| China’s Military Power Play
May 18th 2018, 17:15, by Secure Freedom Radio
With Adm. James ‘Ace’ Lyons, Bill Gertz and Nik Kowsar
ADM. JAMES ‘ACE’ LYONS, Former Commander in chief of the U.S. Pacific Fleet, Served as Senior U.S. Military Representative to the United Nationas, Deputy Chief of Naval Operations from 1983-1985:
- China’s emerging military power
- How to counter Beijing’s objective to dominate sea
- Geo-strategic implications of South China Sea
- Importance of improving Taiwan’s military capabilities
- The militarization of space
- Prospects for US-NK upcoming talks
BILL GERTZ, Senior editor at the Washington Free Beacon, Inside the Ring columnist at the Washington Times, Author of iWar: War and Peace in the Information Age (2016):
- House Intelligence Committee’s hearing on threat from China
- What are the top tier threats the US faces?
- Captain Fannell’s critical warning for America
NIK KOWSAR, Iranian-Canadian cartoonist, blogger and journalist living in D.C., Arrested in 2000 for a cartoon and spent 6 days at the Evin Prison in Tehran, Editor of Khodnevis, a citizen journal platform:
- Comparing Iranian regime to Star Wars saga
- How wide spread is Iranian rebellion currently?
- Why targeted sanctions work
| RIP Richard Pipes, Hero of the Cold War
May 18th 2018, 11:30, by Frank Gaffney, Jr.
Ronald Reagan trenchantly warned that “every generation faces an existential threat to freedom.” Yesterday, America lost Richard Pipes, a man who played an outsized, yet largely unsung, role in helping President Reagan defeat that threat in his time: Soviet Communism.
Professor Pipes was the world’s foremost historian of Russia, before, during and after Vladimir Lenin and his Bolshevik revolutionaries conquered that country. He was also a driving force behind the Committee on the Present Danger and “Team B,” two groups that helped Mr. Reagan conceive and then execute a strategy for liberating Russians and the world of the Soviet blight.
A hearing in the House Intelligence Committee yesterday underscored the need for a similar strategy and effort to counter our time’s Communist threat to freedom: China. It will be inspired by the leadership and success of Dr. Richard Pipes.
| Hamas Turmoil in Gaza is a Reflection of a Deeper Development…
May 17th 2018, 19:37, by Luis Fleischman
For the last six weeks, Hamas has been organizing protests under the slogan “the march of return.” The protests are presented to the world as peaceful demonstrations, but as the demonstrations unfold, Hamas operatives begin to activate their people urging them to breach the Gaza/Israel border fence. Then, they proceed to instruct their terrorists to use gun fire against Israeli soldiers, and fly inflammable kites aimed at burning fields. Participation in protests is encouraged either by offering payment to participants or by applying direct threats. Women are sent to the forefront of the marches to give Western TV crews the impression that the demonstrations are genuine, spontaneous and conducted by innocent and defenseless individuals.
The purpose, of course, is to trigger an Israeli reaction that would lead to the killing of Palestinians, as martyrdom has always been part of Hamas strategy and indoctrination. That killing would provoke a reaction of anger in the Palestinian and Arab streets. The world would react with outrage. The United Nations would follow with a condemnation while too many western analysts and media would repeat the unfounded notion that the absence of peace between Israel and the Palestinians causes violence and terror.
The last wave of violence was planned on the day the United States transferred its embassy from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem. That provided an additional reason to mislead the public and make it believe that Hamas has a reasonable motive to start terror activities, regardless of how many times the group has undermined and destroyed the peace process by weakening the Palestinian Authority, murdering its soldiers and carrying terrorist attacks against Israeli civilians. There is no need to remind our readers that Hamas has vowed to destroy the state of Israel.
However, this time there might be a deeper reason why Hamas started its provocation.
The Arab world finds itself in the midst of a very serious internal struggle for its soul. The Arab Spring has slowly begun to change the social contract between the Arab people and its rulers. Arab states are now forced to take into account the well-being and desires of their citizens, long scorned by Arab secular autocracies. Arab states try to avoid a mass rebellion and thus they are trying to respond to some pressing domestic issues.
