#TortureReport: I look forward to the Republican report of how much Democrats knew

December 15, 2014
What did she know?

What did she know?

Setting aside for a moment the questions of what constitutes “torture,” when are harsh methods justified in interrogation, and the effectiveness of such methods, one of the most galling aspects of the Senate Intelligence Committee’s majority report is its raging hypocrisy. Feigning a shock and outrage that would make even Captain Reynault blush with shame, Senate Democrats lead by Dianne Feinstein (D-CA) loudly denounced the CIA (and by extension the Bush administration) for employing tactics that amounted to torture.

Funny how they’re outraged now, when they’ve known for years:

Jose Rodriguez, the CIA’s point man for counterterrorism between 2002 and 2004, told Fox News’s Chris Wallace on Sunday that Democratic lawmakers now accusing the CIA of keeping Congress in the dark on some interrogation methods “knew exactly what we were doing.”

“I remember very clearly briefing [California Democrat] Nancy Pelosi in September of 2002,” he said, claiming he “briefed her specifically on the enhanced-interrogation techniques of Abu Zubayda. So she knew, back in September of 2002, every one of our enhanced interrogation techniques.”

“These people were fully aware of all of the techniques that were given to us and approved by the Office of Legal Counsel at Justice,” Rodriguez continued, saying that neither Nancy Pelosi nor other Democrats — with the exception of then–California congresswoman Jane Harman — “ever objected to the techniques at all.”

Senators knew, too; the article mentions Jay Rockefeller (D-WV) in particular. But I’d like to know just how much Senator Feinstein knew and when she knew it. She’s been on the intelligence committee for years and was surely briefed. But it’s only now, with Democrats soon to lose control of the Senate and Feinstein her chairmanship of the committee, that she decides to rush out this hack-job of a report. I’ll repeat what I wrote in 2009, when Nancy Pelosi was the one screaming over harsh interrogation methods:

You want a truth commission, Mrs. Pelosi? Fine. Bring it on. Let’s have that full-throated discussion of “harsh” interrogation of terrorists who believe they’re doing Allah’s work when they carve off heads or fly planes into buildings and who’d dearly love to set off a nuclear weapon in the US. Let’s clear away the cobwebs of convenient amnesia to let the world know just how much you and your party members supported those same techniques, funding them year after year and even wondering why we weren’t doing more. Let’s bring out all the details of how those techniques saved Americans from horrible deaths and find out what the American people support: a government that recognizes that its highest, first duty is to protect and defend its citizens, or one willing to gut its intelligence service and put the people at risk, all in the name of a preening sanctimony that’s nothing more than a cover for a partisan hack job.

So, let’s have that truth commission, Speaker Pelosi. Just remember, truth hurts.

Let’s see if they can handle the truth.

RELATED: For a much more sensible critique of the interrogation program, read counterintelligence specialist John Schindler’s post “CIA Torture: An Insider’s View.”


Mosul physician says ISIS profits from organ trade

December 9, 2014

Phineas Fahrquar:

Is there no depth to which ISIS won’t sink? Don’t answer that…

Originally posted on Money Jihad:

Arab surgeons have moved into Mosul to remove patients’ organs for follow-on black market resale according to an Iraqi ear, nose, and throat doctor interviewed by Al-MonitorAl-Monitor characterizes organ trafficking as one of several funding sources for the Islamic State, and reports that revenues are “allocated to local and foreign fighters, to encourage them to join up and continue fighting.”  Hat tip to El Grillo:

…The third funding source was exposed by otolaryngologist Siruwan al-Mosuli. He said that lately he noticed unusual movement within medical facilities in Mosul. Arab and foreign surgeons were hired, but prohibited from mixing with local doctors. Information then leaked about organ selling. Surgeries take place within a hospital and organs are quickly transported through networks specialized in trafficking human organs. Mosuli said that the organs come from fallen fighters who were quickly transported to the hospital, injured people who were abandoned or individuals…

View original 81 more words


Pearl Harbors then and now

December 7, 2014

In the last surprise attack on American soil before 9/11, the Japanese bombed Pearl Harbor:

The end of the USS Arizona

(Credit: Aviation History)

My grandfather was a Petty Officer aboard the USS Nevada during the battle. Below are a couple of pictures of his ship under attack, the only battleship to get underway that day:

…and…

Grandpa was having a bad day

(Both photos credit: Naval Historical Center)

As you can see, they had been hit pretty hard. Thankfully, Grandpa survived.

