With, at Chuck Hagel’s last count, about 10 different bills pending in Congress to change the military justice system or effect other reforms in an effort to combat sex abuse in the ranks, the secretary of Defense vowed today that the answer to the problem will come from within the Pentagon.
And to do this, he’s consulting with other militaries around the world for suggestions.
Hagel and Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Martin Dempsey, along with senior enlisted and Vice President Joe Biden, sat down with President Obama yesterday for “a very important, productive meeting” on the crisis, Hagel said this afternoon at the Pentagon.
“It gave the president an opportunity to ask questions directly and get the sense of this huge problem, this serious problem in our military,” Hagel said. “…The president was very constructive. He was very clear. There wasn’t anyone in that room who was disappointed.”
The latest in a string of cases of military sexual abuse program managers to be accused of crimes, Lt. Col. Darin Haas at Fort Campbell, Ky., was relieved of his post after allegedly violating an order of protection and stalking his ex-wife.
“We all have committed to turn this around and we’re gonna fix the problem; this is going to take all of us,” Hagel said, stressing “the problem will be solved here in this institution and we will fix it.”
The new team he’s assembled to come up with intragency solutions, and perhaps ward off an onslaught of legislation, will hold its first meeting next month at the Pentagon.
“It’s not good enough to say we have a zero tolerance policy,” Hagel said.
In addition, every military recruiter will have to undergo special training after a string of sexual misconduct cases in their ranks.
“The risks inherent to military service must not include the risk of sexual assault,” Dempsey said, stressing that “the emphasis on prevention is especially important” and the Joint Chiefs have been brainstorming on ways to “change a culture that has become complacent.”
“Now’s the time for moral courage at every level; there can be no bystanders,” he added of battling “aggressive sexual behavior that rips at the bonds of trust that bind us together.”
Hagel addressed the question of those who say “well, why don’t you just fire some people — well, yeah, who you gonna fire?”
“Where we can find people who have actually perpetrated these crimes, yes,” he said.
Hagel stressed the importance of an independent review board to look objectively at the cases and arrive at suggestions for real-world fixes.
“We need to see what they come up with,” he said. “We’re talking with other militaries from around the world and see what they think.”
The Defense secretary didn’t say which countries he’s consulted. This week he met with counterparts from Bosnia-Herzegovina and Turkey.
The Pentagon said it successfully intercepted a separating ballistic missile over the Pacific Ocean last night in a test of the Aegis Ballistic Missile Defense system.
The Defense Department launched the short-range missile from Hawaii northwest into the Pacific. The USS Lake Erie then tracked the missile and launched the SM-3 Block IB missile to take it down with a direct impact.
“Initial indications are that all components performed as designed,” the Pentagon said. “Program officials will assess and evaluate system performance based upon telemetry and other data obtained during the test.”
It was the third consecutive successful test of the missile interceptor system, and comes on the heels of a Pentagon report to Congress finding that North Korea is pulling closer to its “stated objective of being able to strike the U.S. homeland.”
“North Korea remains a security threat because of its willingness to undertake provocative and destabilizing behavior, including attacks on the Republic of Korea (ROK), its pursuit of nuclear weapons and long-range ballistic missiles, and its willingness to proliferate weapons in contravention of its international agreements and United Nations Security Council Resolutions.”
No word yet from the Korean Central News Agency on whether Kim Jong-un thought he was being attacked with a short-range missile from Hawaii.
The Pentagon was scrambling today to prove to Congress that they’re on top of handling the latest sex-abuse scandal to weigh on the department.
Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel was informed yesterday about the allegations of criminal behavior against an Army sergeant first class who was a sexual assault prevention and response coordinator at Fort Hood. “I cannot convey strongly enough his frustration, anger, and disappointment over these troubling allegations and the breakdown in discipline and standards they imply,” Pentagon spokesman George Little said.
Hagel met with Army Secretary John McHugh “and directed him to fully investigate this matter rapidly, to discover the extent of these allegations, and to ensure that all of those who might be involved are dealt with appropriately.”
The soldier being investigated allegedly employed one female private first class as a prostitute and assaulted another when she refused to join his prostitution ring.
The newest report comes just a week after the chief of the Air Force’s sexual assault prevention and response branch was arrested on sexual battery charges in Arlington, Va.
The accused soldier at Fort Hood was immediately suspended from all duties by the chain of command once the allegations were brought to the command’s attention, according to the Army, though no charges have yet been filed.
A recent Pentagon report said three sexual assaults an hour took place in 2012.
During testimony last week before the House Appropriations Committee Defense subcommittee, McHugh said the assaults are “so contrary to everything upon which the Army was built.”
“To see this kind of activity happening in our ranks is really heart wrenching and sickening,” he said.
House Armed Services Committee Chairman Buck McKeon (R-Calif.) called the newest allegations “the latest chapter in a long, sordid history of sexual abuse in our Armed Forces.”
“I see no meaningful distinction between complacency or complicity in the military’s latest failure to uphold their own standards of conduct. Nor do I see a distinction between the service member who orchestrated this offense and the chain of command that was either oblivious to or tolerant of criminal behavior,” said McKeon, who has a granddaughter in the Army. “Both are accountable for this appalling breach of trust with their subordinates and their failure to act worthy of their responsibilities as leaders.”
“If true, the latest sexual assault allegation released by the Army is deeply disturbing and extremely troubling. How can our military be so effective at protecting our nation, yet so ineffective at protecting those who serve?” said ranking member Adam Smith (D-Wash.).
“This is the second service member recently accused of sexual assault whose job in the military, in part, is to be one of the leaders charged with stopping such assaults in the military. Clearly, there is a serious issue with how individuals for this position are selected,” Smith continued. “This latest incident clearly demonstrates that the military’s efforts to prevent sexual assault are failing miserably.”
McKeon called on Hagel “to conduct a review of the military and civilian leadership within the military services to determine whether they continue to hold his trust and his confidence to lead in this area.”
“With regard to sexual assault, my confidence in them is deeply shaken,” the chairman added.
On Monday May 6th the following question was posted on The Blaze, linked to Buzzfeed’s report from Reuters:
Did Obama Cry While Answering Benghazi Questions During Press Conference?
Buzzfeed reported Reuters’ description of the same photo taken by its photographer, Jim Bourg, referencing the moisture on the president’s cheek as a “tear” that came while he answered press questions about Benghazi.
“A tear runs down the face of President Barack Obama as he answers questions about the attack on the U.S. embassy in Benghazi during a joint news conference in the East Room of the White House in Washington,” Reuters’ description read.
So now you know why the above photo is deemed “worthy” of a Tatler Caption Contest along with loyal contest participants specifically asking for this photo be a contest subject.
I am not going to fault President Obama for showing emotion about the Benghazi incident which resulted in the loss of four Americans. But I do have doubts that it was the real reason for the tear Obama shed eight months after the attack while hosting a joint White House press conference with the British Prime Minister.
Since Benghazi “happened a long time ago” (as White House Press Secretary Jay Carney recently stated) than what else could spark such emotion in our normally “kool” president?
The answer is simple, “It’s the legacy stupid!”
President Obama’s teardrop fell the moment he realized he had lost control over the shaping of his legacy. This explanation is possible because it is well known that Obama’s legacy is very important to him.
In fact, he planned on spending his entire second-term passing and implementing such legacy issues as health care, gun control, and immigration reform.
Then on Monday evening after the tearful press conference, Obama flew off to a star-studded New York City fundraiser hosted by Hollywood mogul, Harvey Weinstein. There, Obama made a statement no president has ever felt the need to make. While reflecting on his second term, he said, “I sure want to do some governing.”
But when is there time for “governing” when his schedule is crowded with fundraising, campaigning, travel, parties, golf and vacations?
And with all the scandals currently engulfing him, even less time will be left for “governing.” (Many readers are cheering this.)
Even more damaging is Obama can not escape the dreaded “N” word he is being associated with on a daily basis, even from his former cheerleaders in the media!
Nixon’s legacy was certainly not the one Obama planned on emulating since his Messianic presidency began with all those lofty comparisons to Lincoln, FDR, and even the real Messiah.
But enough of my theories. Now it’s time for PJ Media readers to weigh in by either writing a caption or explaining the teardrop from the “kool guy.”
Please remember our rules, “be nice and stay classy because the media is watching.” (And obeying these rules might keep you from getting audited.)
Here again are the winners from our last contest (and only a few of them have been audited so far.)
Good luck and please note that using the “N” word (Nixon) in your caption means your entry will automatically be singled out for special attention by the IRS and yours truly!
The Pentagon is moving forward with 11-day furloughs for some 800,000 civilian personnel, Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel told employees in a memo today.
“As you are fully aware, the Department of Defense is facing a historic shortfall in our budget for the current fiscal year. This is the result of current law that went into effect March 1. It imposes deep across-the-board cuts on DoD and other federal agencies. Combined with higher than expected wartime operating costs, we are now short more than $30 billion in our operation and maintenance (O&M) accounts — which are the funds that we use to pay most civilian employees, maintain our military readiness, and respond to global contingencies,” Hagel wrote.
“The department has been doing everything possible to reduce this shortfall while ensuring we can defend the nation, sustain wartime operations, and preserve DoD’s most critical asset — our world-class civilian and military personnel. To that end, we have cut back sharply on facilities maintenance, worked to shift funds from investment to O&M accounts, and reduced many other important but non-essential programs.”
