Saudi spy chief visits Israel, Ramallah

Posted February 22, 2017 by danmillerinpanama
Categories: Iran - Saudi Arabia, Iran and Israel, Iranian missiles, Israeli security, Palestinian Authority, Ramallah, Saudi intelligence

Tags: , , , , , ,

Saudi spy chief visits Israel, Ramallah, DEBKAfile, February 22, 2017

riadhmissileseng_480

The director of Saudi Arabia’s General intelligence agency, Khalid Bin Ali Al Humaidan, paid surprise visits to Ramallah and Jerusalem on Tuesday and Wednesday, Feb. 21-22. Neither Palestinian nor Israeli officials have confirmed that the visit took place.

Last week, DEBKA Weekly carried an exclusive report that Iranian engineers were working round the clock on a project dubbed “Riyadh First,” for adding an extra 100km to the intermediate range of the Scud-C (600km) and Scud-D (700km) surface missiles, to enable them to reach the Saudi capital and explode in the center of Riyadh. The project, which is going forward at the Al Ghadi base in Big Ganesh, 48km west or Tehran, was ordered by supreme leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei and President Hassan Rouhani.

This plan was behind the threat made by IRGC Air Force Commander Gen. Amir Ali Hajizadeh on Saturday, Feb. 11, at the start of an Iranian military exercise: “Should the enemy make a mistake, our roaring missiles will rain down on them,” he said.

Gen. Hajizadeh, who is in charge of the missile testing site, ordered all other work halted in order to concentrate on the fast-track “Riyadh First” Scud development project.

On Feb. 4, Iranian-backed Yemeni Houthis fired a missile which they claimed was a homemade Borkan with a range of 800km into Saudi Arabia. It struck the al-Mazahimiyah military camp west of Riyadh.

According to our military sources, the Houthis don’t possess a missile of that range. Their attack was in fact the first test of the newly-extended Iranian Scud, as a dress rehearsal for the real strike.

If the visit by the Saudi spy chief is confirmed, he will have come for several missions. In Ramallah, he would have warned the Palestinians not to go through with their bid to strengthen direct ties with Tehran (which was first revealed by DEBKAfile on Feb. 13). The first meeting of Iranian and Palestinian delegations has already taken place in Brussels.

In Jerusalem, Al-Huymaidan may have explored security issues related to the US-Israeli-Arab regional conference proposed by US President Donald Trump and Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu when they met in Washington on Feb. 15.

DEBKAfile’s sources note that the Saudi spy chief is a professional soldier and the first commoner to hold the post of Director of Saudi General Intelligence. Among his predecessors were high-ranking princes such as Bandar Bin Sultan, Turki Bin Faisal and Muqrin Bin Abdul Aziz.

Young Iranian chess grandmaster expelled from national team for not wearing hijab

Posted February 22, 2017 by danmillerinpanama
Categories: Chess, Iran - human rights, Iran and Israel, Iranian Islam

Tags: , , ,

Young Iranian chess grandmaster expelled from national team for not wearing hijab, Jihad Watch

Her brother Borna, 15, has also been banned after competing against Israeli player Alexander Huzman in the same tournament.

********************************

Dorsa Derakhshani is part of a new and growing movement within some Sharia states that is daring to challenge the brute strictures of Sharia, including the inferior status of women. The hijab is, of course, a symbol of that oppression and by law in the Islamic Republic of Iran, women must wear it.

The head of Iran’s Chess Federation, Mehrdad Pahlevanzadeh, was quoted as saying the Chess Federation will deal with the siblings in the “severest way possible.”

“The first step in dealing with them would be to deprive them from playing in Iran, and they won’t have a chance to be in the national team,” Pahlevanzadeh said, Azerbaijani news outlet Trend News Agency reported

dorsa-derakhshani

“Young Iranian chess grandmaster expelled from national team for not wearing hijab,” RT News, February 21, 2017:

Iran has banned 18-year-old chess grandmaster Dorsa Derakhshani from competing for the national chess team for not wearing a hijab – obligatory dress for women under Iranian law.

