Get PJ Media on your Apple

The PJ Tatler

Even SecDef Hagel Hates Obama’s Syria Policy

Friday, October 31st, 2014 - by Bryan Preston

Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel has reportedly blasted President Obama’s Syria policy. Behind the scenes, Hagel sent a two-page memo to Obama national security adviser Susan Rice. In it, he assailed the dysfunctional policy toward Syria.

The memo was sent last week to President Barack Obama’s national security adviser, Susan Rice, a defence official said on Thursday, confirming a New York Times report.

The memo was cited in the Times article by Hagel’s aides as an example of how the Pentagon chief is more assertive behind the scenes than his reserved public performance might suggest.

Hagel warned that the Syria policy was “in danger of unraveling” due to confusion over the US stance toward Assad, the paper wrote.

The Obama administration has focused on defeating the Islamic State group in Iraq first, and described US-led air strikes in Syria as a way of disrupting the jihadists’ supply lines.

Washington also plans to arm and train a group of 5,000 “moderate” Syrian rebels, but has not committed to attacking Assad regime forces that threaten moderate rebel fighters.

Obama’s Syria policy is a mess, but the decision not to attack Assad isn’t its main problem at this point. And frankly, now that the ISIS horse is out of the barn, we don’t really have any good options.

Attack Assad, you invite his allies Iran and Russia in to defend him one way or another, and if you take him out you may be creating a vacuum into which ISIS can move and grow stronger. So, you weaken Russia and Iran economically by dropping the price of oil. The Saudis are doing that, but so far, Iran and Russia haven’t gotten any less belligerent. They’re not any less likely to find ways to defend their ally, especially if doing so damages us.

Leave Assad alone, and he has a free hand to attack our allies on the ground. Arm the rebels, and odds are at least some of them are not so moderate, and are in fact Islamist, and have allied with ISIS — or soon will. The Kurds on the Syria-Turkey border are putting up a brave fight, but making them too strong invites action against them by Turkey. Not that Turkey would be in the right from our point of view.

So let’s attack both Assad and ISIS. They won’t work together, but soon enough we’re in the middle of Syria’s civil war, fighting ISIS on one hand and Assad (plus Iranian and Russian proxies or actual forces) on the other. That’s a recipe for us to get bogged down, while starting a world war. And that’s even if we don’t put boots on the ground.

Meanwhile, the Obama regime seems to be greenlighting Iran’s nuclear program while it alienates our strongest ally in the region, Israel.

Our best bet at this point seems to be to drive ISIS out of Iraq and keep it out. Its supply lines in Iraq are tenuous and can be disrupted. Its hold on most of its Iraqi territory is weak, though it does retain some popularity among the Sunni. You put Syria’s civil war back in Syria, preserve Iraq’s territorial integrity and build up Iraq against Iran and ISIS. Let ISIS and the rebels fight it out with Assad, take on the winner if that turns out to be ISIS. Or, maybe, if it turns out to be Assad. But the Russians and Iranians won’t just sit by on the sidelines for that. The Russians have been hacking White House computers and probing our air defenses from Europe to Alaska to Japan.

Driving ISIS out of Iraq is a long-term strategy that requires a significant number of American boots on the ground in Iraq to accomplish, since Iraq’s security forces have proven themselves incapable of defeating ISIS on their own. But, it’ll never happen. Obama doesn’t want to put more troops on the ground and he is obviously not gung ho to take on Islamist enemies. He and his lieutenants prefer to slam Israel.

When Obama held up Yemen and Somalia as examples of what he considers to be successful counterterrorism, he meant it, and that means that ISIS is here to stay. Al Qaeda operates fairly freely in both Yemen and Somalia, and what government there is in both countries is weak and tends to change hands. The way things are going, according to Obama’s stated strategy, ISIS will be a problem for the next president to deal with.

Read bullet |

King: Not Aware of ‘Any Specific Threat’ Requiring DHS Security Upgrade

Friday, October 31st, 2014 - by Bridget Johnson

The former chairman of the House Homeland Security Committee said he believes this week’s decision to step up security around federal government buildings is more an “abundance of caution” than a distinct threat.

Homeland Security Secretary Jeh Johnson ordered the Federal Protective Service to “enhance its presence and security at various U.S. government buildings” in Washington as well as “other major cities and locations around the country.”

The Federal Protective Service is tasked with protecting more than 9,500 federal facilities owned or leased by the General Services Administration.

DHS said 1.4 million visitors and occupants pass through these buildings daily.

“We are taking this action as a precautionary step, to safeguard U.S. government personnel and facilities, and the visitors to those facilities,” Johnson said. “The reasons for this action are self-evident: the continued public calls by terrorist organizations for attacks on the homeland and elsewhere, including against law enforcement and other government officials, and the acts of violence targeted at government personnel and installations in Canada and elsewhere recently.”

Rep. Peter King (D-N.Y.) told CNN he believes Johnson increased security out of an abundance of caution.”

“There was just a series of events over the last several weeks, including ISIS really making very effective use of social media, that I believe the Homeland Security secretary believed that especially with what happened in Canada with the two soldiers being killed, Canadian parliament being attacked and with the NYPD officer being actually attacked with an axe in New York City, in Queens, with federal buildings being a target, it’s important to get this done. That was never necessary in New York because they were always at a high level of security,” King said.

“But, no, I’m not aware of any specific threat other than the constant stream and very sophisticated stream coming from is encouraging these kind of attacks upon the police, upon the military. So these are not the actual members of ISIS or even declared followers of ISIS but even people on the fringes, such as the man in Queens who attacked the police officer. These are sympathizers who can be motivated by these type calls from the ISIS leadership.”

The White House recently revived warnings of an “imminent threat” from Khorasan, an al-Qaeda chapter in Syria.

“I am not aware of any specific threat that would require what Jeh Johnson did as far as the upgrading of the security,” King said.

“I think it’s an accumulation of events. The Khorasan group is a — ‘imminent’ is a typical word. I’m not aware of an imminent threat from the Khorasan group other than the fact they have been a threat for the last couple of months. And the same with ISIS. But I’m not aware of any imminent in the country right now.”

Read bullet |

Hagel on Gitmo Detainees Returning to Terrorism: ‘It’s an Imperfect World’

Friday, October 31st, 2014 - by Bridget Johnson

The chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff acknowledged Thursday that military leaders aren’t “content” about the prospect of former Guantanamo detainees finding a new home in the ranks of ISIS.

Fox News reported that as many as 20 to 30 former Guantanamo Bay detainees, some set free within the past few years, are believed to have joined terrorist groups fighting in Syria.

“Well, we know that some of the detainees that have come out of Guantanamo have gone back to the fight, to the battlefield. We’re aware of that,” Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel told reporters. “And we think that overall the policy of getting to close Guantanamo is clearly in the interests of the United States, as the president has articulated, which when I — I was in the United States Senate, I supported it.”

“It’s an imperfect world. It’s a dangerous world,” Hagel continued. “This is why we pay so much attention to getting commitments from host countries in securing those commitments and doing everything we can within our power to assure that those commitments, not to allow those detainees to go beyond what is required in order to secure them in these different host countries that take them. But we do know that some have joined the fight.”

“Host countries” have included Sudan, where leader Omar al-Bashir is wanted for war crimes and crimes against humanity. The country received one detainee last December.

Asked if this recidivism bothered him, Hagel replied, “Yes, of course it does.”

Chairman of the Joint Chiefs Gen. Martin Dempsey added, “We believe that the recidivism is a — is a relatively small fraction of those detainees, which have been placed into conditions where their risk — where their risk of recidivism is mitigated.”

“But even one would not make someone wearing the uniform very content,” Dempsey said. “So we — I provide my advice in every case to the secretary of Defense who, as you know, is the certifying official. And the exact number is actually being assessed inside of the intelligence community, so I can’t comment on that.”

Sen. John McCain (R-Ariz.) said the 30 percent who return to battle aren’t just going in as low-level fighters, but “they also are in positions of leadership.”

“In one case, there are many Yemenis, he wants to send them back there. So rather than to have a place it to incarcerate them where they belong, particularly there’s many who have been judged too dangerous to be released,” McCain said. “The president wants to get rid of them in order to close Guantanamo. That’s the overriding factor in his calculations and it’s disgraceful, because in the long run, it puts the lives of American men and women serving in the military in danger. It’s a fact.”

Read bullet |

Possible Islamic State Leaflets Found in Quantico Marine Base

Thursday, October 30th, 2014 - by Bryan Preston

Leaflets found at the site of the Marine Corps headquarters in Quantico, Virginia, Wednesday may have ties to the international terrorist organization ISIS, a source told the Tatler today. The leaflets, which portray the flag of the Islamic State, include a message in Arabic that says “We came from Mexico on a train.”

The leaflets raise the questions of whether the Islamic State has operatives in the heart of the United State’s Marine Corps headquarters, or alternatively, whether someone is testing security responses and military command communications.

The Tatler obtained a digital copy of the leaflet today, which is being distributed within the Marine Corps command. The source, who requested anonymity, wrote:

MCB Quantico personnel found 6-7 of these leaflets in Quantico Town (the shopping/residential area inside of Marine Corps Base Quantico) this afternoon (Wednesday). The picture depicts an ISIL banner. The translation of the writing is “We came from Mexico on a train.”

Marine Corps commands in the National Capital region have been informed and are increasing situational awareness at their installations.

The leaflet is being investigated by the Marine Corps, the FBI and Navy intelligence. The Tatler contacted public affairs at Quantico, but as of publication time the base has not commented.

