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May 26, 2015 / 8 Sivan, 5775
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Posts Tagged ‘Benghazi’

Clinton Said She Will Speak on Benghazi but Only Once

Wednesday, May 6th, 2015

The Select Congressional committee on Benghazi requested that former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton agree to appear twice before the committee.

Mrs. Clinton has rejected that request, and instead said through her lawyer, David E. Kendall, that she will only appear before the committee once. That rejection was made public through the release of the Kendall letter by congressional Democrats.

“The committee has consistently shown it is interested in getting the facts and doing so in a deliberate and diligent manner,” said Jamal Ware, the committee’s spokesperson. “As a result of the Benghazi Committee’s efforts, the American people now know about Secretary Clinton’s unusual email arrangement with herself, something that would not be known had the committee rushed to call the former secretary in November as committee Democrats pushed.”

Rep. Trey Gowdy, the head of the Benghazi probe, said the probe could have been finished more quickly had Clinton and the White House cooperated more fully.

Kendall said Clinton could appear as soon as May 18, if that is the wish of the committee.

The committee is seeking to determine what actually happened on September 11, 2012, when the American government compound in Benghazi, Libya was attacked and four Americans were killed, including the American Ambassador to Libya, Christopher Stevens.

The administration, including then-Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, initially blamed the violence on a small budget American film that was critical of Mohammad, the Muslim prophet. It was only after facts began to mount that the assault was not a spontaneous riot, but a planned attack, that Clinton and others finally admitted it was an orchestrated attack.

It has since been revealed that American officials in Libya, including Amb. Stevens, had requested additional security for the compound, but that had been rejected. Also, no military efforts were undertaken to rescue the Americans caught in the Sept. 11 Benghazi rampages.

An earlier State Department review into the episode, headed by former Amb. Thomas Pickering, never spoke with Clinton. Instead, the Pickering probe limited its investigation to lower-level employees, and it was upon those lower-level employees that it placed the blame.

The congressional committee wanted Clinton to testify at one time about the Benghazi matter and a second time about her unauthorized use of a personal email server, rather than the government server, during the time she served as Secretary of State.

Nearly two years after she left office, Mrs. Clinton turned over about 30,000 emails she said she had determined were government business. Another 32,000 emails were discarded by her because, she claimed, they were her private emails. She said she then wiped her server clean.

Clinton has refused requests to turn over the server to a neutral third party.

Obama’s Chief of Staff at J St Conference, as with Benghazi, Pointing Right Instead of Left

Tuesday, March 24th, 2015

Denis McDonough, U.S. President Barack Obama’s chief of staff, gave the Keynote Address at J Street’s fifth annual conference.

J Street was created to be “Obama’s blocking back” as he and it seek to bludgeon Israel into creating a Palestinian State immediately if not sooner, claiming that unless that happens, Israel cannot remain both a Jewish and a democratic state.

McDONOUGH’S CONNECTIONS TO BENGHAZI COVER-UP AND SOROS THINK TANK

What has largely been ignored is the connection between this chief of staff and one of the greatest catastrophes of the first Obama administration.

During the fall of 2012, a mob later revealed to be al Qaeda-affiliated terrorists took over an American mission in Benghazi, Libya and murdered four Americans, including the American Ambassador Chris Stevens. Initial reports crafted by the administration blamed a low quality video critical of Muhammad for the “demonstration” that “got out of hand.”

At the time of the Benghazi debacle, the current chief of staff was the Deputy National Security Advisor. It was to him and the other three members of what is called the National Security Council Deputies Committee, that the House Intelligence Committee traced the changes in the infamous “talking points” to minimize the fact that terrorists and not simply an outraged crowd of Muslims responding to a low-budget video, “The Innocence of Muslims” was behind the attacks on the American outposts in Benghazi.

Of the four members of the Deputies Committee, McDonough was the one who most vociferously and publicly condemned the “truly abhorrent video.”

Other than being Obama’s chief of staff and a former deputy national security advisor, who is Denis McDonough? Prior to his positions in the executive branch, MdDonough did a stint at the George Soros-created Center for American Progress. Who else was integral to the creation of CAP? Morton Halperin, who was also a co-creator and is now the chair of J Street’s board of directors.

Back to this year’s J Street Conference.

