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Christian students slaughtered in Kenya by Islamists

Early Thursday  morning Al Shabaab jihadis swarmed into the grounds of Garissa University College in northeastern Kenya with over  815 students stealthily knowing at 5:30 AM that Muslim students would be at morning prayers leaving vulnerable Christian students in their dormitories. The toll during the several hour siege was 147 killed, dozens of others injured and many students unaccounted for. USA Today reported “the White House strongly condemned the attack and said the United States was providing assistance to the Kenyan government. We extend our deep condolences to the families and loved ones of all those killed in this heinous attack, which reportedly included the targeting of Christian students,” White House spokesman Josh Earnest said in a statement.”

Watch this AP Report on the Garissa, College siege:

 Fox News provided details on the Garassi College attack and siege:

Hours after the assault began, Kenyan security forces cornered the gunmen in a dormitory at the school, and President Uhuru Kenyatta said in a speech to the nation that the attackers were holding hostages.

“There are many dead bodies of Christians inside the building,” Al-Shabaab spokesman Sheikh Abdiasis Abu Musab told Sky News. “We are also holding many Christians alive. Fighting still goes on inside the college.”

Collins Wetangula, the vice chairman of the student union, said when the gunmen arrived at his dormitory he could hear them opening doors and asking if the people who had hidden inside whether they were Muslims or Christians.

“If you were a Christian you were shot on the spot,” he said. “With each blast of the gun I thought I was going to die.”

A spokesman for the terror group told the BBC that it attacked the school because “it’s on Muslim land colonized by non-Muslims.” The spokesman also said the gunmen had separated non-Muslims from Muslims and had freed 15 of the latter group.

The interior ministry said around 500 of 815 students has been accounted for, but hundreds remain missing. The students at Garissa are predominantly non-Muslim, a source told Fox News.

Police identified a possible mastermind of the attack as Mohammed Mohamud, who is alleged to lead Al-Shabaab’s cross-border raids into Kenya, and they posted a $220,000 bounty for him. Also known by the names Dulyadin and Gamadhere, he was a teacher at an Islamic religious school, or madrassa, and claimed responsibility for a bus attack in Makka, Kenya, in November that killed 28 people.

312 people have been killed in Al-Shabaab attacks in Kenya from 2012 to 2014. Thirty-eight people were killed and 149 wounded in Garissa in the same period, according to police statistics.

Bursting into their residences, these Al Shabaab killers used the same terrifying method perfected in September 2013 to kill innocent non-Muslims at the Westgate Mall massacre.  They asked whether they were Christians or if Muslim asked them to recite verses from the Koran or the Shahada-the profession of faith. If they responded as Christian they were summarily shot. Most of those Kenyan students at Garissa  College murdered by the al Shabaab attackers were Christians.  As Christian victims of this Jihad massacre they became like Jesus, the literal agnus die, lambs of G-d referring to the Passover sacrifice.  All of this occurred at the beginning of the conjunction of the Easter–Passover holy days in the Judeo-Christian calendar. Maundy Thursday that occurs three days before Easter commemorates the last supper between Jesus and his apostles believed to have been a Passover Seder.

The slaughter of these Christians in Kenya on Maundy Thursday is believed to be the worst terrorist event since the 1998 East African Embassies attacks by Al Qaeda in Nairobi and Dar es Salaam, Tanzania.  It is alleged that Al Shabaab was reported by intelligence to be planning  a retaliation against soft targets inside Kenya for the US drone attack on March 18, 2015 that reportedly took the life of Adan Garar the  planner of the September 2013 Westgate Mall Attack in Nairobi. Al Shabaab had engaged in several spectacular recent attacks on hotels and offices in the capital of Mogadishu killing dozens.

The irony is that President Obama considered Somalia, like Yemen, “counterterrorism “successes, despite both being failed states. Yemen is being pounded daily by Saudi air strikes against Houthi rebels who have succeeded in taking the Presidential Palace in Aden. Somalia has been a perennial failed state since the eruption of civil war in 1990. It became the haven for Al Qaeda affiliate Al Shabaab, “the foot soldiers of Islam’ who have conducted an unrelenting campaign against fellow Somali Muslims and across the frontier in indiscriminate attacks on targets of opportunity in Kenya. A Kenya which holds one of the largest Somali refugee camps administered by the UN High Commissioner for Refugees from which residents have been sent for asylum in the United States. The irony that the children of those refugee émigrés in the US have been recruited to fight and die for Al Shabaab , and now  the Islamic State in Syria.  Many of those émigrés have been drawn from the twin cities of Minneapolis –St. Paul. They have become a US hub for ISIS and Al Shabaab recruitment aided by extremist Mosque leaders in those Middle West communities.

UN report released today estimated  that  more than 25,000 foreign Muslims  streamed to the Islamic State and Al Qaeda affiliate Al Nusra  from more than 100 Countries across the globe to be trained in “finishing schools” in Iraq and Syria, to return home as dangerous jihadis. The report noted that   besides 22,000 foreign fighters in Syria and Iraq, there were also 6,500 in Afghanistan and hundreds more in Yemen, Libya, Pakistan and Somalia.”According to Reuters, the UN panel report estimated that growth of these foreign Muslim jihad recruits rose by more than 70%. It likened the Islamic State as equivalent to Afghanistan in the 1990’s with the growth of the Taliban and Al Qaeda. President Obama met last September with the 15 nation Security Council to develop a strategy for contending with the threat of extremist Islamic terror threats like ISIS, Al Shabaab, Al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula, and Boko Haram in Nigeria that resulted in this report.

This Easter weekend, Christians around the world should grieve for the 147 slaughtered by Al Shabaab jihadis at Garassi College on Maundy Thursday, 2015.

RELATED ARTICLES:

Kenya college: Jihadis separate Muslims from Christians, murder Christians

Mali: “With the help of the hand of Allah,” Muslims kill Red Cross aid worker

EDITORS NOTE: This column originally appeared in the New English Review. The featured photo is courtesy of DPA.

French Foreign Minister Fabius Questions P5+1 Deal with Iran

French Foreign Minister Laurent Fabius is convening a meeting in Paris Saturday with Western and EU members of the  P5+1  raising questions about the elements of the bi-lateral discussions between Secretary of State Kerry and Iran’s Foreign Minister Zarif in Switzerland. The U.S. and Iran have under discussion a proposed 10-year phased ‘verifiable’ deal to allegedly prevent Iran from nuclear breakout in less than a year. This follows Israeli PM Netanyahu’s address before a Joint Meeting of Congress on Wednesday, March 3rd during which he called the emerging deal a “very bad deal”.  President Obama suggested that Netanyahu had not offered anything new in his address and that PM Netanyahu had not offered “viable alternatives.” Back in November 2013, we wrote about  M. Fabius with regard to the then proposed interim agreement noting:

The Local in France reported on  Iranian Parliamentary members objecting to Fabius allegedly representing Israel’s  PM Netanyahu’s  emphatic position that the deal on the table was a bad one, “a very bad one”.

Note in retrospect M. Fabius’ concerns in November 2013:

Fabius, in Geneva for what is now a third day of intensive negotiations, said earlier in the day there was “no certainty” a deal could be reached and that Israel’s “concerns” need to be taken into consideration.

Fabius told France Inter radio that “there is an initial draft that we do not accept… As we speak, I have no certainty that we can finish up.”

“There are some points on which we are not satisfied,” he said, citing the “extremely prolific” Arak nuclear reactor and the question of uranium enrichment.

