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 on: October 13, 2014, 12:38:29 PM 
Started by Crafty_Dog - Last post by MikeT
Pentagon preps for 'war' on global warming....

Ok, why I am posting this here: because this is complete hyperbole and conjecture on my part...  

A couple of months ago, I read about a war game developed by the army for a potential 'zombie apocalypse.'

My first thought was of course, 'hoax'.  But I looked it up and its real. The report itself basically says 'hey, this is just for a lark' in the introduction.  I recall that it was (from memory)  somebody's war college thesis or something.  But, in essence it was a plan for the implementation of martial law in the event of a widespread biological outbreak.  At the time I remember thinkoing:  it doesn't take a rocket scientist to either ask the question:  does the US Army war college really ever do ANYTHING 'on a lark'?, and b) to conclude that it's a pretty easy thing to mentally 'find and and replace' the farcical 'zombie apocalypse' with 'Ebola apocalypse', 'EMP apocalypse', 'economic apocalypse' and etc.  That's the impression I was left with anyway. 

Accordingly, what with everything that's going on in the world right now, when I saw this report today and was like 'really?!!!', I was suddenly struck by the admittedly quite paranoid possibility of asking huh,'what if global warming' (in the context of military preparedness) was just one big straw man?

Seems to me it would draw a lot less attention to say that 'the Pentagon is preparing for this [unlikely] event that most people think won't even happen' than 'the Pentagon is preparing for worldwide destabilization resulting from threat X that people see as being much more likely'.

That, or the idiots really are driving the bus. Presented with this alleged fact (the Pentagon's preparedness for GW), I don't really see other alternatives...?

 on: October 13, 2014, 11:38:30 AM 
Started by captainccs - Last post by Crafty_Dog

Leaving a U.S. Ally Outgunned by ISIS
A Kurdish official has written to Defense Secretary Hagel pleading for the U.S. to honor its promises of military aid.
By David Tafuri
Oct. 12, 2014 5:54 p.m. ET

In President Obama ’s Sept. 11 speech about combating Islamic State jihadists, he said that America “will not get dragged into another ground war in Iraq.” But the president said that U.S. military advisers “are needed to support Iraqi and Kurdish forces with training, intelligence and equipment.”

If this is the plan, little in terms of weaponry or training has reached Kurdish Peshmerga forces in Iraq—and they are begging Washington to make good on its promises.

In the meantime, in the front-line town Khazar, between Islamic State-held Mosul and the Kurdish capital, Erbil, Peshmerga forces drive unarmored pickup trucks and carry AK-47s as they face off against Islamic State, aka ISIS, fighters armed with U.S.-made tanks, armored Humvees and heavy artillery. The imbalance is replicated across the entire border of almost 650 miles that Kurds share with ISIS in Iraq.

In three trips to the Kurdistan Region since ISIS invaded Iraq in early June, I have seen the situation improve as a result of U.S.-led airstrikes, but little has changed in terms of the supply of equipment and training for our Kurdish allies.

The coalition that supports the airstrikes should take immediate action to provide the Peshmerga with the offensive and defensive equipment they need to match the firepower of ISIS. Failing to do so increases the likelihood—despite President Obama’s vows not to involve U.S. forces—that America and other coalition countries, which include France, Australia and the U.K., will have to send in troops to defeat ISIS.

In a letter sent on Oct. 2 to U.S. Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel that until now has not been made public, the Kurdistan Regional Government’s Minister of Peshmerga Affairs Mustafa Sayid Qadir pleaded for help, saying that his forces still carry “outdated AK-47s, Soviet Dragunov rifles and other light arms.”

The letter, which I was given access to by the Ministry of Peshmerga Affairs, tabulated the surprisingly small amount of equipment received from international allies. In addition to AK-47s, the U.S. has provided fewer than 100 mortars and just a few hundred rocket-propelled grenades, or RPGs. The Peshmerga haven’t received a single tank or armored vehicle from coalition countries. The problem is compounded by the fact that Iraqi security forces denied the Peshmerga access to the thousands of tanks and armored vehicles the U.S. left behind for Iraq when the military pulled out in 2011. Meanwhile, ISIS fighters have commandeered U.S.-provided tanks and Humvees abandoned by Iraqi forces fleeing from battle.

The U.S. effort to arm and train Peshmerga forces is hindered by at least three factors. First, U.S. diplomats continue to follow the so-called One Iraq Policy, which considers giving direct assistance to the Kurdistan Regional Government—whether military or nonmilitary—a potential blow to Iraqi national unity. Whatever U.S. interest this policy may have served in the years before ISIS emerged, it now endangers our closest ally in Iraq and puts Peshmerga forces at a significant disadvantage in their fight against ISIS.

Second, the U.S. continues to abide by the Iraqi government’s insistence that all shipments to the Kurds stop first in Baghdad, where Iraqi officials can delay or even block the shipments from ever reaching the Kurdisstan Region.

