Hat Tip: BB
By: Cliff Kincaid
Accuracy in Media
The constant refrain from the media that the “anti-Islam” film somehow “triggered” or “sparked” the violence in Libya, Egypt and other countries is a transparent lie that follows the Obama Administration’s attempt to divert attention away from the fact that the “Arab Spring” promoted by Obama has been a complete failure for U.S. interests. Media bias is to be expected, especially during a foreign policy debacle that threatens Obama’s perceived expertise in foreign policy.
Our media understand that, in the same way that Jimmy Carter lost Iran and America was humiliated during the Iranian hostage crisis, there is a danger that Obama will be perceived to have lost Egypt to the Muslim Brotherhood, as violent demonstrations continue in the Middle East and other Arab/Muslim areas of the world. Hence, attention is being directed to a film that has been on the Internet since July. It is a diversion intended to save Obama’s presidency.
What is particularly interesting is how Senator John McCain is now disputing the claim that the attack in Libya which killed four Americans was spontaneous. McCain endorsed Obama’s policy of military intervention in Libya, without the consent of Congress, but now seems to be backing away from it, at least in terms of what happened in Libya on 9/11. He said, in the wake of the murders of the Americans, that “most people don’t bring rocket propelled grenades and heavy weapons to a demonstration,” and that it was a preplanned terrorist attack. It was another good McCain sound bite but begs the question of what these terrorists are doing in Libya in the first place, and why McCain backed Obama’s policy of military intervention there.
McCain should be asked by the media if he also intends to review his criticism of the conservative members of the House of Representatives who raised concern about Muslim Brotherhood influence in the Obama Administration. McCain had defended Secretary of State Hillary Clinton’s aide, Huma Abedin, against charges that she was too close to the Muslim Brotherhood. McCain became a media hero for standing up for Abedin and against people like Rep. Michele Bachmann. Dana Milbank of The Washington Post actually said in print that Abedin helped her boss with suits and handbags and logistics and had no influence over policy. It was “McCarthyism” to suggest otherwise, he wrote.
Yet, it is significant that Hillary Clinton has been leading the charge against the film, rather than take responsibility for the lack of security in Benghazi, Libya, where the murders of the Americans occurred. Clinton denounced the film and federal authorities directed the apprehension of the filmmaker, using the pretext that he was wanted for questioning about unrelated legal matters. This unprecedented attack on the First Amendment right of free speech demonstrates the Muslim Brotherhood influence over the State Department that Bachmann and other members of the House had warned about. The Muslim Brotherhood regards any critical depiction of Islam’s prophet Muhammad as blasphemy that must be suppressed.
In effect, our own federal government, supposedly committed to protecting our constitution, has sided with Sharia, or Islamic law, which prohibits insulting the prophet.
If Abedin is not a factor behind this policy, who is? The answer, of course, is the President himself, who knows exactly what he is doing. Whereas we have no access to Abedin’s security clearance form 86, which should have disclosed her foreign connections, Obama was never required to fill one out.
But this is more than a political ploy by the media to protect Obama. The coordinated attack on the First Amendment threatens the lives of Americans who dare to criticize Islam and organize to expose Muslim Brotherhood operations on U.S. soil. Coptic Christian Joseph Nassralla, who has been falsely linked in media reports to the content of the film, tells Pamela Geller: “There has been a campaign of disinformation and smears about the film ‘Innocence of Muslims’ and my involvement in it. I have been forced to leave my home, and I have received numerous death threats. It grieves me that my intent was to call attention to the relentless, bloody persecution of the Copts, but that issue is of no interest to the media at all.”
Despite the media bias, it should be clear to anyone paying even casual attention that Obama has lost Egypt and is now in danger of losing Libya to the Islamists. The only legitimate debate is whether this outcome is accidental or planned. Such a debate, which will only be held if Republicans acquire some testosterone, could turn the presidential campaign in Romney’s favor in the same way that Jimmy Carter was unable to recover from the effects of a bad economy and a disastrous foreign policy, resulting in Ronald Reagan coasting to victory.
The hysterical media attacks on the filmmaker reflect media desperation that voters may come to associate the anti-American violence with Obama’s policy of appeasing the Arab/Muslim world. The voters know very little about how Obama has deliberately and consciously assisted the Muslim Brotherhood of Egypt and that this is the group that has spawned anti-American terrorism around the world. Andrew McCarthy’s new book, Spring Fever: The Illusion of Islamic Democracy, documents how there never was an “Arab Spring” but a Pandora’s box that contains the seeds of the destruction of America and the West.
