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October 2017

The Manafort Indictment: Not Much There, and a Boon for Trump Do not be fooled by the “Conspiracy against the United States” heading. By Andrew C. McCarthy


The Paul Manafort indictment is much ado about nothing . . . except as a vehicle to squeeze Manafort, which is special counsel Robert Mueller’s objective — as we have been arguing for three months (see here, here, and here).

Do not be fooled by the “Conspiracy against the United States” heading on Count One (page 23 of the indictment). This case has nothing to do with what Democrats and the media call “the attack on our democracy” (i.e., the Kremlin’s meddling in the 2016 election, supposedly in “collusion” with the Trump campaign). Essentially, Manafort and his associate, Richard W. Gates, are charged with (a) conspiring to conceal from the U.S. government about $75 million they made as unregistered foreign agents for Ukraine, years before the 2016 election (mainly, from 2006 through 2014), and (b) a money-laundering conspiracy.

There are twelve counts in all, but those are the two major allegations.

The so-called conspiracy against the United States mainly involves Manafort’s and Gates’s alleged failure to file Treasury Department forms required by the Bank Secrecy Act. Specifically, Americans who hold a stake in foreign bank accounts must file what’s known as an “FBAR” (foreign bank account report) in any year in which, at any point, the balance in the account exceeds $10,000. Federal law also requires disclosure of foreign accounts on annual income-tax returns. Manafort and Gates are said to have controlled foreign accounts through which their Ukrainian political-consulting income sluiced, and to have failed to file accurate FBARs and tax returns. In addition, they allegedly failed to register as foreign agents from 2008 through 2014 and made false statements when they belatedly registered.

In the money-laundering conspiracy, they are alleged to have moved money in and out of the United States with the intent to promote “specified unlawful activity.” That activity is said to have been their acting as unregistered foreign agents.

On first glance, Mueller’s case, at least in part, seems shaky and overcharged.

Even though the Ukrainian money goes back to 2006, the counts involving failure to file FBARs (Counts Three through Nine) go back only to 2012. This is likely because the five-year statute of limitations bars prosecution for anything before then. Obviously, one purpose of the conspiracy count (Count One) is to enable prosecutors, under the guise of establishing the full scope of the scheme, to prove law violations that would otherwise be time-barred.

The offense of failing to register as a foreign agent (Count Ten) may be a slam-dunk, but it is a violation that the Justice Department rarely prosecutes criminally. There is often ambiguity about whether the person’s actions trigger the registration requirement, so the Justice Department’s practice is to encourage people to register, not indict them for failing to do so.

It may well be that Manafort and Gates made false statements when they belatedly registered as foreign agents, but it appears that Mueller’s office has turned one offense into two, an abusive prosecutorial tactic that flouts congressional intent.

Specifically, Congress considers false statements in the specific context of foreign-agent registration to be a misdemeanor calling for zero to six months’ imprisonment. (See Section 622(a)(2) of Title 22, U.S. Code.) That is the offense Mueller charges in Count Eleven. But then, for good measure, Mueller adds a second false-statement count (Count Twelve) for the same conduct — charged under the penal-code section (Section 1001 of Title 18, U.S. Code) that makes any falsity or material omission in a statement to government officials a felony punishable by up to five years’ imprisonment.

Obviously, one cannot make a false statement on the foreign-agent registration form without also making a false statement to the government. Consequently, expect Manafort to argue that Mueller has violated double-jeopardy principles by charging the same exact offense in two separate counts, and that the special counsel is undermining Congress’s intent that the offense of providing false information on a foreign-agent registration form be considered merely a misdemeanor.

Finally, the money-laundering conspiracy allegation (Count Two) seems far from slam-dunk. For someone to be guilty of laundering, the money involved has to be the proceeds of criminal activity before the accused starts concealing it by (a) moving it through accounts or changing its form by buying assets, etc., or (b) dodging a reporting requirement under federal law.

Now, it is surely a terrible thing to take money, under the guise of “political consulting,” from an unsavory Ukranian political faction that is doing the Kremlin’s bidding. But it is not a violation of American law to do so. The violations occur when, as outlined above, there is a lack of compliance with various disclosure requirements. Mueller seems to acknowledge this: The money-laundering count does not allege that it was illegal for Manafort and Gates to be paid by the Ukrainian faction. It is alleged, rather, that they moved the money around to promote a scheme to function as unregistered foreign agents, and specifically to avoid the registration requirement.

