Kerry in Nigeria: ‘Trouble Finding Meaning’ of Life Leads ‘Too Many’ to Terrorism

On a visit to Nigeria today, Secretary of State John Kerry declared there are “far too many” who join terrorist groups like Boko Haram “because they have trouble finding meaning or opportunity in their daily lives.”

“Because they are deeply frustrated and alienated — and because they hope groups like Boko Haram will somehow give them a sense of identity, or purpose, or power,” Kerry said after meeting with local religious leaders to discuss community building and countering violent extremism in Sokoto, Nigeria.

“We see this in every part of the world — whether we are talking about the Lake Chad Basin or the Sahel, or a village in the Middle East or a city in Western Europe, it’s the same. When people — and particularly young people — have no hope for the future and no faith in legitimate authority — when there are no outlets for people to express their concerns — then aggravation festers and those people become vulnerable to outside influence,” he added. “And no one knows that better than the violent extremist groups, which regularly use humiliation and marginalization and inequality and poverty and corruption as recruitment tools.”

Kerry stressed that “one of our central tasks — and almost every single religious leader I just heard in the other room talked about this task — has to be to remove the vulnerabilities in our own position.”

“To effectively counter violent extremism, we have to ensure that military action is coupled with a reinforced commitment to the values this region and all of Nigeria has a long legacy of supporting — values like integrity, good governance, education, compassion, security, and respect for human rights,” he said.

The Obama administration has been critical of Nigeria’s military campaign against Boko Haram, charging that human rights are being violated as they target suspected terrorists.

In the Shadow of the Towers In a heartbreaking chapter, Wright recounts the efforts to free five Americans kidnapped by ISIS in Syria. Only one emerged alive. Max Boot

No book about the 2001 attacks on the World Trade Center and Pentagon has won as much acclaim, and deservedly so, as Lawrence Wright’s “The Looming Tower: Al-Qaeda and the Road to 9/11.” Its multi-talented author, a longtime writer for the New Yorker, even staged a one-man play, “My Trip to Al-Qaeda,” about his reporting experiences. Since publishing “The Looming Tower” in 2006, Mr. Wright has gone on to produce two other impressive books: one about Scientology, the other about the Camp David negotiations between Jimmy Carter, Menachem Begin and Anwar Sadat.

Now he returns to the subject of terrorism but not, alas, with a truly new book. “The Terror Years: From al-Qaeda to the Islamic State” is a collection of articles that appeared between 2002 and 2015 in the New Yorker—and that remain available online. In a prologue, he says he hopes the book can be “a primer on the evolution of the jihadist movement from its early years to the present, and the parallel actions of the West to attempt to contain it.”

Three of these articles were incorporated in somewhat altered form into “The Looming Tower.” These are “The Man Behind Bin Laden,” about Ayman al-Zawahiri, the current head of al Qaeda; “The Counterterrorist,” about John P. O’Neill, a legendary FBI counterterrorism agent who was obsessed with al Qaeda and died in the Twin Towers; and “The Agent,” about Ali Soufan, the Lebanese-American FBI agent who was one of the few U.S. terrorism investigators fluent in Arabic and who worked closely with O’Neill. Another, “The Kingdom of Silence,” about Mr. Wright’s experience mentoring young journalists at an English-language newspaper in Jeddah in 2004, informed the description of Saudi Arabia in “The Looming Tower.”So if you’re keeping count, “The Terror Years” makes their third appearance in print. The other chapters are slightly fresher and chronicle various aspects of the war on terrorism since 9/11. “The Terror Web” is about Spain’s response to the 2004 Madrid train bombings, which killed 191 people and led the country to pull its troops out of Iraq. “Captured on Film” describes the beleaguered state of the Syrian film industry during the relatively peaceful days of the Assad dictatorship before the outbreak of civil war in 2011. CONTINUE AT SITE

The Turkish-Russian Detente By Herbert London President, London Center for Policy Research

The world is spinning on its axis very quickly. Conditions that seem to define world affairs yesterday are hopelessly out of date today. There was a time only a couple of years ago when President Obama called Turkish president Recep Tayyip Erdogan his closest friend on the world stage. Erdogan was perceived as a loyal member of NATO and an enemy of Russian’s imperial ambitions in the Middle East. Moreover, Erdogan was devoted to the ouster of Syrian president Bashar Assad, a stance that put him in direct opposition to the Russian strategy. In fact, tensions reached the point of actual conflict when a Russian fighter jet was shot down by Turkish forces near the Syrian border.

