Saturday, July 15, 2017

Canada's Multi-Million-Dollar Pay-Out to a 'Foreign Terrorist Fighter'

July 15, 2017

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Omar Khadr was 15 years old when he was shot and detained during a firefight in Afghanistan. He was later sent to the U.S. military prison in Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, where he pleaded guilty in 2010 in exchange for a chance to return to Canada.  (JASON FRANSON / THE CANADIAN PRESS FILE PHOTO)  

The government of Canada recently issued an official apology -- and acknowledged awarding an "undisclosed" sum of money -- to Toronto-born Islamist terrorist Omar Khadr for his "ordeal" at the U.S. military base in Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, and "any resulting harm" he was caused by the "torture" (specifically, sleep deprivation, solitary confinement and threats) that led to his confession.

On July 7, Canadian Foreign Minister Chrystia Freeland and Minister of Public Safety and Emergency Preparedness Ralph Goodale released a statement announcing the "hope that this expression, and the negotiated settlement reached with the Government, will assist him in his efforts to begin a new and hopeful chapter in his life with his fellow Canadians."

The civil settlement was reached with Khadr, 30, who was 10 when his family returned to the Middle East, and 15 when he was arrested fighting in Afghanistan with al Qaeda and the Taliban, the terrorist organizations to which his father was affiliated -- on the basis of the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms.

In 2003, Khadr confessed to throwing the grenade that killed U.S. Special Forces Sgt. 1st Class Christopher Speer and caused Sgt. 1st Class Layne Morris to lose an eye. Years later, he retracted his confession, claiming it had been extracted under duress. In fact, it was part of a plea deal that enabled him to be extradited to Canada to serve the rest of his sentence there.

With news of the large settlement he received -- 10,500,000 Canadian dollars (approximately USD $8,000,000) -- he gave an extensive interview to CBC's Power & Politics host Rosemary Barton, in which he said he thinks that the apology from the Canadian government "restores a little bit my reputation here in Canada, and I think that's the biggest thing for me." He declined to comment on having just received multi-millions in tax-free dollars.

He also had the effrontery to say that he just wants "to be a normal person" and finish his nursing degree to help under-served communities. "I have a lot of experience with... and appreciation of pain," he explained, expressing only sorrow that the Speer and Morris families consider him responsible for their own pain.

Amid harsh criticism against the Liberal government by opposition Conservatives and members of the public outraged that their tax dollars are going to a convicted terrorist, Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau responded to reporters' questions on the matter during a press conference marking the July 8 close of G20 summit in Hamburg.

Trudeau said that the settlement had nothing to do with Khadr's 2002 actions on the battlefield in Afghanistan, but rather with the fact that his rights had been violated. This is precisely what the Canadian Supreme Court ruled in 2008 and 2010, after Khadr's lawyers sued for damages.

Trudeau added that the Charter of Rights and Freedoms protects all Canadians, "even when it is uncomfortable. When the government violates any Canadian's Charter rights, we all end up paying for it."

Meanwhile, Goodale tried to evade responsibility, by casting aspersions on the previous government, headed by Conservative Prime Minister Stephen Harper, in power when Khadr was returned to Canada in 2012 to serve the remainder of his prison sentence for five counts of war crimes. Goodale accused Harper of having "refused to repatriate Mr. Khadr or otherwise resolve the matter."

In spite of the fact that Khadr was arrested and detained when Liberal governments were in power in Canada, Goodale was referring to appeals during Harper's tenure -- which began in 2006 -- by Canadian Liberal and human rights lawyers to "bring Omar Khadr home."
In 2008, former Canadian Justice Minister Irwin Cotler wrote:
"I join other scholars and associations of jurists in calling for Omar Khadr to be transferred into the custody of Canadian law enforcement officials, to be afforded due process under Canadian law, with prospects for appropriate rehabilitation and integration."
Cotler also stated,
"Admittedly, the Khadr family has emerged, as some have put it, as synonymous with terrorism. But, the test of the rule of law is not its application in the easy cases, but its retention in the unpopular ones... Omar Khadr, a child victim, should now be afforded the justice denied him all these years, however unpopular and unpalatable his case may appear to be."
In response to Goodale's implication that had it not been for the previous government, the current one would not have been forced to apologize to and pay Khadr, Harper immediately took to social media, writing:
The government today attempted to lay blame elsewhere for their decision to conclude a secret deal with Omar Khadr. The decision to enter into this deal is theirs, and theirs alone, and it is simply wrong. Canadians deserve better than this. Today my thoughts are with Tabitha Speer and the families of all Canadian and allied soldiers who paid the ultimate price fighting to protect us.
Canadian Senator Linda Frum railed against the settlement, tweeting: "Has any soldier who fought FOR Canada ever received as generous a reward as this soldier who fought against us?"

Given Khadr's family history, Frum's fury is justified.

In this still image taken from a video found in the rubble of the compound where Omar Khadr was captured on July 27, 2002, a 15-year-old Khadr constructs an improvised explosive device. (Courtesy U.S. Defense Operations/Wikimedia Commons)

As the New York Post reported, Khadr is the son of a Palestinian mother and an Egyptian father (Ahmed Khadr), who had strong ties to the Muslim Brotherhood, and became one of Osama bin Laden's loyal lieutenants. After 9/11, Ahmed Khadr was placed on the FBI's most-wanted list in relations to the attacks. He was arrested in Pakistan in 1995 on suspicion of financing the suicide bombing at the Egyptian Embassy in Islamabad, in which 16 people were killed. Protesting his innocence, he went on a hunger strike, and the Canadian government, then headed by Liberal Prime Minister Jean Chrétien, rallied behind him.

