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May 2017

Trump’s Statesmanlike Speech in Riyadh He deserves kudos, but he failed to address the key question of why Muslim societies produce so many terrorists. By Elliott Abrams

President Trump did himself a great deal of good in his Riyadh speech, but he left a gaping hole in his approach to terrorism.

To begin with the positive, he was presidential, indeed statesmanlike, in his delivery and in his conduct all weekend. The event itself — a meeting between the president of the United States and heads of government from more than 50 Muslim states — was unprecedented. To that was added sessions with Saudi leaders and leaders of the Gulf Cooperation Council.

The President’s speech, replete with respect for Islam, added to the sense that far from being a hater of Islam, he was a Westerner approaching it with dignity and common sense. One possible effect: How might federal judges henceforth hold that his executive orders limiting access to the United States for certain Muslims are motivated by nothing more than pure hatred? They have relied on campaign rhetoric, but this speech showed (as have so many other Trump actions) that campaign rhetoric is no guide to his positions and motivations as president.

Trump was tough as nails on Iran, which will gratify his Saudi hosts and the many Americans who found the Obama approach unconscionable. Obama saw Iran as a potential partner in the Middle East and subordinated every American interest to getting his nuclear deal done. Trump made it clear that he has entirely jettisoned this approach.

Trump’s analysis of the terrorists was also powerful: They are nihilists, he suggested, not Muslims. Thus, he said: “Every time a terrorist murders an innocent person and falsely invokes the name of God, it should be an insult to every person of faith. Terrorists do not worship God. They worship death.”

The speech also called upon Muslim governments to be far more active in the fight against terrorism and extremism. He warned them that the United States could not and would not try to solve this problem for them: “It is a choice between two futures — and it is a choice America cannot make for you.” Among the already famous “Drive them out” lines was the first: “Drive them out of your places of worship.” This was as close as Trump came to stating clearly that Muslim extremism is a religious problem that has invaded mosques and in fact invaded Islam itself, and that Muslims need to clean out the networks of mosques and madrassas and imams upon which extremism feeds.

Trump was tough as nails on Iran, which will gratify his Saudi hosts and the many Americans who found the Obama approach unconscionable.

But two factors undermined the impact of Trump’s strong words about terrorism and extremism.

The first was that the speech was too discursive. He tried to cover too much, mentioned too many countries, and even included mention of bilateral U.S.–Saudi trade and arms deals. These had no place in a major speech about Islamist extremism. Trump called his announcement of the various deals totaling $400 billion “blessed news,” a bad misuse of the term “blessed” in a speech largely about religion.

The second factor was far more significant. Twice Trump called Islamist terrorism and extremism an “ideology,” suggesting that he understands it is a belief system. But he appeared to be arguing that military action alone would defeat it. It won’t: Islamist extremism is a terrible and dangerous idea, and it will not be defeated by military action alone. We need other, better ideas to battle against extremist ideas.

Trump’s Saudi Speech: Pretty Good But one speech does not a policy make; it must be the beginning of a consistent approach in battling Islamist ideology. By Daniel Pipes

In Riyadh, on the first stop of his tri-monotheism tour that will take him to Jerusalem and Rome (sorry, Mecca was not available), Donald Trump gave a major speech on a wide range of topics: the Middle East, jihadi violence, Iran, an “Arab NATO,” and Islam. It’s a mixed performance, but overall positive.

First, what’s wrong with the 34-minute speech: It was incoherent, jumping from topic to topic and then back again. It was neither eloquent nor insightful (as in, “Terrorists do not worship God, they worship death”). In places, it consisted of Obama-like euphemisms, such as the statement that history’s great test stands before us, one goal that transcends every other consideration: “to conquer extremism and vanquish the forces of terrorism.”

And it was farcical to announce the opening in Riyadh (the headquarters of Wahhabism) of a Global Center for Combating Extremist Ideology. I bristled at Trump calling Saudi Arabia “sacred land.” I gagged on the warm praise for King Salman, someone implicated in contributing tens of millions of U.S. dollars during the 1990s to finance jihadi violence in Bosnia and Pakistan.

