Hat Tip: BB
By: Roger Aronoff
Accuracy in Media
The mainstream media never tire of attacking those who warn that the Muslim Brotherhood has established deep ties to the Obama administration and Hillary Clinton. That might just be because the media have forged their own intimate ties to the Muslim Brotherhood group, the Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR). Preeminent figures who dare to contradict the narrative of the liberal media, arguing that the greater concern is terrorism or shariah law, not Islamophobia, are regularly cast as conspiracy theorists, and worse, outright racists.
The head of the Center for Security Policy (CSP), Frank Gaffney, has been repeatedly attacked by the media for his message that Americans cannot be forced to yield to shariah. On December 8th he said on CNN that CAIR has “been established in court to be a Muslim Brotherhood front organization” that associates with the Palestinian terrorist organization Hamas.
“The fact that nobody, including your guest recognizes that reality and suggests it’s a conspiracy theory or something to sort of try to obscure it is a scandal,” he told CNN’s Don Lemon. The other guest, Michael Weiss, a senior editor at The Daily Beast, declared that Gaffney’s words were “deranged hysteria masquerading as national security policy,” and likened his rhetoric to McCarthyism.
Each and every presidential candidate should be asked their opinion of the Muslim Brotherhood and its influence on the American government, we urgedback in September. “Should the Muslim Brotherhood be viewed as some benign, moderate organization?” we asked, “Or instead as the organization that spawned Al Qaeda and other significant terrorist organizations?”
“The Investigative Project on Terrorism (IPT) has provided a detailed analysis of several members of the Muslim Brotherhood (MB) who are official advisors to the White House or various agencies within the Executive branch,” we reported. “The question…is whether or not we should care about the influence of the MB on this and other administrations.”
CNN’s Don Lemon falsely maintained that there wasn’t a connection between CAIR and the Muslim Brotherhood. Instead, he broadcast a statement by CAIR Executive Director Nihad Awad.
“Shortly after CAIR’s founding in 1994, Nihad Awad, CAIR’s executive director, was videotaped publicly declaring support for Hamas,” wrote Kyle Shideler for Townhall.
Shideler, the Director of the Threat Information Office (TIO) at Gaffney’s Center for Security Policy, argues that this was a “televised ambush” of Gaffney. You can watch the complete segment at the Breitbart website and decide for yourself.
As Citizens’ Commission on Benghazi (CCB) member and head of the IPT, Steven Emerson, recently pointed out, “CAIR’s connections are not really matters of interpretation” because the FBI has “internal documents” demonstrating its strong ties to terror.
“The FBI read those documents and promptly cut off communication with CAIR ‘until we can resolve whether there continues to be a connection between CAIR or its executives and HAMAS, the FBI does not view CAIR as an appropriate liaison partner,’” writes Emerson. Yet, he observes, The New York Times continues to peddle CAIR’s “garbage.”
The Washington Post also peddles its own garbage about the threat of Islamophobia. Dana Milbank’s December 15 column in The Washington Post focused in part on how “Respectable conservatives long ago abandoned Gaffney, but Trump Made Gaffney Safe Again.” Watch out, conservatives, a “far-right provocateur” such as Gaffney may be influencing the presidential campaigns of Republicans Ben Carson, Carly Fiorina, Rick Santorum and Ted Cruz.
“The killers who plotted and executed the massacre in San Bernardino are no different than Islamic supremacists the world over,” writes Gaffney for the CSP on December 14. “For them, terror is one of the tools used to advance an agenda aimed at imposing worldwide the repressive politico-legal-military code they call shariah and establishing a global Caliphate,” he continues. “Other techniques employed by the granddaddy of all modern jihadist groups, the Muslim Brotherhood, involve more stealthy efforts to penetrate and subvert from within our civil society and governing institutions.”
As we have repeatedly noted, Mr. Milbank is the type of columnist who has built his career upon identifying conservatives that he believes he can belittle at a distance. He emphasizes others’ missteps or alleged hyperbole and conspiracy theories while ignoring his own biases. He makes no effort to challenge Gaffney’s claims about the Muslim Brotherhood, but instead relies on snarky, personal attacks. This plays into the mainstream media’s overall playbook, where the so-called mistakes made by conservative figures are unforgiveable and unforgettable. In Milbank’s world, President Obama, Hillary Clinton, and other liberals, of course, rarely err, but when they do, it is not a reflection on their character.
Neither, apparently, does Milbank err; he links to one of his prior columns that Accuracy in Media has thoroughly debunked.
“In other actions, this friend of GOP presidential candidates [Gaffney] has made allegations about Clinton aide Huma Abedin’s ‘deep personal’ ties to the Muslim Brotherhood and said Abedin (also a Trump target) may have advocated for laws against ‘sharia blasphemy,’” asserts Milbank, linking to his assessment of an “ugly” Heritage Foundation panel on Benghazi.
As we reported last year, Muslim advocate Saba Ahmed attended the Heritage Benghazi panel, after which Milbank accused the panelists of “ugly taunting” following Ahmed’s question. We later exposed Ahmed’s, and Milbank’s, false victimization story.
Mr. Milbank’s article also failed to note at the time that Ahmed ran her own lobbying firm, was a Democratic Party activist, and was close to the Portland, Oregon convicted Christmas tree bomber. Instead, Milbank described her as an American University student, which was also true. More recently she has re-invented herself as the head of something called the Republican Muslim Coalition, which appears to be little more than a website void of any substance. Yet she has made it onto the Fox News Channel’s “Kelly Files” with Megyn Kelly on at least two recent occasions.
