Thursday, June 29, 2017

CNN Producer Admits Witch Hunt Against Trump - Matthew Vadum

by Matthew Vadum

Project Veritas reveals what the network’s Russia obsession is really about.

CNN’s relentlessly biased coverage of the Left’s baseless Russian electoral collusion conspiracy theory against President Trump is “mostly bullshit,” a senior CNN producer was caught revealing on sensational hidden camera video footage.

President Trump promptly agreed with the producer on Twitter.

“So they caught Fake News CNN cold, but what about NBC, CBS & ABC?” the president tweeted at 8:47 a.m. yesterday. “What about the failing @nytimes & @washingtonpost? They are all Fake News!”

CNN producer John Bonifield made the brazen admission of the network’s absence of journalistic bona fides to an undercover reporter from ACORN-slayer James O’Keefe’s investigative nonprofit, Project Veritas.

“He not only gave us a tour of CNN’s main newsroom, he gave us a window into the editorial bias and anti-Trump agenda of the organization,” O’Keefe says as he narrates the video. Project Veritas is touting the video as the first installment in a multi-part investigation the group calls “American Pravda.”

O’Keefe continues:
Our goal is to expose the real motivations behind the decision-making process at our dominant media corporations. Fake News. One story has monopolized President Trump’s time in office like no other, especially on CNN: Russia. In fact, since the Inauguration, CNN has mentioned Russia on their air nearly 16,000 times. So we sent our undercover reporters inside CNN to understand why and to determine if CNN even believes if the story is even real.
In the video published online, Bonifield acknowledges that the news network’s nonstop Russian scandal-mongering about Trump has little evidentiary basis.

“Could be bullshit,” said the supervising producer for CNN Health. “I mean, it’s mostly bullshit right now.”

Bonifield continued:
Like, we don’t have any giant proof. Then they say, well there’s still an investigation going on. And you’re like, yeah, I don’t know. If they were finding something we would know about it. The way these leaks happen, they would leak it. They’d leak. If it was something really good, it would leak…. The leaks keep leaking and there’s so many great leaks, and it’s amazing. I just refuse to believe that if they had something really good like that that wouldn’t leak because we’ve been getting all these other leaks. So, I just feel like they don’t really have it but they want to keep digging. And so I think the president is probably right to say, like, look you are witch-hunting me. You have no smoking gun. You have no real proof.
“I haven’t seen any good evidence to show the president committed a crime,” Bonifield also says.

“Even if Russia was trying to swing an election, we try to swing their elections, our CIA is doing shit all the time, we’re out there trying to manipulate governments,” he explains.

But CNN is doggedly pursuing the fanciful Russia story because those at the top of the network are focused on “ratings,” he says.

“Our ratings are incredible right now,” Bonifield says.

He’s not lying.

“CNN had its most-watched first quarter in 14 years, both in the key demo and in total viewers,” Variety reports, adding that cable competitors Fox News and MSNBC also experienced “double-digit ratings growth across the board for the second quarter of 2017, according to Nielsen data.”

According to Bonifield, the Russia story regularly crowds out other newsworthy stories where he works. For example, CNN’s coverage of Trump’s disavowal of the Paris Climate Accord barely lasted two days, after which the network eagerly shifted coverage back to the Russia nonsense.

“My boss, I shouldn’t say this, my boss yesterday, we were having a discussion about this dental shoot and he goes and he was just like, I want you to know what we are up against here,” Bonifield says in the video.
And he goes, just to give you some context, President Trump pulled out of the climate accords and for a day and a half we covered the climate accords. And the CEO of CNN said in our internal meeting, he said good job everybody covering the climate accords, but we’re done with it let’s get back to Russia.
When the reporter asks if he was referring to CNN president Jeff Zucker giving orders to the staff, Bonifield replies in the affirmative.

“So, even the climate accords, he was like a day or so, it’s okay, but we’re moving back to Russia,” Bonifield says.

“It’s a business,” he adds.
People are like the media has an ethical … But, all the nice cutesy little ethics that used to get talked about in journalism school, you’re just like, that’s adorable. That’s adorable. This is a business. Especially cable news. Cable news isn’t the New York Times, and it’s not even like NBC News. I mean NBC News still gets 20 million viewers a night. Cable news is getting a million. So, they got to do what they got to do to make their money.
Bonifield also admits CNN treats President Trump much differently than it treated President Obama when he was in office.

“I think there a lot of like liberal CNN viewers who want to see Trump really get scrutinized,” he says.
And I think if we would have behaved that way with President Obama and scrutinized everything that he was doing with as much scrutiny as we apply to Donald Trump, I think our viewers would have been turned off. I think they would have felt like we were attacking him. And I’m not saying all of our viewers are super liberals, I think there’s just a lot of them.
“Trump is good for business right now,” Bonifield adds.

In damage control mode, CNN didn’t bother defending itself, preferring instead to act as if the startling admissions were much ado about nothing.

“CNN stands by our medical producer John Bonifield,” the network said in a statement that made it clear Bonifield is not working on stories about Trump or the wild Russian goose chase. “Diversity of personal opinion is what makes CNN strong, we welcome it and embrace it.”

Nothing to see here; move along.

When the Project Veritas video was discussed at the daily White House presser, Principal White House Deputy Press Secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders criticized CNN’s journalistic malpractice.