While on a trade mission to Pakistan, Chrétien appealed to Prime Minister Benazir Bhutto, and a few months later, Ahmed was released from prison and sent back with his family to Toronto. However, according to the New York Post, the Khadr clan soon returned to Pakistan, where Ahmed Khadr resumed his connections with al Qaeda and the Taliban. Young Omar Khadr not only met with the leaders of these terrorist groups, but lived with his parents and siblings in the bin Laden family compound, attending al Qaeda training camps, which his father -- who was killed in 2003 -- partly funded.

The report continued:
"A month before he joined an al Qaeda cell in 2002, Omar was sent by his father for private instruction in explosives and combat... [where he] learned to launch rocket-propelled grenades and became skilled at planting improvised explosive devices that were used to blow up US armored vehicles in Afghanistan."
In his interrogation about the incident that led to his arrest and subsequent incarceration at Guantanamo, Omar Khadr said he had been on a suicide mission "to kill as many Americans as possible."

This did not prevent the U.S. military from flying an ophthalmologist to the Bagram Air Base -- where was being treated for wounds he sustained while fighting American and Canadian soldiers -- to save his eyes and keep him from going blind.

Nor did it cause Omar to experience gratitude on the one hand, or remorse on the other. On the contrary, as military court documents revealed, when he was informed that Speer had died, he said he "felt happy" for having murdered an American. He also said that whenever he remembered killing Speer, it would make him "feel good."

According to a report in the Globe and Mail, the Toronto lawyer representing Morris and Tabitha Speer -- who won a default judgment in 2015 in the U.S. against Omar for $134 million – began proceedings to contest the Canadian government's settlement and prevent it from going forward.

It is clearly too late for that; the money has already been transferred to Omar. Furthermore, the transaction was done swiftly and "quietly," to make legal action by taxpayers in Canada or the Morris and Speer families in America virtually impossible.

Morris is understandably angry and hurt. "The fact is Chris Speer and myself were fighting with Canadians in Afghanistan," he said.
"We were alongside the PPCLI (Princess Patricia's Canadian Light Infantry). There was a Canadian flag flying along with the American flag at our base there, so it's quite a thing that now Canada is giving millions to a guy who would attack a compound where Canadians were serving. I don't see this as anything but treason... As far as I am concerned, Prime Minister Trudeau should be charged."
Thus far, the administration in Washington has remained silent on Khadr pay-out, which came to light during the weekend of the G20 summit in Germany, where U.S. President Donald Trumpheaped praise on his Canadian counterpart.

Trump even opened his speech at a World Bank event to promote and finance women entrepreneurs in developing countries by declaring: "We have a great neighbor in Canada and Justin [Trudeau] is doing a spectacular job... Everybody loves him, and they love him for a reason..."

This assertion, given the information that has since emerged about Khadr case, was unfortunate. Far more ironic under the circumstances, however, was the "Statement on Countering Terrorism," signed by the leaders of the G20.

Its 21 clauses include a commitment to "address the evolving threat of returning foreign terrorist fighters ... from conflict zones such as Iraq and Syria and remain committed to preventing [them] from establishing a foothold in other countries and regions around the world," and to "facilitate swift and targeted exchanges of information between intelligence and law enforcement and judicial authorities... [to] ensure that terrorists are brought to justice."

Such words are empty without actions to back them up. Omar Khadr is a classic example of a "foreign terrorist fighter." Yet the Canadian legal system categorized him -- in Cotler's words -- as a "child victim, [who] should... be afforded the justice denied him all these years."

It is bad enough to describe a teenager who set out to "kill as many Americans as possible" in this way. It is far worse that he is a free -- and still very young -- man, paid not only respect by the government whose values he was raised to abhor, but millions of dollars, to boot. If anything serves to encourage other terrorists to leave North America and Europe to fight in the Middle East, it is stories such as this one.

The Trump administration must call Trudeau to task for this perversion, and offer an immediate and very public apology to Khadr's American victims, who did not receive a penny for their patriotic sacrifice.

Ruthie Blum is the author of "To Hell in a Handbasket: Carter, Obama, and the 'Arab Spring.'"

Friday, July 14, 2017

Sharyl Attkisson Exposes Big Media in 'The Smear'

By Elise Cooper
July 14, 2017

Image result for sharyl attkisson the smear

Journalists today are elitists with their own agenda, never actually practicing journalism.  Only a handful can be respected, trusted, and believed.  Sharyl Attkisson falls into this category.  She is an author and investigative reporter who hosts the syndicated TV news series Full Measure.  Attkisson is a whistleblower of sorts in educating the public about the biased media.  Her latest book, The Smear, reveals the tactics used to influence opinions in order to obscure the truth.

In the beginning of this book, Attkisson discusses the propaganda campaign used by the OSS, the predecessor to the CIA.  They had asked the legendary Marlene Dietrich to sing "Lili Marlene" in German and English in order to make the Axis forces feel homesick and realize they were fighting for the wrong side.  She contrasts this with Hitler's chief propagandist Joseph Goebbels's playbook, which calls for creating a big lie – the bigger, the better to get more people to believe it.  Repeat it often enough so it becomes the truth, and persistence is the most important requirement for success.

