Saturday, June 13, 2015

Christopher Lee: he could turn schlock into Shakespeare

By Robbie Collin
11 June 2015

Christoper Lee always brought more to a film than it perhaps deserved of him

The thing about Sir Christopher Lee being dead is that it doesn’t immediately strike you as being much of a career setback. For as long as he was an actor (which was a very long time indeed; his first film role was a one-line part in Terence Young’s baroquely strange romance Corridor of Mirrors, in 1948), his characters have often exuded – not immortality, exactly, but a kind of ennobled deathlessness. You always sensed they’d been around for longer than was perhaps entirely natural, and would more than likely outlast you.
Part of it was his face and imposing 6’5” frame, which had the sharply hewn angles of a medieval woodcut. And part of it was the wood-fire crackle of that bass-baritone voice, which made every script sound like illuminated manuscript. But there was also something less easily explicable at work; he imbued every character, however far-fetched, with a cold and granite grandeur, as if each one was a monument that would withstand whatever time and the weather could throw at him.
Whether he was stalking across windblown Scottish clifftops in The Wicker Man, his hair thick and wild as a tuffet of heather, or swishing, leering and hissing his way though any number of the Dracula pictures he made for Hammer Film Productions, Lee imbued each role with the depth of feeling you expect actors of his reputation and calibre to save for their big Shakespearean comeback at Stratford.
But at the age of 92, there was his Saruman, in Peter Jackson’s final Hobbit film, fighting off the forces of the Nazgul with hitherto-unseen powers of kung fu. The scene was preposterous, but Lee didn’t just emerge from it with his dignity unbroken – his unbreakable dignity was the framework on which the entire sequence was built. He regularly brought more to a film than the film perhaps deserved from him, which is what separates a truly great actor from a talented one.
Lee was the son of a Lieutenant Colonel in the King’s Royal Rifle Corps and a much-admired Italian contessa, which makes sense. After fighting in the Second World War (he was born on 27 May 1922, and was 17 years old when war broke out), he returned to England and pursued a career as an actor, and was given a seven-year contract with Rank.
After that, he scrabbled around for supporting work, his height a disadvantage until he was cast as the Creature in the 1957 Hammer production The Curse of Frankenstein (Peter Cushing played the Doctor). The character was mute: there was a wicked rumour Lee insisted on this after reading his proposed dialogue. But his performance was a masterwork of purely physical performance: stately, aching with pathos and, against all the odds, intensely moving.
The following year he was cast as the Count in Terence Fisher’s Dracula, with Cushing as Van Helsing, and the future of his career snapped into place. His Dracula was netherworlds apart from Bela Lugosi’s more straightforwardly tragic portrayal of the character in Tod Browning’s 1931 film for Universal. This denizen of the dark was sensual, exotic and wolfish; red-blooded in his appetites in every sense.
He was also mostly silent: the character was almost entirely informed by Lee’s suavely elongated physicality, and speaks only 13 lines of dialogue throughout. “One of the most revolting pictures I have seen for years,” said the critic for the Daily Express. Audiences agreed, and flocked to see it.
Lee hit his sepulchral stride. Over the next decade, he played a Mummy, Fu Manchu, Rasputin, Dracula and other vampires, and assorted wicked earls and barons, all for Hammer. Then in 1968, in Terence Fisher’s The Devil Rides Out, he bucked the trend and played the hero: the dashing Duc de Richleau, a dapper initiate in the ways of the occult who disrupts the foul activities of a Satanic cult.
The film was a commercial failure for Hammer, but one of their best films: Lee always regarded it as a personal favourite during his time with the studio, along with Taste of Fear, a truly unnerving Clouzot-ish psychological thriller, with Lee as an unctuous French doctor tending to a young woman who keeps spotting her father’s corpse around the house.
In the early 1970s, with Hammer’s powers fading, Lee’s graveyard shift came to a natural end, and he started branching out. He was deliciously precise as Mycroft Holmes, the great detective’s elder brother, in Billy Wilder’s The Private Life of Sherlock Holmes (1970), and unforgettable as Lord Summerisle, the gallant intercessor between man and nature in Robin Hardy’s The Wicker Man (1973).
And as Francisco Scaramanga in The Man with the Golden Gun (1974), he was Roger Moore’s equal and opposite in every respect. “Face it,” wrote the critic David Thompson, “he could just as easily have been Bond.” Well, yes, but perhaps not in the 1970s, as the series swung into its camp heyday. Lee brought a sculpted cruelty to his Bond film that recalled the Sean Connery films of ten years earlier. A Lee hero belonged to another era.
His wickedness, however, was timeless, and could expand to fill almost any available space. As the white wizard Saruman, his presence hung over Peter Jackson’s Lord of the Rings trilogy (2001-3) like a volcanic pall. You sense George Lucas cast him as the fallen Jedi Master Count Dooku in Star Wars Episode III: Revenge of the Sith in the hope that he’d provide exactly the same instant gravitas, and Lee couldn’t help but graciously oblige.
Of all Lee’s performances, it’s his entrance in the first Lord of the Rings film that I just can’t shake. “Smoke rises from the mountain of Doom, the hour grows late…” he intones, gliding down Orthanc’s black staircase to receive the friend he’d already in his heart betrayed.
In The Two Towers, Tolkien devotes an entire paragraph to describing Saruman’s voice. It is “low and melodious, its very sound an enchantment…for those whom it conquered, the spell endured when they were far away, and ever they heard that soft voice, whispering and urging them.” That’s also unmistakably Lee’s voice, and Lee’s physicality, and Lee’s undying talent. He was the shadow at the top of the stairs, the smiling predator beckoning you in, the flash of silver in the dark.

