Looks like Vlad got caught big time with his mitts in the cookie jar. In the largest financial data leak in history, we are getting to see just how corrupt Vladimir Putin and his inner circle of cronies are. It’s revealing to say the least. It’s a dirty dozen of world leaders who are using offshore tax havens to hidey hole their wealth. But as in all things secret, the light of day is shining into the buried coffers of power brokers. Good times.
And Putin is far from alone… a cadre of celebrities, sports stars, British politicians and the uber wealthy of the planet are all mired in this scandal. Welcome to the Panama Papers. This is a collection of 11 million files or so that contain data to kill for. It makes Edward Snowden look like a rank amateur by comparison. But this wasn’t a hack… it was a mass collection of documents and data.
The leak is originating from one of the world’s most secretive entities… the Panamanian law firm of Mossack Fonseca. In the dirt dug up, the firm is exposed for helping clients launder money, dodge sanctions and evade taxation. Among their clientele are megastars Jackie Chan and Lionel Messi who have invested their millions offshore. Chan is a big fan of communist China. The whole story is like a movie come to life… it’s also revealed that 26 million pounds that was stolen during the Brink’s Mat robbery in 1983 was possibly funneled into an offshore company set up by this firm.
There can be no doubt that the Russians are winning the Middle East propaganda war. But it’s not just the Marxist far-left that is willing to believe whatever Vladimir Putin and his mouthpiece Russia Today (RT) are saying. Some conservatives and self-described Tea Party leaders have also accepted the disinformation the Russians are putting out, even to the extent of affirming the Russian president as a Christian statesman leading the global war on terror.
Consider Chuck Baldwin’s piece, “Rootin’ for Putin,” which insists that “Russia’s Vladimir Putin is the only one fighting a Just War in the Middle East right now.” Baldwin, a Christian pastor “dedicated to preserving the historic principles upon which America was founded,” was the presidential candidate in 2008 of the Constitution Party, a group associated with the late conservative icon Howard Phillips.
It is simply amazing that any conservative would insist that Putin, who, despite dropping the communist label is still allied with Iran, Communist China, North Korea and Cuba, is somehow doing the right thing in Syria, a long-time Soviet/Russian client state. What Putin is doing is entirely consistent with what the Soviets always did. They are trying to save a client state from what started out as a popular rebellion.
In his column, Baldwin went on to label Barack Obama, David Cameron of Britain, Benjamin Netanyahu of Israel, King Salman of Saudi Arabia, and Recep Tayyip Erdogan of Turkey as “international gangsters.”
It is true that Obama, through a few of America’s Arab “allies,” has been supporting the cause of some jihadists and terrorists in the Middle East. Saudi Arabia and Qatar have been implicated in these dangerous schemes, one of which culminated in the Benghazi massacre of four Americans in Libya. That was a treasonous action that should sink Hillary Clinton’s presidential campaign and could have justified impeachment charges against Obama himself. Mrs. Clinton was Obama’s Secretary of State at the time.
These operations in the Middle East have been characterized by former CIA officer Clare Lopez of the Citizens’ Commission on Benghazi as “switching sides in the War on Terror.”
But the idea that Putin has clean hands in the Middle East is absolutely ridiculous. Considering that he was a Soviet KGB spy and actually headed one of the KGB’s successor agencies, the idea that Putin has suddenly had a Damascus Road conversion to Christianity is simply ludicrous. His foreign policy is very similar to that of the old Soviet Union.
Since the foreign policy has mostly remained the same, Soviet financing and sponsorship of international terrorist networks, many of them linked to Arab and Muslim groups, also have to be taken into consideration here. It is reasonable to assume that the Russians have maintained at least parts of these networks for a purpose that we see in the backing of Bashar Assad in Syria. Indeed, writer and researcher Christian Gomez has traced the roots of ISIS to the Islamic Revival Party, created by the KGB, during the final days of the old Soviet Union. U.S. Army Colonel Steve Warren, a spokesman for Combined Joint Task Force Operation Inherent Resolve, has noted that the Russians are doing little in Syria to fight ISIS terrorists and that “Everything they [the Russians] are doing is to support Assad, to keep Assad in power.” In other words, Putin is continuing a clever Soviet-style strategy that seeks to maintain Assad in power while using ISIS for his own purposes. One of those purposes, as reflected in RT propaganda, is to make Putin look like a terrorist fighter.
Baldwin isn’t the only personality on the right duped by Putin and his propaganda machine. The CEO of a group calling itself simply the Tea Party has distributed an article claiming that Russia has produced “stunning photographic evidence” that ISIS oil was being smuggled into Turkey on an industrial scale.
The “stunning photographic evidence” shows nothing of the sort. Natasha Bertrand of Business Insider examined the Russian maps and found that the three main routes the Russians claim ISIS had allegedly been using to transport illicit oil into Turkey are not primarily controlled by the Islamic State. Turkish President Erdogan has countered: “Who is buying oil (from ISIS)? Let me say it. George Haswani, holder of a Russian passport and a Syrian national, is one of the biggest merchants in this business.” He noted that the U.S. Treasury Department imposed sanctions on Haswani, who was also placed on an EU sanctions list, “for serving as middleman for oil purchases by the Syrian regime from the ISIS group.”
If you haven’t heard about the sanctions on the individuals and networks providing support to Syria and facilitating Syrian oil purchases from ISIS, you are a victim of the slick propaganda that is being spread around the world by such outlets as RT. It is a fact that the Russian claims against Turkey are taking precedence, even in the Western media, over the facts on the ground, as determined not only by the U.S. Treasury but the U.S. Army. Colonel Warren said, “We flatly reject any notion that the Turks are somehow working with ISIL,” he said. “That is preposterous.”
The “Tea Party” article about the Russian claims was lifted directly from the Infowars.com site of Russian apologist Alex Jones, who just scored a major interview with GOP presidential candidate Donald Trump. No respectable Tea Party group should have anything to do with Alex Jones, who defended the Russian invasion of its former republic Georgia in 2008. Trump’s decision toappear on his show was extremely foolish. He apparently was not aware that Jones promotes claims that actual terrorist attacks, such as the Boston Marathon bombings carried out by two Muslims from Russia, were “false flags” perpetrated by U.S. police and law enforcement agencies. His website ran a “Voice of Russia”story claiming the dead and wounded were actors plastered with fake blood.
Rather than treat Putin as a good guy or ally, GOP presidential candidate Senator Marco Rubio (FL) argues that Turkey is a member of NATO and an ally that “deserves the full backing of the United States.” He noted that the Russians were “targeting Turkmen-populated pockets of northern Syria rather than territory controlled by ISIS” and that “Most Russian military strikes since the end of September have been non-ISIS targets, including many civilian areas, revealing that Russia does not share our interest in confronting and defeating ISIS but instead is intent on propping up the Assad regime.”
Before he assumed the role as a leader of the Sunnis in the Middle East, mobilizing forces against Shite Iran and Syria, Erdogan was known for his anti-Soviet views. Indeed, he was an anti-communist in his youth. As a result of Russia’s increased military involvement in Syria, he seems to have awakened to the fact that Putin has returned to his Soviet roots and that Turkey’s future lies with NATO and the West. Turkey joined NATO, originally conceived as an anti-Soviet military alliance, in 1952.
