The madness of J. Comey, Director of Matters 2

Is James Comey, the head of the FBI, mentally unstable?

Judge Andrew Napolitano has compiled a record of Comey’s actions over the last nine months or so; actions that display such wild irrationality that our suspicion of derangement seems justified.

In 2015, a committee of the House of Representatives that was investigating the deaths of four Americans at the U.S. Consulate in Benghazi, Libya, learned that the State Department had no copies of any emails sent or received by Clinton during her four years as secretary of state. When committee investigators pursued this – at the same time that attorneys involved with civil lawsuits brought against the State Department seeking the Clinton emails were pursuing it – it was revealed that Clinton had used her own home servers for her emails and bypassed the State Department servers.

Because many of her emails obviously contained government secrets and because the removal of government secrets to any non-secure venue constitutes espionage, the House Select Committee on Benghazi sent a criminal referral to the Department of Justice, which passed it on to the FBI. A congressionally issued criminal referral means that some members of Congress who have seen some evidence think that some crime may have been committed. The DOJ is free to reject the referral, yet it accepted this one.

It directed the FBI to investigate the facts in the referral and to refer to the investigation as a “matter,” not as a criminal investigation. The FBI cringed a bit, but Director James Comey followed orders and used the word “matter”.

So Comey followed an order that was out of the ordinary. Why? 

Was he protecting Hillary Clinton?

This led to some agents mockingly referring to him as the director of the Federal Bureau of Matters. It would not be the last time agents mocked or derided him in the Clinton investigation.

He should not have referred to it by any name, because under DOJ and FBI regulations, the existence of an FBI investigation should not be revealed publicly unless and until it results in some public courtroom activity, such as the release of an indictment. These rules and procedures have been in place for generations to protect those never charged. Because of the role that the FBI has played in our law enforcement history — articulated in books and movies and manifested in our culture — many folks assume that if a person is being investigated by the FBI, she must have done something wrong.

In early July 2016, Clinton was personally interviewed in secret for about four hours by a team of FBI agents who had been working on her case for a year. During that interview, she professed great memory loss and blamed it on a head injury she said she had suffered in her Washington, D.C., home. Some of the agents who interrogated her disbelieved her testimony about the injury and, over the Fourth of July holiday weekend, asked Comey for permission to subpoena her medical records.

When Comey denied his agents the permission they sought, some of them attempted to obtain the records from the intelligence community. Because Clinton’s medical records had been digitally recorded by her physicians and because the FBI agents knew that the National Security Agency has digital copies of all keystrokes on all computers used in the U.S. since 2005, they sought Clinton’s records from their NSA colleagues. Lying to the FBI is a felony, and these agents believed they had just witnessed a series of lies.

But  he did not want her statements to be verified. Why? Was he protecting her?

When Comey learned what his creative agents were up to, he jumped the gun by holding a news conference on July 5, 2016, during which he announced that the FBI was recommending to the DOJ that it not seek Clinton’s indictment because “no reasonable prosecutor” would take the case. He then did the unthinkable. He outlined all of the damning evidence of guilt that the FBI had amassed against her.

He held a news conference in which he “outlined all of the damning evidence against her”. 

That is to say, he explained why she should be indicted.

So he wasn’t protecting her. 

But he was. He would not recommend to the Department of Justice that she be indicted.

This double-edged sword – we won’t charge her, but we have much evidence of her guilt – was unprecedented and unheard of in the midst of a presidential election campaign. Both Republicans and Democrats found some joy in Comey’s words. Yet his many agents who believed that Clinton was guilty of both espionage and lying were furious — furious that Comey had revealed so much, furious that he had demeaned their work, furious that he had stopped an investigation before it was completed.

While all this was going on, former Rep. Anthony Weiner, the estranged husband of Clinton’s closest aide, Huma Abedin, was being investigated for using a computer to send sexually explicit materials to a minor. When the FBI asked for his computer — he had shared it with his wife — he surrendered it. When FBI agents examined the Weiner/Abedin laptop, they found about 650,000 stored emails, many from Clinton to Abedin, that they thought they had not seen before.

Rather than silently examine the laptop, Comey again violated DOJ and FBI regulations by announcing publicly the discovery of the laptop and revealing that his team suspected that it contained hundreds of thousands of Clinton emails; and he announced the reopening of the Clinton investigation. This announcement was made two weeks before Election Day and was greeted by the Trump campaign with great glee.

The glee was premature. Just as Comey’s public statements were.

But he wasn’t protecting Hillary.

No wait – he was.

Having again done something dramatic that was “unprecedented and unheard of in the midst of a presidential election campaign”, again rousing expectations that the great intelligence-gathering bureau was about to reveal that it had found evidence of Hillary Clinton’s turpitude and criminality, he let the big balloon he had sent up drop to an empty shred:

A week later, Comey announced that the laptop was fruitless, and the investigation was closed, again.

At about the same time that the House Benghazi Committee sent its criminal referral to the DOJ, American and British intelligence became interested in a potential [alleged] connection between the Trump presidential campaign and intelligence agents of the Russian government. This interest resulted in the now infamous year-plus-long electronic surveillance of Trump and many of his associates and colleagues. This also produced a criminal referral from the intelligence community to the DOJ, which sent it to the FBI.

This referral and the existence of this investigation was kept – quite properly – from the press and the public. When Comey was asked about it, he – quite properly – declined to answer. When he was asked under oath whether he knew of any surveillance of Trump before Trump became president, Comey denied that he knew of it.

But he must have known of it. Why did he deny it? Keeping quiet about it is one thing – proper, as Napolitano says – but outright denying it is another.

What was going on with the FBI?

How could Comey justify the public revelation of a criminal investigation and a summary of evidence of guilt about one candidate for president and remain silent about the existence of a criminal investigation of the campaign of another?

He might do it because he wanted to damage Hillary Clinton’s campaign.

But if he’d wanted to damage her campaign, he could have done it much more effectively by recommending her indictment, justified by all the reasons he himself had outlined.

How could he deny knowledge of surveillance that was well-known in the intelligence community, even among his own agents?

Why would the FBI director inject his agents, who have prided themselves on professional political neutrality, into a bitterly contested campaign having been warned it might affect the outcome? Why did he reject the law’s just commands of silence in favor of putting his thumb on political scales?

What but derangement can explain it? Is the answer to all these questions that James Comey is mad?

Posted under Espionage, Law, Treason, United States by Jillian Becker on Thursday, April 27, 2017

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Obama’s all-out effort for Iran 6

POLITICO, usually partial to the Left and the Obama administration, has published a report by Josh Meyer that proves Obama wanted Iran to become a nuclear armed power.

It is further proof, if needed, that Obama wanted to get his “deal” with Iran at any cost, at all costs.

But why did he want to?

Because the “deal” allows Iran to become a nuclear power.  Ergo, wanting the deal that badly, was wanting a nuclear-armed Iran that badly.

Here’s Katie Pavlich’s summary of the story with selected quotations at Townhall:

Not only did the Obama administration negotiate the agreement without a guarantee Iran wouldn’t eventually build a nuclear bomb, President Obama and his State Department approved a number of secret side deals that have been exposed in the aftermath of negotiations. …

The “deal” or “agreement” does not merely lack “a guarantee Iran wouldn’t eventually build a nuclear bomb”, it positively permits Iran to build as many nuclear bombs as it likes after waiting a few years.

POLITICO is out with an astonishing report today [April 24, 2017] detailing the terms of a last minute prisoner swap deal made by the Obama administration just days before President Obama left the White House. It included the release of terrorists held by the United States and worse, the administration essentially gave immunity to an Iranian operative who had smuggled parts needed to build a nuclear bomb into Iran from China: 

When President Barack Obama announced the “one-time gesture” of releasing Iranian-born prisoners who “were not charged with terrorism or any violent offenses” last year, his administration presented the move as a modest trade-off for the greater good of the Iran nuclear agreement and Tehran’s pledge to free five Americans.

But Obama, the senior official and other administration representatives weren’t telling the whole story on Jan. 17, 2016, in their highly choreographed rollout of the prisoner swap and simultaneous implementation of the six-party nuclear deal, according to [the] POLITICO investigation.

