06/27/15

Overthrow the Judicial Dictatorship

By: Cliff Kincaid
Accuracy in Media

Commentators have missed the real significance of Justice Antonin Scalia’s dissent in the gay marriage case. He calls the decision a judicial “Putsch,” an attempt to overthrow a form of government—ours. His dissent, joined by Justice Clarence Thomas, was written “to call attention to this Court’s threat to American democracy.”

His comment about the Court using the kind of reasoning we find in a fortune cookie is a funny line. But there is much of the Scalia dissent that is not funny and which serves as a warning to the American people about what the Court has done to us.

Scalia understands the power and meaning of words and he chose the word “putsch” for a specific purpose. One definition of the term means “a secretly plotted and suddenly executed attempt to overthrow a government…” Another definition is “a plotted revolt or attempt to overthrow a government, especially one that depends upon suddenness and speed.”

Hence, Scalia is saying this was not only a blatant power grab and the creation of a “right” that does not exist, but a decision that depends on public ignorance about what is really taking place.  It is our system of checks and balances and self-rule that has been undermined, he says.

In that sense, he is warning us that we need to understand the real significance of this decision, and go beyond all the commentators talking about “marriage equality” and “equal rights” for homosexuals. In effect, he is saying that the decision is really not about gay rights, but about the future of our constitutional republic, and the ability of the people to govern themselves rather than be governed by an elite panel making up laws and rights as they go.

Scalia’s dissent cannot be understood by listening to summaries made by commentators who probably didn’t read it. Although I may be accused of exaggerating the import of his dissent, my conclusion is that he is calling for nothing less than the American people to understand that a judicial dictatorship has emerged in this country and that its power must be addressed, checked, and overruled.

The implication of his dissent is that we, the American people, have to neutralize this panel, perhaps by removing the offenders from the court, and put in place a group of thinkers who are answerable to the Constitution and the people whose rights the Court is supposed to protect.

He says the majority on the court undermined the main principle of the American Revolution—“the freedom to govern themselves”—by sabotaging the right of the people to decide these matters. The Court destroyed the definition of marriage as one man and one woman “in an opinion lacking even a thin veneer of law.” In other words, the Court acted unlawfully and unconstitutionally.

Scalia called the decision “a naked judicial claim to legislative—indeed, super-legislative—power; a claim fundamentally at odds with our system of government.”

Justice Scalia goes on, however, to attempt to explain why this is happening. He basically says, in so many words, that the majority of the Court is un-American, completely out of touch with American traditions and the views of ordinary Americans. He rips the Federal Judiciary as “hardly a cross-section of America,” people from elite law schools, with not a single person from middle-America, and not a single evangelical Christian or even a Protestant of any denomination. He calls the Court, on which he serves, a “highly unrepresentative panel of nine,” that has engaged in “social transformation” of the United States.

More than that, after examining the elite views and backgrounds of the “notorious nine,” he declares that while the American Revolution was a rejection of “taxation without representation,” we have in the gay marriage case, “social transformation without representation.”

One cannot help but think that Scalia wants readers to recall Obama’s promise of the “fundamental transformation” of America, except that in this case Obama has been assisted by five judges who did not represent, or even care about, the views of America as a whole.

While Scalia zeroed in on his colleagues on the Court, we can easily apply his analysis to the unelected members of the liberal media who pretend to offer the American people an objective and sensible interpretation of the decision.

On CNN, for example, anchor Brooke Baldwin “moderated” a discussion between lesbian liberal Sally Kohn and liberal pro-gay “Republican” Margaret Hoover. The only issue was when the Republican Party would accept gay rights and sell out conservative Christians. Baldwin herself is a member, or at least a supporter, of the National Lesbian & Gay Journalists Association.

Conservatives watching Fox News and hoping for a pro-traditional values perspective are likely to be seriously disappointed as well. The new Fox star, Megyn Kelly, is getting rave reviews from the liberals for defending homosexual and transgender rights. A special report by Peter LaBarbera examines how Fox has been almost as biased on this issue as other media, calling the channel “unfair, unbalanced and afraid.” The word “afraid” describes the general failure to challenge the homosexual movement, into which Fox News has been pouring a significant amount of money for many years. Indeed, some “conservatives” have gone way over to the other side, with Greg Gutfeld, another rising Fox star, insisting that gay marriage is a conservative concept.

The Scalia dissent demonstrates why the fight for traditional values cannot and must not stop. That fight must continue because our form of democratic self-government is in grave jeopardy, and has in fact suffered a major blow. A federal constitutional amendment to protect traditional marriage is one obvious course of action. But that won’t solve the basic problem of an emerging judicial dictatorship willing to redefine historical institutions, make up rights, and defy common sense.