Assuming Erdogan is an Islamist of some kind, as some conservatives contend, it might make strategic sense for the West to back him for that reason alone in his battle with Russia. After all, most of Russia’s 14 million Muslims are Sunnis. RT itself recently highlighted how thousands of Muslims had gathered in central Moscow “to witness the opening of one of the biggest mosques in Europe.” The ceremony was attended by Putin and Erdogan, who had been considered to be on friendly terms.
Their relationship turned sour after Turkey shot down the Russian war plane, and it seems to be deteriorating further.
As noted by Ilya Arkhipov of Bloomberg Business, Putin used his annual state-of-the-nation address to attack Turkey and Erdogan in very personal and religious terms. Putin said, “Only Allah knows why they did this. And it seems that Allah decided to punish the ruling gang in Turkey by stripping it of common sense and reason.” Analyst Timothy Ash told Bloomberg that “The religious angle being used by Putin is unlikely to go down well in the region, where Erdogan is still seen as a defender of the Sunni faith.”
One observer has noted, in regard to Russian involvement in Arab/Muslim terrorism and now ISIS, that the monster that the USSR created may have grown too big, and that it may eventually attack its creator. In the case of Turkey, Putin is facing a Muslim problem of his own making.
It’s the story our media doesn’t cover: foreign ownership and control of our Big Media. Remember when Al Gore made $100 million by selling current TV to the terrorist-supporting Middle Eastern dictatorship of Qatar? The result was another Al Jazeera spin-off in American homes via cable and satellite TV. Other owners of media properties are now looking at selling out to billionaire Arabs and Arab governments. The FCC is preparing to make it possible. Even the governments of Mexico and Russia could buy radio and TV stations through foreign cutout corporations. ASI TV producer and co-host Jerry Kenney talks about his column, Obama’s FCC Plans Sale of U.S. Media to Foreigners. Yes indeed, the Federal Communications Commission is planning to remove the barriers to broadcast station ownership by foreigners, a move that would enable American broadcasters to sell out to foreign interests, just like Gore did. The public must respond to what the FCC is planning to do by December 21.
On November 13, the same day as the terrorist attacks in Paris, USA Today ran a full-page ad from billionaire Tom Steyer’s group NextGen Climate highlighting the alleged global threat from climate change. As hundreds of people were being injured or killed in Paris, the ad featured these quotes about the “climate crisis:”
Hillary Clinton: “An existential threat”
Bernie Sanders: “The greatest threat facing the planet”
Martin O’Malley: “Critical threat to our economy”
In a new development, we have just learned from Judicial Watch that Hillary Clinton was characterized by her Muslim-connected aide, Huma Abedin, as being “very confused” about the world leaders she was supposed to be communicating with as secretary of state. The confusion may also be reflected in Mrs. Clinton’s bizarre utterance that so-called climate change is an “existential threat” that is somehow comparable to Russian nuclear weapons, which could reduce America to a burned-out cinder.
Mrs. Clinton is not alone, however. All of the Democrats running for president, plus former Democratic presidential candidate Al Gore, want to treat changes in the weather as something to be addressed through new treaties, international agreements and global tax schemes. This campaign has taken precedence over defeating international terrorism.
At the Democratic Party debate this past weekend, Sanders claimed that “Climate change is directly related to the growth of terrorism and if we do not get our act together and listen to what the scientists say, you’re going to see countries all over the world—this is what the CIA says—they’re going to be struggling over limited amounts of water, limited amounts of land to grow their crops and you’re going to see all kinds of international conflict…”
So from one disputed claim about people causing climate change, they have reached another disputed claim that climate change is causing people to commit terrorism.
On the same day as the Paris attacks, former Democratic presidential candidate Al Gore was staging his 24-hour climate change telethon from the foot of the Eiffel Tower to focus attention on this month’s United Nations climate summit in Paris. The attacks forced him to pull the plug on the event after five hours.
In advance of his ill-fated climate change telethon, People magazine asked Gore which Democrat he was endorsing for president. “It’s still too early, in my opinion, to endorse a candidate or pick a candidate,” he said.
But why is his endorsement worth anything? Al Gore has become a very rich man, a one percenter. He and his partners sold Current TV (Gore personally netted an estimated $100 million of the $500 million sale price) to the terrorist-supporting Middle Eastern oil and gas dictatorship of Qatar.
A member of Apple, Inc.’s board of directors, Gore is today worth as much as $170 million. Even the New York Times has wondered if his climate change campaign is designed to make himself rich, while preserving his lifestyle as an elite member of the one percent.
His telethon carried the official title of “Live Earth: 24 Hours of Reality.” The reality of terrorism got in the way of the broadcast, featuring various rock stars and co-sponsored by Arianna Huffington’s television channel, HuffPost Live.
Gore and his partners sold Current TV to Qatar so another Al Jazeera spin-off could be piped into American homes. The Al Jazeera America channel was the result, and it is now publishing nonsense like the piece by Rami G. Khourientitled, “Military responses alone will not defeat ISIL.”
Khouri acknowledges that “Religion is critical for shaping the theological concept of the Islamic State and the wider Caliphate…” But, he says, “it may not be the most important reason why individuals go there to live, work and do battle.” He lists “eight reasons why people across Islamic societies join or support ISIL.”
But none of the “reasons” for the rise of the Islamic State, in his analysis, consists of the hate-filled passages from the Koran which guide their beliefs and actions.
Instead, we are told, in reason number four, that their motivations include “To live among like-minded people in a society defined by camaraderie, peace, justice and wholesome family life.” Reason number six is “To find meaning, direction and purpose to one’s personal life, or to escape family or personal problems, loneliness or alienation.”
We are supposed to believe this may be why terrorists opened fire on people in Paris. This is why the Islamic State beheads people or burns them alive?
It is easy to forget that the website publishing this material is financed by a Middle Eastern dictatorship that promotes Islamic terrorism. Like the notion of the “existential threat” allegedly posed by climate change, Al Jazeera America constitutes a diversion from what really threatens America, our way of life, and our people. Perhaps that was the intention all along.
As serious as this is, the problem of foreign propaganda in the U.S. media market could get far worse. Television producer Jerry Kenney notes that the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) is planning to remove the barriers to broadcast station ownership by foreigners, a move that would enable American broadcasters to sell out to foreign interests, just like Gore did. The FCC could allow the sale of local broadcast stations and other media properties to the Chinese, Russian and Mexican governments, or to the Muslim Brotherhood.
The public must respond to what the FCC is planning to do by December 21.
Citizens’ Commission on Benghazi (CCB) member Clare Lopez believes that in 2011 Hillary Clinton’s State Department was orchestrating its own gun running operation to the Libyan rebels—and that arms dealer Marc Turi has been set up to take the fall for these “illicit arms deals.”
“The Justice Department has charged Turi with lying on an export-license application, alleging he hid his intent to ship weapons and ammunition to Libya in direct violation of United Nations Security Council Resolution 170,” reports Jerome Corsi for WorldNetDaily.