Here is the one-page leaflet.

isis-leaflet-quantico

The Tatler has had the inscription independently translated. It says: “We are here from Mexico. We took the train.” Coupled with the ISIS flag, it is clearly intended to be a threat, connected to the porous U.S.-Mexico border.

But the ISIS flag is upside down and reversed with respect to the Arabic text. Here is an ISIS flag in its correct orientation.

ISISflag

“MCB Quantico” is Marine Corps Base Quantico, in Prince William County, VA, just outside of Washington, D.C. It is the Marine Corps’ headquarters, as well as the home of the Federal Bureau of Investigation’s Academy and Marine Corps Officer Candidate School. The Air Force Office of Special Investigations is also headquartered at Quantico. The National Museum of the Marine Corps is also located at at the base. The U.S. Navy’s Indian Head facility is nearby.

Virginia Railway Express has posted a notice of heightened security including random searches of individuals who access the base by train.

The leaflet is being “widely distributed” within Marine Corps ranks and is being taken very seriously, according to the Tatler’s source.

The fact that the flag is inverted may suggest that either the person who dropped the leaflets is a poser not connected with ISIS at all — but who may sympathize with the terrorist group and could intend to launch some kind of “lone wolf” attack — or the leaflet was dropped to test security, communications and analysis responses.

The timing is also of interest. The leaflets were discovered at Quantico within a week of the mid-term elections, and they connect ISIS terrorism to the porous border, which has been an ongoing security and political issue.

Read bullet |

NYT Editor Admits Giving a Pass to Palestinian Racism

Thursday, October 30th, 2014 - by Bryan Preston

The New York Times often prints stories alleging Israeli racism, but never runs any pieces about Palestinian racism. This is despite overwhelming evidence that not only is Palestinian society deeply racist, it also teaches racism to its children, and explicitly ties that racism to hoping for genocide against Jews. Palestinian media also teaches Muslim supremacy. Examples are not difficult to find.

YouTube Preview Image

Yet the NYT, the alleged paper of record, doesn’t expose videos like the one above, or report on Palestinian racism. Why?

Editor Matt Seaton revealed why, in a tweet.

Times opinion editor Matt Seaton today provided a window into the mindset of the editors in his response to a query by this media analyst about whether readers “can expect two hit pieces on Palestinian racism in the next month” in keeping with the pace of the publication of (error-ridden) screeds about Israeli racism, both real and imagined.

Seaton, a former editor at the Guardian, known for its hostile treatment of Israel, tweeted back that The Times opinion pages would cover Palestinian racism as “soon as they have [a] sovereign state to discriminate with.”

There’s much more at the link, detailing just how many stories that the Times has recently run on so-called Israeli racism. The Old Gray Lady is being intentionally unfair and biased, and says it will only change its ways once the Palestinians have a state. The Times’ conscious decision not to report Palestinian society’s racism, Muslim supremacy and genocidal tendencies will have gone some way toward creating that state, of course. What kind of state will the New York Times have helped create?

Read bullet |

Kerry in Ottawa: ‘Legitimate and Beautiful Religion… Totally Distorted’ by Attackers

Wednesday, October 29th, 2014 - by Bridget Johnson

Secretary of State John Kerry met with U.S. Embassy staff in Ottawa on Tuesday, thanking them for getting through a “pretty jarring” lockdown after last week’s terrorist attacks, including on the parliament building.

“We’re living in an incredibly challenging time. It’s almost cliched now to sort of say that, because it doesn’t fully bring home to people the full measure of challenge that we all face. I’m sure some of you have served in Kabul or Baghdad, and the last thing you expected was to come to Ottawa, know that there were gunshots in the streets and that the parliament was potentially under siege and certainly assaulted by one individual with weapons,” Kerry said.

“That brings home to us that this is a different kind of challenge. This – the challenge of our generation is going to be to deal with religious radical extremism, which exploits a legitimate and beautiful religion that is being totally distorted, has nothing to do with what they purport to be pursuing, and nevertheless captures the minds of some of our young people, even in America. We have over a hundred people who’ve gone over there to fight with ISIL. Several hundred from France, from Germany, from Britain, from Holland, from the Netherlands, from Australia – run around the world.”

Kerry said the battled has to be won with “ideas” and not just ”our efforts on the ground in this coalition with kinetic efforts.”

“And we’re also going to win it with better alternatives for a whole bunch of young people who today live in places where they feel oppressed, where they don’t have a lot of opportunity, there’s not enough education, they don’t have jobs, but they know what the rest of the world has because they all have smart phones, they all have mobile devices, and they’re all seeing what’s going on and they trade thoughts,” he said.

“…So our challenge is to not make them think that modernity and rule of law and civil society and states that have long existed is somehow the enemy.”

Kerry warned the diplomats “it could get harder before it gets easier in some ways in certain parts of this journey.”

Read bullet |

DHS Steps Up Security at Government Buildings in D.C. and ‘Around the Country’

Tuesday, October 28th, 2014 - by Bridget Johnson

Homeland Security Secretary Jeh Johnson today ordered the Federal Protective Service to “enhance its presence and security at various U.S. government buildings” in Washington as well as “other major cities and locations around the country.”

“The precise actions we are taking and the precise locations at which we will enhance security is law-enforcement sensitive, will vary and shift from location to location, and will be continually re-evaluated,” Johnson said in a statement.

The Federal Protective Service is tasked with protecting more than 9,500 federal facilities owned or leased by the General Services Administration.

DHS said 1.4 million visitors and occupants pass through these buildings daily.

“We are taking this action as a precautionary step, to safeguard U.S. government personnel and facilities, and the visitors to those facilities,” Johnson said. “The reasons for this action are self-evident: the continued public calls by terrorist organizations for attacks on the homeland and elsewhere, including against law enforcement and other government officials, and the acts of violence targeted at government personnel and installations in Canada and elsewhere recently.”

“Given world events, prudence dictates a heightened vigilance in the protection of U.S. government installations and our personnel.”

Johnson noted that they “urge state and local governments and their law enforcement personnel, along with critical infrastructure owners and operators, to be equally vigilant, particularly in guarding against potential small-scale attacks by a lone offender or a small group of individuals.”

“Likewise, we continually urge the public at large to be vigilant and report any suspicious activities to appropriate authorities,” he said.

In the D.C. metropolitan area, there’s been an increase in the “see something, say something” commercials during prime time since the attacks in Ottawa last week.

Read bullet |

Yes, Jeffrey, Things Really Are That Bad Between Obama and Israel

Tuesday, October 28th, 2014 - by Susan L.M. Goldberg

YouTube Preview Image

Over at The Atlantic, Jeffrey Goldberg woke up from what must have been a self-imposed stupor and declared, “The Crisis in U.S.-Israel Relations is Here.” How did he come to this shock and awe (not) conclusion? A “senior Obama Administration official” called Israeli Prime Minister Bibi Netanyahu a “chickensh*t” when speaking with Goldberg.

And apparently that’s the first time in history Goldberg’s heard a political official use a dirty word to describe another political official. Wait, actually, it’s not. Goldberg explains:

Over the years, Obama administration officials have described Netanyahu to me as recalcitrant, myopic, reactionary, obtuse, blustering, pompous, and “Aspergery.” (These are verbatim descriptions; I keep a running list.)  But I had not previously heard Netanyahu described as a “chickensh*t.”

Goldberg makes it clear that he agrees with the Obama administration on the infamous two-state solution, the issue that “sits at the core of the disagreement between Washington and Jerusalem,” making him an impartial source, indeed. His observations about Netanyahu’s “near-pathological desire for career preservation” aren’t anything new. Ask any Israeli you meet and they’ll tell you Netanyahu will forge a coalition with any party, including the Ultra-Orthodox, to avoid early elections. Perhaps Americans like Goldberg are just shocked at the idea of a politician actually having to work, not play golf, to maintain his position of power.

What Goldberg’s thesis really boils down to is this:

Much of the anger felt by Obama administration officials is rooted in the Netanyahu government’s periodic explosions of anti-American condescension.

In other words, Netanyahu’s boys don’t spare their own Jeffrey Goldbergs from hearing what’s on their minds. If they were a private enterprise, the Obama administration’s company logo would be “You’re mean.” And Abe Foxman over at the ADL would be wearing the t-shirt:

“The Israelis do not show sufficient appreciation for America’s role in backing Israel, economically, militarily and politically,” Abraham Foxman, the head of the Anti-Defamation League, told me.

Read bullet |

Feinstein: Police and Military Must be on Guard as They’re ‘Strike Targets’

Monday, October 27th, 2014 - by Bridget Johnson

The chairwoman of the Senate Intelligence Committee said that law enforcement and military have gotten word that they’re “strike targets” for lone-wolf jihadists, after slayings of uniformed personnel in Canada and New York.

“I think the police and military have to be on guard. I think this is very difficult. I think halls of government have to be on guard the way the parliament and Canada was penetrated,” Sen. Dianne Feinstein (D-Calif.) told CNN on Sunday.

“In Canada, you had an armed sergeant-at-arms who took action and killed the perpetrator, and I think we need to think in some new ways. I don’t particularly want to discuss it on television, but one thing’s for sure. We are going to protect our institutions of government.”

Feinstein added that “one of the problems is that the internet as well as certain specific Muslim extremists are really firing up this lone wolf phenomenon, and these attacks and the multiplicity of attacks in 2014 show that their propaganda is having some effect.”

“My view of ISIS is I think people do not see the evil and the vicious side of it. I don’t see — think they see the beheadings of children …  ISIS is essentially a fighting force of 30,000 to 50,000 people, sophisticated with commanders, with some heavy weapons, and they are on a march now, and they are going to slay everything in their way,” she said.

