The Guardian, Britain’s left-wing newspaper, has decided to ban or limit comments on articles that deal with immigration, race or Islam. The paper’s explanation is interesting:
Certain subjects – race, immigration and Islam in particular – attract an unacceptable level of toxic commentary, believes Mary Hamilton, our executive editor, audience.
By “race, immigration and Islam,” she means Islamic immigration. This is of course a controversial subject. What does she mean by “toxic”?
“The overwhelming majority of these comments tend towards racism,…
What does it mean to tend toward racism? I suspect that in the Guardian’s view, any expression of skepticism about the wisdom of mass immigration from Islamic countries “tend[s] toward racism.”
…abuse of vulnerable subjects,…
By “vulnerable subjects,” the Guardian editor does not mean the thousands of women who have been sexually assaulted by Islamic migrants.
Does “author abuse” mean something more than disagreeing with the (left-wing) author? One would have to judge that comment by comment.
…and trolling, and the resulting conversations below the line bring very little value but cause consternation and concern among both our readers and our journalists,” she said last week.
In my opinion, a large majority of comments on newspaper sites “bring very little value.” Is this especially true of articles on Islamic immigration? I don’t think so. It is interesting that “caus[ing] consternation” among “our journalists” is now a ground for restricting comments.
As a result, it had been decided that comments would not be opened on pieces on those three topics unless the moderators knew they had the capacity to support the conversation and that they believed a positive debate was possible.
I am not sure when European leftists think that a positive debate on immigration is possible, given that they reflexively label anyone who expresses concerns about mass immigration “far right.” Can the Guardian have a “positive debate on immigration” with the “far right”? I doubt it. Hence, no comments.
This was not a retreat from commenting as a whole, she said; it was an acknowledgement, however, that some conversations had become toxic at an international level – “a change in mainstream public opinion and language that we do not wish to see reflected or supported on the site”.
This is a fascinating sentence. It acknowledges that there has been a change in “mainstream public opinion,” which, as a result of experience, has turned against mass immigration all across Europe. So what the Guardian has always sneered at as “far right” is now the majority view. Will that cause the Guardian to rethink its open borders position? Of course not! The paper “do[es] not wish to see” the majority’s opinion “reflected or supported on the site.”
Voila! If you see an opinion you disagree with–strongly, on an issue you care about–block it. That is the liberal way.
President Obama seems to believe in nothing more than he does the defense of Islam. He specializes in pronouncements on what is truly Islamic and what is not. Such pronouncements are always intended to preserve the good name of Islam. Al Qaeda, of course, not Islamic. The Islamic State, not Islamic.
San Bernardino murderers Syed Farook and Tashfeen Malik, not Islamic.
The Islamic Republic of Iran, well, they must be Islamic, but I don’t think anyone has bothered to ask him. Obama seeks to ally the United States with the Iranian regime, as he sought to ally the United States with the Muslim Brotherhood. The Muslim Brotherhood, they’re Islamic. Obama invited members of the Brotherhood’s parliamentary membership to attend his 2009 Cairo speech. Indeed, he gave them front row seats. They must be good Muslims by his lights.
What about Hamas, the Muslim Brotherhood offshoot? Again, I don’t think anyone has asked him.
It’s a curious phenomenon. One is left to draw one’s own conclusions.
Today Obama makes his first visit to an American mosque. He plans to appear and speak at the mosque of the Islamic Center of Baltimore. It’s Islamic, but it raises the usual concerns of sane Americans such as Dr. Zuhdi Jasser of the Islamic Forum for Democracy, reported by FOX News on Sunday: “As a Muslim American I’m just insulted, this is disgraceful that this is one of the mosques — or the mosque — that he’s chosen to visit.”
President Obama is conferring legitimacy on a Baltimore mosque the FBI just a few years ago was monitoring as a breeding ground for terrorists, after arresting a member for plotting to blow up a federal building.
IBD has learned that the FBI had been conducting surveillance at the Islamic Society of Baltimore since at least 2010 when it collared one of its members for plotting to bomb an Army recruiting center not far from the mosque in Catonsville, Md.
Agents secretly recorded a number of conversations with a 25-year-old Muslim convert — Antonio Martinez, aka Muhammad Hussain — and other Muslims who worshipped there. According to the criminal complaint, Martinez said he knew “brothers” who could supply him weapons and propane tanks.
“He indicated that if the military continued to kill their Muslim brothers and sisters, they would need to expand their operation by killing U.S. Army personnel where they live,” FBI special agent Keith Bender wrote. Martinez said that in studying the Quran he learned that Islam counsels Muslims to “fight those who fight against you.”