“Marc Turi was set up and framed for something he didn’t do, while others, who actually did collaborate with Qatar and the UAE to deliver the weapons under U.S. and NATO protection and supervision, are not only not prosecuted like Marc Turi, they’re not even mentioned,” Lopez told Corsi.
“Lopez made it clear she was speaking for herself and not for the commission,” he reports.
Corsi has written several previous articles about the work of the CCB, which was established by Accuracy in Media back in 2013. “The commission has been working behind the scenes for the past two years to ensure Congress uncovers what really happened in the Sept. 11, 2012, attack in Benghazi that killed U.S. Ambassador Christopher Stevens and three other Americans,” writes Corsi.
“Lopez [said the] ‘key point is that Marc Turi, despite receiving written approval from the U.S. government to broker weapons to Qatar and the United Arab Emirates, never actually went through [with] any weapons purchases or shipments to Qatar, to the UAE or to Libya,” he writes.
Lopez referred to the Citizens’ Commission’s April 2014 interim report, which stated: “Even more disturbingly, the U.S. was fully aware of and facilitating the delivery of weapons to the al-Qa’eda-dominated rebel militias throughout the 2011 rebellion. The jihadist agenda of AQIM, the Libyan Islamic Fighting Group (LIFG), and other Islamic terror groups represented among the rebel forces was well known to U.S. officials responsible for Libya policy.”
In fact, “The rebels made no secret of their al-Qa’eda affiliation, openly flying and speaking in front of the black flag of Islamic jihad…” states the report.
When Hillary Clinton’s Libya-related emails were released, they exposed how Mrs. Clinton was interested in arming the rebels before they were “formally recognized by the U.S. or United Nations,” according to Catherine Herridge and Pamela Browne.
Fox News previously reported that Turi had said the “weapons supplied to Libya were in the hands of the U.S. government and the State Department’s Bureau of Political and Military Affairs, headed by key Hillary Clinton aide Andrew Shapiro,” reports Corsi. “Shapiro was responsible to oversee the export control process at the State Department.”
Mrs. Clinton exchanged emails with the Director of Policy Planning for the Department of State, Anne-Marie Slaughter, in the spring of 2011. On March 30, 2011, Slaughter counseled Hillary Clinton that she was “VERY dubious about arming the Libyan rebels.” When Hillary Clinton asked why, Slaughter argued that “sending more arms into a society generally… will result in more violence—against each other” and “adding even more weapons does not make sense.”
Yet Mrs. Clinton emailed her aide, Jake Sullivan, on April 8, 2011, that “FYI. The idea of using private security experts to arm the opposition should be considered.”
It’s already been established that Mrs. Clinton failed to turn over all of her work related emails, allowed sensitive and classified material on her private email server, and lied about both. Yet we are asked to believe that the more than 30,000 emails that she had deleted and wiped from her server were all personal emails. It’s clear that even her allies in the media are getting nervous about where all of this is headed, since she is the presumed Democratic Party standard bearer. The question is, will she ever be held accountable, and judged by the same standards as others who have “mishandled” classified information? And what about her role in the Libyan and Benghazi scandals? It is looking more and more like the only accountability may come from the American voters.
There are 4 Americans in prison in Iran for which there have been countless calls and efforts for their release. Major Garrett of CBS asked Barack Obama during a press conference if he was content with leaving those Americans behind to which Obama responded by shaming Garrett for even asking the question.
It should also be noted that the Palestinian Authority demanded that thousands of terrorists in prison in Israel be released for a scheduled round of peace talks between Israel and the PA. Barack Obama forced Israel to comply for face financial extortion. Israel complied where later many of those terrorists were re-arrested in Qatar. The betrayal continues. The secrets were effective.
Mojtaba Atarodi, arrested in California for attempting to acquire equipment for Iran’s military-nuclear programs, was released in April as part of back channel talks, Times of Israel told. The contacts, mediated in Oman for years by close colleague of the Sultan, have seen a series of US-Iran prisoner releases, and there may be more to come
The secret back channel of negotiations between Iran and the United States, which led to this month’s interim deal in Geneva on Iran’s rogue nuclear program, has also seen a series of prisoner releases by both sides, which have played a central role in bridging the distance between the two nations, the Times of Israel has been told.
In the most dramatic of those releases, the US in April released a top Iranian scientist, Mojtaba Atarodi, who had been arrested in 2011 for attempting to acquire equipment that could be used for Iran’s military-nuclear programs.
American and Iranian officials have been meeting secretly in Oman on and off for years, according to a respected Israeli intelligence analyst, Ronen Solomon. And in the past three years as a consequence of those talks, Iran released three American prisoners, all via Oman, and the US responded in kind. Then, most critically, in April, when the back channel was reactivated in advance of the Geneva P5+1 meetings, the US released a fourth Iranian prisoner, high-ranking Iranian scientist Atarodi, who was arrested in California on charges that remain sealed but relate to his attempt to acquire what are known as dual-use technologies, or equipment that could be used for Iran’s military-nuclear programs. Iran has not reciprocated for that latest release.
Solomon, an independent intelligence analyst (who in 2009 revealed the crucial role played by German Federal Intelligence Service officer Gerhard Conrad in the negotiations that led to the 2011 Gilad Shalit Israel-Hamas prisoner deal), has been following the US-Iran meetings in Oman for years. Detailing what he termed the “unwritten prisoner exchange deals” agreed over the years in Oman by the US and Iran, Solomon told The Times of Israel that “It’s clear what the Iranians got” with the release of top scientist Atarodi in April. “What’s unclear is what the US got.”
The history of these deals, though, he said, would suggest that in the coming months Iran will release at least one of three US citizens who are currently believed to be in Iranian custody. One of these three is former FBI agent Robert Levinson.
Solomon told The Times of Israel that the interlocutor in the Oman talks is a man named Salem Ben Nasser al Ismaily, who is the executive president of the Omani Center for Investment Promotion and Export Development and a close confidant of the Omani leader Sultan Qaboos bin Said.
The latter tells the fictional tale of John Wilkinson, a successful American businessman who fails in all of his business endeavors in the Gulf until he meets Sultan, who explains to him, according to the book’s promotional literature, how to forgo his hard-charging Western style and “surrender to very different values rooted in ancient tribal customs and traditions.” Those mores have been central to the murky prisoner swaps surrounding the nuclear negotiations, Solomon said.
Solomon said he identified Ismaily’s role back in September 2010, when Sarah Shourd, an American who apparently inadvertently crossed into Iran while hiking near the Iraqi border, was released, for what were called humanitarian reasons. She was delivered into Ismaily’s hands in Oman and from there was flown to the US — the first release in the series of deals brokered in Oman. One year later, in September 2011, her fiancé and fellow hiker, Shane Bauer, was set free along with their friend, Josh Fattal. The two men were also received at Muscat’s Seeb military airport by Ismaily before being flown back to the US.
