Archive for October 12, 2017

How Barcelona Became a Victim of the Barcelona Process

October 12, 2017

How Barcelona Became a Victim of the Barcelona Process, Gatestone InstituteFjordman, October 12, 2017

The Barcelona Process, promoted by the EU, has helped to facilitate a greater presence of Islam and Muslim immigrants in Western Europe — thereby also increasing the Islamic terror threat there. That result was perfectly foreseeable.

When the number of people who believe in Islamic Jihad doctrines rises, the likelihood of experiencing jihadist attacks increases as well.

It is unlikely, though, that European political leaders will point to this connection. Doing so would be an indirect admission that Europe’s leaders have actively increased the Islamic terror threat against European citizens. This is the brutal truth they do not want exposed.

The murders on the pedestrian street of La Rambla in Barcelona on August 17, 2017 were not the first Islamic terrorist attack in Spain. On March 11, 2004, 192 people were killed, and around two thousand injured, in the Madrid train bombings.

In hindsight, that attack marked a new phase in the modern Islamic Jihad against Europe. After the Madrid bombings, London was hit with deadly bombings on July 7, 2005. In recent years, the frequency of jihadist attacks on European soil has increased dramatically.

It is probably not a coincidence that Spain was an early target of Islamic terror. The Iberian Peninsula, present-day Portugal and Spain, was for centuries under Islamic rule. Militant Muslims have repeatedly made it clear that for them, reconquering Spain is a priority.

The murders on the pedestrian street of La Rambla in Barcelona on August 17, 2017 were not the first Islamic terrorist attack in Spain. (Image source: JT Curses/Wikimedia Commons)

Ironically, some people in Barcelona seem to view tourists who pay for short-term visits as a greater threat than Muslim immigrants who come to stay permanently. One can hear similar reactions among some radical left-wing activists, for instance, in Greece.

Mass tourism can potentially cause problems such as overcrowding and local pollution. Nevertheless, it is noteworthy that only a few days before the terror attack in Barcelona, some locals were complaining about an invasion of tourists. One radical left-wing group, Arran, published footage of tourist bikes in the city having their tires punctured in acts of deliberate sabotage. Of course, the problem might be even greater if there were too few tourists.

Meanwhile, a real invasion of Spain and Europe is taking place. For years, huge numbers of illegal immigrants from the Islamic world and Africa have been entering, especially through Greece or Italy. Spain, too, has seen a spike in the number of illegal immigrants. The Spanish-controlled enclaves of Ceuta and Melilla in North Africa are under increasing pressure as points of departure for migrants.

The Madrid bombings in 2004 were immediately followed by the election in Spain of the Socialist politician José Luis Rodríguez Zapatero. His policy of appeasement of Islam and the Islamic world was, sadly, not the first. Western Europe’s appeasement of Islam stretches back at least to the 1970s.

With the 1973 oil embargo, Arab countries in the Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC) used oil as a weapon and tool for blackmail. European countries started giving concessions to Arabs to ensure their oil supply and, they doubtless hoped, avoid terrorism. These concessions were not just limited to economic affairs. They also included opening Western Europe up to Islamic culture and Muslim immigration. The author Bat Ye’or has written extensively on this subject.

As part of the Euro-Arab Dialogue, a Euro-Mediterranean Partnership between the EU and the Arabic-Islamic world was launched in 1995 with the so-called Barcelona Process. Its purpose was to strengthen the ties between Europe and the Arab world in the fields of trade, economy, environment, energy, health, migration, education, social affairs and cultural cooperation.

This Process has been in force for decades. Despite it, the increasingly stronger ties between the EU and Arab Muslim countries rarely receive critical scrutiny from the European mass media. There is even a Union for the Mediterranean, which most Europeans have never heard of.

As the official website of the European External Action Service (EEAS), the diplomatic service of the European Union (EU), stated in October 2017:

The Union for the Mediterranean promotes economic integration across 15 neighbours to the EU’s south in North Africa, the Middle East and the Balkans region. Formerly known as the Barcelona Process, cooperation was re-launched in 2008 as the Union for the Mediterranean…. Projects address areas such as economy, environment, energy, health, migration, education and social affairs. Along with the 28 EU member states, 15 Southern Mediterranean countries are members of the UfM: Albania, Algeria, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Egypt, Israel, Jordan, Lebanon, Mauritania, Monaco, Montenegro, Morocco, Palestine, Syria (suspended), Tunisia and Turkey. Libya is an observer.”

The Islamic Republic of Mauritania in western Africa, a full member of the Union for the Mediterranean, has the same formal status there as Denmark, Sweden, Germany, France, Italy and Poland. Although Mauritania was the last country officially to ban slavery, it is still widely practiced there to this day. Yet the country regularly cooperates with the EU on matters of importance to the future of the EU.

