First we found out that President Obama’s “Justice Department used a secret subpoena to obtain two months of phone records for Associated Press reporters and editors without notifying the news organization,” a move which AP President and CEO Gary Pruitt called a “‘massive and unprecedented intrusion’ into news-gathering operations.” Pruitt also “on Sunday called the Justice Department’s actions ‘unconstitutional’ and said the AP hasn’t ruled out legal action.” The head of the Project on Government Oversight, Danielle Brian, said “The Justice Department’s seizure of the Associated Press’ phone records is Nixonian.” Now we find that this was not the Obama administration’s only instance of menacing actions towards the media — and an attack on the First Amendment. We’ve now learned that the “Obama administration spied on Fox News reporter James Rosen:”
Archive for the 'Dictator Watch' Category
The war in Afghanistan may be winding down. But the Pentagon’s chief of irregular warfare still sees a war against al-Qaida that will last decades, all over the world — a prospect that prompted astonishment and constitutional debate in the Senate. …
Two Islamist brothers terrorized Boston for days in April. Just a few days ago Fazliddin Kurbanov was charged in Boise, Idaho with “conspiracy to provide material support to a foreign terrorist organization and conspiracy to provide material support to terrorists,” according to the Idaho Statesman. The FBI itself said that:
… The Idaho indictment alleges in count one that between August 2012 and May 2013, Kurbanov knowingly conspired with unnamed co-conspirators to provide material support and resources to the Islamic Movement of Uzbekistan, a designated foreign terrorist organization. The indictment alleges that the material support and resources included himself, computer software and money.
In count two, the indictment further alleges that the defendant conspired to provide material support and resources, including himself, to terrorists knowing that the material support was to be used in preparation for and in carrying out an offense involving the use of a weapon of mass destruction. …
President Obama is already trying to sweep another one of his scandals under the rug, the IRS debacle, in which that agency “used inappropriate criteria that identified for review tea party and other organizations applying for tax-exempt status based upon their names or policy positions.” This is a huge scandal, with many major ramifications for free speech and other aspects of our constitutional rights. The President stood before the American people for “a mere four minutes” yesterday and fired the acting director of the IRS, a guy who already had decided to step down before the scandal broke, and who is by some accounts “well respected at the agency” and “a very smart, capable guy.” After another of Obama’s scandals, his betrayal of the Associated Press, one would think the media would see right through the President’s obvious attempt to find a quick scapegoat for the IRS debacle. But the Washington Post is already seemingly defending the President. So let’s start with Obama’s attack on the free press:
After multiple scandals — using the IRS as a political weapon, covering up Americans being killed in Benghazi — the Obama administration may have just put the last nail in its own political coffin. The President has alienated a key ally: the mainstream media. According to the Yahoo! News:
Exactly ten days ago, President Barack Obama was piously telling reporters who cover him that free speech and an independent press are “essential pillars of our democracy.” On Monday, the Associated Press accused his administration of undermining that very pillar by secretly obtaining two months’ worth of telephone records of AP reporters and editors. …
The latest revelations are sure to pour fuel on the fire of Republican-driven Richard Nixon comparisons. They come in the wake of revelations that the IRS may have improperly scrutinized the tax-exempt status of conservative, tea party-linked groups. This might, in order words, not be a great time to announce a groundbreaking trip to China.
And the news threatens to pile fresh political woes on a second term already burdened by a painful gun-control defeat, a seemingly stalled economic agenda, and Republican rage at the botched response to the Sept. 12, 2012 terrorist attack that killed four Americans in Benghazi, Libya. …
For a long time, many have suspected that Obama has made “the US media its mouthpiece.” Perhaps the “US media” wanted to be Obama’s mouthpiece — until they got targeted. The AP wasn’t too happy, according to NBC:
… In a letter of protest to Attorney General Eric Holder, [AP President and CEO Gary] Pruitt called [sic] said obtaining more than two months of AP phone records on 20 separate telephone lines without prior notice was a “massive and unprecedented intrusion” into news-gathering operations. …
… also drew a swift rebuke Monday from members of Congress and freedom of the press watchdogs, one of whom called the move ‘Nixonian.’ …
Rep. Darrell Issa, R-Calif., and chairman of the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee, vowed to investigate.
