How Corrupt Are American Institutions?

Posted October 20, 2017 by danmillerinpanama
Categories: Clinton corruption, Clinton cover ups, Clinton Foundation, Institutional corruption, Media and Clinton corruption, Media and Trump, Uranium One, US Congress and Clinton corruption

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How Corrupt Are American Institutions? American Thinker,  Stephen McGhee, October 20, 2017

(The author complains that “The relentlessly tweeting Trump hasn’t mentioned the story as of this writing.” Apparently the article was written a day or so ago, since President Trump has tweeted repeatedly about it since yesterday. It will be interesting to learn how the “uniparty” and the “mainstream media” deal with the issues–  DM)

If we are to remain a country of laws and not of men, the people we’ve chosen to uphold our institutions are going to have to do better than this. It’s one thing if our system of justice and our national security have been put up for sale; it’s quite another if the politicians and bureaucrats who did it face no consequences.

How corrupt are American institutions? We’ll know very soon.

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Blame Sean Hannity. Or give him all the credit. The intrepid talk show host has been claiming for months that there is nothing to the Trump-Russia allegations, that the real tale of Russian collusion is linked to Hillary Clinton. The fact that very few people have taken this seriously has only caused the firebrand conservative to dig in deeper and repeat his talking points both more often and more fervently.

His insistence the Russian story would “boomerang” against the Democrats has been largely based on his communications (both on- and off-air) with Julian Assange and investigative reporters John Solomon and Sara Carter.

It seems like only yesterday justice was closing in on the Travel Office, Whitewater, the Clinton-era transfer of missile technology to the Chinese government, Fast and Furious, Solyndra, IRS harassment of conservative groups, the Clinton emails, Benghazi and a dozen others.

We might have believed Sean Hannity’s predictions, but we’d seen this movie before. Then came Tuesday. John Solomon and Alison Spann of the Hill and Sara Carter of Circa News had a story that may have broken open the largest national security scandal since the Rosenbergs.

In 2009, the Obama Justice Department began investigating a Russian plan to expand Russia’s atomic energy business by acquiring uranium in the United States. Through bribery, kickbacks, money laundering and extortion, the Russians were able to acquire 20% of the uranium mining rights in the United States. Shareholders in the Russian firm Rosatom funneled $145 million to the Clinton Foundation in the months leading up to the Obama administration’s approval of the transaction.

The sale was officially approved in 2010 by the Committee on Foreign Investment in the United States (CFIUS), whose members included both Secretary of State Hillary Clinton and Attorney General Eric Holder. Apparently neither Holder nor Clinton informed the other members of the committee just what an historic act of corruption they were participants to. Not only did the DOJ and FBI let the sale proceed, they sat on the information they had gathered and let the investigation drag on until 2015, when Rosatom executive Vadim Mikerin and other defendants reached plea deals to little fanfare.

Current Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein oversaw the FBI’s investigation, as did Andrew McCabe, the current deputy FBI director. And the man in charge of the FBI during most of the Rosatom investigation was none other than Robert Mueller, the special counsel now investigating Russian influence in the 2016 election.

The government informant at the heart of the case was (and remains) forbidden to speak to Congress by an Obama Justice Department gag order (that gag order has yet to be lifted by the Trump Justice Department).

If this story is true, then all our worst fears have been confirmed, and we are indeed living in a banana republic, with one set of rules for the rich and powerful, and another set of rules for everybody else.

The question going forward: what kind of country will we live in tomorrow? Now that we know that Russian collusion is real and that the Obama administration engaged in it, what will be done about it? Will the laws against government corruption finally be enforced, or will the guilty walk again as we’re treated to another round of Congressional committee show hearings?

This scandal will be a true test — perhaps the final test — of whether American government can still work for the people. If Republicans walk away from this story for fear of ruffling Democrat feathers, we will know that the fix is in.

A lot of reputations are on the line, beginning with that of Donald Trump. Will he demand of his administration that it faithfully execute the law, without fear or favor.

Then there’s Jeff Sessions. Our attorney general will have to determine if the Trump DOJ has the stomach to investigate the Obama DOJ. Sessions has a chance to end this affair with a reputation as a true champion of law and order. Then again, he may cement his image as a chivalrous knight of old, merciless to peasants who cross borders and deal drugs, but always ready to give his social and political peers the benefit of the doubt.

Congress’ reputation is on the line, too. Paul Ryan, Mitch McConnell and the rest of the GOP will have a lot to answer for if they fail to demand answers to hard questions. This isn’t a game of pin-the-tail-on-the-Trump anymore. The implications of the Clinton/Rosatom story can’t be overstated, and Congress must lead the charge in determining whether Andrew McCabe, Rod Rosenstein, and Robert Mueller should now have any role in an investigation dealing with Russian influence, and more importantly, whether they should have any role in government at all.

