Friday, July 31, 2009

FBI Takes One Step Forward, Two Steps Back

From the Investigative Project on Terrorism:

FBI Replaces Brotherhood-Tainted Liaison with Brotherhood-Tainted Liaison

IPT News
June 25, 2009

A top FBI official met Wednesday with the vice president of the Islamic Society of North America, a move which followed the Bureau's decision "to use ISNA as their official point of contact with the American Muslim community," an email from an intelligence community veteran that was widely distributed Wednesday said.

The Investigative Project on Terrorism (IPT) has previously reported on the depth of ISNA's Muslim Brotherhood ties.

The FBI has not yet commented on the claim. But the IPT has confirmed that the meeting did take place at FBI headquarters. The decision to make ISNA the FBI's contact point came over the objections of case agents and supervisors investigating Muslim Brotherhood activity in the U.S.

Last year, the FBI cut off outreach communication with the Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR), after evidence in the Hamas-support trial against the Holy Land Foundation for Relief and Development (HLF) raised questions "whether there continues to be a connection between CAIR or its executives and HAMAS." The FBI's case agent testified that CAIR was a Hamas front.

Like CAIR, ISNA was an unindicted co-conspirator in the HLF trial. It is listed among "who are and/or were members of the US Muslim Brotherhood." Jamal Badawi, an ISNA board member, also was named as an unindicted co-conspirator, listed among people who raised money for HLF.

The evidence involving ISNA, however, was not as deep as it was with CAIR. In CAIR's case, its founders are included on a telephone list for members of a secret Hamas support network in the U.S. created by the Muslim Brotherhood. And they participated in a 1993 meeting of Hamas members and supporters called to discuss ways to thwart U.S.-led peace efforts between Israel and the Palestinians.

In that weekend-long meeting, CAIR co-founder Omar Ahmad discussed ways to mislead Americans about their goals and ideology. Executive Director Nihad Awad discussed media strategies to help the cause.

In the evidence admitted by the court, ISNA officials were not named among members of the Hamas support network, called the Palestine Committee. But FBI investigative records show it held a significant role in the Brotherhood's U.S. activities. According to an FBI memorandum from the 1980s obtained via the Freedom of Information Act, past "ISNA conferences provided opportunities for the extreme fundamentalist Muslims to meet with their supporters ... The annual conferences are used for both religious and political purposes. The political purpose is to further the Islamic Revolution, which includes providing anti-U.S. and Israel publications and publications that support the war effort of Iran in the Iran-Iraq war."

The Brotherhood is an 80-year-old Egyptian movement which seeks to spread the rule of Shariah, or Islamic law, throughout the world. But some top FBI officials are not convinced the Brotherhood is a problem, a law enforcement source said Thursday. This, despite the fact that FBI investigation has uncovered documents showing the U.S. Brotherhood's goal is "a kind of grand Jihad in eliminating and destroying the Western civilization from within and "sabotaging" its miserable house by their hands and the hands of the believers so that it is eliminated and God's religion is made victorious over all other religions."

The problem, the source said, is too many FBI officials have developed friendly individual relationships with the leadership of groups like ISNA. "As an FBI agent, we use facts and evidence and truth to base our decisions and not because we went to dinner with someone."

ISNA's roots in the Brotherhood are clearly established. Internal Muslim Brotherhood records in evidence the HLF trial show ISNA was created by Muslim Brotherhood members in the U.S. who had been leaders of the Muslim Students Association. In addition, the Chicago Tribune and federal prosecutors in Dallas have documented the link.

"Numerous exhibits were entered into evidence establishing both ISNA's and NAIT's [the North American Islamic Trust, an ISNA subsidiary] intimate relationship with the Muslim Brotherhood, the Palestine Committee, and the defendants in this case," prosecutors wrote in July 2008.

Sami Al-Arian, an admitted Palestinian Islamic Jihad supporter, acknowledged in an affidavit that he was directly involved with the Brotherhood in 1981, the year he claims to have been among ISNA's founders.

ISNA has never come clean on its Brotherhood connection. In a statement issued in the fall of 2007, it ignored the documents in evidence and claimed it "never was, and is not now, affiliated with or influenced by any international organizations including the Muslim Brotherhood."