Third, State Department regulations prevent the Kurdistan Regional Government from purchasing American-made weapons and equipment without “end-user certificates” issued by Baghdad—certificates that the Iraqi government makes extremely difficult to obtain.

The Kurdistan Regional Government estimates it has more than 150,000 soldiers in the Peshmerga forces—about five times more than the highest estimates of ISIS fighters. The Peshmerga are committed to fighting ISIS and can be the “boots on the ground” that the U.S.-led coalition wants to avoid having to deploy. Yet they are struggling against ISIS because they lack even basic tactical equipment used by modern armies. Peshmerga Brig. Gen. Hazhar Ismail recently told me that less than 5% of the Peshmerga fighters even have helmets.

The U.S. can change this situation by: (1) supplying the Kurds with heavier weapons and needed defensive equipment, in particular armored Humvees, tanks and anti-armor rockets; (2) refusing to let Baghdad delay or block such shipments; (3) changing State Department regulations to permit issuance of end-user certificates by the Kurdistan Regional Government; and, (4) transferring to the Kurds some excess U.S. military equipment (including armored vehicles) stored on U.S. bases in the region.

In his Sept. 16 testimony to Congress, Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff and U.S. Army Gen. Martin Dempsey suggested that American ground troops may eventually be needed to fight ISIS. His message was met with criticism by those who oppose sending U.S. troops into combat in Iraq again. To reduce the chances of Washington having to confront that choice, the U.S. should make good on its promises and ensure that the Peshmerga are no longer outgunned by ISIS.

Mr. Tafuri, the U.S. State Department’s rule of law coordinator in Iraq from 2006 to 2007, is a partner at the Washington, D.C.-based law firm Squire Patton Boggs. He serves as legal counsel to the Kurdistan Regional Government.

 on: October 13, 2014, 11:35:30 AM 
Started by Crafty_Dog - Last post by Crafty_Dog
Obama Weighs Options to Close Guantanamo
Any Move to Override Congressional Ban on Bringing Detainees to U.S. Would Spark Fight
By Carol E. Lee and Jess Bravin
Oct. 9, 2014 8:02 p.m. ET

The U.S. facility in Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, currently has 149 inmates detained in connection with the U.S. war on terrorism. Agence France-Presse/Getty Images

The White House is drafting options that would allow President Barack Obama to close the detention facility in Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, by overriding a congressional ban on bringing detainees to the U.S., senior administration officials said.

Such a move would be the latest and potentially most dramatic use of executive power by the president in his second term. It would likely provoke a sharp reaction from lawmakers, who have repeatedly barred the transfer of detainees to the U.S.

The discussions underscore the president’s determination to follow through on an early campaign promise before he leaves the White House, officials said, despite the formidable domestic and international obstacles in the way.

Administration officials say Mr. Obama strongly prefers a legislative solution over going around Congress. At the same time, a senior administration official said Mr. Obama is “unwavering in his commitment” to closing the prison—which currently has 149 inmates detained in connection with the nation’s post-9/11 war on terrorism—and wants to have all potential options available on an issue he sees as part of his legacy.

The White House has sought to make executive actions a centerpiece of its policy agenda, in areas including the minimum wage, antidiscrimination rules and, potentially, immigration. House Republicans, in response, are seeking to sue Mr. Obama, saying he overstepped his legal authority in bypassing Congress.

Unilateral action “would ignite a political firestorm, even if it’s the best resolution for the Guantanamo problem,” said American University law professor Stephen Vladeck. Republicans are sure to oppose it, while Democrats could be split, he said.

White House officials have concluded Mr. Obama likely has two options for closing Guantanamo, should Congress extend the restrictions, which it could do after the midterm elections.

He could veto the annual bill setting military policy, known as the National Defense Authorization Act, in which the ban on transferring detainees to the U.S. is written. While the veto wouldn’t directly affect military funding, such a high-stakes confrontation with Congress carries significant political risks.

A second option would be for Mr. Obama to sign the bill while declaring restrictions on the transfer of Guantanamo prisoners an infringement of his powers as commander in chief, as he has done previously. Presidents of both parties have used such signing statements to clarify their understanding of legislative measures or put Congress on notice that they wouldn’t comply with provisions they consider infringements of executive power.

The core obstacle standing in the White House’s way is Congress’s move in 2010 to ban the transfer of Guantanamo detainees to the U.S. That legislation was passed after the administration sparked a backlash when it proposed relocating detainees to a maximum-security prison in Thomson, Ill.

The administration hopes to tamp down controversy by reducing the inmate population by at least half through quickly transferring Guantanamo detainees cleared for release.

On Thursday, Estonia, which Mr. Obama visited last month, announced it would accept one detainee. Officials said additional transfers are in the works.

“We are very pleased with the support from our friends and allies, and we are very grateful to them,” said Clifford Sloan, the State Department envoy for Guantanamo closure.