And finally, there’s the media. The New York Times recently announced an ad campaign with the slogan: “the truth is more important than ever.” It’s time to prove it. If Russian collusion was a problem yesterday – and the media has breathlessly told us this for ten months – then Russian collusion is a problem today, and the Clinton story should get all the attention the Trump story received and then some, especially seeing as how there’s actual evidence in the Clinton story. It’s probably too much to hope that the media will flip on the Democrats and report the truth, but if justice runs its course while the media pretends there’s nothing to see here, folks, then whatever shred of credibility the press has remaining will be gone.

The early returns aren’t promising. The relentlessly tweeting Trump hasn’t mentioned the story as of this writing. Jeff Sessions, in Capitol Hill testimony on Wednesday, offered only a cryptic statement that he would “review” Charles Grassley’s request that he look into the Clinton matter. (The ever-disappointing Sessions also suggested that Rod Rosenstein might be in charge of reviewing the propriety of an investigation that was led by Rod Rosenstein). On the bright side, Grassley’s committee has opened an inquiry into the matter, but then again, it’s hard to imagine a satisfying outcome to a story that begins with “Grassley’s committee has opened an inquiry…” As for the non-Hannity media, the Clinton story was met with stony silence (no denials, just silence). The big story Wednesday was not $145 million in bribes to the Clintons, but rather a controversy about whether Trump said something inappropriate or awkward to the wife of a soldier killed in battle during a phone call in which Trump offered his condolences.

If we are to remain a country of laws and not of men, the people we’ve chosen to uphold our institutions are going to have to do better than this. It’s one thing if our system of justice and our national security have been put up for sale; it’s quite another if the politicians and bureaucrats who did it face no consequences.

How corrupt are American institutions? We’ll know very soon.

 

Hillary Clinton, Uranium and a Russian Spy Ring

Posted October 20, 2017 by danmillerinpanama
Categories: Clinton corruption, Clinton cover ups, Clinton Dept. of State, Clinton Foundation, Clinton investigation, Clinton obstructions of justice, Russian spy ring, Uranium for Russia, Uranium One

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Hillary Clinton, Uranium and a Russian Spy Ring, Power LinePaul Mirengoff, October 20,2017

J. Michael Waller, writing in the Daily Caller, says that new FBI information about corruption in a Clinton-approved uranium deal with Russia raises questions about Clinton’s actions after the FBI broke up a deep-cover Russian spy ring in 2010. The FBI ran an elaborate and highly successful operation called Ghost Stories to monitor and rip apart a deep-cover Russian agent network. It tracked a ring of Russian spies who lived between Boston and Washington, D.C. under false identities.

In 2010, thanks to the Ghost Stories operation, the FBI arrested 10 spies. According to Waller, “Secretary of State Clinton worked feverishly to return the Russian agents to Moscow in a hastily arranged, lopsided deal with Putin.”

If this is true, why did Clinton do so? Waller ties her actions to the Russia uranium deal:

For the Clintons, the FBI’s biggest counterintelligence bust in history couldn’t have come at a worse time. . .It all happened as the uranium deal was in play: An arrangement to provide Moscow’s state Rosatom nuclear agency with 20 percent of American uranium capacity, with $145,000,000 to pour into the Clinton Family Foundation and its projects.

Indeed, the day the FBI arrests occurred the day before Bill Clinton was to give a speech in Moscow. A Kremlin-connected investment bank, Renaissance Capital, paid the former president $500,000 for the hour-long appearance.

At the time of the arrests, a spokesperson for Hillary Clinton told told ABC News that there was “no reason to think the Secretary was a target of this [Russian] spy ring.” But this statement appears to have been false.

Waller notes:

Redacted evidence that the FBI submitted to a federal court shows that Russia’s External Intelligence Service (SVR), the former KGB First Chief Directorate, targeted Clinton in 2008 and tried to burrow into her inner circle the next year when she was secretary of state. (Press reports often confuse Russia’s main internal security entity, the Federal Security Service, or FSB, with the SVR.)

It’s natural that a Russian spy ring might target the Secretary of State regardless of who held that position. Thus, Team Hillary’s false denial that the spies targeted her seems like a case of “the lady” protesting too much.

Indeed, Waller reports an extraordinary level of targeting aimed at Hillary Clinton, considered an easy mark due to her “blind ambition” and “insatiable desire for cash to enrich her family, friends, and political machine.”:

From New York, SVR agent Lidiya Guryeva had Clinton in her sights. Guryeva had a real-life job, under the assumed name Cynthia Murphy, as vice president of a high-end tax services company in lower Manhattan. Guryeva’s prime targets, FBI evidence and later news reports show, were Clinton and no fewer than five members of her inner circle. . . .

