Why exactly does Obama want the “Strong Cities Network”?
The Obama administration plans to create a global police force that counters “violent extremism” in the United States and elsewhere.
The problem is that in Obama-speak “violent extremism” refers not only to jihadists wishing to harm Americans but also to conservatives and Tea Party activists. Just ask all the law-abiding right-of-center nonprofit groups targeted by Lois Lerner’s IRS during the Obama presidency.
Ominously, President Obama and U.S. Attorney General Loretta Lynch unveiled the Strong Cities Network last week at the United Nations.
America's chief executive, who speaks in hushed and reverent tones when discussing the Muslim faith, said the U.S. will use “all of our tools” to fight Islamic State terrorists.
"This is not an easy task," Obama said. "This is not a conventional battle. This is a long-term campaign — not only against this particular network, but against its ideology." The United States and a coalition of 60 other countries are “pursuing a comprehensive strategy” for dealing with Islamic State, he said.
Meanwhile, the U.S. Department of Justice teased the Strong Cities Network in a press release:
Cities are vital partners in international efforts to build social cohesion and resilience to violent extremism. Local communities and authorities are the most credible and persuasive voices to challenge violent extremism in all of its forms and manifestations in their local contexts. While many cities and local authorities are developing innovative responses to address this challenge, no systematic efforts are in place to share experiences, pool resources and build a community of cities to inspire local action on a global scale.
“The Strong Cities Network will serve as a vital tool to strengthen capacity-building and improve collaboration,” Lynch was quoted saying. “As we continue to counter a range of domestic and global terror threats, this innovative platform will enable cities to learn from one another, to develop best practices and to build social cohesion and community resilience here at home and around the world.”
The media release continues:
The SCN will include an International Steering Committee of approximately 25 cities and other sub-national entities from different regions that will provide the SCN with its strategic direction. The SCN will also convene an International Advisory Board, which includes representatives from relevant city-focused networks, to help ensure SCN builds upon their work. It will be run by the Institute for Strategic Dialogue (ISD), a leading international “think-and-do” tank with a long-standing track record of working to prevent violent extremism …
Although the European scene is different from the American, the London-based Institute for Strategic Dialogue doesn’t come across at first glance as a neutral observer.
Its website, which is filled with left-wing buzzwords, warns
The tragic attacks in Norway on 22 July, 2011 drew Europe’s gaze to the dangers of the growing presence of far-right extremism across Europe and the increasing legitimisation of anti-immigration and anti-Islamic discourses within mainstream European politics. The blurred relationship between violence from the extreme right and broader trends of Islamophobia and anti-immigration sentiment poses several challenges for policy makers seeking to address the increasing risk of violent right-wing extremism.
And although American conservatives might not quibble with a new U.S.-based initiative aimed at “violent extremism” outside America’s borders, they have ample reason to be concerned about one that targets organizations within the United States.
Conservative champion Pamela Geller railed against the Strong Cities Network in a column at Breitbart News.
This plan “amounts to nothing less than the overriding of American laws, up to and including the United States Constitution, in favor of United Nations laws that would henceforth be implemented in the United States itself – without any consultation of Congress at all.”
Announcing the plan at the United Nations is curious she writes, because the UN “is a sharia-compliant world body, and Obama, speaking there just days ago, insisted that ‘violent extremism’ is not exclusive to Islam (which it is).”
It is unlikely the new body will be used as a “global police force” to crush counter-jihad forces, she wrote.
After all, with Obama knowingly aiding al-Qaeda forces in Syria, how likely is it that he will use his “global police force” against actual Islamic jihadists?
I suspect that instead, this global police force will be used to impose the blasphemy laws under the sharia (Islamic law), and to silence all criticism of Islam for the President who proclaimed that “the future must not belong to those who slander the prophet of Islam.”
Geller and other conservatives are painfully aware that in the parlance of the Left, “violent extremism” refers to conservatives and other patriotic Americans.
If you are opposed to enlarging the redistributive state and spreading the wealth around then by definition you're a potential terrorist. If you're a conservative or a libertarian, if you believe in gun rights or don't support abortion rights or an immigration amnesty, if you don't like high taxes or welfare programs or if you dare to believe that the Constitution actually limits the power of the government, you're at risk of turning to terrorism.
In 2009, Janet Napolitano, then head of the U.S. Department of Homeland Security gave her blessing to a spurious DHS report titled, "Rightwing Extremism: Current Economic and Political Climate Fueling Resurgence in Radicalization and Recruitment."
Drawing heavily from so-called research by the loony-left Southern Poverty Law Center, the report lumped Ku Klux Klansmen and violent militias together with good government types and members of the Federalist Society. This law enforcement guidance claimed that large swaths of the nation that did not vote Democratic in the last election were boiling over with hatred and intolerance.
Anticlimactically, the report noted that there is no actual evidence "that domestic rightwing terrorists are currently planning acts of violence." Nonetheless the report speculated, using language that would later be embraced by the violent Occupy Wall Street movement, that "the economic downturn and the election of the first African American president" might help these "rightwing extremists" gain new recruits.
Guffaws from Republicans and some of her fellow Democrats forced Napolitano to disavow the report but in the intervening years Obama’s DHS has kept up the pressure on patriotic Americans in an attempt to stigmatize and marginalize conservative beliefs.
As recently as this past February, DHS Secretary Jeh Johnson released a report on what CNN called the grave “domestic terror threat from right-wing sovereign citizen extremists.”
“The government says these are extremists who believe that they can ignore laws and that their individual rights are under attack in routine daily instances such as a traffic stop or being required to obey a court order,” the news network reported.
To the Obama administration, zealous civil libertarians and ornery old guys in pickup trucks are a much greater threat to the homeland than Occupy Wall Street, Black Lives Matter, al Qaeda, and Islamic State combined.
CNN paraphrased Mark Potok, a senior fellow at -- you guessed it, the Southern Poverty Law Center -- hailing the report.
“Potok said that by some estimates, there are as many as 300,000 people involved in some way with sovereign citizen extremism. Perhaps 100,000 people form a core of the movement, he said.”
Around the same time counterinsurgency and counterterrorism expert Sebastian Gorka ridiculed the obviously politicized DHS report for going off the deep end.
Gorka, a professor who lectures on irregular warfare at the College of International Security Affairs at the National Defense University, said over the last two decades he could not remember right-wing extremists flying jumbo jets into buildings, bombing a marathon, or beheading Christian hostages.
"It really is the most egregious politicization of national security," Gorka opined. "We're going to be looking for right-wing extremists when ISIS prepares to attack us? It's outrageous."
"We have tens of thousands of people in the Middle East and elsewhere and here in America who have committed themselves to the destruction of this great nation. And we're going to be focusing on the small cluster of right-wingers here in the United States?" he said. "This could endanger American lives."
All of this brings to mind the jarringly strange thing then-Senator Obama said on the campaign trail in October 2008.
“We cannot continue to rely only on our military in order to achieve the national security objectives that we’ve set,” he said. “We’ve got to have a civilian national security force that’s just as powerful, just as strong, just as well funded.”
Is the Strong Cities Network the civilian national security force Obama mentioned just once and then never brought up again?
We’re about to find out.