Turkey’s Assault on Kurds: Silence of Islamists

Turkey’s Assault on Kurds: The Silence of the Islamists

by John Rossomando
IPT News
October 11, 2019


A stateless people comprised of a large number of Sunni Muslims is being bombarded by a country with an overwhelming military advantage. It’s the kind of thing that normally has American Islamist groups organizing protests and lighting up social media feeds.

But this time the aggressor is Turkey’s authoritarian leader Recep Tayyip Erdogan, a man who has positioned himself as a defender of violent Palestinian terrorists like Hamas, and as a patron for Muslim Brotherhood leaders who sought refuge from Egypt’s military rulers. He is bombing Kurdish targets in northern Syrian and has sent his troops into the country.

The Kurdish Red Crescent claims there have been at least 11 civilian deaths, including an 11-year-old girl, and 28 wounded. Erdogan’s invasion displaced at least 60,000 people, many of whom have nowhere to go.

American Islamists, normally not shy about Middle East conflicts, are largely silent about Turkey’s unprovoked bombing of Kurds, Syriac Christians and Arabs. When Israel has launched defensive operations to stop Hamas and other Gaza-based terrorists from raining rockets on civilians in southern Israel, the same groups are quick to condemn, organize protests, demand U.S. government action and organize social media campaigns.

Kurdish victims fail to generate similar concern. Images on social media show Turkish bombing and shelling of civilians all along Syria’s northern border. Civilians in the town of Kobane, who withstood a 2014 ISIS onslaught, found themselves under attackThursday by Turkish artillery.

Turkish artillery hit civilian areas of the northwestern Syrian town of Qamishli on Wednesday and Thursday, where the Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF) headquarters is located, Kurdish Twitter sources reported. Video showed explosions in the town and civilian casualties. Qamishli’s inhabitants are a mixture of Kurds, who are mostly Sunni Muslim, and Syriac Christians.

An ISIS sleeper cell detonated a car bomb in Qamishli’s restaurant district on Friday. Casualty figures were not immediately available.

Turkey claims it is conducting an anti-terrorist operation against the Kurdistan Workers Party (PKK), from which the largest SDF faction the YPG descends. But the PKK’s ideology has moved away from revolutionary Marxism and now supports autonomy within Turkey, American Enterprise Institute scholar Michael Rubin noted in a January National Interest column. Erdogan sought peace with the PKK before turning against it in 2015.

“To refuse to acknowledge let alone appreciate the evolution of the PKK and to refuse to recognize the achievements and stability of Syrian Kurdish governance against the backdrop of a horrendous civil war not only does an injustice toward the Kurds, but it also signals that in order to achieve their basic human rights, they must fight to the death in Turkey…,” Rubin wrote.

Turkey’s offensive has united political voices in the United States, primarily because the Kurds proved to be the only reliable force against ISIS. In contrast, Arab militias backed by the West inevitably turned their weapons over to ISIS, al-Qaida, or other jihadists. Kurdish forces successfully routed ISIS over the past few years with the help of American military advisers and airpower.

Western powers promised the Kurds a state of their own following World War I but that failed to materialize. Kurds are spread out across Turkey, Syria, Iraq and Iran. The PKK has fought a decades-long war with Turkey for autonomy and self-governance. Kurds are denied their language and identity by Ankara, which belittles them as “Mountain Turks.”

But American Islamists do little to seek justice for the oppressed Kurdish people. The Council on American Islamic Relations (CAIR) thus far has been silent about Turkey’s assault. The same is true for the Islamic Society of North America (ISNA), the Islamic Circle of North America (ISNA), and American Muslims for Palestine (AMP).

AMP Executive Director Osama Abuirshaid actually defended the invasion.

“The Turkish military incursion into Syria does not please us as Arabs,” Abuirshaid wroteon Facebook, “but Turkey is practically forced to, and it has (Turkey)- to this very day- been the one who stood with the Syrian people the most …” He claimed Turkey “is trying to prevent the establishment of a ‘Kurdish Israel’ along its southern borders.

The leader of the U.S. Council of Muslim Organizations – an umbrella group of “major national American Muslim organizations,” also declared support for the Turkish invasion.

“What a travesty, progressive media wants to protect YPG, a terrorist affiliate of PKK, while innocent Syrians are slaughtered daily! Only Turkey carried the burden to host millions of Syrians & protect them. Who’s (sic) agenda & interest is served here? We are watching!” USCMO Secretary General Oussama Jamal tweeted on Tuesday.

Los Angeles chapter Executive Director Hussam Ayloush was the only CAIR official to speak about the invasion.

“Dear Western politicians/commentators and sudden experts on Syria, did it occur to you to ask how the 12 million refugess (sic) feel about Turkey establishing a safe zone in Syria that’s free from Assad and terrorists?” Ayloush wrote.

That safe zone involves resettling Syrian refugees from other parts of Syria who live in Turkey, Erdogan said in a United Nations speech last month. Jihadists also reportedly are involved in the invasion force alongside the Turkish regular army.

Last month, U.S. Islamist leaders effusively praised Erdogan. CAIR Executive Director Nihad Awad and former Muslim American Society President Esam Omeish were photographed huddling near the Turkish leader.

Jamal called Erdogan “a wonderful human-being with patience, love, worries and cares for Muslim ummah.” Brooklyn Imam Siraj Wahhaj called for Turkey to lead the world’s 1.6 billion Muslims at an event sponsored by the Turkish American National Steering Committee (TASC).

The same Islamists also have been noisy about India’s revocation of the special status of the territory of Jammu and Kashmir.

“We have to reject Hindu supremacy and assert that if India wants to be a democracy it has to live up to the standard of a democratic state,” AMP Chairman Hatem Bazian saidat a Sept. 29 rally on Kashmir posted on AMP’s Facebook page. “India has become one of the largest purchasers of weapons. Supremacy is always used as militarism in a way that’s used to assert its right to rule. India has been spending massively.

“When we say that we are for peace and for justice, we are against weapons of mass destruction, against using nationalism as a way to kill and separate people.”

Bazian has made no mention of the Turkish invasion.

Israeli attacks against Hamas and other Palestinian terrorists are retaliation for rocket attacks, but the Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF) that consists of Kurds, Arabs and Syriac Christians bent over backwards to tell Turkey it was not a threat. SDF soldiers pulled back from defensive positions along the Turkish-Syrian border in weeks leading up to the invasion.

None of it was enough for Erdogan, who is determined to strike out at the very people who helped defeat ISIS. Apparently, that’s just fine with American Islamists.

Kurds and Trump by Caroline Glick



Trump did not betray the Kurds


The near consensus view of President Donald Trump’s decision to remove US special forces from the Syrian border with Turkey is that Trump is enabling a Turkish invasion and double crossing the Syrian Kurds who have fought with the Americans for five years against ISIS. Trump’s move, the thinking goes, harms US credibility and undermines US power in the region and throughout the world.

There are several problems with this narrative. The first is that it assumes that until this week, the US had power and influence in Syria when in fact, by design, the US went to great lengths to limit its ability to influence events in Syria.

The war in Syria broke out in 2011 as a popular insurrection by Syrian Sunnis against the Iranian-sponsored regime of President Bashar al Assad. The Obama administration responded by declaring US support for Assad’s overthrow. But the declaration was empty. The administration sat on its thumbs as the regime’s atrocities mounted. They supported a feckless Turkish effort to raise a resistance army dominated by jihadist elements aligned with the Muslim Brotherhood.

Obama infamously issued his “redline” regarding the use of chemical weapons against civilians by Assad, which he repudiated the moment it was crossed.

As ISIS forces gathered in Iraq and Syria, Obama shrugged them off as a “jayvee squad.” When the jayvees in ISIS took over a third of Iraqi and Syrian territory, Obama did nothing.

As Lee Smith recalled in January in the New York Post, Obama only decided to do something about ISIS in late 2014 after the group beheaded a number of American journalists and posted their decapitations on social media.

The timing was problematic for Obama.

In 2014 Obama was negotiating his nuclear deal with Iran. The deal, falsely presented as a non-proliferation pact, actually enabled Iran — the world’s greatest state sponsor of terrorism — to develop both nuclear weapons and the missile systems required to deliver them. The true purpose of the deal was not to block Iran’s nuclear aspirations but to realign US Middle East policy away from the Sunnis and Israel and towards Iran.

Given its goal of embracing Iran, the Obama administration had no interest in harming Assad, Iran’s Syrian factotum. It had no interest in blocking Iran’s ally Russia from using the war in Syria as a means to reassert Moscow’s power in the Middle East.

As both Michael Doran, a former national security advisor in the George W. Bush administration and Smith argue, when Obama was finally compelled to act against ISIS, he structured the US campaign in a manner than would align it with Iran’s interests.

Obama’s decided to work with the Kurdish-YPG militia in northern Syria because it was the only significant armed force outside the Iranian axis that enjoyed congenial relations with both Assad and Iran.

Obama deployed around a thousand forces to Syria. Their limited numbers and radically constrained mandate made it impossible for the Americans to have a major effect on events in the country. They weren’t allowed to act against Assad or Iran. They were tasked solely with fighting ISIS. Obama instituted draconian rules of engagement that made achieving even that limited goal all but impossible.

During his tenure as Trump’s national security advisor John Bolton hoped to revise the US mandate to enable US forces to be used against Iran in Syria. Bolton’s plan was strategically sound. Trump rejected it largely because it was a recipe for widening US involvement in Syria far beyond what the American public – and Trump himself — are willing to countenance.

In other words, the claim that the US has major influence in Syria is wrong. It does not have such influence and is unwilling to pay the price of developing such influence.

This brings us to the second flaw in the narrative about Trump’s removal of US forces from the Syrian border with Turkey.

The underlying assumption of the criticism is that America has an interest in confronting Turkey to protect the Kurds.