The US began reciprocating in August 2012, Solomon said. It freed Shahrzad Mir Gholikhan, an Iranian convicted on three counts of weapons trafficking. Next Nosratollah Tajik, a former Iranian ambassador to Jordan — who, like Gholikhan, had been initially apprehended abroad trying to buy night-vision goggles from US agents — was freed after the US opted not to follow up an extradition request it had submitted to the British. Then, in January 2013, Amir Hossein Seirafi was released, also via Oman, having been arrested in Frankfurt and convicted in the US of trying to buy specialized vacuum pumps that could be used in the Iranian nuclear program.
Finally, in April, came the release of Mojtaba Atarodi.
The facts of his case are still shrouded. On December 7, 2011, Atarodi, a faculty member at the prestigious Sharif University of Technology (SUT) in Tehran — a US-educated electrical engineer with a heart condition, a green card and a brother living in the US — arrived at LAX and was arrested by US federal officials.
He appeared twice in US federal court in San Francisco and was incarcerated at a federal facility in Dublin, California and then kept under house arrest. The US government cloaked the contents of his indictment and released no statement upon his release. His lawyer, Matthew David Kohn, told The Times of Israel he would like to discuss the case further but that first he had to “make some inquiries” to see what he was allowed to reveal.
In January, shortly after Atarodi’s arrest, his colleagues wrote a letter to the journal Nature, protesting his detention. “We believe holding a distinguished 55-year-old professor in custody is a historical mistake and not commensurate with the image that America strives to extend throughout the world as a bastion of free scientific exchange among schools and academic institutions,” they said.
Solomon, who compiled a profile of Atarodi, believes that the scientist, prior to his arrest, played an important role in Iran’s missile and nuclear programs. Atarodi, he said, has co-authored more than 30 technical articles, mostly related to micro-electric engineering and, in 2011, won the Khwarizmi award for the design of a microchip receiver for digital photos. “That same technology,” he said, “can be used for missile guidance and the analysis of nuclear tests.”
Solomon further noted that the then-Iranian defense minister and former commander of the revolutionary guards, Ahmad Vahidi, attended the prize ceremony and that Professor Massoud Ali-Mahmoudi, an Iranian physics professor who was assassinated in 2010, was an earlier recipient of the prize.
“There is no doubt in my mind that Atarodi came to the US at the behest of the logistics wing of the IRGC [the Iranian Revolutionary Guard Corps],” Solomon said.
On April 26 Atarodi was flown from the US to Seeb military airbase in Oman, where he met with Ismaily, and onward to Iran. “The release of someone who holds that sort of information and has advanced strategic projects in Iran is a prize,” Solomon said. The US, said Solomon, must have already received something in return or will do so in the future.
Thus far, US-Iran prisoner swaps have been conducted in a manner utterly distinct from the old Cold War rituals, in which, as was the case with Prisoner of Zion Natan Sharansky, spies or prisoners from either side of the Iron Curtain walked across Berlin’s old Glienicke Bridge toward their respective home countries. Instead, with Iran claiming it knows nothing about the whereabouts of former FBI agent Levinson, for instance, and the US eager to show that it will not barter with hostage-takers, the deals have taken the form of a delayed quid pro quo.
There are currently three US nationals — Levinson, Saeed Abedini, and Amir Hekmati — still believed to be held in Iran.
US President Barak Obama raised the issue of the imprisoned Americans in his historic September phone call to Iranian President Hassan Rouhani. Obama’s Deputy National Security Advisor, Tony Blinken, told CNN that aside from the nuclear program it was the only other issue that was brought up in the call.
The interim deal in Geneva did not include any reference to prisoner dealings. Richard Haas, president of the Council on Foreign Relations, told CNN, “you’ve got to decide how much you’re going to try to accomplish, and just tackling all the dimensions of the nuclear agreement is ambition enough.” A spokeswoman for the National Security Council added that the “talks focused exclusively on nuclear issues.”
The omission prompted the chief counsel of the American Center for Law and Justice, Jay Sekulow, who is representing Pastor Saeed Abedini’s wife Naghmeh, to charge Obama and US Secretary of State John Kerry with turning their backs on an American citizen. On the center’s website, he called the decision “outrageous and a betrayal” and said it sends the message that “Americans are expendable.”
Abedini, who was born in Iran and later converted to Christianity, was arrested earlier this year in Iran for what would seem was strictly Christian charity work and sentenced to eight years in prison. He was recently transferred from Evin Prison, a notorious jail for political prisoners in Tehran, Sukelow wrote in a letter to Kerry, “to the even more notorious and brutal Rajai Shahr Prison in Karaj.”
Amir Hekmati, a 31-year-old former Marine from Flint, Michigan, who allegedly obtained permission to visit his grandmother in Iran in 2011, was charged with espionage and sentenced to death in 2012. In September, Hekmati managed to smuggle a letter out of prison. Published in the Guardian, it contended that his filmed admission of guilt had been coerced and that his arrest “is part of a propaganda and hostage-taking effort by Iranian intelligence to secure the release of Iranians abroad being held on security-related charges.”
Levinson, a 65-year-old veteran of the FBI, was last seen on March 9, 2007, on Kish Island, Iran. According to Solomon, Levinson was stationed in Dubai at the time as part of a US task force comprised of former officers operating in the United Arab Emirates, training officials there to combat weapons trafficking, and was tempted to come to Kish for a meeting.
The last person he is known to have had contact with, and with whom he shared a room the night before his abduction, according to a Reuters article from 2007, is Dawud Salahuddin, an American convert to Islam, who is wanted in the US for murder. According to a New Yorker profile of the Long Island-born Salahuddin, he showed up at the home of Ali Akbar Tabatabai’s Bethseda, Maryland door in July 1980, dressed as a mailman, and shot Tabatabai, a Shah supporter, three times in the abdomen, killing him. From there he fled to Canada and on to Switzerland and Iran.
Salahuddin has indicated that Levinson had come to Kish to meet with him.
In September, Rouhani denied any knowledge of Levinson’s whereabouts. In an interview with CNN’s Christiane Amanpour, he said that, “We don’t know where he is, who he is. He is an American who has disappeared. We have no news of him.”
This is highly doubtful. In 2010 and 2011 Levinson’s family received a video and photographs respectively of him in captivity. In January of this year the AP reported that “despite years of denials,” many US security officials now believe that “Iran’s intelligence service was almost certainly behind the 54-second video and five photographs of Levinson that were emailed anonymously to his family.” The photos and the videos traced back to different addresses in Afghanistan and Pakistan, suggesting, perhaps, that Levinson, the longest-held hostage in US history, was imprisoned in Balochistan, a desert region spanning the borders of Iran, Pakistan and Afghanistan.
On Tuesday, Levinson’s son Dan wrote a column in the Washington Post calling Rouhani and Foreign Minister Javad Zarif “well-respected men committed to the goodwill of all human beings, regardless of their nationality.”
Several hours later, White House Spokesman Jay Carney published a statement saying that the US government welcomes the assistance “of our international partners” in attempting to bring Levinson home and, he added, “we respectfully ask the Government of the Islamic Republic of Iran to assist us in securing Mr. Levinson’s health, welfare, and safe return.”
As was the case with the Geneva negotiations, and as is likely happening with the upcoming round of talks regarding Syria, there is good reason to believe, and in this case to hope, that the movements played out under the spotlights of the international stage have been choreographed well in advance, perhaps in the sea-side city of Muscat, under the careful tutelage of Salem Ben Nasser al Ismaily.