That seems like a stretch. To be sure, the relevant money-laundering statute includes in its definition of “specified unlawful activity” “any violation of the Foreign Agents Registration Act of 1938.” (See Section 1956(c)(2)(7)(D) of Title 18, U.S. Code.) But the prosecution still has to prove beyond a reasonable doubt that the money was the proceeds of unlawful activity in the first place. Moreover, the prosecution must prove beyond a reasonable doubt that

Manafort and Gates (a) knew the money was the proceeds of illegal activity and (b) transported the money the way they did with the specific intent of avoiding having to register as foreign agents. This count will thus fail if there is any doubt that the Ukrainian money was illegal under American law, that Manafort and Gates knew it was illegal, that they knew the work they were doing required them to register as foreign agents, or that it was their intention to promote a failure-to-register violation.

Even from Paul Manafort’s perspective, there may be less to this indictment than meets the eye — it’s not so much a serious allegation of “conspiracy against the United States” as a dubious case of disclosure violations and money movement that would never have been brought had he not drawn attention to himself by temporarily joining the Trump campaign.

From President Trump’s perspective, the indictment is a boon from which he can claim that the special counsel has no actionable collusion case. It appears to reaffirm former FBI director James Comey’s multiple assurances that Trump is not a suspect. And, to the extent it looks like an attempt to play prosecutorial hardball with Manafort, the president can continue to portray himself as the victim of a witch hunt.

— Andrew C. McCarthy is a senior fellow at the National Review Institute and a contributing editor of National Review.


This past weekend I visited West Point Military Academy and United States Army Base. The foliage was brilliant and the setting on the Hudson River is magnificent. Security is very tight on the grounds, independent meandering is forbidden and photography limited. Nonetheless, we took a splendid bus tour with an excellent guide who detailed the history, biographies of renowned alumni, and the discipline, the intellectual and physical rigors,and the subsequent obligations of a West Point education. Two Generals- Omar Bradley and Douglas MacArthur were not only first in their respective classes but never received any disciplinary sanctions.

Read General MacArthur’s Farewell Address to West Point delivered on My 12, 1962. http://www.nationalcenter.org/MacArthurFarewell.html which ends with the following:

“In my dreams I hear again the crash of guns, the rattle of musketry, the strange, mournful mutter of the battlefield. But in the evening of my memory I come back to West Point. Always there echoes and re-echoes: Duty, Honor, Country. Today marks my final roll call with you. But I want you to know that when I cross the river, my last conscious thoughts will be of the Corps, and the Corps, and the Corps.I bid you farewell.”

While I am dazzled with gratitude for the graduates and service of West Point alumni, one should also remember those soldiers buried in local cemeteries throughout the nation, who were not officers or alumni of military academies who fought and died in all our wars. I think of wounded survivors who participate and enrich our society. I think of those who enlist. Their guiding principle is also “Duty, Honor, Country.”

Why Are We in Niger? by Shoshana Bryen

It isn’t only Niger. American troops are deployed in more than 150 countries, working with local partners to help them become better soldiers and meet their own threats. What is happening in Niger is happening in all the countries of the second tier of Africa — volatile and insecure countries of mixed Christian, Muslim and traditional indigenous religions. American soldiers are there to help governments more effectively control their own territory and borders, reducing the likelihood of transnational jihad.

Iran’s massive infusion of funds supports Sunni Hamas, al-Qaeda, ISIS, Boko Haram and others. Instability, chaos, anti-Americanism, anti-Westernism, and anti-Christianism are what Iran seeks — and they are what Sunni jihadists seek. In Iraq and Syria, ISIS did the destabilizing and Iran reaped the benefits.

At the end of White House Chief of Staff John Kelly’s moving briefing about the four American Special Forces soldiers killed in Niger earlier in October, he took questions. The first was, “Why are we in Niger?”

The question was too narrow; it isn’t only Niger. Tens of thousands of American troops are deployed in more than 150 countries, working with America’s local partners to help them become better soldiers and meet their own threats. We are on every continent except Antarctica. While we are unlikely to ever know precisely who killed the four soldiers, what is happening in Niger is happening in all the countries of the second tier of Africa — volatile and insecure countries of mixed Christian, Muslim and traditional indigenous religions. American soldiers are there to help governments more effectively control their own territory and borders, reducing the likelihood of transnational jihad.

A U.S. Army Special Forces weapons sergeant observes a Nigerien soldier in a drill during Exercise Flintlock 2017 in Diffa, Niger, March 11, 2017. (U.S. Army photo by Spc. Zayid Ballesteros)

Two broad forces are shaking the Middle East and Africa: Sunni jihadist radicalism embodied by ISIS and al-Qaeda along with smaller groups; and Shiite supremacism controlled and financed by Iran. Iran’s arms transfers to Africa are well documented, as is Iran’s support for Sunni jihad, including incubating both al-Qaeda and ISIS. Separately and together, they threaten not only countries, but also the Red Sea and the Mediterranean Sea, the two prime waterways that allow countries, including Israel and Egypt, to pursue trade with Asia and Europe.