As expected, though, that hasn’t been enough to close the shortfall, he said.
“After required notifications, we will begin the furlough period on July 8 at the rate of one furlough day per week for most personnel. We plan to continue these furloughs through the end of the current fiscal year. If our budgetary situation permits us to end furloughs early, I would strongly prefer to do so. That is a decision I will make later in the year,” Hagel continued.
House Armed Services Committee Chairman Buck McKeon (R-Calif.) warned that “furloughs are just the beginning” in wearing down the Defense Department.
“Sequester’s pain will intensify and strengthen. It will get far worse before it gets better,” he warned.
“In the time since the White House first conceived of sequester, I have urged the president to find a reasonable way to rein in the debt without hurting the economy or compromising our national security. He still has it within his power to fix sequestration, a responsibility no other member of government can claim,” McKeon continued. “House Republicans have advanced multiple balanced solutions that could spare those who support our national security this uncertainty and hardship. Unfortunately, the president has taken no such step.”
“I fear that the President’s inaction has made saving our military from sequester in 2013 a lost cause. My hope is that President Obama reads Congress’ clear intent that sequester be replaced in 2014 as an opportunity to finally show leadership; the signs are not promising.”
The congressman noted that Obama hasn’t even turned in a funding request for troops in Afghanistan.
“I am ready and willing to work with him to prevent the debt crisis from growing into a national security crisis, but his inaction promotes uncertainty and increases risk,” McKeon said.
Last week my husband and I were back in our hometown of Washington D.C. where we both had business and events to attend. Normally I do not write about my personal travel adventures but this trip had a rather unique “historical time capsule” element that makes it worth recanting.
My husband, a retired State Department Foreign Service officer is now an executive with Cross International/Cross Catholic Alliance, both an international Christian and Catholic humanitarian organization that improves the lives of the poor in 40 countries around the world.
He also serves on the board of an advocacy group which is comprised of similar Christian faith-based organizations.
Mid-week while attending a conference of the advocacy group, my husband told me they spent an entire afternoon discussing how Christian groups are being increasingly squeezed/harassed by the Obama Administration in matters such as hiring policies, health insurance coverage and IRS audits. (Cue the foreboding music.)
Meanwhile, Thursday on Capitol Hill, I attended a luncheon held by the Republican Women’s Federal Forum, a group in which I am a long time member and where Senator Rand Paul (R-KY) was the speaker.
We all know that Senator Paul is putting out feelers as to whether he should make a run for the 2016 Republican presidential nomination, but first he must increase his name identification, make some headlines and develop his brand image.
On Wednesday, the day before the Rand Paul luncheon the Congressional Benghazi “whistleblower” hearings had occurred, showering the entire town with political fall-out. So naturally, Rand Paul saw fit to weigh in on this hot topic.
Senator Paul in his Thursday lunch speech said that Former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton’s handling of the terrorist attack in Benghazi should “preclude her from holding higher office.” I immediately turned to a friend sitting next to me and said, “Now that was a headline.” It was obvious that Rand Paul had just fired his first warning shot of the 2016 presidential campaign.
Then later on, more 2016 Republican presidential campaign antics were yet to come.
In the early evening, I attended an event called POLITICO’s Playbook Cocktails with MSNBC “Morning Joe” co-hosts Mika Brzezinski and Joe Scarborough.
The event was supposed to be about Mika’s new book called Obsessed, America’s Food Addiction – And My Own, but of course politics soon entered the discussion. Joe Scarborough said something like President Obama should have remained a U.S. Senator in order to have gained more experience, and Senator Marco Rubio was not yet ready to run for president in 2016 and should stay in the Senate. (I strongly agree with both assessments.)
As Joe was talking about the future of the Republican Party, Mika’s cell phone rang and she immediately says, “Hi Chris.” Big surprise! N.J. Governor Chris Christie called in to join the discussion and upstaged everyone on stage. Truly it was an entertaining moment and you can watch as it happened here.
During the call, Christie said his recent secret weight reducing LAP-BAND surgery was a difficult personal decision based on health and family issues, not future political considerations. He was referring to his assumed 2016 presidential run for the GOP nomination.
However, if this surgery is successful Christie will emerge physically smaller but politically larger with an image more suitable for a jog on the national campaign trail. Therefore, Christie feels the need to justify, re-justify and further defend his “tough personal” medical decision.
So my Thursday in DC could be summarized like this: Rand Paul vs. Chris Christie vs. Hillary in 2016.
Then it was Friday and ABC News revealed that there were 12 versions of the Benghazi talking points. I cheered this “breaking” news because finally the mainstream media (MSM) were on to Benghazi, after months of Fox News being ridiculed by the MSM for its non-stop pursuit of this unresolved story. (Kudos to PJM as well, along with Steve Hayes of the Weekly Standard who was the first to report the Obama Administration’s multiple Benghazi talking-points. But as we Conservatives know, news is only real news when the MSM reports it.)
Then over the weekend the Benghazi story had fully evolved to where Republicans want the whole truth while Democrats accuse Republicans of using Benghazi to target Hillary for 2016. Here are two pieces I posted last week in Washington on this exact issue.
My big question is, “Why in Washington D.C. in May of 2013 does every lunch, event and hearing have to be about the 2016 presidential election?” Could it be that Washington is such a forward thinking city? (Try not to laugh.)
While my husband’s conference finished up I had a two free hours and decided to visit the American History Museum which I had not been to in years.
On my way there, news broke that the IRS had just admitted targeting Tea Party groups who were applying for perfectly legal tax-exempt status.
How timely that the group of Christian aid agencies my husband helps represent, just two days ago in their Washington meeting had discussed how their faith-based group members were being targeted for audits by the IRS. (My husband’s organization among them.)
As I entered the American History Museum my thoughts turned to Nixon and Watergate. Remember how Nixon used the IRS to harass his political enemies? In fact, that was one of Nixon’s 1974 impeachable offenses. There are, as of this writing, no direct ties to Obama, but after all, the IRS is part of his administration.
Now the American History Museum was swamped with school kids and at one point the crowd broke into a spontaneous singing of the Star Spangled Banner while unfurling a huge flag in the lobby. This outbreak of patriotism renewed my faith in the American people even as news about the IRS will undoubtedly contribute to the growing distrust Americans have towards their government.
With my museum time short, I wandered into the American war exhibits and was shocked to see that WWI and the Korean War were stuffed into very small corners. Certainly these wars deserve more space than currently allotted.
However, WWII was the exact opposite with endless rooms covering all aspects of the war. In the Home Front exhibit there were WWII posters hanging on the side of a battleship. As an owner of a small collection of WWI and WWII posters, I was delighted to see one of my own posters on display.
So now my new definition of growing old (semi-gracefully) is seeing stuff you own hanging in the Smithsonian. And to further add friends to this definition, I spotted the name of a close friend on a movie exhibit. Instantly I sent him an image of the display, exclaiming that he was “Smithsonian” famous, as opposed to just Hollywood famous. He immediately thanked me because he had not known this and was thrilled.
Finally, on Saturday we are at Reagan National heading home and in the terminal we stumble upon a group of WWII veterans arriving as part of an Honor Flight. If you are not familiar with Honor Flights they are an organization that brings WWII veterans to Washington D.C. to visit the WWII memorial.
Greeting them at the gate was a full band and much flag waving. Random passengers like us instantly formed lines in the terminal clapping and cheering as these heroes of the “Greatest Generation” got the welcome they richly deserved.
This spontaneous demonstration of patriotism and respect was a remarkable sight, especially after I had just visited all those Smithsonian exhibits dedicated to their struggles.
After arriving home, I had a good laugh on Sunday as Meet the Press moderator David Gregory, quoted Rand Paul’s controversial remark about Hillary that he repeated again in Iowa over the weekend. It seems 2016 is looming very large.
Then I walked into our guest room and looked lovingly at my Smithsonian WWII poster hanging on the wall. After what I consider a “time capsule” trip to Washington with so much breaking news, the poster’s slogan took on new meaning. Its stirring message is just as applicable today, whether Americans are fighting a foreign enemy or raging against their own government.
My WWII Government Printing Office poster dated 1942 says: Strong in the strength of the Lord we who fight in the people’s cause will never stop until that cause is won.
Perhaps I should send the IRS and the Obama Administration a photo of this poster? But I am sure that the poster would be outlawed today as a violation of church and state and I would be audited for even sending it.
On Wednesday, at least three State Department employees will testify before the House Government Oversight and Reform Committee on Benghazi. They are expected to say that yes, there was a stand-down order during the battle. They may also testify that the State Department itself has tried to bully them into silence. What else they may say is not yet known.
As the Benghazi story has unfolded, many mysteries have persisted. Why wasn’t the Benghazi mission’s security enhanced? Where was President Obama? What role, if any, did Obama campaign officials play in crafting the government’s communications after the attack? Perhaps Wednesday’s witnesses can help shed some light on them.
