Wounded Warriors Project is a Fraud- Making Millions Off Disabled Veterans

WWPscoundrels

My first experience with the Wounded Warriors Project came in 2006, when I made several donations from between $200 and $500 to the organization. I was a stock broker at the time and my income allowed for such idiocy. I guess you could say that I had more money than I had sense, but more importantly, I gave the money because I felt that I needed to do something to take part in the war effort, and what better way than to provide financial assistance to those who were coming back from the wars in the Middle East maimed and wounded. At least that is where I thought the money that I was donating was going.  Continue reading

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Drug Lord El Chapo Tells ISIS His Men Will Destroy Them

el chapo ISIS

The world’s most wanted drug lord has declared war on the Islamic State, promising the terror group’s leader, Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi, that his narcotics cartel will wipe them off the planet.

“My men will destroy you,”’ El Chapo huffs to the ISIS leader in an encrypted email that was leaked to a cartel-linked blogger in Mexico. Continue reading

More than 1,000 inmates escape Benghazi prison in mass jailbreak as protesters storm offices of Islamist parties across Libya

More than 1,000 prisoners have escaped from a Libyan jail this afternoon, it has emerged.

Libyan security officials said the mass jailbreak occurred at Koyfiya prison, near the eastern city of Benghazi.

The jailbreak happened as protesters stormed the offices of Islamist-allied parties in Libya’s main cities. Continue reading

CIA Blocked Security Team Departure During Benghazi Attack

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(FreeBeacon) – The CIA “repeatedly blocked” the departure of a security team that was ready “within minutes” to respond to the Sept. 11, 2012, terror attacks in Benghazi, Libya that claimed the lives of four Americans, according to Rep. Frank Wolf (R., Va.) Continue reading

Benghazi Gate Fallout: US preparing for a ground assault on Libya

 

Editor’s Note: Can you say ‘distraction’? I knew that you could.. With various scandals swirling around the Obama administration and militias rising up in Libya it would be a perfect misdirection move. They could essentially dangle a carrot in front of the press and they will surely take a hearty bite. –MV

“CNN” quoted security sources that said the US developed several plans, including military action against the attackers on the U.S. consulate in the Libyan city of Benghazi in September last year.

The sources, who asked not to be identified, said U.S. forces made ​​plans aimed at the arrest of the attackers on the U.S. consulate, through a variety of actions, including the transfer of U.S. ground forces into Libya to perform the operation.

The sources said that work on the plans, which come amid growing pressure on the White House because of inconsistencies in the results of the investigations about the attack that led to the deaths of four Americans, including Ambassador Christopher Stevens, began immediately after the attack, which took place on last September 11.

According to a U.S. official who asked not to be named, said the U.S. military discussed the plans at the highest level before the days after make updates to it, and the U.S. armed forces own a list of potential targets inside Benghazi or in its vicinity, as well as a list of people who Washington suspects of involvement in the attack, or want to arrest.

And adopt plans, which come after the Federal Bureau of Investigation “FBI” published a set of pictures of people who were positioned in the attack site, on the premise of the arrest of wanted or kill them, which is awaiting approval by U.S. President Barack Obama on them, also include strikes against what is believed to be training camps for groups of militant in Libya.

“CNN” also reported that groups of U.S. Special Forces already deployed in parts of North Africa with the aim of collecting information in preparation to carry out the attack under any circumstances in the case of the orders have been issued with the possibility of canceling the whole process if the leading U.S. and Libyan efforts to arrest those involved in the process

 

 

http://breakingnews.sy/en/article/17610.html

French embassy in Tripoli, Libya hit by car bomb

French embassy in Tripoli hit by car bomb

 

World Bulletin/News Desk

France’s embassy in Libya was hit by what appeared to be a car bomb on Tuesday, injuring two guards in the first such attack in the Libyan capital since the 2011 war that ousted Muammar Gaddafi.

“There was an attack on the embassy. We think it was a booby trapped car,” a French official told Reuters. “There was a lot of damage and there are two guards wounded.”

In Paris, Foreign Minister Laurent Fabius condemned what he called a heinous attack and said everything would be done to find the perpetrators. “I send my solidarity and deepest sympathy to the two injured French guards and my wishes for their recovery,” he said in a statement.

One resident living less than 100 metres from the embassy said his windows shook when the first blast occurred.

“I think there were two blasts, the first was very loud and then there was a smaller one,” another witness said. “There was some black smoke at first, and then it turned white.”

Diplomatic missions have been targeted in Libya, most notably an attack on the US mission in the eastern city of Benghazi last September that killed the U.S. ambassador and three other Americans.

However Tuesday’s attack is the first such serious assault on an embassy or foreign mission in the capital, Tripoli.

Libya’s new rulers are still struggling to impose their authority on a country awash with weapons and a myriad of armed militias who often do as they please.

