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Democrats call Trump ‘racist’ again as he adds six new countries to ‘outrageous, un-American’ travel ban

The Trump administration contends that the bans are for security reasons, that the countries in question cannot or will not provide adequate information about the people wanting to come in. This is entirely reasonable, but for the Left, concern for national security is “racist” and must be done away with.

“Democrats attack Trump as racist after he expands travel ban to six new countries,” by Victor Rantala, BizPacReview, February 2, 2020:

Democrats criticized the White House announcement that the United States will add six more countries to a controversial travel ban that originally was called a “Muslim ban” by the left, and that Joe Biden on Saturday called a new “African Ban.”

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi led the charge in opposition to the travel ban expansion, describing it as “discrimination disguised as policy.”

“The Trump administration’s expansion of its outrageous, un-American travel ban threatens our security, our values and the rule of law,” her statement reads. “The sweeping rule, barring more than 350 million individuals from predominantly African nations from traveling to the United States, is discrimination disguised as policy.”

To no one’s surprise, she added that Democrats will do all in their power to resist the president. “In the Congress and in the Courts, House Democrats will continue to oppose the Administration’s dangerous anti-immigrant agenda. In the coming weeks, the House Judiciary Committee will mark-up and bring to the Floor the NO BAN Act to prohibit religious discrimination in our immigration system and limit the President’s ability to impose such biased and bigoted restrictions.”

On Friday, Acting DHS Secretary Chad Wolf told reporters that after a “systematic review” of all countries, six nations were added to the travel ban list: Burma, Eritrea, Kyrgyzstan, Nigeria, Sudan, and Tanzania.

Prior to this latest expansion, restrictions on immigrant and non-immigrant visas were in place for seven countries, to include Iran, Libya, North Korea, Somalia, Syria, Venezuela, and Yemen.

After enduring multiple court challenges to the original travel ban, the Supreme Court upheld its constitutionality in 2018.

According to Wolf, the additional six nations have lighter restrictions than the original seven. “These countries, for the most part, want to be helpful, want to do the right thing, have relationships with the U.S. and are in some cases improving relations, but for a variety of different reasons failed to meet those minimum requirements that we laid out,” he said. “And really the only way to mitigate the risk is to impose these travel restrictions.”…

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EDITORS NOTE: This Jihad Watch column is republished with permission. © All rights reserved.

Moroccan Muslim asylum seeker was targeting women, slashing their throats

“Then a person ran towards us shouting ‘He has a knife’, and everybody from the terrace ran inside. Next, a woman came in to the cafe. She was crying hysterically, down on her knees, saying someone’s neck has been slashed open.” – A witness

Surely you know what happened in Finland on the heals of Barcelona, but here from Reuters we get more facts on the killer and the poor innocent women who were sadly in the wrong place at the wrong time.

Over the years we have written a few posts on Finland, but it isn’t as easily accessible (or slovenly welcoming) as other Scandinavian countries like Sweden and Norway.

This Reuters story is surprisingly unrestrained and relatively free of whitewash (or is that because those quoted weren’t pulling punches and speaking in politically correct terms?):

HELSINKI/TURKU, Finland (Reuters) – Finnish police said on Saturday that an 18-year-old Moroccan man, arrested after a knife rampage that killed two people and wounded eight, appeared to have targeted women and that the spree was being treated as the country’s first terrorism-related attack.

Finland’s loss of innocence. Photo: Inquirer.

The suspect arrested following the attack on Friday after being shot in the leg by police in the city of Turku had arrived in Finland last year, police said. They said they later arrested four other Moroccan men over possible links to him and had issued an international arrest warrant for a sixth Moroccan national.

Finnish broadcaster MTV, citing an unnamed source, said the main suspect had been denied asylum in Finland. The police said only that he had been “part of the asylum process”.

The case marks the first suspected terror attack in Finland, where violent crime is relatively rare.

“The suspect’s profile is similar to that of several other recent radical Islamist terror attacks that have taken place in Europe,” Director Antti Pelttari from the Finnish Security Intelligence Service told a news conference.

[….]

Both of those killed in the Turku attack, and six of the eight who were wounded, were women, the police said. The two who died were Finns, and an Italian and two Swedish citizens were among the injured.

Ville Tavio (Finns party): Asylum system is primary means of entry for terrorists.

“It seems that the suspect chose women as his targets, because the men who were wounded were injured when they tried to help, or prevent the attacks,” said Crista Granroth from the National Bureau of Investigation.

“The act was cowardly … we have been afraid of this and we have prepared for this. We are not an island anymore, the whole of Europe is affected,” Prime Minister Juha Sipila said. [Well, maybe not Poland and Hungary that have closed their borders to Muslim migration!—ed]

[….]

Some members of the nationalist Finns party, which was kicked out of the government in June for their new hard-line anti-immigration leadership, blamed the government for what they said was too loose an immigration policy.

“The asylum system is the primary road for illegal immigration, used also by the terrorists. Harmful immigration can be controlled only by reducing Finland’s attractiveness, or by border controls,” said Finns party lawmaker Ville Tavio.

Much, much more here.

What is asylum? (As opposed to refugee resettlement)

In the refugee resettlement process, wannabe refugees must prove they are persecuted, the UN screens them (supposedly!) and a country accepts them and flies them in.

For asylum, the wannabe refugee makes his or her way to a ‘safe’ country and then applies for asylum (or often called political asylum). They are supposed to make a case that they would be persecuted if returned home. Europe is dealing with mostly asylum seekers (many are phony and are really economic migrants) who are basically loose in the country until their cases can be processed.

And, are often loose because they have been rejected and no one has made them leave!

So, it is a misnomer when you hear the Left and political leaders refer to asylum seekers as refugees. They are not legitimate refugees until their cases have been processed and the governmental body responsible has granted them asylum.

See my Finland files here. Invasion of Europe archive is here.

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Obama and liberal bishops need to keep their hands off Africa

TRANSCRIPT

Africa could be termed the last battleground of the Church. It is the only significant place the Church is seeing any growth. Close to 200 million Catholics inhabit the so-called Dark Continent, a term given in derision by colonial powers. The term was a reference to a claim that Africans were backward savages in great need of westernizing.

It’s why the insult hurled at the African bishops by German Cardinal Walter Kasper at the 2014 Synod in Rome touched such a nerve. He said, “The Africans — they should not tell us too much what we have to do.” As you might imagine, that comment didn’t go over too well — which is why Kasper lied about having said it at first, until an audio recording of him saying it was produced by crack journalist Ed Pentin.

Africa is a target, politically, culturally, and most important, spiritually. Africa is still viewed by many Western elites as a “colonial” seedbed. Because of its poorer economic status, various elites see an opportunity to advance their agendas of evil: contraception, sterilization, abortion, population control, homosexuality, climate change and so forth. This is being done largely through the United Nations, financed by Western governments, especially the United States.

The trick is to establish relations with individual African nations, give them some aid, let them enjoy the increased prosperity —even if it is being enjoyed only by leaders — and then promise a lot more aid in exchange for signing onto the agenda. This is part and parcel of U.S. foreign policy these days. It all started with the Mexico City Policy established by Ronald Reagan that refused U.S. government funding to any NGO involved in abortion.