However, the ice cold relationship between the two states has begun to thaw after the attempted coup against Erdogan. During this recent period of “good feelings” Erdogan told Russian media outlets that Putin is the ”most significant” factor in resolving the Syria conflict, a statement that blatantly ignored the role of the United States.

Obviously the Turkish relationship to the U.S. has undergone change since the Obama administration has refused to extradite Fethullah Gulen, the Turkish preacher residing in Pennsylvania, who Erdogan believes was the moving force behind the attempted coup.

Erdogan has come to the obvious conclusion that reliance on the U.S. as an ally is foolhardy. Far better to deal with the malevolent Russians than the unreliable Americans. Second, Turkey’s role in NATO is now ambiguous; State Department spokesmen have openly questioned having Erdogan as an ally in the alliance. On this matter, Erdogan appears to agree.

Not only has the European Union consistently blocked Turkey’s membership, it has also challenged Turkey over the issue of migrants. Arguably the most significant bone of contention is the drum beat of Western criticism over the state of Turkish democracy or lack thereof. Erdogan is now engaged in ideological cleansing, a function of the failed coup. He remains adamantly persuaded that criticism from the U.S. and European capitals is a form of intervention and a challenge to Turkish sovereignty.

Musings of a Muslim father By Tabitha Korol

Raising American Muslim Kids in the Age of Trump was a meditative essay penned by Wajahat Ali in the New York Times. During these years of Obama and Hillary, he has been comfortable knowing that no one would question his allegiance to Islamic law (sharia) over the American Constitution. Despite Islam’s record of subversion and violence, he and his coreligionists need not have been overly concerned if their children were caught rioting in the name of Allah, damaging or looting property, or burning tires or American and Israeli flags, For nearly eight years, this has been a Land of the Freedom to Run Amok and cause damage; to join boycotts against a country, Israel, that is falsely accused of the decadence and immorality widespread in Islamic countries; to march and rally against an emasculated police force; to brazenly masquerade an ideology of conquest as a religion of peace, and to be believed!

As Mr. Ali ruminates about his toddler son and new baby daughter, he shares his concerns if Donald J Trump were to become president, and the extreme vetting that could restrict others’ entry to America, regardless of possible aggression. He fears that his friend’s son might be deported and he muses that his daughter could be sent to a “concentration camp” by the only presidential candidate who expresses his intense loyalty to our laws! Has Ali not studied the Constitution and Bill of Rights? Has he not heard Trump iterate that he wants America restored and that his favors cannot be bought? Ali fears a president who upholds the Constitution, but would be comfortable with a Clinton-Kaine administration that will continue to promote the Muslim Brotherhood and Iran, endanger our homeland security with additional hordes of unvetted immigrants, betray Israel, and grant positions of power in exchange for payments, resulting in the stealthy imposition of sharia into government.

With pensive reminiscence, he speaks of the beauty of celebrating Eid-al Fitr, an elaborate dining festival that ends the Islamic month of Ramadan, and suggests that he could be denied his celebrations and food preparations under new leadership. This is pure fantasy and fear-mongering, as no other religious group has ever been thus denied – unless, of course, he misses the cattle preparation of his forebears, the men who walk in the streets with their cattle purchases, and intentionally stab and torture the docile animals with picks and knives until they bleed out and bleat their last breath. Does he fear being questioned about his loyalty to the Constitution? Does he fear the prospect of living in a country that does not countenance the torture and abuse found in the Koran?

The Clintons’ Suspect Foundation Is it normal for foreign governments to underwrite a candidate’s charity? By Jim Geraghty

Do you ever feel like all of Washington’s regulatory, ethics, and law-enforcement agencies looked at Bill and Hillary Clinton and shrugged, “Eh, they’re the Clintons, they’re going to get away with it anyway”?

Last week, former Pennsylvania governor Ed Rendell, a close Clinton ally, caused a stir when he suggested that if Hillary Clinton wins the presidency, the Clinton Foundation — formally named the Bill, Hillary and Chelsea Clinton Foundation — would have to be disbanded.