In its service, ISNA rallied to the defense of Hamas political leader Mousa Abu Marzook following his arrest by U.S. authorities pending an Israeli warrant. After he was deported to Jordan, Marzook included ISNA among those he thanked for supporting him through his "ordeal." Marzook wrote that ISNA's efforts had "consoled" him.

Meanwhile, ISNA's annual convention is scheduled to begin July 2 in Washington, D.C. This year's conference could have the largest representation of government agencies in the group's history. The FBI and the departments of Justice, State and Homeland Security all are sponsoring information booths and may have speakers in formal programs.

The conference also will feature speakers from other groups rooted in the Muslim Brotherhood. Among them, CAIR Executive Director Nihad Awad, spokesman Ibrahim Hooper and former Muslim American Society (MAS) President Esam Omeish and MAS-Freedom Director Mahdi Bray.

The depth of this outreach, especially the FBI's decision to make ISNA its contact to American Muslims, raises a host of troubling questions. ISNA's denials of its Brotherhood roots ring hollow in the face of the public record.

In light of these documented connections to the Muslim Brotherhood and recent controversial statements, the FBI should explain publicly why it is embracing ISNA.

'Revenge of the Shoe Bomber'

From the Thursday Wall Street Journal:

Revenge of the ‘Shoe Bomber’
The terrorist sues to resume his jihad from prison. The Obama administration caves in.


Last May at the National Archives, President Barack Obama warned that “more mistakes would occur” if Congress continued to politicize terrorist detention policy and the closure of Guantanamo Bay. “[I]f we refuse to deal with those issues today,” he predicted, “then I guarantee you, they will be an albatross around our efforts to combat terrorism in the future.”

On June 17, at the Administrative Maximum (ADX) penitentiary in Florence, Colo., one of those albatrosses, inmate number 24079-038, began his day with a whole new range of possibilities. Eight days earlier, the U.S. Attorney’s office in Denver filed notice in federal court that the Special Administrative Measures (SAMs) which applied to that prisoner—Richard C. Reid, a.k.a. the “Shoe Bomber”—were being allowed to expire. SAMs are security directives, renewable yearly, issued by the attorney general when “there is a substantial risk that a prisoner’s communications, correspondence or contacts with persons could result in death or serious bodily injury” to others.

Reid was arrested in 2001 for attempting to blow up American Airlines Flight 63 from Paris to Miami with 197 passengers and crew on board. Why had Attorney General Eric Holder decided not to renew his security measures, kept in place since 2002?

According to court documents filed in a 2007 civil lawsuit against the government, Reid claimed that SAMs violated his First Amendment right of free speech and free exercise of religion. In a hand-written complaint, he asserted that he was being illegally prevented from performing daily “group prayers in a manner prescribed by my religion.” Yet the list of Reid’s potential fellow congregants at ADX Florence reads like a Who’s Who of al Qaeda’s most dangerous members: Ramzi Yousef and his three co-conspirators in the 1993 World Trade Center bombing; 9/11 conspirator Zacarias Moussaoui; “Millennium bomber” Ahmed Ressam; “Dirty bomber” Jose Padilla; Wadih el-Hage, Osama Bin Laden’s personal secretary, convicted in the 1998 U.S. Embassy bombing that killed 247 people.

In December 2008, the Department of Justice filed a motion to dismiss Reid’s lawsuit. It cited the example of ADX inmate Ahmed Ajaj as an illustration of “the dangers inherent in permitting a group of inmates, of like mind in their opposition to the United States, to congregate for a prayer service conducted in a language not understood by most correctional officers.”

While imprisoned for passport fraud in 1992, Ajaj assisted in the plans to destroy the World Trade Center on Feb. 26, 1993, making phone calls to Ramzi Yousef and speaking in code to elude law enforcement monitoring. Ajaj tried to get his “training kit” to Yousef, which included videotapes and notes he had taken on bomb-making while attending a terrorist camp on the Pakistan-Afghanistan border.

