Tuesday, August 20, 2013

Arlene Kushner on the Degree to Which the Obama Administration Shields Islamist Extremists

From Arlene Kushner:
August 20, 2013


Tearing my hair out is not constructive.  It's even worse than banging my head against the wall.  And so, I must resist all such impulses. 
Please see this article -- "BLIND TO TERROR: The US Government's Disastrous Muslim Outreach Efforts and the Impact on US Middle East Policy."  This is from the Gloria Center, headed by Barry Rubin, and is written by counterterrorism consultant Patrick S. Poole (emphasis added):
"The aftermath of the April 15, 2013 bombings in Boston, Massachusetts, has focused attention on the failure of the Federal Bureau of Investigations (FBI) to carry out an adequate investigation of the suspected bombers despite warnings from Russian authorities. This failure has partially been attributed to a full scale campaign of political correctness waged inside the bureau and throughout the U.S. government under the Obama administration against any attempt to link jihadi terrorism with anything remotely connected to Islam of any variety (the most radical versions included). This has extended into other segments of the government as well, particularly the Department of Defense.

"...The U.S. government’s historical outreach program, regardless of whether it has been a Democrat or Republican in the White House, has been based on a schizophrenic policy: In many cases federal prosecutors have gone into federal court and identified American Islamic organizations and leaders as supporters of terrorism, and no sooner have left court before government officials openly embrace these same organizations and leaders as moderates and outreach partners. In several notable cases, the FBI’s outreach partners have been under active FBI criminal investigation and were later convicted on terrorism-related charges at the time the outreach occurred...

"When President Obama hosted his annual Iftar dinner in August 2010 to commemorate the Muslim celebration of Ramadan, the list of invitees published by the White House was curiously missing the names of several attendees–all of whom were top leaders of organizations known to be purveyors of jihadi ideology and implicated by federal prosecutors in financing terrorism.

"...one of the individuals missing on the official White House list, Mohamed Majid, president of the Islamic Society of North America (ISNA), was pictured in a news service photograph sitting at the front table just a few feet from the president as he spoke. When Majid was hailed by Time Magazine in November 2005 as a 'moderate Muslim cleric' who was helping the FBI fight terrorists, he quickly published an open letter to his congregation on the mosque’s website assuring his congregants that he was doing no such thing, stating that his relationship with the FBI was a one-way street only to communicate Muslim community concerns–not to report on individuals suspected of terrorist activity.

"...with the release in 2011 of President Obama’s strategic plan to combat 'violent extremism' [by expanding] outreach to these same terror-tied groups, the present administration seems intent on compounding the disaster wrought by previous administrations. Prior to the September 11 attacks, there were two prime examples of how the government’s Muslim outreach policy failed spectacularly: Abdul Rahman al-Amoudi and Sami al-Arian.

"Al-Amoudi’s case is perhaps the best example, because he was the conduit through much of the U.S. government outreach that was conducted following the 1993 World Trade Center bombing. Not only was he asked by the Clinton administration to help train and certify all Muslim military chaplains...he was later appointed by the State Department in 1997 as a civilian goodwill ambassador to the Middle East, making six taxpayer-funded trips.

Further, with the assistance and encouragement of then-First Lady Hillary Clinton, al-Amoudi arranged the first White House Iftar dinner in 1996, personally hand-picking the attendees.

"...As is now known, and the U.S. government has admitted, at the time that he [al-Amoudi] was being courted by Democrats and Republicans alike, he was a major fundraiser for al-Qa’ida according to the Department of the Treasury. However, it isn’t as if the U.S. government was not aware of al-Amoudi’s attachments. As far back as 1993, a government informant told the FBI that al-Amoudi was funneling regular payments from Usama bin Ladin to the “Blind Sheikh” Omar Abdel Rahman, who was convicted for authorizing terror attacks targeting New York landmarks.

"In March 1996, al-Amoudi’s association with Hamas leader Mousa Abu Marzook was exposed in the pages of the Wall Street Journal. Two years later, the State Department came under fire by the New York Post for inviting al-Amoudi to official events despite his known statements in support of terrorism and terrorist leaders...

"The problem is that such groups have been legitimized–both by government and the media–as civil-rights groups fighting anti-Muslim discrimination and stereotyping. Unfortunately, their definition of such discrimination [includes] anyone who writes about the existence of...or tries to investigate...radical Islamic terrorist groups and their allies on these shores.

"..That many of the Islamic groups identified as outreach partners by the U.S. government were identified by federal prosecutors in court as fronts for the international Muslim Brotherhood and supporters of international terrorism has proved incredibly embarrassing. Extraordinary measures are thus taken to ignore this situation. One response has been to ignore the problem altogether...

"In March 2012, the FBI released guidelines...This 'Touchstone document' articulates the FBI’s new policy that associating with a terrorist organization, if that organization has both violent and legal elements, does not mean that someone agrees with the violent ends of that organization:

"This distinction includes recognition of the corresponding principle that mere association with organizations that demonstrate both legitimate (advocacy) and illicit (violent extremism) objectives should not automatically result in a determination that the associated individual is acting in furtherance of the organization’s illicit objective(s).

"Thus, according to this new FBI policy, if the group supports violence but performs some legitimate functions (say, for instance, al-Qa’ida, which Sen. Patty Murray [D-WA] infamously said helped pay to build schools, roads, and day care centers), associating with that group, according to the FBI, doesn’t mean you support that group’s violent ends. Thus, the terror support of their Muslim outreach partners is absolved with a rhetorical sleight-of-hand.