The mainstream media appear eager to distract from the substantive issues raised by the email scandals continuing to plague Hillary Clinton’s presidential campaign. One example is the media’s focus on the timeline surrounding a Select Committee on Benghazi subpoena for her emails, and when those emails were deleted. As I recently argued, the media wish that these stories about Mrs. Clinton were not true. Most reporters cannot fathom, or will not acknowledge, that she routinely lies to the public about her activities—and those of the Clinton Foundation—while stonewalling both the press and the public.
The repeated revelations that Mrs. Clinton has been lying are apparently affecting her standing in the polls. Politico is now reporting that in the past couple of months she has dropped from having the support of 60% of Democrats, to now having just 51%. And that is before Vice President Joe Biden enters the race, which many signs indicate may happen in the not-too-distant future.
Ron Fournier of The National Journal captured the sentiment of many journalists in his recent letter to Mrs. Clinton, which, he writes, is based on interviews with those who are close to her. “Which brings us to the matter of trust,” he writes in their voice. “Hillary, this makes us want to cry. We can’t figure out why you would compromise the most important commodity of leadership over such banalities.” Fournier continues on to discuss the Clinton Foundation’s inexcusable conflicts of interest and the email scandal.
But while, according to Fournier, some of Clinton’s supporters may have decided that Mrs. Clinton is her own main obstacle to gaining the presidency, the media continue to attempt to salvage her campaign by whatever means possible. Andy McCarthy, writing for National Review, said that “when Benghazi came up in a one-on-one media interview setting, CNN couldn’t bring itself to call Mrs. Clinton on an obvious lie.”
“Plus, it was [Brianna] Keilar who brought up the subject of the subpoena, so one has to assume she did a modicum of research—which is all it would have taken to be ready to challenge Clinton’s false assertion,” writes McCarthy. “Yet, in the context of being asked about her destruction of emails from her private server, Clinton was permitted to tell the public she had not been subpoenaed. …she was able to frame suspicions that she has willfully obstructed probes of the Benghazi Massacre as outlandish.”
The Washington Post’s fact-checker Glenn Kessler awarded Mrs. Clinton three Pinocchios for stating on CNN that “Everything I did was permitted by law and regulation.” However, like so many in the media, Kessler focused on minutiae, the technical details of whether government regulations permitted Mrs. Clinton to use private email exclusively.
The real implications of Clinton’s email scandal are not whether government regulations allowed her to use her own private email account, exclusively or otherwise. Rather, Mrs. Clinton’s actions demonstrate that she unilaterally flouted a transparency process designed to provide the public with the ability to hold her accountable for her work as Secretary of State. In the process, she jeopardized national security and may have hidden pay-for-play schemes involving the Clinton Foundation. Plus, in light of the recent revelations about the cyber-hacking of the government’s Office of Personnel Management, it is very likely that the Chinese or the Russians, or both, have possession of every one of Mrs. Clinton’s emails.
The UK Guardian writes that Cherie Blair’s emails to Mrs. Clinton show that Mrs. Blair, the wife of former British Prime Minister Tony Blair, “appears to be acting directly as a fixer for the Qatari ruling dynasty.”
“Three years after the successful lobbying effort a Qatari-government backed telecommunications [firm] donated an undisclosed amount to Mrs. Blair’s own charity for women,” reports Raf Sanchez for The UK Telegraph.
“Meanwhile, the Qatari government was also giving millions of dollars to the Clinton Foundation, Bill Clinton’s global charity,” writes Sanchez. “Charity records show that Qatar gave between $1 million and $5 million to the Clinton Foundation while the controversial committee behind Qatar’s 2022 World Cup bid donated up to $500,000 further.”
“She solicits Sid Blumenthal for advice, and not just on Libya,” continued Rubin. An August 9, 2009 email from Blumenthal appears to pass along a suggestion for a Clinton Global Initiative forum by Shaun Woodward, UK Secretary of State for Northern Ireland. Blumenthal writes that he has already gotten Bill Clinton’s approval, and asks Hillary to “let me know how to move this forward.”
Blumenthal received $10,000 a month from the Clinton Foundation starting that year.
A couple of months earlier Blumenthal writes regarding Woodward that “he told me things you would in my judgment want and need to hear because they will likely involve your personal role.”
“I think you should step in and ask him to tell you directly,” Blumenthal continues.
“I did not email any classified material to anyone on my email,” Mrs. Clinton told the press this spring.
To the contrary, at least 25 of the emails that Mrs. Clinton did not delete have been upgraded to classified status by the State Department.
While technically that may not constitute having sent or received classified information through the personal email server located at her home in Chappaqua, New York, it does reveal that she certainly trafficked in sensitive information. We also learned recently that she had edited some of the emails that were handed over to the State Department, long past due. And she hadn’t handed over other emails that were clearly State Department-related business, though she had claimed that she had. That was discovered through the additional emails Blumenthal provided to the Select Committee on Benghazi when he testified before the Committee last month.
In addition, Mrs. Clinton has publicly acknowledged having self-selected and deleted approximately 30,000 emails that she deemed personal, and had the server wiped clean so that it could not be independently verified that they all were, in fact, personal. Who wouldn’t trust Hillary?
It’s impossible to know what information has been withheld by the State Department. However, here are just a couple of topics discussed in those emails containing now-classified information:
Discussions with family members of journalists detained in North Korea; and
A readout from a call with Tony Blair while he was still representing the Quartet, which mediates the Israeli-Palestinian peace process.
Mrs. Clinton’s ongoing efforts at deception have become so commonplace that perhaps reporters don’t believe that her lies and conflicts of interest deserve regular front-page treatment. Instead they write articles about how the GOP is trying to “vilify” her using her own falsehoods. The drive-by media may be disappointed in their attempts to save Hillary because the slow drip, drip release of her emails will repeatedly force them to confront these real issues, like it or not.
Gulftainer, a Middle East-based company, is opening its first American cargo terminal today at
Port Canaveral. The new terminal is expected to have a $630 million impact on the local economy.
Gulftainer Co. Ltd., an Emirati container terminal operator, opened its first US terminal today in Port Canaveral, Florida. A number of staunch conservatives showed up to protest the opening and with good cause.
The terminal, which has leased land at Port Canaveral for 35 years, marks the first significant containerized cargo operation there and has the potential to expand to other ports. With two gantry cranes and 20 acres of container storage space, Gulftainer estimates that terminal could handle up to 200,000 TEUs—or the equivalent of 200,000 20-foot-long shipping containers—each year.
Gulftainer hopes to capitalize on Central Florida’s growing role as a logistics hub, with inland warehouses, rail access to the Northeast and Midwest and land for infrastructure development. Periodically docked at Port Canaveral are nuclear assets for the US military and NATO, so this is also a national security issue.
PORT CANAVERAL, FL April 22, 1994 A port quarter view of the British nuclear-powered
ballistic missile submarine HMS Vanguard (SSBN-50) arriving in port. NASA’s giant Vehicle Assembly
Building (VAB) at the Kennedy Space Center and various space launch pads can be seen in the distance.