Sentenced to 25 years in prison in 2012, Martinez also stated in a social media posting that he wanted to join the ranks of the “mujahideen” in “Pakistan or Afghanistan (a country that struggle[sic] for the sake of allah).” Most of ISB’s board members are from Pakistan.
To help disrupt the plot, the FBI reportedly put an undercover agent in the mosque, which upset the leadership there. After protests, the FBI sent an official to ISB to take questions and mollify concerns the bureau was spying on Muslims.
Members of the mosque complained that the FBI tried to “entrap” Martinez and other Muslim terrorism suspects by sending “spies with Muslim names” into the mosque.
“If I was the president of the mosque, I would not let you come here without strip(-searching) you,” one member angrily told the FBI official, “because you might drop something (like a bug) to hear what’s going on here.” “The Muslim Link” newspaper described the questioner as Pakistani.
This is the mosque that will be honored with a visit from Obama on Wednesday, the first U.S. mosque visit of his presidency.
It’s now abundantly clear the White House failed to properly vet the venue. Reportedly, it let the Council on American-Islamic Relations choose the site, even though the FBI has banned CAIR from outreach because of known ties to the Hamas terrorist group.
“For a number of years we’ve been encouraging the president to go to an American mosque,” CAIR spokesman Ibrahim Hooper said. “With the tremendous rise in anti-Muslim sentiment in our country, we believe that it will send a message of inclusion and mutual respect.”
As we reported Tuesday, ISB is affiliated with the Islamic Society of North America — which federal prosecutors in 2007 named a radical Muslim Brotherhood and Hamas front and an unindicted terrorist co-conspirator in a scheme to funnel more than $12 million to Hamas suicide bombers — and ISB has helped organize the terror-tied ISNA’s conferences.
The Shariah-compliant mosque was led for 15 years by a radical cleric — Imam Mohamad Adam el-Sheikh — who once represented a federally designated al-Qaida front group. El-Sheikh also has argued for the legitimacy of suicide bombings, according to the Washington Post.
We also first reported that ISB board member and vice president Muhammad Jameel has blamed American foreign policy — namely, U.S. support for Israel — for terrorism and the rise of Osama bin Laden.
IBD has more, and then sums up: “So let’s recap. The mosque that is hosting the commander in chief, while receiving his historic benediction graduated a terrorist who plotted to blow up a local Army recruiting station, hired an imam who condoned suicide bombings and blames American ‘foreign policy’ for terrorism.”
As I say, one is left to draw one’s own conclusion. IBD draws this one, which errs on the side of generosity and caution: “Obama has to be willfully blind not to see all these ties to terror.”
Yesterday President Obama visited the mosque of the Islamic Society of Baltimore to give a speech defending Islam and Muslims against their unnamed opponents. The White House has posted the text of Obama’s speech. I have embedded the video below (actual time, about 45 minutes, feels like about 4 hours). Obama acknowledged the presence of Minnesota’s own Rep. Keith Ellison, formerly of the Nation of Islam, and of Indiana Rep. Andre Carson, Congress’s second Muslim convert.
In year 15 of America’s defense against terrorists inspired by Islam, Obama reiterated the full “religion of peace” shtick to which we have grown accustomed. Most of the speech partook of this mythical quality. Thus the supposed Muslim contributions to American history and to the United States, and thus the ritual reference to Thomas Jefferson’s Koran, which derived from our war with the barbarous pirates of Barbary. See, for example, Christopher Hitchens’s “Jefferson versus the Muslim pirates.”
Obama didn’t mention the Barbary pirates, of course. He therefore didn’t need to explain how they misunderstood Islam.
Obama decried the “inexcusable political rhetoric against Muslim Americans.” I won’t hazard a guess on what Obama had in mind here, but I’m pretty sure he wants us all to shut up. If we would prefer not to celebrate Islam, Obama invites us to keep quiet or be stigmatized as bigots.
The mosque at which Obama appeared is itself illustrative of the problem of Islam in the United States. The editors of Investor’s Business Daily explored the mosque’s background in this reported editorial.
I believe the mosque is part of the network of mosques affiliated with the Islamic Society of North America. ISNA is the Muslim Brotherhood’s umbrella organization in the United States. Obama’s appearance at the mosque was apparently cleared by the Council on American-Islamic Relations. Both ISNA and CAIR were identified as unindicted co-conspirators of the Holy Land Foundation by the Department of Justice in the successful prosecution of the HLF for supporting Hamas. Funny, Obama didn’t mention any of that either.