“Well, the only defense is intelligence, and that is that you have to ferret it out. You have to be able to watch it, and you have to be able to disrupt them. Now, this is hard to do, because it takes technical means, and Americans don’t necessarily like technical means.”

That was an apparent reference to surveillance programs that Feinstein has supported while some of her other colleagues maintain they infringe upon civil liberties.

The surveillance debate has cut across party lines, with Sens. Pat Leahy (D-Vt.) and Ted Cruz (R-Texas) together advocating for less blanket surveillance.

Feinstein said she had been briefed by FBI Director James Comey, who is “making every effort to stay on top of this lone wolf phenomenon.”

“I think the White House is cognizant of it and is working very hard to see that we have the ability to be able to find them and stop them,” she said.

When asked whether asking Muslims to essentially act as “spies” within their communities is “off-putting,” Feinstein replied, “The Muslim community is a part of America, and as such, it has all of the protections of any community in America, and one of America’s goals has been to integrate an immigrant community into our society and see that they have opportunity.”

“That they’re able to be productive, able to live without any kind of harassment and there are very few countries in the world that actually do that, United States does it.”

Read bullet |

NY’s Top Cop: ‘It Was Terrorism’

Friday, October 24th, 2014 - by Bryan Preston

Finally, someone in a position of authority in this country says what is obviously true.

NEW YORK –  New York City police Commissioner William Bratton says the hatchet attack on four rookie officers was a terrorist act by a homegrown radical.

Bratton said Friday the suspect, Zale Thompson, was a Muslim convert who ranted online against America, but had no clear ties to international terrorism. He believes Thompson was self-radicalized.

Which is remarkably similar to Nidal Hasan, whose massacre is still called “workplace violence” by the Obama administration. Hasan was actually more directly connected to terrorism, though Anwar Al-Awlaki. It’s also similar to the beheading perpetrated by Alton Alexander Nolen in Oklahoma. The government and media labeled that clear jihadist act a case of “workplace violence.”

Canada has handled the lone wolf jihadi attack in its capital much more honestly than the US under Obama tends to. Obama and his ilk make us all dance around and argue over words and definitions. Prime Minister Stephen Harper called the Ottawa attack “terrorism” straight away, no games. Ministers even sharpened up flagpoles to fight off the attacker, but fortunately a “gun nut” — the sergeant-at-arms — had a firearm in his desk, which he used to take the jihadist down.

By the way, if you follow that last link, you can see the Daily Mail appear to mock Harper for hiding in a “cupboard” during the attack. It was actually a closet, and it was obviously right and prudent to protect him.

The image of a bunch of angry Canucks sharpening up sticks to protect him is just…Viking. On behalf of Texas I’ll lend Canada our “Don’t mess with…” phrase for a while.

Read bullet |

VIDEO: ISIS Jihadi Plants Flag Atop a Hill, US Bomber Removes It

Friday, October 24th, 2014 - by Bryan Preston

This AFP video is Bambi vs. Godzilla, ISIS style.

An ISIS jihadi plants his little flag on top of a hill outside Kobane, Syria, to claim it for the jihadi cause.

Flags on top of hills in barren landscapes make good targets. And so do the terrorists who are anywhere near them.

It’s impossible to tell from the video if the bombing won any strategic victory, but it definitely scored for propaganda.

Read bullet |

Report: ISIS Has a Pilot to Fly Its Stolen Jet Aircraft

Friday, October 24th, 2014 - by Bryan Preston

Reporter Jenan Moussa works for Dubai’s Al Aan TV. She is currently reporting from Syria, near Kobane, where Kurdish fighters continue to battle ISIS.

Today she filed a report about the three working aircraft that ISIS stole when it took control of a Syrian air base.

Big question remains: do they have pilots to fly them?

The answer is Yes. They indeed do. According to my sources IS has at least one pilot. He is a colonel who earlier served in the Syrian army inside Tabaqa airport. He defected, joined Free Syrian Army first and later switched to ISIS. He has more than 20 years of experience as a pilot. My sources know his name and that he lives in Tabaka. Recently the ISIS-pilot flew the L39 plane for a test flight. Sources tell me how they saw the jet landing at Al Jarrah airport. Inside the airport, there is also an ISIS military camp headed by 2 Emirs, a Syrian and a Saudi.

Other sources also say the fear is that the ISIS planes will not be used for normal bombing operations, but for a huge, one time suicide operation which will shock the region.

The L39 is not usually an armed aircraft. It’s mainly a training aircraft, built by the former Czechoslovakia. It can be used for light air attack roles. This story gives more detail on that.

The Albatross is normally equipped with guns, bombs, rockets and air-to-air missiles. It is suspected that the three Albatrosses now in control of ISIS are equipped with all these lethal weapons.

Thus far, ISIS only has three of these aircraft, and one pilot to fly them. But that one pilot is probably training others, and ISIS may well be planning to use them in one or more spectacular terror attacks. The jets are likely to have a short shelf life unless ISIS also has qualified maintenance crews to keep them flyable. So, if ISIS is to use them in an attack, that’s likely to happen sooner rather than later.

 

Read bullet |

Rising Threat of Attacks Resurrects Debate Over Government Surveillance Powers

Friday, October 24th, 2014 - by Bridget Johnson

Sen. Dan Coats (R-Ind.) argued in a USA Today op-ed this week that now is the wrong time to dial back surveillance powers of the federal government, arguing that the USA FREEDOM Act in Congress “would render our counterterrorism tools less agile and reliable.”

But the sponsor of the Senate version, Judiciary Committee Chairman Pat Leahy (D-Vt.), argued for “a common sense way of saying collect information, but do it in a way where you protect the interests of innocent people.”

The House version of the bill, sponsored by Rep. Jim Sensenbrenner (R-Wis.), passed in May. The Senate version — the full name of the bill is the Uniting and Strengthening America by Fulfilling Rights and Ensuring Effective Discipline Over Monitoring Act – has 18 co-sponsors but hasn’t advanced.

The GOP co-sponsors are Sens. Dean Heller (R-Nev.), Ted Cruz (R-Texas), and Mike Lee (R-Utah).

Coats noted that the Senate Intelligence Committee arrived at a compromise FISA Improvements Act “to enshrine safeguards in law for the first time.”

“Our bill does not end the call-records program, thus preserving an important counterterrorism tool,” Coats wrote. “However, it prohibits access to phone data except under specific procedures and restrictions, and it bars the collection of content.”

“Currently, Americans and Europeans are joining the Islamic State, the wealthiest and most brutal terrorist group in history. By exploiting the passports of Western members, ISIL-trained operatives can come to our shores far more easily than the 9/11 hijackers,” he added. “The government’s interest is the most compelling imaginable: To the best of our ability, never again allow an attack on our homeland that costs innocent lives.”

Responding on CNN, Leahy said ”if you collect everything, in some ways you have nothing.”

The chairman added that if the NSA had kept tabs on its own house, “you never would have had an Edward Snowden.”

“I mean this was pure carelessness on the part of the NSA. They talked about how well they protect everything. They couldn’t even protect their greatest secrets from a subcontractor,” Leahy said.

He said drafting a bill that makes “sure you go after the real targets” is why it has support from the right and left.

“Those of us who lived back in the time of J. Edgar Hoover realize how tyrannical our government could be if it was allowed to spy on everybody with no checks and balances. We — you’re always going to find something that people say, oh my God, look at this. We’ve got a terrorist attack in Canada,” Leahy said.

“We forget one of the biggest terrorist attacks in this country was Timothy McVeigh in Oklahoma City, a retired military person, church-going American, and nothing that they talked about in all of these possible pieces of legislation would have stopped Timothy McVeigh from carrying out a horrific murderous attack on Americans.”

Read bullet |

Former Homeland Security Chairman: ‘No One Should Feel Safe’

Friday, October 24th, 2014 - by Bridget Johnson

The former chairman of the House Homeland Security Committee warned “no one should feel safe” after a week that saw Canada weather separate attacks from ISIS sympathizers.

Rep. Peter King (R-N.Y.) stressed “we’re at war with Islamic terrorism and a particularly evil group in ISIS, and they want to attack as many people as they can.”

“They focus on the military and the police and monuments because it gives them attention. But they will kill anyone they can. If they can attack a shopping center, a subway train, an airport, they will do it. Right now, for the sake of symbolism, they are talking about the military. But, no, we should be protecting everything we can,” King warned.

“And we should be aggressive. We should be on offense. We should not be politically correct. And the only way to really stop this is to go into the Muslim communities and find out who is good, who is bad, get any kind of tips, informants, whatever we have to do.”

The congressman noted that the NYPD was doing that for years “until those people at The New York Times, those liberal ideologues, and the Associated Press, the Civil Liberties Union tried to stop that.”

“There is chatter among the terrorist groups about attacking the United States, attacking the infidels. That’s there. And we know that ISIS has a commitment to attack the United States, especially since we, rightly, began the war against them back in September. And they want to strike back and they want to show that they still have a lot of firepower in them and that we’re not going to be safe anywhere. Part of it is to break our will and our morale so we will back off from them. But in event, they want to attack us no matter what.”

Read bullet |

Man Attacks Group of NYPD Officers with Hatchet, Wounding Five

Thursday, October 23rd, 2014 - by Bridget Johnson

A group of New York police officers were attacked by a hatchet-wielding assailant today, and CNN is reporting that the man’s Facebook page has “links to extremism.” The details:

Four police officers and a woman were injured, and a hatchet-wielding man was fatally shot during a bloody altercation Thursday in Queens.

