An illuminating discussion, as the truth meets cherished Leftist assumptions.
An illuminating discussion, as the truth meets cherished Leftist assumptions.
Every once in a great while, an independent-minded United Kingdom official is overcome with a bout of common sense on firearms. However, such outbursts of reason are typically short-lived, as the gun control apostate becomes the immediate target of the country’s anti-gun establishment politicians and media. Such was the case in 2014, when former Leader of the United Kingdom Independence Party and Member of the European Parliament Nigel Farage had the temerity to point out that the UK’s handgun ban is “ludicrous” and call for its repeal.
Following the recent terror attacks in Manchester and London, Devon and Cornwall Police and Crime Commissioner Alison Hernandez was taken by a similar case of logic. During a June 12 appearance on BBC Radio Cornwall, Hernandez suggested that armed citizens could provide an important response to a terrorist violence.
According to an account and audio of Hernandez’s BBC appearance made available by the Guardian, a caller – who is a firearms dealer — to the radio show asked the police commissioner, “If there should ever be a terrorist attack, what happens if I and other people try to defend themselves using those guns? What would be the repercussions?” After lauding the caller’s question, Hernandez responded that such an armed response “might be some of our solution to our issues.”
The audibly dumbfounded BBC host, called the caller’s proposal “vigilantism,” going on to question the caller’s ability to properly handle and use firearms. Even after the host’s initial derisive comments, Hernandez defended her position stating, “I’m just saying, let’s officially have a look at that and see what would be the implications of it…. We work with businesses to keep our communities safe. I’d really be interested in exploring that with the chief constable.”
Unfortunately, Hernandez’s rational position was lost on Chief Constable Shaun Sawyer and Deputy Chief Constable Paul Netherton. The same day as Hernandez’s interview, Netherton issued a response to the police commissioner’s comments that appears to foreclose even a discussion about the use of private firearms to stop a terrorist threat.
In the release, Netherton noted that during an attack, “highly trained police firearms officers and Special Forces will be deployed to protect our communities,” and that “Under no circumstances would we want members of the public to arm themselves with firearms, not least because officers responding would not know who the offenders were, and quite obviously they would not have the time to ask.”
Netherton also reiterated official UK response policy, stating, “Our message to the public is a simple one: to run, to hide and to tell.” This charge is a noticeably neutered version of the United States Department of Homeland Security’s “Run, Hide, Fight.”
Just as disturbing as the UK’s disrespect of the fundamental right to self-defense is the ongoing effort by the UK’s political and media establishment to preclude any debate on the topic. Nigel Farage’s comments on the handgun ban were met with “fury,” with one opposing lawmaker dismissing Farage’s Ukip party as “extremely dangerous.” The BBC host dismissed Hernandez’s comments and the caller’s question out of hand. Likewise, Netherton released a statement refuting Hernandez’s position without exploration or discussion. Far from radical, Hernandez’s thoughts on fighting terrorism are shared by former Interpol Secretary General Ronald K. Noble.
Such foreclosure of discourse is unbecoming a so-called liberal democracy. Today’s UK would do well to rediscover the great English classical liberal philosopher John Stuart Mill, as his work on the merits of free thought and vigorous discourse appears to be foreign to most of its subjects.
Analysis: The Saudis and their Arab allies have had enough of Qatar and its media proxy al Jazeera’s behavior. They intend to win this fight.
The Emirate of Qatar is a peninsula that juts out from Saudi Arabia into the Persian Gulf. The only overland route out of Qatar is by way of Saudi Arabia and if that route is blocked, the only way to reach Qatar or leave it is by air or sea. However, flights to and from Qatar pass over Saudi air space part of the time and ships from or to Qatar have to pass through Saudi territorial waters. This means that Saudi Arabia can in effect declare a total blockade on Qatar if it so desires. It has never done so before, but it began the process on June 5th.
In addition to a blockade, the Saudis, joined by the United Emirates, Bahrain, Egypt, Libya, Mauritius, the Philippines and the Maldives, cut off diplomatic and consular relations with Qatar. Egypt, Libya and the Emirates declared that they would ban Qatari plans and ships from their air space and territorial waters. In 2014, these countries took much milder steps in order to punish Qatar, cancelling them once Qatar agreed to accept the dictates of the Umma and signed the Riyadh agreement along with the rest of the Arab nations.
The reasons provided by the countries involved for the unprecedented severity of the current steps against Qatar included: “Qatar aids the Muslim Brotherhood and other terror organizations such as Hezbollah, Hamas, ISIS and Jebhat al-Nusrah” and “The Emir of Qatar has declared that Iran is a good nation” as well as “Qatar destabilizes our regime,” as well as ” Qatar provides hiding places and shelter to Muslim Brotherhood leaders who fled there from Egypt,” and “Qatar is giving aid to the Houthi rebels (read Shiites) in Yemen.”
Another and most subtle reason, whose source is a Kuwaiti commentator, appears on al Jazeera‘s site: “Qatar refused to meet Trump’s financial demands.” This odd remark relates to a rumor on Facebook and other social network sites claiming that before Trump agreed to come to the Riyadh Arab League Conference, he demanded the Gulf Emirates purchase US arms in the legendary sum of one and a half trillion dollars, to be divided among Saudi Arabia, Qatar and the United Emirates. The three agreed, but Qatar pulled out at the last minute, causing the Emirates to follow suit, and leaving the Saudis holding the bill demanded by Trump. The falling through of this deal, the largest in history, may have been the reason for Trump’s noticeably grim face in Riyadh.
Claiming that Qatar causes the destabilization of regimes is a veiled hint referring to al Jazeera which broadcasts from Qatar. Every since it began broadcasting in 1996 from the capital city of Qatar, Doha, al Jazeera has infuriated Arab rulers because it constantly carries out a media Jihad against them also aimed at others such as Israel, the US, the West and Western culture. The channel also promotes and supports the Muslim Brotherhood and its offshoots such as Hamas, al Qaeda and the Northern Branch of the Islamic Movement in Israel headed by Sheikh Raad Salah. Al Jazeera‘s media strategy is determined by Qatar’s Emir and is carried out down to the last detail by its very professional leading broadcaster and editorial policy setter, Jamal Rian, a Palestinian born in Tul Karem in 1953, who moved to Jordan where he was active in the Muslim Brotherhood until expelled by King Hussein.
Every so often other Arab regimes, chief among them Egypt under Mubarak, attempted to close down al Jazeera‘s offices in their countries after overly harsh criticism was aimed at the ruling government, only to reopen them when al Jazeera simply stepped up its attacks
The general feeling is that any government official – or anyone at all – who opposes a ruling regime (and there is no shortage of these people in any Arab country) leaks embarrassing information to al Jazeera all the time, so that the channel is always poised to expose the information when the time is ripe and especially if the now-cornered victim has been unfriendly to it and to Islamists. The thought of this happening is enough to paralyze every Arab leader who would like to clamp down on al Jazeera in his country.