Today's media and leftists seem to take a page not out of the OSS, but out of Goebbels's strategy.  Attkisson wants to inform Americans on the tactics used by political operatives on both sides as well as corporate operatives.  These tactics fall into categories of "Astroturf and transactional journalism," all tools of the smear campaign.  She told American Thinker her definition of a smear: "taking a sprinkle of truth and perverting it into a weapon of mass destruction to advance an undisclosed larger goal, often political or financial.  Smear campaigns take something that many times has a grain of truth and amplifies it to accomplish the annihilation of their target."

Attkisson has experienced smear campaigns personally.  In an email, then-attorney general Eric Holder's top press aide, Tracy Schmaler, called Attkisson "out of control" and intended to call CBS news anchor Bob Schieffer to get the network to stop her reporting on Fast and Furious.  After Attkisson's first book, Stonewalled, came out, the liberal smear group Media Matters reviewed it as having "sloppy inaccuracies and absent context that reinforce her image as a journalist more interested in a biased narrative than uncovering the facts."

One way the operatives do this is by Astroturf, an "idea to keep the public from ever knowing exactly who is behind a particular effort to sway opinion.  I describe it in my book as a way to saturate our consciousness, where we are made to think everyone believes something.  It's similar to the bandwagon approach.  If you do not agree with a narrative, you are made to believe you're an outlier, afraid to say what you think because 'no one' agrees with you.  The idea is to give the impression there's widespread support for or against an issue when there may not be."  Attkisson points out that in his last State of the Union address, President Obama's statements on climate change implied that anyone who does not support the popular theory is out of step with the rest of the world.  In fact, polling contradicted the president.  Just recently, while in South Korea, he continued this false narrative: "In Paris, we came together around the most ambitious agreement in history about climate change."

Transactional journalism refers to the "friendly, mutually beneficial relationships that have developed between reporters and those on whom they report.  It's when the relationships cross a line."  Falling into that category are some political pundits.  Take for example CNN's Donna Brazile, a Democratic Party operative, who secretly slipped Hillary Clinton an advance question for a CNN town hall with Bernie Sanders.  Attkisson noted, "We are not keeping an adequate firewall, giving the very people access to the newsroom who are trying to sway our opinion and shape news coverage.  I am often not sure what these pundits on both sides add, besides propaganda talking points.  As I discuss in the book, Media Matters and its groups claim to have coached and trained hundreds of these pundits on everything from messaging to facial expressions and body language, so they can appear on television news shows and effectively distribute narratives.  This is part of what I call the 'soft infiltration' of the news media.  We haven't done a good job at staying at arm's length from the interests who seek to use us as tools."  For example, Fox News has hired one of the Obamacare architects who basically got everything wrong about Obamacare.  Yet he is now commenting on the new health care plan.  Attkisson wonders, "Why is he being put forth as an expert in anything?"

Cognitive dissonance is the discomfort that results from the perception of a dichotomy between what is told and what is actually occurring.  People's own personal experience allows them to question what the media is reporting or those in government are saying.  Donald Trump's recent speech in Poland had those who watched it saying how great it was for championing Western values.  Yet CNN and MSNBC said the Western values could appeal only to whites.  Are they implying that minorities do not believe in freedom of speech and religion, or in equality for all?

Remember President Obama's famous words: if you like your doctor and insurance, you can keep them.  Yet a vast number of Americans found Obamacare worse than their previous health insurance.

Attkisson told of the example where polls showed Hillary Clinton widely ahead, even though she saw something quite different while traveling the country and digging into the polls.  "On August 10, 2016, Bloomberg reported Clinton up by six.  But looking at the actual poll, I found that her lead over Trump had shrunk by eighteen points in the past five months.  Yet no news outlets reported that."  Maybe this is why the press has such a dismal approval rating.  A recent PBS poll showed that the media are trusted by only 30%.

Attkisson went on: "I believe Donald Trump should be covered, as any president should, aggressively, and questioned on what he does.  Yet there has been a shocking degree of false reporting on him in this short period of time by formerly well respected news organizations that have publicly suspended their normal standards and practices to cover Trump, saying they view him as uniquely 'dangerous.'  This has also led to such practices as over-reliance on anonymous sources, who prove to be wrong time and again.  I think this has resulted in experienced journalists at formerly well respected news organizations like CNN, Time, The New York Times, and The Washington Post making rookie mistakes that would not even be accepted in journalism colleges."

As an investigative reporter, Attkisson is an expert at detecting smear campaigns.  She warns, "One smear artist I interviewed said nearly every image you run across in daily life, whether it's on the news, a comedian's joke, a meme on social media, or a comment on the internet, was put there for a reason.  It's like scenes in a movie, he said.  Nothing happens by accident.  Sometimes people have paid a great deal of money to put those images before you.  What you need to ask yourself isn't so much 'is it true,' but 'who wants me to believe it and why?'"  This is why everyone should be reading The Smear: to find out how they do it, who is doing it, and what to look for regarding these dirty tactics.  

The author writes for American Thinker.  She has done book reviews and author interviews and has written a number of national security, political, and foreign policy articles.

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Thursday, July 13, 2017

The Organic Industry Is in Turmoil

As Amazon buys Whole Foods, the USDA investigates whether foods sold as “organic” in the U.S. really are.