U.S. Commandos in 75 Countries Are Teaching Militaries to Torture, Kill, and Abuse Civilians

u.s., commandos, in, 75, countries, are, teaching, militaries, to, torture,, kill,, and, abuse, civilians, US Commandos in 75 Countries Are Teaching Militaries to Torture Kill and Abuse Civilians

(PolicyMIC) -While aggressive war, drone strikes, and a global network of military bases are the most visible aspects of American hegemonic power, what is often overlooked is the U.S. policy of training, assisting, and subsidizing foreign militaries. Although these actions are largely covert and discreet, they serve the same purpose of hegemonic control, diminish peace and national security, and help contribute to the subjugation of foreign citizens.

The training of foreign militaries to serve the interests of the American state goes all the way back to at least the Cold War. The U.S. used taxpayer money and weapons to subsidize foreign governments and militaries that were “anti-communist” even if the regimes were incredibly brutal and ruthless. All an authoritarian had to do was refer to his political opponents as “communists” and the Americans came rushing in.

In nearly every continent, the U.S. taught extremely fascistic, right-wing governments the art of cracking down on domestic dissent, jailing and torturing political opponents, centralizing power, making deals beneficial to American corporations, and employing death squads. Cheaper and less visible than directly invading and overthrowing governments the U.S. didn’t like, sock puppet dictators were the preferred means of implementing policy.

The fall of the Soviet Union in 1991 left very little justification for an American imperial position throughout the globe, yet those same Cold War policies were not only not discarded, but expanded upon. Back in 2010, President Obama and the Pentagon began implementing a strategy with a larger emphasis on “combat operations” and military-to-military coordination. U.S. Special Forces are now operating in (at least) 75 countries, teaching their governments more efficient means of subjugating their populations, creating chaos, and serving the interests of the American empire.

Syria is the most recent example of this policy. While publicly claiming that the U.S. is helping build schools and hospitals in Syria, the Associated Press and New York Times reports document that the U.S. is training and arming Syrian “rebels” opposing the Syrian dictator Bashar Al-Assad. With the help of Turkey, Saudi Arabia, and Qatar, most of the weapons are going to hard-line Islamic jihadists, many of whom belonging to groups that just a few years ago were killing U.S. Marines in Iraq.

President Obama, secretly and without the consent of Congress, sent more than 150 Special Forces to Jordan to train the anti-Assad fighters on the use of sophisticated anti-aircraft weapons.

What is even more disturbing is that the Syrian “rebels” have most likely already used chemical weapons, have a reputation for beheading prisoners, and that U.S. support is prolonging the conflict in the region. The reasons for U.S. intervention are of course complicated and multifaceted, but it most likely has to do with attempts to destabilize Iran’s strongest ally and what the Romans called divide et impera.

Syria may be the most dangerous example of the Obama administration’s enhanced policy of covert military training and assistance, but unfortunately it is nowhere near the only one. In Mali, along with building a brand new drone base, U.S. AFRICOM chief General Carter Ham admitted that while training Mali’s military, they “skipped ethics.” Targeting dissidents based on ethnicity and executing them is a staple of the U.S.-trained Mali government.

In Indonesia, the Obama administration resumed training and assisting an elite Indonesian military unit whose members have been convicted of massive human rights abuses in East Timor. U.S.-trained forces in Guatemala have incredibly close ties to some of the region’s most violent drug cartels and are notorious for their brutal treatment of civilians during the Guatemalan civil war.

A report from the Washington Office on Latin America details a U.S. policy called “the Merida Initiative” designed to “help the region’s militaries take on internal security roles” and use American police to train local police. Although President Obama publicly denounced the 2009 military coup in Honduras, Wikileaks cables later revealed that the Obama administration had members of the State Department meet with the illegitimate new Honduran “president” to help coordinate the implementation of the Merida Initiative.

The policy of militarizing, arming, and subsidizing foreign governments, especially those with well-known and documented human rights abuses and commissions of war crimes, appears to be a staple of the Obama administration’s foreign policy. But these policies help contribute to the spread of dictatorships, humanitarian crises, and instability while making the possibility of resentment and blowback much more likely.

It is becoming more and more clear that the bipartisan consensus policy of military interventionism is a threat to peace and security. Neutrality and non-intervention, as the Founders recommended, is a far more practical alternative and is still the best way to spread the American values our politicians are so fond of endorsing.

Rand Paul Slams Hillary Clinton

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(Derek Wood) Rand Paul had some fairly harsh criticism for Hillary Clinton today during the Benghazi hearings. The Senator out of Kentucky said if he had been President he would have relieved Clinton from her post.

“I’m glad that you’re accepting responsibility.  Ultimately, I think with your
leaving, you accept culpability for the greatest tragedy since 9/11.  I really
mean that.  Had I been president and found you did not read the cables from
Benghazi and from Ambassador Stevens, I would have relieved you of your post.  I
think it’s inexcusable.  I think it’s good that you’re accepting responsibility,
because no one else is.”

 

GOP critics get opportunity to grill Secretary Clinton on Benghazi

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(Hill) -Secretary of State Hillary Clinton will testify Wednesday that her agency is moving full speed ahead with recommendations to avoid a repeat of the attack on the U.S. mission in Benghazi, Libya, that killed a U.S. ambassador and three other Americans.

Clinton’s appearances before House and Senate committees are expected to be her last before she hands over the reins to Sen. John Kerry (D-Mass.), whose nomination hearing is Thursday. She’ll seek to limit the fallout from the deadly attack that tarnished her reputation as a successful head of the State Department.