This misconception like the misconception regarding US power and influence in Syria is borne of a misunderstanding of Obama’s Middle East policies. Aside from ISIS’s direct victims, the major casualty of Obama’s deliberately feckless anti-ISIS campaign was the US alliance with Turkey. Whereas the US chose to work with the Kurds because they were supportive of Assad and Iran, the Turks view the Syrian Kurdish YPG as a sister militia to the Turkish PKK. The Marxist PKK has been fighting a guerilla war against Turkey for decades. The State Department designates the PKK as a terrorist organization responsible for the death of thousands of Turkish nationals. Not surprisingly then, the Turks viewed the US-Kurdish collaboration against ISIS as an anti-Turkish campaign.

Throughout the years of US-Kurdish cooperation, many have made the case that the Kurds are a better ally to the US that Turkey. The case is compelling not merely because the Kurds have fought well.

Under Erdogan, Turkey has stood against the US and its interests far more often than it has stood with it. Across a spectrum of issues, from Israel to human rights, Hamas and ISIS to Turkish aggression against Cyprus, Greece and Israel in the Eastern Mediterranean, to upholding US economic sanctions against Iran and beyond, for nearly twenty years, Erdogan’s Turkey has distinguished itself as a strategic threat to America’s core interests and policies and those of its closest allies in the Middle East.

Despite the compelling, ever growing body of evidence that the time has come to reassess US-Turkish ties, the Pentagon refuses to engage the issue. The Pentagon has rejected the suggestion that the US remove its nuclear weapons from Incirlik air base in Turkey or diminish Incirlik’s centrality to US air operations in Central Asia and the Middle East. The same is true of US dependence on Turkish naval bases.

Given the Pentagon’s position, there is no chance that US would consider entering an armed conflict with Turkey on behalf of the Kurds.

The Kurds are a tragic people. The Kurds, who live as persecuted minorities in Turkey, Syria, Iraq and Iran have been denied the right of self-determination for the past hundred years. But then, the Kurds have squandered every opportunity they have had to assert independence. The closest they came to achieving self-determination was in Iraq in 2017. In Iraqi Kurdistan, the Kurds have governed themselves effectively since 1992. In 2017, they overwhelmingly passed a referendum calling for Iraqi Kurdistan to secede from Iraq and form an independent state. Instead of joining forces to achieve their long-held dream, the Kurdish leaders in Iraq worked against one another. One faction, in alliance with Iran, blocked implementation of the referendum and then did nothing as Kurdish-controlled Kirkuk was overrun by Iraqi government forces.

The Kurds in Iraq are far more capable of defending themselves than the Kurds of Syria. Taking on the defense of Syria’s Kurds would commit the US to an open-ended presence in Syria and justify Turkish antagonism. America’s interests would not be advanced. They would be harmed, particularly in light of the YPG’s selling trait for Obama – its warm ties to Assad and Iran’s Revolutionary Guard Corps.

The hard truth is that the fifty US soldiers along the Syrian-Turkish border were a fake trip wire. Neither Trump nor the US military had any intention of sacrificing US forces to either block a Turkish invasion of Syria or foment deeper US involvement in the event of a Turkish invasion.

Apparently in the course of his phone call with Trump on Sunday, Erdogan called Trump’s bluff. Trump’s announcement following the call made clear that the US would not sacrifice its soldiers to stop Erdogan’s planned invasion of the border zone.

But Trump also made clear that the US did not support the Turkish move. In subsequent statements, Trump repeatedly pledged to destroy the Turkish economy if Turkey commits atrocities against the Kurds.

If the Pentagon can be brought on board, Trump’s threats can easily be used as a means to formally diminish the long hollow US alliance with Turkey.

Here it is critical to note that Trump did not remove US forces from Syria. They are still deployed along the border crossing between Jordan, Iraq and Syria to block Iran from moving forces and materiel to Syria and Lebanon. They are still blocking Russian and Syrian forces from taking over the oil fields along the eastern bank of the Euphrates. Aside from defeating ISIS, these missions are the principle strategic achievements of the US forces in Syria. For now, they are being maintained. Will Turkey’s invasion enable ISIS to reassert itself in Syria and beyond? Perhaps. But here too, as Trump made clear this week, it is not America’s job to serve as the permanent jailor of ISIS. European forces are just as capable of serving as guards as Americans are. America’s role is not to stay in Syria forever. It is to beat down threats to US and world security as they emerge and then let others – Turks, Kurds, Europeans, Russians, UN peacekeepers – maintain the new, safer status quo.

The final assumption of the narrative regarding Trump’s moves in Syria is that by moving its forces away from the border ahead of the Turkish invasion, Trump harmed regional stability and America’s reputation as a trustworthy ally.

On the latter issue, Trump has spent the better part of his term in office rebuilding America’s credibility as an ally after Obama effectively abandoned the Sunnis and Israel in favor of Iran. To the extent that Trump has harmed US credibility, he didn’t do it in Syria this week by rejecting war with Turkey. He did it last month by failing to retaliate militarily against Iran’s brazen military attack on Saudi Arabia’s oil installations. Whereasthe US has no commitment to protect the Kurds, the US’s central commitment in the Middle East for the past 70 years has been the protection of Saudi oil installations and maintaining the safety of maritime routes in and around the Persian Gulf.

The best move Trump can make now in light of the fake narrative of his treachery towards the Kurds is to finally retaliate against Iran. A well-conceived, and limited US strike against Iranian missile and drone installations would restore America’s posture as the dominant power in the Persian Gulf and prevent the further destabilization of the Saudi regime and the backsliding of the UAE towards Iran.

As for Syria, it is impossible to known what the future holds for the Kurds, the Turks, the Iranians, Assad or anyone else. But what is clear enough is that Trump avoided war with Turkey this week. And he began extracting America from an open-ended commitment to the Kurds it never made and never intended to fulfill.

Originally published in Israel Hayom.

Connoisseur of Chaos

from the magazine, City Journal Connoisseur of Chaos
The dystopian vision of George Soros, billionaire funder of the Left
Stefan Kanfer
Winter 2017 Politics and law

When the dust was cleared and the debris swept away, he stood revealed as Hillary Clinton’s most generous billionaire donor. Yet his name rarely surfaced during the presidential campaign—and that’s generally the way he likes it. Dark Money, Jane Mayer’s book about covert political funding, refers to the Koch brothers more than 300 times in its excoriation of the “radical right” but mentions progressive icon George Soros just six times; three are footnotes.

One of the planet’s richest men, his past marred with crimes and misdemeanors, the 86-year-old billionaire skates on. More than a decade ago, he moved his financial headquarters to Curaçao, a tax-free haven in the Caribbean designed for monied hypocrites who talk one game and play another. The place is not bulletproof; on occasion, Soros has been accused—and even convicted—of insider trading. A French court found him guilty of that crime and levied a fine of $2.3 million. In the parlance of the billionaires’ club, that was small change. Investigative journalists, a dwindling cadre, show little interest in him. They prefer to scrutinize safer, softer targets.

If they took even a cursory look, though, they would see that Soros’s global reach and influence far outstrip those of the Koch brothers or other liberal bogeymen—and that underlying it all is a vision both dystopian and opportunistic. “The main obstacle to a stable and just world order,” Soros has declared, “is the United States.” Ergo, that constitutional republic must be weakened and its allies degraded. The Sorosian world order—one of open borders and global governance, antithetical to the ideals and experience of the West—could then assume command.

George Soros has been an escape artist since his adolescence in Budapest, when Nazi occupiers gave him his first life lessons. Until then, the Schwartz family lived in a large house, located on an island in the Danube. György’s mother, Elizabeth, was the daughter of affluent silk merchants. His father, Tivadar, was a prominent lawyer and eccentric; in good weather, he commuted to his office by rowboat.

But all was not as it appeared, even before the predations of the Third Reich. Anti-Semitism ran deep in Eastern Europe, and Hungarian Jews lived on a knife blade, no matter how large their bank accounts. The secularist Tivadar never attended synagogue, but he had a devout belief in Esperanto, the artificial language that he and other disciples believed would eventually become the world’s tongue. The Tower of Babel would be razed, and nationalism would disappear, along with dialects, local attitudes, and national boundaries. But that world lay in the future. For the present, Jewish identity would have to be papered over.

Accordingly, the family changed its name to Soros—“to soar,” in Esperanto. In 1944, the personification of the Holocaust, Adolf Eichmann, came to German-occupied Hungary to administrate the Final Solution. But Tivadar had anticipated him. By then, he had purchased false identity documents for himself and the family. He bribed a government official to “adopt” György and testify to investigators that the boy was his Christian godson.

Now came the fulcrum of Soros’s life and career. The bureaucrat who housed teenage György was assigned the task of confiscating Jewish land and property. With the boy in tow, he went from house to house, making inventories for Nazi officers. It’s unfair sweepingly to condemn those individuals, Jewish and Gentile, who, willingly or unwillingly, sometimes participated in evil in order to survive. Still, most of those who did escape the Holocaust were tormented by pangs of remorse and survivor’s guilt.

Not Soros. In 1998, 60 Minutes profiled the man whose stock-market manipulations were making news. CBS interviewer Steve Kroft asked him about his wartime experiences:

KROFT: You watched lots of people get shipped off to the death camps.

SOROS: Right. I was 14 years old. And I would say that that’s when my character was made.

KROFT: In what way?

SOROS: That one should think ahead. One should understand and—and anticipate events and when—when one is threatened. It was a tremendous threat of evil. I mean, it was a—a very personal experience of evil. . . .

KROFT: I mean, that’s—that sounds like an experience that would send lots of people to the psychiatric couch for many, many years. Was it difficult?

SOROS: Not—not at all. Not at all. Maybe as a child you don’t—you don’t see the connection. But it was—it created no—no problem at all.