While the FBI’s unclassified information is vague, it is clear that Guryeva’s target was an early Obama administration member from New York who handled foreign policy after having run for high-level public office. Clinton is the only person fitting that description.

One can’t blame Hillary Clinton for being the target of spies. But it is fair to examine the State Department’s posture towards Russia, as well as her Foundation’s dealings, during the time its spies were trying to influence her. Waller reminds us:

Clinton pledged at Foggy Bottom to “reset” relations with the Putin-controlled regime. She blamed the former George W. Bush administration for the bad feelings. To the Kremlin’s relief, she opposed what would become the Magnitsky Act to sanction Russian criminal oligarchs and regime figures. . . .

In addition, says Waller:

[Clinton] immediately used her position as America’s top diplomat to pour Russia-related money into her family foundation. One of her earliest acts as secretary of state was personally to authorize the State Department to arrange for 28 American tech CEOs and venture capitalists – 17 of them Clinton Foundation donors – to visit a Russian high-tech hub called Skolkovo. With Skolkovo, the SVR doesn’t need to steal when it can arrange legal purchases.

The US military calls Skolkovo “an overt alternative to clandestine industrial espionage.” The Skolkovo visit, which reportedly began as a Clinton Foundation initiative, occurred in May, 2010, a month before the arrests.

When the FBI broke up the Russian spy ring, Eric Holder claimed the sudden arrests were made to prevent one of the spies from fleeing the United States. However, FBI counterintelligence chief Frank Figliuzzi later gave a different reason: “We were becoming very concerned they were getting close enough to a sitting US cabinet member that we thought we could no longer allow this to continue.”

According to Waller, Hillary Clinton, almost certainly the cabinet member is question, had her own concern:

Hillary Clinton was mining Kremlin cash for her personal benefit while secretary of state, at the exact time Putin’s SVR spies were targeting her and penetrating her inner circle. She had every personal motivation to make the spy problem disappear and deny that she had been a target. . . .

She toiled feverishly to get the 10 Ghost Stories spies back to Moscow as quickly as possible. She accepted whatever Putin would give her to pass off as a face-saving swap.

The swap occurred during the Fourth of July weekend, when few in Washington were paying attention.

All Putin gave up, according to Waller, was an SVR officer who had been an American double agent, an open-source researcher whom Amnesty International considered a political prisoner, a Russian military intelligence colonel who spied for the British, and an elderly ex-KGB man from Soviet times.

In exchange, Putin received ten relatively young, highly trained Russian spies in custody with immense, fresh knowledge of SVR statecraft.

Waller concludes by asking these questions:

Precisely what did the FBI know about Russia’s spy service targeting Hillary Clinton and her inner circle? Why did Clinton deny through spokespersons that she had been a Russian target? Why did she work so feverishly to get the spies out of the United States and back to Russia?

Why has the FBI leadership not been more vocal in touting one of its greatest counterintelligence successes ever? And why did nobody in the FBI leadership raise this issue during the 2016 Russian election meddling controversy?

It would be premature to say that the answer to any of these questions lies in the Russia uranium deal and the “Clinton cash” associated with it. But, if Waller has reported accurately, it is not too early to entertain, and to investigate, the possibility.

House Intelligence Panel is Reviewing Uranium One Deal Amid New Evidence of Russian Bribery

Posted October 20, 2017 by danmillerinpanama
Categories: Clinton corruption, Clinton cover ups, Clinton Dept. of State, Clinton Foundation, FBI, House Intelligence Committee, Obama administration and Uranium One, President Clinton, Uranium for Russia, Uranium One

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House Intelligence Panel is Reviewing Uranium One Deal Amid New Evidence of Russian Bribery, Washinton Free Beacon, October 20, 2017

Getty Images

Grassley on Thursday called on the Justice Department to lift a gag order on an FBI informant barring him from speaking to Congress about the Russian bribery scheme and any links to the Obama administration’s decision to approve the Moscow takeover of a U.S. uranium mine.

The Justice Department during the Obama administration reportedly threatened to prosecute the informant if he disclosed details of his involvement in the investigation to Congress.

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The House Intelligence Committee has started asking federal agencies about the Obama administration’s approval of a Russian acquisition of a large uranium mine—a deal that is now under new scrutiny amid revelations about a sweeping Russian bribery scheme from an FBI informant.

The panel so far is only making “preliminary inquiries” and has not launched a formal, full-scale investigation, according to a knowledgeable GOP source.

Information from the FBI informant and court documents about a criminal investigation and prosecution of Russian officials for bribery—and whether key U.S. government agencies knew about the probe—are raising new questions about the uranium deal and whether the United States should have approved it.