“I know it’ll be hard for President [Bill] Clinton because he cares very deeply about what the foundation has done,” Rendell told the New York Daily News. “It’d be impossible to keep the foundation open without at least the appearance of a problem.”

The “appearance of a problem” to which Rendell refers is presumably the fact that foreign governments and foreign citizens could give unlimited amounts of money to the foundation, donations that would look like bribes to skeptical outside observers. The Clintons’ defenders quickly point out that Bill, Hillary, and Chelsea do not collect salaries from the foundation, and thus do not personally benefit from it. Except the foundation pays for the family’s travel expenses, as disclosed in the organization’s Form 990, filed with the Internal Revenue Service. That disclosure notes that the family “may require the need to travel by charter or in first class” because of “extraordinary security and other requirements.”

The Clintons get nothing from the foundation except free travel on chartered jets and first-class airline seats and hotel stays and, oh yes, control over a giant operating budget to steer to the charities and good causes that they prefer. Practically nothing!

In any case, within a few days Rendell had recanted, suggesting that a President Hillary Clinton would merely need to keep the Foundation at arm’s length during her term.

RELATED: House Clinton and the Wages of Corruption

“I think if the secretary becomes president, she obviously can have no further involvement with it, can’t ask for money for the foundation,” he said. “They may decide to let partners carry on the work for the next four to eight years.”

Mrs. Clinton and Her Fixer By The Editors

Huma Abedin must be a remarkable woman: She has held down four of the worst jobs in politics, several of them simultaneously: right hand to Hillary Rodham Clinton, fixer and patron-patronizer for the Clinton Foundation, an editor of a journal spawned by a major al-Qaeda financier, and wife to Anthony Weiner.

Mrs. Carlos Danger has some explaining to do.

So does Mrs. Clinton. More, in fact.

Mrs. Clinton plainly has lied about her e-mails, repeatedly, and then lied about lying about them. The new e-mails released in response to ongoing litigation from Judicial Watch include 20 previously unseen exchanges between Mrs. Clinton and her chief aide, Ms. Abedin, which now brings the total number of official, work-related e-mails Mrs. Clinton failed to turn over to investigators to just shy of 200 — so much for those claims that these were private communications about yoga classes and Chelsea’s wedding plans.

It is clear why Mrs. Clinton did not want to release these e-mails: They detail precisely the Clinton Foundation corruption that critics have long alleged. Specifically, the e-mails detail Huma Abedin’s role – while she was on the State Department’s payroll — acting as a fixer for the Clinton Foundation, making sure that influential friends overseas, especially donors, had access to the U.S. secretary of state in order to keep their egos inflated and their wallets deflated.

Abedin already admitted during legal proceedings that one of her assignments while working at State was seeing to “Clinton family matters,” which is inappropriate on its face. But what those matters consisted of is a fairly obvious case of rewarding Clinton Foundation donors with access to the nation’s No. 1 diplomat. Who were those donors? Crown Prince Salman of Bahrain wanted a sit-down with Secretary Clinton but was rebuffed; Clinton Foundation executive Douglas Band intervened through Abedin to try to find a work-around for the crown prince, who gave donations to the Clinton Global Initiative totaling $32 million through 2010. Donations to the Clinton Foundation came in from the kingdom itself and from the state oil company. Band also intervened to secure a visa for a foreign athlete held up because of his criminal record, doing so at the behest of donor Casey Wasserman, a Hollywood sports-entertainment mogul, whose foundation has contributed between $5 million and $10 million to the Clinton Foundation (here Abedin demurred).

If Hillary Is Corrupt, Congress Should Impeach Her The Framers gave Congress a tool to police corrupt executive-branch officials — Congress should use it. By Andrew C. McCarthy

For our recent “Tricky Hillary” issue (National Review, Aug. 1, 2016, on NR Digital), I wrote a feature arguing that Mrs. Clinton should be impeached. Given that, through the last quarter-century of our politics, we have learned that pending Clinton scandals are interrupted only by new Clinton scandals, it comes as no surprise that my point has just been proven by a scandal that erupted last week.