KROFT: No feeling of guilt?


KROFT: For example that, “I’m Jewish and here I am, watching these people go. I could just as easily be there. I should be there.” None of that?

SOROS: Well, of course I c— I could be on the other side or I could be the one from whom the thing is being taken away. But there was no sense that I shouldn’t be there, because that was—well, actually, in a funny way, it’s just like in markets—that if I weren’t there—of course, I wasn’t doing it, but somebody else would—would—would be taking it away anyhow. And it was the—whether I was there or not, I was only a spectator, the property was being taken away. So the—I had no role in taking away that property. So I had no sense of guilt.

After the war, attending the London School of Economics, Soros, his name now Anglicized, was beguiled by the writings of Karl Popper (1902–94). The Viennese-born professor devoted his life and work to what he called the Open Society—a place free of such “tribal” affinities as religion, nationalism, and traditional economic formulas. But he also denounced, as a “monument of human smallness,” Plato’s concept of the philosopher king. “What a contrast,” Popper wrote, “between it and the simplicity of humaneness of Socrates, who warned the statesman against the danger of being dazzled by his own power, excellence, and wisdom. . . . What a decline from this world of irony and reason . . . down to Plato’s kingdom of the sage whose magical powers raise him high above ordinary men; although not quite high enough to forgo the use of lies, or to neglect the sorry trade of every shaman—the selling of spells . . . in exchange for power over his fellow-men.”

Was Soros beginning to confront the implications of these big ideas? No one knew—perhaps not even Soros himself, as he strove to find a place in postwar Britain. Alas for the new graduate, the financial world proved to be a closed society. No one seemed interested in his sheepskin or his multilingual abilities. Finally, he found work at the London-based merchant bank Singer and Friedlander because, he stated in a rare moment of self-deprecation, the managing director was a fellow Hungarian.

In 1930s Hollywood, when former Magyars like Alexander Korda, Peter Lorre, Leslie Howard, and Bela Lugosi reigned supreme, so many of their countrymen applied for positions that one film studio put up a sign: “It’s not enough to be Hungarian, you must also have talent.” So it proved in 1950s London, where the new hire could not rest on his Budapest connections. He had to demonstrate a gift for creating revenue—and he did. Within a few years, he had mastered the craft of arbitraging—making profits by trading different currencies. As befit a man with his background, he also promoted European stocks, then winning favor with U.S. institutional investors. Through Soros, they gained opportunities in the new Coal and Steel Community, soon to become the Common Market.

By 1959, Soros had relocated to New York City, the financial nexus of the West. He continued to be a salaried employee but a high-level one. He told colleagues that he planned to work for three more years—enough to accumulate a personal fortune of $500,000. He would then return to England to study philosophy. That event never occurred. His ego kept getting in the way. “I admit that I have always harbored an exaggerated view of my self-importance,” he later admitted. “To put it bluntly, I fancied myself as some kind of god.”

In the 1960s, the fancied god conceived his Theory of Reflexivity. Despite its Einsteinian overtones, the concept had a great deal of mumbo and not a little jumbo. Essentially, it stated that those who observe a phenomenon—like economics or politics—become a part of what they’re observing, and thus risk losing their objectivity. Economic arenas—Wall Street, for example—are particularly vulnerable to forces that have little to do with empirical evidence or historical precedent. Knowing this, the cunning witness can make a whacking good profit if he stays above the fray, the tipsters, and the “smart money.”

The recession of 1973 provided one of many examples. After years of wild, bullish ascents, the market seemed impervious to business cycles. Then it crashed. Investors waited for the predicted rebound—and were still waiting five years later. The resignation of Richard Nixon, the oil shortages, the seizing of American hostages in Iran, and the inept response of Jimmy Carter all put paid to the good times. And yet, a few speculators profited from these disasters; Soros was one of them.

Soros went on to enjoy many other triumphs, and none did more for his image than a killing made across the pond two decades later. He had gone out on his own by then. Aware that the British government was propping up the pound sterling, he and his associates acquired millions of pounds and then shorted the currency, betting that its worth would decrease. After some bad press and some bloody political infighting, Prime Minister John Major caved, withdrawing the pound from the European Exchange Rate Mechanism (ERM). The pound plummeted, and Soros pocketed more than $1 billion. Retirees on fixed incomes saw their pensions diminished and their savings wiped out. But the human consequences had no effect on Soros; indeed, he gained in stature. In high-finance circles, he was the “man who broke the Bank of England.”

The subprime mortgage crisis of the 2000s offered another opportunity. Houses had been overvalued and underfinanced. The day of reckoning occurred in 2008. It led to the downfall of Lehman Brothers, the failure of Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac, and the near-collapse of the entire global financial system. Again, Soros came smiling through. “I’m having a very good crisis,” he told a reporter.

Soros had long since become wealthy beyond avarice. Two large alimonies (he married for a third time in 2013) and the education of his heirs (like Donald Trump, he has five children), plus lavish homes in Westchester and on Long Island, scarcely made a dent in the family fortune, which continued to grow. But along the way, it occurred to Soros, as it had to many another financial giant before him, that mere getting and spending were not enough for a man of his colossal self-measurement. He put his sons and other principals in charge of his companies and hedge funds. Thereafter, like the owner of beach frontage whose landscape is obstructed by trees, he devoted himself to cutting down whatever blocked his worldview.

Soros’s Open Society Foundations was clearly devoted to the eradication of national sovereignty.

His presidential candidate lost in 2016, but this setback likely won’t slow Soros down. His political activism portfolio is well diversified. Backing organizations dedicated to social agitation and change-for-change’s-sake, Soros has caused tsunamis of upheaval, in the United States and around the world.

A few cases in point: last August, DC Leaks, a group of adroit hackers, got into the Soros files and released them. Perhaps the most notorious of the disclosures concerned Soros’s Open Society Foundations, named in honor of Sir Karl Popper. Underneath its lofty rhetoric, the organization was clearly devoted to the eradication of national sovereignty. A key Open Society paper, hacked in its entirety, described the Syrian refugee crisis as an opportunity to “shape conversations about rethinking migrations governance.” Translation: use agitprop to flood Europe and the U.S. with evacuees (among them some probable terrorists); make the old borders and institutions irrelevant; and, in the process, create a world liberated from the restraints of constitutionalism, American exceptionalism, free-market capitalism, and other obsolete isms.

One of Soros’s long-standing targets is the State of Israel. Providing funding for groups devoted to BDS (boycott, disinvestment, sanctions) against the Jewish State is only part of the equation. According to DC Leaks, Soros gave more than $2 million to Adalah, an “independent human rights organization.” As a matter of policy, Adalah demands that governments sever diplomatic relations with the only democracy in the Middle East. Soros also donated more than $1 million to the Palestinian media center I’lam, which regularly accuses Israel of ethnic cleansing. Though the Open Society Foundations’ biases are obvious, its members prefer to work under deep cover, as one of the leaked documents describes. “For a variety of reasons, we wanted to construct a diversified portfolio of grants dealing with Israel and Palestine . . . as well as building a portfolio of Palestinian grants and in all cases to maintain a low profile and relative distance—particularly on the advocacy front.”

Print reporters were enlisted in the cause of propagating the Soros mind-set. As recorded by WikiLeaks, Soros operatives, determined to shape media coverage of events in Ukraine, were instructed to “select journalists from the five target countries (Germany, France, Spain, Italy, Greece) and offer them long stay reporting trips in Ukraine. Rather than specify what they should write about they should make suggestions for articles; we retain a veto on stories we think are counterproductive. Suggestion that we liaise directly with journalists to determine interest.”

Soros bankrolls a wide array of protest groups across the country, including MoveOn.org, shown here demonstrating outside Senator Charles Schumer’s office. (MARK APOLLO/PACIFIC PRESS/LIGHTROCKET/GETTY IMAGES)
Soros bankrolls a wide array of protest groups across the country, including MoveOn.org, shown here demonstrating outside Senator Charles Schumer’s office. (MARK APOLLO/PACIFIC PRESS/LIGHTROCKET/GETTY IMAGES)

In the United States, Soros bankrolls a broad range of political and cultural causes. One is to destabilize the Roman Catholic Church in the United States. In 2015, he dedicated $650,000 for the purpose of shaping Pope Francis’s U.S. visit, using left-leaning Catholic groups to promote gay marriage, abortion, and physician-assisted suicide. Leading the effort was Hillary Clinton’s campaign manager John Podesta, a self-professed Catholic. Bill Donohue, outspoken president of the Catholic League, vainly called for Podesta’s dismissal. “He is fomenting revolution in the Catholic Church, creating mutiny and is totally unethical,” Donohue said. “He is the front man for George Soros to create a host of phony anti-Catholic groups. These are not just bad comments, as some have suggested. These words are orchestrated, calculated and designed to create fissures in the Catholic Church.”

Another Soros favorite is Black Lives Matter, the radical protest group dedicated to the proposition that police are inherently racist. Working the streets with incendiary rhetoric, at odds with the truth about black-on-black crime, BLM has helped foster “depolicing,” as Heather Mac Donald describes it, in high-crime urban areas. In 2015, after days of rioting in Baltimore in response to the death of Freddie Gray in police custody, an Open Society Foundations memo excitedly commented that “recent events offer a unique opportunity to accelerate the dismantling of structural inequality generated and maintained by local law enforcement and to engage residents who have historically been disenfranchised in Baltimore City in shaping and monitoring reform.” Three straight acquittals of police officers involved in the matter left the prosecution’s case in shreds but made no difference to the Open Society Foundations. It has donated at least $650,000 to Black Lives Matter and pledged more assistance to antipolice factions across the country. These activities prompted the father of one of the Dallas police officers killed during a Black Lives Matter protest to sue Soros (along with other individuals and groups) for inspiring a “war on police.”

