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Fake News Field Day in Story about Texas Shooting

Sometimes our criminals at Fraud, Crooks and Criminals will be Americans like the man who allegedly killed little Jazmine Barnes in a drive-by shooting ten days ago.

barnes case white guy
This is the man the New York Times and CNN were already lynching!

The black child was killed by a black thug, but the New York TimesCNN and all the rest had already lynched a “white man with blue eyes” whose likeness had been sent out around the world after other children in the car where Jazmine died told authorities this is what the shooter looked like.

I’ve told some of you previously that I watch CNN the first thing in the morning so that I can get a feel for where they are steering the Leftwing segment of America on any given day.

Oh boy, here they go I thought when that drawing went out and the race hucksters headed to Houston.

CNN actually led one segment of their morning news with the shooting “hate crime” story, even before they launched in to their daily hate fest against the President.

eric black jr
Eric Black Jr arrested in killing of black child

That was until two days ago when, oopsy! turns out the man arrested in the case looks like this.

A second black man has been arrested.

And, guess what! No updates during my early a.m. review of CNN today.

But it wasn’t just CNN, the New York Times had gone on a ‘it has to be a hate crime’ frenzy.

Here is just one segment of a New York Times story (before the arrest of the black thug):

The Harris County Sheriff’s Office believes the gunman fired at random into the car in which Jazmine was riding with her mother and three sisters, a 6-year-old and two teenagers. A bullet struck Jazmine in the head, her mother said.

The police said Wednesday that they still had not identified the gunman. But the case has drawn the attention of national civil rights activists and fueled speculation that the shooting was racially motivated. The gunman is white, the police said, and Jazmine was black.  [Note how the reporter phrases that, I doubt the police said the gunman is white!—ed]

[….]

In another effort to garner the public’s help, Mr. Merritt [family attorney] and Shaun King, a prominent racial justice activist and a columnist at The Intercept, have offered a $100,000 reward for information leading to the gunman’s arrest.

Maybe the New York Times has apologized, but I don’t see it.

Even in a story where the NYT has to admit the truth, they keep ginning up the “hate crime” meme by quoting Rep. Sheila Jackson Lee, here:

“Do not be afraid to call this what it seems to be — a hate crime,” Representative Sheila Jackson Lee, a Houston Democrat, told hundreds of people at a rally last week near the site of the killing.

Now, this is the story they are pushing widely. It is about how the poor family got confused.

Meanwhile, speaking of poor families, the family of the white man who may have witnessed the shooting is getting bullied and threatened.  This is from local ABC news:

Family of man wrongfully accused by activist Shaun King in Jazmine Barnes’ shooting speaks out

Will the NYT and CNN follow-up and report that news?  I’m not holding my breath!

Maybe the “white man with blue eyes” should sue the whole bunch of them!

I haven’t done this story (“Justice for Jazmine”) justice. Some feature writer should go through the media coverage of the case and expose in exquisite detail how the frauds in the Leftwing media spin the news.

You know they couldn’t wait to blame this on Donald Trump’s America!

New category at Frauds and Crooks: Media fraud!

Would someone keep an eye on this case and see if major media outlets ever mention it again after this week?

EDITORS NOTE: This column with images from Frauds, Crooks and Criminals is republished with permission. The featured photo is by rawpixel on Unsplash.

NYT allows wealthy British subject to lecture U.S. about ‘fundamental American values’

david-miliband-and-hillar-001

David Miliband with Hillary Clinton.

I want to scream!  I missed this op-ed from January 27th, but the International Rescue Committee is re-tweeting it this morning and it caught my eye.

Here we have David Miliband, the former Labour Party British Foreign Secretary lecturing Donald Trump about “fundamental American values” after Trump announced his Executive Order to keep America safe by temporarily halting immigration from known terrorist hotspots.

And, to make matters worse Miliband’s organization pulls in over $450 million in government grants every year (click here). Some of that money is used to quietly place refugees in American towns and cities and give George Soros Freedom Awards!

Miliband’s annual salary as CEO of the IRC is a whopping $591,846!  But, Leftist media like the NYT never reports any of this!

Here is Miliband’s NYT Op-ed:

President Trump’s executive order suspending the entire resettlement program for 120 days and banning indefinitely the arrival of Syrian refugees is a repudiation of fundamental American values, an abandonment of the United States’ role as a humanitarian leader and, far from protecting the country from extremism, a propaganda gift to those who would plot harm to America.

The next paragraph of Miliband’s Op-ed is a prime example of the selective information people like Miliband put out in their propaganda.

Yes, he is right that most of the refugees entering the U.S. from Iran are non-Muslims (I say most because we do admit some Muslims, why from Iran?). However, he doesn’t tell you that almost 100% of the Syrians admitted to the US are Muslims of both Islamic sects, and only a tiny handful of the persecuted Christians are admitted.

In my data report, here yesterday, I told you that of a recent group of 402 Syrians admitted only 2 are Christians! 

Miliband continues…

The order also suggests that the resettlement program should make persecuted religious minorities a higher priority, implying that they have been neglected in the past. This is incorrect; existing law already places strong emphasis on religious persecution among the criteria for resettlement. For example, most of the refugees from Iran — a Muslim-majority country — who are resettled by my organization are not Muslim.

And, here we go again with this 36 month c***!  18-24 months was the number they previously used and now they are talking about 36 months for refugees waiting (not being screened for 18, 24, or 36 months).  And, in fact, in April 2016, the Obama Administration reduced the Syrian screening down to 3 months, see here.

They never mention that in October 2015 FBI Director Comey said here that there is no way to thoroughly screen the Syrians (and I maintain the Somalis either!) because they come from a failed state with NO RECORDS!

And, here, in September 2016, Senator Sessions and Cruz pulled testimony out of the Obama USCIS head that they must often RELY ON THE STRENGTH OF PERSONAL STORIES because they have no data on the refugee.

Nevertheless, Miliband continues to spin his propaganda!

Compared with other types of immigrants, refugees are the most thoroughly vetted group to enter the United States. The resettlement process can take up to 36 months and involves screenings by the Department of Homeland Security, the F.B.I., the Department of Defense, the State Department and the National Counterterrorism Center and United States intelligence community.

There is more, continue reading here if you want to get fired up for the day!

See our growing archive on Miliband here.

“We will bring this plane down”: Flight 804 Downing Raises Airport Security Questions

Yesterday, we posted on the NatSecDailyBrief about the ACARS-Inmarsat data reports on smoke detected aboard the ill-fated EgyptAir  MSFlight 804.  We noted comments by a commercial pilot on an Aviation Herald article speculating  that there could have been an internal explosion in the nose of aircraft possibly affecting the avionics and fly by wire computer system. That might have caused the downing.

Watch this U.K. Telegraph of Debris recovered from MSFlight 804.

Note what the U.K. Telegraph reported in its blog on the downing  of  MSFlight 804:

Data from the final moments before EgyptAir flight MS804 crashed into the Mediterranean suggest an “internal explosion” tore through the right side of the aircraft, a pilot said last night.

Investigators trying to determine whether the A320 was brought down by terrorism or a technical fault are poring over a series of warnings indicating smoke filled the cabin shortly before it disappeared from radar.

French authorities confirmed that smoke detectors went off aboard the flight a few minutes before it crashed but said it was not clear what caused the smoke or fire.

A commercial pilot with a major European airline told The Telegraph that other parts of the data log suggested that windows in the right side of the cockpit were blown out by an explosion inside the aircraft.

“It looks like the right front and side window were blown out, most probably from inside out,” said the pilot, who flies an A330 similar to the crashed A320 and spoke on condition of anonymity.

[…]

Until investigators find the aircraft’s black boxes, which are still missing in the Mediterranean, the ACARS offers the best sense on what was happening aboard.

Three different warnings showed there were faults in the windows next to the co-pilot, suggesting they could have been blasted outwards by an onboard bomb. That does not mean the explosion came from the cockpit but indicates the right side of the plane was more badly damaged than the left.

The pilot suggested the smoke detectors may have been triggered not fire but by fog which filled the cabin as it lost air pressure in the moments after the explosion.

[…]

According to the Wall Street Journal, people “familiar with the matter” say that the alerts could be an indication of a problem with the flight control system.

While not ruling out a bomb, Bob Mann, a US aviation expert, says the latest data indicate a number of possibilities. “The data could indicate rapid decompression or smoke and a progressive loss of flight control systems.

Note how difficult the French security investigations are looking into the backgrounds of the more than 85,000 workers at the Paris airports and the short interval of conducting the security  sweep on Flight 804:

Although no terrorist group has claimed responsibility, French detectives are examining a pool of around 85,000 people with “red badge” security clearance that gives them access to restricted areas of Charles de Gaulle airport.

The task is complicated by the fact that many work for sub-contractors and turnover is high. Screenings are often limited to checking an employee has no criminal convictions and does not appear on a terror watch list.

Last December around 70 red badges were withdrawn from staff at Charles de Gaulle who were found to have praised the attacks in Paris, prayed at mosques linked to radicalism or showing signs of growing religiosity like refusing to shake hands with women.

A French trade union also warned that short stopovers like that made by Flight 804, which was on the ground a little over an hour, gave little time for security staff to carry out thorough security checks.

Then there were the New York Times reports about graffiti daubed on the aircraft in Cairo back in 2013 saying, “We will bring this plane down”:

It has emerged that the crashed aircraft had once been daubed with graffiti by vandals who wrote: “We will bring this plane down”.

The New York Times reported that the vandalism was done two years ago and was a protest against Abdel Fattah El-Sisi, the Egyptian president who seized power in a coup, rather than a jihadist threat.

The airline went on to fire a number of staff with alleged Muslim Brotherhood sympathies in 2013 as part of a general purge of suspected Islamists after the military takeover.

And in the weeks following the Paris attacks in November, French police said Arabic graffiti such as “Allahu Akbar” (God is great) were found daubed on EasyJet and Vueling planes at Charles de Gaulle airport in Paris and at Lyon airport.

It also emerges that EgyptAir was exempted from a trial of the new French security system for vetting passengers:

Charles de Gaulle airport will begin testing a passenger screening tool known as the passenger name record (PNR) next week. The system, already in use in Britain, identifies passengers whose profiles indicate a potential risk. It cross-references names, addresses and means of payment with police crime and terrorism files.

However, EgyptAir will not be among the eight airlines that will take part in the trial, which the interior minister, Bernard Cazeneuve, says is long overdue.

The system is to become fully operational by the end of the year in France, which has received nearly £14 million in EU aid to finance its introduction.  It can detect passengers who have travelled to countries such as Syria and Yemen, with their return dates.

The evidence keeps piling up that supports the  comments of ex-CIA director Ambassador Woolsey and  investigations by the Lisa Benson Show National Task Force for America that international airports, including those in the US,  are not secure.  That is particularly acute given the difficulty of profiling airport workers with security access to aircraft on the tarmac and now we learn vetting passengers from terrorist hot spots.

EDITORS NOTE: This column originally appeared in NatSecDailyBrief.

NY Times reports on serious concerns with Muslim refugee terrorists in U.S.

I wonder how many of you saw this story?  It was in the New York Times on Friday (LOL! how many of us bother to read the NYT?), and is actually very useful and informative.