The context of the speech is acutely worrisome: U.S.–Saudi agreements totaling over $380 billion grants a tyrannical regime added influence over Americans. The $110 billion Saudi purchase of U.S. arms makes a vast arsenal available to a government whose goals differ profoundly from those of most Americans.

These not inconsiderable reservations aside, it was a good speech that signaled a major shift in the right direction from the Obama years — particularly with regard to Iran and Islam. Most important was Trump’s willingness to point to the ideology of Islamism as the enemy. This matters exceedingly for, just as a physician must first identify a medical problem before treating it, so a strategist must identify the enemy before defeating it. To talk about “evildoers,” “terrorists,” and “violent extremists” is to miss the enemy’s Islamic core.

On this point, the key passage of the speech (at timestamp 22:25) states:

There is still much work to do. That means honestly confronting the crisis of Islamic extremism and the Islamists and Islamic terror of all kinds.

The prepared text read “Islamist extremism and the Islamist terror groups” but when speaking, Trump made these changes. While “Islamist” is more precise than “Islamic,” politically, both make the same point.

Most important was Trump’s willingness to point to the ideology of Islamism as the enemy. This matters exceedingly.

It was unprecedented and noteworthy for an American leader to declare this in a city that is not only the capital of the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia but also the host of the Saudi-conjured Arab Islamic American Summit, attended by leaders from some 50 Muslim-majority countries. “I have your number,” Trump effectively announced. “So don’t play games with me.”

Palestinians: Tomorrow’s Secret ‘Day of Rage’ by Bassam Tawil

What is really driving this Palestinian hatred of Trump and the U.S.? The Palestinians and the Arabs have long been at war with what they regard as U.S. bias in favor of Israel. What they mean is that U.S. support for Israel stands in their way of destroying Israel.

Abbas is not going to tell Trump about the “Day of Rage” because it flies in the face of his repeated claim that Palestinians are ready for peace and are even raising their children in a culture of peace.

Once again, Abbas is playing Americans and other Westerners for fools. His people remain unwilling to recognize Israel’s very right to exist as a state for Jews. And so, Abbas will talk peace and coexistence while his people organize yet another “Day of Rage.”

Mahmoud Abbas and his Palestinian Authority (PA), preparing to welcome U.S. President Donald Trump to Bethlehem, are seeking to create the impression that their sentiments are shared by their people. Yet many Palestinians are less than enthusiastic about the visit.

It is in the best interests of Abbas and the PA to hide the truth that many Palestinians view the U.S. as an Israel-loving enemy.

While the PA president and his aides attempt to bury that inconvenient fact, they are also doing their best to cover up the truth that many Palestinians have been radicalized to a point that they would rather aim a gun or knife at Israelis than aim for peace with them.

The strongest and most vocal protests against Trump’s visit have thus far come from Ramallah, the de facto capital of the Palestinians.

Ramallah is regularly described by Western journalists as a base for moderation and pragmatism. It is in this city that Abbas and the top PA leadership live and work.

In a statement published earlier this week, the National and Islamic Forces in Ramallah and El-Bireh, a coalition of various Palestinian political and terror groups, called for a “Day of Popular Rage” in the West Bank to protest the imminent presidential visit.

In Palestinian-speak, a “Day of Rage” is a call for intensified violence and terrorism directed mainly against Jews.

The term was formally introduced during the First Intifada, which erupted in late 1987, and consisted of stone and petrol-bomb attacks against Israel Defense Force soldiers and Jews residing in the West Bank and the Gaza Strip.

Similarly, during the Second Intifada, which began in 2000, Days of Rage were associated with suicide bombings, drive-by shootings and other acts of terrorism and assorted crimes perpetrated against Jews living in the West Bank and Gaza Strip, as well as within Israel.

In recent years, Abbas’s Fatah faction and other groups, including Hamas, Islamic Jihad and the Marxist Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine (PFLP) have used different occasions to urge Palestinians to declare a Day of Rage against Israel.