Soros’s open-borders obsessions can be seen in the $2 million he gave to opponents of Maricopa County, Arizona, sheriff Joe Arpaio, an outspoken critic of illegal immigration. The sheriff’s “influence on the national conversation about immigration has been poisonous,” said a Soros spokesman. Arpaio fired back, calling the billionaire a “far-left globalist” who was trying to “buy a local race.” The sheriff failed to ride in on Trump’s November wagon, though, and Soros enjoyed one of his few election-night victories. Soros also spent millions backing liberal-minded district attorneys—they all opposed jail time for nonviolent drug offenders—in Louisiana, Mississippi, Florida, Illinois, New Mexico, and Texas. Some of these candidates won; most lost.

The emphasis on leniency for drug offenders is no accident. Two decades ago, Soros began an ardent campaign to decriminalize marijuana and other illegal drugs, which he promoted as an issue of fairness: Why should abusers be arrested and imprisoned when what they really needed was counseling and rehabilitation? To that end, he backed the Lindesmith Center, a “drug policy institute,” which served as Soros’s echo chamber on matters concerning proscribed substances. “I’m sure Lindesmith’s desire to take us into nihilism and chaos and to jam our hospital emergency rooms with more users has some useful purpose,” scoffed a spokesman for General Barry McCaffrey, during his tenure as Bill Clinton’s drug czar. Since then, Alaska, California, Colorado, Maine, Massachusetts, Nevada, Oregon, and Washington have all legalized marijuana, and Heads, a pro-drug magazine, enthusiastically dubbed Soros “Daddy Weedbucks.” But data are confirming what skeptics like McCaffrey had argued all along: that legalization serves as a forerunner to more drug use rather than less, more emergency-room visits rather than fewer, increased danger to the health of the young, and a consequent weakening of the social fabric.

As the postpresidential fever abates, Soros’s work carries on. In a New York City luxury hotel, Soros recently huddled with other devastated operatives in the so-called Democratic Alliance, including former House Democratic leader Nancy Pelosi, Massachusetts senator Elizabeth Warren, and Congressional Progressive Caucus cochairman Keith Ellison. According to Politico, they discussed strategies to combat President-elect Trump’s “terrifying assault on President’s Obama’s achievements.” Not all Democrats were pleased with the occasion. “The DA itself should be called into question,” said one attendee. “You can make a very good case it’s nothing more than a social club for a handful of wealthy white donors and labor union officials to drink wine and read memos, as the Democratic Party burns down around them.”

With the threat that a Trump presidency poses to their power, Soros and his allies figure to be even more voracious for influence—and secrecy. This is no time to let up. Yet Soros must occasionally think back to the professor whose writings he cherry-picked, using what was digestible and abandoning what could not be stomached. When he does, one tocsin is likely to cause discomfort even to this most insensitive of plutocrats: Popper’s reference to the figure “whose magical powers raise him high above ordinary men.” Popper warned about this type long before George Soros perverted Sir Karl’s teachings and crowned himself a philosopher king.

Stefan Kanfer, a City Journal contributing editor, is the author, most recently, of The Eskimo Hunts in Miami.

Where Did “Maximum Pressure” Go? WSJ

Where Did ‘Maximum Pressureʼ Go? –

WSJ 9/9/19, 2’57 PM https://www.wsj.com/articles/where-did-maximum-pressure-go-11567969572

OPINION | COMMENTARY Where Did ‘Maximum Pressure’ Go? The Trump administration has let its early momentum in foreign policy dissipate. It’s time to turn back. Sept. 8, 2019 3:06 pm ET By Seth G. Jones and Tom Karako

The Trump presidency started by reorienting America’s national-security focus from counterterrorism to long-term, geopolitical competition— particularly against major powers such as China and Russia. Despite the promise of this new approach, the results have been mixed. It’s now time for the Trump administration to reinvigorate its posture of “maximum pressure,” which has come to look more like one of maximum patience. The Obama administration’s attitude of “strategic patience” produced frustrating results. While the U.S. waited, China improved its military capabilities and continued its unfair trade practices. Russia orchestrated cyber and intelligence operations against the U.S. and violated nearly every arms-control agreement on file. Iran expanded its missile program and its influence in the Middle East. North Korea’s nuclear program marched along. The Trump administration began by recognizing these developments and responding. President Trump deserves praise for arming Ukraine, calling out Russian violations of the Intermediate-Range Nuclear Forces Treaty and withdrawing from it, and ejecting Russian diplomats after the Skripal poisonings in the U.K. The administration also reimposed sanctions on Iran, imposed tariffs on China, denounced Venezuelan dictator Nicolás Maduro and pressured allies in Europe and East Asia to do more for collective

Early actions tended to match the tough talk. Whereas President Obama blinked after Syria crossed his “red line” by using chemical weapons against its own people, the Trump administration responded to chemical attacks in April 2017 by firing 59 cruise missiles against Syrian targets. But that early momentum and pressure seem to be dissipating. China is the most significant national-security threat to the U.S., yet the White House is now missing opportunities to pressure Beijing. It has been reluctant to criticize China’s crackdown on the pro-democracy movement in Hong Kong. This silence is reminiscent of Mr. Obama’s approach to the 2009 Green Revolution in Iran—and very different from President Reagan’s support for democratic movements in the Eastern bloc and his demand that Mikhail Gorbachev tear down the Berlin Wall. Despite two years of talk about missile defenses against Chinese hypersonic glide vehicles, little is being done. The story is similar in Iran. The administration’s initial sanctions have stoked about 50% inflation and a minus-6% growth this year for Iran. But since the U.S. walked away from the nuclear deal and sidelined its European allies, Iran has lifted limits on its development of centrifuges used to enrich uranium. The number of Iranian-linked militia fighters has grown to more than 180,000 in Syria, Iraq, Yemen and elsewhere, and Iran continues to improve the largest and most diverse missile arsenal in the region. This demands a better response. So do Iranian provocations in the Persian Gulf, especially the downing of a U.S. surveillance aircraft in international airspace. Iran knew what it was doing and surely expected the U.S. to strike back. Such an operation was under way, before the president canceled it at the last minute. That decision may embolden Tehran. With North Korea, the administration merits praise for pursuing the dismantlement of nuclear and missile programs. But after an 18-month moratorium, Pyongyang has resumed testing a new batch of missiles. Mr. Trump now plays down the tests, calling them “very standard.” This plays into Kim Jong Un ’s hands by normalizing his missile programs and his regime. It seems as if the president’s photo-op summitry in June 2018 effectively took off the table his “bloody nose” threats.

Finally, the administration remains too conciliatory with Russia. Presidents Reagan and George H.W. Bush helped win the Cold War by highlighting the moral differences between the U.S. and the Soviet Union. At the July 2018 Helsinki summit and on several other occasions, however, Mr. Trump refrained from calling out Vladimir Putin ’s abuses, even accepting his explanations of Russian interference in the U.S. election over those of America’s intelligence community. A few weeks ago Mr. Trump suggested that Russia might rejoin the Group of Seven, from which it was ejected after invading Ukraine. The White House hasn’t imposed sanctions against Turkey for buying Russia’s S-400 air defenses, despite a legal requirement to do so. And Russian security aid to Venezuela continues unabated. Mr. Obama said Mr. Assad in Syria must go, and Mr. Trump has said the same of Mr. Maduro. Both dictators may outlast this U.S. president. In the beginning, the Trump administration recognized the renewed strategic competition, showed early resolve, and matched word and deed. That focus must return. U.S. adversaries don’t deserve more patience than allies; strategic competition requires global partners. But if recent trends are uncorrected, the Trump administration’s national-security legacy will be as lackluster as that of its predecessor.

Mr. Jones is director of the Transnational Threats Project at the Center for Strategic and International Studies. Mr. Karako is director of CSIS’s Missile Defense Project.

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It’s Time to End Unclassified Threat Briefings

It’s Time to End Unclassified Threat Briefings
January 31, 2019Fred Fleitz

Originally published by National Review:

Headlines are in the news today stating that top U.S. intelligence officials “contradicted” President Trump at yesterday’s briefing of the intelligence community’s annual worldwide threat report to the Senate Intelligence Committee. The intelligence chiefs differed with President Trump and his senior officials in finding that North Korea does not plan to give up its nuclear weapons, that Iran is technically in compliance with the 2015 nuclear deal, and that ISIS has not been defeated. The intelligence chiefs offered other assessments that matched Trump administration policies such as stating that Russia, Iran and China plan to meddle in the 2020 elections and a strong warning that China is growing as a cyber and intelligence threat.

Since Congress is an independent branch of government and is responsible for oversight of the executive, it is entirely appropriate for our intelligence agencies to provide Congress with annual worldwide threat briefings. The problem is, when these briefings are unclassified and public, they tend to interfere with presidential foreign-policy decision-making and provide valuable information to America’s adversaries on U.S. intelligence assessments.

When the unclassified worldwide threat report said that North Korea is “unlikely to give up” its nuclear weapons, the intelligence community was not just repeating the view of the foreign-policy establishment it was telling the world that it believes the president’s North Korea policy will likely fail. This violates the U.S. intelligence community’s mandate to inform but not prescribe presidential policy. Moreover, such a public assessment is inappropriate while U.S. diplomats are engaged in negotiations with North Korea and in the run-up to a second Trump-Kim summit.
The worldwide threat briefing’s findings on Iran’s nuclear program, meanwhile, were blatantly political and misleading. For example, Director of National Intelligence Dan Coats said: “We do not believe Iran is currently undertaking activities we judge necessary to produce a nuclear device.” CIA Director Gina Haspel claimed concerning the 2015 nuclear deal with Iran: “At the moment technically they [Iran] are in compliance.”

