Primer: Qasem Soleimani, the military maestro of the IRGC, commanded the base that attacked Israel earlier this week. Further, the Israelis asked permission to assassinate Soleimani during the Obama administration. They were denied and Obama officials leaked the plot to Iran. Now, that same request has apparently been asked of the Trump administration and the request was approved.
Tower: The United States Treasury Department, working with authorities in the United Arab Emirates, broke up a money laundering scheme that provided millions of dollars to Iran’s Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps-Qods Force (IRGC-QF), Reuters reported Thursday.
Treasury designated six individuals and three business entities for their role in the scheme. The UAE, where companies facilitating the money laundering were located, but the same people and entities on its list of terrorists and terror organizations that do business with the IRGC-QF.
In a statement announcing the new sanctions, Treasury Secretary Steven T. Mnuchin said, “The Iranian regime and its Central Bank have abused access to entities in the UAE to acquire U.S. dollars to fund the IRGC-QF’s malign activities, including to fund and arm its regional proxy groups, by concealing the purpose for which the U.S. dollars were acquired. As I said following the President’s announcement on Tuesday, we are intent on cutting off IRGC revenue streams wherever their source and whatever their destination. Today we are targeting Iranian individuals and front companies engaged in a large-scale currency exchange network that has procured and transferred millions to the IRGC-QF.”
Mnuchin thanked the UAE for its “close collaboration” in disrupting the money laundering and called on all nations to “be vigilant” in fighting Iranian attempts at money-laundering to “fund the nefarious actors of the IRGC-QF and the world’s largest state sponsor of terror.”
Reuters described the IRGC as Iran’s “most powerful security entity,” with control over a large share of Iran’s economy. IRGC-QF is described as “an elite unit in charge of the IRGC’s overseas operations.”
In 2015, Reuters reported that more than $1 billion in cash had been smuggled into Iran despite sanctions, utilizing “money changers and front companies in Dubai, in the United Arab Emirates and Iraq.” Iran preferred using a network of front companies to handle the money laundering in order to conceal “the overall size of the dollar-purchasing operation.”
When he announced the United States’ withdrawal from the nuclear deal earlier this week, President Donald Trump gave companies either three month or six months to wind down their dealings with Iran.
The US danced in the skies near Alaska on Friday with Russia. Russian nuclear forces dispatch two strategic bombers into the air defense zone near Alaska and the aircraft were intercepted by American F-22 jets, the US Northern Command said. Two Tu-95 Bear bombers breached the 200-mile Air Defense Identification Zone (ADIZ) over the Bering Sea near the Alaska coast early Friday, said Navy Capt. Scott Miller, chief spokesman for Northern Command and the US-Canada North American Aerospace Defense (NORAD) Command.
“At approximately 10 a.m. eastern time, two Alaskan-based NORAD F-22 fighters intercepted and visually identified two Russian TU-95 ‘Bear’ long-range bomber aircraft flying in the Air Defense Identification Zone off the western coast of Alaska, north of the Aleutian Islands,” Miller told the Washington Free Beacon. He also stated that the Russian nuclear bombers did not enter sovereign US or Canadian airspace. That’s funny, because multiple sources say they came within 55 miles of the Alaskan coast. One thing is certain, the Russian bear is poking us, prodding our defenses. Miller stated that there was no unusual activity related to the encounter and there were no communications between the F-22s and bombers. Except the encounter itself was unusual, unless of course this is Cold War part deux.
The bombers were flying in international airspace and “flying according to international norms,” Miller said. “NORAD continues to monitor all air activity emanating from within and outside North American airspace,” he said. I’m not exactly comforted by that. Sorry. No further details were provided concerning the Russian interlopers. This is obviously part of a pattern of Russian nuclear coercion aimed at the United States.
“Putin’s Russia is in the nuclear intimidation business and is willing to burn a lot of unnecessary bomber fuel, not to mention the cost of refueling and additional maintenance hours resulting from the long flights just to make that point,” said Mark Schneider, a former Pentagon strategic weapons expert. “Threatening people with nuclear weapons is Russia’s national sport.” So true.
Just over a year ago, two Bear bombers flew inside the ADIZ near Alaska and were accompanied by two Russian Su-35 Flanker fighter jets. Just a note… Alaska is the home of the Pentagon’s strategic missile defense interceptor base at Fort Greely, Alaska, about 100 miles southeast of Fairbanks. It’s a prime target for the Russians if we go to war. US missile defenses irritate Putin and he is butt-hurt that we are globally deploying them to counter Russian missiles. Of course, we counter stating that our missile defenses are not targeting Russian forces, but are designed to counter North Korean ICBMs and future Iranian long-range missiles. In fact, they are meant as a deterrent to a number of enemies, such as North Korea, China, Iran and yes, Russia. The Russkies are not and never will be our friends.