When Obama gets around to “acknowledging” the connection of Islam to religiously inspired terrorism, he uses the acknowledgement to invite us to shut up:
Now, we do have another fact that we have to acknowledge. Even as the overwhelming majority — and I repeat, the overwhelming majority — of the world’s Muslims embrace Islam as a source of peace, it is undeniable that a small fraction of Muslims propagate a perverted interpretation of Islam. This is the truth.
Groups like al Qaeda and ISIL, they’re not the first extremists in history to misuse God’s name. We’ve seen it before, across faiths. But right now, there is a organized extremist element that draws selectively from Islamic texts, twists them in an attempt to justify their killing and their terror. They combine it with false claims that America and the West are at war with Islam. And this warped thinking that has found adherents around the world — including, as we saw, tragically, in Boston and Chattanooga and San Bernardino — is real. It’s there. And it creates tensions and pressure that disproportionately burden the overwhelming majority of law-abiding Muslim citizens.
* * * * *
We shouldn’t play into terrorist propaganda. And we can’t suggest that Islam itself is at the root of the problem. That betrays our values. It alienates Muslim Americans. It’s hurtful to those kids who are trying to go to school and are members of the Boy Scouts, and are thinking about joining our military.
That kind of mindset helps our enemies. It helps our enemies recruit. It makes us all less safe. So let’s be clear about that.
Many more points can and should be made about the this speech. I could go on, but my patience is limited. Obama should never have risen to high office in the government of the United States. He should have enlisted to represent the Organization of the Islamic Conference in its long-standing efforts to stigmatize concerns about Islam as “Islamophobia.” Unlike the cause of the United States, this is one cause that Obama believes in to the core of his being.
Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton speaks to the crowd during the King Day at the Dome rally at the S.C. State House January 18, 2016 in Columbia, South Carolina. (Photo: Sean Rayford/Getty Images)
For months you’ve read about EmailGate in this column. I’ve elaborated how Hillary Clinton, the apparent Democratic frontrunner for President this year, put large amounts of classified information at grave risk through slipshod security practices by herself and her staff. Now that scandal has taken a significant turn for the more ominous.
Last Friday afternoon the State Department’s latest court-mandated release of Hillary Clinton’s emails from when she was Secretary of State caused a new political firestorm. While many more emails were released by Foggy Bottom, some with redactions due to classified materials they contained, twenty-two emails totaling thirty-seven pages of text were withheld entirely at the request of the Intelligence Community. Those twenty-two emails, deemed “unclassified” by Ms. Clinton and her staff, were judged to be Top Secret in reality.
Since Top Secret is the U.S. Government’s highest official classification level, this revelation exploded months of denials from the Clinton presidential campaign that Hillary had done no wrong. The Federal government defines Top Secret materials as “information, the unauthorized disclosure of which reasonably could be expected to cause exceptionally grave damage to the national security.” The disclosure of Top Secret information is a serious criminal matter that normal Americans face prosecution and substantial jail time for perpetrating.
Discussions with Intelligence Community officials have revealed that Ms. Clinton’s “unclassified” emails included Holy Grail items of American espionage.
Nevertheless, Hillary Clinton over the weekend continued to deny any wrongdoing in EmailGate, painting the scandal as just more political theater by her enemies. Echoes of the “vast right-wing conspiracy,” the Clintonian 1990s bogeyman, are now distinctly audible. Moreover, she compared the story to the attack on our Benghazi consulate in 2012, which may not help her politically, given the lingering problems that tragedy still causes Ms. Clinton in certain quarters.
Most controversially, Hillary and her mouthpieces have kept pushing the line that none of this information was “marked” classified when it appeared in her personal emails, despite the fact that this claim, even if true, does not mitigate any disclosure of classified information. Her defense seems to be that neither she nor anybody on her staff were able to recognize that Top Secret information was actually Top Secret, which is hardly a ringing endorsement of Hillary’s qualifications to be our next commander-in-chief.
Mysteries abound in this latest trove of emails. One of the big ones is that four emails from Sidney Blumenthal, Hillary’s close friend and factotum, were withheld by the Intelligence Community because they were judged to be entirely classified. How Mr. Blumenthal, who held no U.S. Government position after January 2001, when Bill Clinton left the White House, had access to classified information a decade after that is not explained.