These findings reflect the Intelligence Community’s record of bias in its assessments of rogue-state WMD programs after the Iraq War and a refusal to objectively assess Iran’s compliance with the nuclear deal. To reach these findings, the intelligence community had to pretend that Iran’s ongoing uranium enrichment and its efforts to develop advanced uranium-enrichment centrifuges have nothing to do with nuclear-weapons development. Iran also clearly is not in compliance with the nuclear deal since it refuses to allow the IAEA to inspect military bases where it likely is engaged in nuclear-weapons work.

Haspel and Coats (and the threat report) also failed to mention that Israel found a warehouse of nuclear equipment and radioactive materials in Tehran earlier this year — that the IAEA refused to inspect so it would not have to find Iran in noncompliance with the nuclear deal.

In fact, classified and unclassified evidence that Iran has not given up its nuclear weapons program and is violating the nuclear deal is very strong. As national-security adviser John Bolton told Israeli prime minister Benjamin Netanyahu earlier this month: “Despite getting out of the Iran nuclear deal, despite the sanctions, we have little doubt that Iran’s leadership is still strategically committed to achieving deliverable nuclear weapons.”

America’s intelligence agencies were not created to publicly criticize or offer rebuttals to the president’s foreign-policy initiatives. They are not supposed to be a “check” on presidential decision-making — that is Congress’s role. For the U.S. intelligence community to effectively perform its role informing presidential national-security decision-making, it has to be credible and trustworthy. Public spectacles like yesterday’s worldwide threat briefing make America less safe: They undermine the president’s trust in his intelligence agencies and make him less willing to listen to or consult with intelligence officials.

Public, unclassified worldwide threat briefings by U.S. intelligence officials to Congress therefore must end. Congress could still perform its responsibility overseeing U.S. intelligence agencies by holding classified worldwide threat hearings, provided that members of Congress do not leak information from these briefings to the press.

The Age of Neo-Imperialism

The age of neo-imperialism
Former empires that aspire to be future empires threaten America

By Clifford D. May


Illustration on “neo-imperialism” by Linas Garsys/The Washington Times more >

China, Russia and Iran are very different nations in very different parts of the world but they have three significant commonalities: All once were great empires. All are now ruled by men who aspire to build great empires anew. All regard the United States as their rival and adversary.

Al Qaeda and the Islamic State also dream of empire, one that would replace the Ottoman Empire, which collapsed in 1922, and its affiliated caliphate, which was abolished two years later.

Important to note: Iran’s rulers are not seeking to build a Persian or Iranian empire. Like al Qaeda and the Islamic State, they intend to resurrect a specifically Islamic empire, albeit one dominated by Shia rather than Sunni Muslims.

Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini, who led Iran’s Islamic Revolution 40 years ago, was quite clear on this point. “Patriotism is paganism,” he said. Note that the most powerful institution he created was the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps, not – as you’ll sometimes hear it called – the “Iranian” Revolutionary Guard Corps.

Islamic imperialism, whether Sunni or Shia, is universalist – all conquered nations are to embrace a single theology. The same was true of Soviet imperialism – all the lands ruled by Moscow were expected to embrace communist ideology.

Vladimir Putin, by contrast, aspires only to make Russia a superpower again. He has seized territory from neighboring Ukraine and Georgia, established military bases on the Mediterranean and, in the process, facilitated the slaughter of half a million Syrians and the displacement of millions more.

Chinese President Xi Jinping envisions a “great rejuvenation.” He is investing in a military that will be capable of projecting power not just in Asia but far beyond. The regime annually steals hundreds of billions of dollars of intellectual property from both foreign governments and private companies. And it is using its economic muscle, through its Belt and Road Initiative, to make small nations around the world dependent and, in many cases, poorer. Mr. Xi will support autocrats who cough up the natural resources he needs, and do as they are told.

On one level, none of this should surprise us. Empires have been rising, competing, conquering, exploiting, clashing and falling throughout history. But that history was supposed to end after World War II when Europe’s colonies achieved independence, and the U.S. and its allies attempted to build a new world order — independent states that would not only peacefully coexist, but also would join an “international community.” All would abide by international laws and respect “international norms.” The UN was to be central to this effort. Its failure appears to me beyond dispute.

The European Community, established in 1957, went on to become the European Union – meant to be a “union of equals,” that would establish “subsidiarity,” the principle of making decisions as close to the people as possible, in other words mostly at the local, regional or national level.

Instead, the EU has evolved into a kind of transnational or globalist empire, a concept political philosopher Yoram Hazony explores in depth in “The Virtue of Nationalism,” his recently published and highly provocative book.

EU members have long had to acquiesce to the authority of politicians in Berlin – Germany is undisputedly first among equals — and unelected bureaucrats in Brussels.

More than two years ago, a majority of Britons expressed their dissatisfaction with this arrangement. To reclaim decision-making power and sovereignty, the British government has since been attempting Brexit. EU officials, reluctant to have their empire diminished and eager to discourage other members from following Britain’s example, have made the process a nightmare.

As noted above, China, Russia and the Islamic Republic, along with the various non-state jihadist groups, see the U.S. as the biggest obstacle to their ambitions. It’s therefore in their mutual interest to diminish American power and influence, and push Americans out of the regions they seek to dominate imminently.

The EU is ambivalent about the U.S. – more so than ever in the Age of Trump. Its officials have been working hard, if not successfully, to undermine American sanctions designed to pressure Tehran into changing its most malevolent behaviors.

West Europeans also are doing not much to restrain Mr. Putin. Despite strong U.S. disapproval, Chancellor Angela Merkel supports Nord Stream 2, a natural-gas pipeline project that will increase German dependence on Russia. (On Jan. 28th, the Washington-based Fulbright Association is to award her its “Prize for International Understanding.” Remarkable, no?)

President Obama did not see the picture I’m painting. He attempted to “reset” relations with Moscow, and appease Tehran. He ignored China’s multiple transgressions. He declared victory over al Qaeda. He demanded little of the EU.

President Trump, by contrast, does appear to recognize the threats posed by revisionist, revanchist and rogue regimes, and he has taken a tougher line on EU burden-sharing. Still, the most consequential national security missions remain a long way from being accomplished.

Meanwhile, influential voices on both the left and the right are counseling retrenchment, telling him to end the “endless wars,” to “declare victory” on battlefields where victory has not been achieved, and to devote his energies to “nation-building at home.”

How is that not pre-9/11 — indeed pre-World War II – thinking? The neo-imperialists are intent on shaping a new world order, one that will be authoritarian, unfree and implacably hostile to American interests. Frustrating their ambitions won’t be easy. But the alternative, giving them free rein, would be reckless.

Clifford D. May is president of the Foundation for Defense of Democracies (FDD) and a columnist for the Washington Times. Follow @CliffordDMay on Twitter.

The Washington Times: https://www.washingtontimes.com/news/2019/jan/22/the-age-of-neo-imperialism/

Pundicity: http://www.pundicity.com/
FDD: www.defenddemocracy.org

The Education of James Mattis

The education of James Mattis
By James Durso, opinion contributor — 12/24/18 11:00 AM EST

The views expressed by contributors are their own and not the view of The Hill

Defense Secretary James Mattis resigned after President Donald Trump told him he would keep his promise to remove all U.S. troops from Syria. Mattis shouldn’t have been surprised, as Trump campaigned on that promise, and in March said “We’re knocking the hell out of ISIS. We’ll be coming out of Syria like very soon. Let the other people take care of it now.” He then put a hold on $200 million of Syria recovery funds. In April, Trump gave the Pentagon another six months, and on Thursday, eight months later, he pulled the plug.

Trump obviously didn’t know he was supposed to have “both a public and a private position” and, after telegraphing his punch for two years, he finally gave the order.

Impulsive? Not hardly.

Trump was never comfortable with America’s too-little, too-late intervention in Syria, a place Washington is not convinced is very important; we are really just there out of habit. The desultory commitment of 2,000 troops is just big enough to get in trouble, and too small to make a strategic difference. If the Pentagon thinks the “light footprint” model that worked in Afghanistan will work in Syria, a crowded battlespace hosting epic ruined cities, displaced persons, regime fighters, resistance fighters, troops from America, Russia, Turkey, Iran, Hezbollah, and a few other outfits on the DL, it is malpractice of the most serious sort.

Russia, Iran, and Turkey, on the other hand, are convinced Syria is vital so they are ready to do whatever it takes. Trump saw a third costly, endless entanglement staring us in the face and opted out. Like he said, “Let the other people take care of it now.”

The real question for Secretary Mattis is: did he know in April the military couldn’t do the job in six months? If so, why didn’t he admit it then so we could have saved a few billion dollars and some lives?

It’s not clear why Mattis volunteered to be Trump’s Secretary of Defense — we’ll have to wait for the book deal and speaking tour to learn that — but he was ill-equipped to serve a President who arrived at the White House uninterested in being beholden to the ways of the national security bureaucracy, “…the same people that said Saddam Hussein had weapons of mass destruction.”

Trump entered office without the retinue of advisors that follows most candidates, and the “Never Trump” foreign policy experts who safely protested his candidacy when he was a long shot against Hillary Clinton deprived the administration of experienced hands. Trump’s work style is non-traditional: At the Trump Organization, he dealt directly with the other bosses, like the Mayor of New York or the Chairman of the New Jersey Casino Control Commission, so why not the head guys of Turkey or Russia?

Trump built hotels and a casino — the men in that business pride themselves on knowing, to the day, years in advance, when the doors will open to paying customers. To them, “conditions based” is a luxury for people who don’t have to pay back investors, and a semi-annual update of those “conditions” is just a muddle, an exercise in goalpost shifting.

Surveying Iraq, Afghanistan, and Syria, Trump no doubt feels his executives in charge of the defense, diplomacy, and reconstruction subsidiaries have failed to deliver after two decades and unlimited funding. They’re not ready to go to market, so it’s time to liquidate some assets.