1. Who gave the stand-down order, and why? Fox and CBS have both reported that there was a stand-down order issued during the battle in Benghazi on September 11, 2012. Four Americans died, while as many as 30 survived. Assistance could have come in from U.S. bases in Italy or possibly from bases in the Middle East. There was a drone, unarmed, overhead, and there have been reports that an AC-130 gunship was also overhead at some point during the prolonged battle. The question is not, now, whether there was a stand-down order issued. Fox and CBS have independently reported that there was. The question is, how far up in the U.S. chain of command was that decision made, and why was it made? Additionally, how did U.S. forces react to that order? Was anyone relieved of command for considering or attempting to disobey that order, as has been rumored for months?
2. Where was President Obama and what was he doing? As commander-in-chief, the president is ultimately responsible for any U.S. response to attacks on our missions and personnel overseas. According to official schedules and White House answers after the fact, President Obama held a regularly scheduled meeting at 5 pm Washington time with his then Defense Secretary Leon Panetta, around the time that the attack on the U.S. consulate in Benghazi began. No photos from that meeting have been released. The American people have been told very little about the president’s activities that night. He held the meeting, the attack began and would unfold for several hours, and the president reportedly went to bed that night in the White House. By the time he went to bed, news had already broken that U.S. Ambassador to Libya Christopher Stevens was missing. Obama went to bed not knowing his ambassador’s fate, and reportedly learned the next morning that Stevens had been killed. No photos of the president being present or in command during the attack have ever been released by the White House. This in itself is strange behavior from a White House that even released a photo of the president, by himself, holding a moment of silence for the victims of the Boston bombing. In February, Panetta testified that he had no communication with Obama after their September 11 meeting, and in fact had no communication with anyone at the White House at all during the attack, raising the question of whether anyone was in the White House Situation Room monitoring the attack. It’s implausible that the secretary of Defense and president of the United States would not communicate at all during an attack on a U.S. facility overseas, but that is Panetta’s testimony. That mystery deepens when we consider then Secretary of State Clinton’s actions during the attack.
3. Where was Secretary of State Clinton and what was she doing? How much did Clinton know about the security situation in Benghazi before the attack? Secretary of State Hillary Clinton’s whereabouts and activities during the attack in Benghazi are similarly mysterious. Clinton’s State Department repeatedly rejected requests for enhancing security at Benghazi, even as Ansar al-Sharia’s power in the area grew over the summer of 2012. Why did State not beef up the Benghazi mission’s security? The Benghazi attack was focused on the U.S. consulate, which belongs to the U.S. State Department. Why Stevens was in Benghazi that night, and what the consulate may have been used for, remains unknown. One of the Wednesday whistleblowers, veteran counterterrorism officer Mark I. Thompson, is expected to testify that Secretary of State Clinton sought to cut the State Department’s counterterrorism bureau out of the chain of reporting and decision-making during the attack. Thompson also claims that the State Department suppressed his account after the attack. Another unnamed State official corroborates Thompson’s account. But Daniel Benjamin, head of the counterterrorism unit at the time, says Clinton never tried to cut his group out during the attack. All of this brings to mind the question, exactly what was Clinton’s role on the night of the attack? Secretary of Defense Panetta testified that he and Clinton never communicated during the attack. All three of the nation’s top national security and diplomatic officials — President Obama, Defense Secretary Panetta and Secretary of State Clinton — were in Washington that night. Panetta and Clinton were evidently engaged in responding to the attack, independently. Yet according to Panetta, they never talked to each other during the attack. Why would they not communicate during an ongoing attack on a U.S. facility overseas, if indeed they did not? Both Defense and State would surely be involved in any effective response to an attack on a U.S. diplomatic mission overseas.
Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel said through his spokesman late last night that he is “disgusted” over the arrest of the chief of the Air Force’s sexual assault prevention and response branch this past weekend on sexual battery charges.
Lt. Col. Jeffrey Krusinski, 41, of Arlington, Va., is accused of grabbing a woman’s breasts and buttocks in a parking lot. His mugshot provided by the Arlington County Police Department shows a cut under one eye and abrasions around his mouth.
Pentagon Press Secretary George Little said Hagel “spoke to Air Force Secretary Donley about allegations of misconduct involving an Air Force officer who had been responsible for the service’s sexual assault and prevention efforts and was removed today from his position pending the outcome of an investigation.”
“Secretary Hagel expressed outrage and disgust over the troubling allegations and emphasized that this matter will be dealt with swiftly and decisively,” he said.
The arrest is especially embarrassing for the Defense Department as the Pentagon has been criticized in Congress for not doing enough to combat sexual assault in the military.
“Secretary Hagel has been directing the department’s leaders to elevate their focus on sexual assault prevention and response, and he will soon announce next steps in our ongoing efforts to combat this vile crime,” Little said.
“Sexual assault has no place in the United States military. The American people, including our service members, should expect a culture of absolutely no tolerance for this deplorable behavior that violates not only the law, but basic principles of respect, honor, and dignity in our society and its military,” he continued. “Secretary Hagel is firmly committed to upholding the highest standards of behavior in America’s armed forces and will take action to see this through.”
Dancing a similar two-step as a previous Democratic administration, White House spokesman Jay Carney had a wordy answer — not containing “yes” or “no” — to the question of whether Syrian President Bashar al-Assad is perpetrating genocide on his people.
“You mentioned that the — the Assad regime has murdered tens of thousands of people, in your — your words. Does this rise to the level of a genocide?” was the question directed to Carney.
“It is a level of violence against — by a regime against its own people that is worthy of contempt and condemnation. What the terminology that may be used by courts, or the United Nations or others, I will leave to them. But, it is heinous and despicable. It is the kind of action that long ago rendered Assad incapable of continuing in power with any kind of legitimacy,” the press secretary said before hurrying on to the next question.
More than 70,000 people have been killed and more than a million have been displaced by Assad’s bombardment in response to peaceful pro-democracy demonstrations that were inspired by the Arab Spring.
Genocide Watch notes that government atrocities “far outweigh” ones attributed to rebels, and “the evidence is conclusive that the al-Assad regime is committing intentional crimes against humanity.”
“Among the crimes the al-Assad regime is committing are: indiscriminant, widespread attacks on civilians, arbitrary detention of thousands in the political opposition, genocidal massacres of whole villages of Sunni Muslims, rape of detainees, widespread torture- including torture and murder of children- and denial of food, medicines and other essential resources to civilians,” the organization said.
“Early warning signs and stages of genocide” in Syria, Genocide Watch says, are “prior unpunished genocidal massacres, such as those perpetrated by Assad’s father in Hama in the 1980’s; rule by a minority sect – the Alawite sect that supports Assad – with an exclusionary ideology; systematic human rights atrocities; fear by the ruling elite that any compromise will mean total loss of their power; deliberate targeting of particular groups — Sunni Muslims and army defectors; denial by the Syrian government that it is committing crimes against humanity, blaming ‘foreign – inspired terrorist gangs’ for the armed conflict.”
Governments are loathe to use the word “genocide” for fear of having to act under the 1948 Convention on the Prevention and Punishment of the Crime of Genocide.
In a clear case of genocide in Rwanda, 1994, Clinton’s administration infamously stopped at the description “acts of genocide.” In 1998, President Clinton apologized to Rwanda victims, saying, “We did not act quickly enough after the killing began. We should not have allowed the refugee camps to become safe havens for the killers. We did not immediately call these crimes by their rightful name: genocide.” Over 100 days, 800,000 people were killed in the genocide.
Privately, though, the State Department was officially calling the Rwandan slaughter genocide in reports just a few weeks after the killings started.
The Obama administration has tapped former EU Ambassador James Dobbins to take over as the next Special Representative for Afghanistan and Pakistan.
Richard Holbrooke was the first to hold the position created by President Obama. After Holbrooke died in 2010, former ambassador to Turkey Marc Grossman took the job. Grossman resigned in December.
Dobbins, director of the International Security and Defense Policy Center at RAND Corp., “has deep and longstanding relationships in the region and I couldn’t be more grateful that Jim has agreed to take on this assignment,” said Secretary of State John Kerry.
Dobbins was the first diplomatic envoy to Afghanistan after the fall of the Taliban. He represented the United States at the Bonn Conference that established the new Afghan Government, and he raised the flag over the U.S. Embassy in Kabul when it reopened in 2001.
“Jim is one of our nation’s most accomplished diplomats and will bring all of his considerable expertise and experience to bear as Special Representative for Afghanistan and Pakistan,” Kerry said.
“Given my own history with both countries, and players throughout the region, identifying the right person for this position was a key priority,” the secretary added.
A member of Congress told PJM this week that Kerry briefings inevitably see the long-winded secretary turning the subject to himself.
“I never thought I’d long for Hillary Clinton,” the member quipped.
The leaders of the Senate Armed Services Committee are seeking Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel’s leadership on where to cut to meet the $52 billion in Fiscal Year 2014 mandated by sequestration.
“Virtually every DOD witness who has come before the Armed Services Committee this year has testified that an additional round of sequestration in fiscal year 2014 would be devastating for the Department,” Chairman Carl Levin (D-Mich.) and Ranking Member Jim Inhofe (R-Okla.) wrote to Hagel yesterday.
“Despite this testimony, many members of Congress and the public still seem to have the view that sequestration is an effective way to cut government spending and can be made workable simply by providing the Department with additional flexibility or making minor adjustments. As a result, there is an increasing risk that DOD and other federal agencies may face sequestration again in 2014.”
Levin and Inhofe asked Hagel to provide a package of reductions to the committee by July 1.