By Julie Kelly — July 12, 2017
Image result for whole foods organic
Amazon’s acquisition of Whole Foods, the grocer that brought pricey organic food to the masses, comes during a time of turmoil in the organic industry: The Department of Agriculture is continuing to investigate the importation of millions of pounds of phony organic grains. The move is in response to a lengthy Washington Post exposé published in May that tracked shipments of corn and soybeans from Turkey, Romania, and Ukraine that were labeled “organic” but were not (I wrote about it here).

The Post reported that the fraudulent imports were “large enough to constitute a meaningful proportion of the U.S. supply of those commodities,” a troubling development that should raise serious questions about the veracity of the organic label, since these grains are mostly being used as livestock feed to meet National Organic Program’s (NOP) standards. Organic meat and dairy products must be sourced from animals fed only organic grains; this has led to an enormous surge in imports over the past few years, since nearly all the corn and soybeans grown here are from genetically modified seeds, verboten in organic production. 
Organic soybean imports have jumped sixfold from 2011, and organic corn imports have quadrupled since 2013; Turkey is now the largest exporter of both crops to the U.S.
A USDA spokeswoman confirmed to me that an investigation is ongoing and said the agency has already revoked the license of one Turkish handler. (Organic verification is done by an outside party, not by the USDA directly; 82 certifiers oversee 31,000 organic farms and businesses in 111 countries and the U.S.) The spokeswoman also said the agency is “currently investigating other evidence related to shipments of soybeans and corn. These investigations will continue in the coming weeks, and NOP will issue additional notices and notifications if there is clear evidence of violations.” The USDA cannot suspend imports from these countries as the investigation proceeds, but it has notified importers about the fraudulent grains.

But this problem extends far beyond a few shady international grain dealers. Organic companies have used these non-organic grains in their products and either knowingly or unwittingly sold those goods as certified organic. The Organic Foods Production Act does not authorize recalls of organic products, but the USDA can revoke a company’s organic certification and levy a fine of up to $11,000 per violation. It will be interesting to see if the USDA penalizes any domestic producers for knowingly using phony grains.

While the Post exposed only three shipments of fake grains, it’s safe to assume this has been going on for some time, with perhaps a wink and a nod from folks throughout the organic supply chain. No one questioned how Turkey suddenly became our leading supplier of organic corn and soybeans when those imports were nonexistent just a few years ago? This is more than someone just being asleep at the switch; this is selective ignorance on a large scale.

All of this finally prompted the nation’s largest organic lobbying group, the Organic Trade Association (OTA), to take action. Last month, the group formed a Global Organic Supply Chain Integrity Task Force to “develop a best practices guide to use in managing and verifying global organic supply chain integrity to help brands and traders manage and mitigate the risk and occurrence of organic fraud.” This might be long overdue, since organic-goods imports are skyrocketing. According to OTA estimates, organic-corn imports more than quadrupled between 2013 and 2016, while organic-soybean imports more than doubled.

OTA spokeswoman Maggie McNeil told me that the group’s “top priority is to protect the integrity of organic. We support strong and robust oversight and enforcement of organic certification practices and standards both inside and outside of the U.S.” The group will ask for more money in the 2018 farm bill, including a 10 percent annual increase in the NOP’s budget and $5 million to upgrade technology systems for international trade-tracking systems and data collection.

But until the USDA concludes its investigation and all responsible parties are held accountable for this massive fraud in our food supply, no additional tax money should go to fund the NOP. Indeed, Congress should reconsider whether the NOP, which is designed as a marketing program, should be under the federal government’s purview at all. Meghan Cline, a spokeswoman for the Senate Agriculture, Nutrition and Forestry Committee, told me that the committee “will be taking a close look at the NOP as part of the upcoming Farm Bill reauthorization process.”

In the meantime, consumers of the $47 billion organic market who pay a premium for organic food should take a hard look at what they’re paying for. Folks buy organic because visions of a local farmer growing crops and feeding them carefully to his animals dance in their heads. Now that we know this is patently false, and that most of the organic foodstuff in our supply is shipped here from other countries, maybe it’s time to reconsider paying double for that quart of organic milk. Especially since it’s likely the cow is being fed phony grains from Turkey.

— Julie Kelly is a writer from Orland Park, Ill.

Wednesday, July 12, 2017

When Ted Kennedy's Russian Pal Wanted to Kill the Pope

By Paul Kengor
July 12, 2017

Image result for kengor pope president

As longtime readers of American Thinker know, I’ve here several times reported the story of Ted Kennedy’s undisclosed outreach and offer to the Kremlin, as revealed in a remarkable May 14, 1983 memo from KGB head Victor Chebrikov to his boss, the odious Soviet General Secretary Yuri Andropov, designated with the highest classification. The document was found in the Central Committee archives and first reported in a February 2, 1992 article in the London Times. I was the first to break the document in full via both the original Russian and an English translation, which I printed in books published in 2006 and 2010. The latter of these two books, titled Dupes, detailed the facts surrounding the memo.

The subject head of the document, carried under the words, “Special Importance,” read: “Regarding Senator Kennedy’s request to the General Secretary of the Communist Party Y. V. Andropov.” According to the memo, Senator Kennedy was “very troubled” by U.S.-Soviet relations, which Kennedy attributed not to the murderous tyrant running the USSR but to President Reagan. The problem was Reagan’s “belligerence,” said the memo, and made worse by Reagan’s stubbornness. “According to Kennedy,” reported Chebrikov, “the current threat is due to the President’s refusal to engage any modification to his politics.” That refusal, said the memo, was exacerbated by Reagan’s political success, which made the president surer of his course, and more obstinate -- and, worst of all, re-electable.

