Archive for the ‘Trump agenda’ category

Muslim Brotherhood: We’re Spending $5 Million on PR in U.S.

February 28, 2017

Muslim Brotherhood: We’re Spending $5 Million on PR in U.S., Clarion Project, Ryan Mauro, February 28, 2017

cair-nihad-awad-ibrahim-hooper-hp_38Muslim Brotherhood-linked groups in the U.S. include the Council of American Islamic Relations. Shown here are CAIR’s Founder and Executive Director Nihad Awad (R) and National Communications Director and Spokesperson Ibrahim Hooper (L). Awad was present at the 1993 secret meeting of the U.S. Muslim Brotherhood Palestine Committee in Philadelphia that was wiretapped by the FBI. Participants of the meeting discussed how to support Hamas and, in the words of U.S. District Court Judge Solis “goals, strategies and American perceptions of the Muslim Brotherhood.”(Photo: © Reuters)

The allotment of money for this campaign is an indirect acknowledgement by the Brotherhood that it exists in the U.S., and its activity in the country is important enough to fight for. The claim that the Brotherhood has an American wing will earn you a branding as a bigoted “Islamophobe,” but it isn’t so controversial in the Arab press (even though the Brotherhood insinuates the same thing there).

Foreign influence operations are at the top of the news right now in the U.S., but they center about Russia. Why is it acceptable to say that Russia would try to influence our policy, but it is bigoted to suggest that the Brotherhood—the largest Islamist movement in the world—would do the same?

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

A senior Muslim Brotherhood official in Sudan told an Arab newspaper* that the group’s international leadership has launched a major PR campaign to influence the U.S. media and members of Congress to oppose the designation of the Muslim Brotherhood as a Foreign Terrorist Organization.

The Brotherhood official predicted that the group would not be designated by the Trump Administration and that the Muslim Brotherhood Terrorist Designation Act introduced into Congress would fail.

He claimed that his organization had made contact with governmental officials and members of Congress and convinced them that the Brotherhood is opposed to terrorism, even though the Brotherhood’s Palestinian wing—Hamas—is designated as a Foreign Terrorist Organization by the U.S. State Department.

The author of the article reports that, according to sources within the Brotherhood, the group has spent $5 million on the PR campaign, with contracts being signed last month. The effort to influence American media included having articles and essays published to argue against designation of the Brotherhood.

Indeed, a slew of articles defending the Brotherhood were published as it was reported that the Trump Administration was planning to designate the Brotherhood. Most of these argue that the Brotherhood is opposed to terrorism and violence. As I wrote in December 2014, this notion is patently false.

The Brotherhood also thanked the leaders of Turkey and Qatar for defending the organization. Egypt, the United Arab Emirates, Bahrain and Saudi Arabia have designated the Brotherhood as a terrorist group.

The Egyptian government warned that the Brotherhood has a lobby in the U.S. disguised as civil society organizations. An Egyptian government website cited a study done by a think-tank in Cairo that concluded that the Brotherhood is trying to influence U.S. policy using affiliates in America that “aim to spread the Muslim Brotherhood’s extremist ideologies in the U.S.,” in the words of the website.

A senior UAE official likewise said that the Brotherhood’s American lobby was responsible for political blowback over his country’s previous designation of the Brotherhood and two of its U.S.-based entities, the Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR) and the Muslim American Society (MAS).

The allotment of money for this campaign is an indirect acknowledgement by the Brotherhood that it exists in the U.S., and its activity in the country is important enough to fight for. The claim that the Brotherhood has an American wing will earn you a branding as a bigoted “Islamophobe,” but it isn’t so controversial in the Arab press (even though the Brotherhood insinuates the same thing there).

Foreign influence operations are at the top of the news right now in the U.S., but they center about Russia. Why is it acceptable to say that Russia would try to influence our policy, but it is bigoted to suggest that the Brotherhood—the largest Islamist movement in the world—would do the same?

 *This article was first noticed by Eric Trager of the Washington Institute for Near East Policy. It was then reviewed by Clarion Project’s Arabic translator.

News, Fake News, Very Fake News: A Primer

February 27, 2017

News, Fake News, Very Fake News: A Primer, PJ MediaRoger Kimball, February 27, 2017

spiceynewsconfWhite House Press secretary Sean Spicer takes questions from the media during the daily briefing in the Brady Press Briefing Room of the White House in Washington, Tuesday, Feb. 14, 2017. (AP Photo/Pablo Martinez Monsivais)

The motor of fake news is not inaccuracy. It’s malice.

I had an insight into this important truth a couple weeks back when I was at a swank New York club for an evening event. The establishment in question is overwhelmingly conventional, i.e., leftish in that smug “We’re-all-beautiful-people-who-are-you?” sort of way that publications like The New Yorker and the New York Times, along with such media outlets as CNN and MSNBC, exude like the cloying aroma of paperwhites.

I ran into an acquaintance, a female journalist I hadn’t seen in years. I knew that her politics were echt conventional in the above sense, but I had also found her an amusing and lively person. We were chatting with a couple of other people about this and that when someone she knew from the Times joined in. I then overheard him explain to her that she had to be careful about what she posted on Facebook, Twitter, etc., because anything too explicitly anti-Trump could be used against her when that glorious day came and “they” — the conventional fraternity of groupthink scribblers — finally took down that horrible, despicable man.