Clinton has accepted responsibility for the findings of a bipartisan Accountability Review Board (ARB) that skewered the department’s “systemic failures and leadership and management deficiencies” in a report issued last month. She has also endorsed the group’s 29 recommendations.

 

Republicans have been clamoring for her to testify before she leaves office, with Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.) making her appearance a prerequisite to Kerry’s nomination hearing. They’re expected to hammer the Obama administration for both the Benghazi fiasco and the resurgence of al Qaeda-linked groups in nearby Mali and Algeria, where three Americans were killed last week when militants took over a natural-gas facility.

 

Lawmakers say they still have plenty of questions. The two parties have new leaders on both the House and Senate Foreign Affairs panels, and Wednesday’s hearings will be their first public performance in their new role.

 

“The key here is the disconnect between what State Department personnel said were the security needs and the lack of response,” Rep. Ed Royce (R-Calif.), the new chairman of the House Foreign Affairs Committee, told The Hill. “That’s the mystery.”

Royce said the panel also had questions about the decision not to fire anyone for the security failings, despite earlier reports that four people had been reprimanded.

The State Department is promising that Clinton will answer any questions asked of her.

“What the secretary will do tomorrow is be available to Congress, first and foremost, to update them on the implementation of the ARB’s recommendations, but also to answer any questions they have of her,” State Department spokeswoman Victoria Nuland said Tuesday. “As she’ll make clear tomorrow, all of the recommendations are currently being implemented, but there will be plenty of implementation work that needs to be carried forward by her successor.”

Nuland said four people were put on administrative leave because of the report’s recommendations, including Assistant Secretary of Diplomatic Security Eric Boswell, who resigned from his current position.

Sen. Bob Corker (Tenn.), the new ranking Republican on the Foreign Relations Committee, told Fox News that he didn’t expect any “bombshells” from Wednesday’s hearing regarding what happened at the U.S. mission in Benghazi on the night of Sept. 11.

“It’s been four and a half months, and we’ve all gone through myriads of cables, [the Senate] Homeland Security [Committee] issued a report, we’ve all been through the private testimony in classified settings,” he said. “I don’t think there will be bombshells, but I think — especially with what’s happening throughout North Africa right now — I think there will be a lot of questions about just the overall policies of this administration as it relates to AQIM [al Qaeda in the Islamic Maghreb].”

In a statement, he said he’ll press for a “top-to-bottom review of all foreign assistance programs and State Department authorities to ensure that they are being conducted in line with American strategic national interests.”

The Senate hearing will be chaired by Robert Menendez (D-N.J.), who will take over the gavel if Kerry is confirmed. He told MSNBC that he wanted to focus on Congress’s role in providing funding to ensure diplomatic posts are safe. At current funding levels, just three of the 24 high-risk locations could be brought up to higher safety standards per year.

“It’s also about what we are willing to do in Congress to make sure that these posts in high-risk countries are brought up to standard so we can protect our diplomatic corps as they still engage in robust diplomacy,” Menendez said.

Clinton’s supporters don’t expect her to suffer long-term damage from the hearing. She remains a formidable politician and Democrats’ best shot at keeping the presidency in 2016, and Republicans are likely to hold their fire and avoid the aggressive attacks that derailed Obama’s first choice for secretary of State, Ambassador to the United Nations Susan Rice.

“It happened on her watch, but you have to put this in a broader context,” said former State Department spokesman P.J. Crowley. “That’s why I think it will be interesting to see where the committee goes in terms of tying Benghazi to what has happened since in Mali and Algeria.”

No matter how Wednesday’s hearing transpires, the Obama administration can expect to face questions on Benghazi for a long time to come. Several House Oversight Committee members “just came back from a trip where we looked at Algeria, Morocco, Lebanon, Turkey, Israel and Cyprus, because what we’re looking at, of course, is the efficiency and effectiveness of all of these decisions of building and securing,” panel Chairman Darrell Issa (R-Calif.) told The Hill. National Security subpanel Chairman Jason Chaffetz (R-Utah) “has a series of hearings that will be related — some of them lessons learned from

 

The Drone Commander:20,000 Airstrikes in the President’s First Term Cause Death and Destruction From Iraq to Somalia

 of 9/11: “Why do they hate us?”

(AlterNet) -Many people around the world are disturbed by U.S. drone attacks in Afghanistan, Pakistan, Yemen, Somalia and elsewhere. The illusion that American drones can strike without warning anywhere in the world without placing Americans in harm’s way makes drones dangerously attractive to U.S. officials, even as they fuel the cycle of violence that the “war on terror” falsely promised to end but has instead escalated and sought to normalize. But drone strikes are only the tip of an iceberg, making up less than 10 percent of at least 20,130 air strikes the U.S. has conducted in other countries since President Obama’s inauguration in 2009.