Every time a conflict erupts between Israel and Hamas, al Jazeera comes out in favor of the terrorist organization because of Qatar’s support of it. Hamas leader Haled Mashaal, makes his home in Qatar and the Qatari Emir is the only Arab leader so far to visit Hamas-ruled Gaza. The Emir has give billions to Hamas, enabling the organization to develop its terror infrastructure.
Qatar has budgeted half a billion dollars to “buy” organizations such as UNESCO (whose next head will, unsurprisingly, be from Qatar), as well as media, academic and government figures to advance the goal of removing Jerusalem from Israeli hands. Al Jazeera runs a well publicized and organized campaign in order to ensure this outcome. This is the face of media jihad.
Saudi Arabia has never allowed al Jazeera‘s reporters to work from within the country, but does allow them to cover special events once in a while, mainly the Hajj. The Saudis know exactly what the Emir had up his sleeve when he founded a media network that would rule over Arab monarchs by means of recording their slip-ups, taking advantage of the Arab obsession with avoiding public humiliation by broadcasting from a satellite that can reach every house in the Arab world with no way of blocking it.
The last reports are that the Saudis blocked access to the al Jazeera internet site from their territory. It is harder to block al Jazeera‘s satellite channel reception legally and it can still be accessed throughout the monarchy. Arab media attribute the blockage to declarations supportive of Hamas and Hezbollah made by the Emir of Qatar after Trump’s speech in Riyadh in which the US president included Hamas and Hezbollah in his list of terror organization, equating them with al Qaeda and ISIS.
Sorry, but I do not buy that story. Declarations about third parties (Iran, Hamas, Hezbollah) are ordinarily not the reason a public dispute erupts between Iranian monarchs. In my opinion, the reason for blocking the al Jazeera site in Saudi Arabia is a photograph posted on the al Jazeera site while Trump was in Riyadh.
This photo shows King Suleiman of Saudi Arabia awarding the Gold Decoration, the highest honor of the Saudi monarchy, to Donald Trump, but that is not the reason it was posted on al Jazeera. The reason has to do with the woman appearing in it and standing between Suleiman and Trump. I do not know what her name is, but she accompanied Trump during his entire stay in Riyadh standing just behind him and carrying a briefcase. Perhaps she is an interpreter. She is carrying a briefcase filled with important documents that have to be with Trump all the time in one picture as he, of course, would not be seen carrying a briefcase and standing be
What is interesting about this woman is that she spent the entire time in the royal palace with her hair uncovered, like Melania Trump, the First Lady, did, even though women with uncovered hair are not to be seen in Saudi Arabia. In the palace, women are also not allowed to b e seen in the company of men. Al Jazeera posted this photo intentionally, in order to embarrass the king who granted Trump an award even though he was accompanied by women who, like those in the picture, who do not cover their hair. That photo of the king was the last straw and the Saudis blocked al Jazeera.
Qatar is now under great pressure. The nations that broke off relations with Qatar have stopped recognizing the Qatari Rial as a viable currency and have confiscated all the Qatari Rials in their banks. As a result, Qatar cannot purchase goods with its own currency and must use its foreign currency reserves. The supermarket shelves in Qatar have been emptied by residents hoarding food for fear that the blockade will not allow food to be imported. Long lines of cars can be seen trying to leave for Saudi Arabia to escape being shut up in the besieged, wayward country.
Qatar is trying to get the US to help improve the situation. The largest American air force base in the Gulf is located in Qatar and it is from there that the attacks on ISIS are generated. Qatar also hosts the US Navy Fifth Fleet as well as the Central Command and Control of US forces in that part of the world. Qatari media stress the US concern about the siege that the Saudis have put on Qatar.
As part of its efforts to enlist US aid, Qatar has begun a counterattack: Qatar media have publicized that the U.A.E. ambassador, Yousef Al Otaiba , said on US election eve: “What star could make Donald Trump the president?” This is intended to cause a rift between the US and the Gulf Emirates, but will certainly not improve Qatar’s own relations with the Emirates.
Meanwhile, the Saudis and the Emirates have ejected Qatar from the coalition fighting the Houthis in Yemen, and there are rumors that they will also remove Qatar from the Council for Cooperation in the Gulf. The Saudis could suspend Qatar’s membership in the Arab League and other organizations if this dispute continues, raising the pressure on the Emir’s al-Thani clan.
The next few days will decide Qatar’s future. There is a distinct possibility that the foreign ministers of Qatar and the Arab nations taking part in the boycott against it will meet in some neutral spot, perhaps Kuwait, Qatar will give in and new rules will be set by Arab leaders, that is by King Suleiman, to keep Qatar in line. They would include: toning down al Jazeera and perhaps even switching its managerial staff, ending the support for the Muslim Brotherhood and other terror organizations, ending cooperation with Iran and above all, listening to what the Saudi “Big Brother” says about issues, especially those having to do with financial dealings with the US. Once the conditions for Qatari surrender are agreed upon, we can expect the ministers to meet the press, publicize a declaration on the end of the intra-family dispute, shake hands before the cameras and smile – until the next crisis.
There is, however, another scenario: Qatar does not give in, the Saudis and its allies invade, their armies eject the Emir and Mufti of Qatar, and also Jamal Rian, the guiding brain behind Al Jazeera’s policies. They would then appoint a new Emir from the ruling family, one who knows how to behave, one who listens to the Saudis. No one except for Iran, the Muslim Brotherhood and Hamas would oppose this solution, and the soft-spoken condemnations will not succeed in hiding the world’s joy and sighs of relief if the Saudis actually carry out that plan.
If you have an open mind, and want to analyze the travel ban from one professional perspective, read on. If not, close your mind – at our nation’s peril.
What is the travel ban? You may try to read it before you judge it.
Summarized, the U.S. government will not allow travelers from 7 countries of “particular concern” into the United States – Iran, Iraq, Syria, Libya, Somalia, Yemen, and Sudan for 90 days. All refugees are halted for 120 days, Syrian refugees indefinitely.
Why? To evaluate the post 9/11 vetting processes required to enter the U.S., in order to protect U.S. citizens from violent extremist attacks. Questions that must be addressed: 1. Is there a threat? Is there weakness in the system? 2. How can we make us safer?
The Obama administration labeled 3 of these countries as states sponsors of terrorism – Iran, Syria and Sudan. With the exception of Iran, each of the countries has a failed central government or is locked in deadly civil war. Obama ordered attacks on 6 of them.
Is there a threat? Sophisticated and well-resourced Islamic extremists, including ISIS and Al Qaeda, are fighting on their territories. Thousands of men, women and even children have planned, trained and sworn oaths to kill Americans as a religious duty. Their numbers have grown exponentially in the last 7 years – while we tried to be accepting. It is not easy to distinguish the fighters from the innocent.
Is there a weakness? As a former Counter-Terror professional, Intelligence Officer and Security Assistance Officer at multiple US Embassies, I can say with high confidence that the visa system still has weaknesses. The system still depends on people. People make mistakes. A few are corrupt.
According to the 9/11 Commission report, the attack plotters submitted 23 visa requests, 22 were approved. Only two terrorists were actually interviewed, and a single consular officer issued 11 of the 19 hijackers’ visas. The commission believed that without these visas, the plot would have likely failed.