Derakhshani was expelled for not covering her hair with the garment – compulsory wear for women since the Islamic Revolution in 1979 – while competing as an independent player in the 2017 Tradewise Gibraltar Chess Festival.

Her brother Borna, 15, has also been banned after competing against Israeli player Alexander Huzman in the same tournament.

The siblings have subsequently been precluded from competing in future international competitions for the Islamic Republic. Dorsa obtained her International Master and Woman Grandmaster titles last year and currently lives in Barcelona, Spain, after taking up the offer of a year’s residency.

The head of Iran’s Chess Federation, Mehrdad Pahlevanzadeh, was quoted as saying the Chess Federation will deal with the siblings in the “severest way possible.”

“The first step in dealing with them would be to deprive them from playing in Iran, and they won’t have a chance to be in the national team,” Pahlevanzadeh said, Azerbaijani news outlet Trend News Agency reported.

Belgium-based Iranian gender discrimination activist Darya Safai tweeted a negative reaction about the move with the hashtag “forced hijab”

“Dorsa to me is the true feminist, not the Swedish government parading with the headscarf with [President of Iran Hassan] Rouhani,” Safai said in a Facebook post.

Safai was referring to members of the Swedish government – many of whom self-identify as feminists – who visited Iran in February.

The Swedish delegation received criticism from many observers who saw the move as a legitimization of an enforced law that violates women’s rights in Iran.

Under Iranian law, women are required to cover their hair and wear loose-fitting clothes when they appear in public and foreigners are obliged to dress modestly when entering the Islamic Republic for whatever length of time.

“By actually complying with the directives of the Islamic Republic, Western women legitimize the compulsory hijab law,” Masih Alinejad, CEO of human rights group UN Watch, wrote on Facebook.

It is the not the first time Iran’s insistence on female competitors to wear the hijab has caused controversy.

In September 2016, female players accused the World Chess Federation (FIDE) of failing to stand up for women’s rights after it said competitors must accept local law and wear hijabs during the world championship in Tehran, Iran.

Female grandmasters risked arrest if they did not cover their hair during the tournament…….

Trump’s Immigration Guidance: The Rule of Law Returns

Posted February 22, 2017 by danmillerinpanama
Categories: Immigration law enforcement, Obama and illegal immigration, Obama and law enforcement, Rule of Law, Trump agenda, Trump and immigration, Trump and law enforcement

Tags: , , , , , ,

Trump’s Immigration Guidance: The Rule of Law Returns, PJ Media, Andrew C. McCarthy, February 22, 2017

homelandsecheadHomeland Security Secretary John Kelly, right, watches during President Donald Trump’s meeting on cyber security in the Roosevelt Room of the White House in Washington, Tuesday, Jan. 31, 2017. (AP Photo/Evan Vucci)

On Tuesday, John Kelly, President Trump’s secretary of Homeland Security, published a six-page, single-spaced memorandum detailing new guidance on immigration enforcement. Thereupon, I spent about 1,500 words summarizing the guidance in a column at National Review. Brevity being the soul of wit, both the memo and my description of it could have been reduced to a single, easy-to-remember sentence:

Henceforth, the United States shall be governed by the laws of the United States.

That it was necessary for Secretary Kelly to say more than this — and, sadly, that such alarm has greeted a memo that merely announces the return of the rule of law in immigration enforcement — owes to the Obama administration abuses of three legal doctrines: prosecutorial discretion, preemption, and separation of powers (specifically, the executive usurpation of legislative power).

To the extent President Obama declined to enforce immigration law (notwithstanding his constitutional obligation to execute the laws faithfully), he did so under the guise of prosecutorial discretion. In the pre-Obama days, prosecutorial discretion was an unremarkable, uncontroversial resource-allocation doctrine. It simply meant that since resources are finite, and since it would be neither possible nor desirable to prosecute every crime, we target law-enforcement resources to get the most crime-fighting bang for the taxpayer buck. That means prioritizing enforcement action against (a) the worst offenders and (b) the unlawful causes of the activity.