The Barcelona Process, promoted by the EU, has helped to facilitate a greater presence of Islam and Muslim immigrants in Western Europe — thereby also increasing the Islamic terror threat there. That result was perfectly foreseeable. When the number of people who believe in Islamic Jihad doctrines rises, the likelihood of experiencing Jihadist attacks increases as well.

It is unlikely, though, that European political leaders will point to this connection. Doing so would be an indirect admission that Europe’s leaders have actively increased the Islamic terror threat against European citizens. This is the brutal truth they do not want exposed.

Fjordman, a Norwegian historian, is an expert on Europe, Islam and multiculturalism.

Time’s up! Trump’s Justice Dept. issues final warning to ‘sanctuary’ jurisdictions

October 12, 2017

Time’s up! Trump’s Justice Dept. issues final warning to ‘sanctuary’ jurisdictions, Washington Times, October 12, 2017

FILE – In this April 14, 2017, file photo, protesters hold up signs outside a courthouse where a federal judge will hear arguments in the first lawsuit challenging President Donald Trump’s executive order to withhold funding from communities that limit …

The Justice Department has issued a final warning to five of the 10 jurisdictions it accused of having “sanctuary” policies that defy federal immigration laws, saying they have until Oct. 27 to submit additional evidence proving compliance or risk losing grant money.

Letters conveying the Justice Department’s preliminary assessment of the jurisdictions’ local laws and policies were sent Wednesday. Cook County, Illinois; Chicago; New Orleans; New York City; and Philadelphia were all warned that the Justice Department believes they cities have laws or policies that run afoul of federal immigration law.

At stake is millions of dollars in federal grant money that is supposed to go only to jurisdictions that comply with section 1373 of Title 8 of the U.S. Code. That law prohibits policies that restrict communications with federal immigration authorities “regarding the citizenship or immigration status, lawful or unlawful, of any individual.”

The letters sent to each city highlighted specific laws that the Justice Department has identified as being in violation of 1373.

In the case of Philadelphia, officials said an executive order that prevents local officials from providing immigration authorities with any notice of a person’s release from custody unless the person has been convicted of certain felony offenses is a violation. A police policy that prevents the transmission of the immigration status of any immigrant who is a victim of a crime was also highlighted as a violation.

Two other jurisdictions — Milwaukee County, Wisconsin and the state of Connecticut — were told Wednesday that a preliminary assessment found no evidence that their laws violated 1373.

“I commend the Milwaukee County Sheriff’s Office and the State of Connecticut on their commitment to complying with Section 1373, and I urge all jurisdictions found to be out of compliance in this preliminary review to reconsider their policies that undermine the safety of their residents,” said Attorney General Jeff Sessions. “We urge jurisdictions to not only comply with Section 1373 but to establish sensible and effective partnerships to properly process criminal aliens.”

The Justice Department had earlier cleared Clark County, Nevada and Miami-Dade County of any violations of federal law.

Officials had also put the California Board of State and Community Corrections on notice, but the state was not included in the Justice Department’s follow up warning issued Wednesday. It was not immediately clear why it was not included.

The Obama administration first raised the issue of potential violations in 10 jurisdictions last year, and the Trump administration followed up by sending letters demanding proof of compliance.

“Jurisdictions that adopt so-called ‘sanctuary policies’ also adopt the view that the protection of criminal aliens is more important than the protection of law-abiding citizens and of the rule of law,” Mr. Sessions said.

The jurisdictions accused of violating federal immigration statutes had previously defended their local policies, saying they were compliant and should not lose grant funding.

Philadelphia officials struck a defiant note, writing in a letter to the Justice Department that a local policy banning city officials from inquiring about residents’ immigration status does not violate federal law because if the city doesn’t have the information, its officials can’t be required to share it.

“The federal statute does not require cities to inquire about or collect immigration status information, but only prohibits cities from restricting the sharing of that information if they have it,” wrote City Solicitor Sozi Pedro Tulante.

In the DOJ assessment, officials wrote that an executive order may be in violation of federal immigration law and city officials would have to certify that the policy does not ban local police from sharing information with federal immigration authorities with federal immigration officers.

“The Department has determined that Philadelphia would need to certify that it interprets and applies this Executive Order to not restrict Philadelphia officers from sharing information regarding immigration status,” DOJ officials wrote.

