The third law of politics 16

These are Robert Conquest’s Three Laws of politics:

1. Everyone is conservative about what he knows best.

2. Any organization not explicitly and constitutionally right-wing will sooner or later become left-wing.

3. The behavior of any bureaucratic organization can best be understood by assuming that it is controlled by a secret cabal of its enemies.

Of the Second Law, Conquest gave the Church of England and Amnesty International as examples. Of the Third, he noted that an example of a bureaucracy controlled by a secret cabal of its enemies was the postwar British secret service. (Learn more from the podcast we took this from, by John Derbyshire speaking at National Review.)

It is the Third Law that concerns us now.

It has become apparent during the US presidency of Donald Trump that the permanent bureaucracy of the government – what in Britain is called the civil service – is controlled by “a secret cabal of its enemies”.

And as a body it has long since become left-wing.

Charles Lipson writes at Real Clear Politics:

Donald Trump and Republicans are furious that U.S. Attorney John Durham has not brought indictments against senior people who spied on the president’s campaign, lied repeatedly to judges in order to do it, and based their intrusions on specious evidence, which they knew to be false — and had been commissioned by the opposition political party. We know the broad outlines of this coordinated operation, but we still don’t know its full extent, all those involved, and what precise roles they played.

Attorney General William Barr promised major developments in this probe by late spring, then mid-summer, then Labor Day, and now sometime after the election. If, as Republicans say (and the evidence seems to show), there was a systematic effort to weaponize federal law enforcement and intelligence agencies for political purposes, the public has a compelling right to know. This need-to-know is urgent because the Democrats’ presidential nominee, Joe Biden, served as the second-highest ranking member of the administration that conducted these acts.

Why have Barr and Durham delayed issuing indictments or producing a comprehensive report?

Durham met predictable resistance from the same agencies that had committed the very acts being investigated. The CIA, now headed by Gina Haspel, and the FBI, now headed by Christopher Wray, refused to turn over any documents they weren’t forced to. Their resistance significantly slowed Durham’s work. So did the pandemic, which prevented grand juries from meeting to consider the evidence he uncovered. …

The crimes being investigated were directed at political figures, had political consequences, and may have been politically motivated.

May have been? What other motivation could there possibly be?

Citizens have a right to know — right now, before another Election Day — how the results of the previous presidential election were undermined by the very agencies who are supposed to be the bulwarks of American democracy. The targeting by the FBI and CIA of Donald Trump’s campaign, transition, and presidency corrupts the very idea of free-and-fair elections, the peaceful transfer of power, and nonpartisan law enforcement. If that’s what happened, Americans must know who did it. …

How can citizens acquire the information they need between now and Nov. 3? How can they find out what senior officials in the Obama administration did to surveil political opponents and cover it up when they lost the election?

There aren’t many options. The only realistic one is exactly what President Trump is demanding: Executive branch agencies must release all relevant documents with as few redactions as possible. His demand is entirely political, designed to help him win reelection. Still, he has the legal authority to do it. Whether it helps the country depends on what the documents tell us and whether they disclose any secret intelligence techniques.

What we have seen so far is a textbook example of bureaucrats covering their tracks, even if it harms the country they were hired to serve. Although some redactions are necessary to protect national security and on-going criminal investigations, many others were likely made to protect government agencies from humiliation or worse. That self-protection is why the State Department, FBI, and CIA have refused to give up documents. Lower-level bureaucrats have an additional reason. They fear the disclosures will help Trump.

Now that Election Day is so imminent, these agencies have even more leverage to keep their secrets. Trump cannot fire the Slow-Walkers-in-Chief, Christopher Wray and Gina Haspel, since doing so would ignite a political firestorm, just as firing Comey did. Wray, Haspel, and their colleagues know that, so they try to wait out Trump and hope for the best.

Still, the president does have some levers. John Ratcliffe, who is the director of national intelligence, outranks Haspel and can overrule her. He should do so if he thinks she is stalling to protect her agency or her position. She is vulnerable because she headed the CIA’s London station when Obama’s CIA ran so many anti-Trump operations on her territory. As for Wray, he is Barr’s subordinate in the Justice Department. The AG should override the FBI director unless disclosures would imperil a Durham prosecution. The practical danger is that Wray would complain to the New York Times and Washington Post, just as Comey and his deputy, Andrew McCabe, did. Those friendly [to the left] publications would undoubtedly reprise their old headlines: “Sources say AG undermining rule of law to help Trump”. 

So what if a political firestorm were ignited? Hasn’t there been an ongoing political firestorm ever since President Trump was elected? Is it not raging now with extra fury?

And why should the president or the Republicans or anyone fear the headlines of those gutter publications supporting the far-left, the New York Times and the Washington Post? They publish scurrilous headlines every day. For four years they have published lies and smears about President Trump in every issue.