The court’s reputation for “clear thinking and sober analysis” is in danger because of this terribly misguided decision, Scalia writes. In other words, the Court is drunk with power and cannot see or think straight.

The same can be said about the major media, which cover this decision as just another controversial ruling that people will disagree on.

In fact, as the Scalia dissent notes, this decision will live in infamy. It is as if a Pearl Harbor-type attack has been achieved on America’s moral fabric and constitutional foundations.

In this context, Scalia talks about the Court overreaching its authority and moving “one step closer to being reminded of our impotence.” In my view, this is an open invitation for responsible elected officials to take power away from this Court and return it to the people.

But how will the Republican Party respond? Some big money players are demanding the white flag of surrender, so the GOP can “move on.” This is what the British “Conservative” Party has done, and we see the consequences there, as Christians are now being arrested by police or fired from their jobs for expressing views in favor of traditional values and traditional marriage.

Scalia’s discussion of “social transformation” of the United States without the voluntary input or approval of the people captures the essence of the coup that has been carried out. This process now has to be explained in terms that most people understand. It is, in fact, the phenomenon of cultural Marxism, an insidious process explained so forcefully in Professor Paul Kengor’s new book, Takedown.

As Kengor notes, gay marriage is only the beginning of this cultural transformation. By redefining the historical institution, the Court has opened the door to multiple wives, group marriages, sibling marriages, fathers and stepfathers marrying daughters and stepdaughters, and uncles marrying nieces.

A country that descends to the bottom of the barrel morally and culturally will not be able to defend itself against its foreign adversaries and enemies. Indeed, we have the evidence all around us that, as the culture has degenerated, our ability to defend ourselves has simultaneously been weakened. The recent Pentagon gay pride event featured a male General introducing his husband, as a transgender Pentagon civilian employee looked on.

The next step, from the point of view of those objecting to this fundamental transformation of America, has to be to find those elected leaders willing to act. The presidential campaign of 2016 is an opportunity to find out who understands the crisis and whether they have a way out.

05/12/15

Phony “Conservatives” and Britain’s Cultural Collapse

By: Cliff Kincaid
Accuracy in Media

The usually astute Heritage Foundation commentator Nile Gardiner calls the win by the Conservative Party in Britain a defeat for socialism. Yet, Conservative Party head David Cameron ran on a platform boasting that “we have protected the National Health Service, with 9,500 more doctors and 6,900 more nurses, and ensured generous rises in the State Pension.”

Based on this precedent, we can anticipate that Republican Party politicians here in America will one day run on a platform of making Obamacare more affordable, rather than seeking to abolish it. This, then, will be defined as the “conservative” position.

The coverage of the recent British elections has demonstrated that the term “conservative” has lost much of its meaning. It’s time to take a hard look at what the term has come to mean in Britain and how it is being distorted and transformed here.

In addition to the Conservative Party’s embrace of socialist programs, the Cameron government, which has ruled Britain for five years, has embraced Islamic immigration to Britain, going so far as to pay more deference to global Islam than traditional Christianity. Demonstrating this bias, the supposedly “conservative” government in Britain banned American anti-Jihad activists Pamela Geller and Robert Spencer from the country. Geller and Spencer had intended to rally opposition to the Islamization of the West. Spencer called Cameron, who has labeled Islam “a religion of peace,” as the “dhimmi appeaser.” The term means a non-Muslim who accepts Muslim dominance.

Cameron and his Conservative Party have also embraced the legalization of homosexual marriage. The Conservatives’ 2015 manifesto says: “Our historic introduction of gay marriage has helped drive forward equality and strengthened the institution of marriage. But there is still more to do, and we will continue to champion equality for Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender people.”

We can easily anticipate the Republican Party going down this road in the United States. In fact, the publication Politico notes that GOP presidential candidate Jeb Bush is among those trying to “have it both ways” on homosexual marriage. “While he publicly maintains his opposition to same-sex marriage, reaffirmed over the weekend by a surrogate he sent to Iowa, Bush is sending signals that he may be more accepting of ‘marriage equality’—the strongest signal, perhaps, coming when he referred to the issue using that term favored by LGBT advocates—than he’s able to let on,” the publication reported.

It noted that Bush has hired a communications director, Tim Miller, who is openly gay, and his inner circle of staffers “have all expressed strong support for marriage equality, including Mike Murphy, hired to run his messaging shop, who wrote about the GOP’s need to evolve on policy following Romney’s defeat in 2012.”

Jeb Bush is shaping up as the David Cameron of the Republican Party.