This is easily illustrated by federal drug enforcement. There are comparatively few federal narcotics agents, compared, say, to police in a major city. But while both feds and cops have authority to arrest traffickers and consumers of illegal drugs, only federal jurisdiction is interstate and international. Consequently, the best use of finite federal enforcement resources is to limit them to prosecutions of significant felony importation and distribution offenses, leaving it to the states and municipalities to handle street pushers and misdemeanor violations involving the use of drugs.

Significantly, the fact that federal enforcement policy, which is made by the executive branch, does not target lesser felons or users does not mean this policy effectively repeals federal drug laws, which are written by Congress.

The non-targeted crimes are still crimes, and the feds reserve the right to prosecute them in appropriate cases (e.g., if they encounter these offenses in the course of carrying out other criminal enforcement missions).

In the area of immigration enforcement, Obama contorted this resource allocation doctrine into a de facto immunity scheme. That is, the Obama Homeland Security Department announced what it labeled enforcement “priorities.” If an illegal alien did not fit into the priorities, it was as if the alien were insulated against prosecution — effectively, it was as if there was nothing illegal about being an alien unlawfully present in the United States; it was as if Obama’s policies were a legal defense against Congress’s duly enacted laws.

This was complemented by a second legal distortion: Obama’s mangling of the so-called preemption doctrine. As we’ve noted, there are certain areas of law — like immigration and narcotics enforcement — in which the federal and state governments have concurrent jurisdiction: both are permitted to regulate and prosecute. This can work well (it generally does in drug enforcement); but it can be counterproductive if the dual sovereigns work at cross-purposes.

In some areas, like immigration, the courts have ruled that the federal government is supreme (on the dubious but now well-rooted theory that immigration law enforcement is primarily a federal responsibility). This means that the federal government has the power to preempt state action. Importantly, preemption is a power of Congress. That is, in an area of federal supremacy, states are prohibited to act in a manner that would contravene federal law.

Obama, to the contrary, took the position that states were forbidden to take action that contravened Obama immigration policy.

This was brought into sharp relief by the administration’s conflict with the state of Arizona. Far from seeking to countermand federal law, Arizona sought to enforce Congress’s statutes. Yet, Obama took the position that the state was bound not by Congress’s statutes but by Obama’s proclaimed enforcement policies — even if those amounted to non-enforcement of Congress’s statutes.

This was a perversion of both preemption and prosecutorial discretion. As long as Arizona was taking action consistent with federal law, its enforcement measures could not be preempted. Moreover, even if Arizona’s enforcement policy was broader than Obama’s, that should not have mattered: as we’ve seen, a federal exercise of prosecutorial discretion just means lesser crimes are not targeted, not that they are no longer crimes. If Arizona took action against those lesser crimes, that was completely appropriate; it was filling a gap in federal enforcement, not defying federal law.

The obstacles imposed by Obama’s immigration proclamations bring us to the third legal abuse: the usurpation of legislative authority. In effect, Obama’s announced priorities became not guidelines for immigration enforcement but new federal laws. According to the administration, only those aliens who fit Obama’s guidelines could be prosecuted. The Homeland Security Department was instructed to halt enforcement action at the earliest possible stage — i.e., once it was understood that an illegal alien did not fit a priority category, all investigative activity was to stop, even though it was known that the alien was acting illegally.

In effect, the Obama priorities operated like law. They controlled what federal investigators and prosecutors could do, and they were used to block states from enforcing their own laws. In this, at least for as long as Obama was president, they supplanted Congress’s laws — a clear violation of separation of powers.

All the Trump guidance announced in Secretary Kelly’s memo really does is repeal Obama’s decrees. The memo essentially says: the law of the United States is back to being the law of the United States. That’s the way it’s supposed to be.

