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January 2017

Secret Report Shows Just How Badly Belgium Mishandled Hunt for ISIS Operatives Numerous chances to unmask the Abdeslam brothers before the Paris and Brussels attacks were missed By Valentina Pop and Mark Maremont

BRUSSELS—Belgian police had numerous chances to unmask the Islamic State terror cell that later carried out the Paris and Brussels attacks, according to a confidential report prepared for Belgium’s Parliament. They muffed every one.

In early 2015, Brussels police stopped a car driven by Brahim Abdeslam, later one of the Paris attackers, and arrested him for drug possession. At the time, Brahim was on a terror watch list. He carried a booklet about “parental consent for the Jihad.” Police found a USB thumb drive hidden behind his car radio.

He was let go after brief questioning. Authorities failed to analyze the thumb drive or other electronics seized after the drug stop from an apartment Brahim shared with his younger brother, also involved in the attacks, Salah Abdeslam. Another unnoticed detail: The email address the suspect supplied, s_orry@hotmail.com, was a fake.

The incident, details of which haven’t been previously reported, is outlined in the parliamentary report prepared by Comité P, a watchdog agency of former police and judicial officials auditing the work of Belgian police in the wake of the twin attacks. The 82-page report, reviewed by The Wall Street Journal, was finalized in September and hasn’t been made public.

European police have foiled many would-be terrorists in recent years. In many of the major attacks that did occur, the terrorists’ radical leanings were well known to police, who failed to halt them in time.

Why the Anti-Israel Sentiment? World opinion against Israel comes from a great many factors — especially a certain ancient one. By Victor Davis Hanson

Secretary of State John Kerry, echoing other policymakers in the Obama administration, blasted Israel last week in a 70-minute rant about its supposedly self-destructive policies.

Why does the world — including now the U.S. — single out liberal and lawful Israel but refrain from chastising truly illiberal countries?

Kerry has never sermonized for so long about his plan to solve the Syrian crisis that has led to some 500,000 deaths or the vast migrant crisis that has nearly wrecked the European Union.

No one in this administration has shown as much anger about the many thousands who have been killed and jailed in the Castro brothers’ Cuba, much less about the current Stone Age conditions in Venezuela or the nightmarish government of President Rodrigo Duterte in the Philippines, an ally nation.

President Obama did not champion the cause of the oppressed during the Green Revolution of 2009 in Iran. Did Kerry and Obama become so outraged after Russia occupied South Ossetia, Crimea, and eastern Ukraine?

Ambassador to the United Nations Samantha Power was never so impassioned over the borders of Chinese-occupied Tibet, or over Turkish-occupied Northern Cyprus.

In terms of harkening back to the Palestinian “refugee” crisis that started in the late 1940s, no one talks today in similar fashion about the Jews who survived the Holocaust and walked home, only to find that their houses in Eastern Europe were gone or occupied by others. Much less do we recall the 11 million German civilians who were ethnically cleansed from Eastern Europe in 1945 by the Soviets and their imposed Communist governments. Certainly, there are not still “refugee” camps outside Dresden for those persons displaced from East Prussia 70 years ago.

More recently, few nations at the U.N. faulted the Kuwaiti government for the expulsion of 200,000 Palestinians after the liberation of Kuwait by coalition forces in 1991.

Yet on nearly every issue — from “settlements” to human rights to the status of women — U.N. members that routinely violate human rights target a liberal Israel.

When President Obama entered office, among his first acts were to give an interview with the Saudi-owned news outlet Al Arabiya championing his outreach to the mostly non-democratic Islamic world and to blast democratic Israel on “settlements.”

Partly, the reason for such inordinate criticism of Israel is sheer cowardice. If Israel had 100 million people and was geographically large, the world would not so readily play the bully.

Instead, the United Nations and Europe would likely leave it alone — just as they give a pass to human-rights offenders such as Pakistan and Indonesia. If Israel were as big as Iran, and Iran as small as Israel, then the Obama administration would have not reached out to Iran, and would have left Israel alone.

Israel’s supposed Western friends sort out Israel’s enemies by their relative natural resources, geography, and population — and conclude that supporting Israel is a bad deal in cost/benefit terms.

Partly, the criticism of Israel is explained by oil — an issue that is changing daily as both the U.S. and Israel cease to be oil importers.