In Britain the changes keep coming, now at an astounding rate. Andrea Williams of the British group Christian Concern says the Cameron government has not only “destroyed marriage” by redefining it to include homosexual couples, but it is also pursuing liberal policies in other areas. For example, she says the government has liberalized abortion and refused to outlaw abortions on the basis of the sex of the fetus. She says that in Britain nurses and teachers have been suspended for wearing Christian crosses, judges have been replaced for refusing to place children in homosexual relationships with two fathers or two mothers, and Christian street preachers are being jailed for “offensive” comments. “We have no leader at the helm of any of our main parties, whether it’s the Liberal Democrats, the Labor Party or the Conservative Party, who are speaking a moral vision,” she says.

Another British group, the Christian Institute, confirms these ominous trends and warns that “…here in the UK religious liberty is being increasingly challenged…Street preachers have been arrested. Christians have lost their jobs for answering questions about their faith or for taking an ethical stand. Christians in business have come into conflict with equality laws and faced fines for holding to the belief that marriage is between a man and a woman.”

Commentator Charles Moore had warned in March 2015: “Socially conservative moral views are now teetering on the edge of criminality, and are over the edge of disapproval by those who run modern Britain.”

In arguing that “Britain is at heart still a conservative country,” Gardiner of the Heritage Foundation was talking about a country that no longer exists. His only reference to Britain’s cultural collapse came in his observation that Cameron had “alienated many grassroots supporters with highly controversial ‘modernizing’ policies such as backing gay marriage and increasing spending on foreign aid, both deeply unpopular with the Conservative base.” In fact, as we have seen in the statements quoted above, the conservative base has been betrayed on a host of issues. Today, even free speech is at risk in Britain.

In the U.S., it appears that big money is driving the Republican Party to the left, along the same path taken by Britain. The Politico article quoted earlier noted the influence of hedge fund billionaire Paul Singer, who has decided that since his own son is gay, the Republican Party should embrace the homosexual lifestyle and homosexual marriage. The publication said that Bush is determined to win Singer’s personal support, and added that “other billionaire bundlers like Seth Klarman and Dan Loeb, another hedge funder known for asking any candidate who enters his office where they stand on gay rights,” are also looking for Republicans to finance and push their pet causes.

As these developments unfold, it will be up to conservatives in the media and the think tanks to shine a light on the attempted takeover of the Republican Party. That will be much harder to do if the conservative media become part of the problem and go AWOL on the need for a moral vision to save the country.

In this context, Guy Benson, the political editor of its conservative Townhall.com website, has announced that he is a practicing homosexual. Benson, a supporter of homosexual marriage, is a Fox News contributor who appeared on Megyn Kelly’s Fox News show to discuss coming out of the closet through a footnote in his new book. “I think it’s very brave,” Kelly told him.

Fox News has been a major financial backer of the National Lesbian & Gay Journalists Association, a group that featured a male stripper at its recent New York City fundraiser. However, Townhall.com’s parent company is a Christian firm, Salem Media Group, which has refused comment on whether Benson will retain his influential position within the company. The company describes its mission as “targeting audiences interested in Christian and family-themed content and conservative values.”

02/23/15

The Mysterious “Frank” Returns

By: Cliff Kincaid
Accuracy in Media

Yesterday’s news became big news on the Fox News Channel on Thursday when former New York City Mayor Rudolph Giuliani brought up the name of President Barack Obama’s childhood mentor, Frank Marshall Davis. It was almost seven years to the day when we published our seminal piece about Davis, “Obama’s Communist Mentor.”

Davis was a member of the Communist Party and a suspected Soviet espionage agent. He was included in the FBI’s security index, meaning that Davis could be arrested or detained in the event of a national emergency. The FBI file on Davis documents his anti-white and pro-Soviet views, infiltration of the Hawaii Democratic Party, and other activities.

Davis also wrote an autobiographical and pornographic sex novel, Sex Rebel, disclosing that he had sex with a young girl and engaged in shocking and bizarre sexual activities.

Giuliani’s public identification of Davis and discussion of his role in grooming a young Barack Obama marks the first time, in my memory, that a top Republican has ever mentioned the Davis-Obama relationship. It was done in the context of Fox News’ Megyn Kelly of questioning how Giuliani could dare ask whether Obama loves America.

If the Republicans had brought this up during the 2008 campaign, Obama might have been defeated and the country could have been spared the last six years of “progressive” hope and change. The Davis-Obama relationship is something so damaging and corrupt that its public airing would have raised questions about the Democratic Party’s vetting of Obama and the direction of the Democratic Party itself.

However, Republican operative Karl Rove was warning Republicans not to accuse Obama of being a socialist. He said such a charge would generate a negative backlash. The result in 2012 was another Obama victory.