Legal Insurrection is 9 years old, and filled with dread

October 12, 2017

Legal Insurrection is 9 years old, and filled with dread, Legal Insurrection, October 12, 2017

(For example, please see also, Getting Them Young. — DM)

Me standing during Cornell ‘Take a Knee’ protest

I don’t know if there are any uncorrupted institutions left that matter. The education system, from public grade school through public and private higher ed, is gone. The frontal assault on free speech on campuses is the result. If you think this is just a Humanities and Social Sciences problem, stay tuned. In 3-5 years, if we’re still here, we’ll be writing about how the social justice warriors have corrupted the STEM fields. It’s happening now, it’s just not in the headlines yet.

There is a rising tide of absolutism in ideas and enforcement of ideological uniformity that is palpable. I feel it in the air, even at Cornell which is far from the worst. Incredibly, the new Cornell President has charged a newly-formed task force to explore, among other things, “legal mechanisms [which] are available to the university to prevent, address and counter situations in which protected expression on campus is harmful to those vulnerable to its effects.

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Nine years ago today Legal Insurrection published its first post, Obama is Door No. 2.

For background on how we got started and have grown over the years, see our 7th Anniversary post, or scroll through our  tag.

Last year I noted that while it was a difficult year personally, I was optimistic. That’s been one of my roles over the years, keeping hope alive. But there’s no pep talk this year. Just dread.

The attempts to unwind the 2016 presidential election have changed everything.

I’ve written before how the attempts to intimidate the Electoral College electors into changing their votes was a game changer for me. That went beyond politics into attempted coup territory. It wasn’t just a matter of opposing Trump or Trump policies, which is legitimate, but an attempt to nullify an election. Criticize Trump all you want, I certainly did during the primaries, but respect the vote. If you don’t respect the vote, then you are not just political opposition, you are a danger to our system.

If the assault on the Electoral College was the game changer for me, a runner up was waking up to implications of the concentration of power in a small number of social media and internet companies who have been weaponized to shut down speech and expression. Google, Facebook, Twitter and two handfuls of other companies now completely control our ability to communicate with each other, while internet backbone companies are poised to block internet access altogether.

Imagine living in a repressive country in which the government blocked access to and suppressed internet content. You don’t need to move. It’s coming here but from private industry. This is, in many ways, more dangerous than government suppression of free speech because at least in the U.S. the government is subject to the First Amendment, and can be voted out of office.

I don’t know if there are any uncorrupted institutions left that matter. The education system, from public grade school through public and private higher ed, is gone. The frontal assault on free speech on campuses is the result. If you think this is just a Humanities and Social Sciences problem, stay tuned. In 3-5 years, if we’re still here, we’ll be writing about how the social justice warriors have corrupted the STEM fields. It’s happening now, it’s just not in the headlines yet.

There is a rising tide of absolutism in ideas and enforcement of ideological uniformity that is palpable. I feel it in the air, even at Cornell which is far from the worst. Incredibly, the new Cornell President has charged a newly-formed task force to explore, among other things, “legal mechanisms [which] are available to the university to prevent, address and counter situations in which protected expression on campus is harmful to those vulnerable to its effects.”

Even language as a means of communication is corrupted, with terminology manipulated and coerced to achieve political ends. It started on campuses, and it’s moved into the AP stylebook and the mainstream.

The press could stand as a bulwark against this slide, but it too is corrupted. The greatest threat to freedom of the press is not Donald Trump’s bloviating about FCC licenses (which has been a favorite threat traditionally of Democrats), but the mainstream press itself which has abdicated even the pretense of neutrality and joined #TheResistance.

The lack of respect for the vote is also what has alienated me from the so-called conservative movement. There now is a cottage industry of self-appointed guardians of conservatism whose main job is to delegitimize the vote, and to encourage a soft coup because they didn’t get their way in the primaries.

The Republican Party? Hah. Don’t get me started.

So I’m thinking through what it will mean to live without institutions.

Sorry to be a downer on our blog birthday. I’ve always tried to be honest with you, and honestly, this blog birthday I’m filled with dread, not good cheer.

I’d like to extend my thanks to the editors and authors, who have helped cover for me as I continue to grapple with unresolved personal issues. And to the readers, who keep coming back for more, and whose messages of support help keep me going.

Getting Them Young

October 12, 2017

Getting Them Young, FrontPage MagazineMatthew Vadum, October 12, 2017

People in Edina are tired of all of this.

They are angry about political agendas being pushed at the expense of education. At the same time they are afraid to speak out for fear of reprisals, Kersten writes.

Though a growing number of parents, students and teachers are angry and frustrated about recent developments, they hesitate to protest publicly. Students and parents fear bullying and retaliation in terms of grades and classroom humiliation. Teachers who don’t toe the orthodox line fear ostracism and a tainted career. The climate of intimidation is so intense that not one of those interviewed for this article would speak on the record.

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In places like Edina, Minnesota, the Left has transformed K-12 schools into indoctrination factories whose overarching purpose is to train students to be reflexively racist and anti-American.

