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January 2018

Welcome to America, Terrorists! Right This Way for Student Visas! by Majid Rafizadeh

“Foreign students have one of the highest rates of overstaying visas of any category — much higher even than tourist visas. It’s one of the favorite visas for terrorists to try to obtain, because it offers a longer duration of stay.” — Jessica M. Vaughan, the director of policy studies for the Center for Immigration Studies.

According to the Department of Homeland Security, there were approximately 739,000 immigrants who overstayed their visas last year alone. Roughly 80,000 of those were foreign students.

Worse, jihadists do not even need to obtain a university admission to set foot in the US. They can get a student visa by obtaining an admission from a school to learn English. Many of these Islamists can alter their area of study once they set foot in the US. An agent of the Iranian regime, for instance, may get a visa to study English in the US, but once he arrives, he can switch that major to study nuclear physics, to help his regime obtain nuclear weapons.

Recently, in the middle of a speech at a conference in Europe about the threats of radical jihadist groups, a young imam stood up and vehemently voiced his objection to my remarks. At the end of the conference, the imam and several of his followers came forward. The imam insisted that Americans should be educated about Sharia law.

One of the imam’s followers spoke up, his voice filled with excitement as he described how they had just entered Europe and their next destination was the US. When asked what their experience was like traveling to Europe, the man responded with a tone of gloating in his voice.

“It was very easy,” he said. “We came here on a student visa, and we will be in the US on another student visa!”

What the man claimed was tragically true. Many Islamists have become adept at manipulating the flaws in the immigration system and have found ways of taking advantage of any legal loopholes.

The breach should concern everyone: any prospective jihadists can easily abuse the immigration system by coming to the US on a student visa. All he needs to do is apply to some US universities, receive a letter of admission, then take it to the closest US embassy as a credible document for obtaining an F-1 student visa.

Europe: Making Totalitarianism Great Again by Judith Bergman

The European Union has programs in place that seek heavily to influence mainstream news outlets and journalists with its own agendas — such as that of continued mass-migration into Europe from Africa and the Middle East. For this purpose, the European Commission recently funded the publication of a handbook with guidelines for journalists on how to write about migrants and migration.

It is seemingly in the interest of these media representatives to label competition from alternative or new media, “fake news”.

A proposed French law would allow authorities to block websites during election seasons, a draconian measure to combat political opponents, which would place France in the same category as countries such as China and Iran that block websites that do not suit the agendas of the regime.

The European Union is intensifying its efforts to censor and marginalize voices that disagree with its policies, under the convenient euphemism of combating “fake news”.

“The Commission needs to look into the challenges the online platforms create for our democracies as regards the spreading of fake information and initiate a reflection on what would be needed at EU level to protect our citizens,” wrote Jean-Claude Juncker, President of the European Commission, in May 2017. How considerate that Juncker, in totalitarian fashion, wishes to protect EU citizens from news that does not fit the Commission’s narratives and agendas.

In October 2017, the European Commission announced its “fake news” policies and how it intends to “design solutions to address the spread of fake news”. According to the Commission, “Fake news consists of intentional disinformation spread via online social platforms, broadcast news media or traditional print”. Furthermore, according to the Commission, the EU’s fake news policy is guided by, among other things, “the freedom of expression, media pluralism, and the right of citizens to diverse and reliable information”.

Memo Time Shock waves in the FBI’s – and Democrats’ – corridor. Matthew Vadum

Divided on partisan lines, the House Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence voted yesterday to make public a memo asserting the FBI relied on the discredited Trump-Russia dossier to obtain court-ordered foreign-intelligence wiretaps against U.S. citizens, a breathtaking abuse of power.

The document is already generating shock waves in Washington, even though few on Capitol Hill are said to have read it.

The FBI admits the Left’s electoral collusion conspiracy theory is unsubstantiated but still refuses to distance itself from the discredited Russia propaganda dossier Democrats paid Fusion GPS to create to undermine President Trump’s candidacy. And congressional Democrats, long sympathetic to Russia, have suddenly been transformed into strong defenders of the nation’s national security apparatus, implying that criticism of the long-troubled FBI is somehow treasonous or unpatriotic. It is a vicious smear calculated to redirect Americans’ attention, but par for the course for the Left.

Why anyone is even surprised at FBI corruption is unclear. Although the nation’s premier investigative agency is top-heavy with fine, ethical men and women, the FBI was born in corruption. Its founding director, J. Edgar Hoover, kept blackmail material on the powerful so he could stay in power for 50 years. The FBI needs a good housecleaning at the top.

It was a month ago that FBI Deputy Director Andrew McCabe reportedly refused to criticize the dossier at a closed-door hearing of the House Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence chaired by Rep. Devin Nunes (R-Calif.).