Now that it has become apparent to more and more people that Obama is not a traditional liberal Democrat and is, in fact, a Marxist with Muslim sympathies, a figure such as Giuliani feels compelled to speak out. So let’s take a look at what Giuliani said.

“I don’t feel it. I don’t feel this love of America,” Giuliani said, talking about Obama. “I’m talking about a man who grew up under the influence of Frank Marshall Davis who was a member of the Communist Party, who he refers to over and over in his book, who was a tremendous critic of the United States.”

Kelly countered that Obama “was raised in part by his grandparents. His grandfather served in World War II, his grandmother worked in a munitions plant to help the nation during World War II. I mean, to suggest he was raised by people who don’t love America or didn’t help him learn to love America.”

Giuliani argued that “his grandfather introduced him to Frank Marshall Davis, who was a communist.” He added, “You can fight in World War II, and then you introduce someone to a Communist and the young boy gets…”

After Kelly interjected that “it’s a political world view. It’s not a hatred for the country,” Giuliani responded, “Communism wasn’t hatred for America?”

Giuliani is correct about the Davis influence over Obama and the role that the grandfather played in picking Davis as a mentor.

But when Giuliani notes that Obama refers to Davis “over and over in his book,” Dreams from My Father, it’s important to point out that Davis was not identified as Frank Marshall Davis in that book. Instead, Obama identified him merely as “Frank.” The rest of the story was put together by anti-communist researcher Trevor Loudon, and we confirmed the identification with another source in Hawaii who was a close friend of Davis.

Even more of the story was put together by Paul Kengor in his authoritative book on Davis, The Communist. It appears that Davis was an influence over Obama for about nine full years, until Obama was 18 and went off to college. Obama went off to college and, by his own admission, would attend socialist conferences and pick Marxist professors as his friends.

This relationship alone would have disqualified Obama from getting low-level federal employment. The loophole in our system is that background checks are not required for federal elected officials. Our founders counted on a free press to review the fitness of those running for office.

When former Obama adviser David Axelrod talks about Obama being free from major scandals, he is ignoring the biggest scandal of all—how Obama concealed his Marxist upbringing and relationship with Davis. Axelrod of course was part of the cover-up. When “Frank” was identified as Davis, the Obama campaign insisted he was just a civil rights activist.

As we reported at the time, news organizations such as the Associated Press, The Washington Post, Newsweek and even Fox News ignored or downplayed Davis’s communist sympathies.

As Giuliani indicated, there are other influences on Obama that help explain his anti-Americanism. These include the “community organizing” philosophy of Saul Alinsky, his pastor Jeremiah Wright and the communist terrorists Bill Ayers and Bernardine Dohrn.

Giuliani clearly feels, at this stage in Obama’s presidency, that some things have to be said openly for the sake of the country. A former crime-busting U.S. Attorney who was mayor of New York City at the time of 9/11, Giuliani fears for the future of our country. But it’s not just the fate of America that is at stake. It is clear that Obama has no love for America’s traditional allies, such as Israel. Hence, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu is coming to America to plead his case personally. He is afraid that Obama wants to make a deal that will allow Iran to acquire nuclear weapons.

Now that Giuliani has publicly raised some inconvenient truths about Obama, the “progressives” and their media allies will naturally scream and cry “McCarthyism.”  Strangely taking this tack, Fox News’ Kelly wondered if Giuliani’s comments about Obama had damaged “the Republican brand.” The Republican brand will only be damaged by an inability to face facts and confront and expose anti-Americanism at the highest levels of the United States government. It is shocking that it has taken this long for the evidence to emerge publicly on a national basis on Fox News and other channels.

This controversy will help determine what direction the Republicans will take. The Washington Post’s Dana Milbank, who has made it his job to protect Obama from the fallout from major scandals, was quick to label Giuliani’s remarks about Obama as “stupid.” He also attacked Wisconsin Republican Governor Scott Walker as “spineless” for saying Giuliani “can speak for himself,” and not directly challenging what the former mayor had said

“What Scott Walker did ought to disqualify him as a serious presidential contender,” wrote Milbank.

This is a signal from one of Obama’s best friends in the media that the information unearthed by Giuliani is of the blockbuster variety. Giuliani went for the jugular and hit a gusher.

The first thing Republicans can do is simply challenge the media to report on the Davis FBI file. They have been avoiding it for over six years.

Congress could also investigate Obama’s communist connections, which stretch from Hawaii to Chicago, and question the FBI about what they knew, if anything, about the Obama-Davis relationship. The reestablishment of House and Senate internal security committees, including a loyalty program for U.S. officials to eliminate security risks, should be considered.