The U.S. dropped 17,500 bombs during its invasion of Afghanistan in 2001. It conducted 29,200 air strikes during the invasion of Iraq in 2003. U.S. air forces conducted at least another 3,900 air strikes in Iraq over the next eight years, before the Iraqi government finally negotiated the withdrawal of U.S. occupation forces. But that pales next to at least 38,100 U.S. air strikes in Afghanistan since 2002, a country already occupied by U.S. and NATO forces, with a government pledged by its U.S. overlords to bring peace and justice to its people.
 
The Obama administration is responsible for at least 18,274 air strikes in Afghanistan since 2009, including at least 1,160 by pilotless drones. The U.S. conducted at least 116 air strikes in Iraq in 2009 and about 1,460 of NATO’s 7,700 strikes in Libya in 2011. While the U.S. military does not publish figures on “secret” air and drone strikes in other countries, press reports detail a five-fold increase over Bush’s second term, with at least 303 strikes in Pakistan, 125 in Yemen and 16 in Somalia.
 
Aside from the initial bombing of Afghanistan in 2001 and the “shock and awe” bombing of Iraq in March and April 2003, the Obama administration has conducted more air strikes day-in day-out than the Bush administration. Bush’s roughly 24,000 air strikes in seven years from 2002 to 2008 amounted to an air strike about every 3 hours, while Obama’s 20,130 in four years add up to one every 1-3/4 hours.
 
The U.S. government does not advertise these figures, and journalists have largely ignored them. But the bombs and missiles used in these air strikes are powerful weapons designed to inflict damage, death and injury over a wide radius, up to hundreds of feet from their points of impact. The effect of such bombs and shells on actual battlefields, where the victims are military personnel, has always been deadly and gruesome. Many soldiers who lived through shelling and bombing in the First and Second World Wars never recovered from “shell-shock” or what we now call PTSD.
 
The use of such weapons in America’s current wars, where “the battlefield” is often a euphemism for houses, villages or even urban areas densely populated by civilians, frequently violates otherwise binding rules of international humanitarian law. These include the Fourth Geneva Convention, signed in 1949 to protect civilians from the worst effects of war and military occupation.
 
Beginning in 2005, the U.N. Assistance Mission for Iraq (UNAMI) issued quarterly reports on human rights in Iraq. They included details of U.S. air strikes that killed civilians, and UNAMI called on U.S. authorities to fully investigate these incidents. A UNAMI human rights report published in October 2007 demanded, “that all credible allegations of unlawful killings by MNF (multi-national force) forces be thoroughly, promptly and impartially investigated, and appropriate action taken against military personnel found to have used excessive or indiscriminate force.”
 
The UN human rights report included a reminder to U.S. military commanders that, “Customary international humanitarian law demands that, as much as possible, military objectives must not be located within areas densely populated by civilians. The presence of individual combatants among a great number of civilians does not alter the civilian nature of an area.”
 
But no Americans have been held criminally accountable for civilian casualties in air strikes, either in Iraq or in the more widespread bombing of occupied Afghanistan. U.S. officials dispute findings of fact and law in investigations by the UN and the Afghan government, but they accept no independent mechanism for resolving these disputes, effectively shielding themselves from accountability.
 
Besides simply not being informed of the extent of the U.S. bombing campaigns in Iraq and Afghanistan, the U.S. public has been subject to military propaganda about the accuracy and effectiveness of “precision” weapons. When military forces detonate tens of thousands of powerful bombs and missiles in a country, even highly accurate weapons are bound to kill many innocent people. When we are talking about 33,000 bombs and missiles exploding in Iraq, 55,000 in Afghanistan and 7,700 in Libya, it is critical to understand just how accurate or inaccurate these weapons really are. If only 10 percent missed their targets, that would mean nearly 10,000 bombs and missiles blowing up something or somewhere else, killing and maiming thousands of unintended victims.
 
But even the latest generation of “precision” weapons is not 90 percent accurate. One of the world’s leading experts on this subject, Rob Hewson, the editor of the military journal Jane’s Air Launched Weapons, estimated that 20 to 25 percent of the 19,948 precision weapons used in the “shock and awe” attack on Iraq in 2003 completely missed their targets. The other 9,251 bombs and missiles were not classified as “precision” weapons in the first place, so that only about 56 percent of the total 29,199 “shock and awe” weapons actually performed with “precision” by the military’s own standards. And those standards define precision for most of these weapons only as striking within a 29 foot radius of the target.
 
To an expert like Rob Hewson who understood the real-world effects of these weapons, “shock and awe” presented an ethical and legal problem to which American military spokespeople and journalists seemed oblivious. As he told the Associated Press, “In a war that’s being fought for the benefit of the Iraqi people, you can’t afford to kill any of them. But you can’t drop bombs and not kill people. There’s a real dichotomy in all of this.” 

The actual results of U.S. air strikes were better documented in Iraq than in Afghanistan. Epidemiological studies in Iraq bore out Hewson’s assessment, finding that tens of thousands, maybe hundreds of thousands, of Iraqi civilians were killed by U.S. air strikes. The first major epidemiological study conducted in Iraq after 18 months of war and occupation concluded:

Violent deaths were widespread … and were mainly attributed to coalition forces. Most individuals reportedly killed by coalition forces were women and children … Violence accounted for most of the excess deaths and air strikes from coalition forces accounted for most violent deaths.