The 588-year path to limited government

June 12, 2015
A general view of Magna Carta on display at the Heritage Gallery on June 5 in London (Ben A. Pruchnie/Getty Images)

Americans should light 800 candles for the birthday of the document that began paving the meandering path to limited government. Magna Carta laid down the law about “fish weirs” on English rivers, “assizes of darrein presentment,” people being “distrained to make bridges,” and other “liberties. . . to hold in our realm of England in perpetuity.” But what King John accepted at Runnymede meadow on June 15, 1215, matters to Americans because of something that happened 588 years later in the living room of Stelle’s Hotel in Washington, where the Library of Congress now sits.
Although the “great charter” purported to establish certain rights in “perpetuity,” almost everything in it has been repealed or otherwise superseded. Magna Carta led to parliamentary supremacy (over the sovereign — the king or queen) but not to effective limits on government. The importance of the document was its assertion that the sovereign’s will could be constrained.
In America, where “we the people” are sovereign and majority rule is celebrated, constraining the sovereign is frequently, but incorrectly, considered morally ambiguous, even disreputable. Hence the heated debate among conservatives about the role of courts in a democracy. The argument is about the supposed “countermajoritarian dilemma” when courts invalidate laws passed by elected representatives: Does the democratic ethic require vast judicial deference to legislative acts?
The first memorial at Runnymede was built in 1957 by, appropriately, the American Bar Association. It is what America did with what Magna Carta started that substantially advanced the cause of limited government.
The rule of law — as opposed to rule by the untrammeled will of the strong — requires effective checks on the strong. In a democracy, the strongest force is the majority, whose power will be unlimited unless an independent judiciary enforces written restraints, such as those stipulated in the Constitution. It is “the supreme law” because it is superior to what majorities produce in statutes.
Magna Carta acknowledged no new individual rights. Instead, it insisted, mistakenly, that it could guarantee that certain existing rights would survive “in perpetuity.” British rights exist, however, at the sufferance of Parliament. In America, rights are protected by the government’s constitutional architecture — the separation of powers and by the judicial power to stymie legislative and executive power .
Early in 1801, as John Adams’s presidency was ending, a lame-duck Congress controlled by his Federalists created many judicial positions to be filled by him before Thomas Jefferson took office. In the rush, the “midnight commission” for William Marbury did not get delivered before Jefferson’s inauguration. The new president refused to have it delivered, so Marbury sued, asking the Supreme Court to compel Jefferson’s secretary of state, James Madison, to deliver it.
Chief Justice John Marshall, writing for the court, held that the law authorizing the court to compel government officials to make such deliveries exceeded Congress’s enumerated powers and hence was unconstitutional. Jefferson, who detested his distant cousin Marshall, was surely less pleased by the result than he was dismayed by the much more important means by which Marshall produced it. Marshall had accomplished the new government’s first exercise of judicial review — the power to declare a congressional act null and void.
Although the Constitution does not mention judicial review, the Framers explicitly anticipated the exercise of this power. Some progressives and populist conservatives dispute the legitimacy of judicial review. They say fidelity to the Framers requires vast deference to elected legislators because Marshall invented judicial review ex nihilo. Randy Barnett of Georgetown University’s law school supplies refuting evidence:
At the 1787 Constitutional Convention, Madison acknowledged that states would “accomplish their injurious objects” but they could be “set aside by the National Tribunals.” A law violating any constitution “would be considered by the Judges as null & void.” In Virginia’s ratification convention, Marshall said that if the government “were to make a law not warranted by any of the [congressional] powers enumerated, it would be considered by the judges as an infringement of the Constitution which they are to guard. . . . They would declare it void.”
With the composition of the Supreme Court likely to change substantially during the next president’s tenure, conservatives must decide: Is majority rule or liberty — these are not synonyms, and the former can menace the latter — America’s fundamental purpose?
Because one ailing justice was confined to Stelle’s Hotel, it was there that Marshall read aloud Marbury v. Madison. This made Feb. 24, 1803, an even more important date in the history of limited government, and hence of liberty, than June 15, 1215.
Read more from George F. Will’s archive or follow him on Facebook.

Thursday, June 11, 2015


By Ann Coulter
June 10, 2015

I'm impressed by the coolness and steadiness of our media in suppressing any news about immigration. It's as if they've built a triple-layer fence with border guards around immigration topics. And guess what? Their fence is working!

