Monday, December 17, 2007

Follow the Salafi Money . . . to the Left

The Washington Post is reporting today that:

Bill Clinton's presidential library raised more than 10 percent of the cost of its $165 million facility from foreign sources, with the most generous overseas donation coming from Saudi Arabia, according to interviews yesterday.

The royal family of Saudi Arabia gave the Clinton facility in Little Rock about $10 million, roughly the same amount it gave toward the presidential library of George H.W. Bush, according to people directly familiar with the contributions.

Okay, here's why the Democrats are being singled out. Prior to 9-11, it was very much a bi-partisan group that suckled at the Saudi tit. That was an America that had no collective clue what was coming attached to all the Saudi money flooding into America. Now we do, and its pure Wahhabi / Salafi poison. But it is a poisoned tit that the Democrats as a group have continued to suckle like its providing mother's milk.

It is almost passe at this point to say that Wahhabi / Salafi Islam, Saudi Arabia's 7th century interpretation of Islam exported throughout the world by close to 100 billion in petrodollars, is, along with Khomeinist Shia'ism, what defines radical Islam. Bernard Lewis, the West's premier Orientalist, in the book, "The Crisis of Islam," likened the Wahhabi / Salafi Islam to the KKK in terms of bigotry and violence (p. 129). Walid Phares, another fine author who has catalouged the threat we face from radical Islam, in his book "Future Jihad" traces our inability to forsee the threat from radical Islam directly to the Saudi checkbook. And it is a largesse that now "runs 90%" of the Middle East studies departments in major universities in the USA (pg. 185). That is particularly critical because these are the people who train our future leaders, intelligence professionals, diplomats, teachers, etc. Instead of teaching reality, these Saudi funded and trained professors were teaching such dissimulations as that jihad was primarily a peaceful, internal struggle of Muslims.

These were the folks who, in the aftermath of 9-11, tried to defend Saudi Arabia and presented Salafi / Wahhabi Islam as peaceful and benign. And they are in many respects the same ones still trying to do it, as discussed in an article on New Jersey's Counterterrorism efforts. Though, outside our elected Democrats and a few useful idiots, their message is seen for the traitorous and fraudulent excreta that it is. But there is much more. Saudi largesse, as documented by Bob Baer in "Sleeping with the Devil," has been an incredibly rich gravy train for our politicians on a bipartisan basis since the 1970's. And this has bought a refusal from our government to act that is criminal.

Bottom line, we now collectively know enough that our government should not be accepting money from Saudi Arabia. To the contrary, our government should be doing all they can to undo the harm Saudi Arabia has wrought inside our country. And the damage is severe.

One particularly dangerous - and egregious - consequence of Saudi money and governmental wilfull blindness was reported by Stanley Kurtz in July:

Unless we counteract the influence of Saudi money on the education of the young, we’re going to find it very difficult to win the war on terror. I only wish I was referring to Saudi-funded madrassas in Pakistan. Unfortunately, I’m talking about K-12 education in the United States. Believe it or not, the Saudis have figured out how to make an end-run around America’s K-12 curriculum safeguards, thereby gaining control over much of what children in the United States learn about the Middle East.

While we’ve had only limited success paring back education for Islamist fundamentalism abroad, the Saudis have taken a surprising degree of control over America’s Middle-East studies curriculum at home.Game, Set, MatchHow did they do it?

Very carefully...and very cleverly. It turns out that the system of federal subsidies to university programs of Middle East Studies (under Title VI of the Higher Education Act) has been serving as a kind of Trojan horse for Saudi influence over American K-12 education. Federally subsidized Middle East Studies centers are required to pursue public outreach. That entails designing lesson plans and seminars on the Middle East for America’s K-12 teachers. These university-distributed teaching aids slip into the K-12 curriculum without being subject to the normal public vetting processes. Meanwhile, the federal government, which both subsidizes and lends its stamp of approval to these special K-12 course materials on the Middle East, has effectively abandoned oversight of the program that purveys them (Title VI).

Enter the Saudis. By lavishly funding several organizations that design Saudi-friendly English-language K-12 curricula, all that remains is to convince the “outreach coordinators” at prestigious, federally subsidized universities to purvey these materials to America’s teachers. And wouldn’t you know it, outreach coordinators or teacher-trainers at a number of university Middle East Studies centers have themselves been trained by the very same Saudi-funded foundations that design K-12 course materials. These Saudi-friendly folks happily build their outreach efforts around Saudi-financed K-12 curricula.

So let’s review. The United States government gives money — and a federal seal of approval — to a university Middle East Studies center. That center offers a government-approved K-12 Middle East studies curriculum to America’s teachers. But in fact, that curriculum has been bought and paid for by the Saudis, who may even have trained the personnel who operate the university’s outreach program. Meanwhile, the American government is asleep at the wheel — paying scant attention to how its federally mandated public outreach programs actually work. So without ever realizing it, America’s taxpayers end up subsidizing — and providing official federal approval for — K-12 educational materials on the Middle East that have been created under Saudi auspices. Game, set, match: Saudis.