Educators in Edina, a wealthy Minneapolis suburb, don’t even try to conceal their sinister goals. Elementary school students there are subjected to an A-B-C book titled A is for Activist. Among the alphabetized propaganda points are these gems:

“A is for Activist. Are you an Activist?”

“C is for … Creative Counter to Corporate vultures.”

“F is for Feminist.”

“T is for Trans.”

“X is for Malcolm as in Malcolm X.”

When Donald Trump won the election last November, anarchy and partisan bullying paralyzed the high school.

“I felt like the school was descending into mass hysteria,” one student said of the day after the election. Another said Trump’s victory was treated as “the end of the world as we know it.”

Students reported “[e]very teacher was crying in class, one even told the whole class ‘Trump winning is worse than 9/11 and the Columbine shooting.’” The sheer volume of “liberal propaganda that was pushed every single day in class this year was worse than it’s ever been–and you’re bullied by the teachers and every student if you dare speak against it.”

“[T]he teachers can absolutely do whatever they want. The administration will do nothing about it!! The day of the election every single student was in the commons chanting ‘F*** TRUMP’ and the teachers never did anything. A LOT of people are starting to complain and my mom has some friends who are leaving the school district.”

Teachers in Edina use totalitarian methods, particularly self-criticism sessions, to enforce ideological rigidity and reinforce social cohesion.

One mother complained of a humiliating Khmer Rouge-like denunciation process her son was forced to endure. In a 10th grade AP World History class, the teacher “called out any Trump supporters and asked them to assure the class that they weren’t racist.” In much of the United States, sending one’s children to public schools is already tantamount to child abuse. Too often elementary and secondary schools, especially in the inner cities, fail to teach pupils even the basics of reading, writing, and thinking critically. Nowadays they focus on crusades for so-called social justice instead of doing their jobs. This includes pedagogical sermons excoriating President Trump for the crime of trying to “Make America Great Again.”

In Edina radical indoctrination has supplanted actual education that helps students prepare for the real world.

Test scores in the community’s once top-rated schools have been plummeting, writes Katherine Kersten, senior fellow at the Minnesota-based Center for the American Experiment, in Thinking Minnesota magazine.

“There’s been a sea change in educational philosophy, and it comes from the top,” she writes.

In recent years teachers have been shoving so-called white privilege, along with Marxism, feminism, and post-colonialism, down their young charges’ throats.

It’s no secret that public school teachers across America are largely driven by ideology, not a desire to educate. They teach students that America, a nation flawed in its conception by the original sin of slavery, has never truly experienced reforms. It is as if the Civil War and the Civil Rights Era never happened. Corporations and the rich oppress the citizenry daily as the U.S. unjustly pushes around less powerful countries, especially Muslim ones. America is so fundamentally corrupt and evil in their view that it can only be fixed by radical changes like those espoused by educational theorists like Paulo Freire and Bill Ayers.

In Pedagogy of the Oppressed, Freire argued that schools be used to inculcate radical, revolutionary values in students so they become agents of social change. Generations of teachers answered his call.

Freire was only expanding on the ideas of Vladimir Lenin who said, “Give me four years to teach the children and the seed I have sown will never be uprooted.” Teachers in publicly-funded elementary and secondary schools get a full eight years more than Lenin required to intellectually cripple students, perhaps for life.

“If we want change to come, we would do well not to look at the sites of power we have no access to; the White House, the Congress, the Pentagon,” Ayers said in 2012. “We have absolute access to the community, the school, the neighborhood, the street, the classroom, the workplace, the shop, the farm.”

Teachers in Edina take the ideas of Freire, Lenin, and Ayers seriously.

At Edina’s Highlands Elementary, teachers indoctrinate five-year-olds in order to radicalize them and encourage them to become activists obsessed with race.

The school district’s “unrelenting focus on skin color is the leading edge of a larger ideological campaign to shape students’ attitudes and beliefs on a range of controversial issues—most importantly, the familiar litany of ‘race, class, gender,’” Kersten writes.

While this is happening “ordinary students are too often falling through the cracks and gifted education is languishing.”

Edina embraces something called the All for All plan. Its “fundamental premise is that white racism—not socio-economic factors like family breakdown—is the primary cause of the achievement gap.”

School staff meetings there are social justice pep rallies. One teacher told Kersten that “equity was the only thing we talked about, not the nuts and bolts of teaching reading and math.”

Equity in this context doesn’t refer to equal treatment for all, she notes. Here the word “signals an obsession with ‘white privilege,’ and an effort to blame any academic challenge that minority students may have on institutional racial bias.” In other words, race-based identity politics rules.

At the elementary school, teachers of K-2 students dwell endlessly on skin color and encourage white pupils to feel guilty about being white. “Equity” is identified as the key criterion used to evaluate the school district’s K-5 math curricula.