Fabius also expressed concerns over Iran’s stockpile of 20 percent enriched uranium.

Is this a case of déjà vu ‘all over again’ according to baseball great Yogi Berra?  Note Fabius’ remarks in a Reuters article requesting tomorrow’s ministerial meeting:

Fabius said he had invited U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry, EU foreign policy chief Federica Mogherini and the foreign ministers of Germany and Britain to Paris on Saturday to review the state of the Iran nuclear negotiations.

“We are in favor of a solid agreement … for now there remain difficulties,” he told reporters in Riga where he was taking part in a European Union foreign ministers’ meeting.

“There has been progress but as far as the volume, checks and duration of the envisaged commitments are concerned, the situation is still insufficient, so there is more work to be done,” he said.

[…]

Fabius took a more downbeat view of the Iran talks than Mogherini, who said earlier in the Latvian capital that a good deal was at hand in the negotiations.

“I also believe that there is not going to be any deal if it is not going to be a good deal. And this is something we have to pass as a message to all our friends and partners,” Mogherini said in apparent reference to Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s criticism of the nuclear deal under negotiation.

Before we jump to any conclusions about whether Fabius’ call for stronger terms could forestall the proposed agreement to be reached by March 31st, we must recall that despite M. Fabius’ objections on November 10, 2013,  an interim Plan of Action agreement was agreed to by the P5+1  14 days later in Geneva.   Israeli PM Netanyahu commented on the interim deal:

What was concluded in Geneva last night is not a historic agreement, it’s a historic mistake. It’s not made the world a safer place. Like the agreement with North Korea in 2005, this agreement has made the world a much more dangerous place.

For years the international community has demanded that Iran cease all uranium enrichment. Now, for the first time, the international community has formally consented that Iran continue its enrichment of uranium.

Secretary Kerry replied:

We believe very strongly that because the Iranian nuclear program is actually set backwards and is actually locked into place in critical places, that that is better for Israel than if you were just continuing to go down the road and they rush towards a nuclear weapon.

Perhaps, this time M. Fabius might convince his Western peers that Netanyahu’s original objections to the interim deal in November 2013 were reflected  in his March 3, 2015 address to  the Joint Meeting of Congress. This might put the brakes on P5+1 negotiations headed towards a disastrous deal with Iran.

EDITORS NOTE: This column originally appeared in the New English Review. The featured image is of French Foreign Minister Laurent Fabius, Quai d’Orsay, Feb. 24, 2015. Source: Reuters.

Netanyahu Addresses Iran Nuclear Threat at AIPAC — Obama Administration Criticizes

An audience of 16,000 at the AIPAC Washington Policy Conference enthusiastically welcomed Israeli PM Netanyahu’s appearance, today.  Netanyahu’s speech was a prelude to his appearance before a joint Session of Congress tomorrow at 10:45AM EST. It will be televised by Fox-News and C-SPAN.  Fox will have commentary from a panel both prior to and following Netanyahu’s Congressional speech.  The Voice of Israel will broadcast it live via the internet with following commentary.

Some likened today’s remarks as a warm up to the main event on Tuesday, March 3rd. For many of us his AIPAC Conference remarks today were punctuated by his eloquent Churchillian cadences. Other lines echoed Ze’ev Jabotinsky’s 1938 Tish B’Av “Ihr Kommt” (they’re coming) speech to Jews in Poland warning them of their impending destruction during Hitler’s Final Solution, the Holocaust. Other lines were  reminiscent of Churchill’s caustic Parliamentary remarks on the Munich 1938 appeasement by Prime Minister Neville Chamberlain and  French Premier Eduard Daladier acceding to Hitler’s demand that Czech President Eduard Benes unilaterally cede Sudetenland thus dismembering Czechoslovakia. All while Chamberlain waved that scrap of paper upon arrival at Heston aerodrome saying that he had achieved “peace for our times”. That imagery was captured in Netanyahu’s lavish praise heaped on Czech President Zeman who was on the dais at the AIPAC conference. Netanyahu thanked Zeman for the country’s enduring support for Zionism espoused by Czech Republic founder Thomas Masyrk and the material support the Czechs provided post WWII to Israel during the 1948-1949 War for Independence. That was captured in Netanyahu’s reference in his speech to the Czech rifle he trained with as an IDF Sayeret Matkal member.

Netanyahu paid copious respects to AIPAC officials,  noted “no disrespect to President Obama”, and  pledged fealty to the long enduring bi-partisan US relations with ally Israel.  An Israel, as he pointed out, that shared common Western values of freedom, liberty, civil and human rights for the Jewish nation’s citizens. He noted as one example prominent women jurists on its High Court and as CEOs of Israeli companies.

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Screen shot of  Global Map of Iran Terror used by  PM Netanyahu at 2015 AIPAC. For a larger view click on the map.

He spoke clearly about why he was in Washington:

The purpose of my address to Congress tomorrow is to speak up about a potential deal with Iran that could threaten the survival of Israel. Iran is the foremost state sponsor of terrorism in the world. Look at that graph. Look at that map. And you see on the wall, it shows Iran training, arming, dispatching terrorists on five continents. Iran envelopes the entire world with its tentacles of terror. This is what Iran is doing now without nuclear weapons. Imagine what Iran would do with nuclear weapons.

And this same Iran vows to annihilate Israel. If it develops nuclear weapons, it would have the means to achieve that goal. We must not let that happen.

And as prime minister of Israel, I have a moral obligation to speak up in the face of these dangers while there’s still time to avert them. For 2,000 years, my people, the Jewish people, were stateless, defenseless, voiceless. We were utterly powerless against our enemies who swore to destroy us. We suffered relentless persecution and horrific attacks. We could never speak on our own behalf, and we could not defend ourselves.

Well, no more, no more.

The days when the Jewish people are passive in the face of threats to annihilate us, those days are over. Today in our sovereign state of Israel, we defend ourselves. And being able to defend ourselves, we ally with others, most importantly, the United States of America, to defend our common civilization against common threats.

In our part of the world and increasingly, in every part of the world, no one makes alliances with the weak. You seek out those who have strength, those who have resolve, those who have the determination to fight for themselves. That’s how alliances are formed.

Watch this C-span video of Israeli PM Netanyahu’s remarks at the 2015 AIPAC Conference.

U.S. UN Ambassador Power, speaking at AIPAC today, accorded respect for the enduring US-Israel alliance.   She also said that the Administration would stop Iran from achieving a nuclear breakthrough:

            The United States of America will not allow Iran to obtain a nuclear weapon, Period.

We believe diplomacy is the preferred route to secure our shared aim. But if diplomacy fails, we know the stakes of a nuclear-armed Iran as well as everyone here. We will not let it happen. There will never be a sunset on America’s commitment to Israel’s security. Never.

 However, she tossed a barb at both Netanyahu and House Speaker Boehner for engaging in partisan politics with her remarks:

This partnership should never be politicized, and it cannot and will not be tarnished or broken. Debating the merits of a deal with Iran is legitimate. Politicizing that process is not. The stakes are too high for that.

 For her appearance as an Administration senior official, she received a standing ovation from the 16,000 attendees at the Washington Convention Center site of the Conference.

Watch this C-Span video of US UN Ambassador Power’s remarks at the 2015 AIPAC conference.