“We recognize that it will not be easy to put together such a package. In our view, however, a concrete demonstration of the painful choices the Department would have to make to cut $52 billion from its budget may be our last, best hope of avoiding sequestration altogether,” they added.
Levin said in a statement that he believes other agencies should put their cuts in writing, too.
“I hope other committees make similar requests of the departments in their jurisdiction, so that we can demonstrate to our colleagues and the American people how urgent it is that we end sequestration and substitute a balanced approach to budgeting and deficits,” the senator said.
Inhofe noted “the men and women of our military have already endured almost $600 billion in cuts and stand to lose another $52 billion next year because of a failure to address sequestration.”
“Our military was told last year not to worry about sequestration, that it would not happen, but the failed promise has led to an enormous amount of uncertainty that has prevented our military leaders from properly planning to ensure the capabilities and readiness of our force,” the Oklahoma Republican said. “It is vital for DoD and Sec. Hagel to provide Congress with a detailed plan for the implementation of the FY’14 defense cuts so that my colleagues and the American public will have a clear understanding of what the future holds for our military capabilities and overall national security.”
Upon hearing this news I thought it was a good time to check out the list. (You never know what you will find because these days you might even spot that “quiet” neighbor or pot-smoking classmate.)
After reading the list I strongly encourage President Obama to do the same. Perhaps then he might not be so hesitant to utter the phrase, “Islamist Terrorist” when discussing the Boston bombings or the numerous other recent domestic Islamic extremist/terror attacks that were either successful or foiled.
Please feel free to forward this list to the media or elected officials who are resisting the truth about a very small number of people from a certain group who want to do our nation great harm.
From reading this list one would think that political correctness and ethnic sensitivity would take a back seat to the reality of the serious threats we face. But remember, this is 2013 and we are super-respectful of everyone’s feelings, both group and individual.
So now, be sure to keep your feelings in check as you scroll down the FBI’s Most Wanted Terrorist List.
Most Wanted Terrorists
At the bottom of the list are several FBI legal paragraphs and now I would like to add my own:
This list has been posted as a public service by an American who loves and fears for this nation.
Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.) quickly fired back at President Obama today for accusing the senator of citing evidence of a decline in national security just to make headlines.
At this morning’s press conference, Obama was asked about Graham’s assertion that Benghazi and the Boston Marathon bombings are critical examples this security slip.
“No, Mr. Graham is not right on this issue. Although I’m sure it generated some headlines,” Obama said.
“The FBI investigated that older brother. It’s not as if the FBI did nothing. They not only investigated the older brother, they interviewed the older brother. They concluded there were no signs that he was engaging in extremist activity. So that much, we know,” the president added.
Graham rapidly responded to Obama’s comments.
“With all due respect Mr. President, Benghazi and Boston are compelling examples of how our national security systems have deteriorated on your watch,” the senator said.
“In Benghazi, multiple requests for increased security were denied and numerous warnings from Ambassador Stevens about the growing threats from al-Qaeda were ignored by Washington. For over seven and a half hours during the attack our Americans in the field were abandoned. After the attack, your administration provided misleading information to the American people,” Graham continued.
“In Boston, both the FBI and CIA were warned by the Russians about a radical Islamist in our midsts. Once enrolled in the system as a potential terror suspect, the older brother was able to travel back to Russia unimpeded by DHS or any of our intelligence agencies. Agencies under your control were unable to coordinate the information they received on the Boston terrorists.”
“If Benghazi is not an example of system failure before, during and after the attack what would be?” Graham said. “If Boston is not an example of a pre-9/11 stovepiping mentality what would be?”
President Obama said a “chain of custody” on Bashar al-Assad’s chemical weapons needs to be established before making good on his red-line promise to take action.
At an impromptu press conference this morning, Obama gave a vague response that a “game-changer” would mean putting into action a strategy of “rethinking” policy.
“I think it’s important to understand that for several years now what we’ve been seeing is a slowly unfolding disaster for the Syrian people,” Obama said, claiming in the next breath that the U.S. has not simply been a “bystander” to the carnage.
Obama wouldn’t say whether a game-changer has taken place but acknowledged “what we now have is evidence that chemical weapons have been used in Syria.”
“We don’t know how they were used, when they were used, who used them. We don’t have a chain of custody to establish what exactly happened,” he said. “I’ve got to make sure we have the facts.”
The president claimed “if we end up rushing to judgment” support of the international community would be lost. France and Britain have already declared Assad has used chemical weapons.
When pressed on what a game-changer means, “By game-changer I mean we would have to rethink the range of options that are available to us.”
Asked about a report that State Department employees were being warned not to testify on Benghazi, Obama said he was “not familiar” with what the reporter was asking about.
“I’m not familiar with this notion that anybody has been blocked from testifying,” said Obama. “So what I’ll do is I will find out what exactly you are referring to.”
The president did give a lengthy answer at the end of the press conference, though, praising NBA player Jason Collins for coming out of the closet and being a role model to kids.
Obama said Collins can say, “I’m still 7 foot tall and can bang with Shaq.”
A House Democrat defended the White House’s fudging of the red line regarding Syria’s chemical weapons by saying Bashar al-Assad might just be testing his sarin instead of killing civilians and claiming Russia can rein in the regime.
On ABC’s This Week Sunday, House Intelligence Committee Chairman Mike Rogers (R-Mich.) said the evidence he’s seen on the chemical weapons is conclusive enough to believe the red line, at which President Obama promised he’d take action, had been crossed.
“And there is also classified information that we have, that I think strengthens the case that in fact some small amount of chemical weapons have been used over the course of the last two years. And the problem is, you know the president has laid down the line. He — and it can’t be a dotted line. It can’t be anything other than a red line. And more than just Syria, Iran is paying attention to this. North Korea is paying attention to this,” Rogers said.
“So I think the options aren’t huge, but some action needs to be taken. And if you think about the destabilizing impact. Right now, the chemical weapons have been small in use. If you have a larger use, the refugee and humanitarian crisis that comes from that is huge,” he added.
Rogers’ counterpart on the committee, ranking member Dutch Ruppersberger (D-Md.), was asked why Assad would use the sarin in such a small area.
“Well the first thing, he could be testing. We’re not sure. But whatever that is, it’s — it is a red line, and you don’t kill people with chemical weapons,” Ruppersberger said.
The White House has contended it needs a UN investigation before taking any action as promised.
“And it’s not just about the United States and where we stand, it’s at — that the whole world and those countries around there,” Ruppersberger continued. “I think a key player here, is Russia. I think Russia can stand up and make a difference. And they have before in the last couple of — within the last month, Russia I’m sure went to Assad and said, look you don’t cross this line. And I — and I think at this point we — that’s where we are.”
Rep. Jan Schakowky (D-Ill.) said she appreciates Obama’s “deliberative approach” to the red line.
“We certainly want to finish the investigation,” she said. “But he said, it’s not an on and off switch, but it is — it has changed his calculations. And of course, he’s looking into all of the options. But, you know to — to imply that maybe we’re not doing enough, or we’re not doing anything, I think also is a mistake.”
Rogers said “indecision has lessened the number of options we have available” and allowed al-Qaeda to “attach themselves to the secular units” of the opposition forces.
“That causes a huge problem for us. And here’s the biggest problem, and why at least our leadership, and this is not about military intervention alone, how often is the Arab League actually asking us to show leadership with them, to help coordinate their resources on the ground in Syria?” Rogers added. “It doesn’t happen very often. Why?”
After members of his administration said the “red line” for Syria and chemical weapons had most likely been crossed, President Obama had to face the cameras to explain his red-line wavering before a meeting with Jordan’s King Abdullah today.
“What we have right now is an intelligence assessment. And as I said, knowing that potentially chemical weapons have been used inside of Syria doesn’t tell us when they were used, how they were used. Obtaining confirmation and strong evidence, all of those things we have to make sure that we work on with the international community,” Obama said.
The White House has said it wants the UN to launch its own investigation and rely on those findings.
“And I think that, in many ways, a line has been crossed when we see tens of thousands of innocent people being killed by a regime. But the use of chemical weapons and the dangers that poses to the international community, to neighbors of Syria, the potential for chemical weapons to get into the hands of terrorists — all of those things add increased urgency to what is already a significant security problem and humanitarian problem in the region,” he said.
The death toll is estimated to be more than 70,000.
“So we’re going to be working with countries like Jordan to try to obtain more direct evidence and confirmation of this potential use. In the meantime, I’ve been very clear publicly, but also privately, that for the Syrian government to utilize chemical weapons on its people crosses a line that will change my calculus and how the United States approaches these issues,” Obama continued.
“So this is not an on or off switch. This is an ongoing challenge that all of us have to be concerned about. And we’re going to be working with the international community and our partners to keep our eyes on what’s happening on the ground, to gather any evidence of potential chemical weapon use and, at the same time, to continue to help with a moderate and inclusive opposition to help bring about the day when the Syrian people can once again focus on living their lives, raising their children, starting businesses, and obtaining basic freedom and human rights.”
A military policeman has been sentenced to 16 years behind bars for selling secret documents to an undercover FBI agent he thought was a Russian official.
William Millay, 23, of Owensboro, Ky., was stationed at Joint Base Elmendorf-Richardson near Anchorage when he was arrested in October 2011. He pleaded guilty to soliciting another individual to commit espionage.