This column has previously detailed how Mr. Blumenthal was running an impressive private intelligence agency for the Secretary of State, and that his emails to Ms. Clinton inexplicably included highly sensitive Top Secret Codeword intelligence from the National Security Agency. Since Mr. Blumenthal’s emails were illegally accessed by a private hacker, they can be safely assumed in to be in the hands of numerous foreign intelligence services. There’s a lot here that the FBI needs to unravel to understand EmailGate’s full complexity – and illegality.
Nevertheless, Hillary has upped the ante by demanding that the twenty-two Top Secret emails that have been withheld by the State Department be released to the public so Americans can see that they are in fact innocuous, as Ms. Clinton and her defenders maintain. Yet this is pure political theater: she surely knows that the emails are not going to be released on security grounds anytime soon, probably not for several decades, at least.
What, then, is in those twenty-two emails? Contrary to the assertions of Team Clinton that the information was benign, a “nothing-burger” to cite her allies, implying that the overzealous Intelligence Community has classified information that doesn’t need protection, their contents are Top Secret with good reason. Hillary has opted for cries of “overclassification” as her last line of defense in EmailGate, notwithstanding that’s the choice of any officials in Washington, DC, who have broken secrecy laws and have no leg left to stand on.
Today FoxNews has reported that those twenty-two Top Secret emails included “operational intelligence” that involves espionage sources and methods, adding that lives have been put at risk by Hillary’s mishandling of this information.
At a minimum, valuable covers have been blown, careers have been ruined, and lives have been put at serious risk.
I can confirm that the FoxNews report, which lacks any specifics about exactly what was compromised, is accurate. And what was actually in those Top Secret emails found on Hillary’s “unclassified” personal bathroom server was colossally damaging to our national security and has put lives at risk.
Discussions with Intelligence Community officials have revealed that Ms. Clinton’s “unclassified” emails included Holy Grail items of American espionage such as the true names of Central Intelligence Agency intelligence officers serving overseas under cover. Worse, some of those exposed are serving under non-official cover. NOCs (see this for an explanation of their important role in espionage) are the pointy end of the CIA spear and they are always at risk of exposure – which is what Ms. Clinton’s emails have done.
Not only have these spies had their lives put in serious risk by this, it’s a clear violation of Federal law. The Intelligence Identities Protection Act of 1982, enacted due to the murder of the CIA’s station chief in Athens after his cover was blown by the left-wing media, makes it a Federal crime to divulge the true identity of any covert operative serving U.S. intelligence if that person has not previous been publicly acknowledged to be working for our spy agencies.
People really go to jail for breaking this law. John Kiriakou, a former CIA officer, recently emerged from two years in prison for unauthorized disclosure of classified information, including exposing the identity of an Agency colleague who was serving under cover.
Anyone possessing political memory will recall that this law was also the centerpiece of the 2003 scandal surrounding Valerie Plame, a CIA NOC officer whose identity appeared in the media after it was exposed by the George W. Bush White House. Ms. Plame became a liberal icon of sorts, complete with high glamour, while the affair became an obsession for much of the mainstream media, despite the fact that the spy was physically unharmed by the leak.
Indeed, Valerie Plame parleyed the ruckus into a successful post-CIA career and she remains in the limelight. In a perverse irony, last weekend she was in New Hampshire campaigning for Hillary Clinton. Neither Ms. Plame nor much of the media seem interested in their candidate’s far greater compromise of classified information, including the identities of NOCs like Valerie Plame once was.
Hillary’s emails also include the names of foreigners who are on the CIA payroll, according to Intelligence Community officials. Since it can be safely assumed that several foreign intelligence agencies intercepted Ms. Clinton’s unencrypted communications, this directly threatens the lives of the exposed individuals. “It’s a death sentence,” explained a senior Intelligence Community official: “if we’re lucky only agents, not our officers, will get killed because of this.” (Agents are foreigners working for U.S. intelligence while officers are American staffers.)
CIA and the entire Intelligence Community are in panic mode right now, trying to determine which of our intelligence officers and agents have been compromised by EmailGate. At a minimum, valuable covers have been blown, careers have been ruined, and lives have been put at serious risk. Our spies’ greatest concern now is what’s still in Hillary’s emails that investigators have yet to find.
And what about those 30,000 emails that Ms. Clinton had deleted? “I’ll spend the rest of my career trying to figure out what classified information was in those,” stated an exasperated Pentagon counterintelligence official, “everybody is mad as hell right now.” “The worst part,” the counterspy added,” is that Moscow and Beijing have that information but the Intelligence Community maybe never will.”