McDonough spoke on Monday, March 23, about the accomplishments of Team Obama over the past six years. McDonough knew full well he was speaking to a crowd that fervently embraces many of those changes.

McDonough has long been extremely close with Obama. The chief of staff channeled his boss by chiding Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu over a statement  made just before last week’s election in Israel.

McDonough verbally glared at Netanyahu for audaciously suggesting that the present was not the right time to create a Palestinian State in the Middle East. Netanyahu had gone even one step further and said that the creation of such a state at any time in the near future would be not just unwise but calamitous, given the ever-expanding presence of radical Islamic organizations such as ISIS, which have been consolidating power and asserting control over weak governments in the region.

The nerve of Netanyahu to rely on his own assessments of what would be catastrophic for the Middle East rather than accept the U.S. administration’s view of how things should go down in the region, especially given this administration’s foreign policy track record over the past six years: Iran’s Green Party, Egypt’s Mubarak, then Egypt’s Morsi, Syria, Lebanon, Libya, the re-set with Russia, ISIS, Yemen and a host of others.

But McDonough knew he was in friendly territory at the J Street Conference and knew there would be a warm reception for an attack on Netanyahu for daring to say out loud that it was unwise to create a Palestinian State now.

“That is why the Prime Minister’s comments on the eve of the election – in which he first intimated and then made very clear in a response to a follow up question that a Palestinian state will not be established while he is prime minister – were so troubling,” McDonough said.

American Among the Dead in Terrorist Attack on Libyan Hotel

Wednesday, January 28th, 2015

The terrorist attack on Tuesday, Jan. 27, at the luxury Corinthia Hotel in Tripoli, Libya, carried out by an ISIS-affiliate, resulted in the death of at least 10 people. The dead included a former U.S. Marine.

The American, David Berry, was a contractor with Crucible, a security firm. Berry served as a U.S. Marine from 2000 until 2012. A report on social media states that Berry was shot.

The Islamic State in Tripoli Province, a Libyan branch of ISIS, claimed responsibility for the attacks. It named the terrorists: Abu Ibraheem Al-Tunsi and Abu Sulaiman Al-Sudani. Those last names indicate one was of Tunisian background and the other Sudanese. Both were reportedly Libyan nationals.

The attack was believed to be carried out to avenge the capture of an alleged al Qaeda operative, Abu Anas al-Libi, who had been accused of playing a role in the bombings of U.S. embassies in Kenya and Tanzania in 1998. Al-Libi died in U.S. captivity, awaiting trial.

The terrorists shot their way into the hotel, according to CNN. A car bomb was also detonated in the parking lot of the hotel during the attack. The two terrorists blew themselves up when security forces began closing in on them.

In addition to Berry, one French citizen and three Tajikistanis were killed in the attack, according to preliminary reports. The remaining five dead are all believed to have been Libyans.

The Prime Minister of Libya, Omar al-Hassi, was staying in the hotel, just two floors away from where the focus of the attack took place. Al-Hassi was hustled out of the building and escaped harm.

This is the first major attack on foreign nationals in Libya since the September 2012 Benghazi attack in which four Americans were killed.

Libyan Parliament Attacked in Islamist Purge Attempt

Monday, May 19th, 2014

Ever since the 2011 ouster of former Libyan dictator Moammar Gadaffi, competing factions have been engaged in efforts on the one hand to turn Libya into an Islamist stronghold, and on the other, to shepherd Libya towards democracy.

What started with high hopes for real democracy following decades of absolute dictatorship has now sputtered out into infighting, violence, political stagnation and economic downturn.

On Sunday, May 18, a military-style attack on the Libyan government’s General National Congress building was waged reportedly by retired Libyan general Khalifa Haftar, who has been attempting to eliminate control over sections of the state by Islamist terrorist groups such as Ansar al-Sharia.

Reuters is reporting an attack was waged on Friday in Benghazi to dampen Islamists control over the city, an assault that included military helicopters and was described by opponents as a coup attempt by Haftar. His followers call themselves the National Army. Friday’s attack left 75 dead and 140 wounded.

Lawmaker Omar Bushah told Reuters that gunmen stormed into the General National Congress building, raiding lawmakers’ offices and setting the building on fire.

There were local reports that seven lawmakers had been captured, but other reports denied anyone had been in the building when the assault began.