How many thousands of news stories have there been on Ferguson, ISIS, Chris Christie's "Bridgegate" or men becoming women?

But the media will never tell you about Mexicans gang-raping a lesbian in Richmond, California, an Indian immigrant in San Francisco importing 12-year-old girls he bought from their parents for sex, or three children being beheaded by Mexicans in Baltimore.

Don't Americans have a right to know about the cultures flooding into our country?

This isn't a natural transformation. It is purely the result of government policy. But our media don't care to discuss the issue. In fact, they get mad whenever Americans find out what they're doing with immigration.

When Americans do think about immigration, they're against it. In polls earlier this year, more Americans had a favorable opinion of North Korea than wanted to increase immigration. That's why the media's approach to immigration is to never talk about it.

Three times in the last decade, Democrats and Republicans conspired to grant illegal aliens amnesty. All three times, the American people rose up in blind rage and shut it down. The only way they were tipped off to the proposed amnesties was through the hard work of about three bloggers, four talk-radio hosts and the Drudge Report.

What will happen if Matt Drudge ever goes on vacation? (Answer: You'll be living in Mexico.)

The media will make absolutely sure we know about every immigrant who wins a spelling bee. It's either important to know about who's immigrating to this country or it's not. If it's important, then we have a right to be told not only about the spelling bee champions, but also about the child rapes, genital mutilations, welfare use and Medicaid scams of our recent immigrants.

But the media's position is: If we don't talk about immigration, it doesn't exist.

Unfortunately, they're right. Most people think about only what the media want them to think about. Everyone has developed a position on Ferguson, ISIS and gay marriage. This week, everyone has a position on a policeman's confrontation with a black girl in a bikini at a pool party in Texas.

But no one is supposed to have an opinion about who gets to live, collect government benefits and vote in this country.

Whatever issue you think is more important than immigration, you're wrong. Without our post-1965 immigration policy, Obama would never have been elected president. That means no Obamacare, no withdrawal of every last troop from Iraq, no playing footsie with the Iranians, no Eric Holder, no Fast and Furious, no IRS harassment of tea party groups, no Benghazi massacre -- and on and on and on.

Democrats haven't been able to persuade a majority of white people to vote for them in any presidential election since 1948, except the aberrational Democratic landslide in 1964. That's why they had to bring in ringers.

In addition to giving the Democrats tens of millions of new voters, our immigration policies have also brought in people who engage in charming traditional practices such as genital mutilations.

In 2006, an Ethiopian immigrant living in Lawrenceville, Georgia, tried to cut off his 2-year-old daughter's clitoris with a pair of scissors. The New York Times ran one tiny AP item on his conviction -- on Page 19 -- titled, "Man Convicted in Daughter's Mutilation." (Always look for "Man" in the headline to find the most appalling stories about immigrants.)

Thanks to decades of mass immigration from Africa and the Middle East, it is estimated that at least half a million girls living in the United States have been subjected to genital mutilation. (And that's just one of the many ways immigrants are making our country more vibrant!)

One white male, Bruce Jenner, merely contemplates voluntary genital mutilation and gets 10,000 times more media attention than the hundreds of thousands of "American" girls being involuntarily subjected to this practice.

When it comes to immigration, you'll only hear "Diversity is a strength," "Immigration is fantastic for the economy," "Polls show Americans overwhelmingly support a 'path to legalization'" -- pay no attention to the outpouring of hostility every time an amnesty bill comes up -- and "Oh, look! An immigrant valedictorian!"

The media don't need to run this scam forever. Democrats only need to keep it going until they have California-style majorities in every state, and then they'll say, "Screw you, America. We did this deliberately, and now there's nothing you can do about it."

That's exactly what the Labour government of Tony Blair did -- as we found out in 2009. In public, Blair's government claimed that the mass immigration of the Third World to Britain was absolutely crucial to the economy!

Once they were out of office, Blair adviser Andrew Neather admitted that their real objective had been "to rub the Right's nose in diversity and render their arguments out of date," as the London Telegraph reported in 2009.

That's one way of winning elections. It's cheating, but it works!

Here in the U.S., Republicans aren't even fighting back. First of all, the GOP's big donors want the cheap labor. True, the country will be ruined, but business owners will be able to make a pile first -- and then retire.

Evidently, elected Republicans ran the numbers and realized that the GOP won't be completely wiped out for a few more years, and by then, they'll all be retired.

Apres moi, le deluge.

(Noticeably, the younger, smarter Republicans are all on America's side on immigration: Sens. Tom Cotton and Ben Sasse, and Rep. Dave Brat.)

If necessary, political and media elites will call you a "racist" for opposing their mass immigration policies. But they'd really rather that you just not find out what they're doing to the country.


Bye, Bye, American History

Professors and historians urged opposition to the College Board’s new curriculum for teaching AP U.S. History.

‘Washington Crossing the Delaware’ by Emanuel Leutze, 1851.