UAE’s Gulftainer is building an intermodal container terminal on the same side of the port as the
U.S. Navy submarine base. (Image credit: U.S. Navy/OS2 John Bourvia/Wikimedia Commons)
Map of Port Canaveral, Florida showing Gulftainer’s area of operations, US Navy Trident
submarine base and Canaveral Air Force Station.
Peter Richards, Gulftainer’s managing director, said he has been trying to bring Gulftainer, which operates container terminals in Iraq, Saudi Arabia, Turkey, Russia, North Africa, Brazil and elsewhere, to the US for about two years. Founded in 1976, Gulftainer is a subsidiary of privately-held conglomerate, Crescent Enterprises, based in the United Arab Emirates. Notice that the countries where this company operates have terrorist ties and/or are hostile to the US. Since Dubai Ports World created a ruckus in 2005 when trying to take control of a number of US ports, Gulftainer has been hesitant to enter the market in the US. But with the Progressive/Marxist atmosphere of the Obama Administration and the blatant colluding with the Muslim Brotherhood here in our government, the time seemed just about right for allowing an Islamic entity to move in and control a major US port, I guess.
Gulftainer is a $100 million investment and simply put, should not be allowed. Since we are in military conflicts across the globe with radical Islamists and countries such as UAE and Qatar are known to have deep terrorist ties, this company should have been thoroughly vetted before allowing them in as an owner of a strategic port. Instead, few have looked into them and they are heralded as an outstanding company.
The promise of new jobs should not overshadow the fact that this company is a security risk. And with nuclear subs docking there, can we afford that kind of gamble? Port leaders expect the new business to create 2,000 jobs with an impact of more than $630 million on the local economy of Port Canaveral.
But some opponents, including a California congressman, have raised concerns that the company’s ties to [the] Middle East make it a bad choice to be located near the Kennedy Space Center, Cape Canaveral Air Force Station and other military installations.
“We’re not bad people as I try to emphasize,” said Peter Richards, Gulftainer’s managing director. “We’re good people here for the good of the community (and) the good of the port. And I think in the next six months, they’re going to see that. We’re going to actually generate Canaveral into a good logistics hub.”
Some bloggers have even claimed Gulftainer helped ship weapons to terrorist groups, but the company said that’s not true.
“The garbage that they put about us being linked to terrorist groups, where do they come off?” Richards said. “I don’t understand how anybody can do that. We’re trusted by 15 governments worldwide. We actually cooperate with your own military. We actually provide the logistics for the American forces in the Middle East.”
Port Canaveral leaders are coming to the defense of the company.
“We’ve selected them because they are good, quality people,” said John Walsh, CEO of Port Canaveral. “They are one of the best terminal operators in the world, and then to have members of our community say things that are inappropriate, racist and profiling. To me, that’s not OK.”
And exactly how do you know they are such ‘good’ people? And is it really racist to question the terrorist ties of a company moving into your community? Sounds like those so-called leaders are telling residents to just shut up and go away – that they should know their place and leave big business to the elites as it should be. I don’t think so. Must of been a lot of silver that crossed the palms of leaders and business icons there in Port Canaveral. They’ve been blinded by the shiny light of corruption.
Gulftainer is adjacent to a US Navy nuclear submarine base and NASA’s Kennedy Space Center. It has allegedly been shipping weapons through the Port of Umm Qasr to two Iranian-backed terrorist militia groups in Iraq, the Badr Brigades and Asaeib Ahl al-Haq (AAH), according to a leak from Iraq General Port Company officials in Basra to Iraqi media.
According to the 1776 Channel, who has done yeoman’s work on this subject, Port Canaveral is home to critical national security operations and infrastructure. A plethora of space and defense installations and programs, many of them highly classified, are situated either inside the port or within the immediate vicinity:
• NASA Kennedy Space Center and Visitor Complex
• Patrick Air Force Base
• Cape Canaveral Air Force Station
• US Navy Trident submarine base (Trident Turning Basin)
• Top secret Air Force space plane
• National Reconnaissance Office (NRO) spy satellites
• Department of Defense/Boeing GPS satellites
• SpaceX resupply missions to the International Space Station
• SpaceX Falcon 9 Rocket
• NASA Orion deep space capsule project and test launches
• United Launch Alliance Delta IV Heavy Rocket
• United Launch Alliance Atlas V Rocket
• Nuclear submarines resupply operations
• Lockheed Martin Fleet Ballistic Missile Eastern Ranger Operations
• Air Force Technical Applications Center (AFTAC) – Seismic, hydroacoustic and satellite monitoring of nuclear treaty signatory nations
• Air Force Space Command/45th Space Wing
• Air Force 920th Rescue Wing (Combat Search and Rescue)
• Craig Technologies Aerospace and Defense Manufacturing Center
• Naval Criminal Investigative Service (NCIS)
• US Coast Guard Station Port Canaveral
• Department of Homeland Security – Customs and Border Protection
• Numerous defense contractors (too many too list)
This deal has actually alarmed the military and is raising the eyebrows of a number of security experts. It was approved by Treasury Secretary Jacob ‘Jack’ Lew, a former senior adviser to President Clinton. Gulftainer’s exclusive arrangement with Port Canaveral was negotiated in secret under the code name ‘Project Pelican.’ Evidently, you have to sign the deal before you can know what is in it there in Port Canaveral. Sound familiar? And when all else fails, pull the race card to shut people up.
THE RED SEA – MARCH 5, 2014 – IDF forces seized an Iranian weapons shipment intended for
terrorists in the Gaza Strip during the early morning hours of March 5, 2014. Israel Navy Commander
Maj. Gen. Ram Rothberg led the operation from aboard the Israeli ship and Chief of the General Staff
Lt. Gen. Benjamin “Benny” Gantz oversaw it from the Israel Navy operations room.
(Image credit: Wikimedia Commons/Flikr/Israel Defense Forces)
Gulftainer USA (GT USA) is a unit of UAE’s privately-held intermodal container terminal operator Gulftainer, which in turn is a unit of Crescent Enterprises, part of the Crescent Group conglomerate. The Jafar family owns both of these and has close ties to former President Bill Clinton. The UN is also tied to Gulftainer and just recently it was strongly suspected that Gulftainer was involved with Iran in shipping rockets to Gaza. The shipment were seized by Israel and the reports are classified, so it cannot be proven (yet) that this is the case. But there is an excellent chance that Gulftainer is involved in smuggling weapons and arms for and to terrorists.
The course of the Iranian weapons shipment. (Image credit: Israel Defense Forces)
It would seem that not only do we have people in the US in the highest levels of government that could not pass a background check to clean toilets… we also have Middle Eastern countries being waived into sensitive ports without so much as the most minor of security checks. That’s like sitting on a ticking time bomb and praying that it won’t blow up like a jihadist in a Palestinian work accident. It’s insane. Port Canaveral might want to consider their hasty decision before a nuclear weapon glides into that port that could be used against the US. Just sayin’.