Reid’s own SAMs on correspondence had been tightened in 2006 after the shocking discovery that three of the 1993 World Trade Center bombers at ADX, not subject to security directives, had sent 90 letters to overseas terrorist networks, including those associated with the Madrid train bombing. The letters, exhorting jihad and praising Osama bin Laden as “my hero of this generation,” were printed in Arabic newspapers and brandished like trophies to recruit new members.

When setting restrictions on inmate religious practice, the Bureau of Prisons need only meet a reasonableness standard, a very low bar in the case of Muslim terrorists. Justice would easily have prevailed against Reid’s lawsuit; nevertheless it dropped the security measures on Reid after he missed 58 meals in a hunger strike that required medical intervention and forced feeding in April.

On July 6, Justice Department lawyers informed the court that Reid will be given a “new placement” in a “post-SAMs setting.” Whether that entails stepped down security in a different unit or transfer to a less secure facility, the Bureau of Prisons won’t say, and Justice refuses to comment.

Mr. Obama likes to observe that “no one has escaped from supermax,” but if Reid is moved from ADX Florence, he will be the first convicted terrorist to use the First Amendment to sue his way out.

What drove the Obama administration’s decision to cave in to Reid’s demands? The president after all has repeatedly pitched supermax and the federal prison system as a secure alternative to Guantanamo, citing the fact that it handles “all manner of violent and dangerous criminals.” Yet the last thing he needs, as his administration engages in its hasty effort to shut Gitmo down by a fast-approaching deadline, is for lawyers and human-rights activists to use a hunger-striking, near-death prisoner to launch a propaganda campaign fashioned right out of the Gitmo detainees’ playbook. Lawyers who shamelessly compared Gitmo to Nazi concentration camps would think nothing of casting supermax as the next “symbol of America’s shame” and a “rallying cry for our enemies.”

From the outset of his administration, Mr. Obama has been trying to thread the needle between national security policy and his ideological affinity with civil liberties lawyers and human-rights activists, meeting with and consulting them prior to making detainee-related decisions. Though his executive order shutting Guantanamo closely followed the blueprint provided by Human Rights First, leaders of key organizations were stunned when he revealed in an awkward, off-the-record meeting the day before his public announcement at the National Archives that he planned to continue President George W. Bush’s policy of preventive detention.

Michael Ratner, whose human rights organization, the Center for Constitutional Rights, filed the first successful detainee lawsuit in 2002, called Mr. Obama’s proposed U.S. detention scheme a “road to perdition” and nothing more than a plan to “repackage Guantanamo.” Leaders of the so-called Gitmo bar appear poised to launch a flurry of legal challenges the moment the last departing detainee’s feet touch U.S. soil.

In January, the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) of Colorado issued a statement saying that conditions at supermax are “simply another form of torture” worse than Gitmo which “make a mockery of ‘innocent until proven guilty.’” Last month, the ACLU filed a civil lawsuit mirroring Reid’s religious rights claim on behalf of two terrorism inmates held at the Communications Management Unit inside a medium security prison in Terre Haute, Ind.

One of those inmates is Enaam Arnaout, a Syrian-born U.S. citizen serving a 10-year sentence for diverting Muslim charity money to militant Islamic groups in Bosnia and Chechnya. The other, Randall Royer, is serving 20 years for his role recruiting young Muslims in the “Virginia Jihad Network,” a group that used paintball games in 2000-2001 to train for holy war.

Mr. Obama has repeatedly suggested that the security challenge of bringing more than 100 trained and dangerous terrorists onto U.S. soil can be solved by simply installing them in an impenetrable fortress. This view is either disingenuous or naïve. The militant Islamists at Guantanamo too dangerous to release believe that their resistance behind the wire is a continuation of holy war. There is every reason to believe they will continue their jihad once they have been transported to U.S. soil where certain federal judges have signaled a willingness to confer upon them even more rights.

The position of civil rights activists with regard to these prisoners is plain. “If they cannot be convicted,” says ACLU lawyer Jameel Jaffer, “then you release them.”