Fort Greely houses most of the 44 long-range Ground Based Interceptors capable of knocking out intercontinental ballistic missiles. Other GBI interceptors are deployed at Vandenberg Air Force Base, CA. Bear bombers are equipped with KH-55 air-launched cruise missiles as well as two of Russia’s newer and more potent cruise missiles, the conventionally-armed KH-101 and the nuclear-tipped KH-101. They actually practiced simulated missile strikes against our sites in Alaska in June of 2012 as a part of a major strategic nuclear forces exercise.
Some of Russia’s recent flights have been protected by fighters and others have not. “Irrespective of this, my perception is that the bomber ‘combat patrols’ as Putin called them when he started them in 2007 are not realistic training for attack but rather nuclear intimidation flights,” Schneider, a former Pentagon official, said. Right… but I might point out they are one and the same in the end. “When you have nuclear-armed KH-55, KH-102, and nuclear capable KH-101 cruise missiles with ranges from thousands of kilometers to about 5,000-kilometers, it makes no sense to fly the bombers close enough to be intercepted,” he said. It does if you have a weak enemy and you need to test them on a regular basis to see what they respond with.
The reason Russian military forces conducted ADIZ intrusion flights is that if they stayed further away there would be no “intimidation effect” and probably no new coverage of the flights, Schneider said. Earlier this month, a Russian Su-27 fighter jet made an unsafe intercept of a Navy P-8 surveillance aircraft over the Baltic Sea. The Su-27 flew within 20 feet of the P-8.
Last week, it was revealed that the US is re-establishing its Second Fleet, responsible for the northern Atlantic Ocean, nearly seven years after it was disbanded as the Pentagon puts countering Russia at the heart of its military strategy. The reason for that is Russia in the Arctic and possible war.
“Our National Defense Strategy makes clear that we’re back in an era of great power competition as the security environment continues to grow more challenging and complex,” Chief of US Naval Operations Admiral John Richardson said last Friday. “Second Fleet will exercise operational and administrative authorities over assigned ships, aircraft and landing forces on the East Coast and northern Atlantic Ocean,” Richardson said. The command, which will be based in Norfolk, Virginia, will initially have 15 personnel and will eventually grow to over 200 people, officials said.
Keep telling us there’s no threat here. And they’ll do that until the first attack comes. With war on the horizon, that may be sooner than later.
Abdul al-Sayed to GOP opponent: ‘You may not hate Muslims but Muslims definitely hate you!’
Michigan’s first-ever Muslim candidate for governor, Dr. Abdul al-Sayed, took a shot at fellow gubernatorial candidate Patrick Colbeck on Thursday that some Republicans are saying was below the belt.
Colbeck, speaking at a candidate’s forum in East Lansing, expressed his concerns about Sharia law and the extremist Muslim Brotherhood’s tactic of civilization jihad. Colbeck took exception with an article he says was planted by Sayed supporters in the left-of-center website Buzzfeed, which painted Colbeck as a fringe extremist using “unfounded conspiracy theories” against Sayed.
Rather than address Colbeck’s concerns, Sayed called Colbeck a racist Islamophobe whom Muslims “definitely hate.”
Sayed, 33, the former public-health director for the city of Detroit, was on stage Thursday at the Michigan Press Association with several other Democrat and Republican candidates for governor running in the Aug. 7 primary.
Dr. Abdul al-Sayed, shown here with his wife, Sarah, is running for governor of Michigan as a Democrat.
Sayed refused to answer a question from the moderator about the Islamic legal system known as Sharia, other than to say that, if elected, he would uphold the constitutions of the U.S. and State of Michigan.
“I take [the Constitution] particularly seriously because it guarantees me two things. A, the right to pray as I choose to pray, and for me that means I put my face on the ground 34 times a day,” Sayed said. “Some people choose not to pray at all. Then in Article Six it also tells us that no religious test should be held over someone wishing to serve under this Constitution. It’s an incredible document.”
Sayed leveled charges of racism and “white supremacy” at Republicans in general but saved his most severe critique for Colbeck, the one GOP candidate who has dared to talk about the issue of creeping Sharia in a state that has the country’s highest concentration of Muslims and has the nation’s first case of female genital mutilation working its way through the federal courts. Michigan also recently had a case involving a possible honor killing in which a 15-year-old Muslim boy in Farmington Hills allegedly pushed his mother to her death at a time when she was going through a divorce from his father.
Patrick Colbeck is running for governor of Michigan as a Republican.