Generally speaking, such calls come in response to Jewish visits to the Temple Mount — visits that have been taking place since East Jerusalem was liberated from Jordanian occupation in 1967.

The visits were temporarily suspended, however, for security reasons in the first years of the Second Intifada, out of concern for the safety of visitors. It is worth noting that non-Muslims areallowed to tour the Temple Mount, as has been true for the past five decades. The Palestinians, however, are specifically opposed to Jews visiting the site, under the false pretext that Jews are plotting to rebuild their Temple after destroying the Islamic holy sites there. This charge is, of course, another Palestinian blood libel against Jews.

Trump’s Visit Cements Saudi Support, Avoids Thorny Regional Issues President’s message against terrorism and Iran is warmly received by leaders By William Mauldin

WASHINGTON—President Donald Trump’s Middle East visit achieved a measure of foreign-policy success by shoring up U.S. alliances, distracting from the president’s domestic difficulties and sidestepping some of the thornier problems simmering in the region, according to lawmakers and Mideast experts.

In a speech in the Saudi Arabian capital, Mr. Trump challenged the heads of state in the region to help in “honestly confronting the crisis of Islamist extremism and the Islamist terror groups it inspires,” saying terrorists should be driven “out of this earth.” Mr. Trump also said “all nations of conscience must work together to isolate Iran, deny it funding for terrorism,” without providing concrete details of U.S. strategy toward Tehran.

“This is someone who is making it clear that we’re making common cause with those who are prepared to take on ISIS and the Iranians,” said Dennis Ross, a former U.S. envoy in the region and senior fellow at the Washington Institute for Near East Policy.

Mr. Trump’s messages were received warmly by the leaders in the region because their governments are some of the biggest targets for terrorism and are also under pressure from Iran, which supports militants in Iraq, Syria and Yemen.

“It is to some extent preaching at the choir,” said Anthony Cordesman, strategy chair at the Center for Strategic and International Studies. “All of this sends a kind of message about American resolve and American concern for its Arab allies.”

The visit served as reassurance for Saudi Arabia and allied nations after former President Barack Obama appeared to seek closer relations with Iran while negotiating a nuclear agreement with the country, and after the 2016 presidential campaign raised questions about the U.S. appetite for foreign entanglements.

Mr. Trump’s decision to visit Saudi Arabia and Israel before other countries—and his warm rhetoric for their leadership—signals a shift away from Mr. Obama’s policy in the region, which Mr. Trump has blamed for the turmoil there.

The trip also shows Mr. Trump appears eager to use his international authority to work with allies and court success on the global stage as he faces political headaches back home that may hamper his domestic goals, said Aaron David Miller, a former senior State Department official now at Washington’s Woodrow Wilson International Center for Scholars. CONTINUE AT SITE

A Heretic at Duke Divinity School The dean brings charges of ‘unprofessional conduct’ for a vigorous defense of free inquiry. By Peter Berkowitz

The campaign against free speech on American campuses rolls on, steadily decreasing the domain of permissible ideas. But the case of Paul Griffiths, a professor at Duke Divinity School, is something new. The defense of liberty of thought and discussion itself has been transformed into a career-ending transgression.

The case was brought to light in late April when Rod Dreher of the American Conservative published a series of email exchanges. It started Feb. 6, when Anathea Portier-Young, another Divinity School professor, distributed a facultywide email. “On behalf of the Faculty Diversity and Inclusion Standing Committee,” she wrote, “I strongly urge you to participate in the Racial Equity Institute Phase I Training planned for March 4 and 5.” Ms. Portier-Young promised colleagues that the weekend program would be “transformative, powerful, and life-changing.”