Meanwhile, in order to appease political constituencies both here and abroad, the Obama administration is moving full steam ahead, operating on the false premise that giving more civil liberties to religious fanatics bent on destroying Western civilization will make a difference in the Muslim world. In a letter sent to his father as he began his hunger strike, Reid provided a preview of how he will exercise his newly enlarged free speech rights, calling Mr. Obama a “hypocrite” who is “no better than George Bush.” His lawsuit remains active while the Department of Justice works out a settlement that satisfies the man who declared, “I am at war with America.”

Ms. Burlingame, a former attorney and a director of the National September 11 Memorial Foundation, is the sister of Charles F. “Chic” Burlingame III, the pilot of American Airlines Flight 77, which was crashed into the Pentagon on Sept. 11, 2001.

When Caesar's Wife Gets a Pass

What would you think if I told you that the press had detailed information that Todd Palin, spouse of the former governor of Alaska, had over a course of years: been involved in several public fistfights, had drawn national attention for throwing adolescent tantrums that disrupted public meetings, had insulted a government official over being a cancer patient, insulted another, a widow, because she "needed to get a man," told members of the public they had no right to petition the government because their race was different from his, had been charged and pleaded guilty to taking bribes to influence the awarding of government contracts and other favors, and pilfered mored than $21,000 in computers and other electronic equipment from government offices?

Love her or hate her, you couldn't help but think, Sarah Palin is toast.

I believe it's safe to say the media fireball would not die down until some time in 2012. Or should that be 2112?

Sarah Palin would finally meet the total career--and perhaps personal--destruction her many bitter enemies have been casting spells for lo these many months. (They'd pray for it, but that sounds like something Her Hateableness would do. EEEEeeeeeww?). And it would all be a result of the media rejecting every benefit of any doubt that Todd's misdeeds could have been unknown, and unconsented to, by his famous wife, the Governor, Sarah Palin.

Besides, Caesar's wife must be above reproach. Especially if Caesar belongs to the GOP.

Do you think the same folks who criticized Palin for not forcing her daughter to get an abortion (because a daughter who's an unwed mother would obviously ruin Palin's vice presidential campaign), would cut her any slack for not kicking Todd to the curb? Hell, they condemned her for not getting rid of Trig just because he's going to make them feel lousy for slaying their hale and healthy babies. The same folks could be counted on to condemn her for not denouncing Todd loudly, and leaving Todd flat, rather than let him wreck her political career.

Todd didn't do any of those things.

But with that in mind, notice how every new story we hear in Detroit about Monica Conyers's misdeeds is loaded with silence about her husband, Congressman John Conyers?

Typical is a report in the Free Press today about how Monica swiped $21,000 worth of electronic toys from her City-Council Building office before she left. It wasn't even spite. She'd been stealing this stuff for years.

But as for her husband, that pharisee Inspector Javert hounding Bush and Cheney until his dying breath (Conyers was born during the Johnson administration: the first Johnson administration), he enjoys Teflon, Teflon II, and Scotchguard protection against that Republican-seeking word, "hypocrite."

The Freep story, and it isn't atypical, mentions only that Monica is "wife of U.S. Rep. John Conyers, a Democrat from Detroit," in paragraph 20 of a story about Monica's kleptomaniacal approach to public service. The national press doesn't even know Conyers's wife pleaded guilty and faces five years in the joint for selling her votes.

Thus the blanket of immunity thrown over the Left by the media. Its advantages can't be underestimated.

Let's Give 'Em Summit to Talk About

DU was able to get its spy into the Rose Garden Thursday night, which is why we can share at least some of the high points of the world's first Beer Summit...

...[Joe Biden is finishing up a rambling story that he interrupted the others to tell].

BIDEN:“So anywho, that stuff happens every night at Mitch’s--best damn cop bar in Scranton. I drink there all the time.”

OBAMA: [Has been frowning deeply at Biden, then continues with what he'd been saying], “Now under my plan, you can still buy your favorite beer, but there’ll be a public option, to keep the big breweries honest and protect working people--”

GATES: “Quite interesting, Mr. President.”

OBAMA: “--For example, Budweiser made record profits last year.”

All look expectantly at OBAMA to hear him finish making his point. After an awkward pause, they all realize he has made his point.

CROWLEY: “Hey, professor, is that your first time trying Sam Adams?”