Four rookie police officers were working near 162nd Street and Jamaica Avenue when a freelance photographer asked them to pose for a photo in front of a Conway store.  While they were posing, another man, described as a 32-year-old male, attacked without saying a word, Commissioner Bratton said at a press conference Thursday.

“The suspect was described as having charged at the officers,” Bratton said.

Swinging an 18-inch metal hatchet, the man first hit a 24-year-old officer in the right arm — he was later taken to Jamaica Hospital in stable condition.

The suspect kept swinging, striking a second officer in the back of the head, critically injuring the 25-year-old.

The other officers fired multiple shots, killed the suspect at the scene.

A 29-year-old woman passing by was struck by gunfire in the lower back.  She underwent surgery at Jamaica Hospital and is in stable condition.

Bratton said he didn’t believe the photographer was working with the attacker, but they are now reviewing his pictures.

The attack comes the day after a terrorist killed a soldier and attacked the parliament building in Ottawa.

 

 

 

Read bullet |

Chairman: Obama Should Follow Canada’s Example and Call Fort Hood ‘Terrorist Attack’

Thursday, October 23rd, 2014 - by Bridget Johnson

The chairman of the House Armed Services Committee lauded the Canadian government for quickly labeling this week’s attacks as terrorism, with a dig at the Obama administration’s use of “workplace violence.”

Rep. Buck McKeon (R-Calif.) noted in a statement that Canada “has always stood with us in troubled times, and we stand with them.”

“I was impressed with the Canadian government’s swift condemnation of what was obviously an act of terror,” McKeon said. “I wish the Obama administration used similar language during the Ft. Hood shooting, rather than pretending that ‘workplace violence’ was an accurate description of a tragic terrorist attack.”

Since the 2009 Fort Hood shooting, lawmakers in both chambers have been trying to get the administration to recognize the massacre as a terrorist attack and make those injured eligible for the Purple Heart.

“I hope the president will follow Prime Minister Harper’s example and recognize terrorist attacks for what they are,” McKeon added.

White House press secretary Josh Earnest said today that “based on the fact that the Canadian officials have determined that this is a terrorist incident, you can expect — you should expect that U.S. officials who are responsible for our counterterrorism efforts have also been in touch with their counterparts in Canada to offer assistance and to coordinate both in the investigation and in any needed response.”

“…And there is a very important role for the mainstream Muslim community in this country and around the world to play in this effort, as well, that there are respected religious figures who can effectively counter the extremist messages that are being widely distributed in an effort to appeal to the youth in some communities, both in this country, but in countries around the world,” Earnest added.

“And the Obama administration has made it a priority to engage these local leaders and mobilize them in this effort. We’re pleased with the kind of strong partnership that’s been established in a number of communities across the country. But it’s important for us to continue to be vigilant, both about the threat, but also about our ongoing efforts to counter it.”

Read bullet |

Canadian Police Offer New Details About Ottawa Shooter Michael Zehaf-Bibeau

Thursday, October 23rd, 2014 - by Bryan Preston

Canadian police just held a press conference to detail Wednesday’s attack in Ottawa. The police also showed several surveillance videos taken from various cameras that allow them to trace the shooter’s path around the city.

The details reveal that Michael Zehaf-Bibeau was the son of Canadian immigration bureau worker and a man who fought in Libya in 2011 (on which side he fought is unclear). Bibeau had converted to Islam about three years ago. He was also known to be in contact with a person who is currently on Canada’s terrorism watch list. Bibeau was not on a terrorism watch list himself, but was known to publicly espouse radical views.

He also reportedly had a couple of friends at the Ottawa mission he stayed at.

Another man, who said his initials were P.M., said Zehaf-Bibeau was close with two younger anglophone Caucasian men, roughly 20 years of age, who would speak with him often about Islam.

“There was three of them all the time going around with each other,” P.M said. “He was teaching them about Islam and stuff. He had them doing the Islamic prayer. They were in the hallways here doing it.”

All three men disappeared from the Mission on Wednesday morning shortly after a fire alarm was pulled just after 8 a.m., said P.M.

Police say that Bibeau had dual Canadian-Libyan citizenship. He traveled to Ottawa earlier in October to obtain a passport. He intended to use that passport to travel to Syria and fight for ISIS. He bought the first car that he used in the attack on Tuesday. He abandoned that car and stole a second one, which he used to drive to the Centre Block, where he opened fire and was killed.

Bibeau had a long rap sheet and may have been mentally ill.

Read bullet |

VIDEO: Emotional Standing Ovation for Canadian Hero Kevin Vickers

Thursday, October 23rd, 2014 - by Bridget Johnson
YouTube Preview Image

The sergeant-at-arms in Canada’s House of Commons, Kevin Vickers, is one tough guy. The 58-year-old New Brunswick native spent nearly three decades in the Royal Canadian Mounted Police and was appointed to his current post in 2006. The mountie got his man yesterday when he shot and killed terrorist Michael Zehaf-Bibeau as the gunman stormed through the parliament building.

Today was the emotional opening of parliament with an extended standing ovation for Vickers, who will assuredly never have to buy a drink again.

Read bullet |

Loyalty and Enmity: Parallels between Islam and the Mafia

Thursday, October 23rd, 2014 - by Raymond Ibrahim

Editor’s note: The following is Part Two of a three-part series examining the many parallels between Islam and the mafia following Bill Maher’s recent exclamation that Islam is “the only religion that acts like the mafia, that will f***ing kill you if you say the wrong thing, draw the wrong picture, or write the wrong book.”  Click here for Part One.

Death to Traitors (AKA “Apostates”)

Once a Mafioso takes the oath of loyalty to the mafia—including the Omertà code of silence and secrecy—trying to leave the “family” is instantaneously seen as a betrayal and therefore punishable by death.   Any family member, great or small, is given authority to kill the traitor, the “turncoat.”

Compare this to Islam.  To be born to a Muslim father immediately makes the newborn a Muslim—there are no oaths to be taken, much less an option in the matter.   And, according to Islamic law, if born Muslims at any point in their lives choose to leave Islam, they are deemed “apostates”—traitors—and punished including by death.   Any zealous Muslim, not just the authorities, is justified in killing the apostate (hence why Muslim families that kill apostate children are rarely if ever prosecuted).

In the words of Muhammad—the messenger (underboss) of Allah (godfather):  “Whoever leaves his Islamic faith, kill him.”

The charge of “traitor” is especially applicable when the Muslim converts to another religion—most frequently Islam’s historic competitor, Christianity—as opposed to simply losing faith in their hearts.  Put differently, the very recent plight of Meriam Ibrahim—a Sudanese Christian wife and mother who, while pregnant, was imprisoned and sentenced to death for “apostasy”—is the tip of the iceberg of the plight of apostates under Islam.

Loyalty and Enmity

Loyalty is an absolute prerequisite of the mafia.  Following elaborate rituals of blood oaths, mafia members are expected to maintain absolute loyalty to the family, on pain of death.

Compare this with Islam’s “Loyalty and Enmity” doctrine, which calls on Muslims to be loyal to each other and their appointed emirs, even if they dislike them.

For example, Koran 9:71 declares that “The believing [Muslim] men and believing [Muslim] women are allies of one another” (see also 8:72-75).  And according to Muhammad, “A Muslim is the brother of a Muslim. He neither oppresses him nor humiliates him nor looks down upon him…. All things of a Muslim are inviolable for his brother in faith: his blood, his wealth, and his honor”—precisely those three things of a Mafioso that are inviolable for his mafia “brother.”  (This is why Muslims like U.S. Army Major Nidal Hassan, whose “worst nightmare” was to be deployed to fight fellow Muslims, often lash out.)

Aside from loyalty to the family, mafia members are also expected not to befriend or associate with too many “outsiders”—who by nature are not to be trusted, as they are not of the “family”—unless such a “friendship” helps advance the family’s position.

Similarly, the second half of the doctrine of Loyalty and Enmity—the enmity—calls on Muslims to maintain distance from and have hate for all non-Muslim “infidels.”

Thus Koran 5:51 warns Muslims against “taking the Jews and Christians as friends and allies … whoever among you takes them for friends and allies, he is surely one of them.” According to the mainstream Islamic exegesis of al-Tabari, Koran 5:51 means that the Muslim who “allies with them [non-Muslims] and enables them against the believers, that same one is a member of their faith and community,” that is, an outsider and enemy.

Similar scriptures include Koran 4:89, 4:144, 5:54, 6:40, 9:23, and 58:22; the latter simply states that true Muslims do not befriend non-Muslims—“even if they be their fathers, sons, brothers, or kin.” Koran 60:1 declares, “O you who believe! Do not take my enemy and your enemy [non-believers] for friends: would you offer them love while they deny what has come to you of the truth [i.e., while they deny Islam]?”… Keep reading

Read bullet |

Canada Gets It Right

Thursday, October 23rd, 2014 - by Leslie Loftis

It is not just that Canada is willing to call an act of terrorism by its name: terrorism. That is certainly refreshing clarity in these troubled times, clarity which will help Canada decide how to prevent future attacks. But Canada isn’t just calling terrorism by its name. Based upon Andrew Cohen’s letter posted to CNN, Canada is engaging in some self-reflection. In what I bet will be the Canadian equivalent of Leonard Pitts Jr.’s “We’ll Go Forward from This Moment” letter on September 12, 2001, Cohen wrote a very self-aware post “This is not supposed to happen in Canada“. Just a snippet:

It is too much a cliché to say — as many surely will — that Canada has lost its innocence today. Canada is surely not innocent; a nation that marched into the maw of two world wars and left 100,000 of its sons in Europe understands a few things. That’s particularly true at this time of year, when Canadians wear red poppies in their lapels until November 11, Remembrance Day.