More of the same followed from another Administration senior official, National Security Adviser Susan Rice, when she mounted the podium at the Walter E. Washington Convention Center to deliver her remarks.  Rice appeared to be toeing the Administration line saying, “sound bites won’t stop Iran from getting a nuclear weapon.”  Rice essentially denied the possibility of ending Iran’s nuclear enrichment saying:

[ getting Iran to] forego its domestic enrichment capacity entirely… as desirable as that would be … is neither realistic nor achievable. The plain fact is no one can make Iran unlearn the scientific and nuclear expertise it already possesses.

She cautioned that it wasn’t a “viable negotiating position” to attempt to block Iran from using its nuclear capacity for domestic energy reasons.

Now I want to be very clear: a bad deal is worse than no deal,

We have Israel’s back come hell or high water.

Given Iran’s support for terrorism, the risk of a nuclear arms race in the region, and the danger to the entire global non-proliferation regime, Iran with a nuclear weapon would not just be a threat to Israel, it’s also an unacceptable threat to the United States of America.

Given Iran’s support for terrorism, the risk of a nuclear arms race in the region, and the danger to the entire global non-proliferation regime, Iran with a nuclear weapon would not just be a threat to Israel, it’s also an unacceptable threat to the United States of America.

We have Israel’s back come hell or high water.

On sanctions, Rice made it abundantly clear why the Administration opposed any new legislation, saying:

We cannot let a totally unachievable ideal stand in the way of a good deal [with Iran]. Sanctions, have never stopped Iran from advancing its [nuclear] program. New sanctions would blow up the talks, divide the international community, and cause the U.S. to be blamed for causing negotiations with Iran to fail.

Not unlike Power, Rice received a standing ovation ironically for policies that she opposes. Note what blog Twitchy reported:

The highlight of her speech was undoubtedly the standing ovation she received for acknowledging the desire for a complete halt to Iran’s nuclear enrichment program. The look on her face while waiting for the cheers to die down so she could add “but” and finish her sentence: priceless.

Watch this You Tube video of the AIPAC audience applauding her and her befuddled expression:

That effectively shot down the faint hopes of many of the 16,000 in the Convention Center.

Senator Bob Menendez (D-NJ), co-author of the Nuclear Weapon Free Iran Act of 2015 with new sanctions, stormed up to the podium at AIPAC to rebut Rice.  He said:

Iran needs to understand that there are consequences to an impasse and those consequences are additional consequential sanctions.

As long as I have an ounce of fight left in me… Iran will never have a pathway to a weapon.

It will never threaten Israel or its neighbors, and it will never be in a position to star a nuclear arms race in the Middle East. Not on my watch.

Secretary of State Kerry, speaking from Geneva, Switzerland  earlier today in the midst of   discussions with Iranian Foreign Minister Zarif, voiced  concerns that ‘leaks’ by Israel might jeopardize the phased deal.  Kerry said:

We are concerned by reports that suggest selective details of the ongoing negotiations will be discussed publicly in the coming days. Doing so would make it more difficult to reach the goal that Israel and others say they share in order to get to a good deal. Israel’s security is absolutely at the forefront of all of our minds, but frankly so is the security of all of the other countries in the region. So is our security.

 Kerry made a  brief appearance at the UN Human Rights Commission today in Geneva voicing concerns  about the panel’s  pre-occupation with isolating Israel, saying:

We will oppose any effort by any group or participant in the U.N. system to arbitrarily and regularly delegitimize or isolate, Israel. No country should be free from scrutiny on human rights, but no country should be subjected to unfair or unfounded bias.

President Obama in a Reuters interview several hours after Netanyahu’s speech at AIPAC expressed the view that the current discord would not seriously disrupt relations with Israel. Nevertheless he harshly criticized Netanyahu’s refrain about a bad deal emerging from the bi-lateral diplomatic discussions with Iran. He suggested the emerging 10 year deal with verifications was:

Far more effective in controlling their nuclear program than any military action we could take, any military action Israel could take and far more effective than sanctions will be.

He then took exception to Netanyahu’s criticism of the 2013 interim agreement with Iran:

Netanyahu made all sorts of claims. This was going to be a terrible deal. This was going to result in Iran getting $50 billion worth of relief. Iran would not abide by the agreement. None of that has come true. It has turned out that in fact, during this period we’ve seen Iran not advance its program. In many ways, it’s rolled back elements of its program.

Watch this video of the Reuters interview with President Obama on March 2, 2015.

The Administration still hasn’t fully understood the import of the Gallup poll of Americans, 84% of whom expressed distrust of Iran, while 77% believed Iran should be denied becoming a nuclear threshold state.  As one audience member said at a presentation in Northwest Florida, Iran’s possession of a nuclear weapon was a threat not only to Israel, but America as well.

An expectant Israel and the world awaits Netanyahu’s address before a joint session of Congress tomorrow.

Listen to this Voice of Israel Sound Cloud of Netanyahu’s speech at AIPAC.  The full text of Netanyahu’s AIPAC remarks can be found in this release by the Israeli Ministry of Foreign Affairs.

RELATED ARTICLE: Iran says it rejects Obama’s demand for 10-year nuclear work halt

EDITORS NOTE: This column originally appeared in the New English Review. The featured image is of Israeli Prime Minister Benyamin Netanyahu at AIPAC Washington Policy Conference taken on March 2, 2015. Source: GPO/Amos Ben Gershom.

Was it Terrorism or “Senseless Violence” that occurred in Canada?

At 9:52 AM EDT in Ottawa long haired 32 year old Michael Zehaf Bibeau wearing a black and white scarf and dressed in black   equipped with a double-barreled shot gun, stormed Canada’s War Memorial on Capitol Hill in Ottawa. He shot and fatally wounded a member of The Honor Guard , 24 year old Pvt. Nathan  Cirllio , a reservist with the Argyll and Sutherland Regiment who was on duty with a companion  who was wounded in the attack.  According to the Toronto Globe and Mail, Zehaf-Bibeau was considered to have been “a high risk traveller and had his passport revoked”.

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Michael Zehaf Bibeau : Source ISIS Tweet. For a larger view click on the image.

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Kevin Vickers, Sergeant at Arms,  Ottawa Parliament.

Bibeau then drove to the Parliament building in a stolen black automobile with no license tags. He ran with weapon in hand into the Parliamentary center complex apparently running past  a room where Canadian PM Harper was speaking. In the ensuing gun battle Bibeau was shot dead at approximately 10:30AM by Kevin Vickers, the Sergeant at Arms before he could barge into the Caucus room filled with various party delegation  members.  Wednesdays are busy days in Canada’s parliament as  there are also tours   for visitors.   While the Sergeant at Arms is an honorific post at the Canadian Parliament, Vickers is in charge of protection for the Parliamentary Center complex.  He was appointed  to this post in 2005. In 2009, Vickers was given an award by a  Canadian Progressive Muslim group for his unbiased multicultural  security practices. He was a trained law enforcement officer, former member of the famed Royal Canadian Mounted Police who served 25 years including stints in Canada’s Northwest Territories.

MPs gathered for the  Wednesday caucus overheard 20 to 30 shots fired. The entire parliamentary district, several embassies , including the US , and  the  nearby Rideau  Mall Center remained  locked down, while police comb the area in search for rumored accomplices. Prime Minister Harper was escorted to safety. However, his trip to Toronto to attend a ceremony conferring an honorary Canadian Citizenship on Pakistani teenage Noble Laureate Malala Yousafzai was unavoidably cancelled.