Sweden: Hate Speech Just for Imams

Posted February 22, 2017 by danmillerinpanama
Categories: Freedom of speech, Hate speech, Islam - submission, Islam and homosexuals, Islam and human rights, Islam and Jews, Islamic invasion, Islamisation, Sweden

Tags: , , , , , , , ,

Sweden: Hate Speech Just for Imams, Gatestone InstituteJudith Bergman, February 22, 2017

In Sweden, comments that object to sexual violence against women in the Quran are prosecuted, but calling homosexuality a “virus” is fine.

Antisemitism has become so socially acceptable in Sweden that anti-Semites can get away with anything, and no one even notices, as Nima Gholam Ali Pour reports.

One of Sweden’s main news outlets, in fact, described anti-Semitism as simply a different opinion. Clearly, in the eyes of Swedish authorities, neither homosexuals nor Jews count for much.

Swedish authorities also give large sums of money to organizations that advocate violence and invite hate preachers who support terrorist organizations such as ISIS. One of the speakers SFM hired was Michael Skråmo, who has publicly called on his fellow Muslims to join ISIS and has appeared in propaganda videos, posing with assault rifles alongside his small children.

Are some individuals receiving preferential treatment under Sweden’s “hate speech” laws? It seems that way.

Under the Swedish Penal Code, a person can be held responsible for incitement if a statement or representation made “threatens or disrespects an ethnic group or other such group of persons with regards to race, color, national or ethnic origin, religious belief or sexual orientation”.

In 2015, the imam at Halmstad mosque, Abu Muadh, said that homosexuality was a “virus” from which parents were obliged to protect their children.

The Swedish Federation for Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender and Queer Rights (RFSL) filed a legal complaint in October 2015. “[M]any people are listening [to the imam] and there is a risk that the opinions and other expressions of homophobia will spread among believers, as they attach great importance to their representatives’ words”, said Ulrika Westerlund, chairman of RFSL.

The Swedish legal establishment however, seemed entirely unconcerned; the imam was not prosecuted.

“[F]or something to be incitement, it needs to reach a certain level and in this context, the assessment is that this statement does not reach that level”, said Martin Inglund, acting investigation officer at Halmstad police. He added that an assessment had been made based on freedom of religion, as well as the European Convention on Human Rights. It took the police only one week to make the decision not to prosecute the imam.

“It is a strange decision, said Jonnié Jonsson, chairman of RFSL Halland, “I do not think anyone has the right to violate other people in the name of religion”.

Then there is the recent case of Stefan Vestling, a local politician from the Sweden Democrat Party. He was recently prosecuted and convicted for “incitement against an ethnic group”, when he wrote the following comment on the official Facebook page of the Sweden Democrats Party in Norberg in December 2014:

“Muslims who have ended up in the ‘diaspora’ are at war. A Muslim who lives in Sweden is thus living in a war zone, where it is allowed to rape a woman, as this is a Muslim right according to the Quran. [A Muslim] is allowed to have sex with women who have been conquered in war… that is to say the infidels’ women (Quran Sura 4:3, 4:24). Easiest for ‘Swedish’ horny Muslims is of course to join ISIS where they can have their sick, devilish desires fully satisfied”.

The prosecutor failed to convince the district court that Vestling had committed a crime. “Freedom of expression includes the right to convey such information and opinions and ideas that offend shock or disturb” the court wrote in its ruling. However, at the Court of Appeals in Svea, in December 2016, the court found that Vestling’s post had been offensive to Muslims. The appeals court seemingly had no problem with the first part of Vestling’s post. It was the last sentence, “Easiest for ‘Swedish’ horny Muslims is of course to join ISIS where they can have their sick, devilish desires fully satisfied”, which was considered to be in violation of the Penal Code. Vestling was handed a suspended jail sentence and a fine. He has appealed the verdict to the Supreme Court.

Both the statements made by Abu Muadh and the statements made by Stefan Vestling were offensive; yet the Swedish authorities ended up protecting the imam from legal repercussions, even though prosecuting him would send an important signal to other Muslim preachers who view homosexuality in a similar way. That they do has been documented by a Swedish-Muslim blogger, who wrote:

During my years as a Muslim, I have visited several Swedish mosques from north to south. In all the mosques, homophobia was the norm. I have heard worse things than “homosexuality is a virus.” In no mosque, I repeat not one, have I come across teachings that tolerate homosexuality… The fact that the media act as if they were astonished [at Abu Muadh’s statement] shows how little contact they have with Muslim environments in Sweden. For those who have been on the “inside”, who have visited mosques and spent time with Muslims who are active in the mosques, the imam’s views [sound] completely mainstream.

