Archive for August 11, 2017

Fired NSC Aide Reveals Political Warfare Operation Targeting Trump

August 11, 2017

Fired NSC Aide Reveals Political Warfare Operation Targeting Trump, Washington Free Beacon, , August 11, 2017

Gen. H. R. McMaster / Getty Images

Higgins was fired by the national security adviser, Lt. Gen. H.R. McMaster, July 21 after the memo came to McMaster’s attention as part of an internal search for leaks from the staff.

A White House official said McMaster appears to be trying to clear out anyone from the NSC staff who is outspokenly pro-Trump and has been slow-rolling the president’s directives that he disagrees with.

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A White House National Security Council official has charged that leftist opponents of President Trump are engaged in political warfare operations designed to subvert his presidency and drive him from office.

Rich Higgins, until recently director of strategic planning at the NSC, revealed the program in a seven-page memorandum produced in May that warns of a concerted information warfare campaign by the Marxist left, Islamists, and political leaders and government officials opposed to the populist president.

“The Trump administration is suffering under withering information campaigns designed to first undermine, then delegitimize and ultimately remove the president,” Higgins states.

“This is not politics as usual but rather political warfare at an unprecedented level that is openly engaged in the direct targeting of a seated president through manipulation of the news cycle,” he said.

Higgins, an Army veteran and former Pentagon official who specialized in irregular warfare and who was dismissed last month for writing the memo, said the attacks should not be confused with normal partisan political attacks or adversarial media attention.

The former aide criticized the White House for failing to counter the activities and said the political warfare attacks threaten the Trump presidency.

“The White House response to these campaigns reflects a political advocacy mindset that it is intensely reactive, severely under-inclusive and dangerously inadequate to the threat,” he said. “If action is not taken to re-scope and respond to these hostile campaigns very soon, the administration risks implosion and subsequent early departure from the White House.”

Higgins was fired by the national security adviser, Lt. Gen. H.R. McMaster, July 21 after the memo came to McMaster’s attention as part of an internal search for leaks from the staff.

Higgins’s firing, along with that of two other NSC conservatives, Derek Harvey and Ezra Cohen-Watnick, has set off political infighting and charges from conservatives that National Security Adviser Lt. Gen. H.R. McMaster is opposing Trump’s populist policies in favor of maintaining the policies of the former Obama administration.

Harvey, a retired Army colonel, recently complained to McMaster about the large number of officials who were kept on at the NSC from the Obama administration. He was told by McMaster that he has a “leadership problem,” according to people close to the matter.

Cohen-Watnick was senior director for intelligence programs at the NSC and ran afoul of McMaster because of his conservative views.

A White House official said McMaster appears to be trying to clear out anyone from the NSC staff who is outspokenly pro-Trump and has been slow-rolling the president’s directives that he disagrees with.

According to White House sources, Trump is said to be unhappy with McMaster and has considered dispatching him to Afghanistan.

A possible replacement is said to be CIA director Mike Pompeo, who is regarded as more of a Trump loyalist.

An NSC spokesman declined to comment.

Foreign Policy first published the memo on Thursday and quoted sources as saying Trump read it and “gushed over it.”

Higgins urged in the memo that immediate action be taken to counter what he described as a campaign of subversion reflecting “cultural Marxist” narratives used by political leftists who are aligned with Islamist groups.

“In candidate Trump, the opposition saw a threat to the ‘politically correct’ enforcement narratives they’ve meticulously laid in over the past few decades,” Higgins said. “In President Trump, they see a latent threat to continue that effort to ruinous effect and their retaliatory response reflects this fear.”

During the presidential campaign, Trump was able to break through the leftist narratives and as a result the political left regards him as “an existential threat to cultural Marxist memes that dominate the prevailing cultural narrative.”

“For this cabal, Trump must be destroyed,” he said. “Far from politics as usual, this is a political warfare effort that seeks the destruction of a sitting president. Since Trump took office, the situation has intensified to crisis level proportions.”

The opponents also include officials within the permanent government apparatus, also called the Deep State.

Other opponents are supporting the Marxist subversion, including those within government, along with “globalists, bankers, Islamists, and establishment Republicans.”

“Globalists and lslamists recognize that for their visions to succeed, America, both as an ideal and as a national and political identity, must be destroyed,” Higgins said.

