NEWS AND ANALYSIS:
President Obama and his administration continue to support the global Islamist militant group known the Muslim Brotherhood. A White House strategy document regards the group as a moderate alternative to more violent Islamist groups like al Qaeda and the Islamic State.
The policy of backing the Muslim Brotherhood is outlined in a secret directive called Presidential Study Directive-11, or PSD-11. The directive was produced in 2011 and outlines administration support for political reform in the Middle East and North Africa, according to officials familiar with the classified study.
Efforts to force the administration to release the directive or portions of it under the Freedom of Information Act have been unsuccessful.
White House National Security Council spokeswoman Bernadette Meehan declined to comment on PSD-11. “We have nothing for you on this,” she said.
The directive outlines why the administration has chosen the Muslim Brotherhood, which last year was labeled a terrorist organization by the governments of Saudi Arabia, Egypt and the United Arab Emirates as a key vehicle of U.S. backing for so-called political reform in the Middle East. Saudi Arabia in recent months appears to be moderating its opposition to the Brotherhood in a bid to gain more regional support against pro-Iran rebels in Yemen.
The UAE government also has labeled two U.S. affiliates of the Muslim Brotherhood, the Council on American-Islamic Relations and the Muslim American Society, as terrorist support groups. Both groups denied the UAE claims. Egypt is considering imposing a death sentence on Mohamed Morsi, the Muslim Brotherhood-backed former president who was ousted in military coup in July 2013.
Critics of the administration’s strategy say the Brotherhood masks its goals and objectives despite advocating an extremist ideology similar to those espoused by al Qaeda and the Islamic State, but with less violence. The group’s motto includes the phrase “jihad is our way.” Jihad means holy war and is the Islamist battle cry.
Counterterrorism analyst Patrick Poole said the Brotherhood in recent weeks has stepped up its use of violent attacks in Egypt.
“The failed Obama Doctrine that so-called ‘moderate Islamists’ were going to usher in a glorious era of peace and democracy in the Middle East was adopted by the administration because that’s what the foreign policy establishment going back to the George W. Bush administration proclaimed as gospel,” Mr. Poole said.
“And now we see as a result Egypt fighting a terror campaign by the ‘moderate’ Muslim Brotherhood; we have a failed state in Libya; and we see NATO ally Turkey turning from secular democracy to religious totalitarianism under Obama’s pal [Turkish President Recep Tayyip] Erdogan.
“This dangerous foreign policy was launched by PSD-11 and the administration’s open embrace of the Muslim Brotherhood, and now we can see its catastrophic effect,” Mr. Poole added.
Frank Gaffney, head of the Center for Security Policy, extensively documented Muslim Brotherhood subversion efforts, both in the United States and abroad.
Mr. Gaffney has said the Muslim Brotherhood is the most dangerous group promoting the totalitarian and Islamist supremacist doctrine of Shariah. Several Muslim Brotherhood supporters have been identified as key advisers to Mr. Obama, according to Mr. Gaffney.
Egyptian press reports after the ouster of Mr. Morsi have revealed extensive cooperation between the CIA and the Muslim Brotherhood during Mr. Morsi’s presidency.
CHINESE COLONEL ON INFORMATION WARFARE
Retired Chinese Col. Liu Mingfu, one of Beijing’s most significant military supremacists, this week confirmed that China is using information warfare against its enemies.
Col. Liu spoke Monday night at the Georgetown home of Michael Pillsbury, a longtime consultant to the Pentagon on China, in promoting the English-language version of the colonel’s 2010 book, “The China Dream.” The book calls for China to replace the United States as global hegemon. The book’s ideas were adopted by Beijing’s communist rulers and have become the main “thought” of current party boss and President Xi Jinping.
Asked about the contradiction between official claims that China seeks peace and the covert use of the so-called three warfares — psychological, media and legal information operations — against enemies, Col. Liu said: “I don’t deny it.
“You Americans have the three warfares also,” he said. “Japan has it. All the great powers in the world use these techniques. If China doesn’t have it, then we definitely should have it.”