The Atlanta-based media outlet has gotten stories about Trump wrong in “multiple other instances,” she said, encouraging people to watch the video.

Sanders continued:
And I think if that is the place that certain outlets are going, particularly for the purpose of spiking ratings, and if that’s coming directly from the top, I think that’s even more scary and certainly more disgraceful. And I hope that that’s not the direction we’re headed. I hope that outlets that have continued to use either unnamed sources, sometimes stories with no sources at all – we’ve been going on this Russia-Trump hoax for the better part of a year now with no evidence of anything.
Meanwhile, quite apart from Bonifield’s admissions, CNN’s credibility has taken some serious hits.

CNN fired New Year’s Eve host Kathy Griffin after her photoshoot with the fake severed head of President Trump. CNN nixed a documentary series produced by Reza Aslan after he tweeted that Trump was a “piece of shit” and an “embarrassment to humankind” for comments the president made after a terrorist attack in Britain. CNN also formally corrected an error-laden report about former FBI Director James Comey’s congressional testimony.

CNN chief Zucker is reportedly heading an internal investigation into a hatchet-job of a story the network ran with last Thursday but retracted the next day following an investigation by Breitbart News. The withdrawn story, based on a single, unidentified source with unknown motives, claimed Trump transition-team member Anthony Scaramucci was being investigated by the Treasury Department over an alleged meeting he was said to have had Jan. 16 with a Russian government-owned investment fund the source said the Senate Intelligence Committee is probing over possible ties with the Trump administration. Those responsible for the story, CNN reporters Tom Frank and Lex Haris, along with editor Eric Lichtblau, have all resigned.

According to the New York Post, Scaramucci had pondered suing CNN for $100 million for defamation. This comes as the Department of Justice is reviewing AT&T’s proposed $85 billion acquisition of CNN parent Time Warner amid “the widespread belief among media execs that CNN President Jeff Zucker can’t survive a merger.” During the campaign, Trump spoke out against the merger.

The newspaper continued:
Sources said Scaramucci, a frequent guest on CNN to defend the president, was treated like a star at Saturday’s wedding of Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin and Louise Linton in Washington, DC. “Everyone at the White House has been high-fiving each other over Anthony’s success in embarrassing CNN,” one attendee said.
“Trump is thoroughly enjoying this, and Anthony got endless slaps on the back at Steve’s wedding.”
High-fiving seems in order.

Catching a major media outlet fabricating an attack piece on a Republican doesn’t happen every day.

Or does it?

With more videos in the pipeline, James O’Keefe will soon let us know.

Matthew Vadum, senior vice president at the investigative think tank Capital Research Center, is an award-winning investigative reporter and author of the book, "Subversion Inc.: How Obama’s ACORN Red Shirts Are Still Terrorizing and Ripping Off American Taxpayers."


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Syrian Fire On Golan Heights Draws Sharp Israeli Response - Ari Lieberman

by Ari Lieberman

Direct hits registered against Syrian military targets.

For over 40 years, the Golan Heights has been one of Israel’s quietest regions. Israel liberated the Golan Heights during the 1967 Six-Day War and successfully repulsed a Syrian attempt to retake the Golan six years later. Since that time, Israel has transformed the Golan into an oasis of sorts, drawing tens of thousands of tourists yearly.

Those fortunate enough to visit the region marvel over its natural beauty and tranquility. But the outbreak of violence and civil war in Syria has resulted in periodic spillover with errant shells, fired by pro and anti-regime forces, landing in open spaces across the border. In some circumstances, the fire is purposeful though this only occurs on rare occasions and those foolish enough to engage the Israel Defense Forces usually pay for their misdeeds with their lives.

In November 2016, an ISIS cell which opened fire on Israeli troops patrolling the Golan Heights border was liquidated in short order by accurate tank and aircraft fire. At least four ISIS terrorist[s] were reportedly killed. ISIS got the message (it has been reported that they even apologized) and since that occurrence, there have been no repeat incidents initiated by the terror group.

Since the start of Syria’s civil war, fire directed from the Syrian side of the border has claimed one fatality, a 15-year-old Israeli Arab youth who was travelling with his father near the border. The incident occurred in June 2014. His father, a civilian contractor who was working in the area, was injured. Immediate counter fire quickly dispatched those responsible.

Israel has informed the Syrian government through indirect channels that it will not tolerate violations of its territorial sovereignty whether purposeful or not, and would respond forcefully to any violation, however slight. This robust Israeli doctrine was put into practice on June 24 and June 25.

In the first occurrence, several shells landed on the Israeli side of the border after fighting broke out between Assad loyalists and Sunni insurgents. Hikers near the vicinity were evacuated as a safety precaution. Israel’s response was immediate and devastating. Two Syrian tanks and a heavy machine gun outpost were obliterated. The IDF released aerial surveillance of the strike and accurate hits were clearly visible. Syria acknowledged the death of two of its soldiers during the attack.

Less than 24 hours later, several Syrian projectiles landed on the Israeli side of the border drawing once again, a furious Israeli military response. Two Syrian artillery pieces and an ammunition truck were destroyed in the second Israeli strike.

In response to Israel’s defensive measures, the Assad regime issued a banal threat incorporating the usual hysterical rhetoric stating that Israel would be held responsible for any repercussions that may ensue. The Syrian army announced that Israel would face “serious consequences if it repeats similar aggressive actions under any pretext.”

