenly came alive when the Russia and Iran announced they had signed a new military agreement to allow Russian jets to use the Nojeh airbase in western Iran for attacks on Syrian rebels.

This is the first time that the Islamic regime in Iran has allowed a foreign power to use Iranian territory as a base for offensive military operations against another country in the region, and the move lead to tensions in the Iranian parliament.

For Russia, the move dramatically reduced flight times for the Tu-22 M3 Backfire bombers it had been flying against ISIS targets in Syria from Mozdok airbase in Ossetia, 2000 km away. Iran’s Nojeh air base, outside Hamadan, is less than 900 km from the war zone.

The shorter flight times also meant shorter warning for the Syrian rebels. Russian media reports have alleged that the United States has been providing “satellite surveillance data” to the Syrian rebels of the Russian bombing runs, allowing them to disperse “suspiciously too often” before the heavy bombers arrived on target from Mozdok.

The shorter distance cuts the flight time – and thus the warning time – by 60%, according to former Pentagon official Stephen D. Bryen. “The flight from Iran is between 30 to 45 minutes tops. If, therefore, the US is warning the rebels of impending Russian air strikes, the time to get the message to them and to actually be able to move their forces out of harms way, is far less and maybe too short for finding effective cover,” Bryen wrote in a recent blogpost.

Conclusion: Russia is on the verge of realizing a multi-generational dream of reaching the “warm waters” of the Persian Gulf through Iran.

Iran-Iraq: Adding to these dramatic developments was the announcement last week by a U.S. military spokesman, Colonel Chris Garver, that Iran now controls a military force of 100,000 armed fighters in neighboring Iraq. While the United States has allowed this Iranian expansion under the pretext Iran was helping in the fight against ISIS, clearly Iran can use this massive organized force to exercise its control over Iraq as well.

While none of these events was directly caused by the United States, clearly the lack of U.S. leadership emboldened our enemies, whose leaders have a much clearer strategic vision than ours of where they want the region to go.

Meanwhile, the Russian government continues to pursue the massive ten-year, $650 billion military modernization program that Putin announced in December 2010, despite reduced oil revenues. Those plans include eight new nuclear submarines, 600 new fighter jets, 1000 helicopters, as well as new tanks and other ground equipment.

Most of the new equipment is based on new designs incorporating advanced technologies, not existing weapons systems.

Just this week, U.S. intelligence officials reported ongoing construction of “dozens’ of underground nuclear command bunkers in Moscow and around the country apparently for use in the event of a nuclear wear. General Curtis Scaparrotti, commander of U.S. European Command, called Russia’s evolving doctrine on the first use of nuclear weapons “alarming.”

All of this does not mean that the United States and Russia are headed toward a direct confrontation. The more likely consequence, given the sweeping Russian powerplay with Turkey and Iran, is that the United States will simply abandon the region to Putin’s Russia and his Turkish and Iranian allies.

The consequence of that abandon will undoubtedly motivate Saudi Arabia to develop nuclear weapons as a counterweight to Iran.

Nero fiddled as Rome burned. Obama plays golf. Both leaders will leave ashes in their wake.

RELATED ARTICLE: Iran regime arrests 450 social media users for ‘immoral activities’

EDITORS NOTE: This column originally appeared FrontPage Magazine.