The political warfare campaign seeks to exploit differences in society based on sexism, racism and xenophobia narratives. The program is implemented by mainstream media, and the academic community is the main driver promoting the imposition of cultural Marxism and derivatives of it.

Islamists, supporters of political Islam in the United States, also are working with leftists who they regard as having the best chance of reducing Western civilization to the benefit of Islamic supremacists. The Islamists are seeking to divide American society against itself as a way of undermining stability.

“This is the intended outcome of hostile information cum political warfare campaigns and today we see their effects on American society,” he said.

Higgins also said a complicating factor in the political warfare program is that “many close to the president have pushed him off his message when he was candidate Trump thus alienating him from his base thereby isolating him in the process.”

The political warfare follows the insurgency methods used by Chinese Communist leader Mao Zedong. “In Maoist insurgencies, the formation of a counter-state is essential to seizing state power,” he said. “Political warfare operates as one of the activities of the ‘counter-state’ and is primarily focused on the resourcing and mobilization of the counter state or the exhaustion and demobilization of the targeted political movement.”

In the Marxist strategy and tactics, political correctness is being used to foster intolerance of political movements of the right and toleration of leftist movements.

The attack narratives being used are pervasive and can be seen in social media, television, and the 24-hour news cycle in all media, as well as within the foreign policy establishment. “They inform the entertainment industry from late night monologues, to situation comedies, to television series memes, to movie themes,” Higgins said. “The effort required to direct this capacity at President Trump is little more than a programming decision to do so. The cultural Marxist narrative is fully deployed, pervasive, full spectrum and ongoing.”

Information attacks against the president are carried out through overt publicity and covert propaganda and infiltration and subversion means.

The current campaign against Trump is seeking to delegitimize the president, his administration, and the vision of America he promoted as a candidate.

Key major opposition themes are that Trump is illegitimate, corrupt, and dishonest. Secondary political attacks include the notion that Russia hacked the election, Trump obstructed justice and is hiding Russian collusion, and that he is a “puppet” of Russian leader Vladimir Putin.

“Adversaries utilize these interlocking narratives as a defensive political and information warfare screen that silences critics and smears supporters of President Trump,” Higgins said.

“When people in the media question the behavior, actions and decisions of the Trump administration’s opponents, they are immediately said to be ‘working for the Russians’ or ‘supporting Russian propaganda.'”

Additionally Americans who support the president are deemed “deplorable” and “racist.”

“Attacks on President Trump are not just about destroying him, but also about destroying the vision of America that lead [sic] to his election,” Higgins said.

Higgins concluded the memo by noting that defending the president is a defense of the United States. “In the same way President Lincoln was surrounded by political opposition both inside and outside of his wire, in both overt and covert forms, so too is President Trump.

“Had Lincoln failed, so too would have the Republic. The administration has been maneuvered into a constant backpedal by relentless political warfare attacks structured to force him to assume a reactive posture that assures inadequate responses. The president can either drive or be driven by events; it’s time for him to drive them.”

Thanks to the Left

August 11, 2017

Thanks to the Left, Israel Hayom, Ruthie Blum, August 11,2017

Trump was elected because of the cultural Marxism that had enveloped the United States. It was a climate that enabled and fed on the two-term presidency of Barack Obama, a Saul Alinsky adherent. Nor was the media the sole culprit. The United States was becoming an Orwellian universe in which all concepts of good and evil were turned on their head. Universities were no longer institutions of higher learning, but rather totalitarian training grounds for the policing of thought. Trump’s brash assertions about “making America great again” elicited elation that somebody was listening to a mass plea to “make America America again.”

The point is that Trump owes his victory, and the obstinacy of his loyalists, to the Left’s penchant for going too far. The same applies to Netanyahu. Members of his base turned out in droves to cheer and champion him this week, precisely because they felt that he, and they, have been under unjust assault. It did not matter to them whether there is merit to the case against Netanyahu. Politics, after all, is 75 percent perception.

Which brings us to the final and most significant gift that the Left has bestowed on both Netanyahu and Trump: the notion that both heads of state are dangerous, trigger-happy alarmists, liable to set off a nuclear war with rhetoric, if not weapons. This is nonsense, of course, but the Shiite mullahs in Tehran and the crazy communist dictator in Pyongyang are not so confident.