After the devastation of 9/11, the visa process changed dramatically. It now depends on much improved information sharing and cooperation among many federal agencies, foreign governments, DHS Visa Support Units (VSUs), data bases and biometrics. Many of my U.S. State Department friends, government bureaucrats, and vocal partisan activists defend the process, and say we owe people entry.
However, the system depends on the effectiveness of the intelligence community. It depends greatly on cooperation with the traveler’s host nation government to provide accurate information, background checks and criminal histories. And finally, it rests on the consular officer who issues the visa. The complex system is only as good as the data collected, and the people involved.
These 7 states have either supported terror, or have very weak institutions torn by war. The U.S. doesn’t have effective relations with their police, intelligence or military. No one is taking biometric scans of every teenage ISIS fighter, or female jihadists. Often a State Department junior officer, doing his or her mandatory one-time consular tour, approves a visa. For these places of concern, the consular is probably not even in the applicant’s home country.
Consular officers are fallible; a few are convicted of fraud and corruption. Cut every year. My wife’s former boss, Pat Raikes, the senior consular in Beirut just before 9/11, traded airline tickets for visas. In 2015, Michael Sestak, pled guilty to trading over 500 visas for more than $3 million. Prior to the Foreign Service, Sestak was a police officer, Federal Marshall, and Navy Intelligence Officer. Apparently Shayna Steiner, the Foreign Service Officer who issued those 11 hijackers’ visas, still works for the Department of State. She may not be a criminal, maybe a good person – but she made mistakes that cost thousands of lives.
The intelligence community missed 9/11 (2,996 killed, 6,000+ wounded.) Good people missed clear terror ties to the San Bernardino shooters (14 killed, 22 wounded.) FBI agents interviewed, investigated and released the ISIS aligned Pulse Nightclub shooter – twice (49 killed, 52 wounded), and the recent Ft. Lauderdale shooter (5 killed, 6 wounded.) The FBI knew of the Boston bomber (3 killed, 264 wounded.) US Army Major Nadal killed 14 soldiers after openly briefing other Army psychologists on his growing animosity and fundamentalist awakening. In each of these cases, the system failed. Good people missed it – or were too arrogant, incompetent, or in fear of politically-correct retribution to act.
Every consular knows applicants lie, even if they are not terrorists. Good people will say anything to get to America. You can bet trained ISIS or Al Qaeda fighters will lie better. It is hard to sort the innocent from the evil. Ultimately the system rests on the competence and personal judgments of thousands of dedicated but imperfect people, often with flawed data. The vast majority of our people are fantastic professionals, but Americans pay dearly for the bad ones and the mistakes.
How can we make us safer? We must listen to what we don’t want to hear, and wish wasn’t true – accept that many religious fundamentalists want to destroy America, whether you believe it is America’s fault or not. Accept that we have weaknesses and can improve our system. Accept that our elected government has the fundamental responsibility to protect all U.S. citizens, and our constitution above all else – not foreign citizens or failed states.
We should demand reviews like this one. We must update our processes continually. We must ensure our good people are alert and accountable, or we guarantee another 9/11, Boston or San Bernardino. If our enemies have their way, the next attack will be much worse.
We should protect our borders and enhance our safety, just as we lock our doors when we know there is danger. Leaving your door open doesn’t keep bad guys away, it invites them in.
EDITORS NOTE: The featured image is courtesy of Breitbart. In wake of Paris terrorist attacks, below is a map of the states shutting their doors to Syrian refugees.
Invasion of Europe News….
Sheesh! The International Organization for Migration (IOM) yesterday said, don’t stop the boats and the boat people from Africa and the Middle East, find ways for them to migrate legally to Europe. (See former Australian Prime Minister Tony Abbott tell the Europeans to turn back the boats, here.)
The IOM was for years a quasi-non-profit organization (getting most of its money from governments) and a US refugee contracting agency whose job it was, and still is, to get refugees ready to fly to your towns and cities. You will see refugees in US airports with blue IOM bags.
Now the agency has been folded in to the United Nations and it is one more reason to sever our ties with the UN!
Here, yesterday, they reported on the number of illegal migrants who have arrived in Europe in 2016.
Switzerland – IOM on Friday (06/01) reported preliminary totals for all 2016 migrant and refugee arrivals to Europe via the Mediterranean Sea, as well as estimated fatalities. Arrival totals were 363,348 split almost evenly between Italy and Greece, with much smaller numbers arriving in Malta, Cyprus and Spain. Fatalities and missing migrants reached at least 5,079 although IOM emphasizes that some incidents reported in the month of December and earlier have not been fully accounted for.
According to IOM’s Missing Migrants Project, incidents off Spain, Morocco and Tunisia have been reported whose victim totals could add another 300 or more fatalities to the 2016 total. The year 2016 already is the deadliest for migrants ever recorded by IOM in the region.
The probable addition of several hundred more fatalities recorded in 2016 only deepens the tragedy, said IOM Director General William Lacy Swing, who added, Europe’s frustration with a seemingly endless cycle of migrant rescue followed by reports of shipwrecks and more drownings won’t end until governments throughout the region find a way to manage migration comprehensively.
“Migrants and refugees aren’t coming because they believe their lives will be rescued at sea once they leave Africa or Syria or wherever conflicts drives people to seek safety,” Ambassador Swing said. “They’re leaving because they believe their lives will be doomed if they stay. The answer lies in finding creative means to permit safe, legal and secure migration, be that through work visas, family reunification or temporary protected status. [UNHCR is searching for “alternative pathways” to move the third world to the first since most of these migrants are not legitimate refugees.—ed] Instead of doubling down on tactics that don’t work, let’s use this New Year to try something that’s actually new.”
Read the whole article, these numbers are way down for Greece, but up for Italy.
See our complete ‘Invasion of Europe’ archive by clicking here.
WeSearchr and GotNews published more of their findings that neither the government nor media have yet discovered or released: BREAKING: #FortLauderdale Terrorist #EstebanSantiago Joined MySpace As “Aashiq Hammad”, Recorded Islamic Music – GotNews
Fort Lauderdale Airport terrorist Esteban Santiago registered on MySpace under the name “Aashiq Hammad” and recorded Islamic religious music on the site, 3 years before he ever deployed to Iraq as a U.S. soldier, destroying the lying mainstream media’s narrative that he was just a mentally disturbed veteran and that “Islam had nothing to do with it.”
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And take a look at the three songs recorded by “Aashiq Hammad.” The first one is titled “La ilaha illAllah”, which is Arabic for “There is no God but Allah,” and the first half of the Muslim declaration of faith, the Shahadah:
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That song was recorded in 2007, 3 years before Esteban Santiago went to Iraq as a U.S. soldier in 2010, destroying the lying mainstream media’s narrative that he was a “mentally disturbed veteran”, although even they admit Santiago went into an FBI office in 2015 and told agents he was being forced to watch ISIS videos by voices in his head (or something).