Fourteen refugees, who came in through the UN/U.S. State Dept. Refugee Admissions Program, have been arrested in the last two years on terror charges!

kid next door

Aws Mohammed Younis Al-Jayab

We learned a lot about the alleged terrorist at the heart of the NYT story, Aws Mohammed Younis Al-Jayab, last month at the UK Daily Mail.  He is an Iraqi-born Palestinian who came here as a refugee via Syria.

Longtime readers may remember that Saddam Hussein had invited Palestinians to Iraq and when his government fell, many moved to Syria and the US kindlybegan admitting them to the US as refugees.

This story back in 2009 was big news at the time because we don’t take Palestinians in any large numbers in the Refugee Admissions Program.

Here is what the New York Times said on Friday:

WASHINGTON — The arrest of a California man on charges that he traveled to Syria to fight with terrorist groups, then lied about it to the Department of Homeland Security, offers new ammunition for both sides in the fierce debate over the refugee policy of the Obama administration.

Conservatives and some federal law enforcement officials say the case of the Californian, Aws Mohammed Younis al-Jayab, 23, shows that the refugee program leaves the nation vulnerable to terrorism. But Homeland Security officials and Democrats in Congress contend that his arrest demonstrates that the system works.

The system worked for this guy, but how many more Mohammeds are out there?

Before his arrest, Mr. Jayab seemed like a typical young adult: He liked sports cars, studied computer programming at a community college in Sacramento and worked nights as a security guard.

Farmer015

John J. Farmer Jr.

But the federal authorities have charged that Mr. Jayab, who was born in Iraq and came to the United States as a refugee from Syria, traveled to that war-torn country from late 2013 to early 2014 to fight on the side of terrorist groups and then lied about it to the authorities.

[….]

Still, some members of Congress and security experts say the arrest of Mr. Jayab has forced them to question the screening process. Federal court documents show that at least 14 people who came to the United States as refugees have been arrested on terrorism charges in the last two years, including Mr. Jayab.

“I thought that it was very secure until I saw the arrest in California and Texas,” said John J. Farmer Jr., former senior counsel to the federal commission that investigated the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks, who is now a professor at Rutgers. “Now, I have my concerns.”

Continue reading here.

P.S. Rural Montanans do have something to worry about!

EDITORS NOTE: John J. Farmer Jr. bio and photo here: https://law.newark.rutgers.edu/faculty/faculty-profiles/john-j-farmer-jr

Obama Addresses Terror Linked Baltimore Mosque which Practices ‘Gender Apartheid’

President  Obama went to Baltimore for a friendly gathering at the Islamic Center of Baltimore Mosque in Catonsville, Maryland. He was there  to convey a message that Muslims are as American as apple pie. Problem is that he chose a Mosque deep into political Islam, affiliated with the Muslim Brotherhood affiliate, the Islamic Society of North America , supporting suicide bombers  and professing  hate  for U.S. ally Israel.  All despite the FBI file sent to the White House confirming this information. No matter. It was a photo op moment to show support for embattled American Muslims  given statements from Republican  hopeful, Donald Trump that he would stop immigration of Muslims.

The scene was replete with introduction by a hijab swathed college student on track for a medical career. The President in his remarks pointed out another  hijab wearing  fencing marvel that may be carrying the U.S. flag at the Olympic Games in Rio de Janiero this summer. The President spoke of the kind comments of  founding Fathers John Adams, Benjamin Franklin and Thomas Jefferson who purportedly included Mohammedans in the ambit of freedom of worship in America guaranteed by our First Amendment.

Problem is that he forgot to mention the real reason Thomas Jefferson had a copy of a Qur’an in his library at Monticello. A Qur’an, upon which , the first elected U.S. Representative Keith Ellison (D-MN) swore a private oath of office on January 4, 2007. I know I passed by his office with a clutch of TV cameramen recording this for posterity. Ellison was at the ISB gathering,  as was the second elected Muslim Congressmen, Rep. Andre Carson (D-IN).  Doubtless, as this was the President’s alleged first visit to an American Mosque, there may have been notables at the Mosque in Catonsville from CAIR and ISNA.  But not too worry this was kumbaya day at the ISB.

Watch the You Tube video of the President’s expansive, yet, cautionary message of support for American Muslims:

American Muslims  that he pointed out  in his remarks  assembled Ford automobiles in Michigan, built the first  continuous Mosque in  Cedar Rapids,, Iowa, served  honorably in the US military and some were buried in the hallowed ground of Arlington National Cemetery. Yes, there were those small pockets of extremists in the Muslim Ummah like ISIS or ISIL as he likes to call it with its self-declared Caliphate in Syria and Iraq. Barbarically beheading Christians, enslaving minority Yazidi women and children, destroying ancient cultures in the name of Allah, their God.  Then there are the extremist Taliban in both Afghanistan and Pakistan killing women, homosexuals and Christian infidels. Oh, we forgot the Mahdist Shia in Tehran who the President makes deals with to prevent a nuclear war, he thinks. Last year, they only executed 1,000 for crimes of gender, homosexuality and heterodox beliefs.

As to the reason why Jefferson had a Qur’an in his library, just recall their encounter in London with the Tripolitanian Ambassador in their roles as US Commissioners trying to understand why the Bey of Tripoli enslaved American sailors he seized along with their ships in the Mediterranean. Note this  Notable and Quotable in the Wall Street Journal:

From a March 28, 1786, letter written by John Adams and Thomas Jefferson, who were American diplomats at the time, to U.S. Secretary of Foreign Affairs John Jay reporting on their conversation in London with the ambassador from Tripoli regarding piracy by the Barbary States:

We took the liberty to make some enquiries concerning the ground of their pretensions to make war upon nations who had done them no injury, and observed that we considered all mankind as our friends who had done us no wrong, nor had given us any provocation.

The Ambassador answered us that it was founded on the laws of their Prophet; that it was written in their Koran; that all nations who should not have acknowledged their authority were sinners; that it was their right and duty to make war upon them wherever they could be found, and to make slaves of all they could take as prisoners; and that every Mussulman [Muslim] who was slain in battle was sure to go to Paradise.

Clearly, Adams and Jefferson knew something that President Obama doesn’t choose to admit in public.  That Islam is not the religion of peace and tolerance that its religious theocrats make it out to be.  Subsequently, as the Third President of the US, Jefferson would conduct a covert war that freed American hostages with a few Marines at the fabled ‘walls of Tripoli’ from the likes of the Sharia-mad Bey.

Leo Hohmann at WND, cited an Investigative Project Report by Steve Emerson giving details on why the FBI thought the ISB was a poor choice for the President for this encounter, “Obama.” Hohman cites Emerson  saying:

IPT founder and executive director  Steve Emerson told WND his organization was told by FBI sources that Obama was presented the evidence against the Islamic Society of Baltimore.

According to Emerson’s investigation, federal law enforcement officials told him they were asked about whether the Baltimore mosque had engaged in radical politics or was connected in any way to terrorism in the past.

“They prepared memos for the president’s aides that specifically laid out the sordid history and nexus to terrorism of the Islamic Society of Baltimore,” Emerson told WND.

So what did the president do?

“As he has done so many times in the past, he decided to ignore this evidence and still continue his plans to confer legitimacy on a mosque that has a history of having officials connected to Islamic terrorism and to this day still has officials making outrageously pro-terrorist statements that would seem to conflict with the president’s policies,” Emerson said.

The mosque is affiliated with the Islamic Society of North America or ISNA, which has its own sordid history.

ISNA was started by members of the international Muslim Brotherhood in the 1980s. The Brotherhood, founded in Egypt in 1928, is banned in many countries as an extremist organization.

“One can only conclude that the selection of this mosque by the president was made as part of his consistent policy to not even utter the term ‘radical Islam’ and the simultaneous policy of inviting only radical Islamist groups and leaders to the White House that FBI documents clearly show were derived from the Muslim Brotherhood and Hamas,” Emerson told WND.

But there was another problem with the  choice of the ISB, the occurrence of gender apartheid prior to this auspicious occasion.

The media was  atwitter about the President’s  presentation at the Islamic Society of Baltimore. All of those media pundits should read this New York Times op ed by a leader of the Muslim Reform Movement (MRM), Asra Nomani and Ify Okoye, a disaffected member of the Mosque, about the gender apartheid practiced at the ISB, “Obama’s mosque visit demonstrates tacit acceptance of a form of gender apartheid.”

We have interviewed colleagues of Asra Nomani, Dr. M. Zhudi Jasser and Canadian leader of MRM, Raheel Raza who recently returned from a successful trip to Israel on The Lisa Benson Show. We hope to bring back Raza and introduce Ms. Nomani to discuss what the MRM is advocating and doing. Note what Nomani and Okoye wrote:

At the Islamic Society of Baltimore this past Sunday, the air was filled with the scent of Sherwin-Williams paint that workers were rolling onto the walls of the run-down balcony section where women and girls are usually segregated, unable to see the imam unless they peek over the balcony’s edge. A sign outside the door to the balcony said, “STOP Please. No Shoes. No Strollers. No Diaper Change. Beyond this point.”

Asra slipped into the mosque’s main hall to join the “halaqa,” or study circle. There, the study circle leader, teaching a half dozen men gathered around him, talked about the virtues of the first Muslim community in Medina, saying that a society isn’t “civilized” just because it’s technological.

Then, a young man, wearing a T-shirt emblazoned “Who Do You Love?” piped up, “So that means the West isn’t civilized.”

“That’s right,” the study circle leader said.

Another man railed against the West and its “atheists.”

Asra took a deep breath, listening to the sound of the crew white-washing the mosque for the president’s visit. “That’s a very unfair conclusion,” she said. “You are sitting in the West and railing against the West as not being civilized? It is not fair to make the assumption that the West ‘isn’t civilized.’”

The men tried to backtrack. They spoke with more nuance, before the study leader digressed again into the idea that those who aren’t Muslim act out of “self-interest,” while Muslims act out of an “order from God to do righteousness,” a point that Asra also politely refuted as motivated by “self-interest” and as an unfair representation of the many good people who aren’t Muslim.

As women and girls, we should be supported by policies that allow us to be part of such conversations. The president can support this urgent cause by speaking out against gender segregation in American mosques. In the spirit of the civil rights moment when whites stood with blacks, we hope men and women will refuse the privilege that “interfaith” events give them, and, in act of solidarity, stand outside with us on Johnnycake Road and the other pathways leading to the mosques in our world, advocating for equal rights for all.

So,  the President did what he wanted to do  with the ISB visit; show solidarity with the plight of American Muslims, sidelined by GOP hopeful Donald Trump.  He chose to avoid the advice of the FBI busily tracking down and arresting ISIS inspired lone wolves out to kill Americans on the streets here in the US that he Mosque leaders consorted with terrorist networks. That would upset  the President’s  alliance with the Muslim Brotherhood seeking their active participation in countering violent extremism and conducted a less than strenuous war against the Islamic State inspiring  tens of thousands from across the Ummah to join and practice the pure Islam in the self declared Caliphate.

EDITORS NOTE: This column originally appeared in the New English Review. The featured image is of President Obama at the Islamic Center of Baltimore in Catonsville, Maryland, February 3, 2016 – Source: Reuters.

