North Korea Sentences American to Six Years of Hard Labor Posted By Bridget Johnson

A Bakersfield, Calif., man was sentenced to six years of hard labor in North Korea on Sunday in a quickie trial.

The Korean Central News Agency said Matthew Miller “committed acts hostile to the DPRK while entering the territory of the DPRK under the guise of a tourist last April.”

The 24-year-old was denied the right to make any appeal of his sentence.

Miller allegedly wanted to investigate the deplorable human rights conditions in North Korea. Pyongyang said the Californian tore up his visa after arriving in the country.

“A relevant organ of the DPRK put in custody American Miller Matthew Todd, 24, on April 10 for his rash behavior in the course of going through formalities for entry into the DPRK to tour it,” reported KCNA at the time of his arrest.

New Jersey-based Uri Tours staff last saw Miller in Beijing, where they “saw him off to Pyongyang” to meet a local tour guide.

State Department spokeswoman Marie Harf was asked Friday whether the U.S. was stepping in to try to stop Miller’s trial.

“We have requested the DPRK immediately release him and the other detained Americans so they can return home,” Harf said. “As we’ve said, we don’t always publicly outline all of the ways we are working to return our citizens home, but we are very focused on this and have called on the DPRK to release him.”

“We stand w/ Matthew Todd Miller, an American given 6 yrs hard labor. #NorthKorea should release Miller, Fowle & Bae on humanitarian grounds,” the House Foreign Affairs Committee Democrats tweeted.

The White House didn’t have comment. Miller becomes the second American serving time in North Korea.

Devout Christian Kenneth Bae, sentenced to 15 years’ hard labor last year, thought he could help suffering North Koreans in part by leading a tour company in the special economic zones that would help reveal the people’s plight.

One more American has yet to face trial.

House Amendment Would Allow Obama to Arm, Train Syrian Rebels with Terrorist Ties By Patrick Poole

According to reports, the House Armed Services Committee is currently preparing an amendment to arm and train the Syrian rebels that will be voted on this week. If passed, the bill will be attached to the continuing resolution to fund the government until December. **UPDATE** The amendment has been posted.

The most troubling element to the proposed amendment is a provision allowing the Obama administration to arm and train rebels with ties to terrorism. The “vetted moderate rebel” groups supported by the administration are known to be partnering with designated terrorist organizations, and the passage of this amendment would give congressional blessing to such arrangements.

According to The Hill:

The measure includes several provisions intended to satisfy Republicans and Democrats worried about giving the administration blanket authority to arm and train rebel groups, who would be used in the fight against the Islamic State in Iraq and Syria (ISIS).

It would require Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel to submit the administration’s plan for training the moderate opposition 15 days before the commencement of any such activities, the aide said. That requirement was put forward by the administration, the aide added.

After that, Hagel would have to submit an update to lawmakers every 90 days.

That will be the extent of oversight by Congress — notification by the Pentagon.

Gabriel Schoenfeld Reviews ‘Predator’ by Richard Whittle

Red tape at the Pentagon prevented the development of a drone that could have helped avert the attacks of Sept. 11, 2001.

Compared with, say, a B-2 Bomber, drones are simple things. An empty B-2 weighs 158,000 pounds. The largest version of the Predator—the unmanned aerial vehicle now playing a critical role in every theater where the American military is engaged—weighs just under 5,000. Yet these small aircraft are revolutionizing warfare. Given the simplicity of drones, why did it take so long to put them into operation?

An answer emerges in Richard Whittle’s fascinating “Predator: The Secret Origins of the Drone Revolution.” Mr. Whittle, a military correspondent for the Dallas Morning News and the author of a previous book about the controversial tilt-rotor V-22 Osprey, has combed every available document and talked to almost every American participant in drone research and development. The result is a soup-to-nuts—or ground-to-air—history of the world’s most potent unmanned aerial vehicle, or UAV.

As Mr. Whittle makes plain, there is nothing especially new about UAVs. Inventors have been fiddling with pilotless aircraft since World War I. By the 1970s, some 120 separate versions were listed by Jane’s, the authoritative guide to aircraft. Few of them, though, had made their way into military use. The obstacles were both technological and organizational.

First, there was the disagreeable fact that drones tended to crash, especially on takeoff and landing. Second, UAVs lacked a constituency within the Pentagon. As Mr. Whittle explains, Air Force pilots did not exactly appreciate pilotless planes. The Army, to the extent that it liked any aircraft, was keen on helicopters. The Navy, for its part, did not relish the prospect of unmanned craft loaded with munitions or fuel landing on carrier decks.