Swedish experts largely consider Abu Muadh a radical, who moves in Salafist circles and has encouraged jihad, glorifying martyrdom in the battle to spread Islam. In a video clip on YouTube, he urges people who have “sinned” to wage jihad to be forgiven by God. In an interview with Hallandsposten in June 2016, he said that Muslims should not befriend unbelievers. He has argued that Muslims must not emulate the dress and haircuts of “kuffars” (infidels) and has declared 95% of all TV programs “haram” (forbidden).

In Sweden, comments that object to sexual violence against women in the Quran are prosecuted, but calling homosexuality a “virus” is fine.

Homosexuals are not the only ones to find themselves among those groups that Swedish society apparently no longer count as minorities worthy of protection. Anti-Semitism has become so socially acceptable in Sweden that anti-Semites can get away with anything, and no one even notices, as Nima Gholam Ali Pour reports. One of Sweden’s main news outlets, in fact, described antisemitism as simply a different opinion. Clearly, neither homosexuals nor Jews count for much in the eyes of Swedish authorities.

In addition, Swedish authorities give large sums of money to organizations that invite hate preachers who support terrorist organizations such as ISIS and Al Qaeda.

The Gothenburg-based nonprofit organization, Swedish Federation of Muslims (SFM,) was handed a government subsidy of 535,200 SEK [$60,000] in 2016. This is in addition to 150,000 SEK [$17,000] that SFM received from the city of Gothenburg.

SFM applied for the money “to combat Islamophobia”, which the organization considers “one of the biggest problems in Sweden right now”. One of the speakers SFM hired was Michael Skråmo, who has publicly called on his fellow Muslims to join ISIS. Now, calling himself Abdul Samad al Swedi, he has appeared in propaganda videos, posing with Kalashnikov assault rifles alongside his small children, outside Kobane in Syria. Abu Muadh is also a regular speaker.

1149Michael Skråmo, a Swedish convert and ISIS jihadist, brought his family to Syria. He has also urged Muslims in Sweden to bomb their workplaces.

Terror researcher Magnus Ranstorp said that he was surprised that SFM had been awarded state grants. “I see lots of question marks. We’re talking about a group that invited hate preachers, whose Salafist orientation is in many ways the opposite of tolerance”, he said. The decision to award SFM government subsidies also runs counter to the government’s agreement with the four conservative Alliance parties that no public money should go to advocate violence.

What is the Swedish authorities’ response to the official granting of money to organizations that host extremists? “Of course this is serious, and it is our view that this must be factored into future contribution assessments”, said Daniel Norlander, chief secretary of the National Authority Against Violent Extremism. The authority apparently does not think that the money should be returned or that there should be any sanctions. After all, we are only talking about preachers of violent jihad.

‘Abd Al-Rahman Al-Rashed: We Must Form ‘Arab NATO’ To Confront Iran

Posted February 22, 2017 by danmillerinpanama
Categories: Arab nations, Iran - Saudi Arabia, Iran and Iraq, Iran and Syria, Iran scam, Iranian ideology, Iranian military, Iranian provocations, Iranian proxies, Obama and Iran, Trump and Iran

Tags: , , , , , , , , , ,

‘Abd Al-Rahman Al-Rashed: We Must Form ‘Arab NATO’ To Confront Iran, MEMRI, February 22, 2017

In February 2017, prominent Saudi journalist ‘Abd Al-Rahman Al-Rashed, the former editor of Al-Sharq Al-Awsat and former director of Alarabiya TV, published two articles calling to take a firm position vis-à-vis Iran and even form an “Arab NATO” to confront the alliance Iran has formed with Iraq and Syria.