What we might say, though, is that Canada has lost its ignorance today — and, perhaps, a good part of its complacency, too.

It is difficult to engage in that kind of self analysis, much less to have the courage to admit what you find. Compliments to Cohen, though he does seem to be struggling with “we were asking for it” and “we may not be interested in war, but war is interested in us” arguments. Perhaps that is why he failed to mention one other thing that Canada got right over the US.

There is a reason that the terrorist only managed to kill one victim. It won’t surprise readers here to learn that the limiting force was an honorable man with a gun. I doubt that truth will get much play in the US, but it should. On a whim, I did a news search this morning for “Canada Kevin Vickers Sargent at Arms” and all but three hits on the first few Google results pages were non-US news. Canada might be coming to terms with its security illusions. Would that the US did as well.

Read bullet |

John Kerry’s Peace Partners: Fatah Facebook Page Honors Yesterday’s Murder of Israeli Infant

Thursday, October 23rd, 2014 - by David Steinberg

As reported here yesterday, the State Department’s Jen Psaki was unable to use the word “murdered” in the administration’s official response to yesterday’s terror attack in Jerusalem that ended the life of three-month-old Chaya Zissel Braun. Then, outrageously, she urged “all sides to maintain calm” in the wake of the infanticide.

Imagine being a member of the baby’s family and receiving that message.

Today, one of those “sides,” the evil one, posted this outrageous image sanctifying as courageous the act of infanticide. It reads:

The Silwan branch of Fatah honors the heroic martyr Abdel Rahman Al-Shaludi, who executed the Jerusalem operation which led to the running over of settlers in the occupied city of Jerusalem.

onfb

Fatah. Not Hamas, the supposedly more extremist member of the joint Palestinian Authority ruling coalition, but Fatah, the “moderates” who have had the honor of frequent audiences with our secretary of State, and who have batted out around the U.S. like a cat toy for some 25 years now with this “moderate” charade.

I expect the State Department to do nothing, or to request Fatah remove the image as a “gesture of goodwill,” and dismiss it as some sort of necessary, realpolitik pandering to their extremist base.

Don’t stand for it this time. Make Kerry answer for his useful idiocy. Force him to represent the U.S. as a country which actually upholds humanity in some regard.

Read bullet |

Dem Congressman: ‘Everybody’s Hair on Fire’ That ‘Somehow the Muslim Hordes are Going to Come Get Us’

Thursday, October 23rd, 2014 - by Bridget Johnson

A Democratic congressman decried reactions to this week’s terrorist attacks in Canada, arguing people shouldn’t get worked up about “Muslim hordes” coming to get the U.S.

Rep. Jim McDermott (D-Wash.) told MSNBC yesterday that President Obama was “very measured in his response.” Canadian Prime Minister Stephen Harper called the killing of a soldier at the National War Memorial in Ottawa followed by shots fired at the parliament building the work of a “terrorist” in his address to the nation. Obama stressed “we don’t yet have all the information about what motivated the shooting,” adding “it emphasizes the degree to which we have to remain vigilant when it comes to dealing with these kinds of acts of senseless violence or terrorism.”

“Usually people — the information we get immediately after one of this incident turns out to be partial or incorrect or wrong direction all together. I mean you have to look back to Timothy McVeigh when he blew up the building in Oklahoma City, or we had two guards killed in the Congress since I’ve been there by a young man who was trying to bring a gun in who was mentally not balanced,” McDermott said.

“You have to wait and get the information, and I think the president, by not getting his hair on fire is doing exactly the right thing. We don’t know who did this, we don’t know if there’s a conspiracy or anything else. All the speculation you’re seeing in the press is done by irresponsible people in my view.”

The shooter, killed by House of Commons Sergeant-at-Arms Kevin Vicker, has been identified as Michael Zehaf-Bibeau. Reuters cited U.S. officials saying Zehaf-Bibeau was a recent convert to Islam, and the Globe and Mail said his passport had been taken away by the Canadian government after he was designated a “high-risk traveler” who was planning to go fight overseas.

NORAD was put on high-alert posture after the Canadian attack. McDermott said that wasn’t necessary.

“You know, we’ve just gone through the Ebola virus. That was the crisis of last week. Everybody’s hair was on fire about Ebola and suddenly a shooting occurs in Canada and suddenly our hair is on fire that somehow the Muslim hordes are going to come and get us; there’s no evidence for that,” he said.

“And to me it sends the wrong message to the people, especially to those people who are inclined to do these kinds of things, it gives them ammunition to say, well I’d better do something now before — that kind of stuff encourages this kind of stuff.”

The congressman said he feels “very comfortable” with security on Capitol Hill.

“Walking around the campus as I have for the last few years, you occasionally suddenly see another layer of police, and you see people being directed away from certain areas. And you see things happening and you know that they’ve changed something because they’re concerned about something. I think that’s prudent, that’s what we create the police for, to do the things to protect us,” McDermott said.

“They don’t necessarily have to tell us everything that they’ve heard or worried about. They simply have to do their job. And I think that, sometimes the government official like President Obama doesn’t need to tell everybody everything he knows. He needs to deal with it in an appropriate way using the instruments of government. And so far I’ve seen him do a good job. I really think he’s handled this very well.”

Read bullet |

U.S. Offering ‘Blind Support’ to UN Agency Despite Attacks from Gaza, Argue Senators

Thursday, October 23rd, 2014 - by Bridget Johnson

Republican senators have let Secretary of State John Kerry know that they won’t support further aid to Gaza residents until the United Nations Refugee and Works Agency can assure that it isn’t complicit in attacks on Israel.

Sens. Mark Kirk (R-Ill.) and Marco Rubio (R-Fla.) asked Kerry in August to launch a State Department investigation into ”the role played by UNRWA in the recent conflict in Gaza.”

“As you know, during the conflict, rockets were found on UNRWA property on three separate occasions, and rockets were fired into Israel from the vicinity of UNRWA facilities on multiple occasions. Information has also emerged regarding the potential exploitation of UNRWA’s distribution network inside Gaza to by Hamas and other terrorist groups.”

The State Department replied in September, telling the senators that the U.S. is “awaiting the findings of UNRWA’s ongoing internal investigation before considering further action.”

“It is unclear when that investigation will be completed or how truly independent it will be,” Kirk and Rubio wrote Kerry on Wednesday.

“Given UNRWA’s record and the absence of an independent investigation into its actions during the conflict, we were dumbfounded when, on October 12th, you reiterated, without any qualification, that the United States would provide more than $150 million to UNRWA programs in Gaza,” they wrote.

“This blind support sends the wrong message to an institution that has already become far too dependent on the largesse of the American taxpayer and repeatedly failed to ensure that its facilities and resources are not used by terrorists who wish to sow chaos and instability rather than aid the Palestinian people.”

The GOP senators said the United States “should assist the people of Gaza as they rebuild after yet another Hamas-caused conflict.”

“But this support cannot come at the expense of Israel’s security. We will not support the provision of future U.S. assistance to entities or projects in Gaza unless the State Department assures Congress that UNRWA or the relevant recipient entity has imposed independently audited accountability measures to verifiably prevent any U.S. assistance from aiding, directly or indirectly, extremists’ efforts to rearm or lay the groundwork for future attacks against Israel,” Rubio and Kirk added.

“Without greater scrutiny of all U.S. funds being provided to entities in Gaza, it will be difficult to truly diminish Hamas’ and other terrorist groups’ influence in Gaza and will only make a resumption of violence more likely.”

Read bullet |

State Dept. Urges ‘All Sides’ to ‘Avoid Escalating Tensions’ After Terrorist Kills American Baby

Thursday, October 23rd, 2014 - by Bridget Johnson

The State Department condemned yesterday’s terrorist attack in which the assailant rammed his car into a group of people waiting at a light-rail station, killing a 3-month-old.

“The United States condemns in the strongest possible terms today’s terrorist attack in Jerusalem,” press secretary Jen Psaki said in a brief statement. “We express our deepest condolences to the family of the baby, reportedly an American citizen, who was killed in this despicable attack, and extend our prayers for a full recovery to those injured.”

“We urge all sides to maintain calm and avoid escalating tensions in the wake of this incident,” Psaki added.

The Times of Israel reported that the attacker, Abdelrahman al-Shaludi, 21, is the nephew of late Hamas chief bomb-maker Mohiyedine Sharif. Shaludi was shot while trying to flee the scene.

The victim, Chaya Zissel Braun, had just been taken on her first trip to see the Western Wall, the Jerusalem Post reported.

In statements, Hamas and Islamic Jihad welcomed the baby girl’s murder, as reported by the Post:

“The attack in Jerusalem is an act of heroism and a natural response to the crimes of the occupation against our people and our holy places,” said Mushir al-Masri, a senior Hamas spokesperson.

“The attack in Jerusalem is a natural response to what is taking place in the city, given the harassment and overall attacks of Judaization affecting our holy places and Muslims,” said another Hamas official, Salah Baradwil.

Hamas warned that the latest developments may augur the next “Palestinian intifada in Jerusalem.”

Islamic Jihad released an official statement on Thursday through its military wing, the Al-Quds Brigade, saying: “There is Zionist aggression against all of our people, and today the resistance responded to this attack. This is a natural right.”