“We’ve got dozens of people working on it all the time,” he explained, adding that it was only a matter of time before they got the goods on Trump and destroyed him.

There in a nutshell, I thought, is the existential imperative that has been so gloriously productive of fake news and its exacerbated allotrope, first delineated by Donald Trump in his famous media-bashing presser on February 16, “very fake news.”

News is the reporting of facts. Someone says “this happened on such-and-such a day in such-and-such a way,” and independent, publicly available sources confirm that, yes, what was alleged happened at just that time and in just that fashion.

Fake news insinuates a skein of innuendo and a boatload of shared presumption floating on an ocean of fantastic desire into the mix. Repetition, like Rumor in the Iliad, whips this unstable congeries into an intoxicating frenzy:

Trump’s transition is in chaos, pass it on.”

Trump is a puppet of Putin, pass it on.”

Trump is Steve Bannon’s puppet, pass it on.”

Trump, like Steve Bannon, is a white supremacist/racist/homophobic/woman-hating xenophobe, really pass that one along.”

Every one of these fantasies is not only untrue, but ostentatiously, extravagantly untrue. Liberals of sound mind understand this.

Thus the British journalist Piers Morgan, than whom a more reliably left-liberal figure is hard to imagine, noted to Tucker Carlson that the Left’s hatred of Donald Trump has blinded them to reality. Godwin’s law, which states that the longer an online exchange proceeds, the more likely it is that Adolf Hitler will be dragged into the conversation, has been exacerbated in the case of Trump. It is true that every Republican since at least Ronald Reagan has been compared to Hitler, but in the case of Trump the comparisons have taken on an especially surreal tone. This, too, is something that Piers Morgan, in another interview with Tucker Carlson, noted with a sense of exasperated amazement.

In fact, Donald Trump’s first 30-odd days have been extraordinarily successful. That’s the news.

As Charlotte Allen noted in a column for USA Today, to date Trump has been even more successful than was Reagan in beginning to fulfill his campaign promises. All of his cabinet nominees have been confirmed (Trump withdrew his nominee for Labor secretary, Andrew Puzder, after it became clear that the two differed on immigration). He has moved quickly to get the ball rolling on tax cuts, repealing Obamacare, strengthening the military, enforcing the country’s immigration laws, and cutting the jungle of business-sapping regulation down to size. He has, as Allen observes, “already taken steps … to fulfill at least a dozen of his campaign promises.”

But listen to the New York Times or any of the other conventional (see above) “news” sources, and you would think Trump is a malevolent and incompetent monster who, despite his supreme incompetence, is somehow tipping the country into moral Armageddon.

Harken, for example, to Andrew Sullivan, who in a column for New York called “The Madness of King Donald,” tells his readers:

This man is off his rocker. He’s deranged; he’s bizarrely living in an alternative universe; he’s delusional.

Sullivan’s evidence?

There is no anchor any more. At the core of the administration of the most powerful country on earth, there is, instead, madness.

Hmm. The dogs are barking, but the caravan keeps moving along, Andrew.

So there’s news (well, there was news) and then there is fake news. Here’s one bit of news: the stock market has risen by nearly 3000 points since Trump’s election.

Here’s another bit of news: while Trump’s personal popularity remains low for a new president, the mood of the country as a whole has exploded with optimism, whereas towards the end of Barack Obama’s reign, 70% of those polled said that the country was moving in the wrong direction.

But what about “Very Fake News”? One could investigate the Left’s truly bizarre Russian fantasy to get a glimpse of the phantasmagoric nature of very fake news. Memo to CNN: Donald Trump was correct when he said the whole Russian gambit was “a ruse.” One of my favorite lines from the English essayist William Hazlitt is: “Those who lack delicacy hold us in their power.” It is ironical, to say the least, to find the very same people who decried Republicans for “red scare” tactics and the like now turn around and pretend that a man who is actively rebuilding America’s military, encouraging native energy production, and taking steps to unleash economic growth is somehow playing into Vladimir Putin’s hands.

That whole Russia narrative is deserving of the epithets served up by Andrew Sullivan: “deranged,” “delusional,” and smack dab in the middle of an alternate universe.

But Very Fake News is really more an attitude, an exfoliation of a moral atmosphere, than a putatively factual account. An exquisite specimen of the genre was vouchsafed us by the New York Times back in July, when the anti-George W. Bush historian Bruce Bartlett revealed that the Republican Party had become … the “party of hate.”

How did that terrible thing happen? Apparently, by a process akin to alchemical transformation.

Bartlett knows that the Democratic Party was the party of slavery in the 19th century, the party of segregation and Jim Crow in the early 20th century, and the party of identity politics, i.e., neo-segregation, now. He also knows, though he doesn’t come right out and say, that the Civil Rights Act was orchestrated overwhelmingly by Republicans over concerted Democratic opposition.

But then afterwards, somehow, Republicans became Democrats, or at least they became Southerners, i.e. the epitome of all that is racist, intolerant, homophobic, etc.

Note the logic: the GOP ushered in the Civil Rights and and the Voting Rights Act, but — pay attention now:

… in the process, Republicans absorbed the traditions of racism, bigotry, populism and rule by plutocrats called “Bourbons” that defined the politics of the South after the Civil War. They also inherited an obsession with self-defense, allegiance to evangelical Christianity, chauvinism, xenophobia and other cultural characteristics long cultivated in the South.