When Clinton was elected in ’92, he rescinded the policy and helped fund overseas groups that work for abortion. This was the first major effort to influence foreign policy according to moral/political calculus with an eye to controlling agencies and governments. Hillary Clinton has testified publicly as Secretary of State that when she speaks of human rights, she includes that to mean abortion and contraception, including government financing.

Oddly enough, for a man with such deep ties to Africa, Obama has worked tirelessly to undermine the family in African nations by tying hundreds of millions of U.S. dollars for economic aid to their acceptance of his immoral agenda. When you drill down to the on-the-ground effect, this translates directly to attacking the Church.

U.S. money is used to essentially try and buy off leaders of various African nations. They begin promoting the Obama agenda, and then the Church runs into conflict with those leaders.

WATCH NOW

The other method that the U.S. government uses to get into African nations is the huge sum of money — hundreds of millions each year — that it awards Catholic Relief Services (CRS). CRS does work to alleviate poverty, but it also allies itself with other groups pushing the population control agenda through sterilization and contraception.

Those U.S. government dollars, like all government dollars, come with strings attached. Washington, D.C., under Obama, has been relentless in pushing its agenda, and it uses a compliant CRS as another means to introduce its agenda into African nations. Bishop Borwah told us he was greatly concerned that CRS does nothing for the soul when they are doing their so-called poverty fighting.

Between the indirect approach of using CRS to gain a foothold and establish trust with the people, and courting government leaders with promises of money in exchange for acceptance of immoral policies, Africa appears to be target number one for Western leaders. The ramifications of this for the universal Church are extremely troubling. The materialism that the diabolical used to corrupt the West looks to be the same weapon by which he will introduce evil into African nations. Catholic leaders who keep supporting Obama, his policies, his party, his power structure and playing along with it in the name of social justice and fighting poverty are setting the table for the destruction of the Faith down the road in Africa.

And consider this: The Catholic population in Africa has more than tripled since 1980, and if current trends hold, in the next generation, just 20 years from now, 24 percent of Africans will be Catholic. This would result in a Catholic population of nearly half a billion in Africa — just over 20 years.

The future belongs to Africa, which begs the question: Haven’t Catholic leaders done enough damage by ruining the faith of hundreds of millions in the West? Can’t they leave their hands off Africa?

His Excellency Bp. Borwah was our guest on this past Friday’s “Download” and this past weekend’s “Mic’d Up.” He is one of those extremely good bishops who loves the Faith, his people and the truth — well worth paying attention to. He was even in the contingent of African bishops who kept the Faith from being mowed down by liberal Western bishops at the Synod this past October — something he gets into in those programs. They are well worth the listen.

Keep tuned to Church Militant to hear the whole truth.

EDITORS NOTE: Originally published at ChurchMilitant.com. Watch “The Download” Every Week, Monday-Friday. Click here for Church Militant Premium—Start your 15-day Free Trial.

Columbus, Ohio Muslim machete man still a mystery

It turns out that early reports about the African man who attacked diners in a restaurant belonging to an Israeli-born Christian may not be a Somali as first reported.  See our first report by clicking here.

So who is he?

Hany-Baransi-of-Israel-now-Ohio

Nazareth restaurant owner Hany Baransi.

Here, in a story about the restaurant re-opening, World Net Daily writer tells us that mystery still surrounds the machete man:

More than four days after the attack, little is known about Barry, a 30-year-old immigrant from Africa. Neither the FBI nor the Columbus police have released any information on his immigration status, when he came to the U.S. and from what country, under what circumstances he came, or whether he was a legal or illegal resident of this country.

According to reports, Barry led police on a five-mile chase before losing control of his car and careening off the road. He exited the vehicle with his machete and another knife, and allegedly lunged at the officers.

“He yelled, ‘Allahu Akbar!’ and then he attacked them with the machete, and that’s when they shot him and killed him,” Baransi [the restaurant owner—ed] told Tower magazine.

Please read the whole article about how Baransi is not going to cower.

If you read Ann Coulter’s book, ‘Adios America,’ she tells us much about the code of secrecy (by police/FBI) surrounding crimes committed by immigrants.  So, it is not surprising that nothing is being released so far on his immigration status.

And, by the way, in my last eight year of following stories like this one, I have never seen any mention of Gov. John Kasich of Ohio showing one bit of concern for the colonization, by the UN/U.S. State Department, of Ohio.

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Why do we have an Oil Glut?

The world is awash in oil and gas. Amazing.  Less than two decades ago in 1998, the predictions were by this time in 2016 oil production would be past its peak. In fact the gloom and doom experts were called Oil Peakists. Note this from Science magazine back in 1998:

From Science magazine’s “The Next Oil Crisis Looms Large—and Perhaps Close,” Aug. 21, 1998:

This spring . . . the Paris-based International Energy Agency (IEA) of the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD) reported for the first time that the peak of world oil production is in sight. Even taking into account the best efforts of the explorationists and the discovery of new fields in frontier areas like the Caspian Sea . . . sometime between 2010 and 2020 the gush of oil from wells around the world will peak at 80 million barrels per day, then begin a steady, inevitable decline, the report says.

However, technology, especially here in the U.S., relegated that prediction to the proverbial dust bin of history. With the private developments of  revolutionary shale fracking and horizontal drilling technology, vast new energy resources were opened up in places like North Dakota, Ohio, Pennsylvania and even in the older Permian field in West Texas. The U.S. is now pumping 9 million barrels of oil a day, and trillions of cubic yards of gas. We are no longer dependent on importing Middle East oil. In fact much of the oil that we import comes from our neighbors Canada and Mexico.

In the wake of lifting sanctions against nuclear Iran, oil is beginning to flow again to the European Union from Tehran which says it could add another 500,000 barrels in production this year.  U.S. oil is also flowing to Europe now that the 43 year old ban on oil exports was lifted and signed in law late in 2015. The first shipment of sweet crude drawn from the Eagle Ford Shale field in South Texas left the port of Corpus Christi, Texas on New Year’s eve and landed at the port of Marseilles on Friday. Another shipment out of Houston made it to Rotterdam on Thursday. A third one out of Houston is on its way to Marseilles. The oil is the equivalent of the so-called Saudi light or sweet crude which doesn’t require as much refining producing profit margins for the refiners.

So, why do we have this glut? 

The world’s economies are not growing as fast or rather slowing down, especially in the big consumer of raw materials and energy, China.  China’s economy and trade is impacting on those exporters of commodities like oil, gas,  copper, aluminum  and  iron ore like Australia,  Brazil, Canada,  Russia, Venezuela  and African countries. Where China was growing at a purported 10 percent plus, annually, the evidence is it has fallen to less than a third of that towering inflated level. We have come to realize those growth estimates were based on questionable figures  prepared by the Chinese government.  Some economic experts suggest the annual growth in GDP may be less than three percent.  So with that news came the sudden plummeting in the world trading markets for commodities, especially oil.