The voters need Durham’s report before the election. It is theirs. They paid for it. By withholding it Barr and Durham are actively helping the far-left Democrats. 

Is the conclusion unavoidable that US Attorney General William Barr and US Attorney John Durham are members of the secret cabal of the administration’s – and America’s – enemies?

Betrayal 16

In general we are pessimists. (Our pessimism is made bearable, however, by laughter.) We have a view of human nature fitting what Thomas Sowell calls the “tragic vision”, which, he observes, underlies the conservative cast of mind. But we do have times when we allow ourselves optimism. As now, when we forecast a big win for President Trump in the forthcoming election.

So we do not believe that the gloomy predictions of the writer we quote below – though we agree that he makes an accurate depiction of what our enemies aim to do – will actually happen. But we share his sense of frustration that the Durham Report – expected by Trump supporters with as much eagerness as Christians expect a “Second Coming” or “The Rapture” – is being deliberately withheld from the electorate now, when it is most urgently needed. Its information concerning the attempt the Democrats made to destroy the presidency of Donald Trump belongs to the electorate and is vital to the choice that voters must make. 

Chris Farrell writes at Gatestone:

Attorney General William Barr is on a Capitol Hill whispering campaign to select Republicans, telling them that US Attorney John Durham will not move against the anti-Trump coup plotters before election day. One wonders if he has bothered to tell President Donald J. Trump. The consequences for the republic are dire. We slide ever closer to being a failed state. When the justice system is compromised – and it is – we are no better than any other banana republic.

No exaggeration. In mid-July, Obamagate indictments were overdue. It is mid-October.

The disparities in federal prosecutorial discretion and speed are astounding. Durham has been at work since May 14, 2019, and one third-stringer flunky DoJ attorney (Clinesmith) has entered a half-hearted semi-plea deal for criminally lying about Carter Page’s relationship with the CIA supposedly as a cooperating legal traveler who was debriefed on his trips to Russia.

Political Cartoons by AF Branco

If you are a targeted member (or even a spectator) of the Trump circle, your house is raided by the FBI with (carefully coordinated) CNN coverage; your family is humiliated in public; you are bankrupted; then indicted, tried, convicted and sentenced to 20 years in prison for overdue parking tickets. That whole process takes about a month. There is some exaggeration here, but not by much. Remember: Trump was impeached over Adam Schiff’s phony Ukraine hoax in two months. …

The greatest criminal conspiracy to attack the constitution and overturn the results of a presidential election is being greeted with a yawn. The Republican Party can barely generate the energy to lift its head off the desk. “Journalists” within the news media do not report factual developments, and those who do find their Internet presence suppressed by the social media giants. …

President Trump has issued order after order for the past three years – demanding full declassification and release of all records dealing with the Hillary Clinton’s outlaw email server and the Russia Hoax. For three years, his White House staff has cheerfully answered, “Yes, sir!” – and then gone out in the hallway to rationalize and conspire towards failing to energetically and faithfully carry out the Commander-in-Chief’s orders. It is loathsome and despicable how the President has been betrayed.

Here are the consequences for the picture painted before you: we are in serious danger of the “fundamental transformation” of America that some politicians dreamed of coming to fruition:

One party is effectively saying it will pack the courts, including the Supreme Court, with politically friendly judges, so that the judiciary will be an extension of one political party rather than part of a system of checks and balances, the separation of powers or a co-equal branch of government. One party is openly saying it will remove the electoral college, so that sparsely populated, rural states would be totally outvoted by cities. One party is openly saying that it would add more states, such as Washington D.C. and Puerto Rico, to provide it with more Senators to create a permanent one-party rule. One party is openly saying it would reverse core parts of our Bill of Rights so we could be jailed for exercising our freedom of speech, or for owning a gun to defend ourselves, as the minutemen did, against “enemies foreign and domestic”. 

This was the situation that brought about the downfall of Venezuela: the government confiscated guns, then people had no way of protecting themselves when the storm troopers showed up. We would have had a good run as a democratic republic – but the country will be fundamentally and permanently disfigured in a way that will make it unrecognizable. The crime and the cover-up will have been successfully completed. No scrutiny, no justice, no consequences, no memory, no country. The real shame, as in Venezuela, is that many will not even notice until it is too late.

He is right about what the consequences would be – but their coming upon us depends on a Democrat victory. Such a victory would indeed be a “serious danger”. He seems to think it might well happen. We don’t.

The release of the Durham report could ensure that it doesn’t happen.

We don’t even know why it is not being released. We need – at least – to be told why.

A good man with a bad idea 32

The US Attorney General, William Barr, gave a formal talk at (Roman Catholic) Notre Dame Law School last week (Friday, October 11, 2019) which has come to our notice.