In his Sunday morning address to the American people, Obama portrayed the seven men he freed as “civilians”. The senior official described them as businessmen convicted of or awaiting trial for mere “sanctions-related offenses, violations of the trade embargo”. 

In reality, some of them were accused by Obama’s own Justice Department of posing threats to national security. 

Yes, by Obama’s Justice Department.

Three allegedly were part of an illegal procurement network supplying Iran with U.S.-made microelectronics with applications in surface-to-air and cruise missiles like the kind Tehran test-fired recently, prompting a still-escalating exchange of threats with the Trump administration.

It did not take long for the Justice Department to be brought to heel:

And in a series of unpublicized court filings, the Justice Department dropped charges and international arrest warrants against 14 other men, all of them fugitives.

Three of the fugitives allegedly sought to lease Boeing aircraft for an Iranian airline that authorities say had supported Hezbollah, the U.S.-designated terrorist organization. A fourth, Behrouz Dolatzadeh, was charged with conspiring to buy thousands of U.S.-made assault rifles and illegally import them into Iran.

The biggest fish, though, was Seyed Abolfazl Shahab Jamili, who had been charged with being part of a conspiracy that from 2005 to 2012 procured thousands of parts with nuclear applications for Iran via China. That included hundreds of U.S.-made sensors for the uranium enrichment centrifuges in Iran whose progress had prompted the nuclear deal talks in the first place.

It is a deeply shocking story that needs to be read here at POLITICO in full.

It ought to cause widespread public outrage. But we doubt that it will.

As Scott Whitlock writes at Media Research Center’s NewsBusters:

While ABC, CBS and NBC on Monday and Tuesday found time to celebrate the return of “easy-going”, rested Barack Obama to the public scene, none of them covered the release of a blockbuster expose that reveals the buried secrets of the ex-President’s Iran deal giveaway.

Politico senior investigative reporter Josh Meyer authored [a report] that Obama secretly released 21 Iranian prisoners (not the seven originally claimed), men who were deeply involved in Iran’s missile and nuclear program. On Tuesday morning, despite a combined eight hours of air time, ABC’s Good Morning AmericaCBS This Morning and NBC’s Today avoided the topic.

It was left to Fox News to cover the story. Meyer appeared on Happening Now and explained the real story behind the prisoner swap that propelled the nuclear deal:

The Obama administration when they rolled this out said there were seven people they were releasing as part of a deal for five Americans. But there were really 21 of them. There were seven people in the United States, either convicted or awaiting trial, on charges and then 14 fugitives. And besides downplaying the number, they also downplayed the severity of the charges … Many of these guys were high on the list of U.S. counter-proliferation effort to stop Iran from getting nuclear weapons and ballistic missiles.

In his lengthy and well-sourced Politico story, Meyer detailed how the administration hid the identities of the Iranian prisoners who were being released …

The three evening shows on Monday ignored this blockbuster expose. Instead, journalists gushed about Obama’s return. CBS Evening News anchor Scott Pelley hailed, “Today, the man who never lost a presidential election made his first major appearance since leaving office.”

On Tuesday, CBS This Morning’s Dean Reynolds lauded, “Mr. Obama re-emerged yesterday with an easy-going manner that only a former president can appreciate.”

Nothing about the newest scandal of his administration.

So many journalists who cannot bear to face the truth!

But Tucker Carlson on his Fox News show last night (April 25, 2017) confronted a Democratic Congressman, Eric Swalwell (D-Calif.), with the facts. [Watch it here.]

Carlson pointed out to him that he had been lied to, since the congressman had believed, and said, that  Obama administration officials had  briefed him fully on the contents of the deal.

But Mr. Swalwell was unmoved. He insisted to the last that the “deal” was good – because, he claimed, it stopped Iran getting nukes.

For such as he, the truth is what he wishes it to be.

Or perhaps he secretly shares Obama’s objective – a nuclear-armed Iran.

 

[Hat-tip for the Tucker Carlson interview to our commenter liz]

Posted under Iran, media, United States by Jillian Becker on Wednesday, April 26, 2017

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What may not be said 4

In the United States now, university administrations are doing nothing to deter or stop the violent gangs of the Left who are imposing an orthodoxy of opinion in the academies. Intimidated by their own Leftist students, they would rather refuse a platform to any speaker that the bigoted intolerant students want to silence.

Tucker Carlson and Mark Steyn discuss this on Fox News:

Posted under United States, Videos by Jillian Becker on Friday, April 21, 2017

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Win! 1

President Trump is rapidly making America great again.

Yet we have to search for conservative commentators who see it.

Kurt Schlichter sees it. What is more, he has a gift for writing witty abuse. We enjoy it because it is directed at the Left. We occasionally quote him.  (He is religious, but if god stuff pops up – which it doesn’t in the article we quote here – we just cut it out.)

We quote most of this article of his, from Townhall, because we agree with it and enjoy it:

After eight years of Barack Obama’s pathetic fecklessness, America has got its feck back.

And the whiny progressives who prefer our woman-enslaving, gay-tossing, toddler-crucifying enemies to the guy who beat their designated heir to the Crown (Royal) are in a tizzy.

Oh no, America is refusing to continue down the path of submission, humiliation, and utter failure blazed by President Faily McWorsethancarter!

Heavens, we can’t have our enemies respecting us, much less fearing us!

Gosh, we can’t have America re-assuming its rightful place in the world – after all, weren’t we taught that the United States is the root of all evil by our pony-tailed TAs at Fussboy U?

In fact, Donald Trump is in the process of doing what Barack Obama never did and what he and his coterie of pompous twits and political hacks masquerading as a foreign policy brain trust could never do. Trump is establishing a successful foreign policy doctrine. It’s not precisely old school Republican doctrine. It’s also not the activist Bush Doctrine, which is often labeled “neo-con” by people who think “cuck” is a sick burn.

Trump’s policy is “America First.” Obama’s policy was “Blame America First.” Obama employed force only after extensive agonizing and never in the amount required to actually win. The Obama Doctrine was about staving off defeat just long enough so the next sucker would get stuck dealing with the resulting mess while The Lightbringer chills doing who knows what sans spouse in the South Pacific as Bill Ayers types up his memoirs for him.

Obama treated our allies like dirt, and he didn’t just embolden our enemies. He paid them – literally – with pallet loads of cash. Of course our enemies stopped fearing us. To the extent Putin diddled with our election [if he did – ed] by exposing the depths of Democrat corruption, it’s because he wasn’t afraid of that posing, prancing puffboy in the White House.

Putin’s rethinking his play now, as are those Seventh Century cultists in Tehran and that bloated bratwurst in Pyongyang. They all saw Obama for what he was – a preachy wuss without the stones for a fight, adhering to the motto “Make love, not war.”

Trump though? “We don’t understand what they’re going to do in Syria, and not only there,” pouted some Putin puppet. Good. When you’re acting like the most dangerous guy in the room, everyone else thinks twice about making any sudden moves. Be careful, because Trump might just kick your Harry Reid.

There’s been a lot of talk about how Trump is “changing his policies” and “flip-flopping”. The mainstream media is desperate for a “Trump Fails!” narrative that might stick, and “Trump Betrays His Supporters By Fighting America’s Enemies!” is as good as any.

Baloney. These prissy pundits don’t get the essential nature of either Donald Trump or the American people. They confuse Trump’s critique of establishment foreign policy – one that resonated with the Americans our fey elite asks to carry the burden of their interventionist shenanigans – with pure isolationism and even pacifism. It is nothing of the sort. Americans are sick of their lives and treasure being squandered by dithering milquetoasts who tie our troops’ hands and won’t do what’s necessary because they can’t get it through their pointy heads that if it’s important enough to fight a war, then we damn well ought to win it.

Putting America’s interests first does not mean putting our heads in the sand. Americans know these savages need killing, and they’re happy to oblige. Army General George S. Patton understood this essential truth: “Americans love to fight…. Americans love a winner and will not tolerate a loser. Americans play to win all the time. That’s why Americans have never lost and will never lose a war. The very thought of losing is hateful to Americans.”