Massive Protests in Holland against Muslim Migrant Invasion

The New York Times covered a protest rally Saturday by Geert Wilders, leader of the Freedom Party in The Hague Parliament in the Dutch community of Spijkenisse handing out cans of pepper spray. That was a send up on the Muslim male migrant misogyny in Cologne Germany and other German and European cities by what he calls: “Islamic testosterone bombs”.  As if to verify this threat the Imam in Cologne, Germany said the women who suffered sexual assaults and worse on New Year’s Eve by upwards of 1,000 Muslim males gathered at the main railway station brought upon themselves: “they were half naked and wore perfume.” Absurd! They were attired in warm clothing. Doubtless, the Imam thought they should have been immured in tip to toe niqabs. We had posted on the threats facing Dutch and other European women when Wilders and a fellow PVV Hague parliamentarian raised questions of the ruling coalition led by PM Mark Rutte were doing to protect Dutch women.

geert wilder facebook post protestThe New York Times report chronicled this latest protest rally by Wilders, “Dutch Lawmaker Wilders Gaining Support Amid Migrant Crisis:”

Wilders, surrounded by bodyguards and police, visited a market in the largely blue-collar town of Spijkenisse on Saturday to hand out the sprays, which contained red paint. Amid stalls selling vegetables, fish, flowers and bicycle parts, Wilders got a rock-star welcome from dozens of supporters, while a small group of protesters chanted and waved placards including one that read, “Refugees are welcome, racism is not.”

The publicity stunt fits into Wilders’ uncompromising anti-immigrant, anti-Islam rhetoric that has propelled him to the top of Dutch opinion polls, just over a year away from parliamentary elections.

In between shaking hands and posing for selfies with supporters, the Freedom Party leader said that, if elected, he would, “close the borders immediately and have no more asylum seekers. We just cannot afford to have more. The Dutch people in a big majority don’t want it and we cannot afford it and it makes our people and women only more unsafe.”

His message is gaining traction here amid the Europe-wide migrant surge and following attacks by Islamic extremists in Paris last year. It echoes Republican front-runner Donald Trump’s call for a temporary ban on Muslims entering the United States and is similar to other populist, nationalist groups in Europe like Marine Le Pen’s National Front in France.

“The tendencies across Europe are very similar,” said University of Amsterdam political science professor Wouter van der Brug. “Across Europe, right-wing populist parties are picking up support as a result of the asylum crisis that we’re facing now, and also as a result of terrorist attacks.”

Leontine Maris was one of the first women to get a spray from Wilders on Saturday.

The 53-year-old said she votes for him though she disagrees with some of his more extreme comments. She said she was afraid not just of migrants, but also Dutch men.

“The whole society is going down the drain,” she said.

As Wilders’ popularity soars on the back of such disenchantment, Prime Minister Mark Rutte’s two-party coalition is in a slump, losing ground mainly to Wilders.

“Wilders is getting support across different layers of society,” Van der Brug said.

Whether Wilders is able to parlay his current popularity into parliamentary seats next year and a tilt at power in the splintered Dutch parliament remains to be seen. He propped up Rutte’s first administration, a minority coalition of the Liberal Party and Christian Democrats, from 2010-2012, but walked out amid drawn out negotiations over austerity measures. Two days later, the government collapsed.

That decision could yet come back to haunt Wilders.

“The only logical coalition he could form would be with the same parties again and I think it’s quite unlikely they will do this again with him because of the negative experience they have in the past,” Van der Brug said. “They don’t really trust him.”

Rutte has ruled out cooperating with Wilders unless the Freedom Party leader takes back comments made in 2014 that he would see to it that there were fewer Moroccans in the Netherlands. Those same comments also landed Wilders in trouble with Dutch prosecutors, who plan to put him on trial on charges of discrimination.

Continue reading the main story

Despite the political naysayers, Dutch voters have come out in support of Wilders. There have been protests at Dutch reception centers amid reports that some migrants have left the Netherlands because they did not receive a warm welcome and had problems trying to apply for family reunification. The estimated annual cost of handling the flood of Muslim migrants in Holland fleeing conflicts from hotspots in the Middle East, South Asia and Africa is nearly 1 billion Euros. Wilders’ Kafkaesque show trial in The Hague occasioned by his “fewer Moroccans” comment at a 2015 campaign rally is scheduled for March 2016.

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

The Barbarianism of Paternalism by Aaron Ross Powell

Lots of people do lots of things I wish they wouldn’t. And lots of people don’t do lots of things I wish they would. In fact, I’m rather certain the world would be a better place for me and people just like me if more people were willing to go along with my desires and tastes, instead of stubbornly pursuing their own thing.

Take drinking tons of soda. For the life of me, I can’t figure out why people consider sugar water a multiple-times-a-day beverage. It’s like wanting to pour chocolate sauce on everything, or eat brownies with every meal. In short, to my sensibilities, it’s gross. And it’s way less healthy than drinking water — which tastes a whole lot better, too.

Part of being civilized — arguably most of being civilized — is recognizing that different people do things differently and that such differences deserve respect. Respecting difference means allowing behaviors we find disagreeable, provided those behaviors don’t cause us harm. This covers big stuff like religious toleration — those people of other faiths sure do eat weird things and have a funny way of talking, but that’s their business — to, yes, even the dreadful behavior of drinking half-a-dozen Cokes a day.

Of course, civilized people aren’t prevented from making their opinions known. I just did, with my quips about soda, and if I happen to see you drinking one, I’m free to tell you what I think. (Though I risk coming across as an officious jerk if I’m not careful.) What civilized people don’t do is hit each other with clubs over such differences.

That’s why the paternalism Sarah Conly offers three cheers for in the pages of the New York Times amounts to a rah-rah for barbarism. Conly, an assistant professor of philosophy at Bowdoin College and author of Against Autonomy: Justifying Coercive Paternalism, wants those upstanding chaps of the NYPD to flex their might to stop Americans from getting so fat.

To support her preference for state interference, Conly turns to the great classical liberal John Stuart Mill.

In his great work, On Liberty, Mill advances the “harm principle” as a crucial limit on the authority of the state:

The only purpose for which power can be rightfully exercised over any member of a civilised community, against his will, is to prevent harm to others. His own good, either physical or moral, is not a sufficient warrant. He cannot rightfully be compelled to do or forbear because it will be better for him to do so, because it will make him happier, because, in the opinions of others, to do so would be wise, or even right.

Which sounds pretty bad for the soda ban. But not so fast, Conly says. She tells us Mill endorsed preventing our freely chosen actions “when we are acting out of ignorance and doing something we’ll pretty definitely regret. You can stop someone from crossing a bridge that is broken, he said, because you can be sure no one wants to plummet into the river.”

From that, she gets to the idea that, because people underestimate the dangers of drinking lots of soda, they’re (often/usually) acting out of ignorance when they drink it, and so we’re justified in at the very least making it much more difficult for them to consume the stuff in bulk.

But read the full passage from Mill:

If either a public officer or any one else saw a person attempting to cross a bridge which had been ascertained to be unsafe, and there were no time to warn him of his danger, they might seize him and turn him back, without any real infringement of his liberty; for liberty consists in doing what one desires, and he does not desire to fall into the river.

Nevertheless, when there is not a certainty, but only a danger of mischief, no one but the person himself can judge of the sufficiency of the motive which may prompt him to incur the risk: in this case, therefore (unless he is a child, or delirious, or in some state of excitement or absorption incompatible with the full use of the reflecting faculty), he ought, I conceive, to be only warned of the danger; not forcibly prevented from exposing himself to it.

It seems Conly left out the bit about such interference requiring first “no time to warn him of his danger.” Nor does she seem at all bothered by the important limit that, “when there is not a certainty, but only a danger of mischief, no one but the person himself can judge of the sufficiency of the motive which may prompt him to incur the risk.”

Even accounting for the cognitive biases — which Conly says, if only he’d known about them, would’ve led Mill to support soda nannyism — it’s difficult to square the harm caused by a large Coke with the imminent danger and certainty of effect needed to override the harm principle.

In fact, a great deal of On Liberty seems perfectly aimed at exposing the immorality of Conly’s paternalism. She should’ve read not only the rest of that passage, but also the rest of On Liberty. Mill warns of an increasing inclination to stretch unduly the powers of society over the individual, both by the force of opinion and even by that of legislation: and as the tendency of all the changes taking place in the world is to strengthen society, and diminish the power of the individual, this encroachment is not one of the evils which tend spontaneously to disappear, but, on the contrary, to grow more and more formidable.

The disposition of mankind, whether as rulers or as fellow-citizens to impose their own opinions and inclinations as a rule of conduct on others, is so energetically supported by some of the best and by some of the worst feelings incident to human nature, that it is hardly ever kept under restraint by anything but want of power; and as the power is not declining, but growing, unless a strong barrier of moral conviction can be raised against the mischief, we must expect, in the present circumstances of the world, to see it increase.

This “mischief” results from that urge to have others prefer the same thing we prefer, to have others behave the way we behave. But, like I said above and like Conly seems to forget, civilization means recognizing the primacy of individual choice, even choices we think silly.

There is no reason that all human existences should be constructed on some one, or some small number of patterns. If a person possesses any tolerable amount of common-sense and experience, his own mode of laying out his existence is the best, not because it is the best in itself, but because it is his own mode.

Human beings are not like sheep; and even sheep are not undistinguishably alike. A man cannot get a coat or a pair of boots to fit him, unless they are either made to his measure, or he has a whole warehouseful to choose from: and is it easier to fit him with a life than with a coat, or are human beings more like one another in their whole physical and spiritual conformation than in the shape of their feet?

If it were only that people have diversities of taste, that is reason enough for not attempting to shape them all after one model. But different persons also require different conditions for their spiritual development; and can no more exist healthily in the same moral, than all the variety of plants can in the same physical, atmosphere and climate.

The same things which are helps to one person towards the cultivation of his higher nature, are hindrances to another. The same mode of life is a healthy excitement to one, keeping all his faculties of action and enjoyment in their best order, while to another it is a distracting burthen, which suspends or crushes all internal life.

Such are the differences among human beings in their sources of pleasure, their susceptibilities of pain, and the operation on them of different physical and moral agencies, that unless there is a corresponding diversity in their modes of life, they neither obtain their fair share of happiness, nor grow up to the mental, moral, and aesthetic stature of which their nature is capable.

Is drinking large sodas a way of life, though? Conly mocks the idea: “Large cups of soda as symbols of human dignity? Really?” But consider that if you drink 32 ounces of Coca-Cola, you’ll rack up 388 calories. A 20-ounce Iced White Chocolate Mocha from Starbucks has 500. Both aren’t good for you, but the Mocha’s worse. The difference is that the kinds of people who want to use government to save ignorant Americans from the harms of soft drinks are the kinds of people who prefer an Iced White Chocolate Mocha to a Coca-Cola.

That Conly calls for a ban on Cokes and not Mochas indicates that what really bothers her is the behavior of those low-brow folks who slam giant soft drinks, but not so much the worse behavior of the middle-class and educated who just can’t start the day without a latte. About this tendency to use ourselves as the moral yardstick, Mill noted, “our idea of improvement chiefly consists in persuading or forcing other people to be as good as ourselves.”