Still, about 40 percent of the world’s oil is sold by Persian Gulf nations. Influential nations in Europe and China continue to count on oil imports from the Middle East — and make political adjustments accordingly.

Partly, anti-Israel rhetoric is due to herd politics.

The Palestinians — illiberal and reactionary on cherished Western issues like gender equality, homosexuality, religious tolerance, and diversity — have grafted their cause to the popular campus agendas of race/class/gender victimization.

The Campus War Against Israel and the Jews Fostering vicious lies about a bastion of liberal democracy in a sea of tyranny and hate. Bruce Thornton *****

Barack Obama’s abstention from a vicious, anti-Israel Security Council resolution is merely the latest attack in the West’s long, shameful war against Israel. That the historical birthplace of political freedom and human rights should make a pariah of its cultural offspring is an indelible stain on the honor of Europe and America.

That such irrational bigotry and moral idiocy should find a comfortable home in universities is even more reprehensible. Higher education is supposedly the protected space where critical thought, fidelity to truth, and humanistic principles are honored. But as Richard L. Cravatts meticulously details in his indispensable collection of essays Dispatches from the Campus War against Israel and Jews, universities and colleges today foster and promote the most vicious slanders and lies about a country that for nearly a century has had to continually fight for its existence, yet still has remained a bastion of liberal democracy and human rights in a region devoid of both.

Cravatts is the author of Genocidal Liberalism: The University’s Jihad against Israel and Jews, a recent president of Scholars for Peace in the Middle East, and a board member of the AMCHA Initiative at the Louis D. Brandeis Center for Human Rights Under the Law. His new book catalogues in fine-grained detail how universities and scholars across the world have betrayed their professional integrity and moral decency by obsessively demonizing Israel. The intensity and irrationalism of this “deranged hatred of Israel,” as Cravatts writes, has made it “a covert, and surrogate, form of anti-Semitism itself,” one that reprises all the slanderous tropes of traditional Jew-hatred.

One technique of this cognitive bait-and-switch is an Orwellian degradation of language. Calling Israel a “colonial” or “imperialist” power bespeaks a willful ignorance of history. The use of question-begging epithets like “racist,” “genocide,” and “apartheid” is a way to camouflage bigotry and make Israel responsible for the aggression and terrorist attacks it has suffered for nearly a century. Even more despicable is the false analogy between Zionism and Nazism, the greatest killer of Jews in history. It takes a particularly brazen moral stupidity to equate the victims of genocide with their murderers.

Professional malfeasance likewise fosters the academic hatred of Israel. The popularity of the fraudulent literary critic Edward Said has corrupted not just Middle East Studies departments, but disciplines like English, history, and the social sciences. Add Muslim student groups sympathetic with jihadist organizations and their eliminationist goals; left-wing bitter-enders who see Israel as a neo-colonialist outpost of Western imperialism; and juvenile admirers of “revolutionary” violence and noble-savage multiculturalism, and the result is, as Cravatts writes, “the compromised purpose of higher education, where scholarship has been degraded by bias and extremism on the part of a left-wing professoriate with a clear political agenda that cites Israel as the new villain in a world yearning for social justice.”

How the Democrats Became the Anti-Israel Party Daniel Greenfield

Democrats have come down with a wicked virus. Somewhere along the way they caught Nazi fever.

It’s not the Nazi fever of the fevered headlines in which Trump is the new Fuhrer and Republicans are the new Third Reich.

The truth is that there’s only one major political party in this country that supports the murder of Jews.

The Democrats demand the ethnic cleansing of Jews from Jerusalem. They fund the mass murder of Jews by nuclear fire, rocket, bullet, bomb and bloody knife. And they collaborate and defend that terror.

President Clinton was the first to openly fund Islamic terrorists killing Jews. Men, women and children across Israel were shot and blown up by terrorists funded by his administration. And when terror victims sought justice, instead of protecting them from Iran, he protected Iran’s dirty money from them.

And he was not the last.

Secretary of State John Kerry and National Security Adviser Susan Rice collaborated with the leaders of a terrorist organization, with American and Israeli blood on its hands, on a UN attack on Israel that demands that Jews be banned from moving into neighborhoods and areas claimed by Islamic terrorists.