What do you think of that?

You should, I submit, think badly of it, on logical, moral, and historical grounds. Whence this alleged “process” of “absorption”? Is there any justification, any, for the deployment of those negative epithets racism, bigotry, populism? (And how did that last one sneak in?)

Bartlett’s dog’s breakfast of accusation is nothing more than a bagful of insults, utterly without content. He continues the disreputable campaign in the next paragraph:

The Southern states have long followed what are now doctrinaire Republican policies: minuscule taxes, no unions, aggressive pro-business policies, privatized public services and strong police forces that kept minorities in their place. Yet the South is and always has been our poorest region and shows no sign of converging with the Northeast, which has long followed progressive policies opposite those in the South and been the wealthiest region as well.

Personally, I am in favor of “minuscule taxes,” but, alas, the Republicans don’t favor them, at least not the ones writing the laws. Unions? There’s a place for unions in the private sector. But public sector unions, as even FDR understood, are a prescription for corruption. Privatized public services?  Why not? What’s better: FedEx or the U.S. Postal Service? Then there’s “pro-business policies.” I like them, the more  “aggressive” the better. Successful businesses make money, ergo they employ people and add to the country’s material well-being. It is true that Democrats favor the opposite strategy, but is that something to brag about?

As for the police, “strong police forces,” as Heather Mac Donald has shown (and Donald Trump has echoed) are valuable not only because they keep crime low but because they protect minorities, especially those in inner cities.

As for the relative prosperity of North and South, Bartlett is stuck in the 1850s. For more than a decade now, the South has outpaced the North in economic growth if not, thank God, in “progressive,” i.e., leftwing, anti-prosperity attitudes.

Bartlett’s scurrilous essay is one of those productions that, merely contemptible in itself, is nonetheless worth noting as a symptom. It exemplifies, even as it contributes to, that surreal atmosphere of groundless accusation and intimidation that has made the conventional (again, see above) reception of Donald Trump such a carnival of malignancy and groundless apocalyptic self-dramatization.

Steve Bannon was right to brand the media the “opposition party.”

To an extent marvelous to behold, it has become a factory for the production of fake and very fake news: not just the dissemination of lies, half-truths, and unsubstantiated fantasies, but also the perpetuation of that echo-chamber in which political paranoia feeds upon the bitter lees of its impotent irrelevance. As I say, that old adage about the barking dogs and the moving caravan is deeply pertinent to our situation. If Donald Trump is at all successful in his efforts to help the country, we will look back on the behavior of the media and its enablers circa 2017 with a mixture of horror and contempt.

Former Ambassador John Bolton: Trump Needs to Renegotiate ‘One China’ Policy

February 27, 2017

Former Ambassador John Bolton: Trump Needs to Renegotiate ‘One China’ Policy, Washington Free Beacon, February 27, 2017

Former U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations John Bolton on Friday urged President Donald Trump to upend  four decades of precedent by renegotiating the “One China” policy that denies Taiwan’s sovereignty.

Bolton told the Washington Free Beacon in an exclusive interview that the One China policy, which was established during President Richard Nixon’s visit to China in 1972, is “ahistorical” and fails to reflect the current reality in East Asia, where natives of Taiwan overwhelmingly identify as “Taiwanese” rather than “Chinese.”

“The One China policy is inherently ambiguous,” Bolton said. “China thinks it means one thing, we think it means another.”

Beijing maintains that One China means the People’s Republic of China is the sole legitimate China, encompassing Taiwan.

But the Shanghai Communiqué agreed to by the United States and China explicitly says the United States “acknowledged” that “all Chinese” on either side of the Taiwan Straight believe “there is but one China.” The pact does not deny Taiwan’s sovereignty on its face.

“A clear relationship with both Beijing and Taipei on this would help all concern rather than [having] this phrase which means anything and nothing,” Bolton said.

Earlier in the day, Bolton told an audience at the Conservative Political Action Conference outside of Washington, D.C., that the Trump administration needs to “make clear” there will never be reunification between China and Taiwan without the “express, overwhelming consent” of those living in Taiwan.

“It’s time for constructive clarity,” Bolton said. “We support the people of Taiwan. We support their continued self-government, independent of China.”

Bolton predicted that China will be the top strategic issue facing the United States in the 21st century. He said the president needs to immediately demand that China back down in the South China Sea and the East China Sea.

Bolton also suggested the Trump administration pressure China to pursue Korean reunification to “eliminate” the North Korean regime. He urged the president to end the Iran nuclear deal “as soon as possible” and said the United States needs to renegotiate the New START nuclear arms reduction treaty with Russia so that the United States can rebuild its nuclear deterrent in the face of Moscow’s ongoing treaty violations.

“There’s only one country in the world that’s bound by this treaty—China’s not bound by it, North Korea and Iran aren’t bound by it, theoretically Russia is, but they don’t pay any attention to it,” Bolton said. “There’s only one country that can’t build intermediate-range nuclear forces and that’s us.”

Bolton is a vocal advocate of an expansive U.S. foreign policy that promotes American values abroad. He says the greatest threat to the nation is “self-induced weakness” that was characteristic during the Obama years.