There is  also the great geo-resource political game in the Middle East going on between Saudi Arabia and Iran, and let’s not forget Russia.  Saudi Arabia as the keystone in the OPEC oil Cartel is not listening to the complaints of the other members of the group at meetings in Vienna demanding that it reduce domestic production. It is pumping oil and still making money, because it costs less than $5 a barrel. This despite a yawning budget deficit of $98 billion. The Saudis have an estimated $600 billion in hard currency reserves, which provides a cushion to ride out the geo-political storm. They are using the oil weapon to beat back competitors including Iran across the Persian Gulf, Russia which  has military in Syria supporting the Assad regime, and  the newly resurgent producer, the US.   Russia, as Shoshana Bryen of the Washington, D.C.-based Jewish Policy Center pointed out in a recent interview, mispriced its budget at $119 a barrel of oil, then redid the numbers at $87 dollars only to see it plummet to less than $30 at one point.

So what is the impact here in the U.S.?

When was your last trip to fill up your car at the gas station?  Here on the Gulf Coast in the U.S., regular unleaded gas is currently selling for less than $1.80 a gallon.  That means savings to consumers who appear to be putting away the difference awaiting a return to a more confident economy.   Diesel that at one point was priced at nearly $1 dollar a gallon above gasoline has shrunk to less than ten cents a gallon differential. That means that the cost for moving shipments via long haul truckers has gotten cheaper. It means that jet fuel cost is less reflected in the huge profits being declared by the major airlines. Some of that may be due to the lagging airline ticket surcharges that remain in place.  However, the drop in oil production is also impacting the profit margins of rail carriers who minted money from train loads of combustible leaving the Bakken formation in North Dakota. The drop in oil prices occasioned by the glut also means that the cost of petro chemical feed stocks is enhancing profit margins for plastics,.

Remember, the discussion about lifting the 43 year old oil export ban?

One of the by-products of that was the convergent pricing of U.S. crude has converged with world pricing.  If you went onto the COMDEX oil trading floor in lower Manhattan, you would see traders vying for futures contracts in West Texas Intermediate (WTI) versus Brent-the so-called North Sea crude oil benchmark. The lifting of the oil export ban in the U.S. virtually eliminated the difference making Brent the world standard.  As of Friday, January 22, 2016 WTI was $32.19 per barrel for March 2016 deliveries, a 9.0 % jump, and Brent priced out of the London ICE was $32.18. Heavier grades like Canadian Tar sands or Venezuelan heavy sulfur crude require more refining to produce various products. These grades actually sell at discounts from those benchmarks by as much as five dollars.

Can we expect the oil glut to last? Hardly. The current excess supply will work itself off and oil futures will gradually begin to rise again. That will bring rigs on stream here in the U.S. to start producing again, it may cause Iran to produce more than the declared 500,000 barrels  annually and the Saudis would just be minting more billions to add to its hard currency reserves. However, by mid century those fabled Saudi sweet crude reserves may likely begin to tail off. Energy, whether oil or gas will reflect the cyclical demands of the world economies.  The U.S. stands in pretty good shape to weather the current volatility in trading markets; thanks to technology, entrepreneurial prowess and the lifting of the oil export embargo. Don’t panic and consider investing in contrarian values in the equity and debt markets. That is what the long term value investors do. They buy when values are relatively cheap compared to long term returns.

EDITORS NOTE: This column originally appeared in the New English Review. An earlier version was published in the Newsletter of the Lisa Benson Show National Security Task Force Newsletter, January 23, 2016.

Hillary (and the girls) are to blame for Libyan hellhole and Muslim invasion of Europe

As I listened to testimony yesterday at the Benghazi hearing I was reminded of the many posts I’ve written over the years about how Hillary was directly involved in the destruction of the Libyan state that ultimately led to the use of that country as an important launch pad for the Mediterranean invasion of Europe by tens of thousands of Africans and Middle Easterners.

Hillary admitted yesterday that in 2011 Obama was reluctant to follow Europe’s lead and get involved in Libya, but that she marshaled the forces (including Susan Rice and Samantha Power) to persuade Obama to help overthrow Libyan leader Muammar Qaddafi. Ultimately, she said yesterday, it was the President’s decision thereby tossing blame back on Obama when the results of her actions have proven so disastrous. Ambassador Stevens and the others who died might not have been there if it weren’t for those “loose weapons.”

Here is one of our many posts on Hillary:  This one is from December 2014, but we had predicted in 2011 that Hillary’s (and yes, she admitted it yesterday that she was the leading Administration force for the overthrow of Qaddafi) misadventure in Libya was leading to a refugee crisis of massive proportion.

Hillary and the girls (dubbed the “humanitarian Vulcans” by some in the White House) said it was our “responsibility to protect” the Libyan people that underpinned our imperative to join the Europeans in overthrowing (and killing) Qaddafi.  This is what I said in December of 2011.  So much for the poor Libyan people now!

Watch for it!   The ‘responsibility to protect’ means we go to war and create a whole new bunch of refugees that need to be resettled in the West!

April 2011:  read what we said about the three witches, here.  Go here for all of our posts mentioning Hillary and Libya.

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Obama’s Continued Disdain for Africa

In June of 2013 Obama tried to lecture Senegalese President, Macky Sall in front of his own people on accepting homosexuality in his country.  Before his trip to Africa, Obama was sternly warned by many, “do not talk about homosexuality in Africa.”

But as is his habit, Obama never misses an opportunity to lecture and talk down to Blacks in the U.S. and Africans abroad.  To his credit, President Sall quickly chastised Obama with these words, “We are still not ready to decriminalize homosexuality…This doesn’t not mean we are homophobic.”

In 2014, during the U.S.-Africa Leaders Summit, Obama again lectured Africa on the need to accept homosexuality and under his administration they even took it a step further.

For the first time in the history of the U.S., Hillary Clinton made a country’s promotion of homosexuality a criteria in whether the U.S. would continue to extend foreign aid.  This was a tectonic shift in our foreign policy and should have no place in our relations with other sovereign countries.

I am very proud that almost without exception African leaders have told America and the rest of the Western world to “keep your money and foreign aid, we will not sacrifice our culture and values for your help.”

So, with this as a backdrop, I was more than stunned at the blatant disrespect Obama and his administration continues to show towards Africa; specifically in the case of South Sudan.

Two weeks ago I was invited by the Embassy of South Sudan to join them in their celebration of their 4th birthday as an independent nation.  The creation of South Sudan was one of former president George W. Bush’s lasting foreign policy achievements.

The event was a nice, festive affair with diplomats from throughout the continent of Africa in attendance.  There was a very short program with one of the speakers being Lucy Tamlyn, U.S. State Department, Office of Special Envoy for Sudan & South Sudan.  Her remarks offended everyone in the room. She said in part, “The four year anniversary of the founding of the Republic of South Sudan should indeed be a day of celebration but when we think of the difficult situation that the people of South Sudan are experiencing on the ground it’s hard to be in a celebratory mood.  Over the last few weeks, we have heard reports of abuses against civilians, including against innocent women and children.  Numerous reports have confirmed that all parties to the conflict have committed offensive military actions in violations of international humanitarian law.  With more than 2.2 million displaced and 4.6 million at risk of life threatening hunger.  It is clear that the hopes and the aspirations of the South Sudanese people are not being met.  As the government begins its extended mandate today, we call on all parties to the conflict to forge a lasting peace and work to put in place a government of national unity.”