Despite the continued misreporting, members of the CCB continue to sound the alarm about the Muslim Brotherhood’s inordinate influence under the leadership of President Obama.
“The Obama administration has already demonstrated its proclivity to side with the wrong party—al-Qaeda and the Muslim Brotherhood—in Libya and Egypt,”write CCB Members Pete Hoekstra and Clare Lopez. “We should not allow ourselves to become drawn into such mistakes again, especially when the ability of the West, Russia and Iran to fully destroy ISIS—or its jihadist ideology—is not entirely clear right now.” Hoekstra is the former chairman of the House Intelligence Committee.
Both CCB members Retired Admiral James “Ace” Lyons and Clare Lopez are with Gaffney’s CSP while simultaneously serving on the Commission. You can watch Admiral Lyons address the issue of the Muslim Brotherhood, after being introduced by Gaffney, at a CSP event. This video has been viewed more than 400,000 times.
Far from a conspiracy theory, the influence of CAIR and the Muslim Brotherhood upon this and future administrations must be confronted head on, whether members of the mainstream media choose to look the other way, or peddle CAIR’s lies.
Welcome to the Watcher’s Council, a blogging group consisting of some of the most incisive blogs in the ‘sphere and the longest running group of its kind in existence. Every week, the members nominate two posts each, one written by themselves and one written by someone from outside the group for consideration by the whole Council. Then we vote on the best two posts, with the results appearing on Friday morning.
You can, too! Want to see your work appear on the Watcher’s Council homepage in our weekly contest listing? Didn’t get nominated by a Council member? No worries.
To bring something to my attention, simply head over to Joshuapundit and post the title and a link to the piece you want considered along with an email address (mandatory, but of course it won’t be published) in the comments section no later than Monday 6 PM PST in order to be considered for our honorable mention category. Then return the favor by creating a post on your site linking to the Watcher’s Council contest for the week when it comes out on Wednesday morning.
It’s a great way of exposing your best work to Watcher’s Council readers and Council members while grabbing the increased traffic and notoriety. And how good is that, eh?
So, let’s see what we have for you this week…
- Maggie’s Notebook – Religious Volunteers Receive 25 Percent of Government Loans Repaid from Refugees: Calls for Another 90,000
- Joshuapundit – Hanukkah..The Festival Of Lights And Freedom
- The Noisy Room – Terrorism Preps In The Show Me State… Cell Phones, Propane Tanks And Explosives
- Fausta’s Blog – A brief post on what needs to be done in LatAm
- GrEaT sAtAn”S gIrLfRiEnD – Comprehensive Strategy Towards Russia
- The Right Planet – Obama Attempts to Limit Citizens’ Ability to Defend Themselves Against Terrorism
- Nice Deb – Judge Jeanine: The Real Hero In Washington Needs Our Support
- VA Right! – Polling Trends GOP Primary – Who is Trending UP? Who is Trending Down?
- Bookworm Room – Mark Steyn’s Political Poetry
- The Glittering Eye – Do We Actually Have a Screening Policy?
- Puma By Design – Progressives of Both Parties Spin, Disparage Trump’s Proposal to Deny Muslims Entry in USA
- The Independent Sentinel – Trump Opinions Make News, Obama Policies Create Deadly Chaos
- The Pirate’s Cove – Precious MSNBC Snowflake MHP: Star Wars Is Racist Or Something
- The People’s Cube – Christmas, Xmas, or Nomas?
- Simply Jews – Hamas MP Fathi Hammad: We Used Women and Children as Human Shields
- Protein Wisdom – How Big Should Government Be?
- The Minority Report – Minority Report: BREAKING: Major Biblical Discovery Rocks the Globe – Muslims Livid submitted by Maggie’s Notebook
- Breitbart – A Stark Choice: Ted Cruz’s Jacksonian Americanism vs. Marco Rubio’s Wilsonian Internationalism submitted by Joshuapundit
- Daniel Greenfield/FrontPage Mag – The San Bernardino Terrorists Weren’t Radicals – They Were Mainstream submitted by The Noisy Room
- David Goldman/PJ Media – Hanukkah: A Beacon Across Generations submitted by Fausta’s Blog
- Adam Elkus/War on the Rocks – The Fifty Shades of Gray War submitted by GrEaT sAtAn”S gIrLfRiEnD
- Diana West – Yup, Halt All Islamic Immigration submitted by The Right Planet
- Andrew McCarthy/NRO – Tashfeen Malik’s Jihadist Social-Media Posts Were Deliberately Ignored by the Feds submitted by Nice Deb
- Breitbart – Palin: ‘I’m On Trump’s Side,’ ‘Shame on the GOP Establishment’ if They Try to Boot Him Out submitted by VA Right!
- Kurt Schlichter/Town Hall – Trump Is Going To Break Your Heart submitted by Bookworm Room
- JustOneMinute – Violence And Islam submitted by The Glittering Eye
- Dawn Perlmutter/Front Page Magazine – The Wolf Pack Profile submitted by Puma By Design
- The Guardian – Sex, love and robots: is this the end of intimacy? submitted by The Watcher
- Matthew Continetti/Washington Free Beacon – The Party Divides submitted by The Watcher
- Victor Davis Hanson – ‘Playing into the Hands of ISIS’? submitted by The Watcher
Hat Tip: BB
By: Roger Aronoff
Accuracy in Media
During a CNN-produced segment on December 10 called, “Does the truth matter for Trump supporters?,” co-anchor Alisyn Camerota tested this proposition with the help of a focus group of handpicked Trump supporters.