The mullahs in Iran are not Iranian or Persian nationalists, they are Shiite supremacists. When the Ayatollah Khomeini returned to Tehran in 1979 after fourteen years of exile, he condemned all nationalism as “sherk,” which means associating other beings or things with God. He said what mattered was Islam, not Iran or any other country, according to the Iranian journalist Amir Taheri, Chairman of Gatestone Europe. Khomeini declared war on the United States, on Israel, and on the West. The declaration was real and has military as well as political implications, but it was also a way of deflecting attention from Iran’s declaration of war on Sunni Islam.

It was a bold move, because although Shiites are the majority in Iran and Iraq (though not in Syria), they represent less than 15% of Muslims world-wide. Iran’s primary targets are the Sunni governments of Saudi Arabia, which controls the holy sites in Mecca and Medina, and Egypt, the historic intellectual center of Sunni Islam.

Turkey and the U.S.: A Poisoned Alliance by Burak Bekdil

Ever since the Iraqi Kurds held a referendum (and voted “yes”) on independence on September 25, Turkey has aligned itself with Iran and the Iran-controlled government in Iraq, who view the Kurdish political movement as a major threat.

Take the most significant geostrategic regional calculation in northern Syria: What Ankara views as the biggest security threat are U.S. allies fighting the Islamic State: the Syrian Kurds.

The anti-American sentiment in Turkey (part of which has been fueled by the Islamist government in power since 2002) may push Turkey further into a Russian-led axis of regional powers, including Iran.

In theory, Turkey and the United States have been staunch allies since the predominately Muslim nation became a NATO member state in 1952. Also, in theory, the leaders of the two allies are on friendly terms. President Donald Trump gave “very high marks” to Turkey’s increasingly autocratic, Islamist President Recep Tayyip Erdogan during the Turkish leader’s recent visit to Washington when his security detail attacked peaceful protesters.

It is puzzling why Trump gave a passionately (and ideologically) pro-Hamas, pro-Muslim Brotherhood, Islamist leader “very high marks.” But in reality, the Ankara-Washington axis could not be farther from diplomatic niceties such as “allies” or “very high marks.”

This is a select (and brief) recent anatomy of what some analysts call “hostage diplomacy” between the two “staunch NATO allies.”

In June this year, Pew Research Center’s Global Attitudes Survey, covering a total of 37 countries, revealed that 79% of Turks had an unfavorable opinion of the U.S. That was the second-highest among the countries surveyed, after 82% in Jordan. Anti-American sentiment in Turkey is 27% higher than in Russia, and more than twice as high as the global median of 39%.

There are reports that six Turkish government banks face billions of dollars in fines from the U.S. over alleged violations of Iran sanctions.

Turkey is keeping in jail, among a dozen or so others, a NASA scientist who was vacationing with relatives in Turkey, and a Christian missionary who has lived in Turkey for 23 years. Others include a visiting chemistry professor from Pennsylvania and his brother, a real-estate agent. All of them face long prison sentences for allegedly playing a part in last year’s failed coup against Erdogan’s government.

There is little doubt that the U.S. citizens are being held in Turkey as a bargaining chip to pressure Washington to extradite Muslim cleric Fethullah Gülen, a former Erdogan ally and allegedly the mastermind behind the attempted putsch. Erdogan himself does not hide his intentions. If Gülen were handed over, Erdogan said, he would sort out the American pastor’s judicial case. “Give him to us and we will put yours through the judiciary; we will give him to you,” he said recently.

Early in October, as “hostage diplomacy” intensified, the “staunch allies” U.S. and Turkey stopped issuing non-immigrant visas to each others’ citizens — a restriction that has already affected thousands of travelers. The first ban came from the U.S., then Turkey retaliated. The U.S. move came after Turkey’s arrest of a U.S. consulate employee, a Turkish citizen, on charges that he had links to Gülen. The visa ban put Turkey in the same category of countries such as Chad, Iran, Libya, North Korea, Somalia, Venezuela and Yemen. Erdogan also claims that the U.S. is hiding a suspect in its Istanbul consulate who is also linked to Gülen.

Turkey: Erdogan’s Stalinist Purge by Giulio Meotti

Perhaps even more objectionable is Turkey’s persecution of novelists who do not even take part in the political debate. They are hated by Erdogan’s Islamist government simply for conveying Western ideas and fighting for freedom of speech.