To address this Reagan problem, Kennedy offered various suggestions to his Russian friends -- or, as Chebrikov, put it: “Kennedy believes that, given the state of current affairs, and in the interest of peace, it would be prudent and timely to undertake the following steps to counter the militaristic politics of Reagan.” He described certain ideas from Kennedy to help the Soviets “influence Americans,” including Kennedy arranging for Kremlin officials to meet with certain major American media organizations and reporters, such as Walter Cronkite and Barbara Walters, both of whom were named in the memo.

Again, this was so important because Reagan, as Kennedy saw it -- and conveyed to his Russian pals -- was so belligerent and, apparently, dangerous.

This was decidedly different from how Kennedy reportedly felt about Andropov and his cohort. As Chebrikov noted in his memo, “Kennedy is very impressed with the activities of Y. V. Andropov and other Soviet leaders.”

Very impressed? With Andropov and other Soviet leaders? Really?

The KGB memo concluded with a discussion of Kennedy’s own presidential prospects in 1984, and a note that Kennedy “underscored that he eagerly awaits a reply to his appeal.”

What came from this? We don’t know. The KGB didn’t tell us, and our liberal journalists didn’t want to find out. Our illustrious news organizations didn’t probe Kennedy for an answer on what this was all about. My reporting on this document exploded in the conservative media in 2006 and again in 2010, addressed by Brit Hume on Fox News, Rush Limbaugh, Sean Hannity, Tucker Carlson at the Daily Caller, and, still to this day, sources such as Glenn Beck and Mark Levin and Andrew Wilkow. (Levin and Wilkow, above all, have stayed on this issue very closely.) But Kennedy escaped any scrutiny whatsoever. He took his knowledge to the grave.

So, why am I mentioning this now?

The main reason is as obvious as the hourly headlines: I repeat it in order to underscore the hypocrisy of liberals in suddenly hooting and hollering about Russian connections now that Donald Trump is in the White House. They have no credibility. They are partisans.

But secondly, I’d like to add still more to this story -- a new perspective that further exposes the sheer egregiousness of Kennedy’s alleged affections for Yuri Andropov.

I’m here to update this now in light of an even more disturbing wrinkle to the Kennedy-Andropov story. In the last few weeks, I released a new book for which I began filing FOIA requests even farther back (namely, starting in 2000-2001). That book is on Pope John Paul II and Ronald Reagan, titled A Pope and a President.

In that book, I chronicle the events of May 13, 1981, when Pope John Paul II was shot smack in the middle of St. Peter’s Square. I lay out in that book that Moscow ordered the hit on the pope.

The crime is traceable to the Soviet GRU, military intelligence. The GRU ordered the hit on the world’s leading religious figure, though the GRU proceeded with the go-ahead of the odious head of the KGB, Yuri Andropov, who had been Vladimir Putin’s boss. (For the record, I cannot imagine that Putin had a scintilla of involvement in this conspiracy. He wasn’t high-level enough; only the rarest Soviet officials had any knowledge of this -- of what William Safire would dub “The Crime of the Century.” That said, to this day, Putin has been a major protector of the GRU and the KGB since he came to power. Surely Putin now, today, knows what happened on May 13, 1981.)

I include in my book verbatim details of a phone call between KGB head Yuri Andropov and the KGB’s top official in Warsaw back in October 1978, just after the Polish cardinal had been named pope. Andropov was beside himself, stunned that this could happen: “How could you possibly allow the election of a citizen of a socialist country as pope?” he asked the KGB chief in Warsaw.

Andropov wanted this pope -- that is, Ted Kennedy’s pope -- gone. Literally.

Just six weeks after Karol Wojtyła’s election, Yuri Andropov ordered up what John Paul II’s biographer later characterized as a “massive” KGB analysis on the potential impact of the new pope. He would also sign a document ordering that his stooges find a way to get “physically close” to the Polish pontiff.

The man tasked to do the job was a 23-year-old Muslim Turk named Mehmet Ali Agca. Later he would name seven accomplices, all working under a plan conceived by the Bulgarian secret service. The Bulgarians were dutiful stooges to the Kremlin. They didn’t do anything without Soviet approval.

Agca used a Browning semiautomatic 9-millimeter handgun. He fired four times and hit the pope twice.

There are many tantalizing threads to this story. Among them is a crucial finding in my research: Ronald Reagan’s CIA director, Bill Casey, ordered a truly super-secret investigation of the case. Casey, like Reagan, like top Reagan officials such as Bill Clark, suspected Moscow from the outset. That investigation, conducted by a tight-knit group under Casey’s command, identified Moscow.

Moreover, I learned that Casey briefed Ronald Reagan on the finding. I believe the exact date and time that Casey briefed Reagan on that explosive finding was May 16, 1985 at 11:02 a.m. in the White House. And Casey would also brief John Paul II in Rome. The pope was utterly unsurprised. He suspected Moscow since 1981, from the outset.

This information and its implications were so explosive that the full details of the CIA’s internal investigation have never been released or even acknowledged. To this day, it remains the most secret investigation of the Cold War.
But back to my main point in this article:

It was the GRU that organized the hit. But the GRU did so with the knowledge, the blessing, and the direct go-ahead of none other than Yuri Andropov.