GATES: [Drily]. “No. It happens to be my regular brand. You may be surprised to learn that [makes finger quotes] ‘we people’ don’t all prefer malt liquor.”

CROWLEY: “I’m just asking.”

BIDEN: “Poor Sam Adams. That guy had it tough taking office after Washington.”

OBAMA: “Joe! remember what we talked about.”

BIDEN: “Sorry.”

GATES: “Anyway, the point I was trying to get across to Sergeant Crocker--”

CROWLEY: “That’s Sergeant Crowley, professor.”

GATES: “I beg your pardon. The point I was making to Officer Crowley.”

CROWLEY: “That’s Sergeant Crowley.” [Tiny arcs of Taser fire blaze in his eyes.]

OBAMA: “Now, gentlemen, go easy. We’re just some workin’ stiffs having a beer.”

CROWLEY: “You know what? You're right. I’m OK.”

GATES: “What do you mean you're OK? Like I'm not OK?”

CROWLEY: “Meaning go on with what you were saying, professor.”

GATES: “I’ll go on with your mama.”

[CROWLEY lifts the hem of his suitcoat so GATES can see his handcuffs.]

OBAMA: “Now, guys, don't forget the media's right over there with their telephotos. We’re just havin’ some beers here. Have some more peanuts.”

BIDEN: “This happens all the time at Mitch’s. Look at a guy wrong, get a barstool in the mouth. A barney every damn night! I love that place. OW!” [BIDEN grabs his ankle, then looks up at OBAMA with a hurt expression].

GATES: [Gazing abstractly, professorially,at the sky.] “In the class at Harrr-vvard University where I am a professor, I teach how the profiler assumes the guilt or innocence of another based merely on appearances.” [To CROWLEY]: “For example, when you saw that I was a black man living in America, you assumed I was a burglar.”

CROWLEY: “No I didn't, all I did was ask you for some ID. If I show up at a potential crime scene assuming guys are innocent I’ll get my head blown off.”

GATES: “But didn't it matter to you how I was dressed? How I talked? How I comported myself?”

CROWLEY: “Well in the class I teach, I tell officers we aren’t allowed to make assumptions about people based on how they’re dressed or how they talk.”

GATES: “Shoot! Do I look like a criminal to you? Do you see a man with a do-rag, droopy pants, a gangster limp . . .”

CROWLEY: “Oh, cripes, who’s the profiler here, anyway?”

GATES: “I’ll profile your mama.”

CROWLEY: “All right, sir: you're gonna need to put your hands where I can see them.” [Reflexively reaches for his missing shoulder mike to call for backup.]

BIDEN [Dreamily]: “Geez, I miss my mom.”

OBAMA: “Now, fellas. Enough! Remember what I told you about it being okay to agree to disagree? Remember that common bond we all have? Didn’t we all vote for me?”

BIDEN: “We-e-ll. . .”

CROWLEY: [Yanking on his lapels and twisting his neck]. “You have a point, Mr. President. All right, I’m good. I can agree to disagree.”

GATES: “I can agree to disagree, too, Kojak. Makes no difference to me any-hyah.”

OBAMA: “All right then. I think this has all been very productive, very healing, very teachable. In fact, why don't we just go right around the table and each tell something we’ve learned today.”

BIDEN: “I’ve learned--”

OBAMA: “Pipe down, Biden. Professor Gates?”

GATES: “I’ve learned there’s still a need for structural change if a black man is going to get justice in America.”

CROWLEY: “I’ve learned that just because a citizen talks back to me on his front porch I can’t just arrest him for disorderly conduct. I have to think of something else to arrest him for.”

OBAMA: “And I’ve learned that differences can be ironed out through dialogue, symbolic gestures, and a commitment to abandon the failed policies of the past eight years.”

BIDEN: “And I learned they add the salt to the beer nuts after they grow ‘em. Damn! Almost time for Wheel of Fortune!”

Saturday, July 18, 2009

'(Let's) Free the Irbil Five!'

Obama Frees Iranian Terror Masters
The release of the Irbil Five is a continuation of a shameful policy.