The Georgetown reception brought together a number of former government officials and journalists, including former Deputy Defense Secretary Paul Wolfowitz and Joseph DeTrani, former CIA official and former director of the DNI Counter Proliferation Center. New York Times reporter David Sanger and Fox News correspondent James Rosen also were present.
The reception was held at the O Street residence of Mr. Pillsbury, who was promoting his own recently published book that decodes China’s anti-U.S. strategy called “The Hundred Year Marathon.”
Col. Liu said he expected Mr. Pillsbury’s book to be translated into Chinese and sold in China.
During remarks, Col. Liu said part of China’s grand strategy is countering what he called a CIA-backed U.S. program of containment against China.
Despite noting that his remarks did not reflect official Chinese government or military policies, Col. Liu did not stray from the well-worn official talking points used by Chinese government spokesmen in presenting official views on security and policy matters.
Col. Liu in his book urged China to build up its military power to swiftly replace the United States as the world’s global power. He wrote that the U.S.-Chinese rivalry is a “competition to be the leading country, a conflict over who rises and falls to dominate the world.”
“To save itself, to save the world, China must prepare to become the [world’s] helmsman,” he states.
WHO DOUBLE-CROSSED THE SEALS?
Best-selling author and former Navy judge advocate Don Brown is out with a new book that investigates the shoot-down of Extortion 17, the worst wartime loss of life in the history of Navy special operations warfare.
The book, “Call Sign Extortion 17: The Shoot-Down of SEAL Team Six,” is an exhaustive look at a tragedy for which the military’s official version defies logic for some of the sailors’ survivors.
The No. 1 gnawing question: How did an Afghan Taliban fighter, armed with a grenade launcher, just happen to be stationed near the Chinook helicopter’s landing zone — a spot never before used to insert troops. His rocket-propelled grenade shot clipped a rotor blade, sending the non-special-operations helicopter into a violent spin and deadly crash.
The sequence of events led some family members of those killed to believe that the ambush was an inside job — that someone in the Afghan chain of command sent word to Taliban fighters that a reinforcement of SEALS was on the way to aid Army Rangers and that the aircraft was planning to land at that specified spot.
After all, on the night of Aug. 6, 2011, the Chinook was transporting the same elite unit that killed Osama bin Laden three months earlier, a group that no doubt had a target on its back from al Qaeda and its supporters.
Then there is the mystery of the Afghan soldiers on board the helicopter with the 30 Americans who perished — a U.S. Army crew, the SEALs and special warfare technicians, including a military dog handler.
The seven Afghans listed on the manifest turned out not to be the ones who died on the chopper. Their identities were not disclosed in the official censored military report.
“Were they trying to hide the politically embarrassing fact that this flight was, or could have been, compromised by Taliban infiltrators determined to help sabotage it from the inside, or to communicate with Taliban forces on the ground about the chopper’s approach to coordinate the timing of a point-blank shot?” Mr. Brown writes.
“Something went terribly wrong inside that helicopter, and whatever went wrong was most likely beyond the pilots’ control,” he says. “It’s as if the unidentified Afghan infiltrators were the big pink elephant in the room that no one wants to talk about.”
Mr. Brown still practices law in North Carolina. He is best known for two best-selling novels, “Treason” and “Malacca Conspiracy.”
For his new book, the author turns mathematician. Using official investigative documents, he concludes that the shooter was just, at most, 178 feet from the chopper when he fired, not the 720 feet as cited by the chief investigator.
“What would be the chances that Extortion 17 would just happen to fly within 75 yards of a Taliban insurgent waiting with an RPG, unless the Taliban insurgent knew in advance exactly where Extortion 17 was going to land?” Mr. Brown asks. Then, answering his own question, he writes, “About as likely as finding a needle in a haystack.”
There is more than math in “Call Sign Extortion 17.” A full reading may well convince readers that those men were betrayed on the night of Aug. 6.
• Staff writer Rowan Scarborough contributed to this column. Contact Bill Gertz on Twitter via @BillGertz.