There are brave folks in Florida standing up to this and protesting. I’d like to close with a few pictures from this morning, courtesy of Andrea Shea King of the Radio Patriot:
Just three weeks ago the Egyptian court sentenced Egypt’s former Muslim Brotherhood president, Mohammed Morsi, to the death penalty after evidence presented from Egyptian intelligence documents proved him guilty of spying for Qatar, Iran and Turkey.
There are more than one hundred names on the list with him who are all convicted of the same crimes: murdering protesters, transferring top secret military documents to foreign countries, and burning the museum library which destroyed rare manuscripts and ancient artifacts.
Included on the death-penalty list is Mohamed Badie, the former Muslim Brotherhood spiritual head and his two deputies, Khairat El-Shater and Mahmud Ezzat, as well as Yousef Al Qaradawy, Hamas’ spiritual leader now living in Qatar.
As required by Egyptian law, the Egyptian court directly transmitted the list of the sentenced to the Grand Mufti of Cairo for his pronouncement of the Sharia opinion (approval) on the court’s verdict and sentencing. This past week, a few hours before the court resumed on June 2, a sealed envelope was passed to the court containing the Grand Mufti’s decision.
The court postponed the June 2 proceedings until June 16, and the envelope remains sealed at this moment. Some say the court did so to protect the country and President Al-Sisi who was in Germany on June 2 — waiting for his return in case violence erupts as a result of the announcement.
What are the chances that the Mufti has approved the death penalty? After all, the hundred or so Morsi aides and accomplices condemned to death along with the former president are guilty of nothing more than consistency with the cleric’s ideological and religious views.
If the death penalty is not approved and the civil court ignores the disapproval and goes forward to implement the death penalty, this could mean that the court is secured by the backing and protection of the President in order to serve justice. This in turn reveals that Al-Sisi is truly willing and able to go forward with cleaning corruption and rolling back religious extremism in an effort to reform the country.
But Al-Sisi is a mystery. He recently gave a statement to the German press indicating his agreement with the official story of Egypt’s Muslim Brotherhood wherein Morsi was elected fairly and democratically and won with 55 percent of the vote. This is very odd since Al-Sisi’s own legitimacy as the people’s president rests on the opposite view — the well-known truth that Morsi became president through corrupt elections, violence, fraud, and outside interference.
The second alternative would be for the civil court to comply with the Grand Mufti’s disapproval of the death sentences, subjecting itself to the authority of the religious clerics which is current practice. In an unreformed Egypt this can be expected from the court.
If we find that the Mufti has approved the death sentences, we are experiencing Al-Sisi’s power for the first time within his term of office and know as well that he is genuine. If so, the promise of modern reform has real potential, and Al-Sisi will have succeeded in spite of outside pressures (Merkel, Obama, and the CIA), Egypt’s political legacy (Mubarak, Sadat, and Nasser) and religious ultra-conservatives threatening secular initiatives (Salafists, Muslim Brotherhood and Al-Ahzar Institute).
The Coptic minority remains under the same pressures today as during previous administrations ruling Egypt. Muslim supremacies prevail, often with violence, against the sub-class within Egypt’s population. Al-Sisi, the man and the president, is yet a sign of hope for the country – Muslim and Christian watch Al-Sisi teetering between positions usually by omissions but not defaulting to the comfortable pattern of his predecessors.
Exclusive to Accuracy in Media The emails show more than you might think
On August 21, 2011, a top aide to Hillary Clinton penned a memo lauding his boss for steering U.S. policy in Libya, aimed at convincing the media of her accomplishments as Secretary of State.
“HRC has been a critical voice on Libya in administration deliberations, at NATO, and in contact group meetings—as well as the public face of the U.S. effort in Libya. She was instrumental in securing the authorization, building the coalition, and tightening the noose around Qadhafi and his regime,” Clinton aide Jake Sullivan wrote.
Sullivan’s memo to Mrs. Clinton’s inner circle is, of course, embarrassing today, which is one reason you are not reading about it on the front pages of The New York Times or The Washington Post.
But that’s not the only reason.
The memo, as well as other critical State Department correspondence, was withheld from multiple committees in Congress that have been investigating the September 11, 2012 attacks in Benghazi that killed U.S. Ambassador Chris Stevens, State Department communications officer Sean Smith, and two former Navy Seals then working on contract to the CIA, Glen Doherty and Tyrone Woods.
It finally surfaced on May 22, 2015, in response to a subpoena from the Select Committee on Benghazi chaired by South Carolina Republican Congressman Trey Gowdy. That was six months after Gowdy’s initial request to the State Department for all documents relating to Benghazi, and more than two-and-a-half years after a similar request from the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee, which initiated its investigation into Benghazi just days after the attacks.
In Sullivan’s memo, Mrs. Clinton was the driving force in getting the Russians to drop opposition to a UN-imposed no fly zone on Qadhafi’s Libya. She alone got Turkey, Qatar and Jordan to join the coalition military operations and to provide critical support to the anti-Qadhafi forces.
To convince skeptical allies to embrace her policies, Sullivan noted that Mrs. Clinton had traveled to Paris, London, Berlin, Rome, Abu Dhabi, Addis Ababa and Istanbul. She visited with “House Democrats and Senate Republicans to persuade them not to de-fund the Libya operation.”
Sullivan’s memo provided background for media appearances by Secretary Clinton in the ensuing months, including a famous encounter with a TV news reporter in Afghanistan, just three days after Mrs. Clinton’s October 2011 visit to Libya to proclaim victory against the then-still-missing Libyan dictator.
In video outtakes, Clinton aide Huma Abedin hands the Secretary a Blackberry, with information that Colonel Qadhafi has been killed, apparently just hours after Mrs. Clinton’s brief visit to the country.
In short, without Mrs. Clinton’s vigorous intervention, Qadhafi would still be in power, Libya would still be a country, and the jihadis who now own the place would be toast. And, of course, Chris Stevens, Smith, Doherty and Woods would still be alive.
After the attacks, Mrs. Clinton quickly forgot her leading role on Libya, sending a clueless Susan Rice to the Sunday talk shows to be the “public face” of the Obama administration’s Libya policy.
In her only public appearances to address what happened in Benghazi, she portrayed herself as a disengaged onlooker, called upon to pick up the pieces when the hired help failed to get things right. “[It] was very disappointing to me that the [Accountability Review Board (ARB)] concluded there were inadequacies and problems in the responsiveness of our team here in Washington to the security requests that were made by our team in Libya. And I was not aware of that going on. It was not brought to my attention,” she told the House Foreign Affairs committee in January 2013.
She reminded House and Senate panels in January 2013 that the State Department’s ARB, which she appointed, had determined that the failures in Benghazi were entirely the responsibility of lower level officials, even though Libya was among the top ten most dangerous postings in the world at the time of the attacks. The Washington Post’s Glenn Kessler busily helped to reinforce that fiction in a “fact-checking” blog aimed to show that there were simply too many cables going in and out of the State Department for a busy Secretary to see all of them.
Interestingly, in the approximately 300 Clinton emails the State Department has released so far, there is no record of Mrs. Clinton’s original request to her staff to draft a memo lauding her achievements in Libya. Did Sullivan simply dream up the idea and forward it up the chain of command to see if it would please his boss? Or was Mrs. Clinton’s request for these talking points one of the 30,000 “personal” emails the former Secretary of State deleted as irrelevant to her official duties?