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On Wednesday evening, thousands of people gathered in Tel Aviv to demonstrate solidarity with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu. The purpose of the rally, organized by Coalition Chairman Likud MK David Bitan, was to decry the investigations into Netanyahu’s alleged acts of corruption, and commiserate over the news that the attorney general had decided to indict Netanyahu’s wife, Sara, for spending public funds on private expenses.

“Both the Left and the media, and they are the same thing … are now involved in an unprecedented, obsessive witch hunt against me and my family,” Netanyahu said at the event. Participants waved banners protesting the “putsch” being attempted by way of “trumped-up” criminal charges. Though the pun here is unintentional, the sentiment is eerily similar to that felt by supporters of U.S. President Donald Trump in the face of his opponents’ move to delegitimize his election, criminalize his presidency and bring about his impeachment.

This is not the only comparison between Netanyahu and Trump that Israelis have been making lately. Although the press likes to mock Netanyahu for having so readily adopted Trump’s favorite phrase — “fake news” — journalists are not the only ones drawing parallels between the two leaders. Sara Netanyahu did so as well, when she greeted First Lady Melania Trump, on the tarmac of Ben-Gurion Airport on May 22, when the Trumps arrived in Israel as part of the U.S. president’s first official trip abroad.

“You know, in Israel … the media hate us, but the people love us. Like you,” Sara told Melania. Later that evening, when the two couples had dinner together at the Prime Minister’s Residence in Jerusalem, there was undoubtedly further discussion on the matter.

Whether they also talked about being loathed by certain groups within their own parties is not clear. Yet, just as Trump has many harsh critics in the Republican Party, Netanyahu bears the brunt of hostility from rivals within Likud and in the broader right-wing bloc. In addition, both Trump and Netanyahu are seen, even by many of their supporters, to possess character flaws that are difficult to discount, let alone defend.

What the two have most in common, however, is something that neither realizes. Indeed, the “background noise” — as Netanyahu has referred to hysterical calls for his indictment and ousting — seems to be preventing both the Israeli prime minister and the U.S. president from noticing that they have been, and continue to be, bolstered by the very forces working tirelessly to take them down.

Trump was elected because of the cultural Marxism that had enveloped the United States. It was a climate that enabled and fed on the two-term presidency of Barack Obama, a Saul Alinsky adherent. Nor was the media the sole culprit. The United States was becoming an Orwellian universe in which all concepts of good and evil were turned on their head. Universities were no longer institutions of higher learning, but rather totalitarian training grounds for the policing of thought. Trump’s brash assertions about “making America great again” elicited elation that somebody was listening to a mass plea to “make America America again.”

The point is that Trump owes his victory, and the obstinacy of his loyalists, to the Left’s penchant for going too far. The same applies to Netanyahu. Members of his base turned out in droves to cheer and champion him this week, precisely because they felt that he, and they, have been under unjust assault. It did not matter to them whether there is merit to the case against Netanyahu. Politics, after all, is 75 percent perception.

Which brings us to the final and most significant gift that the Left has bestowed on both Netanyahu and Trump: the notion that both heads of state are dangerous, trigger-happy alarmists, liable to set off a nuclear war with rhetoric, if not weapons. This is nonsense, of course, but the Shiite mullahs in Tehran and the crazy communist dictator in Pyongyang are not so confident.

What level-headed Israelis do know for certain, beyond the real and present danger of Iranian and North Korean nukes, is that Netanyahu was ridiculed and chastised by the Left for making a special trip to Washington in March 2015 to address Congress and warn against the nuclear deal with Iran. In the same vein, Americans this week witnessed Trump being raked over the coals for responding to North Korea’s test-launch of two intercontinental ballistic missiles with a threat of “fire, fury and … power.”

Such ludicrous belittlement of leaders doing their duty discredits the detractors and instills fear among those enemies with the will and means to annihilate whole populations of innocent people. Rather than commiserating over their shared victimization at the hands of the “Left and the media,” Netanyahu and Trump should be grateful for the help.

Donald Trump Wins Round One with North Korea

August 11, 2017

Donald Trump Wins Round One with North Korea, BreitbartJoel B. Pollak, August 11, 2017

NICHOLAS KAMM/AFP/Getty Images

Update: Fourth, the Chinese government is now indicating that it will not defend North Korea from a retaliatory strike if the regime attacks the U.S. (which includes Guam). The Global Times, which reflects the view of the Chinese government, indicated that China would stop the U.S. from trying to overthrow the North Korean regime but would not defend North Korea if it struck the U.S. first. That is a significant change from the status quo ante.

