Monday, June 10, 2013
Report Details U.S. Government’s ‘Disastrous Muslim outreach’
A new report documents the failures of Muslim outreach conducted by the U.S. government before and after the Sept. 11 attacks, faulting both Republican and Democrat administrations for reaching out to known terrorist funders and leaders.
Published by the Israel-based Global Research in International Affairs (GLORIA) Center by Patrick Poole, a counterterrorism consultant and investigative reporter, the 14,000-word exposé details the federal government’s “long-standing policy of engaging extremists.”
Among the many examples, Poole cites government leaders inviting radical cleric Anwar al-Awlaki to the Pentagon, just months after one of his spiritual disciples had flown a plane into the Pentagon on Sept. 11, 2001.
The report, “Blind to Terror: The U.S. Government’s Disastrous Muslim Outreach Efforts and the Impact on U.S. Middle East Policy,” finds that a “campaign of political correctness” has been ingrained in government, hindering investigations and resulting in culturally sensitive policies towards Islam, such as guidelines that required FBI agents to remove their shoes before raiding a mosque that financially supported the Taliban.
According to the report, President Obama issued a directive in August 2011 ordering law enforcement to engage “community partners” to help combat “violent extremism.”
“One example of the effect of this new policy are the Shari’a-compliant guidelines that federal law enforcement officials must now comply with when conducting raids related to Islamic leaders or institutions,” Poole explains. “This was exhibited in May 2011, when the FBI raided a South Florida mosque and arrested its imam and his son for financially supporting the Taliban.”
The rules required law enforcement officials to remove their shoes before entering the mosque and dogs were barred from property, Poole said. “The common sense of these new rules undoubtedly would have been put to the test had the subjects tried to flee, to be pursued by shoeless federal agents.”
The report also reveals that numerous leaders linked to terrorism have been used as conduits for the Muslim community since the first attack on the World Trade Center in 1993, under the Clinton, Bush and Obama administrations.
Poole points to Abdul Rahman al-Amoudi, who was a regular visitor to the White House under both Bill Clinton and George W. Bush, who asked him to help train Muslim military chaplains. He made six taxpayer-funded trips as a civilian goodwill ambassador to the Middle East for the State Department beginning in 1997.
But throughout his time working with the government, al-Amoudi was a major fundraiser for al-Qaeda.
Anwar al-Awlaki, the radical American-born Imam who was killed in Yemen by a drone strike authorized by Obama in 2011, was also a go-to community partner for the U.S. government.
“One of the first Muslim leaders that the government turned to was Anwar al-Awlaki,” says Poole, “the al-Qa’ida cleric who was in direct contact with at least three of the September 11 hijackers.”
“As the cleanup from the terrorist attack on the Pentagon continued, Awlaki was invited by the Pentagon’s Office of Government Counsel to speak at a lunch in the building’s executive offices as part of the government’s new Muslim outreach policy,” Poole writes. “Ironically, one of the September 11 terrorists who had helped hijack American Airlines Flight 77 that was flown into the Pentagon had described Awlaki as ‘a great man’ and his ‘spiritual leader.’”
Awlaki had ties to terrorist suspects dating back to 1999, and continued to support terrorism, including email exchanges with Ft. Hood shooter Major Nidal Hasan.
In another example, Shaykh Kifah Mustapha, a long-time supporter of Hamas who was caught on video singing the terrorist group’s praises—“calling for violence against Jews as children danced around him carrying guns”—was given a guided tour of top-secret FBI facilities in 2010.
In November 2010, under Secretary of State Hillary Clinton’s leadership, U.S. Ambassador to Britain Louis B. Susman visited the East London Mosque, a “longtime hotbed of extremism.” The year before, the mosque hosted a conference where Awlaki phoned in. Weeks before Susman’s visit, the mosque chairman said Awlaki’s involvement was an act of “fairness and justice.”
“The U.S. government…failed to even acknowledge the blunder, let alone attempt to reconsider its long-standing policy of engaging extremists,” he added. “In fact, the American Embassy issued a statement explaining that the visit was ‘a part of President Obama’s call for a renewed dialogue with Muslim communities around the world.’”