Republicans could remind people that it was anti-communist Democratic President Harry Truman who started the first loyalty program. He issued executive order 9835 establishing the program in 1947.

The executive order said that “each employee of the Government of the United States is endowed with a measure of trusteeship over the democratic processes which are at the heart and sinew of the United States,” and declared that “the presence within the Government service of any disloyal or subversive person constitutes a threat to our democratic processes…”

It is time for a background check on the President of the United States. Does he pass the loyalty test?

02/5/15

Can You Handle the Truth About Vaccines?

By: Cliff Kincaid
Accuracy in Media

NBC accuses Republicans of accepting bad “science” on vaccines, while Fox News fires back, accusing liberals of spreading bad “science” on vaccines. Each side is trying to score partisan political points. The message from both sides is that vaccines are completely safe. But that message is absolutely and demonstrably false.

As I noted in a recent column, the National Vaccine Injury Compensation Program exists to compensate victims of vaccines. The latest Statistics Report shows nearly 4,000 claims were awarded financial damages.

Why do both sides of this “debate” pretend that vaccine-related injuries do not occur? Why not just report the facts? It doesn’t take a lot of work to dig them out.

Barbara Loe Fisher of the National Vaccine Information Center (NVIC) tells me that she has given more than 100 interviews in the last two weeks on the subject of the measles outbreak, but that the media simply will NOT report on the existence of this federal program and the implications for the subject of vaccine safety.

“Vaccines are the only pharmaceutical products that government mandates and completely indemnifies,” she notes. She is referring to federal legislation that takes legal responsibility for their actions away from the companies making the vaccines.

“I’ve been talking about it in every interview I do and I have been bringing it up. But whenever I talk about liability protection for the companies—that this is the only pharmaceutical product that is mandated by government and indemnified by government—they [the media] don’t want to talk about it,” she said.

Observers believe the glaring omission reflects the power of pharmaceutical companies or their advertising agencies in the major media. It is in the interest of these companies to make pariahs out of those favoring vaccine choice by playing down—or even suppressing—questions about vaccine safety.

Simply put, the evidence and history show that the vaccine makers have been given total liability protection for injuries and deaths caused by government-mandated vaccines. Vaccine safety is not “settled science,” as we have been hearing repeatedly in the media. To the contrary, for purposes of the law, vaccines are considered sometimes unsafe, even deadly.

The “Vaccine injury table” associated with the legislation includes a list of the injuries, disabilities, illnesses, conditions, and deaths resulting from the administration of such vaccines.

But why is it so difficult for the media to report on the existence of these health problems?

The vaccines that are covered include:

  • diptheria and tetanus vaccines
  • pertussis vaccines
  • measles, mumps, and rubella vaccines
  • polio vaccines
  • hepatitis A vaccines
  • hepatitis B vaccines
  • Haemophilus influenza type b polysaccharide conjugate vaccines
  • varicella vaccines
  • rotavirus vaccines
  • pneumococcal conjugate vaccines
  • seasonal influenza vaccines
  • human papillomavirus vaccines
  • meningococcal vaccines

As I reported in my column, the one exception to this drumbeat of misleading and inaccurate coverage about “vaccine safety” is on the local level, where correspondent Michael Chen of ABC 10 News in San Diego, California noted a case of a boy who suffered serious injuries, including fever, seizures, nervous tics and autism, as a result of two vaccines. The mother, almost in tears as she described what happened to her son, was paid $55,000 in damages through the federal program. But the damage award didn’t cover the autism diagnosis. She said she wished she had more thoroughly researched the safety of vaccines.

The National Vaccine Injury Compensation Program grew out of the 1986 National Childhood Vaccine Injury Act. Fisher explains what happened: “The companies threatened Congress that they were going to leave the people without any childhood vaccines if they did not get liability protection. The companies wanted this liability protection and it was mainly for losses at that time for DPT and oral polio vaccine. MMR (Measles, Mumps, and Rubella) vaccine at that point was a relatively new combination vaccine.”

The DPT vaccine had been associated with brain inflammation and brain damage, while polio paralysis can be caused by the vaccine.

Fisher explains what the federal protection means for the companies: “Nobody who makes or profits from the sale of the vaccine, nobody who regulates the vaccine, who promotes the vaccine, who votes to mandate the vaccine—nobody is accountable or liable in a civil court of law in front of a jury of our peers when we get hurt because we’ve been told we have to take it, or when the vaccine fails to work.”

The compensation program, with total liability protection for injuries and deaths caused by government-mandated vaccines, was upheld by the Supreme Court in a 2011 case in which vaccines were acknowledged to be “unavoidably unsafe.”