This was the same Yuri Andropov that Ted Kennedy was reportedly so “impressed” with, according to none other than the head of the KGB at the time -- according to a typed document by Chebrikov.

And what makes this so much worse is that this pope was the Polish pope who helped win the Cold War, who is now no less than a saint in the Roman Catholic Church, and who -- bear in mind -- was the pope of a professing Roman Catholic named Ted Kennedy.

Will the liberal media be interested in this story as they mount their tanks toward Moscow? Not a chance. This isn’t my first rodeo. I know the sound of crickets when I hear it. I heard it when I began breaking the Kennedy-Andropov story over 10 years ago. I know I’ll hear it again now.

And besides, the collective liberal media is far more interested in Donald Trump and the Russians and Trump’s “white-nationalist dog whistles” in Warsaw.

If the Kremlin worked against Hillary -- well, that would be beyond the pale! Political Armageddon! Horrors! Now that’s an outrage!

But if the Kremlin might have considered working with Ted Kennedy against Ronald Reagan… or, whether the Kremlin ordered the assassination of Ted Kennedy’s pope, a great religious leader, a great Polish figure who helped defeat an Evil Empire?

Nope. Non-news.

Paul Kengor is professor of political science at Grove City College. His latest book is A Pope and a President: John Paul II, Ronald Reagan, and the Extraordinary Untold Story of the 20th Century.

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The Jihad-Loving Left Loves Linda Sarsour

By Ben Shapiro
July 12, 2017

Muslim-American activist Linda Sarsour speaks at the Islamic Society of North America (ISNA) convention in Chicago, July 2017. (Screenshot)
Muslim-American activist Linda Sarsour speaks at the Islamic Society of North America (ISNA) convention in Chicago, July 2017. (Screenshot)

Last week, Women’s March organizer and leftist darling Linda Sarsour spoke before the Islamic Society of North America (ISNA). There, she called for a “jihad” against President Trump, specifying that she hoped Allah would accept her “word of truth in front of a tyrant or leader” as a “form of jihad.” Sarsour was playing a double game, naturally: She used the word “jihad” because she knew it would generate headlines and because she knew that “jihad” means more than any mere mental struggle. In fact, Sarsour led off her speech by paying tribute to Siraj Wajjah, her “favorite person in the room.” Wajjah was an unindicted co-conspirator in the 1993 World Trade Center bombing, a witness on behalf of the Blind Sheikh terrorist, and a man who has repeatedly embraced the notion of violent jihad. Sarsour, too, explicitly rejected assimilation. Sarsour is also friends with Islamist terrorist Rasmeah Odeh, took a picture with former Hamas operative Salah Sarsour, and brags about relatives in prison in Israel.

Sarsour’s two-faced approach to “Islamophobia” demonstrates her extremism. While she complains in the pages of the Washington Post about “attacks from xenophobes and the conservative media,” she was far more explicit on Twitter about her perceived enemies: “white supremacists & right wing Zionists,” whom she said were even paying moderate Muslims who oppose Sarsour’s radicalism. “Zionist” is the ultimate insult in the Sarsour pantheon: She has stated in the past that Zionists cannot be feminists. She has also stated that anti-radical Islamic activists such as Ayaan Hirsi Ali, a victim of Islamic female genital mutilation, should have their vaginas removed. Sarsour is a big fan, however, of Saudi Arabia’s maternity-leave policies, even if women aren’t allowed to drive.

The group before which Sarsour was speaking, ISNA, has its own issues with terrorist associations. ISNA was founded by Muslim Brotherhood members and was listed as an unindicted co-conspirator in the 2007 Holy Land Foundation terror-funding trial; ISNA actually shared an address with the Holy Land Foundation. One of the founders of the group was Sami Al-Arian, who would later be deported to Turkey thanks to his aid to terrorist groups. For years, the head of the ISNA Political Awareness Committee was led by Abdurahman Alamoudi, who would be convicted on terror charges.

Suffice it to say that neither Sarsour nor ISNA has a clean record with regard to “jihad.”
The double game being played by some supposedly Westernized Muslim institutions in the West became clear when I appeared on Fox News last Friday evening with Dana Perino and Hassan Shibly, a spokesperson for the Council on American-Islamic Relations. CAIR was recently listed as a terrorist group by the United Arab Emirates; like ISNA, CAIR was listed as an unindicted co-conspirator in the Holy Land Foundation trial, with significant links to the Muslim Brotherhood.

During the interview, I stated some of the facts about Sarsour; Shibly quickly complained that I was attacking Sarsour in her absence. At that point, I asked Shibly about CAIR’s own associations with terrorism — and Shibly then accused me of shifting topics.

He could not escape answering one critical question, however: Would he condemn the Muslim Brotherhood? Shibly declined to do so, claiming that CAIR did not condemn “political organizations,” stating that I would not denounce the KKK — which, to his surprise, I promptly did. He then refused to answer whether CAIR would even denounce Hamas. In reality, CAIR has never denounced Hamas, and a CAIR rally in 2013 featured participants shouting, “We are Hamas!” Yet Shibly had the gall to claim that “jihad” meant only “struggle for good.”