A government of national unity?  Are you kidding me?  The last time I checked, Salva Kiir Mayardit was and is the duly elected president of South Sudan.  If and when the people of South Sudan want to change their nation’s leadership, they will do so during the next election.  It’s called democracy!

There are many legitimate areas for the U.S. to criticize the government of South Sudan.  But the celebration of their independence was not the time nor the place for such a discussion.

As an American with extensive relations and travels in Africa, including South Sudan, I was deeply embarrassed by my country.  We Blacks in the U.S. have come to expect this type of condescension  from the Obama administration when speaking to Blacks; but to display this level of arrogance to a sovereign nation is beyond the pale.

Obama would have never sent a representative to an event hosted by the government of Saudi Arabia and had them criticize the government for their treatment of women and their aggressive support for terrorism.  Obama doesn’t have the guts to do that.

But because he has so little regard for South Sudan, he doesn’t hesitate to call for the weakening of a democratically elected head of state by mandating he put a political foe in his government (Riek Machar).

How does Obama reconcile his claim to want to promote democracy around the world, with the interfering in the internal affairs of a nation?

I wish Obama would show the same amount of bravado when it came to getting our hostages out of Iran; or when it comes to challenging Putin’s aggression in Crimea; or when it comes to China manipulating their currency and hacking into our computer networks.

He doesn’t have the stomach to do this.  So, he decided to make himself feel like a man by attacking and embarrassing a developing nation that he knows can’t really fight back diplomatically.

This is not just about South Sudan; but rather the entire continent of Africa.  Africa has many friends and supporters in the U.S., but unfortunately they are rarely sought out for help in situations like these.

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EDITORS NOTE: This column originally appeared in the Black List Pub.

Where’s the Pope’s Encyclical on Christian Persecution? by Raymond Ibrahim

Pope Francis recently released a new encyclical. Portions of it deal with environmentalism, global warming, and climate change. Naturally, this has prompted controversy.

It’s noteworthy that Francis didn’t merely make a passing comment on global warming during this or that sermon, but that he issued a papal encyclical on the matter. Encyclicals are much more formal and significant than remarks made during mass. They are letters written by a pope and sent to bishops all around the world. In turn, the bishops are meant to disseminate the encyclical’s ideas to all the priests and churches in their jurisdiction, so that the pope’s teaching reaches every church-attending Catholic.

All this leads to the following question: Where is Pope Francis’ encyclical concerning the rampant persecution that Christians—including many Catholics—are experiencing around the world in general, the Islamic world in particular?

To be sure, the pope has acknowledged it. On April 21, during mass held at Casa Santa Marta, Francis said that today’s church is a “church of martyrs.” He even referenced several of the recent attacks on Christians by Muslims (without of course mentioned the latter’s religious identity).

Said Pope Francis:

In these days how many Stephens [early Christian martyred in Book of Acts] there are in the world! Let us think of our brothers whose throats were slit on the beach in Libya [by the Islamic State]; let’s think of the young boy who was burnt alive by his [Pakistani Muslim] companions because he was a Christian; let us think of those migrants thrown from their boat into the open sea by other [African Muslim] migrants because they were Christians; let us think – just the day before yesterday – of those Ethiopians assassinated because they were Christians… and of many others. Many others of whom we do not even know and who are suffering in jails because they are Christians… The Church today is a Church of martyrs: they suffer, they give their lives and we receive the blessing of God for their witness.

The pope is acquainted with the reality of Christian persecution around the world.  So why isn’t he issuing an encyclical about it?  Such an encyclical would be very useful.

The pope could instruct bishops to acknowledge the truth about Christian persecution and to have this news spread to every Catholic church.  Perhaps a weekly prayer for the persecuted church could be institutionalized—keeping the plight of those hapless Christians in the spotlight, so Western Catholics and others always remember them, talk about them, and, perhaps most importantly, understand why they are being persecuted.

Once enough people are familiar with the reality of Christian persecution, they could influence U.S. policymakers—for starters, to drop those policies that directly exacerbate the sufferings of Christian minorities in the Middle East.

Whatever the effects of such an encyclical—and one can only surmise positive ones—at the very least, the pope would be addressing a topic entrusted to his care and requiring his attention.

As recent as 1958, Pope Pius XII issued an encyclical that addressed the persecution of Christians.  A portion follows:

We are aware—to the great sorrow of Our fatherly heart—that the Catholic Church, in both its Latin and Oriental rites, is beset in many lands by such persecutions that the clergy and faithful … are confronted with this dilemma: to give up public profession and propagation of their faith, or to suffer penalties, even very serious ones.

[…]

Missionaries who have left their homes and dear native lands and suffered many serious discomforts in order to bring the light and the strength of the gospel to others, have been driven from many regions as menaces and evil-doers…

Note that Pius does not mention the burning and bombing of churches, or the abduction, rape, enslavement, and slaughter of Christians.  The reason is that Christians living outside the West in 1958 rarely experienced such persecution.  In other words, today’s global persecution of Christians is exponentially worse than in 1958.  Pius complained about how Christianity was being contained, not allowed to spread and win over converts…

Keep reading

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The Surge of Deadly Illegal Migration Across the Mediterranean

The EU is in the midst of another refugee crisis in the Straits that separates Sicily from North Africa. The flash point of the humanitarian crisis is the Island of Lampedusa 297 kilometers offshore of Tripoli, Libya. 168 kilometers north of Lampedusa is the Island Republic of Malta which is also in the crosshairs of this crisis. Refugees from the Jihadist conflicts throughout the Middle East, North and Sub-Saharan Africa, even South Asia pack into a flotilla of overloaded vessels which make a bee-line for this Italian landfall with less than 5,000 full time residents, where heretofore they received a welcome. Off-shore of Lampedusa now sits a flotilla of EU coast guard vessels on rotating duty alert for distress calls escorting floundering vessels to port on the Italian island and hence to Sicily and the Italian mainland. Unfortunately, these days Italian and EU coast guard vessels also search for the bodies of illegal migrants washed overboard.

The illegal refugee crisis in the Mediterranean reached a new peak in late April 2015 when thousands of illegal ‘migrants’ attempted the perilous journey. They were seeking refuge and access to generous welfare and absorption benefits from the EU. In one tragic instance, an overloaded 66 foot fishing vessel capsized on Sunday, April 19th when migrants rushed to one side of the deck hailing a commercial vessel responding their distress call. The result was over 800 downed, less than 49 survived and 28 bodies have been pulled from the water so far. Another ship disaster last week claimed 400 lives off Tripoli. The picket line of Italian and other EU coast guard vessels were pressed into service endeavoring to recover the remains. That week, an estimated 8,500 made the crossing on questionable vessels arranged by human traffickers. In 2014 more than 1,600 died during turbulent crossings. So far this year more than 900 lives have been lost. Frontex data shows that migration across the Mediterranean in 2014 peaked to a level more than twice as high as its previous peak in 2011. 170,760 migrants crossed the Mediterranean in 2014, compared with 64,300 in 2011, 15,900 in 2012, and 40,000 in 2013.