“This is obviously disturbing,” he said. Coming in the wake of other disclosures about the administration’s response to the attack on the U.S. consulate in Benghazi, Libya, and the IRS’s targeting of conservative nonprofit groups, he said it showed “top Obama administration officials increasingly see themselves as above the law and emboldened by the belief that they don’t have to answer to anyone.”
Rep. Issa hit the nail on the head: “top Obama administration officials increasingly see themselves as above the law and emboldened by the belief that they don’t have to answer to anyone.” With the pileup of scandals, Obama will surely lose the trust of the majority of the American people.
By Barry Rubin
In his speech at Ohio State University, President Barack Obama used the word “together” four times. Yet each time he defined the collective endeavor of Americans as merely that of promoting more government. Thus, while trying to turn American history and even the Constitution into precedents for his goals and policies, Obama actually reverses reality, undermining not only the conservative vision of America but also the historic liberal one.
Normally, a president would speak of the vast array of efforts made “together” to refer — or at least include — non-government activities. That means the actions of voluntarily formed communities, organizations, corporations, charities, religious groups, and trade unions. It is the freedom, energy, and enthusiasm to form such groups that marks American society as unusual in the world.
Americans should be very wary of the tyrannical tendencies of New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg as he wants to rewrite our nation’s Constitution and is using his massive personal fortune to “try to defeat opponents of the [gun] background-check proposal who are up for re-election next year.” Below I’ve provided snippets from several articles which you must read in their entirety, and take action, warning your elected officials of his intentions. Please distribute this information via email, social media, word of mouth, etc. You should also note that “Judicial Watch is now analyzing the ethical and legal implications of [Bloomberg's] secretive campaign” vis-a-vis his attacks on the Second Amendment.
by Daniel Pipes*
The Egyptian publication Al-Masry Al-Youm reports that the U.S. government has supplied five containers carrying 140,000 teargas canisters to Egypt’s Interior Ministry. It further reports that this shipment left Wilmington, Delaware, on Mar. 14 aboard the SS Jamestown and that it has just arrived the port of Suez. They cost the Egyptian government just under US$2.5 million. According to ministry spokesperson Hani Abdel Latif, the ministry imported the grenades in order to protect state facilities.
by Hilal Khashan*
The assassination of Lebanese security chief brigadier general Wissam Hassan on October 19 has rekindled fears of renewed confessional strife in Lebanon. The anti-Assad opposition quickly blamed the Syrian regime for eliminating one of its foremost Beirut opponents while enraged demonstrators took to the streets to demand the resignation of prime minister Najib Miqati.
by Ilias I. Kouskouvelis*
Under the Justice and Development Party (Adalet ve Kalkınma Partisi, AKP), Turkey’s foreign policy has been associated with the prescriptions and efforts of three men: Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdoğan, President Abdullah Gül, and Foreign Minister Ahmet Davutoğlu. Davutoğlu, a former international relations professor, has been the most articulate exponent of the troika’s ideas, penning perhaps the most authoritative summary of its worldview in his 2001 Stratejik Derinlik (Strategic Depth) and coining its foremost article of faith: a “zero-problems policy” with Turkey’s neighbors because Ankara “wants to eliminate all the problems from her relations with neighbors or at least to minimize them as much as possible.”
This might all be well and good if such words were supported by actions. But Davutoğlu has also described Turkey as a “heavyweight wrestler,” hinting that it may use “the maximum of its abilities” when dealing with its neighboring “middleweight wrestlers.” A survey of Ankara’s relations with these “middleweight wrestlers” reveals its “zero problems policy” to be little more than a cover for the AKP’s reasserted “neo-Ottoman” ambitions.
by Daniel Pipes*
Recent steps taken by the Government of Turkey suggest it may be ready to ditch the NATO club of democracies for a Russian and Chinese gang of authoritarian states.