The Horrific Plight of Congolese Christians Another atrocity in the making that the world is turning its back to. Eliot Bakker see note please

Why is this ongoing post colonial tragedy in Africa ignored by legislators? A documentary was made in 2013 “Congo-The Road to Ruin” read about it: http://www.nytimes.com/2013/07/23/opinion/congo-the-road-to-ruin.html
During the final mass of his Latin American tour this past week, Pope Francis highlighted one of the most devastating crises currently affecting Christians: the ongoing atrocities being committed by Joseph Kabila’s unconstitutional government in the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC). In an emotional appeal in Lima, the leader of the Catholic Church demanded that Congolese authorities do everything possible to stop the constant escalation of violence against peaceful protesters.

Over the 12+ months that President Kabila has refused to step down since his term officially ended, Pope Francis and the Catholic Church have been among the strongest voices calling for Kabila to allow free and fair elections to choose his successor. When Kabila visited the Vatican in September 2016, as concerns intensified that he would delay the elections then scheduled for December of that year, Francis pointedly received him in his library, rather than the reception room in which he usually greets heads of state. The pope used their conversation to urge Kabila to ensure a peaceful transition of power.

Yet in more than a year since that meeting, a transition of power has yet to take place. Instead, Kabila has taken progressively more extreme measures to cling to power, from attempts to change the constitution to increasingly violent crackdowns on protests. In late 2016, the influential and widely respected Catholic Church of Congo brokered an agreement to allow Kabila to remain president until the end of 2017, provided that he refrain from amending the Constitution or staying in office beyond December 31, 2017. The passage of that date marked not only Kabila’s failure to stick to his side of the bargain, but one of the Congolese authorities’ most egregious violations of human rights yet.

A Brief History of the Fake News Media By David Solway

For far too long, I was convinced that the media were, on the whole, reliable purveyors of the news. For nearly three years I freelanced happily at the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation in Music and Public Affairs, never suspecting that the Mothercorp was a hive of Liberal propaganda and an artesian fount of scandalously disingenuous broadcasting. It took 9/11 and the generally extenuating media reports over time, faulting the U.S. and exempting Islam, to shake up my thinking and turn me into a sceptical fact-finder.

The media are especially adept at creating villains out of whole cloth for public consumption to advance a particular and often dubious purpose. How else explain the transformation of significant political figures into synonyms for perfidy and opprobrium. I’m thinking in particular of Joe McCarthy, Barry Goldwater and Enoch Powell, all of whom considered themselves patriots and enunciated unpopular or anti-establishment truths, costing them their reputations both in their lifetimes and for posterity.

As Diana West writes of McCarthy, “after more than 60 years of ‘McCarthyism’—the perpetual slander of Joseph McCarthy as a ‘witch-hunter,’ as opposed to an honest accounting of this fearless investigator of deep and widespread infiltration of the US government by Stalin’s secret agents…Americans have been conditioned to…hate, loathe and revile McCarthy…The slander of ‘McCarthyism,’…has had the dire effect of bludgeoning our abilities to detect or even acknowledge the existence of any constitutional enemies, especially ‘domestic.’ ”

Favorable commentators will admit that McCarthy may have been guilty of exaggerations and errors, but as the Venona transcripts have verified, he was right overall. He may have manifested as vindictive, yet he was remorseless in his campaign to isolate Communist sympathizers in government circles who worked to subvert the country. This, of course, made him anathema to a treasonous press and a political establishment that had much to hide, whether their complicity or their negligence.

Barry Goldwater has fared no better. When asked in a July 9, 1964 interview in Der Spiegel about his advocating the use of nuclear weapons to defoliate the jungles in Vietnam, Goldwater replied “About a month‐and‐a­ half ago on a television show I was asked a technical ques­tion, how could you get at the trails through the rain forests of North Vietnam. Well, I served in the rain forests of Burma and I know that the only practical way to get at them is defoliation so an answer to a technical question like this—one pos­sible way of doing it even though I made clear this would never be done, would be the use of low‐yield nu­clear devices” (emphasis mine). As the Daily Mail History section pointed out, “Democrats painted Goldwater as a warmonger who was overly eager to use nuclear weapons in Vietnam.” And, of course, with few exceptions like the Daily Mail, the MSM was all over it, painting Goldwater as a nuclear warhawk, a kind of Dr. Strangelove. (The film appeared on January 29, 1964, 10 months before the Johnson-Goldwater election. The writing was already on the wall.)