The former ambassador told the Free Beacon he believes Trump would be successful in reversing many of former President Obama’s foreign policy initiatives within his first term, especially if he models his actions after the Reagan administration.

“It took Reagan a substantial amount of time to create a defense expenditure buildup to give us the kinds of military force that we needed to speak from a position of true strength, and I think Trump is going to have to go through the same process with correcting the mistakes of the eight Obama budgets,” Bolton said.

“At the same time, Reagan said right from the beginning that he was going to pursue a very different foreign policy and the political strength of his determination to do that gave us cover while we rebuilt the military and I think Trump should follow that approach too … It would’ve been a lot different if we had a Clinton administration and had not just an eight-year hole to climb out of but a 12-year hole,” he added.

Bolton was a finalist to fill the national security adviser position left open by the resignation of retired Gen. Mike Flynn.

Trump said the administration would ask Bolton to serve in a “somewhat different capacity” after it announced the selection of Lt. Gen. H.R. McMaster for national security adviser on Monday.

“John is a terrific guy. We had some really good meetings with him. Knows a lot,” Trump said from his Mar-a-Lago estate in Florida. “He had a good number of ideas that I must tell you I agree very much with. So we’ll be talking with John Bolton in a different capacity.”

Bolton did not comment on those talks.

For White House Counterterror Adviser, Media Attacks Are Latest Theater of Battle

February 27, 2017

For White House Counterterror Adviser, Media Attacks Are Latest Theater of Battle, Washinton Free Beacon, February 27, 2017

Sean Hannity, Sebastian Gorka during the Conservative Political Action Conference at the Gaylord National Resort and Convention Center February 23, 2017 in National Harbor, Maryland. Hosted by the American Conservative Union, CPAC is an annual gathering of right wing politicians, commentators and their supporters. (Photo by Zach D Roberts/NurPhoto) *** Please Use Credit from Credit Field ***(Sipa via AP Images)Sebastian Gorka / AP

Today, Gorka sits at the apex of power in the White House as an aide to White House Chief Strategist Steve Bannon. As deputy assistant to the president, Gorka is the key national security figure on the Strategic Initiatives Group, currently led by Trump’s son-in-law Jared Kushner, Bannon and Chief of Staff Reince Priebus and made up of mainly business experts.

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

World War II bomber pilots liked to say if you’re not taking flak, you’re not over the target. By any measure, Sebastian Gorka, a counterterrorism adviser to President Donald Trump, is in the eye of an unprecedented flak storm from liberal press outlets. The enemy fire proves he must be doing something right thing.

“Look, these attacks are just too predictable,” Gorka said in an interview. “As they say in the military, ‘you’re only taking flak if you’re over the target.'”

For Gorka, the most revealing aspect of the many column inches devoted to the criticism is that “it’s never truly about our policies or the issues that matter most.”

“It’s always personal, always ad hominem,” he said in an interview at the Conservative Political Action Conference. “That tells you all you need to know about the other side’s true weakness. They can’t win on the merits of their case, so they ‘play the man, not the ball.'”

For the new president, Gorka is an antidote to the politically correct counterterrorism policies of the past eight years under Barack Obama.

The shift has set off controversy. Several news articles about Gorka in recent weeks were laced with personnel attacks, innuendo, and caustic comments from critics. The media assault came from the upper levels of the mainstream press including the New York Times, Washington Post, and Wall Street Journal. Other lesser publications such as Politico piled on. Vanity Fair labeled him Trump’s “jihad whisperer.”

All promoted a common—and to many observers false—narrative asserting that Gorka, deputy assistant to the president and member of the new Strategic Initiatives Group, is unqualified, anti-Islam, racist, fascist, or worse.

“I would be very concerned if the likes of Politico, the New York Times, and Washington Post were not attacking me. And Trump voters would be too,” Gorka said.

Gorka said the goals for the new Trump administration’s counterterrorism program and policies are simple. “As the president said [Friday] we will ‘obliterate’ groups like ISIS and wipe the scourge of radical Islamic terrorism from the face of the earth,” he said.

The media attacks prompted friends and supporters of Gorka on Capitol Hill and in the military and special operations community to voice their support.

“The bottom line is Sebastian Gorka’s work is a necessary tool for all special operations forces in developing critical thinking,” said an Army special operations officer familiar with Gorka’s counterterrorism lectures in Tampa, Florida, and Fort Bragg, North Carolina.

The officer said Gorka has been most valuable in helping hundreds of commandos properly identify and understand the nature of the threat posed by Islamist terrorists.

“Our biggest threat we face is tied to radical Islam,” the officer said. “We teach our Special Forces how to think, not what to think. [Gorka’s] speeches have been 100 percent factual and the reason he has spoken so often is that he has been able to connect with warrant officer candidates.”

“We’ve lived the last decade and a half of war and this is our lives. Having someone like Mr. Gorka who connects with our groups, gives us a solid foundation.”

Retired Army Lt. Gen. John M. Mulholland, a career Special Forces officer, said he has known Gorka from his counterterrorism lectures.

“Seb has always been first and foremost a patriot, dedicated to this country,” Mulholland said in an interview. “He has been very supportive to us in helping us understand the threat so we can apply our capabilities to support the nation against the unconventional warfare threat, in this case, the terrorism threat.”

