Posted tagged ‘Trump agenda’

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.

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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.

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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.

Gorka & Jasser: We Are Fighting ‘Not a War with Islam, but a War Inside Islam’

February 24, 2017

Gorka & Jasser: We Are Fighting ‘Not a War with Islam, but a War Inside Islam’, BreitbartJohn Hayward, February 24, 2017

isis-koran-640x480Flickr/AFP

Broadcasting live from CPAC 2017, SiriusXM host Alex Marlow spoke with Dr. Sebastian Gorka and Dr. Zuhdi Jasser about national security, Islamist terrorism, and their panel discussion, “When Did World War III Begin?”

(Audio at the link. — DM)

Marlow began by asking his guests what they expected from the national security segment of President Donald Trump’s scheduled address to the Conservative Political Action Conference.

“Exactly what we’ve heard before,” Gorka replied. “If you really want to understand the direction of the White House and how much everything changed at 12:01 on January the 20th, you look at two things: you look at a speech that really wasn’t carefully addressed or really paid enough attention to, that’s the Youngstown campaign speech, which was about the threat of jihad in general and what we’re going to do about ISIS.”

“Specifically, it really bears repeating, the inauguration, the address that the president gave at the inauguration, was explicit,” he continued. “Number one, we are going to eradicate the Islamic State – not degrade, not manage, not ameliorate – eradicate. And secondly, words have meaning. When he says our enemy is ‘radical Islamic terrorism,’ that is a 180 degree  change from the last eight years, when we weren’t allowed to even say who the enemy was.”

“Zuhdi knows it better than anybody because he understands that this isn’t about poverty or lack of education. It’s about people who are fighting for the soul of Islam – not a war with Islam, but a war inside Islam; as King Abdullah, as General Sisi has said, for which version is going to win,” Gorka said.

Marlow asked Dr. Jasser about the topic of language control Gorka touched upon and the previous administration’s reluctance to use explicit language like “radical Islamic jihad” to describe the enemy.

“We got to this point because we had an administration who was being whispered to by Muslim Brotherhood sympathizers, by apologists, by governments that might be our allies against al-Qaeda and ISIS, but they love a whack-a-mole program. They don’t want to treat the disease, which is not ‘violent extremism’ but violent Islamism,” Jasser charged.

“We have to start focusing on our own values,” he urged. “There’s nothing more American than fighting theocracy, and yet the Left for the last eight years has invoked blasphemy laws in America by telling us we can’t criticize Islamist political movements.”

Jasser predicted the new administration would succeed in destroying ISIS but warned that “it will come back in another form – two, three, four years later – unless we engage Muslim reformists, like our Muslim reform movement, to treat the underlying theocracy.”

Marlow complained that the mainstream media swiftly denounce candid talk about the problem of radical Islam as “hate speech” even when confined to straightforward reporting without editorial opinion, making it difficult to have a constructive discussion about the problem.

“I think this is exactly what the Saudi regime, the Iranian Khomeinists, the Brotherhood want, is they want to dominate what Islam means,” Jasser said. “And yes, it’s not my Islam, but we have to thread that needle. Because if you don’t call it political Islam or Islamism as the threat, you’re not going to be able to figure out who to engage. We want to engage anti-Caliphate, anti-violent jihad Muslims who are pro-freedom, pro-equality of men and women, who share our values. If we don’t do that discernment in our verbiage, we’re going to miss it and actually end up helping our enemies and end up actually not only being the firefighters, but the arsonists. We have to stop that cycle.”

“Let’s just take it one level deeper. It’s not just empowering our enemies, which would be bad enough,” Gorka added. “If you don’t talk truthfully about who the enemy is, how are you going to win? What we saw in the last eight years is a policy that actually weakened our most important allies.”

“So when you’ve got the president of the most populous Arab nation in the world say this is a war for the heart of Islam, General Sisi, when you’ve got King Abdullah with his Amman statement saying, ‘Look, we have to stop the jihadis hijacking the religion’ – we have a president here who stands up and says, ‘No, no, no, these are not the droids you’re looking for, the religion has nothing to do with this,’” he elaborated, referring to the Obama administration’s insistence on framing the war as a struggle against generic violent extremism.

“Do you know who we hurt the most? Those Muslims who are on the front lines with the jihadis, who understand this isn’t about poverty or lack of education; it’s about an ideology. So we’ve actually hurt the people who are on the front line the most. We’re not prepared to do that anymore. This administration’s going to help the Jordanians, help the Egyptians, help them fight this war,” Gorka vowed.