“This attack is a strong response to the Israeli occupation, whose crimes are unable to break the resistance,” the organization said.

Both Hamas and Islamic Jihad called on the Palestinian Authority to “halt its security coordination with Israel and to act in resistance in the West Bank.”

The two groups also praised the residents of east Jerusalem “for their fierce stance against the crimes of the occupation.”

“This is how Abu Mazen’s partners in government act, the same Abu Mazen who – only a few days ago – incited toward a terrorist attack in Jerusalem,” Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said.

Seven were wounded in the attack.

Read bullet |

Canadian PM Calls Attacker ‘Terrorist,’ Vows ‘We Will Not be Intimidated’

Wednesday, October 22nd, 2014 - by Bridget Johnson

Speaking for the first time since a gunman attacked parliament earlier today, Canadian Prime Minister Stephen Harper called the week’s multiple assaults “a grim reminder that Canada is not immune to the types of terrorist attacks we have seen elsewhere around the world.”

Cpl. Nathan Cirillo, 24, a reservist serving in the Argyll and Sutherland Highlanders, was shot and killed while guarding the National War Memorial in Ottawa. Minutes later, a gunman opened fire inside the halls of parliament before he was shot to death by House of Commons Sergeant-at-Arms Kevin Vicker.

The CBC reported that police confirmed a photo tweeted by an ISIS-associated account does depict gunman Michael Zehaf-Bibeau. The Twitter account was suspended soon after the photo was posted.

His mother, Susan Bibeau, is deputy chairperson of the immigration division at the Immigration and Refugee Board of Canada. His father is reportedly Libyan.

The Canada-born shooter was raised near Montreal and had brushes with the law on drug charges, robbery and making threats. Reuters cited U.S. officials saying Zehaf-Bibeau was a recent convert to Islam, and the Globe and Mail said his passport had been taken away by the Canadian government after he was designated a “high-risk traveler.”

Addressing the nation, Harper noted that “for the second time this week, there has been a brutal and violent attack on our soil.”

On Monday, Warrant Officer Patrice Vincent was run over and killed “by an ISIL-inspired terrorist”: Martin “Ahmad” Rouleau.

“Fellow Canadians, in the days to come, we will learn more about the terrorist and any accomplices he may have had,” Harper said of Zehaf-Bibeau. “…We are also reminded that attacks on our security personnel and on our institutions of governance are by their very nature, attacks on our country, on our values, on our society, on us Canadians as a free and democratic people who embrace human dignity for all.”

“But let there be no misunderstanding: We will not be intimidated. Canada will never be intimidated,” the prime minister continued. “In fact, this will lead us to strengthen our resolve and redouble our efforts and those of our national security agencies to take all necessary steps to identify and counter threats and keep Canada safe here at home, just as it will lead us to strengthen our resolve and redouble our efforts to work with our allies around the world and fight against the terrorist organizations who brutalize those in other countries with the hope of bringing their savagery to our shores. They will have no safe haven.”

“While today has been without question a difficult day, I have no doubt Canadians will pull together with the kind of firm solidarity that has seen our country through many challenges.”

President Obama called Harper earlier in the day, and the White House said it wouldn’t jump to conclusions on the motive behind the attack.

At a media availability when he sat down with new Ebola czar Ron Klain in the Oval Office today, Obama said, “Obviously, the situation there is tragic.”

“We don’t yet have all the information about what motivated the shooting. We don’t yet have all the information about whether this was part of a broader network or plan or whether this was an individual or series of individuals who decided to take these actions,” he said. “But it emphasizes the degree to which we have to remain vigilant when it comes to dealing with these kinds of acts of senseless violence or terrorism.”

Obama added that the U.S. and Canada are “entirely in sync” when it comes to “dealing with terrorist activity.”

“You know, every single day, we have a whole lot of really smart, really dedicated, really hardworking people, including a couple in this room, who are monitoring risks and making sure that we’re doing everything we need to do to protect the American people,” he said.

“And they don’t get a lot of fanfare. They don’t get a lot of attention. There are a lot of possible threats that are foiled or disrupted that don’t always get reported on.”

Secretary of State John Kerry issued a statement on the attacks: “The United States has faced this kind of violence firsthand on our own soil, and we grieve with Canada, seared by the memory of our own painful experiences.”

“I spoke tonight with Canadian Foreign Minister Baird to express our deepest condolences on this tragic day, and to pledge the full support of the United States to Canada as it works to determine the facts and to hold those accountable responsible,” Kerry said, adding the two countries would continue to work “together to counter violent extremism in North America and elsewhere around the world.”

House Foreign Affairs Committee Chairman Ed Royce (R-Calif.) said he was “deeply troubled” by the attack.

“Even though many facts surrounding today’s attack remain unknown, it’s clear that those who cherish free and open societies must be constantly vigilant,” Royce said. “The U.S. and Canada must increase our already substantial counterterrorism cooperation.”

Read bullet |

White House Trying to Determine If Canada Attack was Terrorism

Wednesday, October 22nd, 2014 - by Bridget Johnson

The White House said it’s “in close touch” with Canadian counterparts after today’s deadly shooting at the National War Memorial in Ottawa and at parliament.

Most of the member of the House of Commons and the Senate were on Parliament Hill for caucus day. The buildings went into lockdown and were slowly being cleared as authorities tried to determine if there were any more shooters.

The attack came two days after two Canadian Armed Forces members from Canadian Forces Base Saint-Jean Garrison were run down in a car driven by, in the words of Prime Minister Stephen Harper, “a man who, according to our national security services, had become radicalized.”

Harper was scheduled to host a Q&A session today at a school in Toronto with Nobel Peace Prize winner Malala Yousafzai, who lives under constant threat from the Taliban. He was also going to grant honorary Canadian citizenship to the Pakistani teen.

President Obama called Harper today to “express the American people’s solidarity with Canada” in both Monday’s attack and today’s attack.

“President Obama condemned these outrageous attacks, and reaffirmed the close friendship and alliance between our people,” said a White House readout of the phone call. “The president offered any assistance Canada needed in responding to these attacks. Prime Minister Harper thanked the president and the two leaders discussed the assault and agreed to continue coordination between our governments moving forward.”

In the latest issue of its magazine Dabiq, ISIS faulted “crusader” media for making lone wolf attacks “appear to be random killings” and encouraged attacks on citizens from “crusader” countries.

“If you can kill a disbelieving American or European – especially the spiteful and filthy French – or an Australian, or a Canadian, or any other disbeliever from the disbelievers waging war, including the citizens of the countries that entered into a coalition against the Islamic State, then rely upon Allah, and kill him in any manner or way however it may be,” stated the magazine article. “Do not ask for anyone’s advice and do not seek anyone’s verdict. Kill the disbeliever whether he is civilian or military, for they have the same ruling.”

The attacks also came as al-Qaeda released a new 117-page slick English-language magazine, Resurgence, which is largely geared toward its new southeast Asia chapter.

White House press secretary Josh Earnest said Obama was briefed earlier today in the Oval Office by his top homeland security adviser, Lisa Monaco.

“The details about the nature of this event are still sketchy, which is not unusual in a chaotic situation like this one,” Earnest said.

“Canada is one of the closest friends and allies of the United States. And from issues ranging from the strength of our NATO alliance to the Ebola response to dealing with ISIL, there’s a strong partnership and friendship and alliance between the United States and Canada. The United States strongly values that relationship, and that relationship makes the citizens of this country safer.”

Earnest said he was “not in a position to render a judgment… at this point” on whether Canada was the victim of a terrorist attack.

“There’s no conclusion like that that I’m able to share with you at this point, but we’re obviously in the very early stages of determining what exactly happened here. And as I mentioned, a number of U.S. officials in this government have been in touch with their Canadian counterparts to offer some assistance as they respond to and deal with this tragic situation,” he said, adding he was “not aware” of any change to the threat status in the U.S.

“The United States has been in touch with Canadian counterparts over the last several months to talk about this issue of countering violent extremism and trying to deter foreign fighters who could be radicalized by ISIL. ISIL has demonstrated a capacity to use social media and other aspects of modern technology to try to radicalize citizens in other countries,” Earnest continued.

“…The circumstances around today’s tragic events in Canada are still unknown, but that is a concern that the United States has been focused on for quite some time. We’ve been talking to other countries about steps that we can take in coordination to mitigate that threat, and Canada is one of the countries that has been robustly engaged in those efforts.”

Though Capitol Police are said to be monitoring the developments in Canada, U.S. lawmakers are out of town until after midterm elections.

The State Department said the U.S. Embassy in Ottawa was under lockdown and “restricting the movement of embassy personnel as a precautionary measure.”

Secretary of State John Kerry was briefed on the attack while flying, spokeswoman Marie Harf told reporters.

When asked if there was a tie to the Islamic State, Harf interjected, “I don’t even want to speculate. It’s way too early.”

Rep. Adam Schiff (D-Calif.), a member of the House Intelligence Committee, told CNN “there’s been chatter for some time.”

“ISIS encouraging people to undertake self-radicalized attacks, low-tech or high-tech, they don’t care as long as western targets are gone after. We don’t know yet… whether this was a terrorist-inspired attack. But if it was, it’s certainly consistent with what ISIS has been urging,” Schiff said. “So I think FBI taking some prudent steps today to raise alert among the FBI offices and make sure either from a copycat attack perspective or because of this chatter it’s a very prudent step.”

“…Intelligence is really our best defense against something like this, but even intel, obviously, isn’t perfect.”