Children have to watch their language and self-censor for fear of incurring the wrath of teachers.

“My kids have written things they don’t believe just to survive,” one mother told Kersten.

“They know exactly what the teacher wants. They almost don’t see anything incorrect in doing that anymore, because it’s so engrained. They have endured enough public shaming to say they will not put themselves in that position again.”

Another parent “was absolutely sickened” by the officially sanctioned psychological torture to which her young son was subjected. He explained that he was “labeled a racist, sexist and rapist — yes, a RAPIST — because he is a white male.” The parent added, “This was all in a Venn diagram on the white board. We have a photo.”

At the Edina high school’s multicultural show in April this year, student performers used the event to call for “students, faculty, staff and administrators to act en masse to address racial injustice,” according to the school’s student newspaper. Student organizers tried to “ignite a conversation pertaining to white privilege and the Black Lives Matter movement.”

A female student gave an explicit speech about the sexual fantasies she had about a classmate that sounded like a “Dear Penthouse Forum” letter. “I spent seventh-grade music classes imagining her legs intertwining with mine, her body constantly reminding me of a violin, and I was begging to be allowed to pluck one string.”

A male student revealing his sexual desires probably would have been kicked off the stage and accused of sexual harassment, Kersten writes.

Getting students to hate and distrust law enforcement officers is also a priority. One teacher was so wrapped up in cop-hatred that she claimed just saying the word police “made her feel physically ill,” according to a parent.

Teachers in Edina and across the fruited plan saturate students with information about real and imagined instances of racial injustice in America in a nonstop barrage of historic facts and ahistorical nonsense. And in the culture at large, the media, politicians, and the entertainment industry can’t stop talking about race. The last thing any young student in America needs is to be taught about is race. Race matters only to America-hating radicals.

People in Edina are tired of all of this.

They are angry about political agendas being pushed at the expense of education. At the same time they are afraid to speak out for fear of reprisals, Kersten writes.

Though a growing number of parents, students and teachers are angry and frustrated about recent developments, they hesitate to protest publicly. Students and parents fear bullying and retaliation in terms of grades and classroom humiliation. Teachers who don’t toe the orthodox line fear ostracism and a tainted career. The climate of intimidation is so intense that not one of those interviewed for this article would speak on the record.

Remaining silent is no way to win a culture war.

Palestinian unity deal signed – but partial

October 12, 2017

Palestinian unity deal signed – but partial, DEBKAfile, October 12, 2017

Hamas, which calls for Israel’s destruction, has fought three wars with the Jewish state and its armed wing is designated a terrorist group by Israel, the US, the European Union and other powers.

Israel has said it will not deal with a Palestinian government that contains Hamas ministers.

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Gaza’s Rafah crossing passes from Hamas to the Palestinian Authority on Nov. 1;  the enclave’s central administration – on Dec. 1

The Egyptian-brokered deal hailed by Palestinian leader Mahmoud Abbas as “the end of the rift,” is cautiously seen in Cairo as a partial resolution of the dispute between the Fatah and Hamas rival factions.

The reconciliation accord was announced at dawn Thursday, Oct 10, by Hamas leader Ismail Haniyeh after night-long negotiations at the Egyptian intelligence ministry in Cairo. The promised news conference at which details of the agreement were to be revealed by Egyptian mediators and Palestinian officials did not take place.

Egyptian sources reveal that seven points of agreement were hammered out:

  1. The two Palestinian parties will meet in one month to set out the date and modalities for elections to the presidency and parliament.
  2. Before then, Palestinian Authority Chairman Mahmoud Abbas will spend a few days in the Gaza Strip, his first visit there in a decade since Hamas ousted his Fatah party in a military coup..
  3. A joint Palestinian Authority-Hamas commission will determine procedures for the merger of the PA and Gaza governing administrations. The future of the 60,000 people employed by the Gaza administration must also be decided.
  4. In the next two weeks, Hamas will transfer into Egyptian hands control of the Rafah border crossing from the Gaza Strip to Egyptian Sinai.
  5. The Palestinian Authority will take charge of the Rafah crossing from Egyptian officials – not directly from Hamas.
  6. Up until the parties come to terms on Gaza Strip’s electricity bill – which the Palestinian Authority has refused to cover for months – Egypt and Israel will provide the enclave with fuel for running the grid.
  7. The main sticking point in the reconciliation process – control of Hamas’ armed wing and arsenal – appears to have been left out of the deal signed Thursday. Hamas has consistently objected to foregoing or sharing control of its militia. Non-Egyptian sources report that the Palestinian Authority is to deploy 30,000 members of its security battalions to the Gaza Strip, but make no mention of coordination between the two forces. Cairo does not refer to this question.