Washington Crossing the Delaware’ by Emanuel Leutze, 1851. PHOTO: THE METROPOLITAN MUSEUM OF ART

The memory hole, a creation of George Orwell’s novel “Nineteen Eighty-Four,” was a mechanism for separating a society’s disapproved ideas from its dominant ideas. The unfavored ideas disappeared, Orwell wrote, “on a current of warm air” into furnaces.
In the U.S., the memory-sorting machine may be the College Board’s final revision of the Advanced Placement examination for U.S. history, to be released later this summer.
The people responsible for the new AP curriculum really, really hate it when anyone says what they are doing to U.S. history is tendentious and destructive. In April, the nine authors of the “curriculum framework” published a relatively brief open letter to rebut “uninformed criticisms” of the revision.
Last week, 56 professors and historians published a petition on the website of the National Association of Scholars, urging opposition to the College Board’s framework. Pushback against the new AP U.S. history curriculum has also emerged in Texas, Colorado, Tennessee, Nebraska, North Carolina, Oklahoma and Georgia.
To one liberal newspaper columnist, doubts about the goodness of the new U.S. history curriculum are “claptrap.” New York magazine said a committee vote in Oklahoma’s legislature to defund AP history teaching sounded like something from “The Colbert Report.”
Up to now, the College Board itself has said nothing publicly. Asked Wednesday about the dispute, the board emailed this statement: “The AP U.S. History Course and Exam Development Committee is now reviewing the thoughtful feedback it received, and later this summer we will announce a new edition of the AP U.S. History course framework. This new edition will clarify and encourage a balanced approach to the teaching of American history, while remaining faithful to the requirements that colleges and universities set for academic credit.” In short, wait for our revision of the revision.
That said, the board’s website includes statements of support, not least from the 14,000-member American Historical Association, whose members’ advocacy is presumably based on a reading of the existing text of the curriculum. Nothing would more benefit this controversy than if every parent, high-school student and state legislator in the U.S. did indeed read through all 130 pages of the proposed framework for AP U.S. History. The link is here on the College Board’s website: Click on the .pdf download titled “AP U.S. History Course and Exam Description.”
The AP history framework is organized into concepts, codings and even Roman numerals. They explain:
“This coding helps teachers make thematic connections across the chronology of the concept outline. The codes are as follows: ID—Identity; WXT—Work, exchange, and technology; PEO—Peopling; POL—Politics and power; WOR—America in the world; ENV—Environment and geography—physical and human; CUL—Ideas, beliefs, and culture.”
An example: “Native peoples and Africans in the Americas strove to maintain their political and cultural autonomy in the face of European challenges to their independence and core beliefs. (ID-4) (POL-1) (CUL-1) (ENV-2).”
Or: “Explain how arguments about market capitalism, the growth of corporate power, and government policies influenced economic policies from the late 18th century through the early 20th century. 3.2.II, 4.2.II, 5.1.II, 6.1.I, 6.1.II, 7.1.II, 7.2.II.”
And inevitably: “Students should be able to explain how various identities, cultures, and values have been preserved or changed in different contexts of U.S. history, with special attention given to the formation of gender, class, racial, and ethnic identities. Students should be able to explain how these subidentities have interacted with each other and with larger conceptions of American national identity.”
Let’s cut to the chase. The notion that this revision, in the works for seven years, is just disinterested pedagogy is, well, claptrap. In the 1980s, Lynne Cheney, as chairwoman of the National Endowment for the Humanities, threw down the gauntlet over the leftward, even Marxist, class-obsessed drift of American historiography. She lost.
At one point the curriculum’s authors say: “Debate and disagreement are central to the discipline of history, and thus to AP U.S. History as well.” This statement is phenomenally disingenuous. From Key Concept 1.3: “Many Europeans developed a belief in white superiority to justify their subjugation of Africans and American Indians, using several different rationales.” Pity the high-school or college student who puts up a hand to contest that anymore. They don’t. They know the Orwellian option now is to stay down.
Comedian Jerry Seinfeld got attention this week for saying he understood why other comics such as Chris Rock have stopped performing on campuses beset by political correctness, trigger warnings and “microaggressions.” He said young people cry “racism,” “sexism” or “prejudice” without any idea of what they’re talking about.
How did that happen? It happened because weak school administrators and academics empowered tireless activists who forced all of American history and life through the four prisms of class, gender, ethnicity and identity. What emerged at the other end was one idea—guilt. I exist, therefore I must be guilty. Of something.
The College Board promises that what it produces next month will be “balanced.” We await the event.
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Tuesday, June 09, 2015