When the same team from Johns Hopkins and Baghdad’s Al Mustansariya University did a more extensive study in Iraq in 2006 after three years of war and occupation, it found that, amidst the proliferation of all kinds of violence, U.S. air strikes by then accounted for a smaller share of total deaths, except in one crucial respect: they still accounted for half of all violent deaths of children in Iraq.
 
No such studies have been conducted in Afghanistan, but hundreds of thousands of Afghans now living in refugee camps tell of homes and villages destroyed by U.S. air strikes and of family members killed in the bombing. There is no evidence that the pattern of bombing casualties in Afghanistan has been any kinder to children and other innocents than in Iraq. Impossibly low figures on civilian casualties published by the U.N. mission in Afghanistan are the result of small numbers of completed investigations, not comprehensive surveys. They therefore give a misleading impression, which is then amplified by wishful and uncritical Western news reports.
 
When the UN identified only 80 civilians killed in U.S. Special Forces night raids in 2010, Nader Nadery of the Afghanistan Independent Human Rights Commission, who worked on the UN report, explained that this was based on completed investigations of only 13 of the 73 incidents reported to the UN for the year. He estimated the number of civilians killed in all 73 incidents at 420. But most U.S. air strikes and special forces raids occur in resistance-held areas where people have no contact with the UN or the Human Rights Commission. So even thorough and complete UN investigations in the areas it has access to would only document a fraction of total Afghan civilian casualties. Western journalists who report UN civilian casualty figures from Afghanistan as if they were estimates of total casualties unwittingly contribute to a propaganda narrative that dramatically understates the scale of violence raining down from the skies on the people of Afghanistan.
 
President Obama and the politicians and media who keep the scale, destructiveness and indiscriminate nature of U.S. air strikes shrouded in silence understand only too well that the American public has in no way approved this shameful and endless tsunami of violence against people in other countries. Day after day for 11 years, U.S. air strikes have conclusively answered the familiar question of 9/11: “Why do they hate us?” As Congressmember Barbara Lee warned in 2001, we have “become the evil we deplore.” It is time to change course. Ending the daily routine of deadly U.S. air strikes, including but by no means limited to drone strikes, should be President Obama’s most urgent national security priority as he begins his second term in office.

US supports governments in 4 of 7 least free nations

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(Digital Journal)  –  The United States provides economic, military  and diplomatic support to four of the seven least free nations on earth,  according to a Digital Journal analysis of this year’s Freedom House freedom  rankings.

Freedom House, a Washington, DC-based think tank that conducts  research on democracy, freedom and human rights, has released its annual report  on the state of freedom around the world. The report, “Freedom  in the World 2013,” gave seven nations the lowest possible rankings for both  political rights and civil liberties. Of these seven– North Korea,  Turkmenistan, Uzbekistan, Sudan, Equatorial Guinea, Eritrea and Saudi Arabia,  the United States provides significant economic, military and/or diplomatic  support to the governments of four of them. Here’s a breakdown of how the Obama  administration aids and enables brutal repression in each country:

Saudi Arabia:  Arbitrary arrest and torture  of reform advocates, religious minorities and totally innocent people are  commonplace. The Saudi legal system is a cruel farce, with defendants often denied  legal counsel and tortured into making false confessions. This has led to  wrongful executions, usually by public  beheading. Among the crimes for which one can be beheaded in Saudi Arabia:  apostasy (renouncing Islam), blasphemy, prostitution, witchcraft,  sorcery, adultery and homosexuality. Lesser criminals often have their hands and  legs amputated without anesthesia.

Being born female in Saudi Arabia is to  be condemned to a hellish life of virtual slavery. Not only are women not  allowed to vote, they cannot drive cars. They cannot be treated in a hospital or  travel without written permission from their husbands or male relatives. One  woman who was kidnapped and gang-raped was sentenced  to 90 whip lashes for being with unrelated males. When she went to the media to  complain, her sentence was increased to 200 lashes. In 2002, 15 schoolgirls  needlessly died when  members of the dreaded morality police locked them inside their burning school  and stopped firefighters from saving them simply because the girls were not  properly dressed in robes and headscarves.

The Saudi education system reinforces  this medieval barbarism. School textbooks disparage women, call for gays to be  put to death, teach how to cut off thieves’ hands and stress the importance of  the destruction of the Jewish people. “The hour of God’s judgment will not come  until the Muslims fight the Jews and kill them,” reads  one textbook.

Such is life in the absolute monarchy  of Saudi Arabia, a kingdom without an elected parliament where the courts are  run by religious extremists, adherents of a super-strict brand of Islamic  fundamentalism called Wahhabism.  It was Wahhabism that spawned al-Qaeda; Osama bin Laden and 15 of the 19 9/11  hijackers were Saudis. In a bid to consolidate and protect its power and curry  favor with powerful extremist clerics, members of the Saudi royal family  routinely make large donations  to Islamic ‘charities’ that in turn fund terrorist groups. The Saudi government  also supported the Taliban right up until 9/11 and then refused to help US  intelligence officials with background checks on the Saudi hijackers.