So the real trouble is people aren’t acting like Conly — or the majority Conly imagines agrees with her — would like them to. Thus it’s time to call in the law. To which Mill says this:

A theory of “social rights,” the like of which probably never before found its way into distinct language — being nothing short of this — that it is the absolute social right of every individual, that every other individual shall act in every respect exactly as he ought; that whosoever fails thereof in the smallest particular, violates my social right, and entitles me to demand from the legislature the removal of the grievance.

So monstrous a principle is far more dangerous than any single interference with liberty; there is no violation of liberty which it would not justify; it acknowledges no right to any freedom whatever, except perhaps to that of holding opinions in secret, without ever disclosing them: for the moment an opinion which I consider noxious, passes any one’s lips, it invades all the “social rights” attributed to me by the Alliance.

The doctrine ascribes to all mankind a vested interest in each other’s moral, intellectual, and even physical perfection, to be defined by each claimant according to his own standard.

To which Conly likely offers another three cheers. Especially when the individual rights she wants violated in the name of social rights are so, well,dumb. “As irritating as it may initially feel, the soda regulation is a good idea,” she writes. “It’s hard to give up the idea of ourselves as completely rational. We feel as if we lose some dignity. But that’s the way it is, and there’s no dignity in clinging to an illusion.”

Writing in The Subjection of Women — regarding a different group then burdened with the charge of irrationality — Mill had this to say about a Conly-style disregard for personal choice: “The yoke is naturally and necessarily humiliating to all persons, except the one who is on the throne, together with, at most, the one who expects to succeed to it.”

Conly may cheer the power of the throne, but the civilized among us should not.

This essay first appeared at Libertarianism.org.

Aaron Ross PowellAaron Ross Powell

Aaron Ross Powell is a research fellow and editor of Libertarianism.org.

Time for a March in Washington, D.C. to Stop the Iran Nuke Deal

President Obama may be on a vacation with the family, however his West Wing political operatives are busily trying to line up Democrat votes in both the Senate and House enabling him to veto anticipated Republican majority resolutions.

While New York Democrat Senator Charles Schumer has come out against the pact, he demurred from active advocacy of his position. The Hill noted in its Whip List count that Rep. Pete Roskam (R-IL) has signed up 218 of 243 Republican colleagues for a resolution opposing the Iran nuclear pact. The Hill Whip List vote tally, as of  August 14, 2015, on the Democrat side of aisle shows Democrats divided with 48 “Yes”, 16 leaning in that direction, 11 “No,”  2 leaning towards “No” and 58 “undecideds.”  The resolutions are likely to be voted on by both Chambers before September 17th following Congress reconvening just after Labor Day.

The ultimate choice of which way the undecideds will go will depend on what they learn from Town Hall meetings and constituent calls, tweets and emails.  If respected polls are any indication, millions of Americans have voiced concerns that Iran’s track record as a cheater on nuclear weapons developments and state support for terrorism preclude trusting it.  The JCPOA will immediately release tens of billions for Iran to expand hegemony in the Middle East. In  10 years it will add over 1 trillion dollars in additional sanctions relief to Iran and the Mullahs that run it.

Already the international sanctions regime has been shredded by Iranian Quds Force commander Soleimani’s  violation  of travel bans and purchases of Russian advanced air defense systems and Chinese stealth  fighter jets. Italian, French and other Foreign Ministers have led trade delegations to Tehran to ink billions in pre-approval deals. Just this week, the Swiss lifted some of their financial sanctions, doubtless both the Russians and Chinese will follow suit, as their sequestered funds comprise the majority of off shore resources .  Moreover, Iranian Foreign Minister Zarif is endeavoring to broker the Syrian Crisis.  With the nuclear deal, the Islamic regime is gaining traction in the Middle East courtesy of Obama’s outreach and the pending nuclear pact.

While many Congressional Democrats and liberal media pundits contend that the nuclear pact is not perfect, they suggest it is better than the alternative.  Orde Kittrie, Senior Fellow and leading expert on non proliferation law and policy at the Washington, DC Foundation for Defense of Democracies  in a Wall Street Journal  opinion piece, yesterday  contends that  the unsigned political agreement can be and should be amended by Congress. He cites as evidence  the 200 plus incidents, include ing nuclear test ban and arms control agreements with Russia during the Cold War era. There is also the recent 2009 nuclear cooperation agreement with the United Arab Emirates, where Congress demanded changes and material improvement to international agreements before granting consent.

Eli Broad, Matthew Weiner and Norman Lear

Eli Broad, Matthew Weiner and Norman Lear Hollywood Jewish Backers of Iran Nuclear Pact Source: Hollywood Reporter.

Testimonials from Prominent Hollywood Jewish Backers of Iran Nuclear Deal

The White House has been bombarding media with ‘testimonials’ in favor of the Iran nuclear deal. There was one from three dozen retired generals and admirals, another from 29 of the nation’s leading scientists, and still yet another from 100 former ambassadors.   The argument from the former senior officers in the military was the agreement is “the most effective means currently available to prevent Iran from obtaining nuclear weapons.” The scientists called the Iran deal “technically sound, stringent and innovative”.

The other voice heard from was the liberal Jewish Hollywood mogul crowd and J Street rabbis’ who bought an ad in the L.A Jewish Journal, and other newspapers of record. Israel National News (INN) noted  among them were leading campaign financial bundlers for Obama’s Presidential elections:

Among the seven lead signatories are billionaire philanthropist Eli Broad; Walt Disney Concert Hall architect Frank Gehry; and legendary TV writer-producer Norman Lear.

[…]

“I just felt that some of the mainstream Jewish organizations weren’t speaking on behalf of a large segment of the community that has a different point of view,” Matthew Velkes told The Hollywood Reporter, adding that LA’s Jewish population is “as diverse a community as one might imagine.”

INN drew attention to the letter signed by these Hollywood Jewish supporters of Obama published in the Hollywood Reporter:

We appreciate that many have reasonable concerns about the risks of a complex nuclear weapons development agreement with an untrustworthy adversary like Iran. We too hold these concerns, but the deal that was reached is not founded on trust; it is grounded in rigorous inspections and monitoring.

They view killing the deal as a “tragic mistake.”

us energy secretray

U.S. Energy Secretary Earnest Moniz

Secretary of Energy Moniz discusses the Iran deal on a National Jewish Federation Webcast

I watched a National Jewish Federation live interview with Secretary of Energy, Dr. Earnest Moniz, extolling the virtues of the Iran nuclear deal from technical aspects. Retired MIT physics professor Moniz knows the subject well.  He was an official in the Clinton Administration during the failed attempt to reign in North Korea from achieving nuclear breakout. The on-line audience was a third of the 10,000 viewers  when Israeli Prime Minister Netanyahu expounded his thesis about why the nuclear pact was a bad deal given existential threats to both the US and Israel.

The Hill cited Moniz saying on the webcast that the Iran nuclear deal “would aid in fighting terrorism.”  The Administration’s primary concern he said was to cut off all paths for Iran from achieving a bomb. A path, he acknowledged, currently would take less than two to three months to achieve with the 80 tons of fissile material on hand.  However, he suggested that when the existing stock of fissile material was reduced by 98 percent under the current proposal it would set back by a decade  industrializing nuclear development.  He also told the on-line audience that there were no secret side deals.  Rather he characterized them as confidential arrangements between the IAEA and Iran that would allow for close monitoring of Iran nuclear developments.  He suggested, when asked by viewer, not to worry about the Parchin military test site, as the Energy Department’s labs have developed the technical means of identifying even trace amounts of nuclear residue. The Problem is the Ayatollah has barred the IAEA and any US inspectors from visiting Parchin and ‘known’ military development sites.   Further, Moniz suggested the US was supplying the 24/7 monitoring technology to the IAEA covering the entire Iranian nuclear production pathway from mine through enrichment.

Watch Secretary Moniz’s Jewish National Federation Vimeo video presentation:

ambassidor yoriWhat the polls of Americans show.

Yoram Ettinger, former Israeli Congressional liaison with the rank of Ambassador, in an  Israel Hayom column highlighted the findings of several polls. They reflected Americans’ deep concern about the nuclear deal with Iran.  Here are the highlights of what Ettinger addressed in his Israel Hayom column:

According to RealClearPolitics’ most recent polls, a major wedge has evolved between the US constituents, on the one hand, and US policy-makers, on the other hand, when it comes to foreign policy and national security: a mere 38.5% approval rating of President Obama’s foreign policy.  For instance, a CNN poll documented a majority disapproval of Obama’s handling of Islamic terrorism, and a majority backing the use of military force against ISIS.

The voters’ deep distrust of the Ayatollahs is documented by the annual Gallup poll of Country Rating.  …  Iran is rated as the second least favored country by Americans with 11% favorability, ahead of North Korea – 9% and behind Afghanistan (14%), Syria (14%) and the Palestinian Authority (17%), compared with Israel’s 70%.

In addition, Gallup shows that 77% and 84% of US constituents regard nuclearized Ayatollahs and international terrorism, respectively, as “critical threats.”  Gallup indicates that “Americans’ views on [the Ayatollahs] have remained unchanged for 26 years.”

According to the August 3, 2015 poll, conducted by Quinnipiac University Polling Institute, “American voters oppose the nuclear pact negotiated with Iran 57 to 28 percent, with only lukewarm support from Democrats and overwhelming opposition for Republicans and independent voters.”

nyt times front page

New York Times Front Page April 16, 2002.

The 2002 Washington Rally to Stand with Israel.

I recently exchanged thoughts with the AIPAC Florida regional director about a possible march in Washington, just after Labor Day when Congress reconvenes to address the looming vote on the Iran deal. I recalled vividly my personal impressions of being in the multitude estimated at over 100,000 at the Stand with Israel Rally on April 15, 2002 gathered to hear speakers on the back lawn of the US Capitol.  The rally was the genius of current executive vice chairman of the Conference of President of Major American Jewish Organizations, Malcolm Hoenlein, that despite daunting logistics and busing arrangements organized the event in less than five days.

That rally occurred in the wake of the Second Intifada that witnessed the horrific suicide bombing on March 27, 2002, the Passover Massacre at the Park Hotel in Netanya, Israel.  30 elderly holocaust survivors were killed and over 140 injured and maimed.  The Washington Rally in 2002 was directed at Palestinian terrorism occurring less than a year after 9/11 in lower Manhattan.  Clearly, there was solidarity among Christians and Jews gathered in support of Israel who listened to former Mayor Rudy Giuliani, former House Minority Leader Richard Gephardt (D-MO) and  Sen. Harry Reid (D-NV), now departing Senate Minority leader. The small contingent of pro-Palestinian advocates were swamped, but not abused by the attentive crowd.  Pictures and reports of the rally were front page items the following day in newspapers of record like the Los Angeles Times, Washington Post and the New York Times. In the wake of the 2002 Washington Rally Christians United for Israel was formed.   I suggested to the Florida AIPAC regional director, we needed to do that again, now.