Upon hearing the news, social media in Ottawa and Canada lit up with expressions of thoughts and prayers for the family of Pvt. Cirillo and concerns for the safety of those in Ottawa under lockdown.

ISIS immediately sent out a picture of Zehaf Bibeau.  Bibeau, has had a troubled family life and  number of convictions for possession  and distribution of drug s and parole violations. In 2011, he was arrested  in Vancouver on assault and robbery charges. In 2012 he was arrested on additional charges of making threats in Vancouver. The ferocity of the attack in Ottawa by Bibeau  indicates he was highly motivated and aggrieved. Bibeau’s  murderous actions may have been  Jihadist inspired by ISIS given his use of the terrorist group’s Twitter site.

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Martin Couture-Rouleau from his Facebook page.

Then is the similar  case of  25 year old Martin Couture-Rouleau, who flouted his newly adopted Islamic Jihadist faith and its doctrine of hate towards Jews, Christians and other unbelievers in posts on his  Facebook  page .  As a result of his new found faith he succumbed to the excesses of murderous and barbaric  ISIS.  What is interesting in Couture-Rouleau’s case was that the anti-terrorism unit of the RCMP had been monitoring his social media and  chatter focusing on his intention to leave to join ISIS.  That was prompted by his parents’ calls to the police concerned about his newly adopted  views  espoused at the local mosque he attended  near Montreal.   Apparently under Canadian law there wasn’t enough evidence to connect him to a terrorist group after his arrest In July, 2014,  before boarding a flight to Turkey to join ISIS.  He was  subsequently  released to regularly meet with Police until just before   he perpetrated Monday’s vehicular murder.  Like Bibeau, following his arrest, he had his passport removed as  “a high risk traveller”. Superintendent Martine Fontaine of the Royal Canadian Mounted Police said at a televised news conference:

It’s very difficult to know exactly what an individual is planning to do before a crime is committed,” Superintendent Fontaine said. “We cannot arrest someone for thinking radical thoughts; it is not a crime in Canada.

Prime Minister  Harper announced Canada’s joining  the US led Operation Inherent Resolve with a Canadian Air Force  F-18 squadron to conduct air operations against ISIS in Syria and Iraq.  That triggered a spike in social media by the Islamic State calling for Jihadist wannabees to attack Canadian and US military.  Couture-Rouleau’s  jihadist  attack  culminated Monday, October 20, 2014  in his running down two Canada Force soldiers  at  a strip mall  in Saint-Jean-sur-Richelieu, Quebec.  He killed  53 year old Warrant Officer Patrice Vincent and wounded the other serviceman. Police shot and apprehended   Couture-Rouleau.  Following  today’s Ottawa attack, the Canadian federal  government issued a  temporary ban on use of many public places to prevent a repetition.  Ironically, Canadian  Public Safety Minister  Blaney raised the Canadian national terrorism threat level to “medium” on Tuesday , just prior to today’s attack in Ottawa.

In the U.S.,  today’s attack that killed a member of  the Canadian Honor Guard  at the Ottawa National War Memorial ,prompted  the Administration to bolster security at the Tomb of the Unknown Soldiers in Virginia’s Arlington National  Cemetery. The U.S. is concerned about the emergence of self-actualized jihadist supporters in our midst.  An example is  the prison convert  to Islam who beheaded a fellow woman employee in Moore, Oklahoma. Then this week there was the apprehension of three underage Denver area girls from  Sudan and Somali émigré families who left unannounced, boarding a flight in Colorado only to be apprehended by German police when they arrived in Frankfurt before they  could board  a connecting flight to Turkey.  Their ultimate destination was Syria to join ISIS.  Both the Canadian attacks and US one  raises the policy question about how to combat the jihadist theocratic message of ISIS. That message is anchored in the Qur’anic canon of  foundational documents and  codified  under Shariah law in the ‘sacred manual’, The Reliance of the Traveler.

President Obama  was interviewed in the Oval Office following a phone conversation with  Canadian PM Harper. He  conveyed  the collective thoughts and concerns of this country  for what Canada has endured this week.  Choosing his language carefully to avoid any  controversy over what motivates such actions , he condemned what he termed “senseless violence”.  PM Harper said that “a terrorist murdered the  soldier in cold blood”.

Mark Steyn, American-Canadian  commentator and author of the recently released  book Undocumented, was interviewed on Neal Cavuto’s Fox News program today. He said, “violence against the state isn’t “senseless”.  Steyn  thought the President’s “senseless violence”  comment  brought to mind the  equivocating  term “ workplace violence”, as  in the Moore, Oklahoma beheading and Maj. Nidal Hassan‘s murderous jihad rampage at Fort Hood in 2009. Steyn instead  put the blame  for this week’s Montreal and Ottawa  attacks  squarely on Canada’s policy of multi-culturalism that tolerates Islamic theocratic doctrine supporting the barbarity of ISIS and similar Jihadist, Salafist groups.  He noted that while ISIS beheads  captive unbelievers  and violators of  Sharia, so does Wahhabist Saudi Arabia, an ally of the U.S. in the coalition of Operation  Inherent Resolve.

David B. Harris, former planning director for the Canadian Security and Intelligence Service (CSIS) and columnist on counterterrorism, spoke by phone with Cavuto about  Canada’s  dilemma. He was asked  if he thought the  Ottawa  event was a terrorist attack? He suggested  that, while it required confirmation, it certainly had the appearance of one. However, Harris  said that Canada may be unprepared for more such attacks in view of the significant number of Canadians who have left to join up with ISIS.  They  include  some who have become prominent ISIS  spokespersons, who may return to foster such domestic terrorism.  He drew attention to  a  Canadian Senate  testimony by Michel Coulombe the current head of  CSIS, who  indicated that Canada could be overwhelmed by such  ISIS inspired homegrown  terrorist  threats lacking the resources and legal means to combat them.

Watch this Fox News report  video report on the shootout today inside the Canadian Parliament:

EDITORS NOTE: This column originally appeared on the New English Review. The featured image is of police officers take cover near Parliament Hill following a shooting incident in Ottawa October 22, 2014. REUTERS/Chris Wattie

Nuclear Watchdog Confirms Blast at Parchin Nuclear Trigger Test Site in Iran

When we posted Monday, October 6th  on the mysterious blast at the Parchin military explosives test site in Iran , we said our first act was to contact the Washington, DC-based  Institute for Science and International Security (ISIS) headed by former nuclear inspector, David Albright.  ISIS, a highly regarded nuclear watchdog group,  maintains watching briefs on both the Iranian and North Korean nuclear programs.

The young man who answered our call said they would have an evaluation of imagery of the Parchin test site, alleged to be engaged in development of explosive nuclear triggers for possible weapons development.  The Parchin military test facility is located 28 kilometers southeast of Tehran.  The blast there occurred on Sunday night local time. It  produced a glare that could be seen 13 kilometers (approximately 10 miles) distant, as well as blew out windows.  The Iranian regime’s IRNA and opposition Samha news agencies reported on the blast at Parchin that killed two workers.  ISIS released evidence yesterday of damage at the Parchin test site based on satellite imagery, “Finding the Site of the Alleged Explosion at the Parchin Military Complex”.   Their analysis found:

After analyzing the sections of the Parchin military complex visible in satellite imagery, ISIS believes that one site located in the southern section of the complex could be the possible location of the explosion. This site is close to a series of bunkers, indicating that it could serve as a support area for the activities taking place there. Several signatures that coincide with those expected from an explosion site are visible here. Two buildings that were present in August 2014 are no longer there, while a third building appears to be severely damaged. In total at least six buildings appear damaged or destroyed. Several trucks are present at the site. The shape and size of these trucks is consistent with those of either fire or debris removal trucks. The irregular line and color of the vegetation seems to indicate that some unexpected activity took place (possibly a fire, explosion, scattering of debris etc.). Finally, grey debris is visible at the center of the potential explosion area and is also scattered into the surrounding vegetation.