Thirteen years ago, we were hit by another fascist enemy, Muslims waging “jihad fi sabil Allah,” with casualties 25% higher than Pearl Harbor:

(credit: September 11th News)

…and…

(Credit: Aspersions)

…and…

(Scene at the Pentagon. Credit: US Navy via Wikimedia)

Our grandfathers finished their job. Let’s not do any less, shall we?

RELATED: The story of Lt. John William Finn, the last surviving Medal of Honor winner from Pearl Harbor.

NOTE: This is a republishing of a post I put up each December 7th.


ISIS fighters caught sneaking into the US?

October 8, 2014
Seal of the new Caliphate

Seal of the new Caliphate

That’s the explosive charge made by Representative Duncan Hunter (R-CA) last night on Greta van Susteren’s program:

Van Susteren: Hold on. Stop for one second.

Hunter: They are going to be bombing American cities coming across from Mexico.

Van Susteren: Let me ask a question. You say that they are coming in the southern border, which changes all the dynamics Do you have any information that they are coming in through the southern border now?

Hunter: Yes.

Van Susteren: Tell me what you know.

Hunter: At least ten ISIS fighters have been caught coming across the border in Texas.

Van Susteren: How do you know that?

Hunter: Because I’ve asked the border patrol, Greta.

Van Susteren And the border patrol just let’s ISIS members come across the border?

Hunter: No. They caught them at the border. Therefore, we know that ISIS is coming across the border. If they catch five or ten of them, you know that there are going to be dozens more that did not get caught by the border patrol. That’s how you know. That’s where we are at risk here, is from ISIS and radical Islamists coming across the border. Once again, they don’t have a navy, air force, nuclear weapons. The only way that Americans are going to be harmed by radical Islam — Chairman Dempsey said the same thing. He said that’s where the major threat is here, that’s how these guy guys are going to infiltrate through America and harm Americans.

If Hunter is right (as Jim Geraghty points out, he’s not known for being a hysteric) that ISIS terrorists have been caught at the border, then he’s also right to point out the risk that others have gotten through whom we don’t know about. At least, we the public don’t know about them. If they exist, I hope to God the FBI knows about them and is tracking them and about to make arrests. If they don’t know where they are –again, assuming Hunter is right and they exist– things could well get awfully scary, awfully fast.

It’s a given that jihadists from ISIS, al Qaeda, and other groups want to attack us, and our borders, particularly the southern one, are a huge weakness. Gee, maybe those of us calling for stiffer border security weren’t just a bunch of racist, nativist nutjobs after all.

PS: See Jim’s post for a worrisome quote from a Democratic congressman.


On the contrary, Mr. Cameron, ISIS *is* Islamic

September 15, 2014
Seal of the new Caliphate

Seal of the new Caliphate

Sigh. What was I saying the other day about our leaders being in denial? Right on cue, the UK’s Prime Minister provides a stunning example:

“They (ISIL/ISIS) are killing and slaughtering thousands of people, Muslims, Christians, minorities across Iraq and Syria,” Cameron said of ISIS. “They boast of their brutality. They claim to do this in the name of Islam. That is nonsense. Islam is a religion of peace.”

“They are not Muslims. They are monsters. They make no secret of their desire to do as much harm not just in the Middle East, but to any countries or peoples who seek to stand in their way or dare to stand for values they disagree with.”

No, Prime Minister, Islam is not a religion of peace. Its founder commands unending war against the unbelievers (that’s us, by the way) until “all religion is for Allah” and sharia law is imposed on us all. It has been the most consistently aggressive religion of the last 1,400 years, because its sacred texts (the Qur’an, the hadiths) and tafsir (learned commentary) repeatedly command and endorse aggression against non-Muslims. As Roger Simon wrote:

The Islamic State is not only Islamic, it is the very paradigm of Islam, Islam distilled to its essence as practiced by Mohammed, massacring local tribes, raping and enslaving their women, and making war against everyone in his way until he had subdued as much of Arabia as possible.  Who knows how many beheadings were involved, but can we assume the total significantly outstrips the Islamic State’s, at least for now ?  Islam is far from the only violent religion — almost all have had their moments — but it is unquestionably the most unremittingly so.  If Islam is said to have been hijacked, it is not by the thugs of the Muslim Brotherhood, ISIS, al Qaeda, al Nusra, Ansar al Islam, Ansar al Sharia, al Shabaab, Boko Haram, Jemaah Islamiyah, Hamas, Hezbollah and on and on.  They are the true practitioners of the faith, following in the footsteps of Mohammed and obeying the prescriptions of the Koran and the Hadith to make the whole world Islamic or else. They don’t need to communicate with each other.  They just  do their thing, because the playbook has been written for them and they have studied it well.  It is they who have been temporarily hijacked by a few whirling pacifistic Sufis or other moderate outliers before getting down to the unfinished  business of finally crashing through the Gates of Vienna or defeating Charles Martel at Toulouse and returning Al Andaluz to its rightful owners.  As one will recall, that was the stated intention of the al Qaeda maniacs who blew up the train at Madrid’s Atocha station just a few years ago.

It goes without saying that not all Muslims are monsters like the jihadis of ISIS, al Qaeda, and so many other jihad groups. But neither is it impossible to be both a Muslim and a monster. Stalin, for example, killed thousands of Socialists, but that did not make him any less of a Socialist for also being a monster.

ISIS is Islamic. What it isn’t is shy about acting on its Islamic beliefs.

RELATED: Many Muslims, jihadist or otherwise, hope for the return of the caliphate, abolished with the end of the Ottoman Empire after World War One. They see its end as the great disaster of the Muslim world. If you want to know what its return would mean for non-Muslims in such a world, I suggest you read this piece about the Armenian Genocide. Hint: the Ottomans made ISIS look like amateurs.


Why do our leaders insist on saying the Islamic State is “not Islamic?”

September 13, 2014
Seal of the new Caliphate

Seal of the new Caliphate

In a more general sense, this is something that’s been happening since the days right after 9/11: American leaders insisting that the actions of jihadists do not represent “true” Islam. It’s utter nonsense, of course; in fact, one can argue that the jihadists are practicing the faith exactly as Muhammad intended, following his example. (Warning, gruesome photos)

And yet our leaders, both under Presidents Bush II and Obama, continue to insist that the actions of al Qaeda and, now, the Islamic State, really aren’t Islamic. President Obama provided the latest example during his address to the nation the other night:

Now let’s make two things clear: ISIL (sic) is not “Islamic.” No religion condones the killing of innocents. [1] And the vast majority of ISIL’s victims have been Muslim.

Why the obfuscation? The leaders of al Qaeda, the late, unlamented Osama bin Laden and his successor, Dr. Zawahiri, were both very well schooled in Islam. The caliph of the new Islamic State himself has a PhD in Islamic Studies. Until some serious Muslim scholars show why the jihadists are wrong in their understanding of the Qur’an, the hadiths, and the tafsir (learned commentary stretching back over 1,000 years)  –which hasn’t happened yet!– it is safe to assume these guys know what they’re talking about.

So why the insistence that a spade really isn’t a spade?

Former federal prosecutor Andrew McCarthy hits the mark, I think: governments and intellectual leaders are married to a strategy of relying on “moderate Islamists” –such as the Muslim Brotherhood!!– to tame the fires burning the Middle East and threatening us all. And it is delusional:

There is a reason they are taking a position diametrically opposed to reality.

Obama and Kerry, like transnational progressives in both of our major political parties, believe there are “moderate Islamists” who are the key to stability in the Middle East. Now, the term “moderate Islamist” is contradictory: an Islamist wants government by sharia, Islam’s totalitarian societal framework and legal code. There is nothing moderate about sharia. Those who want it implemented are not “moderates” even if they don’t commit mass-murder to get their way. Sharia is also anti-liberty, anti-equality, and anti-Western. Therefore, we should oppose Islamism just as we oppose other freedom-killing ideologies. That doesn’t mean we need to go to war with all Islamists, but we should work to diminish their influence and we should never regard them as a solution to anything.

Notwithstanding their abhorrence of the West, “moderate Islamists” are regarded by Obama and Kerry as potential allies: people, groups, and, in the case of Turkey, for example, countries that we can work with to solve the problems plaguing the Middle East and overcome our own security challenges. It is thus critically important to Obama and Kerry for the public to believe that (a) all Islamists are not basically the same and (b) there is a sharp difference — a day-and-night difference — between “moderate Islamists” and terrorist organizations like the Islamic State and al-Qaeda. If, instead, the public becomes convinced that all Islamists, violent or non-violent, adhere to essentially the same ideology, the administration’s goal of working with Islamic supremacists becomes politically untenable.