Turkey’s Erdogan is following the Soviet Stalinist method of burying the books, often along with their authors. Turkey is purging culture.

After the failed coup last year, Erdogan fired “21,000 teachers” and “1,577 university deans”. It is the beheading of Turkey’s academic culture. Shamefully, Europe has kept silent about this ideological massacre.

End of August, Madrid: At the Turkish government’s request through Interpol, Spanish police arrested a famous Turkish writer, Dogan Akhanli, who was on vacation in Spain. A few days earlier, in Barcelona, Spanish authorities had arrested the Turkish writer, Hamza Yalcin, a reporter for the left-wing newspaper Odak. Meanwhile, in Turkey, another writer, Ahmet Altan was on trial. Turkish authorities prevented yet another Turkish novelist, Asli Erdogan, from flying to Europe to receive the Erich Maria Remarque Peace Prize in the German city of Osnabrück.

Recep Tayyip Erdogan’s Turkey has already made headlines for jailing dozens of journalists in a round-up that has transformed Turkey into “the world’s biggest prison for reporters”. Perhaps even more objectionable is Turkey’s persecution of novelists who do not even take part in the political debate. They are hated by Erdogan’s Islamist government simply for conveying Western ideas and fighting for freedom of speech. What is happening in Turkey is even more urgent than what is happening in Iran and Saudi Arabia, two other Islamic countries that persecute and jail writers: Turkey is, at least rhetorically, a democracy as well as the Islamic world’s purported bridge to Europe.

In August, at the Turkish government’s request through Interpol, Spanish police arrested a famous Turkish writer, Dogan Akhanli (pictured), who was on vacation in Spain. (Image source: © Raimond Spekking / CC BY-SA 4.0 via Wikimedia Commons)

Nazis used to burn books; Turkey’s Erdogan is following the Soviet Stalinist method of burying the books, often along with their authors.

In the last month alone, four great Turkish writers made headlines not for their novels, but for their arrests, trials and persecution. Erdogan’s plan, however, goes beyond these writers’ fate. Turkey is purging culture. The purge has been called an “intellectual massacre” that “has hit faculties from physics and biology to drama and politics at some of Turkey’s best universities, chilling teachers and students alike”. After a failed coup, last year, Erdogan fired “21,000 teachers” and “1,577 university deans”. It is the beheading of Turkey’s academic culture. Shamefully, Europe has kept silent about this ideological massacre.

In an unprecedented move, Erdogan is now promoting a plan to review the school textbooks, with the announced deletion of Darwin’s theory of evolution and the insertion of Islamic holy war. At the same time, Erdogan is also asking to remove from the Turkish vocabulary words with a “Western” influence. The word “arena” will therefore be removed from sports stadiums. It is a typical totalitarian maneuver to change the language to control the population. Turkish authorities this week also removed Chopin’s music from funeral marches and replaced it with an Ottoman era composition based on Koranic verses.

“In the past, Kemalists or leftists were merely suspicious of the political intentions of Western powers against Turkey”, wrote the journalist Mustafa Akyol. “In the latter-day AKP narrative, however… Western civilization, with all its values, institutions, culture and even science, became something that must be doubted, if not outright rejected.”

Fazil Say, a famous Turkish pianist, has been put on trial for “blasphemy”. In one message he retweeted a verse from a poem by Omar Khayyám in which the 11th-century Persian poet attacks pious hypocrisy:

“You say rivers of wine flow in heaven, is heaven a tavern to you? You say two huris [companions] await each believer there, is heaven a brothel to you?”

Nedim Gursel, a professor of literature at the Sorbonne in Paris, was persecuted for his novel, The Daughters of Allah. The publisher Irfan Sanci was put on trial for “obscenity” for publishing The Exploits of a Young Don Juan, an erotic novel by Guillaume Apollinaire. In today’s Turkey, everything that culturally conveys social and sexual freedom is seen as suspect.

A few months ago, Turkey decided to replace plays by foreign authors, such as Shakespeare and Bertolt Brecht, with those of Turkish authors. Turkey also censored The Soft Machine, a novel by an American, William S. Burroughs, whose books had always been translated into Turkish. Of Mice and Men, an American classic by John Steinbeck, was also threatened with censorship.

Sevan Nisanyan, an Armenian, just escaped from jail a few days ago and fled. “Turkey has turned into a veritable madhouse,” he said.

He had been sentenced to 16 years and seven months for having made ironic comments about the Prophet Muhammad.