An appalling indictment of Fidel Castro

Juan Reinaldo Sánchez Crespo was one of the dozen or so defectors from Cuba’s intelligence and security services I interviewed when researching Castro’s Secrets. We met on a number of occasions in Miami after his arrival from Cuba in 2008. He confirmed for me that Fidel had ordered an assassination attempt in London against Florentino Aspillaga, a ranking defector from Cuban intelligence.
Sánchez made it clear, nonetheless, that he was saving his best recollections for his own book. First published in France, The Double Life of Fidel Castro has been worth the wait.
For seventeen years, as Castro’s chief bodyguard and trusted factotum, Sánchez was close to the Cuban throne. He witnessed and recorded sensitive conversations, was ordered to compile obsessively detailed records of Fidel’s activities, coordinated his security and travel, vacationed with him, and accumulated a remarkably textured understanding of the commander in chief.
Sánchez worshipped Fidel, even after being demoralized by the trial and execution of general Arnaldo Ochoa and three others in 1989. Yet in 1994 the faithful bodyguard was imprisoned. He says it was only because Castro no longer trusted him after a brother fled Cuba on a raft to Miami. After two years in prison and ten unsuccessful attempts to do the same, Sánchez boarded a smugglers’ boat and fled.
With the collaboration of Axel Gylden, a prominent French journalist, Sánchez has penned a scathing account of his years in Castro’s entourage. It is filled with surprising details of the Cuban dictator’s hypocritically regal life style. An island retreat, so exorbitantly lavish that only a select few have been invited to experience it, has been kept secret from the Cuban masses. Sánchez reveals that Castro also had at his disposal another twenty homes, a luxurious yacht, an ultra-modern private hospital, and even compatible blood donors recruited to be at the ready whenever he might need a man-to-man transfusion.
Sánchez confirms past Cuban government support for international terrorism and drug trafficking. He tells of how members of the terrorist Spanish Basque ETA “were welcomed with open arms by Fidel.” They taught bomb-making, a skill then shared with Latin American guerrilla groups.
Although it has scarcely been in doubt, Sánchez confirms that Puerto Rican terrorist Victor Manuel Gerena – on the FBI’s Ten Most Wanted Fugitives list since 1984 — is in Cuba. After stealing more than $7 million from a Wells Fargo armored car terminal in Connecticut in 1983, he was covertly exfiltrated to Havana in a series of Cuban intelligence operations.
The enormous costs of protecting Castro form a leitmotif that runs through this smoothly written memoir. Sánchez tells of being dispatched with a briefcase full of dollars to purchase homes in Harare, Zimbabwe before a visit by Fidel. The one where Castro briefly stayed was extensively remodeled for him, including the addition of an underground air raid shelter.
Such extraordinary measures were standard through Fidel’s decades in power. I learned from another defector that when Castro visited the United Nations in 1995, and stayed overnight in New York, he brought along with him in the Cuban delegation an elevator repairman. The man stood ready to extricate Fidel should the elevator in the Cuban diplomatic mission malfunction. When it did, I was told that Fidel kicked furiously on the door until the old man brought along for just such an eventuality quickly accomplished the necessary fix.
For me, Sánchez’s most appalling indictment of Fidel concerns the chaotic exodus of more than 125,000 Cubans in 1980 from the port of Mariel. Most who fled were members of Cuban exile families living in the United States. They were allowed to board boats brought by relatives and to make the crossing to South Florida.
But many of the boats were forcibly loaded by Cuban authorities with criminals and mentally ill people plucked from institutions on the island. Few of us who have studied Fidel Castro have doubted that it was he who ordered those dangerous Cubans to be exported to the United States. He has persuaded few with his denials of any role in the incident.
Yet Sánchez adds an appalling new twist to the saga. We learn that prison wards and mental institutions were not hurriedly emptied, as was previously believed. Sánchez reveals that Castro insisted on scouring lists of prisoners so that he could decide who would stay and who would be sent to the United States. He ordered interior minister Jose Abrahantes to bring him prisoner records.
Sánchez was seated in an anteroom just outside of Fidel’s office when the minister arrived. The bodyguard listened as Fidel discussed individual convicts with Abrahantes.
“I was present when they brought him the lists of prisoners,” Sánchez writes, “with the name, the reason for the sentence, and the date of release. Fidel read them, and with the stroke of a pen designated which ones could go and which ones would stay. ‘Yes’ was for murderers and dangerous criminals; ‘no’ was for those who had attacked the revolution.” Dissidents remained incarcerated.
A number of the criminal and psychopathic marielitos put on the boats to Florida went on to commit heinous crimes — including mass murder, rape, and arson. Among the many despicable acts Fidel Castro committed over the years, his decision to facilitate that violence stands in a sordid class by itself.

Read more here:

A Contrast in Delusions: The TSA vs. Domestic Immigration Enforcement

Posted By Michael Cutler On June 9, 2015 @ 12:07 am In Daily Mailer,FrontPage | 6 Comments
Berlin_Schönefeld_Airport_metal_detectors[1]On June 2, 2015 the Washington Times published a report about how massive failures of screeners employed by the TSA, an agency that operates under the aegis of the Department of Homeland Security (DHS), failed to find weapons, in the great majority of instances, when undercover operatives went through the screening process. 
The acting chief of the Transportation Security Administration [3] was ousted late Monday night after an embarrassing new report found that airport security officers badly failed a new test, missing almost every firearm and explosive investigators tried to sneak by them. 
Homeland Security Secretary Jeh Johnson [4] announced the move, saying Melvin Carraway had been “reassigned” to another part of the department and his deputy would take over, serving until the Senate can confirm a new chief. 
Earlier in the night Mr. Johnson [4] had said he’d just been given a classified briefing on the inspector general’s findings that found a major loophole in security that could allow people to sneak prohibited items by TSA [3] screeners and into what were supposed to be secure areas of airports. 
Mr. Johnson [4] said the preliminary findings were classified and said it wasn’t “appropriate or prudent” to talk about them — but ABC News reported that IG investigators managed to sneak contraband material by TSA [3] screeners in 67 of 70 tests.
The Department of Homeland Security (DHS) was created in the wake of the terror attacks of September 11, 2001 and contains a number of agencies that are charged with addressing the failures that enabled the terrorists who carried out those attacks, to enter the United States, embed themselves in the United States and then hijack airliners, using them as de facto “cruise missiles.”