It’s actually a new scandal based on an old scandal — the “old” one, of course, emanating from the former secretary of state’s lawless homebrew server system, implemented for the specific purpose of avoiding the recordkeeping and disclosure requirements of federal law.

In keeping with page one of the Clinton-media playbook, any scandal that emerges on Friday night is “old news” by Monday morning. The press seeks to stretch this hidebound strategy by regarding as “old,” and therefore stale and unworthy of attention, any new revelation tied to the e-mail debacle. It’s the gambit you’d expect, given Mrs. Clinton’s failed attempt to destroy well over 30,000 e-mails, tens of thousands of which are now dribbling out for the first time.

Since the newly revealed e-mails put the lie to Clinton’s always risible claim that these communications were unrelated to State Department business, they tend to be double-whammies. First, their substance is stunningly corrupt, often showing how she and her staff ran the State Department as an annex of the Clinton Foundation, the enterprise Bill and Hillary used to monetize political influence to the tune of hundreds of millions of dollars. Second, even the most innocuous of the e-mails that concern State Department business illustrate that Clinton brazenly lied to Congress and the public for over a year: maintaining that the destroyed e-mails involved yoga, Chelsea’s wedding, and other personal matters, not the operations of government.

Mrs. Clinton’s audacity has caught the attention of two congressional committees, whose chairmen have noticed that the new revelations show she quite intentionally misled lawmakers in House testimony. (The testimony pertained to the Benghazi massacre, another “old” Clinton scandal, if you’re keeping score.) Last week, those chairmen — Jason Chaffetz (R., Utah) and Bob Goodlatte (R., Va.) of, respectively, the Oversight and Judiciary Committees — penned a letter to the Justice Department asking that Clinton be investigated and prosecuted for perjury.

RELATED: House Clinton and the Wages of Corruption

Except as a political salvo to remind the public of Clinton’s mendacity as she campaigns for the presidency, the letter is pointless. The Obama Justice Department, having already declined to prosecute a solid felony case against Clinton for mishandling classified information and withholding government records is not going to give perjury allegations the time of day. More to the point, though, the congressional plea for a criminal investigation is wrongheaded. Mrs. Clinton should be impeached, not indicted.

Republicans keep telling us they are “constitutional conservatives.” Well, how about it? The remedy provided by the Framers to deal with corrupt executive-branch officials (including former officials who might seek to wield power again) is impeachment, not criminal prosecution. That is because, for the well-being of the nation, the critical thing is that power be stripped from those who abuse it, to prevent them from doing further damage. Whether, beyond that, they are prosecuted for any criminal offenses arising out of the wrongdoing is beside the point.

As a practical matter, moreover, the perjury case chairmen Chaffetz and Goodlatte posit is weak, as I will demonstrate in a subsequent column. That is no fault of theirs. Perjury is a hard criminal case to make. Its focus is not a pattern of palpable deception but, more narrowly, whether a witness, in the course of being deceptive, has told provable, literal lies. The art of deceit (on which the Clintons wrote the book) generally involves deflection and misdirection. More common than flat out lies are assertions that quibble with, rather than respond, to the question; or that, while intentionally misleading, are technically accurate. It is rare for prosecutors to charge a perjury case even after a jury has clearly found a witness’s testimony to be false. Our everyday lives tell us why: It is often quite easy to detect that a person’s version of events was dishonest, even if it is difficult to pluck out a single sentence that was literally false.

But for now, let’s leave to the side the four perjury allegations specified in the Chaffetz-Goodlatte letter. Let’s stick with the Constitution.

Madison et al. gave Congress its own powers to check rogue executive conduct — and for them, no such conduct would have been more egregious than misleading the People’s representatives. The Framers would have thought laughable the suggestion that corrupt members of the president’s cabinet — officials who had taken their corrupt actions with the president’s knowledge and support — would be prosecuted by the president’s own law-enforcement agents. Indeed, at the time the Constitution was adopted, there were no such agents. Law-enforcement was handled by the states, and the attorney general was basically the president’s lawyer. There was no Department of Justice until 1870, nor anything like the FBI until 1908. That did not stop the Framers from including impeachment in the Constitution, nor cause Madison any hesitation in regarding impeachment as Congress’s “indispensable” tool.