The following are excerpts from the articles, as published in English by Al-Sharq Al-Awsat and Alarabiya, respectively:

alrashed‘Abd Al-Rahman Al-Rashed (image: alarabiya.net)

In one article,[1] Al-Rashed criticized the claim that U.S. President Donald Trump’s declarations against the Iran agreement strengthen the radicals there. He argued that Iran’s belligerence since the signing of the agreement proves that openness and flexibility towards it, like the policy pursued by Obama, only encourage it to escalate its aggression. He added that the radical camp in Iran has controlled the country since the Islamic Revolution, while the moderate camp is merely a front used to encourage the West to be lenient with Iran. Hence, policy towards Iran should be firm:

“Nothing happened during three decades to prove that there’s real competition between radicals and moderates inside the [Iranian] ruling command. Major events rather confirmed that the authority was in fact under the control of the radicals, while moderates were just front men. President Hassan Rouhani and his FM Zarif both represented the moderates and they succeeded [in] winning over the administration of former president Barack Obama. They also managed to convince the administration that lifting sanctions and encouraging Iran’s openness were [in] the interest of moderate figures, the region and the whole world.

“Once again, evidence suggested this assumption was wrong. [The] Iranian leadership became more aggressive than ever and for the first time since the establishment of the Islamic Republic, the regime dared to expand its military activity outside its borders. It is currently participating in and funding four wars outside of Iran. All of this was possible due to the nuclear deal that paved the way for better relations, trade and activity and kept silent over Iran’s threats to the region.

“Trump’s extremist rhetoric is a natural outcome of the disappointment [that] prevailed [in] Washington due to Iran’s behavior after signing the deal. Things will keep on getting worse unless a strict international position against Iran’s adventures is taken and unless Iran is forced to end the chaos it is funding in the region and the world.

“Those familiar with the Iranian regime’s [actions] cannot believe the excuses being made by Iran’s allies which stipulate that being lenient with Iran [may cause it to have a] positive [attitude to] the rest of the world. The nature of the regime in Tehran is religious with a revolutionary ideology. It has a political agenda that has not changed much since it attacked the American embassy in Tehran and held diplomats hostage [in 1979]. The same logic leads us to conclude that Iran will dominate [by] using power via its proxies and militias across the region and [by] encouraging and supporting the rebellious behavior of certain local parties in neighboring countries.

“Iran has not changed much since it announced it plans to export revolutions to the world. The only change that happened is that its financial and military situations improved a lot thanks to the nuclear deal it signed with the West.”

In another article,[2] Al-Rashed wrote that Iran has exploited the political vacuum that formed in the region in recent years, as well as the Obama administration’s policy, including the nuclear agreement with it, to expand its influence in Iraq, Syria and Yemen. In light of this, he advised: “Military cooperation, under any umbrella, is a good idea and a necessary step, especially if expanded beyond [military cooperation]. Establishing an alliance to confront Iran is an essential balance to respond to its military alliance that includes Iraq and Syria.

“Iran also cooperates with Russia and the latter has a military base in Iran. The Russians strongly participate in the war in Syria alongside this Iranian alliance. Tehran has strengthened its alliance by bringing armed militias from Pakistan, Iraq, Lebanon and other countries into Syria and they are fighting there under its banner. Iranian forces, in the guise of ‘experts,’ are fighting in Iraq and to some extent manage the conflict there. Therefore, establishing an Arab NATO… remains a natural reaction to Iran’s ‘Warsaw Pact.'”

 

 

[1] For the Arabic version of this article see: Al-Sharq Al-Awsat (London), February 12, 2017; for the English version see: english.aawsat.com, February 13, 2017. The English text has been lightly edited for clarity.

[2] For the Arabic version of the article see: -Sharq Al-Awsat (London), February 20, 2017; for the English version see: alarabiya.net, February 21, 2017. The English text has been lightly edited for clarity.