The Russian Revolution, 100 Years On: Its Enduring Allure and Menace Violent Communist leaders of the past are still embraced on the far left, where their discredited ideas remain in circulation. By Douglas Murray —

Editor’s Note: This article and its accompanying sidebars originally appeared in the October 30, 2017, issue of National Review magazine.

If there is one line we surely will never hear uttered, even in these times, it is any variant of this statement: “I grant that the Nazis committed excesses, but that doesn’t mean there isn’t something to be said for Fascism.” While there certainly are groupuscules of neo-Nazis around, they do not get a polite reception on campuses, let alone tenure. Watered-down versions of Fascism do not emerge in the manifestos of mainstream political parties in the West. No student is ever seen sporting a T-shirt with a chic Reinhard Heydrich likeness emblazoned across the front.

If the bacillus of Fascism is never dormant, then at least we appear to have retained significant stockpiles of societal antibiotics with which to counter it. It is unlikely that Richard Spencer will address the Conservative Political Action Conference anytime soon. Unlikely that there will be celebratory centennials for Mussolini’s rise to power. And less likely still (despite the cries to the contrary of professional anti-Fascists, who need Fascists for business purposes) that anyone dreaming of a fairer Fascism will reach the White House in any coming electoral cycle.

Yet 100 years on from the Bolshevik revolution of 1917, can the same be said about the Communist dream? Only the wildest optimist could say so. For in fact wherever you turn in the world today, it seems that the virus of Communism — in every Marxist, socialist strain — remains alive and well. Conditions for its spreading range from moderate to good.

In June, Russians were asked in an opinion poll to name “the top ten outstanding people of all time and all nations.” Perhaps it is unsurprising that the joint second most commonly given name was Pushkin. Even less surprising that Russia’s national poet should have shared this position with the country’s current strongman, Vladimir Putin. What is more startling for any outsider is that the person whom the largest number of Russians declared the “most outstanding” person in world history was Joseph Stalin. It is true that the man responsible for the deaths (around 20 million, by most moderate estimates) of more people than any other in Russian history has slipped slightly. This year he was at 38 percent, down from 42 percent in a 2012 survey. Yet still he leads the polls. Were the greatest mass murderer in Russian history able to return from his grave today, he could resume power without even needing to fix the ballot.

Of course, if Adolf Hitler remained the most popular figure in modern Germany, the world would be worried. But with the Communists it was always different. An admirer of General Franco who opposed Primo de Rivera is somehow not the same as a Trotskyist who opposed Leninism (a type that remains a staple of the media and academic worlds). Perhaps the 20th century’s greatest remaining mystery is how, between the twin totalitarian nightmares, it remains acceptable to have spent a portion of your life envying, emulating, or celebrating the global cataclysm that commenced in 1917.

It is not surprising that Russians have not reckoned with their past. Five years ago, on a visit to Stalin’s birthplace in Gori, Georgia, I paid a visit to the Soviet-era museum that still stands alongside the tiny wooden hut where the dictator was born and that is still preserved, like a relic. Here you can view the train carriage in which Stalin traveled, a suitcase he used, his writing implements and furniture, and, of course, gifts from the many people who admired him. The last room you enter on this tour of the house is somber and contains his death mask. This whole tour uncritically celebrates the great leader who, from the moment he succeeded Lenin, caused a disproportionate number of deaths of people from this region of his birth.

Then, in 2012, the Georgian authorities were only at the start of what would turn out to be a failed attempt to transform their fawning, Communist-era memorial to the region’s most famous son into a museum of “Stalinism.” At that stage they had made only one half-hearted effort to put the man into anything other than a hagiographical context. After learning about his astonishing rise and rule, and before being presented with a slim volume of his early poetry (“The lark sang its tune / High up in the clouds. / And nightingale joined / In the jubilating song”), visitors were taken under the main staircase. There two rooms had recently been added, to commemorate all the people who died in the Gulag, with a desk to re-create an interrogation cell from the time of his rule. It was like visiting a museum dedicated to the career of Adolf Hitler only to learn at the last moment (after due recognition of the Führer’s skill as a watercolorist) that there had been this thing called Auschwitz. The gift shop sold Stalin wine (red), lighters, and pens. No memorial to the victims of Fascism can finish with an attempt to sell visitors a Heinrich Himmler tea towel.

Anyone hoping that such attitudes would remain confined to what was once the Soviet Union will feel deflated when they look about the rest of the world. Not only because there are still countries attempting to perfect the experiment (North Korea most ascetically, Cuba and China with increasing laxness) but because, away from the scenes of the 20th-century charnel houses, the experiment is barely remembered at all. And where it is, it is not remembered in a negative light.