Earlier today, it has been reported that the imagery shows that the damage is consistent with an attack against bunkers and that the locality is adjacent to another installation where work was being conducted that involves controlled detonation of fuses intended to serve as triggers for nuclear devices.

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For a larger view click on the image. Source: ISIS.

However, it is important to note that there is no evidence of either an attack or nuclear weapon-related activities at this specific site. There may be confusion over alleged high explosive nuclear weapon-related activities at another site at Parchin that occurred prior to 2004 (see figure 1 on the right).

Given the ISIS analysis,  the  question of whether the Parchin explosion was sabotage or a test failure is still open.  Sources, we have consulted with suggested it might be the former.  While the Washington ISIS has been monitoring activity at Parchin, the facility has been closed to IAEA inspections since 2005.

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For a larger view click on the image. Source: ISIS.

Three years ago, we posted on another massive explosion at a missile propellant test  center near Tehran in mid November, 2011, “Iranian Missile Test Site Explosion May Disable Solid Fuel ICMB Program – a Threat Played Down by the Obama Administration”. We noted:

Along with Gen. Hassan Tehrani Moghaddam the head of Iran’s missile test program and 17 other Iranians killed in the ‘accident’ there have been reportsthat a number of North Koreans present at the test facility were killed as well.  That is analogous to the IAF 2007 raid on the Syrian nuclear bomb factory when there was documented evidence of North Korean technicians present at the destroyed site.

The implication of the ‘accident’ is that the NIE May 2009 estimate of Iran’s ICBM capabilities was wrong, as experts cited in our report on The Iranian Missile Threat.  That report was used to justify that the Administration’s Missile Defense Shield program that only covered southeastern Europe. Strategically it means that the range of these solid fuel rockets, especially the MB-25 variant being developed by Iran, threatened targets in EU from the UK through Central and Eastern Europe, as well as, Russia.

According to a Reuters report on the ISIS analysis of the blast at Parchin, the IAEA has been denied access to Parchin by Iran on the grounds that it is a “conventional military facility”. It further noted that Iran said the November 2011 missile test site blast occurred while the “weapons were being moved”.

With questions raised about the pending final agreement proposals  under discussion in Vienna between representatives of the P5+1 and Iran, the Parchin military test site blast begs disclosures  on what triggered it.  Why Iran has denied access to the facility to the IAEA since 2005?  It is time for the Senate and House Select Intelligence Committees to hold closed door hearings on Iran’s nuclear activities during the year long interim agreement. An agreement that gave the green light for lifting some US and International sanctions.  Perhaps, Israel has information on both the incident at Parchin and Iran’s nuclear program. Yuval Steinitz, Israeli Minister of Intelligence , revealed before President Rouhani’s speech at the UN General Assembly in  September 2014 that  he had  such information  from “reliable sources”.

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

ISIS Beheads American Photo Journalist — Threatens second U.S. Captive

The Islamic State, formerly ISIS, in retribution for US air strikes in Northern Iraq, released a video of the purported beheading of intrepid American Photo Journalist James Wright Foley attired in an orange jump suit.  Foley was captured in Northern Syria in November 2012. Foley was previously held captive by Gaddafi forces in Libya in 2011 for 44 days. Foley, a native of Rochester, New Hampshire was working for the on-line Boston publication, Global Post that had spent hundreds of thousands of dollars trying to find and release him.  The video of his beheading was promptly taken down from YouTube under rules that Google has established as being too violent.    At the conclusion of the video there is a shot of another captive American Journalist, Steven Joel Sotloff.   Sotloff according to a report in the International Business Times (IBT) was captured near Aleppo on August 4, 2013. Sotloff, the IBT noted was,” a freelance journalist who had reported on Egypt, Syria, and Libya for TIME, the Christian Science Monitor, the National Interest and Foreign Policy magazine. There is also rumored to be another American aid worker captured by ISIS in the Syrian civil conflict.

Steven Joel Sotloff with ISIS Executioner

Steven Joel Sotloff with ISIS Executioner. Source: #ISIS.

This barbaric act by ISIS is reminiscent of the beheading on February 1, 2002 in Karachi, Pakistan  of Wall Street Journalist, Daniel Pearl, by Al Qaeda mastermind Khalid Sheik Mohammed in Karachi, Pakistan and American Contractor Nick Berg executed on May 7, 2004 in  Iraq by Abu Musab al-Zarqawi, the founder of the predecessor of ISIS, Al Qaeda in Iraq.

The Reuters account noted the contents of the graphic ISIS video entitled, “A Message to America”:

The video opened with a clip of U.S. President Barack Obama saying he had authorized strikes in Iraq.

“Obama authorizes military operations against the Islamic State effectively placing America upon a slippery slope towards a new war front against Muslims,” words appear in English and Arabic on the screen.

It showed black and white aerial footage of air strikes with text saying “American aggression against the Islamic State”

A person identified as James Foley and wearing an orange outfit is seen kneeling in the desert as a man in black dress with a black mask stands beside him, holding a knife.

“I call on my friends family and loved ones to rise up against my real killers, the U.S. government, for what will happen to me is only a result of their complacency and criminality,” the kneeling man says.

The man in the mask speaks in a British accent and says: “This is James Wright Foley, an American citizen, of your country. As a government, you have been at the forefront of the aggression towards the Islamic State.”

“Today your military air force is attacking us daily in Iraq. Your strikes have caused casualties amongst Muslims. You are no longer fighting an insurgency. We are an Islamic army and a state that has been accepted by a large number of Muslims worldwide.”

Following his statement he beheads the kneeling man.

At the end of the video, words on the side of the screen say “Steven Joel Sotloff” as another prisoner in an orange jumpsuit is shown on screen.

Global Post published this early account this evening of the loss of their colleague, Foley, “Reported beheading of James Foley not yet verified”:

The video asserts that the alleged killing of Foley is in retaliation for recent airstrikes by the United States against IS militants in northern Iraq. In it, Foley, kneeling next to an apparent IS militant, makes comments against the US for its actions. The militant also claims to be holding journalist Steven Joel Sotloff, who went missing in Syria a year ago.

Philip Balboni, GlobalPost CEO and co-founder, made the following statement: “On behalf of John and Diane Foley, and also GlobalPost, we deeply appreciate all of the messages of sympathy and support that have poured in since the news of Jim’s possible execution first broke. We have been informed that the FBI is in the process of evaluating the video posted by the Islamic State to determine if it is authentic. … We ask for your prayers for Jim and his family.”

GlobalPost, for whom Foley had reported in Syria, has mounted an extensive international investigation since November 2012 to determine who kidnapped Foley and where he was being held. Significant research has been undertaken throughout the Middle East, including along the Syria-Turkish border, in Lebanon, in Jordan and in other locations.