Following Friday’s assault, Libyan authorities imposed a “no-fly” zone over Benghazi. But the disorganized regular army is in no position to control the many independent, well-armed groups.

The removal of Gaddafi augered a new beginning for Libya, but the rebel groups formed to help with his ouster have been dissatisfied with their access to oil wealth and control.  At the same time, Islamist groups unleashed in the aftermath of the Arab Spring uprisings are firmly devoted to creating a theocratic, hardline Islamist state.

Severe birth pains have accompanied Libya’s lurch towards democracy. It is now on its third prime minister since March, the parliament is unable to gain consensus and the new constitution is yet to be written.

Not only is Libya burdened by warring factions, easily toppled leaders and outright violence, but the oil-rich nation’s economic lifeline has been in free fall. Libya had been producing 1.4 million barrels of oil per day. It is now down to producing only 200,000 barrels per day.

Benghazi Burning: 1000+ Prisoners Escaped, Justice Bldgs Bombed

Monday, July 29th, 2013

This is what utter lawlessness looks like.

On Saturday, more than 1,100 prisoners inside the Kuafiya Prison in Benghazi, Libya escaped after demonstrations outside, and riots inside, induced the guards to open the doors or risk having everyone inside burn to death.

By Sunday, approximately 100 of those who had escaped had been recaptured, but Benghazi saw more violence that evening.

Two explosions rocked the city of Benghazi on Sunday evening, one in front of a court house, and the other in front of the Justice Ministry.  There were no fatalities, but 13 people were injured.  However, there was massive damage to the buildings and surrounding areas.

Although no one claimed responsibility for the explosions or the prison break, it is believed that the violence was in response to the assassination of a lawyer and leading critic of the Muslim Brotherhood, Abdelsalam al-Mosmary, who was shot in the chest after leaving a Benghazi mosque following Friday prayers.  Al-Mosmary was extremely outspoken and harshly criticized the presence of armed militias on the streets of Libya. These militias were also the focus of massive protests following the September 11, 2012 attack on the American Compound in Benghazi.

After news of al-Mosmary’s death spread, hundreds of protesters attacked the Benghazi and Tripoli offices of Libya’s Muslim Brotherhood, late on Friday, according to Reuters.

Over the weekend Libya’s Prime Minister, Ali Zeidan, closed the border between Libya and Egypt.  He suspected that al-Mosmary’s assassins were headed towards Egypt.  Zeidan was elected in the fall of 2012, when he narrowly defeated Mohamed Al Harary, a member of the Muslim Brotherhood, by 8 votes.

Zeidan said he would reshuffle his cabinet in the wake of the violence. An emergency meeting is expected to take place on Monday.

Violence in Libya is on the increase.  Of course, Benghazi was the site of the September 11, 2012 murders of four Americans: Ambassador Christopher Stevens, U.S. Foreign Service Information Officer Sean Smith, and former Navy SEALS and Embassy security personnel Glen Doherty and Tyrone S. Woods. But Libyan political activists were stunned by the assassination of one of their own.

At Last, Secret Obama Middle East Policy Revealed, No Kidding

Tuesday, July 9th, 2013

Originally published at Rubin Reports.

Note: I beg you to read this article and I’ve never said that before. I think in the wake of the Egyptian coup, everything has come clearly together on U.S. Middle East policy. This is the most important article I’ve written in 2.5 years, since predicting the first Egyptian revolution in October 2010. Here is the story.

A statement by two National Security Council senior staff members has revealed the inner thinking of President Barack Obama. It is of incredible importance and I plead with you to read it. If you do you will comprehend fully what’s going on with U.S. foreign policy.

Egypt, Egypt, Egypt… There are more words written about this event than demonstrators in Tahrir Square. But, to quote a recent secretary of state on Benghazi, what difference does it make? A great deal indeed.

First, let’s remember that in the face of advancing totalitarianism in the Middle East, U.S. policy completely y failed. Imagine, if you wish, what would have happened with the Nazis without Winston Churchill and Great Britain in the 1940s. The U.S. government of this day was not only ready to leave Middle Easterners to their fate; it even sided with their actual or potential oppressors.