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“Aashiq Hammad” also has Bryan Santiago — Esteban’s brother — as a connection…
The perpetrator of today’s random shooting at Fort Lauderdale, Esteban Santiago Ruiz is a Puerto Rican Salafist Sunni Muslim who was a resident of Anchorage, Alaska. CBS reported that he walked into an Anchorage, Alaska FBI office in November 2016 claiming he was forced to fight for ISIS.
He was born in New Jersey, but moved to Penuela, Puerto Rico to live with his brother and mother shortly thereafter. He moved to Alaska in 2015 for work, and had been employed as a security guard. Same job as Omar Mateen, the perpetrator of the Orlando Pulse Nightclub Massacre. He was “fighting with a lot of people” during his time in Alaska, including his girlfriend. At the time of the shooting, he was receiving mental help for his depression .
Santiago Ruiz is reportedly a Sunni Muslim with Salafist beliefs, and he is a father of one. He served in the Puerto Rican National Guard for six years. He also signed up for the National Guard as a combat engineer and served a year in Iraq. Reports indicate he had a history of mental health issues. In November 2016, he walked into the FBI office in Anchorage, claiming he was fighting for ISIS.
Esteban Santiago Ruiz’s record:
Santiago took Delta Airlines Flight #1088 from Anchorage to Minneapolis – Saint Paul Thursday night. He landed Friday morning, and then took Delta Flight no. 2182 from Minneapolis-St. Paul to Fort Lauderdale. He then appeared in the Terminal 2 baggage claim area wearing a Star Wars shirt.
Witnesses say he appeared to randomly target his victims during the shooting spree which has left at at least five people dead and many more injured. He was apprehended by authorities when he stopped shooting to reload, witnesses said.
EDITORS NOTE: The featured image is of Santiago pictured wearing a black on green Palestinian Keffiyeh scarf giving a “one-finger salute,” a gesture displayed by the ISIS gunman who shot the Russian ambassador in December.
President-elect Donald Trump was right during the campaign to call the Iran nuclear agreement “the worst deal ever negotiated” by the United States government.
Not only did it reward a terrorist state with $100 billion of frozen oil revenues (some say, $150 billion), it dismantled an extensive armature of international sanctions that had cut Iran’s oil exports in half, banned it from the international financial system, and was beginning to threaten the regime with domestic unrest.
Obama tried to set this bad nuclear deal in concrete by incorporating most of its measures into a United Nations Security Council Resolution.
This will make its undoing more complicated than some analysts imagine. It’s not just a piece of paper President Trump can rip up, as a group of American nuclear scientistsimply. The international sanctions regime Obama destroyed took years to build and cannot be reconstructed in a day.
But the incoming president and Congress have other options for ratcheting up pressure on the Iranian regime, options that can be enacted unilaterally.
A group of conservative leaders released a letter to House Foreign Affairs Committee chairman Ed Royce (R-Calif.) on Thursday, commending him for a resolution he introduced in the final days of the last Congress on the restitution of or compensation for property wrongly confiscated by the Islamic Republic of Iran.
“Totalitarian regimes historically have confiscated property from individuals whose sole ‘crime’ consisted of supporting the previous government,” the letter states.
“When the Islamic regime seized power in 1979, it followed in the footsteps of these earlier totalitarians.”
The letter, and spearheaded by the Foundation for Democracy in Iran, which I chair, recalled Congressional action against previous cases of unjust expropriation, most notably the Helms-Burton Act — also known as the Cuban Liberty and Democratic Solidarity Act of 1996 — which penalized foreign companies trafficking in property stolen from Cuban nationals.
“Pro-Castro advocates screamed that Helms-Burton would cause irrevocable harm to the United States with friends and allies around the world. Nothing of the sort occurred,” the letter states.
“We believe the time has come to envisage a similar measure for the victims of the Islamic Republic of Iran, many of whom have become United States citizens, whose properties were unjustly expropriated.”
Signatories to the letter include Colin A. Hanna, President of Let Freedom Ring; Admiral James “Ace” Lyons, Jr, former Pacific Fleet commander; Frank Gaffney, President and CEO of the Center for Security Policy; Judson Phillips, founder of Tea Party Nation; Amy Ridenour, Chairman of the National Center for Public Policy Research; Ellen Sauerbrey, former Assistant Secretary of State for Population, Refugees, and Migration; and myself.
The letter also won support and was signed by Iranian-American human rights advocates and journalists and by leaders of the American Middle East Coalition for Trump.
On July 7, 1979, the new Islamic state in Iran issued a decree seizing the assets of 51 supporters of the previous regime and their families. A few weeks later, a revolutionary Court issued a separate order confiscating the assets of another 209 individuals and their families.
According to court documents the claimants provided to me, the properties seized included major factories and industrial conglomerates, hotels, private residences, real estate, land, stock, and other holdings, which today are worth more than $100 billion.
In all, thousands of Iranians were directly robbed by the Islamic regime, and millions more were terrorized with the threat of confiscations.
Many of these individuals subsequently fled to America and became U.S. citizens. But few were American citizens at the time of the revolution, and thus have been unable to seek restitution through the Iran-U.S. Claims Tribunal in The Hague, or through U.S. courts.
Their assets were turned over to para-state foundations, known as “bonyads,” which are owned or controlled by the Supreme Leader or the Islamic Revolutionary Guards Corps (IRGC). Despite the extensive sanctions relief included in the bad Iran deal, the IRGC continues to be subject to United States government sanctions because it kills Americans in state-sponsored terror attacks around the world.
Ordinary Iranians understand that the ruling clerics have plundered their country. How else could a village cleric such as “Supreme Leader” Ali Khamenei personally own a commercial empire the U.S. Treasury has estimated to be worth more than $40 billion? A separate 2013 Reuters investigation found that the property confiscations on behalf of Iran’s clerical leadership were about $95 billion.
A Congressionally-enacted Iran Assets Recovery Plan would be a powerful weapon the ruling clerics in Iran could not ignore.
Not only would it bring justice to some of the many victims of the Islamic state in Iran, it would put the Iranian regime’s foreign partners on notice.
Traffic in stolen property at your peril. A regime founded on theft will end up bankrupt, in jail, or dead.
Don Hank in an email titled “This is how the terror started (in 1979)” provided this quote:
In his 1993 memoirs [“From the Shadows“], ex-Director of Central Intelligence (DCI) Robert Gates revealed that direct CIA involvement in Afghanistan had commenced almost six months before the Soviet invasion. Jimmy Carter signed a presidential decree in July 1979 to covertly aid the Mujahideen insurgents.
Hank then wrote, “And then came Al-Qaeda and the 9-11 attack, and then ISIS and the invasion of Europe. It all seems to have started with the CIA. If you want a war on terror, you have to start with the people who spawned the terror. A true war on terror would include a war on the CIA. It starts with education.”
Hank provided a link to a January 3rd, 2010 titled “Why Did the Soviet Union Invade Afghanistan?.” Morini wrote:
The Soviet intervention in Afghanistan was a costly and, ultimately, pointless war. Historical hindsight has made this evident. However, exactly why the Red Army wound up in direct military conflict, embroiled in a bitter and complicated civil war—some 3,000 kilometres away from Moscow—is a point of historiographical uncertainty. The evidence available suggests that geopolitical calculations were at the top of the Kremlin’s goals. These were arguably to deter US interference in the USSR’s ‘backyard’, to gain a highly strategic foothold in Southwest Asia and, not least of all, to attempt to contain the radical Islamic revolution emanating from Iran. The subsidiary goal of the invasion was to secure an ideologically-friendly régime in the region.