Nonetheless, administration officials say the detention center can’t be closed without sending at least some of the remaining inmates to the U.S. mainland.

Mr. Obama said in his 2014 State of the Union address that “this needs to be the year Congress lifts the remaining restrictions on detainee transfers and we close the prison at Guantanamo Bay.” The president now expects to miss that deadline, administration officials say, a departure from earlier this summer when White House aides were still saying it was possible.

Mr. Obama’s decision in May to exchange Guantanamo detainees for an American prisoner of war, Sgt. Bowe Bergdahl, without the required 30-day advance congressional notice drew a backlash on the Hill. The start of a U.S.-led fight against the Islamic State militant group has similarly overshadowed any appetite for a repeal of the ban.

A Gallup poll released in June said 29% of Americans support closing the detention center at Guantanamo Bay and transferring detainees to U.S. prisons, while 66% oppose the idea.

Most of the nearly 800 men held at Guantanamo since it opened in 2002 were released during the George W. Bush administration. Of the 149 who remain, 79 have been approved for transfer by national-security officials but remain because of political or diplomatic obstacles in repatriating them.

Another 37 have been designated for continued detention without trial. These are men considered too dangerous to release, yet against whom the government lacks usable evidence. A further 23 have been referred for prosecution by military commission, where 10 detainees, including Khalid Sheikh Mohammed and four co-defendants accused of orchestrating the Sept. 11 attacks, are in pretrial hearings.

Officials, who declined to say where detainees might be housed if taken to the mainland, said the U.S. has ample space in its prisons for several dozen high-security prisoners. The administration has reviewed several facilities that could house the remaining detainees, with the military brig at Charleston, S.C., considered the most likely.

Since winning re-election, Mr. Obama has made several moves designed to speed the prison’s closure. He named envoys at the State and Defense Departments to help secure the transfer of detainees to foreign countries. He lifted the administration’s moratorium on sending detainees to Yemen, which counts 58 nationals among those cleared for transfer.

Part of the administration’s strategy for reducing political opposition to lifting the ban on transferring detainees is to whittle the number in Guantanamo to the point where the cost of maintaining the installation is unpalatable. The annual cost per inmate is $2.7 million, in contrast with $78,000 at a supermax prison on the mainland, officials say.

“As the number becomes smaller at Guantanamo, the case for domestic transfers…becomes that much stronger,” a senior administration official said.

Prisoner transfers to foreign countries have slowed this year. A transfer of six Guantanamo Bay prisoners to Uruguay is tied up in that country’s Oct. 26 presidential elections. The current president has agreed to accept the detainees, while his opponent has said he wouldn’t.

Before the swap that led to Sgt. Bergdahl’s release, the administration completed the transfer of 12 detainees, a senior administration official said. No detainees have been transferred since.

The U.S. requires countries to meet certain criteria before allowing them to accept detainees. Countries, for instance, must provide the U.S. with assurances that the detainees won’t return to the battlefield and will be treated humanely. Many of the countries willing to take detainees are European, including France, Germany, Spain, Portugal, Latvia and Slovakia. But there are a growing number in South and Latin America.

 on: October 13, 2014, 11:29:17 AM 
Started by Crafty_Dog - Last post by Crafty_Dog
Feds Underestimating How Easy It Is to Get Ebola

A nurse from one of the best health care systems in the world has contracted Ebola. The nurse cared for Thomas Eric Duncan, the man who traveled to Dallas from Liberia with the disease, and checked herself into her hospital's emergency room Oct. 12. This story challenges the Obama administration's narrative. In a September video message, Barack Obama told the people of Liberia it was safe enough to sit on the bus next to a person infected with the disease and still not contract Ebola. Cue the CDC, which issued a travel warning for the country, telling travelers to "avoid unnecessary travel." Now, doctors are saying it may be easier to contract the disease than previously assumed. Dr. Dennis Maki, an infectious diseases specialist at the University of Wisconsin-Madison, said, "Some of the garb the health worker takes off might brush against a surface and contaminate it. New data suggest that even tiny droplets of a patient's body fluids can contain the virus." The 3,000 American soldiers fighting Ebola in Liberia are in greater danger than Obama lets on.

 on: October 13, 2014, 11:27:56 AM 
Started by Crafty_Dog - Last post by Crafty_Dog
"In politics, as in religion, it is equally absurd to aim at making proselytes by fire and sword. Heresies in either can rarely be cured by persecution." --Alexander Hamilton, Federalist No. 1, 1787

 on: October 13, 2014, 09:34:04 AM 
Started by Crafty_Dog - Last post by Crafty_Dog 

 on: October 12, 2014, 07:55:25 PM 
Started by Crafty_Dog - Last post by ccp
Interesting article but I don't like this suggestion that Netanyahu is the one who is preventing peace:

"Fears of anti-Semitism, especially in Europe, deter many Israelis from making the move. But Mr Netanyahu’s apparent rejection of compromise with Palestinians, and wars every few years, is eroding hope. Arguments about economic priorities are growing as Israel’s generals demand resources; on October 8th, they secured cabinet approval for a 10% rise in military spending."