Thus, Mattis was faced with a boss who thinks in terms of schedules and deliverables, and return on investment (ROI), with an added obligation to keep his promises to the voters. Mattis’s instincts should have been at their most acute, but he failed to understand that Trump really was getting the U.S. out of Syria, because as he said of the “moderate” Syrian fighters “we have no idea who these people are.”

Are all flag officers fated for failure when working closely with a President? No, they are not. Many have successfully navigated politics at the highest level.

Fleet Admiral William Leahy served as FDR’s Chief of Staff; General of the Army George C. Marshall served as Secretary of State and Secretary of Defense under President Harry Truman; General Maxwell Taylor served as the Military Representative in the Kennedy White House before becoming Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff; and Lieutenant General Brent Scowcroft served as the National Security Advisor under Presidents Gerald Ford and George H. W. Bush. None of these military leaders were yes-men, but they all had one critical skill: they knew how to disagree with the President of the United States and leave him happy they did so.

Mattis spent much of his time telling whoever would listen that he was at the Pentagon to protect it from the Commander-in-Chief, which is pedestrian Washington, D.C. image management, at odds with the selfless, soldier-scholar image he cultivated. Mattis the man is not the Mattis of myth.

Slow-rolling the President’s desires — such as creating the Space Force or banning transgender troops from the military — forced Trump to do what Obama did: make the critical national defense decisions in the West Wing. Not to worry, though: if the Pentagon follows @realDonaldTrump they’ll learn about them soon enough.

Mattis fell victim to the combination of the military compulsion that “the job is never done” and the national security bureaucracy’s reflex to oppose whatever Russia is doing, even if what it is doing will embroil it a quagmire like Syria.

In Syria it wasn’t just a case of a job left undone, but the inevitable mission creep. What started as a mission to defeat ISIS became a mission to expel Iranian influence from Syria, thinking that can only charitably be called hallucinatory, no matter how good those 2,000 troops are. The proponents of this idea, Mattis among them, forgot that Iran wants access to Syria more than we want them to leave and that Tehran will play dirty for as long as it takes, ergo Iran will win.

Trump’s decision to quit Syria will make Russia and Iran responsible for finishing off ISIS, which they will do with more brutal dispatch that the U.S. would have mustered — good for us. We’re off the hook for paying for Syria’s reconstruction, estimated to cost between $250 billion and $400 billion — also good for us. Jockeying by Iran and Russia, neither of whom can afford reconstruction, will cause tension between the “victors” — very good for us.

Turkey has said it will take over the fight against ISIS after the U.S. pullout, which may ease tensions between Washington and Ankara over U.S. support for the Syrian Kurds. The U.S. should ensure that Turkey gets the intelligence and airpower support it needs to not get crossways with Russian and Iranian forces (or maybe to do just that), and to demonstrate to Erdogan that Turkey’s real friend is NATO, and not Russia, China, or Iran.

Mattis did not understand, or did not want to understand, he was a political appointee, and that meant executing the policy of the elected officials. He never discerned that Trump is clearing the decks before the looming contest with China, ridding the U.S. of legacy conflicts like Syria where we won’t win, and Afghanistan where we’ve already lost.

James Durso (@james_durso) is the Managing Director of Corsair LLC, a supply chain consultancy. He was a professional staff member at the 2005 Defense Base Closure and Realignment Commission and the Commission on Wartime Contracting in Iraq and Afghanistan. Mr. Durso served as a U.S. Navy officer for 20 years and specialized in logistics and security assistance. His overseas military postings were in Kuwait and Saudi Arabia, and he served in Iraq as a civilian transport advisor with the Coalition Provisional Authority. He served afloat as Supply Officer of the submarine USS SKATE (SSN 578).

Ending secret science at EPA

Ending secret science at EPA 

Administrator Pruitt initiates overdue changes to bring transparency, integrity to rulemaking 

Paul Driessen 

Environmental Protection Agency Administrator Scott Pruitt has proposed to end the longstanding EPA practice of using secretive, often questionable, even deceptive science to support agency policy and regulatory initiatives. His proposed rules will ensure that any science underlying agency actions is transparent and publicly available for independent experts to examine and validate – or point out its flaws.

It also responds to growing concerns that extensive scientific research in environmental, medical and other arenas cannot be replicated by other scientists, or is compromised by cherry-picked data, poor research design, sloppy analysis or biased researchers. The situation has led to calls for increased sharing of data and methodologies, more independent peer review and other actions to weed out problems. There is no excuse for hiding data when studies are funded by taxpayers or used to justify regulations. 

The situation has been especially acute at EPA. As Mr. Pruitt observed, “The ability to test, authenticate and reproduce scientific findings is vital for the integrity of the rule making process. Americans deserve to assess the legitimacy of the science underpinning EPA decisions that may impact their lives.” 

That is particularly true for regulations that exact millions or billions in compliance costs, affect thousands of jobs, target industries and coal-fired electricity generators that regulators want to close down, or seek to replace all fossil fuel use with “renewable” energy. With the cumulative economic impact of federal regulations reaching nearly $2 trillion per year, research reform is absolutely essential. 

We need regulation and pollution control – but it must be based on solid, replicable, honest science.  

Congressman Lamar Smith (R-TX) has held hearings and championed multiple bills to address the problem. Several have been passed by the House of Representatives, only to languish in the Senate. With courts offering little or no help, Executive Branch action may be the only remaining solution. 

Deceptive, faulty science on fine particulate pollution (PM2.5) was the bedrock of the Obama EPA’s war on coal. Particulates don’t just make you sick; they are directly related “to dying sooner than you should,” EPA Administrator Lisa Jackson falsely told Congress. There is no level “at which premature mortality effects do not occur,” Mr. Obama’s next Administrator Gina McCarthy dishonestly testified. 

At the same time they made these claims, they were presiding over illegal experiments on humans – including people with asthma, diabetes and heart disease – who were subjected to eight, 30 or even 60 times more particulates per volume, for up to two hours, than what EPA claimed are dangerous or lethal. None of them got sick, proving that EPA’s claims were false. The agency refused to correct its claims. 

EPA took a similar stance on mercury – asserting that power plant emissions were causing dangerously high mercury levels in American children and pregnant women. In reality, US power plants account for just 0.5% of all the mercury in the air Americans breathe, and blood mercury counts for US women and children are well below even EPA’s excessively safe levels, according to the Centers for Disease Control. 

How did EPA’s junk science, illegal experiments and heavy-handed regulations pass muster? For one thing, politics too often dictated the science. In addition, the agency paid more than $180 million over a 16-year period to institutions represented by members of its Clean Air Scientific Advisory Committee (CASAC), which often rubberstamped studies and conclusions that failed integrity and transparency tests. 

On global warming, EPA issued an Endangerment Finding, which claimed emissions of (plant-fertilizing) carbon dioxide from burning fossil fuels threatened the health and welfare of American citizens. 

It reached this conclusion by looking only at studies and computer models from the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, while ignoring volumes of studies by independent scientists who found no such threat. EPA officials even told one of the agency’s own senior experts that his studies would not be shared with agency staff and he was to cease any further work on climate change, because his analyses “do not help the legal or policy case for this decision” that fossil fuel CO2 emissions endanger Americans. 

EPA was also a principal force behind the “social cost of carbon” scheme that supposedly calculated how much CO2-driven climate change would cost the United States and how those costs would be reduced by slashing fossil fuel use. The alleged cost of damages began at an arbitrary $22 per ton of carbon dioxide released in 2010, then climbed to an equally random $30 per ton in 2013 and $40 per ton in 2016. 

Incredibly, EPA modelers also claimed they can accurately forecast global temperatures, climate and weather, technological advances, economic development, living standards – and damages to global civilizations and ecosystems from US carbon dioxide emissions – for the next 300 years! Moreover, in the real world, the benefits of using carbon-based fuels and improving crop, forest and grassland growth via higher atmospheric CO2 levels outweigh hypothesized costs by at least 50-to-1 to as much as 500-to-1. 

Deceptive, politicized, policy-driven “science” like this pervaded EPA regulatory actions for too many years. Reaction to Mr. Pruitt’s corrective actions show how poorly informed his critics can be. 

* The changes will force researchers to reveal personal or confidential information about participants in health studies. No they won’t. Such information is not needed and can easily be redacted. 

* EPA can keep us safe from harmful chemicals only if it takes full advantage of all available scientific research. Public health and safety depend on ensuring that research and data purportedly supporting it are made public and carefully reviewed by multiple experts, to ensure accuracy and integrity. EPA will take full advantage of all available research that passes these tests. Tax-funded studies should all be public! 

* The rules will exclude studies that rely on outside funding sources which limit access to underlying data. Those studies should be excluded. The funders need to revise their policies to ensure integrity.  

* The rules will exclude so much research that they will endanger public health. Not so. The only studies EPA will likely not see is what researchers know will not pass muster, and thus do not submit. The real danger comes from research that is based on shoddy data, algorithms, models and analyses that past researchers have been able to keep secret. That is precisely what the rules will ferret out and correct. 

* Pruitt has removed scientists who receive EPA funding from participating in advisory committees. As noted above, those scientists had received millions of dollars in exchange for supporting EPA analyses, initiatives and regulations. Pruitt wants input from experts whose views can be trusted.

* Pruitt has criticized the peer review process. Too many peer reviews have been conducted by closed circles of associated scientists who rely on government grants and support regulatory decisions to maintain funding. Some refused to share data with experts who might critique their work – or worked to keep contrarian research out of scientific journals. The fact that some journals rarely require access to or review of underlying data further demonstrates why the peer review process also needs to be reformed.  

