Note: For a more thorough analysis of the Law of the Sea Treaty, read the Victory Institute’s Fact Sheet available here.
Every few years, Congress takes up the issue of the Law of the Sea Treaty (LOST), officially referred to in the international community as the U.N. Convention for the Law of the Sea. The convention is essentially a constitution for the world’s oceans, but the economic protections and navigation rights come at a price.
LOST advocates would have us believe that when the treaty first reared its head 30 years ago, President Ronald Reagan refused to sign due to technicalities, which were addressed in 1994.
However, Reagan’s former attorney general, Ed Meese recently wrote that while a portion of Reagan’s concerns were addressed, subverting our national sovereignty to an unaccountable international governing body was not.
Reagan did have issues with portions of the treaty, but more importantly, the president opposed LOST because it was a direct threat to our national sovereignty. In fact, Reagan opposed the treaty so strongly that he fired the State Department staff that negotiated it.
Meese gives a full account of Reagan’s history with LOST and is a must-read.
But how much weight should we put behind what other people say about a former president who is conveniently no longer alive to defend himself – especially those who had nothing to do with him?
This week, the Atlantic resorted to peer pressure to support LOST with this headline: “(Almost) Everyone Agrees: The U.S. Should Ratify the Law of the Sea Treaty.” Author Stewart M. Patrick, director of the Council on Foreign Relations’ Global Governance program, states that the Reagan administration signed the treaty (which they didn’t) and says that the “unanimous view” of every Secretary of State, Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, Secretary of Defense of both political parties is that signing the treaty is “profoundly in the U.S. national interest.”
Patrick goes on to say that “All of the uniformed services – and especially the U.S. Navy – are solidly behind [LOST]” and that the treaty contains “everything the military wants, and nothing that it fears.”
If “almost everyone agrees” as Mr. Patrick suggests and is “profoundly” in our best interests, then why on earth are we still debating the issue? One thing to consider is that many military officers have agendas of their own. And bucking their commander-in-chief is a certain way to end up out of the job. Unfortunately, the military is set up in such a manner that their voice is largely unheard.
In a recent hearing, however, Senator Chris Coons (D-Del.) asked Gen. Martin Dempsey, the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff if failing to ratify the treaty would “in any way compromise the ability of the United States to project force around the world [and] to support and sustain our allies.”
Dempsey’s response was that “Our ability … will not deteriorate.”
Supporters proudly proclaim that both President George H.W. Bush and George W. Bush support LOST as do the five living secretaries of state who served for Republican presidents. Three Republican senators have already stated their intention to sign: Richard Lugar, Lisa Murkowski, and Olympia Snowe.
As the popular saying goes, “I am from Missouri. You have got to show me.” Simply parading names of prominent Republicans isn’t enough to convince me to support something without showing me the evidence. After all, Republicans can subvert our sovereignty just as easily as Democrats.
While serving as Senate Majority Leader in 2007, Trent Lott – another Republican – staunchly opposed LOST, stating that it would create a “U.N. on steroids” that “would undermine U.S. military operations … and impair navigational rights.”
Now Lott lobbies for the treaty.
LOST hasn’t changed a bit since Lott served as senator; the sovereignty and security concerns he once had are still part of the treaty. It behooved Senator Lott to oppose the treaty when he was accountable to the voters. But today, Lobbyist Lott urges Congress to ratify LOST. Who cares about sovereignty so long as you’re getting paid, right?
The Obama administration would have us believe that if the U.S. Senate ratifies LOST, a multitude of world issues would be solved: from Iran threatening to close the Straights of Hormuz to Chinese claiming the South China Sea and Russia claiming the Arctic Circle.
Problem is, both China and Russia have already signed the treaty. How can we reasonably expect that the U.N. can check this aggressive behavior simply by Washington ratifying LOST?
“[LOST] is an unnecessarily complicated and entangling concoction,” writes Cato Institute’s Doug Bandow, “that accomplishes little that the longstanding body of customary international law on the high-seas or the dynamics of markets do not account for.”
Since the convention is, in large part, redundant with our current laws and is doing little to stop aggression – at the cost of our sovereignty – why the rush to sign?
Perhaps those pushing LOST are so persistent because they know that about 25 percent of the international bureaucracy’s income will come from U.S. taxpayers. One-quarter of the financial backing and we basically have the same say as Luxembourg.
International treaties that subvert our sovereignty and redistribute our wealth may benefit the powerful elite like lobbyists, senators, and former secretaries of state, but clearly, Americans should be careful whose advice we take.
There is certainly a place for a Law of the Sea. Reagan himself said that “No one has ruled out the idea of a [Law of the Sea] treaty – one which makes sense – but after long years of fruitless negotiating, it became apparent that the underdeveloped nations who now control the General Assembly were looking for a free ride at our expense, again.”
The treaty no doubt began with noble intentions, but by the time it made it through the halls of the U.N. – the world’s most glaring example of corruption – it was morphed into a document that could be abused by corrupt international bureaucrats, lining their pockets on American taxpayer dollars and enabling voting blocks who benefit from limiting U.S. interests.
There are worthwhile elements to the treaty. Therefore, considering the still-existing threats to our sovereignty and the corruption of the U.N, perhaps we should push for a more accountable path forward before rushing to sign on.
This treaty may be in the best interests of those who seek to profit from global governance, or at least those who can tolerate it, but its current form of implementation is most certainly not in the best interests of the American people. LOST grants us virtually nothing that isn’t already protected by our Naval forces and we are already abiding by most of the convention’s provisions, which again, are largely redundant with existing laws.
We must seek out the full story about LOST – and not just highlight the bits that benefit the Trent Lotts and the CFRs of the world. Once we have a full understanding of the treaty, then we can make a socially responsible decision based on principles instead of filtered information that furthers an agenda.
While in line to attend a fundraiser for President Obama, the president of CBS reportedly said that “partisanship is very much a part of journalism now.” Considering the definitions of journalism and partisanship, we see that Les Moonves has openly admitted that his industry has abandoned its true mission and instead is pushing an agenda.
According to Merriam Webster, a partisan is “one exhibiting blind, prejudiced, and unreasoning alliance” to a “party, faction, cause, or person.”
Journalism is “a direct presentation of facts or description of events without interpretation.”
Obviously, the two cannot coexist.
All humans are biased to a degree, but professional journalists are supposed to set aside their biases and simply present facts. Facts aren’t liberal or conservative – they are just facts. But when you have blind allegiance to an agenda, then you twist the facts to fit your agenda.
There is no way that CBS can present facts, free of interpretation, while having a blind and unreasoning allegiance to a party.
Of course, CBS and their counterparts do present facts, but those facts are filtered. Media will not give Obama the same degree of scrutiny as his opponent, Mitt Romney. Media will selectively present information that could weaken their agenda on issues like gun control or abortion. Media will go to biased sources that will further the narrative.
So if Moonves’ employees are no longer journalists, what are they?
Again, from Merriam Webster: propaganda is “ideas, facts, or allegations spread deliberately to further one’s cause or to damage an opposing cause.” Both journalism and propaganda deal in “facts,” but what sets the two apart is whether or not the selection and presentation of the facts is deliberately intended to further or damage a cause.
And when Moonves admitted that journalism is partisan, he admitted that journalism today is propaganda.
To be clear, journalism is not to be confused with commentary, like Rush Limbaugh, or editorials, like Thomas Sowell (or this post, for that matter). They are not reporting facts, but interpreting them – providing their opinions.
If Moonves wanted to further his agenda the right way, political commentary would be the proper place to do it. Not on the evening news.
For millions of Americans, the only exposure they have to “facts” is what CBS and other major media outlets disseminate. With Moonves’ announcement, it becomes clear how our country ended up with Barack Obama, Harry Reid, and Nancy Pelosi at the helm.
True objective journalism is dead. Americans deserve better than what Moonves and his fellow travelers at other media outlets are selling. Our republic cannot survive when those presenting the “facts” have a blind allegiance to an agenda.
Afghan soldiers turned guns on their US and NATO trainers more in 2011 than perhaps any other year, and the military organization running the war in Afghanistan has responded by choosing not to report details of these incidents.
The International Security Assistance Force (ISAF), a NATO-led security mission established by the UN Security Council in 2001 to secure Afghanistan, has opted to leave the announcements up to the respective nation whose soldiers are killed.