EDITORIAL: Mrs. Clinton and Her Fixer

Mrs. Clinton is the perfect example of why impeachment, not criminal prosecution, is the appropriate response to public corruption. The test of fitness for an office of public trust is whether an official is trustworthy, not whether she is convictable in a criminal court. Consequently, as I outlined in Faithless Execution, “high crimes and misdemeanors” — the Constitution’s trigger for impeachment — need not be violations of the penal code. As Hamilton explained, impeachable offenses are misconduct stemming “from the abuse or violation of some public trust,” and are thus properly “denominated political, as they relate chiefly to injuries done immediately to the society itself.”

MY SAY: THE WORLDVIEW OF HILLARY AND BILL

Hillary…..On Bashar Assad, the butcher of Syria…..While she was Sec. of State

Hillary Clinton’s uncredible statement on Syria By Glenn Kessler https://www.washingtonpost.com/blogs/fact-checker/post/hillary-clintons-uncredible-statement-on-syria/2011/04/01/AFWPEYaC_blog.htmlHillary Clinton is known for making provocative statements, but few have generated such a firestorm as her comment last week that the president of Syria, Bashar al-Assad, may be a reformer. She made her remarks after “Face the Nation” host Bob Schieffer noted that Assad’s late father had killed 25,000 people during an uprising against his regime. Clinton responded by noting that the son was now in power and he was a “different leader.”

“There’s a different leader in Syria now. Many of the members of Congress of both parties who have gone to Syria in recent months have said they believe he’s a reformer.”

–Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton, on “Face the Nation,” March 27, 2011

“I referenced opinions of others. That was not speaking either for myself or for the administration.”

–Clinton, two days later

Bill on the Charlie Rose Show “http://ejournalofpoliticalscience.org/taheri.html

And here is what Clinton had to say in a recent television interview with Charlie Rose:

“Iran is the only country in the world that has now had six elections since the first election of President Khatami (in 1997). (It is) the only one with elections, including the United States, including Israel, including you name it, where the liberals, or the progressives, have won two-thirds to 70 percent of the vote in six elections: Two for president; two for the Parliament, the Majlis; two for the mayoralties. In every single election, the guys I identify with got two-thirds to 70 percent of the vote. There is no other country in the world I can say that about, certainly not my own.”

So, while millions of Iranians, especially the young, look to the United States as a mode of progress and democracy, a former president of the US looks to the Islamic Republic as his ideological homeland.

But who are “the guys” Clinton identifies with?

There is, of course, President Muhammad Khatami who, speaking at a conference of provincial governors last week, called for the whole world to convert to Islam.

“Human beings understand different affairs within the global framework that they live in,” he said. “But when we say that Islam belongs to all times and places, it is implied that the very essence of Islam is such that despite changes (in time and place) it is always valid.”

There is also Khatami’s brother, Muhammad-Reza, the man who, in 1979, led the “students” who seized the US Embassy in Tehran and held its diplomats hostage for 444 days. There is Massumeh Ebtekar, a poor man’s pasionaria who was spokesperson for the hostage-holders in Tehran. There is also the late Ayatollah Sadeq Khalkhali, known to Iranians as “Judge Blood”.

Not surprisingly, Clinton’s utterances have been seized upon by the state-controlled media in Tehran as a means of countering President George W. Bush’s claim that the Islamic Republic is a tyranny that oppresses the Iranians and threatens the stability of the region.

Clinton’s declaration of love for the mullas shows how ill informed even a US president could be.

Didn’t anyone tell Clinton, when he was in the White House, that elections in the Islamic Republic were as meaningless as those held in the Soviet Union? Did he not know that all candidates had to be approved by the “Supreme Guide”, and that no one from opposition is allowed to stand? Did he not know that all parties are banned in the Islamic Republic, and that such terms as “progressive” and “liberal” are used by the mullas as synonyms for “apostate”, a charge that carries a death sentence?

More importantly, does he not know that while there is no democracy without elections there can be elections without democracy?

Clinton told his audience in Davos, as well as Charlie Rose, that during his presidency he had “formally apologized on behalf of the United States” for what he termed “American crimes against Iran.”