"...The Obama administration has, thus, taken extraordinary measures to protect individuals and organizations identified by the U.S. government as members and fronts of the Muslim Brotherhood from prosecution. As the government’s outreach partners, they are directly contributing to the law enforcement and national security policies that are responsible for blinding government agencies to active terror threats....

"What has been the effect of these relationships with the Muslim Brotherhood on the Obama administration’s foreign policy? As mentioned earlier, Mohamed Majid was recently in the White House briefing the president for his recent trip to Jordan and Israel. In May 2011, he was sitting in the front row at the State Department when President Obama delivered a major speech on the Middle East. He also advises the Pentagon, the CIA, and the Office of the Director of National Intelligence."

Read: Blind to Terror: The US Government's Disastrous Muslim Outreach Efforts and the Impact on US Middle East Policy

Obama meets with members of his national security team
Obama meets with members of his national security team
following the Boston Marathon bombings investigation.
Credit: Gloria-center.org
Photo not from Kushner's original article
This is a very long article, and exceedingly well documented.  It should be read by every single American.
Do not, whatever your impulse, tear your hair out. For that would not be constructive.  It is, rather, the responsibility of all Americans who love their country to act here constructively before it is too late. The USA is going the way of Europe.  And believe me, my friends, this is not an exaggeration.
Share this material broadly.  But even more importantly, DEMAND answers from your elected representatives in Congress.

Do not sit still for the current state of affairs, and do not imagine yourselves impotent. It falls to Americans to act now, before it is too late.
A few points to be made here, in reviewing this material:
This situation did not begin with the Obama administration.  It goes back at least to Clinton's time.  And I wish to point out in particular the involvement of Hillary Clinton. This is something I learned about in 2000-2001, when I was working with a key American anti-terrorist.  The point is particularly relevant now because of rumors of Clinton's intentions to run for the presidency.
All of this said and done, however, Obama has exacerbated the situation and created a worse problem than that which existed prior to his administration.
His readiness to take advice from Muslims with documented ties to radicals goes a long way towards explaining his policies. (See more on his policies, or lack of policies, following.)
As to Obama's wrong-headed approach to Egypt, Wall Street Journal editor Bret Stephens, says:
"...As it is, the people who now are most convinced that Mr. Obama is a secret Muslim aren't tea party mama grizzlies. They're Egyptian secularists. To persuade them otherwise, the president might consider taking steps to help a government the secularists rightly consider an instrument of their salvation."  (emphasis added)
Stephens wrote this near the end of his piece, "A Policy on Egypt: Support al-Sisi":
"On the subject of Egypt: Is it the U.S. government's purpose merely to cop an attitude? Or does it also intend to have a policy?

"An attitude 'deplores the violence' and postpones a military exercise, as President Obama did from Martha's Vineyard the other day...An attitude calls for the suspension of U.S. aid to Egypt...

"An attitude is a gorgeous thing....But an attitude has no answer for what the U.S. does with or about Egypt once the finger has been wagged and the aid withdrawn. When Egypt decides to purchase Su-35s from Russia (financed by Saudi Arabia) and offers itself as another client to Vladimir Putin because the Obama administration has halted deliveries of F-16s...

"Or we could have a policy, which is never gorgeous. It is a set of pragmatic choices between unpalatable alternatives designed to achieve the most desirable realistic result. What is realistic and desirable?

"Releasing deposed President Mohammed Morsi and other detained Brotherhood leaders may be realistic, but it is not desirable...

"Restoring the dictatorship-in-the-making that was Mr. Morsi's elected government is neither desirable nor realistic...

"Bringing the Brotherhood into some kind of inclusive coalition government in which it accepts a reduced political role in exchange for calling off its sit-ins and demonstrations may be desirable, but it is about as realistic as getting a mongoose and a cobra to work together for the good of the mice.

"What's realistic and desirable is for the military to succeed in its confrontation with the Brotherhood as quickly and convincingly as possible. Victory permits magnanimity. It gives ordinary Egyptians the opportunity to return to normal life. It deters potential political and military challenges. It allows the appointed civilian government to assume a prominent political role. It settles the diplomatic landscape. It lets the neighbors know what's what.

"And it beats the alternatives. Alternative No. 1: A continued slide into outright civil war resembling Algeria's in the 1990s. Alternative No. 2: Victory by a vengeful Muslim Brotherhood, which will repay its political enemies richly for the injuries that were done to it...

"It would be nice to live in a world in which we could conduct a foreign policy that aims at the realization of our dreams—peace in the Holy Land, a world without nuclear weapons, liberal democracy in the Arab world. A better foreign policy would be conducted to keep our nightmares at bay: stopping Iran's nuclear bid, preventing Syria's chemical weapons from falling into terrorist hands, and keeping the Brotherhood out of power in Egypt. But that would require an administration that knew the difference between an attitude and a policy." (emphasis added)
Read: Stephens: A Policy on Egypt—Support Al Sisi
© Arlene Kushner. This material is produced by Arlene Kushner, functioning as an independent journalist. Permission is granted for it to be reproduced only with proper attribution. 
If it is reproduced and emphasis is added, the fact that it has been added must be noted.

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