Sometimes, the incidents are simply not reported.
Last week, a rogue Afghan National Army soldier turned his weapon on his French trainers in Kapisa Province, killing four, and he wounded over a dozen others. The Afghans were preparing to go on a joint training patrol with the French advisors.
On January 20, ISAF issued the following press release on the incident:
Four International Security Assistance Force service members were killed today in eastern Afghanistan by a member of the Afghan National Army.
The suspected shooter has been apprehended.
It is ISAF policy to defer casualty identification procedures to the relevant national authorities.
On December 29, another Afghan soldier killed two French Foreign Legion soldiers in the same province. There is no record of the attack on ISAF’s website.
The New York Timescited a classified report stating that between May 2007 and May 2011, Afghan soldiers or police killed 58 Western troops in 26 separate attacks. In April, 2011, 14 US service members and one US contractor were killed in just two fratricide incidents.
Six percent of all coalition hostile deaths in Afghanistan were due to Afghans killing their trainers, and the majority of the attacks occurred since October 2009.
Multiple service members have already been murdered by rogue Afghans in 2012, including one US Army soldier, Pfc. Dustin P. Napier, who was reportedly killed while playing volleyball in Zabul Province on January 8.
ISAF’s press release reads: “An International Security Assistance Force service member was killed today in southern Afghanistan apparently by a member of the Afghan National Army.”
At least two other US soldiers were injured in the attack.
It takes some investigative journalism to learn whether US service members are killed by their Afghan counterparts. The New York Times determined the name of the fallen soldier from “Afghan officials” – the Pentagon disclosed Napier’s cause of death simply as “injuries from small-arms fire.”
No link to the Times article can be found, but Stars and Stripes has a brief write-up mentioning the connection.
Whether or not Americans know if “friendly” or enemy bullets killed Pfc. Napier is not the point. What matters is that our mission in Afghanistan is nearly over, and our supposed “allies” are murdering our soldiers. And these attacks are increasing.
Rather than whitewashing fratricide events in Afghanistan, military leaders should be working to stop them.
The US and NATO plan to transfer security responsibility to the Afghan government in 2014, so the fate of the mission rests in the ability of military advisers to train Afghan army and police units. But when there is an increasing epidemic of fratricide, and NATO responds by not publicly disclosing the attacks, one has to wonder whether victory is even possible at this point.
During an exchange with a senatorial aide, I received from him the link to a piece written by Col. Tony Pfaff, US Army. The piece is entitled “Risk, Military Ethics and Irregular Warfare.” In this piece the colonel details the problems encountered in asymmetrical combat, the unwieldy and artificially established parameters thrust upon not only unit field leaders but upon individual combatants as well.
He refers to the ‘absurdities’ created in an environment created by the unusual mix of non-combatants, friendly combatants and ‘irregular’ fighters. The absurdities he refers to amount to forcing friendly combatants to measure the value of life on a sliding scale with the non-combatant at the top and the friendly combatant at the bottom. To his credit, he makes it clear that a commander should never take the indefensible position of not considering protection of his force when planning and carrying out the mission.
The main problem with the piece is that while it accurately portrays the combatant as being the instrument through which a sovereign nation can project violence to protect it’s citizenry and thus rightly assumes risk on it’s behalf, it never-the-less tries to equate all human life. From the vantage point of a government’s responsibility to it’s citizenry, that should never be an issue. From a strictly objective view point and certainly through the eyes of our Founding Fathers and our Constitution, all men are indeed created equal and endowed with certain unalienable rights “by their creator”. The problem, however, is that men are free to determine for themselves who that “creator” is and whether he has indeed established that standard for literally all men or if he has decreed that unbelievers should be brutalized, and killed.
While I do recognize and agree with the Founding Fathers on the rights of all men, I do not see the world as flat. I recognize that there are indeed men who have given themselves to ideologies that run counter to our unique understanding of that vision and that some men in fact hold ill in their hearts for any who do not believe as they do. Such are they who hold to the doctrines of Islam and the entire population in Afghanistan stands in excess of 98% compliant with that religion.
Colonel Pfaff continues and quotes from Walzter (emphasis mine):
While commanders are expected to conserve soldiers’ lives as a matter of military necessity, the demands of irregular warfare—where support of the local population is critical to mission accomplishment—place almost all the risk associated with conducting operations onto the soldier.
The difficulty for the standard view [conventional warfare] is that when choosing where to transfer risk—mission, enemy civilians, or themselves—combatants must always choose to transfer risk to themselves, except when the mission itself is at stake. By placing friendly combatants lowest in priority in terms of risk avoidance, one effectively denies them the right to life. By denying them the right to life, they are denied the protection of the state they are defending. This view is explicitly held by Walzer who notes:
“The immediate problem is that soldiers who do the fighting …lose the rights they are supposedly defending. They gain war rights as combatants and potential prisoners, but they can now be attacked and killed at will by the enemy. Simply by fighting … they have lost their rights to life and liberty … and they have lost it, even though, unlike aggressors states, they have committed no crime.”
Doesn’t this by necessity draw into question the efficacy of COIN warfare? While history demonstrates not only the unusual risks associated with this sort of campaign, it also illustrates the futility of defining mission accomplishment in an environment where the local population and/or the government is not equally invested to the point of willingness to sacrifice their own lives for their own benefit. The popularized phrase, “winning of hearts and minds” in itself is a damning indictment of the reluctance of the local population to even agree with the “liberating force”. And if they must be “convinced” first, was there ever an emergency of conscience to begin with?
This is a further indictment against our Sovereign leader’s ability to define the enemy and separate them from the “non-combatant/innocents” in that country. It should also force us to reconsider just how far from the original mission of retribution for the actions of 9/11 we have strayed!
The Colonel then moves the discussion from combat operations to law enforcement with such fluidity as to suggest they not only should exist simultaneously, but says that the Soldier and Marine should be expected to operate in both environments, alternately, with ease. While that may seem reasonable as an operation ages and in fact did happen in both Japan and Germany in the forties, it is worthy to note that the transition there did not occur until after Germany and Japan had capitulated. It is also worthy to note that we were fighting regular forces answerable to the Sovereign governments of both those countries. We were also battling and then working with men who had a sense of personal honor not unlike our own. Their understanding of their responsibilities to their sovereign government and then to us as occupiers was measured by their own government’s mandate for them. Once their government capitulated, they essentially laid down their arms.
Neither the Taliban nor Al Qaeda represents a Sovereign government or a people if we are to believe the ISAF and United States narrative. I have argued that at least the Taliban are as much an Afghan phenomenon in Afghanistan as their brothers in Pakistan are, Pakistani. Because of that distinction, separating them from the civilian population is not only daunting, but fruitless because they are, essentially, the same. Making that case need not go further than a quick look at IED proliferation. I will use an analogy: We live on a rural dirt road, in a rural town that is approximately 3.5 miles long and has a population of approximately 100. I can tell you with confidence that no one can travel down this road, much less spit on it without someone and sometimes everyone knowing it. As such, enforcement of the law and security of property and lives here is a relatively simple task. In any case, nothing goes undetected.
In Afghanistan, if we are to believe the narrative, the average Afghan citizen only wants ‘peace’ and security from the Taliban. According to Karzai and our government, we are (were) there to offer them that opportunity. If this is true and the average Afghan does not agree with the Taliban, then there should be very few instances of IED’s being successfully set and nearly zero of ISAF, NATO and American troops falling victim to them. The facts show something decidedly different, however. In a land that is by any measure rural and where digging a hole in a road and setting an explosive device would surely be noticed by some if not all of the population adjacent to the IED site, there is little evidence that a plurality of the population in any of the areas we have operated in, have made a good faith effort to aid in the identification and location of either the IED’s or the ‘perpetrators’ and the staggering numbers of amputees and deaths as a result of that lack of non-combatant good faith effort punctuates the point.
If we extend this conversation of Afghan civilian/non-combatant situational awareness to the presence of Taliban and Al Qaeda members in their midst, it is extremely difficult to make the case that the ‘non-combatant’ element of Afghan society is not also complicit on some level. And if they are complicit, there is one question that has not been adequately answered by the Colonel and that is whether anyone, with a straight face, can declare any portion of the population as non-combatants. And if we can’t, then the apparent ethical problem plaguing our Sovereign government and our upper echelon military leaders is a self-inflicted wound that has neutralized their ability to consider force protection as primary during combat operations in an ideologically monolithic society like Afghanistan.
As a consequence of that misplaced ethical concern for an inappropriately identified non-combatant population, they have unnecessarily endangered our forces and reduced their combat effectiveness by forcing them to consider the lives of these ‘non-combatants’ as superior to their own. This is the very definition of ‘unreasonable risk’.
As an unintended consequence, this has made this Sovereign nation less secure and it’s population less safe.
At the same time, they have emboldened an unsophisticated gaggle of murderers and their compatriots (the complicit ‘non-combatant’) and have caused our allies to have far less confidence in our ability to accurately identify legitimate threats across the world and drawn into question our willingness to meet them on any field of combat with appropriate force.
Colonel Pfaff also quoted Israeli Asa Kasher and then Major General Amos Yadlin who refuted Waltzer’s earlier claim that the state should always place the life of the combatant as a last concern remarking:
“…the duty to minimize casualties among combatants during combat is last on the list of priorities … we reject such a conception because it is immoral.” The authors argued that the state’s obligation to protect its citizens from harm—which justifies the use of force in the first place—extends also to soldiers. While recognizing that soldiers do assume risks friendly civilians do not, they argue that soldiers still retain their rights to life. The state may be justified in putting his life at risk because of its obligation to defend all citizens, but the obligation to protect the soldier to the extent commensurate with his duties does not go away.”
As a candidate running for the U.S. Senate, it is my job to be well-versed in both domestic and foreign policy. When it comes to America’s Iranian challenge, it is necessary to make an argument on behalf of the American people that bluntly assesses the world as it is.
As tough talk mounts between Israel and Iran over the nuclear question, what is apparent is a lack of leadership. For far too long, the global terrorist organization known as Hezbollah has been allowed to operate with impunity.
Past statements by the leadership of Hezbollah are problematic. The leaders of the terror group have claimed that if Israel strikes Iranian nuclear sites, within one minute 11,000 rockets will rain down on Israel from southern Lebanon. In reply, Israel’s leaders declared that in the event of a full-fledged missile strike originating from Hezbollah, Israel will respond in kind and treat the whole of Lebanon as a hostile power. In this frame, it is apparent that a jihadist arm of Iran, acting as a state within a state, has declared its willingness to bring Lebanon into a war that does not represent the national interests of the Lebanese people.
Hezbollah now has well over 45,000 rockets in its arsenal. Those rockets are primarily short-range, unguided katyusha-grade weapons; but, as we saw in the 2006 July War, longer-range guided rockets like the Chinese silkworm missile have been smuggled into southern Lebanon.
The use of human shields is a key element of Hezbollah’s antisemitic propaganda strategy. The terror group has built a bunker network of tunnels, weapon stores and firing positions beneath highly populated southern Lebanese towns and have already proven willing to fire rockets from these civilian areas, knowing full-well Israel will strike the source of the attack out of self-defense.
Perhaps the most disturbing reality of all is that Hezbollah, which claimed it would never turn its guns inward on the people of Lebanon, weakened the state’s leadership by backing an 18-month worker’s union strike and then mounted a putsch and took control of western Beirut. Why? Because the Lebanese authorities sought to strip Hezbollah of its airport security detail and to dismantle its secret telecommunications network. Hezbollah’s links to Iran and capacity to smuggle weapons into Lebanon were threatened, so the interests of the people of Lebanon became secondary to the ability of Hezbollah’s leaders to serve their masters in Iran.
Hezbollah’s rockets are now holding the people and the future of Lebanon hostage to irrational Iranian designs. In June, Hezbollah’s chief, Sayyed Hassan Nasrallah, stated that his group would destroy Tel Aviv if Israel struck Iran’s nuclear sites. When questioned about possible Israeli strikes, military leaders of Iran have shrugged off the need to respond with ballistic missiles, indicating that Hezbollah’s katyushas are now capable of reaching every Israeli town.
In 2012, the American people should elect Senators who are prepared to restore our nation’s special relationship with Israel. In terms of securing regional peace in the Greater Middle East, America’s challenge is in determining the best way to help Israel defuse Hezbollah and to stop Iran from wielding the state of Lebanon as a geopolitical weapon.
The Taif Accord, which was signed at the close of the Lebanese Civil War in 1989, gave the Hezbollah faction the right to retain its weapons of “resistance.” The legitimacy of the Taif Agreement should be challenged by world leaders the moment Hezbollah’s weapons are used on behalf of any country other than Lebanon.
When elected as the next U.S. Senator from New Mexico, I will actively work to support Israel’s efforts to counter the Hezbollah menace.
UN plan referenced by Newt Gingrich is a real threat to private property and US sovereignty
“Agenda 21 proposes an array of actions which are intended to be implemented by every person on Earth…it calls for specific changes in the activities of all people… Effective execution of Agenda 21 will require a profound reorientation of all humans, unlike anything the world has ever experienced… ” – Agenda 21: The Earth Summit Strategy to Save Our Planet (Earthpress, 1993).
Presidential candidate Newt Gingrich stated during a recent campaign event that the United Nations was seeking to create an “extraconstitutional control” over the US with programs like Agenda 21 in a YouTube video. But what is Agenda 21 and why has it taken nearly 20 years before this subject got national recognition?
Agenda 21 seeks to control populations through zoning and seizure of private property, strip national sovereignty, reduce the world population, even control our consumption of meat and air conditioning … all in the name of the environment. And who can be against the environment, right?
Many Americans cringe at the mention of “global government” or “conspiracy.” And often, conspiracy theories have little basis in fact. But we must recognize that it is a basic element of human nature to seek the acquisition of wealth and power, and that people throughout human history have conspired together to do so. Not all conspiracies are real, but they do exist. And Agenda 21 is a perfect example.
From the report produced by the United Nations Conference on Human Settlements, which was a predecessor to Agenda 21: “Land…cannot be treated as an ordinary asset, controlled by individuals and subject to the pressures and inefficiencies of the market. Private land ownership is also a principal instrument of accumulation and concentration of wealth and therefore contributes to social injustice…. Public control of land use is therefore indispensable….”
Our Constitution explicitly protects our private property rights. No wonder President Clinton signed it into law without consent from Congress. In fact, those who drafted the plan considered it to be so toxic that they warned proponents not to use the term Agenda 21.
“Participating in a UN advocated planning process would very likely bring out many of the conspiracy- fixated groups and individuals in our society,” said J. Gary Lawrence, adviser to President Clinton’s Council on Sustainable Development. “This segment of our society who fear ‘one-world government’ and a UN invasion of the United States through which our individual freedom would be stripped away would actively work to defeat any elected official who joined ‘the conspiracy’ by undertaking [Agenda 21]. So we call our process something else, such as comprehensive planning, growth management or smart growth.”
Rather than defend against the misinformation campaign used to prop up Agenda 21, we must read the document and instead demand why the UN thinks it has any business subjugating the world under its authority when their record is full of epic corruption and humiliating failures.
This week the Department of Justice announced that our intelligence community foiled an Iranian plot to assassinate the Saudi ambassador to the United States. While our counterterrorism strategy is successful at preventing terrorist plots from foreign sources, it fails to stop the flow of American citizens committing terrorist attacks abroad.
Since 9/11 the United States has prevented or disrupted 39 known terrorist plots – 40 counting the foiled Iranian plot. We have also curtailed the transfer of material support to foreign terrorist groups.
But the flow of potential U.S. terrorists is much harder to monitor and regulate. Increased airport security, increased law enforcement, intelligence liaisons abroad, and heightened citizen awareness of suspicious behaviors have been unsuccessful at stopping U.S. citizens from engaging in terrorist acts abroad.
On Oct. 29, 2008, 26-year-old Shirwa Ahmed drove his Toyota Land Cruiser through the streets of Hargesa, Somalia. Arriving at his target, Ahmed detonated his suicide truck bomb, killing 29. The naturalized U.S. citizen from Minneapolis became America’s first known suicide bomber.
Ahmed’s attack is far from an isolated incident.
In Sept. 2009, another Somali-American detonated another suicide truck bomb in Somalia, killing 21 UN peacekeepers and civilians.
Abdullahi Ahmed became the third Somali-American suicide bomber when he killed two soldiers manning an African Union checkpoint in June.
David Headley, a U.S. citizen, performed surveillance of locations in Mumbai, India for the terrorist group Lashkar-e-Taiba in advance of the Nov. 2008 attack, killing 164 and wounding over 300.
In 2009, five Virginians left to join the Pakistani Taliban and fight in jihad. Pakistani authorities arrested the men as they attempted to join an al Qaeda camp.
Majid Khan, another U.S. citizen, traveled to Pakistan to meet Khalid Sheikh Mohammed, who at that time was in charge of propaganda and operations for al Qaeda. Khan volunteered to carry out a suicide attack against Pakistani President Pervez Musharraf. While in Pakistan, Khan was arrested by security services, turned over to the CIA and later transferred to Guantanamo Bay.
In addition to being unable to stop terrorists before they leave, the U.S. harbors terrorist groups as well. Pakistani cleric Sheikh Mubarak Ali Gilani established Jamaat ul-Fuqra (JuF) while visiting New York in 1980. The terrorist group is banned in Pakistan, and is responsible for more attacks against the U.S. than any other terrorist group – even Al Qaeda.
Although JuF members conduct illegal weapons and tactical training on dozens of compounds scattered across the country, they also send members to camps in Pakistan for advanced training. JuF members have conducted attacks in Afghanistan, Lebanon, Kashmir, Bosnia, and Chechnya.
If this trend continues unabated, the successes we have enjoyed over the past 10 years could vanish. Diplomatic ties with allies could be strained . Nations attacked from groups operating inside the United States could want access to those individuals and training facilities. Any resistance by our legal system would create the perception that our nation is only interested in counterterrorism when we are the victims. Should the flow of U.S. terrorists not be curtailed, travel of American citizens could be restricted. And how can we credibly lead a war against terrorists when we can’t stop terrorists in our own country?
To be as successful in stopping the export of terrorism as we are in stopping its import, we must be equally vigilant. This can be accomplished without stripping civil liberties – it’s just going to take diligence from our domestic services and law enforcement officers. The Constitution grants us freedom of religion, but it does not allow citizens to use religion as a cover in order to commit crimes in the U.S. and abroad. It’s not hard to determine which Muslims are worshiping within their rights and which are going outside their constitutional protections. We just need to peel back the political correctness that has prevented intelligence and law enforcement from doing their job.
Sherkhan Farnood was placed under arrest by Afghanistan authorities on June 30, 2011 for his connection with over $900 million in fraudulent lending activities. These activities took place at the Kabul Bank, an institution founded and formerly co-chaired by Farnood. He was arrested along with the bank’s former CEO Khalilullah Fruzi for what Afghanistan Attorney General Mohammed Ishaq Aloko referred to as clear evidence of “corruption, fraud and misusing people’s money.” Farnood and Fruzi are now undergoing a month-long interrogation at the prosecutor’s headquarters in Kabul.
For those backing Afghan President Hamid Karzai against the Taliban insurgency, the near-collapse of the Kabul Bank exposes some uncomfortable truths. Sherkhan M. Farnood, the Founder and former chairman of the Kabul Bank, is none other than the wanted fugitive, Sherkhan Mohammad Morad. This individual is the chief architect of a Russian hawala syndicate that has served the unique needs of the opium smugglers and heroin warlords of Afghanistan and Pakistan for decades.
The evidence of Sherkhan Farnood’s alternate identity as crime lord Sherkhan Mohammad Morad is overwhelming. Sherkhan Farnood is a licensed owner of a Dubai-based hawala, known as the Shaheen Exchange. Farnood is also a prominent poker player. In 2008, though a wanted fugitive, he won a European World Series of Poker bracelet in the HORSE competition.
Hawalas have operated in the Middle East, North Africa and South Asia for over a millennium. According to the U.S. Treasury, “Hawala works by transferring money without actually moving it.” The hawala “underground” system of informal banking is considered illegal in countries like Russia and America due, primarily, to its association with money laundering.
The roots of Kabul Bank stretch back to the Soviet Union. Both Fruzi and Farnood got their education and their start in business there after Moscow invaded Afghanistan in 1979.
While in Moscow, Farnood set up a successful hawala money-transfer outfit to move funds between Russia and Kabul. Russian court documents show that 10 of Farnood’s employees were arrested in 1998 and later convicted of illegal banking activity. Fearful of arrest in Russia and also in Taliban-ruled Afghanistan, Farnood shifted his focus to Dubai.
Western journalists and academics have so far failed to investigate the Shaheen Currency Exchange’s relations with the Central Bank of the United Arab Emirates. To date, investigations by multiple auditing committees of the Central Bank of Afghanistan show that the Kabul Bank- housed branch office of Shaheen Currency Exchange provided Sherkhan Farnood over $500 million in “irregular” loans. The money likely passed through the Dubai-based business Shaheen Money Exchange, LLC(pdf link), one of 73 licensed money changers in Dubai.
Following the purge of Farnood Sherkhan from his post at Kabul Bank in 2009, the Central Bank of the United Arab Emirates published a list of moneychangers operating in the UAE as of December 2009. Shaheen Money Exchange, LLC is listed as money changer #66. The “founders” of Shaheen Money Exchange, LLC are listed as “Rashid Moh’d Sultan Al Suwaidi” with a 60% stake and “Sherkhan Farnood s/o Moh’d Morad” with a 40% share.
On November 29, 1992 the UAE’s Central Bank issued Resolution No. 123/7/1992, which set new regulations for money changers. According to the resolution, licensing for the money changing industry in the United Arab Emirates is only granted to institutions and companies that are established under commercial companies’ law. According to the Emirates Free Zone website, two key citizenship clauses in the 1992 Resolution regulate who can attain and retain a money changer license in the UAE:
The resolution also requires that the natural person be a UAE national of not less than 21 years of age. In case of companies, the national shareholding should not be less than 60% of the total paid-up capital. The regulation set the minimum capital at AED once [sic] million or AED two million depending on the scope of activities the applicant wishes to undertake.
Andrew Higgins’ assertion that Sherkhan Farnood’s Russian associates were arrested in 1998 by Russian authorities and “later convicted of illegal banking activities” infers that Farnood fled to Dubai in or around 1998. The biography of Dr. Fraidoon Noorzad, Chairman-elect and Managing Director of Maiwand Bank in Afghanistan confirms that the Shaheen Exchange in Dubai was already established by 1998:
After a successful professional career in the field of medical, he shifted himself into business of money exchange in the year 1997 and in 1998 he became a partner in Shaheen Exchange, Dubai. With the beginning of the new Government in Afghanistan, he started concentrating in the business opportunities and began his association with Kabul Exchange and later on joined as Dy. CEO with Kabul Bank, one of the leading and fastest growing private bank in Kabul. During this tenure with Kabul Bank, he acquainted himself with banking laws and regulations and proved as dynamic leader. He then was picked up by the management of Azizi bank and offered with the position of Dy. CEO. He also got [sic] a long association with the Afghanistan International Chamber of Commerce
By 1998, then, Sherkhan Farnood’s operations in the Dubai-based Shaheen Money Exchange LLP had a new player. This man was UAE national named Rashid Mohammad Sultan Al Suwaidi, who held a 60% share in the exchange. Farnood also had at least one partner, Dr. Noorzad (who now holds a 50% stake in the Maiwand Bank of Afghanistan).
The opaque nature of hawala exchanges renders it unclear whether or not Dr. Noorzad’s partnership with the Shaheen Exchange was ever officially dissolved. The nature of Rashid Al Suwaidi’s role in the affair is also unclear at present.
Virtually every report on the Kabul Bank crisis indicates that Sherkhan Farnood’s interests in the United Arab Emirates extend beyond the Shaheen Exchange and into the luxury Real Estate Market on the man-made beaches of Dubai. On September 5, 2010 France24’s Leela Jacinto released the news that Farnood would relinquish control of his properties at Palm Jumeirah (the palm-shaped development at Dubai):
Farnood has pledged to hand over to Kabul Bank the titles of prime Dubai real estate purchased with bank money but registered until now in his and his wife’s name. He has estimated that the properties are worth about $160 million.
Whether or not Farnood is planning to arrange the transfer of interest in Farida Farnood’s Business Bay investments is unclear. In an article from June 16, 2011, Jon Boone recounted some Farnood-led corruptions. He also shed a touch of light on the wreckage of the once promising Dubai development:
Less well known is Business Bay, perhaps Dubai’s most catastrophic property development, where property developers and speculators flipped off-plan properties during the Emirate’s real estate bubble. What was meant to be home to 240 towers is now a ghostly wasteland of half-finished buildings. On the edge of this empty quarter are two massive holes in the ground – the planned sites for 20-storey apartment complexes. Victims of the real estate crash…
The former Kabul Bank CEO, Khalilullah Fruzi, informed Boone that each of these pits swallowed $20 million of Bank Kabul money.
These massive money holes have names according to the Dutch Foundation: Dolphin Tower and Waves Tower. The registry of the two projects lists the Dubai-based Arab Experts Engg. Consultants (AREX) as the “Consultant” for the jobs. The clients for both projects are listed as “Farida Farnood/Sherkhan Farnood General Trading Co.” The true nature of the Sherkhan Farnood General Trading LLC is difficult to ascertain, though the UAE yellow pages provides a number of contact options for the company’s Dubai Head Office.
The Saudi Foundations & Concrete Processing Company, partly owned by the Dutch Foundation, has released a PDF file with its completed and ongoing projects. The Dolphin Tower entry lists the project as “…for M/s. Farida Farnood,” while the Waves Tower is listed as “…for M/s. Sherkhan Farnood S/o Mohammad Murad/Farida Farnood.”
The reference to Mohammad Murad by Saudi Foundations is a slight alteration from the Shaheen Exchange version of the same “Moh’d Morad.”
Tracking New Ansari’s Hawalas
Leela Jacinto of France24, in the first week of the Kabul Bank panic last September, following up on Andrew Higgins’ revelations of Sherkhan Farnood’s association with a Russian hawala, reported that Farnood’s business tentacles stretch to “the New Ansari Exchange.”
It may be premature to assert with complete certainty that Sherkhan Farnood is a player in the New Ansari Exchange. Investigations are ongoing. Leela Jacinto’s estimate is likely derived from Dexter Filkins’ New York Times piece from August 31, 2010 which revealed an unnamed shareholder’s view of Kabul Bank’s New Ansari connections:
Investigators and bank regulators say Kabul Bank is also tied to the inquiry into New Ansari, the money-transfer firm, or hawala, that is suspected of moving billions of dollars out of the country for Afghan politicians, drug traffickers and insurgents. Kabul Bank used the firm, whose dealings are nearly impossible to track, to transfer at least $60 million out of the country, a bank shareholder said.
On February 18, 2011, nearly a year after Andrew Higgins discovered “signs of crony capitalism” in Afghanistan, the U.S. Treasury Department designated the New Ansari Exchange and 15 other individuals and entities under the Kingpin Act. The Treasury press release named two Dubai-based Hawalas as subsidiaries:
The New Ansari Money Exchange is at the center of an unofficial network of individuals, money exchange houses and other businesses operating throughout Afghanistan and in the United Arab Emirates. Between 2007 and 2010, the New Ansari Money Exchange used the billions of dollars it transferred in and out of Afghanistan to conceal illicit narcotics proceeds. The New Ansari Money Exchange transfers money to its Dubai subsidiaries, Green Leaf General Trading LLC and Al Adal Exchange, also designated today, which then transfer money through the U.S. and international financial systems.
A U.S. Treasury chart of the New Ansari Network reveals a third Dubai-based Hawala link: Connect Telecom General Trading LLC.
The “General Trading LLC” in both Green Leaf and Connect Telecom lend weight to the notion that the Business Bay dealings of Sherkhan Farnood General Trading LLC represent the tracks of a low-key Farnood Hawala operation.
Notably, the December 2009 Money Changer registry of the Central Bank of the United Arab Emirates does not include the three hawalas linked by the U.S. Treasury Department to the New Ansari Network. The Central Bank’s 2010 Annual Report (p. 24) records 270 branches of the 73 licensed Hawala Exchanges operating in Dubai. Four new money changers in Abu Dhabi were given licenses in 2010 by the UAE’s Central Bank, but none of the names fully correspond to the new New Ansari affiliates.
A Federal Register (vol.6, no.38) of the U.S. Treasury Department’s Office of Foreign Assets Control (OFAC), dated Friday, February 25, 2011, settles the confusing issue of licensing relatively well. The Al Adal Exchange operates under Trade License No. 172133, an Afghanistan license. Connect Telecom General Trading LLC operates as the bearer of Dubai Chamber of Commerce Membership No. 123076. Green Leaf General Trading LLC, too, holds a DCC Membership – No. 42988.
The two Afghanistan-based hawala associate groups designated by the U.S. Treasury Department in the New Ansari Exchange include: (1) Ahmad Shah Money Exchange, which holds Afghanistan Trade License No. 101016; and, (2) Mushtaq Shaheen Construction and Roadmaking, which is listed in Afghanistan as Commercial Registry No. 31225.
The New Ansari Money Exchange operates an exchange in Dubai, but does not hold a license to practice Hawala in Dubai. The fact that New Ansari holds a Tax ID Number (004800015) begs the question, which Afghanistan institution issued a license to the criminal racket? To follow this teaser, OFAC does not list any distinguishing codes to isolate and disrupt the activities of New Ansari LTD.
A Lucky Break
The reason Andrew Higgins was so far ahead of the pack was likely due his awareness of the decision by the United States Drug Enforcement Agency to cultivate and strengthen ties with its Russian counterparts at the Federal Drug Control Service of the Russian Federation in February of 2010.
The ties were solidified following a February 5, 2010 meeting between three U.S. DEA heads, including DEA Chief of Operations Thomas Harrigan and DEA Regional Director Mark Destito, and seven members of a Russian delegation led by the Deputy Director of the Russian Federal Drug Control Service (FSKN), Nikolay Aulov.
Evidence of this meeting exists in a publicly released Wikileaks document dated February 10, 2010.
On June 30, 2011, the day the Attorney General of Afghanistan arrested and detained Sherkhan Farnood and Khalilullah Fruzi, the Wikileaks document was reclassified as a “DEA Sensitive SIPDIS” file. SIPDIS stands for “Security Information Publicly Disseminated.”
The lengthy, 34 point rendering detailed that on February 4, 2010 the DEA Operations Chief Harrigan and Regional Director Destito met with Gil Kerlikowske, Director of the Office of National Drug Control Policy (ONDCP), and FSKN Director Viktor Ivanov in a “U.S.-Russia Bilateral Presidential Commission, Drug Trafficking Working Group.”
A February 4, 2010 ONDCP press release qualified the meeting as the second bi-lateral Working Group meeting. The first meeting of the U.S.-Russia Bilateral Presidential Commission was held on September 24, 2009. The Drug Trafficking Working Group was chartered during the July 2009 summit between President Obama and President Medvedev. The release announced the signing of the Presidential Commission’s Member Rules and Committee architecture:
We have signed the framework documents including the Rules, Membership, and Topics and Sub-Groups. The Russian Federation and the United States share the belief that solving this problem requires the efforts of the Governments of both countries. The joint work must extend beyond just law enforcement to include prevention, treatment, financial controls, international best practices, and information and personnel exchanges. As such, today’s meeting included several government agencies from throughout the Russian and American governments.
In a display of unity in purpose and mutual trust, information about sensitive clandestine operations and investigations was shared between the U.S. and Russian drug enforcement ministries.
As part of this cooperative atmosphere, the Drug Enforcement Administration shared a list of potential joint investigation targets with the FSKN. The FSKN has provided information on drug shipments seized in Russia that can be used to improve interdiction efforts in Afghanistan and Central Asia.
The Wikileaks breakdown of the February 5th follow-on round of bi-lateral talks broaches the Russian officials’ desires for the United States to seek “full-fledged” member status in the Central Asian Region Information and Coordination Center (CARICC). Russo-American strategic interests in combating the illicit drug trade, include two primary aims: (1) coordinating a crackdown on the cocaine smuggling corridor from South America to Russia; and (2) shutting down the opium ratlines running from Afghanistan through Iran to Azerbaijan and Russia.
An “Agent’s Note” within the minutes of the Working Group delivered a strong indication that tracking the movements of money would figure prominently in the effort to disrupt the drug traffickers:
“Agent’s Note: A new trend that FSKN in [sic] seeing is that drug proceeds are now being sent directly to Afghanistan instead of being sent to third countries (i.e. UAE, Europe, and Central Asia). During the US-Russia bilateral Presidential Commission, Drug Trafficking Working Group meeting, Deputy Director Aulov presented a PowerPoint presentation XXXXXXXXXXXX.
Deputy Director Aulov supplied a hard copy of his PowerPoint Presentation to OC Harrigan. This hard copy is written in the Russian language. The Moscow CO will translate the hard copy into the English language.”
The puzzling redaction of a portion of the discussion led me to believe that the PowerPoint presentation might yield the Russian perspective of the Hawala networks running from the Afghanistan-Pakistan region into Russia. The Agent’s Note led me to believe that the house arrest of Sherkhan Farnood may have led to a reversal of money flows from their normal patterns. It seemed plausible that this “new trend” could be the result of Farnood’s expulsion from his Shaheen Money Exchange office of Kabul Bank. To that end, I made a fortuitous mistake in my research along the Sherkhan Farnood hawala trail.
While attempting to trace the new alias of Farnood, Mohammad Morad, in an inadvertent missed key stroke I omitted the letter “k” in my efforts. As a result, my searches of “Sherhan Mohammad Morad” led me to an Interpol wanted list and a February 4, 2010 Power Point Presentation by Nikolay Aulov of FSKN, (Russia’s Federal Drug Control Service or FDCS). If the link is not available, a slideshow of the document can be downloaded here.
To my disappointment the Interpol wanted list’s Sherhan vitals did not provide a photo of the fugitive; however, the Nikolay Aulov presentation provided photographic proof that Sherkhan Farnood and Sherkhan Mohammad Morad were indeed the same man. By the fourth slide I was hooked, by the fifth my research into the Shaheen Exchange came to a new starting point.
By 1996, Russian investigations into the underground hawala smuggling and laundering rackets of drug-dealing groups established that “…the [hawala] system had been created by Afghans by order for the purpose of quick anonymous money transferring between different countries.” The slide show identified the “creator” of the hawala corridor from Afghanistan through Tajikistan to Russia as “Sherhan Mohammad Morad.”
The fifth slide revealed that Russian law enforcement suppressed the activities of “Sherkhan Bank” and successfully prosecuted the ring for “illegal banking and currency operations.” Unfortunately, the complete unraveling of the Sherkhan Bank’s drug smuggling connections did not come to pass, limiting the scope of the prosecutions; and, the hawala’s “…main leader Sherkhan Mohammad Morad wasn’t arrested.” Also, the international announcement of Sherkhan Mohammad Morad’s fugitive status and a global manhunt have not yet led to his capture.
The following caption sat next to the photo of a young Sherkhan Farnood:
Sherkhan Mohammad Morad, wanted by Russian law enforcement agencies for crimes commitment including illegal banking activities, money laundering, organization of criminal society. This person can currently use an ID with the name of Sherkhan Mohammad Farnood.
In light of this overwhelming evidence, it may be time for Interpol to update its records on the wanted fugitive Mohammad Morad Sherhan with a photo or two. Mohammad Morad Sherhan, Interpol’s wanted fugitive, is Sherkhan Mohammad Morad, the Russian federal authorities’ fugitive. This same fugitive from justice is currently sitting in a Kabul detention center. The western world knows him as Sherkhan Mohammad Farnood.
New study determines Islamic sharia law is utilized in courtrooms across the country – in violation of constitutional rights.
South Carolina is one of over a dozen states whose legislatures are considering a bill that would bar foreign laws – such as Islamic sharia law – from conflicting with U.S. and state laws. Opponents of the legislation claimed that such a bill is unnecessary as sharia law would never be used in violation of American laws and argued that such a law would be unconstitutional. They are wrong on both counts.
A court, arbitrator, administrative agency, or other adjudicative, mediation, or enforcement authority may not enforce a foreign law if it would violate a constitutionally guaranteed right of this State or of the United States.
It does not preclude Muslims from all sharia activities – such as praying – as the bill’s opponents want us to believe, it simply prevents sharia from overriding constitutionally-guaranteed rights when the legal systems conflict.
Research was limited to published trial and appellate court documents on the Google Scholar website, so there are undoubtedly many more cases involving sharia than those detailed in the study.
After releasing the study results, CSP said in a statement, “The study evaluates 50 appellate court cases from 23 states that involve conflicts between Shariah (Islamic law) and American state law. The analysis finds that Shariah has been applied or formally recognized in state court decisions, in conflict with the Constitution and state public policy.”
Opponents of these bills have repeatedly stated that sharia will never be applied when it conflicts with U.S. or state laws, but despite the limited availability of data, this study contains over two dozen cases where judges decided cases based on sharia law – even when Islamic law conflicted with our laws.
In one case, a New Jersey judge refused to grant a restraining order after an Islamic man sexually and physically abused his wife, stating that this was permissible under Islam. The judge determined that his religious belief negated any criminal behavior.
A judge from Michigan enforced an Islamic summary divorce obtained by the husband, known as talaq, which violates the woman’s right to equal protection. The wife had no prior knowledge of the divorce, was not allowed a hearing, and did not have an attorney. Sharia law states that the wife is only entitled to property that was in her name, contrary to Michigan policy.
Many cases involve child custody in which judges will defer to foreign sharia courts, which side against women and non-Muslims, without considering the best interests of the child.
As of this writing, CAIR’s website still claims that donations are tax-deductible, despite losing their IRS status two weeks ago.
It also bears mentioning that CAIR remains an unindicted co-conspirator in the 2010 Holy Land Foundation terror financing trial, where Muslim organizations conspired to send millions of U.S. dollars to the Palestinian terrorist group Hamas. Members of CAIR’s leadership had been under investigation until the Justice Department scuttled their pending terror financing prosecutions.
Now that we can see that not only is this bill constitutional, but also that sharia is in fact applied in courtrooms across the country, nothing should stand in the way of the bill’s passage.
“Has there been a movement in the last hundred years where in many cities across the country people just spontaneously show up for a protest? This happened on April 15, 2009 in about ten cities in Kentucky but probably over a thousand cities nationwide.”
-Rand Paul, The Tea Party Goes to Washington
On April 15, 2009 I dropped everything and jumped in my car. I drove two hours to Atlanta for a party with my kind of people. Newscasts that evening were saying that a few thousand people hit the street for the Tea Party rally; but, those who were there will tell you that at least 25,000 people were on hand to say “NO” to the bailouts and higher taxes that the establishment politicians in Washington were attempting to shove down our throats. Pajamas Media and a number of radio and television sponsors were on hand to document the event. Volunteers were handing out free copies of the Constitution; you could grab a “Live Free or Die” flag for a few bucks. Ayn Rand posters waved. Retired businessmen sat on steps talking to their children about the law. Bikers shook hands with bankers.
An awakening had hit Georgia, I was sure of that much. Pen in hand, I surveyed the scene:
They began arriving in droves from the Mitchell Street side as work let out for the day. Red, White and Blue was everywhere, the Fair Tax Crowd was out in force. The crowd streamed in from the MARTA and Georgia State College Side of Washington Street, and for blocks and blocks huge crowds were massing on the sidewalks and marching up the hill from the Underground. By 7:00pm there were probably 10,000 people easily…there was standing room only as the show began and people slid past people by the inch instead of by the step.
The Crowd became more and more animated as the temperature dropped and the stage fired up with speaker after speaker. Speakers were pushing through the crowd to get to the main stage and when News of Sean Hannity, Neal Boortz, Dick Army and Newt Gingrich were to speak, the crowd energized. By 8:00pm, the crowd engulfed the stage at the front of the Capitol Building, bled out a block On Mitchell Street and flooded into side parking lots, and began pushing the 15,000 to 20,000 mark. By 9:00pm 20,000 to 25,000 people were packed into the tiny area and you could hardly breathe much less cheer and chant and wave signs.
Atlanta was pissed off and didn’t have any problems letting Washington Street, Washington DC, the State Capitol and the Nation’s Capitol know exactly how Tea’ed off they truly were about the Bailouts and the Stimulus.
People are talking about the Arab Spring today. But the American Spring of 2009 witnessed the birth of a movement that shows no sign of flagging. We have come a long way as a nation since those fateful days at the dawn of the Tea Party’s revival. We watched our president extend an open hand to Iran’s leadership only to murmur “Oh my God” to ourselves as a young lady known only as “Neda” bled out before our eyes on an Iranian street. Most of us didn’t know what the Green Movement in Iran meant as we prepared for our July 4th gatherings. CNN, MSNBC, the NAACP and a number of bloggers were determined to belittle our peaceful demonstrations. The Tea Party movement was dismissed as a phenomenon that would lose steam and fade. November 2nd, 2010 delivered a different verdict altogether. Political pundits had no idea that the unconstitutional nature of the 2,000 page healthcare bill, known as Obamacare, would re-ignite the initial outrage sparked by the bailouts. We were united, disjointed, unorganized, and unpolished. Together, we rejected the homelessness that the unsustainable policies guaranteed.
As the Arab Spring unfolded, Wisconsin exploded into controversy. A mandate from the voters was filibustered by a Union blitz. No longer content with kicking the can down the road, Governor Walker requested an extremely modest compromise to move toward solvency. The Union leaders united and we, the tax payers of America, witnessed a runaway sense of entitlement take the stage as deluded children held up signs that compared Governor Walker to the Egyptian dictator, Mubarak. The thugs were willing to bankrupt a U.S. state.
Something is rank in the state of America. The establishment leaders in Washington bailed out car companies under the maxim that they were too big to fail. But the reality is that for years the U.S. taxpayer was forced to underwrite the pension funds of unions that promised the moon to their members. Every new American-made car has between $3,000 and $5,000 built in to the price to cover the benefit promises of union leaders. That means everyone who finances an American-made vehicle will pay around $100 per month over the life of their loan (or be forced to extend payments out a year or two) to pay for the benefits of men and women who are earning far beyond the average wage in the private sector. Is it any wonder GM couldn’t compete with foreign automakers and needed a bailout?
The Curious Case of RMSP
It is easy to vilify the wealthy – class warfare is older than Marx. It is infinitely harder to expose the nature of the establishment machinery of Washington, D.C. in constructive terms.
To illustrate this point, I recently had a chance to ask former Virginia Congressman Tom Davis (R) a question on the C-SPAN program, Washington Journal. Tom Davis is the President and CEO of Republican Main Street Partnership.
The value of social media has been lauded by the American media in its coverage of the Arab Spring. So, it is fitting that in this, our American Spring, a twitter could lay open the nature of influence and coalition building in the run-up to the 2012 election.
According to the Republican Main Street Partnership’s home page:
The Republican Main Street Partnership (RMSP) is dedicated to promoting and building a pragmatic, thoughtful, fiscally conservative, and inclusive “Governing Majority,” where political debate is encouraged to promote solutions to improve the lives of all Americans. Embracing the full spectrum of center-right ideologies and values in order to build coalitions, RMSP is the largest organization of elected leaders who are in the mold of Abraham Lincoln, Teddy Roosevelt, and Ronald Reagan.
That sounds good. But what does that mean? Are they a PR firm? Do they manage campaigns? What do they do? The RMSP website is high on talking points, but it is difficult to cypher the nature of their activity around the country.
@cspanwj Tom, how does your organization square the values of the Tea Party movement and the unpopular establishment policies of the GOP?
In his response, Davis stumbled for a moment and then hit his well-trained talking point stride:
Well, you know, we’re a…we’re a group…I don’t know, we’re, we’re not Tea Partiers. I think they have…but, I think the thrust of what the Tea Party is looking at, and that’s the national debt – I think we all share that.
What we have to do is sit down and try to address that issue.
The Tea Party movement has actually done a service to this country by identifying the national debt as an issue. Traditionally, this is, people are about the here and now, they’re not looking at the future. So, I think they have done us a huge service in addressing this issue, focusing on this issue at this point.
But our group is a pretty eclectic group of people who just are outside the box in the Republican Party. We recognize that it needs to be a coalition, not a private club with an admissions test to be a Republican.
We have pro-life, we have pro-choice, we’ve got some very strong conservatives, and we have some who have links to unions. We are Main Street, though. We are not Wall Street.
So, what is the Republican Main Street Partnership? It is the front of a Political Action Committee called RMSP PAC. Is anyone else in the Tea Party tired of the votes by Senators John McCain, Olympia Snowe and Susan Collins? We call them RINOs…but what does that mean? Would it be shocking to you to find out that the three primary Senate members of the RMSP PAC are these establishment Republicans? You may want to head over to the PAC about us page to see for yourself. Is it surprising that Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger is a member? The page actually states “We are an incumbent protection PAC…” One can only wonder how many Democrat incumbent protection PACs it takes to keep Harry Reid in power.
So, basically, Tom Davis hit the Washington Journal program to kick off his 2012 campaign donation drive to protect the seats of his “coalition”. Back in 2005, Michelle Malkin was contacted by the firm Caplin & Drysdale to refute claims that George Soros was funding RMSP. The letter was cc’d to Rush Limbaugh, Pat Toomey, GrasstopsUSA.com and Sean Hannity. Michelle Malkin later clarified her research activities along the Soros trail, identifying the Main Street Individual Fund as a separate tentacle from the Main Street Fund.
The two Main Street funds and the Partnership’s board of directors use the same staff and have the same lawyer, former FEC chairman Trevor Potter.
Whether or not George Soros was funding any branch of RMSP is a question of influence. Michelle Malkin and other conservative thinkers were trying to sort out exactly why the “RINOs” tacked left when the country overwhelmingly expected them to steer to the right.
The bio of Tom Davis, President & CEO of RMSP may provide a clearer picture of the influence at play.
Prior to his election to Congress, Tom was the chief elected official in Fairfax County, the eleventh most populous municipality with the second largest county budget in the United States….
Formerly the Vice President and General Counsel of PRC, Inc., a high technology and professional services firm headquartered in McLean, Virginia, Tom moved to the position of Corporate Counsel upon his election as Chairman of the Fairfax County Board of Supervisors….
In addition to serving as President and Chief Executive Officer of the Republican Main Street Partnership, Congressman Davis has also accepted a position as director with Deloitte’s Federal Government Services….
Now, it should be noted that I have cropped these three sections from a distinguished career of public service including service in the U.S. Military. But to skewer reality, it should be stated that Fairfax County Virginia represents one of the top three demographic centers in which Muslim-Americans live. After all, Congressman Gerry Connolly finds his roots in the same Board of Supervisors. Moreover, back in 1999, Tom Davis actually fathered legislation which would present a Muslim stamp to be printed by the U.S. Postal Service. Rather unfortunately, if memory serves, the stamp was released in September 2001. Many defense contractors and technology companies are housed in McLean, Virginia. That is not unusual. What seems out of joint is Tom Davis’s decision to join up with Deloitte. What purpose would such a directorship hold? Indeed, Deloitte is the largest accounting firm in the world with thousands of attorneys and accountants on staff. But perhaps more disturbingly, this accounting firm also plays host to Shariah Compliant Finance. It is no secret that Islamic Finance plays a special role in the Deloitte brand:
At Deloitte, we are unique amongst professional services firms in offering our clients access to Sharia’a advice, embedded within our team. Our Sharia’a Scholar, Mufti Hassaan Kaleem, works alongside our Islamic Finance practitioners, together creating an unrivalled ability to provide innovative market leading advice.
Notice how the company spells “Sharia’a” to guarantee that search engines won’t weigh Deloitte with prominence in searches on the topic of Islamic Finance and Shariah Law. American Tea Party movement activists can sleep well at night knowing that the U.S. Government is utilizing Shariah-compliant Deloitte services at the State Department and Defense Department levels.
Influence is a strange animal. Peddling the beast is an industry. The spearhead of that industry in America is the Political Action Committee, the source of campaign financing, the smoke in the back rooms of policy and compromise.
The Norquist Question: Gaffney’s Concern
On February 12, 2011 David Horowitz hit the podium at the Conservative Political Action Conference and outed “a pillar of the conservative movement.” Horowitz blasted Grover Norquist for his association with Suhail Khan. In essence, Horowitz claimed that Norquist facilitated Khan’s infiltration into the inner sanctum of the George Bush White House and ultimately into a position as the Undersecretary of Transportation, where he is now privy to classified information about sensitive soft targets in American land, sea and air travel.
Suhail Khan’s father, Mahboob Khan, was a pioneer of Muslim Brotherhood activism in America in the sixties and seventies. Khan’s work was pivotal in the development of a number of Islamist front groups in America, including the Muslim Student Association and the North American Islamic Trust – the financing arm of Muslim Brotherhood activism in the United States and a now blacklisted co-conspirator in the Holy Land Foundation conspiracy to fund Hamas by utilizing Islamic charitable institutions as cover. Additionally, Mahboob Khan also helped to establish mosques in America that supported Wahhabist causes and hosted infamous terrorists such as al Qaeda ideologue Ayman Al-Zawahiri.
Suhail Khan’s past association with Islamists and his documented personal statements on jihad in America are problematic. The fact that Suhail Khan was recently made a member of the American Conservative Union’s board of directors placed the Conservative Political Action Conference at the heart of the Norquist Question.
The CPAC speech by Horowitz was the most recent episode in a public feud between Grover Norquist and Frank Gaffney. Steven Emerson and Patrick Poole have long been uncovering the ties of American Muslim organizations with Al Qaeda and Hamas terrorism. Recent books like The Muslim Mafia have revealed the seedy nature of organizations like the Council on American Islamic Relations (CAIR). The Holy Land Foundation (HLF) trials in Texas proved that a number of U.S.-based Islamists were funding Hamas-styled terrorism and cast a long string of Muslim organizations and individuals as unindicted co-conspirators. In turn, American Muslim groups and apologists have resorted to accusations of racism and bigotry. Frank Gaffney, the President of Center for Security Policy (CSP) and a member of the Committee on the Present Danger (CPD), has been tracking the corrupting influences introduced into Republican and Conservative circles by Grover Norquist for over a decade.
In 2003, the Horowitz on-line e-zine frontpagemag.com posted an article by Frank Gaffney entitled “A Troubling Influence.” Horowitz placed a foreword to the lengthy piece, saying that it was being posted with “a heavy heart.” For twenty years, David Horowitz had known Grover Norquist as a staunch defender of American values. Gaffney’s first-hand accounts, however, were damning:
On the basis of the evidence assembled here, it seems beyond dispute that Grover Norquist has formed alliances with prominent Islamic radicals who have ties to the Saudis and to Libya and to Palestine Islamic Jihad, and who are now under indictment by U.S. authorities. Equally troubling is that the arrests of these individuals and their exposure as agents of terrorism have not resulted in noticeable second thoughts on Grover’s part or any meaningful effort to dissociate himself from his unsavory friends.
Unraveling the feud between Grover Norquist and Frank Gaffney is critical for the Tea Party movement. Frank Gaffney’s account paints Grover Norquist as a knowing pawn of the Muslim Brotherhood. Suhail Khan, as outed by Horowitz, is just one part of the equation. Frank Gaffney’s 2003 article lists Khaled Saffuri as the “Point Man” for planting the seeds of stealth jihad in the conservative circles of America.
The record is plain – Grover Norquist accepted $20,000 from the now convicted terrorist Abdulrahman Alamoudi. With that money, Norquist established the Islamic Free Enterprise Institute, known today as the Islamic Institute. Khaled Saffuri was placed at the head of the organization. His title was Founding Director. Today, Khaled Saffuri is an Advisory Partner at the MITA Group, where he works alongside the likes of John McCain’s 2008 National Convention Director, William D. Harris, and Cap Gemini Technologies President James Hunt.
The MITA Group works in tandem with the influential defense consulting firm Burdeshaw Associates, Ltd. through a proposal management firm known as Alansa International, LLC to help foreign businesses earn a shot at U.S. taxpayer funding for their projects. If McCain had won the presidency in 2008, Khaled Saffuri would have been strategically primed to take on the Shariah Compliant Finance activities currently fulfilled through Deloitte in the Obama presidency. He would have been positioned to privatize the corruption. As it stands, the MITA Group remains a relatively obscure company with a wide-ranging capacity to affect legislation on the allocation of U.S. taxpayer dollars.
Interestingly, upon Obama’s ascension to power, MITA Group client BearingPoint, a mega lobby firm working numerous contracts for USAID, filed Chapter 11 bankruptcy on roughly one billion dollars in debts after not disclosing records of its activities from December 2004 through March of 2007. PricewaterhouseCooper (PwC) and Deloitte snapped up significant shares of BearingPoint’s McLean, Va.-based business in the restructuring. Notably, the international consulting arm of BearingPoint is known as KPMG. KPMG takes great pride in its skillful mainlining of Shariah Compliant Finance into Great Britain’s economic picture via passage of the Finance Act of 2005. KPMG consultants sat on HM Treasury and HM Revenue & Customs working groups to craft and develop U.K. tax legislation that would “enable Islamic financial institutions to compete on a level playing field with non-Sharia’a compliant institutions.”
The Tea Party activists of the American Spring would do well to recognize that consulting firms and mega lobby groups in Washington D.C. like McKinsey & Co., Ernst & Young, and PricewaterhouseCooper hold vested interests in the advancement of Islamic Finance. Saudi Arabia and a number of wealthy sheikhs have advanced Shariah Compliant Finance through the universities of the Ivy League. By 2008, Harvard’s Islamic Finance program brought “Islamic Finance 101” to Capitol Hill. Larry Summers of the Obama administration and Elena Kagan, the Obama appointee to the Supreme Court, set the stage for this attempt to indoctrinate the Congress of the United States.
On November 6th, 2008, Frank Gaffney led the American Spring’s first intellectual charge against the attempt to introduce Shariah Compliant Finance as an ethical alternative to conventional banking. The U.S. Treasury Department chose to promote Shariah Compliant Finance by holding a “seminar for the policy community” in its headquarters that day. Recognizing that the Establishment Clause of the U.S. Constitution was under attack, Frank Gaffney put together a Coalition to Stop Shariah and on November 6th mounted the podium at the National Press Club and issued a statementdeclaring independence from the tyrannies of Allah:
We are Americans opposed to the “stealth jihad” being waged in this country by those who promote Shariah – authoritative Islam’s theo-political-religious program for establishing a global theocracy. As such, Shariah and its espousal of violent and stealthy jihad constitute sedition. We are determined to resist efforts now underway to create “parallel” Muslim societies and otherwise to insinuate Shariah into this country via its mosques, prisons, campuses, media, government and financial institutions.
Of particular concern is the progress being made to establish Shariah-Compliant Finance (SCF) within Western, and most recently, U.S. banks and other institutions that trade securities. Islamic finance’s leading Shariah authorities have made plain that they consider SCF to be “jihad with money,” “financial jihad” and a means of promoting their objective of destroying the West’s economic system and replacing it with an Islamic one.
The notion that Shariah Compliant Finance holds principles in common with American Free Market Capitalism is, in a word, absurd.
The economic history of Islam has not yet been chronicled in detail. However, the philosophical tenets of Islam’s marketplace gave birth to four failings of mankind: (1) slavery as an institution ordained by the source of supreme law, the “new knowledge” as laid down per the Pen of Allah in al Qur’an, (2) dhimmitude as a mercantile force of dynastic design, (3) piracy as an imperial policy of conquest and colonialism, and (4) jihadi terrorism as the completion of the Hisba code of Islamic supremacy. Only a romantic view of Islam can dismiss the forced nature of bribery inherent in the “Articles of Capitulation” signed by Western diplomats of the Ottoman period. The submission demanded by these unconscionable articles forced America’s Founding Fathers to launch the Barbary Wars to guarantee free trade.
Today, nearly ten years after 9/11, we are awakening to the reality that a difference exists between jihadist financing and Islamic economic warfare. In this, Frank Gaffney is the iconoclast, who launched the American Spring four days after Obama’s election to the White House. Grover Norquist’s dalliance with forces at war with the United States has left him marked with a scarlet letter.
The Tea Party activists of the American Spring have arisen to set our economic house in order. Shariah Compliant Finance and its Takaful insurance offerings represent a threat to the solvency of the United States. The subversive activities of the Muslim Brotherhood linked organizations in the United States, in both the financing of terrorism and the pursuit of economic warfare, are pronounced.
Frank Gaffney has arisen as the first champion of the American Spring.