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Following the 1970s period of détente between the United States (US) and the Soviet Union, the latter seemed to be in an advantageous strategic position, compared to the post-Vietnam paralysis which plagued its main opponent. Scott McMichael, a military historian, argued that this “turned out largely to be an illusion,” although there is substance to the claim that the Soviet Union was ahead of the game in the lead u p to 1979. This is exemplified by Moscow’s increasing assertiveness in foreign affairs during this period. As a direct result of the so-called ‘Brezhnev doctrine’, the USSR asserted its “right and duty” to go to war in foreign countries “if and when an existing socialist regime was threatened.” [Emphasis added]
Is Russia, under Putin, making the same mistake that his predecessors in the Former Soviet Union made by exerting Russia’s “right and duty” to go to war in foreign countries “if an when an existing socialist regime [like Assad’s Syria] was threatened.” According to Wikipedia:
The Ba’ath Party, and indirectly the Syrian Regional Branch, was established on 7 April 1947 by Michel Aflaq (a Christian), Salah al-Din al-Bitar (a Sunni Muslim) and Zaki al-Arsuzi (an Alawite). According to the congress, the party was “nationalist, populist, socialist, and revolutionary” and believed in the “unity and freedom of the Arab nation within its homeland.”
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Has President Obama made the same mistake as Jimmy Carter did in 1979 by arming the anti-Assad Mujahideen insurgents? Is the CIA complicit, once again, in doing the wrong thing for what it believes is in America’s national interests?
President-elect Donald J. Trump has expressed his doubts about the CIA and other U.S. national intelligence agencies, especially when it comes to Russia, Iran, North Korea, China and Syria.
On January 20th, 2017 Donald J. Trump will be sworn into the Office of the President of these United States. Will a President Trump learn from the failures of both Democratic President’s Carter and Obama? Me thinks so.
Two disturbing articles focusing on “Sanctuary college campuses,” serve as the predication for my article today.
On November 22, 2016 “The Atlantic” published, “The Push for Sanctuary Campuses Prompts More Questions Than Answers: It’s not clear how far colleges would or could go to stop the deportation of students.”
This article detailed how some “Sanctuary” colleges will not cooperate with immigration authorities.
Consider this excerpt from this article:
“Faculty at Trinity College in Hartford, Connecticut, who would like to see the school become a sanctuary campus, met on Monday with administrators to “have a better sense of what their expectations are for a sanctuary campus,” said Joanne Berger-Sweeney, the school’s president. Her faculty expressed interest in the school declining to pass immigration information to federal authorities, and in establishing a network of alumni who are willing to offer pro bono legal help to undocumented students.”
On December 1, 2016 the website, “The College Fix” posted, “UC President Napolitano to campus cops: Don’t enforce federal immigration law.”
Here is are salient excerpts from this article:
Napolitano — who served as Secretary of Homeland Security under the Obama administration, charged with protecting the nation’s borders — put out a statement Wednesday that her office will “vigorously protect the privacy and civil rights of the undocumented members of the UC community and will direct its police departments not to undertake joint efforts with any government agencies to enforce federal immigration law.”
The announcement comes as students in the country illegally and their peer allies are distraught that there might be mass deportations of undocumented students under a Donald Trump presidency. Many student leaders have announced their schools are “sanctuary campuses.” Now campus leaders are essentially following suit.
According to Napolitano’s office, there are about 2,500 undocumented students enrolled across the 10-campus UC system.
“While we still do not know what policies and practices the incoming federal administration may adopt, given the many public pronouncements made during the presidential campaign and its aftermath, we felt it necessary to reaffirm that UC will act upon its deeply held conviction that all members of our community have the right to work, study, and live safely and without fear at all UC locations,” Napolitano stated.
The article went on to report:
With that, the University of California also issued its “Statement of Principles in Support of Undocumented Members of the UC Community,” outlining measures they will take to protect DACA students:
The University will continue to admit students consistent with its nondiscrimination policies so that undocumented students will be considered for admission under the same criteria as U.S. citizens or permanent residents.
It is important to consider Napolitano’s statement about all members of the community “living safely and without fear at all UC locations.”
How safe are students and faculty members on campuses where illegal aliens are shielded from detection by federal authorities?
Napolitano stated that all members of the community have the right to work. Illegal aliens, however, are forbidden, by law, from working in the United States.
When Napolitano was the Secretary of Homeland Security, she was in charge of the DHS agencies responsible for the enforcement and administer of the immigration laws yet she now equates immigration laws with discrimination.
The DHS was created in the wake of the terror attacks of September 11, 2001. The enforcement and administration of our immigration laws were moved from the Justice Department to the DHS because it was understood that border security and the enforcement of our nation’s immigration laws were matters of national security.
Our immigration laws are oblivious about race, religion or ethnicity but seek to prevent the entry or continued presence of foreign nationals (aliens) whose presence would pose a threat to national security or public health or public safety.
Title 8, United States Code, Section 1182 enumerates the categories of aliens who are to be excluded from entering the United States. This includes aliens who suffer from dangerous communicable, diseases or extreme mental illness, are convicted felons, human rights violators, war criminals, terrorists and spies.
Aliens who enter the United States without inspection may have evaded that critical vetting process at ports of entry because they have criminal histories, may be fugitives or know that their names are listed on counter-terrorism watch-lists.
Some aliens who are subject to deportation (removal) were lawfully admitted into the United States but subsequently violated their terms of admission. Some of these aliens are now subject to deportation because the have, since entry, have been convicted of committing felonies.
Janet Napolitano must certainly be aware of this yet she seeks to harbor illegal aliens who may well be criminals, fugitives or even terrorists on college campuses, including the campuses of the University of California she presides over.
The harboring and concealment of such illegal aliens is a felony under Title 8, United States Code §1324. (Bringing in and harboring certain aliens).
Yet the article noted that “The University will not cooperate with any federal effort to create a registry of individuals based on any protected characteristics such as religion, national origin, race or sexual orientation.”
Schools that admit foreign students are required to notify the DHS when foreign students fail to maintain their status as students.
On August 30 2016 the ICE (Immigration and Customs Enforcement) website posted a news release, “ICE releases quarterly international student data” that reported that more than 1.1 million foreign students are currently enrolled in more than 8,000 schools and universities across the United States.
Thousands of foreign students have gone missing in the United States. How many are being harbored today on “Sanctuary campuses?”
Consider that on September 2, 2014 ABC News reported, “Lost in America: Visa Program Struggles to ‘Track Missing Foreign Students’.”
Here is how this report began:
The Department of Homeland Security has lost track of more than 6,000 foreign nationals who entered the United States on student visas, overstayed their welcome, and essentially vanished — exploiting a security gap that was supposed to be fixed after the Sept. 11, 2001 terror attacks.
