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Tracking militarists’ efforts to influence U.S. foreign policy

Featured Profiles:

John Yoo

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The controversial University of California-Berkeley law professor who supported the Bush administration’s use of torture has “grave concerns” about Donald Trump. While he thinks the executive order limiting immigration from seven Muslim countries is legal, Yoo notes that Trump adviser “Rudolph Giuliani disclosed that Mr. Trump had initially asked for ‘a Muslim ban,’ which would most likely violate the Constitution’s protection for freedom of religion.” Regarding the order to build a wall along the Mexican border, Yoo writes that the “president has no constitutional authority over border control, which the Supreme Court has long found rests in the hands of Congress.”

Ileana Ros-Lehtinen

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Uber-hawk Rep. Illeana Ros-Lehtinen (R-FL) has been a reliable Republican Party hardliner for years. However, since the election of Donald Trump, she has been one of the few Republicans pushing the investigation into Russian efforts to undermine the 2016 presidential election. She has also opposed several Trump priorities, including his expanded deportation rules, refugee restrictions, budget proposals, and health care reform efforts. Regarding Trump’s harsh immigration moves, which are expected to significantly boost immigration detention levels,  Ros-Lehtinen said she worries that “when you cast a wide net, you’re going to catch some criminals — but you’re going to catch a lot of good people.”

 

Brigitte Gabriel

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Brigitte Gabriel, a vitriolic anti-Muslim activist who thinks that Donald Trump will save western civilization, claims to have been invited to meetings at the White House. Her group Act! for America has been characterized as a hate group by civil rights organizations. “No White House official should be meeting with the leader of a hate group that is one of the main sources of growing anti-Muslim bigotry in our nation,” said the Council on American-Islamic Relations in a recent statement.

 

 

 

American Israel Public Affairs Committee

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The election of Donald Trump has driven expectations that AIPAC will deliver “messianic outcomes for Israel.” But AIPAC’s financial connections with hard-right neoconservative groups like the Center for Security Policy that have been key backers of controversial Trump policies like the Muslim travel ban have raised questions about AIPAC’s commitment to fighting discrimination.

 

Frank Gaffney

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Frank Gaffney, an anti-Islam ideologue who heads the neoconservative Center for Security Policy (CSP), argues that Donald Trump is “Reaganesque” in his foreign policy vision. After Trump’s executive orders banning immigration from several Muslim-majority countries, many observers drew the connection between Gaffney/CSP and these policies. According to one report, “In 2015, Gaffney commissioned [Trump aide Kellyanne] Conway’s firm to produce” the poll that Trump cited on the campaign trail when he demanded “a total and complete shutdown of Muslims entering the United States.”

 

 

Shmuley Boteach

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Shmuley Boteach is a celebrity Rabbi who is an outspoken supporter of Donald Trump and an ally of billionaire casino mogul Sheldon Adelson. Known for his extreme “pro-Israel” advocacy, Boteach has argued that liberals favor “death cults” and that the Iran nuclear deal is “a pact with an apocalyptic regime.” Boteach admits that Trump “was late to condemn the rising tide of antisemitism in America” but bizarrely counters that “President Obama never once criticized Iran’s threats of annihilation against the Jewish people.”

 

United Against Nuclear Iran

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UANI enthusiastically welcomed the election Donald Trump, claiming that the new president would be “positioned to swiftly pull the U.S. out of the Obama administration’s landmark nuclear agreement with Iran.” The group has also lauded reports that Trump’s victory is forcing companies to reconsider doing business in Iran and has pushed the Trump administration to put pressure on businesses seeking to re-enter the Iran market, including notably Fiat Chrylser.

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From the Wires

Contrary to some wishful thinking following the Trump administration’s decision to “put Iran on notice” and seemingly restore U.S.-Saudi ties, there are little signs of apprehension in Tehran.


“The fundamental conflict at the heart of Israeli-Russian views on Syria is that Israel’s redline is the establishment of a permanent Iranian presence in Syria and Russia’s redline is the elimination of a permanent Iranian presence in Syria.”


AIPAC has done more than just tolerate the U.S. tilt toward extreme and often xenophobic views. Newly released tax filings show that the country’s biggest pro-Israel group financially contributed to the Center for Security Policy, the think-tank that played a pivotal role in engineering the Trump administration’s efforts to impose a ban on Muslim immigration.


It would have been hard for Trump to find someone with more extreme positions than David Friedman for U.S. ambassador to Israel.


Just as the “bogeyman” of the Mexican rapist and drug dealer is used to justify the Wall and mass immigration detention, the specter of Muslim terrorists is being used to validate gutting the refugee program and limiting admission from North Africa, and Southwest and South Asia.


Although the mainstream media narrative about Trump’s Russia ties has been fairly linear, in reality the situation appears to be anything but.


Reagan’s military buildup had little justification, though the military was rebuilding after the Vietnam disaster. Today, there is almost no case at all for a defense budget increase as big as the $54 billion that the Trump administration wants.


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