Ms. Portier-Young, an Old Testament scholar with expertise in “constructions of identity, gender, and ethnicity, and traditions of violence and nonviolence,” approvingly quoted the Racial Equity Institute’s guiding ideas: “‘Racism is a fierce, ever-present, challenging force, one which has structured the thinking, behavior, and actions of individuals and institutions since the beginning of U.S. history.’ ” She also included the institute’s call to political action: “ ‘To understand racism and effectively begin dismantling it requires an equally fierce, consistent, and committed effort.’ ”

Late in the afternoon of the same day, Mr. Griffiths replied in a facultywide email. Noting that Ms. Portier-Young had “made her ideological commitments clear,” he stated that he would “do the same, in the interests of free exchange.”

Mr. Griffiths, a professor of Catholic theology, was good to his word. “I exhort you not to attend this training,” he wrote. “There’ll be bromides, clichés, and amen-corner rah-rahs in plenty,” he continued, and it would reflect “illiberal roots and totalitarian tendencies” and be “definitively anti-intellectual.” He noted that “(re)trainings of intellectuals by bureaucrats and apparatchiks have a long and ignoble history.”

He then entreated the faculty to rededicate themselves to their scholarly and pedagogical mission: “Each of us should be tense with the effort of it, thrumming like a tautly triple-woven steel thread with the work of it, consumed by the fire of it, ever eager for more of it.”

That evening, Dean Elaine Heath entered the fray. Announcing in her own facultywide email that she was “looking forward to participating in the REI training” and that she was “proud that we are hosting it at Duke Divinity School,” Ms. Heath—also a professor of missional and pastoral theology—expressed confidence that the sessions would improve the school’s “intellectual strength, spiritual vitality, and moral authority.”

Having sided firmly with Ms. Portier-Young, the dean proceeded to outline rules of acceptable discourse in facultywide email exchanges. “It is inappropriate and unprofessional to use mass emails to make disparaging statements—including arguments ad hominem—in order to humiliate or undermine individual colleagues or groups of colleagues with whom we disagree. The use of mass emails to express racism, sexism, and other forms of bigotry is offensive and unacceptable, especially in a Christian institution.”

Yet Mr. Griffiths’s three-paragraph, 228-word email made no disparaging statement about any individual, much less expressed bigotry of any sort. Unless—in accordance with the illiberal spirit that has taken root on our campuses—one equates unsparing criticism of ideas with attacks on a person and redefines “bigotry” to mean deviation from the progressive party line. CONTINUE AT SITE

Trump’s Middle East Reset His visit revives the U.S.-Saudi alliance and sends a message to Iran.

President Trump visited Saudi Arabia on his first trip abroad this weekend even as Iran re-elected Hassan Rouhani in a sham presidential vote. The timing may have been coincidental but the symbolism is potent. Mr. Trump is reviving the traditional U.S. alliance with the Sunni Arab states even as Tehran reaffirms its intentions to dominate the Middle East.

The timing comes full circle from the start of Barack Obama’s eight-year tilt toward Iran. That tilt began with Mr. Obama’s silence as Iranian leaders stole the 2009 presidential election while arresting and killing democratic protesters. He then spent two terms courting Iran in pursuit of his nuclear deal while downgrading relations with the Gulf Arabs, Israel and Egypt. Mr. Trump’s weekend meetings and Sunday speech show he is reversing that tilt as he tries to revive U.S. alliances and credibility in the Middle East.

Friday’s vote in Iran was more recoronation than re-election. The unelected Guardian Council of mullahs disqualified more than 1,600 candidates. The remaining six represented the narrow ideological spectrum approved by Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei and the Revolutionary Guards. That includes Mr. Rouhani, who is often called a moderate in the West but has presided over continuing domestic repression and regional aggression.

Mr. Rouhani will probably honor the broad terms of the 2015 nuclear deal, not least because it has provided the mullahs a much-needed financial reprieve from sanctions. The regime is likely to exploit the accord at the margins, however, including ballistic-missile launches and technical progress in secret that could allow a nuclear breakout when most of the accord’s major restrictions sunset in eight to 13 years.