These truths have been ignored by  successive US administrations, including Barack Obama’s. Rather than rebuke  Saudi repression, Obama rewarded it by allowing the sale of $60  billion worth of advanced military aircraft to the kingdom and by warmly  welcoming Saudi King Abdullah to the White House.

Equatorial Guinea:  This tiny but oil-rich West African nation is ruled by the fantastically corrupt Teodoro  Obiang, Africa’s longest ruling leader and a close US ally. Obiang, who was  trained in Franco’s Spain, rose to power in 1979 after executing his even more  brutal uncle. The US State Department report on Equatorial Guinea cites “torture  of detainees by security forces, life-threatening conditions in prisons, and  arbitrary arrests.” Locals joke– behind closed doors, of course– about North  Korea’s Kim Jong-un being Obiang’s role model.

Oil exports and corruption have made  the Obiang family among the richest in Africa, with the dictator’s personal  fortune worth an estimated $600 million. His family lives in ostentatious  opulence while one out of every three Equatorial Guineans dies before the  age of 40.

Somehow, despite the misery of most of  his people, Obiang still managed to “win”  reelection with 95 percent of the vote in 2009.

Obiang has endeared himself to the Bush  and Obama administrations (Condoleezza Rice called him a “good  friend”) by opening his country’s oil wealth up for exploitation by US  corporations, which have invested billions of dollars there. Secret diplomatic  cables published by Wikileaks in 2009 reveal that Washington advised  “abandoning a moral narrative” regarding the brutal Obiang regime and the Obama  administration was more than happy to oblige. Just two months before he “won”  his impossible landslide reelection victory, Barack and Michelle Obama met the  friendly dictator and posed for photos with him and his wife at a lavish  Manhattan reception.

Uzbekistan: This  Central Asian country is a police state that has been ruled continuously by the  wicked Islam  Karimov since it was part of the Soviet Union. There is zero freedom of  expression or of the press in Uzbekistan, and although Karimov holds periodic  elections, they are farcical affairs in which he always receives around 90  percent of the vote.

But Uzbekistan sits smack in the middle  of the region’s massive oil and natural gas resources and is also a valuable  ally in the War on Terror. The Northern Distribution Network, a supply line to  Afghanistan, passes right through it.

Unfortunately, tens of thousands of  Uzbek political prisoners are locked up in horrific conditions and subjected to  medieval tortures. Prisoners are forced to stand in freezing water for hours,  have their skin torn off with pliers or are occasionally boiled  to death. Uzbek authorities have also imprisoned, tortured or killed  thousands of Muslims just for practicing their faith.

The Bush administration cozied up to  the vile Karimov regime, inviting the dictator to the White House and lavishing  him with half a billion dollars in aid, much of it directly funding the police  and intelligence services that torture and murder. When Uzbek forces committed a  vodka-fueled massacre of  hundreds of peaceful protesters in Andijan in 2005, Pentagon officials helped block  an international investigation of the incident.

President Obama has continued to extend  the hand of friendship to Karimov, sending Hillary Clinton, Gen. David Petraeus  and the late Richard Holbrooke to Tashkent to shore up relations. Last February,  Obama announced that the US would resume  military aid to the despotic regime despite its continued grave human rights  abuses.

Turkmenistan: Home to  the world’s fifth-largest natural gas reserves, Uzbekistan’s southern neighbor  was for decades run by President for Life Saparmurat Niyazov, whose bizarre  cult of personality knew no limits. Niyazov renamed a town, a meteor and the  month of January  after himself. He also scrapped the Hippocratic Oath for  doctors and replaced it with an oath to– guess who– Niyazov. The eccentric  dictator outlawed gold teeth, opera, ballet and lip-syncing. He even published a  ‘Book of the Soul’ that was elevated to the level of the Bible and Koran. When  one Islamic cleric objected, he was sentenced to 23 years behind bars.  Stalinesque show trials, torture and murder were everyday facts of life.

Niyazov died  in 2006. But the nation remains one of the most repressive and corrupt  in the world. Successive US administrations, however, have  ignored the brutality as they pursue lucrative pipeline deals and access to  routes to supply the war in Afghanistan. The dictator Gurbanguly Berdimuhamedow  “won” reelection last year with 97 percent of the vote, a troubling development  that was met with silence and continued friendship from the Obama  administration. The US has also provided millions of dollars in aid to the  brutal tyrant.

 

U.S. Drone Pilot: ‘Did We Just Kill A Kid?’

(PekinTimes)

After Barack Obama joined the rest of us in mourning the slaughter of innocent children in Newtown, Conn., Sanford Berman, a Minnesota civil liberties activist, wrote me: “Obama’s tears for the dead Connecticut kids made me sick. What about weeping over the 400 or more children he killed with drone strikes?”

Indeed, our president has shown no palpable concern over those deaths, but a number of U.S. personnel — not only the CIA agents engaged in drone killings — are deeply troubled.

Peggy Noonan reports that David E. Sanger, in his book “Confront and Conceal: Obama’s Secret Wars and Surprising Use of American Power,” discovered that “some of those who operate the unmanned bombers are getting upset. They track victims for days. They watch them play with their children.” Then what happens: “‘It freaks you out’” (“Who Benefits From the ‘Avalanche of Leaks’?” Wall Street Journal, June 15).