My column actually underestimated the total financial damages paid through the program. The figure is actually $2.8 billion to the victims or the families of victims themselves.

Liberal and conservative media are trying to make political points over who’s right and wrong about vaccine safety. But Fisher says people who support her group and vaccine choice come from across the political spectrum and include Democrats, Republicans, libertarians, and independents. In the media, however, each side is trying to smear the other side, as if there is a partisan divide.

The coverage has led to cases of strange bedfellows, such as the George Soros-funded blog Think Progress running a story praising Megyn Kelly of Fox News under the headline, “Megyn Kelly Speaks Up For Mandatory Vaccination On Fox: ‘Some Things Do Require Big Brother.’”

Indeed, Kelly defended mandatory vaccines, saying, “…some things do require some involvement of Big Brother.”

What she and many others in the media have consistently ignored is the role of Big Brother in shielding the companies making the vaccines from the side effects of their products.

As I asked in my column: If there are no problems associated with vaccines, then why did Congress pass the National Childhood Vaccine Injury Act of 1986, which created a national Vaccine Injury Compensation Program?

The media on the left and right have no answer to this question. So they pretend there is no debate or dispute over the safety of vaccines. They simply point fingers about one side or the other being guilty of ignoring what they pretend is settled science.

The only thing “settled” about the science is that while vaccines work for a large majority of people, they can also cause serious health problems, even death, for some.

The commentators who ignore the truth are either lying or so utterly ignorant that they should not be in a position of offering “news” on a national basis. Whatever the case, the public is being denied the facts about decisions affecting the lives of their children. Fortunately, the public can go to sites like www.aim.org and the National Vaccine Information Center for information that is being denied to them.

A troubling aspect of the current debate is how people in the media act like experts on subjects that they know so little about. They seem to think that by huffing and puffing and sounding authoritative, they will be taken seriously. They have large staffs which seem incapable of making phone calls or doing elementary research.

If news organizations on the left and right can’t even dig out the facts in life-and-death matters involving children, then what can they be trusted to report accurately on?

02/3/15

Benghazi Hearings Provide a Glimmer of Hope

By: Roger Aronoff
Accuracy in Media

Last week, the Democrat Members of the Select Committee on Benghazi virtually declared war on the majority members, criticizing their pace, rules, and committee scope.

Representative Linda Sanchez (D-CA) claimed that the Select Committee was on a wild goose chase for a nonexistent “unicorn” and “nefarious conspiracy,” and Rep. Adam Schiff (D-CA) falsely called the stand down order a “myth.”

But in what may be a turning point for the Select Committee, Republican Chairman Trey Gowdy emphasized at the January 27th hearing that “we’re gonna pick up the pace…. I have no interest in prolonging” the investigation into Benghazi.

“Letters haven’t worked. Southern politeness hasn’t worked. We’re going to ratchet it up,” he said at what members of the mainstream media, such as U.S. News and World Report, characterized as a “partisan grudge match.”

The next day Chairman Gowdy issued a statement that defied Democrats outright, arguing he “will continue to move the investigation forward in a fair and impartial manner, but…will not allow the minority’s political games and unreasonable demands to interfere with the investigation.” Rep. Gowdy said he will continue operating under the scope originally set by the House of Representatives.

This, the media preferred to coin as political failure or “out of control” politics. “The House Select Committee on Benghazi, which began with dignity last year, spun out of control Tuesday as Democrats complained that Republicans were abusing their authority and Republicans threatened to spray the Obama administration with subpoenas,” wrote Dana Milbank for The Washington Post. Milbank specializes in snarky columns criticizing and marginalizing conservatives, and even took aim at the Citizens’ Commission on Benghazi for a conference held on Benghazi in 2013.

Regarding the hearing last week, the Associated Press in turn, remarked, “The partisan tone marked a sharp turnaround for a panel that had won praise for a bipartisan approach through its first two public hearings.”

The subject of the first two slow-rolling hearings was the current state of embassy security, a topic suggested by the committee’s Democratic members which had little to do with the administration’s response to the attack—and which conveniently glosses over the security failures of 2012 to emphasize present solutions instead of accountability.

MSNBC focused largely on political angles instead of substance. For Alex Seitz-Wald, it was all about Hillary Clinton. “Gowdy and Republicans had been hoping to preserve and grow the credibility of their inquiry, which is part of the reason for their assiduous avoidance of taking pot shots at Clinton Tuesday,” wrote Seitz-Wald. “But Democrats are seeking to undermine the credibility of the panel, in the hopes that it will be viewed as a partisan witch hunt if it ever demands testimony from Clinton.”