A Bad Deal For the U.S. Generous plea bargain for serious human trafficker bodes poorly for national security. Michael Cutler

The threat of attacks posed by international terrorist organizations requires a multifaceted response that includes US officials working in close coordination with their foreign counterparts to develop strategies and share sources of reliable intelligence. In point of fact, as an INS agent, I frequently worked with law enforcement agencies of other countries to combat transnational crimes, narcotics trafficking and terrorism, and frequently found that our investigations could not have gone forward without the assistance of our allies.

Clearly the administration recognizes the threats to national security and public safety posed by international terrorists. However, a recent ICE (Immigration and Customs Enforcement) news release titled Foreign National Sentenced to 31 Months in Prison for Leadership Role in Human Smuggling Conspiracy left me frustrated and befuddled. The defendant in this case, a Pakistani national by the name of Sharafat Ali Khan, admitted that he smuggled dozens of illegal aliens into the United States, yet was permitted to plead guilty to a single count of alien smuggling.

There is, as you will see shortly, far more to his crimes then simply facilitating the uninspected entry of a significant number of illegal aliens into the United States.

To be fair, most criminal prosecutions are concluded by plea bargains, not by trials. If all cases were resolved by a trial, the judicial system on all levels would collapse in a matter of weeks. Plea bargains are commonplace and are supposed to make sense for all involved.

Sometimes defendants become cooperators who provide vital information against other members of the criminal conspiracies in which they participated so that those above them in the criminal “food chain” can be identified and evidence vital to the successful prosecution of these criminals can be gathered. In such instances the benefits to such plea bargains are generally fairly obvious.

Sometimes prosecutors decide that it is simply easier to offer a plea deal to dispose of a criminal prosecution with the expenditure of minimal resources. Trials are often time and resources consuming, making appropriate plea bargains cost-effective and therefore advantageous. However, there are times when a plea bargain is not a “bargain” for law enforcement nor for the public interest.

Plea bargains are compromises but our national security should never be compromised. Although I am reluctant to second-guess the prosecutors, today I am compelled to disagree with the the plea bargain that will set Khan free in just 31 months.

According to the ICE press release, a plea bargain agreement was reached between federal prosecutors and Khan in which he agreed to plead guilty to a single count of alien smuggling in exchange for a 31-month prison sentence. In reality, he smuggled dozens of illegal aliens into the United States.

Khan’s crimes endangered the lives of the aliens he smuggled, but, first and foremost, his crimes created a significant threat to U.S. national security and public safety. The illegal aliens he smuggled in were citizens of countries that are associated with terrorism, specifically, Afghanistan, Bangladesh and Pakistan. According to evidence and intelligence gathered by a group of U.S. law enforcement agencies including Homeland Security Investigations (HSI), a division of Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE); the Joint Terrorism Task Force; FBI-Miami; and the U.S. Department of State’s Diplomatic Security Service (DSS), at least one of the smuggled aliens had a direct nexus to terrorism. That individual was a citizen of Afghanistan who authorities said was involved in a plot to conduct an attack in the U.S. or Canada and had family ties to members of the Taliban.

To conduct his scheme, Kahn acquired immigrant status in Brazil, the country through which he smuggled those aliens and in which he created “safe houses” along with additional holding sites in other Latin American countries. Of extreme significance is face that the Tri-Border Region of Brazil is notorious for its terror training camps. This threat is laid out in an important paper, Islamist Terrorist Threat in the Tri-Border Region, that was published by Jeffrey Fields a research associate for the Center for Nonproliferation Studies.

Furthermore, as reported by the Washington Times, when Khan stood before the federal judge to plead guilty plea to the single count of alien smuggling, Khan demonstrated the unmitigated chutzpah to ask the judge to grant him political asylum, claiming he was a “poor person.” In asking for political asylum, a request summarily dismissed by the judge, Khan was simply following the same advice he gave to the aliens he smuggled, telling them to claim political asylum if they were caught by the Border Patrol.

Normalizing Anti-Semitism in Student Governments Purging Jewish students from the Israeli/Palestinian debate. Richard L. Cravatts

In the campus war against Israel, the all too familiar refrain from student anti-Israel activists, many of whom form the loose coalition of groups and individuals spearheading the Boycott, Divestment, and Sanctions (BDS) campaign, is that their quarrel is only with Israel and its government’s policies, not with Jews themselves. But that specious defense continues to fall away, revealing some caustic and base anti-Semitism, representing a seismic shift in the way that Jews are now being indicted not just for supporting Israel, but merely for being Jewish.