“Next topic. The truth, and Donald Trump’s relationship with the truth,” said Camerota before the break leading into the segment.
She then questioned those supporters’ responses to Donald Trump’s statement about having seen “thousands and thousands” of Muslims celebrating in Jersey City, New Jersey immediately after the September 11, 2001 attacks.
Trump’s memory failed him this time: He clearly didn’t see “thousands and thousands” celebrating in New Jersey while watching television after those terror attacks. However, he did likely see reports, and some images, of people celebrating, both across the Middle East and in the New York and New Jersey areas.
In fact, The Washington Post’s Glenn Kessler, who fact-checked this claim, initially failed to find the Post’s own article from September 18, 2001, which reported that “authorities detained and questioned a number of people who were allegedly seen celebrating the attacks” and holding “tailgate-style parties” while viewing the “devastation.” It was found, instead, by Powerline blog. Of course, it becomes quickly apparent that some reports don’t actually cite exactly how many people were celebrating, which has allowed Kessler to repeatedly update his fact-check and maintain that there weren’t “thousands and thousands” of Muslims celebrating within the United States.
The “alleged” part is not whether some Muslims were “detained and questioned,” but whether or not they were seen “celebrating the attacks” on and after September 11. The local CBS New York City affiliate aired a segment back in 2001 referring to a “swarm” of people celebrating 9/11 on a rooftop in Jersey City, and saying that people were waiting and watching with binoculars as the planes crashed into the World Trade Center. Breitbart reported that with this and other reports of similar celebrations, Trump’s figure may not be so far off, and they argue that Trump is vindicated.
This observation is not to defend Trump, so much as to criticize the mainstream media’s decision to focus on Trump, a derangement syndrome that brings so much attention to Trump because it gets them ratings. They also likely hope they can be active participants in so dividing the Republican Party as to produce an independent run, either by Trump if he fails to win the Republican nomination, or by someone else if Trump wins the nomination. Trump, however, announced during Tuesday night’s debate on CNN that he won’t run as an independent if he fails to get the nomination.
So was this a big lie on Trump’s part, or a confused but largely accurate—except for the numbers—account of the actual response by some number of Muslims in New Jersey and elsewhere? Rudolph Giuliani, the then-mayor of New York City,said there were a number of arrests that were made in that city because of people celebrating the attacks, but that Trump was exaggerating.
But the real question is this: Why doesn’t CNN also do a segment asking, “Does the truth matter for Hillary Clinton supporters?” with a group of Hillary supporters, and ask about their thoughts on how Hillary’s statements match the truth?
Instead, on November 12 Camerota said that Mrs. Clinton’s claim that she wanted to join the Marines is “one of those anecdotes that a candidate kind of throws out and we often move on.” Kessler awarded Hillary’s suspect story only two Pinocchios. Kessler gave her four Pinocchios for one that he labeled as one of “The biggest Pinocchios of 2015.” That was her claim that “DOMA [the Defense of Marriage Act] had to be enacted to stop an anti-gay marriage amendment to the U.S. Constitution” in 1996.
The investigation and questions into Mrs. Clinton truthfulness could go back a few years. Why not test American responses to Hillary’s claim about being named after Sir Edmund Hillary, who had not yet scaled Mt. Everest? He successfully reached Everest’s peak more than half a decade after Hillary was born.
Also, what about her false claim about coming under fire in Bosnia? Are those examples not enough to also pillory Hillary in the press?
Maybe not, but some of her more recent grand lies demand attention. Mrs. Clinton claimed at her October 22nd hearing before the Benghazi Select Committee that she did not see any of the 600 emails that came to the State Department from Libya, the ones which sought beefed up security.
Mrs. Clinton also claims that she didn’t tell the family members of the Benghazi victims that “We are going to have the filmmaker arrested who was responsible for the death of your son,” though several maintain that she did.
Mrs. Clinton claims to have had no knowledge of the flow of arms to al Qaeda-related groups in Libya, although her own public emails contain an admonishment from a fellow State Department employee, Ann-Marie Slaughter, warning against providing arms to the Libyan rebels. This dishonest candidate also claimed that she never sent or received classified materials on her unauthorized private server, another statement that has been proven false, andconfirmed again this week.
Mrs. Clinton has also been caught in another number of lies about how she hadtold her daughter, Egyptian Prime Minister Hisham Kandil, and the President of Libya that she knew the Benghazi attack was a terrorist attack perpetrated by an al-Qaeda related group. Yet she still conspired with President Obama and Susan Rice in claiming that a YouTube video critical of Islam sparked the 2012 Benghazi attacks.
A Quinnipiac Poll from a few months ago found that 61 percent of voters found her neither “honest” nor “trustworthy.” But the media don’t want to emphasize that.
The greed and dishonesty coming from the Clintons are unlike anything we have previously witnessed. Earlier this year the book Clinton Cash cited numerousconflicts of interest, such as the owner of Laureate Education, a George Soros backed company, receiving tens of millions of dollars from Hillary Clinton’s State Department through a non-profit he controlled, and, in turn, paying Bill Clinton more than $16 million, plus donating generously to the Clinton Foundation. The mainstream media, if possible, appear to be vetting Mrs. Clinton as inadequately as they did former presidential candidate Barack Obama. They turn a blind eye to these sorts of activities.