For another example, I introduce you to Conor Friedersdorf and his account of “The Guilty Conscience of a Drone Pilot Who Killed a Child” (theatlantic.com, Dec. 19).

The subtitle: “May his story remind us that U.S. strikes have reportedly killed many times more kids than died in Newtown — and that we can do better.”

The story Friedersdorf highlights in the Atlantic first appeared in Germany’s Der Spiegel about an Air Force officer (not CIA) who “lamented the fact that he sometimes had to kill ‘good daddies’” … (and) “even attended their funerals” from far away.

And dig this, President Obama: “as a consequence of the job, he collapsed with stress-induced exhaustion and developed PTSD (post-traumatic stress disorder).” Yet these drones, “Hellfire missiles,” are President Obama’s favorite extra-judicial weapons against suspected terrorists.

Getting back to the Air Force officer, Brandon Bryant, with the guilty conscience. Friedersdorf’s story quotes extensively from Der Spiegel’s article, which recalls that, when Bryant got the order to fire, “he pressed a button with his left hand and marked the roof (of a shed) with a laser. The pilot sitting next to him pressed the trigger on a joystick, causing the drone to launch a Hellfire missile. There were 16 seconds left until impact …

“With seven seconds left to go, there was no one to be seen on the ground. Bryant could still have diverted the missile at that point. Then it was down to three seconds …

“Suddenly a child walked around the corner, he says. Second zero was the moment in which Bryant’s digital world collided with the real one in a village between Baghlan and Mazar-e-Sharif. Bryant saw a flash on the screen: the explosion. Parts of the building collapsed. The child had disappeared.

“Bryant had a sick feeling in his stomach.

“‘Did we just kill a kid?’ he asked the man sitting next to him.

“‘Yeah. I guess that was a kid,’ the pilot replied.

“‘Was that a kid?’ they wrote into a chat window on the monitor.

“Then someone they didn’t know answered, someone sitting in a military command center somewhere in the world who had observed their attack. ‘No. That was a dog,’ the person wrote.

“They reviewed the scene on video. A dog on two legs?”

Friedersdorf adds: “The United States kills a lot of ‘dogs on two legs.’ The Bureau of Investigative Journalism reported last August that in Pakistan’s tribal areas alone, there are at least 168 credible reports of children being killed in drone strikes.” As for those in other countries, he adds, that’s “officially secret.”

He writes: “Presidents Bush and Obama have actively prevented human-rights observers from accessing full casualty data from programs that remain officially secret, so there is no way to know the total number of children American strikes have killed in the numerous countries in which they’ve been conducted, but if we arbitrarily presume that ‘just’ 84 children have died — half the bureau’s estimate from one country — the death toll would still be more than quadruple the number of children killed in Newtown, Conn.”

Are you proud, as an American, to know this?

After reading about Obama’s silence in “The Guilty Conscience of a Drone Pilot Who Killed a Child,” does the conscience of those of us who re-elected Obama ache?

As Friedersdorf writes, Obama has never spoken of these deaths as he did about the ones in Newtown, when he said: “If there’s even one step we can take to save another child or another parent … then surely we have an obligation to try. … Are we really prepared to say that dead children are the price of our freedom?”

Do you mean, Mr. President, only the dead children of Newtown?

These targeted killings continue in our name, under the ultimate authority of our president — as the huge majority of We The People stays mute.

Nat Hentoff is a nationally renowned authority on the First Amendment and the Bill of Rights. He is a member of the Reporters Committee for Freedom of the Press, and the Cato Institute, where he is a senior fellow.

Four Star Admiral Is Claiming Obama Conspired With America’s Enemies To Stage Benghazi

Barack Obama 6 SC The Scandal That Will Bring Obama Down

(Western Journalism) – It’s even worse than we previously thought. A retired four-star admiral is now claiming that Barack Obama intentionally conspired with America’s enemies to stage a bogus attack and the kidnapping of an American ambassador so he could “negotiate” the release of a “hostage” and bolster his mediocre approval ratings just prior to the election!

 

The Washington Examiner, quoting retired Four-Star Admiral James Lyons, writes: “the attack on the American Consulate in Benghazi… was the result of a bungled abduction attempt…. the first stage of an international prisoner exchange… that would have ensured the release of Omar Abdel Rahman, the ‘Blind Sheik’…”

But something went horribly wrong with Obama’s “October Surprise.” Although the Obama Administration intentionally gutted security at the consulate prior to the staged kidnapping, former Navy SEALs Tyrone Woods and Glen Doherty disobeyed direct orders to stand down, saved American lives, single-handedly killed scores of attackers…and the attackers, believing that Obama had betrayed them, tortured Ambassador Chris Stevens and dragged his body through the streets.

Some will say that Admiral Lyons’ accusation is not a smoking gun. We agree; that’s exactly why Congress must investigate Benghazi-gate.

Moreover, we firmly believe the problem with Admiral Lyons’ assertion is that he is only scratching the surface; the full and complete truth may be much, much worse.