“Although Global Post’s investigation at one point led us to believe that James was being held by the Syrian government, we later were given strong reason to believe he was being held by Islamic militants in Syria,” Balboni said. “We withheld this information at the request of the family and on the advice of authorities cooperating in the effort to protect Jim. GlobalPost, working with a private security company, has amassed an enormous amount of information that has not been made public.”

National Security Council spokeswoman Caitlin Hayden affirmed in a statement that US officials are working to authenticate the video.

“We have seen a video that purports to be the murder of U.S. citizen James Foley by ISIL. The intelligence community is working as quickly as possible to determine its authenticity. If genuine, we are appalled by the brutal murder of an innocent American journalist and we express our deepest condolences to his family and friends. We will provide more information when it is available,” the statement said.

Foley was on a freelance assignment for GlobalPost when he was abducted in northern Syria on Nov. 22, 2012. He was on his way to the Turkish border when he was stopped by a group of armed men. Foley reported for GlobalPost from Libya and Afghanistan before traveling to Syria in the early days of the now long-running civil war that has taken the lives of more than 170,000.

Foley’s last article for GlobalPost detailed the growing frustration with the war among civilians in Aleppo.

The fact of Foley’s kidnapping was revealed publicly for the first time by his parents, John and Diane Foley of Rochester, New Hampshire, on Jan. 1, 2012, two months after his abduction. The only other American whose identity has been publicly revealed is Austin Tice, a freelance reporter for the McClatchy News Service and the Washington Post, who was kidnapped in August 2012.

The Foley family’s last public statement on the kidnapping came in October 2013.

While covering the Libyan civil war in 2011, Foley and two other journalists, American Claire Gillis and Spaniard Manu Brabo, endured a 44-day captivity in April and May of that year at the hands of then Libyan strongman Col. Muammar Gaddafi. A fourth journalist, South African Anton Hammerl, was killed when the journalists were captured by Gaddafi fighters near Benghazi in eastern Libya. Foley later returned to Libya to cover Gaddafi’s fall and eventual death. Foley and GlobalPost correspondent Tracey Shelton were at the scene of Gaddafi’s capture in October 2011.

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

French Syrian War Jihadi Arrested in Brussels Jewish Museum Attack

Brussels Jewish Museum Suspect French Syrian war jihadi Mehdi Nemouche.

Reuters reported French authorities have arrested a Muslim émigré Jihadi in Marseilles with a Kalashnikov assault rifle and another weapon in his possession.  The suspect 29 year old Mehdi Nemouche was arrested yesterday and identified as a returning Jihadi from Syria. Nemouche lived in the northern French city of Roubaix,

Reuters noted the following:

French media reported that he was suspected of having stayed in Syria with jihadist groups in 2013.

An Israeli couple and a French woman were killed on May 24 when a man entered the Jewish Museum in busy central Brussels and opened fire with a Kalashnikov rifle. A Belgian man remains in critical condition in hospital.

French President Francois Hollande confirmed a suspect had been arrested and said France was determined to do all it could to stop radicalized youths from carrying out attacks.

“We will monitor those jihadists and make sure that when they come back from a fight that is not theirs, and that is definitely not ours … to make sure that when they come back they cannot do any harm,” Hollande told reporters.

The message “to these jihadists is that we will fight them, we will fight them and we will fight them”, he said.

Hollande has said previously the attack was motivated by anti-Semitism.

A spokeswoman for the Belgian federal prosecutor’s office confirmed a suspect had been arrested in Marseille but declined to give further details. Prosecutors scheduled a news conference in Brussels for 3 p.m. (1300 GMT).

“This is a relief,” Joel Rubinfeld, head of the Belgian League against Anti-Semitism, told BFM TV.

“But this is also worrying us … it is  crucial that countries who have citizens who have gone to Syria take all necessary measures to make sure this does not happen again.”

Police released a 30-second video clip from the museum’s security cameras showing a man wearing a dark cap, sunglasses and a blue jacket enter the building, take a rifle out of a bag and shoot into a room before calmly walking out.

Belgian officials have said the shooting was probably a terrorist attack. Some security experts suggested it may have been the work of a hitman rather than an anti-Semitic “lone wolf”.

One of the Israeli victims, Emmanuel Riva, had previously worked for Nativ, a government agency that played a covert role in Jewish migration from the former Soviet Union, an Israeli official said.

Miriam Riva, his wife, had also worked in the past for the prime minister’s office, the official said.

Dr. Jill Bellamy van Aalst had posted recently on concerns in Holland regarding returning Syrian Jihadis and bio warfare threats to public health in the EU.   Just yesterday, we learned the identify of an American  Jihadi suicide  truck bomber killed in Syria,  was a resident in Florida,  Moner Mohammad Abu-Salha.who went by the name of Abu Hurayra Al-Amriki, “the American”.   Abu Huraya was a companion of the prophet Mohammed.  The American was killed in a massive Al Nusra suicide truck bombing operation in Idlib, Syria.  Al Nusra is the ‘official’ Al Qaeda resistance group active in the Syria Civil war opposition.

BomberSyria1.jpg

Syrian war American al Qaeda Suicide Bomber, Floridian Moner Mohammad Abu-Salha

FBI Director Comey said in a CNN report, “There’s going to be a diaspora out of Syria”. “And we are determined not to let lines be drawn from Syria today to a future 9/11.”  With the arrest of the French suspect in the Belgian Jewish Museum attack and disclosure of the American AQ martyr, the Syrian civil war has generated international concerns about the threat of returning jihadi veterans posing domestic threats as trained home grown terrorists.

As witnessed by the events in both Syria and Belgium, those threats pose a clear and present danger in both the EU and here in the US.  In retrospect, President Obama’s declaration during the 2012 campaign that “bin Laden is dead and Al Qaeda is on the run” appears premature, at best, if not dangerously myopic.

EDITORS NOTE: This column originally appeared on The New English Review.

Louisiana: Foreign Operated Charter School State Legislation Introduced

Kenilworth Science and Technology School(1)

Gulen Science Academy Baton Rouge, Louisiana

Turkey’s Sunni Muslim Brotherhood Islamist leader, Premier Erdogan, this June could become the country’s first elected Executive President modeled on the US and France. It would give him enormous powers furthering his goal of creating a neo-Ottoman Caliphate.  Erdogan’s former ally, Sufi Sheik Muhammed Fethullah Gülen launched a major split in December 2013, after Erdogan banned non-state run preparatory school. This was, aimed squarely at the Gulen academies, a major source of the multi-billion dollar Gulen Movement (GM) global empire. The GM supplies Turkish nonimmigrant foreign workers to more than 1,000 private preparatory schools in over 100 countries, including more than 135 Charter schools in 20 states here in the US.

The expat Sheik Gulen, a resident alien, occupies a fortified compound in the Poconos Mountains of Eastern Pennsylvania. In retaliation, GM followers in Turkey’s public prosecutors and judiciary launched a series of investigations against Erdogan.  The investigations revealed extensive family involvement with funneling funds via Saudi global terrorist financier for Al Qaeda –backed militias in Syria, bribery payments on major construction projects, illicit gold for gas trades with Iran and muzzling free speech with shutdown of Twitter and You Tube.  Recent municipal election victories in Turkey in late March have paved the way for changes in the country’s basic Constitutional law enabling Erdogan to seek the new form of Presidency. That could have his AK party extend its power a decade beyond the current 11 year tenure of the Islamist party in Ankara’s parliament.

What we have in Turkey today is a contest between two Islamists. Erdogan, seeking to convert the country into a Caliphate with a one time election to an executive Presidency, versus, Gulen “the world’s most dangerous Islamist” slowly perfects the same goal.