The March to Save America in Washington, September 9, 2015

Serendipitously, Tom Harb, an Orlando businessman and leader in the Lebanese diaspora, sent me an email introducing the group currently organizing a March to Save America for which it has been given a permit in Washington, scheduled for Wednesday, September 9th. That led to a discussion with a  Los Angeles-based spokesperson for the March.  She indicated that starting this weekend and early next week, the March organizers will issue press releases and break news of the March on a major cable news network.  She referred me to their website at: www.marchtosaveamerica.org with a statement from founding Committee Chairman, Barry Nussbaum. Here are some key excerpts:

Congress is about to vote on a deal with Iran that essentially consents to their belligerent military goals, with some delays specified.  …. There is no historical precedent for Iran’s compliance.  Nor, does the deal require “anytime, anywhere” inspection.  Rigorous verification of Iran’s adherence to the deal is virtually impossible.

[…]

The deal does not require Iran to materially dismantle its nuclear infrastructure while it includes, practically speaking,  the irreversible dismantling of the sanctions that brought Iran to the negotiating table in the first place.  Easy circumvention of the deal’s restrictions can only lead to the war that Iran has promised.  A majority of Americans (2/3 as of August 2015) have learned enough details to oppose it.

[…]

The only way to stop the deal, at this stage, is to put major pressure on Congress to reject it.  While many organizations are working tirelessly through lobbying individual Members of Congress to stop the deal, we feel that the strongest statement America can make is to unite through a march on Washington: The March To Save America, September 9, 2015.

Stay tuned for developments! Watch this brief YouTube video on The March to Save America:

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

Obama’s War Against Pro-Israel Lobby Group AIPAC

In today’s edition of the New York Times is an article revealing the widening rift between President Obama and pro-Israel lobby group, AIPAC. He is angered at an affiliate  running multi-million ads against his signature foreign policy legacy, the Iran nuclear pact or JCPOA, “Fears of Lasting Rift as Obama Battles Pro-Israel Group on Iran.”

He is apparently taking this very personally as reflected in his American University speech  with references to his bête noire,  Israeli PM Netanyahu, and unnamed “lobbyists” running multi-million ads painting him as the contemporary send up to British Prime Minister Neville Chamberlain, appeasing Hitler at Munich in 1938.  The Times has more on the President’s contentious meeting with 20 American Jewish leaders at the White House and the extensive efforts to  brief ad answer questions to New York U.S. Senator, Charles Schumer, who ultimately came out rejecting it, unlike his upstate colleague, Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand gave her commitment, although with some ostensible misgivings.  Here are some examples:

President Obama had a tough message for the American Israel Public Affairs Committee, or Aipac, the powerful pro-Israel group that is furiously campaigning against the Iran nuclear accord, when he met with two of its leaders at the White House this week. The president accused Aipac of spending millions of dollars in advertising against the deal and spreading false claims about it, people in the meeting recalled.

So Mr. Obama told the Aipac leaders that he intended to hit back hard.

The next day in a speech at American University, Mr. Obama denounced the deal’s opponents as “lobbyists” doling out millions of dollars to trumpet the same hawkish rhetoric that had led the United States into war with Iraq. The president never mentioned Aipac by name, but his target was unmistakable.

[…]

“It’s somewhat dangerous, because there’s a kind of a dog whistle here that some people are going to hear as ‘it’s time to go after people,’ and not just rhetorically,” said David Makovsky, a former Middle East adviser for the Obama administration and now an analyst at the Washington Institute for Near East Studies. But Aipac’s claims, he said, had been just as overheated. “There’s almost a bunker mentality on both sides.”

[…]

“This has nothing to do with anybody’s identity; this is a policy difference about the Iranian nuclear program,” said Benjamin J. Rhodes, the deputy national security adviser for strategic communications. “We don’t see this as us versus them,” Mr. Rhodes added, predicting that the White House and Aipac would work closely in the future on other matters, including Israeli security. “This is a family argument, not a permanent rupture.”

Mr. Schumer’s Courting and AIPAC’s  media war:

[AIPAC]  had sent 60 activists to Mr. Schumer’s office to lobby him last week, while Citizens for a Nuclear Free Iran, an offshoot Aipac formed to run at least $25 million in advertising against the deal, ran television spots in New York City. As Mr. Schumer deliberated, he spoke with Aipac leaders, but also with representatives of the pro-Israel group J Street, which supports the deal.

The White House courted Mr. Schumer heavily even though officials always suspected he would oppose the agreement, they said Friday. “I don’t know if the administration’s been outlobbied,” Josh Earnest, the White House press secretary, said Thursday before Mr. Schumer’s announcement. “We certainly have been outspent.”

Besides individual meetings with Mr. Obama, Secretary of State John Kerry and Wendy R. Sherman, the chief negotiator, Mr. Schumer had three hourlong meetings with members of the negotiating team, who answered 14 pages of questions from him.

Mr. Schumer hashed out further details with Mr. Kerry, Ms. Sherman and Energy Secretary Ernest J. Moniz in a recent dinner at the State Department. Mr. Obama, in the White House meeting with Aipac leaders, sharply challenged the group after one of its representatives, Lee Rosenberg, a former fund-raising bundler for Mr. Obama’s 2008 campaign, said the administration was characterizing opponents of the deal as warmongers, according to several people present, who would speak about the private meeting only on the condition of anonymity. The meeting included some 20 leaders of other Jewish organizations.

Then there was the Obama full court Press with AIPAC after his trip to Africa:

The friction between Mr. Obama and Aipac over the Iran deal has been building for months. Last week, as Mr. Obama made his way back from Africa on Air Force One, White House officials learned that Aipac would be flying 700 members from across the country to Washington to pressure their members of Congress to reject the deal. Mr. Obama’s team asked to brief the group at the White House, and was told instead to send a representative to the downtown Washington hotel where the activists were gathering before their Capitol Hill visits, according to people familiar with the private discussions.

Ms. Sherman; Adam J. Szubin, the Treasury official who handles financial sanctions; and Denis R. McDonough, the White House chief of staff, all made presentations to the group, but were barred from taking questions to further explain it. White House officials said they were told from the start there would be no questions, while Aipac supporters said that they would have allowed questions but that there was no time.

Whatever the case, Mr. Obama took offense and later complained at the White House to Aipac leaders that they had refused to allow Ms. Sherman and other members of his team to confront the “inaccuracies” being spread about the agreement, leaving him to defend the deal to wavering lawmakers who had been fed misinformation about it.

President Obama has arrogated to himself the dismissal of any and all critics of his foreign policy legacy. He has gone out of his way to criticize pro-Israel AIPAC’s affiliate, Citizens for a Nuclear Free Iran, running video ads portraying him as an appeaser in the mold of Neville Chamberlain at Munich promoting the Iran nuclear pact as cutting off the Islamic regime from obtaining a nuclear weapon for ten years.

Experts like David Albright from the Washington, DC -based Institute for Science and Technology told Congress that it is more likely less than a few months not the suggested one year at a ten year sunset in the JCPOA. Moreover there is increasing evidence that the agreement has serious flaws and is being flaunted by the Islamic Republic even before Congress votes to accept or reject in mid-September. Witness the comments of Wendy Sherman at a Senate Banking Committee hearing this week that she had only looked at drafts of the IAEA side deals. Then on the same day there was a closed door briefing by IAEA director general Akiya Amano to a bi-partisan group of Senators and Representatives during which he said they couldn’t release the confidential memos with Iran dealing investigation of prior military developments. Many Congressional members came away with a distinct impression that the so-called robust intrusive inspection regime was doubtful. At the same Banking Committee hearings, FDD’s executive director Marc Dubowitz testified that the snap back sanctions if Iran was caught cheating on a sneak out to a nuclear weapon were illusory at best.

Iran sent controversial Quds Force Commander Soleimani to Moscow to meet Russian President Putin and close ally Defense Minister Gen Shogui to speed up deliveries of the S-300 advanced air defense system violating both his travel bans and UNSC Resolution 1929 banning purchases of conventional weapons and missile technology. That was less than 10 days after the pact was announced.

Thus for President Obama to single out AIPAC as warmongering “lobbyists” in his American U speech was churlish and gratuitous set against the threats and violations by the Islamic regime. No wonder after extensive briefings and questions of the Obama negotiating team, NY Sen. Schumer, future Senate Democrat leader, came out and said he was opposed to the Iran deal.

220px-Humpty_Dumpty_Tenniel(1)This Times comment from Malcolm Hoenlein of the umbrella COPMAJO sums up the widening rift with Obama over his characterization of AIPAC and other groups opposing the Iran nuclear pact: “Words have consequences, especially when it’s authority figures saying them, and it’s not their intent, perhaps, but we know from history that they become manipulated,” said Malcolm Hoenlein, executive vice chairman of the Conference of Presidents of Major American Jewish Organizations, repeating a concern he had raised directly with Mr. Obama during the closed-door session. “Of all political leaders,” Mr. Hoenlein added, “he certainly should be the most sensitive to this.”

That reminds us of the exchange between Alice and Humpty Dump from Lewis Carroll’s “Through the Looking Glass:”When I use a word,’ Humpty Dumpty said in rather a scornful tone, ‘it means just what I choose it to mean — neither more nor less.””The question is,” said Alice, “whether you can make words mean so many different things.”The question is,” said Humpty Dumpty, “which is to be master— that’s all.”

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

Death Toll Rises in Chattanooga Islamic Terror Attack

Saturday brought more somber news of a fifth victim of the Islamic terror massacre perpetrated by 24 year old Muhammad Youssef Abdulazeez. He was killed by Chattanooga police in the rampage at a Naval/Marine Recruiting Center on Thursday, July 17, 2015.  The Wall Street Journal reported:

Navy Petty Officer 2nd Class Randall Smith was a reservist serving on active duty in Chattanooga. Officials said he died early Saturday morning. Mr. Smith, 26 years old, joined the Navy because he was inspired by the service of his late grandfather, said his step-grandmother, Darlene Proxmire. Mr. Smith was a married father of three girls and grew up in Paulding, Ohio, she said.

The other victims were four Marines:

Along with Mr. Smith, four Marines were killed in the attacks. U.S. official and family members on Friday confirmed the identities of the deceased Marines: Thomas Sullivan, of Springfield, Mass.; Skip Wells, from Marietta, Ga.; David Wyatt, of Hixson, Tenn.; and Carson Holmquist, of Grantsburg, Wis.

More emerges on the shooter-Abdulazeez and his family

The shooter, Abdulazeez, was a Kuwait-born naturalized U.S. citizen. He was a 2012 graduate the University of Tennessee –Chattanooga with a degree in electrical engineering who lived with his parents in nearby Hixson, Tennessee. He had just started a position with a local cable and wire firm.  The parents may have been among several hundred thousand Palestinians expelled from Kuwait following the First Gulf War in 1991, many of whom fled to Jordan. These Palestinians, unlike those who fled Israel during the 1948-1949 War, were not covered by the UNWAR refugee program. Rather they were eligible for refugee and asylum status under the UNHCR program.  The New York Times reported:

Born in Kuwait in 1990, Mr. Abdulazeez became an American citizen in 2003 through the naturalization of his mother, federal officials said; his father was also naturalized. Because he was a minor, he did not have to apply separately for citizenship. A divorce complaint filed by his mother in 2009 and then withdrawn, said the parents were from “the State of Palestine.”

Counterterrorism officials had not been investigating Mr. Abdulazeez before Thursday’s shootings. His father had been investigated about seven years ago for giving money to an organization that apparently had ties to Hamas. … The investigation did not result in charges. But the father was placed on a watch list for a while. A similar investigation was conducted in the 1990s and it, too, did not lead to charges.