“I think we have to own what it means to be diverse,” Jasser suggested. “What is ‘diversity’ in the Muslim community? It’s not ethnic diversity. Being Muslim is not an identity movement of a monolithic homogenous group. It is a diverse ideological movement that has fundamentalist, orthodox, liberal, secularists that are all in this Muslim diverse group. So if the Left actually believes in diversity different from what Pelosi whispered into Andre Carson’s ear – ‘Tell them you’re Muslim’ – Islam is not a race. They’re racializing the faith. That’s the biggest obstacle.”

“I think the other thing I hope to see is not only us being against jihadists, but what are we for,” he added. “I think that will be the difference between some of the dictators in the Middle East, that yes, some of them have been on our side against jihad, the militants, but we are the adults in the world, in being for liberty and freedom. I hope that will be part of a Trump Doctrine.”

Gorka agreed, saluting Jasser as “the point man here in America for sense, for common sense in this battle.”

“The saddest part is there are people like him in the Middle East. There are people every day risking their lives on their blog sites, in North Africa, in the Middle East pushing back on this, saying, ‘I’m a Muslim, but I don’t think an infidel needs to be killed.’ That means he’s put the crosshairs on his chest,” Gorka noted. “In some parts of the Muslim world, that’s an instant death sentence.”

“That’s why the four million Muslims in America need to step up and act because we can do things here that you just can’t do in the Middle East,” Jasser said. “They end up in prison. They end up slaughtered, tortured.”

Marlow proposed that “the stifling of speech in the Muslim world is really what has allowed a lot of the jihadist movements to flourish.”

“Why do you think they use the term ‘Islamophobia’ instead of talking about, yes, there might be some bigotry against Muslims in the West?” Jasser asked. “They use the term Islamophobia because they want to anthropomorphize Islam so that you don’t criticize it, and they suppress free speech. That’s how they invoke blasphemy laws in the West.”

“You’re absolutely right. The freedom of speech issue is huge in the Middle East because it’s a life and death issue in many cases,” Gorka said. “But here, it’s almost as important. It’s not life and death, but it is closing down the discussion.”

“You look at what’s happened in the last four weeks with this administration,” he said. “There’s a phrase in soccer: you play the man on the ball. We’re not going to talk about policies; we’re going to attack individuals, whether it’s Kellyanne, the president, myself, Steve Bannon. They do that how? ‘We don’t want to talk about the threat to America. You’re a racist. You’re an Islamophobe. You’re a xenophobe. Oh, well, in that case, we can’t talk to you.’ That’s as dangerous as just the constant ad hominem attacks because then there is no discussion.”

Jasser said his message to CPAC was that “there is hope” for a lasting victory in the long war against Islamist extremism.

“The first step is to defeat the militants, which this president will finally do,” he said. “The second step is to go back to our American roots and defeat theocracy, work with Muslims and our Muslim reform movement. We have a two-page declaration that can be used, I hope, not only to vet refugees, to figure out which groups are with us and against us. I hope we start doing security clearances through those who share our values.”

“There are so many that are – not in this administration, but that are in the government from the previous administration – that I think are Islamists, that might not be violent extremists, but we need to shift the axis of the lens of Homeland Security, foreign policy, to countering violent Islamism. There’s nothing this group here and the country can do to better empower reform-minded Muslims that share our values than to shift from this blasé CVE to CVI,” Jasser said, lampooning the Obama administration’s acronym for “Countering Violent Extremism.”

Gorka referred to CVE as “garbage from the last eight years that obfuscated the threat.”

He said the most important step taken by the new administration was President Trump’s executive order to temporarily limit immigration from the most unsecure Middle Eastern nations.

“Whatever the final version of the reform measures are, the fact is, when an Iraqi collars me in the halls of Congress and says, ‘My friends back home in Iraq applaud this measure because they know how many bad guys are in Iraq that want to come over here, so do it. Thank you,’” Gorka said.

Dr. Sebastian Gorka is deputy assistant to President Trump and was formerly national security editor for Breitbart News. He is the author of Defeating Jihad: The Winnable War. Dr. Zuhdi Jasser is the founder and president of the American Islamic Forum for Democracy and author of A Battle for the Soul of Islam: An American Muslim Patriot’s Fight to Save His Faith.