Colbeck, an aerospace engineer and two-term state senator, said his concerns are not about individual Muslims. Rather, he worries about the influence of the Muslim Brotherhood, which has been declared a terrorist organization by Egypt, Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates, and whose influence in the U.S. was spelled out in the Explanatory Memorandum on the General Strategic Goal for the Group in North America, a document seized by the FBI in 2004 and presented as evidence in a terror-financing trial that sent five members of an Islamic charity called the Holy Land Foundation to prison in 2008 for funneling money to Hamas.
“This is one of those areas that got me ticked off in regard to the fairness of the media,” Colbeck told the audience Thursday. “They pitched this comment around my concern about the Muslim Brotherhood as a concern about Muslims in general. I love Muslims. It’s not an issue. The issue is about terrorist organizations like the Muslim Brotherhood.”
After he berated Colbeck as a racist, and lectured the other Republicans on the panel for not condemning Colbeck as a racist and white supremacist, the normally cool-headed Sayed became visibly angry and showed he is not above expressing some hatred of his own.
“What frustrates me more is not that you have blatant racism on the part of certain people, but what frustrates me more is in the words of Dr. Martin Luther King, is not when bad people speak out but when good people fail to speak out, and what I have not heard is the Republicans on this panel, decisively and swiftly call out this kind of Islamophobia, this kind of racism, in the context that they are wanting to represent the state that has the highest per-capita number of Muslim Americans in the country. Now you may not hate Muslims, but I’ll tell you, Muslims definitely hate you!”
Watch the full 6-minute exchange between Colbeck and Sayed in the video below:
Dick Manasseri, spokesman for Secure Michigan, one of the groups that has concerns about the incremental advancement of Sharia in Michigan’s Muslim enclaves, including female genital mutilation, honor violence and polygamy, said he was surprised to see Sayed come unhinged in response to a calmly-communicated concern by Colbeck.
“Dr. Abdul definitely lost his cool,” Manasseri said. “I think what we saw was an outburst. Abdul was not cool. Patrick is purposely trying to not make this his only issue, but when it comes up he’s not afraid to address it and Dr. Abdul showed he just can’t handle it. All he has in his bag of tricks is the canned response that everyone who asks about Sharia is a racist and an Islamophobe.”
Since Islam is not a race, and some of the most populous Muslim countries such as Syria and Bosnia are filled by Caucasians, the charge of racism is disingenuous at best, nonsensical at worst, Manasseri said.
Philip Haney, a counter-terrorism expert and retired member of the Department of Homeland Security’s National Targeting Center, said Sayed responded predictably.
The International Muslim Brotherhood’s stated goal, in its documents and even its motto, is the worldwide establishment of Sharia law, not necessarily by violence but by using “the hands of the unbeliever” in Western societies, Haney said. In essence, they use the political systems and the freedoms, of speech and religion, to infiltrate and weaken a Western society “from within,” as stated in the Explanatory Memorandumauthored in 1991 by Brotherhood member Mohamed Akram.
Sayed served as vice president of the Muslim Student Association while attending the University of Michigan, and his wife Sarah served as president of the chapter. The MSA has long been linked to the Muslim Brotherhood and is named as one of its front groups in the Explanatory Memorandum.
Haney said Sayed responded like a trained Muslim Brotherhood operative when confronted with the issue of Sharia at Thursday’s candidates’ forum.
“He did what those guys tend to do, which is to change the narrative whenever the issue of Sharia comes up and make it about racism and so-called Islamophobia,” Haney said. “But he showed his true colors there at the end. He’s not as slick as he thinks he is.”
Manasseri said one of the most revealing moments of the forum was how the other two leading GOP candidates – Attorney General Bill Schuette and Lt. Gov. Brian Calley – sat silently throughout the entire exchange about Sharia.
“He’s standing there on the stage attacking their party as white supremacists and racists. And the current attorney general and the current lieutenant governor have nothing to say about it,” Manasseri said. “The press is mostly silent. If the man’s head touches the ground 34 times a day, this is not a casual Muslim we’re talking about, this is a fundamentalist Muslim. I’m concerned now. The press should be asking him: How do you feel about FGM, what are your views on forced veiling of Muslim women and honor violence against women?”
* * *
Patrick Colbeck has two decades of private sector experience as an aerospace engineer and was elected in 2010 to the Michigan State Senate. He was a senior design engineer with Boeing on the International Space Station. He also served as a systems engineer at the Department of Defense where he worked on advanced training simulation systems responsible for integrating these systems across the various branches of the Armed Forces.
Listen to Colbeck in his own words below. [Does he sound like a racist to you?]:
Leo Hohmann is a veteran journalist and author of the 2017 book “Stealth Invasion: Muslim Conquest through Immigration and Resettlement Jihad.”