Among the agencies that operate under the aegis of the DHS are:

The Transportation Security Administration (TSA): This agency is charged with keeping weapons or other harmful materials off of airliners along with people who appear on “no fly lists.” It is a simple concept and one that is apparently easy for people to comprehend. In order to achieve this goal officers employed by the TSA carry out ever more intrusive searches of airline passengers and their baggage. Passengers are subjected to x-rays, raising concerns. Passengers are also prohibited from bringing certain items into the passenger cabin of the airliners including large quantities of liquids, etc.

Customs and Border Protection (CBP): The mission of this agency, which includes inspectors at ports of entry, and Border Patrol, which operates between ports of entry, is to make certain that aliens and cargo are not smuggled into the United States and that the inspection of both people and objects keep criminals and terrorists along with other foreign nationals whose presence would be problematic, from entering the United States.

Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE): This agency is charged with enforcing our immigration laws from within the interior of the United States to backstop the personnel at CBP. When aliens evade the inspections process by entering the United States without inspection, ICE is supposed to seek them out and take them into custody so that they can be removed (deported from the United States). ICE is also responsible for identifying, locating and arresting aliens who are lawfully admitted but then go on to violate the terms of their admission by overstaying their authorized period of admission, accepting unlawful employment, failing to attend schools (in the case of foreign students) or being convicted of committing crimes.

ICE is also supposed to conduct investigations into possible fraud when applicants lie about material facts in applications for various immigration benefits for aliens filed with USCIS and to conduct investigations to identify, arrest and prosecute fraud document vendors.
Finally, ICE assigns agents to work on various multi-agency task forces.

United States Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS): This agency employs adjudications officers who are responsible for adjudicating applications for immigration benefits. If an Alien Registration Receipt Card, a “Green Card,” and especially United States citizenship are the “keys to the kingdom,” then USCIS is America’s locksmith. This agency confers these benefits, in addition to others, upon aliens.

The ink was barely dry in the newspaper reports about the failures of the TSA to find planted weapons when the director of that agency was re-assigned. Jeh Johnson wasted no time in shaking up the agency that is supposed to keep weapons and terrorists off of our airliners.

Wouldn’t it be wonderful if he was as determined to keep alien criminals, terrorists and narcotics out of the United States and off the streets of towns and cities across our nation?

Time and time again politicians from both sides of the political aisle claim that the immigration system is “broken.” They claim that the presence of millions of illegal aliens prove how broken the system is. For most of the politicians, the “fix” is to provide millions of aliens who entered the United States without inspection is to simply provide them with lawful status and identity documents — knowing full well that the sheer number of aliens would preclude the ability to conduct in-person interviews or conduct routine field investigations to deter fraud. Effective enforcement of our laws to deter illegal immigration and other violations of our immigration laws is never discussed by anyone.

The 9/11 Commission Report [5] noted that flaws and vulnerabilities in the immigration system failed to prevent the entry and subsequent embedding of not only the 19 hijackers who savagely attacked our nation on that horrific day nearly 14 years ago, but other terrorists who were identified as operating in the United States in the decade leading up to the attacks of 9/11.

In point of fact, it was determined that the ability of the terrorists to travel around the world and cross international borders, especially the borders of the United States, and embed themselves were essential to ability of the terrorists to carry out those deadly attacks.

These obvious facts were not only a major theme of the 9/11 Commission report and findings, but also for the staff of federal agents, from a variety of federal agencies, and for the attorneys who were assigned to assist the work of the 9/11 Commission.

To this point, one of the reports that the 9/11 Commission staff produced was the “9/11 and Terrorist Travel [6] Staff Report of the National Commission on Terrorist Attacks Upon the United States.” This report was one of several that members of the 9/11 Commission staff, the federal agents and the attorneys, wrote about the findings of the Commission,