For decades, Arab authoritarian regimes and religious fanatics used Israel as a scapegoat, as an external enemy and a big threat. This is not easily sold to the Arab public today. Arabs may not think highly of Israel but Israel is not their priority. As a young Arab intellectual told me: “We don’t care about the Palestinians. It is not our problem. We care about ourselves and our future prosperity.” In the Arab world, priority is given to economic improvement, restoration of security, reduction of high levels of illiteracy, and the future of their children
Thus, though Islamic radical extremists and violent groups have tried to capitalize on the chaos generated by the Arab spring in order to gain political power, they so far have failed to achieve what they wanted and expected.
In Egypt, the Muslim Brotherhood was deposed with the blessing of the majority of Egyptian parties and groups. The government of Abdel Fattah El Sisi that deposed the Brotherhood is indeed authoritarian. However, according to several Arab intellectuals with whom I recently spoke, it enjoys support from Egyptians by virtue of the fact that during the year that the Brotherhood ruled Egypt, the country fell into a state of chaos, insecurity and disarray. Furthermore, he added, Egyptians are watching what is happening in other countries of the region such as Syria, Libya and Yemen where civil wars are having devastating effects. Egyptians view El Sisi as the person who saved the unity of the country and restored order. My Arab interlocutors told me cut and clear: people are afraid of Islamists and religious fanatics.
Along these lines, in Tunisia, the Islamist party known as “Enhanda” understood that Tunisian citizens were not willing to live the kind of life that Islamists proposed. Thus, it evolved into a party that attempts to adapt to what Tunisian citizens really demand, which is freedom from tyrannical rule and better conditions. Enhanda also accepted defeat in the elections and transfer of power. Furthermore, the leader of the party, Rachid Ghanouchi openly and publicly rejected the Iran/Taliban type of religious coercive/totalitarian rule.
Likewise, the atrocities committed by ISIS in Syria and Iraq and the fact that ISIS ruled part of these territories, became living proof of what living under Islamic rule is like. This has contributed to discrediting Islamists as well. As I was told by one of the Arab intellectuals I spoke with, “How is it that these organizations that represent religious extremism carry signs that call for Death to America and Israel but we, Arabs, are the only ones dying”?
In fact, even regarding Israel, things have begun to change. El Sisi has introduced the peace agreement with Israel in the curriculum of Egyptian schools; Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed Bin Salman recognized Israel’s right to have a homeland (thus indirectly also recognized the right of the Jewish nation to have a homeland); and; Bahrain, in an unusual statement, recognized Israel’s right to defend itself. In addition, these countries and Israel have been working together for some time to counteract Iran’s regional expansion.
To be sure, radical Islam has not yet been defeated. There is still a long way to go to remove its toxic and malicious influence. However, they are in military and political retreat despite their continuous acts of terrorism. ISIS is being defeated in the Levant. Iran has been pushed to the corner and forced to beg to the Europeans to keep the deal so vital for their economic survival. Furthermore, recent confrontations between Iran and Israel in Syria and the destruction of Iran’s infrastructure in Syria have exposed Iran as weak and vulnerable.
Most importantly, as the Tunisian and Egyptian case show, the situation generated after the Arab Spring has shown that their ways are not accepted by a large segment of the Arab public. As it was previously mentioned, Islamist parties such as Enhanda have turned pragmatic and focused on economic challenges , which is the priority of the Arab street.
Thus, Hamas’s bombastic acts such as the “March of Return“ were aimed to serve not only Palestinian Islamic radicalism. It is important to remember that Hamas is not just a Palestinian organization. It views itself as part of a larger Pan–Islamist movement. It is an offshoot of the Egyptian Muslim Brotherhood, and it is supported by Iran, ISIS, Qatar and last but not least Turkey. Turkey, that once was presented as a model of democratic Islam (even by our own former President Barack Obama), is clearly showing its radical Islamist face. As scholar Soner Captgay pointed out last February, Islamic law is gaining ground in large sectors of Turkish society. Turkey’s military actions in Syria have been described as “jihad”; Turkey’s 90,000 mosques were instructed to recite the Koran’s ‘Prayer of conquest”; and; national police are actively involved in intimidation and censorship of writings and comments considered to be offensive to Islam. Turkey’s Ministry of Education is using its power to impose Islamic practices in public schools and force teachers to bring students to pray in local Mosques.
Turkey’s foreign policy has been to make alliances with Iran and the Egyptian Muslim Brotherhood. It facilitated ISIS activities while launching a war against Kurdish groups that were fighting the Islamic State. In its rhetoric, Turkey is as hostile to Israel and to the Jewish people as any radical Islamist group and Iran and is currently a key supporter of Hamas.