It’s clear that most of the media are determined to wreck the Republicans’ chances of winning the White House, at any cost. But the political winds are blowing in a conservative direction in many countries, such as France, Argentina and Venezuela. Already, as a backlash against Obama, the Republicans have made tremendous electoral gains since he was first elected in 2008. As The New York Times had to acknowledge last month, in addition to Republican control of both the U.S. Senate and House, “the president today presides over a shrinking party whose control of elected offices at the state and local levels has declined precipitously. In January, Republicans will occupy 32 of the nation’s governorships, 10 more than they did in 2009. Democratic losses in state legislatures under Mr. Obama rank among the worst in the last 115 years, with 816 Democratic lawmakers losing their jobs and Republican control of legislatures doubling since the president took office…”
If only CNN had the courage to examine both parties equally, instead of perpetuating its own Trump derangement syndrome while working to help elect a Democrat for president next year. Don’t count on it.
Every week on Monday morning, the Council and our invited guests weigh in at the Watcher’s Forum with short takes on a major issue of the day, the culture or daily living. This week’s question: Is It Time For A Third Party?
Fausta’s Blog: Hell, no!
Bookworm Room: It’s time to take over the GOP, but not to divide it so that the Democrats can conquer.
The Glittering Eye :No. Duverger’s Law is the rule-of-thumb in political science that says that two party systems ultimately emerge in plurality rule systems with single member districts while proportional representation systems tend to be multi-party.
In other words the conditions for a third party can’t be favorable without electoral reform.
I think we’re either nearing a Constitutional Convention or an actual rebellion.
The Razor: Only if it replaces the Republican Party.
JoshuaPundit: I see the majority of the American people as being between a rock and a hard place.
On the one hand, the Democrats have truly become what Barack Obama and George Soros wanted to create – an ultra Left, corrupt socialist party utterly opposed to most of the Constitution with suicidal views on national security and illegal migration. And for good measure, a nice side order of fiscal irresponsibility, ultra high taxation, and exacerbated racial unrest.
It is exactly the kind of party a corrupt snake like Mrs. Clinton was born to lead. And the fact that someone with her record and moral character has at least a 50% chance of polluting the Oval Office with her presence is a grim testimony to the state of our politics and our Fourth Estate.
On the other hand, we have the Republican Party, whose leadership long ago ceased to represent anyone except itself, let alone the people whom dutifully voted for it and gave it majorities in congress that were marketed to them as what was needed to stop the dangerous decline of the country. Here, we have a whole infrastructure of politicians and elites who essentially regard the people they supposedly represent as a damned nuisance who should shut up and simply get behind whatever they’ve decided this year’s product with an ‘R’ on it is going to be.
The whole situation resembles nothing so much as a famous Simpson’s cartoon where two space aliens, Kang and Kodos seek to conquer and enslave America by posing as the two presidential candidates:
As far as the GOP goes, it’s gotten so toxic that the Republican establishment is signalling openly that if the peasants are so uppity as to pick Ted Cruz, Donald Trump or anyone else who’s unwilling to go along with their agenda, they’ll try and sandbag them by having a brokered convention to pick one of their own chosen ones. And if that doesn’t work, they’re actually prepared to do whatever they can to throw the election to the Democrats and try and use the old tired formula again in 2020.
So, a third party? Lots of pros and cons.
The way the system is set up, it’s very tough to get on the ballot in all fifty states let alone set up the infrastructure to compete nationally. The obvious historical precedent is that of the Whigs, who imploded over the slavery issue and gave birth to the Republicans. The fledgling Republican Party lost their first election badly,in 1854. They won the next one, in 1860, but it’s not usually remembered that there were five parties competing that year and the GOP squeaked by on a minority vote.
Another con is the obvious one…that splitting the Republican Party almost guarantees that Hillary Clinton will be the next president, with all that entails.
The pros? How about the possibility of no choice? Without an open, vociferous revolt, I don’t see the Republican party being taken away from those whom now hold it. Either Trump or Ted Cruz would have to have such an overwhelming amount of delegates as to make a brokered convention impossible, and there’s no way of forcing people whom despise them and their supporters to work to get a Cruz or a Trump elected. At best, many of them may sit on their hands and do little or nothing and at worse they will simply vote for Mrs. Clinton as more than one of them have suggested.
Is it possible to win the White House without their support? It all depends on how many of them dial out, how fed up the American people are, how successful outright voter fraud is and how the campaign itself goes. These things can hinge on small events. The way I see it, at this point in time Mrs. Clinton has a probable 237 electoral votes going in, including the entire West Coast, Hawaii, New Mexico, Minnesota, Illinois, DC, Maryland, Delaware, New Jersey, New York and all of New England except perhaps New Hampshire. And that assumes that the Democrats don’t also take Pennsylvania, Ohio, Michigan, Wisconsin,Colorado, Nevada, Florida, Virginia or North Carolina. Pennsylvania and either Michigan, North Carolina or Virginia alone give her the winning number of 270. It isn’t an impossible map in 2016, but it’s no picnic. And there’s a distinct possibility it may be our last real election as a Republic.
I’m not trying to be discouraging here. The map can get better depending on events, the GOP elephant might pull together and rouse itself for one more charge with the first real conservative candidate since Ronaldus Maximus (perhaps with a more ‘moderate’ VP as a sop to the Establishment, which is usually how these things get done). And we maybe able to start rebuilding the country again.
But if the GOP implodes because the establishment tries to sabotage a conservative candidate, or because they succeed one way or the other in giving us a Kang or Kodos choice, a third party isn’t a choice. It’s a necessity.