New details about the extensive Russian bribery scheme and the U.S. government’s prosecution of it, reported by the Hill newspaper and Circa News, also has drawn renewed attention to millions of dollars the Clintons received from Russians with ties to the state-owned entity involved in the acquisition.

The House Intelligence panel’s questions follow public statements this week from Sen. Chuck Grassley (R., Iowa), the chairman of the Senate Judiciary Committee, who said on Wednesday he started investigating the new information about the uranium deal last week and pressed Attorney General Jeff Sessions about it during a committee hearing Wednesday.

Sessions would not say whether the Justice Department had launched an official investigation into the matter but told Grassley that his concerns about the deal “would be reviewed.”

Grassley during the Wednesday hearing said the Clinton Foundation had received millions of dollars from “interested parties” in the uranium deal and highlighted a $500,000 payment former President Bill Clinton received for a speech in Moscow before a Russian-government-aligned bank.

Grassley on Thursday called on the Justice Department to lift a gag order on an FBI informant barring him from speaking to Congress about the Russian bribery scheme and any links to the Obama administration’s decision to approve the Moscow takeover of a U.S. uranium mine.

The Justice Department during the Obama administration reportedly threatened to prosecute the informant if he disclosed details of his involvement in the investigation to Congress.

Grassley said he said he also questioned the circumstances surrounding the uranium deal in 2015.

Sen. John Barrasso (R., Wyo.) asked the Justice Department this week for documents related to the FBI’s investigation into the uranium deal, as the Washington Free Beacon reported Thursday.

Barrasso’s concerns about the deal first began in 2010, when he learned that Rosatom, Russia’s state-owned nuclear arm, would be acquiring up to 20 percent of U.S. uranium, in a deal with Canada-based Uranium One.

The senator, a senior member of the GOP leadership who sits on the Energy and Natural Resources Committee, says the Obama administration never responded to his requests for information after reports that Bill Clinton had received the $500,000 sum for speaking to a Moscow state-aligned bank and several Uranium One officials donated $2.35 million to the Clinton Foundation.

Key House Republicans provided some of the harshest public warnings about the deal in 2010 before it was approved.

Four top House Republicans raised the alarm about the Uranium One deal with Russia, citing “widespread and continuing” Russian corruption and urging a top Obama official to block it.

The lawmakers sent a letter to then-Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner in October 2010 urging him not to approve the sale of the U.S uranium mine to a subsidiary of Rosatam, Russia’s state-owned energy firm that serves as its main nuclear agency. They released the letter in a press release Oct. 5, 2010. The U.S. government moved forward and approved the deal later that month.

The GOP lawmakers who signed the letter are: Reps. Ileana Ros-Lehtinen of Florida and Peter King of New York, along with then-Reps. Spencer Bachus of Alabama and Howard “Buck” McKeon of California. The lawmakers at the time served, respectively, as the ranking members of the House Foreign Affairs, Homeland Security, Financial Services and Armed Services Committees.

“Rosatom is a state-owned entity, overseen by a government that has shown little if any inclination to effectively address the widespread and continuing corruption within Russia, particularly its energy sector,” the lawmakers wrote at the time.

The Republicans said the deal also raises serious questions because “Russia has a record of transferring dangerous materials and technologies to rogue regimes, such as those in Iran and Syria.”

“Its willingness to provide nuclear assistance to any regime with cash and its repeated attempts to undermine U.S. nonproliferation efforts disqualifies Russia from being regarded as a reliable partner,” they wrote.

As treasury secretary, Geithner served on the Committee on Foreign Investment in the United States (CFIUS), the federal interagency that considers the national security implications of foreign investments. He served alongside some of the most powerful members of President Obama’s cabinet, including Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, Attorney General Eric Holder, and Defense Secretary Robert Gates.

Members of Congress now want to know if CFIUS and other U.S. agencies that signed off on the transaction were aware of the FBI’s criminal probe into the Russian bribery scheme. As attorney general, Holder would have known about the FBI probe.

In addition to the Russian corruption issues, the GOP lawmakers warned that Rosatom also had a history of training Iranian scientists and designed and built Iran’s Bushehr nuclear power plant, which they said had just become operational a few months prior, in August, 2010.

Russia, they asserted, was already supplying that nuclear plant with enriched-uranium fuel rods, and has signaled its interest in building further nuclear reactors in Iran.

“This cooperation has caused great distress that it could advance Iran’s nuclear ambitions, be it through the extraction of weapons-grade plutonium from the reactor or the use of Bushehr (and any future additional reactors) as a cover for the prohibited transfer of other sensitive technology,” they wrote. “It has also undermined longstanding efforts to compel Iran to abandon its pursuit of nuclear weapons.”