The bloodshed and immolation of Palestinians organized by Hamas is not only an attempt to revive the Palestinian cause but also revitalize radical Islam in general.
Hamas actions are not about freedom for the Palestinians, the site of the American Embassy, or about the Israeli blockade. It is about the radical Islamic agenda, Palestinian and beyond, seeking a new impulse in the midst of defeat and isolation.
| Asymmetric Threat Symposium X Report: What Does It Take to Protect…
May 17th 2018, 18:25, by Center for Security Policy
The full Asymmetric Threat Symposium X Report: What Does It Take to Protect America? Combatting Global Asymmetric Threats
is now available online at asymmetricthreat.net
We also invite you to “Save the Date” for the 2018 symposium, which will be held in the same venue, Valo Park, on October 17, 2018.
| EU Refugee and Migrant Influx
May 17th 2018, 14:22, by Secure Freedom Radio
With Soeren Kern
SOEREN KERN, Distinguished Senior Fellow at the Gatestone Institute, Senior Analyst for Transatlantic Relations at the Madrid based Grupo de Estudios Estrategicos (Strategic Studies Group), Contributing Analyst for Jane’s Information Group on Basque and Islamic terrorism in Spain:
- US- Europe division post WWII
- Implications of the migration influx in Europe
- Multi-culturalism vs. nationalism
- Consequences of German policy makers appeasing new migrants
- Sharia blasphemy restrictions in Europe
- How widespread is the phenomenon of ‘no-go zones’ in Europe?
- Dangers of Sharia law
- The Organization of Islamic Cooperation and free speech
- Implications of UN Human rights Council Resolution 1618
- Differentiating immigration vs. mass migration
| Trade War? What About China’s ‘Unrestricted Warfare’ Against Us?
May 17th 2018, 11:55, by Frank Gaffney, Jr.
Amidst acrimonious U.S.-China trade talks in Washington today, the House Intelligence Committee will begin a series of hearings examining evidence of Communist China’s growing capacity to inflict mortal harm on this country and its interests – and Beijing’s intention to do so.
Testimony today will focus on the extraordinary military build-up that is inexorably transforming China into a superpower in every sense of the word, capable of projecting power worldwide.
Future hearings are expected to examine how, even before Beijing has achieved such might, it is using a variety of non-military techniques – including influence operations, espionage, economic warfare, cyber attacks, overseas base construction and space control – to wage unrestricted warfare against us.
Let’s hope the record House Intelligence Committee Chairman Devin Nunes develops will spur us to adopt appropriate policy and programmatic actions to counter this Chinese threat before it’s too late.
| Europe’s No-Go Zones
May 16th 2018, 15:48, by Secure Freedom Radio
With Liz Yore, Raheem Kassam, Dr. Lawrence Sellin and Joe Connor
LIZ YORE, Attorney and International Child Rights Advocate, Head of End FGM Today:
- Female genital mutilation in the US
- How to best combat FGM
- The End FMG Today campaign
RAHEEM KASSAM, Editor in Chief of Breitbart News London, Shillman-Ginsburg Writing Fellow at the Middle East Forum, Senior Distinguished Fellow at the Gatestone Institute, Former Chief Advisor to UK Independence Party Leader Nigel Farrage, Author of No Go Zones: How Shariah Law is Coming to a Neighborhood Near You:
- The reality of ‘No Go Zones’ in Europe and the US
- Consequences of migrant influx in UK
DR. LAWRENCE SELLIN, Author of Restoring the Republic: Arguments for a Second American Revolution, Retired Colonel with 29 years of service in the US Army Reserve, Veteran of Afghanistan and Iraq:
- Noor Sharif on Mumbai attack
- China’s plans for naval base in Pakistan
- What is Beijing’s long game for Korea?
JOE CONNOR, Co-Author of “Shattered Lives: Overcoming the Fraunces Tavern Terror”:
- How some politicians use terror to further agendas
- The politicization of the FBI
| Kim Jong-un’s Mask Slips, Exposing His Puppet-Master’s Hand
May 16th 2018, 11:32, by Frank Gaffney, Jr.
North Korean dictator Kim Jong-un has begun throwing tantrums about the terms of his planned summit with President Donald Trump and the complete denuclearization of the Korean peninsula it’s supposed to advance. Supposedly, he’s upset at joint U.S.-South Korea military exercises and National Security Advisor John Bolton.