But it is difficult to take Assad’s threats seriously. His army is a mere shell of its former self. Attrition, defections, draft-dodging and desertions have taken their collective toll on Syrian troop strength. It is believed that the Syrian army consists of roughly half of its pre-war strength of 300,000. Without the presence of Russia and Iranian-backed proxies like Hezbollah, the Assad regime would have collapsed long ago. Given his mounting problems, the last thing the embattled regime needs now is a war with one of the world’s strongest militaries.

Nevertheless, some Israeli experts believe that Syria’s threats should be taken seriously. They argue that Assad, emboldened by the presence of Russia and recent victories against insurgent groups, might actually adopt a more aggressive posture vis-à-vis Israel. This position reflects the viewpoint of the former deputy commander of the IDF's Galilee Division, Brig. Gen. (res.) Nitzan Nuriel. As evidence of its emboldened stance, Nuriel highlighted Syria’s recent firing of SAM-5 antiaircraft missiles at Israeli fighter jets undertaking a strike mission against a Syrian airbase known as T4 near the ancient Syrian city of Palmyra. Though all the missiles missed, the very fact that the Syrians reacted may evidence a more belligerent position.

Regardless of Assad’s threats, it is clear that Israel has adopted a zero tolerance policy regarding spillover and errant shells and will respond forcefully to each incident, holding the Assad regime responsible for any breach of peace. In addition, Israel has also made clear that it will not tolerate the creation of Iranian or Hezbollah bases near the Golan border.

For Israel, this is a red line that cannot be crossed. Underscoring this point, the IDF has acted resolutely on numerous occasions to thwart Iranian or Hezbollah efforts to alter the status quo on the border. This includes a devastating Israeli airstrike in 2015 that liquidated a mixed cell of Iranian and Hezbollah operatives reconnoitering along the border. Among those killed was Iranian general, Mohammad Ali Allahdadi and Jihad Mughniyeh, a ranking Hezbollah operative who was also the son of Hezbollah’s former special operations commander, Imad Mughniyeh. The elder Mughniyeh was killed in 2008 in an operation widely attributed to the Mossad.

The Iranians and their Hezbollah allies got the message and it is likely that Israel’s rather forceful response to recent Syrian border transgressions will prevail upon Assad to be a bit more careful. Nevertheless, Israel’s enemies are anything but rational compelling continued Israeli vigilance along the border.

Ari Lieberman is an attorney and former prosecutor who has authored numerous articles and publications on matters concerning the Middle East and is considered an authority on geo-political and military developments affecting the region.


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Returning ISIS fighters given 'protected identities’ - Mordechai Sones

by Mordechai Sones

Swedish Culture and Democracy Minister suggests Swedes who left to fight for ISIS should be welcomed back, helped to integrate into society.

Artist's conception of Swedish Muslim policy
Artist's conception of Swedish Muslim policy
Hundreds of Swedish residents who went to fight for the Islamic State in Iraq and Syria have now returned to Europe and the Swedish government has given several of them “protected identities” to keep locals from finding out who they are, reported Breitbart.

The vast majority of the returning jihadist fighters keep a very low profile upon returning to Sweden as many have committed terrorist offences while in the Middle East. 27-year-old Walad Ali Yousef is one returnee that the government has given a special status protecting his identity, normally given to people under serious threat, Swedish Expressen reports. The magazine claims to have tracked 150 such ISIS terrorists who have quietly returned to Sweden.

Yousef, originally from the heavily migrant-populated city of Malmo, spoke to the newspaper complaining he had difficulty finding a job. “I am looking for many jobs but can not get one because my pictures are out there,” he said.

Yousef joined the Islamic State in 2014, travelling to the ISIS capital of Raqqa in Syria. Formerly a small-time criminal, Yousef sent pictures of himself in Syria posing with Kalashnikov rifles to encourage his friends in Sweden to join the terror group.

39-year-old Bherlin Dequilla Gildo, also from Malmo, is now back in Sweden living under an entirely new identity. In 2012 he posted images of himself posing with dead bodies who he called “Assad’s dogs”, and participated directly in killings of Syrian regime soldiers.

The remaining 100 or so Swedes still in the Middle East fighting for the Islamic state are assumed to be the most radical. Some fear that as Kurdish troops push further into Raqqa, those Swedes will attempt to return home.

Swedish Minister for Culture and Democracy Alice Bah Kuhnke has suggested that Swedes who left to fight for radical Islamist groups in the Middle East should be welcomed back and helped to integrate into society.
Ms. Kuhnke made the comments Sunday evening on the television program Agenda which is transmitted by the Swedish state broadcaster SVT, Breitbart reported. The program focused on the fact that some 300 Islamic radicals from Sweden had gone to the Middle East to fight for groups like Islamic State and around half of them had returned to Sweden.

“They need to be channeled back into our democratic society,” Kuhnke said. The minister added she and the government had no idea how many of the returnees were still radicalised versus how many left because they had become disillusioned with Islamist beliefs.

Terror expert Magnus Ranstorp said, “the really dangerous ones have not come back yet,” and added, “The vast majority may not do anything, but they are still a danger to the authorities and it must be managed. It is important for the police to be able to prioritise this area so that they do not become dangerous to society.”

While several of those returning are free, many others like Sultan Al-Amin, 31, and Hassan Al-Mandlawi, 33, have been sentenced to life in prison for their crimes committed in the city of Aleppo.