Mrs. Clinton’s chief of staff Cheryl Mills forwarded Sullivan’s August 2011 memo to a second private Hillary email address. Remember how she insisted that she had just one private email account? The memo included a note that said, “Here’s the memo.” That sounds an awful lot like, “Here’s the memo you requested.”
Hillary sent it on to her personal assistant with the instruction, “Pls print for me.”
This type of exchange gets repeated many times in the Clinton emails released so far, suggesting that Mrs. Clinton was not given to making substantive comments via email, or that she deleted material that is relevant to the House Select Committee on Benghazi and is therefore guilty of obstructing justice. The other possibility is that the State Department Freedom of Information office is inexplicably dragging its feet in clearing Mrs. Clinton’s correspondence, even though the delay casts Mrs. Clinton in an embarrassing light.
Judicial Watch and other watchdog organizations—including this author—had been trying to get Mrs. Clinton’s emails and other U.S. government documents relevant to the Benghazi attacks for the past two-and-a-half years without success until the subpoena from the Select Committee on Benghazi compelled a response.
Now, thanks to a federal court order in Washington, DC, compelling the State Department to produce additional documents it previously had said did not exist or were properly categorized as classified, we can now put Mrs. Clinton’s emails into a broader context.
As the first reports of the attacks on Benghazi were whizzing through the State Department Operations Center, bouncing off the computers of lower level employees, one is impressed by their professionalism.
For example, the British security firm that had the contract to guard the U.S. diplomatic compound in Benghazi sent several ungrammatical missives through a State Department contact to update him on what was happening during the attacks.
Dylan Davies, one of the contractors working for the security firm, was apparently holed up in his hotel room (not at the scene of the Compound leading a daring rescue attempt, as he told CBS’ 60 Minutes), with no information at 11:55 p.m. local time—by which time, Ambassador Stevens and Sean Smith were dead, the CIA contractors led by Ty Woods had driven the attackers away from the burning diplomatic compound, and evacuated back to the CIA Annex.
A half hour later, Davies sent a second report, claiming there had been “no casualties,” and relaying a hearsay report from his “Benghazi facilitator,” who claimed that sources on the street were telling him the attack was either a September 11th anniversary attack, or caused by an Internet movie “disrespecting Mohammed.”
In relaying those reports, the State Department’s Command Center cautioned that they should be “taken with a grain of salt as the Employee may not be aware of the extent of the situation.”
And yet, less than four hours later—with no other independent reporting that had been released—Hillary Clinton issued her statement blaming the attacks on an Internet video.
What happened in the meantime? Who pushed the idea of the Internet video?
The short answer is that:we still don’t know. Either Mrs. Clinton destroyed the emails and other documents showing how she latched onto a report her own specialists had rejected as hearsay, or perhaps the Archangel Gabriel whispered in her ear while she had her head in a closet in her 7th floor office suite.
Several emails released to Judicial Watch show the intense involvement of the Bureau of Public Affairs in scouring the Internet for information on the attacks, but nothing to suggest the Secretary of State was asking the intelligence community what they knew.
At 9:30 p.m,—just 40 minutes before Mrs. Clinton issued her official statement blaming the attacks on a YouTube video—Principal Deputy Assistant Secretary for Public Affairs Dana Shell Smith sent out a request to her reporting officers to find information “in the aftermath of today’s demonstrations at Embassy Cairo.” For whatever reason, her request failed to mention Benghazi.
Rebecca Brown Thompson, head of a State Department media office called the “Rapid Response Unit” (reminiscent of the Clinton campaign “war room”), responded by sending snippets from Facebook postings gleaned by Arabic language media analysts.
“I see a variety of responses spanning from conspiracy theories (that is what the Americans and Israelis are doing on purpose to hurt Arabs and Muslims, they financed the offensive movie), to those who condemn the attacks as ‘UnIslamic and barbaric,’” one analyst reported.
Two hours after Mrs. Clinton issued the statement blaming the attacks on the “inflammatory material posted on the Internet,” a second Arabic media analyst tasked with justifying that statement found a lone tweet about the film, but also reported that “some Twitter users in Libya and Egypt are spreading reports that the attacks in Libya may not be related to the infamous film but to the killing of Al Qaeda’s second in command, who is Libyan.”
The “infamous” film, which was much less well known in Libya than in Egypt, became the subject of a scurrilous account appearing the very next morning that was penned by Max Blumenthal, son of the infamous Sid “Vicious” Blumenthal who was advising Mrs. Clinton. It was picked up and amplified in a second attack blog posted at 6:56 a.m. the same morning, suggesting that the real blame for the attacks in Cairo and Benghazi fell on Mitt Romney and his “extremist” backers who produced this YouTube video in the first place.
Once information from the professionals rose to the level of Jake Sullivan, Huma Abedin and Cheryl Mills in Clinton’s office, it just seemed to disappear, replaced with a weird concoction of politics, public relations and outright fantasy, such as the YouTube video concoction or the Sid Blumenthal “intelligence” reports. (When Mrs. Clinton sent those around to the professional diplomats, the comments she received in response were rarely complimentary.)
The 300 recently released Clinton emails give the impression that the 7th floor of the State Department was inhabited by a bunch of grad students, pretending to be government officials.
The most tragic example of the apparent ignorance of how the State Department and the federal government actually worked appeared in Mrs. Clinton’s order to not engage the Foreign Emergency Support Team (FEST), an interagency team on 24/7 stand-by alert, that had been created to respond to just such an emergency as the Benghazi attacks.
The Judicial Watch emails include a frustrated note he sent to the State Department Operations Center at 9:01 p.m. on the night of the attacks, complaining that Secretary Clinton was trying to get the FBI to send an evidence response team to Libya, when “the State (CT) led Foreign Emergency Support Team (FEST) would include those folks, along with experts from other agencies. We should avoid multiple requests for assistance and rely on the comprehensive FEST approach.”
In his Congressional testimony, Thompson said he had tried to get Mrs. Clinton’s office and the White House to approve activating the FEST as soon as he first learned about the attacks from the State Operations Center, but was told “it was not the right time and it was not the team that needed to go right then.”
The redacted portions of Thompson’s email undoubtedly included a reference to the heavily-armed special operations component of the FEST whose job would be to secure the facility under attack. Had Secretary Clinton not told the FEST to stand down early on, there’s a chance they might have arrived in Benghazi before Woods and Doherty were killed in the 5 a.m. mortar attack the next morning.
At the very least, they would have been able to secure the compounds and gather evidence on the spot, instead of waiting three weeks as the FBI was ultimately forced to do.
Mrs. Clinton’s aversion to any overt U.S. military presence in Libya was well-known at U.S. Africa Command, which had been supplying the ambassador’s security detail up until just weeks before the attacks. “We were not allowed to wear uniforms outside the embassy compound, not even our boots,” the head of Stevens’ U.S. Special Forces security detail told me. “People high up at State resented like Hell us being there and doing what we did.”
And in the end, those same people ordered the Ambassador’s Special Forces security detail to leave Libya—with disastrous consequences.
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