Congratulations Washington, you managed to disprove Patton on one point. We haven’t won a ground war since Desert Storm in 1991, and we won that because we found the enemy, we fixed them in position, and we killed those bastards until they begged for mercy. Then we came home. That’s the lesson, and Trump seems to get it. What Americans are tired of is having their sons and daughters coming home in bags because D.C. hand-wringers were butch enough to start a fight, but not men enough to finish it.

Notably, the new National Security Advisor Lt. Gen. H.R. McMaster is a Desert Storm legend, a cavalryman from the mighty VII Corps. See the pieces come together?

Trump gets that we can’t fix Syria, and he has zero intention of dropping in tens of thousands of America’s sons and daughters to teach its inhabitants to play nice. But spraying sarin on little kids crossed the line, morally and strategically. Assad didn’t have to use it; he chose to, and he chose to because he thought he could rub Trump’s nose in America’s impotence the way he had done to Sissy O’Redline.

Trump came under fire from platoons of Eames chair generals and hipster blogtroopers sharing the strategic savvy they earned fetching a thousand lattes. Most of them have never thrown or taken a punch, and they didn’t understand that the only way to stop a bully is with a haymaker to the jaw. Trump’s message was loud and clear, and not just to that little creep cowering in Damascus. Everyone saw what happens when you get in Trump’s face, and how fast the fists flew. And just wait until they see our 350-ship Navy.

Trump’s Tomahawk strike was a tactical and strategic success. Tactically, it bashed a decent chunk of Bashar’s air force. Strategically, it gave dictators and thugs pause – and the limited nature of the response kept us from being sucked into another quagmire in which our magnificent warriors’ sacrifice and success would be squandered by subsequent Democrats a la Vietnam and Iraq. Plus it demonstrated that the key processes for executing American foreign policy are in place and operating again. The Trump Team understands that firmness and focus saves lives by deterring our enemies.

The MOAB strike was vintage Trump. Typical Obama – we had a weapon system that American forces needed, but the military probably didn’t even bother asking to use it. With Trump, they don’t have to ask. Here’s Trump’s order: “Win.”

Trump meets with the Chinese leader and a week later the Chi-Coms are leaning on the Norks. Yet the clueless media is whining that suddenly Trump’s altered some of his positions on trade issues, missing the connection entirely. But in the media’s defense, it has been eight years since Americans walked out of a negotiation having kept their pants.

The mouth-breathing media tells us Trump has done a 180 degree turn on NATO. Nonsense. Trump, like most Americans, rejects the “You hate NATO, you NATO-hating knuckle draggers!” shrieks from the establishment every time some patriot wonders why the Europeans were, for the most part, not pulling their weight in their own defense. Trump simply told them that we are done shrugging and covering the cash shortfalls while they take money that they promised would be going to guns and give it to rape-focused refugees. That’s not at all unreasonable and, as someone who supports NATO and who wears a NATO medal, some real talk was long overdue and necessary to sustain this critical alliance. NATO’s “friends”, by using cheap invective to shield it from legitimate criticism, imperiled its support among the American people. To save NATO, we must fix NATO. That will happen. …

In response, the desperate Democrats are trying to play tough, and it’s adorable. They hate it when a Republican stands up for America’s interests over those of foreigners abroad almost as much as when one stands up for normal Americans here at home (If Hillary had won, we may well have seen the same peace and love here as they created in Libya). That’s why the Russian nonsense was so hysterical. …

Trump is playing tough with our actual enemies. The only enemies that Obama’s national security hacks like Susan “The Video Did It!” Rice and failed young adult romance novelist Ben Rhodes were ever interested in defeating were Obama’s political enemies. …

It’s again clear that if you are thinking about getting uppity with the U.S. of A, you are rolling the dice. Of course, the liberals whine, which is good because the volume of their yelps is a terrific metric for success. The more they cry about it, the better an idea it is. May they weep long and hard, because America has got its feck back.

Five Eyes spying 1

US intelligence agencies cannot legally spy on Americans. So they get foreign allied spy agencies to do it for them. Which means they spy on Americans.

Five countries form the “Echelon” global surveillance system: the US, the UK, Canada, Australia and New Zealand – the “Five Eyes” of Western international espionage.

When something they have done leaks out and becomes a public scandal, they spread the blame wider and more thinly by including other agencies, such as those of Germany, Poland, the Netherlands, and France.

When the British were first accused of helping the NSA and CIA spy on Donald Trump and his associates, by Judge Andrew Napolitano on Fox News, they angrily denied it.

But they did it.

It’s a squalid story about a real international conspiracy, launched by the Obama administration, to concoct a monstrous lie about Donald Trump; that he was in league with the Russian government. It is a lie that the Democratic Party is still using to cast a shadow of illegitimacy over the Trump presidency.

From the Accuracy in Media Center for Investigative Journalism, using as its main source the leftist Guardian newspaper:

The British Guardian posted a report on April 13 claiming that its sources now admit that the British spy agency GCHQ was digitally wiretapping Trump associates, going back to late 2015. This was presumably when the December 2015 Moscow meeting between Russian President Vladimir Putin and Lt. General Michael Flynn took place.

This runs contrary to the blanket nature of the denial insinuated in GCHQ’s carefully-crafted statement of March 17 claiming it was all “nonsense” and “utterly ridiculous” that they conducted surveillance of “then president-elect” Donald Trump (emphasis added). The surveillance went back a year before he became “president-elect”. 

President Trump’s claim of being “wire tapped” has been vindicated. Indeed, the surveillance is far more extensive than even he suspected at the time.

Based on the new disclosures, we can safely conclude that the world’s most advanced and extensive system of computerized espionage was indeed used against him and people he worked with, for political purposes, with the knowledge and approval of top Obama officials such as CIA Director John Brennan (one major name implicated by the Guardian).

Fox News Senior Judicial Analyst, Judge Andrew Napolitano, who said GCHQ was involved in wiretapping Trump, has also been vindicated. Fox News owes Napolitano an apology for yanking him off the air for a week for making that “controversial” and now-verified assertion.

President Trump stressed the pervasive “extent” of this Obama political “wiretapping” to Maria Bartiromo of Fox Business in an Oval Office interview on April 11 (aired April 12).  “Me and so many other people” surveilled, Trump said. He explained again that he had picked up the “wire tapped” terminology straight from the headline of The New York Times (of January 20) …

Now we’re learning that GCHQ did wiretap Trump for a year before the election. “Trump” is, of course, shorthand for Trump associates and possibly Trump himself directly, depending on context. But GCHQ is trying to put a positive spin on what it admits would be illegal spying on US citizens if done by US agencies.

The Guardian’s sources claim a heroic role for the British GCHQ as a courageous “whistleblower” in warning US agencies to “watch out” about Trump and Russia — but carefully avoiding mention of the US’s NSA, which must be protected at all costs as part of the NSA-GCHQ spy-on-each-other’s-citizens “wiretap shell game”. …

These sources virtually admit the mutual “wiretap shell game” by inadvertently mentioning the Trump-Russia data was originally passed on to the US by GCHQ as part of a “routine exchange” of intelligence. The use of this term, “exchange”, suggests what we had previously reported — the shell-game “exchange” between the NSA and GCHQ where they can spy on each other’s citizens and deny it all. 

Past British Prime Ministers have been implicated in various scandals involving wiretaps.  Some have involved the “Echelon” global surveillance system set up by the NSA with its counterparts in the other “Five Eyes” nations — UK, Canada, Australia and New Zealand.  Any one of these countries is able to circumvent domestic laws against spying on their own citizens by asking another Echelon member country to do it for them. This is precisely the “wiretap shell game” used by the Obama administration to have British GCHQ spy on Trump, as outlined by Judge Napolitano and his sources.

To avoid unraveling the longstanding Five Eyes spying “wiretap shell game”, the GCHQ had to pretend they “routinely” came across this Trump-Russia wiretap data “by chance”, unprompted by requests from US. agencies (such as the NSA or CIA) or by Obama officials, working outside normal NSA chain of command on Signals Intelligence or SIGINT (as Judge Napolitano reported on March 14).