Contrary to Mr. Obama’s hopes, there is no evidence that the nuclear deal has changed Iran’s hostility to the U.S. or its designs for regional dominance. The Revolutionary Guards continue to support Bashar Assad’s marauding in Syria, Shiite militias in Iraq, the Lebanese terror group Hezbollah, and Houthis in Yemen. Tehran sees the Gulf states as a collection of illegitimate Sunni potentates who must bow before Shiite-Persian power—and the U.S. as the only power that can stop its ambitions.

This is the strategic backdrop for Mr. Trump’s visit to Riyadh, which was remarkable for the public display of support for the U.S. alliance. The Saudis have long preferred to cooperate with the U.S. in more low-key fashion. But they laid on a summit of regional Arab leaders, announced substantial ($110 billion) new arms purchases and investment in the U.S., and offered Mr. Trump the chance to deliver his first speech as President on U.S. relations with the Muslim world.

The two countries also issued a public “joint strategic vision declaration” that called for “a robust, integrated regional security architecture.” The test of this vision will come in places like Syria and Yemen, but one early sign was the weekend launch of Saudi Arabia’s new Global Center for Combating Extremist Ideology. This is a welcome development in the heart of Wahhabi Islam that nurtured Osama bin Laden and other jihadists.

Mr. Trump’s speech on Sunday was notable for its conciliatory tone, calling for a “partnership” with moderate Muslim states. The arch rhetoric of his campaign was gone as he invoked the shared desire of Muslims, Christians and Jews to live without fear of religiously motivated violence.

He was also blunt in addressing Iran as “a government that speaks openly of mass murder, vowing the destruction of Israel, death to America, and ruin for many leaders and nations in this room.” Until Iran’s regime “is willing to be a partner for peace,” he added, “all nations of conscience must work together to isolate Iran, deny it funding for terrorism, and pray for the day when the Iranian people have the just and righteous government they deserve.”


All of this will reassure the Gulf Arabs and other U.S. allies who questioned America’s commitment during the Obama years of retreat. The Saudis are imperfect allies, but they are linchpins of the U.S.-led order in the Middle East, and their assistance is essential to defeating Islamic State in Syria.

In 31-year-old Deputy Crown Prince Mohammad bin Salman, Saudi Arabia also finally has a serious modernizer who wants to diversify the economy from oil, expand the public space of women and ease other cultural strictures. The U.S. has a stake in his success and in particular should help him prevail as soon as possible against the Houthis in Yemen.

The eight-year decline of U.S. credibility in the Middle East can’t be reversed in a single summit, but Mr. Trump’s weekend in Riyadh is a promising start that will be noticed from Tehran to Damascus to Moscow.

Trump Urges Muslims to Fight Extremism in Saudi Speech As he continues his first overseas trip as president, Trump strikes a conciliatory tone toward Muslims By Carol E. Lee and Margherita Stancati see note please

I listened to the speech today, delivered to an assembly of tyrants and genocidal war lords…..but I was not as appalled as I expected…..I think Tillerson’s statements are worse and far more conciliatory , but this was better than Obama …..rsk

RIYADH, Saudi Arabia—President Donald Trump called on Muslim leaders across the globe Sunday to confront “the crisis of Islamic extremism” as he sought to rally Arab allies around a renewed, joint effort to combat terrorism and Iran’s influence in the Middle East.

Mr. Trump’s speech here set the tone for his first international trip as president, a nine-day journey that is putting him face-to-face with leaders across the Middle East and Europe. He said the U.S. global role should be guided by what he called a “principled realism” which appears to emphasize transactions on economic and security agreements over other issues such as human-rights abuses.

“We will make decisions based on real-world outcomes—not inflexible ideology,” he said in his remarks before several dozen Muslim leaders in the Saudi capital.

Mr. Trump urged other nations to share with the U.S. the moral and financial responsibility for global challenges. “Muslim-majority countries must take the lead in combating radicalization,” he said..

He sought to underpin his remarks with new security cooperation with America’s Arab allies. The measures include an agreement to target terrorism financing, with the U.S. and Saudi Arabia opening a center in Riyadh focused on the effort, and the formation of a military alliance in the Gulf that would coordinate with the U.S. to counter shared regional threats.