As a result of that dialogue, several terrorists have been invited to the Obama White House, affecting U.S. foreign policy, Poole argues.
“In 2012, Hani Nour Eldin, a known member of the Egyptian al-Gama’a al-Islamiyya (a U.S.-designated terrorist group), was invited to Washington, D.C.” the report says. “Eldin was escorted into the White House to meet with Obama’s national security staff.” At the meeting Eldin demanded the release of the Blind Sheikh, currently in federal prison for masterminding the 1993 World Trade Center bombing.
An “even more egregious” example is Nafie Ali Nafie, a Sudanese war criminal and architect of genocides in the Nuba Mountains and in Darfur, who was invited by the State Department to a Sudanese Delegation in May 2012.
“As these examples demonstrate,” Poole writes, “the U.S. government’s ignoring the terrorist support of its Muslim outreach partners has had a slippery-slope effect in its foreign policy by inviting members of terrorist groups and war criminals to Washington, D.C. for ‘dialogue.’”
“The legacy of the U.S. government’s Muslim outreach programs since the 1990s is a monument of failure by any measure,” Poole concludes. “With more American lives and body parts strewn across American streets once again in Boston, these outreach partners threaten the health and legitimacy of our constitutional republic with their demands.
“It is clearly past time for Congress to ask whether this long since failed experiment should come to an immediate end.”
Obama/Holder Justice Department Threatens First Amendment
Reacting to reports that the Obama Department of Justice may prosecute those who write and post articles offensive to Muslims, Pamela Geller of the American Freedom Defense Initiative has vowed, "We will fight you on this every step of the way. We will drag your dhimmi asses all the way to the Supreme Court. This is Sharia enforcement, and we are not going to stand for it."
The term "dhimmi" refers to submission to or enforcement of Islamic law, also called Sharia.
Geller, who also co-founded Stop Islamization of Nations (SION) with Robert Spencer of Jihad Watch, has endorsed a rally for free speech on June 4 in Manchester, Tennessee, to protest anti-free speech comments by Bill Killian, U.S. attorney for the Eastern District of Tennessee.
Killian has generated outrage by vowing to use federal civil rights laws to punish those making critical comments about Islam.
A local paper reports that Killian and Kenneth Moore, special agent in charge of the FBI's Knoxville, Tennessee, Division, are speaking at a public event and "will provide input on how civil rights can be violated by those who post inflammatory documents targeted at Muslims on social media."
A U.S. Attorney usually prosecutes offenses such as foreign terrorism, child pornography, violent crimes and drug trafficking.
But Killian told the local paper that civil rights laws can have certain "consequences" for the First Amendment right of free speech. The paper said, "Killian said Internet postings that violate civil rights are subject to federal jurisdiction."
Killian is apparently basing this campaign against free speech on a Facebook post from a local politician showing a picture of a man pointing a shotgun at the camera with the phrase, "How to wink at a Muslim." The local politician is a Democrat who says he intended it to be humorous.
The American Muslim Advisory Council, which denounced the "hate-filled post," advertises the June 4 event as being about "public discourse in a free society." It is scheduled for 6:30 - 8:30 p.m. at the Manchester-Coffee County Conference Center, 147 Hospitality Boulevard in Manchester, Tennessee.
The demonstration for free speech is scheduled for 5:30 pm at the same location. "Change your plans, get off from work-go," Geller says. "Tweet it, Facebook share, get the word out."
The Killian address is apparently part of an "Arab American and Muslim Outreach Program" conducted by the U.S. Attorney's Office and the local office of the FBI, and mandated by President Obama's and Attorney General Eric Holder's Department of Justice.
Killian's official website also highlights a keynote address he delivered on August 25, 2012, when the Chattanooga (Tennessee) Islamic Center hosted a grand opening celebration. The center features "Strong Islamic studies," a term that implies Sharia.
But radical Islam does not appear to be a potential problem for Killian. Instead, his office officially represents the United States in civil litigation and declares "we sue individuals or entities who have violated federal civil laws," according to Killian's official newsletter.
In the context of his warnings about posting comments critical of Muslims, this statement takes on ominous implications and must be treated seriously.