Millay apparently went to other persons at the base to get support for his plan to sell secrets to the Russians.“Some of the individuals he made statements to did not take him seriously, but some did,” said Special Agent Derrick Criswell. “Still, no one came forward to report his activity.”
Millay became a cause celeb last fall on the Daily Paul, with members charging that the government wasn’t being forthcoming about his status and sucked him into a “black hole.”
The FBI said Millay had “white supremacist tattoos on his body” that “likely reflect his ideology,” but believe he was motivated by greed in the attempted espionage.
“This case really drives home the point that the insider threat is alive and well,” said Special Agent Sam Johnson, who supervises a national security squad in our Anchorage Division.
“Money was what he was after. He was willing to sell sensitive information—to potentially endanger his fellow military members as well as the security of the country—for a payday.”
Millay dropped secret documents about military technology at a prearranged spot for a payment of $3,000.
“This has been a significant case for Alaska,” Johnson said. “It’s the first known espionage arrest and prosecution that I am aware of in the state. And if it can happen here, it can happen anywhere.”
Brothers Tamerlan and Dzhokhar Tsarnaev spoke of going to New York while driving the streets of Cambridge last Thursday, according to a man who was carjacked and later escaped. The talk came hours before getting int a shootout with police. Tamerlan Tsarnaev, 26, died, and his younger brother is in fair condition in a Boston hospital.
While previous reports have said the brothers were coming to the Big Apple “to party,” Rep. Peter King, R-N.Y., told Fox News they were planning to set off bombs in Times Square, the tourist mecca targeted by Faisal Shahzad in a failed 2010 plot.
“I’ve heard that from police sources that Times Square was mentioned by the bombers and is believed to have been the next attack, the next possible attack,” King said.
In a press conference this afternoon, Mayor Michael Bloomberg confirmed that the bomb brothers planned mayhem at Times Square after successfully bombing the Boston Marathon. New York Police Commissioner Ray Kelly said the bombers still had six pressure cooker bombs when they engaged in a firefight with police that killed the older brother. They had set off two of those bombs at the finish line at the marathon, killing three and injuring nearly 200.
Did they have additional targets in mind? Was there any connection between the Tsarnaevs and Faisal Shahzad, the man now serving life in prison for trying to bomb Times Square in 2010? Designating the surviving bomber an “enemy combatant” could have helped answer that question, but instead, the Obama administration declined that designation, he was read his Mirand rights, and he is no longer talking.
More: Another mystery that Mirandizing the younger bomber won’t help clear up: How and from whom did they learn to build their bombs? Investigators say that they showed “expertise” in how they built and triggered the devices.
Investigators said the two Boston Marathon bombswere triggered by long-range remote controls for toy cars — a more sophisticated design than originally believed — bolstering a theory that the older suspect received bomb-making guidance on his six-month trip to Russia last year.
Tamerlan Tsarnaev, who died in a shootout with police last week, “more than likely got some instruction in Dagestan,” a federal law enforcement official said Wednesday.
And yet investigators still say no outside group was involved in the bombing. I flat out don’t believe that. If they got instruction, that’s involvement.
Breaking word is that AG Eric Holder directly ordered Tsarnaev to be Mirandized. Congress needs to haul him to the Hill and ask him if and why he did that. He had to know that he was cutting the terror investigation off. He couldn’t not know that.
Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel has picked up where his predecessor left off, and that includes having to answer lingering congressional questions about the Sept. 11 attack on the U.S. consulate in Benghazi.
House Armed Services Committee Chairman Buck McKeon (R-Calif.) now wants Hagel to turn over the unredacted version of events from the Pentagon point of view that night to his committee.
“I am writing to request your assistance in providing to the committee the classified version of the Department of Defense’s time line for the attack that occurred in Benghazi, Libya on September 11-12, 2012,” McKeon wrote to the former senator.
“The committee has requested this timeline from The Joint Staff. However, The Joint Staff has indicated that there would be delay in delivery of this timeline due to a requirement to coordinate it within the interagency.”
McKeon stressed that the DoD document is “critical to ensuring that the committee has a comprehensive understanding of the events that transpired” that day when four Americans were killed.
“It is also critical for the committee’s ongoing oversight activities. A delay in providing this classified timeline to the committee would hamper both of those requirements. Therefore, I request that this timeline is provided to the committee immediately,” he wrote.
The full-court press comes as the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee announced it will resume hearings next month into the deadly Benghazi consulate attack.
“Next month, the Oversight Committee will convene a hearing on the Benghazi terrorist attacks to examine evidence that Obama Administration officials have attempted to suppress information about errors and reckless misjudgments,” said Chairman Darrell Issa (R-Calif.) yesterday. “The American people still don’t have the full truth about what happened both before and after the murders of four brave Americans.”
This round will focus on information revealed to the committee by administration whistleblowers.
A group of Democrats are charging that the “war on women” includes the ban on abortions in military medical facilities.
The Dems today introduced the Military Access to Reproductive Care and Health (MARCH) Act of 2013, which would allow women in the military to use their own money to pay for abortions in military medical facilities.
The last defense budget chipped away at the military’s abortion ban on base, which since 1988 had been allowed only if the woman’s life was in danger but now extends to cases of rape or incest.
“This legislation would help to respect our servicewomen’s right to privacy while ensuring that they receive the best medical care possible in a timely manner,” said Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand (D-N.Y.), chairwoman of the Senate Armed Service Subcommittee on Personnel.
Proponents claim women would risk shoddy care if they went off-base for abortions.
“Women serving in foreign countries deserve access to safe and legal health care, which in many cases is not available off the military base,” said Sen. Frank Lautenberg (D-N.J.). “Women in the U.S. military shouldn’t have to forfeit their rights when they serve abroad, and this legislation would bring unjust treatment to an end.”
“Our women in uniform continue to play increasingly critical roles in our military and there is no reason for them to be excluded from the same types of health care services available to those in the private sector,” said Sen. Patty Murray (D-Wash.).
Tuesday afternoon, the US Treasury Department moved against two financial institutions suspected of money laundering for Hizballah. In a statement released on its web site, Treasury accuses the two Lebanese banks, Kassem Rmeiti & Co. For Exchange (Rmeiti Exchange) and Halawi Exchange Co. (Halawi Exchange), of engaging in primary money laundering to support the terrorist group’s activities.
According to the Treasury statement:
Today’s action reflects the Treasury Department’s continuing commitment to target illicit financial networks that launder millions of dollars in funds for narcotics traffickers and that, in the process, provide substantial financial benefits to the terrorist organization Hizballah. This action will protect the U.S. financial system from these activities and expose entities supporting the network of designated drug kingpin Ayman Joumaa.
“Following Treasury’s action against the Lebanese Canadian Bank, the Joumaa narcotics network turned to Rmeiti Exchange and Halawi Exchange to handle its money laundering needs,” said Under Secretary for Terrorism and Financial Intelligence David S. Cohen. “As our actions against the Lebanese Canadian Bank, Joumaa and the two exchange houses today make clear, the Treasury Department, working with our partners across the Federal government, will aggressively expose and disrupt sophisticated multi-national money laundering organizations that handle drug proceeds for criminal enterprises including the terrorist group Hizballah.”
The Treasury Department’s 311 action against Lebanese Canadian Bank in February 2011, as well as designations in January 2011 of Ayman Joumaa and two exchange houses, Hassan Ayash Exchange and Ellissa Exchange, exposed the Joumaa network’s money laundering scheme and forced these financial institutions out of the U.S. and international financial systems.
Rmeiti Exchange and Halawi Exchange subsequently picked up the network’s money laundering work, including the trade-based money laundering schemes involving used car dealerships in the United States and consumer goods from Asia. Rmeiti Exchange and Halawi Exchange used their foreign money transmitter businesses to process millions of dollars on behalf of narcotics traffickers and money launderers, and attempted to obfuscate the source of illicit funds by comingling or splitting transactions across a variety of businesses, financial institutions, and continents, including in the United States.
In conjunction with today’s findings that Rmeiti Exchange and Halawi Exchange are foreign financial institutions of primary money laundering concerns, Treasury’s Financial Crimes Enforcement Network (FinCEN) also issued an order, effective immediately and with a 120-day duration, that requires U.S. financial institutions to report information on any new or attempted transactions by Rmeiti Exchange and Halawi Exchange. Treasury also today issued a notice of proposed rulemaking that, if adopted as a final rule, would continue the reporting requirement imposed by the order and prohibit any U.S. financial institution from opening or maintaining a correspondent or payable-through account that is used to process a transaction that involves Rmeiti Exchange and Halawi Exchange, effectively cutting off these exchanges from the U.S. financial system.
Hizballah is well known for its terrorist activities, within Lebanon, against Israel, and worldwide. It’s less well known for its drug network, which the group uses to finance its global operations. Cut off the drug money, and we may be able to strangle the beast somewhat. It still receives funding from Iran.
Treasury should get a great deal of credit for pursuing the complex schemes that Hizballah sets up to hide what it’s doing and how it finances terror.
A right-wing blogger gambles on speculation: “Why It Is Obvious That The Boston Marathon Attack Is Islamic Terrorism” http://bit.ly/ZmGwpG
Even though my “gamble” paid off, I will not be collecting any winnings. However, two developments connected to the Boston attack — one involving a carjacking and the other a mosque — hit the winning jackpot of supreme irony.