The real reason the mask of Kim’s charm offensive is slipping surely has more to do with the orders this puppet has received from his master, Communist China’s dictator Xi Jinping. If not before, certainly from now on, Xi’s interest in perpetuating the threat posed to us by his client will determine what, if anything, comes of U.S.-North Korean negotiations.
If that’s the case, there is no point to our legitimating Kim Jong-un – let alone propping up his horrifically repressive regime. And we are far better off knowing that now than discovering it later.
| Hamas-Led Protest in Gaza Continues
May 15th 2018, 18:21, by Secure Freedom Radio
With Ambassador Yoram Ettinger
AMB. YORAM ETTINGER, Former Minister for Congressional Affairs at Israel’s Embassy in D.C., Consultant to Israeli and U.S. Legislators:
- The opening of US Embassy in Jerusalem
- Current state of US-Israeli relations
- What does the ‘Middle East peace process’ look like?
- Significance of recent Saudi-Israeli cooperation
- Implications of Hamas led protests in Gaza
- Sharia supremacists and the call for the destruction of Israel
- History of Middle east peace initiatives
- What is Erdogan’s new ‘red line?’
- Netanyahu’s uncovering of Iranian nuclear archives
- Importance of Trump withdrawing US from JCPOA
| Center’s Fleitz says “Brennan’s claims are impossible to believe”
May 15th 2018, 16:12, by Paul Sperry
Originally posted on RealClear Investigations
Former CIA Director John Brennan’s insistence that the salacious and unverified Steele dossier was not part of the official Intelligence Community Assessment on Russian interference in the 2016 election is being contradicted by two top former officials.
Recently retired National Security Agency Director Michael Rogers stated in a classified letter to Congress that the Clinton campaign-funded memos did factor into the ICA. And James Clapper, Director of National Intelligence under President Obama, conceded in a recent CNN interview that the assessment was based on “some of the substantive content of the dossier.” Without elaborating, he maintained that “we were able to corroborate” certain allegations.
These accounts are at odds with Brennan’s May 2017 testimony before the House Intelligence Committee that the Steele dossier was “not in any way used as the basis for the intelligence community’s assessment” that Russia interfered in the election to help elect Donald Trump. Brennan has repeated this claim numerous times, including in February on “Meet the Press.”
In a March 5, 2018, letter to House Intelligence Committee Chairman Devin Nunes, Adm. Rogers informed the committee that a two-page summary of the dossier — described as “the Christopher Steele information” — was “added” as an “appendix to the ICA draft,” and that consideration of that appendix was “part of the overall ICA review/approval process.”
His skepticism of the dossier may explain why the NSA parted company with other intelligence agencies and cast doubt on one of its crucial conclusions: that Vladimir Putin personally ordered a cyberattack on Hillary Clinton’s campaign to help Donald Trump win the White House.
Rogers has testified that while he was sure the Russians wanted to hurt Clinton, he wasn’t as confident as CIA and FBI officials that their actions were designed to help Trump, explaining that such as assessment “didn’t have the same level of sourcing and the same level of multiple sources.”
The dossier, which is made up of 16 opposition research-style memos on Trump underwritten by the Democratic National Committee and Clinton’s own campaign, is based mostly on uncorroborated third-hand sources. Still, the ICA has been viewed by much of the Washington establishment as the unimpeachable consensus of the U.S. intelligence community. Its conclusions that “Vladimir Putin ordered” the hacking and leaking of Clinton campaign emails “to help Trump’s chances of victory” have driven the “Russia collusion” narrative and subsequent investigations besieging the Trump presidency.
Except that the ICA did not reflect the consensus of the intelligence community. Clapper broke with tradition and decided not to put the assessment out to all 17 U.S. intelligence agencies for review. Instead, he limited input to a couple dozen chosen analysts from just three agencies — the CIA, NSA and FBI. Agencies with relevant expertise on Russia, such as the Department of Homeland Security, Defense Intelligence Agency and the State Department’s intelligence bureau, were excluded from the process.
While faulting Clapper for not following intelligence community tradecraft standards that Clapper himself ordered in 2015, the House Intelligence Committee’s 250-page report also found that the ICA did not properly describe the “quality and credibility of underlying sources” and was not “independent of political considerations.”