A leaked transcript showed Kerry conspiring with Saeb Erekat, who has praised the mass murderers of Jews and spewed anti-Semitism. Erekat is called a “negotiator”, a strange term considering that the PLO and its various front groups, including the Palestinian Authority, refuse to negotiate with Israel.

Erekat has made his position on the Jewish State quite clear. “We cannot accept the Jewish state – Israel as a Jewish state – not today, not tomorrow and not in a hundred years.”

Instead of reproving Erekat, Susan Rice warned him about Trump. Rice, like the rest of Obama’s team, was not only closer to the terrorists than to Israel, but was closer to the terrorists than to Trump.

Obama praised PLO boss Abbas despite the terrorist leader’s own admission, “There is no difference between our policies and those of Hamas.” The terror organization headed by Obama’s pal had honored a monster who butchered a 13-year-old Jewish girl in her own bedroom as a “martyr”.

The White House backed the Muslim Brotherhood whose “spiritual” witch doctor had praised Hitler and expressed a wish that Muslims would be able to finish the Holocaust.

European Immigration: Mainly Muslim, Mainly Male, Mainly Young by Douglas Murray

In the wake of the attack in Nice, there should have been a fulsome public discussion over what if anything can be done to ensure that people who have been in France for many years — in some cases their entire lives — are not indoctrinated to hate the country so much that they drive a truck through a crowded sea-front on Bastille Day.

Or there could have been a wide public debate over whether, with so many radicalised Muslims already in France, it was a wise or foolish idea to continue to import large numbers of Muslims into this already simmering situation.

Merkel seems to hope that with this raising of a burka ban the German public will forgive or forget the fact that here is a political leader so devoid of foresight that she unilaterally chose to allow an extra 1-2% of the population to be added to her country in a single year, mainly Muslim, mainly male and mainly young.

The burka and burkini, like the headscarf, are only issues because millions of people have been allowed, unchecked, into Europe for years. The garment is merely the simplest issue at which to take aim. Far harder are the issues of immigration and integration. It is possible that Europe’s politicians cannot answer these questions, because any and all answers would point the finger at their own failings.

The European publics might get fed up with the distraction tactics of talking about garments and instead seek answers to the challenge we now face, as well as retribution at the polls for the politicians who brought us here.

2016 was a fine year for Islamist terrorism and an even finer year for Western political distraction. While Islamic terrorists repeatedly succeeded in carrying out mass-casualty terrorist attacks, as well as a constant run of smaller-scale strikes, the political leadership of the free world continued to try to divert their public.

The most striking example of the year came in the summer with the French debate over whether or not to ban the “burkini” from the beaches of France. The row erupted in the days after another 86 people were murdered in a jihadist terrorist assault — this time in Nice, France. With no one sure how to prevent access to vehicles or any idea how many French Muslims might want to follow suit, the French media and authorities chose to debate an item of beachwear. The carefully staged decision by an Australian Muslim woman to have herself filmed while wearing a burkini on a French beach ignited the row, which was eagerly seized upon by politicians.

At the local and national level, the decision to discuss the burkini allowed all the larger political issues behind Europe’s growing security problem to be ignored. In the wake of Nice, there should have been a fulsome public discussion over what if anything can be done to ensure that people who have been in France for many years — in some cases their entire lives — are not indoctrinated to hate the country so much that they drive a truck through a crowded sea-front on Bastille Day. Or there could have been a wide public debate over whether, with so many radicalised Muslims already in France, it was a wise or foolish idea to continue to import large numbers of Muslims into this already simmering situation.

As it was, neither of these debates did occur, and no meaningful political action was taken. Instead, the issue of the burkini sucked all the oxygen out of the debate, leaving no room to discuss anything more serious or longer term than beachwear.

Christian Clergy Welcomes Islam in Church, Then Bows to It by Giulio Meotti

Last July, for the first time during a Mass in Italy, a verse of the Koran was recited from the altar.

A priest in the south of Italy enraged parishioners by dressing the Virgin Mary in a Muslim burqa for his church’s Christmas Nativity scene. These interfaith initiatives are based on the gradual elimination of the Western-Christian heritage in favor of Islam.

The Catholic clergy is probably disoriented by Pope Francis himself; he was the first to allow the reading of Islamic prayers and Koran readings from the Vatican.

The Pope embraced religious relativism when it comes with Islam. He repeated that Islamist violence is the work of “a small group of fundamentalists” who, according to him, have nothing to do with Islam.