So the heroic British GCHQ comes to the rescue with conveniently “accidental” (our word) captures of wiretap communications between Trump people and sinister-sounding “Russian intelligence agents”, with the wiretaps sent here to help out the US agencies. We are supposed to believe the US agencies and the Obama White House just passively received this bombshell wiretap data from GCHQ, no questions asked, for over a year from late 2015 to early 2017. (The Guardian has no end date for the surveillance, such as the November 8 election, and indicates continued surveillance into the Trump transition, with the FBI “throwing more resources” into the investigation then.)

Did Obama officials ever say, “Wait! Stop sending us this material, it may be illegal!” It does not appear so. Hence, the questions that have to be asked by the House and Senate Intelligence Committees are:

  • Were there requests for more wiretap data on Trump and his team?
  • Were there requests for more complete transcripts, or even voice recordings?

This “alerting” of the US on Trump-Russia communications was needed, according to the Guardian and its US and UK intelligence sources, because the US agencies were “asleep” or “untrained,” or were legally prohibited from “examining the private communications of American citizens without warrants”. But to the GCHQ, America is a “foreign” nation and evidently they think they are free to spy on Americans “without warrants”.

Previous reporting has said that an interagency task force of six US intelligence agencies was set up to investigate the alleged Trump-connected names supposedly discovered in “incidental collection” of digital wiretap surveillance of Russian communications. The six agencies are said to consist of the CIA, NSA, FBI, the Justice Department’s National Security Division, the Office of the Director of National Intelligence and the Treasury Department financial crimes unit.

Until now, no one has known who in the Obama administration set up the task force, who directs it, what its operating directives state, what its activities have entailed, and who it is really accountable to.

But the Guardian is now reporting that it was CIA Director John Brennan who initiated, in about August 2016, what clearly seems to be an illegal domestic investigation of the Trump political campaign, which would be prohibited by the CIA charter.

Reportedly “Brennan used [British] GCHQ information and intelligence from other partners to launch a major interagency investigation.” The infamous fake “Trump dossier” is apparently dragged in too.

You can read the “dossier” here. It’s a pile of ludicrous bilge.

Brennan then proceeded to give highly classified “urgent” briefings to individual members of the Congressional “Gang of Eight”. Beginning on about August 25, with then-Sen. Harry Reid (D-NV) on that date, CIA chief Brennan claimed that the Russian email hackings of the Democratic National Committee were designed to help Trump win the election, according to The New York Times. [!] These partisan briefings represent the politicization of the CIA under Obama, and are of dubious legality.

In September 2016, this anti-Trump intelligence task force changed the previous “incidental” collection to outright direct targeting of Trump people so that their communications with Russia were “actively monitored”, not merely retrieved retroactively in digital archives with names having to be laboriously “unmasked”. …

Unmasking is unnecessary if one starts with the specific names of Trump personnel first, and then flags them for future surveillance, going forward in time. In that case, the “actively monitored” and flagged Trump names automatically trigger alerts in the NSA-GCHQ computers whenever the names turn up. These wiretap reports would then have been submitted to Obama officials at the level of national security adviser Susan Rice and CIA director Brennan, and perhaps to Obama himself.

Interestingly, the Guardian’s sources carefully try to avoid implicating or involving the NSA in GCHQ’s allegedly unprompted reporting on intercepted wiretap data on Trump associates. It’s the “shell game” again with the NSA and GCHQ covering for each other.

Instead, the Guardian’s anonymous intelligence sources say that then-director of GCHQ Robert Hannigan passed on a top secret “director level” report on Trump-Russia in “summer 2016” to CIA Director John Brennan, rather than to the NSA. However, if GCHQ was using NSA’s digital wiretap facilities to “routinely” spy on Trump people, then the NSA would be implicated by the very arrangement used. …

The unexpected sudden resignation of GCHQ director Hannigan, announced on January 23, makes him the potential villain and scapegoat. …

In an unprecedented BBC interview on April 5, Hannigan fired a parting shot at the Judge Napolitano and White House reports of his GCHQ’s spying on Trump. Hannigan snidely dismissed the reports, saying,

We get crazy conspiracy theories thrown at us every day. We ignore most of them. On this occasion it was so crazy that we felt we should say so and we have said it’s a ridiculous suggestion.

The Guardian’s report refutes Hannigan, barely a week after he left office, possibly with official connivance or approval. But why is Hannigan being thrown under the bus so soon? Is it fear of the impending findings of US Congressional and official investigations exposing GCHQ?

Now that Trump is president, the British have some urgent repairs to make.

Such reports in the British press on highly sensitive intelligence matters surely must have been quietly cleared by the British government as a first fallback position on GCHQ spying on [now President] Trump. Otherwise the Guardian would be in deep trouble under the UK’s Official Secrets Act and its D-Notice procedure to suppress or censor news stories on secret intelligence matters.

Finally, the British also seem to be trying to spread the blame around to a laundry list of other countries allegedly passing on intelligence about Trump-Russia contacts—Germany, Estonia, Poland, Australia, the Dutch and the French DGSE.

Still, no “smoking gun” has ever been found in any of this wiretap material, for it would already have been leaked like Lt. Gen. Flynn’s fairly benign conversations with the Russian ambassador that got him fired.

Despite the sensational news from The Washington Post that the FBI obtained a FISA warrant to wiretap ex-Trump adviser Carter Page, which may even still be in effect, his “Russian contacts” also seem to be completely ordinary and routine. Page is so confident of his innocence that he has been going on various television news programs to talk openly about his work on Russia, supplying Russian contacts with some of his New York University classroom materials.

To be sure, a certain large percentage of these kinds of business meetings with Russians will turn out to be with undercover Russian intelligence officers —  unbeknown to the Western business and academic people meeting them. The media portray them as suspicious. But this kind of Russian spy game has always been going on since the Cold War and is nothing new.

The FISA warrant, rather than proving any malfeasance by Carter Page — again no “smoking gun” — only adds to the evidence that what President Trump said from the start was true: that Trump and his associates were under electronic surveillance.

What do the wiretaps on Trump actually say? The media don’t want to know if the NSA-GCHQ wiretaps actually exonerate President Trump.

One of the advantages of the adversarial system in the courts is that advocates on the opposing side ideally get a fair chance — unlike the one-sided media with journalists who, at the rate of more than 90 percent, contributed to the Hillary Clinton campaign …

Questions not asked of Rice or other sources by the media include whether she or other Obama officials “flagged” the unmasked Trump team names for future NSA (or British GCHQ) automatic unmasking and delivery of transcripts and summary reports.

Did the Obama people regularize the “unmasking” so that routinely a new retroactive search was automatically ordered with automatic unmaskings? That would be another way to turn “incidental collection” into an effectively ongoing wiretap order. Did President Obama or Rice or others request actual sound recordings of Trump and others to review?

Did the Obama team “unmask” other presidential candidates and associates besides Trump, such as Green Party candidate Jill Stein, who visited Moscow in December 2015 and dined with Putin? Fox is reporting that Congressional investigators are now looking into whether other presidential candidates and Members of Congress were surveilled too. In 2014, CIA director Brennan was caught red-handed lying to the Senate about the CIA’s criminal hacking of the Senate Intelligence Committee’s computer system.

We are told that many, if not most, of these wiretaps and unmaskings of Trump people were not even wiretaps about Russia or “incidental collection” on legitimate foreign intelligence subjects, though they may have begun that way.

The evidence now indicates that the information was procured for partisan political purposes — to spy on the Trump opposition to Hillary Clinton using the full weight of the US government’s NSA spying apparatus (or NSA facilities used by British GCHQ).

Scandalized? Prepare to be more so:

Trump’s CIA Director Mike Pompeo is in a position to get to the bottom of this scandal. Yet, on April 13, 2017, in his first public speech as director, he seemed to indicate that the evidence being developed in connection with the CIA’s role in the illegal surveillance of President Trump was going to be ignored or brushed aside. It was a forceful, even strident, defense of the Agency.