New bombshell reporting by The Washington Times shows that Clinton was the strong voice pushing to intervene in Libya in 2011 in the first place, which set the stage for the attacks. Ultimately, however, President Obama was the “Decider-in-Chief” and bears at least equal culpability.

Chairman Gowdy told Megyn Kelly of Fox News last May that he plans to subpoena Mrs. Clinton, and repeated that in December.  We now learn that the Select Committee has requested Clinton and other top State Department officials’ emails, and that Rep. Gowdy is willing to bring Clinton before the Committee just 30 days after receiving “all the [State Department] documents,” according to CNN.

Select Committee Members would also like to interview 22 persons with firsthand knowledge of Benghazi whom Congress has never spoken to before. The Associated Press reported on January 28, the day after the hearing, that State Department officials said they were ready to “commit” to interview dates for these persons.

But the press doesn’t seem interested in holding the administration accountable for the fact that the State Department waited from the December 4 request until January 28 to issue such a guarantee.

The State Department representative, Joel Rubin, said at the January hearing that a part of the committee’s relationship with the department is indicating priorities for requests—as if more resources could not be allocated to provide such information to the committee more swiftly.

Rubin, formerly of the Ploughshares Fund, also said at the hearing that he was a friend of Ambassador Chris Stevens, who died in 2012 at the U.S. Special Mission Compound in Benghazi. Rubin wrote the following for ThinkProgress that year:

“Instead of getting that support, their deaths are being used as a partisan attack on President Obama, part of a false narrative that the president failed them. What has failed them is our political system. Rather than supporting a serious, nonpartisan investigation into what took place and what went wrong, waiting to get all the facts out, conservatives are trying to affix blame for their deaths for political advantage. This is how some conservatives use terrorist attacks against America.”

Now Rubin helps guard the gates for that same President who would like this simply dismissed as a phony scandal.

Although the media, along with the Democrats, may accuse Chairman Gowdy of partisan politics as he attempts to more aggressively investigate the Benghazi attacks and the resulting cover-up, I am cautiously optimistic about his new tone.

“The letter exchanges between Gowdy and Cummings [prior to the hearing], as well as Tuesday’s hearings, should put to rest forever the fiction that this type of investigation can be conducted in some Nirvana-zone of bipartisan comity,” Kenneth Timmerman astutely wrote for Front Page Magazine.

With this new focus on government stonewalling the Committee brought the possibility of embarrassing the administration to the fore, and the backlash was palpable.

Accuracy in Media and the Citizens’ Commission on Benghazi have long been critical of the Mike Rogers’ House Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence report, which contains a number of factual errors and glosses over the intelligence failures leading up to the attacks. Apparently the Select Committee asked to examine the HPSCI’s research in October—and had been asking the Central Intelligence Agency for these files ever since. These files were only produced by the agency after learning that a hearing on them was scheduled.

Similarly, the State Department has produced 40,000 pages related to Benghazi, but Rubin wouldn’t answer as to whether the information provided to the Accountability Review Board was provided fully within those documents.

He also refused to say whether he thought the Select Committee was frivolous.

“If Gowdy is proceeding as a good prosecutor should, he is lining up all his ducks before he goes public with anything,” CCB member, and former CIA officer, Clare Lopez told WorldNetDaily’s Jerome Corsi last week as part of a series of articles about the CCB’s own investigations. “I think it’s premature to jump to a condemnation of the process or the committee leadership when the truth is that we don’t know,” she said.

“Delays by Gowdy are unnecessary at this time,” CCB Member and Retired General Paul Valley told Corsi after the Times’ bombshell dropped. “Gowdy can press forward now as he does have sufficient intelligence and documents to call all witnesses and issue subpoenas as necessary.”

“Additional delays will only give the obstructionists in the Obama White House, the State Department and the Democrats in Congress time to thwart the efforts of the select committee,” Vallely said.

While the administration continues to stonewall the Select Committee whenever possible, and Democrats continue to complain that the investigation isn’t bipartisan enough, the CCB will continue to search for the truth in its own citizen-led investigation.

We have already dug up some disturbing facts in our 2014 interim report, such as:

  • the administration decision to dismiss the possibility of truce talks with Moammar Qaddafi;
  • helping arm al-Qaeda-linked rebels in Libya; and
  • the inadequate military response that night.

“I don’t know if the decision came from the White House or from Hillary Clinton at the State Department,” Retired Rear Admiral Chuck Kubic told Corsi about those failed truce talks. However, Admiral Kubic said, “…the advice for me from AFRICOM was to basically just leave everything alone, to simply stand down.” Who, exactly, at the White House decided it was unnecessary to pursue truce talks with Qaddafi?