Greg Aydt, Rhymes With Right: I’m starting to think yes — and I say this as someone who has spent the last 35 years as an active Republican and the last 15 as an elected member of my county Republican Executive Committee.
Let’s look at things. The Democrats have moved so far left that they have become Euro-socialists even as the Euro-socialists move to the right because their experiment has been failing for some time. The Republicans are on the verge of being taken over by latter-day Know-Nothings seeking to close the borders, impose religious tests for office and (in some cases) proposing secession — an existential threat that rivals Watwrgatw. So tell me — where is there room for those of us who occupy the center-right that was exemplified by Ronald Reagan? I’m beginning to wonder if there needs to be some new vehicle for the sane center of the United States.
The problem, of course, consists in two realities.
First, the two parties have rigged our nation’s election laws to keep third parties marginalized by limiting ballot access. The major parties have automatic access to the ballot, while everyone else faces onerous signature or financial requirements to do so.
Second, in our system it is virtually impossible for more than two parties to thrive in the long term. In the last 25 presidential elections there have been four major efforts at running a major third party candidate for president. Each of those parties has not only failed to win, but has failed to even field a significant candidate four years later as one or the other major parties shifted enough to absorb most of the insurgent party’s voters.
What I guess I’m saying is that there is little chance of such a party making a go of it in the long term. The best that could be hoped for is that one or the other party might be dragged away from the ideological precipice on which they stand.
GrEaT sAtAn”S gIrLfRiEnD: No and no. The third part meme sounds great perhaps from a purely partisan view (naturally), yet it’s a path to defeat and the inauguration of HRC as the 45th President of the United States.
Laura Rambeau Lee, Right Reason: Unfortunately the time has run out for a third party to be an effective option for the 2016 presidential race. What we have today are essentially two progressive big government parties. The Democrat Party exists to advance the socialist/communist agenda. The Republican Party is not much better and has lost all direction by trying to bring in non-conservatives they believe they need to win a majority. The party may be the friend of big business but they refuse to take a stand for the social issues and traditions of American culture which have made this country great.
After delivering a Republican House majority in 2010 and Senate majority in 2014 one would think the Republicans would acknowledge the hard work and commitment of the conservatives within the party and try to incorporate more of their values and address their issues. Instead we have been taken for granted and used to advance the power of the GOP. In 2012 they ran Mitt Romney against the wishes of most conservatives and failed to defeat President Obama, which should have been easy considering the actions and scandals piling up during his first term. They continue to treat conservatives as a small inconsequential group within the party even though we have been their staunchest supporters.
Since I do not believe a third party is a viable option at this time, we conservatives have to demand the Republican Party accept the candidate we choose; a candidate who can communicate with all Americans and show them where we as a country have gone off course and how he or she will effect true change by restoring American pride, traditions, and culture. Obama promised hope and change but people are realizing the change he promised was not what they envisioned, and many have lost hope. We need someone who can help restore to Americans their spirit of ingenuity, self-determination, freedom, and independence. We need someone who will return government to its rightful place in America; a government that serves the people.
Well, there you have it.
Make sure to tune in every Monday for the Watcher’s Forum. And remember, every Wednesday, the Council has its weekly contest with the members nominating two posts each, one written by themselves and one written by someone from outside the group for consideration by the whole Council. The votes are cast by the Council and the results are posted on Friday morning.
It’s a weekly magazine of some of the best stuff written in the blogosphere and you won’t want to miss it.
By: Cliff Kincaid
Accuracy in Media
This is a special report from the AIM Center for Investigative Journalism
Before he left for Moscow to speak at a Russia Today (RT) conference, the former chief of the Defense Intelligence Agency (DIA) inked a deal to write a book about how to defeat America’s enemies in the Middle East. The title of the forthcoming book by Lt. General Michael T. Flynn (Ret.) is, The Field of Fight: How We Can Win the Global War Against Radical Islam and Its Allies.
But Flynn’s attendance at the RT “gala celebration,” including a special seat at the head table at the anniversary dinner, suggests that this retired officer, who attained a three-star rank during a 33-year Army career, views Russia as a potential U.S. ally in the war on terror.
In announcing his new book, Flynn said, “I am writing this book for two reasons: first, to show that the war is being waged against us by enemies this administration has forbidden us to describe: radical Islamists. Second, to lay out a winning strategy that is not passively relying on technology and drone attacks to do the job. We could lose this war; in fact, right now we are losing. The Field of Fight will give my view on how to win.”
We need military officials willing to fight and win. But Flynn’s participation in the RT anniversary celebration raises questions about what the DIA and other U.S. intelligence agencies know, or think they know, about the Russian role in global conflict and RT’s role in propaganda and disinformation.
What we can say for sure at this point is that it was not an accident that the former head of the DIA showed up in Moscow to celebrate the 10th anniversary of a TV channel that serves the interests of Moscow’s intelligence establishment. Flynn was right in the middle of the “Field of Fight,” and he must surely have known what he was getting into. It’s not called KGB-TV for nothing.
RT’s Disinformation Themes
In trying to attract and confuse an American audience, RT regularly features Marxist and radical commentators in the U.S. such as Noam Chomsky, Gloria La Riva of the Party for Socialism and Liberation, Carl Dix of the Revolutionary Communist Party, and 9/11 “inside job” advocate and radio host Alex Jones. It is preferable for the Russians to use foreigners, especially Americans, to make their propaganda points. Flynn is probably the most important American ever snared in RT’s web. He has added propaganda value because of his impressive background and years of service in the U.S. Army.