We respect Attorney General Barr for declaring, to questioners at a congressional hearing, that the admitted surveillance of President Trump by US intelligent agents was indeed spying. A statement that shocked the Democrats. Not because it wasn’t true, but because they didn’t want the truth to be spoken, and hated it to be spoken so bluntly.

We expect the Attorney General to shock them much more deeply and permanently by bringing all their criminal machinations to overthrow the duly elected president into open scrutiny, and charging all the guilty with their crimes. Our expectation and hope extend to seeing them jailed.

So we are reluctant to criticize Mr. Barr.

But his speech at the Law School raises an issue of importance to us.

Terry Jeffrey, editor in chief of CNSnews.com, reports the speech and comments on it at Townhall:

Barr simply explained what President John Adams meant by a statement he made in 1798 letter. He then showed the significance of that statement to American life today.

“We have no Government armed with Power which is capable of contending with human Passions unbridled by … morality and religion,” Barr quoted from Adams’s letter. “Our Constitution was made only for a moral and religious People. It is wholly inadequate for the government of any other.”

Within this context, Barr accurately described the cultural war raging in America today.

“The challenge we face is precisely what the founding fathers foresaw would be the supreme test of a free society,” Barr told the Notre Dame law students.

“They never thought that the main danger to the republic would come from an external foe,” he said. “The question was whether the citizens in such a free society could maintain the moral discipline and virtue necessary for the survival of free institutions.”

“And this is really what they meant by self-government,” said Barr. “It did not mean primarily the mechanics by which we select a representative legislature. It referred to the capacity of each individual to restrain and govern themselves.”

A notion with which we have no quarrel.

Mr. Barr went on to say:

But what was the source of this internal controlling power? In a free republic, those restraints could not be handed down from above by philosopher kings. Instead, social order must flow up from the people themselves freely obeying the dictates of inwardly possessed and commonly shared moral values.

Certainly they must.

But then he said:

And to control willful human beings with an infinite capacity to rationalize, those moral values must rest on an authority independent of men’s wills. They must flow from the transcendent Supreme Being. In short, in the framers’ view, free government was only suitable and sustainable for a religious people, a people who recognized that there was a transcendent moral order antecedent to both the state and to manmade laws and had the discipline to control themselves according to those enduring principles.

Why must they, how could they, “flow” from a “transcendent Supreme Being”? How is such a “transcendent moral order” made known to human beings? By the “Supreme Being” implanting the knowledge as instinct? Or through ancient assertions by ignorant men?

We state apodictically that no superhuman being ever spoke to a human being. Though both St. Paul and Muhammad say they were spoken to by “Jesus” and “the Archangel Gabriel” respectively.

We laugh off all such claims. Can we then accept that it is by instinct the religious have knowledge of a “transcendent moral order”? Moral knowledge planted deep in their souls?

But which “transcendent moral order”? Not only did Jesus and Gabriel give quite different moral commandments according to the human conduits of their messages, but instinct too has conveyed a variety of convictions as to what is morally right and wrong. They often contradict one another. While (for instance) some religions teach that a woman who commits adultery must be stoned to death by a crowd of righteously outraged citizens, another maintains that only one who is without sin may cast the first stone, and insists that all mortals are tainted with the sin of their first ancestors, so no one may start stoning.

We atheists want – as we thought the Founding Fathers all wanted – a state that has nothing to do with religion; steers clear of making any laws “respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof”. But William Barr, and Terry Jeffrey  insist – and remind us John Adams insisted – that “our constitution was made only for a moral and religious People”. And they tell us the Constitution, and America itself as the free country founded on the Constitution, are chiefly under threat not – as we observe – from Congressional socialists, revolutionaries in the schools and universities, violent anarchists in the streets, but from “secularists”.

Barr argued that “secularists” are now attacking the moral order that is the foundation of our liberty and threatening religious freedom in pursuit of their cause.

First is the force, fervor and comprehensiveness of the assault on organized religion we are experiencing today. This is not decay. This is organized destruction. Secularists and their allies have marshaled all the forces of mass communication, popular culture, the entertainment industry and academia, in an unremitting assault on religion and traditional values.

The threat is not that the government will establish a state religion; the threat is that the state will attack people for conscientiously practicing their own.

“The problem is not that religion is being forced on others,” Barr said. “The problem is that irreligion is being forced; secular values are being forced on people of faith.

What secular values? What secularists are fervently and comprehensively assaulting organized religion?

It may be that secularists and atheists on the Left are doing so. But are they doing it to force secularist values, or Leftist values which are secular?

We atheist conservatives are doing nothing like that. And we don’t know any secularists or atheists on the political Right who are actively trying to stop people worshiping this or that god or sets of gods. Most of us just think it is absurd to do so. (And we certainly don’t want a theocracy. If we saw any danger of that coming up we would attempt, fervently and comprehensively, to stop it.)