UPDATE 5:30 p.m. EST: An ISIS-associated account tweeted a purported photo of Michael Zehaf-Bibeau, reportedly the shooter killed by parliament Sergeant-At-Arms Kevin Vickers. It’s not a new account and tweets an extensive amount of jihadi news, yet didn’t elaborate when pressed for more information about the photo — particularly who took it. The account was suspended minutes after PJM took this screenshot.

The photo is not verified, yet does not conflict with witness accounts:

An Ottawa Citizen reporter inside the Parliament building, Jordan Press, wrote on Twitter that a suspect was ’5’9-5’10, overweight & wearing a dark jacket’. 

Witnesses also told the Citizen that they saw a man wearing an ‘Arabic scarf’ and carrying a long rifle, while others said the suspect looked South American. 

Scott Walsh, who was working on Parliament Hill, told CBC that he saw a man running with a shotgun, wearing a scarf and blue jeans.

…Those who saw the shooter at the War Memorial say that he had dark hair, a dark complexion and a scarf on his head and was armed with a rifle.

Screen Shot 2014-10-22 at 5.19.35 PM

Read bullet |

US Accidentally Airdrops Weapons to ISIS

Tuesday, October 21st, 2014 - by Bryan Preston

This will go down as a moment in the war with ISIS that has little strategic meaning, but may have significant psychological meaning.

The US airdropped a cache of weapons, intended for our Kurish allies in Syria, on territory that the Islamic State controls.

The terrorists have published video showing the weapons while they brag about having them.

The weapons, in the grand scheme of a war that already has ISIS driving around in American tanks and using Howitzers made by the American defense industry, don’t amount to all that much. A grenade kit for making lots of those, and a few boxes of rocket launcher rounds. That cache by itself won’t turn the tide of the war.

But the Obama government is already reeling from its pitiful response to the Ebola outbreak on one hand, and has earned distrust for its handling of the US border and for quietly planning to issue tens of millions of guest worker cards after the elections on the other.

At home Obama’s government is either ridiculed, disliked, distrusted or dismissed. Now it’s dropping weapons into a war zone and hurting our allies there twice — by misplacing the weapons themselves, and by showing America’s unreliability as an ally.

Read bullet |

Pentagon Confirms One Bundle of Arms to Kurds ‘Didn’t Make It’ as ISIS Claims Airdrop Seizure

Tuesday, October 21st, 2014 - by Bridget Johnson
YouTube Preview Image

ISIS released video of what it says is a seized airdrop of arms and supplies that the U.S. intended for Kurdish forces trying to keep the Syrian border town of Kobane.

Pentagon press secretary Rear Adm. John Kirby said that out of 28 bundles dropped ”we know of at least one that didn’t make it.”

The video includes an ISIS fighter rifling through a chest of grenades.

Kirby just told reporters that ”one bundle did not make it into the right hands,” but as the video was just released “we just don’t know” if U.S. arms were dropped into the hands of ISIS.

“We don’t know whether it’s authentic; you’ve got to give us a bit of time to figure it out,” he said.

The bundles included small arms and medical supplies.

When asked if they should be dropping aid rather than pressuring Turkey to simply let supplies come across the border crossing, Kirby replied, “Was there a better way?”

Kirby stressed that even if ISIS got one bundle they got 27 through to the Kurds. “I think that’s a pretty good record of success from the air.”

“I think we’re going to keep our options open to use that delivery mechanism in the future,” he added.

Read bullet |

BREAKING: Possible Terror Attack in Canada by Reported ISIS Sympathizer, Dead Suspect Is Martin ‘Ahmad’ Rouleau

Monday, October 20th, 2014 - by Patrick Poole

NOTE: Updates below this post

According to multiple reports, Canadian authorities are investigating a hit-and-run and subsequent high-speed car chase this morning in St. Jean sur Richelieu in Quebec province as a possible terror attack. (HT: Stewart Bell)

CBC reports:

A man in his 30s was shot by police in Saint-Jean-sur-Richelieu, Que., earlier this afternoon after he hit two members of the Canadian Forces with his car and led police on a dramatic high-speed chase.

The soldiers were hit in a parking lot of a commercial plaza at around 11:30 a.m. ET. Both were injured, one critically.

The incident was raised in the House of Commons this afternoon by Conservative MP Randy Hoback, who questioned Prime Minister Stephen Harper about “unconfirmed reports of a possible terror attack” targeting members of the Canadian Forces.

Harper, reading from a piece of paper, would only say he was ”aware of these reports” and that they are troubling.

Police have not named the soldiers but confirmed at an afternoon news conference that they were members of the armed forces.

Another report indicates that the suspect was inside the military office beforehand talking about ISIS and may be an ISIS sympathizer.

This incident comes weeks after ISIS called for Western supporters to attack and “slaughter soldiers” in their homes. The message made suggestions for such an attack:

“Smash his head with a rock, or slaughter him with a knife, or run him over with your car, or throw him down from a high place, or choke him, or poison him.”

“If you are unable to do so, then burn his home, car, or business. Or destroy his crops. If you are unable to do so, then spit in his face.”

If this is a confirmed attack, it may be a copycat attack based off of the May 2013 killing of British Army drummer Lee Rigby on the streets of Woolwich.

UPDATE: Stewart Bell directs to this report that the suspect (who has died from his wounds) is Martin “Ahmad” Rouleau, who was known to Canadian counterterrorism authorities.

UPDATE2: Rouleau’s Facebook page is filled with caliphate imagery.

UPDATE3: Here’s a picture of Rouleau from his Ummaland (Muslim social networking site) page, where is user name was “Ahmad the Convert”:

0125f8cbf057cfa72d5d6d18438bc562_120

UPDATE4: Canadian Prime Minister’s Office says that Rouleau “had become radicalized”:

“The individual who struck the two CAF members with his car is known to federal authorities, including the Integrated National Security Enforcement Team,” said the statement from Jason MacDonald, the prime minister’s spokesman.

“Federal authorities have confirmed that there are clear indications that the individual had become radicalized. As Canada’s national security agencies have said, Canadians should remain vigilant.”

UPDATE5: Stewart Bell of the National Post reports on Rouleau’s online activity:

A Twitter account under the name Ahmad Rouleau featured the banner of the Islamic State of Iraq and Al-Sham, the terrorist group that last month called on its followers to kill Canadians because of Ottawa’s role in the anti-ISIS military coalition.

“Islam is the only true religion. Anyone who want scientific proof of God that your terrorist Zionism Rothschild media hide, contact me or add me if you re open minded,” he commented beneath an online Time magazine article last May.

On a Facebook page under the same name, French and English posts — the last one on Friday — denounced Christianity and Judaism. “Allah has promised the hypocrite men and hypocrite women and the disbelievers the fire of Hell, wherein they will abide eternally. It is sufficient for them. And Allah has cursed them, and for them is an enduring punishment,” he wrote.

UPDATE6: The Toronto Sun adds this interesting tidbit:

A source says the suspect called 911 during the chase to say that he carried out his acts in the name of Allah.

And also reports:

Couture-Rouleau became known to the RCMP after a relative alerted police to the man’s terrorist leanings, a police source told QMI Agency.

A neighbor told QMI that Couture-Rouleau had grown out his beard and started wearing a turban after converting to Islam a year ago.

UPDATE7: National Post reports that one of the soldiers run down by Rouleau has died.

Read bullet |

U.S. Attorney General Blocked Aid to Israel, Cost Soldier’s Life

Monday, October 20th, 2014 - by Susan L.M. Goldberg

YouTube Preview Image

When Israeli Sergeant Oron Shaul was captured by Hamas terrorists in the thick of this past summer’s Operation Protective Sheild, the Palestinian terror organization used the sergeant’s Facebook page to broadcast their sick achievement to his family and friends. It should have been easy for the IDF to electronically trace the gloating terrorists, but it wasn’t. Why not? Apparently the U.S. attorney general got in the way.

Israel issued a request for Facebook to turn over IP address information, and the Justice Department got to work. In the meantime, the FBI got the bureaucratic wheels rolling with the U.S. Attorney’s office in what should have been a cut and dry procedure that, in a few short hours, was inexplicably shut down. The Jewish Press reports:

Suddenly, and to the shock of the prosecutors working feverishly to obtain the information that possibly could reveal where Shaul (or his body) was being held, a shocking email arrived from the FBI. An email that spelled a death sentence for what many believed to be the best chance of finding Shaul and his kidnappers.

Thank you for your effort, input and assistance. I regret to inform you we have been denied approval to move forward with legal process.We were told by our management we need a MLAT [Mutual Legal Assistance Treaty] in order to continue to assist our partner with the request in question.

The MLAT requires a standardized process to wind its way through legal and diplomatic protocols and usually take weeks to process. They are used, [Steve] Emerson explained, for non-pressing legal matters in which the United States or another country is carrying out some legal process, such as a prosecution of a citizen in another country. They are not used in urgent, life-or-death or counter-terrorism scenarios, “especially with a close ally such as Israel,” Emerson was told.

…Three days after the stand down email was sent, the IDF concluded that Oron Shaul was dead. His body has never been recovered. Hamas is interested in using whatever parts of Shaul’s body they claim to have to swap for terrorist prisoners held by Israel.

According to Emerson’s investigation, those involved in the legal procedures in the U.S. believe the stop order was given by the attorney general’s office.

Add this to the list of reasons why Eric Holder stepped down just in time. It may also be on the list of reasons why Israel is choosing to wean itself from its strong dependency on American military aid.

Read bullet |

Muhammad and Islam’s Sex Slaves

Thursday, October 16th, 2014 - by Raymond Ibrahim

Once again, Islamic State Muslims are pointing to Islam in order to justify what the civilized world counts as atrocities.