Representative Michael McCaul, Republican of Texas, the chairman of the Homeland Security Committee, said the watch list had for a time prevented the elder Mr. Abdulazeez from flying. “I believe there was a preliminary investigation, but there was no derogatory information, and he was taken off the list,” he said.

The shooter appears to have been heavily armed in the rampage, equipped with an assault weapon and two other long guns. It is reported that he purchased on-line some of the weapons for the rampage including an AK-47, AR 15, Saiga 12. He had also purchased two 7mm and 22 caliber side arms. He had a history of interest in guns, trained in using them at a local range and firing BBs at targets in the backyard of family’s home in Hixson. He also had a history of alcohol and drug related problems.  Following his graduation from UT-Chattanooga he received an offer of employment at a nuclear plant operated by Cleveland-based First Energy. Abdulazeez had been an intern at a TVA nuclear facility during his undergraduate career. A mandatory First Energy employment drug test in 2013 resulted in the loss of his job.  Notwithstanding, Islamic prohibitions against alcohol and drugs, Abdulazeez sought counseling for the problem in 2012 and 2013. Nevertheless the problem persisted as attested by his being arrest   in April 2015 on a DUI charge by Chattanooga police. A New York Times article noted the circumstances:

The only run-in Mr. Abdulazeez had with the law in the Chattanooga area appears to have been an April 20 arrest on a charge of driving while intoxicated; he posted a $2,000 bond.

According to a police affidavit, officers spotted him weaving through downtown Chattanooga after 2 a.m., in a gray 2001 Toyota Camry, and when they pulled him over, they smelled alcohol and marijuana, and he failed a sobriety test. They said his eyes were bloodshot, his speech was slurred, he was “unsteady on his feet,” and he had “irritated nostrils” and white powder under his nose, which Mr. Abdulazeez said came from snorting, crushed caffeine pills. He was scheduled to appear in court on July 30.

Those trips to Jordan

Abdulazeez, who held a US passport, made several trips to Jordan beginning in 2003 to visit a maternal uncle and family. He also made a side trip to Kuwait during a 2008 trip to Jordan. His father accompanied him on a trip in 2010 to Jordan after his no fly status had been lifted.  He made a 2013 trip to Jordan that returned home via Canada.   In April 2014, he purchased a one way ticket to Jordan, finally returning home via Doha, Qatar. What he did and where he went on that trip has yet to be determined, by law enforcement, FBI and foreign intelligence sources.  At issue is whether he made contact with the Al Nusra front or Muslim Brotherhood affiliate, the Islamic Action Front, or possibly ISIS via social media and whether he made a possible trip to either Iraq or Syria.  A WSJ report commented on the final trip to Jordan by Abdulazeez:

Mr. Abdulazeez wasn’t a familiar figure among jihadists in Jordan, according to Mohammad Shaabi, known as Abu Sayyaf, who sympathizes with the al Qaeda affiliate Jabhat al-Nusra. He said it is still possible Mr. Abdulazeez could have contacted extremists through means such as social media.

A few ISIS sympathizers on Twitter referred to Mr. Abdulazeez after the shooting as “a soldier of the Islamic State” and “an individual lion.”

Evidence of Family Problems – Bankruptcy and a Divorce Filing

The Abdulazeez family went through a spate of difficulties.  The father Youssuf filed for bankruptcy in 2002 which was completed by 2005. More troubling was a divorce filing by his wife Rasmieh I. Abdulazeez in 2009.  The Times reported:

Mrs. Abdulazeez said that her husband, Youssef S. Abdulazeez, had “repeatedly beaten” her and had “on occasion” abused the children by “striking and berating them without provocation or justification.”

The complaint also accused Mr. Abdulazeez of sexual and verbal abuse, and of declaring his intentions “to take a second wife, as permitted under certain circumstances under [Sharia] Islamic law.”

Evidence of Anti-Israel, US Animus and Salafism in final text message

Abdulazeez had evidenced concerns about IDF actions during the 2014 summer rocket war by Hamas.  According to a Reuters report, friends noted that following the 2014 trip he became increasingly concerned about Middle East conflicts. It was after the final trip that he went on-line and purchased weapons and went to practice using them at a gun range.  Friends said:

Abdulazeez’s friends, who asked not to be identified for fear of a backlash, said he was upset about the 2014 Israeli bombing campaign in Gaza and the civil war in Syria.

“He felt Jordan, Qatar, Saudi Arabia were not doing enough to help, and that they were heavily influenced by the United States,” said the friend who received the text message.

Another friend said, “He had always talked about it, but I’d say his level of understanding and awareness really rose after he came back.”

A text message containing a Hadith sent the night before the attack may have indicated his adoption of fundamentalist Islam:

“Whosoever shows enmity to a friend of mine, and then I have declared war against him”.

An Islamic expert explained:

For jihadists and ultraconservative Salafist Sunni Muslims, the Hadith “is usually understood within the context of al-wala wa-l-bara (or) love for Islam and hatred for its enemies,” said David Cook, an associate professor who specializes in Islam in the department of religion at Rice University in Texas.

Pew Trust Islamic Extremism chart

Conclusion

The nationwide outpouring of mourning and grief at the wanton killing of five US service personnel in this Islamic inspired jihad at the Chattanooga Naval/Marine Recruiting Center was palpable.   The immediate national reaction to the tragic attack by troubled Abdullazeez was reflected in an offer by Governor Rick Scott in Florida to provide security by moving military recruitment centers in Florida to local National Guard armories.  There were also calls for lifting state laws barring US military uniformed personnel from carrying side arms.

There was still the conundrum of how federal and state law enforcement and homeland security agencies can prevent another Islamic inspired homeland jihad and acknowledge the threat.  Ultimately, it will require a new more responsive and clear eyed Administration. An Administration that appreciates what a recent Pew Trust poll has found: a surge to 53% of Americans concerned over domestic Islamic extremism.  Concern over ISIS is even higher at 73% of those polled by the Pew Trust.

The Chattanooga Recruitment Center massacre has another poignant side effect. It took six years for the Pentagon to award Purple Hearts to the service victims of both the  June 2009 Little Rock Army Recruitment Center attack and the November 2009 Fort Hood Massacre perpetrated by domestic Jihadis. We hope that Defense Secretary Ashton Carter and incoming Chairman of the Joint Chief of Staff, Marine General Joseph Dunford, Jr. will waste no time in making suitable posthumous awards to the grieving families and loved ones recognizing these valiant service personnel who died in combat against domestic Islamic terrorism in our midst.

EDITORS NOTE: This column originally appeared in the New English Review. The featured image is courtesy of the Miami-Herald.

Kerry’s Double-talk on Iran

On Tuesday, June 16, 2015, Secretary of State John Kerry held a video conference with a number of news media journalists on prevailing issues. Less than fourteen days remain till a definitive Joint Plan of Action might be available for Congress review under the Iran Nuclear Agreement Review Act (INARA). That is, if there isn’t a delay.This video conference revealed still yet another stunning concession on the critical element of Iran’s previous military developments (PMD): perfect knowledge of all prior nuclear developments making IAEA verification virtually impossible. Kerry was backtracking on his November 2013 and April 2, 2015 statements.

Watch the State Department video conference with Secretary Kerry:

Witness this exchange with Michael Gordon of the New York Times:

QUESTION: Sir, I’m Michael Gordon, New York Times. You mentioned that possible military dimensions, which is the term of art for suspected nuclear design work and testing of nuclear components, has to be addressed as part of a prospective Iran agreement. Do these concerns need to be fully resolved before sanctions are eased or released or removed or suspended on Iran as part of that agreement? Is that a core principle or is that also negotiable? Thank you.

SECRETARY KERRY: Michael, the possible military dimensions, frankly, gets distorted a little bit in some of the discussion, in that we’re not fixated on Iran specifically accounting for what they did at one point in time or another. We know what they did. We have no doubt. We have absolute knowledge with respect to the certain military activities they were engaged in.

What we’re concerned about is going forward. It’s critical to us to know that going forward, those activities have been stopped, and that we can account for that in a legitimate way. That clearly is one of the requirements in our judgment for what has to be achieved in order to have a legitimate agreement. And in order to have an agreement to trigger any kind of material significant sanctions relief, we would have to have those answers.

Armin Rosen, writing in Business Insider considered Kerry’s answer contradictory to what the Secretary had said back in April:

This is a crucial question. Without Iran divulging the degree of its past work on nuclear weaponization, inspectors will have a harder time establishing a baseline for assessing Iranian compliance with the terms of a deal.

Disclosure on the nuclear program’s military dimensions is also an early yardstick of Iranian good faith.

The International Atomic Energy Agency submitted 12 queries to Iran about its weaponization work in 2011. Tehran had only responded to one of them as of February 2013, and the IAEA’s leadership has acknowledged that it doesn’t think Iran will come clean before the June 30 deadline.

That makes some sense from Iran’s perspective, as the country’s negotiators have deftly used the ambiguities surrounding the country’s weaponization work for negotiating leverage. But that rationale disappears once a deal is signed, at which point the sides will have spent whatever leverage they had while theoretically having a mutual incentive to make the agreement work. And it won’t work as well if inspectors don’t have an understanding of the full extent and history of Iran’s nuclear program.

Here’s why Rosen thought Kerry’s answer contradictory and problematic in understanding how a definitive JPOA was verifiable:

Kerry’s answer is puzzling for a number of other reasons. The administration’s assessment of the nuclear dimensions of Iran’s program is not just secret, but non-disprovable for anyone who hasn’t seen US or allied intelligence on Iranian weaponization.

Kerry’s answer doesn’t mesh with repeated IAEA claims that the Agency can’t verify “that all the activities in Iran are for peaceful purposes.”

And Kerry doesn’t elaborate about “what they did.” Was Iran testing nuclear detonators, or diverting fissile material to a weapons program? Is the extent of Iranian weaponization work greater or less than the public record — which establishes that Iran may have tested nuclear weapons triggers at the Parchin facility up until 2003, andmaintained a research group dedicated to weaponization activities?

Kerry’s statement raises more questions than it answers. But it appears that the Obama administration isn’t going to insist on full Iranian disclosure of the extent of its nuclear program as part of a comprehensive deal.

Here’s why:

That’s a shift from just two months ago; right after the parties reached a preliminary deal, when Kerry told PBS that Iran would need to divulge its past nuclear activities as part of any final deal.

“They have to do it. It will be done. If there’s going to be a deal; it will be done,” he said.

Whether it is collaborative research with North Korea on nuclear warheads or ICBM technology or another country in the axis of resistance, Iran will not permit any verification of prior military developments by the IAEA through inspection of the known military sites in country.  Going forward on that basis is impractical and unsafe.  Iran doubtless may already have achieved nuclear weapons capabilities.   Moreover upon lifting upwards of $50 billion in sanctioned funds, Iran may accelerate the means of delivering them, as well as, funding more chaos in neighboring Afghanistan and Iraq.  The days are running down towards a debacle with an untrustworthy Iran, increasing the unease of Congress on the cusp of reviewing it under the INARA.  A negative vote which may trigger a veto by President Obama that the Congress may not have the votes to override.