Hamas, which calls for Israel’s destruction, has fought three wars with the Jewish state and its armed wing is designated a terrorist group by Israel, the US, the European Union and other powers.

Israel has said it will not deal with a Palestinian government that contains Hamas ministers.

Sessions Calls on Congress to End Abuse of Asylum Process

October 12, 2017

Sessions Calls on Congress to End Abuse of Asylum Process, Washington Free Beacon, October 12, 2017

Attorney General Jeff Sessions / Getty Images

“Individuals who wanted to enter illegally, and individuals who had hired smugglers, were aware of the fact that if they said the words ‘credible fear’ the odds are that they would be released and that they’d be allowed to continue into the United States.”

The result of the Obama administration guidance was a skyrocketing rate of credible fear exception applicants.

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Attorney General Jeff Sessions on Thursday called for Congress to swiftly pass policy proposals from the Trump administration that would help rectify abuses of the asylum process.

Sessions addressed the Executive Office for Immigration Review, which oversees the administration of America’s immigration courts.

“The immigration laws that Congress has enacted are some of the most generous in the world,” Sessions said. “Indeed, we will soon reach the highest level of non-native born Americans in our history.”

However, a failure to properly enforce immigration laws has resulted in an estimated 11 million illegal immigrants currently living in the United States. One of the ways by which said aliens take advantage of the immigration system is through so-called “credible fear” claims for asylum seekers, Sessions said.

The Department of Homeland Security uses a process called “expedited removal” to remove certain immigrants without a full hearing or the laborious process used in more complicated immigration cases. Exceptions are made for illegal immigrants who claim to have a “credible fear” of persecution in his or her country of origin, who are allowed to avoid the expedited removal process and proceed to a full immigration court hearing.

“This is an important exception,” Sessions said. “We have a generous asylum policy that is meant to protect those who, through no fault of their own, cannot co-exist in their home country no matter where they go because of persecution based on fundamental things like their religion or nationality. Unfortunately, this system is currently subject to rampant abuse and fraud.”

Under the credible fear procedure, an asylum seeker has a preliminary interview, which may then make him eligible for a subsequent formal hearing to grant asylum. Historically, the ashylum seeker was detained while awaiting the hearing, unless the would-be asylee explicitly requested parole.

That changed in 2009, when the Obama administration issued new guidance that made the consideration for parole automatic. What that meant in practice is that asylum seekers were no longer detained, but were all-but-automatically released into the population after their interview—meaning they only sometimes showed up to their subsequent formal hearing.

“This is a pretty easy way into the United States,” explained Andrew Arthur, a former federal immigration judge and Resident Fellow in Law and Policy for the Center for Immigration Studies. “Individuals who wanted to enter illegally, and individuals who had hired smugglers, were aware of the fact that if they said the words ‘credible fear’ the odds are that they would be released and that they’d be allowed to continue into the United States.”

The result of the Obama administration guidance was a skyrocketing rate of credible fear exception applicants.

In 2009, the DHS reported doing around 5,000 credible fear reviews. By 2016, that number reached 94,000. In 2009, around 4,000 asylum seekers were placed in removal proceedings; in 2016, that number is more than 73,000. At the border, some 3,000 people sought credible fear exemptions in 2009; 2016 saw more than 69,000. In all, an illegal alien has an 88 percent chance of avoiding expedited removal by making a credible fear claim.

Even if asylum seekers do show up to court, litigating an asylum claim is relatively low cost, and every asylum case is required to have a full hearing.

“That’s why there’s a common, fatalistic refrain you’ll hear from immigration judges and immigration enforcement that ‘the case isn’t over until the alien wins,'” Sessions said.

The credible fear process also poses a threat to national security: Sessions noted that at least five Somali terrorists had taken advantage of the process to try to gain access to the United States.

“I think the expedited removal/credible fear process has been largely ignored up to this point,” Arthur said, “and I think that it poses a much more serious risk to the national security than even the legal immigration process does.”

Sessions called for Congress to pass President Donald Trump’s new bevy of immigration proposals, released earlier this week. Among those proposals are recommendations to tighten standards in the immigration system, increase the standard of proof in initial interviews, impose penalties for frivolous or fraudulent asylum applications, and tighten the standards for parole.

Trump also pushed for an expansion of the personnel and resources of the immigration court system, the overwhelming backlog in which Sessions has made a priority of reducing.

“The president’s proposals on asylum reform especially are crucial,” Arthur said. “There are many loopholes in the asylum system, and the president appropriately has noted that we need to elevate the threshold standard of proof in credible fear interviews.”

Sessions, for his part, was resolute in supporting the administration’s proposed changes.