U.S. Position in the Middle East Continues to Decline by William R. Hawkins

While President Barack Obama and his would-be successor Hillary Clinton try to convince the American people that everything is fine in regards to the U.S. position in the world and the security of the nation; foreign adversaries are celebrating what they see as the country’s decline. For example, an August 18 editorial in Global Times, the official media outlet of China’s ruling Communist Party, proclaimed “US suffers new setback in Middle East.” The column hailed its axis partner Russia for basing long-range bombers in Iran to attack targets in Syria in support of the regime of Bashar Assad. It is official Washington policy to remove Assad from power to end Syria’s civil war, but Russian and Iranian military intervention has thwarted the half-hearted, slow-motion effort of the Obama administration to aid the Sunni rebels. “More sadly for Washington” continues the Chinese editorial, “Iraq also consented to the passing-through of Russian military aircraft under some symbolic limits.” This is not surprising given that U.S. policy has allowed Baghdad to become a Shiite satrap of Iran. Though this error goes back to the Bush administration, Obama’s withdrawal of all American troops in 2011 allowed the Iraq regime to openly embrace Tehran.

The Chinese editorial ended with the statement, “The old pattern and order is gone in the Middle East, where the US has lost its leverage. From the perspective of the region, the US is declining. Moscow, however, has gained the upper hand.” This change in the balance of power has occurred entirely during the Obama administration, for part of which Hillary Clinton served as Secretary of State.

The same can be said about Iran’s stronger position in the region. In has gone beyond sending its terrorist army Hezbollah from Lebanon into Syria. Its own troops are now fighting there as well. It could afford to escalate its war effort because of the generous grant of funds from the U.S. as part of the nuclear agreement which slows (but does not end) Tehran’s strategic weapons program. In the long run, the Shiite theocracy still wants nuclear arms to safeguard its regional dominance. At the moment, however, it sorely needs resources to gain that dominance. It must win the war in Syria and overawe its Arab neighbors.

The ending of Western sanctions and the release of embargoed billions by the Obama Treasury gives Iran the means to advance its agenda, in Iraq as well as Syria. While the U.S. has struggled to recruit local troops, Iran has reportedly created a 100,000-man Shiite militia in Iraq which has largely replaced the regular army as the security force that protects Tehran’s hold on Baghdad. It is apparently easier to get men to fight for a “true faith” than for the soft tenets of Kantian liberalism.

The Colin Powell Defense Hillary Clinton desperately seeks to place the blame on anyone but herself. By Rich Lowry

The influence that Colin Powell has over Hillary Clinton is something to behold. His word is her command. When he tells her to break the law and endanger the nation’s secrets, she doesn’t hesitate. She salutes smartly and does as she is told.

Clinton has been desperate for the moral cover of Colin Powell for her e-mail arrangement since the scandal first broke last year. Now we’ve learned that Clinton told the FBI that Powell advised her to use private e-mail as secretary of state at a dinner in 2009. This escalates Clinton’s e-mail defense from “Hey, Colin Powell did it, too,” all the way to “Colin Powell made me do it.”

The Powell defense has given Clinton shills something to say on TV, but it doesn’t make much sense. While the former general used a private e-mail as secretary of state, it was at a time when the department didn’t have a robust email system of its own. And he obviously didn’t set up his own private server. After Powell left State, the department’s rules steadily got stricter about using official e-mail for State Department business and preserving e-mail records — and Clinton blew through them all.

On the advice, we are supposed to believe, of none other than Colin Powell, the Professor Moriarty of Clinton’s illicit e-mail practices. The New York Times reported last week that at a dinner party hosted by former secretary of state Madeleine Albright that included other former secretaries of state, Albright asked Clinton’s predecessors what counsel they would give her. Allegedly, Powell didn’t advise Clinton (channeling Winston Churchill) that “diplomacy is the art of telling people to go to hell in such a way that they ask for directions,” or (channeling Will Durant) that “to say nothing, especially when speaking, is half the art of diplomacy,” or even to avoid a land war in Asia. He told her to use private e-mail.

Powell says that’s not how he remembers it. If Clinton really wanted someone’s permission to use private e-mail, she could have asked the State Department, which she never did. In a new book, the left-wing journalist Joe Conason writes that Clinton had already decided to use private e-mail months before the Albright dinner.