The CCB and Accuracy in Media are continuing the search for the truth with our own Freedom of Information Act initiative. Currently, the Department of Defense is withholding 12 pages of maps from us regarding the position of military forces during the attacks.

As we await our day in court, we will not stop digging for the truth through whatever means are available to us. I am encouraged by the possibility that the Select Committee might likewise now use all the powers at its disposal to force the administration to reveal what happened that night and in the aftermath, not only to its Congressional investigators, but to the public as well. America deserves answers, not more stonewalling.

12/19/14

Interview with an Interrogator: Megyn Kelly Gets the Scoop

By: Roger Aronoff
Accuracy in Media

Fox News’ Megyn Kelly got a big interview this week following the release of the Senate Intelligence Committee report on CIA interrogations in the aftermath of the terrorist attacks on America on September 11, 2001. It was compelling TV, and journalism. Dr. James Mitchell, a former Air Force psychologist, contracted with the CIA to help develop a program to interrogate CIA detainees while America, and those tasked to protect this country, prepared for a second wave of attacks.

Mitchell had spoken with the British newspaper, The Guardian, back in April, after an executive summary of the Senate Intelligence report had been leaked to McClatchy News. At the time, as reported by The Guardian, Mitchell “mounted a full-throated defense of the Bush administration’s counter-terrorism policies and attacked ‘partisan Democrats’ for ‘throwing me under the bus’ and ‘rewriting history.’” Now he clearly feels even more free to speak out.

Mitchell was never interviewed by Sen. Dianne Feinstein’s (D-CA) committee. In fact, none of the CIA people involved in the interrogations, nor the directors or deputy directors, were interviewed. In other words, the purpose of this report was not to actually get to the truth of what happened. It was an attempt, for various political and PR reasons, to accuse and indict the Bush administration and the CIA for allegedly using torture on the detainees.

Mitchell revealed that Khalid Sheikh Mohammed (KSM) didn’t break, or provide information that eventually led to the killing of Osama bin Laden, because of waterboarding, but rather because of other EITs (Enhanced Interrogation Techniques). The technique that did work on KSM, according to the American Enterprise Institute’s Marc Thiessen, a former George W. Bush speechwriter, was sleep deprivation. But Mitchell revealed something that KSM did tell him: “Khalid Sheikh Mohammed told me personally, ‘Your country will turn on you, the liberal media will turn on you, the people will grow tired of this, they will turn on you, and when they do, you are going to be abandoned.’”

What comes through in Megyn Kelly’s interview is a thoughtful, patriotic American who was moved by the image of Americans leaping out of World Trade Center buildings, and by the courage of those on Flight 93 who helped bring the plane down, rather than allow it to successfully strike the third of three targets of the “decapitation” that Mitchell said was their goal. The terrorists hit our financial center in New York, they hit the Pentagon—the headquarters of the U.S. military—and the third plane was intended to crash into the Capitol building in Washington, DC.

America is divided over this, but a recent Washington Post – ABC poll shows that the American public overwhelmingly think that “the CIA treatment of suspected terrorists” was justified, by a margin of 59% to 31%. Clearly a significant majority believe the CIA was trying to protect this country at that time, and aren’t too worried about the few cases of excess—even death—that occurred. They don’t see it as a “stain” on our country. In fact, many view the stain as this one-sided report that cherry-picked information and revealed selective portions of emails, contradicted by other portions not revealed in the report—if that’s what they needed to make their case. Many believe that the release of this report has given aid and comfort to America’s enemies, and put American lives at increased risk.

It turns out that KSM was right about the “liberal media,” but it seems that a significant majority of the American people are quite okay with what was done to these terrorists—and other detainees—and don’t believe it damaged us as a country. Many of those in the liberal media—such as Rachel Maddow of MSNBC, Jane Mayer of the New Yorker (who actually interviewed Dr. Mitchell back in 2005), and Erin Burnett of CNN—freely call what happened “torture.” To them, it’s not an opinion, it’s a fact.

Kudos to Megyn Kelly for getting the interview, which aired in two parts on Monday and Tuesday nights this week. I urge you to watch for yourself, and to also read this column, “The Feinstein Report is Going to Cost Us,” by Andrew McCarthy. He was the lawyer who successfully prosecuted the Blind Sheikh, the man responsible for the first World Trade Center bombing in 1993. McCarthy has a lot of interesting things to say about the report, such as this: “As I have frequently argued here over the years, there is a world of difference between what is couched in political rhetoric as ‘torture,’ a conversation stopper that the Left cavalierly applies to every instance of prisoner abuse, and the federal crime of torture, which has a strict legal definition and is a difficult offense to prove, precisely to ensure that torture is not trivialized.”

You can watch Kelly’s interview with Dr. Mitchell here.