For full article from Economist read on:

Jewish migration
Next year in Berlin
Some Israelis yearn for new lives in Germany
Oct 11th 2014 | JERUSALEM | From the print edition Timekeeper CloseSave this article

IS BERLIN the new Jerusalem? A Facebook page launched in Hebrew this month on how to move to a city far from rockets and rocketing prices in Israel has gone viral, reaching 600,000 people in a week. It is called Olim Le-Berlin, “Let’s ascend to Berlin”, using the same rousing verb Jews reserve for emigrating, or “ascending”, to Israel. An Israeli band sings a similar tune, turning the lyrics of Israel’s favourite song, “Jerusalem of Gold”, into a yearning for a “Reichstag of Peace, euro, and light”. Even Professor Manuel Trajtenberg, a leading economist commissioned by the government to look at the high cost of living, which sparked mass protests in 2011, has piped in. “Berlin is more attractive than Tel Aviv,” he says.

The response from official Israel has been vitriolic. Yisrael Ha-Yom, seen as the mouthpiece of the prime minister, Binyamin Netanyahu, chided Berlin’s ascenders on its front page. The voice of the nationalist right decried them as an insult to all Holocaust survivors. “See you in the gas chambers,” commented one critic on the Facebook page. The finance minister, Yair Lapid, has promised to extend price controls to more food items.
Emigration rates hardly justify such uproar. The German Federal Statistics Office records an increase of just 400 Israeli immigrants per year. Overall, Israel reckons there were about 16,000 new émigrés (inevitably called “descenders”) in 2012, but they were more than offset by incoming Jews from Eastern Europe, America and France, who tend to be more religious and right-wing. Though the Israeli diaspora is growing in Berlin, London and Barcelona, the trend is hardly new. Some 700,000 Israelis have abandoned the Promised Land since its creation, says Sergio DellaPergola, a demographer.

That said, the West’s multicultural cities are exercising a growing attraction, particularly on young, single, non-religious and increasingly female graduates—the type who made Tel Aviv cool. Many Israelis temporarily fled the country during Israel’s summer war in Gaza, after wailing sirens emptied the beaches and kept people indoors. Over Sabbath meals, Israelis who are worried about growing intolerance discuss whether to put their children or their country first.

Fears of anti-Semitism, especially in Europe, deter many Israelis from making the move. But Mr Netanyahu’s apparent rejection of compromise with Palestinians, and wars every few years, is eroding hope. Arguments about economic priorities are growing as Israel’s generals demand resources; on October 8th, they secured cabinet approval for a 10% rise in military spending. On their Facebook page, the Berlin ascenders displayed a bill for groceries in Germany that would cost three times as much in Israel. “Even our forefather, Jacob, went down to Egypt to earn double the salary and pay a third of the rent,” sing the hip-hoppers.

Israelis with Ashkenazi, or East European, ancestry are queuing at German, Hungarian and Polish consulates for what was once regarded as a shameful act of seeking European passports. Their numbers will only swell if the Spanish parliament approves a plan to grant nationality to potentially millions of Sephardi Jews, descended from those it expelled in 1492.

From the print edition: Middle East and Africa

 on: October 12, 2014, 07:47:54 PM 
Started by Crafty_Dog - Last post by ccp
Is Korea up to it's old tricks or does this mean something with regard to power shift in N Korea?

*****The Koreas
Till Kimdom come
An unusual visit to South Korea by a powerful Northern trio raises plenty of questions
Oct 11th 2014 | SEOUL | From the print edition Timekeeper CloseSave this article
THE surprise at the Asian games, in the South Korean city of Incheon, did not come on the track. Rather it was when three of North Korea’s most powerful men suddenly appeared on October 4th, the day of the games’ closing ceremony.

The seniority of the men visiting South Korea was unprecedented. Though it was at least the third trip south for Kim Yang Gon, North Korea’s point-man on relations with the South, it was the first for Choe Ryong Hae, thought to be the closest aide of the young dictator, Kim Jong Un—until watchers believed he had been purged in May. Most surprising, however, was Hwang Pyong So, head of the political bureau of the Korean People’s Army and probably the North’s second-in-command.

The trio dropped in with only a day’s notice and had, it appears, no particular message. Still, they were warmly welcomed by the South’s unification minister for lunch and tea; Mr Hwang in turn conveyed Mr Kim’s “heartfelt greetings” to President Park Geun-hye. They also met Ms Park’s national security adviser, Kim Kwan-jin, and the prime minister, Chung Hong-won. After months of refusals, the North agreed to a new round of talks soon.