How do we know all this? While the full extent of Saudi funding has emerged only recently, the basic outlines of the problem were exposed in 2004, by Sandra Stotsky, a former director of a professional development institute for teachers at Harvard, and a former senior associate commissioner of the Massachusetts Department of Education.

Stotsky’s stint as a commissioner ran from 1999 to 2003, so she was present when the Massachusetts Department of Education tried to respond to the challenge of 9/11 by organizing special seminars in Islamic history for K-12 teachers. The department accepted a proposal with participation from Harvard’s Center for Middle Eastern Studies — which, as a prestigious university and a federally subsidized Title VI “National Resource Center,” seemed an obvious choice.

The Massachusetts Department of Education commissioned a teacher-training seminar designed to cover Islamic history and touch on key contemporary questions, such as the nature of Islamic Fundamentalism and terrorism, the lack of democracy in the Middle East, and the challenge of gaining basic legal and political rights for women in much of the Muslim world. It quickly became apparent, however, that Harvard’s outreach program had little interest in tackling these issues, or in representing a broad range of views on contemporary Middle Eastern culture.

It took literally months of e-mail exchanges with state officials before the seminar organizers agreed to include a single book by Bernard Lewis, whose writing they persistently dismissed as biased and irrelevant. Even then, Harvard’s outreach program refused to include one of Lewis’s recent and more critical works, like What Went Wrong?

Stotsky came to feel that the Massachusetts Education Department’s efforts to achieve balance in its teacher training seminars were giving way to Harvard’s “distorted” and “manipulative” political agenda.

Whereas Stotsky and the Massachusetts Department of Education had asked for seminars covering Islamic history, and including balanced discussions of contemporary Middle Eastern problems, Harvard’s outreach program delivered seminars that virtually promoted Islam as a religion, while sharply criticizing alleged American prejudice against the Muslim world. Harvard’s outreach training prompted K-12 teachers to design celebratory treatments of the life and teachings of Mohammad and the “revelation” and spread of Islam, with exercises calling on students to “appoint imams,” memorize Islamic principles, and act out prayer at a Mosque. According to Stotsky, if Harvard’s outreach personnel had designed similar classroom exercises based on Christian or Jewish models, “People for the American Way, Americans United for Separation of Church and State, and the A.C.L.U. would descend upon them like furies.”

Instead of training teachers in the history and contemporary challenges of the Muslim world, Stotsky concluded that Harvard’s outreach program was “manipulating” apolitical teachers with a “barely disguised” attempt to “shape...attitudes on specific political issues.” The lesson plans designed by K-12 teachers who participated in these Harvard-run seminars included exercises in which students were asked to watch newscasts and spot out instances in which Muslims were stereotyped as violent or barbaric. Lesson plans proposed discussion questions like, “Why have so many groups wanted to control the Middle East?” and “How might the history of repeated invasions influence the history of people in this area?”

Stotsky was taken aback by one of the key teaching resources pushed by Harvard’s outreach program: “The Arab World Studies Notebook.” The “Notebook” has been widely denounced as a “practically proselytizing” text offering uncritical praise for the Arab world. Stotsky calls it, “a piece of propaganda.” Even the Notebook’s editor, Audrey Shabbas, acknowledges that it’s purpose is to provide “the Arab point of view.” . . .

The upshot of all this is that the close links between Saudi funded curriculum-development and teacher-training programs, on the one hand, and federally subsidized university programs of Middle East Studies, on the other, has opened up a back-door route to Saudi influence over America’s K-12 curriculum.

. . . The extent of Saudi influence raises the already deep-lying problems with Title VI [explanatory link added]to a whole new level.

It’s also important to emphasize that Title VI public outreach programs are not part of the college curriculum. In my testimony before the House, I addressed broader issues of bias in university programs of Middle East Studies. Yet I invoked that context to explain problems in Title VI public outreach programs, which are creatures of Congress — yet without real oversight. Opponents of Title VI reform have consistently misrepresented the issue as a question of academic freedom, when every piece of legislation aimed at reforming Title VI has contained a provision preventing the federal government from mandating or controlling the content of college curricula. Moreover, I have publicly endorsed that provision.

The real effect of blocking federal oversight of Title VI has been to create a public outreach program that is . . . funded by the American taxpayer, yet answerable to no-one. The unsupervised state of these university outreach programs leaves them open to exploitation by foreign interests seeking control of America’s K-12 curriculum on the Middle East. That is an intolerable situation. Congress must restore federal oversight to Title VI of the Higher Education Act. . . .

Read the entire article here. And yet, as Stanly Kurtz reported last month, its the Democrats who are allowing this travesty to continue:

[In "Saudis in the Classroom," the article quoted above] I explained how the Saudis are using federal subsidies to university programs of Middle East Studies (under Title VI of the Higher Education Act) as a kind of Trojan horse to gain influence over American K-12 education. Now it looks like the House Democrats mean to let the Saudis get away with it. When I wrote "Saudi in the Classroom," back in July, I made a point of praising the very reasonable bipartisan compromise on Title VI reform crafted by Kennedy and Enzi in the Senate. But now, under pressure from the higher education lobby (really Juan Cole and his radical professor pals from the Middle East Studies Association–MESA), the House Democrats have gutted every proposed reform of this disastrously broken federal subsidy program.