Church of England Bishop Harries suggested that Prince Charles’s coronation service should be opened with a Koran reading. In the US, more than 50 churches, including the Washington National Cathedral, hold Koran readings. Is there any reading of the Christian liturgy in mosques?

How is it that so few Christian leaders have raised their voices against this unprecedented attack on a Christian monument? Have they organized so many Koran readings in their own churches so that they now view it as normal to convert a church into a mosque?

Would it not be better for the Catholic Church to establish a real dialogue with the Islamic communities based on principles such as reciprocity (if you build mosques in Europe, we build churches in the Middle East), protection of Christian minorities in the Crescent and theological repudiation of jihad against “infidels”?

There is a disturbing and growing trend in Italy and Europe.

The “Craziness” of the Climate Science Echo Chamber by Mark Steyn

I spent much of Wednesday guest-hosting America’s Number One radio show. You can find a few moments from today’s show here – including a reference to the story of most personal interest to me, the news that the distinguished climate scientist Judith Curry had decided to resign from her position at Georgia Tech:

The superficial reason is that I want to do other things…

The deeper reasons have to do with my growing disenchantment with universities, the academic field of climate science and scientists.

Dr Curry elaborates:

A deciding factor was that I no longer know what to say to students and postdocs regarding how to navigate the CRAZINESS in the field of climate science. Research and other professional activities are professionally rewarded only if they are channeled in certain directions approved by a politicized academic establishment — funding, ease of getting your papers published, getting hired in prestigious positions, appointments to prestigious committees and boards, professional recognition, etc.

How young scientists are to navigate all this is beyond me, and it often becomes a battle of scientific integrity versus career suicide (I have worked through these issues with a number of skeptical young scientists).

By “career suicide”, Dr Curry means that, if you dissent from the Big Climate orthodoxy, thug enforcers like Dr Michael E Mann will take the hockey stick to you until there’s nothing left. As Roger Pielke Jr, another scientist forced out of the field by the climate mullahs, said today:

No one has worked harder than Michael Mann, in public or behind the scenes, to destroy academic careers of those w/ views different than his

Naturally, Mann responded to her resignation with his characteristic gracelessness:

For his part, Mann said climate science would be stronger without Curry. He said she routinely engaged in character attack, “confusionism and denialism” and eroded scientific discussion.

“She has played a particularly pernicious role in the climate change denial campaign, laundering standard denier talking points but appearing to grant them greater authority courtesy of the academic positions she has held and the meager but nonetheless legitimate scientific work that she has published in the past,” he said. “Much of what I have seen from her in recent years is boilerplate climate change denial drivel.”

By “meager” scientific work, he means Judith Curry is the co-editor of The Encyclopedia of Atmospheric Sciences and the co-author of Thermodynamics of Atmospheres and Oceans and a member of the National Research Council’s Climate Research Committee – as opposed to running around falsely claiming to be a Nobel Laureate and playing Jessica Alba’s personal climatologist on a James Cameron crockumentary.

In my book on Mann – “A Disgrace To The Profession”: The World’s Scientists – in Their Own Words – on Dr Michael E Mann, His Hockey Stick and Their Damage to Science, Volume One – I mention that I had trouble finding female climate scientists to quote:

There are fewer women than one might wish [in the book], but it seems to be a male-dominated field and indeed there is a palpable misogyny in the way some of Mann’s defenders attack his female critics.

Dr. Judith Curry chooses integrity over the state of climate science

‘CRAZINESS’ in climate field leads dissenter Dr. Judith Curry to resign: ‘I have resigned my tenured faculty position at Georgia Tech’

Judith Curry, a scientist in the true sense of the word, has resigned from Georgia Tech, advising that she can no longer be part of a racket poisoned by climate careerists and fellow academics who value grants above integrity. In announcing her departure she writes:

… I no longer know what to say to students and postdocs regarding how to navigate the CRAZINESS in the field of climate science. Research and other professional activities are professionally rewarded only if they are channeled in certain directions approved by a politicized academic establishment — funding, ease of getting your papers published, getting hired in prestigious positions, appointments to prestigious committees and boards, professional recognition, etc.

How young scientists are to navigate all this is beyond me, and it often becomes a battle of scientific integrity versus career suicide.