Italian President Renzi and Maltese PM Muscat requested an emergency EU Summit to address these deadly illegal migrant ship disasters. It was quickly added to the agenda of the EU Foreign Ministers meeting in Luxembourg.  According to a USA Today report Renzi said, “How can it be that we daily are witnessing a tragedy?” Muscat seconded Renzi calling “it the “biggest human tragedy of the last few years.” The illegal migration problem was discussed at the Informal meeting of the Foreign Affairs Ministers of the EU and the Southern Mediterranean countries held in Barcelona on April 13th to discuss the future of the European Neighborhood Policy.

However, there was a new development. In one illegal crossing, 12 Christians from Nigeria and Ghana were thrown overboard from a sinking raft by Muslim compatriots, because they wouldn’t recite the Shahada – the profession of faith or other Qur’anic verses. The perpetrators were arrested by Italian police. Onshore, ISIS followers in Libya beheaded 30 Ethiopian Orthodox Christians seeking to make the illegal passage across the Mediterranean, yet another outrage. That sparked anger from the Obama Administration. However, in the 20 months remaining of President Obama’s final term in office, the priority is engagement with Iran over its nuclear program via the P5+1 process hoping to deprive the Islamic regime of nuclear weapons. That priority leaves a legacy for his successor to deal with, a welter of crises.

Danish psychologist Nicolai Sennels in a 10 NewsDK blog post noted the scandal of EU cooperation with North African human traffickers:

Last weekend the EU coast guard transported 8,500 people from North Africa to Italy alone. EU says that it “saves” the “refugees” (many of them turn out to be jihadis or fake refugees) from the dangerous travel across the Mediterranean. However, it is the EU that lures millions to do this potentially deadly trip by promising Western welfare to those willing to take the chance. The EU should either start offering free transport from Africa to Europe or start sending all refugees back to local camps. I advise the latter option, and not just because it would make us able to give safety to more people for the same amount of money – which is more compassionate. But also because it would dissuade people from taking the deadly chance. Thereby nobody would die in the attempt to reach EU shores. That is how Australia does it – and since Australia introduced this policy, the amount of drowned boat-refugees decreased to zero.

It is obvious that the situation is unsustainable, but as long as our politicians continue to obey the EU and the UN, the human tsunami of refugees seeking the help of European tax payers will continue. According to humanitarian agencies “up to half a million migrants may try to cross the Mediterranean this year – a figure that would dwarf the 170,000 who reached Italy last year.

According to a report from Express, North African Human smugglers are alerting EU authorities they are sending illegal people across the Mediterranean:

Trafficking gangs ferrying immigrants into the European Union are tipping off officials so Italian and EU coast guard vessels   can pick up their boats. …

Gangs are so certain their boats will be picked up they’re even putting less fuel in the tank because naval vessels will pick them up, a former UK immigration manager has revealed.

Of the 270,000 migrants who arrived in Europe illegally last year, more than 220,000 of them came through North Africa.

Many of those attempting the dangerous crossing in overloaded un-seaworthy craft were propelled by sectarian conflicts in Libya, Syria, Iraq, Somalia, Nigeria involving ISIS, Al Qaeda in the Maghreb, Al Shabaab and Boko Haram. Muslims among these illegal migrants are being welcomed into what the scholar Bat Ye’or called Eurabia: the Euro Arab AxisIn her book, Bat Ye’or warned about the consequences of EU bureaucracies engaged in outreach to Muslim countries on the periphery of the Mediterranean via the Barcelona Process of the 1990’s. That led to the establishment of the Union for the Mediterranean (UfM) in Paris on July 13, 2008 at a meeting of 43 heads of Euro-Mediterranean States. Subsequently, Foreign Ministers of the UfM met in Marseilles in November 2008 and established a headquarters in Barcelona. In 2010, senior member states of the UfM approved the Statues and Barcelona Headquarters in accordance with Spanish Law. According to the website of the UfM its vision and mission/mandate are:

The UfM is a multilateral partnership aiming at increasing the potential for regional integration and cohesion among Euro-Mediterranean countries. The Union for the Mediterranean is inspired by the shared political will to revitalize efforts to transform the Mediterranean into an area of peace, democracy, cooperation and prosperity.

The UfM was promoted by former French President Nicolas Sarkozy as a means of contending with the problems of rejectionist émigré Muslim communities engaged in internal disturbances attributable to mass immigration. Add to that are the contemporary problems of thousands of EU Muslims traveling to Syria to join the Islamic State to fight and build the self-declared Caliphate. A Caliphate engaged in ethnic cleansing of infidels: Christians, ancient religious minorities and what are deemed heterodox Muslims.

Fjordman, Norwegian blogger Peder Jensen, author of Defeating Eurabia  said in an email exchange:

While the Mediterranean is flooded with illegal immigrants, including Islamic Jihadists, the EU elites are creating a Union for the Mediterranean. Europe needs a Union for the Mediterranean just like it needs a beheading. This is, coincidentally, just what it might get. It is doubtful whether most Europeans want a Union with North Africa and the Middle East, but then the EU elites never cared about what ordinary Europeans think. There is no reason for them to start now.

The Syrian Civil war displaced nearly 4 million registered refugees. UN High Commissioner for Refugee (UNHCR) administered camps in Turkey, Lebanon, Iraq, Jordan and Egypt hosting 3.2 million. 22 countries have agreed last December to accept 100,000 of the more than 320,000 Syrian refugees most at risk in 2016. The UNHCR has requested absorption of hundreds of thousands of Syrian refugees by major EU countries and even here in the US.

The consequences of these refugee and illegal migrant flows caused by sectarian Jihad warfare in the Muslim Ummah heartland are ironic. The Eurabian bureaucracies have in effect acquiesced to the Islamic doctrine of Dar al Hijrah – the land of immigration, a reflection of the Prophet Mohammed’s migration from Mecca to Medina that kick started the first grand Jihad. That has given rise to calls by center right parties in the Netherlands, Denmark, Germany, Austria, France, Sweden and the UK to reject further mass Muslim migration, whether legal or illegal. This is a reflection of rising concern over Muslim citizens traveling to join the cause of the Islamic State or Al Qaeda only to have some return to commit massacres like the Charlie Hebdo mass shooting and the Hyper Cacher Kosher Supermarket in Paris that killed 17 in January 2015. As both Sennels and Fjordman have stated, the EU citizens will pay the price of this massive wave of illegal Muslim emigration across the Mediterranean spawned by Jihad.

Geert Wilders’, leader of the Freedom Party (PVV)  in the Netherlands, drew attention to this dilemma in a speech April 29, 2015 at the Washington, D.C. Conservative Opportunity Society:

The UN plan to resettle 1 million immigrants in Western nations will provide jihadis an opportunity to infiltrate Western countries, including the US. It will give terrorists the opportunity to settle in our countries without the extra scrutiny involved in obtaining a visa or a residence permit.

We should not do this. The vast majority of the European citizens disapprove of the way their governments are handling immigration. Moreover, there are plenty of other safe countries where immigrants bound for the West can go to, including the wealthy Gulf States that have almost zero asylum-seekers today.

Immigration, especially Islamic immigration, had devastating consequences. It has made our countries less safe.

Tunisian Captain and Syrian first mate of capsized fishing vessel off Libya, April 19, 2015.