Egypt is lost, despite claims by Wolf Blitzer and others on CNN that Obama has somehow made the Muslim Brotherhood government see the light about the need to protect American interests. There is a “government” in place in Libya, and its officials have directly contradicted the Obama Administration’s claims about the “spontaneous” nature of the anti-American violence. This violence, however, demonstrates that the Libyan government either has no power or control over the country or is unwilling to confront the Islamists. Under these circumstances, it is only a matter of time before the terrorists are in complete control and eventually take power there officially, just as they have in Egypt.
In fact, there are reports that Libyan security forces have been infiltrated by the terrorists. Official Libyan statements about the preplanned nature of the assault on the U.S. consulate on 9/11 may be seen, therefore, as a cry for help. Instead, however, Hillary and Obama have decided to beat up a filmmaker. Again, this is a complete diversion from a policy that is delivering major governments of the Arab/Muslim world into the hands of those who gave us al-Qaeda and 9/11.
McCain himself has a lot to answer for. He said, at a press conference in Benghazi, Libya, on April 22: “I have met with these brave fighters, and they are not al-Qaeda. To the contrary: They are Libyan patriots who want to liberate their nation. We should help them do it.” This statement was made in the very place where the terrorists destroyed the U.S. Consulate and killed the Ambassador.
At the time of Obama’s intervention in Libya, which was both illegal and unconstitutional, there were numerous reports of al-Qaeda activity in the country. But Republicans in Congress, led by McCain in the Senate, did not want to hold Obama accountable.
Andrew Bostom, the author of the highly acclaimed The Legacy of Jihad: Islamic Holy War and the Fate of Non-Muslims, was interviewed on America’s Morning News on September 17 and expressed disgust that the media are letting McCain get away with escaping his own responsibility for what has happened there. “He was one of the evangelists for this utterly failed policy, particularly in Libya,” Bostom noted.
This bipartisan nature of the failure, in the sense that McCain’s fingerprints are all over it, is why some conservatives are fearful that the Republicans don’t have the willingness to go after Obama’s record of foreign policy failure.
One thing is certain: the demonstrations will continue, and more Americans will have to go into hiding because of death threats from adherents of the “religion of peace.”
Our media could help stop this catastrophe, but they would prefer to save Obama’s presidency.
Cliff Kincaid is the Director of the AIM Center for Investigative Journalism and can be contacted at [email protected].
Interview by: Jen Alic of Oilprice.com
As rebels attempt to regroup in advance of a new strategy to overpower Assad, and Western powers try to start from scratch with a new rebel formation that is presumably devoid of Salafi Jihadists, the US is calling on third party, non-state actors to arm the rebels in order to avoid becoming embroiled in a geopolitically sensitive conflict just ahead of presidential elections. As attentions turn to the chaos breaking out across the Middle East and North Africa (and even further afield), what chance do the rebels have of pushing Assad to his limits? Michael Bagley, President of the Jellyfish Operations private intelligence boutique, which has adopted an approach that is contrary to the typical “yes-man” characteristics of its competitors, calls a spade a spade.
In the interview, Michael discusses:
* Can the rebels defeat Assad
* What strategy the rebels need to adopt to be successful
* Why Al-Qaeda’s growing presence benefits Assad
* Why Assad’s strategy to weaken the rebels is working
* Who is going to arm the rebels
* Why the U.S & Europe can’t intervene
* Why the U.S. can’t make the same mistakes they made in Libya
* How to rid the rebels of extremist forces
Jen Alic: Let’s just start out with the biggest question on everyone’s mind. Can the rebels defeat Assad?
Michael Bagley: Certainly, they can, but to fully answer this question we have to look backwards and forwards. It was a grave mistake for the US and its Arab allies to purposefully facilitate an influx of foreign fighters, namely Salafi jihadists, into Syria through the Turkish border to boost the ranks of the Syrian rebels. Now the rebels are in a tough position, and clearly everyone is having second thoughts about this disastrous strategy, not least the true rebels themselves. This temporary solution to the rebels’ inadequate manpower is now a not-so-temporary setback. This is the first problem that must be resolved.
Alic: The next obvious question, then, is how does one get rid of extremist forces it has welcomed into its ranks?