The situation remains unstable, and could escalate. But Trump’s rhetoric is not, as former Obama adviser Susan Rice claims, the problem. In fact, it is part of the solution. It has, at the very least, restored some of our deterrence.

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The mainstream media are aghast at President Donald Trump’s comments on North Korea as he promises “fire and fury” and warns that American military solutions are “locked and loaded.”

The political elite, and the foreign policy establishment, oscillate between bitter scorn and sheer panic at his tactics. But one does not have to be convinced of Trump’s rhetorical genius to note that he has already re-framed the conflict in a way that is advantageous to the U.S.

First, Trump has radically changed the costs of a potential conflict, for both sides. The dominant paradigm of nuclear face-offs is mutually assured destruction (MAD), which is why the Soviet Union and the U.S. never attacked each other during the Cold War. Most of the discussion about North Korea has followed the same pattern, because of the threat of ICBMs to the U.S. mainland. After Trump threatened to annihilate North Korea, however, Kim Jong-un threatened to attack … Guam. Trump doubled down, indicating that a North Korean attack on Guam would trigger an attack against the regime. That shifted the costs of a war radically in our favor and against theirs.

Second, it is noteworthy that the North Korean threat to Guam did not refer to nuclear weapons, but rather hinted at conventional missile strikes. There is no way to know for sure that the regime would not use nuclear weapons, if indeed the North Koreans can miniaturize them, but a conventional attack is certainly less serious than a nuclear one. In threatening the most violent possible attack, Trump elicited a response that is significantly less threatening.

Third, Trump diverted attention away from North Korea’s more vulnerable neighbors, South Korea and Japan. Of course the North Koreans could attack them if the U.S. launched a war. But instead of talking about the potential deaths of millions of people in densely-populated areas, the world is now talking about the qualms felt by a few people on a remote island. That makes Trump’s words look less scary, and eases pressure for the U.S. to back down.

Update: Fourth, the Chinese government is now indicating that it will not defend North Korea from a retaliatory strike if the regime attacks the U.S. (which includes Guam). The Global Times, which reflects the view of the Chinese government, indicated that China would stop the U.S. from trying to overthrow the North Korean regime but would not defend North Korea if it struck the U.S. first. That is a significant change from the status quo ante.

The situation remains unstable, and could escalate. But Trump’s rhetoric is not, as former Obama adviser Susan Rice claims, the problem. In fact, it is part of the solution. It has, at the very least, restored some of our deterrence.

Israel Continues to Be Flooded With Messages of Support From Iraq

August 11, 2017

Israel Continues to Be Flooded With Messages of Support From Iraq, BreitbartDeborah Danan, August 10, 2017

TEL AVIV – Support from Iraq amid Arab turmoil over the Temple Mount has continued to pour into Israel, the Foreign Ministry said on Tuesday. 

Yonatan Gonen, head of Arabic-language digital diplomacy at the Foreign Ministry, said that the ministry’s social media accounts have been “flooded with pictures and messages of sympathy, support and even a desire to establish relations between the two countries,” Ynet news reported.

An Arabic-language website and several new Facebook pages have recently been created with the goal of bringing Israelis and Iraqis together, the report said.

Iraqis have come out against other Arab nations, particularly regarding “the hypocrisy of the Arab peoples.” A central argument is that Jordan and Egypt, despite having signed peace treaties with Israel, still strongly oppose any normalizing of ties with it. The report said Iraqis are advocating that it would be better for those nations to cancel the peace treaties if they are to retain their integrity. However, the advocates also say that there is nothing “shameful” in maintaining relations with Israel.

They are quick to add the newfound desire to establish ties with Israel does not come from a place of admiration, rather it stems from a deep sense of disillusionment with Arab states coupled with a wish to see terrorism eliminated from Iraq. A large number of people wrote that the Iraqi people are fed up with bloodshed and normalization with Israel will promote Iraq both economically and in the war on terrorism.

Zaid, from Baghdad, wrote to the Israeli Foreign Ministry, “All the Iraqis are with you, not necessarily out of love. Israel did not (even) throw stones at us while the Muslim Brotherhood sent suicide bombers and financed them to fight us.”