Despite all of this, the Democratic party continues to revere Sarsour, ISNA, CAIR, and other faux moderates in the Muslim community. As long as radical Muslims are willing to make common cause with other Democratic identity groups — LGBT, black, female, Hispanic — then Democrats are willing to overlook their more dangerous aspects. In fact, the Democratic party has decided that it is a high priority to ensure the presence of radical Muslims in their coalition — Trump, after all, has targeted radical Islam, and the grand Axis of Victimhood would be bereft without representatives of that group, too. Thus, the Chicago Dyke March banned Jews from flying a flag with a Jewish star on it lest it offend the anti-Semites in the crowd.

The Democratic party’s celebration of Sarsour — both Bernie Sanders and Barack Obama have praised her to the skies — exposes the poison that intersectionality injects into the body politic. Sarsour may just be an activist, but Representative Keith Ellison (D., Minn.), who shares her views, nearly became head of the Democratic National Committee last year.

Pandering to radicals of all stripes is only possible if Democrats castigate President Trump and Republicans as a frightening “other” — how else would they be able to justify jumping into bed with such nefarious actors? Bound together by the glue of hatred, Sarsour and Sanders and Obama and Ellison fight next to one another on behalf of the cause. Never mind that Sarsour’s utopia looks nothing like Sanders’s. As long as they have a common enemy, they’ll make alliances of convenience.

— Ben Shapiro is the editor in chief of the Daily Wire.

Tuesday, July 11, 2017

The Terrifying Way Sweden Is Killing Itself

July 10, 2017

Eritrean migrants arrive at Lulea Airport in northern Sweden under the EU's quota scheme. (AP/BTA)

I could be writing every week about Sweden. Every day. Every hour. For reasons that will be analyzed by historians for a long, long time – provided the Western world doesn't become so thoroughly Islamized that the possibility of objective historical scrutiny is utterly obliterated – the Swedes have chosen a path of cultural and societal suicide that puts all other countries in the shade.

For anyone curious about self-destructive psychopathologies, it is a grimly fascinating phenomenon. Why, of all places, Sweden? How can a Swedish woman raped by an illegal Muslim immigrant be so bursting with racial guilt that she hesitates to report the crime to the police for fear that her report might lead to her rapist's punishment or deportation? Or, more generally, because news of the offense might result in an increase in “Islamophobia?"

This is the kind of madness that's going on in Sweden now. More than any other country in Europe, it has a government and a media that are in denial about the truth, a legal system that punishes those who dare to tell the truth, and a people who have been brainwashed for decades with the vile lie that they have a moral obligation to hand their country over to hostile, despotic strangers from far away.

No, Sweden isn't North Korea. The ugly news does get out, one way or another. Some of it, anyway. It's just that, with extremely rare exceptions, the important facts about the nation's disastrous Islamization don't find their way into the country's own mainstream media. On the contrary, Sweden's major TV, radio, and print outlets are notorious for the fidelity with which they parrot the government line and omit or whitewash uncomfortable news developments.

No, if you're looking for the truth, the whole truth, and nothing but the truth about most of the nasty stuff going on in Sweden these days, you're better off checking out Swedish websites such as Avpixlat and Fria Tider, the Danish newspaper Jyllands-Postenand two Norwegian sites: and, the latter being the site of the organization Human Rights Service.

I've previously quoted a March 11 Jyllands-Posten editorial that spelled out the Swedish situation quite frankly: what should “most worry Sweden's neighbors,” the Danish editors wrote, is the Swedes' “unwillingness to openly and honestly discuss the government-approved multicultural idyll. ... In the long run, the mendacity that characterizes the Swedish debate cannot be maintained. The discrepancy between the official, idealized version of Sweden, 'the people's home,' and the brutal reality that everyone can see has simply become too great.”

Indeed. This is a country where rapes by Muslim men are systematically ignored by the authorities or responded to with minimal punishment. Routinely, Swedish courts refuse to return these monsters – some of whom have repeatedly subjected small boys and girls to violent sexual abuse – to their home countries for fear that they'll be put in danger. In other words, Swedish judges care more about the safety of foreign rapists than that of Swedish children.

(No wonder U.S. News and World Report has just named Sweden the best country in the world to be an immigrant. Yet another cockeyed ranking. The proper question isn't which country is best for immigrants, but which country has the most sensible immigration policy.)

It's a country where even prominent Swedish feminists – fanatical boosters of multiculturalism – are now moving out of Muslim-heavy neighborhoods not only because of the Muslim rapists but because of the Muslim “morality police,” who are less concerned with monitoring rapists than with controlling women's conduct. (One such feminist organized “coffee shop meetings” with Muslim male community leaders in an attempt to resolve the situation, but gave up.)

It's a country where the government rolls out the red carpet for returning ISIS members, giving them special benefits, in hopes that they'll see the light and put down their weapons.
It's a country where, while Muslim rapists and terrorists are forgiven, critics of immigrant conduct are punished. In May, a 70-year-old woman in Dalarna, Sweden, was arrested for writing on Facebook in 2015 about immigrants who “set cars on fire and urinate and defecate in the streets.” (She faces up to four years in prison.)

No surprise, then, that on July 7, Jyllands-Posten reported that the Swedish government plans to alter the nation's Constitution in such a way as to give itself the power to limit online free speech about precisely these ticklish matters. Among other things, wrote Jyllands-Posten, it will become illegal “for certain websites to publicize information about private persons' ethnicity or conviction of crimes.”