By Andrew C. McCarthy

There are a few things you need to know about President Obama’s shameful release on Thursday of the “Irbil Five” — Quds Force commanders from Iran’s Islamic Revolutionary Guards Corps (IRGC) who were coordinating terrorist attacks in Iraq that have killed hundreds — yes, hundreds — of American soldiers and Marines.

First, of the 4,322 Americans killed in combat in Iraq since 2003, 10 percent of them (i.e., more than 400) have been murdered by a single type of weapon alone, a weapon that is supplied by Iran for the singular purpose of murdering Americans. As Steve Schippert explains at NRO’s military blog, the Tank, the weapon is “the EFP (Explosively Formed Penetrator), designed by Iran’s IRGC specifically to penetrate the armor of the M1 Abrams main battle tank and, consequently, everything else deployed in the field.” Understand: This does not mean Iran has killed only 400 Americans in Iraq. The number killed and wounded at the mullahs’ direction is far higher than that — likely multiples of that — when factoring in the IRGC’s other tactics, such as the mustering of Hezbollah-style Shiite terror cells.

Second, President Bush and our armed forces steadfastly refused demands by Iran and Iraq’s Maliki government for the release of the Irbil Five because Iran was continuing to coordinate terrorist operations against American forces in Iraq (and to aid Taliban operations against American forces in Afghanistan). Freeing the Quds operatives obviously would return the most effective, dedicated terrorist trainers to their grisly business.

Third, Obama’s decision to release the five terror-masters comes while the Iranian regime (a) is still conducting operations against Americans in Iraq, even as we are in the process of withdrawing, and (b) is clearly working to replicate its Lebanon model in Iraq: establishing a Shiite terror network, loyal to Iran, as added pressure on the pliant Maliki to understand who is boss once the Americans leave. As the New York Times reports, Gen. Ray Odierno, commander of U.S. forces in Iraq, put it this way less than two weeks ago:

Iran is still supporting, funding, training surrogates who operate inside of Iraq — flat out. . . . They have not stopped. And I don’t think they will stop. I think they will continue to do that because they are also concerned, in my opinion, [about] where Iraq is headed. They want to try to gain influence here, and they will continue to do that. I think many of the attacks in Baghdad are from individuals that have been, in fact, funded or trained by the Iranians.

Fourth, President Obama’s release of the Quds terrorists is a natural continuation of his administration’s stunningly irresponsible policy of bartering terrorist prisoners for hostages. As I detailed here on June 24, Obama has already released a leader of the Iran-backed Asaib al-Haq terror network in Iraq, a jihadist who is among those responsible for the 2007 murders of five American troops in Karbala. While the release was ludicrously portrayed as an effort to further “Iraqi reconciliation” (as if that would be a valid reason to spring a terrorist who had killed Americans), it was in actuality a naïve attempt to secure the reciprocal release of five British hostages — and a predictably disastrous one: The terror network released only the corpses of two of the hostages, threatening to kill the remaining three (and who knows whether they still are alive?) unless other terror leaders were released.

Michael Ledeen has reported that the release of the Irbil Five is part of the price Iran has demanded for its release in May of the freelance journalist Roxana Saberi. Again, that’s only part of the price: Iran also has demanded the release of hundreds of its other terror facilitators in our custody. Expect to see Obama accommodate this demand, too, in the weeks ahead.

Finally, when it comes to Iran, it has become increasingly apparent that President Obama wants the mullahs to win. What you need to know is that Barack Obama is a wolf in “pragmatist” clothing: Beneath the easy smile and above-it-all manner — the “neutral” doing his best to weigh competing claims — is a radical leftist wedded to a Manichean vision that depicts American imperialism as the primary evil in the world.

You may not have wanted to addle your brain over his tutelage in Hawaii by the Communist Frank Marshall Davis, nor his tracing of Davis’s career steps to Chicago, where he seamlessly eased into the orbit of Arafat apologist Rashid Khalidi, anti-American terrorists Bill Ayers and Bernardine Dohrn, and Maoist “educator” Michael Klonsky — all while imbibing 20 years’ worth of Jeremiah Wright’s Marxist “black liberation theology.” But this neo-Communist well from which Obama drew holds that the world order is a maze of injustice, racism, and repression. Its unified theory for navigating the maze is: “United States = culprit.” Its default position is that tyrants are preferable as long as they are anti-American, and that while terrorist methods may be regrettable, their root cause is always American provocation — that is, the terrorists have a point.