By Richard Whittle
(Henry Holt, 353 pages, $30)

Anders Fogh Rasmussen:The Dual Threats to Western Values…..

The Islamic State and Vladimir Putin’s Russia are enemies of liberty, democracy and the rule of law.

The abhorrent beheading of two American journalists and a British aid worker shocked the world. So did the tragic downing of Malaysia Airlines flight MH17 over eastern Ukraine. The deaths of these innocents show the global consequences of two major crises on Europe’s doorstep: the advance of the so-called Islamic State terrorist group across Iraq and Syria, and Russia’s aggression against Ukraine. The peace and security we enjoy in Europe and North America are under threat like never before.

These challenges will last for years, and we need to face that reality.

With Russia, the North Atlantic Treaty Organization has tried long and hard to build a partnership that respects Russia’s security concerns and is based on international rules and norms. Regrettably, Russia has rejected our efforts to engage. Russia has trampled on all the rules and commitments that have kept peace in Europe and beyond since the end of the Cold War. It is now clear that Russia regards the West as an adversary, not a partner.

The terrorist threat is now growing in Syria and Iraq. The Islamic State terrorists are fueling the fire of sectarianism already burning across the Middle East and North Africa, with the risk rising that terror will be exported back to our shores.


A rule aimed at ‘conflict minerals’ hurts economies in 10 nations—and harms U.S. public companies.

Reminiscent of the racially discriminatory practice of “redlining” neighborhoods, a little-known measure in the 2010 Dodd-Frank law, designed to stop the trafficking of “conflict minerals” from the Democratic Republic of Congo, is not achieving that goal. The measure also discriminates against the DRC’s regional neighbors and is hurting U.S. companies and consumers.

The minerals tantalite, tin, tungsten and gold reportedly are trafficked by armed groups. The Dodd-Frank measure calls on publicly traded U.S. companies who purchase these minerals from the DRC to voluntarily disclose to the Securities and Exchange Commission the specific sourcing of the four minerals. But the provision also targets Angola, Burundi, the Central African Republic, the Republic of Congo, Rwanda, Tanzania, South Sudan, Uganda and Zambia as potential sources of the minerals for no other reason than their shared border with the DRC.

In addition to being discriminatory, the Dodd-Frank measure has a highly debatable effect on the flow of conflict minerals, given that private U.S. companies and foreign firms and their subsidiaries are not covered by the provision. Indeed, the law hands those companies a distinct competitive advantage over public companies in the U.S.

The chain reaction of unintended results does not stop there.

U.S. companies subject to Dodd-Frank already are saddled with heavy compliance requirements governing complex anti-corruption and export-controls risks. Many of the companies are voting with their feet, leading to a de facto boycott of mining in 10 African countries by some of the world’s largest consumer-goods companies. African governments, eager to attract investment in their mineral sectors and integrate their primary products into global supply chains, now turn instead to Asian partners.

Merkel Confronts Anti-Semitism :The Chancellor Affirms Germany’s Best Liberal Traditions See note please


Angela Merkel spoke out Sunday against the spread of anti-Semitism in Germany. After a summer when protesters at rallies against Israel were heard chanting “Jews to the gas,” the Chancellor’s speech was a welcome affirmation of the country’s best liberal traditions.

German Chancellor Angela Merkel delivers her speech at a rally against anti-Semitism near the Brandenburg Gate in Berlin on September 14. Associated Press

“I do not accept any kind of anti-Semitic message or attacks at all, not least the ones that were recently seen at the pro-Palestinian demonstrations, disguised as alleged criticism of the policy of the state of Israel,” she said. Something is badly amiss in Germany, she noted, when she hears “that young Jewish parents are asking if it’s safe to raise their children here or the elderly ask if it was right to stay here.”

German authorities recorded 184 anti-Semitic incidents in June and July this year, up from 159 for the entire second quarter. These ranged from Molotov cocktails thrown at synagogues to swastikas scrawled on Jewish gravestones. Responsibility for most of these assaults lies either with the country’s small band of neo-Nazis or pockets of Germany’s large Muslim community. But also culpable is the Israel hatred from elite quarters, which lends specious respectability to disreputable ideas with dangerous consequences.