“My greatest concern is that they could be doing anything,” said Peter Edge, the U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement official who oversees investigations into visa violators. “Some of them could be here to do us harm.”
Homeland Security officials disclosed the breadth of the student visa problem in response to ABC News questions submitted as part of an investigation into persistent complaints about the nation’s entry program for students.
ABC News found that immigration officials have struggled to keep track of the rapidly increasing numbers of foreign students coming to the U.S. — now in excess of one million each year. The immigration agency’s own figures show that 58,000 students overstayed their visas in the past year. Of those, 6,000 were referred to agents for follow-up because they were determined to be of heightened concern.
“They just disappear,” said Sen. Tom Coburn, R-Okla. “They get the visas and they disappear.”
Coburn said since the Sept. 11, 2001 terror attacks, 26 student visa holders have been arrested in the U.S. on terror-related charges.
Tightening up the student visa program was one of the major recommendations made by the 9/11 Commission, after it was determined that the hijacker who flew Flight 77 into the Pentagon, Hani Hanjour, had entered the U.S. on a student visa but never showed up for school.
The official report, “9/11 and Terrorist Travel – Staff Report of the National Commission on Terrorist Attacks Upon the United States” focused specifically on terrorists entered the United States and ultimately embedded themselves as they went about their deadly preparations.
Page 47 of this report noted:
“Once terrorists had entered the United States, their next challenge was to find a way to remain here. Their primary method was immigration fraud. For example, Yousef and Ajaj concocted bogus political asylum stories when they arrived in the United States. Mahmoud Abouhalima, involved in both the World Trade Center and landmarks plots, received temporary residence under the Seasonal Agricultural Workers (SAW) program, after falsely claiming that he picked beans in Florida.” Mohammed Salameh, who rented the truck used in the bombing, overstayed his tourist visa. He then applied for permanent residency under the agricultural workers program, but was rejected. Eyad Mahmoud Ismail, who drove the van containing the bomb, took English-language classes at Wichita State University in Kansas on a student visa; after he dropped out, he remained in the United States out of status.
For starters, any school that declares itself to be a “Sanctuary” for illegal aliens should have its authority to issue the form I-20 to foreign students summarily revoked.
Foreign students must present that form (I-20) to the U.S. embassy or consulate in order to be issued a student visa so that they may be admitted into the United States to attend school.
Foreign student advisors at each and every school are responsible for notifying DHS about foreign students who fail to attend those schools for which they were granted visas. Clearly “Sanctuary Schools” cannot be trusted to cooperate fully with the DHS and make proper notification to the DHS.
No I-20 Forms: No Visas: No Foreign Students.
I first read a story about this a couple of days ago and wondered if the scary incident involved Somalis, but the word ‘Somali’ was absent in the written account and it wasn’t until a reader, Dede, directed people to watch the video that we learned our first instincts were correct.
I’m telling you, the lengths to which the media goes to hide the truth when it involves refugees of a certain ‘religious’ persuasion is stunning. Why on earth leave the key piece of information people need out of the written news report!
Here is the story (do you see the word “Somali” in the text?). Now watch the video (this is a screen shot in case they remove this from the video).
I guess we should be grateful that at least the broadcast version of the story used the ‘S’ word!
This should be on the national news!
Just envision this happening in your neighborhood!
How are Americans ever going to be prepared and proactive if we don’t even know what is happening in the next city, let alone the next state! You know, I tell people in Maryland what is happening in Minnesota and they don’t believe me because they haven’t seen it on Fox News! Ahhhhhh!
This is exactly what Phyliss Schlafly has pointed out here: the second generation Muslim migrant to America isn’t assimilating!
For new readers: We probably have a hundred posts here at RRW on Minnesota as the state which has ‘welcomed’ thousands and thousands of Somali refugees. Here is just one post from last year to help you get up to speed on ‘Little Mogadishu!’ Just remember! Somalis didn’t “make their way” to Minnesota, they were resettled there for two decades by the US State Department and three major contractors: Catholic Charities, Lutheran Immigration and Refugee Service and World Relief (additional contractors have moved in since).
The ‘youths’ harassing homeowners were born here or came as very small children!
We posted on the illegal identities trade involving Syrians and Palestinians in Honduras and Mexico in a NatSecDaily Brief this Memorial Day, weekend in the US, “Does Illegal Identities trade in Mexico and Honduras threaten US National Security?” How problematic that is to global airline security is illustrated by this Air Travel World report on the concern raised by security specialists this week at the Barcelona SITA Air IT Summit, “Fraudulently obtained travel documents a growing security challenge .” The author, Ms. Anne Paylor, wrote:
Matthew Finn, managing director at independent security consultancy AUGMENTIQ, told the SITA Air Transport IT Summit in Barcelona this week that there had been a shift away from people trying to falsify travel documents, but an increase in identity fraud involving genuine but fraudulently obtained passports.
“You can’t assess the risk of a person if you don’t know who they are,” Finn said.
He cited one European Union government as having recently declared that it issued some 6 million passports in 2015. However, it estimated that of these, as many as 650,000—or roughly 10%—were issued to false identities.
Finn of AUGMENTIQ noted how daunting the verification problem is:
“They were genuine documents, but issued to someone who doesn’t exist. The weak link in the chain is the breeder documentation used to establish identity,” Finn said. He pointed out that in many states, particularly failed or fragile states, fake birth certificates and other “breeder” documents are relatively easy to obtain. The integrity of breeder documentation, he said, should be considered as important as the integrity of travel documents themselves.
Finn pointed out that governments and industry need to be able to verify the identity of passengers in order to address security and other challenges.
According to AUGMENTIQ, identity fraud is increasing dramatically and the share of fraudulently obtained genuine travel documents accounts for a growing share—as much as 23% in 2009 (the most recent figures available).
“Our challenge now is more about determining that the document truly belongs to its holder rather than whether the document itself is a forgery or counterfeit,” Finn said.
He also urged much greater collaboration between all stakeholders, pointing out that Interpol holds a database of 57 million lost and stolen ID documents that, if more widely distributed, could help flag cases of ID fraud.
“Where vulnerabilities exist, they will be exploited,” he said. “If there is no confidence in the integrity of the document issuance process, there cannot be any confidence in the authenticity of the document being presented or the veracity of the holder’s identity.”
If we cannot establish a person’s identity, we cannot ascertain the risk he or she may pose to the aviation industry or, indeed, to the countries they are traveling to along the way.
We don’t know whether EgyptAir and the Egyptian Civil Aviation Ministry has availed of the opportunity to run checks of the passenger manifest on Flight 804 against the Interpol data base cited by Finn of AUGMENTIQ. Nor do we know how complete that data base is and the process for updating it. Surely the proportion of false identifications since 2009 has grown with the mass flight from hot spots in the Muslim Ummah since 2011 and the rise of the Islamic State in 2013. The magnitude of false identities using legitimate passports, birth certificates and driver licenses has soared given the Middle East refugee crisis. This has exacerbated the infiltration of Islamic terrorists, among the stream of refugees and migrants, whether in the EU or in the Western Hemisphere. This ATW report illustrates the huge problems confronting the TSA and the DHS ICE in the US given what is already a hot air travel season with massive travel delays and failures to vett screeners, let alone detect possible terrorists.