The RT conference was held at a time when the Russian regime was determined to divert global attention away from its military intervention on behalf of its long-time client state of Syria. Research analyst Hugo Spaulding of the Institute for the Study of War notes that Russia’s current air campaign in Syria “is focused on targeting Syrian armed opposition groups fighting against Syrian President Bashar al-Assad rather than ISIS.” The Syrian Network for Human Rights reportsthat Russian military strikes in Syria have killed hundreds of civilians during the course of bombing hospitals, bakeries, and markets. The result has been increasing refugee flows into Turkey and Europe.
RT, however, promotes a different version of reality, a “false narrative,” as Spaulding calls it. Indeed, that is the purpose of RT—to whitewash military aggression by the Russian state and focus attention on what the United States and its allies are supposedly doing in the world.
“Russian Air Force destroys 29 ISIS camps in Syria in 24 hours,” was the headline over a typical RT story about Syria. The channel portrays Russian President Vladimir Putin, who spoke to the RT 10th anniversary dinner, as a devout Christian fighting radical Islam.
However, Russia’s open war on the ethnic Turkmen fighting the Assad regime in Syria was something that NATO member Turkey could not ignore. The Turkish shoot-down of a Russian war plane flying through Turkey’s airspace became major news and the first incident in a developing confrontation that shows no sign of ending. RT immediately went to work claiming that Turkey was benefiting from ISIS oil. The U.S. Treasury Department countered with evidence showing that Syria’s Assad is buying ISIS oil through a Russian agent.
The Honey Trap
In addition to using Americans as props and pawns, RT relies heavily on glitzy graphics and beautiful women as anchors and correspondents to promote its propaganda. RT knows what it’s doing, having run a story titled, “From Russia with lust: Femme fatal Anna Chapman, to Russian mail-order brides, to our very own RT correspondents. Americans are infatuated with Russian women!”
It is noteworthy that RT openly cited Chapman, a sexy Russian spy who was seducing an unnamed cabinet official in the Obama administration in an effort to obtain classified information. She was caught, pleaded guilty, and was expelled from the U.S. in 2010. However, she returned to Russia and was honored with an award by none other than Vladimir Putin himself. Chapman had reportedly tried to seduce NSA defector Edward Snowden.
One of RT’s attractive female anchors, Sophie Shevardnadze, the granddaughter of former Soviet bureaucrat Eduard Shevardnadze, was tasked with interviewing Flynn during the conference, which was held at Moscow’s historic five-star luxuryMetropol Hotel. Flynn appeared on a special edition of her RT show, Sophie & Co, where he appeared grateful for the opportunity, saying, “…thank you so much for inviting me and having me here.”
In her interview with Flynn, Shevardnadze did not disappoint, echoing the Russian line on the Middle East by blaming the U.S. and its allies for conflict and violence. Rather than attack Putin’s military interventions in Ukraine and Syria, Flynn responded by saying that the U.S. and Russia have “to move forward” together. Flynn, director of the Defense Intelligence Agency from July 2012 to April 2014, said on RT that “…in order for us to not move to a greater level of conflict between the great nations of the world, we have to come to grips of how do we work together, how do we take interests, interests that are converging. So we have a whole set of converging interests that we are seeing right now, and unless we understand it, we’re going to make mistakes, we’re going to make tactical mistakes that are going to lead to strategic consequences.”
He claimed that Russia has faced terrorism from Muslims within, as if Russia, like the U.S., is a victim of radical Islam. He said, “…there are some in this country that know this enemy from having dealt with it in Chechnya and Dagestan and other places. This is a very, very deadly enemy that we’re facing, and it’s not just hundreds or thousands, these numbers are much greater.”
In fact, as veteran Moscow correspondent David Satter and others have documented, what sometimes appears to be Islamic terrorism in Russia can be carried out with the approval—or even at the direction of—the Kremlin, in order to justify greater repression by the Putin regime. For example, the 1999 Moscow apartment bombings that served to solidify Vladimir Putin’s control of the country, and justify the war against the former Soviet republic of Chechnya, wereproven to be the work of agents of the Federal Security Service, or FSB, a successor to the old KGB.
Moscow’s Role in Terrorism
Could Moscow in fact be behind much of the conflict in the Middle East, including the rise of ISIS? If Flynn has rejected this theory out of hand, it wouldn’t be the first time in history that the U.S. intelligence community failed to understand and appreciate Moscow’s role in international terrorism.
Flynn’s announced co-author, or collaborator, on his new book, Michael Ledeen, has a deep understanding of the Middle East, knowledge of how the old Soviet Union operated, and how remnants of that regime guide Russian foreign policy today. Ledeen worked as a consultant to the National Security Council, Department of State, and Department of Defense during the Reagan administration, when Soviet involvement in global terrorism was highlighted and exposed.
Ledeen’s 2003 book, The War Against the Terror Masters, describes the impact of communist disinformation and deception in the conduct of foreign policy.
Ledeen wrote about the discovery of Soviet moles in the CIA, such as Aldrich Ames and Harold Nicholson, and the discovery of one such mole in the FBI, Robert Hanssen. Ledeen writes, “The discovery that Soviet moles had been at work at the highest levels of the American intelligence community had particular importance in our efforts to combat the terror masters. Agency [CIA] analysts had long insisted that there was no conclusive evidence of Soviet involvement in international terrorism. One now had to wonder if that conclusion had been fed to us through the KGB moles in our midst.” Ledeen writes about how the intelligence community ignored inside information provided by Soviet defectors, such as theMitrokhin documents, which exposed the nature of Soviet-backed international terrorism, as well as the identities of “thousands of foreign agents—Western politicians, journalists, movie makers, military officers, and diplomats.”