Meantime, Germany has delivered a fourth state-of-the-art submarine to the Israeli navy, the INS Tanin, which is capable of launching nuclear-tipped cruise missiles. In speaking so forcefully and helping Israel defend itself, Mrs. Merkel has helped to fulfill Germany’s historical obligations while exposing the face of modern anti-Semitism.

The Muslim Brotherhood’s Inter-Faith Charade By Mark Tapson

Dr. Mark Christian is the President and Executive Director of the Global Faith Institute (GFI), a Christian organization based in Omaha, Nebraska dedicated to “the proclamation and pursuit of truth as it relates Middle Eastern history and current happenings.” Dr. Christian, an Egyptian-born Christian convert from Islam related to high-ranking leaders of the Muslim Brotherhood, is now engaged in a battle to root out the Brotherhood influence in what is called the Tri-Faith Initiative, a building project in Omaha.

The Tri-Faith Initiative was begun to build a center comprised of Temple Israel, a new Episcopal church, and a mosque the American Institute of Islamic Studies and Culture in West Omaha, forming “a multi-faith neighborhood of collaboration.” Their “vision is to build bridges of Respect, Trust and Acceptance, to challenge stereotypes of each other, to learn from one another, and to counter the influence of extremists and agents of hate.” But as a GFI statement reads, “the mosque – and those behind it – have distinct ties to groups previously named as ‘unindicted co-conspirators’ in the trial of the Holy Land Foundation, the largest terrorist funding investigation in our nation’s history.”

Dr. Christian recently appeared on the Glazov Gang show with FrontPage’s own Dr. Jamie Glazov to discuss his religious conversion and the Initiative. He also co-wrote an article for FrontPage Magazine on how the Initiative mirrors the conditions for dhimmitude which originated in Islam’s earliest days. Dr. Christian also appeared onstage with Jamie Glazov at an event hosted by GFI in Omaha on August 7, when both men confronted Dr. Naser Z. Alsharif, Director of the Middle East Cultural and Educational Services, over the Muslim Brotherhood’s subversive connection to the Tri-Faith Initiative. [The video of Jamie Glazov’s fiery attack on Alsharif can be seen here]

Dr. Christian was kind enough to make himself available to answer a few questions.

Mark Tapson: Can you talk briefly about your own background as a former Muslim, why you converted to Christianity, and what it was like for you as a Christian convert in Egypt?

Mark Christian: Growing up I was a very devout Muslim. I was indoctrinated into the Islamic theology and teachings at a surprisingly young age. I was very active in memorizing and learning the Quran, serving at mosques and acting as an imam.


On Monday, the Israeli Counterterrorism Bureau issued strong travel warnings for ‎Israelis and Jews planning trips abroad, particularly to Western Europe, over the ‎upcoming holidays. Such advisories for Israelis are not new. Whenever there is a flare-up ‎of some kind involving terrorism against Jews, the government tells the public to be ‎especially cautious. But this week’s admonitions point to a specific, clear and present ‎danger.

Several factors are coming into play to make Israeli authorities sound the alert. The ‎recently paused war in Gaza is one. In spite of its defensive nature, Operation Protective ‎Edge was (and still is) portrayed by the international media as an act of Israeli aggression. ‎Demonstrations were held at Israeli embassies and consulates across the world, while ‎openly anti-Semitic incidents have been on a steady rise.

Meanwhile, the virulently anti-Israel Professor William Schabas was appointed by the U.N. ‎Human Rights Council to head the “inquiry” into “the widespread, systematic and gross ‎violations of international human rights and fundamental freedoms arising from the Israeli ‎military operations in the occupied Palestinian territory.”

The “Schabas Inquiry” — which Canadian MP Professor Irwin Cotler attacked last week in an ‎op-ed in The Jerusalem Post, for “not only presuppose[ing] Israeli criminality … but ‎mak[ing] no reference at all to Hamas’ spectrum of war crimes and crimes against ‎humanity” — is no small matter in this context, as it provides anti-Israel protesters all over ‎the world with a hefty stamp of approval.