According to an October 13 report in the Telegraph,

Islamic State jihadists have given detailed theological reasons justifying why they have taken thousands of women from the Iraqi Yazidi minority and sold them into sex slavery.

A new article in the Islamic State English-language online magazine Dabiq not only admits the practice but justifies it according to the theological rulings of early Islam.

“After capture, the Yazidi women and children were then divided according to the Sharia amongst the fighters of the Islamic State who participated,” the article says.

As for “theological reasons” for sex slavery “according to the Sharia,” these are legion—from male Muslim clerics, to female Muslim activists.   Generally they need do no more than cite the clear words of Koran 4:3, which permit Muslims to copulate with female captives of war, or ma malakat aymanukum, “what”—not whom—“your right hands possess.”

The article continues:

But most of it [Islamic State “article” or fatwa] is devoted to theological justifications for Islamic State behaviour, citing early clerics and the practices of the Prophet Mohammed and his Companions during the early years of Islamic expansion.

Indeed, while many are now aware of the Koran’s and by extension Sharia’s justification for slaves, sexual or otherwise, fewer are willing to embrace the fact that the prophet of Islam himself kept and copulated with concubines conquered during the jihad.

One little-known story is especially eye-opening:

During Muhammad’s jihad on the Jews of Khaybar, he took for himself from among the spoils of war one young woman, a teenager, Safiya bint Huyay, after hearing of her beauty.  (Earlier the prophet had bestowed her on another Muslim jihadi, but when rumor of her beauty reached him, the prophet reneged and took her for himself.)

Muhammad “married” Safiya hours after he had her husband, Kinana, tortured to death in order to reveal hidden treasure.  And before this, the prophet’s jihadis slaughtered Safiya’s father and brothers.

While Islamic apologists have long tried to justify this account—often by saying that Muhammad gave her the honor of “marriage” as opposed to being a concubine and that she opted to convert to Islam—they habitually fail to cite what Islamic sources record, namely Baladhuri’s ninth century Kitab Futuh al-Buldan (“Book of Conquests”).

According to this narrative, after the death of Muhammad, Safiya confessed that “Of all men, I hated the prophet the most—for he killed my husband, my brother, and my father,” before “marrying” (or, less euphemistically, raping) her… Keep reading

Read bullet |

TSA Director Announces Retirement

Thursday, October 16th, 2014 - by Bridget Johnson

The Department of Homeland Security this morning announced the retirement of the director of the Transportation Security Administration.

The news comes just as airports will be shouldering a greater responsibility to detect possible Ebola victims.

FBI veteran John Pistole, 58, was sworn in as TSA administrator in July 2010. He plans to leave at the end of the year and move into academia.

In a statement, DHS Secretary Jeh Johnson thanked Pistole “for his four and a half years’ service as Administrator of the Transportation Security Administration (TSA) and 31 years of service to the nation.”

“Under John’s leadership, TSA launched its ‘Trusted Traveler’ program, TSA Pre ✓™, which over five million passengers per week now use at 120 U.S. airports. John brought to TSA extensive experience in national security, counterterrorism and fighting organized crime,” Johnson said.

“John Pistole has been integral in leading TSA’s transformation to a risk-based, intelligence-driven counterterrorism agency dedicated to protecting our transportation systems,” he continued. “Because of his efforts over the past four and a half years, our country’s transportation systems are more safe and secure. I am grateful for John’s contributions to DHS, TSA and our country.”

“I congratulate John on his career as a selfless public servant and wish him and his family the very best as he leaves TSA. I also thank John for his friendship, counsel, and devotion to duty.”

Read bullet |

Obama Throws the Free Syrian Army Under the Bus

Thursday, October 16th, 2014 - by Patrick Poole

For the past three years, the Obama administration has hailed the Free Syrian Army (FSA) as the saviors of Syria — the “vetted moderate” force that was going to topple the butcher Assad. Because of that, the administration provided training, money and weapons to prop up the FSA (the word is they sent lawyers too).

But according to a report last night by Hannah Allam at McClatchy, Obama is now throwing the FSA under bus:

John Allen, the retired Marine general in charge of coordinating the U.S.-led coalition’s response to the Islamic State, confirmed Wednesday what Syrian rebel commanders have complained about for months – that the United States is ditching the old Free Syrian Army and building its own local ground force to use primarily in the fight against the Islamist extremists.

“At this point, there is not formal coordination with the FSA,” Allen told reporters at the State Department.

That was perhaps the bluntest answer yet to the question of how existing Syrian rebel forces might fit into the U.S. strategy to fight the Islamic State. Allen said the United States’ intent is to start from scratch in creating a home-grown, moderate counterweight to the Islamic State.

For most of the three years of the Syrian conflict, the U.S. ground game hinged on rebel militias that are loosely affiliated under the banner of the Free Syrian Army, or FSA. Their problems were no secret: a lack of cohesion, uneven fighting skills and frequent battlefield coordination with the al Qaida loyalists of the Nusra Front.

Last month I reported here at PJ Media about the coordination of the “vetted moderate” FSA with Jabhat al-Nusra and even ISIS. That coordination was later confirmed by a senior FSA commander.

Those reports came just as Congress was considering a vote to spend another $500 million to train their administration’s “vetted moderate” partners. That funding was approved by both the House and the Senate before Congress left town for the election break. With Obama cutting the FSA loose less than a month later, those who voted against the funding are going to look like geniuses.

Now that the FSA is safely under the bus it remains to be seen exactly who Obama is going to enlist to train and fight. Most of those who can fight are already in the fight. What are they going to do now, put out an ad on Craig’s List?

As one observer noted last night, Syria watchers should keep an eye out for the following ad showing up in the help wanted section of Middle East newspapers:

Wanted, Multicultural, non-sectarian, Jeffersonian democrats interested in military careers. English a plus. Drug test required.

Under Obama’s bus must be getting crowded…

Read bullet |

In Other Bad News: It’s Been 6 Months Since Boko Haram Kidnapped Those Girls

Wednesday, October 15th, 2014 - by Stephen Kruiser

Annus Horribilis

Chanting “Bring back our girls now, and alive,” Nigerian protesters gathered outside the presidential residence in Abuja, the capital, on Tuesday.

They were demanding the Nigerian government do more to free the 200 or so schoolgirls still held captive by Boko Haram six months after the mass kidnapping from a school in Chibok, northern Nigeria.

Hosiah Lawan, a leader of the Chibok parents organization, told the crowd that, “hope is now fading fast,” Reuters reported.

Protests also took place in London, U.K. and New York.

It is truly a sad statement on the state of affairs in the world that something this awful was relegated to back page status so quickly. Just think of some of the the things that the world hasn’t been able to focus on for long in the past six months: Russia’s Ukrainian antics, Hamas bombing Israel, and the acceleration of the ISIS rampage. This week, it’s all Ebola all the time. The government’s handling of that has been so inept that people aren’t even noticing that Enterovirus D68 has actually killed more people in the U.S. so far.

All of this and not an adult in charge to be seen for miles.

Read bullet |

New Caption Contest: Is This Obama’s ‘JV Team?’

Wednesday, October 15th, 2014 - by Myra Adams
Credit: Drudge Report

Credit: Drudge Report

Back in January, David Remick had an extensive interview with President Obama in the New Yorker Magazine. This is where Obama famously said the following about the Islamic terror group we now know as ISIS:

“The analogy we use around here sometimes, and I think is accurate, is if a jayvee team puts on Lakers uniforms that doesn’t make them Kobe Bryant,” Obama said, resorting to an uncharacteristically flip analogy. “I think there is a distinction between the capacity and reach of a bin Laden and a network that is actively planning major terrorist plots against the homeland versus jihadists who are engaged in various local power struggles and disputes, often sectarian.

That is how the phrase “JV team” made its way into today’s foreign policy discussions. (In case you needed a reference.) Now, it has become painfully obvious that ISIS is the varsity and Obama’s team is the JV.

These unfortunate circumstances were revealed, once again, in the following headlines:

Turkey denies U.S. base deal in place to battle ISIS (Drudge)

The Obama Administration has a kiss and tell problem  (Foreign Policy.com and below)

In its excitement to trumpet the coalition against the Islamic State, the U.S. is outing partners before they’re ready to go steady.

Drudge linked to the above Foreign Policy piece accompanied by the photo that is the subject of our contest.

Your mission is to write an appropriate overall caption.

Additionally, here are some questions that you are encouraged to answer:

What is President Obama saying?

What is John Kerry daydreaming about?

What is Susan Rice thinking?

Bonus Question: Since we can assume the flowers are bugged, what did the buggers learn from this meeting?

Now, moving ahead, here are the winners from our last photo caption contest entitled, Capitol Dome Restoration Project to ‘Stop Deterioration.’

Credit: AP

Credit: AP

The grand prize goes to Allan Crowson for this zinger:

Guy on scaffolding: “Pelosi says we’ve got to cover this thing to find out what’s in it.”

The runners-up were:

Kuce for: The perfect political metaphor. If something is broken, cover it up and claim you’re fixing it.

And Zip Code won twice for:

Man on ledge talking,—- That’s one small step from the scaffolding, One giant makeover for America.

They don’t mind working till dawn’s early light, knowing the flag will still be there.

Yes, the flag is still there and we will stand by our flag — comforted and secure in the knowledge that the team pictured in our new caption contest photo is in charge of America’s foreign policy.  (Yikes, it’s time for my meds!)

 

 

 

 

Read bullet |