Officials for Uranium One USA, the entity that owned the U.S. uranium mine, said before the deal went through that they were skeptical the transaction would result in the transfer of any mined uranium to Iran.

The lawmakers pushed back on that idea, arguing that they “remain convinced” that Iran could receive uranium supplies through direct or secondary proliferation.

Just a few years earlier, in 2007, Rosatom had signed an agreement to help build nuclear facilities in Burma and train Burmese scientists, despite U.S. concerns about the Burmese government.

ICE Confirms Arsonist Behind California Fires Is 5-Time Deported Illegal Alien

Posted October 20, 2017 by josephwouk
Categories: Uncategorized

Source: ICE Confirms Arsonist Behind California Fires Is 5-Time Deported Illegal Alien

US Immigration and Customs Enforcement Director Tom Homan confirmed on Thursday the man arrested in connection to setting fires in California is a five time deported illegal alien.

Jesus Fabian Gonzalez was arrested several times but ICE was never notified because he was arrested in a sanctuary county.

 The deadly fires in northern California have caused over $1 billion in damages. 42 people have died in the fires.

Breitbart.com reported:

U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) Acting Director Tom Homan confirmed on Thursday that a man arrested in connection with setting a fire in Sonoma County Wine Country is an illegal alien from Mexico who has been twice returned to his “home country.”

Homan also confirmed that ICE has issued detainer requests for Jesus Fabian Gonzalez five times now in the past year alone, including the one issued on October 16 in relation to his most recent arrest on suspicion of arson. All of the arrests were made “by Sonoma County on various felony and misdemeanor charges,” according to Homan.

Sonoma County is considered a sanctuary jurisdiction and does not fully cooperate with federal immigration officials. That includes not honoring ICE detainer requests. “ICE was never notified of Mr. Gonzalez’ various releases,” Homan wrote in the statement regarding Gonzalez.

There were several fires in the region, and it is not clear what role the fires Gonzales allegedly set played in the overall disaster.

Several officials suspected this week that Mexican cartels may have been behind the California fires after several pot farms were burned to the ground.

Report: North Korean Generals’ Favorite American Show Is … “Morning Joe”

Posted October 20, 2017 by danmillerinpanama
Categories: Media and Trump, Morning Joe, North Korean military, North Korean missiles, North Korean nukes, Trump and insanity, Trump and North Korea

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Report: North Korean Generals’ Favorite American Show Is … “Morning Joe”, Hot Air, Allahpundit, October 19, 2017

Makes sense. It’s the only show more hostile to Trump than North Korea’s own propaganda is.

The funniest thing about this report is that “Morning Joe” is, relatively speaking, a hard show for most *Americans* to understand, let alone North Koreans. It’s the ultimate Beltway insider program, tailored to the tastes of political junkies. Imagine being an average guy or gal channel-surfing for some general interest news in the morning and stumbling upon an MJ colloquy between Steve Schmidt, Nicolle Wallace, and Donny Deutsch on the “dog whistles” in Trump’s latest speech on tax reform. Imagine trying to make sense of that. Now imagine a North Korean military officer, separated by geography, language, and a lot of culture, trying to make sense of it.

I take it back. The funniest thing about this is that the entire crew seems to take the report at face value instead of recognizing that the North Korea officer was just blowing smoke up the NBC correspondent’s ass about what his favorite American news shows are.

NBC News correspondent Kier Simmons landed a rare interview with a North Korean military official on Thursday and learned that officials in the communist country watch “Morning Joe” specifically for reports and discussions about their country…

“He quite plainly said he believes President Trump is mentally ill,” Simmons told “Morning Joe” co-hosts Mika Brzezinski and Joe Scarborough. “And he was unequivocal in saying he believes North Korea could win a war with America.”

“Be it no doubt that the senior officials here pay attention to what is being said in the U.S.,” Simmons added. “One telling me that he watches ‘Morning Joe’ every day specifically for the segments about North Korea.”

Everyone knows that the place to be for in-depth coverage of the crisis on the peninsula isn’t BBC World News, it’s “Morning Joe.” What?

Actually, though, I can kinda sorta see why North Koreans might be monitoring the program. It’s not for the North Korea coverage, of course, it’s because their intelligence people probably know that Scarborough and Brzezinski know Trump personally and therefore might have special insights into his thinking. The NorKs are, reportedly, confused about Trump’s intentions and eager for experts in Washington to clue them into whether Trump’s a blowhard or he really is planning a nuclear first strike. Watching “Morning Joe” would be of a piece with that. And hey, everyone enjoys political television that confirms their own intellectual biases. The NorKs think Trump is crazy and evil; Scarborough and Brzezinski call him crazy and evil pretty much every day. Someday, when the definitive historical account of the U.S./North Korean nuclear exchange of 2019 is written, we may learn that it was an especially febrile, white-knuckled attack on Trump’s mental stability on MSNBC one morning that convinced Kim Jong Un to order full release.