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

“Manufactured Crisis:” Obama Administration’s Response to Iran’s Increase in Low Enriched Uranium

Following the release of the latest IAEA report on May 29th disclosing a 20% increase in low enriched uranium (LEU), the Washington, D.C. based Institute for Science and International Security (ISIS) analyzed the findings and in its report questioned why scrap was used to spike production. The IAEA report principal findings cited in an Algemeiner report were:

Contrary to the relevant resolutions of the Board of Governors and the Security Council, Iran has not suspended all of its enrichment related activities in the declared facilities.

The agency remains concerned about the possible existence in Iran of undisclosed nuclear-related activities involving military related organizations, including activities related to the development of a nuclear payload for a missile.

The New York Times published an article in response that reflected concerns over why Iran had continued LEU production, despite Joint Plan of Action (JPOA) agreements to the contrary.   The implication was that perhaps Iran had effectively been  ‘cheating’  using  it as a bargaining chip should no agreement be reached .  This would be a possible violation of the original November 2013 JPOA.  An Israeli diplomat commented in the Algemeiner report:

That’s exactly the problem with dropping the sanctions before Iran has proved any goodwill. The Americans are going to be doing business with Iran, and the Austrians, the Germans ,  the French and the whole world are going to do business with Iran.

That possibility was raised in a reporter’s question to Josh Earnest at yesterday’s White House Daily Press Briefing.  Ms. Marie Harf at the later State Department Daily Press Briefing expressed the view that the U.S. negotiating team “was perplexed” by the NYTimes report suggesting that nothing was awry and questioning whether it was a “manufactured crisis”. She alleged , the IAEA  had verified the LEU production under the JPOA, suggesting that Iran was in compliance.

Note these excerpted C-SPAN videos of exchanges with  journalists’ questions about  the Iran IAEA and NYTimes reports on LEU production at yesterday’s State Department and White House Daily Press Briefings.

Watch Marie Harf, State Department Spokesperson on “A Manufactured Crisis” over the NYTimes report on Iran LEU:

Watch Josh Earnest, White House Press Spokesman response to reporter’s question about Iran’s “Cheating” on LEU production:

The Daily TIP Report of The Israel Project summarized these latest concerning developments:

Iran has increased its stockpile of low-enriched uranium by one-fifth during the interim Joint Plan of Action (JPOA), according to a Monday report in The New York Times, despite repeated claims by the Obama administration that Iran has halted progress on its nuclear programThis raises concerns about the uranium stockpile in any future deal. In late March, during negotiations in Lausanne, Switzerland, Iran’s deputy foreign minister, Abbas Araqchi, said that the uranium would not be shipped abroad.  If Iran maintains a stockpile of low-enriched uranium or oxidized uranium (the latter can be reversed in the matter of a few weeks), it would have permanent access to multiple nuclear bombs’ worth of enriched uranium. A White House fact sheet released upon the signing of the JPOA in November 2013 stipulated that Iran would “[n]ot increase its stockpile of 3.5% low-enriched uranium, so that the amount is not greater at the end of [the agreement] than it is at the beginning.” According to the most recent report by the International Atomic Energy Agency cited by the Times, not only has Iran increased its stockpile, but it has sped up the pace of enrichment.

Furthermore, in a May analysis, the Institute for Science and International Security (ISIS) concluded that most of Iran’s near-20% enriched uranium is in the form of scrap rather than fuel assemblies. Moreover, Iran is currently conducting R&D on how to recover this highly-enriched uranium from scrap. ISIS wrote previously that the administration has failed to take into account the fact that both the near-20% enriched fuel and near-20% enriched scrap can be reconverted back into enriched uranium for use in a bomb, which would drastically reduce breakout time. In its most recent report, ISIS wrote, the use of near-20% enriched uranium “can significantly speed up breakout timelines to well below 12 months.”

The understandings announced in Lausanne on April 2 call for the reduction of Iran’s uranium stockpile, but do not specify the mechanism by which that would be done.

As we noted the IAEA report also expressed unease that its findings did not include any inspection of military sites, a matter of increasing concern given comments by French Foreign Minister Fabius in a WSJ interview. Fabius contended that without inspection of military sites like Parchin ,and unknown others that Iran’s Supreme Ruler has blocked, the P5+1 final agreement targeted for the end of this month would be “useless.” With Secretary of State Kerry flown back to Boston for  repair and treatment of a broken leg  sustained in a bike accident in Switzerland, whether the U.S. negotiating team can produce a  “tough verifiable” agreement with Iran. One  capable of surviving a 30 day review by Congress under INARA.

President Obama in his interview on Israel’s Channel 2 suggested that a tough verifiable inspection with snap back sanctions approved by Iran would prevent Iran from obtaining a nuclear device in 10, 15 or even twenty years.  Moreover, he suggested  there was no military option that would completely deter Iran from achieving a nuclear weapon.  The Israeli body polity and many Americans including the national ‘paper of record’, the New York Times, are increasingly skeptical of the President’s blandishments about achieving a tough verifiable deal.  A Capitol Hill panel  was composed of former US Senators Evan Bayh, Joseph Lieberman, former CIA director Gen. Michael Hayden, John Hannah and Ray Takeyh of the Iran Task Force of he Foundation for Defense of Democracies   discussed this on June 1st. They confirmed what Israeli Prime  Minister  Netanyahu and 47 GOP Senators had said in an address to Congress and a letter to Iran’s Supreme Ruler that the P5+1 process could result in  a “very bad deal”.  These latest revelations by the IAEA, NYTimes, ISIS and the  FDD Iran task Force suggest  that  a possible P5+1 agreement with Iran  may be slipping away from Obama’s grasp.

Watch the FDD Iran Task Force panel C-Span Video:

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

EXPOSED: U.S. Dept. of Energy Secret Facility to Estimate Iranian Nuclear Breakout

Business Insider published an assessment of a New York Times (NYT)  report on the US Department of Energy building a secret test facility in Tennessee to test out  the ability of Iran’s nuclear program to achieve nuclear breakout from their uranium enrichment  program, the NYT report,  Atomic Labs Across the U.S. Race to Stop Iran authored by David Sanger and William Broad, known for leaking Administration  information, noted:

There inside a gleaming plant at the Oak Ridge nuclear reservation were giant centrifuges — some surrendered more than a decade ago by Libya, others built since — that helped the scientists come up with what they told President Obama were the “best reasonable” estimates of Iran’s real-life ability to race for a weapon under different scenarios.

“We know a lot more about Iranian centrifuges than we would otherwise,” said a senior nuclear specialist familiar with the forested site and its covert operations.

The classified replica is but one part of an extensive crash program within the nation’s nine atomic laboratories — Oak Ridge, Los Alamos and Livermore among them — to block Iran’s nuclear progress. As the next round of talks begins on Wednesday in Vienna, the secretive effort remains a technological obsession for thousands of lab employees living the Manhattan Project in reverse. Instead of building a bomb, as their predecessors did in a race to end World War II, they are trying to stop one.

This Business Insider article demonstrates how the Department of Energy had used nuclear enrichment equipment surrendered by Gaddafi’s Libya in 2004 to replicate the enrichment cascade hall at Natanz in Iran in an attempt to estimate the time to breakout. The fact that the New York Times disclosures underestimated what third party experts like David Albright’s Washington-D.C. – based Institute for Science and International Security (the good ISIS) and others had determined was the technical assessment that Iran’s actual breakout time was less than three months is an indication of the incredible cupidity of the Administration that Iran couldn’t obtain a nuclear device in less than one year a decade from conclusion of an agreement. The obvious move by Congress is hold hearings on this disclosure with qualified third party experts. The other implication is that Israeli PM Netanyahu may have had independent verification that the quantity of low enriched uranium could easily be converted into fissile material for a nuclear weapon, hence his argument that the Administration’s negotiation stance using the Department of Energy simulations would lead to what he deemed a ‘very bad deal” in the P5+1 negotiations with Iran.

Note these excerpts:

This “Manhattan Project in reverse” is situated on the grounds of the Oak Ridge National Laboratory. It uses placeholder centrifuges meant to represent Iranian equipment — an assembly that including centrifuges once belonging to Libya’s disbanded nuclear program.

Scientists apparently proposed redesigns, centrifuge cascade configurations, limits on types of centrifuges, and other fixes that they believed would keep Iranian breakout at under a year. Eventually, they reached an equation that the Iranians could accept.

The Obama administration has premised its arguments for a nuclear deal with Iran on the claim that for a period of 10 years, limits imposed on the Islamic Republic would make it nearly impossible for the country to build a single nuclear weapon in less than a year without the international community learning about it and formulating a response.

The Times doesn’t go into much detail as to what those fixes actually consist of, but reports that government scientists reached a high level of confidence that their formula could keep Iran at a one-year breakout.

For instance: “The question was whether a proposed design of Natanz [Iran’s only uranium enrichment facility for the first 15 years of an envisioned nuclear deal] that allowed more than 6,000 centrifuges to spin would still accomplish the administration’s goal of keeping Iran at least a year away from acquiring enough enriched uranium to make a bomb,” the Times article states. “The answer was yes.”

But experts are skeptical:

In a report issued on April 11th and authored by a group of scientists that included physicist and former International Atomic Energy Agency expert David Albright, the Institute for Science and International Security noticed a curious aspect to the administration’s breakout estimates: they didn’t seem to take into account Iran’s supply of 20% enriched uranium, fissile material has undergone around 90% of the revolutions needed to reach weapons-grade.

Iran oxidized half of its 20% stock (and down-blended the other half to a lower level of enrichment) under the November 2013 Joint Plan of Action signed between Iran and a group of 6 countries led by the US.

As the ISIS report explains, in leaving the oxidized 20% stocks out of its breakout estimate, the administration seems to believe that reconverting that 20% to a state where it can be further enriched and weaponized would be such a time-consuming, intensive, and obvious process that Iran’s 20% stocks simple don’t need to be factored into weaponization scenarios.

The ISIS report is skeptical. It says Iran could render its 20% stocks usable in just a few months and that it’s hugely relevant to any breakout scenario.

“The near 20 percent LEU stock, unless largely eliminated or rendered unusable in a breakout, could be an important reserve in reducing the time to produce the first significant quantity of weapon-grade uranium (WGU) and rapidly producing a second significant quantity of WGU,” the report states.

According the series of fact sheets released after the Lausanne, Switzerland nuclear talks concluded, Iran would be allowed to keep a stockpile of 300 kilograms of uranium enriched to 3.67% under a final deal. Even a small amount of uranium at 20% enrichment would far surpass this stockpile in weaponization potential: “a rule of thumb is that 50 kilograms of near 20 percent LEU hexafluoride (or about 33 kilograms uranium mass) is equivalent in terms of shortening breakout time to 500 kilograms of 3.5 percent LEU hexafluoride,” the report says.

And Iran has plenty of convertible 20% on hand — around 228 kilograms of uranium mass of near-20%, which would come out to 337 kilograms of near-20% if it were “converted back to hexaflouride form.”

Much of the 20% is “in forms where the LEU could be recovered in a straightforward manner.” But the report found no proof that the 20% had been included in the administration’s breakout estimate, and concluded that “the US evaluation requires greater scrutiny.”