Swedish authorities have been heavily criticized for welcoming Islamic State fighters returning from the Middle East and claiming to be able to integrate them back into Swedish society.

Pamela Geller comments, "This is the very definition of civilizational suicide. These ISIS fighters are part of a group that has vowed to destroy Europe. They should never have been allowed back, and if they had to be, then they should have been immediately jailed. Instead, they’re protected. Madness."

The Swedish attitude toward returning jihadists is seen as cowardly by many, as several municipalities have gone above and beyond to cater to returning fighters. In the medieval city of Lund, the government is considering a range of measures including debt forgiveness, driving lessons, and free housing in the name of integrating returning extremists.

Last week, another damning report showed the Swedish government had still been paying many Islamists through the generous Swedish welfare system whilst they were fighting in Iraq and Syria, reported Breitbart.

Mordechai Sones


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San Remo's Mandate: Israel's 'Magna Carta' -

by CBN News

Hat tip: Dr. Jean-Charles Bensoussan

This is a compelling video on the basis, in international law, of Israel's establishment.

CBN News


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Israel is leading the fight against human trafficking - Arutz Sheva Staff

by Arutz Sheva Staff

Israel ranks as one of best countries in fight against human trafficking, Justice Ministry says it's because entire gov't works together.

Ayelet Shaked
Ayelet Shaked
Yonatan Sindel, Flash 90
For the sixth time in a row, Israel ranked in the top category on the US' list of countries fighting human trafficking.

The report has been published annually since 2001, and divides 187 countries into three groups, according to how active they are in fighting the issue. All of the countries meet the minimum requirements for consideration as countries which fight human trafficking.

For over a decade, Israel's ranking held fast in the second group, until the country made moved into the first group in 2012. Since then, Israel has retained its ranking as a top country.

According to the report, Israel fights human trafficking in three main ways: Prevention, enforcement, and protecting the victims.

Justice Minister Ayelet Shaked (Jewish Home) said, "The report classifies Israel as one of the best countries, and that's good news for the State of Israel. We are working to eradicate the cruel practice of human trafficking."

"The Justice Ministry is leading the government's fight, and we have a special unit for it. We will continue to work in order to ensure that the modern world ends slavery forever."

Justice Ministry Director General Emi Palmor, who heads the committee to fight human trafficking as well as the team fighting prostitution, said, "The fact that we are keeping our place as a first-rate country in the fight against human trafficking means that the various government offices are working together successfully."

"The fact that all government offices are working together means we can use all of our resources to develop an effective national plan to fight human trafficking."

Arutz Sheva Staff


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'Israeli readiness prevented mass damage from global cyberattack' - Ilan Gattegno, Lilach Shoval, News Agencies and Israel Hayom Staff

by Ilan Gattegno, Lilach Shoval, News Agencies and Israel Hayom Staff

Virulent data-scrambling software infects scores of computers across Europe and U.S., but only three Israeli companies report being hit

A ransomware notification on a computer affected by Tuesday's cyberattack
Photo credit: AP

Ilan Gattegno, Lilach Shoval, News Agencies and Israel Hayom Staff


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Obama’s Criminal Enterprise Collapsing - Daniel John Sobieski

by Daniel John Sobieski

Instead of investigating Team Trump for collusion and its business dealings with Russia, how about a special counsel to investigate the Uranium one deal? How about a special counsel to investigate Hillary Clinton’s illegal email server and destruction of emails under subpoena?

As former FBI Director James Comey’s best friend, Robert Mueller, stocks his Seinfeld investigation-about-nothing with every Democratic lawyer and Hillary and/or Obama donor he can find, we are treated to the delicious irony of collusion with Russia being confirmed -- and the colluder-in-chief being Ex-president Barack Hussein Obama.

Even Obama’s Democrat supporters are now acknowledging he knew about Russia’s hacking of the DNC and Podesta emails. They are acknowledging that he did nothing but are not acknowledging the reason why – that he thought Hillary Clinton was going to succeed him and he wanted to do nothing to offend the Russians to whom he had once famously promised more “flexibility.”As Fox News Politics reported:
President Trump criticized his predecessor for allegedly doing “nothing” about reports that Russia interfered in last year’s presidential campaign, in a recent interview.“I just heard today for the first time that (former President) Obama knew about Russia a long time before the election, and he did nothing about it,” Trump said in the interview set to air Sunday on “Fox & Friends Weekend.” “The CIA gave him information on Russia a long time before the election. … If he had the information, why didn't he do something about it?”
Even Rep. Adam Schiff, ranking member of the House Intelligence Committee, acknowledged that President Obama’s refusal to embarrass his Russian friends by doing nothing was a mistake:
President Obama’s decision to not act sooner on Russian election interference last year was “a very serious mistake,” says California Rep. Adam Schiff.
“I think the administration needed to call out Russia earlier, and needed to act to deter and punish Russia earlier and I think that was a very serious mistake,” Schiff said in an interview on CNN’s “State of the Union” on Sunday.
Schiff, the top ranking Democrat on the House Intelligence Committee, said that Obama was hesitant to confront Russia over its active measures campaign for fear of being seen as helping Hillary Clinton and of fueling Donald Trump’s allegations that the election was being “rigged” against him.
That is the excuse made by those caught with their hands in the cookie jar. What happened to our democracy being at stake, the sanctity of our electoral process being violated? It was okay to jeopardize our national security through inaction as long as it was thought it might embarrass Hillary? But when Trump won, suddenly it became an issue for which he was responsible?