Too many past EPA policies, policy-driven research and regulations have been employed to force the nation to abandon fossil fuels that still supply 80% of US and global energy – and switch to expensive, intermittent, unreliable wind and solar energy installations that will require unsustainable amounts of land and raw materials, while destroying wildlife habitats and slaughtering birds and bats by the millions.

Those actions also killed numerous jobs and left many communities impoverished. Simply put, the danger to Americans’ health and welfare, livelihoods and living standards is regulations imposed in response to secretive, sloppy, substandard science that has ill-served EPA and the nation. 

Ethics charges against Mr. Pruitt should be evaluated with all this in mind – and while acknowledging that members of Congress who are railing against him never complained about Lisa Jackson or Gina McCarthy’s CASAC payment abuses, illegal experiments on human test subjects, false testimony about particulates, EPA-orchestrated sue-and-settle lawsuits that imposed billions in regulations while enriching environmentalist groups … and junk-science regulations that cost the United States incalculable billions of dollars, brought no environmental benefits, and impaired the welfare of millions of people. 

Pruitt’s reforms are long overdue. Honest politicians, journalists and voters will applaud him and them. Other government agencies should initiate similar science and rulemaking reforms. 

Paul Driessen is senior policy analyst for the Committee For A Constructive Tomorrow (www.CFACT.org) and author of books and articles on energy and environmental policy. 


New Lawsuit for State Department Unmasking Documents




New Lawsuit for State Department Unmasking Documents
In its final year the Obama administration may have used our nation’s spy apparatus to identify, or “unmask,” members of the Trump campaign and subsequently leaking information about them to the press.
One of the more curious details about this unlawful effort was that Obama’s U.N. ambassador was evidently engaged in unmasking and was doing so at a frenzied pace. We want to know more.
So, we have filed a Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) lawsuit against the U.S. Department of State for “unmasking” and other records tied to Obama’s United Nations Ambassador Samantha Power relating to the ongoing investigation into Russian meddling in the 2016 election (Judicial Watch v. U.S. Department of State (No. 1:18-cv-00300)).
Unmasking refers generally to the practice of political appointees obtaining the identities of American citizens referenced in intelligence surveillance of foreign nationals.  
We sued the State Department after it failed to respond to our October 31, 2017, FOIA request seeking information about Power’s unusual unmasking requests, including:
All requests for information submitted to any Intelligence Community member agency by former United States Ambassador to the United Nations Samantha Power concerning, regarding, or relating to the following:  

  • Any actual or suspected effort by the Russian government or any individual acting on behalf of the Russian government to influence or otherwise interfere with the 2016 presidential election.  
    • The alleged hacking of computer systems utilized by the Democratic National Committee and/or the Clinton presidential campaign. 
    • Any actual or suspected communication between any member of the Trump presidential campaign or transition team and any official or employee of the Russian government or any individual acting on behalf of the Russian government. 
    • The identities of U.S. citizens associated with the Trump presidential campaign or transition team who were identified pursuant to intelligence collection activities.  

On September 20, 2017, Fox News reported that Power unmasked over 260 persons in her last year as U.S. ambassador to the United Nations in an attempt to uncover associates of President Trump. She “was ‘unmasking’ at such a rapid pace in the final months of the Obama administration that she averaged more than one request for every working day in 2016,” even seeking “information in the days leading up to President Trump’s inauguration.”
On October 13, 2017, Power testified behind closed doors about this matter to the House Intelligence Committee. House Oversight and Government Reform Committee Chairman Trey Gowdy, who also sits on the Intelligence Committee, stated that, “Her testimony is they [the unmasking requests] may be under my name, but I did not make those requests.”
Unmasking and then illegally leaking the names of Trump team members caught up in foreign intelligence gathering would have been an incredible, but unsurprising abuse by the Obama administration. Was the Clinton-DNC dossier also used as justification to abuse intelligence data and “unmask” American citizens to help Hillary Clinton and undermine Donald Trump? And why is the Tillerson State Department stonewalling our FOIA investigation into this potentially illegal conduct by its agency employees?
Separately, in a response to a FOIA request, we were told by the National Security Council (NSC) in May 2017 that the materials regarding the unmasking by Obama National Security Advisor Susan Rice of “the identities of any U.S. citizens associated with the Trump presidential campaign or transition team” have been removed to the Obama Library. 
We filed a separate FOIA lawsuit against the U.S. Department of Justice and the National Security Agency (NSA) for information about Obama National Security Advisor Susan Rice’s communications with the two agencies concerning the alleged Russian involvement in the 2016 presidential election, the hacking of DNC computers, the suspected communications between Russia and Trump campaign/transition officials, and  the unmasking of the identities of any U.S. citizens associated with the Trump presidential campaign or transition team who were identified pursuant to intelligence collection activities (Judicial Watch v. U.S. Department of Justice and National Security Administration (No. 1:17-cv-01002)).
Remember, if they can do it to Donald Trump and other political opponents, they can do it to you. This is why Judicial Watch is battling in court for answers now….
VA Secretary Was Misled by Staff about Veteran Prosecuted for Posting Flag
You’ve followed our coverage of the elderly veteran prosecuted for allegedly posting small American flags outside a veterans’ facility in California. This story just gets stranger the more we learn about it. Our Corruption Chronicles blog has the details:

The Secretary of Veterans Affairs was misled by his inner circle about a case involving an elderly Army veteran criminally prosecuted for displaying the American Flag at a southern California VA facility, documents obtained by Judicial Watch show. After seeing a news report about the preposterous case, VA Secretary David J. Shulkin asked his chief of staff, Vivieca Wright, to check if the story was correct, the documents show. In an electronic mail to his chief of staff, Shulkin writes that if the story is accurate “we should not be pressing charges and we should do a release saying so.” Shulkin adds: “I understand that media reports do not always tell the real story.”


Incredibly, the story is real. Robert Rosebrock was federally charged for supposedly hanging a four-by-six-inch American Flag on the outside fence of a VA facility in West Los Angeles on Memorial Day in 2016. The fence is part of the “Great Lawn Gate” and marks the entrance to the Los Angeles National Veterans Park. The public facility is part of a larger, 388-acre parcel that includes the Veterans Home of West Los Angeles. Since 2008, Rosebrock and a group of fellow veterans have assembled at the gate weekly and on Memorial Day to protest the VA’s failure to make full use of the property to benefit veterans, particularly those who are homeless.


Judicial Watch helped represent Rosebrock, who faced up to six months in jail for the ghastly offense of reportedly affixing Old Glory at a site honoring those who served their country. He was also charged with taking unauthorized photographs of both the Flag and VA police, but a judge ruledin mid-April that the charges violated the First Amendment. The Trump Department of Justice (DOJ) has appealed the dismissal of the two charges, however.


Rosebrock went to trial for the flag charges and on April 18, 2017, a California U.S. District Court ruled that he was not guilty of violating federal law for displaying the two small flags. If found guilty, he would have faced up to six months in prison. More than a month before the trial, VA Secretary Shulkin’s inner circle circulated numerous falsehoods about the case, including that Rosebrock made the choice to go to court rather than pay a fine and that he faced no jail time. Gathering information for their boss, the VA officials also asserted it was “too late” to intervene in the Rosebrock case and that it was “out of our hands” because the case was old even though the trial was weeks away.


VA Deputy Undersecretary Steve Young is included in the email exchanges, which are dated March 4 and 5, 2017. In one email, Marie Weldon, director of the VA’s western healthcare network, tells Young that Rosebrock “was issued a citation from the VA Police and if he chose not to pay the fine then he elects to take it to court which is where it is now.” This is incorrect. Rosebrock had no choice to go to court because the feds were prosecuting him. Weldon adds that Rosebrock has a history of hanging even full-size flags upside down on the fence of VA property. “This was not a first offense and Rosebrock was aware of his consequences,” Weldon, who oversees the healthcare system for 1.2 million veterans, writes to Young.


In another email addressed to Weldon, Wright and Young, the director of the West L.A. VA, Ann Brown, writes: “Forgot to add—he is facing a $25 fine with NO jail time.” Less than 20 minutes later, Wright, the VA Secretary’s chief of staff, forwards the erroneous information to a redacted email address that appears to be her boss’s. Large chunks of type are redacted under federal exemptions throughout the documents, which were provided to Judicial Watch in response to a request for records about Rosebrock. A largely redacted email from Brown to Weldon, Wright and Young discloses that she “met with DOJ about 9 months ago to resolve this and we’re told…” The rest is redacted under exemptions that allow agencies to withhold deliberative process material and protect privacy. It’s unclear how much of the information made it back to Secretary Shulkin. The fact remains however, that high-level VA officials responsible for gathering facts about a case for the agency’s secretary instead circulated serious falsehoods.

Much Needed New Scrutiny of the Clinton Foundation
Will there ever be a serious investigation and prosecution of the Clinton cash machine? Maybe. Micah Morrison, our chief investigative reporter, has an important update in his latest Investigative Bulletin:

Rumors have been floating up from Little Rock for months now of a new investigation into the Clinton Foundation. John Solomon advanced the story recently in a January report for The Hill. FBI agents in the Arkansas capital, he wrote, “have taken the lead” in a new Justice Department inquiry “into whether the Clinton Foundation engaged in any pay-to-play politics or other illegal activities while Hillary Clinton served as secretary of state.” Solomon reports that the probe “may also examine whether any tax-exempt assets were converted for personal or political use and whether the foundation complied with applicable tax laws.”


Main Justice also is “re-examining whether there are any unresolved issues from the closed case into Clinton’s transmission of classified information through her personal email server,” Solomon notes.


Solomon is not alone. The Wall Street Journal is tracking the story. And earlier this month, investigative journalist Peter Schweizer cryptically told SiriusXM radio that federal authorities should “convene a grand jury” in Little Rock “and let the American people look at the evidence” about the Clinton Foundation.