Abdullah Bassem from Baghdad posted, “A message from Baghdad to Tel Aviv: We recognize the State of Israel—the chosen and the victorious people. Fakestinians (a derogatory term for Palestinians) are traitors and terrorists. We, as Iraqis, will be happy to visit Israel and welcome a visit by Israelis to their second homeland, the great nation of Iraq.”

Bader from the city of Basra stated, “The Iraqis have suffered for years, while the Israelis have been refusing to accept terrorism for decades. The Palestinians must be expelled to countries that adopt and teach death and destruction.”

The Foreign Ministry’s digital staff responded to Bader, posting, “We share your courageous view and know that you have suffered. We are in the same boat as far as terrorism is concerned and hope that Iraq’s sons will enjoy security. As for your advice, we will never expel anyone, because we are all from the same region and there is no escape from living together. We believe in peace in the region.”

Iraqis also slammed the Palestinians for being “ungrateful.” Since the overthrow of the Baathist regime in 2003, many Iraqis view the Palestinian community with mistrust.

Last week, Breitbart Jerusalem reported that Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s Arabic-language spokesperson said he had received several messages of support from Iraqi citizens during the recent Palestinian unrest over the Temple Mount.

According to Ynet, individual posters even said that were the Temple Mount complex to be left in Palestinian control, it would be subject to endless terror attacks and violence.

Ofir Gendelman tweeted that several of them said they also suffered from Palestinian terrorism. According to reports, 1,200 Palestinians have committed serious attacks on Iraqi soil and killed hundreds of Iraqi citizens.

A new Facebook group called “Iraq with Israel” aims to promote discourse between citizens of the two countries.

The page’s mission states that it is run by “a group of Iraqi citizens who call for opening channels of civil cooperation between us and Israeli citizens. To this end, we launched a campaign to support the security of the State of Israel.”

“First and foremost, we firmly condemn all terrorist attacks against Israeli civilians,” they added. “As a country that has suffered and is still suffering from terrorism, we are aware of the great pain these attacks cause. Despite the tangible risk to us in managing this campaign, thousands of Iraqi citizens have joined it so far.”

Dina Habiv Powekk: McMaster’s Huma Abedin

August 11, 2017

Dina Habiv Powekk: McMaster’s Huma Abedin, Front Page Magazine, Daniel Greenfield, August 11, 2017

The media had agitated for Hijazi because it served its agenda of opposing Sisi and supporting the Brotherhood. Bringing Hijazi to the White House appeared to serve the same agenda. She was meant as an object lesson to Trump that the real bad guys weren’t the Brotherhood, but the Egyptian military.

Hijazi was escorted back from Egypt by Dina Habib Powell. And Habib Powell was there sitting opposite Ivanka and Jared at the meeting with President Trump. In the media, Powell is often associated with Ivanka. And indeed, Ivanka posed with Hijazi in a widely circulated photo. But she is also so much more.

Dina Habib Powell was an influential figure in the Bush administration. The Egyptian-American immigrant had served as a gatekeeper for George W. Bush. If you wanted a job, you went through her. Barely 30, Habib Powell had more power than many of the big Bush era names you do know.

The swamp is deeper than most understand or imagine. When you come to the city of government buildings and lobbyists, it’s all around you. And if you take a wrong step, it sucks you in. The real power doesn’t belong to the politicians you elect, but to bureaucrats and staffers, to the people who, like Huma Abedin or Dina Habib Powell, are talented at knowing the right people.

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The media dubbed her the Republican Huma Abedin. She’s been one of the most powerful women in two Republican administrations. She’s friends with Valerie Jarrett. And you’ve never heard her name.

Flash back to the spring of this year.

Cameras flashed as Aya Hijazi sat next to President Trump. Media reports described her as an imprisoned rescue worker who had been released from Egypt after administration intervention.

Aya Hijazi was also the photogenic face of a campaign against the post-Brotherhood Egyptian government. If you believed the stories, Hijazi had learned French and Spanish while in prison. Photos showed her reading Maya Angelou’s ‘I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings’ behind bars. Snaps from that calculated photoshoot would be used to illustrate countless media sob stories about her plight in prison.

Mohamed Hassanein, her husband, received far less attention. As did the other arrested members of the Belady Foundation which had been accused of using street children in Muslim Brotherhood riots.

Aya’s cause was quickly taken up by all the usual suspects.