As noted, Obama’s collusion with the Russians began years earlier when he conspired to gut U.S. missile defense efforts in Europe. As Investor’s Business Daily noted over a year ago, President Obama had other plans and his betrayal of our allies was exquisitely ironic:
Yet within hours of Medvedev's election as president in 2008, the Russian announced that Moscow would deploy SS-26 missiles in his country's enclave of Kaliningrad situated between our NATO allies Poland and Lithuania.
He wanted the U.S. to abandon plans to deploy missile interceptors in Poland and warning radars in the Czech Republic designed to counter a future threat from Iran.
What did President Obama do? He caved in and notified the Poles in a midnight phone call on Sept. 17, 2009 — the 70th anniversary of the Soviet Union's invasion of Poland — that we were pulling the plug on that system due to Russian objections.
Putin then watched in 2012 as Obama promised Medvedev at the Nuclear Security Summit in Seoul, South Korea, that after his re-election he would have more "flexibility" to weaken missile defense, which would help him fulfill his dream of U.S. disarmament.
Hillary Clinton herself was not above colluding with the Russians, as she did in the Uranium One Deal in which Clinton Foundation donors benefited from her enabling the transfer of 20 percent of our uranium supplies to Russia. That deal was one reason Putin was probably rooting for Hillary, not Trump.

Instead of investigating Team Trump for collusion and its business dealings with Russia, how about a special counsel to investigate the Uranium one deal? How about a special counsel to investigate Hillary Clinton’s illegal email server and destruction of emails under subpoena?

Instead of President Trump obstructing justice by firing an FBI Director he was constitutionally empowered to fire, how about a special counsel to investigate Loretta Lynch’s collusion with the Clinton campaign and obstruction of justice, starting with her meeting with Bil Clinton on the tarmac?

We know from Comey’s testimony that Lynch advised him to call the Clinton investigation a “matter” as the Clinton campaign was calling it. We know that Lynch met on the tarmac with the husband of the subject of a federal investigation. We know that after that meeting, Comey usurped the power of the attorney general and announced that despite all the evidence he himself cited, Hilary would not be prosecuted.

Coincidence? One thinks not, particularly if reports about Loretta Lynch communicating with former DNC Chair Debbie Wasserman-Shultz that the Clinton investigation wouldn’t be allowed to go too far are accurate. As Fox News judicial analyst Judge Andrew Napolitano is contending:
Judge Andrew Napolitano says former Attorney General Loretta Lynch could be facing jail time for obstruction of justice if emails to former DNC chairwoman Debbie Wasserman Shultz reportedly about furthering DNC interests surface.
“It is alleged, this document has not seen the light of day yet, if it exists that there is one or several emails between Debbie Wasserman Shultz and Loretta Lynch concerning the behavior that Loretta Lynch will take to further the DNC interests while Mrs. Lynch was the Attorney General, that if it happened, would be misconduct in office,” he said.
In all of this there are only two real crimes that we are certain of: James Comey’s leak of his memo on his conversation in the Oval Office and the unmasking and leaking of the name of former National Security Adviser Mike Flynn. As law Professor Jonathan Turley notes:
… Comey demonstrated a pattern of unethical conduct beginning with his appointment as FBI director during the Obama administration. Specifically, Turley and other constitutional experts have noted that Comey’s acquiescence to former Attorney General Loretta Lynch’s order for him to refer to the FBI’s investigation into Hillary Clinton’s illegal handling of classified materials, via an unsecured email server, as a “matter” rather than a criminal investigation proved that he lacked the integrity necessary for someone who treasures the FBI’s supposed political independence…
But the “clearest violation” of federal law that Comey may have committed came after he was fired by the president. During his testimony the former FBI director admitted to leaking his memo to a friend and former colleague at Columbia Law School with, as Turley noted, “the full knowledge that the information would be given to the media.” That was extremely odd and inappropriate, given that Trump had asked Comey to investigate and stop various leakers within the government before Comey himself became a leaker.
Why was releasing the memo potentially a violation of the law? Turley says because it was most likely created using a government computer and because it addressed “a highly sensitive investigation on facts that [Comey] considered material to that investigation.” In fact, Comey communicated that information confidentially to top aides, and later noted that we sought to give it to the special counsel (which he helped facilitate with the leak) because he felt it was vital to the ongoing ‘Russia’ investigation.
Obstruction of justice? How about President Obama secreting away in his presidential library records regarding former National Security Adviser Susan Rice’s involvement in unmasking the names of Team Trump officials in intelligence reports -- for five years! From Breitbart News:

The National Security Council cannot hand over records relating to former National Security Adviser Susan Rice’s surveillance of Americans, because they have been moved to the Obama presidential library and may be sealed for as many as five years, conservative watchdog Judicial Watch announced Monday.

The NSC informed Judicial Watch in a letter dated May 23 that materials related to Rice’s requests to know the identities of Americans swept up in surveillance of foreign targets, including any Trump campaign or transition officials, have been moved to the library.