A wealthy former adjunct professor in trial advocacy at the University of Tennessee School of Law, he is clearly a showboat who wants to please his bosses in Washington, D.C. He is featured in eight photos in his official 12-page newsletter and has been described by a local paper as "a longtime Democrat."
In an article about Killian's anti-free speech efforts, the conservative legal group Judicial Watch comments, "In its latest effort to protect followers of Islam in the U.S., the Obama Justice Department warns against using social media to spread information considered inflammatory against Muslims, threatening that it could constitute a violation of civil rights."
Exercising her own First Amendment rights, Geller, the founder, editor and publisher of AtlasShrugs.com, is strongly urging "every Atlas reader, twitter and Facebook friend who can be in Tennessee to join us" for the demonstration for free speech.
"Don't think that this is just going to go away," she warns. "They have declared war on our very freedoms. While we still have freedom of speech, we must use it." She urges the public to bring free speech signs to the event.
In a story on the controversy, Politico quotes Floyd Abrams, one of the country's most respected First Amendment attorneys, as saying about Killian: "He's just wrong. The government may, indeed, play a useful and entirely constitutional role in urging people not to engage in speech that amounts to religious discrimination.
But it may not, under the First Amendment, prevent or punish speech even if it may be viewed as hostile to a religion. And what it most clearly may not do is to stifle political or social debate, however rambunctious or offensive some may think it is."
Conservative Christian Soldier Told Not to Read Levin or Hannity in Uniform
A veteran member of the U.S. Army Band said he is facing retribution and punishment from the military for having anti-Obama bumper stickers on his car, reading books written by conservative authors like Mark Levin and David Limbaugh, and serving Chick-fil-A sandwiches at his promotion party.
Master Sgt. Nathan Sommers, a 25-year Army veteran and conservative Christian based at Fort Myer in Washington, believes his outspoken opposition to gay marriage prompted higher-ups to take a closer look at his beliefs. The recipient of an Army Commendation Medal and a soloist at the funeral of former First Lady Betty Ford, Sommers said his core beliefs are enough to mark a soldier for persecution in today’s military.
“It seems like with the repeal of Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell – that the Christians have been the ones who’ve had to go underground and in the closet – for fear of retaliation and reprisals,” Sommers told me.
“Christians feel like they can’t be forthright with their faith. They have to hide.”
Ret. Navy Commander John Bennett Wells is representing the master sergeant. He said there is no doubt in his mind that the U.S. military is discriminating against Christians – and specifically his client.
“There’s no question about it,“ Wells tells me. “Because he is religious, because he feels that homosexual conduct is wrong for religious reasons, he is basically being persecuted.”
Lt. Col. Justin Platt, an Army spokesman at the Pentagon released a statement to Fox News noting that the military branch cannot comment on ongoing investigations or administrative actions.
“With respect to the political activities, soldiers are expected to carry out their obligations as citizens in accordance with applicable regulations,” Platt said.
Army documents I’ve obtained indicate Sommers was told that his actions bordered on being disrespectful to President Obama and the “slightest inference of disrespect towards superiors can have a demoralizing effect on the unit.”
“You should strive to express your opinion while being aware of the overall ramifications of your statements,” the Army noted.
Sommers’ troubles began last April when he was told to remove pro-Republican, anti-Obama bumper stickers that were on his privately owned car.
The stickers read: “Political Dissent is NOT Racism,” “NOBAMA,” NOPE2012” and “The Road to Bankruptcy is Paved with A**-Fault.”
His superior officer told the solider that the bumper stickers were creating “unnecessary workplace tension.”
“The types of stickers on your car were creating an atmosphere detrimental to morale and were creating unnecessary workplace tension,” the officer wrote in an Army document obtained by Fox News. “A Soldier must balance their personal feelings with the mission of the U.S. Army. Even the slightest inference of disrespect towards superiors can have a demoralizing effect on the unit.”
Attorney Wells said once he got involved, the military backed off of filing a formal reprimand. “He’s allowed to have those bumper stickers on his car,” he said. “The DoD regulation allows it. There was nothing obscene about it.”
During the summer months, Sommers came under fire for reading the works of Mark Levin, Sean Hannity and David Limbaugh.