No Breaks for Israel By Shoshana Bryen

Israel’s red lines in Syria’s civil war have included returning fire against any entity that fires into Israel (whether Syrian, rebel, Hizb’allah, or Iranian); not permitting Iran or Hizb’allah or any of their Shiite proxies in Syria to establish permanent bases within a specific distance of the Israeli Golan border; and not permitting weapons beyond a certain level of lethality and sophistication to move from Syria to Hizb’allah. To enforce those lines, the Israeli Air Defense Force is suspected of carrying out attacks on a “scientific research center,” artillery positions, a “munitions factory,” and more. The Israeli government rarely confirms such strikes, but acknowledges that the Russians are informed of Israeli activity when necessary in an agreed-upon effort to limit the damage and not engage Russian forces themselves.

This has morphed into one of the most quietly effective relationships in the Middle East. Not an alliance, certainly, but the pragmatic leaders of both countries have concluded that each benefits by coordinating with the other.

Israeli prime minister Benjamin Netanyahu had a full agenda this week, as he went to Moscow for a five-hour meeting with Russian president Vladimir Putin after their meeting in Davos. High on the list was Israel’s growing concern about the expansion of Hizb’allah missiles and missile production facilities in Lebanon – facilitated by Iran. “It’s no longer a transfer of arms, funds or consultation. Iran has de-facto opened a new branch, the ‘Lebanon branch.’ Iran is here,” wrote IDF Spokesman Brig. Gen. Ronen Manelis. “In Lebanon, Hezbollah does not conceal its attempt to take control of the state.”

But on this and other issues, Russia, Syria’s longtime ally, is looking to reduce its exposure. As the shape of the Syrian war changes, Israel may find its working relations with Russia undermined by Moscow’s desire to exercise influence in Syria generally from afar, and by its shifting relations with Iran.

Since the start of the civil war in 2011, Moscow has enhanced its political position in Damascus and across the region. It has also strengthened its security position by upgrading its naval bases at Tartus and Latakia, while acquiring an airbase at Hmeimim. Russia is leery of committing troops to the war (Afghanistan looms large here), and there are, in fact, very few Russian soldiers on the ground. Now, as fighting on some fronts wanes, the Russians want to pull even those back. Visiting Syria last month, Putin said he would withdraw most of the troops while maintaining the bases. According to Israel’s Ha’aretz newspaper, Putin told assembled Russian troops, “Friends, “the homeland awaits you.”

The House Memo, the FBI and FISA Progressives suddenly don’t care about wiretap applications.

The House Intelligence Committee voted Monday night to release a Republican memo that by most accounts reveals how the FBI handled, or mishandled, federal wiretap requests during the 2016 presidential campaign. The White House should now approve its public disclosure as the first of several to help the country understand what really happened.

Democrats are objecting to the release, claiming partisanship and violations of national security. None of this is persuasive. Republican Intelligence Chairman Devin Nunes has followed a long and deliberative process that follows House protocol.

When the FBI finally agreed after months of resisting to answer a committee subpoena for documents, Mr. Nunes deputized former prosecutor and South Carolina Rep. Trey Gowdy to investigate. The subsequent memo was vetted for security concerns, provided to the entire House committee, then made available to the entire House, then shown to the director of the FBI, and is now undergoing White House review. This is hardly a Chelsea Manning-to-WikiLeaks-to-New York Times leak.

Another false claim is that Republicans are “censoring” a rival Democratic memo. The same Democrats howling about national security wanted the committee on Monday instantly to approve the public disclosure of their counter-memo that hasn’t gone through the equivalent reviews that the majority memo has. Committee Republicans voted to start that process by making the Democratic memo available to the full House, and by all means let’s see that memo too.

Trump’s Offer to Democrats His agenda has plenty of room for bipartisan compromise.

Donald Trump is a recent Republican convert and he’s hardly a traditional conservative, so we’ve expected that sooner or later he’d turn to deal-making with Democrats. The question is whether his call to deal in Tuesday’s State of the Union address will produce some bipartisan progress this year in a polarized Congress.

“So tonight I am extending an open hand to work with members of both parties, Democrats and Republicans, to protect our citizens, of every background, color, and creed,” Mr. Trump declared in one of several pitches for cooperation across the aisle.

This is a rhetorical turn, and could be productive. Presidents usually do this in the first year, starting in the Inaugural, but Mr. Trump cast that speech as a dirge about “American carnage.” He followed with his ill-prepared travel ban, and he was off to the polarizing races of the Steve Bannon phase of his Presidency.

That start made it easier for Democrats to oppose him at every turn, and Mr. Trump was forced to pass his legislative agenda with Republican votes. His approval rating is low, especially considering the strong economy, and many Democrats can’t wait to impeach him after what they expect will be a takeover of the House and Senate in November.

In that context Mr. Trump’s Tuesday speech played against type by seeking what he called “common ground.” The Twitter attack specialist called for Congress to strike bipartisan deals even on an issue such as immigration that is as polarizing as American politics gets.