The NSC’s Director of Access Management John Powers said in the letter:
Documents from the Obama administration have been transferred to the Barack Obama Presidential Library. You may send your request to the Obama Library. However, you should be aware that under the Presidential Records Act, Presidential records remain closed to the public for five years after an administration has left office.
Judicial Watch earlier this year filed a Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) request for those documents, including of communications between Rice and any intelligence community member or agency regarding any Russian involvement in the 2016 elections, the hacking of Democratic National Committee computers, or any suspected communications between Russia and Trump officials.
Throw in Loretta Lynch and John Koskinen in the political targeting of the Tea Party and Eric Holder’s role in Operation Fast and Furious and withholding of records under executive privilege, and you have a rogues gallery of felons in the most corrupt administration. The very real possibility exists that James Comey, Susan Rice, Loretta Lynch Lois Lerner, John Koskinen, and even Hillary Clinton herself are guilty of federal crimes and belong in federal prison.

Of course, if Hillary Clinton had won, we wouldn’t be having this conversation. But Hillary lost and the Democrats made a foolish strategic error in pursuing charges of collusion and obstruction of justice based on sheer vengeance. There was no evidence of Trump collusion or obstruction and now the tables are turned. The investigation of Loretta Lynch and other revelations could be the undoing of the Obama administration’s criminal enterprise, its trampling of our Constitution and our laws. Reopen the Hillary investigation and expand it to iuinclude the Clinton Foundation and Uranium One. Prosecute the lot of them – and lock them all up.

Daniel John Sobieski is a free lance writer whose pieces have appeared in Investor’s Business Daily, Human Events, Reason Magazine and the Chicago Sun-Times among other publications.


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What Might be Missing in the Muslim World? - Denis MacEoin

by Denis MacEoin

The very thought that "Islamic science" has to be different from "Western science" suggests the need for a radically different way of thinking.

  • Recently, Chinese, Japanese and other educators have found that rote learning and endless drills produce high achievers without creativity, originality, or the ability to think for themselves. Western academic standards of rationality and objectivity have been behind most of the West's achievements.
  • "The campus has three mosques with a fourth one planned, but no bookstore. No Pakistani university, including QAU, allowed Abdus Salam to set foot on its campus, although he had received the Nobel Prize in 1979 for his role in formulating the standard model of particle physics." — Pervez Amirali Hoodbhoy, commenting on Quaid-i-Azam University in Islamabad, Pakistan, the second-best university among the 57 Muslim states of the Organization of Islamic Cooperation.
  • The very thought that "Islamic science" has to be different from "Western science" suggests the need for a radically different way of thinking. Scientific method is scientific method and rationality is rationality, regardless of the religion practiced by individual scientists.
In April this year, the Grand Mufti of Egypt, Shaykh 'Ali Gomaa, told an interviewer what he meant as a flat statement of fact: that there are no female heart surgeons, as such work required strength and other capabilities that no woman possesses. He put it this way:
"You may have noticed that there is not a single female heart surgeon in the world... It's amazing. It's peculiar. Why do you think that there are none? Because it requires great physical effort -- beyond what a woman is capable of. That's in general. Along comes a woman who challenges this, and she succeeds in becoming a surgeon. But she is one woman among several million male surgeons."
Now even a child could have carried out a simple Google search and realized that there are countless female surgeons and many female heart surgeons. It would not have taken long to find, for example, the US Association of Women Surgeons, which includes heart surgeons -- and that would have settled his hash. But apparently deep-seated, pre-formed judgements about women's abilities prevented Gomaa from using whatever powers of reasoning and intelligence he may possess.

Sadly, there often seems a profound absence of scientific probing within the Muslim world.
It seems reasonable to assume that levels of intelligence are pretty well the same around the world, regardless of race, gender, or religious affiliation. As human beings, we share the same brainpower, just as we share all other physical functions. Mercifully, earlier views of racial inequality have in most places been replaced by a more fact-based understanding of human characteristics. Today, theories put forward in the last two centuries of a supposed "racial supremacy" of white people have been happily discarded. In democratic societies, white supremacists are universally loathed.

In the OECD's 2015 PISA science results, seven out of the top ten countries, based on achievements at school level, were in the Far East -- including Japan and China, with Korea at eleven. The United States was number 25. In mathematics, the results were even more striking: the top seven countries ranged from Singapore to Korea, with the United States at 39, well below most European nations. While such results show that Asian students are indeed intelligent, there is a price to pay for those outstanding results. Students put in long school days and long school years, and live regimented lives. Recently, Chinese, Japanese and other educators have found that rote learning and endless drills produce high achievers without creativity, originality, or the ability to think for themselves. Often, as we shall see, rote learning in the Middle East seems to lead to poor educational outcomes.[1]

For all that, we are all aware that different nations, different cultures and different religions achieve varied and even conflicting levels of intellectual achievement. The Western democracies, including Israel, have for some time now been the highest achievers in fields such as science, technology, medicine, information technology, astronomy and the exploration of space, as well as in modern academic disciplines such as sociology, anthropology, critical history, economics, analytical politics, statistics, and unbiased religious studies, among others. Western academic standards of rationality and objectivity have been behind most of those achievements. Sadly, many scholars in Western countries, not least the US, have abandoned even a semblance of neutrality on and off campus, following a deep politicization of many humanities subjects, above all the Middle East and related studies.