Mr. Barr cites an example which is typical of the intolerance of the Left. Not of atheists and secularists generally – though it affected a religious organization – but essentially of the Left:

One example he cites is the crusade the Obama administration fought all the way to the Supreme Court to force Americans – including the Little Sisters of the Poor – to act against their conscience by mandating that they buy insurance coverage for contraceptives and abortion-inducing drugs and devices.

But Barr recognizes that the ultimate battle is for the hearts and minds of America’s children.

“Ground zero for these attacks on religion are the schools,” he said.

He cited as one example an opinion issued by the Orange County Board of Education in California that said, “Parents who disagree with the instructional materials related to gender, gender identity, gender expression and sexual orientation may not excuse their children from this instruction.”

In other words, if you cannot afford to liberate your child from the government school, you must allow that government agency to teach your child that a boy can become a girl.

We share his indignation. That is not an atheist or a secularist reaction. It is common sense to repudiate such nonsense.

But the excellent Mr. Barr thinks that only Christian teaching – not science – can make the conclusive argument against the proposition that there are or can be more than two sexes.

Education is not vocational training. It is leading our children to the recognition that there is truth and helping them develop the facilities to discern and love the truth and the discipline to live by it.

Sounds good, but by “truth” he means the Christian religion.

We cannot have a moral renaissance unless we succeed in passing to the next generation our faith and values in full vigor.

“Our values” certainly.

“Our faith”? No. The less religion is taught to new generations, decidedly the better!

Wherever wars are being fought or threatened now, this month, this year, anywhere in our world, the cause in almost every case arises, burning hot and lethal, out of one or another religion’s “truth”.

Posted under Christianity, Ethics, Leftism, Religion general, United States, US Constitution by Jillian Becker on Wednesday, October 16, 2019

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Putrid Joe 2

The key question here that nobody seems to want to ask in the media is: What was [Hunter Biden] being paid for? He wasn’t being paid for his expertise. What was he being paid for? And what were the Ukrainians expecting to get in return? I think when you overlay the financial payments with the fact that Joe Biden as point person on Obama administration policy to Ukraine was steering billions of dollars of Western money to Ukraine it becomes crystal clear exactly why they were paying him money. They wanted access and they wanted to influence Joe Biden. And Joe Biden has been around a long time here, and he had to know exactly why his son was being paid.

So said Peter Schweizer to Mark Levin on Fox News Channel yesterday (September 29, 2019).

He convinced Levin – and us – that Joe Biden is deeply corrupt. (We admit we were not lacking in conviction to start with!)

As Vice President Biden he sold the power of his office.

Among other dirty deals, he blackmailed the government of the Ukraine.

Here’s the You Tube recording – sound only. Well worth listening to:

SORRY – YOUTUBE HAS REMOVED IT. WE HOPE YOU WILL SEEK IT SOMEWHERE ELSE. PETER SCHWEIZER IS THE BEST SOURCE OF THE FACTS OF THE MATTER.

John Solomon wrote at The Hill on April 1, 2019:

Two years after leaving office, Joe Biden couldn’t resist the temptation last year to brag to an audience of foreign policy specialists about the time as vice president that he strong-armed Ukraine into firing its top prosecutor.

In his own words, with video cameras rolling, Biden described how he threatened Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko in March 2016 that the Obama administration would pull $1 billion in U.S. loan guarantees, sending the former Soviet republic toward insolvency, if it didn’t immediately fire Prosecutor General Viktor Shokin.

“I said, ‘You’re not getting the billion.’ I’m going to be leaving here in, I think it was about six hours. I looked at them and said: ‘I’m leaving in six hours. If the prosecutor is not fired, you’re not getting the money,’” Biden recalled telling Poroshenko.

“Well, son of a bitch, he got fired. And they put in place someone who was solid at the time,” Biden told the Council on Foreign Relations event, insisting that President Obama was in on the threat.

Interviews with a half-dozen senior Ukrainian officials confirm Biden’s account, though they claim the pressure was applied over several months in late 2015 and early 2016, not just six hours of one dramatic day. Whatever the case, Poroshenko and Ukraine’s parliament obliged by ending Shokin’s tenure as prosecutor. Shokin was facing steep criticism in Ukraine, and among some U.S. officials, for not bringing enough corruption prosecutions when he was fired.

But Ukrainian officials tell me there was one crucial piece of information that Biden must have known but didn’t mention to his audience: The prosecutor he got fired was leading a wide-ranging corruption probe into the natural gas firm Burisma Holdings that employed Biden’s younger son, Hunter, as a board member.