EDITORS NOTE: This column originally appeared in the NatSecDaily Brief.
This morning I was interviewed by Dr. Gad Saad on his The Saad Truth program.
It was a wide-ranging conversation, in which we answered numerous Leftist objections to resisting jihad terror.
The Islamic Republic is a state sponsor of terrorism—That’s why Canada shut down the Iranian embassy in Ottawa in September 2012 . However, I would like to take this opportunity to draw your attention to some of the more-particularly inhuman and nefarious activities of the Iranian regime.
The Islamic Republic started with an officially-approved massacre of all sorts of dissidents. Along with the functionaries of the former monarchy, thousands of revolutionaries whose views differed from that of the Islamic Republic, were either hanged or shot dead after sham trials – or even without them.
Later, the Islamic constitution that was established in Iran effectively brought a fundamentalist Islamist regime to power which systematically suppressed all other voices and sociopolitical constituencies like liberals, socialists, women, and religious and ethnic minorities. This has led to a vicious process of violation of human rights in Iran since the establishment of the Islamic regime; a process that still vigorously continues, even after the presumably “moderate” President Hassan Rouhani took office.
As a matter of fact, the violation of human rights in Iran has skyrocketed since Rouhani became president in 2013. Over 2,000 Iranians have been hanged under this “moderate” president’s watch, the largest scale of executions in Iran in the past 25 years. Indeed, the execution spree in the first half of 2015 was not overlooked by Amnesty International, which noted that “death sentences in Iran are particularly disturbing because they are invariably imposed by courts that are completely lacking in independence and impartiality”.
Amnesty International also added: “[Death sentences] are imposed either for vaguely-worded or overly-broad offences, or acts that should not be criminalized at all, let alone attract the death penalty. Trials in Iran are deeply flawed, detainees are often denied access to lawyers in the investigative stage, and there are inadequate procedures for appeal, pardon and commutation.” As a result, Iran has become the top country committing executions per capita, under Rouhani’s watch.
One of the “legal” pretexts of the Islamic regime for executing dissidents is the common charge of “muharebeh” or “enmity towards God”, routinely used against all sorts of human rights activists and dissidents; and which invariably receives the death penalty, sometimes administered in public by mass hangings by cranes – although even stoning is not ruled out legally. Many of those hanged take up to 20 minutes to die slowly and painfully from strangulation. The victims’ bodies are typically left hanging for some time before being removed as a way of intimidating the public into silence.
Many of those who are executed come from minority communities such as the Ahwazi Arab-Iranians – who are predominately Shia – as well as Kurdish and Baluchi Sunnis. The targeting of minorities has not changed since Rouhani’s assuming office. Over the past decade, many Ahwazi Arab political prisoners, ranging from poets and teachers to bloggers and human rights activists, have been executed on trumped-up charges in kangaroo courts.
Rather than finding reasonable evidence for the committing of a crime, judges rely on “confessions” which have been extracted from the accused through physical and psychological torture. Meanwhile, friends and relatives of the accused are kept in the dark, often not informed of where their loved ones have been imprisoned, executed or even buried. Again, NOTHING has improved under Rouhani.
Never mind that Iran is one of the few countries that continue to execute juvenile offenders, where according to the UN at least 160 are languishing on death row for crimes committed under the age of 18. The number of child offenders executed in 2014-15 – under Rouhani’s watch – is higher than at any time during the past five years. According to an Amnesty International report released a few days ago, Iran’s authorities have sought to “whitewash their continuing violations of children’s rights and deflect criticism of their appalling record as one of the world’s last executioners of juvenile offenders”.
Such kinds of reports, however, have failed to prevent Rouhani from receiving a warm welcome on his European tour, as top politicians as well as the Pope were eager to meet him. Surprisingly, these days, even the prominent opposition voices in the West, who often complain about their own governments’ disregard of human rights, don’t see a necessity to voice any substantial criticism against the abuses of human rights by the regime of Iran.
That is because much of the world wants do business with the Iranian regime, and they don’t want any fuss over rather “trivial things” such as the violation of human rights by that regime. Indeed, it seems that the rush to conclude a nuclear deal with Iran has twisted and bound all tongues in the West.
How can we possibly improve the condition of human rights in Iran by holding the Iranian regime accountable when at the same time the Liberal government of Canada is going to implicitly legitimize that regime’s violation of human rights by reestablishing diplomatic relations with it?
This week witnessed the gathering of 50 heads of state at a Nuclear Security Summit in Washington, D.C. President Obama’s concluding speech only briefly addressed the threat of so-called dirty bombs and necessity of controlling the distribution of radioactive materials widely used in industry and cancer health treatment in hospitals and clinics throughout the world. The stated objective is prevent such materials from falling into the hands of ISIS, whether North Korea, or Iran’s terrorist proxies, Al Qaeda, or the self declared Caliphate of the Islamic State in conquered areas of Syria and Iraq. The problem of dirty bombs and more lethal CBW Weapons of Mass Destruction will be discussed by Dr. Jill Bellamy, United Nation’s Counter terrorism Task Force adviser and founder of Warfare Technology Analytics on The Lisa Benson Show, Sunday, April 3rd.
Recent actions by ISIS Paris and Brussels terror cells murdering a security guard at a Belgian nuclear facility and filming the offices of Belgian Nuclear research director’s office are an indication of a longer term strategy to unleash dirty bomb as a panic driven wave of terrorism in Europe. A front page story in the weekend edition of the Wall Street Journal, April 2, 2010 illustrates the ISIS strategy that Dr. Bellamy will discuss, “ISIS Turns College Lab into Bomb School:”
Gen. Hate Magus, Iraq’s top explosives officer, said the facilities at the University of Mosul have enhanced Islamic State’s ability to launch attacks in Iraq and to export bomb-making know how when its fighters leave the so-called caliphate and return to their home countries. Dirty bombs are easily made, and so are biological agents as Weapons of Mass Destruction as Dr. Bellamy will reveal on the April 3, The Lisa Benson Show that airs at 4:00 PM EDT in the U.S.