A frightening thought: If the NorKs are monitoring “Morning Joe” because the hosts know Trump, they’re probably monitoring “Hannity” too. They must be on the edge of their seats wondering if the Seth Rich case will ever be cracked.

France: The New Collaborators

Posted October 20, 2017 by danmillerinpanama
Categories: Islamic fundamentalists, Islamisation of France, Islamist objectives, Muslim Reform Movement, Victimology

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France: The New Collaborators, Gatestone InstituteGiulio Meotti, October 20, 2017

Under the assault of radical Islam, French civilization is eroding from within. And there are now large parts of French culture which are openly adding water to the mill of Islam. These have been just called by Le Figaro, “agents of influence of Islam”. Intellectuals, journalists, politicians, those who consider the Muslims “the new oppressed”.

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“They are those who believe that Islam is a religion of peace, tolerance and love and do not want to hear about an Islam of war, intolerance and hatred”. — Michel Onfray, Le Figaro.

Le Figaro just devoted an entire issue to Muslim women in France who are trying to fight radical Islam. They are journalists, activists and writers who want equality between men and women, freedom of expression and sexual freedom. These Muslims clearly care more about the French Enlightenment than many non-Muslims who advocate appeasing Islamists.

In short, France needs to start fostering its side of this cultural war. Even if it is too late to recover all of the lost ground, if France does not start immediately but just limits itself to “manage” this “state of emergency”, the lights turned off will not be only those of the Eiffel Tower, as happens after every terror attack, but also the lights of one of the greatest civilizations that history ever gave us.

A few days ago Abdelkader Merah, the brother of the Islamic terrorist who gunned down four Jews in Toulouse in 2012, went on trial, charged with complicity in terrorism. “Beginning in 2012, we entered an age of terrorism, where before we believed ourselves protected; it was a turning point in French history”, said Mathieu Guidere, a professor of Islamic studies in Paris.

Since then, France has faced severe challenges by Islamic fundamentalists in Europe. French President Emmanuel Macron is now trying to manage a terrible situation: some 350 Islamic terrorists currently sit in prisons; 5,800 are under police surveillance; an additional 17,000 have been classified as a “potential threat”, while since 2015, more than 240 lives have been lost to jihadi terrorists.

It seems that France has decided to accept what it might see as unavoidable: the Islamic takeover of parts of the country. This view is reflected in the very idea of a “state of emergency”. France’s lower house of parliament just passed a new anti-terrorism law, taking measures which have been in place for two years under a previous “state of emergency” and enshrining them into law.

After the murderous January of 2015 attack on the offices of the satirical magazine Charlie Hebdo, Macron’s predecessor, President François Hollande, officially declared that “France is at war“. Until now, however, the war has been fought only on one side, by the Islamic fundamentalists.

Although some scholars, such as Gilles Kepel, estimate that a “civil war” could break out in the future, there is a more realistic scenario: a country split along demographic and religious lines — the secular French republic vs. the Islamic enclaves, the “French 100 Molenbeeks“, from the name of Brussels’ jihadist nest.

France used to be regarded as a jewel of civilization. One of France’s great intellectuals, Alain Finkielkraut, recently said: “France has become for me a physical country, since its disappearance has entered into the order of the possibilities”. Finkielkraut, a member of French civilization’s holiest shrine, the Académie Française, was not thinking about the physical disappearance of French bakeries, boutiques or boulevards; he seemed rather to mean the disappearance of France as the capital of Western culture.

Under the assault of radical Islam, French civilization is eroding from within. And there are now large parts of French culture which are openly adding water to the mill of Islam. These have been just called by Le Figaro, “agents of influence of Islam”. Intellectuals, journalists, politicians, those who consider the Muslims “the new oppressed”.

The French essayist Michel Onfray recently called them “the new collaborators”, like the French who stood with the Nazis:

“They are those who believe that Islam is a religion of peace, tolerance and love and do not want to hear about an Islam of war, intolerance and hatred… The collaborator wants to see only the first [type of] Islam by believing that the second has nothing to do with Islam. These collaborators are the Islamo-leftists”.

And they are winning the cultural war.

How can France prevent an Islamic takeover of parts of the country with fatal metastases for the entire European continent? “In order to disarm terrorists, we must disarm consciences”, Damien Le Guay just wrote in a new book, entitled La guerre civile qui vient est déjà là (“The Coming Civil War Is Here Already”).