Hillary Clinton had met with President Sisi and called for Hijazi’s release. Rep. Gerry Connolly, the go-to guy for Muslim Brotherhood front groups, had blustered, “The Egyptian government mistakes American resolve.” Avril Haines, the former indie bookstore owner who had been appointed by Obama as Deputy Director of the CIA and Deputy National Security Advisor, despite having no relevant experience, met with Hijazi’s family and issued a statement demanding her release.

None of this meant that Hassanein and Hijazi were guilty of the charges. Politically they appeared to be closer to the left than to the Islamists. Hijazi hasn’t worn a hijab outside of her imprisonment.

But the larger question is whose interests were being served by bringing her to the White House?

In a PBS interview, Aya Hijazi challenged President Trump’s praise for Egypt’s leader. She accused him of keeping “thousands of wrongly imprisoned people” in prison. “It’s not just for fighting terrorism,” she insisted. And she made a point of correcting President Trump on the Muslim Brotherhood.

“It seemed like he had this idea that… it was at the time of the Muslim Brotherhood,” Hijazi said. “So, he was like, ‘So was your arrest — be at the time of the Brotherhood?’ And I said, no. And then he said, ‘Oh, it was at the time of Sisi.’ And he was taken aback. It seemed, like, different to what he had in mind.”

The media had agitated for Hijazi because it served its agenda of opposing Sisi and supporting the Brotherhood. Bringing Hijazi to the White House appeared to serve the same agenda. She was meant as an object lesson to Trump that the real bad guys weren’t the Brotherhood, but the Egyptian military.

Hijazi was escorted back from Egypt by Dina Habib Powell. And Habib Powell was there sitting opposite Ivanka and Jared at the meeting with President Trump. In the media, Powell is often associated with Ivanka. And indeed, Ivanka posed with Hijazi in a widely circulated photo. But she is also so much more.

Dina Habib Powell was an influential figure in the Bush administration. The Egyptian-American immigrant had served as a gatekeeper for George W. Bush. If you wanted a job, you went through her. Barely 30, Habib Powell had more power than many of the big Bush era names you do know.

Then she took on the mission of promoting America to the Muslim world at the State Department. There were cultural exchanges with Iran and money for Lebanon and the Palestinian Authority. Afterward it was off to make millions through philanthropy at the Goldman Sachs Foundation.

When President Trump took office, Avril Haines was replaced by K. T. McFarland at the National Security Council. McFarland had worked at the Pentagon under Reagan and her views on Islamic terror were forthright.  “Global Islamist jihad is at war with all of Western Civilization,” she said after the Charlie Hebdo attacks. She called for profiling terrorists and an end to the big lie of political correctness.

“They have launched a guerrilla war against us in our own neighborhoods. They shout ‘Allahu Akbar, The Prophet is Avenged.’ We’re still calling it ‘workplace violence,’ ‘senseless killings’ or ‘man-caused disasters.’ Our leaders insist these are criminal acts, not acts of war.”

Of the Muslim Brotherhood, McFarland correctly pointed out that, “The Muslim Brotherhood was the godfather of al-Qaeda. The number 2 guy in al-Qaeda was Muslim Brotherhood.”

When Flynn was forced out and McMaster took over, there was no room for her views at the NSC.

At an NSC meeting, H.R. McMaster insisted that Islamic terror had nothing to do with Islam. The use of “radical Islamic terrorism” was a mistake. McFarland was in attendance.

Before long, McMaster had pushed out McFarland and replaced her with Dina Habib Powell.

Habib Powell had all the right friends. Like Valerie JarrettArianna Huffington praised the White House for bringing her in. Her ex-husband heads up Teneo Strategy: the organization created by the same man who made the Clinton Foundation happen and which employed Huma Abedin.

You could see her posing next to Huma, Arianna and a Saudi princess. You can see her photographed at the American Task Force of Palestine gala. The ATFP was originally Rashid Khalidi’s American Committee on JerusalemKhalidi was the former PLO spokesman at the center of the Obama tape scandal. And Habib Powell was there as a presenter at the Middle East Institute after a speech by the PLO’s Hanan Ashrawi.

Unlike McFarland, Habib Powell had no national security background. But though her parents were Christians, she had the “right” views on Islam. In Egypt, she had described how Bush after September 11 had, “visited a mosque, took off his shoes and paid his respects.” “I see the president talk of Islam as a religion of peace, I see him host an iftar every year.” Habib Powell had attended such an iftar dinner.