In another departure from custom, the report is missing any dissenting views or an annex with evaluations of the conclusions from outside reviewers. “Traditionally, controversial intelligence community assessments like this include dissenting views and the views of an outside review group,” said Fred Fleitz, who worked as a CIA analyst for 19 years and helped draft national intelligence estimates at Langley. “It also should have been thoroughly vetted with all relevant IC agencies,” he added. “Why were DHS and DIA excluded?”
Fleitz suggests that the Obama administration limited the number of players involved in the analysis to skew the results. He believes the process was “manipulated” to reach a “predetermined political conclusion” that the incoming Republican president was compromised by the Russians.
“I’ve never viewed the ICA as credible,” the CIA veteran added.
A source close to the House investigation said Brennan himself selected the CIA and FBI analysts who worked on the ICA, and that they included former FBI counterespionage chief Peter Strzok.
“Strzok was the intermediary between Brennan and [former FBI Director James] Comey, and he was one of the authors of the ICA,” according to the source.
Last year, Strzok was reassigned to another department and removed from Special Counsel Robert Mueller’s investigation after anti-Trump and pro-Clinton text messages he wrote to another investigator during the 2016 campaign were discovered by the Justice Department’s inspector general. Strzok remains under IG investigation, along with other senior FBI officials, for possible misconduct.
Strzok led the FBI’s investigation of Trump campaign ties to Russia during 2016, including obtaining electronic surveillance warrants on Carter Page and other campaign advisers. The Page warrant relied heavily on unverified allegations contained in the Democratic Party-funded dossier.
Brennan has sworn the dossier was not “in any way” used as a basis for the ICA. He explains he heard snippets of the dossier from the press in the summer of 2016, but insists he did not see it or read it for himself until late 2016. “Brennan’s claims are impossible to believe,” Fleitz asserted.
“Brennan was pushing the Trump collusion line in mid-2016 and claimed to start the FBI collusion investigation in August 2016,” he said. “It’s impossible to believe Brennan was pushing for this investigation without having read the dossier.”
He also pointed out that the key findings of the ICA match the central allegations in the dossier. The House Intelligence Committee concluded that Brennan, who previously worked in the White House as Obama’s deputy national security adviser, created a “fusion cell” on Russian election interference made up of analysts from the CIA, FBI and NSA, who produced a series of related papers for the White House during the 2016 campaign.
Less than a month after Trump won the election, Obama directed Brennan to conduct a review of all intelligence relating to Russian involvement in the 2016 election and produce a single, comprehensive assessment. Obama was briefed on the findings, along with President-elect Trump, in early January.
“Brennan put some of the dossier material into the PDB [presidential daily briefing] for Obama and described it as coming from a ‘credible source,’ which is how they viewed Steele,” said the source familiar with the House investigation. “But they never corroborated his sources.”
Attempts to reach Brennan for comment were unsuccessful. Several prominent Washington news outlets had access to the dossier during the 2016 campaign – or at least portions of it — but also could not confirm Steele’s allegations. So they shied away from covering them. All that changed in early January 2017, after CNN and The Washington Post learned through Obama administration leaks that the CIA had briefed the president and president-elect about them. Then the allegations became a media feeding frenzy. On Jan. 11, 2017, within days of the dossier briefings and release of the declassified ICA report, BuzzFeed published virtually all of the dossier memos on its website.
The House committee found “significant leaks” of classified information around the time of the ICA — and “many of these leaks were likely from senior officials within the IC.” Its recently released report points to Clapper as the main source of leaks about the presidential briefings involving the dossier. It also suggests that during his July 17, 2017, testimony behind closed doors in executive session, he misled House investigators.
When first asked about leaks related to the ICA in July 2017, Clapper flatly denied “discuss[ing] the dossier or any other intelligence related to Russia hacking of the 2016 election with journalists.” But he subsequently acknowledged discussing the “dossier with CNN journalist Jake Tapper,” and admitted he might have spoken with other journalists about the same issue.
On Jan. 10, 2017, CNN published an article by Tapper and others about the dossier briefings sourced to “multiple U.S. officials with direct knowledge of the briefings.” Tapper shared a byline with lead writer Evan Perez, a close friend of the founders of Fusion GPS, which hired Steele as a subcontractor on the dossier project.
The next day, Clapper expressed his “profound dismay at the leaks that have been appearing in the press,” while stressing that “I do not believe the leaks came from within the IC.” A month after his misleading testimony to House investigators, Clapper joined CNN as a “national security analyst.”
Attempts to reach Clapper for comment were unsuccessful.