First up is the “COEXIST” bumper sticker on the back of the Mercedes that was carjacked by the brothers Tsarnaev last Friday night. This incident began what turned out to be a deadly shoot-out that killed big brother, Tamerlan.
Now, COEXIST bumper stickers are often found on pricey foreign-made cars in liberal conclaves and are also popular among college students and twenty-somethings.
As reported by the Daily Caller and accompanied by the screen image below:
The bumper sticker, which spells out “COEXIST” using the Islamic moon, a peace symbol, a gender symbol, the Star of David, a pagan symbol, a ying-yang and a cross, is put out by the Coexist Foundation — “a non-profit organization creating understanding across divides.”
Wondering whether the Coexist Foundation acknowledged the carjacking that globally showcased their bumper sticker, led me to the foundation’s web site. There I was “shocked” to learn that the foundation had totally neglected to take advantage of all the free publicity. Surely they were missing a lucrative fundraising opportunity that would have read something like this:
Donate to the Coexist Foundation and receive the iconic bumper sticker that attracts sensitive Islamic terrorists looking for get-away wheels.
As a side note, this bumper sticker has always intrigued me, especially because my own twenty-something stepson used to have one on his car after he attended college in Massachusetts.
The second supreme irony is that the mosque where the Tsarnaev brothers worshiped was built on land that was greatly subsidized by the City of Boston.
Again from the Daily Caller:
Suspected Boston Marathon bomber Dzhokhar Tsarnaev (and his older brother revealed later) attended a Massachusetts mosque that made a controversial deal with a Boston city agency that allowed it to buy land at a lower-than-market price in exchange for various token services to the Boston community, despite the mosque’s links to some radical anti-American figures.
One can only assume that new churches in Boston are also receiving similar subsidized land deals. Ya think?
So what have we learned today? Here is the re-cap:
There once was a Boston man driving a Mercedes with a COEXIST bumper sticker that told the world he was a supporter of peace, love and “kumbayah.” That same man is now lucky to be alive after Islamic terrorists took him and his car hostage, making him withdraw money from an ATM. Finally, Mercedes man’s Friday evening ended after his COEXIST themed peace-mobile was riddled with bullets.
And then, these same Islamic terrorists who attacked Boston attended a mosque that stands on prime real estate because of a subsidized land sale — approved by the city, no doubt, because of COEXIST-themed political correctness.
For the record, the mosque’s exact role in the radicalization of the brothers Tsarnaev has yet to be specifically determined. However, once again I am willing to gamble that there could be some connection.
Political correctness makes us want to close our collective eyes to the growing threat posed by American Islamic would-be terrorists. Our response is to display feel-good bumper stickers on our cars, and watch as cities subsidize land sales for new mosques knowing full well that hate is sometimes sowed in a few of those mosques. Than occasionally, that same hate is channeled into violence against innocent Americans, as with the Boston attacks, and the Ft. Hood shootings in 2009 which resulted in the killing of 13 people and wounding dozens more.
Finally, I will conclude in a manner similar to my second terror related piece from last week, with a profound quote from then Secretary of State Condi Rice when she testified before the 9/11 Commission saying:
The terrorists were at war with us, but we were not yet at war with them.
Now 12 years after September 11, 2001, the American domestic mindset is that we are STILL, not really at war with them.
So is it finally time to wise up?
Now that an Islamist terror plot has been exposed in friendly ol’ Canada, do you think that certain Deep Thinkers will relinquish the theory that U.S. foreign policy creates terrorism? Of course not. This is about as central to their worldview as anti-psychiatry is to the Scientologists. They’re not about to ditch such a convenient meta-narrative in the face of mounting counter-evidence. That would be positively un-radical.
People who actually pay attention to international affairs, and who read more than one news source, know that Islamist terror is not confined to American targets. Hell, the vast majority of targets are non-American. Mosques in Iraq. Tourist sites in Bali. Mumbai. Madrid. London. Argentina. Algeria. Etc. ad nauseum. Are these Deep Thinkers so Americocentric they think everything is about us and us alone?
Well, they might reply, U.S. foreign policy might not be the cause of all terror, but it is a cause of some terror.. In that case, I urge that they turn to a wonderful collection called The Al Qaeda Reader, edited by Raymond Ibrahim. Mr. Ibrahim demonstrates that our foes love to talk out of both sides of their mouths. When the propaganda is directed to Western audiences, it’s all about anti-imperialism, woe-is-me theatrics. The willing recipients of this message are the useful (and useless) idiots in the West. When the terrorists talk amongst themselves, however, the message conveyed through internal memos and letters is one of pure religious fanaticism.
Dupes will always be dupes, especially if they want to be duped.
Disturbing catch at Hot Air.
The father of suspected Boston Marathon bomber called on his son today to give up peacefully, but warned the U.S. that if his son is killed “all hell will break loose.”
Anzor Tsarnaev spoke to ABC News from his home in the Russian city of Makhachkala as Boston police carried out an intense dragnet for his son Dzhokhar Tsarnaev. ….
The elder Tsarnaev insisted that his sons were innocent, but said he would appeal to his son to “surrender peacefully”
“Give up. Give up. You have a bright future ahead of you. Come home to Russia,” the dad said.
The father warned, however, “If they killed him, then all hell would break loose.”
Hell has been breaking loose this entire week, pal. It won’t stop with the probable demise of the younger brother, now that we’re learning that the pair appear to be Islamic terrorists who trained for violence overseas, exploited our immigration system and were registered voters in Massachusetts despite not being US citizens.
All of that said, it would be most useful if he is taken alive. We need to learn where he got his weapons, the grenades he is reported to have, where he learned how to build bombs, possible links to groups here in the US or overseas — everything.
Now along comes the influential, left leaning, Salon.com with this “most read” piece by David Sirota.
The headline and subhead are enough to make me first recoil in horror and then weep for our nation. See if you do not have the same reaction.
LET’S HOPE THE BOSTON MARATHON BOMBER IS A WHITE AMERICAN
There is a double standard: White terrorists are dealt with as lone wolves, Islamists are existential threats
The piece is accompanied by the above photo of Timothy McVeigh and Osama Bin Laden. Please read the entire piece because it is a window into a warped left-leaning mind set. In my opinion here is the most offensive paragraph:
Because of these undeniable and pervasive double standards, the specific identity of the Boston Marathon bomber (or bombers) is not some minor detail — it will almost certainly dictate what kind of governmental, political and societal response we see in the coming weeks. That means regardless of your particular party affiliation, if you care about everything from stopping war to reducing the defense budget to protecting civil liberties to passing immigration reform, you should hope the bomber was a white domestic terrorist. Why? Because only in that case will privilege work to prevent the Boston attack from potentially undermining progress on those other issues.
Now, here is my theory about why the left and the mainstream media are openly cheering/hoping that the Boston bomber will turn out to be a Timothy McVeigh type rather than an Islamic terrorist.
If the perpetrator was “radicalized” (a term the media is now using) in a training camp somewhere other than in the USA, that could mean President Obama may be forced to take some future international retaliatory action. In fact, that action might even resemble actions taken by George W. Bush after 9/11 when he ordered the invasion of Afghanistan. Oh, that would not sit well with the left, but you have to admit the irony is priceless.
Furthermore, if the bomber turns out to be influenced by foreign radical Islamic forces that would also mean homeland security, once again, becomes a front and center issue in our national dialog. It also means that President Obama failed to protect this nation from an Islamist inspired terrorist attack and that would be his worst nightmare — giving his past propensity to want to downplay that kind of threat.
But if the Boston bomber is revealed as a right-wing nut job, then the mainstream media has a more explainable, less feared villain. And that would make similar attacks easier to prevent in the future by just rounding up all the right-wingers and taking away their pressure cookers.
The name of Timothy McVeigh has been mentioned countless times since Monday’s bombing, but wishful thinking will not make it so. The truth is more than likely the real perpetrators may be from the same group that then Secretary of State Condi Rice referred to when she testified before the 9/11 Commission saying:
The terrorists were at war with us, but we were not yet at war with them.
Hopeful headlines such as the one above from Salon.com, will not make a 2.0 version of Timothy McVeigh the Boston bomber, no matter how many times his name is mentioned.
Being born in Boston and raised in the close-in suburb of Needham, I remember Patriot’s Day as a holiday that meant a day off from school. When I was in high school it was also a day to head into Boston to watch the Boston Marathon (and when my friends and I tried to act mature enough to get into bars that lined the Marathon route).
Now, for those who are not familiar with Patriot’s Day, here is why I believe that an attack in Boston on this day has all the hallmarks of Islamic terrorism.
Patriot’s Day commemorates the battles of Lexington and Concord in 1775, which were two of the earliest battles in the American Revolutionary War.
Thus, Patriot’s Day marks the unofficial beginning of the American Revolution. This was the day when farmers and fisherman bearing rifles, known as Minutemen, decided they had had enough of being unjustly treated by the greatest power on earth, took matters into their own hands, and a battle ensued.
(Ironically in view of today’s gun control battles) the British were marching toward the arsenal in Concord to confiscate weapons and ammunition that were stored there.