Smuggler Profiteering of Illegal Migrant Trafficking

The massive surge in the deadly illegal migrant trade across the Mediterranean figured in the emergency meeting of EU Foreign ministers in Luxembourg. The loss of over 1,200 in two separate trafficking ship disasters spurred on deliberations requested by Italian President Renzi and Maltese PM Muscat. April 22, 2015 charges were brought in Italian courts against the 27 year old Tunisian captain and 25 year old Syrian mate of the 66 foot fishing boat that capsized off Libya with a loss of 800 crammed into the flimsy vessel. NBC news reported:

The Tunisian captain of the boat — 27-year-old Mohammed Ali Malek — was arrested along with a Syrian crew member, 25-year-old Mahmud Bikhit.

Sicilian prosecutors said Tuesday that Malek has been charged with culpable shipwreck, manslaughter and aiding and abetting illegal immigration. Bikhit has been charged with aiding and abetting illegal immigration, the statement from Catania’s prosecutors said.

The question is who benefits from this deadly smuggling business?

The answer is the jihadists in Libya who have profited from the turmoil in the region. A Wall Street Journal report revealed how profitable the business of trafficking illegal migrants is worth taking the risks involved as deadly as the results have been to their customers seeking refuge in the EU. This is the bottom line of the WSJ report: “Brazen, multi-million-dollar people-smuggling enterprise run by Libyan militias and tribesmen proves hard to combat.”

The WSJ wrote:

Various armed groups in Libya are aggressively advertising their services to would-be migrants from sub-Saharan Africa and Syrians fleeing conflict in their country, presenting the collapse of order in Libya as a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to secure safe passage to Europe, says Arezo Malakooti, the director of migration research for Paris-based Altai Consulting, a consultancy that works with the International Organization for Migration and other migration-related groups.

“The profits from human trafficking have consolidated a new balance of power in the Sahel and Libya,” says Tuesday Reitano, head of the Geneva-based Global Initiative against Transnational Organized Crime.

How a Saharan tribe profits:

The Saharan Tebu tribe, for instance, is now making “a killing,” according to Ms. Reitano, who estimates the tribe pockets some $60,000 a week by charging West African migrants for a seat on four-wheel-drive cars that take them to Agadez, a major city in Niger. From there, they ferry the migrants to the central Libyan city of Sabha and then proceed to northern Libya ahead of their sea journey to Italy and Malta.

The profits are such that tribes normally at war cooperate at times in getting migrants from one place to the next.

Mustapha Orghan, an activist who has worked with aid groups to track smuggler operations said:

Tebu and Tuaregs used to smuggle goods. The new alternative is human trafficking…and now both Tuaregs and Tebu are trying to get their share of the cake.

Mr. Orghan said Ghat, a southern Libyan town near the Algerian border where he lives, is the first entry point from Algeria for Africans. There, he said, “African migrants get sold from one smuggler to another.”

He said the trafficking business has become increasingly lucrative since chaos in Libya sharply reduced traditional sources of income in the region: heavily subsidized oil, food and other goods from Algeria.

“Farming” migrants to make profits:

In Sabha, African men typically spend months working as laborers, and women as housemaids, to earn the roughly $1,000 to pay for the crossing from Libya’s northern coast. If there is no demand for their services in Sabha, smugglers farm them out to cities further north and west for approximately 700 Libyan dinar, or about $500.

Discrimination among “customers” leads to deadly trips:

Ismail, an African migrant who declined to give his full name and nationality, tried to cross three times in recent weeks but was thwarted by overcrowding and breakdowns of the cheap plastic boat of the sort usually provided for Africans. Syrians, who can often pay more and aren’t discriminated against by the overwhelmingly Arab smugglers, typically make the crossing in sturdier wooden boats.

According to the Frontex agency the EU has arrested 10,000 involved in the illegal migrant trade, mainly truck drivers and many migrants involved in navigating the flimsy crafts. Italian authorities have arrested 1,000 smugglers since 2014. However of these, less than 100 have been convicted. They simply lack the resources in contending with the mushrooming human trafficking business as Libya devolves into a failed state.

Watch this WSJ video dramatizing the journey of an Eritrean illegal migrant across Africa to Libya and his perilous transit via smugglers to his ultimate destination in the Italian island of Lampedusa:

EU foreign ministers meeting in Luxembourg may have surfaced calls for safe and secure channels to reduce the deadly toll of illegal migrants, but going after the lucrative smuggling trafficking business at its source means contending with warring militias and the criminal activities of tribal groups in Libya. Note this ironic comment from the UN Human Rights Commission head:

“Europe is turning its back on some of the most vulnerable migrants in the world, and risk turning the Mediterranean into a vast cemetery,” said U.N. High Commissioner for Human Rights Zeid Ra’ad Al Hussein Monday. “Migrant smugglers are the symptom, not the cause of this wretched situation.”

The European Commission Proposals

The Brussels meeting of the European Commission (EC) on April 23, 2015 proposed a number of temporary measures to deal with the migrant crisis in the Mediterranean. The EC recommended doubling of Southern European border–control missions of Spain, Malta and Italy from the present level of $3.2 million monthly to effectively “increase search and rescue operations.” The EC will also provide additional resources to Spain, Malta and Greece. Another EC proposal would provide assistance to Tunisia, Egypt and Niger in buttressing their land border controls. The EC proposed a pilot project to re-distribute 5,000 refugees who meet asylum requirements stranded outside the EU, as an attempt to fairly distribute the burden of asylees. That flies in the face of objections by major northern countries to further asylum quotas. In 2014, 626,065 refugees filed asylum claims, a 44% percent increase over 2013. As one example, Germany experienced a sharp rise is asylum requests over the first quarter of 2015 to 85,394, double over the same period in 2014. By contrast the U.S. received 47,500 asylum applications.

The majority of those asylum seekers hail from Kosovo, Syria and Albania. Germany currently has a backlog of over 200,000 applications. This has given rise to complaints by municipalities in Germany about the impact on facilities and community integration. In the most controversial proposal, the EC requested EU Foreign Relations Commissioner Federica Mogherini to develop rules of engagement enabling it to capture and destroy illegal smuggling vessels. Overall EC President Donald Tusk of Poland said the illegal migrant crisis is a” complex issue” that will “take time to tackle.”

However in the immediate future the southern tier of EU nations may yet see a further spike in illegal migrants. In the final Week of April 2015, more than 10,000 refugees from the conflict in Yemen fled in rickety boats across the Bab al Mandab to the Republic of Djibouti placing a further burden on the UN High Commissioner for Refugees. Djibouti borders Eritrea where a number of migrants have followed the smuggler network to Libya and the dangerous passage to Italy and Malta on fleets of unseaworthy boats.

Conclusion

Jihad conflicts in the Middle East and Africa are driving hundreds of thousands annually in desperation to pay top dollar for a deadly ride on those rickety boats whose owners mage large profits. Nature abhors a vacuum when chaos creates rich opportunities to rake in enormous wealth from trafficking illegal migrants. The successful smugglers even alert EU officials that they are bringing another shipload of hapless migrants to fatten their margins from this deadly trade. The EU and the Union for the Mediterranean proposals for dealing with illegal mass immigration will surely cost billions of Euros. In the meantime, Italian and other EU coast guards continue to provide a picket line of vessels daily monitoring these dangerous trips in flimsy craft across the Mediterranean from the failed state of Libya.