Mulholland, former deputy commander of the U.S. Special Operations Command, said Gorka has helped special operations commandos to better understand the terrorism threat environment.

“Seb is one of those guys we always turn to to help us understand the threat, and he’s a great friend and supporter of our community and our mission and in helping us in our own endeavor to master the environment,” he added.

Retired Army Lt. Gen. Charles T. Cleveland, former commander of the Army Special Operations Command, also praised Gorka.

“What distinguished [Gorka] was the time he took to understand how the special operations soldiers, many who had multiple tours in the fight, saw the challenges and were dealing with them,” Cleveland said. “As a result, his instruction was crisp, relevant, and a useful part of their education on how to think about today’s threats, especially terrorism.”

Gorka also took part on some occasions on the commander’s advisory group sessions that included former senior civilian and military officials and academic experts.

“These events provided outside opinion on command doctrine and organizational proposals, and I greatly appreciated Dr. Gorka’s participation,” Cleveland said.

Retired Marine Corps. Col. Raymond C. Damm, a professor at Marine Corps University, said recent news stories attacking Gorka harkened back to a period “yellow journalism.”

“They were a hatchet job based on innuendo and painting a story a way you want it to be received,” Damm said.

Damm said Gorka taught at the Marine Corps University and “he made us better because he made us think.”

“Dr. Gorka can be polarizing because he does not follow the party line,” Damm said. However, Gorka helped Marines to better understand what motivates the terrorist threat. “And I am sorry, but being nice to them is not the answer,” Damm said. “They are scary and hate us because they have been taught to hate us their entire lives.  Iron sharpens iron. Dr. Gorka made us better while he was here.”

Stephen Sloan, professor emeritus at the University of Oklahoma, said he has known Gorka since the 1990s.

“Over the years, I have served as an informal adviser on his dissertation and was one of his mentors as he pursued his career,” Sloan said. “Sebastian has always impressed me as a man of integrity who has strong feelings and is willing to state them. I believe his concerns about the threat of terrorism as to what he regards to be the new totalitarianism, in part, reflects his family history. His father was imprisoned and almost killed as a result of his opposition to Soviet occupation in Hungary.”

Sloan said Gorka has strong loyalties to America and is proud of his work with the U.S. military and “is concerned about meeting threats to U.S. national security. I appreciate and respect his dedication.”

Sloan said he does not agree with some of Trump’s policies and is concerned about Gorka’s views on how to respond to terrorism. “However, even though we may disagree during this time of intense political debate, I support his right to state his opinions without being condemned,” he said.

The unusual political attacks were not confined to newspapers. On social media, a little-known counterterrorism expert, Michael S. Smith, has launched verbal broadsides against Gorka on Twitter. Smith also tape recorded a call from the White House adviser questioning why Smith was criticizing Gorka so loudly when he had never met him.

The criticism prompted Rep. Robert Pittenger (R., N.C.), chairman of the Congressional Task Force on Terrorism, an advisory group Smith said he worked for, to issue a statement of support.

“Dr. Sebastian Gorka is a friend and trusted adviser on efforts to combat radical Islamic terrorism and increase the safety and security of American families,” Pittenger said in a statement.

Pittenger said Gorka has spoken to more than 600 parliamentarians from 60 nations on how to combat terrorism financing, money laundering, and other national security topics.

“Dr. Gorka has provided expert testimony at these forums and I applaud President Trump for bringing him to the White House,” he said.

Clark Fonda, an aide to Pittenger, said he knew Smith from the caucus. “We used to reject his input regularly,” he said. “I always found him to be unprofessional and a burden to work with, but I was absolutely stunned to see he would record a phone call and distribute it to Newsweek.”

Fonda said Smith also falsely billed himself as a current adviser to the Congressional Taskforce on Terrorism and Unconventional Warfare headed by Pittenger.

“He never ever contributes to what we do,” he said. “I haven’t even spoken to him in the two years I’ve been here.”

Rep. Trent Franks (R., Ariz.) also backed Gorka. “I have followed the recent press and social media attacks against Dr. Sebastian Gorka and am compelled to respond with disgust at the attempt to libel this American patriot,” Franks said in a statement.

Franks criticized media attacks falsely labeling Gorka as anti-Semitic. “Having called upon his expertise on counterterrorism repeatedly in Congress and used his analysis to inform our work, I can attest that Dr. Gorka is the staunchest friend of Israel and the Jewish people,” he said.

“Sebastian Gorka’s service to the nation, his reputation, and his national security credentials are all unimpeachable and I am thrilled he is now serving in the White House as deputy assistant to President Donald J. Trump.”

Gorka has emerged in recent years as one of America’s most outspoken counterterrorism experts. He has been a professor of military theory at the Marine Corps University as well as a vice president of the Institute of World Politics.

His military consulting work has included frequent lectures at the U.S. Army Special Operations Command in North Carolina and at the U.S. Special Operations Command in Tampa, Florida.

He also was a national security editor at Breitbart.com and is a frequent Fox News Channel contributor.

Today, Gorka sits at the apex of power in the White House as an aide to White House Chief Strategist Steve Bannon. As deputy assistant to the president, Gorka is the key national security figure on the Strategic Initiatives Group, currently led by Trump’s son-in-law Jared Kushner, Bannon and Chief of Staff Reince Priebus and made up of mainly business experts.