At McGill University this week, as the latest example, three board members of the University’s Students’ Society were removed from their appointments after a vote at the Fall General Assembly due to what was reported to be their perceived “Jewish conflict of interest.” The ouster was led by a pro-BDS student group, Democratize McGill, which was campaigning against pro-Israel students in the wake of a September ruling by the Judicial Board that, once and for all, rejected the BDS movement on the McGill campus, stating that it was violative of the SSMU’s constitution because it “violate[d] the rights of [Israeli] students to represent themselves” and discriminated on the basis of national origin.

In retaliation, and to eliminate pro-Israel views on the board, Democratize McGill launched an effort to clear the board of BDS opponents, based on the cynical notion that these members harbored clear conflict of interests which arose from their purported biases, those conflicts of interests and biases stemming from the poisonous notion that because the students were Jewish or pro-Israel, or both, they could, therefore, never make informed or fair decisions as student leaders.

Ignoring their own obvious biases and the lack of any balance in their own views on the Israeli/Palestinian conflict, the pro-BDS members nonetheless felt comfortable with suppressing pro-Israel voices and Jewish students on the board, asserting that they sought to remove these students because they “are all either fellows at the Canadian Jewish Political Affairs Committee (CJPAC), an organization whose explicit mandate is to promote pro-Israel discourse in Canadian politics, or primary organizers for the anti-BDS initiative at McGill.” In other words, they were being disqualified for having views that differed from those student leaders seeking to purge them from SSMU. The Jewish board member and two other non-Jewish, pro-Israel board members were subsequently voted off the board.

McGill has a previous history of seeking to suppress pro-Israel thinking by Jewish students, not in the student government but in its press. An example of that was the 2016 controversy involving The McGill Daily and its astonishing editorial admission that it was the paper’s policy to not publish “pieces which promote a Zionist worldview, or any other ideology which we consider oppressive.”

“While we recognize that, for some, Zionism represents an important freedom project,” the editors wrote in a defense of their odious policy, “we also recognize that it functions as a settler-colonial ideology that perpetuates the displacement and the oppression of the Palestinian people.”

Leading up to this revealing editorial, a McGill student, Molly Harris, had filed a complaint with the Students’ Society of McGill University’s (SSMU) equity committee. In that complaint, Harris contended that, based on the paper’s obvious anti-Israel bias, and “a set of virulently anti-Semitic tweets from a McGill Daily writer,” a “culture of anti-Semitism” defined the Daily—a belief seemingly confirmed by the fact that several of the paper’s editors themselves are BDS supporters and none of the staffers were Jewish.

An attempted purging of a pro-Israel student from student government, very similar to the inquisition that just occurred at McGill, took place in February of 2015 at UCLA, when several councilmembers on the USAC Judicial Board, UCLA student government’s highest judicial body, grilled Rachel Beyda, then a second-year economics student, when she sought a seat on the board.

Birdman and the Reality Revolution – part 1 by Linda Goudsmit 10.28.17

Objective reality exists.

The ability to distinguish between fact and fantasy is an essential survival skill. If a man believes he can fly and jumps off a twenty story ledge he falls to his death because gravity is an objective fact and force of nature. Birdman’s fantasy (subjective reality) cannot compete with the fact of gravity (objective reality).

Let’s break down the process of thinking and doing. Thinking is a private matter and human beings are free to think their thoughts at any time in any place. Birdman is free to think he can fly without consequence to himself or others. It is the moment he steps off the ledge that his subjective reality collides with objective reality.

Civil society and the laws that govern it are based on the acceptance of objective reality by its citizens. Adults and children are evaluated differently in society. The fantasies of children are an accepted part of the growth process but adults who are out of touch with reality are deemed insane. In our example Birdman would be considered insane.

The safety lessons we teach our children are rooted in the acceptance of objective reality. Do not touch a hot stove. Do not run in the street. Do not jump out of a window or off a ledge. We teach our children the difference between fantasy and reality to keep them safe.

What would happen if there was a movement that deliberately rejected the teaching of objective reality and taught subjective reality instead? What is the purpose of driving a society insane?

Remember that the ability to distinguish between fact and fantasy is a survival skill. Thought precedes behavior. Birdman thought he could fly and jumped to his death. Critical thinking is the objective analysis of facts to form a judgment and is the foundation of rational thought. Critical thinking is necessarily judgy because one must evaluate the facts (objective reality) to form a judgment.

Feelings are not facts. Feelings are the foundation of beliefs. Birdman’s feelings that he was a bird that could fly could not compete with the fact that he was a human and could not fly. Critical thinking is encouraged in an adult society. An insistence upon objective reality is what made America great, powerful, and undefeatable in WWII.

At the end of the war America’s enemies did not go quietly into the night. They reconstituted themselves to fight another day another way. How?