France needs to stop talking with “non-violent Islamists”, such as the Muslim Brotherhood, and instead to speak with the true liberal reformers, the internal dissidents of Islam. The daily newspaper Le Figaro recently devoted an entire issue to Muslim women in France who are trying to fight radical Islam. They are journalists, activists and writers who want equality between men and women, freedom of expression and sexual freedom. These Muslims clearly care more about the French Enlightenment than many non-Muslims who advocate appeasing Islamists.

France also needs to close its borders to mass immigration and select new arrivals on the basis of their willingness to retain the present culture of France, and to abandon multiculturalism in favor of respect for a plurality of faiths in the public space. That means rethinking the phony French secularism, which is aggressive against Catholicism but weak and passive with Islam.

France needs to close the Salafist mosques and ban the preaching of radical imams who incite Muslim communities against the “infidels” and urge Muslims to separate from the rest of the population.

France needs to prevent the arrival of propaganda from the dictatorial regimes of the Middle East: their mosques, satellite channels, pamphlets, libraries and books.

France needs ban polygamy; Islamic law, sharia; female genital mutilation (FGM); Islamic supremacism and forced marriages.

France needs to tighten its alliance with Israel, the one outpost of Western culture in a region that has rejected it. Israel is the West’s only true ally in an area that is collapsing under the weight of radical Islam.

France needs to protect and renovate its Christian treasures. A few weeks ago, the Cathedral of Notre Dame in Paris promoted a fundraising project to save the building from decaying. The French authorities need to play their part and not forsake France’s Christian heritage. France needs to send Islamists the message that France is a secular country, but not a de-Christianized one.

France needs to protect its Jewish community, which in ten years has lost 40,000 people who fled the country as a result of anti-Semitism met with indifference.

France needs to strengthen Western culture at schools, museums, universities and publishing houses: Enlightenment, as the foundation of freedom of conscience, expression and religion, separation of religion and state; and the Judeo-Christian tradition as the root of all the great achievements of European culture.

France needs to demand reciprocity. The right to build a mosque in France should be linked to the right of Christians in the Middle East to practice their faith: a mosque for a church. France has the political and diplomatic connections in North Africa and Middle East to impose this reciprocity. What is lacking is any political will.

In short, France needs to start fostering its side of this cultural war. Even if it is too late to recover all of the lost ground, if France does not start immediately but just limits itself to “manage” this “state of emergency”, the lights turned off will not be only those of the Eiffel Tower, as happens after every terror attack, but also the lights of one of the greatest civilizations that history ever gave us.

(Image source: Falcon® Photography/Wikimedia Commons)

Giulio Meotti, Cultural Editor for Il Foglio, is an Italian journalist and author.

Toward an independent Kurdistan

Posted October 20, 2017 by danmillerinpanama
Categories: Iran and Kurds, Iraq and Kurds, Israel and Kurdish independence, Kurdish independence, Kurdish state, Kurdistan, Obama hold-overs, Sykes-Picot, Syria and Kurds, Trump administration, Turkey and Kurds

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Toward an independent Kurdistan, Washington Times, James A. Lyons, October 19, 2017

Illustration on the strategic importance of an independent Kurdistan by Alexander Hunter/The Washington Times

Unfortunately, with the Obama and Muslim Brotherhood holdovers still in key positions in the National Security Council, State Department and Department of Defense, the U.S. position has been to back the Iranian Baghdad puppet regime.

[W]hen you consider that one of the key U.S. objectives in the Middle East is (or ought to be) to prevent Iranian regional hegemony, a staunch ally like the Kurds, who have fought with us to defeat the Islamic State, is exactly what we need in this volatile region. In addition, as a free and independent Kurdistan is key to preventing Iran from establishing a land bridge from Tehran through Iraq, Syria, and Lebanon to the Mediterranean Sea, the current U.S. position makes no sense. Further, should Iran be successful in establishing a land bridge to Lebanon, Tehran will be able far more readily to augment Hezbollah’s already formidable forces as a direct threat to Israel’s survival.

Besides providing verbal support for Kurdistan’s independence, we should take immediate action to establish a forward operating base in Irbil with its 13,000-foot runway, one of the longest in the world. We should plan to rotate a detachment of F-16s and A-10s in and out of the base. Additionally, such a move would complicate any plans by Baghdad, Tehran and Ankara for further aggressive action against Kurdistan. Such a move will not only enhance Israeli security but place added pressure on Iran, along with President Trump’s recent decision on refusing to recertify the unsigned nuclear weapons deal with Iran.

We need to face facts: The only true ally we have in the region today is Israel. A free and independent Kurdistan would clearly enhance the chances of achieving two of our joint, vital objectives in the Middle East — bolster Israel and add to our partners and allies in the region.