Here is the evidence:
Starting in 2007, Ankara applied three times unsuccessfully to join as a Guest Member of the Shanghai Cooperation Organisation (or SCO, informally known as the Shanghai Five). Founded in 1996 by the Russian and Chinese governments, along with three (and in 2001 a fourth) former Soviet Central Asian states, the SCO has received minimal attention in the West, although it has grand security and other aspirations, including the possible creation of a gas cartel. More, it offers an alternative to the Western model, from NATO, to democracy, to displacing the U.S. dollar as reserve currency. After those three rejections, Ankara applied for “Dialogue Partner” status in 2011. In June 2012, it won approval.
By Barry Rubin
They were celebrating in Cairo the arrival of four new U.S. F-16s and the likelihood that the United States would give $2 billion in aid to Egypt this year. They were also celebrating the warm welcome given to Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad. Is there a contradiction here?
And also given the ongoing violence in Egypt and the Islamist regime’s declaration of a state of emergency in three governates–a policy it and other opposition groups always rejected under the previous government–it is reasonable for the United States to postpone military gifts of F16s, advanced tanks, and other weapons to Cairo.
by Aymenn Jawad Al-Tamimi*
Recently a video emerged in which pro-Assad militiamen can be seen beating and shooting a prisoner to death. What might seem remarkable is that the militiamen are insulting Islam in the process, mocking the takbir — that is, the cry of “Allahu akbar” — the Islamic conception of paradise for martyrs. In the first half of the video, one of the executioners — disparaging Muhammad — shouts, “F—k you and your prophet.” Later, another of them yells, “Damn your God.”
It may come across as odd that pro-Assad militiamen would disparage the Islamic religion in such a crude manner, but it should be noted that there are many videos like this in which the anti-Islamic sentiment takes a more subtle form.
by Hannibal Travis*
It is well known by genocide scholars that in 1939 Adolf Hitler urged his generals to exterminate members of the Polish race. “Who speaks today of the extermination of the Armenians?” Hitler asked, just a week before the September 1, 1939 invasion of Poland. However, while it is generally agreed that Hitler was well aware of the Armenian genocide, some genocide scholars and historians of the Ottoman Empire have questioned whether he actually made the above statement or even intended to exterminate portions of the “Polish race.”
Still, there is evidence that the massacre of the Ottoman Armenians helped persuade the Nazis that national minorities posed a threat to empires dominated by an ethnic group such as the Germans or the Turks. Furthermore, these minorities could be exterminated to the benefit of the perpetrator with little risk. Indeed, it was German officials who had smuggled out of the Ottoman Empire the leaders of the Young Turk regime, culpable for the deaths of over a million Armenians and a million or more other Christian minorities such as the Assyrians and Greeks. Diverse historical evidence suggests that Hitler viewed the Armenians and Poles as analogous; in several ways, his statement about the Armenians was consistent with his other beliefs and writings.
by Şenay Yıldız*
Translation of the original text: Ortadoğu liderliğine en yakın ülke Türkiye
Translated by Elif S. Gürbey
Founder and president of the Middle East Forum, Daniel Pipes is well known for his work on the Middle East and political Islam. Pipes, an award-winning columnist for the National Review and Jerusalem Post, writes commentaries and articles about the Middle East in leading media organizations such as the BBC, Al Jazeera, New York Times, Wall Street Journal, and Washington Post. After visiting Turkey last month, Pipes, who has 12 books and numerous articles on Islam, Syria, and the Middle East, published an article in National Review Online titled “Talking Turkey.” We talked with him [in mid-December] about his impressions of Turkey and his expectations from the Middle East.
- When were you in Turkey the last time?
I was in Turkey two weeks ago. I visited in 2007 as well. My first visit to Turkey was in 1972. I spent the summer of 1973 trying to learn Turkish while living in Istanbul’s Üsküdar quarter … but I was not very successful at it.
by Gary C. Gambill*
As the Syrian civil war grows nastier and nastier, there is a growing consensus among mainstream Western policy analysts that the United States can best combat the growth of jihadist groups battling Syrian president Bashar al-Assad by patronizing a more respectable coterie of rebels fighting alongside them. While there may be some reasonable grounds for considering U.S. intervention in the conflict, this isn’t one of them.