They simply put down their guns, picked up their books, and took aim at the children. They studied the human mind and decided to exploit the existence of the unconscious to bring America down psychologically. The goal was to move Americans out of the adult world of critical thinking (objective reality) and into the child’s world of feelings (subjective reality). They targeted education and decided to drive society insane. Regression was the goal.

Thought precedes behavior. A chronological adult who thinks like a child behaves like a child. Birdman thought like a child believing he could fly. Feelings are the metric of children, facts are the metric of adults.

Vladimir Lenin infamously said, “Give me four years to teach the children and the seed I have sown will never be uprooted.”

The progressives (regressives) have taken a page out of Lenin’s communist playbook and have indoctrinated two generations of Americans toward collectivism through public/private education and the media including television programming and movies. There are many ways to fight a war. The Leftist war against America is a sinister effort to shatter objective reality and destroy critical thinking skills. When critical thinking is destroyed and a society is reduced to childish emotional thinking it is easily exploited.

Revolutions are fought to effect seismic social change and to restructure society from one form of government to another. Historically revolution involves the forcible overthrow of a government or social order in favor of a new system. The Leftist war against America is psychological in nature and a Reality Revolution is necessary to stop them.

The Leftist offensive to drive society into subjective reality is a sinister attempt to infantilize society in preparation for socialism. What the young people of America need to understand is that the promise of socialism is not the reality of socialism. Cradle-to-grave government care exacts an exorbitant price. The government happily extracts your freedom and liberty when you accept the powerless position of childhood for the rest of your life. In socialism/communism you become permanent wards of the state.

“Don’t Tell Me About Facts. I Don’t Need No Facts.” The intellectual arrogance of suppressing campus speech. Richard L. Cravatts

Seeming to give credence to Bertrand Russell’s observation that “The whole problem with the world is that fools and fanatics are always so certain of themselves, and wiser people so full of doubts,” a student-written op-ed that ran in the September 25th issue of The Daily Princetonian argued that conservatives should not have the benefit of free speech, and do not even have the right to expect its protection because, given their ideological stance, “they are appealing to a right that does not exist” for them.

“In my belief,” student Ryan Born continued in this astounding piece of sophistry, “when conservative ideas are opposed, there is no right that is being infringed.” In fact, he seemed to be saying, the essential worthlessness of conservative ideology—as opposed to the virtue and fundamental truths embodied in progressive thought—means that instead of debating their ideological positions, conservatives should recognize the errors in their thinking and abandon their views. “Some ideas will already have been judged wanting,” Born wrote, and “Conservatives ought to question why some ideas are so stringently opposed and then adapt their arguments, instead of begging for ‘free speech.’”

Why? Because “conservatives are interested in being able to propose their ideas without any political opposition to their right to speech.”

For evidence that academia is currently awash in this type of execrable sentiment, one only has to look at the number of campuses which, just in the opening months of this semester, have experienced the actual shutting down or exclusion of conservative speech—purportedly with the intention of rejecting “hate speech,” right-wing thought, white supremacy, fascistic ideology, and a host of related extremist modes of thought the progressive left on campuses has conjured up as being an imminent threat to their emotional safety and well-being.

Now, any speech that the left wishes to suppress or avoid it categorizes as being equivalent to violence; conservative ideology is thought of as being weaponized as “hate speech” and potentially harmful to listeners. Any speech that is labeled as “hate speech” condemns that expression to lacking the protection of free speech, and because it thereby falls outside the bounds of acceptable expression, it is undeserving of being heard and justified in being suppressed. Speakers who question prevailing liberal orthodoxy are said to be committing virtual “violence” against marginalized victim groups on campus who might be exposed to these extremist ideas and be injured by them in some way, and speakers are disinvited or obstructed proactively to ensure that victims are never threatened by ideas they do not wish to hear or tolerate.

Campus progressives have shown themselves perfectly willing to shut down speech that they themselves have decided is unworthy of even being heard, and this behavior is not surprising given a 2017 national survey of 1,500 current undergraduate students at four-year colleges and universities conducted by John Villasenor of Brookings Institute. When asked if it is acceptable for students to shout down and disrupt a speech by a “very controversial speaker . . . known for making offensive and hurtful statements,” 51 percent of those polled agreed that, yes, shutting down such speech with the “heckler’s veto” is justified. Even more troubling was the response to a follow-up question which asked respondents if they believed in using violence to interfere with and shut down the controversial speaker’s appearance; astonishingly, 19 percent of students answered affirmatively that a violent response to the controversial speaker’s ideas and words was appropriate and justified.