“I inherited an Agency that has a real appreciation for the law and for the Constitution,” he claimed. “Despite fictional depictions meant to sell books or box-office tickets, we are not an untethered or rogue agency. So yes, while we have some truly awesome capabilities at our disposal, our officers do not operate in areas or against targets that are rightfully and legally off-limits to us.”

The evidence suggests the opposite. The CIA under Obama’s CIA Director Brennan was involved in illegal surveillance, using those “truly awesome capabilities” against political targets that should have been off-limits.

One of those targets was the President who appointed Pompeo as CIA director.

We need our intelligence agencies. But they have gone bad under bad leadership.

Socialism – the ultimate weapon of mass destruction 1

Since America has two parties competing for power, and since one of them has become a socialist party, it is necessary to think what it will mean if socialism becomes the dominant ideology in the world’s most powerful nation.

The great free-market economist Milton Friedman recommended that his students read an essay by the Russian writer Igor Shafarevich titled Socialism in our Past and Future. In Soviet Russia it was impossible to publish it. An English translation was published in the West in a collection edited by Alexander Solzhenitsyn under the title From Under the Rubble.*

The point of the essay is that socialism (or communism – in the USSR the terms were used interchangeably) is a destroyer of mankind; an ideology whose global implementation must necessarily bring about the total annihilation of the human race.

He writes:

[T]he economic and social demands of socialism are the means for the attainment of its basic aim, the destruction of individuality. … Such a revolution would amount to the destruction of Man … And not just an abstract destruction of the concept, but a real one too. [Emphasis in all instances in the original.]

That warning may seem at first sight to be too far-fetched. But it is surely true that the individual person is supremely important. He (I use the masculine to stand for both men and women as is the convention of our language) must be free to pursue his own ends, among them to have and support and defend a family. (Shafarevich includes the individual’s need for religion. Those who need it should not of course be deprived of it.)

Because “socialism aims at the destruction of those aspects of life which form the true basis of human existence”, “radical changes” to the needs of the individual, implemented on a global scale, will bring a “universal result, the withering away of all mankind, and its death.”

It seems that all the socialist parties of the world are now internationalist, or “globalist”. If America became a socialist country the effect would be the triumph of globalism, the ultimate realization of which is world socialist government. If Shafarevich is right – and we think he very well may be – that will bring about the end of the human race.

Fortunately, the Democratic Party – the socialist party of America – has become so silly in what it says (anti-white, anti-male, anti-rule of law, anti-America, anti-science, anti-nature), and so violent in what it does (politically motivated riots), that at least in the foreseeable future it has little chance of winning power.

 

*From Under the Rubble edited by Alexander Solzhenitsyn, Little, Brown and Company, New York, 1975.

MOAB 3

Magnificent!

The biggest, most devastating, non-nuclear bomb ever deployed has been dropped on Isis in Afghanistan.

Yesterday, April 13, 2017, MOAB – the GBU-43/B Massive Ordnance Air Blast bomb aka the “Mother Of All Bombs” was deployed for the first time – dropped on hundreds of ISIS fighters in Afghanistan.

From Breitbart:

The U.S. military on Thursday dropped a massive 21,600-pound bomb in Afghanistan targeting Islamic State in Iraq and Syria fighters in a series of cave complexes.

At 7:32 p.m., a U.S. MC-130 aircraft dropped the bomb – the U.S.’s largest non-nuclear bomb ever used in combat – in Achin district in the eastern province of Nangarhar, Afghanistan.

It was the first time the bomb, known as the GBU-43, or “Massive Ordnance Air Blast,” was used in combat. It has a yield of 11 tons of TNT, and is nicknamed the “Mother of All Bombs.”

The bomb targeted ISIS’s Afghan affiliate, ISIS-Khorasan, “as part of ongoing efforts” to defeat the group in 2017, according to a statement from U.S. Forces – Afghanistan. …

“As ISIS-K’s losses have mounted, they are using IEDs [improvised explosive devices], bunkers and tunnels to thicken their defense,” said Army Gen. John W. Nicholson. “This is the right munition to reduce these obstacles and maintain the momentum of our offensive against ISIS-K.”

President Trump said:

What I do is I authorize my military. We have the greatest military in the world and they’ve done a job as usual. We have given them total authorization and that’s what they’re doing and frankly that’s why they’ve been so successful lately. If you look at what’s happened over the last eight weeks and compare that really to what’s happened over the past eight years, you’ll see there’s a tremendous difference, tremendous difference. So we have incredible leaders in the military, and we have incredible military. We are very proud of them. This was another very, very successful mission.

This is what Donald Trump promised when he was a candidate for the presidency:

He promised he would “quickly and decisively bomb the hell out of ISIS”.

And he did. 

Asked if  the dropping of the MOAB was meant to send a message to North Korea, the President replied:

I don’t know if this sends a message. It doesn’t make any difference if it does or not. North Korea is a problem. The problem will be taken care of.

We believe him.

Repeat: Children’s story 2

We first posted this on October 7, 2012.

We repeat it because at last an American leader has been moved by the plight of children in Syria to attack that hellhole with cruise missiles.

President Trump is coming in for much criticism for the action he took after seeing pictures of people, including children and babies, dying from being sprayed with poison gas. His attack on the airfield from which the gas was flown was to deter the Syrian dictator from ever again gassing the people he oppresses.

Many doubt that it was Assad who was responsible for the gassing. Some of our commenters on our Facebook page are depicting Assad as a heroic fighter against ISIS.

This will serve as a reminder to us all that there is no good side fighting in Syria – except, at least this once, President Trump.

*

Both [all] sides of the civil war in Syria torture children to death.

This is from Front Page, by Frank Crimi:

One of the more loathsome horrors of Syria’s civil war has been the deliberate targeting of Syrian children by both pro-government and rebel forces, barbarity which includes imprisonment, rape, torture, sexual abuse, murder, and use as human shields.

That gruesome reality has been chillingly documented in recently released reports by the United Nations [see that pig flying? – JB] and two British-based humanitarian groups working with Syrian refugees, War Child and Save the Children.

While children in war zones are normally caught in the crossfire between opposing forces, the purposeful targeting of young children, according to the July 2012 War Child report, make the Syrian conflict “disturbingly unique”.

Well, the War Child report is just plain wrong there. Palestinian terrorists have been purposely targeting Israeli children for decades – and killing their own (see our post The sacrifice of children to Allah, August 19, 2011). The Lord’s Army in Africa forces children to cook and eat their parents (see our post The Lord’s Army of child slave cannibals, June 14, 2011). We could make a long list. But the point is not whether what the Syrians are doing is unique, but that they are doing it.

They are –

… abducting children and imprisoning them in former schools which have been converted into specially designed torture centers.

There the children are –

… beaten, blindfolded, and subjected to stress positions, whipped with heavy electrical cables, and scarred by cigarette burns.

One of these victims was a 15-year-old boy named Khalid, tortured in his old school where his father had once been the principal, who said, “They hung me up from the ceiling by my wrists, with my feet off the ground. Then I was beaten. I was terrified.”

In some instances, captors would bind the children’s hands together so tightly that, according to one victim, “the veins in their wrists would start to bleed. I witnessed so many children dying from this torture”.

For some, the maltreatment inflicted was a form of “sexual torture,” sexual violence levied on both boys and girls, some as young as 12, which included “rape, penetration with objects, sexual groping, prolonged forced nudity, and electroshock and beatings to genitalia”. …

The type of sadistic punishment meted out to the children followed no formal protocol, but rather, according to a child sufferer who was subjected to electric shocks, “depended on what mood these men were in … They showed no sympathy, no mercy”.

This abject cruelty was pointedly expressed in the torture and death of a 6-year-old boy named Alaa, who was slated for torture because his father was an anti-government activist wanted by the Syrian regime. … Over the course of three days, the little boy was tortured, beaten and starved by his captors, with one 16-year-old witness to Alaa’s suffering saying, “I watched him die… He was terrified all the time. …” 

They speak of the terror, but not of the pain. How can one not think of the pain? Of six year old children in pain. Think how they must have cried.