“What we cannot do—what we must not do—is continue to let our generosity be abused,” he said. “We cannot capitulate to lawlessness and allow the very foundation of law upon which our country depends to be further undermined.”

UK: Extremely Selective Free Speech

October 12, 2017

UK: Extremely Selective Free Speech, Gatestone InstituteJudith Bergman, October 12, 2017

(Please see also, Britain Moves To Criminalize Reading Extremist Material On The Internet. — DM)

The issue is not hate preachers visiting the UK from abroad. While banning them from campuses will leave them with fewer venues, it by no means solves the larger issue, which is that they will continue their Dawah or proselytizing elsewhere.

The question probably should be: Based on available evidence, are those assessments of Islam accurate? Particularly compared to current messages that seemingly are considered “conducive to the public good.”

At around the same time as the two neo-Nazi groups were banned at the end of September 2017, Home Secretary Amber Rudd refused to ban Hezbollah’s political wing in the UK. Hezbollah itself, obviously, does not distinguish between its ‘political’ and ‘military’ wings. In other words, you can go ahead and support Hezbollah in the UK, no problem. Support the far right and you can end up in jail for a decade.

Apparently, 112 events featuring extremist speakers took place on UK campuses in the academic year 2016/2017, according to a recent report by Britain’s Henry Jackson society: “The vast majority of the extreme speakers recorded in this report are Islamist extremists, though one speaker has a background in Far-Right politics….” That one speaker was Tommy Robinson both of whose events were cancelled, one due to hundreds of students planning to demonstrate to protest his appearance. The report does not mention student protests at any of the Islamist events.

The topics of the Islamist speakers included:

“Dawah Training… to teach students the fundamentals of preaching to others… Western foreign policy towards the Islamic world in general… Grievances…perceived attacks on Muslims and Islam in the UK… [calling for] scrapping of Prevent and other government counter-extremism measures [critiquing] arrest and detention of terrorism suspects… [challenging] ideas such as atheism and skepticism… religious socio-economic governance, focusing on the role of religion in fields such as legislation, justice… finance… religious rulings or interpretations, religious verses or other texts, important historical or scriptural figures…”

London was the region with the highest number of events, followed by the South East, according to the report. The most prolific speakers were affiliated to the Muslim Debate Initiative, the Islamic Education and Research Academy (iERA), the Muslim Research and Development Foundation (MRDF), the Hittin Institute, Sabeel, and CAGE. Most speakers were invited by Islamic student societies, and a high proportion of the talks took place during campus events such as “Discover Islam Week”, “Islam Awareness Week” and “Islamophobia Awareness Month”.

One of the most prolific speakers, Hamza Tzortis, is a senior member of iERA. He has said that apostates who “fight against the community[…] should be killed” and that, “we as Muslims reject the idea of freedom of speech, and even the idea of freedom”.

That so many extremist speaker events continue to take place at British universities should be cause for alarm. In March 2015, the Counter-Terrorism and Security Act (CTSA) imposed a dutyon universities, among other public bodies, to pay “due regard to the need to prevent individuals from being drawn into terrorism”, yet at 112 events last year, the number of extremist Islamist events on campuses have not dropped significantly. In comparison, there were 132 events in 2012, 145 events in 2013 and 123 events in 2014.

Evidence shows that the danger of becoming an actual Islamic terrorist while studying at British university campuses is also extremely real. According to one report, also by the Henry Jackson society:

“Since 1999, there have been a number of acts of Islamism-inspired terrorism… committed by students studying at a UK university at the time of their offence…there have also been a significant number of graduates from UK universities convicted of involvement in terrorism, and whom… were at least partially radicalised during their studies”.

The most well known case is probably that of Ahmed Omar Saeed Sheikh, who in 2002 was found guilty of the kidnapping and murder of journalist Daniel Pearl. He is believed to have been radicalized while studying at the London School of Economics and Political Science in the early 1990s.

While removing extremist speakers from campuses might possibly reduce the risk of radicalization, extremist speakers are readily available to talk to Muslim youths outside of campuses. The issue is not hate preachers visiting the UK from abroad. While banning them from campuses will leave them with fewer venues, it by no means solves the larger issue, which is that they will continue their dawah or proselytizing elsewhere.

What, then, have been recent responses by the British government to the issues of Islamic radicalization and terrorism?

One response has been a proposal to tighten existing law on viewing ‘terrorist content’ online. People who repeatedly view terrorist content online could now face up to 15 years jail, Home Secretary Amber Rudd has announced. The law will also apply to terrorists who publish information about members of the armed forces, police and intelligence services for the purposes of preparing acts of terrorism. Tightening the law around viewing terrorist material is part of the counter-terrorism strategy the government is reviewing after the increased frequency of terrorist attacks in Britain this year.