The GM connection here in the US is of interest, because of the controversy over the movement’s control of dozens of Math and Science academies operating with US taxpayer funding as charter schools. According to one source there are more than 135 Gulen charter schools with an enrollment of 45,000 students in over 20 states in the US. The staffs of these US charter schools are manned by Turkish Gulenists who enter the US under the H-1B visa program. There have been expose’s on the US Gulen science academies in Texas and elsewhere published by the New York Times. The Gulen  Harmony Schools in Texas received  $30 million in  grants  from the US Department of Education “Race to the Top” program.

We posted on an FBI raid of a Gulen science academy in Louisiana. Because of the problems with the Gulen charter schools, many states have either passed or are considering legislation that would control the proportion of H-1B Visa staff employed at Gulen-sponsored charter schools. The Gulen movement charter school program has been supported by the Gates and Walton Family Foundations.  The Walton Family Foundation contributed more than $1 million for Gulen schools in California, alone. Former President Bill Clinton has gone on record supporting the GM interfaith dialogue and educational development program in 2008. GM members were alleged to have contributed to Hillary Clinton’s failed Presidential Campaign in 2008.

Gulen’s immigration status came into question in the same year, 2008, in actions brought by the US Department of Homeland Security. Note what the Investigative Project on Terrorism (IPT) reported:

In 2008, negative U.S. Department of Homeland Security and U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Service decisions threatened to deny Gulen’s application for permanent residency. A federal court reversed the rulings after receiving 29 letters on Gulen’s behalf. One of those letters came from [Prof. John] Esposito [of Georgetown University]… after his Prince Alwaleed Bin Talal Center for Muslim-Christian Understanding received donations from the [GM] and sponsored a conference in [Gulen’s] honor.

We noted in a December 2013  Iconoclast post a report by Christopher Holton on the FBI investigations into Gulen  Louisiana charter schools and the efforts by a Texas-based GM charity to stop legislation controlling the influx of Turkish adherents under the H-1B visa program:

The story broke in Baton Rouge media that the Kenilworth Science & Technology School had been raided by the FBI.

The FBI indicated that the raid, which evidently was conducted to gather material evidence in the form of documents and computers, was not a matter of public safety. As a result, it probably was not related to a report earlier this year that a teacher at the school was accused of having inappropriate pictures of children on his cell phone.

Had those charges stuck, that would have been the second scandal of a sexual nature involving a Gulenist school in Louisiana. Abramson Science & Technology Charter School in New Orleans was shut down back in 2011 in the wake of a scandal that started as an investigation into sexual activity involving students at the school and evolved into a possible public bribery investigation. Abramson operated under the same charter organization that Kenilworth operates under: Pelican Educational Foundation.

During the course of the investigation into Abramson, Pelican’s ties to the Gulenist movement were revealed.

[ . . . ]

State Representative Cameron Henry in the 2013 legislative session … filed a bill that would have limited the number of employees hired by Louisiana state-funded charter schools who were in the country on H-1B visas. Henry’s legislation would have gotten right to the heart of the matter – with a very reasonable restriction that no more than 3.5 percent of the school’s employees be H-1B visa recipients (or 1 in 29), and that the people or groups submitting requests to start charter schools be American citizens.

Unfortunately, Henry’s bill hit hard where it hurt for some powerful, politically connected people in Louisiana. It seems that the number one donor to the Louisiana Republican Party in 2012 was none other than a Gulenist organization out of Texas. Kemal Oksuz, president of the Turquoise Council, a Texas-based group closely related to the Gulenist movement and the Harmony charter schools in that state, donated $83,000 to the state GOP, making him its largest donor during 2012.

Fast forward to the current 2014 legislative session in Baton Rouge and the re-introduction of restrictive legislation aimed at employment of nonimmigrant Turkish workers in Louisiana charter schools.

HB 1243 was introduced by Reps.  Hodges and Pope, in the Louisiana legislature in late March 2014. The bill’s purposes are to establish conditions for “approval of certain charter school proposals and provides relative to prohibitions on the employment of nonimmigrant foreign workers in charter schools, with exceptions.”  The bill denies” approval of charter school applications if  staff  positions  with  nonimmigrant  foreign  workers  unless the  charter  school  plans  to  take  affirmative  action  to  recruit,  select,  employ,  and  train nonimmigrant  foreign  workers  regardless  of race, color, religion, sex, national ancestry,  or  national  origin.”   The legislation defines a non immigrant foreign worker as ” as an individual  who  has  a  visa  pursuant  to  certain provisions  of  the  federal Immigration and Nationality Act of 1965’. Further it states that “non-immigrant foreign worker” shall not mean a teacher who spends more than half of his time providing instruction in or teaching a foreign language.”

Similar legislation was introduced in the 2014 Mississippi legislature.  HB510 contains similar bars against employment of nonimmigrant foreign workers.  Section 37-28-47 1. (b) of the, Mississippi Code of 1972, would be amended as follows:

 A charter school may not staff positions for teachers, administrators, ancillary support personnel or other employees by utilizing or otherwise relying on non-immigrant foreign worker visa programs.  However, a charter school may submit a request to the authorizer for an exception allowing the employment of a non-immigrant foreign worker before the worker is employed.  The authorizer may grant permission for the employment of the non-immigrant foreign worker only if the charter school makes a satisfactory showing of efforts to recruit lawful permanent residents of the United States to fill the position and a lack of qualified applicants to fill the position.

In May  2011, we were asked to prepare a presentation to brief the Tennessee House Speaker about the GM charter schools investigations at that time and the purported abuses of the H-1B visa program for nonimmigrant foreign workers, see here.  In May 2012, Tennessee Governor Bill Haslam allowed the law restricting the employment of nonimmigrant foreign workers for Charter schools approved by the state despite his misgiving and those of the State’s attorney general in an October 2012 opinion indicated  that the provisions might be unlawful under the equal protection provisions of the US Fourteenth Amendment.   A  Knoxville News .com report on the 2012 Tennessee legislation noted its provisions vis vis foreign interests, including funding as well as restriction on employment of nonimmigrant foreign workers:

The governor announced on May 2, 2012, that the bill restricting foreign interests in charter schools would go into law without his signature.

Under the act, which takes effect July 1, 2012, a chartering authority may not approve an application if a school plans to rely on “non-immigrant foreign worker H-1B or J1 visa programs in excess of 3.5 percent of the total number of positions,”  if operators of the proposed school have been affiliated with other schools that have been “subjects of investigation by any government agencies for questionable use of non-immigrant foreign worker visa programs,” or if  the school is controlled by foreign nationals. Certain provisions of the law do not apply if the chartering authority is a local education agency and the agency itself uses foreign worker visa programs to fill more than 3.5 percent of its staff.

The law also states that charter school applications and renewals shall disclose all sources of private funds and all funds from foreign sources.

The emergence of restrictive employment of non-immigrant foreign workers will take a long time to be adopted by Louisiana and Mississippi, notwithstanding the relatively quick adoption in Tennessee.  Given the battles in Turkey between the AK party of Premier Erdogan and former ally Sheik Gulen there will doubtless be intense pressure to place GM Turkish adherents through its global private academy and charter school network.