These children are housed like animals as well, inhumanely incarcerated in small, overcrowded rooms, often shared with decomposing bodies. Then, as they await their assigned date with their torturer, they are starved for days on end, with their only drinkable water available from the cell’s toilet. …

Children outside [these]  deadly confines face equally lethal dangers, such as being used for target practice. …

One Syrian woman  … witnessed two armed militia men betting on which of them could shoot an 8-year-old boy playing alone in a street. … The men shot the boy, but their shots didn’t kill him right away. As he lay bleeding, the boy’s mother tried to reach him but was kept back by the men, leaving the boy to die hours later alone in the street outside his home. …

While the Syrian government may treat a child’s life as worthless, it has discovered they possess some practical value … serving as human shields … placing them on the front of government tanks and armored personnel carriers as they advance into an opposition held area.

Pretty pointless really, as the opposition cares no more for children than the government does. Using children as shields can only work against people with moral principles and a conscience.

One Syrian man named Nabil witnessed such a barbarous and cowardly act when he [saw]  two tanks entering his village with “children attached to them, tied up by their hands and feet, and by their torsos”, a sight which made Nabil feel so helpless that all he could do was cry.

Tanks “protected” by the bodies of living children – who will not deter the other side from shooting at the tank or blowing it up.

They must be very religious, the people who do such a thing. 

Of course, none of this … comes as a complete shock given that pro-government forces had signaled their contempt for children early on in the Syrian uprising, disregard expressed in the form of regime snipers deliberately shooting children who were part of street protests.

In fact, so distasteful was the sight of child protesters to the Syrian regime that it would take its vengeance by attacking schools. In one village, pro-regime militia went to a grade school, picked 50 children at random, many of whom were as young as 6-years-old, and proceeded to tear out their fingernails….

While most of the acts of violent child assault and murder have been committed by Syrian security forces and pro-regime militias, such as the dreaded Shabiha militias, the hands of opposition forces are far from clean. … The Free Syrian Army (FSA) forcibly [recruited] children, some as young as 8-years-old, into their ranks. …

Syrian Christian children have been targeted, along with their families, by elements of the FSA and an assortment of armed Islamist and al-Qaeda-linked terror groups as part of a systematic cleansing of Syrian Christians.

Cleansing: derived from the iniquitous phrase “ethnic cleansing”, the word has become a euphemism for mass murder.

That cleansing includes the killing of whole families, the sacking of churches, and the forcible evacuation of Christians from towns and cities, such as the forced Christian exodus of nearly 50,000 people from Homs in which armed Islamists murdered more than 200 Christians, including entire families with young children. …

As Rob Williams, CEO of War Child, has said, “The Syrian conflict must now rank as one of the worst for the depth and scale of abuses against children,” adding that it “will scar Syria for generations”.

If Rob Williams means that a nation with too few children is “scarred”, he may be right. If he means that the parents of the murdered children will be “scarred” he must surely be right. But if he means that Syria’s reputation, as a people, will be scarred, we must say that we very much doubt it. Who will hold the torturing to death of children against the torturing killers? Christians? They forgive. Western opinion generally? There is no precedent to suggest it. So who will remember those children, and refuse to forgive?

Make war not love 3

Last week Bashar al-Assad attacked his own people and killed many of them with poison gas. President Trump ordered that two US ships patrolling the eastern Mediterranean fire cruise missiles to destroy the Syrian airfield from where the gas was carried and the aircraft that carried it.

We were delighted that he did. We cheered. The mass-murdering  tyrant Assad and his allies and supporters, Russia and Iran, were being shown that the United States was no longer going to stand by while they committed such atrocities. We also applauded Secretary of State Rex Tillerson’s announcement that Assad must go.

We invited our readers, both here on The Atheist Conservative website and on our Facebook page, to tell us what they thought about President Trump’s action.

Few agreed with us. Most said that Assad should be left in place because who knew what would follow his deposition. We argue that whatever followed, Syria could hardly experience worse than it has under Assad’s rule.

They argued that there was no firm evidence that Assad was responsible for the gassing. Some wanted him to be blamed and punished fairly, justly, as in an American court of law; not taking his past record into account; looking only at this particular atrocity and whether the evidence was strong enough for him to be found guilty of it.

Some declared that they had until now been Trump supporters, but his stroke against Assad had changed their view of him.

How many, we wonder, of those who voted Donald Trump into power now think he has done something so wrong that they regret their choice?

We cannot know. We do not trust the polls, and there is not going to be another presidential election in the near future to give the answer.

We can only point out that if we lose Trump, we lose the war. He is all we’ve got between us and the end of our civilization.

What war? How will it be the end of our civilization if we lose it?

Let’s look round the world and see what’s happening.

This is from an article at Gatestone by Guy Millière, titled Geert Wilders and the Suicide of Europe:

For years, the Dutch mainstream media have spread hatred and defamation against [Geert] Wilders for trying to warn the Dutch people – and Europe – about what their future will be if they continue their current immigration policies; in exchange, last December, a panel of three judges found him guilty of “inciting discrimination”. Newspapers and politicians all over Europe unceasingly describe him as a dangerous man and a rightist firebrand. Sometimes they call him a “fascist”.

What did Geert Wilders ever do to deserve that? None of his remarks ever incriminated any person or group because of their race or ethnicity. To charge him, the Dutch justice system had excessively and abusively to interpret words he used during a rally in which he asked if the Dutch wanted “fewer Moroccans”. None of Wilders’s speeches incites violence against anyone; the violence that surrounds him is directed only at him. He defends human rights and democratic principles and he is a resolute enemy of all forms of anti-Semitism.

His only “crime” is to denounce the danger represented by the Islamization of the Netherlands and the rest of Europe and to claim that Islam represents a mortal threat to freedom.  …

What is happening in the Netherlands is similar to what is happening in most European countries. In the United Kingdom, Belgium, France, Germany and Sweden, the number of no-go zones is rapidly growing. Islamic riots occur more and more often. Ethnic gangs are growing more violent. Ethnic cleansing is transforming neighborhoods. Jews are leaving for Israel or North America.The Muslim population is sharply increasing. Radical mosques are proliferating. Islamic organizations are everywhere.

Politicians who dare to speak the way Geert Wilders does are treated the way Geert Wilders is treated : scorned, marginalized, put on trial.

The vision of the world in Western Europe is now “hegemonic”. It is based on the idea that the Western world is guilty; that all cultures are equal, and that Islamic culture is “more equal” than Western culture because Islam was supposedly so long oppressed by the West. What adherents of this view, that the West is guilty, “forget” is that Islam long oppressed the West: Muslim armies conquered Persia, the Christian Byzantine Empire, North Africa and the Middle East, Spain, Greece, Hungary, Serbia and the Balkans, and virtually all of Eastern Europe. The Muslim armies were a constant threat until the marauding Ottoman troops were finally turned away at the Gates of Vienna in 1683.

This European vision also includes the idea that all conflicts can be peacefully settled, that appeasement is almost always a solution, and that Europe has no enemies.

It also stands on the idea that an enlightened elite must have the power, because if Adolf Hitler came to power through democratic means eighty years ago, letting people freely decide their fate might lead to ill.

The dream seems to be of a utopian future where poverty will be overcome by welfare systems, and violence will be defeated by openness and love.

Repeat: Islamic terrorism “will be defeated by openness and love”.

It is this vision of the world that may have prompted Germany’s Chancellor Angela Merkel to open the doors to more than a million unvetted Muslim migrants, despite a migrant crime wave and an increasing number of rapes and sexual assaults. The only candidate likely to beat Angela Merkel in this year’s German elections is a socialist, Martin Schulz, a former European Parliament president.

In France, Marine Le Pen, the only candidate who speaks of Islam and immigration, will almost certainly be defeated by Emmanuel Macron, a former minister in the government of François Hollande — a man who see no evil anywhere.

It is this vision of the world that also seems to have led British Prime Minister Theresa May to say that the Islamic attack on March 22 in Westminster was “not an act of Islamic terrorism”.