Soviet KGB operations continued after the “collapse” of the Soviet Union in the hands of its successor agencies, the FSB and SVR. The book Comrade J examines the activities of Russian master spy, Sergei Tretyakov, who handled all Russian intelligence operations against the U.S. while serving under cover from 1995 to 2000 at Russia’s Permanent Mission to the United Nations.
Since intelligence operations continued as if nothing had happened, after the collapse of the Soviet Union, why isn’t it reasonable to assume that the Russians maintained contacts with international terrorist groups?
To his credit, Flynn has been very critical of the role of Russia’s close ally in the Middle East—Iran. In June 2015 testimony, after his retirement, he cited Iranian cooperation with North Korea, China and Russia, and pointed with alarm to the “resurgence of Russian and Chinese influence” in the Middle East. He said Russian assistance to Iran was a part of the problem, noting that “After all, the Iranian nuclear reactor at Bushehr is Russian-built, the two countries work very closely together in Syria, and Russia is providing Iran with an effective antiaircraft system that could be deployed against any aircraft seeking to destroy the nuclear program.”
However, in the RT interview with Sophie Shevardnadze, Flynn’s criticism of Iran was couched in terms of getting all of the Arab and Muslim countries in the region to behave. He merely said “…Iran cannot continue to go the way it’s going” because it was contributing to the conflict.
The Birth of RT
The Russians have gotten far more sophisticated, especially in the field of global propaganda and information. But the reality of what is happening behind the scenes came to public attention when two RT employees, Elizabeth Wahl and Sara Firth, resigned in disgust at the propaganda that they were ordered to spew on the air. For example, the Russian managers ordered “news” that was designed todepict the Ukrainian government in a bad light and mask Russian military interference in that country, including the shoot-down and destruction of the Malaysia Airlines flight MH17, which was carrying almost 300 people.
At the RT anniversary dinner on Thursday night, Putin made no mention of those embarrassing resignations. Instead he presented the channel as a free and independent news entity featuring “creative” people who are serving the global public interest. He said to his audience (including Lt. Gen. Flynn), “You compete on the same playing field as international news giants, and are already beating them according to many parameters. In some regions of the world, you have higher ratings than traditional news organizations that have long been operating in the international information market.”
The speech was laughable, considering the Kremlin funding and control of the channel. Yet, it was posted on the president of Russia’s website, along with photographs of the affair. Moscow is obviously proud of what it has accomplished, with the cooperation of foreigners who appear on the channel and give it credibility.
The participation of a former chief of the Defense Intelligence Agency at the event was a major coup for RT. Film and photos of his participation will help the Russians in their ongoing propaganda campaign to depict the state-funded entity as simply a respectable source of alternative news and opinion that offers different views.
Showing the continuity between the old Soviet Union and Russia, former Soviet President Gorbachev was in attendance at the Thursday night dinner. He “congratulated RT and expressed his admiration for the network,” the channel reported. Outside the event, Gorbachev called the channel a “big success.”
The Case of Edward Snowden
Flynn’s attendance at the RT conference was shocking not only because Putin is an evil ruler whose regime murders opposition figures and truly independent journalists, but because Flynn was critical in the past about the damage done by NSA defector Edward Snowden, who escaped to Russia and now lives under Putin’s protection.
Flynn said in January 2014 that Snowden’s disclosures have caused “grave damage to our national security.” He added that “the greatest cost” of his disclosures will be “the cost in human lives on tomorrow’s battlefield or in someplace where we will put our military forces…when we ask them to go into harm’s way.”
It appears that the information stolen by Snowden has contributed significantly to the advances of the enemies and adversaries of the United States. Since his defection, Russia conducted a surprise invasion of Ukraine; Communist China mounted a series of cyber warfare attacks; and ISIS has gained ground in the Middle East and around the world. The bloody terrorist assaults in Paris and San Bernardino were carried out by plotters who clearly benefitted from Snowden’s revelations and were careful to plan their attacks using encrypted communications apps, such as Telegram, which was developed by a Russian, Pavel Durov.
RT has consistently portrayed Snowden as a whistleblower, and ran what was apparently intended as a humorous promotional ad in connection with the 10th anniversary celebration. It imagined that the NSA defector would return to the U.S. and be elected U.S. president. The ad shows an elderly Barack Obama in the year 2035 complaining about RT’s “propaganda.”
Snowden apparently wasn’t at the RT celebration, but former Russia Today TV star, Julian Assange, appeared via videotape from the Ecuadorian embassy in London. He was interviewed by the well-known American “progressive” commentator, Thom Hartmann, who is paid by Moscow to host an RT show that appeals to liberals and left-wingers. Incredibly, the issue being discussed was the “right to privacy”—a right that doesn’t exist in Russia itself. Assange was the recipient of massive leaks from former U.S. Army analyst Bradley Manning, who is becoming a woman named Chelsea while serving a prison term for espionage.
Obama’s Support for Terrorism
One issue raised in RT’s interview of Flynn was a heavily-censored 2012 DIA memo that has been interpreted by many as confirmation that the U.S. and some of its allies had armed the terrorist groups in the Middle East that eventually became ISIS. According to the memo, these groups were seen as effective in countering the Russia/Iran/Syria axis in the area. The memo also described China as backing the Syrian regime.