An Émigré Explains Why The U.S. Should Want Russia As An Ally

Posted February 22, 2017 by danmillerinpanama
Categories: Cold war, Democrats and Russia, FDR and Stalin, Foreign policy, History, Hypocrisy, Leftists, Michael Flynn, President Trump, Putin, Russia, Russia and Islamic terrorism, Russia and U.S., Trump agenda, Trump and Islamic terrorism, Trump and Russia

Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

An Émigré Explains Why The U.S. Should Want Russia As An Ally, TheFederalist, February 22, 2017

(Please see also, Is a Trump-Putin Detente Dead? — DM

I am a Russian-born U.S. citizen. Since my old country is all in the news now, unsurprisingly, several people have asked me about the latest spat between the two countries. I have rounded up a few frequently asked questions (FAQ) in no particular order, and here they are.

Question: Is Russia our foe or ally?

Answer: Neither. Lord Palmerston famously quipped, “Great Britain has no friends, only interests,” and the same applies to other countries. The United States and the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics (USSR) were geopolitical adversaries during the Cold War. Prior to that, they were allies in World War II when both faced an existential threat from Nazi Germany and Japan. Now both Russia and the United States are facing a threat of radical Islam, which may bring the two countries together again.

Q: But can we cooperate with the Russians after they captured large chunks of Ukraine and Georgia?

A: Well, the Soviet Union captured Lithuania, Latvia, and Estonia in 1939, yet Franklin Delano Roosevelt and Winston Churchill cooperated with Joseph Stalin and actively supported his war efforts. The West never recognized the annexation of the Baltic republics; it just put that matter on the back burner for the sake of a more urgent goal. Henry Kissinger calls this realpolitik.

Q: Donald Trump has picked Rex Tillerson, the former CEO of Exxon Mobile, as his secretary of State. Tillerson has warm relations with Russian President Vladimir Putin. How do we know which side Tillerson is on?

A: Let me cite a historical precedent. Another famous American oil executive was friendly with Soviet leaders. His name was Armand Hammer. He had numerous personal and business ties with the USSR, starting in the 1920s. In 1957, Hammer became president and CEO of Occidental Petroleum. He used his connections to end the Cold War between the two countries. According to his biographer, Hammer was “a go-between for five Soviet General Secretaries and seven U.S. Presidents.” Paradoxically, Hammer’s efforts on behalf of the USSR made him a darling of the American Left, even though he supported the Republican Party.

Q: Has Putin ordered the murder of Russian journalists and other political opponents?

A: That has not been proven conclusively, but is plausible. Regardless of whether that is the case, it should not determine American foreign policy. That was clear to FDR and Churchill, who were well aware of Stalin’s atrocities.

Q: Did Russia side with Trump in the 2016 U.S. presidential race?

A: Of course, it did. Nations do take sides and interfere in other nations’ internal affairs all the time. For example, the United States actively encouraged the Arab Spring in several countries and even supported Syrian and Libyan “moderate” rebels. It was the job of the sitting U.S. president to prevent any Russian interference in U.S. elections.

Q: Is Russian spying on U.S. institutions a new phenomenon?

A: Absolutely not! However, things change. Between the 1940s and the 1960s, it was the conservative Right that was alarmed by Russian spying and Communist infiltration of the federal government. The Left dismissed that concern, mocking it as looking for “reds under the beds.” Julius and Ethel Rosenberg, who were convicted of spying for Russia and executed, became martyrs of the Left. Even in the 1970s when I arrived in the United States, the Left’s favorite motto was “it’s better be red than dead.” Things really changed in the 1980s.

Q: What happened in the 1980s?

A: When Ronald Reagan became president, he faced fierce opposition from the Left. The media elite ridiculed him as an unsophisticated cowboy and right-wing warmonger for calling the USSR an evil empire. The opposition became violent when Reagan proposed an anti-missile defense system, which the media dismissed as a “star wars” program. However, when an opportunity came up, Reagan held productive summits with former Russian President Mikhail Gorbachev. These summits eventually led to the end of the Cold War.

Q: Is Putin a reincarnation of Stalin?