This is actually a huge change for congressional Democrats. When the Republicans were in the majority in the House, they made a point of crafting a bipartisan compromise with the Democrats on this issue. The House acknowledged serious problems with Title VI (professors boycotting national-security-related scholarship programs, a dearth of students with skills in Middle Eastern languages entering government service, deeply biased "public outreach" programs), and the two parties unanimously voted for reform.

But now, for the first time, House Democrats have turned against reform, totally caving in to their radical professor friends. It’s a perfect illustration of the claim that the Democratic congress is more interested in posturing for its radical base than in actually getting something productive done. Foolishly, I think, the Democrats have now turned the abuse of these federal subsides into an openly partisan issue. (Do the Dems really want to hitch their fortunes to Juan Cole and MESA?)

After gutting every existing proposal for reform of Title VI, the House Democrats have offered a single provision as window-dressing to cover their...retreat. The Democratic version of Title VI reauthorization includes a requirement that programs receiving federal subsidies disclose donations from foreign governments. Sounds like a good idea, but the reporting threshold is a ludicrously high one million dollars. The Saudis can easily circumvent that by spreading their largesse around a bit further. And of course, reporting is only the beginning of the story. By killing off every proposal for program oversight, the Dems have eliminated the prospect of actually doing anything about even such foreign influence as is reported.

On top of all that, the reporting provision will almost certainly not survive conference and make it into the final bill. The higher education lobby will squelch it, fearing that it might set a precedent for passage of a truly serious reporting provision under some future Republican congress.

Meanwhile, the Democrats have eliminated the Advisory Board that would have provided real oversight for this program. They have cut the grievance procedure agreed to by both parties in the Senate, which would have permitted complaints about the sort of public outreach programs I described in "Saudi in the Classroom." The Democrats have also eliminated a move to collect data on how many students who get these federal subsidies actually go into government service (hint: very few). And these are only a few of the reform measures accepted by both parties in the Senate, but totally dropped by Democrats in the House. . .

Read the article here.

Saudi Arabia is at the heart of radical Islam and there is absolutely nothing about their second largest export - Wahhabi / Salafi Islam - that should ever touch the shores of the United States. Thus, when I see Bill Clinton taking $10 million from Saudi Arabia to fund his library post-9-11, and when I see Democrats gutting laws that would stop the Saudi poison from at least seeping into our K-12 educational system, I have to wonder just how suicidal it would be to put them back in power during a period when we face an existential threat. Apparently, political opportunism and cash trump all on the left side of the aisle.


Soccer Dad said...

I'd like to say that this is just a malady of the Left. But is it?
Consider this. And do you expect that when the current president gets his presidential library built there won't be an infusion of Saudi money?

GW said...

Hello Soccer Dad, thanks for visiting and the comment. I am under no illusions about the bi-partisan corruption caused by Saudi oil wealth. The Pipes article you site is a good one, and if I recall, I site to one of Bob Baer's books in this post that is equally as eye opening. And as I said, historically, corruption with an eye on the Saudi gravy train is very much bipartisan.

The Saudi's have made corrupting all aspects of American society an art form. Our public officials and academics are bought with an endless flow of cash. Once they are bought, it becomes a simple matter of deceiving the U.S. public - such as Kurtz describes in the Title VI program.

But of late, more and more on the right side of the aisle have become realistic about Saudi Arabia and their export of Salafi Islam. My reading of all of this is, as a group, the right are more likely to see the reality and act. Which is the point of the post. What is happening with Democrats and Title VI is utterly scandalous. There are Democrats who do not follow this line and who do recognize the problem and speak up. They are all part of the House bipartisan anti-jihad caucus that I blogged about in an earlier post. But, as to their party, they are voices in the wilderness at the moment.

Will Bush succumb to the Saudi tit? He may well, in which case I will be more critical of him than I am of the left. For all the good that Bush has done in responding to terrorism, he still has not stated the obvious, that Sunni terrorism arises directly out of Salafi Islam. Until someone at or near his position of power does that and takes the problem head on, it will not get fixed. The two people who seem most likely to do that are Giulliani and Thompson, both of whom have already made the public connection between terrorism and Salafi Islam.

On a final note, while there is a direct coorelation between Salafi Islam and terrorism, one cannot paint that down to the next level of generality and equate all Saudis or all Salafists Muslims with terrorism. Indeed, it would seem that a lot of the impetus to reform is coming from internal to Saudi Arabia itself. I am not holding my breath on that one, but it is still an important point. But looking at the level of politics and power, Salafi Islam is a poison infesting the world, and the only key to that poison is shining a very bright light on it. I will be extremely happy to give any Democrat their due if they will play a role in it. Just as I will do the opposite for any to the right that don't.