Sommers was reading Limbaugh’s “The Great Destroyer” backstage at a U.S. Army Band concert at the U.S. Capitol. A superior officer told him that he was causing “unit disruption” and was offending other soldiers.
“I wasn’t reading aloud,” he said. “I was just reading privately to myself. I was told they were frowning on that and they warned me that I should not be reading literature like that backstage because it was offensive.”
In another episode, he had been caught backstage reading a copy of Levin’s “The Making of Ameritopia.” Sommers said he was told to refrain from reading the book “while in uniform or within sight of anyone from the band.”
“This is the first time since (my superior officer) indicated I had offended others with my choice of reading material, that I was officially counseled about it,” he said. “The statement took my breath away. I was speechless.”
In spite of those incidents, the Army promoted the soldier in September to the rank of master sergeant. But the promotion would also mark the launch of an effort by the military to punish the soldier.
His promotion coincided with a controversy surrounding Chick-fil-A. The company’s president told a reporter that he was “guilty as charged” when it came to supporting traditional marriage. Gay rights activists pounced- calling for a boycott of the Christian-owned company. And some Democratic officials vowed to block Chick-fil-A from opening restaurants in their cities.
In response to that, Fox News Channel host Mike Huckabee launched a national Chick-fil-A Appreciation Day to rally support for the restaurant chain.
“I was inspired by Gov. Huckabee’s appreciation day,” Sommers told Fox News. “And since I wasn’t able to participate in the event, I decided to serve Chick-fil-A at my promotion party.”
It’s a long-standing tradition within the U.S. Army Band for promoted soldiers to host a party for their fellow troops. So the soldier decided to have Chick-fil-A cater the meal. “My family likes Chick-fil-A and we like what they stand for,” he said. “I can make a statement and at least express a religious point of view at my promotion party – theoretically without any fear of reprisal.”
The soldier also tweeted about the party: “In honor of DADT repeal, and Obama/Holder’s refusal to enforce DOMA act, I’m serving Chick-fil-A at my MSG promo reception for Army today.”
He also tweeted to radio host Mark Levin: “@Marklevinshow ‘luv ya, Mark! Fellow Virginian & MSG, Army. Being promoted today, serving Chick-fil-A @ reception in honor of DADT repeal.”
Both tweets were cited in an official military document. “As a Soldier you must be cognizant of the fact that your statements can be perceived by the general public and other service members to be of a nature bordering on disrespect to the President of the United States,” the document stated.
Sommers said he paid for the party with personal money, not government funds. “I had no idea a Chick-fil-A sandwich would get me in trouble,” he said.
He was later summoned by a superior officer, who the soldier said is openly gay, and was told that unidentified individuals were offended by the tweets and some considered them to be racist.
Sommers was reprimanded, threatened with judicial action and given a bad efficiency report. An investigation was also launched.
“It’s an obvious attempt to set him up and force him out of the military,” Wells said. “They recently did an NCO evaluation that effectively torpedoed his chance at promotion and he could be forced out of the Army.”
During the course of their investigation, the military unearthed a tweet from 2010 that included a derogatory word for homosexuals. The soldier admitted that he had retweeted someone else’s original tweet. “Lordy, Lordy, it’s f****t Tuesday. The lefty loons and Obamabots are out in full force,” the retweet read.
The soldier was hauled in to explain himself before a superior officer.
“He explained to me that homosexual Soldiers were now afraid of me,” Sommers said. “He showed me a letter from an Army Band colleague that demanded that I publicly apologize (to) the band for my statements and that I should be removed from positions of leadership and influence.”
Sommers admitted the retweet was a case of bad judgment on his part, but he said he believes that a group of homosexual soldiers are on a witch hunt and they were “attempting to dig up any negative information they could in order to silence me or ruin my career.”
Attorney Wells said Sommers is taking a “courageous course.” “He’s not going to abandon his beliefs,” he said. “It would be easy for him to stand up and say, ‘Oh, I’ve seen the light. Yes, I was wrong – and I’m going to do everything I can to embrace the political correctness and all will be forgiven.’”
But Wells said the soldier’s “conscience won’t allow him to do that.”