Whether States should ask Congress to call a convention under Article V of our federal Constitution is one of the most important issues of our time. The Delegates to such a convention, as Sovereign Representatives of The People, have the power to throw off the Constitution we have and set up a new Constitution – with a new and easier mode of ratification – which creates a new government.1
Americans need the Truth. But former law professor Rob Natelson’s recent article in The Hill is filled with ad hominems and misstatements. Natelson is legal advisor for pro-convention groups such as “Convention of States Project” (COSP).
“Poisoning the well” fallacy
Natelson characterizes those who oppose an Article V convention as “big government advocates”; “Washington insiders” who protect “judges and politicians who abuse their positions”; chanters of “talking points” from the “disinformation campaign” of the 1960s and early 1970s who have “no real expertise on the subject”; and, like those involved in “voter suppression efforts”, use “fear and disinformation” to discourage citizens from exercising their rights.
And while such tactics clearly resonate with COSP’s cheerleading squad; 2 others immediately recognize the preemptive ad hominem attack known as the “poisoning the well” fallacy. That fallacy is committed when one primes the audience with adverse information or false allegations about the opponent, in an attempt to bolster his own claim or discount the credibility of the opponent.
Obviously, Natelson’s characterizations don’t constitute proof that he is right, and opponents are wrong.
Misrepresentations, omissions, and irrelevant “academic research”
“Our founders designed this [Article V convention] as a way the people could fix the federal government if it became abusive or dysfunctional”.
“Any proposals must… be ratified by 38 states before they become law.”
That’s not true. While any amendments to our Constitution must be ratified by 38 States; our Declaration of Independence says it’s the “self-evident” Right of a People to abolish their government and set up a new one.
We invoked that Right in 1776 to throw off the British Monarchy.
In 1787, we invoked that Right to throw off our first Constitution, the Articles of Confederation; and set up a new Constitution – the one we now have – which created a new government.
How did we get from our first Constitution to our second Constitution? There was a convention to propose amendments to our first Constitution!
And in Federalist No. 40 (15th para), James Madison invoked the “precious right” of a People to throw off one government and set up a new one, as justification for what they did at the federal “amendments” convention of 1787.
We can’t stop that from happening at another convention. Furthermore, any new constitution will have its own mode of ratification. Whereas Art. 13 of the Articles of Confederation required amendments to be approved by the Continental Congress and all of the then 13 States; the new Constitution provided at Article VII that it would be ratified by 9 States.
Any proposed third constitution will have its own mode of ratification. The proposed Constitution for the Newstates of America is ratified by a national referendum (Art. XII, §1). The States don’t ratify it – they are dissolved and replaced by regional governments answerable to the new national government.
Natelson asserts that “academic research” shows:
“…how the convention is chosen and operates: It is a meeting of state representatives of a kind very common in U.S. history…The convention follows a pre-set agenda and attendees are subject to state legislative direction.”
But Natelson doesn’t mention the federal “amendments” convention of 1787. That convention involved Delegates who ignored the instructions from their States 3 and from the Continental Congress, and resulted in a new Constitution with a new and easier mode of ratification. That is the “meeting” which is relevant to the convention Congress has the power to call under Article V of our Constitution.
The “calling” of a convention by Congress is governed – not by Natelson’s “meetings” – but by provisions in our Constitution. Article V delegates to Congress the power to “call” a convention; and Article I, § 8, last clause, delegates to Congress the power to make laws “necessary and proper” to carry out that power.
As to the sovereign powers of Delegates, look to the Declaration of Independence, the federal “amendments” convention of 1787, and Federalist No. 40 – not to Natelson’s “meetings”.
In an earlier article, Georgetown law professor David Super cited Coleman v. Miller (1939) to show that as amending the Constitution is a “political question”; the courts are unlikely to intervene. 4
Natelson responded that Coleman is a 79-year old “minority opinion the courts have long repudiated”; but doesn’t show where the Supreme Court “repudiated” its opinion.
What Coleman shows is this: we can’t expect federal courts to make Delegates obey instructions. No one has power over Delegates – Delegates can take down one government and set up a new one.
Here’s an idea: Let’s all read our Declaration of Independence and Constitution; elect only people who have also read them, know what they say, and agree to obey; and then let’s downsize the federal government to its enumerated powers.
4 When a power is delegated to a “political” branch [legislative or executive], federal courts [“judicial” branch] traditionally abstain from interfering and substituting their judgment for that of the branch to which the power was delegated.
Matt Margolis, author of The Scandalous Presidency of Barack Obama, examines Obama’s ransom payment to Iran and other scandals. “We’re still paying the price for the eight years he was in office,” he says. “If we don’t fully understand what happened and what motivated him, and the impact of his policies and decisions, we’re going to be in for trouble.” Margolis believes the next generation should receive the truth about the damage that Obama did to the nation.
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