We celebrate Independence Day on July 4, 1776 when the Second Continental Congress unanimously adopted the Declaration of Independence, announcing the colonies’ separation from Great Britain. But Patriot’s Day was the actual beginning of armed conflict between the colonies and Great Britain, and a day of which Boston is especially proud.
So with Patriot’s Day as the symbolic beginning of the American Revolution, Islamic terrorists would find it a very appealing day to launch an attack, for we know Islamic terrorists love symbolism — with the date 9/11 being a prime example.
Now consider this premise:
Boston, a town known as the “cradle of liberty,” while celebrating its role in our nation’s drive toward independence with their iconic annual marathon, is crudely attacked by those supporting an ongoing “Islamic revolution.”
That is why it was obvious to me when I first heard the tragic news today that we now have a new 9/11, i.e., 4/15.
The “shot heard around the world” in Lexington and Concord on that fateful day in 1775 is now the blast heard around the world in 2013.
After pushback from Capitol Hill, Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel has decided to roll back plans for the dronefare medal.
On Feb. 13, the Pentagon established of the Distinguished Warfare Medal to recognize the achievements of “a small number of service men and women who have an especially direct and immediate impact on combat operations through the use of remotely piloted aircraft and cyber operations.”
Lawmakers were concerned about the proposed precedence of the new medal over combat medals including the Purple Heart and Bronze Star. Production on the DWM was stopped after Hagel agreed to review the medal.
“While the review confirmed the need to ensure such recognition, it found that misconceptions regarding the precedence of the award were distracting from its original purpose,” Hagel said in a statement today.
“The Joint Chiefs of Staff, with the concurrence of the service secretaries, have recommended the creation of a new distinguishing device that can be affixed to existing medals to recognize the extraordinary actions of this small number of men and women,” he continued. “I agree with the Joint Chiefs’ findings, and have directed the creation of a distinguishing device instead of a separate medal.”
Sen. Joe Manchin (D-W.Va.) said Hagel’s statement confirmed why he voted for his confirmation: “Simply put, he does the right thing.”
“Secretary Hagel’s commonsense approach to reviewing this important issue proves to our combat veterans that their sacrifices are valued,” Manchin gushed. “I truly am grateful for his leadership and for his willingness to listen to all who care so deeply about this issue.”
House Armed Services Subcommittee on Military Personnel Chairman Joe Wilson (R-S.C.) said he was “very pleased” with Hagel’s decision.
“Service members who operate remotely piloted aircraft or participate in cyber operations do deserve our praise; however, awarding them with a medal that takes precedence over a decoration earned in combat is a disservice to those who have put themselves in harms way to protect and defend our freedoms,” Wilson said. ”This change is welcomed by millions of concerned veterans and I am proud that the Secretary sided with the best interests of our brave men and women in the Armed Services who have served in combat.”
The Pentagon rushed to tamp down alarm after a lawmaker read a section of a Defense Intelligence Agency report at a House Armed Services Committee meeting indicating North Korea had nuclear missiles.
“They say, ‘DIA assess with moderate confidence the North currently has nuclear weapons capable of delivery by ballistic missiles. However, the reliability will be low.’ General, would you agree with that assessment by DIA?” Rep. Doug Lamborn (R-Colo.) asked Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Gen. Martin Dempsey at today’s hearing.
“I can’t touch that one,” Dempsey responded, noting the report had not yet been released even though “some of it’s classified, some of it’s unclassified.”
“You said it’s not publicly released, so I choose not to comment on it,” Dempsey said when pressed to answer whether he agreed with the assessment.
“In today’s House Armed Services Committee hearing on the Department of Defense budget, a member of the committee read an unclassified passage in a classified report on North Korea’s nuclear capabilities,” Pentagon spokesman George Little said in a statement this evening.
“While I cannot speak to all the details of a report that is classified in its entirety, it would be inaccurate to suggest that the North Korean regime has fully tested, developed, or demonstrated the kinds of nuclear capabilities referenced in the passage,” he continued. “The United States continues to closely monitor the North Korean nuclear program and calls upon North Korea to honor its international obligations.”
Dempsey was asked at a Pentagon briefing with reporters yesterday if North Korea had been able to “mate a nuclear warhead to a ballistic missile that could reach Japan” or farther.
“Well, the proximity of the North Koreans to achieving a miniaturization of a nuclear device on a ballistic missile is really a matter of — is a classified matter. But they have conducted two nuclear tests,” Dempsey responded. “They have conducted several successful ballistic missile launches. And in the absence of concrete evidence to the contrary, we have to assume the worst case, and that’s — that’s why we’re postured as we are today.”
CNN reports that North Korea has put at least one of its mobile, long-range missiles into a launch position.
North Korea has raised at least one missile into its upright firing position, feeding concerns that a launch is imminent, a U.S. official told CNN Thursday.
This comes as the world continued to keep watch for a possible missile launch by the secretive government, and a day before U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry is expected to arrive in the region.
In the latest daily tough talk from the North, a government agency is quoted by the state-run media as saying that “war can break out any moment.”
All signs now are pointing toward yet another missile launch by North Korea, played up for attention and probably as part of some power struggle within the regime. It’s difficult to tell what exactly may be going on, but the current Kim probably has less of a hold on the personality cult than either of his predecessors. His aunt is reportedly the power behind the throne. Their ground forces haven’t been spotted making any moves. The current campaign of bellicosity may be more about domestic politics than international, though the international implications of launching the missile that has been seen moving into launch position could be severe.
That missile, the Musudan, has an estimated range of about 3,500 miles, which means it could hit Guam. Guam is US territory and has several military bases, and now has missile defense to deal with the likely event of a launch, and the unlikely event that if the missile is aimed at Guam, it actually goes where the North Koreans aim it. A missile strike on Guam would obviously be an act of war, and would likely precipitate several US missiles and bombs raining down on Pyongyang and North Korean military forces on the ground. In fact, a splash anywhere near Guam is asking for trouble, or would be if we didn’t have the current national security team that we have. The trio of Kerry, Hagel and Obama don’t really come off as the shrewdest and strongest defenders of American soil or interests. The three may well take a strike as another opportunity to issue a mea culpa for some perceived American sin. Obama’s moves to shore up our missile defense, by the way, amount to admissions that George W. Bush was right to keep pushing for improvements in that part of our arsenal.
The best case scenario may be that Kim lights the missile, it’s a dud that blows up on or near the pad, and the humiliation triggers a coup that leads to a collapse of the regime. It’s a brittle, Communist-Nazi style dictatorship. Take out the Kim the Third and it could fall apart.
Here is something veddy interesting to consider as you go about your average day.
It looks like North Korea is set to launch a mid-range missile on Wednesday, April 10th. This could be a bluff but maybe not. The missile could be nuclear but hopefully not. The Express UK reports:
North Korea to ‘launch missile TOMORROW’ after warning foreigners to evacuate South
NORTH Korea has completed preparations for a mid-range missile launch tomorrow from its east coast, officials in Seoul have revealed – just hours after foreigners living in South Korea were warned to quit the country.
Now consider that North Korea is 14 hours ahead of Washington D.C., and tonight at 7:30 p.m. President Obama is hosting a lavish party/concert celebrating Memphis Soul music with Justin Timberlake headlining an all-star cast. As the Weekly Standard reports:
On Barack and Michelle Obama’s schedule for today, this event is listed:
7:30PM THE PRESIDENT and THE FIRST LADY host a concert celebrating Memphis Soul music as part of their “In Performance at the White House” series; THE PRESIDENT delivers remarks
As the White House has previously announced, Justin Timberlake (who will be making his White House debut), Al Green, Ben Harper, Queen Latifah, Cyndi Lauper, Joshua Ledet, Sam Moore, Charlie Musselwhite, Mavis Staples, and others will be performing at the exclusive event.
So just when the White House party begins it will be 9:30 a.m. in North Korea. This conceivably means that President Obama could be dancing and singing while North Korea’s leader Kim Jong Il is launching.
Just think, Obama could be the first president to preside over a nuclear dance party. Or to state this in a more familiar historical context: “Obama fiddles while South Korea burns.”
North Korea looks like it will end economic cooperation with South Korea at the Kaesong complex, cutting off one of the North’s only sources of hard currency.
North Korea has said it will recall more than 50,000 workers from the industrial park it runs with the South and consider shutting it permanently, spelling an end to inter-Korean co-operation.
Pyongyang has engaged in weeks of angry rhetoric in response to a UN security council resolution expanding sanctions following its third nuclear test and to ongoing joint exercises by South Korean and US forces.
But analysts noted that while the latest move by Pyongyang was substantive, it was also a non-military one made amid concerns that the North might be planning another missile or nuclear test.
The North has moved at least two missiles to its east coast. They have an estimated range of about 1800 miles, therefore out of range of the continental US but within range of Hawaii, Japan and other US bases around the Pacific. State-run media — North Korea’s, not the US — is warning that “a new war, a nuclear war, is imminent on the peninsula.”
What the North cannot do with its rockets — hit CONUS targets like Austin, TX — it may try to do with its hackers.
The regime’s next move could be to break into US computer networks to steal information and spread viruses, Jang Se-yul, who defected to the South in 2008, told the Observer. North Korea’s hackers are suspected of being behind recent cyberattacks that paralysed computer networks at several South Korean banks and broadcasters.