U.S. banking records show Hunter Biden’s American-based firm, Rosemont Seneca Partners LLC, received regular transfers into one of its accounts — usually more than $166,000 a month — from Burisma from spring 2014 through fall 2015, during a period when Vice President Biden was the main U.S. official dealing with Ukraine and its tense relations with Russia.

The general prosecutor’s official file for the Burisma probe — shared with me by senior Ukrainian officials — shows prosecutors identified Hunter Biden, business partner Devon Archer and their firm, Rosemont Seneca, as potential recipients of money.

Shokin told me in written answers to questions that, before he was fired as general prosecutor, he had made “specific plans” for the investigation that “included interrogations and other crime-investigation procedures into all members of the executive board, including Hunter Biden”.

Most of the general prosecutor’s investigative work on Burisma focused on three separate cases, and most stopped abruptly once Shokin was fired. The most prominent of the Burisma cases was transferred to a different Ukrainian agency, closely aligned with the U.S. Embassy in Kiev, known as the National Anti-Corruption Bureau of Ukraine (NABU), according to the case file and current General Prosecutor Yuriy Lutsenko.

NABU closed that case, and a second case involving alleged improper money transfers in London was dropped when Ukrainian officials failed to file the necessary documents by the required deadline. …

As a result, the Biden family appeared to have escaped the potential for an embarrassing inquiry overseas in the final days of the Obama administration and during an election in which Democrat Hillary Clinton was running for president in 2016.

But then, as Biden’s 2020 campaign ramped up over the past year, Lutsenko — the Ukrainian prosecutor that Biden once hailed as a “solid” replacement for Shokin — began looking into what happened with the Burisma case that had been shut down.

Lutsenko told me that, while reviewing the Burisma investigative files, he discovered “members of the Board obtained funds as well as another U.S.-based legal entity, Rosemont Seneca Partners LLC, for consulting service”.

Lutsenko said some of the evidence he knows about in the Burisma case may interest U.S. authorities and he’d like to present that information to new U.S. Attorney General William Barr, particularly the vice president’s intervention.

“Unfortunately, Mr. Biden had correlated and connected this aid with some of the HR (personnel) issues and changes in the prosecutor’s office,” Lutsenko said. …

But what makes Lutsenko’s account compelling is that federal authorities in America … uncovered financial records showing just how much Hunter Biden’s and Archer’s company received from Burisma while Joe Biden acted as Obama’s point man on Ukraine.

Between April 2014 and October 2015, more than $3 million was paid out of Burisma accounts to an account linked to Biden’s and Archer’s Rosemont Seneca firm … The bank records show that, on most months when Burisma money flowed, two wire transfers of $83,333.33 each were sent to the Rosemont Seneca–connected account on the same day. The same Rosemont Seneca–linked account typically then would pay Hunter Biden one or more payments ranging from $5,000 to $25,000 each. Prosecutors reviewed internal company documents and wanted to interview Hunter Biden and Archer about why they had received such payments …

Lutsenko said Ukrainian company board members legally can pay themselves for work they do if it benefits the company’s bottom line, but prosecutors never got to determine the merits of the payments to Rosemont because of the way the investigation was shut down. …

Some hard questions should be answered by Biden as he prepares, potentially, to run for president in 2020: Was it appropriate for your son and his firm to cash in on Ukraine while you served as point man for Ukraine policy? What work was performed for the money Hunter Biden’s firm received? Did you know about the Burisma probe? And when it was publicly announced that your son worked for Burisma, should you have recused yourself from leveraging a U.S. policy to pressure the prosecutor who very publicly pursued Burisma?

Which all goes to show that Joe Biden is corrupt.

In just one instance of his corruption, this is what he did: as vice-president of the US, he demanded from the state of Ukraine, in return for a billion dollars of American taxpayers’ money, that it stop an investigation into crooked transactions by a firm on whose board of directors his son Hunter held a colossally remunerated sinecure, by firing the investigator.

What’s to be done with a traitor? 22

From the 1970s on, Western countries accepted millions of Muslim immigrants from the Third World.

The fact that their religion has been hostile to the West from its inception in the 7th. century was ignored by Western governments. (After all, “Nobody’s perfect,” as Osgood says to Daphne in Some Like It Hot when she finally reveals to him that she can’t marry him because she’s a man. Oh, those bad old days!)

Then what happened? Thousands of the immigrants went from the host countries which had recklessly – enthusiastically! – let them or their parents in and given them citizenship, to join a Muslim army formed in 1999 with the intention of actively pursuing the Islamic war against the West (among others of its perceived enemies).

The army bore various names but was most generally known as the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria with the acronym ISIS. It declared itself a “caliphate” in 2014. It terrorized, enslaved, tortured and murdered the victims it fell upon. Among the victims were Europeans and Americans, soldiers and civilians.