On the face of things, it marks a transformation of the lousy North-South relations since Ms Park took office last year. North Korea has fired a score of rockets into seas around the Korean peninsula this year. A relentless propaganda offensive has taken aim at Ms Park. Now, North Korea may want to patch up with the South as its relations with China sour. Remarkably, the Chinese media made no mention this week of the 65th anniversary of the two countries’ ties; North Korean mouthpieces returned the compliment. But money usually counts for much with the North. It may be keen to see South Korean trade sanctions eased and to restart hard-currency tours to Mount Kumgang, a resort shut off since 2008, when a soldier shot dead a South Korean tourist.

High-level officials from the North have not come south since the funeral of a former president, Kim Dae-jung, in 2009. Indeed, no one as senior as Mr Hwang has ever visited South Korea before, says Michael Madden, who runs “North Korea Leadership Watch”, a blog. Mr Hwang arrived in full military garb and on Mr Kim’s personal plane. Sending its heavyweights for snaps with foreign officials makes North Korea look “more like a sovereign state, less like a gangster fiefdom”, says Robert Kelly of Pusan National University. North Korea is burnishing its image elsewhere, too. Last month its foreign minister attended the UN’s General Assembly, for the first time since 1999, and in Europe a senior diplomat even met the EU’s top human-rights official.

All this has rumbled on while the young Mr Kim has been out of view. He was last seen on September 3rd, attending a concert with his wife. Mr Kim’s late father, Kim Jong Il, would disappear for months. But his son has been much more visible, and this is his longest absence yet. He even skipped a set-piece meeting of the North’s parliament.

Mr Kim, who may be 31, is fat, drinks heavily and smokes even in front of the cameras. In July he was seen limping. Gout and an ankle injury are thought to be reasons for his “discomfort” announced by state media last month—possibly the first-ever acknowledgment of problems with a North Korean leader’s health.

Now Mr Hwang’s sudden appearance in the South has some wondering who wields ultimate power in the North. Mr Hwang has been promoted five times this year, an “unprecedented, almost scary” rise, says Mr Madden. He gained his most senior title yet, that of vice-chairman of the National Defence Commission—the North’s top executive body, headed by Mr Kim—at the very gathering from which Mr Kim was absent.

Mr Hwang is also an official of the Organisation and Guidance Department (OGD), seen by some as a party within the party and established by Kim Jong Il to keep rivals and relatives in check. It has the power to appoint and dismiss all party members. Jang Jin-sung, a former propaganda official for Kim Jong Il who fled the North in 2004, thinks there has been a power grab. Mr Hwang arrived in Incheon flanked by two bodyguards: a move that Mr Jang sees as lèse-majesté, for hitherto only the supreme leader could ever be seen to be guarded. The trio looked in control, “not like anyone’s delegation”, says Aidan Foster-Carter, an analyst of North Korea at Leeds University. They also stinted in public on flattering the Young Leader; and rather than bridle at questions about his ill health, they denied any problem.

Few besides Mr Jang support the theory of a coup, however. Had the Kim family been overthrown, there would presumably have been troop movements, particularly in sensitive border areas. And, despite strained ties, the top brass would surely first turn to China for reassurance, says Hahm Chai-bong of the Asan Institute, a South Korean think-tank. Still, the tantalising possibility arises of Mr Kim being at the centre of a cult, but not the centre of power.

As soon as the trio had returned home, calls grew in South Korea for a response to their unusual gesture. For the first time, members of the ruling conservative party asked to lift trade sanctions introduced in 2010 after a South Korean corvette was torpedoed, killing 46. Yet just three days after the visit, North and South Korean ships exchanged fire when a Northern patrol boat crossed a disputed maritime boundary. The North can surprise. But it can also be wearyingly predictable.

From the print edition: Asia

 on: October 12, 2014, 04:04:26 PM 
Started by Crafty_Dog - Last post by Crafty_Dog
"At the establishment of our constitutions, the judiciary bodies were supposed to be the most helpless and harmless members of the government. Experience, however, soon showed in what way they were to become the most dangerous... In truth, man is not made to be trusted for life, if secured against all liability to account." --Thomas Jefferson, letter to Monsieur A. Coray, 1823

 on: October 12, 2014, 04:00:50 PM 
Started by Crafty Dog - Last post by Crafty_Dog
second post

Guest Column: Terror's Virus on the Northern Border
by David B. Harris
Special to IPT News
October 7, 2014
Ever since full-blown cases of the disease hit the United States, Canadians have dreaded the contagion's arrival north of the 49th parallel.

Its effects: blindness and a deadly incapacity to recognize and adapt to reality.

The malady? The White House's refusal to identify the leading terrorist enemy by name and combatant doctrine.

President Obama began his administration by avoiding counterterror language likely to link Islam with violence. This reflected a civilized and practical impulse to avoid alienating Muslims at home and abroad.

But perhaps influenced by the demonstrable fact that President Obama, as former terror prosecutor Andrew C. McCarthy put it, "made Islamic supremacists key administration advisors," this effort quickly got out of control. Now the White House fetishizes and enforces on its security agencies, a refusal to identify the doctrine underlying the bulk of the world's terrorism woes: radical Islamism.