There is a further compounding factor that should be considered. The attractiveness of investment in private run charter schools to so-called entrepreneurial immigrants under the EB-5 Visa system. In exchange for a $500,000 private investment, the investor receives an immediate green card.  Note this Reuters article, “The new US visa rush: Build a charter school, get a green card”:

Wealthy individuals from as far away as China, Nigeria, Russia and Australia are spending tens of millions of dollars to build classrooms, libraries, basketball courts and science labs for American charter schools.

In Buffalo, New York, foreign funds paid for the Health Sciences Charter School to renovate a 19th-century orphanage into modern classrooms and computer labs. In Florence, Arizona, overseas investment is expected to finance a sixth campus for the booming chain of American Leadership Academy charter schools.

And in Florida, state business development officials say foreign investment in charter schools is poised to triple next year, to $90 million.

The reason? Under a federal program known as EB-5, wealthy foreigners can in effect buy U.S. immigration visas for themselves and their families by investing at least $500,000 in certain development projects.

The GM has latched on to a good thing in the Charter School system here in the US. It provides a platform for indoctrinating American children in its form of Turkish Islamism supplying employment for GM adherents. The EB-5 system would bolster investment in Charter Schools not only by the GM but also by the Muslim Brotherhood perfecting its form of Da’wah to Somali émigré children. That occurred in Minneapolis with the Muslim American Society control of the Tarek Ibn Zayed Academy subjected to a suit by the Minnesota branch of the ACLU in violation of the establishment clause of the First Amendment.  Let’s see if these bills can make it through the Louisiana and Mississippi legislatures in the waning days of the 2014 sessions. Those legislative bills  and the Tennessee law are a work in process that other states with GM charter school problems might consider investigating as remedies.

EDITORS NOTE: This column originally appeared on The New English Review.

Erdogan: Don’t believe Your Lying Ears!

Erdogan and son Bilal

Turkish Premiere Erdogan and son Bilal

Premier Erdogan appears to be digging a hole deeper and deeper hole in his credibility to keep his Premiership in Turkey.  The latest example is the kerfuffle that was created by the release of several alleged phone calls with his son, Bilal, a person of interest in the corruption probe, mid-December 2013.  The several calls with Bilal over December 17th and 18th, when the public prosecutor revelations hit the media,  appear to be deliberate attempts to scatter in excess of 30 million Euros ($40 million) to relatives and favored businessmen in Turkey. Erdogan in rebuttal said it was all a fabrication by the Gulenist “deep state” out to embarrass him in the final run up to the March 30th municipal elections in Turkey.  It appears he may survive the onslaught of his self inflicted political injuries, because of a divided opposition if you believe some Turkish polls. Reuters noted:

“They went and made a shameless montage and released it,” Erdogan told deputies. “They are even listening to the state’s encrypted telephones. That’s how low they are.”

“There is no allegation that we cannot answer.”

The “they” cited by Erdogan was a reference to those among the followers of U.S.-based Islamic cleric Gulen he accuses of building a “parallel state” using influence in the judiciary and police. Gulen denies the accusation.

“We will reveal one-by-one the disgraces of the parallel organization and we will make those who walk with them so embarrassed they won’t be able to go onto the street,” he said.

Watch this purported English translation of the Erdogan calls on this You Tube video:

[youtube]http://youtu.be/AzEZKox66_c[/youtube]

Watch this France 24/7 report on the Erdogan phone calls and his suggestion to have the Turkish government Scientific Research Institute do a voice print analysis to settle the matter:

[youtube]http://youtu.be/HgG1LGmEuHY[/youtube]

Over this weekend there were conflicting reports from the Wall Street  Journal  about analysis of audio  supplied to labs in New Jersey and Manhattan by what appears to  audio files US Turkish allies of Erdogan. The Wall Street Journal, article in the Weekend edition, WSJ Turkish Scandal Ripples in US, noted the peculiar circumstances behind the two audio lab reports.  However, Sunday’s Zaman had a rebuttal in its report, “American company says Erdogan voice recording genuine”.   Their report cited the conflicting audio lab tests saying:

John Marshall Cheary III, founder and CEO of John Marshall Media Inc., issued a statement on his company’s Facebook account on Wednesday denying the claims of some Turkish pro-government media that the telephone recordings had been proven to be fake after technical analysis by his company. He said his company has not issued any opinions on any Turkish-language digital recordings, calling the document a blatant forgery that is signed with the company name “J Ou Productions” and has a John Marshall Media business card stapled to the top. “This is not official JMM letterhead. And the fact that the company in the signature and the business card stapled to the top are different companies makes this an obvious attempt at deception,” Cheary III said in the statement.

[…]

The other company, Kaleidoscope Sound, mentioned in the [WSJ] story as having provided technical evidence that the recordings had been spliced together, also issued a Facebook message explaining that their report could only determine whether the recording had been edited or was a continuous conversation. Owner Randy Crafton said that making any determinations beyond this “would certainly require at least a native Turkish speaker.”
“We are a commercial recording studio that specializes in recording, editing, and mixing audio, mostly music. We have no credentials as audio forensics specialists, just our experience as audio professionals,” Crafton said. “Please do not construe this to be an indication of innocence or guilt on anyone’s part; it is simply an answer to the question asked,” he added. Those who say the recording is genuine admit they are an audio file containing five different conversations that took place at different locations over 26 hours.

Sunday’s Zaman referred to a McClatchy Newspaper report by a qualified expert Joshua Marpet who issued a formal report that appears to confirm that the audio files are authentic.  Read the 11 page report with graphics of matching voice prints, here.  Zaman noted:

Joshua Marpet, managing principal of cyber analytics firm Guarded Risk, told McClatchy that the recordings appear to be genuine. The only apparent “montage,” Erdo?an’s term for the recordings, was the combination of the five different conversations into one audio file, said Marpet, who was reported to have testified in court on the validity of computer evidence in Turkish criminal cases. He said there was no sign that the individual conversations had been edited. “If it’s fake, it’s of a sophistication that I haven’t seen,” he said.

Note what Erdogan did in furtherance of the France 24/7 suggestion as reported by Sunday’s Zaman:

Erdogan rejected claims that the recordings are genuine in a written statement and later at public rallies, claiming that they had been “dubbed” and edited. In the speeches, however, he acknowledged that his encrypted phones had been tapped, which has been perceived as a confession that the conversations actually occurred. Science, Industry and Technology Minister Fikri Itik, who is responsible for the Scientific and Technological Research Council of Turkey , seconded Erdogan, saying, “He feels that the recordings were manipulated.”

He also stated that five TÜB?TAK employees in charge of the encrypted phones had been sacked.

Evidence of the recordings’ authenticity abounds . On Wednesday, audio engineers and specialists released analyses they had conducted in professional labs to verify that the talks had not been edited or spliced and that the voices actually belong to the prime minister and his son. A former Republican People’s Party (CHP) deputy and IT specialist Tacidar Seyhan, the studios Babajim Records and STD, among many others, found no trace of doctoring in the recordings.

Meanwhile, the WSJ reported on the Teflon-like poll figures for Erdogan versus the opposition  in the March 30th municipal elections,  WSJ Swing Voters Swinging Erdogan’s Way.

Our usually well informed European – based observer of developments in Turkey had these comments:

As far as I have heard Erdogan is losing votes and might lose the cities of Istanbul and Ankara. People are being asked to apply as election booth controllers so that the AKP does not rig the ballot boxes. We have another month until the elections and a lot of mud will be slung by Erdogan and the opposition.

EDITORS NOTE: This column originally appeared on The New English Review.