So who has been waging the battle meanwhile? The people of Iran and Turkey, who have not won because in part the United States failed to encourage the former and did not encourage the Turkish army to do what the Egyptian army did do; the embattled Tunisian and Lebanese anti-Islamists; the Saudis (at times) and the Persian Gulf Arabs (except for Qatar) and Jordan. Oh yes, and also Israel the most slandered and falsely reviled country on earth.

Second, the Benghazi affair was the model of the Obama Administration worldview: If you allow a video insulting Muslims, four American officials will be killed. If you support the overthrow of the Muslim Brotherhood in Egypt, thousands of Americans might die. This is the result of placing not politics but counter-terrorism in command. 

And this leads to… Barack Obama’s Big Decision

Is President Obama going to come down on the side of the Islamist ex-regime, remember this includes the Salafists in objective terms, or the new regime? What a remarkable irony that Obama endlessly apologized for past U.S. support for dictators and ended up adding a new chapter to that history and heightened anti-Americanism! Remember that one of his last conversations with ex-President Muhammad al-Mursi,

Obama told him that he still regarded him as the democratically elected president of Egypt.

Of course, Obama will have to end up recognizing the new government. The question is how much and how long he will resist that? It is pitiful to know that the best possible result is that he will accept the rulers in Cairo and continue the economic aid. In fact, he should increase it. We should not be talking punishment for the coup but in fact a rich reward, to show others which way the wind blows.

Specifically, U.S. diplomats were urging a deal: a coalition government in Egypt in which the Brotherhood has part of the power.   You can imagine how well that would work and how grateful the Brotherhood (much less the Salafists) and their opponents will be to Obama for proposing they surrender. So in other words, the army, the former opposition, and the Islamists–in short, all of the Egyptian people no matter which side they are on, will see America as their enemy.

And will Obama learn more lessons from this situation?  Will he stop seeking to install a regime in Syria that is worse than Mursi’s? Will he increase support for the real Iranian, Turkish, and Lebanese oppositions? Will he recognize the true strategic realities of Israel and stop seeking to install a regime like Mursi’s in the territories captured by Israel in 1967 (I refer here to Hamas, not the Palestinian Authority which might well give way to Hamas after a state would be established?)

So far though, it looks like Obama is determined to be the protector of oppressive dictatorship in Egypt. Isn’t that what Obama complained about what previous presidents had done? The Obama Administration has called on  Egyptian leaders to pursue, “A transparent political process that is inclusive of all parties and groups,” including “avoiding any arbitrary arrests of Mursi and his supporters,” Bernadette Meehan, a spokeswoman for the National Security Council, said July 4 in a statement.

Benghazi’s Lesson

Monday, May 20th, 2013

I haven’t written about the Benghazi affair before. I’m not in a position to judge whether the State Department or military could have intervened in time to save Ambassador Stevens, or why the consulate wasn’t reinforced, etc.  I’m sure the disaster could have been prevented, and someone is responsible for it. But I’m not the one to explain how and who.

What I am competent to discuss is the politics of the decision to present the attack as something that it was not and that the relevant people knew at the time it was not.

Some of President Obama’s opponents have been saying that it was all about the election. Obama’s claim was that he had more or less ended the terrorist threat — after all, he killed bin Laden! So the truth that an American ambassador was murdered on the anniversary of 9/11 by al Qaeda linked terrorists would not be helpful. Therefore, the story that the attack grew out of a spontaneous demonstration over an anti-Islam video was pushed instead.

This is true as far as it goes. But it doesn’t go far enough. The fact is that the video story was part of a theme that has run through Obama’s presidency from the beginning. This is the idea that the policy of the United States toward the anti-Western jihad should have two dimensions: we will kill overt anti-American terrorists, while at the same time try to placate the Muslim world through diplomacy and propaganda.

Every effort is made to relate positively to Muslims here and abroad. Aid programs are established to Muslim countries. NASA administrators are asked to reach out to the Muslim world. Less benignly, ‘Islamophobia’ is presented as a more dangerous phenomenon than domestic jihad, the administration embraces the Palestinian cause, supports Islamists in Egypt, falls in love with the Islamist prime minister of Turkey, etc.