Bagley: The US has a tendency to temporarily befriend enemy jihadists, let them serve their purposes and then turn against them, creating even more vehement enemies in the process. This is what went horribly wrong in Libya last week. The rebels have already lost control of their Salafi jihadist elements, and along with that, the “hearts and minds” of the citizens who would otherwise have supported them wholeheartedly. Now that support is based on fear as much as it is on love-fear of the extremists. There has already been one rather high-profile assassination of a key jihadist commander, but this is not a realistic solution to the problem. The only way the rebels will defeat the jihadists is to defeat Assad on their own terms.
Alic: On Sunday, Syria’s Foreign Ministry, in a letter to the UN Security Council and Secretary-General Bank Ki-Moon, accused Turkey of allowing al-Qaeda fighters to cross into Syria. According to Syria, their numbers are in the thousands. How would you respond to this?
Bagley: Yes, the strategy is most unfortunate also because it gives Assad ammunition in the UN Security Council. Assad has always accused the rebels of being “terrorists”, even when the conflict first flared up and before “foreign fighters” were allowed to hijack the genuine rebel movement. Now Assad is being legitimized in a way that no one wants to see.
Assad is attempting, successfully, to foment worsening relations among the various sects in Syria to ensure there can be no united rebel force strong enough to affect his defeat. Not only are we dealing with “foreign fighters”, but criminal interests are stepping in to take advantage of the situation, and the population is being divided along sectarian lines, which will only be further exacerbated by the developments that began in Libya last week and quickly spread across the region.
Alic: What do you make of reports of the formation of a new rebel group call the Syrian National Army, apparently supported by Turkey, France and the US?
Bagley: This is more or less the revolution “Take II” and hopefully lighter on the jihadist element. It’s the Western powers trying to right a wrong, to undo the ill-conceived strategy that they started out with. What is disturbing is that this signals that the Free Syrian Army has failed and that there is a need to start over, which will result in a serious loss of momentum, and possibly another conflict front that buys into Assad’s overall plan to weaken the rebels. The “new” rebel group is not in itself a bad development and its commander, defected Major General Muhammad al-Haj Ali purportedly is against international intervention in the form of the establishment of a no-fly zone, and he is correct in this at this point because Assad has blurred the lines too much to make a no-fly zone effective.
Alic: Why will this new group be more effective?
Bagley: It may not be. I think what is most important to understand, is that groups like the Free Syrian Army and this new Syrian National Army are by no means the backbone of the revolution. These groups largely are represented by exiled opposition leaders or defected military figures, who are not cohesive. Most of them are in Turkey and Jordan. On the ground, though, there are smaller rebel groups who have managed to establish their own organizational structures and who have been successful in replacing the regime, but not on a national level, only in small areas that are easier to control. It is this momentum upon which we need to build, and it is these smaller groups that the new Syrian National Army should focus on organizing into a national undertaking. If, from exile, the Syrian National Army can coordinate the efforts of these smaller groups instead of attempting to usurp them, they will be successful.
Alic: Assuming the rebels can re-take the revolution, so to speak, from the jihadist elements and overcome their own disunity, what shifts in strategy do they need to adopt in order to gain momentum?
Bagley: The rebels are attempting to change their strategy, demonstrated by the shooting down of a regime helicopter and the targeting of a military base recently. Overall, the rebels need to move away from ad-hoc guerilla warfare and adopt a more conventional military approach, focusing in military targets and hitting at Assad’s capacity to launch air raids that take out civilians in areas where the regime is tracking rebel concentrations. They need to go on the offensive against the regime’s capabilities, not engage in street battles with regime soldiers. For this they need heavy weapons, RPGs and MANPADS, for instance, and a great deal more high-tech equipment than they currently have.
They also need to hit at the sources of the regime’s weapons. They need a much bigger picture strategy in order to protect civilians, which is at the heart of their overall agenda, and they need to be viewed as “protectors” if they are to succeed. For starters, they need to stop shipments of weapons coming in from Iran via Iraq. To do this, they need intelligence.
Alic: And who is going to arm the rebels?
Bagley: That would be the million-dollar question. The US will not intervene directly ahead of presidential elections. Europe cannot intervene. Saudi Arabia and Qatar are more interested in Salafi jihadists getting the upper hand over the “original rebels”. The US is openly calling essentially for private donations to enable the rebels to buy weapons. In the end, they will be armed by the private sector, but so far the money is not there. It’s possible that donors are waiting to see what kind of strategy the rebels can come up with. But Iran may unwittingly force the hand of the “donors” to move more quickly.