It is therefore not surprising that Israel Prize laureate, actress Lea Koenig, in Holland ‎this week for the “Spot on Israeli Theater” festival, was verbally assaulted by Dutch ‎activists storming the premises and shouting anti-Israel epithets and pro-Gaza slogans. ‎Though the hecklers were removed and Koenig’s hosts profusely apologized, the ‎incident is indicative of the overall menacing atmosphere pervading Europe.‎

Another factor that has Israeli officials jumpy is the explosion on the scene of Islamic ‎State terrorists in Iraq and Syria. Due to their preferred method of annihilating “infidels” — televised decapitation — they have upstaged the rest of the Islamist barbarians in the ‎region, including Hamas. (It is thus that Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu made a ‎point of declaring that “ISIS is Hamas and Hamas is ISIS.” He needed to explain to all ‎those Israel-bashers in the West, horrified by the beheadings of American journalists ‎James Foley and Steven Sotloff and British aid worker David Haines, that this is the kind ‎of threat Israel faces from Gaza and elsewhere along and within its borders.)‎


This administration turns to Abbott and Costello for guidance.

It’s only been five days since President Obama announced his strategy which depends on a coalition of NATO members and Arab states to join with us to degrade and maybe someday destroy the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria. But, as I predicted on Thursday, that plan won’t succeed. It has already fallen apart.

The Arab nations are, as usual, singing “Onward Christian Soldiers” in the war against ISIS. Their resentment and distrust of Obama ensured that the most they’d do is permit us to use bases in their nations. Predictably, they won’t send one soldier to fight with us. Britain, Germany, and Canada have already told us that they’ll sit this one out. Turkey, once a cornerstone of NATO and now ruled by a radical Islamist, has not only refused to join us but has also indicated it will refuse us the use of what used to be our massive airbase at Incirlik.

Although one reported cease-fire between a “moderate” Syrian rebel group and ISIS seems to have been short-lived, Obama’s plan to arm the Syrian “moderates” is probably moot.

There seems to be a competition for the title of Obama’s shakiest ally. It’s not Congress, as one Washington Post columnist wrote on Saturday. The winners are the members of his own administration who should, by now, be famous for their imitation of Abbott and Costello’s immortal “Who’s on first?” routine.

So who’s on first? After Obama’s Wednesday night speech announced a war, first at bat to pull back from it was Secretary of State John Kerry. On Thursday, Kerry said, “I think war is the wrong terminology and analogy but the fact is that we are engaged in a very significant global effort to curb terrorist activity.”

What was on second? The White House and the Pentagon performances, stumbling over each other, to refute what Kerry said. White House press secretary Josh Earnest said (joshing earnestly?) we are at war with ISIS the same way that we’re at war with al-Qaeda. Pentagon spokesman RAdm. John Kirby made sure to point out that this isn’t the same Iraq war of a decade ago, but it’s a war nonetheless. Heaven forbid that someone might think this is connected in any way to the old nasty Bush war in Iraq.


In his view, the current debacle has nothing to do with his own errors and omissions.

How can we account for the apparent flip-flopping of the Obama administration about what we are doing, or might do further, to the Islamic State?

At times the secretary of defense seems at odds with the secretary of state. The administration seems not to be reacting to its own intelligence information about the Islamic State. Nor is it heeding the professional advice of the Joint Chiefs or top-ranking military officers in the field. Instead, in the run-up to the midterm elections, Obama appears to be guided largely by a stubborn adherence to his own past political truisms, and that explains the current inability to articulate a strategy or craft a coalition.

In anti-empirical fashion, the following axioms must be true — and thus the facts on the ground in Syria and Iraq must be massaged to reflect these beliefs.

1. The growth of the Islamic State has little if anything to do with the total withdrawal of all U.S. forces from Iraq in 2011. Our departure did not prompt the Maliki government to backslide into religious oppression, free the skies for foreign powers, and open the countryside to resurgent Islamists.

2. The success of the Islamic State has nothing to do with the past failure to aid anti–Bashar Assad groups in Syria that once upon a time may have also opposed the Islamic State.

3. The current ascendancy of the Islamic State has nothing to do with a sense that the credibility of the United States in the region is diminished, or that enemies in the Middle East are emboldened by past non-enforcement of loudly announced red lines, step-over lines, or deadlines. Nor does it have to do with the situation on the ground after the bombing of Libya, or with the promise to vacate Afghanistan, or with the shunning of our old allies in the Gulf and Egypt.

4. The administration’s current Middle East plan of reaching out to the Islamic world — from the euphemisms about terrorism to the proclamations of underappreciated Islamic achievement to outreach to Hamas, the Muslim Brotherhood, and the Iranians — has largely worked and therefore should be continued. Hence, the statement that the Islamic State has nothing to do with Islam.