This policy, which started immediately before Obama’s inauguration when he pressured Israel to withdraw from Gaza, found full expression in his Cairo speech of June 4, 2009. Although I was initially shocked by his obscene equation of the Holocaust with the way the “Palestinian people … have suffered in pursuit of a homeland,” the most alarming thing about the speech taken as a whole is its obeisance to the Arab and Muslim historical narrative, the story that is told to justify aggression against the U.S. and the West (and Israel is only a small part of this).

For example, he said,

The relationship between Islam and the West includes centuries of co-existence and cooperation, but also conflict and religious wars. More recently, tension has been fed by colonialism that denied rights and opportunities to many Muslims, and a Cold War in which Muslim-majority countries were too often treated as proxies without regard to their own aspirations. Moreover, the sweeping change brought by modernity and globalization led many Muslims to view the West as hostile to the traditions of Islam.

In other words, it’s all our fault. Never mind the cultural and political backwardness that made Muslim nations hellholes for all but a tiny privileged minority, never mind the cynical behavior of kleptocratic Muslim leaders who sold themselves to whomever would supply the most weapons for them to use in their wars and intrigues against each other and Israel — their problems are all because of those Western colonialists!

Compare them to Israel, which freed itself from British domination to become the most successful nation in the Middle East, or Vietnam, or many other formerly colonized peoples. And keep in mind that many Arab countries, like Syria, Lebanon, Jordan and Iraq, went rapidly from Ottoman domination to independence, suffering little, if at all, from Western exploitation.

Obama’s approach extended to the way we respond to ideologically-motivated terrorism in the U.S. The administration seems to have taken the true statement “not all Muslims support terrorism” and quite invalidly inferred from it that “Islam can never be the motive for terrorism.” So Major Nidal Hassan’s mass murder at Ft. Hood is explained as workplace violence, other terrorists are defined as mentally disturbed, the Department of Homeland Security issues a directive that such words as “jihad” and “Muslim” cannot be used in connection with terrorism, and the NYPD is criticized for carrying out surveillance of mosques.

In the view of the Obama administration, the enemy is not an ideology. It is only specific organizations (whose motives are not discussed) that attack us.

Any disagreement with this position — anyone who suggests that there is a dangerous ideology of political Islam out there which often finds violent expression in terrorist acts — is stigmatized as an Islamophobe, a kind of racist, a designation which places the person so vilified outside the pale of discourse, and justifies denying him or her the right to speak publicly.

And so we come back to Benghazi. What better explanation could be given for the disaster than an Islamophobic video? Not only does the randomness of the outburst excuse everyone involved for the failure — who could have known this would happen? — and not only does it hide the fact that even the acknowledged war against al Qaeda hasn’t been going as well as they would like us to think, it casts blame precisely on those intolerant opponents of the administration’s policy of trying to placate the Muslim world!

Thus the schmuck who made the video is imprisoned for a year for a parole violation, after Hillary Clinton tells the parent of one of the U.S. personnel murdered in the attack that she would see to it that the filmmaker was arrested and prosecuted.

The dual policy — killing overt terrorists while expressing love and respect for Islam — is both unfortunate for our real allies, like Israel, which sees itself pressured into concessions to the PLO or Hamas as a way to show that Obama cares about Palestinian Muslims, as well as a failure.

The reason for the failure is a misunderstanding of the messages we send as they are received in Arab and Muslim cultures. The message of caring and respect that we are trying to send is perceived as weakness. Muslims understand that non-Muslims can either fight or submit to Islam — it’s not possible to admire Islam while at the same time refusing to submit. So Obama’s gestures are either ignored or indicate that he is not strong enough to fight.

At the same time, the drone strikes and the war in Afghanistan kill Muslims, and it is the duty of Muslims to avenge these killings. The fact that the perpetrators are non-Muslims makes them obscene in these cultures, the reversal of the natural order.

In the meantime, the morale of our police forces on the home front is weakened, the tools necessary to discover and prevent jihadist terrorism are taken out of their hands, and aggressive Islamic ideologues in our mosques and college campuses are encouraged.

A better policy would be to stop pretending to admire the people who hate us. We should say to the Muslim world, “look, we have a system that’s different from yours, we think it’s better, and we intend to defend it. Anyone who hurts us or our allies will get it back ten times over.” We don’t need to ‘declare war on Islam’ to do that, as apologists for the present policy claim.

Our leaders have become so used to lying, that they haven’t considered simply being honest and standing up for what we believe.

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