This report focused specifically on the ability of the terrorists to travel around the world, enter the United States and ultimately embed themselves in the United States as they went about their deadly preparations. The preface of this report begins with the following paragraph:
It is perhaps obvious to state that terrorists cannot plan and carry out attacks in the United States if they are unable to enter the country. Yet prior to September 11, while there were efforts to enhance border security, no agency of the U.S. government thought of border security as a tool in the counterterrorism arsenal. Indeed, even after 19 hijackers demonstrated the relative ease of obtaining a U.S. visa and gaining admission into the United States, border security still is not considered a cornerstone of national security policy. We believe, for reasons we discuss in the following pages, that it must be made one.
Page 61 contained this passage:
Exploring the Link between Human Smugglers and Terrorists
In July 2001, the CIA warned of a possible link between human smugglers and terrorist groups, including Hamas, Hezbollah, and Egyptian Islamic Jihad.149 Indeed, there is evidence to suggest that since 1999 human smugglers have facilitated the travel of terrorists associated with more than a dozen extremist groups.150 With their global reach and connections to fraudulent document vendors and corrupt government officials, human smugglers clearly have the “credentials” necessary to aid terrorist travel.
This paragraph is found on page 98 under the title “Immigration Benefits”:
Terrorists in the 1990s, as well as the September 11 hijackers, needed to find a way to stay in or embed themselves in the United States if their operational plans were to come to fruition. As already discussed, this could be accomplished legally by marrying an American citizen, achieving temporary worker status, or applying for asylum after entering. In many cases, the act of filing for an immigration benefit sufficed to permit the alien to remain in the country until the petition was adjudicated. Terrorists were free to conduct surveillance, coordinate operations, obtain and receive funding, go to school and learn English, make contacts in the United States, acquire necessary materials, and execute an attack.
On April 25, 2013 the Associated Press published an article, “GOP rep weighs asylum review in immigration bill” [7] that included this excerpt:
“People getting asylum because they are in the minority, but engaging in aggressive tactics in their home country that may cause them to be susceptible to doing the same thing elsewhere, that obviously ought to be a part of our consideration in granting political asylum to avoid situations like Boston,” said Rep. Bob Goodlatte, R-Va., who’s working to develop a series of bills to fix problems with the country’s immigration system. 
Goodlatte didn’t specify what might need to be changed in the asylum process, only saying it’s something that bears examination in the wake of the Boston bombings. So do with other aspects of the U.S. immigration system, including the naturalization process by which immigrants become U.S. citizens, Goodlatte said. Dzhokhar Tsarnaev is a U.S. citizen while Tamerlan Tsarnaev had sought citizenship but had not had his application granted.
Chairman Goodlatte is certainly correct that the process by which applications for political asylum and United States citizenship need to be studied to make certain that this important humane program not undermine national security and public safety. As Chairman of the House Judiciary Committee he called hearings into abuses and vulnerabilities of the asylum program that defy comprehension.

On February 11, 2014, a hearing was conducted by the House Judiciary Committee on the issue: “Asylum Fraud: Abusing America’s Compassion [8]?”

On December 12, 2013, a hearing was conducted on the issue: “Asylum Abuse: Is it Overwhelming our Borders [9]?”

It is worth noting that the December 12th hearing limited its concerns to how abuse of the political asylum program was overwhelming our borders. In point of fact, this program has overwhelmed the entire immigration system in each and every one of our fifty states. Of course limiting the hearing to the issue of only “our borders” coincides neatly with the myth that all our nation needs to do in preparation for a massive amnesty program is to secure our southern border.

Both hearings made it clear that there is a serious lack of integrity to the political asylum program. This important humanitarian program processes thousands of applications each year. Yet, the fraud rate in this program bears witness to the lack of integrity. Because USCIS cannot effectively identify fraud and take measures to counter this fraud, national security is compromised.

Yet absolutely nothing has been done to address this vulnerability that was identified by the 9/11 Commission in its report issued more than a decade ago. In fact, the administations policies have so overloaded the immigration system that hundreds of thousands of applications for immigration benefits, such as the “DREAMers” have been processed without face-to-face interviews.

Could you imagine if the TSA, which has drawn the attention and ire of the media, and the administration conducted business the way that USCIS does its critical job?

The lack of integrity to the adjudications process has been the subject of a series of congressional hearings, Inspector General (OIG) investigations and reports, yet things have only gotten worse since.

On March 19, 2002 I was one of four witnesses called to testify at a hearing that was conducted by the House Committee on the Judiciary, Subcommittee on Immigration and Claims. The title of the hearing was: “INS’s March 2002 Notification of Approval of Change of Status for Pilot Training for Terrorist Hijackers Mohammed Atta and Marwan al-Shehhi.” [10]

This hearing was covered by C-SPAN. Every member of Congress should be required to watch that C-SPAN video [11]. Virtually none of the promises made at that hearing to remedy the failures of the immigration system that were behind that glaring example of incompetence have been effectively addressed to this very day. Indeed, our nation has moved in precisely the opposite direction.

On November 20, 2013 ABC News reported, “Exclusive: US May Have Let ‘Dozens’ of Terrorists Into Country As Refugees. [12]” This is not a new problem. On July 13, 2011 the Washington Times published a truly disturbing article, “Visas reviewed to find those who overstayed / Aim is to find any would-be terrorists [13].”

Consider that on September 2, 2014 ABC News reported, “Lost in America: Visa Program Struggles to ‘Track Missing Foreign Students.'” [14]

On May 2, 2013, I was interviewed by Megyn Kelly of Fox News to discuss the immigration component of the terror bombing of the Boston Marathon on April 15, 2013 by the Tsarnaev brothers. Fox News posted a video of the discussion under the title, “Immigration Expert: The System Failed in Boston and Keeps on Failing [15].”