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ANALYSIS/OPINION:

The autonomous Kurdistan region of northern Iraq held a referendum on independence on Sept. 25. It was overwhelmingly approved. This referendum, not surprisingly however, has precipitously raised tensions not only with Iraq but also with Turkey, Syria and Iran, all of which have large — and restive — Kurdish minorities.

Baghdad already has made moves to isolate the Kurdish region by banning all international flights from landing there and demanding a halt to all crude oil sales. And although Ankara has quarreled repeatedly with the Iranian puppet regime in Baghdad in recent years, the Turkish government late on Oct. 16 decided to close not only Turkish airspace to flights to and from the Kurdish region of northern Iraq, but also to close the Irbil-Ceyan oil pipeline, which is the Kurds’ only source of revenue. Additionally, Turkish and Iraqi troops had held joint military exercises shortly after the Sept. 25 referendum vote.

In what may presage a new and violent phase in the break-up of Sykes-Picot Iraq, Baghdad moved aggressively on Oct. 16, sending Iraqi Army troops into the disputed oil-rich city of Kirkuk. Further, units of the Iraqi Popular Mobilization Forces, a coalition of Shiite paramilitary groups that receive equipment and training from Iran’s Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC), were deployed alongside the Iraqi Army units south and west of Kirkuk. It is a city of a million people that lies just outside the semi-autonomous Kurdish Regional Government territory. When the Iraqi Army deserted Kirkuk in 2014 in the face of the Islamic State onslaught, however, it was the Kurdish Peshmerga forces deployed there that kept the Kirkuk oil fields from falling into the Islamic State’s hands. They have declared that they are now not about to give up that territory. Maj. Gen. Qassem Soleimani, who is the commander of the IRGC Qods Force in charge of Iran’s foreign operations, arrived in Kurdistan on Oct. 15 for discussions — but only with the Patriotic Union of Kurdistan (PUK), not the rival Kurdistan Democratic Party (KDP). He apparently presented Baghdad’s demands that the Kurdish Regional Government cancel the referendum results as a precondition for talks to resolve the current dispute. KRG officials led by President Masoud Barzani not only previously had rejected any such demands, but pledged to defend Kurdish-held territory in case of attack.

With Iranian-dominated Iraqi and Shiite militia forces now in control of Kirkuk, though, at least in part due to apparent PUK treachery, the region and its deeply divided factions may be poised on the brink of yet another explosion. According to reports, the KDP Peshmerga forces fought hard to avoid being pushed out of Kirkuk, but ultimately had to retreat when their ammunition ran out. Thousands of civilians and Peshmerga fighters fled toward Irbil and Sulaymaniyah.

Unfortunately, with the Obama and Muslim Brotherhood holdovers still in key positions in the National Security Council, State Department and Department of Defense, the U.S. position has been to back the Iranian Baghdad puppet regime.

The Sykes-Picot agreement of 1916 is dead. The U.S. must recognize the realities on the ground. The former Iraq, like the former Syria, has always been an artificial construct, cobbled together by European powers in the wake of the collapse of the Ottoman Empire. Absent the brute force of a dictator, these entities simply cannot hold together against the clashing centrifugal forces of their feuding ethnic, sectarian and tribal components.

Further, when you consider that one of the key U.S. objectives in the Middle East is (or ought to be) to prevent Iranian regional hegemony, a staunch ally like the Kurds, who have fought with us to defeat the Islamic State, is exactly what we need in this volatile region. In addition, as a free and independent Kurdistan is key to preventing Iran from establishing a land bridge from Tehran through Iraq, Syria and Lebanon to the Mediterranean Sea, the current U.S. position makes no sense. Further, should Iran be successful in establishing a land bridge to Lebanon, Tehran will be able far more readily to augment Hezbollah’s already formidable forces as a direct threat to Israel’s survival.

Besides providing verbal support for Kurdistan’s independence, we should take immediate action to establish a forward operating base in Irbil with its 13,000-foot runway, one of the longest in the world. We should plan to rotate a detachment of F-16s and A-10s in and out of the base. Additionally, such a move would complicate any plans by Baghdad, Tehran and Ankara for further aggressive action against Kurdistan. Such a move will not only enhance Israeli security but place added pressure on Iran, along with President Trump’s recent decision on refusing to recertify the unsigned nuclear weapons deal with Iran.

We need to face facts: The only true ally we have in the region today is Israel. A free and independent Kurdistan would clearly enhance the chances of achieving two of our joint, vital objectives in the Middle East — bolster Israel and add to our partners and allies in the region.

• James A. Lyons, a retired U.S. Navy admiral, was commander-in-chief of the U.S. Pacific Fleet and senior U.S. military representative to the United Nations.