 

 

Newly Installed NSA McMaster Reassures National Security Staff: No Witch Hunts Coming

February 24, 2017

Newly Installed NSA McMaster Reassures National Security Staff: No Witch Hunts Coming, Washington Free Beacon, February 24, 2017

Army Lt. Gen. H.R. McMaster listens as President Donald Trump makes the announcement at Trump's Mar-a-Lago estate in Palm Beach, Fla., Monday, Feb. 20, 2017. McMaster will be the new national security adviser. (AP Photo/Susan Walsh)

Army Lt. Gen. H.R. McMaster listens as President Donald Trump makes the announcement at Trump’s Mar-a-Lago estate in Palm Beach, Fla., Monday, Feb. 20, 2017. McMaster will be the new national security adviser. (AP Photo/Susan Walsh)

To help with this effort, McMaster recommended several books meant to help current White House officials understand his own foreign policy vision.

One senior White House official who spoke to the Free Beacon described the reading list as pleasantly surprising and a vast departure from the former Obama administration’s own national security vision.

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Incoming White House National Security Adviser Lt. Gen. H. R. McMaster sought to reassure senior Trump administration officials during his first “all hands” staff meeting Thursday, according to those who attended the get together and told the Washington Free Beacon that McMaster informed staffers he does not intend to pursue a major shakeup of President Donald Trump’s national security team.

McMaster, who replaced Michael Flynn following his resignation last week, plans to navigate a vast departure from the Obama administration’s foreign policy vision, according to senior White House officials who described the meeting as “reassuring.” McMaster emphasized that he will not dismantle the team that Flynn had built.

As part of his discussion with White House national security staff, McMaster recommended a comprehensive reading list that included President Trump’s book, “The Art of the Deal,” and several other tomes by leading historians about how to get the upper hand on America’s enemies. White House staff are said to have been mostly “thrilled” when hearing about the book list.

Sources who spoke to the Free Beacon about McMaster’s vision, as laid out in the Thursday meeting, expressed optimism about his appointment and pushed back on what they described as false media narratives centered around White House disarray following Flynn’s departure.

“It’s no secret we’ve had a few more all-hands meetings than we intended in our first month—but General McMaster used this event to both reassure the NSC staff and to give us the tools to continue the mission,” said one senior White House National Security Council official who requested anonymity while discussing internal White House meetings.

McMaster explicitly told White House officials that he does not aim to dismantle Trump’s foreign policy team or push out those perceived as still loyal to Flynn. These comments run counter to a recent New York Times report claiming that McMaster is pursuing a massive reorganization of the president’s national security team.

“He made it clear he wasn’t there to grind a political axe or engage in a witch hunt,” the senior White House official said. “He was there to provide leadership, including direction on how to think about the task in front of us.”

To help with this effort, McMaster recommended several books meant to help current White House officials understand his own foreign policy vision.

One senior White House official who spoke to the Free Beacon described the reading list as pleasantly surprising and a vast departure from the former Obama administration’s own national security vision.

In addition to Trump’s “Art of the Deal,” McMaster recommended reading his own book, “Dereliction of Duty,” which catalogues the mistakes that led the United States into a quagmire in Vietnam.

He also requested that White House staffers read Peter Rodman’s “Presidential Command,” which McMaster reportedly referred to as the “gold standard” in foreign policy history. Rodman was an top official in the Richard Nixon, Gerald Ford, Ronald Reagan, and both Bush administrations.

Senior White House staff are said to have found the mention of the book “very reassuring.”

“It’s certainly encouraging to see General McMaster highlighting his legacy,” one source said.

McMaster went on to further recommend two books by Zachary Shore, a historian and international conflict expert who teaches at the Naval Postgraduate School.

One Shore book, “Blunder: Why Smart People Make Bad Decisions,” was described as “a cautionary tale for the staff” at the White House. The other, “A Sense of the Enemy,” examines methods to overtake rival forces.

Lastly, McMaster recommended staff read an essay by Canadian historian Margaret MacMillan titled, “The Rhyme of History,” which tackles lessons from World War I.

Senior White House officials who took part in the meeting described the reading list as encouraging and part of an effort to restore conservative principals focused primarily on defending the U.S.’s best interests.

The mention of MacMillan’s essay in particular “suggests General McMaster does not consider the 21st century a sort of post-historical bubble, but rather that there is a great deal to be learned from history as we chart our path forward,” said one official who described McMaster as advocating a wholesale reversal from the Obama administration’s vision.

Several historians currently serve on the White House’s national security team, including Col. Derek Harvey, a former advisor to Gen. David Petraeus; Michael Anton, a former speechwriter for George W. Bush, and Victoria Coates, a former top aide to Sen. Ted Cruz (R., Texas) and art historian.

Trump’s Immigration Guidance: The Rule of Law Returns

February 22, 2017

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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