Remarkable, considering that Muslims sounded the alarm years ago.

"Obviously not all Muslims are terrorists but, regrettably, the majority of the terrorists in the world are Muslims," wrote Abd Al-Rahman Al-Rashed in a 2004 Al-Sharq Al-Awsat article flagged by the Middle East Media Research Institute (MEMRI).

Despite this, the Obama White House banned words like "Islamists," "Muslims" and "jihad" from security documents, even from FBI and other government agencies' counterterror training manuals.

Lawyer and retired US military intelligence officer Major Stephen C. Coughlin exposed the censorship's extent at a February 2010 conference. In 2004, he noted, the 9/11 Commission Report made 126 mentions of "jihad," 145 of "Muslim," and used the word "Islam" over 300 times. No surprise.

But Washington later purged such terms completely from the FBI counterterrorism lexicon (2008), National Intelligence Strategy (2009) and even the 2010 panel reviewing jihadi Nidal Malik Hasan's 2009 Fort Hood massacre – except as unavoidable parts of names of terror organizations or the like. The practice seems to continue.


Understanding the threat – extremist Muslims, in this case – requires understanding their doctrine. If terrorists were invoking Christianity – it has happened – security and intelligence organizations would focus on problematic churches and related facilities connected to radical preaching, funding and recruitment. Christian holy literature would be scrutinized, in order to anticipate terrorists' plans, targets and attack-dates. Redouble the guard on Christmas or Easter? Could atheists, Muslims or Jews be targets? Regardless whether extremists' interpretations should, in any objective sense, be true or false representations of the ideology in question, serious intelligence must look at these things in order to understand and master the threats posed by all extremist strains of religion or other ideologies. Politicians and the public must discuss them. Public education, transparency, democracy and our defense, demand this. Anything else is misleading, self-deceiving and likely self-defeating.

Northern Exposure

So it was that, three years ago, the Canadian government published the first of its annual series of public threat reports. This straight-talking assessment pinpointed "Sunni Islamist extremism" as a primary menace to Canadians.

But, tragically, the D.C. disease had overtaken Canada's security bureaucracy by the time August brought the 2014 Public Report On The Terrorist Threat to Canada. This report expunges all direct references to Islamists, other than in terror-organization names.

Take, for example, the latest report's warning about Canadians joining terror outfits abroad. Gone are terms like "Islamist extremists" and even "violent jihad." The report's authors – apparently burdened by "advice" from misguided outreach to Canadian Islamists – slavishly substituted generic terms like "extremist travellers" for language revealing the religious claims, affiliations, motivations and doctrines of our enemies. "Extremist travellers" appears dozens of times to the exclusion of meaningful nomenclature – an editing embarrassment, on top of a national-security one. From the 2014 report:

Europol estimates that between 1,200 and 2,000 European extremist travellers took part in the conflict in Syria in 2013. There appears to be an increase in extremist travellers. This suggests that the threat posed to Europe by returning extremist travellers may be more significant than the threat facing North America because greater numbers of extremist travellers are leaving, then returning to Europe, than are leaving and later returning to North America. This difference between Canada and Europe in numbers of extremist travellers can be attributed to a variety of factors. Regardless, Europe and Canada face a common, interconnected threat from extremist travellers. [Emphasis added.]

In just one paragraph, Canada's self-censoring report says that many Europeans are "fighting abroad as extremist travellers"; "they attract extremist travellers … and continue to draw European extremist travellers"; there were "European extremist travellers in Syria and other conflict zones"; the "influx of these extremist travellers into Syria" increases the European terror risk; "an extremist traveller who returned from Syria" allegedly slaughtered several Belgians. (Emphasis added.)

This doubletalk undermines public awareness, public confidence in authorities and the ability of officials and citizens alike to recognize, assess and confront terrorist and subversive enemies and their doctrine.

We saw the absurd far reaches of this self-blinding mentality a few years ago when Canadian police officers at a terrorism news conference thanked "the community" for facilitating an Islamist terrorist take-down. When a journalist asked which community they meant, the officers – not daring to say "Muslim" – all but froze, thawing only enough to become caricatures of stymied stumbling. Because paralyzing PC protocols banned the M-word, the conference ended without the officers having been able explicitly to thank the deserving "Muslim community."

How has Canada come to this?

Among other sources, Canadian security officials get advice from their federal government's Cross-Cultural Roundtable on Security. Prominent member Hussein Hamdani reportedly campaigned to drop language implicating things "Islamic." Meanwhile, Hamdani, the subject of a just-released report by Canada's Point de Bascule counter extremist research organization, remains vice-chair of the North American Spiritual Revival (NASR) organization. On its website, NASR boasts – as it has done for years – of sponsoring an appearance in Canada by U.S. Imam Siraj Wahhaj, frequently tagged a radical and a 1993 World Trade Center bombing unindicted co-conspirator. Fellow American Muslim Stephen Suleyman Schwartz, executive director of the Center for Islamic Pluralism, once said of Wahhaj: "He's the No. 1 advocate of radical Islamic ideology among African-Americans. His stuff is very appealing to young Muslims who are on a radical path."