Alic: On Sunday, the commander-in-chief of Iran’s Revolutionary Guards Corps made a public statement to the effect that Iran is assisting Syria militarily and may become directly involved if they feel the regime is truly threatened by external forces.
Bagley: Yes, this was interesting as it was the first time Iran has publicly admitted its assistance to Syria. However, there are also some internal Iranian politics to consider here; specifically that this statement came from the Revolutionary Guards and not from Tehran.
There seems to be a difference of opinion among Iranian power-brokers as to how to handle the situation in Syria. The Revolutionary Guards would like to play a more active role in the conflict, while the Iranian Supreme Leader is playing things more cautiously. What is significant here is that the Guards report directly to the Supreme Leader, and for the first time the Guards seem to be overstepping their bounds.
Alic: Thank you for taking the time to speak with us Michael. To find out more about Jellyfish Operations and how they can help your company with intelligence gathering, discovering new opportunities and mitigating operational risk – please visit their website: http://www.jellyfishoperations.com
Interview by: Jen Alic of Oilprice.com
Hat Tip: BB
By: Citizen Scribe
I have a soft spot for post-apocalyptic cinema. “Cinema” here includes “made-for-TV” and is represented by such favorites as Mad Max, Waterworld, The Postman, I Am Legend, Earth Abides (please make the movie), The Stand, Hunger Games, and so on.
I will pretty much engage on at least the first few episodes of anything that fits the genre, like Jeremiah, Jericho, Falling Skies, and stuff like that.
And now also Revolution.
We watched the premier last night. About fifteen minutes in, I found myself hollering at the TV. The inconsistencies and failed plausibilities are just epic.
Slate has their own complaint, of course.
My own list of gripes didn’t even include the hair.
Bad science. The wave front for an EMP — or anything that produces that same effect — does not travel at sub-sonic speeds, even if the “electric dominoes” effect does look cool. The cars lined up on the highway would not “blink out” one at a time. Planes falling out of the sky would a) not fall with their freaking lights still flashing (I mean, REALLY?), b) not fall straight down while vaguely spinning like an auto-rotating ‘copter. Cell phones would not “flicker” out of service. Oh, and just to be mean, asthma inhalers would not still be pressurized after fifteen frigging years.
Clothing. It’s been fifteen frigging years with no electric power and people are still wearing synthetic fabrics that look like they’ve just come off the rack?
Weapons. Okay, yeah, knives, swords, bows & arrows, black powder muskets, stuff like that. But a mini-crossbow for close engagement? You couldn’t do a nice short recurve? The lead bad guy carries a Desert Eagle? You couldn’t give him something with dirt-common ammunition? Had to pick something that shoots a round (.50 AE) which — after fifteen frigging years — is going to be hen’s-teeth-scarce? Why not something in a 1911? Hell, a Beretta even?
Character character. Yes, the character of the characters. It’s been fifteen frigging years of off-grid living, and your two adult children still behave like emo-kids?
Plausibility lapses. It’s been fifteen frigging years and somehow the dude the with magic digital talisman has never formulated a fall-back plan, has never briefed his kids on the importance of preserving this thing, hands it over to a used-to-be Google geek without any kind of orientation (although the gratuitous geekness will surely figure in this narrative later), and can’t manage to keep his adult son (see emo-kids above) from losing it and precipitating the (plot-enabling) catastrophe that launches the odyssey.
And the “teaser” scene at the end (lifted from Jericho) pretty much guarantees that they will spend much narrative coin “explaining” the global failure of electricity (“physics just went nuts”), and how electric power is really still there but is “suppressed” by some mad-scientist “field” which is abridged somehow by the “magic digital talisman” (alternatively, the talisman “emits” electricity, which would be even worse). And, of course, the “event” (evidently human caused) which killed electricity will also have to “expositioned” in dialog later on, providing lots of filler for plot padding.
The show has potential, and there’s plenty of room for the writers to repair things, but lately I get the sense that “writers” are just phoning it in. My wife and I identified at least three other shows from which they ripped off plot-enabling devices and we see very little that’s actually new.
That said, we’re probably gonna watch the next couple of episodes anyway.
Because it’s better than whatever’s on the news.
Hat Tip: Sara Akrami
Hat Tip: BB
Hat Tip: BB
Hat Tip: BB