While President Trump fights to restrict Muslim immigration, back in the Bush era, Habib Powell had bragged on CNN, “Over 90% of student visas are now issued in under a week, and that is in the Middle East.”

Habib Powell has been described as the Republican Huma Abedin. And she was quoted as saying that Abedin “feels a deep responsibility to encourage more mutual understanding between her beliefs and culture and American culture.”

Within a short time, Habib Powell became the Senior Counselor for Economic Initiatives, the Deputy National Security Advisor for Strategy and was being put forward as Chief of Staff. If Kelly doesn’t work out, the effort to move her up will resume. And then the gatekeeper will be back at the gate.

Dina Habib Powell is a deep part of the Republican establishment. Her top role at the NSC represents McMaster’s vision for our approach to Islam. And it’s an echo of the failed approach of the Bush years. Flynn made the NSC into a tool that matched Trump’s vision. McMaster is remaking it to match Jeb Bush’s vision.

The Hijazi stunt was the public manifestation of an effort to pull Trump away from President Sisi and guide him into the same old swamp of pushing democracy and political change in Egypt. There is worse taking place behind the scenes. The NSC purge of personnel who understand the threat of Islamic terrorism is not a mere political power struggle, it’s policy. McMaster is just the public face of it.

The swamp is deeper than most understand or imagine. When you come to the city of government buildings and lobbyists, it’s all around you. And if you take a wrong step, it sucks you in. The real power doesn’t belong to the politicians you elect, but to bureaucrats and staffers, to the people who, like Huma Abedin or Dina Habib Powell, are talented at knowing the right people.

When we talk about the swamp, it’s not an organization. It’s a way of life. If you’re not fighting the swamp all the time, if you don’t wake up resisting it and go to bed fighting free of it, you will drown in it.

Malaysia Kills a Talking Point

August 11, 2017

Malaysia Kills a Talking Point, Investigative Project on Terrorism, August 11, 2017

In trying to cast their faith as tolerant and accepting of others, many Muslims like to point to the Quran’s verse 2:256: “There shall be no compulsion in [acceptance of] the religion,” it begins.

It’s a comforting thought. While dawa, a form of proselytizing, is a key element of the faith, the argument makes it sound as if there are no repercussions for those who do not accept the faith or who reject it.

But, in scripture and in practice, this simply is not true.

Verse 25:11, for example, warns: “But they have disbelieved the Hour (the Day of Judgment) and for those who disbelieve the Hour, We have prepared a flaming fire.” Verse 4:151 similarly, promises “the disbelievers a humiliating torment.”

Right now in Malaysia – often held up as an example of a moderate Muslim-majority nation – police are under instruction to “hunt down” non-believers through state-mandated re-education programs and “fix their faith” if they once were Muslims.

All this because of a photograph posted online Aug. 2 which showed a group of more than three dozen smiling young people who are part of the Atheist Republic, a support and social media outlet with more than 1 million followers worldwide. Founder Armin Navabi created the group while still living in Iran, one of 13 Muslim-majority countries that punishes apostasy with death.

The meeting in Kuala Lumpur “was such a blast,” the Facebook post said. “Atheists from all walks of life came to meet one another, some for the very first time…each sharing their stories and forming new friendships that hopefully will last a lifetime! We rock!”

They did harm to no one. But cabinet minister Datuk Seri Shahidan Kassim learned of the gathering and saw a threat to Malaysia’s national well-being. He called for authorities to “hunt down” those present, noting that Malaysia’s constitution is silent about atheists. “This clearly shows that the group goes against the Constitution and basic rights,” he said.

While Malaysia is one of the countries that can carry out the death penalty for apostasy, no government official is using such terms. So far. Social media, however, is filled with death threats against the Malaysian atheists.

“Advise them and tell them that Islam is not to be played with,” Danizaynal Dani wrote. “If they refuse to repent we burn them alive. An apostate’s blood is halal for slaughter.”

“It is better to die from hanging for murder, than to die as an apostate,” wrote Irfan Samsuri.

Navabi also co-hosts a podcast with other ex-Muslims, called, “Secular Jihadists from the Middle East.” In an emotionally-charged special episode on the Malaysian threats Tuesday night, he said police had already visited at least one of the people in the photograph. He was surprised by the reaction. He was less surprised by the lack of attention Western news outlets and supposed liberal activists have given the situation.