In Iran, it is no longer enough for a rickety regime, whose anti-American vitriol is its only vital sign, to rig the “democratic” process. This time, blatant electoral fraud was also required to mulct victory for the mullahs’ candidate. The chicanery ignited a popular revolt. But the brutal regime guessed right: The new American president would be supportive. So sympathetic is Obama to the mullahs’ grievances — so hostile to what he, like the regime, sees as America’s arrogant militarism — that he could be depended on to go as far as politics allowed to help the regime ride out the storm.

And so he has. Right now, politics will allow quite a lot: With unemployment creeping toward 10 percent, the auto industry nationalized, the stimulus revealed as history’s biggest redistribution racket (so far), and Democrats bent on heaping ruinous carbon taxes and socialized medicine atop an economy already crushed by tens of trillions in unfunded welfare-state liabilities, Iran is barely on anyone’s radar screen.

So Obama is pouring it on while his trusty media idles. When they are not looking the other way from the carnage in Iran’s streets, they are dutifully reporting — as the AP did — that the Irbil Five are mere “diplomats.” Obama frees a terrorist with the blood of American troops on his hands, and the press yawns. Senators Jeff Sessions and Jon Kyl press for answers about the release of the terrorist and Obama’s abandonment of a decades-old American policy against trading terrorists for hostages, and the silence is deafening.

Except in Tehran, where the mullahs are hearing exactly what they’ve banked on hearing.

Fox News Gets Bad Case of Cronkitis

“I have a feeling that it [Osama bin Laden’s new videotape]could tilt the election a bit. In fact, I’m a little inclined to think that Karl Rove, the political manager at the White House, who is a very clever man, that he probably set up bin Laden to this thing.”-- Former CBS Evening News anchor Walter Cronkite on CNN’s Larry King Live, October 29, 2004.
Is anyone else flabbergasted at how many times Fox News has called Walter Cronkite “The Most Trusted Man in America”? I’m glad to see Debbie Schlussel hasn’t lost any time putting Cronkite back in perspective.

I hope Fox News will begin to see some pushback from their saner commentators. As a Fox watcher, I was already thoroughly sick of the wall-to-wall Michael Jackson coverage, but at least Jackson didn't betray American GIs. I anticipate a long week of surfing off of Fox every time the old footage comes on of Cronkite crying during the moon shot. (BTW, get a load of the look on Wally Schirra's face as he endures Cronkite's ego during some of the old moon coverage.)

Fox News exists largely thanks to its faithful viewers’ appreciation for a news alternative to a liberal media establishment of which Cronkite was the founding father. The leftist media’s biggest historical triumph is still having forced America to lose in Vietnam, and Cronkite was the journalistic icon of that defeat. Every time an MSNBC or New York Times reporter said we were losing in Iraq, he had to pay Cronkite a royalty.

Cronkite got the “most trusted man” handle in 1973, when he ranked ahead of the president and vice president in a national poll.
As if beating out Nixon and Agnew was a tough assignment in 1973, the year of Watergate, Agnew resigning, and the American decision to bug out of Vietnam for good, a tragic decision we’re still paying for.

At the time, Americans were OK with that decision because we’d been fed a steady diet of Cronkite’s version of what was at stake. In other words, 1973 was the lowest point of one of the lowest decades in American history. Trusting someone like Cronkite was only a part of the pathology.

Fox picking up and repeating that "most trusted" handle without context--and without challenge-makes as much sense as calling Obama “The One” because the slave media does so without apology.

As can be seen from Cronkite's stupid statement about Karl Rove quoted above, he lacked a balanced perspective, or even common sense. He also shared the fatal flaw of liberal journalism, which is the belief that the whole world agrees with his opinions, except for a few hayseed dummies (like the dopes who watch Fox News).

Is it just a desire to boost ratings that has Fox News trying to out-CBS the mainstream media's lionization of Cronkite?