Hamdani's NASR also brought American Imam Ziad Shakir to Canada. His disturbing ideology, as I've written elsewhere, "was condemned by moderate American Muslim leader and retired U.S. naval Lt. Cmdr Zuhdi Jasser, and by the American Anti-Defamation League." Some have other concerns about Hamdani.

Now comes word that Hamdani, squired by Angus Smith, a Royal Canadian Mounted Police (RCMP) analyst sometimes linked to the censorship policy, will appear on a Montgomery County, Md. panel tomorrow to enlighten Americans about radicalism and the ISIS terror threat.


This isn't the least of it. Days before the scheduled visit, it was discovered that RCMP outreachers inconceivably had collaborated for months with the National Council of Canadian Muslims (NCCM) in producing "United Against Terrorism," an erstwhile counter-radicalization handbook. Inconceivably, because NCCM is the renamed Canadian Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR-CAN), the Canadian chapter of CAIR, a Saudi-funded U.S. unindicted co-conspirator group. (In its July 2013 name-change announcement, NCCM admitted, with respect to CAIR-CAN, that "We remain the same organization," leading to suspicions that the adjustment was a cosmetic attempt to kick over documented CAIR-CAN traces to radicalism.)

As for CAIR-CAN/NCCM's U.S. mother organization: "The [US] Government has produced ample evidence," concluded the relevant U.S. district court's decision, "to establish the associations of CAIR, ISNA and NAIT …with Hamas."

In addition, several senior CAIR staffers and affiliated persons – including CAIR's former national civil liberties coordinator – have done pen-time for terrorism-related offenses. But the Canadian chapter has yet to condemn publicly and by name the U.S. organization and these convicts, or reveal fully the nature of past or present financial and other dealings with CAIR.

The Islamic Social Services Association (ISSA), led by Shahina Siddiqui, joins the NCCM and RCMP in authorship on the handbook's cover. Canada's outreach counter-radicalization world seems to be a small, if not inbred, one, for Siddiqui happens also to be a member of both the NCCM's board, and the RCMP's national and Manitoba "diversity" committees.

Another curiosity of authorship involves the only named RCMP official identified in the book's "Consultants & Contributors" section: "TASLEEM BUDHWANI, PHD, C.PSYCH, Federal Policing Strategy, RCMP." A profile has this psychologist busy "enhancing partnerships between law enforcement and various sectors including NGOs … in the prevention of individual radicalization to violence." It is not known what Budhwani's views would be about national police force involvement with NGOs of the NCCM sort.
As for the handbook, it would ban all the usual terms, even declaring verboten the expression "moderate Muslims," because, said the authors, the expression is meant to imply that Muslims are not uniformly moderate. Parents are warned to be on the lookout for "External and overt expression of hyper-religiosity that is uncharacteristic of family culture," although one can only guess what to do, should this hyper-religiosity be altogether characteristic "of family culture." Elsewhere, the handbook seems a bit too eager to divorce radicalism and intense religiosity from the risk of religious violence. There was also rather too much emphasis, for some tastes, on Muslims' legal right to avoid cooperating with the RCMP. Readers would also recognize a continuation of the hallmarked NCCM/CAIR-CAN and CAIR campaign to push the generally unconvincing – and increasingly alienating and dangerous – Muslim victimhood narrative. This came replete with familiar attempts to propagate the word "Islamophobia," a term condemned by moderate Muslims as too-often wielded by Islamists to silence debate.

As Tarek Fatah, a well-known Pakistani-Canadian moderate, wrote, a few years ago:

Canada is a country where Muslims are respected and accommodated like in no other land on Earth, including Saudi Arabia and Iran. It is immoral for the Islamists to slander my country with the slur of Islamophobia. As Statistics Canada has shown, incidents of racism in Canada are far more likely to affect Christian black Canadians and Jewish Canadians than Muslims. …

"However," he concluded, "truth is the first casualty in this propaganda war being waged against Canada by its own Islamists."

For all this, the NCCM-ISSA-RCMP handbook then managed to go one better.

"Whom do we consult to gain an accurate understanding of our faith?" it asked. The answer was a list of scholar-interpreters of Islam who could apparently be relied upon in the delicate counter-radicalization context. The list reveals that it is not merely in the censorship department that Islamists have put one over on unduly compliant – and perhaps intimidated – RCMP outreach officers.