What follows has nothing to do with race or ethnicity. It is a discussion of why some cultures (in several forms) appear to have remained in high levels of ignorance and underachievement, and those cultures sometimes appear to include the culture of the religion of Islam, regardless of where it is practiced. Muslims belong to just about every ethnic group in the world, so it will be clear that concerns about their religion and culture (or cultures) are totally apart from race. Rather, they seem to stem from a widespread lack of literacy, opportunities for education and exposure to questioning, as well as to a wide range of ideas. Of course, if one is convinced that questioning might cause one to burn in hell forever, that could also be an impediment.

Perhaps the simplest way of showing this disparity between Islam and the rest is to compare the number of Muslim Nobel Prize winners with a much smaller group with comparable religious foundations, the international Jewish community.

There are approximately 1.6 billion Muslims in the world, a figure that may rise. There are roughly 14.4 million Jews in total. The disparity in numbers is remarkable. So is the disparity in Nobel Laureates. Take a deep breath. There have been twelve Muslim Nobel Laureates – seven for Peace (including one to an arch-terrorist, Yasser Arafat), two in Literature, one in Physics, and two in Chemistry. For a brief survey of how several of these Laureates have been treated by their fellow Muslims, see Gordon Fraser's Oxford University Press article. As for the tiny Jewish population, there have been 193 Nobel Laureates, equaling 22% of Nobel Prize winners overall.

This may not matter to many Muslims, who might value life's goals in a different way, such as regarding strict obedience to Islamic spirituality, law, and theology, as the only routes to paradise. Yet, increasingly large numbers of young Muslims, including many educated in Western universities, are ambitious to succeed in a range of more mundane pursuits and to see Islam return to the intellectual strength it displayed in its early centuries.[2]

The disparity in creativity between the Islamic world and the West is shown in figures and comments by the secular Pakistani nuclear physicist Pervez Amirali Hoodbhoy in his book, Islam and Science: Religious Orthodoxy and the Battle for Rationality, and in an important article in Physics Today, "Science and the Islamic world: The quest for rapprochement". Hoodbhoy provides striking information that shows the dearth of any real scientific or technological advance in the modern Islamic world in general. Focusing on the 57-member states of the Organization of Islamic Cooperation (OIC), he writes:
A study by academics at the International Islamic University Malaysia showed that OIC countries have 8.5 scientists, engineers, and technicians per 1000 population, compared with a world average of 40.7, and 139.3 for countries of the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development. Forty-six Muslim countries contributed 1.17% of the world's science literature, whereas 1.66% came from India alone and 1.48% from Spain. Twenty Arab countries contributed 0.55%, compared with 0.89% by Israel alone. The US NSF [National Science Foundation] records that of the 28 lowest producers of scientific articles in 2003, half belong to the OIC.
This unworthy level of scientific innovation is reflected in the number of patents issued by Muslim countries:
The situation regarding patents is also discouraging: The OIC countries produce negligibly few. According to official statistics, Pakistan has produced only eight patents in the past 43 years.
Behind all that lies a visible absence of practicing scientists across the Islamic world:
Bigger budgets by themselves are not a panacea. The capacity to put those funds to good use is crucial. One determining factor is the number of available scientists, engineers, and technicians. Those numbers are low for OIC countries, averaging around 400–500 per million people, while developed countries typically lie in the range of 3500–5000 per million.
Building on this, Hoodbhoy tackles some of the root causes of this lack; they reflect the present writer's own experience of teaching in a Moroccan university and studying at another in Iran:
Most universities in Islamic countries have... a starkly inferior quality of teaching and learning, a tenuous connection to job skills, and research that is low in both quality and quantity. Poor teaching owes more to inappropriate attitudes than to material resources. Generally, obedience and rote learning are stressed, and the authority of the teacher is rarely challenged. Debate, analysis, and class discussions are infrequent.
Hoodbhoy expands on that. At the heart of this problem, he says, lie attitudes developed from around the 10th century and later enforced across the Islamic world.[3] Those attitudes have been greatly reinforced by the growth of radical Islam in the modern era. Here is Hoodbhoy:
At Quaid-i-Azam University in Islamabad, where I teach, the constraints are similar to those existing in most other Pakistani public-sector institutions. This university serves the typical middle-class Pakistani student and, according to the survey referred to earlier, ranks number two among OIC universities. Here, as in other Pakistani public universities, films, drama, and music are frowned on, and sometimes even physical attacks by student vigilantes who believe that such pursuits violate Islamic norms take place. The campus has three mosques with a fourth one planned, but no bookstore. No Pakistani university, including QAU, allowed Abdus Salam to set foot on its campus, although he had received the Nobel Prize in 1979 for his role in formulating the standard model of particle physics.
The second-best university among 57 states has no bookstore. That alone is worth dwelling on. But Hoodbhoy goes farther, quoting a warning issued by the head of a mosque-seminary in Pakistan's capital city:
The government should abolish co-education. Quaid-i-Azam University has become a brothel. Its female professors and students roam in objectionable dresses ... Sportswomen are spreading nudity. I warn the sportswomen of Islamabad to stop participating in sports ... Our female students have not issued the threat of throwing acid on the uncovered faces of women. However, such a threat could be used for creating the fear of Islam among sinful women. There is no harm in it. There are far more horrible punishments in the hereafter for such women.
It is not surprising then, as Hoodbhoy and his colleagues report, that most students -- especially veiled females -- have become silent note-takers, timid, and reluctant to ask questions or engage in discussions.