Watch this 2003 WGBH/BBC co production on The Dirty Bomb originally aired on NOVA on PBS and Horizon on BBC in the UK.:
The documentary contains Interviews with nuclear materials research and counterterrorism experts from the UN International Atomic Agency, The U.S. Department of Energy, the CIA and the Federation of Atomic Scientists take the viewer through the scientific basis for radiation effects and actual occurrences of accidental releases. Overall, it illustrates the ease by which a terrorist with training could obtain radioactive materials like Cesium Chloride from industrial gauges, medical isotopes and the history of massive use of heavy radiation emitting Strontium 90 developed into thousands of standby generators and mobile seed generators, the latter using Cesium chloride.,
The documentary reveals a terrorist dirty bomb attempt in Moscow in 1995, discovery of high radiation Strontium containers in the mountains of the Republic of Georgia in 2001, as well as the panic effects of release of a handful of Cesium Chloride in Brazil in 1987 affecting 100 percent or over 100,000 of the city’s population. The documentary addresses the plausible risk of Al Qaeda and now ISIS obtaining these radioactive materials and the risk of contracting radiation sickness and cancer as the fallout from a dirty bomb explosion spreads. That is reflecting in two scenarios; one is a large dirty bomb explosion in Central London equivalent to the Cesium chloride in one of the Soviet seed generator that produces perhaps 10 killed from the explosion but increases the risk of cancer rapidly as the radius from the explosion increasing. Such a large dirty bomb blast would require enormous displacement of populations and economic decontamination requiring the virtual abandonment of the city center for a decade or longer. Think of the spread Strontium 90 with the Chernobyl reactor meltdown in 1986 in the Ukraine and the radiation sickness and cancer effects. A smaller explosion scenario depicts the explosion using a handful of Cesium Chloride in the Washington, DC Metro with the Metro carriages and the system’s ventilation system distributing the powdery Cesium flakes over a broader area; panic breaks out. That was not unlike the Anthrax attack on the US Senate Office Building in late 2001 that cost hundreds of millions in decontamination costs in US Postal Service sector centers and five deaths across the US from the biological agent sent via mail. Now read these excerpts from the Nuclear Regulation Commission from their Fact Sheet on The Dirty Bomb:
A “dirty bomb” is one type of a “radiological dispersal device” (RDD) that combines a conventional explosive, such as dynamite, with radioactive material that may disperse when the device explodes. It is not the same as a nuclear weapon. If there are casualties, they will be caused by the initial blast of the conventional explosive. The radioactive particles that are scattered as a result of the explosion cause the “dirty” part. The explosives in such a bomb would still be more dangerous than the radioactive material.
Radiation is a form of energy that is present all around us. Some of the Earth’s background radiation comes from naturally occurring radioactive elements from space, the soil, and the sun, as well as from man-made sources, like x-ray machines. Different types of radiation exist, some of which have more energy than others, and some of which can be more harmful than others. The dose of radiation that a person receives is measured in a unit called a “rem.” A rem is a measure of radiation dose, based on the amount of energy absorbed in a mass of tissue. For example, an average person gets about 1/3 of a rem from exposure to natural sources of radiation in one year, and approximately 1/100th of a rem from one chest x-ray.
Yes, terrorists have been interested in acquiring radioactive and nuclear material for use in attacks. For example, in 1995, Chechen extremists threatened to bundle radioactive material with explosives to use against Russia in order to force the Russian military to withdraw from Chechnya. While no explosives were used, officials later retrieved a package of cesium-137 the rebels had buried in a Moscow park.
Since September 11, 2001, terrorist arrests and prosecutions overseas have revealed that individuals associated with al-Qaeda planned to acquire materials for a RDD. In 2004, British authorities arrested a British national, Dhiren Barot, and several associates on various charges, including conspiring to commit public nuisance by the use of radioactive materials. In 2006, Barot was found guilty and sentenced to life. British authorities disclosed that Barot developed a document known as the “Final Presentation.” The document outlined his research on the production of “dirty bombs,” which he characterized as designed to “cause injury, fear, terror and chaos” rather than to kill. U.S. federal prosecutors indicted Barot and two associates for conspiracy to use weapons of mass destruction against persons within the United States, in conjunction with the alleged surveillance of several landmarks and office complexes in Washington, D.C., New York City, and Newark, N.J. In a separate British police operation in 2004, authorities arrested British national, Salahuddin Amin, and six others on terrorism-related charges. Amin is accused of making inquiries about buying a “radioisotope bomb” from the Russian mafia in Belgium; and the group is alleged to have linkages to al-Qaeda. Nothing appeared to have come from his inquiries, according to British prosecutors. While neither Barot nor Amin had the opportunity to carry their plans forward to an operational stage, these arrests demonstrate the continued interest of terrorists in acquiring and using radioactive material for malicious purposes.
EDITORS NOTE: This column originally appeared in the New English Review.
Why are there poor Muslim ghettos in Europe but not in the United States?
In Belgium, high unemployment and crime-ridden Muslim ghettos have fomented radicalism, but as Jeff Jacoby writes:
Muslims in the United States … have had no problem acclimating to mainstream norms. In a detailed 2011 survey, the Pew Research Center found that Muslim Americans are “highly assimilated into American society and … largely content with their lives.”
More than 80 percent of US Muslims expressed satisfaction with life in America, and 63 percent said they felt no conflict “between being a devout Muslim and living in a modern society.”
The rates at which they participate in various everyday American activities — from following local sports teams to watching entertainment TV — are similar to those of the American public generally. Half of all Muslim immigrants display the US flag at home, in the office, or on their car.
Jacoby, however, doesn’t explain why these differences exist. One reason is the greater flexibility of American labor markets compared to those in Europe.
Institutions that make it more difficult to hire and fire workers or adjust wages can increase unemployment and reduce employment, especially among immigrant youth. Firms will be less willing to hire if it is very costly to fire. As Tyler and I put it in Modern Principles, how many people will want to go on a date if every date requires a marriage?
The hiring hurdle is especially burdensome for immigrants given the additional real or perceived uncertainty from hiring immigrants. One of the few ways that immigrants can compete in these situations is by offering to work for lower wages. But if that route is blocked by minimum wages, or requirements that every worker receive significant non-wage benefits, unemployment and non-employment among immigrants will be high — generating disaffection, especially among the young.
Countries with more centralized wage bargaining, stricter product market regulation and countries with a higher union density, have worse labour market outcomes for their immigrants relative to natives even after controlling for compositional effects.
The problem of labor market rigidity is especially acute in Belgium, where the differences between native and immigrant unemployment, employment and wages are among the highest in the OECD. Language difficulties and skills are one reason, but labor market rigidity is another, as this OECD report makes clear:
Belgian labour market settings are generally unfavourable to the employment outcomes of low-skilled workers. Reduced employment rates stem from high labour costs, which deter demand for low-productivity workers…
Furthermore, labour market segmentation and rigidity weigh on the wages and progression prospects of outsiders. With immigrants over-represented among low-wage, vulnerable workers, labour market settings likely hurt the foreign-born disproportionately. …
Minimum wages can create a barrier to employment of low-skilled immigrants, especially for youth. As a proportion of the median wage, the Belgian statutory minimum wage is on the high side in international comparison and sectoral agreements generally provide for even higher minima. This helps to prevent in-work poverty … but risks pricing low-skilled workers out of the labour market (Neumark and Wascher, 2006).
Groups with further real or perceived productivity handicaps, such as youth or immigrants, will be among the most affected.
In 2012, the overall unemployment rate in Belgium was 7.6% (15-64 age group), rising to 19.8% for those in the labour force aged under 25, and, among these, reaching 29.3% and 27.9% for immigrants and their native-born offspring, respectively.
Immigration can benefit both immigrants and natives but achieving those benefits requires the appropriate institutions especially open and flexible labor markets.
Alex Tabarrok is a professor of economics at George Mason University. He blogs at Marginal Revolution with Tyler Cowen.