Among the recommended scholars, there's the startlingly hardline Ingrid Mattson (name misspelled in the handbook), former head of the Islamic Society of North America, an unindicted co-conspirator organization that was connected by the already-mentioned district court to Hamas. Mattson's Islamic chair at Huron University College, Ontario, notoriously benefits from significant radical-Islamic endowments. The scholar was last seen fending off complaints from a student claiming to have been jettisoned from Mattson's tax-funded classroom because he was non-Muslim.

Then there's the distinguished Imam Siraj Wahhaj, of the World Trade Center Wahhajs. His patchwork record involves alternately condemning violence and appearing to lust after it. Plus, the unappetizing Ziad Shakir. Not to mention the inevitable Jamal Badawi, former long-time CAIR-CAN/NCCM official. He's an unindicted co-conspirator his own right, someone who sat on ISNA's executive board (majlis). Badawi advocates light physical sharia discipline for errant wives. It remains unclear how the Badawi matrimonial approach aligns with the high-thinking and good works of handbooker Shahina Siddiqui and her Islamic Social Services Association.

Such are the moderate sherpas who guide the perplexed up counter-radicalization's gentle slopes.

No wonder many members of the public reacted with disbelief and disgust to the handbook fiasco. Or that RCMP ranks fell into a mass of post-publication panic and confusion. The day after the handbook's roll-out, a blushed-out RCMP, getting desperate enquiries from Canada's now-mortified Office of the Minister of Public Safety, scrambled out a news release. It said that the force was responsible for only one (benign) section of the handbook, and claimed improbably that the "tone" of some of the publication had caused the RCMP to pull out of the project at the last minute. Awfully "last minute," considering it was the day after launch that the RCMP news release emerged.

Thus, Mountie supremos regard bad "tone" as the actionable offense, rather than content prescribing self-hobbling wartime censorship and jihad-happy fire-breathers as counter-radical consultants. And no explanation why, days later, the handbook still bears the horsemen's name and logo. Or why the force hadn't publicly threatened legal action to have their name removed from it. Nor was there a commitment that RCMP HQ would at long last heed warnings, quit self-defeating, hardline-Islamist outreach, and publicly condemn the NCCM and its ilk – in the same way the Canadian prime minister's own director of communications had condemned NCCM for alleged Hamas-type connections, in January.

Especially in light of the contretemps between the prime minister's office and NCCM, there is floating over the handbook the unmistakable odor of a settling of accounts, an odor that might make the RCMP commissioner and his boss, the Public Safety minister, queasy about their continuing government employability. It was, after all, their diligence-free outreach that gave NCCM and ISSA the chance to make a fool out of the Prime Minister of Canada. For deep within the little handbook (p.34), comes a warning that law enforcement should never use the term "Islamicism." In Canada, this ungainly word – never in common use elsewhere, "Islamism" instead prevailing – is almost exclusively associated with a remark by Prime Minister Stephen Harper, one that was condemned by Islamists. "[T]he major threat," said Harper, in a headline-making 2011 CBC television interview, "is still Islamicism." The Islamists were riled up by Harper's effrontery, at the time, and so seem to have incorporated a touch of revenge in the handbook. This would not be the first RCMP outreach-driven embarrassment for a Canadian government, including a mess-up that may have involved an Iranian government operative.

In any event, the more nasty of observers looked at the RCMP's follow-on news release and wondered. Why, given the embarrassment and damage – and knuckle-rapping insult to their prime minister – did the release pull so many punches? Could this restraint mean that certain senior officials, compromised by outré outreach, were now scared to bear down? Was there a belief that Islamist "partners" should not be alienated, lest they be tempted to expose details of years of misguided interaction upon which certain RCMP executives had built careers?

The answer remains a mystery. But skeptical interpretations became more plausible to some, when the force's non-condemnatory news release came out more or less simultaneously with an NCCM release saluting RCMP cooperation with the Islamist group. Had all the loose liaising achieved the ultimate inversion, with the RCMP – and through it, the government – being turned into strange victims in a counter-radicalization Stockholm syndrome? Why, for that matter, are reliably moderate Canadian Muslim organizations like Muslims Facing Tomorrow and the Muslim Canadian Congress, enjoying hardly a fraction of the reinforcing, and capacity-building attentions splashed all over Islamists?

So, did the RCMP realize that it would be taken to the cleaners, and wind up helping NCCM and ISSA launder language and radicals via a counter-radicalization handbook? Maybe. But perhaps self-stifling in national security is now so internalized in the United States and Canada that it never occurs to some that certain people are radicals, and that radicals are not always our friends. Or the best guides to counter radicalization.

Burgeoning threats mean that citizens must press Washington and Ottawa to return to good sense, and put a stop to the deadly contagion of self-censorship and self-deceit – and worse – now hazarding national security and public safety.

Americans and Canadians must defeat the disease by curing their thinking.

A lawyer with 30 years' experience in intelligence affairs, David B. Harris is director of the International Intelligence Program, INSIGNIS Strategic Research Inc, Ottawa, Canada. The author is not responsible for the accuracy of, or views conveyed in, material in the links provided.

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