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It’s Almost Too Late to Get Serious About Jihadism

Yet another angry, lost Muslim immigrant has gone on a killing spree

It’s happened again. Yesterday, on the campus of Ohio State University, an angry young man used his car as a weapon, plowing through a group of bystanders, whom he then attacked with a butcher knife. Eleven innocent people were injured, though mercifully all are expected to make a full recovery.

This time, we got lucky. A campus cop was on-scene within a minute and, when the madman running amok refused to follow orders to drop his knife, the policeman opened fire, killing him before he struck lethally. Which was clearly his intent, as described by a student who witnessed the event unfold: “He seemed like a crazed animal. He seemed like he was determined. He seemed like he was there for one reason—to do as much damage as he could.”

Before any facts were established, the left-wing online outrage machine went into overdrive, like clockwork, with Democratic politicians and activists denouncing their usual suspects. One was Virginia Gov. Tim Kaine, recently the Democratic vice-presidential nominee, who tweeted, “Deeply saddened by the senseless act of gun violence at Ohio State this morning.” Countless fervent Social Justice Warriors took to social media to express their deep hope that the shooter was a white racist—presumably inspired by President-elect Donald Trump and his message of “hate.”

Embarrassingly for the Left, the failed spree killer in Columbus turned out to have no gun at all. Worse for the liberal smart-set, he was a Somali refugee—hardly a redneck domestic terrorist. The disappointment felt online was palpable as it turned out the perpetrator was a Muslim of color, plus an immigrant to boot. He seemed to be practically a caricature drawn from Trump’s repeated warnings about the dangers posed by importing Muslims to America.

Virtually every liberal cliché was on display here. The dead man, Abdul Razak Ali Artan, an 18-year-old (some sources say 20), was a recent refugee arrival from Somalia, via Pakistan. His family moved to the United States in 2014 and Artan got an associate’s degree in 2016, then transferred to Ohio State to continue his studies.

Read the rest at The Observer …

The Kremlin Didn’t Sink Hillary — Obama Did

Democratic panic about Russian disinformation neglects to mention that it was the White House that refused to stop it

The liberal conniption about alleged Russian “hacking” of our election has reached a boiling point. A politically dangerous Democratic narrative is emerging which posits that it was aggressive Kremlin propaganda that undermined Hillary Clinton’s presidential run—not that she ran a terrible campaign which alienated the white working class to Donald Trump’s benefit.

Like so many half-truths, this narrative contains its fair share of accurate claims. I know, because I was warning the public about Kremlin espionage and disinformation long before Democrats suddenly became passionately interested in the subject because it was hurting their candidate. After Vladimir Putin seized Crimea in early 2014 and began a war of aggression against Ukraine, Russian propaganda efforts aimed at the West went into overdrive.

To anybody acquainted with well-honed Moscow agitprop techniques, this was no more than old-style KGB Active Measures sped up for the Internet age. That said, the threat posed by this online disinformation offensive is real, as I and other experts counseled years ago (in my case, beginning with the defection of Edward Snowden to Moscow in June 2013). However, it was frankly difficult to get the mainstream media interested in this rising problem—at least until the Kremlin’s disinformation machine went after Hillary, as it did in 2016 with gusto.

The Washington Post reported this week that Kremlin-backed websites pushed “fake news” regularly portraying Hillary and the Democrats in a negative light. There’s really nothing new here for anybody who’s followed Russian propaganda for any length of time. Kremlin agitprop aimed at the West—properly termed disinformation—contains an amalgam of fact and fiction, plus lots of gray information somewhere in between which can be difficult and time-consuming to refute.

Read the rest at The Observer …

Liberals Are Suddenly Experts in Russian Espionage

Evidence-free left-wing claims that the Kremlin elected Trump are politically toxic and threaten to undermine our system

For years, ever since I left the Intelligence Community, I’ve tried to raise awareness about the rising threatto the United States and our allies of foreign espionage. My background in counterintelligence for the National Security Agency made me a rare public voice of experience discussing the spy threat to our country, its security and its prosperity.

When the Edward Snowden story broke in June 2013, I was one of the first to state publicly that this sensational saga was, in reality, a stage-managed Russian intelligence operation designed to harm the West and its powerful intelligence alliance. That fateful summer I also pointed out that there were apparent links between Wikileaks and the Kremlin. These positions won me no friends among the great and the good, and many were the mainstream journalists and pundits who castigated my reality-based assessments as “paranoid” and “McCarthyite.”

 I was right and my critics were wrong. Snowden has been working for the Russians for years, as both Washington and Moscow have now admitted. As for Wikileaks, its strong links to the Kremlin’s intelligence services are now so obvious—I issued more warnings about that only a few months ago, long before our November 8 election—that Moscow isn’t bothering to hide them any longer.

As I’ve explained in detail in column after column, Obama’s two terms in office witnessed a stunning and unprecedented withering of counterintelligence and security in Washington, the Snowden debacle being only the most-reported of the disasters which have befallen American intelligence since 2009. This carelessness allowed the Russians to gain astonishing access to the inner workings of our government and our political system. Moscow’s far-reaching hacking of Federal agencies and countless private entities forms only the visible tip of the clandestine Russian spy-iceberg which has collided with Washington in recent years.

There’s no doubt that Vladimir Putin and his spy services played operational games with our election cycle, using Wikileaks to dump tens of thousands of unflattering emails from the Hillary Clinton campaign and the Democratic National Committee. Their impact on the election is difficult to determine but it was doubtless harmful to Team Clinton.

Read the rest at The Observer …

Why Vladimir Putin Hates Us

Western inability to grasp what motivates our enemies is nothing new

He’s done it again. The honey badger in the Kremlin just moved more advanced missiles into position on Russia’s most westerly fringe to own the Baltic Sea. This week Moscow admitted it has deployed cutting-edge Bastion anti-ship missiles to the Kaliningrad exclave, north of Poland, plus equally advanced S-400 air defense systems to shoot down aircraft and missiles as far as 250 miles out.

With this move, the Kremlin has established control over the Baltic Sea, most of Poland and the Baltic republics—NATO members all. Russia now can exert anti-access and area denial—what the Pentagon calls A2AD for short—at will, meaning that any NATO aircraft or ships entering the region can be hit long before they get close to Kaliningrad. For Western military planners, this is nothing short of a nightmare, since Moscow can now block NATO reinforcements headed east to counter, say, Russian military moves on the vulnerable Baltic republics.

That scenario, wherein Moscow’s forces overrun a Baltic republic or two before NATO can meaningfully respond, is judged alarmingly plausible by Alliance planners, yet nobody should be surprised that Vladimir Putin has done this. One month ago, when he moved nuclear-capable Iskander-M ballistic missiles into Kaliningrad last month, initiating a Baltic version of the Cuban Missile Crisis, President Obama’s response was…nothing.

The outgoing commander-in-chief decided that he needed to appease the Kremlin one more time before leaving the White House, to the horror of our allies who live close to Russia. “We’re on our own until January 20, and maybe much longer,” was how a senior Alliance defense official in that neighborhood explained the reality of what Obama has done through his inaction.

For good measure, this week the Russian defense ministry indicated that the deployment of Iskander-M systems to Kaliningrad, which Moscow has said was merely part of a military exercise, will be staying there permanently. Since those missiles can launch nuclear or conventional warheads as far as 300 miles with stunning accuracy, Russia now holds a powerful military advantage over NATO in the Baltic region.

Read the rest at The Observer …

James Clapper, America’s Top Spymaster, Steps Down—Here’s What Happens Next

Staffing the next DNI is especially important for Trump, given his limited experience in espionage and national security

This morning, as he appeared before the House Intelligence Committee, James Clapper, our Director of National Intelligence, announced his resignation, effective January 20, 2017—the day Donald Trump will be inaugurated as America’s 45th president.

Submitting his resignation “felt pretty good,” Clapper told committee members, adding, “I have 64 days left and I’d have a pretty hard time with my wife going past that.” In fact, his resignation had been anticipated for months and was no surprise to the committee, since Clapper has been the DNI for more than six years, and President Trump will want his own person in that important job.

The DNI position was created in April 2005, in the aftermath of the 9/11 attacks, as part of a Congressionally-mandated effort to improve high-end command, control, and coordination across the behemoth Intelligence Community. Clapper, who assumed the job in August 2010, served longer as DNI than his three predecessors combined. He is generally assessed as the best DNI to date, allowing that there’s not much competition there.

It’s a tough job, since the Intelligence Community is a diverse mix of top secret bureaucracies which don’t always play well together. The IC is made up of 16 different spy agencies—17 if you count the amply-sized Office of the DNI, which is a Beltway player in its own right—and there’s a reason American intelligence professionals love jokes about cat-herding. None can deny that, particularly under Clapper, the DNI grew more effective at getting our spy agencies to play well together, and information sharing across the IC has unquestionably improved over the last decade.

Some of his success as America’s top spymaster can be attributed to Jim Clapper being a career intelligence officer who knows the business from the ground up. Commissioned in the Air Force in 1963, Clapper served in Vietnam, including 73 combat support missions, collecting airborne signals intelligence, and he was appointed director of the Defense Intelligence Agency in 1991. He retired from active duty in 1995 as a three-star general, worked in the private sector for six years, then was appointed the civilian director of the National Geospatial-Intelligence Agency in 2001.

Read the rest at The Observer …

Who Murdered Olof Palme?

Over 30 years after Sweden’s prime minister was gunned down on the streets of Stockholm, the mystery may finally be solved

It was a shocking crime by any standards, but in placid Sweden it was unthinkable. On the cold and wintry evening of February 28, 1986, Olof Palme, the country’s longtime prime minister, was walking home from the cinema, through downtown Stockholm, with his wife. The couple had gone out for the evening, on short notice, without a bodyguard.

Forty minutes before midnight, Palme was killed by a shot to the back, at very close range. His wife, Lisbet, was wounded by a second shot. There were several witnesses to the assassination, but none of them got a good look at the gunman. The prime minister was rushed to the hospital, only to be declared dead on arrival.

A massive manhunt ensued but didn’t make much progress since the description of the killer offered by witnesses was vague: white, between 30 and 50 years of age, of average height and build. This was clearly no random act, and Sweden went into a kind of shock. The country was unaccustomed to political violence, and Palme for decades had been an international icon, a lion of the democratic socialist left.

More than 10,000 people were questioned by the police during the course of the murder investigation, while 134 came forward to confess to the crime—all falsely. The inquiry soon stalled for lack of solid leads and appeared dead in the water until 1988, when the police arrested 42-year-old Christer Pettersson, a habitual criminal and addict who had previously been jailed for manslaughter.

The case seemed to be closed when Lisbet Palme identified Pettersson in a police lineup, but doubts lingered since the police never found the murder weapon, a .357 Magnum pistol, neither could they detect a motive for why a petty criminal—a fellow socialist like Pettersson—killed the prime minister. Nevertheless, Sweden wanted closure, and Pettersson was convicted and sentenced to life in prison.

Read the rest at The Observer …

America’s Emerging Nationalism Crisis

Progressives managed not to see the nose on their face

The election of Donald Trump as our next president heralds a new political epoch for the United States. Whatever his shortcomings as a candidate, the Republican nominee, a political neophyte, slayed both of the political dynasties that had more or less run our national life for the last three decades. There won’t be anyone named Bush or Clinton around the White House for a good long while now. This is no mean feat, not to mention something for which all Americans who dislike dynasties should be grateful.

How Trump did it is being hotly debated. True to form, Hillary Clinton has announced that her loss is all the fault of the FBI and its director, whose eleventh-hour reopening of her email scandal sank her at the ballot box. Whatever one thinks of James Comey, who has managed to offend both right and left in recent months, the notion that his investigation of Hillary’s emails, rather than her own mistakes as secretary of state—the steadfast refusal to use government email for government work, her “private” server of bathroom infamy, all the highly classified information that wound up in her “unclassified” emails, not to mention her innumerable lies about it all—constituted the real problem in EmailGate reeks of the purest Clintonism.

Democrats are also pointing a finger at Moscow, claiming that its secret ties to the Trump campaign plus the clandestine help of Wikileaks, whose massive dumps of Democratic emails painted Team Hillary in a highly unfavorable light, ultimately did in Clinton, Inc. Here they’re on somewhat firmer ground. Kremlin interference played a role in the campaign—exactly how much will be debated for decades—in a manner that should trouble all Americans.

That said, there’s not much to deny here, since Moscow has now admitted its previously hush-hush ties to Wikileaks and its contacts with members of the Trump campaign. Moreover, those who are now so eager to find Russians under every bed in Washington are the same people who pooh-poohed warnings about Wikileaks and the Kremlin—I was issuing them years ago—as scaremongering. It’s too late now, the election’s over. Time to move on, learn lessons, and accept the people’s verdict.

Some Americans are clearly not ready to move on. Their radical fringe has been fighting in the streets, rioting and burning trees to show their displeasure, thereby proving true all the nasty things that Trump has said about the nut-left. The ugly nature of these outbursts has many wondering what has happened to the country. However, when Democratic leaders publicly denounce Trump and the Republicans as the party of “hate” it’s not surprising that the country’s perennially aggrieved lumpenriot contingent takes action.

Read the rest at The Observer …