The New York Times published an article on May 20, 2015, “In Osama bin Laden Library: Illuminati and Bob Woodward” [16] that reported on what American commandos discovered when they raided bin Laden’s compound on May 2, 2011. Here is a significant paragraph:
He also appeared to have maintained a keen interest in what the United States government thought of Al Qaeda. A copy of “The 9/11 Commission Report” was found in the compound in Abbottabad, as were three reports on Al Qaeda by the Congressional Research Service. There was also an application for American citizenship (no word on whether it was filled out).
I addressed this issue in two of my recent commentaries.

On May 19, 2015 FrontPage Magazine published my article, “Terrorists Value U.S. Citizenship More Than Our Politicians Do [17].”

On May 22, 2015 Californians for Population Stabilization published my article, “Bin Laden, The 9/11 Commission Report and Immigration [18].”

It must be believed that bin Laden read the 9/11 Commission Report. The obvious question is whether our political “leaders” from either party have read that report and the companion report issued by the 9/11 Commission Staff.

One member of Congress who has definitely read those reports, and is admanant about the contents of them, is Congressman Lou Barletta from Pennsylvania. I consider Lou Barletta to be a good friend. When he was the mayor of the town of Hazleton, Pennsylvania, prior to running for Congress, he was horrified to find that a Dominican drug gang had set up shop in his town. Suddenly he had to confront murder and a variety of other crimes attributed to illegal alien gang members.

He traveled to Washington to seek help from the Bush administration and was told, in essence, that he was on his own. He returned to Hazleton and, faced with no alternative, he installed the first local ordinances ever enacted on the local level against the hiring of illegal aliens. He was promptly sued. I was his final witness at the federal trial that followed.

On September 3, 2013 I joined Congressman Lou Barletta on the campus of Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University to participate in a town hall meeting on the topic of “Immigration Policy and Homeland Security.” Marc Bernier, a radio show host on Dayton Beach, Florida radio station WNDB, and an assistant to the president of Embry-Riddle University, moderated the discussion.
The video of that event is available online as a C-SPAN video [19].

Lou and I have worked closely on immigration issues ever since. He quoted me [20] when he participated in a congressional Homeland Security hearing into first responders and then went on to read relevant excerpts from the 9/11 Commission Staff Report on Terrorist Travel and asked if they agreed that it would make sense to prevent the next terror attack by following the advice contained in those reports rather than have to deal with an attack because we failed to take that advice seriously.

At a hearing on December 2, 2014 Lou questioned Homeland Security Secretary Jeh Johnson about amnesty and the 9/11 Commission report at a hearing. A video [21] of that exchange is well-worth watching. During their exchange Barletta became frustrated with Johnson’s responses and said, in part, “When it comes to illegal immigration, the conversation is always about the illegal immigrant and not about the people it would effect…and it’s not fair.”

On January 12, 2015 Lou discussed [22] the fact that there would be no face-to-face interviews for applicants for amnesty at a hearing on the funding of Homeland Security.

Nevertheless, thus far not a single presidential candidate has acknowledged the fact that America’s borders and immigration laws are our first line of defense and last line of defense against international terrorists and transnational criminals. Not one of these politicians has connected the need to effectively enforce our immigration laws to protect the jobs of American workers. Leaders of both political parties, the “Repugnantcans” and “Demoncrats” as I have come to refer to them, talk about the need for defeating ISIS and addressing national security and protect America and Americans from terrorists. They all talk about creating jobs and getting the stagnant economy going. Yet no one has been willing to “connect the dots” between immigration and these threats to national security, public safety or the well-being of American workers and their families.

It is long overdue that our leaders, irrespective of political party, would be as determined to keep terrorists and criminals and narcotics out of the United States as they are to keep weapons and terrorists off of airliners. When an unauthorized person opens a wrong door at an airport the airport goes into lockdown. However, according to our “leaders,” aliens who run our borders have “earned” citizenship.

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Article printed from FrontPage Magazine:

URLs in this post:

[2] TSA chief ousted after airport security flunks test, misses most weapons, explosives:

[5] The 9/11 Commission Report:

[7] “GOP rep weighs asylum review in immigration bill”:

[10] “INS’s March 2002 Notification of Approval of Change of Status for Pilot Training for Terrorist Hijackers Mohammed Atta and Marwan al-Shehhi.”:

[12] “Exclusive: US May Have Let ‘Dozens’ of Terrorists Into Country As Refugees.:

[13] Visas reviewed to find those who overstayed / Aim is to find any would-be terrorists:

[14] Lost in America: Visa Program Struggles to ‘Track Missing Foreign Students.'”:

[15] Immigration Expert: The System Failed in Boston and Keeps on Failing:

[16] “In Osama bin Laden Library: Illuminati and Bob Woodward”:

[18] Bin Laden, The 9/11 Commission Report and Immigration

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