(…)

It is vital to Obama and Kerry that the public sees these Islamist groups as having nothing in common with the Islamic State and al-Qaeda. And since the latter, like the “moderate Islamists,” define themselves by their adherence to Islam, Obama and Kerry have no alternative: They must deny them standing as true Muslims. That is why they assert that the claim of Islamic State jihadists to be faithful Muslims waging holy war in the name of Islam is fraudulent — and, just as ridiculously, they assert that jihad has nothing to do with violence.

The problem, of course, is that “moderate Islamists” and violent jihadists are bound together by sharia-based Islamic ideology. Yes, they have their differences, but those differences are mainly about tactics; and, to the limited extent they are doctrinal, they are irrelevant as far as we are concerned because the differences do not affect the core Islamist belief that we are the enemy.

(Emphasis added, and be sure to read the whole thing.)

This refusal to face reality has been driving me nuts since September 11th, 2001. This isn’t to say every Muslim is a violent jihadist or wants to impose sharia on us all — far from it. But support for both is far higher in the Islamic world than apologists would like to admit, and the jihadists, whether the patient ones of the Muslim Brotherhood or the action-now crowd of al Qaeda and the Islamic State, have an ideology rooted solidly in Islam’s sacred texts. And it has an appeal to disaffected Muslims and converts to Islam around the globe, as the numbers of people joining the Islamic State shows.

Until we deal with this religious-ideological foundation for jihadism, and until our leaders are honest with themselves and us about the nature of the problem –Islam’s aggressive and totalitarian nature– we will continue to fight with one hand tied behind our back and one eye closed, misdiagnosing the problem and prescribing the wrong solutions.

That’s no way to win a war.

RELATED: Jonah Goldberg on “Is the Islamic State really not Islamic?” Robert Spencer on “Five Non-Muslims Who Know More About Islam than the Caliph of the Islamic State.” Michael Ledeen asks “Why do they join the jihad?”

Footnote:
(1) The Devil is in the details. In this case, the definition of “innocents.”


Palestinians never miss an opportunity to miss an opportunity

September 10, 2014
"Peace? Don't make me laugh."

“Peace? Don’t make me laugh.”

That’s actually a misquote of what the late, great Israeli Foreign Minister Abba Eban once said, but it’s accurate enough in this case. Writing in the International Business Times, Jack Moore reports that Egypt offered Palestinian Authority leader Mahmoud Abbas a portion of the Sinai peninsula from which to form a Palestinian state… and Abbas refused:

Egyptian President General Abdel Fatah al-Sisi has offered Palestinian Authority leader Mahmoud Abbas the chance to create a Palestinian state in the Sinai Peninsula, according to local Israeli media.

The offer to the Palestinian President which, reports say Abbas has denied, would have seen 1,600 square kilometres of the Sinai Peninsula given to the Palestinian Authority, creating a Palestinian state five times the size of Gaza.

According to IDF Radio, the offer would see Abbas relinquish demands that Israel return to the 1967 borders.

In the new and enlarged Gaza, the territory would be demilitarised and Palestinian refugees, many who were unable to return to their towns after the creation of Israel, would have been able to settle there.

As part of the proposal, Palestinian cities in the occupied West Bank would have been autonomous and continued to be under Palestinian Authority control.

Sisi allegedly said to Abbas in the meeting: “You are now 80 years old, if you don’t accept this proposal, your successor will.”

The Palestinian Authority is yet to publicly comment on the initiative but unnamed sources said that Abbas rejected the deal in a meeting with Sisi.

Seems like a good deal to me: Israel will never go back to the 1967 borders, and rightfully so — they’re indefensible. The Palestinians would have their own homeland and, in return for demilitarization, they’d be free to make a prosperous country. You know, like those Jewish guys next door.

But, no. It seems there is no deal too good for the PLO, Hamas, or any other Palestinian group to turn down. But why? Why so obdurate? Why so bloody-minded? I think Robert Spencer nails it:

Of course he turned it down. The point is not to have a “Palestinian” state. The point is to destroy Israel. No one was crying about “occupation” between 1948 and 1967 when Egypt had Gaza and Jordan had Judea and Samaria. The “Palestinians” didn’t consider Egyptian and Jordanian rule to be “occupation.” Only Israeli rule is “occupation.” The hypocrisy of the entire “Palestinian” cause is as palpable as its dishonesty, but the world takes no notice.

Yep.


Follow

Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.

Join 13,941 other followers