The men and women joined ISIS from Western countries in order to pursue that war, the men mostly to fight, the women mostly to keep house for the men and bear their children. The volunteers included indigenous Westerners who had converted to Islam.

Plainly they all committed treason.

Now that the Islamic army has been defeated and destroyed and the territory they had seized and occupied has been retaken, the traitors want to be let back into the countries they betrayed.

And the governments of those countries are uncertain whether to let them come back or not. And whether, if they do let them come back, to welcome them or to prosecute them. And what, if they prosecute them, a fitting punishment for their treason might be.

Claudia Rosett writes at PJMedia about the case of a traitor wanting to return to the US:

What are we to make of the ISIS bride who now wants to return to America? Hoda Muthana left her home in Alabama in 2014 to join the terrorist “caliphate” of ISIS in Syria. Now, reportedly thrice-married to ISIS terrorists, twice-widowed, and recently arrived with her 18-month-old son at a Kurdish-run refugee camp in northern Syria, she says she “deeply regrets” joining ISIS, and wants to come back to the United States.

How this plays out under U.S. law is likely to be decided by the legal wranglers in court, based on technicalities of dates and documents. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo has called her a terrorist, described her as having inflicted “enormous risk” on Americans, and released a statement that she is not a U.S. citizen and does not have any legal basis to travel to the United States. President Trump has tweeted that he has instructed Pompeo “not to allow Hoda Muthana back into the Country!” Hoda’s father, Ahmed Ali Muthana, a naturalized U.S. citizen, is now suing Trump, Pompeo and Attorney General William Barr to have Hoda and her son “declared to be U.S. citizens and returned to the United States”, which, according to the complaint, is what she wants, even if that could mean facing criminal prosecution.

The issue of Hoda’s citizenship — and whether she might be legally entitled to reenter the country — apparently turns on the timeline of her father’s diplomatic status at Yemen’s Mission to the United Nations in New York, where he served as a Yemeni diplomat in the early 1990s, before becoming a naturalized U.S. citizen. Hoda was born in New Jersey, in October 1994. The U.S. does not consider children born to foreign diplomats in the U.S. as entitled to American citizenship; but if her father’s diplomatic status was terminated before she was born, then she would have been a U.S. citizen from birth. By her father’s account, he lost his diplomatic status shortly before she was born, ergo she’s a citizen. The State Department said otherwise, in a letter dated Jan. 15, 2016, sent to Hoda at her family’s Alabama address, more than a year after she’d gone to join ISIS in Syria. According to State, U.S. authorities were not officially notified of the termination of her father’s diplomatic status until February 1995, some four months after Hoda was born, ergo she was not born a U.S. citizen, has never been one, and should never have been issued a U.S. passport. It could take a while before we see a court ruling one way or the other.

But there’s another timeline that ought to matter here. Not for legal purposes, but in the broader context of how Hoda Muthana’s story is now playing to the American public. What about the timeline of high-profile ISIS atrocities — the context in which she made her choices?

In the media coverage of this case, all that bloody record of deliberately inflicted human agony seems to have faded into some remote and misty past, summarized in maybe a sentence or two — or symbolized on the TV news by short video clips of ISIS fighters waving black flags and shooting guns, with no obvious target. As far as I’m aware, no media outlet has so far juxtaposed an interview of Hoda Muthana with such signature ISIS footage as videos of American hostages, on their knees, about to be beheaded by ISIS; or that young Jordanian pilot burned alive in a cage.

Instead, we’re invited to focus our attention and sympathies on a young woman in a headscarf, holding her infant son or pushing him in a stroller around a refugee camp, telling her assorted media interlocutors that in joining ISIS she made a “big mistake.” This past week she told ABC News that she regrets joining ISIS, and she hopes Americans will “excuse me because of how young and ignorant I was”.

Was it really nothing but youth and ignorance? Hoda was 20 when she went to Syria to join ISIS — older than many of the victims whose sufferings ISIS was gloating over at the time. She’s now 24, and only now, with ISIS stripped of its caliphate — thanks to others, including members of the American military who risked or gave their lives to fight the terrorists she joined — is she publicly disavowing ISIS. And though in her recent interviews she’s been expressing plenty of regret about the misfortunes ISIS brought to her own life, she’s said almost nothing about what ISIS did, while she urged and cheered it on, to thousands upon thousands who had no choice at all. They are not on camera in these interviews. Many of them are dead.