Bloomberg confirms the ISIS report findings:

As Bloomberg reported on April 21, the administration only declassified its actual breakout estimate — which states that Iran is currently between 2 and 3 months away from building a single nuclear weapon, if it chose to do so — on April 1st, the day before the series of announcements that marked the conclusion of the Lausanne, Switzerland round of nuclear negotiations. Ali Khadery, a former advisor to U.S. Central Command and the U.S. official who spent the longest time in Iraq during the American military campaign in that country, suggested on Twitter that an approximate 2-3 month breakout estimate dated from as early as 2009.

Business Insider conclusion:

The New York Times article gives an idea of the scientific infrastructure the US is using to evaluate its breakout claims. It’s now known that there are scientists using a mock-up of Iranian nuclear facilities to produce conditions for reaching a one-year breakout time.

The methods they’re actually using for reaching those conclusions, and the relationship between the administration’s public breakout claims and Iran’s actual timetable under a final deal, both remain as vague as ever.

EDITORS NOTE: This column originally appeared in the New English Review. The featured image is of the Y-12 National Security Complex Oak Ridge Tennessee.  Source:  National Nuclear Security Admin – Reuters.

Senate Foreign Relations Committee Unanimously Approves Iran Nuke Review Legislation

Our Iconoclast post title about a denouement today on the P5+1 Iran Nuke agreement review legislation was realized this afternoon in a unanimous Senate Foreign Relations Committee vote approving a compromise measure. The Committee action reasserted   Constitutional prerogatives forcing President Obama to relent his opposition. The vote was 19 to 0 based on the compromise language worked out between Committee Chairman Bob Corker (R-TN) and Ranking Member Benjamin Cardin (D-MD). Assenting to the new version of the Iran Nuclear Agreement Review  Act of 2015, originally co-sponsored by embattled  New Jersey U.S. Senator Bob Menendez and Sen. Corker, were two Committee Members, announced GOP Presidential Contenders, Sen. Rand Paul (R-KY) and Marco Rubio (R-FL).  Corker had not been a signatory to Arkansas Tom Cotton’s letter that was sent to the Leaders of the Islamic Republic in Tehran apprising them of the Senate’s advice and consent on major treaties and agreements.

This legislative victory preserves the right of the Congress to review changes in the prevailing sanctions against Iran occasioned by the presentation of the Administration of any definitive agreement reached between the P5+1 and Iran by the intended date of June 30, 2015.  Iranian Foreign Minister Zarif announced at a ministerial meeting in Spain today, that negotiations leading towards a possible definitive agreement would start April 21st in Lausanne, Switzerland.  U.S. House Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy (R-CA) said the House would approve the veto proof measure. A vote on the measure should reach the floor of the Senate shortly, at which time Amendments might be introduced for possible consideration.

Tower report noted:

Sen. Bob Corker (R-Tenn.), the chairman of the committee, said that the legislation, which passed 19-0, “absolutely, 100% keeps the congressional review process — the integrity of it — in place.”

The compromise language, which was worked out by Corker and ranking Democratic Sen. Ben Cardin (D – Md.), shortened the amount of time of Congress would get to review a nuclear agreement with Iran from 60 days to 30, and softened some other provisions of the bill.

The bill is consistent with a poll released today by Suffolk University showing that Americans favor congressional review of any nuclear deal with Iran by a wide margin—72% to 19%.

White House Press Secretary Josh Earnest said that President Barack Obama would sign the compromise bill, reversing the administration’s longstanding objection to any congressional oversight of a potential nuclear deal with Iran.

The New York Times reported how quickly Administration opposition to the legislation had folded:

Why Mr. Obama gave in after fierce opposition was the last real dispute of what became a rout. Josh Earnest, the White House spokesman, said Mr. Obama was not “particularly thrilled” with the bill, but had decided that a new proposal put together by the top Republican and Democrat on the Senate Foreign Relations Committee made enough changes to make it acceptable.

“We’ve gone from a piece of legislation that the president would veto to a piece of legislation that’s undergone substantial revision such that it’s now in the form of a compromise that the president would be willing to sign,” Mr. Earnest said. “That would certainly be an improvement.”

Senator Bob Corker, Republican of Tennessee and the committee’s chairman, had a far different interpretation. As late as 11:30 a.m., in a classified briefing at the Capitol, Mr. Kerry was urging senators to oppose the bill. The “change occurred when they saw how many senators were going to vote for this, and only when that occurred,” Mr. Corker said.

Mr. Cardin said that the “fundamental provisions” of the legislation had not changed.

But the compromise between him and Mr. Corker did shorten a review period of a final Iran nuclear deal and soften language that would make the lifting of sanctions dependent on Iran’s ending support for terrorism.

The agreement almost certainly means Congress will muscle its way into nuclear negotiations that Mr. Obama sees as a legacy-defining foreign policy achievement.

Under the agreement, the president would still have to send periodic reports to Congress on Iran’s activities regarding ballistic missiles and terrorism, but those reports could not trigger another round of sanctions.

The Times reported possible floor actions that might resurrect original provisions:

The measure still faces hurdles. Senator Marco Rubio of Florida, fresh off the opening of his campaign for the Republican presidential nomination, dropped plans to push for an amendment to make any Iran deal dependent on the Islamic Republic’s recognition of the State of Israel, a diplomatic nonstarter.

But he hinted that he could try on the Senate floor.

“Not getting anything done plays right into the hands of the administration,” Mr. Rubio said.

Senator Ron Johnson, Republican of Wisconsin, abandoned an amendment to make any Iran accord into a formal international treaty needing two-thirds of the Senate for its ratification, but he, too, said it could be revived before the full Senate.

The measure will be brought up for a floor vote later this month and is expected to pass both the Senate and the House in near veto proof form.

It is clear that the victors in this battle are the Republican Majority and concerned Democrats who have been monitoring polls and constituent opinions regarding Congressional Review prerogatives.  In retrospect  Sen. Cotton’s letter and the March 3rd address by Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu before a Joint Meeting of Congress alerted  Americans to problems with the P5+1 framework for a deal  announced on April 2nd despite the objections of President Obama and certain leading Democratic minority members of both the Senate and House. Perhaps the diktats announced last Thursday by Ayatollah Khamenei demanding the lifting of all sanctions upon signing of an agreement and denial of intrusive IAEA inspections of military nuclear weapons development sites conveyed to Senate Democrats that there were different opinions about the two Facts Statements. The one released by the State Department versus that of the Iranian Foreign Ministry. Add to that was Monday’s removal of a 2010 moratorium on the sale of an advanced Russian S-300 air defense system to Iran an indication that President Putin and Ayatollah Khamenei could void weapons sanctions agreements at will.

The losers in this episode are Secretary Kerry and President Obama. How those negotiations go starting April 21st will determine if Congress will have anything to review on June 30th.

RELATED ARTICLE: Commentators On Arab TV: Obama Supports Iran Because His Father Was A Shi’ite

EDITORS NOTE: This column originally appeared in the New English Review. The featured image is of Senate Foreign Relations Committee Chairman Robert Corker (R-TN) and Ranking Member Benjamin Cardin (D-MD). Source: Politico

Minneapolis the U.S. Hub for Islamic State Recruitment?

Abi Nur  on Right in Syria Abdullah Yusuf left -stopped _ Twitter from American w Islamic State

Abdi Nur, right, posted a photo online from Syria. A friend, Abdullah Yusuf, left, was stopped as he tried to depart. Top, an image of Western passports put up by a Twitter user who says she is an American with the Islamic State. Source; New York Times

The Sunday New York Times had a front page story on the chronicle of a pair Somali émigré youths in the Twin Cities, one of whom successfully traveled to Syria to join ISIS, while his friend was stopped before he could board a flight  to join his fellow mujaheddin, “From Minneapolis to ISIS: An American’s Path to Jihad”.   

Abdi Nur was the 20 year old community college attendee who originally wanted to become a lawyer, instead opting for becoming a Jihadist recruit for the Islamic State Caliphate in Raqaa, Syria.  His unlucky comrade, 18 year old, Abdullah Yusuf didn’t make it and finds himself sentenced by the court to the equivalent of a re-education program by a federal judge. Both boys may have been recruited by a youth leader at a Bloomington, Minnesota Al Farooq Mosque.

The article covers the story we wrote about last September concerning  the death of Abdirahmaan Muhumed an ISIS jihadi, a 29 year old  Somali Emigre from Minneapolis, who had airport security access while working as a airline cleaner.  The article attempts to explain what attracted Somali émigré youths and other American Muslims to the Salafist Jihadist Takfir doctrine. Why they were motivated to pick up stakes, abandon their families, cruise IS social media, eventually downloading a veritable Fodor –type guide for Hijrah (immigration) to the Islamic State and obtain free plane tickets to travel to the Caliphate. The Times authors focus on federal investigations and local community intervention and re-education programs that appear to offer few if any relevant answers.

This is the latest story of how  the U.S. humanitarian refugee program, controlled by the UN High Commissioner for Refugees, flooded this major Midwestern community with 100,000 East Africa Muslims.  Many of them failed to assimilate into American culture with radical Mosques recruiting dozens of native born jihadists to fight and die for first al Shabaab in Somalia and now for ISIS in Syria. We have written about this repeatedly since 2008. The Times article didn’t delve into how the Somali refugees came to the Twin cities with the assistance of voluntary agencies  paid by the State Department and Department of Health and Human Services Office of Refugee Resettlement to process them, provide cash assistance, Medicaid and receive a green card to  eventually citizens. All while many of these Muslim émigrés rejected American values, instead seeking to impose their Sharia law on the host non-Muslim community.

ISIS-ExposedErick Stakelbeck on Tuesday, March 17th, aired his version of this story on CBN’s The Watchman“Minneapolis- the U.S. Capital of ISIS” – a prelude for his latest book, ISIS Exposed: Beheadings, Slavery and the Hellish Realities of Radical Islam, by Regenery Publishing.  We are rapidly ploughing through it and will review it for the April NER; hopefully along with a short interview with Stakelbeck about ISIS and the failure of U.S. policy.  Stakelbeck’s latest book, like his previous books on The Brotherhood; America’s Next Great Enemy and Terrorist Next Door: How the Government is Deceiving You About the Islamist Threat reads like a thriller, but with a very important message. Stakelbeck knows the Somali émigré terror recruit story and how our humanitarian refugee program played a major role in creating the radical Muslim environment in these communities that indoctrinated and recruited these youths. He visits the areas that have the look and feel of Mogadishu in Minnesota. He speaks with frustrated Somali community and former law enforcement officials about the futility of trying to divert these youths from a likely dead end that have befallen dozens who preceded them.  He also delves into what attracts these young American Somali and other Muslim émigrés and converts to follow this delusional self destruction jihadist cause.

Watch Stakelbeck CBN ISIS program.

Last Monday, March 16th, Dr. Michael Welner, Chairman of The Forensic Panel was interviewed on Bill Bennett’s Morning America program about what attracts Western and other foreign Muslims, to join the barbaric cause of the Islamic State. Welner provided insights as to what attracts Islamic State recruits that raise serious questions about the social media messaging initiatives of the Obama Administration. Forensic Psychiatrist Dr. Michael Welner explains the root of ISIS’s appeal and why people continue to join its cause. Listen to this informative YouTube interview with Dr. Welner by Bill Bennett:

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