 EDITORS NOTE: This column originally appeared in the New English Review. Also see Jerry Gordon’s collection of interviews, The West Speaks.

We’re ALL Out of Africa

I think if we were honest enough to admit it, we are all bigoted in some way. Our gender or religion doesn’t really qualify us as superior to anyone else, but we tend to fall back on these identities and, consciously or not, assume they give us a reason to feel that we are not only in possession of a special truth, but that it grants us the privilege to feel better than others.

When we examine the issue of race, however, the bigotry is inherent because racial groups are inclined to assign superior characteristics to their own. It’s called human nature.

There is something else “human” that we need to address, over and above skin color, eye color, hair and other visible differences.

“All human variants in DNA in all people alive today trace their origins to countless common ancestors, all of whom lived in Africa more than sixty thousand years ago. As humans, everyone is related by common ancient ancestry, and ultimately, everyone is African.”

Cover - Everyone is AfricanThat is the message of a new book by Daniel J. Fairbanks, the dean of the College of Science and Health at Utah Valley University, a distinguished research geneticist and author. “Everyone is African: How Science Explodes the Myth of Race” ($18.00. Prometheus Books, softcover). In a world where race is a component of our lives, Fairbanks says, “Unfortunately, few people are aware of how much is known about the genetic basis of race—or more accurately, the lack thereof.”

“To many, the notion that race is inherited seems self-evident. Yet extensive genetic research has demonstrated that the genetic variation associated with what most people perceive as race represents a small proportion of overall genetic variation. When viewed on a global scale, there are no discrete genetic boundaries separating so-called races.”

DNA1It’s hard to argue with DNA, a molecule that encodes the genetic instructions of all known living organisms. Its scientific name is deoxyribonucleic acid and, along with proteins and carbohydrates, it composes the three major macromolecules deemed essential for all known forms of life. Most DNA molecules consist of two biopolymer stands coiled around each other to form a double helix.

What we take to be “race” traces back some one hundred thousand years ago when our species, humans, all lived in Africa. Those early ancestors began to migrate from Africa eventually inhabiting the entire globe. That makes the “human race” one race.

So much evil has been done in the name of race that much of our history and the world’s stems from the notion that the variations, Caucasian, Negro, Asian, are determinative of various traits we attribute to these and other “races.” If we step back a bit, we will conclude we are talking about cultural differences, often the result of geological differences. As Fairbanks notes, regarding the findings of DNA research, “According to their estimates, people worldwide differ on average by about 0.1 percent, evidence that all humans are genetically quite similar to one another.”

It is hard, if not impossible, to argue with the science involved. “The oldest remains of what anthropologists call ‘anatomically modern humans’ (skeletons with features that resemble modern humans) are exclusively from Africa, dating to about two hundred thousand years ago. By contrast, the earliest remains of anatomically modern humans outside of Africa thus far discovered are about one hundred thousand years old.”

The migration out of Africa is dated to about sixty thousand to seventy thousand years ago “and their descendants, through many generations, eventually populated the rest of the world.”

Interestingly, but not surprisingly, “most of the mutations that became variants affecting skin, eye, and hair pigmentation happened outside of Africa in the distant descendants of people who originally left Africa..” Those variations then spread through their descendants within broad geographic regions.”

Those other people you see around you? You are related to all of them.

© Alan Caruba, 2015

Life long Opponent of Israel appointed as Obama’s Senior Assistant

Robert Malley has been a controversial policy insider and opponent of Israel in both the Clinton and Obama Administrations. Malley faulted Israel for the collapse of the 2000 Peace negotiations with former Israeli PM Ehud Barak at Camp David stoking the late Yassir Arafat to opt for the Second Intifada.

Last Friday, the White House announced his new position as Senior Assistant to  the President  coordinating policies of North Africa, the Middle East and Iran nuclear negotiations. He replaces Phillip Gordon (no relation). He was recently involved in meetings with Rice and Israeli National Security Adviser Yossi Cohen in the run up to Israeli PM Netanyahu’s address to the Joint Meeting of Congress on March 3rd.

Look upon Malley’s promotion as a bad omen for worsening relations with Israel unless Netanyahu is not  elected for a third term on March 17th.  He was brought back to the Obama National Security Council in 2013 as a deputy to Gordon who had the MENA portfolio. There had been adverse criticism of his role as foreign policy adviser to President Obama in the 2008 Presidential campaign on Israel issues. He was accused of having held discussions with Iran proxies Hezbollah and Hamas. In the interim before his return to the NSC, he had an equivalent post at the International Crisis Group. His parents, while both Jewish, were leftists who supported pro-Arab anti-Israel activities in both Egypt and Algeria.

The Times of Israel (TOI) reported last weekend on this latest move by the Administration to isolate Israel under the current Netanyahu government, White House names Israel critic to top Mideast post:

The White House named Robert Malley, a U.S. negotiator at the 2000 Camp David talks, to lead the Middle East desk at the National Security Council. Malley, whose appointment was announced on Friday afternoon, since last year has handled the Iraq-Iran-Syria-Gulf States desk. In replacing Philip Gordon, who has been Middle East coordinator since 2013, he assumes responsibility for Israel and the Palestinians as well as North Africa and the Persian Gulf.

He also assumes a more senior title, moving from senior director to special assistant. Malley already deals with Israel, and has attended meetings on the Iran-nuclear issue between his boss, National Security Adviser Susan Rice, and her Israeli counterpart, Yossi Cohen.

We wrote about Malley’s foreign policy advisor background in a March 2014 Iconoclast post, Saudi-led Gulf Squabble Spells Trouble for Obama?

National Security Advisor Malley was a former Middle East foreign policy aide to President Clinton during the failed 2000 Camp David Israel-Palestinian negotiations between former Israeli PM Ehud Barak and the late Yassir Arafat. Malley had accused Israel of nixing the agreement, when it was evident that Arafat had purposely sabotaged it. Malley went on to become head of the Middle East and North African program of the International Crisis Group and later advised then Senator Obama and was part of the President’s transition team. He holds views that may further complicate Administration Middle East policies. Malley propounded speaking with terrorist proxies Hamas and Hezbollah as well as the Muslim Brotherhood. Malley, was appointed in 2013 to the National Security Council. He had the portfolio for Israel-Palestinian peace talks and the Iran nuclear P5+1 diplomatic initiative.

In  October 2009, we noted his family background and Soros connections in a post Robert Malley and Benny Morris debate One State/Two State Solution at Skidmore College:

Malley is Jewish on both sides. His father was a Mizrahi from Syria who became an Egyptian journalist and was alleged to be an Egyptian Communist party member who fled to France, where young Malley was raised. Malley’s mother was a US Jewish leftist who worked for the Algerian FLN UN delegation. Check out his bio here.  He is a former Middle East adviser to President Clinton on the Camp David 2000 debacle. He alleged that Israel was at fault, rather than the late Yassir Arafat head of the Fatah-PLO, in the failure to achieve a peace accord during the abortive Camp David discussions. That opinion was not shared by former President Clinton and Amb. Dennis Ross, formerly on the Obama NSC staff.  Malley was a mainstay at the International Crisis Group (ICG) supported by George Soros who sits on the ICG board. Malley has been a prominent proponent of ‘engagement’ with Iran proxies Hamas in Gaza and Hezbollah in Lebanon. He was a controversial informal foreign policy advisor during the 2008 Obama Presidential campaign.