“It would demonstrate that North Korea is a strong cyberpower,” Jang said. “Their prime target is the US, and they’ve been preparing for something like this for years, including when I was there in the 1990s. I can’t say how successful they would be, but it’s a possibility.”
The Chinese military confirmed that it has been conducting live-fire drills on its border with North Korea. China’s leaders also issued a veiled warning to Pyongyang, so veiled that it could also have been aimed at the US and Japan.
Chinese President Xi Jinping, addressing a forum on the southern island of Hainan, did not name North Korea but said no country “should be allowed to throw a region and even the whole world into chaos for selfish gain”.
Stability in Asia, he said, “faces new challenges, as hot spot issues keep emerging and both traditional and non-traditional security threats exist.”
Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi expressed similar frustration in a statement late on Saturday, relating a telephone conversation with U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon.
“We oppose provocative words and actions from any party in the region and do not allow trouble making on China’s doorstep,” Wang said, according to a ministry statement on its website.
US SecDef Chuck Hagel decided to cancel a planned missile test, lest it be seen by the North Koreans as provocative.
The official says Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel delayed the long-planned Minuteman 3 test because of concerns the launch could be misinterpreted and exacerbate the current crisis.
North Korea could interpret this move as the US blinking in the face of pressure.
Dead North Korean leader Kim Il-Sung was born on April 15. His grandson, Kim Jong-Un, may be amping up the fear and loathing to draw attention to something he plans to do on or around that date. Last week the commie kingdom warned embassies that things would get dicey after April 10, which is Wednesday.
Kim Jong-un right now is like the drunk meathead in the bar on Saturday night, strutting around looking for a fight. There is almost nothing that can be done to defuse the situation except to leave.
The North Korean regime is, as scholars like B.R. Myers have noted, based on a certain kind of rhetoric and spin-doctoring. This is piped into society on a constant basis through DPRK propaganda channels. It really doesn’t matter what the U.S. government says to North Korea: if we rebuke them strongly, Pyongyang spins it as imperialist aggression; if we stay quiet, Pyongyang spins it as Yankee cowardice.
Think of the meathead in the bar again. If you talk back to him, he wants to fight. If you look away, you’re considered weak and he wants to fight. Back-and-forth exchanges are pointless and have only one outcome: his desired, pre-conceived outcome of conflict. Just leave.
What’s the international/diplomatic equivalent of “leaving” in this case? Quiet strength. Washington should quietly and calmly prepare for conflict while ignoring Kim Jong-un’s rhetoric. Whatever strength he has is based on that rhetoric, and by refusing to respond, we remove its persuasive power. We’ve already rebuked him. That’s fine and justified, but once is enough. North Korea and the world know our position. Do not legitimize Kim’s aggression further by responding rhetorically. He will say we’re weak, but he says that already. Nothing will change. Respond strategically instead.
This will not damage U.S. prestige. Prestige is based on strength and soft power, among other things. The Pentagon seems to be following this strategy. Good. It claims to be “reducing” rhetoric, though ours was never amped up in the first place–quite moderate, in fact, which is where it should stay, as that befits a mature superpower. No, libertarians and paleocons, missile-defense systems on Guam is not “aggression”; it is quiet, efficient strength. Bear in mind, however, that another war in the Korean peninsula itself would be an absolute disaster. Thousands upon thousands would die. China could be sucked in, based on who initiates. Everybody just take a deep breath and stay calm.
Once again, remaining strong but quiet is the only conceivable option to defuse the situation. It’s unclear whether Pyongyang truly wants a war. What they want, however, is immaterial, as the situation is now based on the minutiae of strategy and subtle military movements. The slightest one could tip the scales, regardless of what any leader wants. As crazy as Kim sounds, I think he’s lucid enough to know that initiating conflict against the U.S., or a U.S.-backed ally, will be suicide. Then again, he knows that goading the U.S. into making a wrong move could mean that he could spin it as a U.S.-initiated conflict, thus drawing in China and starting a global agitprop war against the U.S.
That’s my two cents for now.
As tensions continued to mount on the Korean peninsula, the communist dictatorship in the North deployed mid-range missile launchers to its east coast and reportedly warned foreign embassies Friday it cannot guarantee the safety of diplomats after April 10.
Reuters reported early Friday that North Korea deployed two of its intermediate range missiles on mobile launchers and hid them on the east coast of the country, citing a South Korean news agency.
South Korea said Thursday North Korea moved a missile with “considerable range” to its east coast after an unnamed spokesman for the North Korean army warned the U.S. Wednesday that its military has been cleared to wage an attack using “smaller, lighter and diversified nuclear” weapons.
Lil Kim has also issued a warning to several foreign embassies in Pyongyang, confirmed by the UK.
The AP is responding to repeated requests by CAIR, the Council on American Islamic Relations, which presents itself as moderate but acts as a front for extremists. CAIR is an unindicted co-conspirator in the Holy Land Foundation case. Evidence also connects CAIR to Hamas, which was designated a terrorist group by the US in 1995.
According to the Investigative Project on Terrorism:
Hamas is an offshoot of the Muslim Brotherhood, and trial exhibits show the Brotherhood created the Palestine Committee. CAIR officials adamantly deny any involvement with either Hamas or the Muslim Brotherhood. The Weich letter, however, shows that the Department of Justice has not wavered in its conclusion that the internal records it possesses prove a connection.
It echoes a letter last spring from an FBI congressional liaison explaining why Bureau policy bars communication with CAIR outside of a criminal investigation. In that letter, Richard C. Powers, an assistant director in the FBI’s office of Congressional Affairs, said evidence “demonstrated a relationship among CAIR, individual CAIR founders (including its current President Emeritus and its Executive Director) and the Palestine Committee.”
Other exhibits showed that the Palestine Committee was a fundraising and propaganda arm in the United States for Hamas, which has been a designated terrorist organization since 1995. “[U]ntil we can resolve whether there continues to be a connection between CAIR or its executives and HAMAS,” Powers wrote, “the FBI does not view CAIR as an appropriate liaison partner.”
Prior to the change, the AP’s definition of “Islamist” was:
Supporter of government in accord with the laws of Islam. Those who view the Quran as a political model encompass a wide range of Muslims, from mainstream politicians to militants known as jihadi.
It was used to describe both militant, violent actors and those who eschew violence. The AP’s definition of “Islamist” now reads:
An advocate or supporter of a political movement that favors reordering government and society in accordance with laws prescribed by Islam. Do not use as a synonym for Islamic fighters, militants, extremists or radicals, who may or may not be Islamists.
Where possible, be specific and use the name of militant affiliations: al-Qaida-linked, Hezbollah, Taliban, etc. Those who view the Quran as a political model encompass a wide range of Muslims, from mainstream politicians to militants known as jihadi.
There’s nothing wrong with getting specific, but the new definition draws distinctions between ideological and militant groups that have little bearing in the real world. The Muslim Brotherhood gave rise to al Qaeda and Hamas, and the latter gave rise to CAIR, which according to FBI evidence acts as Hamas’ fundraising and propaganda arm in the US. The Muslim Brotherhood is officially non-violent, but now that it has taken power in Egypt, Islamist violence against Christians and other Muslims is on the rise in that country.
CAIR is happy with the update, but would be less happy if the AP reported that its chairman, Ibrahim Hooper, has said that Muslims would seek to replace the US Constitution with Islamic sharia law if they ever became a majority. That comment and others he has made make him an Islamist by either of the AP’s definitions.
Lawmakers urged Secretary of State John Kerry to step in and fight for an American contractor detained and beaten by Afghan authorities reportedly in connection with a contract dispute.
Reps. Scott Rigell (R-Va.), Frank Wolf (R-Va.), and Duncan Hunter (R-Calif.) sent a letter to Kerry today requesting his help in expediting the release of David Gordon, a Virginia Beach resident and employee of project management firm Tamerlane Global Services, Inc.
Gordon, a father of two with a third on the way, was arrested Wednesday without charge in Qomandani Amanya, Kabul, Afghanistan.
The Afghan Attorney General’s office said Gordon’s detention was related to an ongoing commercial contract dispute and is asking for $2.4 million to release him.
In addition to what sounds like the Afghan government demanding ransom for an illegal detention, the story gets worse.
“We were deeply concerned to learn that Mr. Gordon was beaten during the night of April 3, sustaining several injuries, and was not sent to the infirmary until April 4, 2013,” the congressmen wrote. “The threats that he is receiving and the demonstrated lack of protection during his confinement give us serious concern about his welfare.”
“We request that the Department of State intervene and expedite the release of this illegally detained American.”
At today’s State Department press briefing, spokeswoman Victoria Nuland wouldn’t say whether Kerry’s department was doing anything to secure Gordon’s release.
“We can confirm that a U.S. citizen was arrested in Kabul. We are providing appropriate consular assistance, but because of privacy considerations, I can’t give you any further details,” she said.
Judging by the description given by Gordon’s company, indications are that he was doing work to help rebuild the country.
“We specialize in serving the needs of companies, NGOs, and government entities seeking to either enter or work within emerging or frontier marketplaces. Sometimes these are countries with high growth potential yet limited infrastructure. Sometimes these are regions embroiled in conflict. Where others see these areas as pure risk, we see enormous reward.”
Projects listed in the company’s March 2013 report include developing shipping lanes within Afghanistan and helping U.S. forces move freight.