This romanticized, utopian vision of the world also explains why in Europe, people such as Geert Wilders are seen as the incarnation of evil, but radical Islam is considered a marginal nuisance bearing no relation to the “religion of peace”. Meanwhile, Wilders is condemned to live under protection as if he were in jail, while those who want to slaughter him — and who threaten millions of people in Europe — walk around free.

Of all the countries in Europe where the indigenous Europeans have capitulated to Islam, the one most eager to submit to that supremacist totalitarian conqueror is Sweden. Recently a jihadi drove a truck into a crowd of Swedes, killing four.

What will the Swedes – what remains of them – do to save themselves from Islamic terrorism?

They will ban the use of vehicles in Swedish cities:

Virginia Hale reports at Breitbart:

Cars and other vehicles “have turned into deadly weapons”, and should be banished from cities to stop attacks like the one in Stockholm from happening in future, according to Aftonbladet editorialist Eva Franchell.

Crackdowns on immigration or extremist ideology are not the way forward when it comes to terror prevention, according to the veteran journalist, writing after Friday’s terror attack in Stockholm left four people dead.

Instead, it is cars — which she calls “effective murder machines” — that Franchell says “[which] must simply be removed from city centres and places where people gather, if people are to be protected in future”.

Vehicles are “easy to steal, and so nothing has been able to stop their advance”, writes Ms. Franchell.

It just isn’t reasonable that a big truck can be driven right into one of Stockholm’s busiest streets on a Friday afternoon right before Easter.”

Noting how it is a popular destination for tourists, Franchell says the city centre must be a “safe environment” for visitors to enjoy. She described it as “remarkable” that it is possible to drive around the Swedish capital’s medieval old town.

Outlining her vision for a car-free Stockholm, she argues: “Most problems with regards to mobility and public transport can be solved, and deliveries to shops and restaurants could take place at times when people aren’t out on the streets.”

“Vehicles have been allowed to dominate our cities for decades and it’s the people who need space. It’s vital now that cars be regulated,” the piece concludes.

The idea of reducing the number of cars in Swedish cities was backed last month by Sweden’s environment minister, who argued that driving is a gender equality issue as well as a matter of shrinking the nation’s carbon emissions.

“Cars are driven largely by men so by giving a lot of space to cars; we’re giving a lot of space to men — at the expense of women,” Karolina Skog explained.

Cars are evil, and the need to get rid of them is a feminist issue. Two big important fights to be engaged there, with cars and sex inequality.

So are we and President Trump in a very small minority of Westerners who think that we should use all our strength to defeat Islam and its helpers and allies?

We don’t know. But there are voices raised on our side.

This is from the Investigative Project on Terrorism, by Yaakov Lappin:

The conflict in Syria has long ceased being a civil war, becoming instead a clash between coalitions and blocs that divide the entire Middle East.

The Iranian-led axis is the most dangerous and highly armed bloc fighting in Syria. Bashar al-Assad’s regime is not an independent actor, but rather, a component of this wider axis. In many respects, Assad is a junior member of the Iranian coalition set up to fight for him.

Russia joined the Iranian axis in 2015, acting for its own reasons as the pro-Assad coalition’s air force, helping to preserve the Syrian regime.

This coalition enabled the Assad regime to conduct mass murder and ethnic cleansing of Sunnis from Syria, while also using unconventional weapons against civilians in an effort to terrorize rebel organizations into submission.

Feeling confident by its growing control of Syria, Iran also uses its regional coalition to arm, finance, and deploy Shi’ite jihadist agents all over the Middle East, and to attack those who stand in the way of Iranian domination.

The Iranian-led axis has been able to spread violence, terrorism, and Islamic militancy without facing repercussions.

Until recently, the United States focused its attention exclusively on Sunni jihadist threats – ISIS and al-Qaida-affiliated groups. While these terrorists certainly need to be attacked, turning a blind eye to the activities of the more powerful radical Shi’ite coalition did nothing to stop the region’s destabilization. In this context, Assad’s numerous crimes against humanity went unanswered.

This helped embolden Assad to use chemical weapons. It also gave the Iranians confidence to magnify their meddling in Syria, Lebanon, Iraq, Yemen, Bahrain, and to target many other states. The end result is Iran’s enhanced ability to export its Khomeiniest Islamic fundamentalist doctrine.

That sent a troubling message to America’s regional allies, who, in the face of these threats, formed a de facto coalition of pragmatic Sunni states – a coalition that includes Israel.

On April 6, the U.S. sent a signal that something may have changed. A cruise missile attack on an Assad regime air base, in response to a savage chemical weapons massacre in Idlib, Syria, was, first and foremost, a moral response to an intolerable act of evil.

But the strike also carries a wider prospective message about Washington’s new willingness to enforce red lines against Assad and his Shi’ite allies.

Potentially, it is an indication that the U.S. is willing to use its military prowess beyond the objective of targeting ISIS, and that it recognizes that Sunni jihadists are not the only global security threat that warrants the use of military force.

Statements by senior Trump administration officials indicate that a shift has occurred. “What you have in Syria is a very destructive cycle of violence perpetuated by ISIS, obviously, but also by this regime and their Iranian and Russian sponsors,” National Security Adviser H. R. McMaster told Fox News Sunday.

Russia must choose between its alignment with Assad, Iran, and Hizballah, and working with the United States, Secretary of State Rex Tillerson said Tuesday. The firm comment was made hours before he touched down in Moscow for talks.

According to U.S. officials, the April 6 missile attack destroyed 20 percent of Assad’s fighter jets. It represents the first time that Washington has taken military action against a member of the Iranian-led coalition.

The strike could evolve into a “dialogue of deterrence” that the U.S. initiates against dangerous actors. These radical actors all have “return addresses”, and are likely to prove responsive to cost-benefit considerations, despite their extreme ideology. They may think twice before considering further development and usage of unconventional weapons.

Washington is now able to exercise muscular diplomacy – the only kind that is effective in the Middle East – and inform all members of the Iran’s pro-Assad coalition that the deployment of unconventional weapons will not be tolerated. It can also begin to rally and strengthen the pro-American coalition of states in the Middle East, who seek to keep a lid on both ISIS and Iran.

With American officials indicating that they are “ready to do more” in Syria if necessary, signs suggest that the strike represents the start of a policy of deterrence, and leaving open future options for drawing additional red lines.

In theory, should Washington decide that Iran’s transfer of weapons and extremist Shi’ite military forces to other lands has reached unacceptable levels, or that Iran’s missile development program has gone far enough, it could call on Tehran to cease these activities. This call would carry substantially more weight following last week’s missile attack on the Syrian airbase.

The U.S. is in a better position to inform Assad and his allies that there is a limit to how far they can go in pursuing their murderous ambitions.

While the objective of creating a renewed American deterrent posture is vital, it should not be confused with plans for wider military intervention in the seemingly endless Syrian conflict.

There is little reason to believe that conventional weapons use against Syrian civilians is going to stop any time soon, or that the enormous tragedy suffered by the Syrian people is about to end.

And there is certainly no indication that the U.S. is planning to initiate large-scale military involvement in this failed state.

Hence, the missile strike should be seen for what it is: an attempt to boost American deterrence, which can then be leveraged to restrain radical actors that have, until now, been operating completely unchecked.

That is a message that will likely be heard loud and clear not only in Damascus, but also in Tehran, which has not given up its long-term ambition of building nuclear weapons.

North Korea, which helped build Syria’s plutonium nuclear plant (destroyed in 2007 in a reported Israeli air strike), and which maintains close links with Iran’s nuclear and missile programs, can be expected to take note as well.

If a policy of strategic deterrence follows the strike, it could have an impact on a coalition that is not just keeping Assad’s regime alive, but spreading its radical influence in many other areas.

In Syria, the Iranian Republican Guards Corps (IRGC) oversees ground operations across many battlefields to prop up Bashar al-Assad. Iran has gathered and armed tens of thousands of Shi’ite militia members from across the region into Syria, and manages a local force composed of 100,000 members. They fight alongside the Syrian Arab Army against Sunni rebel organizations, thereby increasing and entrenching Iranian influence.