Sommers said he has worked alongside gay soldiers for quite some time and does not have a problem serving with them. “My point is everybody has a right,” he said. “Christians also have a right to express their points of view and that’s what’s being squelched here. There is no tolerance or dissent from the military’s point of view.”
The soldier fears that the military is becoming less tolerant.
“Ironically, the liberals are preaching tolerance,” he said. “They are saying, ‘We can tolerate you.’ But if you have a certain belief that doesn’t align with what the military wants you to believe – particularly religious beliefs – you’re no longer welcome in the U.S. military.”
Attorney Wells said his client is not going down without a fight – and they are vowing to file a federal lawsuit and reach out to Congress if necessary.
Ron Crews, executive director of the Chaplain Alliance for Religious Liberty said stories like this are becoming commonplace in the military post-repeal of Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell.
“These stories are the ones that have not been told – about some of the more subtle ramifications of the repeal of the Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell policy,” he said.
One service member received a severe reprimand for expressing his faith’s religious position about homosexuality in a personal religious blog.
A chaplain was relieved of his command over a military chapel because he could not allow same-sex weddings to take place in the chapel.
And a chaplain who asked senior military officers whether religious liberty would be protected in the wake of the repeal of the law against open homosexual behavior in the military was told to “get in line” or resign.
Crews said they are sharing these stories to let other service members know there is a place to get help. He said Chaplain Alliance publishes a religious liberty palm card – explaining constitutionally protected liberties to service members.
“If you believe your religious liberties have been violated, here’s what you can do,” he said. “We will see that you get the help that you need.”
As and what about Sommers? “We’re going to stand with this soldier who did nothing wrong,” Crews said. “There is nothing wrong in saying he wants to celebrate DOMA – which happens to be federal law.
Australia: No vote for gay marriage bill before election
GREENS MP Adam Bandt has accused Labor of deliberately delaying a vote on his gay marriage private members bill.
Australian Greens MP Adam Bandt had hoped his marriage equality private members bill, before the lower house, would go to a vote on Thursday. However, it is not listed on the schedule.
Mr Bandt accused Labor and the coalition of deliberately delaying a vote. "It's disappointing for me and heart-breaking for many others," he told AAP.
"Labor is worried about Kevin Rudd being on one side of the chamber and Julia Gillard and Tony Abbott sitting together on the other side trying to hold back the tide of history."
A spokesman for the manager of government business Anthony Albanese told AAP that debate on the bill was continuing and many more MPs wanted a chance to have their say.
Last year the Greens had pushed for a vote to be delayed for Labor backbencher Stephen Jones's gay marriage bill until there was more support within the parliament, he said.
Since last year's unsuccessful vote, France and New Zealand have legalised gay marriage.
A stream of Australian MPs have announced their support and a change of heart on the issue, including former prime minister Kevin Rudd. Labor has granted its MPs a conscience vote on the issue.
Opposition leader Tony Abbott has opened up some wiggle room and the prospect of a conscience vote for coalition MPs after the election.
Mr Bandt is optimistic another Greens bill, giving legal recognition to same sex marriages conducted overseas, might be voted on in the Senate before parliament rises at the end of June.
Political correctness is most pervasive in universities and colleges but I rarely report the incidents concerned here as I have a separate blog for educational matters.
American "liberals" often deny being Leftists and say that they are very different from the Communist rulers of other countries. The only real difference, however, is how much power they have. In America, their power is limited by democracy. To see what they WOULD be like with more power, look at where they ARE already very powerful: in America's educational system -- particularly in the universities and colleges. They show there the same respect for free-speech and political diversity that Stalin did: None. So look to the colleges to see what the whole country would be like if "liberals" had their way. It would be a dictatorship.
For more postings from me, see TONGUE-TIED, GREENIE WATCH, EDUCATION WATCH INTERNATIONAL, FOOD & HEALTH SKEPTIC, AUSTRALIAN POLITICS, DISSECTING LEFTISM, IMMIGRATION WATCH INTERNATIONAL and EYE ON BRITAIN (Note that EYE ON BRITAIN has regular posts on the reality of socialized medicine). My Home Pages are here or here or here. Email me (John Ray) here.