The mission of the SIG, as it is called, is to provide the White House with greater long-term strategic options in coordination with the National Security Council that normally is focused on dealing with day-to-day issues and crises. It also brings in outside experts.

Gorka came to the attention of Donald Trump in 2015 and worked with the campaign. It was Gorka who is said to have helped Trump criticize the politically correct counterterrorism formulations of the Obama administration.

Obama demanded that government abandon the use of the term radical Islam. Instead, politically correct terms were ordered in describing terrorism, including “workplace violence” for domestic attacks, and “violent extremism”—all in an effort to avoid using the word, Islam.

Trump loudly proclaimed during the presidential campaign that the threat and enemy to be countered under his counterterrorism policies and programs would be radical Islamic terrorism.

Along with his wife, Katherine Gorka, who is an adviser at the Department of Homeland Security, the Gorkas are now one of the most important power couples in Washington.

Gorka is said to have been a key advocate for the Trump executive order banning travelers from seven states linked to terrorism.

For Gorka, the current state of international terrorism, including both al Qaeda and the Islamic State, are all part of what he has termed the “global jihadist movement” a totalitarian movement not unlike the Cold War ideological foe of Soviet communism.

The 2012 book, Fighting the Ideological War, co-edited by Katherine Gorka, includes a chapter by Gorka that seeks to identify radical Islamic terror’s threat doctrine and how to attack it.

“Although we have proven our capacity in the last 10 years kinetically to engage our enemy at the operational and tactical level with unsurpassed effectiveness, we have not even begun to take the war to al Qaeda at the strategic level of counter-ideology—to attack it at its heart—the ideology of global jihad,” he wrote.

Defeating global jihadism requires clearly understanding the enemy and then attacking its ideology, he argues, something that has been lacking in U.S. government efforts.

Gorka’s bestselling book, Defeating Jihad: The Winnable War, concludes that despite differences among the Islamic terror groups they all share a vision of an Islamic supremacist worldview that poses a danger to western civilization.

At a recent Heritage Foundation event, “iWar: Waging Warfare in the Information Age,” Gorka said U.S. operations against terrorism for the past 16 years have been “whack-a-mole”—finding and killing terrorist leaders that are replaced by others.

Gorka said critics who call his style of aggressive counterterrorism programs and their advocates “Islamophobes” are absolutely wrong.

“Half of my students were Muslim and are on the front line and paying a heavy price, more than we are in America,” he said. “This is a war inside Islam, a war for the heart of Islam—which version will be preeminent.”

The United States needs to help western-oriented Muslim states, like Jordan and Egypt, to help defeat the radical jihadists, Gorka says.

Gorka, 46, grew up in England and was part of an intelligence unit of the British Army Reserve. He received his Ph.D. in political science from Corvinus University in Budapest. He spent four years as a member of the faculty at the Program on Terrorism and Security Studies at the George C. Marshall Center in Germany.

At the White House, Gorka is working to establish new strategies and policies he hopes will shift the focus to both military and intelligence to the counter-ideological realm.

One of the first steps said to be under consideration is declaring the Muslim Brotherhood, a key element of the global jihadist movement, to be a terrorist organization.

Under Obama, the U.S. government formally designated the Muslim Brotherhood as the U.S. government’s key alternative to be supported in the war against al Qaeda and later the Islamic State. A secret directive outlining the pro-Muslim Brotherhood policy, known as Presidential Study Directive-11, could be declassified in the future as a first step in the designation of the group as a terrorist organization.

Gorka’s outspoken views on terrorism and Islam and his high profile media appearances have made him a lightning rod for liberal left news outlets.

The New York Times falsely suggested Gorka, the British-born immigrant of Hungarian émigré parents, had Nazi sympathies—despite that fact that Gorka’s father fought against both the Nazis and the Communists in Hungary.

The Post sought to portray Gorka as a minor counterterrorism specialist on the “fringes” of Washington and sought out obscure critics to denounce him. One former CIA analyst told the newspaper he was “nuts” while knowing little about Gorka.

Politico‘s profile of Gorka quoted “puzzled” security experts who criticized him for his outspoken views on Islam, jihad, and the counterterrorism views that closely align with the new president.

The Wall Street Journal quoted numerous think tank terrorism experts who said they did not believe Gorka was part of the “mainstream” of experts.

Gorka said in the interview that victory needs to be defined in the war on terrorism.

“Personally, I want the black flag of jihad to become as despised around the globe as the black, red and white swastika flag of the Nazis is today,” he said. “Then we will have won.”

View from Sweden: Donald Trump was Right

February 26, 2017

View from Sweden: Donald Trump was Right, Jihad Watch

(Please see also, Trump Is Completely Right About the Crisis in Sweden. — DM)

sweden_riots

In a speech February 18, President Trump made an offhand remark about my home country of Sweden. He said:

“We’ve got to keep our country safe. You look at what’s happening in Germany, you look at what’s happening last night in Sweden. Sweden, who would believe this. Sweden. They took in large numbers. They’re having problems like they never thought possible. You look at what’s happening in Brussels. You look at what’s happening all over the world. Take a look at Nice. Take a look at Paris. We’ve allowed thousands and thousands of people into our country and there was no way to vet those people. There was no documentation. There was no nothing. So we’re going to keep our country safe.”