“If this was happening to any other group, any other group, there would be an outcry right now,” he said. “If this was a group of Muslims being treated like this, if this was a group of Christians being treated like this, the whole world would be reacting to it right now.”

Navabi’s observation leads to the simple question: Why isn’t this attack on freedom gaining more attention? None of the national Islamist activist groups, which would organize protests and marches if the targets were Muslims, have said anything. The same groups have pushed the “no compulsion in religion” argument, though, so it might be difficult to acknowledge the rights of ex-Muslims in Malaysia without grappling with some uncomfortable realities.

Unfortunately, the same also can be said for a series of other cases in which Muslim-majority countries prosecute or see mob violence attack and kill people for thought crimes. One hears very little about these cases outside of the interest groups directly affected.

Saudi Arabia, for example, has jailed writer Raif Badawi for more than five years for the crime of writing about secularism. His sentence also includes 1,000 lashes, the first 50 of which nearly killed him. His wife described the scene that she later saw in an online video:

“But I saw clearly that he was striking Raif with all his might. Raif’s head was bowed. In very quick succession he took the blows all over the back of his body: he was lashed from shoulders to calves, while the men around him clapped and uttered pious phrases.”

In Bangladesh, a series of brutal machete attacks killed at least 11secular and atheist bloggers since 2013. One, Avijit Roy, was an American citizen. His wife was severely injured, but survived and continues to speak out about free expression.

Regardless of one’s views on religion, these Malaysian people’s plight – like Raif Badawi’s and like the slaughtered Bangladeshi writers – is about the right to free speech, free thought and peaceful assembly. These ideals are the foundation of a free society, or liberty.

It would be nice if more people—of any or no religion—called out these human rights abuses.

Trump: What NKorea is doing can’t be allowed

August 11, 2017

Trump: What NKorea is doing can’t be allowed, DEBKAfile, August 11, 2017

(Please see also, US, North Korea have been in backchannel talks for months: Report — DM)

DEBKAfile adds: The Trump administration can’t afford to keep on bouncing high rhetoric back and forth with a small rogue regime endlessly. The president is bound to resort to some sort of military action to cut it short and deny Kim Jong-un the last word.

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US President Donald Trump toughened his stance on North Korea in remarks to reporters Thursday night, Aug. 10. Rejecting criticism at home of his “fire and fury” threat for North Korea’s bellicose nuclear and missile programs, Trump said: “They’ve been doing this to our country for a long time, for many years, and it’s about time that somebody stuck up for the people of this country and countries of the world. So, if anything, maybe that statement wasn’t tough enough.”

Asked what could be tougher, he replied “You’ll see. You’ll see.” “The people of this country should be very comfortable,” he said. If they attack the US or its allies, “Things will happen to them like they never thought possible.”

Wednesday night, North Korea’s Strategic Rocket Forces headed by Gen. Kim Rak Gyom, said that under consideration was an “enveloping strike at Guam through simultaneous fire of four Hwasong-12 intermediate-range ballistic rockets in order to interdict the enemy forces on major military bases on Guam and to signal a crucial warning to the US.”

The general said the plan would be ready by mid-August before going to North Korean leader Kim Jong Un for approval.” In a jab at the US president, he added: “Sound dialogue is not possible with such a guy bereft of reason and only absolute force can work on him.”

In reply, Trump would not say whether he is considering a preemptive strike on North Korea, although his words indicated that Washington would not wait for the North Koreans to attack Guam.

He did say that he was still open to negotiation with the “isolated” dictatorship, with China taking part, but added that talks taking place over 25 years “had done little to halt the country’s nuclear program.” “What they’ve been doing, what they’ve been getting away with is a tragedy and it can’t be allowed,” Trump said.

Trump spoke after he and Vice President Mike Pence received a security briefing from White House chief of staff John Kelly and national security adviser H.R. McMaster, both former generals.

Wednesday, US Defense Secretary Jim Mattis warned North Korea in the strongest terms to stop any action that would lead to the “end of its regime” and the destruction of its people.”

He said in a statement: “The DPRK must choose to stop isolating itself and stand down its pursuit of nuclear weapons.

DEBKAfile adds: The Trump administration can’t afford to keep on bouncing high rhetoric back and forth with a small rogue regime endlessly. The president is bound to resort to some sort of military action to cut it short and deny Kim Jong-un the last word.