A: The two leaders represent two different generations separated by a period of 70 years. During those 70 years, the world has changed, and so has Russia. Stalin ruled Russia with an iron fist, while today’s Russians enjoy a degree of freedom. Putin is more pragmatic than Stalin. Yet contemporary Russian society is still quite different from its Western European counterparts, which is perhaps just fine, given that the latter are in a deep crisis now.

Q: Can the United States rely on Russia in the war on radical Islamic terrorism?

A: If it were a matter of life or death, I would always choose to have Russia on my side, rather than a Western ally, such as France. When Russians wage a war, they do it to win, not to satisfy lawyers by following every rule specifying acceptable ways of killing the enemy.

Here is an example. Somalian pirates threatened international shipping in the Indian Ocean between 2005 and 2013 by taking hostages. The American, French, Italian, and other navies rescued many hostages, caught pirates, and sent them to their countries. The arrests, trials, appeals, and imprisonment cost hundreds of millions of dollars. According to a Guardian report, there was a fear that “trials in European courts would encourage, rather than deter, pirates from committing crimes of piracy.”

In contrast, when a Russian destroyer rescued a Russian tanker with its crew from pirates in 2010, they did not arrest the pirates. They disarmed the pirates and set them adrift in an inflatable boat. The released pirates did not reach the coast. Rumor has it that the rescuers made a hole in the boat before releasing it.

The ‘deep state’ is real. The ‘alt right’ is fake. – The Washington Post

Posted February 22, 2017 by josephwouk
Categories: Uncategorized

Source: The ‘deep state’ is real. The ‘alt right’ is fake. – The Washington Post

February 21 at 4:32 PM

Here’s a fact for the media to chew on: The “deep state” is here. As outlined in Foreign Policy, the concept of the deep state is nothing new.

But the Trump presidency may serve as the galvanizing force that links some of the formal established Democratic opposition forces, including MoveOn.org, government unions and Black Lives Matter with the informal deep-state cadre of disgruntled liberal bureaucrats, the hostile mainstream media and the usual suspects on the left. It’s a troubling phenomenon, with anti-Trump organizations and Democratic-aligned civil servants conspiring to actively work against the incumbent government.

There might not be any central command guiding the deep-state actions, but it’s not hard for card-carrying Democratic party members, the mainstream media, liberal think tanks, government unions and other anti-Republican liberals of various stripes to naturally form into a collective grain that runs contrary to whatever elected Republicans in Congress and now in the White House want to accomplish. It’s just like when a school of fish move in unison, choreographed not because of some planned effort, but because it is in their nature. The bias against President Trump has become frantic, and the Democrats and their allies in the media overreach almost daily in attacking the president and Republicans in general.

“Deep state” is a sexy new label being used in Washington to describe embedded anonymous bureaucratic bias against President Trump and Republican rule. Specifically, the deep state is leaking documents, making confidential conversations public, pushing rogue social media accounts and otherwise acting in an underhanded manner to discredit the president, his Cabinet and the policy objectives of the Republicans. The use of encrypted chat programs to communicate and the continued leaks to various media outlets are just the start. Their tactics are beginning to spread to other Democratic sympathizers and form a continuous partisan assault both from within the government and from outside groups.

At some level, this shouldn’t be surprising. The 2016 election was so vitriolic, and the Democrats’ belief that Hillary Clinton would be the next president was so strong, that their defeat carried extra weight. Members of the Democratic coalition are already firmly entrenched within the federal government and among the surrounding intelligentsia. They have the ability to feed their supporters information, giving the activists more reason to protest, which in turn conflates the liberal hype around the actions of the Trump administration and Republicans in Congress. It’s a vicious cycle.

At the same time all this is going on, the left has taken to painting Republicans with a broad brush as the “alt-right.” Well, as best I can tell, the alt-right is just a new way for the left to call Republicans racists and Nazis without actually having to say those terms out loud. To me, the deep state is real. The alt-right is not. The deep state may not be fully developed quite yet, but as the Democrats regain their footing and begin to coordinate and try to further and further damage the president’s credibility, it will have a detrimental impact on how our democracy functions and will further erode the public’s trust in government.