Britain’s Home Secretary Amber Rudd has announced that people who repeatedly view “terrorist content” online could now face up to 15 years jail. (Image source: UK Government/Flickr)

Amber Rudd has included ‘far-right propaganda’ in the new law, saying:

“I want to make sure those who view despicable terrorist content online, including jihadi websites, far-right propaganda and bomb-making instructions, face the full force of the law.”

What is ‘far right propaganda?’ Based on previous British policies, ‘far right propaganda’ would likely include reading Robert Spencer’s Jihad Watch or Pamela Geller’s ‘Geller Report’. While local hate preachers from legal Muslim organizations freely roam UK campuses, Robert Spencer and Pamela Geller were both forbidden entry to the UK in 2013 by the British Home Secretary, because their presence would “not be conducive to the public good”. This is what Geller was told:

“After careful consideration…you should be excluded from the United Kingdom on the grounds that your presence here is not conducive to the public good…You have brought yourself within the scope of the list of unacceptable behaviours by making statements that may foster hatred, which might lead to inter-community violence in the UK…You co-founded Stop Islamization of America, an organization described as an anti-Muslim hate group… You are reported to have stated the following: ‘Al-Qaeda is a manifestation of devout Islam … it is Islam’ [and] ‘If the Jew dies, the Muslims will die as well: their survival depends on their constant jihad, because without it they will lose the meaning and purpose of their existence.’ The Home Secretary considers that should you be allowed to enter the UK you would continue to espouse such views…”.

The letter to Robert Spencer was in almost identical form:

“The Home Secretary notes that you are the founder of the blog Jihad Watch (a site widely criticized for being Islamophobic). You co-founded the Freedom Defense Initiative and Stop Islamization of America, both of which have been described as anti-Muslim hate groups. You are reported to have stated the following: “… it [Islam] is a religion and is a belief system that mandates warfare against unbelievers… for establishing a societal model that is …incompatible with Western society…”

The question probably should be: Based on available evidence, are those assessments of Islam accurate? Particularly compared to current messages that seemingly are considered “conducive to the public good.”

It is also conceivable that reading quotes from Winston Churchill’s book about Islam online would be seen as ‘far right’ and therefore punishable by up to 15 years in jail. In 2014, Paul Weston, chairman of the Liberty GB party, was arrested on suspicion of religious/racial harassment for quoting an excerpt on Islam from Churchill’s book, ‘The River War’ — written in 1899 while he was a British army officer in Sudan — in a public speech.

Another recent government response to terrorism has been to outlaw two far-right groups: Scottish Dawn and NS131, which are aliases for the group National Action, a fringe neo-Nazi group, banned in 2016. Being a member of these groups or merely supporting them is now a criminal offense that carries a sentence of up to 10 years’ imprisonment. Amber Rudd said in September:

“National Action is a vile racist, homophobic and anti-Semitic group which glorifies violence and stirs up hatred… Our priority as Government will always be to maintain the safety and security of families and communities… we will continue to identify and ban any terrorist group which threatens this, whatever their ideology”.

Apparently, however, to paraphrase George Orwell, some terrorist groups “are more equal than others.” Amber Rudd recently refused to ban the political wing of Hezbollah, an equally racist, homophobic and anti-Semitic group that has actually committed terror attacks all over the world, as opposed to the banned neo-Nazi groups. Banning Hezbollah’s political wing would have closed a legal loophole that allows demonstrations in support of the political wing of Hezbollah, while its military wing is banned in the UK. Hezbollah itself, obviously, does not distinguish between its ‘political’ and ‘military’ wings.

The Mayor of London, Sadiq Khan, had written to Amber Rudd asking her to close the legal loophole after Jewish groups pleaded with him to stop a large Al Quds day march, which nevertheless took place in London in June 2017 and featured Hezbollah flags. While the British government decided that supporters of fringe neo-Nazi groups should be jailed for up to 10 years, it apparently thought that supporting Hezbollah is just fine. In response to Khan, Amber Rudd wrote :

“The group that reportedly organised the parade, the Islamic Human Rights Commission, is not a proscribed terrorist organisation. This means they can express their views and demonstrate, provided that they do so within the law. The flag for the organisation’s military wing is the same as the flag for its political wing. Therefore, for it to be an offence under Section 13 of the Terrorism Act 2000, for an individual to display the Hizballah flag, the context and manner in which the flag is displayed must demonstrate that it is specifically in support of the proscribed elements of the group”,

In other words, you can go ahead and support Hezbollah in the UK, no problem. Support the far right and you can end up in jail for a decade. Evidently, free speech in the UK has become extremely selective.

Judith Bergman is a columnist, lawyer and political analyst.