The U.S. and Saudi Arabia agreed during the weekend to a $109 billion arms package and a further $300 billion in other deals and potential investments.

“This agreement will help the Saudi military to take a far greater role in security and operations having to do with security,” Mr. Trump said.

Saudi King Salman bin Abdulaziz Al Saud, who spoke at the summit alongside Mr. Trump, pledged that Muslim leaders will “not hesitate to prosecute anyone who supports or finances terrorism in any shape or form.” CONTINUE AT SITE

Maxine Waters: ‘Follow the Oil’ to Get to Roots of Russia Investigation By Nicholas Ballasy

WASHINGTON – Rep. Maxine Waters (D-Calif.) thanked the media for advancing the investigation of connections between Russia and the Trump campaign, arguing that Congress has not done its job.

“If it was not for the media, we wouldn’t be as far as we are now in understanding what has been going on. The Congress of the United States has not done their job. We have not been the balance, the check and the balance on the executive,” Waters said during the Center for American Progress Idea Summit on Tuesday. “Media, thank you. Dig in there, keep doing what you are doing. Keep unfolding and making it very apparent to all of the American citizens that something is tragically wrong with the president of the United States of America and his allies.”

Waters said she believes there was collusion between Russia and the Trump campaign.

“Just to think about the way that he gave up this classified information and the way that he has tried to obstruct the investigations by firing folks. You can’t find any better person than Sally Yates. Give her a big round of applause. And, of course, while I thought that [former FBI Director James] Comey should have been fired when he first got in, if he was really concerned about him – he wasn’t concerned about him. As a matter of fact he praised him all over the country. It was only when he asked for additional resources to be able to do a credible investigation that he got fired,” Waters said.

“So here you have the president of the United States, ladies and gentlemen, this is not normal. It’s something very wrong with this picture, and I don’t know when Americans are going to get so outraged that they will say to all of the elected officials, Republicans and Democrats and everybody, you have to do what you know you should be doing. You have to identify and lay out for the American public everything that he has done, these firings, these obstruction of justice, etc., and then the final analysis, Maxine Waters was right, you have to impeach him,” she added.

Waters said Congress should not wait until the 2018 midterm elections to seek impeachment.

“I know that there are those who are talking about we are going to get ready for the next election. No, we can’t wait that long. We don’t need to wait that long. He will have destroyed this country by then. We cannot wake up every morning to another crisis, to another scandal,” she said.

“We don’t have to be afraid to use the word impeachment. We don’t have to think that impeachment is out of our reach. All we have to do is make sure that we are talking to the American public and that we are keeping them involved and that we are resisting every day and challenging every day, and we are calling this president to account for what he is doing and what he is saying. I believe in this very strongly,” she added.

Waters argued that following the “money” and the “oil” would lead to connections between the Trump campaign and Russia. However, last month, Trump’s Treasury Department declined to issue Exxon, where Secretary of State Rex Tillerson was CEO, a waiver to drill in Russia.

Tillerson: Trump Underscores Terror Fight ‘Has Nothing to Do with Religion’ By Bridget Johnson

Secretary of State Rex Tillerson said in Saudi Arabia today that President Trump’s trip underscores that the commander in chief “is clearly indicating that this fight of good against evil has nothing to do with religion.”

“It has nothing to do with country. It has nothing to do with ethnicity. This is clearly a fight against good and evil,” Tillerson said. “And the president is convinced with all sincerity that when the three great faiths of this world and the millions of Americans who practice these three great faiths – when we unify with our brothers in faith the world over, we can prevail over this – these forces of evil and these forces of terrorism and destabilization.”

Tillerson was speaking at a press availability in Riyadh with Foreign Minister Adel al-Jubeir after Trump told the Arab-Islamic American Summit that the U.S. and Muslim world “begin a new chapter that will bring lasting benefits to all of our citizens.”