Judicial Watch continues to turn up new evidence of Clinton pay-to-play and mishandling of classified information. In recent months, through FOIA litigation, Judicial Watch has forced the release of more than 2,600 emails and documents from Mrs. Clinton and her associates, with more to come. The emails include evidence of Clinton Foundation donors such XL Keystone lobbyist Gordon Griffin, futures brokerage firm CME Group chairman Terrence Duffy, and an associate of Shangri La Entertainment mogul Steve Bing seeking special favors from the State Department. Read more about Judicial Watch’s pay-to-play disclosures here.


Judicial Watch also revealed many previously unreported incidents of mishandling of classified information. Mrs. Clinton and her former State Department deputy chief of staff, Huma Abedin, sent and received classified information through unsecure channels. The emails and documents involved sensitive information about President Obama, the Middle East, Africa, Afghanistan, Mexico, Burma, India, intelligence-related operations and world leaders. For documents and details from Judicial Watch on the mishandling of classified information, see here, here, hereand here.


Smelling a rat in Arkansas when it comes to the Clintons of course is nothing new, and the former First Couple are masters of the gray areas around pay-to-play. But mishandling of classified information is a serious matter. And the tax angle is intriguing, even if you’re not Al Capone. The tenacious financial expert Charles Ortel, who has been digging deep into Clinton finances for years, told us back in 2015 that there are “epic problems” with the entire Clinton Foundation edifice, which traces its origins back to Arkansas. He noted that independent accounting firms may have been “duped by false and materially misleading representations” made by Clinton charitable entities. Down in Arkansas, law enforcement may be finally catching up with Ortel’s insights.

Until next week …

President Tom Fitton


David Horowitz Freedom Center

The memo’s been released…  

…and the shocking information we’ve learned in the past 24 hours shows the worst treason in living memory – perhaps ever – in the history of our Republic.  

We now know with certainty that there’s a “state within a state” functioning inside our government with one destructive goal:  to take down the Trump administration. 

Disturbing doesn’t begin to cover it.  

So I hope you’ll scroll down to read Daniel Greenfield’s FrontPage Magazine article explaining the impact of the Left’s efforts to destroy the Trump presidency. 

David Horowitz 

David Horowitz

The memo has been released, now it’s time to release everything.

February 2, 2018 
Daniel Greenfield 

The Democrats and the media spent a week lying to the American people about the “memo.”  

The memo was full of “classified information” and releasing” it would expose “our spying methods.” By “our,” they didn’t mean American spying methods. They meant Obama’s spying methods. 

A former White House Ethics Lawyer claimed that the Nunes memo would undermine “national security.” On MSNBC, Senator Chris Van Hollen threatened that if the memo is released, the FBI and DOJ “will refuse to share information with the House and Senate Intelligence Committees.” 

Senator Cory Booker howled that releasing the memo was “treasonous” and might be “revealing sources and methods” and even “endangering fellow Americans in the intelligence community.” 

The memo isn’t treasonous. It reveals a treasonous effort by the Democrats to use our intelligence agencies to rig an election and overturn the will of the voters. 

The only two “sources” 18 are Christopher Steele, who was funded by the Clinton campaign, and a Yahoo News article, that were used to obtain a FISA warrant against a Trump associate. That Yahoo story came from Michael Isikoff, the reporter who knew about Bill Clinton’s affair with Monica Lewinsky but suppressed it. It was based on more leaks from Steele which the FBI and DOJ chose to ignore. Steele’s identity was already well known. The only new source revealed is Yahoo News. 

No vital intelligence sources were compromised at Yahoo News. And no Yahoo News agents were killed. 

The media spent a week lying to Americans about the dangers of the memo because it didn’t want them to find out what was inside. Today, the media and Dems switched from claiming that the memo was full of “classified information” that might get CIA agents killed to insisting that it was a dud and didn’t matter. Oh what tangled webs we weave when first we practice to deceive. 

On Thursday, the narrative was that the memo would devastate our national security and no one should ever be allowed to read it. By Friday, the new narrative was that the memo tells us nothing important and we shouldn’t even bother reading it. The lies change, but suppressing the memo remains the goal. 

Rep. Nadler, infamous for securing pardons for Weather Underground bombers, got caught between narratives when he insisted that the memo was “overhyped,” but suggested that it “endangers national security.” “I don’t think anybody will be terribly shocked by what’s in the memo,” he told CNN.  

And requested an emergency meeting of the House Judiciary Committee – a body he will head if Democrats win the mid-term elections.  

Calling emergency meetings is not the response to an “overhyped” and non-shocking memo. 

There is no legitimately classified information in the Nunes memo. But it does endanger a number of “Americans” in the “intelligence community” who colluded with the Clinton campaign against America.  

It endangers former FBI Director Comey, former Deputy Attorney General Sally Yates, former Deputy Director Andrew McCabe, current Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein and the current FBI General Counsel Dana Boente who had previously served as the Acting Attorney General. These men and women had allegedly signed FISA applications that were at best misleading and at worst badly tainted. 

The Clinton campaign had enlisted figures in the FBI and the DOJ to manipulate an election. The coup against America operated as a “state within a state” inside the United States government.  

“The political origins of the Steele dossier were then known to senior DOJ and FBI officials,” the memo informs us. But they did not reveal on the FISA application that their core evidence came from the Clinton campaign. Sources were certainly being protected. But they were Clinton sources. 

The memo reveals that without the Steele dossier there would have been no eavesdropping on Carter Page, the Trump associate targeted in this particular case. “Deputy Director McCabe testified before the Committee in December 2017 that no surveillance warrant would have been sought from the FISC without the Steele dossier information.” But the FISA application neglected to mention that its primary source had been paid by the Clinton campaign, was unverified and would continue to be unverified. 

FBI Director Comey testified that he had told President Trump that the dossier was “unverified.” Yet the “unverified” piece of opposition research was used as the basis for a FISA application. 

As Rep. Jim Jordan noted, “FBI takes ‘salacious and unverified’ dossier to secret court to get secret warrant to spy on a fellow American, and FBI doesn’t tell the court that the DNC/Clinton campaign paid for that dossier. And they did that FOUR times.” 

“There’s been no evidence of a corrupt evidence to obtain warrants against people in the Trump campaign,” Rep. Adam Schiff insisted. That’s why he tried to block the release of the evidence. 

The evidence was unverified opposition research. Its source had been paid by the Clinton campaign. Not only had Steele been indirectly working for the Clinton campaign (when he wasn’t being paid by the FBI), but he made no secret of his own political agenda to stop Trump. 

“In September 2016, Steele admitted to Ohr his feelings against then-candidate Trump when Steele said he “was desperate that Donald Trump not get elected and was passionate about him not being president,” the memo informs us. 

That’s former Associate Deputy Attorney General Bruce Ohr whose wife was being paid by an organization hired by the Clinton campaign to investigate Trump. Ohr then passed along his wife’s opposition research to the FBI. The evidence couldn’t be any more corrupt than that. 

Steele was passionate about Trump “not being president.” So were his handlers who ignored his leaks to the media until he “was suspended and then terminated as an FBI source for what the FBI defines as the most serious of violations-an unauthorized disclosure to the media of his relationship with the FBI.” His previous meetings, including the one that allegedly generated the Yahoo News article, were ignored. 

Tainted investigations are nothing new. Law enforcement is as fallible as any other profession. But the memo reveals a snapshot of just how many top figures colluded in this corrupted and tainted effort. 

What drove them to violate professional ethical norms and legal requirements in the FISA applications? 

Top DOJ and FBI officials shared Steele’s “passion,” and that of his ultimate employer, Hillary Clinton, to stop Donald Trump at all costs. And they’re still trying to use the Mueller investigation to overturn the election results in a government coup that makes Watergate look like a children’s tea party, 

Former Deputy Director Andrew McCabe is already under investigation. He’s suspected of trying to sit on the Wiener emailsuntil the election was over. This alleged failed cover-up triggered the Comey letter which hurt Hillary worse than a timely revelation would have. McCabe’s wife had financial links to the Clintons.  

Former Acting Attorney General Sally Yates was an Obama holdover who had foolishly tried to use the DOJ to go to war with President Trump. Both Yates and Dana Boente were Obama and Holder choices. During the groundless prosecution of the former Republican governor of Virginia, Boente had declared, “No one is above the law.” We’ll see if that’s true with everyone who signed the FISA applications. 

If Boente signed false or misleading FISA applications, he should be removed as FBI General Counsel. 

The memo is only the first crack in the wall. But it’s grounds for an investigation that will expose the abuses that led to eavesdropping on Trump officials. And the motives of those who perpetuated them.  

A Washington Post piece suggested that just releasing the memo alone would allow Mueller to charge President Trump with “obstruction of justice.” That’s how badly they want to get Trump. 

A clear and simple fact emerges from the memo. 

Top figures in the DOJ and the FBI, some loyal to Obama and Hillary, abused the FISA process in the hopes of influencing or reversing the results of an election by targeting their political opponents. The tool that they used for the job came from the Clinton campaign. Using America’s intelligence services to destroy and defeat a political opponent running for president is the worst possible abuse of power and an unprecedented threat to a democratic system of free open elections.  

We have been treated to frequent lectures about the independence of the DOJ and the FBI. But our country isn’t based around government institutions that are independent of oversight by elected officials. When unelected officials have more power than elected officials, that’s tyranny.  

A Justice Department that acts as the Praetorian Guard for a political campaign is committing a coup and engaging in treason. The complex ways that the Steele dossier was laundered from the Clinton campaign to a FISA application is evidence of a conspiracy by both the DOJ and the Clinton campaign.  

It’s time for us to learn about all the FISA abuses, the list of NSA unmasking requests of Trump officials by Obama officials and the eavesdropping on members of Congress. We deserve to know the truth. 

The memo has been released. Now it’s time to release everything.