Watch this brief You Tube video of Malley in an excerpt from a 2009 documentary discussing outreach to  Hamas:

EDITORS NOTE: This column originally appeared in the New English Review. The featured image is of Robert Malley newly appointed White House coordinator for the Middle East, North Africa and the Gulf Region. Image source: YouTube.

Ebola! Ebola! Yawn

AA - Ebola Nations

For a larger view click on the map.

How is Ebola spread? Two ways; one, by letting anyone exposed to it in West Africa into America when they fly here and, two, by assuming that medical professionals and others who have been exposed to it would quarantine themselves from contact with others once they are here.

The latest case is Dr. Craig Spencer, an American to whom the travel ban would not apply, identified as potentially having Ebola after treating victims in Africa and who totally ignored the potential of spreading it to others as he made his way around New York on subways, went bowling, and likely had dinner at a restaurant.

Earlier a NBC news crew that had been exposed to Ebola was issued a mandatory quarantine by the New Jersey Health Department, but its chief medical editor and correspondent, Dr. Nancy Snyderman, while symptom-free, decided to break the quarantine. One of the crew, Ashoko Mokpo, did fall ill and is being treated at the Nebraska Medical Center.

What does it tell you when two medical professional behave in this manner? It tells you that even those who know they can infect others were indifferent to the risk. It tells you that airport staff armed with thermometers are no defense against anyone coming in from the Ebola hot zone in Africa.

It tells you that the failure to impose a ban on all flights from West Africa should have been imposed weeks ago.

It tells you that sending three thousand active duty soldiers and another thousand reservists into the Ebola hot zone is a senseless act that exposes them to the disease and countless others on their return unless they are all held in quarantine until no signs of the disease are detected. The risk still remains even after the twenty-one days that the Center for Disease Control cites as the time in which victims would show signs of the disease.

The two Dallas nurses who acquired the disease have been treated and one has been released. As of October 23, there were eighteen cases of Ebola in Europe and the U.S. Unlike Africa, Western nations have responded quite well to the threat.

In New York, the Mayor, Bill de Blasio, was joined by the Governor Andrew Cuomo to hold a

press conference that seemed to this observer intended to exonerate them of any charge they were not taking Dr. Spencer’s foolishness lightly and to avoid public panic among a public that is clearly not panicking.

Given the continued news coverage of Ebola, it is amazing that Americans have absorbed the fundamental message that the disease has not affected those outside the healthcare community with the exception of the NBC crew and that steps have been put in place to identify and isolate those who had it. Moreover, while a deadly virus in Africa, it has been treated and cured here in America.

So far, so good.

The real challenge will be the flu season when lots of people will show up at hospitals with flu symptoms that resemble Ebola symptoms. If you haven’t been vaccinated, get one! How hospitals deal with this is going to be a real test of their judgment and skills.

I am hopeful we may be spared more press conferences that don’t tell us anything more than what we already know. I surely don’t want to hear President Obama tell me that everything is fine and there is nothing to worry about.

© Alan Caruba, 2014

Blacks Missing from U.S.-Africa Business Forum

President Obama hosted the first ever U.S.-Africa Business forum last week here in Washington, DC. Leading up to the conference, the U.S. Commerce Department announced:

“On August 5, 2014, Bloomberg Philanthropies and the U.S. Department of Commerce will co-host the first-ever U.S.-Africa Business Forum, a day focused on trade and investment opportunities on the continent. The U.S.-Africa Business Forum will be part of President Obama’s U.S.-Africa Leaders Summit, the first summit of its kind, and the largest event that any U.S. president has ever convened with African heads of state or government.”

I must admit that the various panels consisted of executives who all had a track record of great achievement. Panelists included Americans, Indians, Africans, and women. But, I couldn’t help but notice that there was not one Black American on any of the panels.

Not only has the first Black president continued to ignore his most loyal voting block, the Black community, but by his actions he has made it perfectly clear to African leaders that Black business leaders are totally irrelevant within the U.S.

There was not shortage of Blacks who could have fit the bill: Ken Chenault, CEO of American Express; Dick Parson, former CEO of Time Warner; Dave Steward, CEO of World Wide Technology ($ 6 billion in annual revenue); Junior Bridgeman, owner of 195 Wendys (doing more than $ 500 million in annual revenue); Bob Johnson, CEO of RLJ Holdings, who has already invested money in hotels in Liberia.

There was one panel that had five African presidents: Macky Sall (Senegal), Paul Kagame (Rwanda), Jacob Zuma (South Africa), Jakaya Kikwete ( Tanzania), and Moncef Marzouki (Tunisia). The panel was moderated by Charlie Rose. I guess the White House has never heard of Black interviewers such as Charlayne Hunter-Gault, Michelle Norris, or Gwen Ifill.

The first question Rose asked was about the ebola virus. The presidents seemed to have been quite offended by the question and pushed back that America only views Africa in terms of the negative.

The blame is totally Africa’s fault for the negative portrayal they receive in U.S. media. African presidents come to the U.S. and rarely, if ever, engage with the American media and definitely not with the Black media.

Kagame admitted as much when he told Rose, “We [must be] able to own up to our weaknesses, our mistakes and own up to our solutions and contribute to our solutions. We can’t even tell our story. We even depend on others to tell our stories which leads to distortions.”

When the president of Cameroon landed in the U.S. on his presidential jet at Andrews Air Force Base (where Obama’s presidential jet is stored), there was a huge story written about his arrival in the Washington Post. No, no it was not on the front page. No, not in the business section, But on the gossip page. There was not one mention of the president’s name. The full page story was all about the president’s wife hair. Yes, you heard right, her hair; and the author of the story was a Black female.

This is how irrelevant Africa is viewed by the U.S. media. This is what happens when African presidents and their U.S. based ambassadors have no meaningful engagement with the media.

Africa can’t continue to demand to be a player on the world’s stage in the 21st century and yet govern and lead with a 20th century mentality. In many ways, having a media strategy is just as important as having a military strategy.

Controlling how you are perceived in the global market place has a direct impact on the investment community throughout the world. One needs to look no further than Equatorial Guinea to prove my point. It is one of the most corrupt countries on the planet; and outside of the oil industry, it’s almost impossible for them to get investment in their country.

I didn’t see or hear one media interview with any of the presidents during their stay in the U.S. The daily media coverage was focused on all the traffic problems being created by the street closures because of the various presidential motorcades.

Obama spent more time discussing the unemployment rate in Africa than he has the unemployment rate within the Black community here in the U.S. He talked about targeted incentives for investment and job creation on the continent of Africa; but can’t find the time to create opportunities for Blacks here at home.

Obama even created the Washington Fellowship for Young African Leaders. According to the White House, “through this initiative, young African leaders are gaining the skills and connections they need to accelerate their own career trajectories and contribute more robustly to strengthening democratic institutions, spurring economic growth, and enhancing peace and security in Africa.”

How about a similar program for Blacks in the U.S.?

EDITORS NOTE: The featured photo is courtesy of Yahoo News.