Commenting about the disparity in creativity between the Islamic world and the West, Pakistani nuclear physicist Pervez Amirali Hoodbhoy wrote that no Pakistani university allowed Abdus Salam (pictured above) to set foot on its campus, although he had received the Nobel Prize in Physics. (Image source: Keystone/Getty Images)

Can this be reversed? Hoodbhoy is pessimistic, though he retains hope that the situation can eventually be resolved.
In the 1980s an imagined "Islamic science" was posed as an alternative to "Western science." The notion was widely propagated and received support from governments in Pakistan, Saudi Arabia, Egypt, and elsewhere. Muslim ideologues in the US, such as Ismail Faruqi and Syed Hossein Nasr, announced that a new science was about to be built on lofty moral principles such as tawheed (unity of God), ibadah (worship), khilafah (trusteeship), and rejection of zulm (tyranny), and that revelation rather than reason would be the ultimate guide to valid knowledge. Others took as literal statements of scientific fact verses from the Qur'an that related to descriptions of the physical world. Those attempts led to many elaborate and expensive Islamic science conferences around the world. Some scholars calculated the temperature of Hell, others the chemical composition of heavenly djinnis. None produced a new machine or instrument, conducted an experiment, or even formulated a single testable hypothesis. A more pragmatic approach, which seeks promotion of regular science rather than Islamic science, is pursued by institutional bodies such as COMSTECH (Committee on Scientific and Technological Cooperation), which was established by the OIC's Islamic Summit in 1981. It joined the IAS (Islamic Academy of Sciences) and ISESCO (Islamic Educational, Scientific, and Cultural Organization) in serving the "ummah" (the global Muslim community). But a visit to the websites of those organizations reveals that over two decades, the combined sum of their activities amounts to sporadically held conferences on disparate subjects, a handful of research and travel grants, and small sums for repair of equipment and spare parts.
The very thought that "Islamic science" has to be different from "Western science" suggests the need for a radically different way of thinking. Scientific method is scientific method, rationality is rationality regardless of the religion practiced by individual scientists. Should we just shrug our collective shoulders and let the Muslim nations go their own way? Yes and no. A major problem lies in the fact that Islam is still expanding and that irrational attitudes in Muslim states have been growing, in stark contrast to the late nineteenth and early twentieth-century efforts in Iran, Turkey, Egypt and several other places, to move towards dispassionate and fact-based approaches to law, science, democracy, and even secularism.

This problem faces not only science. The strictures in the ways of thinking in Islamic fundamentalism affect all sorts of things, from politics to history to interfaith relations to peace negotiations. Here are some examples of the damage this does, not just to the Muslim world itself but to the rest of us. In 2016, UNESCO passed a resolution backed by 24 states, of which 11 were Muslim countries, and started by seven Muslim member states, declaring that sacred sites in Jerusalem -- the Temple Mount and the Western Wall -- are to be regarded henceforth as Muslim-only sites. This was followed by a 2017 resolution identifying the Tomb of the Patriarchs in Hebron and Rachel's Tomb in Bethlehem as Palestinian sites identified by their Arabic/Muslim names. These deeply insulting, counter-factual moves defy centuries of historical information, archaeological research, and common sense. These were Jewish sites long before Islam came on the scene, but the Muslim states that want to deny any genuine Jewish history there do so, not on the basis of such scholarship or knowledge of early texts, but purely through a supremacist act of Islamic rejection.

We may ask why a wealthy state such as Saudi Arabia still beheads people on charges of witchcraft and sorcery, yet the USA, the UK and other countries engage in close trade relations with it. In 2005, Shafayat Mohamed declared that the 2004 Indonesian tsunami had been caused by a rise in homosexuality, yet he remains the imam of the Deobandi militant Darul Uloom Institute in Florida. In 2016 a Muslim man, Omar Mateen, murdered 49 gay men at a nightclub in Orlando. Had he been influenced by Shafayat Mohamed's words? In March this year, a French survey of the main factors leading to Islamic radicalization found that the chief factor was that young Muslims interviewed "defend an absolutist view of religion -- believing both that there is 'one true religion' and that religion explains the creation of the world better than science."

Islamic obscurantism and opposition to rational thought do not just harm Muslims; they cross all boundaries, geographical and intellectual. The belief that the Qur'an, shari'a law, or prophetic traditions override science and reason -- or that shaykhs, imams, mullahs, and other religious authorities in Egypt's al-Azhar University, or in Saudi Arabia, or in Iran or elsewhere, are superior in their knowledge and wisdom to scientists, university professors or elected politicians, merely because they are experts in Islamic theology and law -- all guarantee that Islam will remain fixed in its classical stance that all innovation (bid'a) is heresy and that heresy leads to hellfire. And that affects all of us, deeply.
Dr. Denis MacEoin is rationalist and secularist. He taught Arabic and Islamic Studies at a British university, has a doctorate in Persian Studies, and writes as a Distinguished Senior Fellow at the Gatestone Institute.

[1] On which, see here and here.
[2] For a dated but scholarly account of those achievements, see Sir Thomas Arnold and Alfred Guillaume, The Legacy of Islam, Oxford University Press, 1931, last updated 1952.
[3] For a popular study of the Muslim rejection of reason in the Middle Ages and later, see Robert Reilly, The Closing of the Muslim Mind (2011)

Denis MacEoin


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