The statement met with a lot of criticism in Sweden. Former Prime Minister Carl Bildt tweeted:

“Sweden? Terror attack? What has he been smoking?”

But Trump wasn’t talking about a terror attack; he was talking about a new set of problems that very few people would associate with Sweden. The relevant question is – what has Carl Bildt been smoking to avoid seeing the fast, negative changes his country is now going through?

The answer is that Bildt has been getting high on over-consumption of Swedish mainstream media. Swedish journalists lean heavily towards the liberal left, and are marinated in the consensus culture that is so prevalent in Sweden’s academic institutions, where you are required to have the right opinions in order to fit in. One way to achieve this is to criticize Swedish and Western culture – and the United States in particular – but be very open-minded towards other cultures. When it comes to the issue of immigration, this means ignoring problems and dismissing those who want to discuss them as racists.

Journalists and politicians can look the other way, because they don’t live in the same world as ordinary people. Stockholm, in particular, is characterized by total segregation. Some areas are inhabited exclusively by rich, white ethnic Swedes. This is where most journalists live and work. And then there are the suburbs, where some, like Rinkeby – a part of Stockholm that has gained international notoriety due to recent riots and car fires – are inhabited solely by immigrants. You will be hard put to find any journalists in these areas. Thus they are unaware of the problems regular people in mixed suburbs and smaller cities experience, in places where things happen closer to home.

To most journalists, a critical view on immigration is just a negative theory and a theoretical, political viewpoint, not an actual observation of people’s everyday reality.

This is precisely why they believe the problems don’t exist – they themselves have never encountered them. And this legitimizes their fierce attacks on those who try to highlight the problems created by massive immigration from non-Western countries, Muslim countries in particular. A fresh example of this phenomenon is when the Swedish-Czech author Katerina Janouch spoke out recently and criticized Sweden’s migration policies on Czech television. Janouch was chastised by Prime Minister Stefan Löfven himself, who stated that he thought her remarks were “very odd”, and a bookstore in Uppsala withdrew all her books. Another example is economist Tino Sanandaji, who recently released his book Mass Challenge. In the book, Sanandaji criticizes the Swedish open-door migration policy, using statistics as a tool. A number of Swedish libraries have declared that they refuse to purchase the book, because it supposedly violates the United Nations Universal Declaration of Human Rights.

But despite the political and media establishment’s attempts to put a lid on the problems, the truth is now seeping out, and reality is reaching a boiling point.

A couple of weeks ago, I interviewed a Detective Inspector who investigates serious crimes in the immigrant-heavy neighborhoods of suburban Stockholm. He noted that while one squad car is enough to secure a “Swedish” suburb of Stockholm almost every day of the week, that would be unthinkable in the immigrant suburbs of Stockholm, where cars are set ablaze every week. In the immigrant suburbs, the police must be prepared for riots, violence and threats, and the risk of police vehicles being vandalized. False alarms are commonplace, the purposes of which are to lure the police into a trap and then pelt them with rocks. A friend of mine who lives in this kind of area has also attested to this happening on a regular basis.

The Detective Inspector also told me that a patriarchal Islamic culture has gained foothold in Rinkeby. Young women cannot go out at night, lest they be branded as whores. Ethnic Swedes – both men and women – run the risk of being brutalized. Further, there is an active “sharia police”: Muslim men approach women who they feel dress indecently, and explain to them that they need to cover themselves up. The Detective Inspector had observed such incidents in person, but since it is not a crime for men to approach women and talk to them, the police had been unable to intervene.

The Detective Inspector also told me that the rescue services – like the fire department and ambulance service – will not go into these suburbs without police escort. He also confirmed what police officer Peter Springare from Örebro has previously stated: when it comes to violent and serious crimes, you rarely see a Swedish name in the investigation papers.

Besides criminal activities in the suburbs, Sweden also has a problem concerning jihadism and salafism. At least 300 “Swedes” have traveled to Syria and Iraq to join the Islamic State. Historically, Sweden has had no experience of jihad or a paradise of virgins.

I have myself met with several salafists. In 2007, I had coffee with a crowd from the Örebro mosque (and briefly met Mehdi Ghezali, the “Swede” that was imprisoned at Gitmo), and I asked them what their view of the then-living terrorist leader Usama bin Laden was. Was bin Laden right or wrong to attack the United States? Wrong, they said. However, when asked to explain why he was wrong, it wasn’t the immorality of attacking what we in the West would call innocent civilians that disturbed them. Instead, they explained that bin Laden was wrong because only a caliph can order jihad. And bin Laden was, in their eyes, no caliph. This was the reason his actions were wrong. They also explained that they believed it is right to stone adulterers to death, but that the penalty can only be carried out in an Islamic state. When I asked if they wanted Sweden to become an Islamic state, they said yes.

Salafists have for a long time flown under the radar in the Swedish “exclusion areas”. A heartbreaking example from Rinkeby was the imam Fouad Shangole. He came to Sweden in 1994 and worked as an imam in Rinkeby, by all accounts living well off the Swedish welfare system. The Swedish security services had their eye on him, on good grounds. In 2004, he left Sweden and went to Somalia, where he became a leader within the Islamist militia movement Al Shabaab. Four years later, it was reported that a 13-year-old Somali girl, Aisha Ibrahim Duhulow, had been raped. When she reported the crime, a sharia court found that she was to blame. She was sentenced to death and the punishment was carried out by stoning. The judge who sentenced her was none other than the Swedish Rinkeby-imam. Ten years in Sweden didn’t seem to have rubbed off as far as Swedish values were concerned at all.