The IRGC and its elite Quds Force are also helping to fill Hizballah’s weapons depots in Lebanon, with a vast array of surface-to-surface projectiles that are all pointed at Israel, often using Syria as an arms trafficking transit zone. Syria acts as a bridge that grants Iran access to Lebanon, and allows it to threaten both Israel and Jordan.

Jordan, an important U.S. ally, is deeply concerned by Iran’s actions in Syria, as evidenced by recent comments made by King Abdullah, who told the Washington Post that “there is an attempt to forge a geographic link between Iran, Iraq, Syria and Hezbollah/Lebanon.” IRGC forces are stationed within a mere 45 miles from Jordan’s border, he warned, adding that any hostile forces approaching the Hashemite Kingdom “are not going to be tolerated”.

Hizballah, a Lebanese-based Iranian Shi’ite proxy, evolved into a powerful army by sending 7,000 to 9,000 of its own highly trained members into Syria’s ground war. It helped rescue the Assad regime from collapse, and took part in battles stretching from Aleppo to the Qalamoun Mountains northeast of Damascus.

Last year, the Arab League and the Sunni countries of the Gulf Cooperation Council all declared Hizballah to be a terrorist entity.

Just as Iranian-backed Shi’ite militias have poured into Syria, the same has happened in Iraq, where 100,000 fighters supported by Tehran fight alongside the Iraqi government forces against ISIS. The IRGC’s network extends to Yemen’s Houthi Ansar Allah forces, who receive Iranian assistance. Ansar Allah, a heavily armed Shi’ite military force, fires ballistic missiles at Saudi Arabia on a regular basis.

The IRGC and Hizballah have been linked to a recent large-scale terrorist plot in Bahrain.

If the message addressed in the cruise missile strike is followed up with a strategy of deterrence, addressed to Ayatollah Khamenei as much as it was addressed to Assad, the U.S. could begin projecting to the world that it recognizes the threat posed by Shi’ite jihadists as much as it takes seriously the threat from their fundamentalist Sunni equivalents.

Washington’s campaign to pressure Russia to distance itself from its Middle Eastern allies could play an important part of this message.

It will take more than pressure. It will take war. If we want to save ourselves, we need all the cruise missiles we can make, and probably all the nukes too.

But if the West has no stomach for war, then it will perish in a state of “openness and love”, congratulating itself on its virtue: its fairness, its peacefulness, its generosity, its tolerance, its refusal to be racist, xenophobic, Islamophobic, or sexist. A great moral victory. And then – no more fairness, peacefulness, generosity, tolerance. No women driving cars. Just Islam.

Why Bashar al-Assad must go 2

“It is not our business what happens in Syria,” some of our commenters have written on these pages and on our Facebook page. “We are not the policeman of the world.” “Let them kill each other.”

Many of our regular readers are libertarians. The big fault in the thinking of American libertarians is their preference for isolationism. As if what happens in the rest of the world has no effect on America.

But not all the commenters who want President Trump to do nothing about the gassing of civilians in Syria are libertarians. A few are conservatives who are well aware of the danger in isolationism, but who do not see Assad himself as a significant threat to any but his own people.

While Barack Obama stood back from interfering in Syria, refused to be the policeman of the world, and let Assad kill half a million of his own people, Russia crept up to become the dominant power in the Middle East. And not only by adopting Assad as its pet dictator on the Mediterranean, but far more dangerously by becoming Iran’s best friend – a position Barack Obama coveted. He begged for it, he groveled for it, he paid for it, but while the reigning mullahs accepted everything he gave them, they continued to treat him with the contempt he all too well deserved.

Under Russia’s protection, Iran has projected its destructive power into Iraq, Yemen, and Lebanon – from where it is mounting a growing threat to Israel.

The anti-America axis formed by Russia, Iran, and Iran’s nuclear partner North Korea, needs to be broken up. Sending the Russians home from Syria would be a good start.

We quote from an article at the National Interest by Matthew RJ Brodsky:

Last week the U.S. ambassador to the United Nations, Nikki Haley, said that when it comes to Syria, “Our priority is no longer to sit there and focus on getting Assad out.” That expression of U.S. policy came the same day that Secretary of State Rex Tillerson intimated that Assad’s future would “be decided by the Syrian people”.

The Syrian people have tried to do precisely that since March 2011, but they were met by the regime’s snipers, tanks, aircraft, barrel bombs, chemical weapons, torture, mass graves and war crimes. Leaving Assad’s fate to the people matches the language espoused by Damascus, Tehran and Moscow, meaning Assad isn’t going anywhere. …

Secretary Tillerson had said, “Russia and Iran will bear moral responsibility,” but later added that he knew Assad was behind the attack. However, in the words of White House Press Secretary Sean Spicer, “There is not a fundamental option of regime change.”

Unfortunately, the lesson is that this is what happens when the U.S. telegraphs that vicious dictators who use chemical weapons against their own people can remain in power. It sends a message to North Korea and Iran, one that will not be lost on Hezbollah in any upcoming conflict with Israel.

Despite the wishes of some in the West, Bashar al-Assad is not a solution for Syria, nor should he be a solution for the United States. The overwhelmingly compelling moral reasons for such a decision are manifest at this point. Going beyond humanitarian considerations, the fabric of Syrian society is irreparably torn. [A] social compact provided the modicum of legitimacy necessary for the thirty-year reign of Bashar’s father until his death in 2000. Without it, Bashar lacks the legitimacy to rule anything beyond his own family or the Kalbiyya tribe from which he hails. Indeed, having turned on the Sunni population who represent 75 percent of the country, Bashar now stands as a great magnet to which jihadists of all stripes are attracted, and that pull will continue as long as he is in power.

There’s also the problem of strength — a necessary trait in Middle East leaders. Bashar doesn’t have the military capability to regain, hold and consolidate control over Syria even if such an outcome were desirable. …

Assad, who is currently conscripting old men and underage women to serve in his military, is wholly reliant on outside powers with interests directly opposed to those of the United States. In early 2013, the first critical moment came when Assad risked losing what was left of his power but Iran and Hezbollah intervened, bolstering the regime. The respite they provided proved to be temporary and their resources inadequate to the ultimate resolution of the conflict. Assad was once again on the ropes by September 2015, but was revived by Russia’s entry into the conflict. Even their considerable military assistance wasn’t enough to win decisively.

The fact that Assad and his backers have resorted to the repeated use of chemical weapons and the continuous targeting of hospitals and schools demonstrates the weakness of their combined conventional military strength.

Simply put, to advocate for Bashar to remain in power is to acquiesce in Russian president Vladimir Putin’s role as Syria’s kingmaker. [Putin’s] purpose in Syria is to keep Assad in power, provide security for [Russia’s] Iranian client and increase the Russian threat to NATO’s southern flank by upgrading and expanding its Mediterranean base in Tartus, making its presence a permanent feature in the Middle East.

Working to boost Assad also means strengthening Iran in their long pursued and nearly completed task of creating a Shia land corridor from Tehran to the Mediterranean Sea, running through Iraq and Syria. … [This] will greatly add to [Iran’s] corrosive power before the key provisions of the nuclear deal fall away, greatly enhancing [its] position in the coming years. …

Sending Bashar al-Assad a military message that there are certain levels of barbarity that the world will not tolerate is a beginning. But ultimately, [Assad] needs to pay the price for his actions in a manner that will resonate loudest among the rogue regimes of the world that would consider the use of weapons of mass destruction. That will mean ensuring that the ruling Assad dynasty comes to an end in Syria.

Or America can run down its defenses, spend more on social security, open its borders, abolish its police forces, hide its flag, concentrate on learning new pronouns to cover as many sexual preferences as can be thought up in the safe play-rooms of the universities and the smelly streets of San Francisco and endlessly debate what bathrooms each pronoun can use, cover the land with bird-mincing windmills to provide a little energy now and then, fund the growing movement to humiliate white men, turn the public schools into madrassas, elect some corrupt narcissistic commie, preferably female, to lead the country, appoint judges who will rule according to their feelings, and die.

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