Nor has the news coverage of Hoda Muthana done much to remind us, at least not in compelling detail, of the savagery, on a staggering scale, with which ISIS butchered, shot, raped, enslaved, blew up, burned alive, drowned, dragged to death, ran down, starved, oppressed, and abused its designated victims in Syria, Iraq, Europe, America, and beyond. In most of the recent coverage of what Hoda now wants, the record of what ISIS dished out has been dealt with in a sentence or two. The rest has been all about the quandaries of Hoda and her family. On Feb. 22, for instance, the Washington Post ran a lengthy article about the “complex questions” raised by the case of this “ISIS bride”, her citizenship and her father’s lawsuit, without making a single mention of the atrocities of ISIS or the zeal with which she joined up. The headline implied that the real villains are Trump and Pompeo: “Rule by tyranny: American-born woman who joined ISIS must be allowed to return, the lawsuit says.” No doubt there are important legal issues in play, but that’s hardly the entire story.

So, in the interest of seeing the fuller picture, let’s take a look at the timeline on which ISIS and Hoda Muthana converged.

Hoda’s interest in ISIS began in November 2013, a year before she left Alabama for Syria, according to an interview she gave online to BuzzFeed in April 2015, from what was then her new home in Raqqa, Syria, via a messaging app called Kik. During the year in which she was preparing to travel to Syria, ISIS was on the rise, and its character was plain to see. It was so grotesque, so sadistic, so sickening, so bloodthirsty that it was all over the headlines and the internet — which is how she was communicating with ISIS.

A full roster of ISIS atrocities would take volumes. So, what follows here is not remotely comprehensive. You can find a longer list in this timeline, which if you print it out would run to 47 pages, though it is also just a partial summing up. The ISIS activities noted below, each of them monstrous, are a small fraction of the horrors that loomed high in the U.S. headlines just before and during the time Hoda hooked up with the group. In some cases, the final casualty numbers vary slightly from the estimates in stories at the time — but not by much. Notes on Hoda are in italics. Information sourced to court documents filed under her father’s lawsuit is marked with an asterisk.

2014

For most of this year, Hoda was still in Alabama, using pseudonyms to communicate with and about ISIS on social media. If she was aware of ISIS atrocities before she left the U.S. — and it’s hard to believe she knew nothing about them — they did not deter her from going to Syria to join ISIS.

February — From Alabama, Hoda Muthana renews the U.S. passport initially issued for her at her father’s behest in 2005.*

May — ISIS displays crucified bodies in Raqqa, Syria. Here’s CNN coverage from the time, with a warning about the graphic photos.

June — ISIS declares its “caliphate” with Raqqa as its capital.

August — ISIS releases video of captured American journalist James Foley, on his knees in an orange jumpsuit, and beheads him on camera.

ISIS launches a genocidal attack on the Yazidis in Iraq, besieging tens of thousands of men, women, and children who have fled to the upper reaches of Mount Sinjar, denying them access to food and water in temperatures rising above 120 degrees Fahrenheit. The horrors go on and on, sickening to read about. Hundreds of Yazidis die on Mount Sinjar before the siege is broken. ISIS captures thousands of Yazidis, separates families, kills the men and older boys who refuse to convert to Islam, and enslaves the women and girls, starving and raping them, setting up a slave market in Raqqa where Yazidi girls as young as five are sold at auction.

September — ISIS releases video of the beheading of American-Israeli journalist Steven Sotloff.

ISIS releases video of the beheading of British aid worker, David Haines.

October — ISIS releases video of the beheading of British aid worker Alan Henning.

November — Hoda Muthana tells her parents she is leaving on a school trip, and uses her university tuition money to buy a ticket to Turkey and travel onward to Raqqa, Syria.

December — From Syria, Hoda tweets a photo of American, British, and Canadian passports, with the comment “Bonfire soon, no need for these anymore. alhamdulillah.” She marries an Australian ISIS jihadi, who is killed a few months later. While in Syria, she will go on to marry a second ISIS jihadi, bear him a son in 2017, and when that second husband is killed, marry a third ISIS jihadi, whose whereabouts she now says she does not know.

2015

January — ISIS releases a video of the beheading of a Japanese journalist, Kenji Goto.

In Paris, terrorists linked to ISIS carry out synchronized slaughter at the offices of the French satirical newspaper Charlie Hebdo and a kosher supermarket, killing 17.

February — ISIS releases a video of a captured Jordanian pilot Muath al-Kasasbeh, drenched in gasoline, screaming in agony as he is burned alive in a cage.

March — Hoda posts on Twitter about the death of her first ISIS husband, an Australian, Suhan Rahman, who’d traveled to Syria from Melbourne, and two months earlier had made news in Australia for posting pictures of himself posing with an AK-47, praising the terrorist attacks in Paris, and urging in a social media post: “Let the heads fly and the blood flow.”  As Hoda confirms the following month in her online interview with BuzzFeed, she posts on Twitter a photo of her husband’s dead and bloodied body, and eulogizes him with a tweet: “May Allah accept my husband, Abu Jihad al Australi. Promised Allah and fought in the front lines until he attained shahadah [martyrdom].”