“I stand before you as a representative of the American people to deliver a message of friendship and hope and love. That is why I chose to make my first foreign visit a trip to the heart of the Muslim world, to the nation that serves as custodian of the two holiest sites in the Islamic faith. In my inaugural address to the American people, I pledged to strengthen America’s oldest friendships and to build new partnerships in pursuit of peace. I also promised that America will not seek to impose our way of life on others, but to outstretch our hands in the spirit of cooperation and trust,” Trump said in the speech written by senior advisor Stephen Miller.

“Our vision is one of peace, security, and prosperity in this region and all throughout the world,” Trump added. “Our goal is a coalition of nations who share the aim of stamping out extremism and providing our children a hopeful future that does honor to God… Every time a terrorist murders an innocent person and falsely invokes the name of God, it should be an insult to every person of faith.”

Trump called the war against terrorism “not a battle between different faiths, different sects, or different civilizations.”

“This is a battle between barbaric criminals who seek to obliterate human life and decent people, all in the name of religion,” he said. “People that want to protect life and want to protect their religion.”

Tillerson told reporters that “the context of all of this, where the president begins his journey here at the home of the Muslim faith under the leadership of the Custodian of the Two Holy Mosques – this great faith, the Muslims – then to travel to the home of Judaism and then to the great leader of Christianity,” reflects Trump’s message that it’s not about religion.

Tillerson added that he hoped Trump “dispelled the concerns that many might have” about Islamophobia with the speech.

“I think on this trip, I know the entire delegation traveling with the president has gained a much greater appreciation for this region, the rich history, the rich traditions and cultures of this region, and also a much better understanding of the Muslim faith by traveling to this special place, the special place of the two holiest sites. All of this is, I think, useful to us understanding everyone better here, and we hope – we hope people in the Muslim community will make a similar effort to understand the American people’s interest and concerns that they may have,” the secretary of State said. CONTINUE AT SITE

A Seth Rich Chronology, Part 1 Diana West


June 14, 2016: The Washington Post reports “Russian government hackers penetrated the computer network of the Democratic National Committee.” On what did the paper base this claim? The Post cites “committee officials and security experts who responded to the breach.”

These “security experts” are with CrowdStrike, a private cyber security firm hired and paid by the DNC.

While reading the following chronology, it is important to bear in mind that the FBI has never examined the DNC computer network because the DNC prohibited the FBI from doing so. Also, that the FBI, under former Director Comey, not to mention President Obama and the “Intelligence Community,” thought this was perfectly ok.

In the June 14, 2016 story, DNC chief executive Amy Dacey explained to the Post what happened after she received a call from “her operations chief” about “unusual network activity” noticed by the IT team in “late April.”

That evening, she spoke with Michael Sussman, a DNC lawyer who is a partner with Perkins Coie in Washington. Soon after, Sussmann, a former federal prosecutor who handled computer crime cases, called [CrowdStrike president Shawn Henry], whom he has known for many years.

I highlight “that evening” “DNC lawyer” “Perkins Coie” “Crowdstrike” and “many years” to highlight the political nature of this chain of damage control. Dacey spoke with Sussman, the DNC lawyer, that evening — instead of say, the FBI cyber crime unit that day. As a Perkins Coie partner, Sussmann is with the leading Democrat law firm: Perkins Coie has produced an Obama White House Counsel; a lawyer to ferry that copy of Obama’s “birth certificate” from Hawaii to the White House; and it has represented the DNC, Democrats in Congress, Obama’s presidential campaign, and, at that moment in June 2016, the Clinton presidential campaign.

With all of those Democrat interests in mind, the DNC and Perkins Coie choose to turn to CrowdStrike. Who, what is Crowdstrike? Here is one hair-raising theory. It is a fact that CrowdStrike’s Moscow-born co-founder Dmitri Alperovitch is a nonresident senior fellow of the Atlantic Council, a globalist, interventionist and swampist think tank, which gave Hillary Clinton its Distinguished International Leadership Award in 2013.