The purpose of this text is not to portray Sweden as a land of lawlessness. You do not have to be afraid to visit Sweden. The country still works, thanks to a historic spirit of entrepreneurship and bureaucratic order. However, it is quite possible that Sweden is changing along the lines that American documentary filmmaker Ami Horowitz described in his report on Sweden. A dark, parallel Sweden has emerged. And things are changing quickly.

The Swedish journalists and elite politicians such as Carl Bildt seem unable to understand this. And that is why it is very encouraging for the Swedes who want to defend the Sweden we love to hear the President of the United States talk about the things we can see with our own eyes, but about which we get no response from the elites who are more likely to travel to New York than to a Swedish suburb or small city.

It’s time to for the silent majority of the Swedish people to wake up and make Sweden great again. Mainstream media and establishment politicians won’t do it for us.

Dr. Jasser participates in a panel discussion about the state of the Middle East & ISIS

February 25, 2017

Dr. Jasser participates in a panel discussion about the state of the Middle East & ISIS, AIFD via YouTube, February 24, 2017

(It’s an about thirty-five minute long video about Middle East related topics, including America’s relations with Russia, Islamist terrorism, Islamist nations, the clash between Judeo-Christian and Islamist cultures and what the Trump administration can and should do. — DM)

 

Iraq hits ISIS in Syria – with Russia, without US

February 25, 2017

Iraq hits ISIS in Syria – with Russia, without US, DEBKAfile, February 25, 2017

If indeed President Donald Trump gave a quiet nod to the four-way Russian-Iranian-Syrian-Iraqi military partnership for fighting this enemy, it would signify the start of US-Russian cooperation for the war on Islamic terror in the Middle East and mean that the two powers were running local forces hand in hand.

But if the Iraqis chose to work in conjunction with Moscow and Tehran, cutting America out, that is a completely different matter. It would indicate that President Vladimir Putin, having noted Trump’s difficulties in lining up his team for a deal with Moscow – and the opposition to this deal he faces from his intelligence agencies – had given up on the US option and was going forward in Syria and Iraq with Tehran instead.

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

The Iraqi air force Friday, Feb. 24, conducted its first ever bombardment of the Islamic State in Syria. The target was the southeastern town of Abu Kemal near the Iraqi border, to which ISIS has removed most of its command centers from its main Syrian stronghold in Raqqa. Iraqi Defense Ministry spokesman Brig. Gen. Tahseen Ibrahim stated that Baghdad had coordinated the attack with Moscow, Damascus and Tehran using shared intelligence.

When he was asked if the United State military was involved, he said he did not know.

Likewise, in referring to the Abu Kemal attack, Iraqi Prime Minister Haydar al-Abadi said: “We are determined to follow the terrorism that is trying to kill our sons and our citizens everywhere.” He made no mention of the United States, despite ongoing US support for the Iraqi army’s long offensive to retake Mosul from ISIS.

This omission is of pivotal importance for the future of the war on the Islamic State and America’s involvement in that campaign.

If indeed President Donald Trump gave a quiet nod to the four-way Russian-Iranian-Syrian-Iraqi military partnership for fighting this enemy, it would signify the start of US-Russian cooperation for the war on Islamic terror in the Middle East and mean that the two powers were running local forces hand in hand.

But if the Iraqis chose to work in conjunction with Moscow and Tehran, cutting Ameica out, that is a completely different matter. It would indicate that President Vladimir Putin, having noted Trump’s difficulties in lining up his team for a deal with Moscow – and the opposition to this deal he faces from his intelligence agencies – had given up on the US option and was going forward in Syria and Iraq with Tehran instead.

The Iraqi prime minister’s actions in this regard must have been critical. He may be playing a double game – working with the US commander in Iraq and Syria, Lt. Gen. Stephen Townsend, for the capture Mosul from the jihadis, while at the same time, using Russian and Iranian partners on other anti-ISIS fronts.

DEBKAfile’s military and counterterrorism sources say that in any event the Iraqi air strike presented a major affront to President Donald Trump’s avowed determination to fight radical Islamic terror to the finish. Its timing is unfortunate: Defense Secretary Gen. James Mattis and Joint Chiefs of Staff Chairman Gen. Joseph Dunford are due Monday to submit the review the president commissioned from the Pentagon on policy planning for Syria and the war on terror. Trump’s foreign policy address to Congress is scheduled for the next day.

If the Pentagon’s recommendations hinge on the enlistment of regional military strength for the campaign against ISIS, then Moscow will be seen to have snatched the initiative first.

There are more signs that the war on ISIS may be running away from Washington. The Trump administration has made it clear that it objects to any role for the Turkish army in the offensive to capture Raqqa from ISIS. However, on Saturday, Turkish Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu, after hailing the victory of the Turkish army over ISIS in the northern Syrian town of Al-Bab, announced that Turkey was planning to lead an operation for the recovery of Raqqa, in cooperation with… France, Britain and Germany, after holding consultations with their representatives. America was not mentioned.