One of the objects of Curry’s disdain has been Michael “Hockey Stick” Mann (above, courtesy of Climate Depot), who is suing Mark Steyn for libel. Steyn has this to say about Curry’s decision to walk away from a climate-change establishment so corrupt it is beyond repair.

…because the science leads away from Michael Mann and his cartoon climatology, she has been subject to a vile campaign of character assassination by him and his creepy little coterie. Were she to demand the same right he asserts — to sue over insults — Mann would be in deep water. Fortunately, unlike him, she understands the concepts of free speech and open debate…

…I despise Michael Mann for many reasons, not least for the damage his peculiar insecurities have done to honest inquiry and scientific integrity. But his disgusting treatment of Dr Curry ranks high on my list.

‘We Will Resist’ Chuck Schumer signals an all-out brawl over the Supreme Court.

This first week of the 115th Congress has been the coming out party for new Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer, and he isn’t disappointing his fellow Democrats. The New Yorker made clear in a speech on the Senate floor that he intends to do everything he can to use his 48-seat minority as a bulwark against Donald Trump’s agenda.

Mr. Schumer offered up the possibility of compromise on “issues like infrastructure, trade and closing the carried interest loophole,” though the public-works spending must be “significant, direct spending,” not tax credits. You almost have to admire his Stakhanovite dedication to the tiny carried interest tax provision, though we’re willing to bet Mr. Schumer will find other reasons to oppose a serious tax reform that eliminates it.

But that was it for the olive branches, saying that on most Republican priorities “we will resist.” He laced into Mr. Trump’s appointees as “stacked with billionaires, corporate executives, titans of Wall Street, and those deeply embedded in Washington’s corridors of power.” He did not mention that two of those “titans” hail from Goldman Sachs, source of many donations to Senate Democrats.

The Minority Leader saved his most partisan remarks for MSNBC, aptly enough, where he all but promised to block any Trump nominee to the Supreme Court. “We are not going to settle on a Supreme Court nominee. If they don’t appoint someone who’s really good, we’re gonna oppose him tooth and nail,” he said. When the MSNBC host asked if Mr. Schumer would do his best to keep the current vacancy on the High Court open, he responded “absolutely.”

Give him credit for candor. Democrats are sore that Senate Republicans refused to consider President Obama’s nominee, Merrick Garland, after Antonin Scalia died in February. And they’re eager for payback. CONTINUE AT SITE

The Politics of TrumpCare Admit it or not, the GOP will soon own the health insurance market.

President Obama and Vice President-elect Mike Pence both paid a visit to Capitol Hill Wednesday, in the first formal engagement over the future of the Affordable Care Act. Republicans finally have the power to repeal, but the question is whether they have the grit to replace ObamaCare.

Mr. Pence told Republicans that repeal and replace is the Trump Administration’s “first order of business,” while Mr. Obama ordered Democrats not to “rescue” the GOP by helping to pass a “TrumpCare replacement.” Going by his business background Donald Trump won’t mind putting his name on a health-care plan, or anything else, but Republicans need to appreciate the reality that they will soon own ObamaCare. Until they pass a coherent and market-oriented substitute, as a political matter ObamaCare is TrumpCare, like it or not.
This isn’t a great political position, given the law’s large and ongoing failures on almost every measure: premium trends, enrollment, limited doctor and hospital networks, insurer participation. Affordability, choice and competition are due for another tumble next year under the status quo.

Mr. Trump seems to appreciate the political danger, tweeting Wednesday that “Republicans must be careful in that the Dems own the failed ObamaCare disaster, with its poor coverage and massive premium increases,” adding “Don’t let the [Democratic Senator Chuck] Schumer clowns out of this web.”

But Mr. Trump isn’t some candidate bystander any more. What was the point of Mr. Pence’s visit to Congress if not to encourage Republicans to proceed with their plans for a quick repeal? Does the President-elect have any better ideas on legislative strategy, or is he merely going to toss around the sayings of Chairman Donald from Trump Tower?

Some Republicans think they can repeal ObamaCare and blame Mr. Obama for the fallout, but they are kidding themselves. Republicans were elected on a promise to repeal and replace, and the statute of limitations on blaming Mr. Obama will soon expire. Voters tend to punish politicians who can but don’t solve problems, even if they didn’t cause them.