Flynn’s criticism of this policy since he left the DIA has been made in different venues, including in interviews with Al Jazeera and Der Spiegel. As Flynn has correctly indicated, it is apparent that Obama’s policy in the Middle East has been a disaster. The Benghazi terrorist attacks in Libya, which cost the lives of four Americans, came to pass after the U.S. “switched sides in the war on terror,” as areport from the Citizens’ Commission on Benghazi has demonstrated. But just as the Obama administration must be held accountable for arming terrorists, so too must the role of the Putin regime in fostering terrorism be exposed.
In addition to the evidence of an FSB role in domestic terrorism, a defector from the Russian intelligence agency has just confirmed Russia’s role in creating ISIS by recruiting former members of Saddam Hussein’s security services. The former FSB officer told Ukrainian journalist Andriy Tsaplienko that “the Russian special services believed that if a terrorist organization was set up as an alternative to Al-Qaeda and it created problems for the United States as Donbas does for Ukraine now, it would be quite good.” Donbas is the name for the region of Ukraine that has been the staging area for terrorists from Russia, organized by the FSB, to seize territory and undermine Ukraine’s central government. Once again, Russia has demonstrated its commitment to global conflict rather than peace and reconciliation.
The FSB defector said that in order to create ISIS, the Russians selected former officers of the Iraqi army and members of the Arab Socialist Ba’ath Party. All of them had graduated from Moscow-based “educational institutions,” he said, referring to the time when the Saddam Hussein regime was in a close alliance with the Soviet Union. The overthrow of the Saddam regime was a huge blow to Russian influence in the Middle East. Iran and the Assad regime are the only firm Russian allies left in the region.
Russians Fighting for Terrorist Groups
The Daily Beast ran an article, “Russians Are Joining ISIS in Droves.” But the idea advanced by The Daily Beast that these terrorists are a threat to Russia is not borne out by the evidence. It seems like they are more of a threat to the rest of the world, especially the United States. In what could be seen as an observation or a threat, Putin himself publicly acknowledged that there are an estimated 5,000 to 7,000 Russians fighting for ISIS. By contrast, FBI Director James Comey has estimated that approximately 250 Americans have traveled or attempted to travel to Syria to join ISIS. These potential terrorists are believed to be threats to America.
On December 3rd, the U.S. Justice Department announced that Irek Ilgiz Hamidullin, a Russian national and former Russian army tank commander, had been sentenced to life plus 30 years in prison for conspiring to kill U.S. soldiers and bring down an American helicopter, as well as for “conspiring to use a weapon of mass destruction and several other charges relating to an attack that he led against U.S. and Afghan forces in Afghanistan in November 2009.”
It is telling that the U.S., not the Russian authorities, prosecuted him. Perhaps the U.S. was reluctant to turn him over to Moscow. This is reminiscent of the case of the Russian arms dealer and former Soviet military officer Viktor Bout, the legendary “Merchant of Death” who is serving a 25-year sentence in U.S. federal prison. Bout was lured out of Russia, where he was living openly, and arrested in a sting operation in Thailand by the Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA). Some of the weapons Bout was selling were for communist Colombian terrorists to use against Americans.
RT has covered the Bout case relentlessly, always in a manner critical of the United States for apprehending and prosecuting him. RT has even highlighted how Bout’s wife has set up The Road Home Foundation to facilitate the return to Russia of Bout and other Russians convicted of crimes abroad.
In another sensational case, the Boston Marathon bombing was carried out by two brothers from Russia, but the Russian connection was immediately discounted on the ground that the Russians had reportedly warned U.S. authorities about the bombers’ travels back and forth to the old Soviet Union. Curiously, RT ran claims by their mother back in Russia that the terrorists were “set up” by the FBI.
It is indeed strange how a Russian connection seems to surface in some of these most sensational terrorism cases.
In the more recent San Bernardino attack, we have a case of two Russian beautiesmarried to Muslim men. A Russian blonde beauty had married into the terrorist’s family, and another Russian woman had married Enrique Marquez, a convert to Islam who bought the weapons used in the massacre.
In his June 2015 testimony, Flynn acknowledged that the U.S. intelligence community has had a “mixed” record in one important area—“tracking clandestine nuclear weapons programs.” In this context, it is significant that in his December 9 testimony to Congress, FBI director James Comey made a passing reference to how the bureau had disrupted “a nuclear threat in Moldova,” an Eastern European country and former Soviet republic. There is much more to the story and it directly involves the criminal regime in Moscow.
The story came to light in October, when the Associated Press disclosed that “gangs with suspected Russian connections” had tried on several occasions to “sell radioactive material to Middle Eastern extremists.” AP said the latest known case came in February this year, “when a smuggler offered a huge cache of deadly cesium—enough to contaminate several city blocks—and specifically sought a buyer from the Islamic State group.”
In a follow-up report, the Center for Public Integrity said the nuclear material in the various cases “appeared to have the same origin—a restricted military installation in Russia.” It added that “no one in the West knows exactly who has this nuclear explosive material, and where they may be.”
The group concluded, “It’s a mystery that so far has stumped America’s best spying efforts, in no small measure because the government of Russian president Vladimir Putin has refused to provide needed information on the case—or even to acknowledge that some of the country’s nuclear explosive materials are missing.”
Don’t look for RT to get to the bottom of this.