 Hoda also tweets from Syria: “Americans wake up! … You have much to do while you live under our greatest enemy, enough of your sleeping! Go on drive-bys and spill all of their blood, or rent a big truck and drive all over them. Veterans, Patriot, Memorial etc Day parades. Kill them.”

April — From Syria, Hoda gives an online interview to BuzzFeed, via a messaging app, in which she writes that “Nothing is forced here.” She describes herself as “content”, says ,”I wanted to marry under an Islamic state rather than the West,” and writes that when she asked her father, a month after her departure, to send her $2,500 to come home, she was not telling the truth: “It was just a test,” she wrote; “It would never cross my mind to come back.”

August — ISIS captures the city of Palmyra, in Syria, demolishes magnificent ancient ruins, carries out mass executions, and tortures the city’s 81-year-old chief archeologist, Khaled al-Asaad, reportedly demanding that he tell them where to find valuable antiquities, which he reportedly refuses to do. ISIS beheads him in a public square and hangs his torso from a lamp post, placing his severed head beneath it.

November — In Paris, during three hours of terror, ISIS gunmen and suicide bombers kill 130 people, shooting and bombing in cafes and on the streets, and massacring scores of concert-goers in the Bataclan Theater.

December — In San Bernardino, California, a husband-wife team of ISIS acolytes guns down 14 of his co-workers at an office Christmas party.

2016

March — In Brussels, ISIS terrorists, using bombs packed with nails, attack the airport and a metro station, killing 32 people and injuring more than 200.

June — In Orlando, Florida, shortly after ISIS calls on followers around the world to deliver “a month of calamity for the non-believers”, an ISIS acolyte shoots to death 49 people at the Pulse nightclub.

July — In the French city of Nice, a terrorist claimed by ISIS drives a 19-ton truck through a holiday crowd, killing 86 and wounding more than 400.

December — In the German city of Bonn, a Tunisian terrorist who has pledged loyalty to ISIS hijacks a heavy truck, killing its driver, and runs down holiday-makers at a Christmas market, killing 11 and wounding 55.

2017

March — In London, a terrorist claimed by ISIS kills three and injures dozens, using a car to run down pedestrians on Westminster Bridge and then stabbing to death an unarmed police officer.

May — In Manchester, England, a suicide bomber claimed by ISIS detonates his bomb at an Ariana Grande concert, killing 22 innocents, including children.

On May 19, in Syria, Hoda Muthana gives birth to a son [referred to in the lawsuit brought by her father as “Minor John Doe”].* 

June — In London, three terrorists claimed by ISIS drive a van into pedestrians on London Bridge, then go on a stabbing rampage, killing six and wounding more than 30.

October — In the deadliest terror attack on New York City since Sept. 11, 2001, an ISIS-inspired terrorist uses a rented tuck to mow down people on a crowded Manhattan bicycle path, killing eight.

2018

December — ISIS has lost almost all the territory it seized a few years earlier. The group remains a vicious threat, but the Caliphate is kaput.

 Hoda leaves the severely dwindling patch of ISIS-controlled turf and turns herself over to Kurdish forces, who transfer her to the refugee camp where she is now living.

2019

And that brings us to the present, in which, from the refugee camp in Syria, Hoda has been giving interviews to the media. She now professes regret over joining ISIS, and declares her desire to go back to America — where, she now suggests, she might make amends by, variously, potentially facing prosecution, entering therapy, and counseling others. In the U.S., her father, with legal representation by Hassan Shibly, chief executive director of the Council on American-Islamic Relations Florida (CAIR Florida), and lawyers of the Constitutional Law Center for Muslims in America, has been seeking ways to legally send Hoda money and bring her with her son to the United States.

Hoda and her father’s CAIR Florida attorney now say that in Syria her Twitter account was taken over by others. OK, a lot can happen during four years with ISIS, but, if true, was her social media hijacked before or after such activity as the March 2015 tweet she apparently confirmed to BuzzFeed as her own, urging that American veterans and patriots be bloodied, crushed, and killed with trucks?

We can expect to see and hear a lot more from Hoda and her father’s attorneys, and ever less about the barbarisms of ISIS touched on in the timeline above — tempting to want to forget, but in sizing up this ISIS bride, important to remember.

What is to be done with Hoda Muthana?

In the interest of diversity and inclusion, will we welcome her back into the US? Give her a free university education? And some hundreds of thousands – or even millions – of dollars to compensate her for the hardship she has endured? (That’s what they’ve done for returning traitors in Canada.) A tax-payer funded house? (That’s been proposed for returning traitors in Britain.)

Will it be only fair if the New York Times appoints her editor of its op-ed page? Or if CNN employs her to explain to its viewers at airports that hijacking planes for Islam is what American travelers deserve? Or if ABC gives her a permanent seat with the pundits of The View?

What does she deserve?