The political nature of the DNC’s choice of a politically connected cyber-security firm itself is not too surprising; what is five-alarm-shocking, though, is that the FBI has never verified the firm’s “Russian hacking” findings.

July 10, 2016: DNC staffer Seth Rich, whose title is reported as “voter expansion data director,” is murdered in the street near his home in Washington, DC. The police will attribute his murder to robbery, although nothing was stolen from Rich. His murder remains unsolved.

July 12, 2016: Bernie Sanders endorses Hillary Clinton

July 22, 2016: It is three days before the start of DNC convention, and Wikileaks starts releasing 44,053 emails and 17,761 attachments from the Democratic National Committee. The emails document the DNC’s efforts to sink Bernie Sanders’ primary run against Hillary Clinton. DNC chairman Wasserman Schultz will resign over the election-meddling scandal within the week.

July 23, 2016: A spate of Trump-Putin stories begins to appear about now, including FP’s Julia Ioffe’s piece titled, “Is Trump a Russian Stooge?” A deflection to “Russian hacking” from DNC primary-rigging is immediately apparent, at least on the Left: “So what was once dismissed out of hand — that the DNC was actively working against the Sanders campaign — is now obviously true, but not a big deal.”

July 25, 2016: Sanders supporters boo DNC chairman Debbie Wasserman Schultz off the stage at national convention event over Wikileaks revelations of DNC collusion in Hillary Clinton’s favor. W-S resigns from the DNC on July 28, 2016.

August 1, 2016: Peter Schweizer publishes “From Russia with Money,” a stunning report on Clinton cronyism and corruption detailing multiple and profitable connections between Hillary Clinton, the Clinton Foundation, John Podesta, and Russia. (More info on Podesta and his Russian business dealings will follow from Wikileaks.) Hillary-tanked MSM ignore evidence of “Russian influence” on Clinton and Podesta both.

On or about August 9, 2016: During an interview (video above), Julian Assange brings up the recent murder of DNC staffer Seth Rich while discussing the great risks Wikileaks sources take. Wikileaks will contribute $20,000 to what grows to more $125,000 in reward money for information leading to arrest of the murderer(s) of Seth Rich. According to private investigator Rod Wheeler, no one has come forward to try to claim the money.

September 5, 2016: Washington Post reports DNI James Clapper is leading an investigation into Russian efforts to “sow distrust” in the presidential election and U.S. institutions.

The Kremlin’s intent may not be to sway the election in one direction or another, officials said, but to cause chaos and provide propaganda fodder to attack U.S. democracy-building policies around the world, particularly in the countries of the former Soviet Union.

U.S. intelligence officials described the covert influence campaign here as “ambitious” and said it is also designed to counter U.S. leadership and influence in international affairs.

October 7, 2016: Washington Post: “US government officially accuses Russia of hacking campaign to interfere with elections.” The story reports on a joint statement released by the DNI and DHS. The paper only quotes this much:

“The U.S. Intelligence Community is confident that the Russian Government directed the recent compromises of e-mails from U.S. persons and institutions, including from U.S. political organizations,” said a joint statement from the two agencies. “. . . These thefts and disclosures are intended to interfere with the U.S. election process.”

Also of October 7, 2016: The Washington Post releases Access Hollywood/Trump tape, although the published story is dated October 8, 2016.

Also on October 7, 2016: Wikileaks releases the first cache of Podesta emails.

October 17, 2016: Julian Assange accused a “state party” of severing his internet connection.

October 19, 2016: Hillary Clinton turns the DHS-DNI statement into “17 intelligence agencies” during a debate with Donald Trump:

CLINTON: We have 17 intelligence agencies, civilian and military, who have all concluded that these espionage attacks, these cyberattacks, come from the highest levels of the Kremlin, and they are designed to influence our election.

I find that deeply disturbing. And I think it is time —

TRUMP: She has no idea whether it is Russia, China or anybody else.

CLINTON: I am not quoting myself. I am quoting 17, 17 — do you doubt?

TRUMP: Our country has no idea.