Of course: the best way to address the ever-rising tide of Muslim criminality is to close down every last media outlet that reports honestly about it. The mainstream Swedish media are already playing ball; it's just a few recalcitrant websites that need to be scrubbed clean. Presumably the next step will be to block access in Sweden to Jyllands-Posten and other foreign news sources that tell Swedes the truth about what's going on within their own borders.

Then everything will be just perfect, no? And what are the chances that no matter how much Sweden tightens its already alarming (if currently tacit) limits on freedom of speech, Reporters without Borders will keep Sweden at its ridiculous #2 spot on the World Press Freedom Index?

Silva surprised by the success of Gabriel Allon, the spy he created

By Paul Freeman
July 10, 2017
Image result for daniel silva house of spies
“House of Spies” is author Daniel Silva’s 17th novel to feature Israeli art restorer/spy/assassin Gabriel Allon. That’s 16 more than Silva expected to write for this complex and compelling protagonist.
“He was never supposed to be a continuing character,” Silva says. “He was supposed to appear in one book and one book only. I actually had to be talked into even writing a second book, because I just didn’t think the marketplace would accept an Israeli as a leading man, a continuing hero. I thought there was too much anti-Israeli sentiment in the world and, frankly, too much anti-Semitism, for it to ever work in a truly mass-market way.
“So I think it’s fair to say that no one’s more surprised by the fact that Gabriel Allon is a number one New York Times bestseller than the person who created him.”
Silva will discuss the character, and the new book, at Oshman Family JCC in Palo Alto on Tuesday.
The latest bestselling novel in the series, the taut, riveting “House of Spies,” released on Tuesday, sends Allon and his associates in Israeli intelligence and Britain’s MI6 on a hunt for the mysterious ISIS mastermind known as Saladin.“I want people to take away the importance of getting rid of ISIS as quickly as possible, which is something I believe we need to do,” Silva says. “That would be the underlying message of the book.”
There’s comfort to be had in experiencing even fictional characters making a dent in terrorist armor.
“That is one of the reasons why people like this kind of book. They feel frustration and they’d like to do what my character and the characters around him do.”
Silva often seems prescient in his writing. He envisioned ISIS attacks taking place in Europe and the U.K. before they actually happened. The U.K. is the primary setting for “House of Spies.”
“I take it very seriously, and I devote a lot of time and effort into following these issues and talking to people. The United Kingdom had been involved in the anti-ISIS coalition from the beginning. The United Kingdom is one of the two great targets in the mind of the global Jihadist movement. The United States obviously being target number one. ISIS definitely wanted to stake its claim to the United Kingdom.”
MGM Television, with Silva’s participation, is creating a series featuring Gabriel Allon. Over the years, Silva has gotten to know Allon as one might a close friend.
“As I say to my wife, I spend more time in his world that I do in this world. I’m working eight to 10 hours a day. Even when I’m not working, the book that I’m writing is running through my subconscious.”
Silva is fascinated not only by Allon’s spy exploits, but by his art restoration. “The more I studied the craft of restoration, it seemed like it had much in common with the craft of assassination — the detail, the way you approach the target.”
Gabriel Allon has resonated with readers across the globe. “It’s his humanity, really,” Silva says. “It is the fact that there are two distinct sides to his character, the fact that I write espionage stories in a way that makes them appeal to people who might not necessarily pick up an espionage novel, that I spend a lot of time just in the personal, the interior lives of these characters. And they’re universal. And the journey that he’s taken. His own personal restoration has been a very compelling one.
“When I first created this guy, he was a morose, grieving character, a recluse living at the end of the world, basically, in Cornwall, England. Readers have gone on a remarkable journey with him. He has repaired and restored himself to the best of his ability and is now the chief of the Israeli secret intelligence service.”
Silva toiled in the Middle East as a foreign correspondent before working as a producer for CNN.
“I became a journalist so I could become a novelist. Whether it’s Graham Greene or Hemingway, there’s a long tradition of journalists becoming novelists. It seemed to me to be the best way to do it.”
Born in Michigan and raised in Merced, California, Silva now lives in Florida with his wife, CNN special correspondent Jamie Gangel. Their twins, a son and a daughter, just graduated from university.
Now, when Silva peruses the New York Times, he can’t help but think like a novelist.
“I just can’t read the paper without seeing through the story, what might be happening behind the scenes and then automatically starting to think about writing a book about it. I have more ideas for stories than I’ll ever be able to write.”
After more than 20 years, he did not expect to still be writing about Gabriel Allon’s adventures.
“Doesn’t everyone who writes a long-running series feel like they would like to write something else? I certainly do. I certainly will. At this point, I’ve written more Gabriel Allon novels than Fleming ever wrote Bond novels or Tom Clancy ever wrote Jack Ryan novels. Seventeen is a big number. So I will write something else at some point.
“I think I’m at the halfway point of my career. So it’s a question of when and under what circumstances. Now that I’ve got a television show about to come on the air, there’s going to be even more pressure to keep the series going. But these are good problems to have, right?”
Email Paul Freeman at


Who: Daniel Silva
Where: Oshman Family JCC, Schultz Cultural Arts Hall, 3921 Fabian Way, Palo Alto
When: 8 p.m. Tuesday, July 18, 2017
Tickets: $40 premium (includes book, premium seating and post-event reception with author); $25 ticket and book bundle; $18 general (ticket only); $15 members and J-Pass Holders (ticket only);; 650-223-8649
Author website: