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President Trump looks forward to visit of Egyptian President al-Sisi on Monday, April 3, 2017

Trump and al-Sisi meeting, Sept. 19, 2016, AFP

4/1/17,Security to be Main Component of US-Egypt Ties: White House, news18.com, PTI (India), Washington

“The Egyptian President will meet his US counterpart Donald Trump at the White House on April 3, which officials said would lay the foundation of a strong bilateral relationship.

“The President is excited to welcome Egyptian President al-Sisi to the White House on April 3 and he wants to use the visit to reboot the bilateral relationship and build on the strong connection the two presidents established when they first met in New York last September,” [photo above] a senior Trump administration official told reporters. 

Noting that Egypt is one of the traditional pillars of stability in the Middle East and has been a reliable US partner for decades, he said Trump’s initial interactions with al-Sisi, including their phone call on January 23, have already improved the tone of the relationship. 

Trump aims to reaffirm the deep and abiding US commitment to Egypt’s security, stability and prosperity,the official said, adding that al-Sisi has taken a number of bold steps on very sensitive issues since becoming President in 2014.

“He has called for reform in moderation of Islamic discourse, initiated courageous and historic economic reforms and saw to reestablish Egypt’s regional leadership role. He has also led Egypt’s campaign to defeat a long-running terrorist threat in Sinai, the official said.

The US wants to support President al-Sisi’s efforts in all of these areas.

“Our relationship has historically been driven by security and that will remain a key component of the engagement with Egypt. The US and Egyptian militaries have built close relationships and many military officers from Egypt have trained at US military installations,” he said.

Trump supports al-Sisi’s ambition to develop a comprehensive counter-terrorism approach that involves military, political, economic, as well as social efforts, the official said, adding that at the same time, Trump also wants to increase the focus on economic and commercial cooperation in bilateral relationship.

Building a more stable and productive economy is a critical step to ensuring long-term stability in Egypt, the official said.

The Egyptian President has begun a necessary economic reform plan that would strengthen the Egyptian economy if it is fully executed, he said….

“We are optimistic that we are heading in the right direction and President Trump is very much looking forward to the visit, the White House official added.”

Above image, 9/19/16, Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump (L) looks on as Egyptian President Abdel Fattah el-Sisi speaks during a meeing at the Plaza Hotel on September 19, 2016 in New York. / AFP / DOMINICK”

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Reuters article

Egypt considers the Muslim Brotherhood a terrorist group.

3/31/17,  Trump seeks to ‘reboot’ U.S. relationship with Egypt in Monday talks, Reuters, by Roberta Rampton and Steve Holland 

President Donald Trump will seek to rebuild the U.S. relationship with Egypt at a Monday meeting with Egyptian President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi focused on security issues and military aid, a senior White House official said on Friday.

“He wants to use President Sisi’s visit to reboot the bilateral relationship and build on the strong connection the two presidents established when they first met in New York last September,” the official said, briefing reporters on condition of anonymity. 

Egypt has long been one of Washington’s closest allies in the Middle East, receiving $1.3 billion in U.S. military aid annually. The country is fighting an Islamist insurgency in Sinai, and hundreds of Egyptian soldiers and police have been killed fighting insurgents.

The bilateral relationship was strained when former President Barack Obama criticized Sisi for cracking down on the Muslim Brotherhood, Egypt’s oldest Islamist group.

Sisi does not make a distinction between the Brotherhood, which says it is peaceful, and Islamic State militants. Egypt considers the Muslim Brotherhood a terrorist group. 

Obama froze aid to the country for two years after Sisi, then a general, overthrew President Mohamed Mursi in mid-2013 after mass protests against Mursi’s rule. Mursi, a Muslim Brotherhood member, had been elected the previous year….

Trump’s relationship with Sisi got off to a good start when they met last September in New York while Trump was running for president, the White House said.

Trump supports Sisi’s approach to counterterrorism, which includes both military and political efforts, his efforts to reform Egypt’s economy, and Sisi’s calls for “reform and moderation of Islamic discourse,” the official said.

Asked whether the United States would designate the Muslim Brotherhood as a terrorist group, as Egypt has, the official said Trump was interested in hearing Sisi’s views during the meeting.

“We, along with a number of countries, have some concerns about various activities that the Muslim Brotherhood has conducted in the region,” the official said.”…

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Added:

1/15/2014, UAE lists Muslim Brotherhood as terrorist group,” Reuters, Dubai

The United Arab Emirates has formally designated the Muslim Brotherhood and local affiliates as terrorist groups, state news agency WAM reported on Saturday citing a cabinet decree.

The Gulf Arab state has also designated Nusra Front and the Islamic State, whose fighters are battling Syrian President Bashar al-Assad, as terrorist organizations, along with other Shi’ite militant groups such as the Houthi movement in Yemen.

Saturday’s move echoes a similar move by Saudi Arabia in March and could increase pressure on Qatar whose backing for the group has sparked a row with fellow Gulf monarchies.”…

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The Deep State is the big story of our time. It is the red thread that runs through the war on terrorism, the financialization and deindustrialization of the American economy. It’s effectively able to govern the United States without reference to the consent of the governed-Feb. 21, 2014 by Mike Lofgren, congressional staff member for 28 yrs., posted at BillMoyers.com

The Deep State is the big story of our time. It is the red thread that runs through the war on terrorism, the financialization and deindustrialization of the American economy, the rise of a plutocratic social structure and political dysfunction.”…”I use the term [Deep State] to mean a hybrid association of elements of government and parts of top-level finance and industry that is effectively able to govern the United States without reference to the consent of the governed as expressed through the formal political process.” (Footnote 1) Via link in 11/2/2015 article from The Intercept about former CIA chief Allen Dulles who was fired by JFK: “A New Biography Traces the Pathology of Allen Dulles and His Appalling Cabal,” by Jon Schwarz

2/21/2014, Essay: Anatomy of the Deep State,” by Mike Lofgren, BillMoyers.com (“Mike Lofgren is a former congressional staff member who served on both the House and Senate budget committees”…)

There is the visible government situated around the Mall in Washington, and then there is another, more shadowy, more indefinable government that is not explained in Civics 101 or observable to tourists at the White House or the Capitol. The former is traditional Washington partisan politics: the tip of the iceberg that a public watching C-SPAN sees daily and which is theoretically controllable via elections. The subsurface part of the iceberg I shall call the Deep State, which operates according to its own compass heading regardless of who is formally in power. [1]…

Yes, there is another government…a hybrid entity of public and private institutions ruling the country according to consistent patterns in season and out, connected to, but only intermittently controlled by, the visible state whose leaders we choose. My analysis of this phenomenon is not an exposé of a secret, conspiratorial cabal; the state within a state is hiding mostly in plain sight, and its operators mainly act in the light of day. Nor can this other government be accurately termed an “establishment.” All complex societies have an establishment, a social network committed to its own enrichment and perpetuation.

In terms of its scope, financial resources and sheer global reach, the American hybrid state, the Deep State, is in a class by itself. That said, it is neither omniscient nor invincible. The institution is not so much sinister (although it has highly sinister aspects) as it is relentlessly well entrenched. Far from being invincible, its failures, such as those in Iraq, Afghanistan and Libya, are routine enough that it is only the Deep State’s protectiveness towards its higher-ranking personnel that allows them to escape the consequences of their frequent ineptitude. [2] 

How did I come to write an analysis of the Deep State, and why am I equipped to write it? As a congressional staff member for 28 years specializing in national security and possessing a top secret security clearance, I was at least on the fringes of the world I am describing, if neither totally in it by virtue of full membership nor of it by psychological disposition. But, like virtually every employed person, I became, to some extent, assimilated into the culture of the institution I worked for, and only by slow degrees, starting before the invasion of Iraq, did I begin fundamentally to question the reasons of state that motivate the people who are, to quote George W. Bush, “the deciders.” 

Cultural assimilation is partly a matter of what psychologist Irving L. Janis called “groupthink,” the chameleon-like ability of people to adopt the views of their superiors and peers. This syndrome is endemic to Washington: The town is characterized by sudden fads, be it negotiating biennial budgeting, making grand bargains or invading countries. Then, after a while, all the town’s cool kids drop those ideas as if they were radioactive. As in the military, everybody has to get on board with the mission, and questioning it is not a career-enhancing move. The universe of people who will critically examine the goings-on at the institutions they work for is always going to be a small one….

After a while, a functionary of the state begins to hear things that, in another context, would be quite remarkable, or at least noteworthy….“You mean the number of terrorist groups we are fighting is classified?” No wonder so few people are whistle-blowers, quite apart from the vicious retaliation whistle-blowing often provokes: Unless one is blessed with imagination and a fine sense of irony, growing immune to the curiousness of one’s surroundings is easy….

The Deep State does not consist of the entire government. It is a hybrid of national security and law enforcement agencies: the Department of Defense, the Department of State, the Department of Homeland Security, the Central Intelligence Agency and the Justice Department. I also include the Department of the Treasury because of its jurisdiction over financial flows, its enforcement of international sanctions and its organic symbiosis with Wall Street. All these agencies are coordinated by the Executive Office of the President via the National Security Council. Certain key areas of the judiciary belong to the Deep State, such as the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court [FISA], whose actions are mysterious even to most members of Congress. Also included are a handful of vital federal trial courts, such as the Eastern District of Virginia and the Southern District of Manhattan, where sensitive proceedings in national security cases are conducted. The final government component (and possibly last in precedence among the formal branches of government established by the Constitution) is a kind of rump Congress consisting of congressional leadership and some (but not all) of the members of the defense and intelligence committees. The rest of Congress, normally so fractious and partisan, is mostly only intermittently aware of the Deep State and when required usually submits to a few well-chosen words from the State’s emissaries. 

I saw this submissiveness on many occasions. One memorable incident was passage of the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Amendments Act of 2008. This legislation retroactively legalized the Bush administration’s illegal and unconstitutional surveillance first revealed by The New York Times in 2005 and indemnified the telecommunications companies for their cooperation in these acts. The bill passed easily: All that was required was the invocation of the word “terrorism” and most members of Congress responded like iron filings obeying a magnet. One who responded in that fashion was Senator Barack Obama, soon to be coronated as the presidential nominee at the Democratic National Convention in Denver. He had already won the most delegates by campaigning to the left of his main opponent, Hillary Clinton, on the excesses of the global war on terror and the erosion of constitutional liberties. 

As the indemnification vote showed, the Deep State does not consist only of government agencies. What is euphemistically called “private enterprise” is an integral part of its operations. In a special series in The Washington Post called “Top Secret America,” Dana Priest and William K. Arkin described the scope of the privatized Deep State and the degree to which it has metastasized after the September 11 attacks. There are now 854,000 contract personnel with top-secret clearances — a number greater than that of top-secret-cleared civilian employees of the government. While they work throughout the country and the world, their heavy concentration in and around the Washington suburbs is unmistakable: Since 9/11, 33 facilities for top-secret intelligence have been built or are under construction. Combined, they occupy the floor space of almost three Pentagons — about 17 million square feet. Seventy percent of the intelligence community’s budget goes to paying contracts.

And the membrane between government and industry is highly permeable: The Director of National Intelligence, James R. Clapper, is a former executive of Booz Allen Hamilton, one of the government’s largest intelligence contractors. His predecessor as director, Admiral Mike McConnell, is the current vice chairman of the same company; Booz Allen is 99 percent dependent on government business. These contractors now set the political and social tone of Washington, just as they are increasingly setting the direction of the country, but they are doing it quietly, their doings unrecorded in the Congressional Record or the Federal Register, and are rarely subject to congressional hearings.

Washington is the most important node of the Deep State that has taken over America, but it is not the only one. Invisible threads of money and ambition connect the town to other nodes. One is Wall Street, which supplies the cash that keeps the political machine quiescent and operating as a diversionary marionette theater. Should the politicians forget their lines and threaten the status quo, Wall Street floods the town with cash and lawyers to help the hired hands remember their own best interests. The executives of the financial giants even have de facto criminal immunity. On March 6, 2013, testifying before the Senate Judiciary Committee, Attorney General Eric Holder stated the following: “I am concerned that the size of some of these institutions becomes so large that it does become difficult for us to prosecute them when we are hit with indications that if you do prosecute, if you do bring a criminal charge, it will have a negative impact on the national economy, perhaps even the world economy.” This, from the chief law enforcement officer of a justice system that has practically abolished the constitutional right to trial for poorer defendants charged with certain crimes. It is not too much to say that Wall Street may be the ultimate owner of the Deep State and its strategies, if for no other reason than that it has the money to reward government operatives with a second career that is lucrative beyond the dreams of avarice — certainly beyond the dreams of a salaried government employee. [3]

The corridor between Manhattan and Washington is a well trodden highway for the personalities we have all gotten to know in the period since the massive deregulation of Wall Street: Robert Rubin, Lawrence Summers, Henry Paulson, Timothy Geithner and many others. Not all the traffic involves persons connected with the purely financial operations of the government: In 2013, General David Petraeus joined KKR (formerly Kohlberg Kravis Roberts) of 9 West 57th Street, New York, a private equity firm with $62.3 billion in assets. KKR specializes in management buyouts and leveraged finance. General Petraeus’ expertise in these areas is unclear. His ability to peddle influence, however, is a known and valued commodity. Unlike Cincinnatus, the military commanders of the Deep State do not take up the plow once they lay down the sword. Petraeus also obtained a sinecure as a non-resident senior fellow at the Belfer Center for Science and International Affairs at Harvard. The Ivy League is, of course, the preferred bleaching tub and charm school of the American oligarchy. [4] 

Petraeus and most of the avatars of the Deep State — the White House advisers who urged Obama not to impose compensation limits on Wall Street CEOs, the contractor-connected think tank experts who besought us to “stay the course” in Iraq, the economic gurus who perpetually demonstrate that globalization and deregulation are a blessing that makes us all better off in the long run — are careful to pretend that they have no ideology. Their preferred pose is that of the politically neutral technocrat offering well considered advice based on profound expertise. That is nonsense. They are deeply dyed in the hue of the official ideology of the governing class, an ideology that is neither specifically Democrat nor Republican. Domestically, whatever they might privately believe about essentially diversionary social issues such as abortion or gay marriage, they almost invariably believe in the “Washington Consensus”: financialization, outsourcing, privatization, deregulation and the commodifying of labor. Internationally, they espouse 21st-century “American Exceptionalism”: the right and duty of the United States to meddle in every region of the world with coercive diplomacy and boots on the ground and to ignore painfully won international norms of civilized behavior. To paraphrase what Sir John Harrington said more than 400 years ago about treason, now that the ideology of the Deep State has prospered, none dare call it ideology. [5] That is why describing torture with the word “torture” on broadcast television is treated less as political heresy than as an inexcusable lapse of Washington etiquette: Like smoking a cigarette on camera, these days it is simply “not done.”

After Edward Snowden’s revelations about the extent and depth of surveillance by the National Security Agency, it has become publicly evident that Silicon Valley is a vital node of the Deep State as well. Unlike military and intelligence contractors, Silicon Valley overwhelmingly sells to the private market, but its business is so important to the government that a strange relationship has emerged. While the government could simply dragoon the high technology companies to do the NSA’s bidding, it would prefer cooperation with so important an engine of the nation’s economy, perhaps with an implied quid pro quo. Perhaps this explains the extraordinary indulgence the government shows the Valley in intellectual property matters. If an American “jailbreaks” his smartphone (i.e., modifies it so that it can use a service provider other than the one dictated by the manufacturer), he could receive a fine of up to $500,000 and several years in prison; so much for a citizen’s vaunted property rights to what he purchases. The libertarian pose of the Silicon Valley moguls, so carefully cultivated in their public relations, has always been a sham. Silicon Valley has long been tracking for commercial purposes the activities of every person who uses an electronic device, so it is hardly surprising that the Deep State should emulate the Valley and do the same for its own purposes. Nor is it surprising that it should conscript the Valley’s assistance. 

Still, despite the essential roles of lower Manhattan and Silicon Valley, the center of gravity of the Deep State is firmly situated in and around the Beltway. The Deep State’s physical expansion and consolidation around the Beltway would seem to make a mockery of the frequent pronouncement that governance in Washington is dysfunctional and broken. That the secret and unaccountable Deep State floats freely above the gridlock between both ends of Pennsylvania Avenue is the paradox of American government in the 21st century: drone strikes, data mining, secret prisons and Panopticon-like control on the one hand; and on the other, the ordinary, visible parliamentary institutions of self-government declining to the status of a banana republic amid the gradual collapse of public infrastructure.

The results of this contradiction are not abstract, as a tour of the rotting, decaying, bankrupt cities of the American Midwest will attest. It is not even confined to those parts of the country left behind by a Washington Consensus that decreed the financialization and deindustrialization of the economy in the interests of efficiency and shareholder value. This paradox is evident even within the Beltway itself, the richest metropolitan area in the nation. Although demographers and urban researchers invariably count Washington as a “world city,” that is not always evident to those who live there. Virtually every time there is a severe summer thunderstorm, tens — or even hundreds — of thousands of residents lose power, often for many days. There are occasional water restrictions over wide areas because water mains, poorly constructed and inadequately maintained, have burst. [6] The Washington metropolitan area considers it a Herculean task just to build a rail link to its international airport — with luck it may be completed by 2018.

It is as if Hadrian’s Wall was still fully manned and the fortifications along the border with Germania were never stronger, even as the city of Rome disintegrates from within and the life-sustaining aqueducts leading down from the hills begin to crumble. The governing classes of the Deep State may continue to deceive themselves with their dreams of Zeus-like omnipotence, but others do not…. 

The Deep State is the big story of our time. It is the red thread that runs through the war on terrorism, the financialization and deindustrialization of the American economy, the rise of a plutocratic social structure and political dysfunction. Washington is the headquarters of the Deep State, and its time in the sun as a rival to Rome, Constantinople or London may be term-limited by its overweening sense of self-importance and its habit, as Winwood Reade said of Rome, to “live upon its principal till ruin stared it in the face.” “Living upon its principal,” in this case, means that the Deep State has been extracting value from the American people in vampire-like fashion. 

We are faced with two disagreeable implications. First, that the Deep State is so heavily entrenched, so well protected by surveillance, firepower, money and its ability to co-opt resistance that it is almost impervious to change. Second, that just as in so many previous empires, the Deep State is populated with those whose instinctive reaction to the failure of their policies is to double down on those very policies in the future. Iraq was a failure briefly camouflaged by the wholly propagandistic success of the so-called surge; this legerdemain allowed for the surge in Afghanistan, which equally came to naught. Undeterred by that failure, the functionaries of the Deep State plunged into Libya; the smoking rubble of the Benghazi consulate, rather than discouraging further misadventure, seemed merely to incite the itch to bomb Syria. Will the Deep State ride on the back of the American people from failure to failure until the country itself, despite its huge reserves of human and material capital, is slowly exhausted? The dusty road of empire is strewn with the bones of former great powers that exhausted themselves in like manner. 

But, there are signs of resistance to the Deep State and its demands. In the aftermath of the Snowden revelations, the House narrowly failed to pass an amendment that would have defunded the NSA’s warrantless collection of data from US persons. Shortly thereafter, the president, advocating yet another military intervention in the Middle East, this time in Syria, met with such overwhelming congressional skepticism that he changed the subject by grasping at a diplomatic lifeline thrown to him by Vladimir Putin. [7] 

Has the visible, constitutional state, the one envisaged by Madison and the other Founders, finally begun to reassert itself against the claims and usurpations of the Deep State? To some extent, perhaps. The unfolding revelations of the scope of the NSA’s warrantless surveillance have become so egregious that even institutional apologists such as Senator Dianne Feinstein have begun to backpedal — if only rhetorically — from their knee-jerk defense of the agency. As more people begin to waken from the fearful and suggestible state that 9/11 created in their minds, it is possible that the Deep State’s decade-old tactic of crying “terrorism!” every time it faces resistance is no longer eliciting the same Pavlovian response of meek obedience. And the American people, possibly even their legislators, are growing tired of endless quagmires in the Middle East. 

But there is another more structural reason the Deep State may have peaked in the extent of its dominance. While it seems to float above the constitutional state, its essentially parasitic, extractive nature means that it is still tethered to the formal proceedings of governance. 

The Deep State thrives when there is tolerable functionality in the day-to-day operations of the federal government. As long as appropriations bills get passed on time, promotion lists get confirmed, black (i.e., secret) budgets get rubber-stamped, special tax subsidies for certain corporations are approved without controversy, as long as too many awkward questions are not asked, the gears of the hybrid state will mesh noiselessly. But when one house of Congress is taken over by tea party Wahhabites, life for the ruling class becomes more trying.

If there is anything the Deep State requires it is silent, uninterrupted cash flow and the confidence that things will go on as they have in the past….

The final factor is Silicon Valley. Owing to secrecy and obfuscation, it is hard to know how much of the NSA’s relationship with the Valley is based on voluntary cooperation, how much is legal compulsion through FISA warrants and how much is a matter of the NSA surreptitiously breaking into technology companies’ systems. Given the Valley’s public relations requirement to mollify its customers who have privacy concerns, it is difficult to take the tech firms’ libertarian protestations about government compromise of their systems at face value, especially since they engage in similar activity against their own customers for commercial purposes. That said, evidence is accumulating that Silicon Valley is losing billions in overseas business from companies, individuals and governments that want to maintain privacy. For high tech entrepreneurs, the cash nexus is ultimately more compelling than the Deep State’s demand for patriotic cooperation. Even legal compulsion can be combatted: Unlike the individual citizen, tech firms have deep pockets and batteries of lawyers with which to fight government diktat…. 

When the contradictions within a ruling ideology are pushed too far, factionalism appears and that ideology begins slowly to crumble. Corporate oligarchs such as the Koch brothers are no longer entirely happy with the faux-populist political front group they helped fund and groom. Silicon Valley, for all the Ayn Rand-like tendencies of its major players, its offshoring strategies and its further exacerbation of income inequality, is now lobbying Congress to restrain the NSA, a core component of the Deep State. Some tech firms are moving to encrypt their data. High tech corporations and governments alike seek dominance over people though collection of personal data, but the corporations are jumping ship now that adverse public reaction to the NSA scandals threatens their profits. 

The outcome of all these developments is uncertain. The Deep State, based on the twin pillars of national security imperative and corporate hegemony, has until recently seemed unshakable and the latest events may only be a temporary perturbation in its trajectory.

But history has a way of toppling the altars of the mighty. While the two great materialist and determinist ideologies of the twentieth century, Marxism and the Washington Consensus, successively decreed that the dictatorship of the proletariat and the dictatorship of the market were inevitable, the future is actually indeterminate.

It may be that deep economic and social currents create the framework of history, but those currents can be channeled, eddied, or even reversed by circumstance, chance and human agency. We have only to reflect upon defunct glacial despotisms such as the USSR or East Germany to realize that nothing is forever. 

Throughout history, state systems with outsized pretensions to power have reacted to their environments in two ways. The first strategy, reflecting the ossification of its ruling elites, consists of repeating that nothing is wrong, that the status quo reflects the nation’s unique good fortune in being favored by God and that those calling for change are merely subversive troublemakers. As the French ancien régime, the Romanov dynasty and the Habsburg emperors discovered, the strategy works splendidly for a while, particularly if one has a talent for dismissing unpleasant facts. The final results, however, are likely to be thoroughly disappointing…. 

The Snowden [NSA] revelations (the impact of which have been surprisingly strong), the derailed drive for military intervention in Syria and a fractious Congress, whose dysfunction has begun to be a serious inconvenience to the Deep State, show that there is now a deep but as yet inchoate hunger for change. What America lacks is a figure with the serene self-confidence to tell us that the twin idols of national security and corporate power are outworn dogmas that have nothing more to offer us. Thus disenthralled, the people themselves will unravel the Deep State with surprising speed.” (end of article) 

Following 3 paragraphs also from above article, 7 footnotes follow:

“President Obama can liquidate American citizens without due processes, detain prisoners indefinitely without charge, conduct dragnet surveillance on the American people without judicial warrant and engage in unprecedented at least since the McCarthy era — witch hunts against federal employees (the so-called “Insider Threat Program”). Within the United States, this power is characterized by massive displays of intimidating force by militarized federal, state and local law enforcement.

Abroad, President Obama can start wars at will and engage in virtually any other activity whatsoever without so much as a by-your-leave from Congress, such as arranging the forced landing of a plane carrying a sovereign head of state over foreign territory. Despite the habitual cant of congressional Republicans about executive overreach by Obama, the would-be dictator, we have until recently heard very little from them about these actions — with the minor exception of comments from gadfly Senator Rand Paul of Kentucky. Democrats, save a few mavericks such as Ron Wyden of Oregon, are not unduly troubled, either even to the extent of permitting seemingly perjured congressional testimony under oath by executive branch officials [James Clapper] on the subject of illegal surveillance. 

These are not isolated instances of a contradiction; they have been so pervasive that they tend to be disregarded as background noise.”… 

7 footnotes:

[1] The term “Deep State” was coined in Turkey and is said to be a system composed of high-level elements within the intelligence services, military, security, judiciary and organized crime. In British author John le Carré’s latest novel, A Delicate Truth, a character describes the Deep State as “… the ever-expanding circle of non-governmental insiders from banking, industry and commerce who were cleared for highly classified information denied to large swathes of Whitehall and Westminster.” I use the term to mean a hybrid association of elements of government and parts of top-level finance and industry that is effectively able to govern the United States without reference to the consent of the governed as expressed through the formal political process.

[2] Twenty-five years ago, the sociologist Robert Nisbet described this phenomenon as “the attribute of No Fault…. Presidents, secretaries and generals and admirals in America seemingly subscribe to the doctrine that no fault ever attaches to policy and operations. This No Fault conviction prevents them from taking too seriously such notorious foul-ups as Desert One, Grenada, Lebanon and now the Persian Gulf.” To his list we might add 9/11, Iraq, Afghanistan and Libya.

[3] The attitude of many members of Congress towards Wall Street was memorably expressed by Rep. Spencer Bachus (R-AL), the incoming chairman of the House Financial Services Committee, in 2010: “In Washington, the view is that the banks are to be regulated, and my view is that Washington and the regulators are there to serve the banks.”

[4] Beginning in 1988, every US president has been a graduate of Harvard or Yale. Beginning in 2000, every losing presidential candidate has been a Harvard or Yale graduate, with the exception of John McCain in 2008.

[5] In recent months, the American public has seen a vivid example of a Deep State operative marketing his ideology under the banner of pragmatism. Former Secretary of Defense Robert M. Gates — a one-time career CIA officer and deeply political Bush family retainer — has camouflaged his retrospective defense of military escalations that have brought us nothing but casualties and fiscal grief as the straight-from-the-shoulder memoir from a plain-spoken son of Kansas who disdains Washington and its politicians.

[6] Meanwhile, the US government took the lead in restoring Baghdad’s sewer system at a cost of $7 billion.

[7] Obama’s abrupt about-face suggests he may have been skeptical of military intervention in Syria all along, but only dropped that policy once Congress and Putin gave him the running room to do so. In 2009, he went ahead with the Afghanistan “surge” partly because General Petraeus’ public relations campaign and back-channel lobbying on the Hill for implementation of his pet military strategy pre-empted other options. These incidents raise the disturbing question of how much the democratically elected president–or any president–sets the policy of the national security state and how much the policy is set for him by the professional operatives of that state who engineer faits accomplis that force his hand.”

“Mike Lofgren is a former congressional staff member who served on both the House and Senate budget committees. His book about Congress, The Party is Over: How Republicans Went Crazy, Democrats Became Useless, and the Middle Class Got Shafted, appeared in paperback on August 27, 2013.”
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Trump remains highly popular with 86% approval among Republicans and independent leaners per Pew Poll and is preferred by Republicans over the party’s congressional leaders. Asked specifically who they’d trust if the two sides disagreed, most Republicans chose Trump-LA Times, 2/22/17

Pew survey dates: Feb. 7-12, 2017

2/22/17, Among Republicans, Trump is more popular than congressional leaders,LA Times, David Lauter

“Amid strain between the Trump administration and the Republican-controlled Congress, the White House holds the high ground, a new survey indicates.

Among Republicans, President Trump has greater popularity than the party’s congressional leaders. Asked specifically who they would trust if the two sides disagreed, most Republicans chose Trump over their party’s leadership.

The findings, from a new survey by the nonpartisan Pew Research Center underscore Trump’s continued sway with the Republican congressional majority. Although the president has historically low job approval ratings among the public at large, he remains highly popular among Republican partisans and in Repubican districts.

As for Democrats, they’re strongly in an oppositional mood. Asked if they were more worried that Democrats in Congress would go too far in opposing Trump or not go far enough, more than 70% of Democrats said they feared their party would not go far enough. Only 20% said they worried the party would go too far.

Republicans in Congress have eyed Trump warily on several fronts. His positions on trade and entitlement reform break with years of the party’s positions. His reluctance to criticize Russian President Vladimir Putin has generated tension. And the administration’s lack of clarity on healthcare and tax policy have Republican leaders guessing which way to turn on major issues.

But Republican partisans have fewer reservations than their elected representatives. Eighty-six percent to 13%, those who identify as Republicans or as independents who lean Republican have a favorable view of Trump, the Pew survey found.

By comparison, 57% have a favorable view of Sen. Mitch McConnell of Kentucky, the majority leader, with 22% unfavorable and 21% having no opinion. House Speaker Paul Ryan of Wisconsin is slightly better known, with 65% of Republicans holding a favorable view, 23% an unfavorable view and 13% having no opinion.

Asked who they would trust if the two sides disagreed, 52% of Republicans said they would side with Trump and 34% with the Republicans in Congress. Republicans younger than 40 were the only major exception; 52% to 36%, they said they would side with Congress.

At the same time, Republican partisans now have a warmer opinion of their party leadership than they had during most of President Obama’s tenure….

During the Obama years, GOP partisans tended to be frustrated that their side could not reverse the president’s initiatives, even with a majority in the House, starting in 2010, and then in the Senate for Obama’s last two years. Their view of the GOP leadership has rebounded strongly since the election.

Democrats’ view of their congressional leadership has been more stable. And both sides widely dislike the other party’s leaders.”
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Pew Poll “Methodology

“The analysis in this report is based on telephone interviews conducted February 7-12, 2017 among a national sample of 1,503 adults, 18 years of age or older, living in all 50 U.S. states and the District of Columbia (377 respondents were interviewed on a landline telephone, and 1,126 were interviewed on a cell phone, including 680 who had no landline telephone). The survey was conducted by interviewers at Princeton Data Source under the direction of Princeton Survey Research Associates International. A combination of landline and cell phone random digit dial samples were used; both samples were provided by Survey Sampling International. Interviews were conducted in English and Spanish. Respondents in the landline sample were selected by randomly asking for the youngest adult male or female who is now at home. Interviews in the cell sample were conducted with the person who answered the phone, if that person was an adult 18 years of age or older. For detailed information about our survey methodology, see http://www.pewresearch.org/methodology/u-s-survey-research/ 

The combined landline and cell phone sample are weighted using an iterative technique that matches gender, age, education, race, Hispanic origin and nativity and region to parameters from the 2015 Census Bureau’s American Community Survey and population density to parameters from the Decennial Census. The sample also is weighted to match current patterns of telephone status (landline only, cell phone only, or both landline and cell phone), based on extrapolations from the 2016 National Health Interview Survey. The weighting procedure also accounts for the fact that respondents with both landline and cell phones have a greater probability of being included in the combined sample and adjusts for household size among respondents with a landline phone. The margins of error reported and statistical tests of significance are adjusted to account for the survey’s design effect, a measure of how much efficiency is lost from the weighting procedures.”…

Why are US voters forced to pay for ‘regime changes’ in other countries (The Yanks are coming! The Yanks are coming!) but not allowed by the two US political parties to have ‘regime change’ in their own country? In 2004 the Bush admin. and its pal Soros backed Ukraine’s losing candidate, so incited street protests there to force another ‘election.’ In ‘re-election’ the Bush-Soros regime guy won. In 2014 and 2017 US neocons again force ‘regime change’ in Ukraine-Consortium News, James DiEugenio…US taxpayers have been de facto global slaves of gilded-age millionaires since WW I, forced to pay for and die in endless foreign wars (I’m a Yankee Doodle Dandy!)

How could the State Department know so little about what it was about to unleash [endangering all Americans in yet another ‘regime change’ the US imposes around the world but will never allow US voters], given Ukraine’s deep historical divisions and the risk of an escalating conflict with nuclear-armed Russia?”

2/13/17, “A Documentary You’ll Likely Never See, Consortium News, James DiEugenio

“Exclusive: Ukraine on Fire, a new documentary about the Ukraine crisis, might change how people in the West perceive the conflict, but it’s unlikely to get much distribution since it contests the prevailing narrative.”…  

In 2004, Viktor Yanukovych, whose political base was strongest among ethnic Russians in the east and south, won the presidential election by three percentage points over the U.S.-favored Viktor Yushchenko, whose base was mostly in the country’s west where the Ukrainian nationalists are strongest.

Immediately, Yushchenko’s backers claimed fraud citing exit polls that had been organized by a group of eight Western nations and four non-governmental organizations or NGOs, including the Renaissance Foundation founded by billionaire financial speculator George Soros.
 
Dick Morris, former President Bill Clinton’s political adviser, clandestinely met with Yushchenko’s team and advised them that the exit polls would not just help in accusations of fraud, but would bring protesters out into the streets. (Cambridge Review of International Affairs, Vol. 19, Number 1, p. 26)

Freedom House, another prominent NGO that receives substantial financing from the U.S.-government-funded National Endowment for Democracy (NED), provided training to young activists who then rallied protesters in what became known as the Orange Revolution, one of the so-called “color revolutions” that the West’s mainstream media fell in love with. It forced an election rerun that Yushchenko won.

But Yushchenko’s presidency failed to do much to improve the lot of the Ukrainian people and he grew increasingly unpopular. In 2010, Yushchenko failed to make it out of the first round of balloting and his rival Yanukovych was elected president in balloting that outside observers judged free and fair.

Big-Power Games

If this all had occurred due to indigenous factors within Ukraine, it could have been glossed over as a young nation going through some painful growing pains. But as the film points out, this was not the case. Ukraine continued to be a pawn in big-power games with many Western officials hoping to draw the country away from Russian influence and into the orbit of NATO and the European Union.
.
In one of the interviews in Ukraine on Fire, journalist and author Robert Parry explains how the National Endowment for Democracy and many subsidized political NGOs emerged in the 1980s to replace or supplement what the CIA had traditionally done in terms of influencing the direction of targeted countries.

During the investigations of the Church Committee in the 1970s, the CIA’s “political action” apparatus for removing foreign leaders was exposed. So, to disguise these efforts, CIA Director William Casey, Reagan’s White House and allies in Congress created the NED to finance an array of political and media NGOs.

As Parry noted in the documentary, many traditional NGOs do valuable work in helping impoverished and developing countries, but this activist/propaganda breed of NGOs promoted U.S. geopolitical objectives abroad – and NED funded scores of such projects inside Ukraine in the run-up to the 2014 crisis.

Ukraine on Fire goes into high gear when it chronicles the events that occurred in 2014, resulting in the violent overthrow of President Yanukovych [whom the US and Soros didn’t want] and sparking the civil war that still rages. In the 2010 election, when Yushchenko couldn’t even tally in the double-digits, Yanukovych faced off against and defeated Yulia Tymoshenko, a wealthy oligarch who had served as Yushchenko’s prime minister….

Because of festering economic problems, the new president began to search for an economic partner who could provide a large loan. He first negotiated with the European Union, but these negotiations bogged down due to the usual draconian demands made by the International Monetary Fund.

So, in November 2013, Yanukovych began to negotiate with Russian President Putin who offered more generous terms. But Yanukovych’s decision to delay the association agreement with the E.U. provoked street protests in Kiev especially from the people of western Ukraine.

As Ukraine on Fire points out, other unusual occurrences also occurred, including the emergence of three new TV channels – Spilno TV, Espreso TV, and Hromadske TV – going on the air between Nov. 21 and 24, with partial funding from the U.S. Embassy [US taxpayers] and George Soros.
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Pro-E.U. protests in the Maidan square in central Kiev also grew more violent as ultra-nationalist street fighters from Lviv and other western areas began to pour in and engage in provocations, many of which were sponsored by Yarosh’s Right Sektor. The attacks escalated from torch marches similar to Nazi days to hurling Molotov cocktails at police to driving large tractors into police lines – all visually depicted in the film. As Yanukovich tells Stone, when this escalation happened, it made it impossible for him to negotiate with the Maidan crowd.

One of the film’s most interesting interviews is with Vitaliy Zakharchenko, who was Minister of the Interior at the time responsible for law enforcement and the conduct of the police. He traces the escalation of the attacks from Nov. 24 to 30, culminating with a clash between police and protesters over the transport of a giant Christmas tree into the Maidan. Zakharchenko said he now believes this confrontation was secretly approved by Serhiy Lyovochkin, a close friend of U.S. Ambassador Geoffrey Pyatt, as a pretext to escalate the violence.

At this point, the film addresses the direct involvement of U.S. politicians and diplomats. Throughout the crisis, American politicians visited Maidan, as both Republicans and Democrats, such as Senators John McCain, R-Arizona, and Chris Murphy, D-Connecticut. stirred up the crowds. Yanukovych also said he was in phone contact with Vice President Joe Biden, who he claims was misleading him about how to handle the crisis.

The film points out that the real center of American influence in the Kiev demonstrations was with Ambassador Pyatt and Assistant Secretary of State for European Affairs Victoria Nuland. As Parry points out, although Nuland was serving under President Obama, her allegiances were really with the neoconservative movement, most associated [in the past] with the Republican Party. [In 2016 Democrat Hillary Clinton was the clear neocon, Deep State candidate. Led by the the bloodthirsty NY Times and Washington Post, mass murdering neocons today are most certainly centered in the Democrat Party. Neocons were once a few embarrassing Establishment Republicans but now they control the entire US government. Necon Victoria Nuland’s career flourished during 8 years of Obama. Finally, the Establishments of “both” political parties have exactly the same agenda: globalism, endless foreign wars, open borders, and massive free trade deals. Donald Trump voters represent the “second” US political party].

Her husband is Robert Kagan, [a neocon columnist for the neocon Washington Post] who worked as a State Department propagandist on the Central American wars in the 1980s and was the co-founder of the Project for the New American Century in the 1990s, the group that organized political and media pressure for the U.S. invasion of Iraq in 2003. Kagan also was McCain’s foreign policy adviser in the 2008 presidential election (although he threw his support behind Hillary Clinton in the 2016 race).

Adept Manipulators

As Parry explained, the neoconservatives have become quite adept at disguising their true aims and have powerful allies in the mainstream press. This combination has allowed them to push the foreign policy debate to such extremes that, when anyone objects, they can be branded a Putin or Yanukovych “apologist.”

Thus, Pyatt’s frequent meetings with the demonstrators in the embassy and Nuland’s handing out cookies to protesters in the Maidan were not criticized as American interference in a sovereign state, but were praised as “promoting democracy” abroad. However, as the Maidan crisis escalated, Ukrainian ultra-nationalists moved to the front, intensifying their attacks on police. 

Many of these extremists were disciples of Bandera and Lebed. By February 2014, they were armed with shotguns and rapid-fire handguns.

On Feb. 20, 2014, a mysterious sniper, apparently firing from a building controlled by the Right Sektor, shot both police and protesters, touching off a day of violence that left about 14 police and some 70 protesters dead.

With Kiev slipping out of control, Yanukovich was forced to negotiate with representatives from France, Poland and Germany. On Feb. 21, he agreed to schedule early elections and to accept reduced powers. At the urging of Vice President Biden, Yanukovych also pulled back the police.

But the agreement – though guaranteed by the European nations – was quickly negated by renewed attacks from the Right Sektor and its street fighters who seized government buildings. Russian intelligence services got word that an assassination plot was in the works against Yanukovych, who fled for his life.

On Feb. 24, Yanukovych asked permission to enter Russia for his safety and the Ukrainian parliament (or Rada), effectively under the control of the armed extremists, voted to remove Yanukovych from office in an unconstitutional manner because the courts were not involved and the vote to impeach him did not reach the mandatory threshold. Despite these irregularities, the U.S. and its European allies quickly recognized the new government as “legitimate.”

Calling a Coup a Coup

But the ouster of Yanukovych had all the earmarks of a coup. An intercepted phone call, apparently in early February, between Nuland and Pyatt revealed that they were directly involved in displacing Yanukovych and choosing his successor.

The pair reviewed the field of candidates with Nuland favoring Arseniy Yatsenyuk, declaring “Yats is the guy” and discussing with Pyatt how to “glue this thing.” Pyatt wondered about how to “midwife this thing.” They sounded like Gilded Age millionaires in New York deciding who should become the next U.S. president. On Feb. 27, Yatsenyuk became Prime Minister of Ukraine.

Not everyone in Ukraine agreed with the new regime, however. Crimea, which had voted heavily for Yanukovych, decided to hold a referendum on whether to split from Ukraine and become a part of Russia. The results of the referendum were overwhelming. Some 96 percent of Crimeans voted to unite with Russia. Russian troops – previously stationed in Crimea under the Sevastopol naval base agreement – provided security against Right Sektor and other Ukrainian forces moving against the Crimean secession, but there was no evidence of Russian troops intimidating voters or controlling the elections. The Russian government then accepted the reunification with Crimea, which had historically been part of Russia dating back hundreds of years.

Two eastern provinces, Donetsk and Lugansk, also wanted to split off from Ukraine and also conducted a referendum in support of that move. But Putin would not agree to the request from the two provinces, which instead declared their own independence, a move that the new government in Kiev denounced as illegal. The Kiev regime also deemed the insurgents “terrorists” and launched an “anti-terrorism operation” to crush the resistance. Ultra-nationalist and even neo-Nazi militias, such as the Azov Battalion, took the lead in the bloody fighting.

Anti-coup demonstrations also broke out in the city of Odessa to the south. Ukrainian nationalist leader Andrei Parubiy went to Odessa, and two days later, on May 2, 2014, his street fighters attacked the demonstrators, driving them into the Trade Union building, which was then set on fire. Forty-two people were killed, some of whom jumped to their deaths.

‘Other Side of the Story’

If the film just got across this “other side of the story,” it would provide a valuable contribution since most of this information has been ignored or distorted by the West’s mainstream media, which simply blames the Ukraine crisis on Vladimir Putin. But in addition to the fine work by scenarist Vanessa Dean, the direction by Igor Lopatonok and the editing by Alexis Chavez are extraordinarily skillful and supple. 

The 15-minute prologue, where the information about the Nazi collaboration by Bandera and Lebed is introduced, is an exceptional piece of filmmaking….

Stone’s interviews with Putin and Yanukovych are also quite newsworthy, presenting a side of these demonized foreign leaders that has been absent in the propagandistic Western media….

When the film ends, the enduring message is similar to those posed by the American interventions in Vietnam and Iraq. How could the State Department know so little about what it was about to unleash, given Ukraine’s deep historical divisions and the risk of an escalating conflict with nuclear-armed Russia?

In Vietnam, Americans knew little about the country’s decades-long struggle of the peasantry to be free from French and Japanese colonialism. Somehow, America was going to win their hearts and minds and create a Western-style “democracy” when many Vietnamese simply saw the extension of foreign imperialism. 

In Iraq, President George W. Bush and his coterie of neocons was going to oust Saddam Hussein and create a Western-style democracy in the Middle East, except that Bush didn’t know the difference between Sunni and Shiite Moslems and how Iraq was likely to split over sectarian rivalries and screw up his expectations.

Similarly, the message of Ukraine on Fire is that short-sighted, ambitious and ideological officials – unchecked by their superiors – created something even worse than what existed. While high-level corruption persists today in Ukraine and may be even worse than before, the conditions of average Ukrainians have deteriorated.

And, the Ukraine conflict has reignited the Cold War by moving Western geopolitical forces onto Russia’s most sensitive frontier, which, as scholar Joshua Shifrinson has noted, violates a pledge made by Secretary of State James Baker in February 1990 as the Soviet Union peacefully accepted the collapse of its military influence in East Germany and eastern Europe. (Los Angeles Times, 5/30/ 2016)

This film also reminds us that what happened in Ukraine was a bipartisan effort. It was begun under George W. Bush and completed under Barack Obama. As Oliver Stone noted in the discussion that followed the film’s premiere in Los Angeles, the U.S. painfully needs some new leadership reminiscent of Franklin Roosevelt and John Kennedy, people who understand how America’s geopolitical ambitions must be tempered by on-the-ground realities and the broader needs of humanity to be freed from the dangers of all-out war.

“James DiEugenio is a researcher and writer on the assassination of President John F. Kennedy and other mysteries of that era. His most recent book is Reclaiming Parkland.”

 https://consortiumnews.com/2017/02/13/a-documentary-youll-likely-never-see/

……………….

Somali refugees, immigrants or their offspring have already created a Muslim terror cell in Minneapolis. “‘Everyone talks about Brussels or Paris having cells,’ U.S. District Judge Michael Davis said…then, raising his voice: “We have a cell here in Minneapolis.'” Judge sentenced 9 Somali-Minnesotans on terror charges. Chump US taxpayers have even been forced to pay for a decade of federal Somali terror investigations-Nov. 16, 2016, Star-Tribune

The judge later explained his forcefulness–so direct it surprised some attorneys before sending Daud to prison: “We have to incapacitate this cell.”

11/16/2016, Terrorist cell is alive in Minneapolis, U.S. judge in ISIL (ISIS) case says, Star-Tribune, Stephen Montemayor 

“Sentencings do not put ISIL (ISIS) case to rest, U.S. District Judge Michael Davis says.”

Judge Michael Davis, Star-Tribune

““Everyone talks about Brussels or Paris having cells,” U.S. District Judge Michael Davis said one day, then, raising his voice: “We have a cell here in Minneapolis.” 

In sentencing nine young Somali-Minnesotans on terror conspiracy charges this week, U.S. District Judge Michael Davis closed a chapter in the federal government’s long, extraordinary investigation of ISIL recruitment in Minnesota. But the full story is far from over. 

In nine hearings over three days before a courtroom packed with the families of the young men who sought to give their lives to ISIL, Davis repeatedly underlined a clear message: There is a terrorist cell in Minneapolis and it is still alive today.

Each day, Davis sought to extract acknowledgment from the young men that they were “terrorists,” and left no doubt as to his thoughts on whether they were simply misguided youths.

“Everyone talks about Brussels or Paris having cells,” Davis said one day, then, raising his voice: “We have a cell here in Minneapolis.”

Saying the Minnesota public had “danced around” the issue, Davis described the cell’s size as being between nine to 20, including those sentenced last week and others killed abroad.

Later in the week, he raised eyebrows in the courtroom by telling one defendant that he noted “six to 10” supporters who attended previous hearings and insisted that “some defendants gave them signals.”

“I know they’re out there,” Davis said. “The community knows they’re out there.”

Federal prosecutors seemed to share Davis’ conviction. In an unusual development on Wednesday, they asked that two defendants, Mohamed Farah and Abdirahman Daud, be returned to the courtroom after their hearings were finished.

Prosecutors said both men flashed index fingers pointed upward as they faced the gallery on their way out, an apparent symbol of “tawhid” that symbolizes an Islamic concept of “oneness of God” but is also a popular symbol used by ISIL supporters. 

Minneapolis has been home to the nation’s largest ongoing FBI investigation into terrorism recruitment for most of a decade, centered on the city’s Somali-American population. The probe began with the departures of roughly two dozen men and women who returned to Somalia to join the terror group Al-Shabab. 

It expanded when a group of young Somali-American co-conspirators trained their sights on Syria to join the cause of the Islamic State in Iraq and the Levant (ISIL) beginning in early 2014.

Davis has presided over every trial the investigation produced, and his judgments are being closely watched by an international audience.

His sentencing decisions this week — ranging from time served for one defendant to up to 35 years in prison for another — signal that courts are beginning to figure out how to address terror cases with more nuance….

But Davis’ sentencing decisions also sent the message that any attempts at rehabilitating would-be foreign fighters are in their infancy at best.

“Everyone was doing this for free,” said Mary McKinley, whose nonprofit Heartland Democracy worked on a court-approved counseling and mentoring program with defendant Abdullahi Yusuf since shortly after his late 2014 arrest. 

Before sentencing Yusuf, 21, to time already served and sending him to a halfway house, Davis stopped short of endorsing Heartland Democracy as a suitable terrorism disengagement program….

Davis had created the nation’s first terrorism disengagement and deradicalization program earlier this year, contracting a German terrorism scholar to evaluate defendants before sentencing, assess their risk of recidivism and recommend any release programs that could provide an “off ramp” from radical thought or action.

But at Yusuf’s Monday sentencing, Kevin Lowry, Minnesota’s chief probation officer, told Davis that his office found no treatment providers contracted by the U.S. probation office that provide suitable treatment. Nor does the federal prison system offer specialized treatment for terrorism defendants….

Other defendants proposed various release programs, but Davis made clear that there was nothing suitable to impose as an official release program, let alone as an alternative to prison.

“You’re talking to the person that started things,” Davis told one attorney. “I know there’s nothing there. We don’t have anything in the U.S., we don’t have anything in the district of Minnesota and it’s questionable whether any programs around the world are working. That’s where we are at.”

Davis’ courtroom exchanges with defendants continued to detail how Minneapolis’ ISIL (ISIS) conspiracy stood out among the nation’s terror cases. One lesson, revealed because the Twin Cities group of defendants was so large, is that peer-to-peer recruiting can play a powerful role in the radicalization of young people. Defendant Zacharia Abdurahman referred to one of their colleagues who actually left for Syria and is presumed dead.

“When Abdi Nur left, that’s what changed the tides,” Abdurahman said. “I went from just being interested … to this is what I’ve got to do now.”

During Farah’s sentencing hearing, the judge made clear how much he thinks the community learned from the case.

“It’s on the record. There’s no denying of it,” Davis said. “Your own voice is on those tapes. Your voice here today is admitting to me what you have done. The litany of things that you did, the lies that you told should be published so there is no doubt about what is happening here today.”

The judge later explained his forcefulness — so direct that it surprised some attorneys — before sending Daud to prison: “We have to incapacitate this cell.”

……..

US has live Islamic terror cell in Minneapolis said Judge Michael Davis in sentencing 9 young Somali-Minnesotans on terror charges. Struggling US taxpayers have been forced to pay for a decade of federal Somali terror investigations in Minnesota-Nov. 16, 2016, Star-Tribune

“Sentencings do not put ISIL (ISIS) case to rest, U.S. District Judge Michael Davis says.”

Judge Michael Davis, Star-Tribune

““Everyone talks about Brussels or Paris having cells,” U.S. District Judge Michael Davis said one day, then, raising his voice: “We have a cell here in Minneapolis.” 

In sentencing nine young Somali-Minnesotans on terror conspiracy charges this week, U.S. District Judge Michael Davis closed a chapter in the federal government’s long, extraordinary investigation of ISIL recruitment in Minnesota. But the full story is far from over. 

In nine hearings over three days before a courtroom packed with the families of the young men who sought to give their lives to ISIL, Davis repeatedly underlined a clear message: There is a terrorist cell in Minneapolis and it is still alive today.Each day, Davis sought to extract acknowledgment from the young men that they were “terrorists,” and left no doubt as to his thoughts on whether they were simply misguided youths. 

“Everyone talks about Brussels or Paris having cells,” Davis said one day, then, raising his voice: “We have a cell here in Minneapolis.” 

Saying the Minnesota public had “danced around” the issue, Davis described the cell’s size as being between nine to 20, including those sentenced last week and others killed abroad.

Later in the week, he raised eyebrows in the courtroom by telling one defendant that he noted “six to 10” supporters who attended previous hearings and insisted that “some defendants gave them signals.” 

“I know they’re out there,” Davis said. “The community knows they’re out there.”

Federal prosecutors seemed to share Davis’ conviction. In an unusual development on Wednesday, they asked that two defendants, Mohamed Farah and Abdirahman Daud, be returned to the courtroom after their hearings were finished. Prosecutors said both men flashed index fingers pointed upward as they faced the gallery on their way out, an apparent symbol of “tawhid” that symbolizes an Islamic concept of “oneness of God” but is also a popular symbol used by ISIL supporters.

Minneapolis has been home to the nation’s largest ongoing FBI investigation into terrorism recruitment for most of a decade, centered on the city’s Somali-American population. The probe began with the departures of roughly two dozen men and women who returned to Somalia to join the terror group Al-Shabab.

It expanded when a group of young Somali-American co-conspirators trained their sights on Syria to join the cause of the Islamic State in Iraq and the Levant (ISIL) beginning in early 2014. 

Davis has presided over every trial the investigation produced, and his judgments are being closely watched by an international audience. 

His sentencing decisions this week — ranging from time served for one defendant to up to 35 years in prison for another — signal that courts are beginning to figure out how to address terror cases with more nuance….

But Davis’ sentencing decisions also sent the message that any attempts at rehabilitating would-be foreign fighters are in their infancy at best.

“Everyone was doing this for free,” said Mary McKinley, whose nonprofit Heartland Democracy worked on a court-approved counseling and mentoring program with defendant Abdullahi Yusuf since shortly after his late 2014 arrest.

Before sentencing Yusuf, 21, to time already served and sending him to a halfway house, Davis stopped short of endorsing Heartland Democracy as a suitable terrorism disengagement program…. 

Davis had created the nation’s first terrorism disengagement and deradicalization program earlier this year, contracting a German terrorism scholar to evaluate defendants before sentencing, assess their risk of recidivism and recommend any release programs that could provide an “off ramp” from radical thought or action. 

But at Yusuf’s Monday sentencing, Kevin Lowry, Minnesota’s chief probation officer, told Davis that his office found no treatment providers contracted by the U.S. probation office that provide suitable treatment. Nor does the federal prison system offer specialized treatment for terrorism defendants….

Other defendants proposed various release programs, but Davis made clear that there was nothing suitable to impose as an official release program, let alone as an alternative to prison.

“You’re talking to the person that started things,” Davis told one attorney. “I know there’s nothing there. We don’t have anything in the U.S., we don’t have anything in the district of Minnesota and it’s questionable whether any programs around the world are working. That’s where we are at.”

Davis’ courtroom exchanges with defendants continued to detail how Minneapolis’ ISIL (ISIS) conspiracy stood out among the nation’s terror cases. One lesson, revealed because the Twin Cities group of defendants was so large, is that peer-to-peer recruiting can play a powerful role in the radicalization of young people. Defendant Zacharia Abdurahman referred to one of their colleagues who actually left for Syria and is presumed dead.

“When Abdi Nur left, that’s what changed the tides,” Abdurahman said. “I went from just being interested … to this is what I’ve got to do now.”

During Farah’s sentencing hearing, the judge made clear how much he thinks the community learned from the case.

“It’s on the record. There’s no denying of it,” Davis said. “Your own voice is on those tapes. Your voice here today is admitting to me what you have done. The litany of things that you did, the lies that you told should be published so there is no doubt about what is happening here today.” 

The judge later explained his forcefulness — so direct that it surprised some attorneys — before sending Daud to prison: “We have to incapacitate this cell.”

……….

 

ABC News’ Martha Raddatz choked back tears as she discussed the Trump presidency-Howard Kurtz, Nov. 9, 2016

ABC’s Martha Raddatz choked back tears as she discussed the Trump presidency.“…

11/9/16,Trump beats the media and the establishment in pulling off the greatest upset ever, Howard Kurtz, Fox News

Donald Trump, the real estate mogul mocked and minimized by the media and political establishment, has stunned the world with a death-defying campaign that has captured the presidency….

The man who had never run for public office, who had supposedly alienated so many women and minorities that he had no serious chance, somehow captured the highest office in the land.

It was not until 2:30 am that first the AP, then the Washington Post and Wall Street Journal, then Fox News, declared Trump to be the 45th president.

There was a sense of disbelief, even shock, among journalists on and off the air as states like Ohio, North Carolina and Florida fell into the Trump column and Clinton failed to put away the big blue Midwestern states. Once Trump was within 54 electoral votes of winning the White House, the entire conversation changed:

How did Trump do this? How could Clinton have blown this?

How could we have missed this? How would this guy govern?

Some media figures lashed out on Twitter. ABC’s Martha Raddatz choked back tears as she discussed the Trump presidency.“…
……….