Benghazi-gate is not about a bogus YouTube video series of lies. It’s not about the Obama Administration’s foreign policy ineptitude. We are dealing with something much more sinister… something potentially treasonous… and the following questions, posed in an article in The New American, go to the heart of the matter:

 

1. ”What was the Obama administration’s full role in helping violent Jihadists, self-styled al Qaeda terrorists, and Western-backed “revolutionaries” take over Libya in the first place?

2. Did that half-baked scheme to arm Jihadist leaders, who… had previously fought U.S. troops in Iraq, contribute to the attack, as countless experts and officials have suggested?

3. What was actually going on at the compound in Benghazi, which, as the report states, was never a “consulate” despite establishment media claims?

4. Was Ambassador Stevens recruiting and arming Jihadists and terrorists to wage war on the Syrian regime after what Obama called the “success” in Libya, as a growing body of credible evidence suggests?

5. Why did the administration claim for so long that the attack was just a “protest” over a YouTube video gone awry, even when it knew definitively that was not the case?

6. Was the lack of security at the compound a political ploy to conceal the extent of the lawlessness and utter chaos left in the wake of Obama’s unconstitutional “regime change” war on Libya, as even members of Congress have alleged?”

It’s clear. Benghazi-Gate is only a small piece of a much larger operation, an attempt to conceal what The New American calls “the Obama administration’s full role in helping violent Jihadists and self-styled al Qaeda terrorists.”

Prior to the election Barack Obama continually told us that “Osama bin-Laden is dead and GM is alive”; but the sad truth is that Osama bin-Laden’s organization is alive and well, and the Obama Regime may be giving aid and comfort to this terrorist network.

And prior to the election, Fox News’ Geraldo Rivera pontificated that Republicans shouldn’t “politicize” Benghazi-gate. Swaggering onto the set of Fox and Friends, Rivera bloviated: “I think we have to stop this politicizing.” And Rivera issued the following veiled warning to Republicans: “Do we want to try and influence the election with a tragedy that happened in North Africa?”

Ironic, isn’t it? Barack Obama played politics with the lives of Americans; like Rivera, the media covered Obama’s rear and threatened to accuse anyone and everyone who mentioned it of “playing politics.”

Weak-willed Republicans apparently took Rivera’s threat to heart as Rivera also said that Republican Senators John Barrasso, James Inhofe, and Bob Corker, who all sit on the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, “all agree that the supercharged atmosphere around the story — prudence dictates that these hearings be postponed until” after the election.

Well, the election has come and gone. Congress now has no excuse. The American people needed the truth before the election; but now that Obama is back in the White House, real conservatives must demand answers.

The American people deserve to have those questions answered; and moreover, the American people deserve justice.

Clinton Publicly Linked Benghazi to Video Before Woods and Doherty Were Killed

 
woods and dohertyFormer Navy SEALs Tyrone Woods (left) and Glen Doherty were killed in the Sept. 11, 2012 attack in Benghazi along with U.S. Ambassador Chris Stevens and State Department employee Sean Smith. (AP Photo)

 

(CNS)On the night of Sept. 11, 2012 — before former Navy SEALs Tyrone Woods and Glen Doherty were killed by a terrorist mortar strike — Secretary of State Hillary Clinton released a public statement linking the attack against the U.S. diplomatic mission in Benghazi, Libya, with an anti-Muslim video, which she referred to as “inflammatory material posted on the Internet.”

Clinton’s statement, still posted on State’s website, is dated Sept. 11, 2012, and headlined: “Statement on the Attack in Benghazi.”

The statement first notes that a State Department officer had been killed in Benghazi — an apparent reference to Information Management Officer Sean Smith, whose body had been recovered at the U.S. mission in Benghazi by U.S. security officers by about 5:30 p.m. Washington, D.C., time on Sept. 11 — or 11:30 p.m. Benghazi time.

The statement then talks about Clinton’s communications that night with Libya’s president and refers to what Clinton calls “inflammatory material posted on the Internet.”

“I condemn in the strongest terms the attack on our mission in Benghazi today,” Clinton said in the statement. “As we work to secure our personnel and facilities, we have confirmed that one of our State Department officers was killed. We are heartbroken by this terrible loss. Our thoughts and prayers are with his family and those who have suffered in this attack.

“This evening, I called Libyan President Magariaf to coordinate additional support to protect Americans in Libya,” Clinton continued. “President Magariaf expressed his condemnation and condolences and pledged his government’s full cooperation.

“Some have sought to justify this vicious behavior as a response to inflammatory material posted on the Internet,” Clinton said. “The United States deplores any intentional effort to denigrate the religious beliefs of others. Our commitment to religious tolerance goes back to the very beginning of our nation. But let me be clear: There is never any justification for violent acts of this kind.”

“In light of the events of today, the United States government is working with partner countries around the world to protect our personnel, our missions, and American citizens worldwide,” Clinton’s statement concluded.

On Jan. 8, I contacted the State Department press office three times by telephone and once by email to ask when exactly on Sept. 11, 2012, the department released this statement by Clinton.

“I just want to know at what time on Sept. 11, 2012, this statement was released,” I asked in an email that I sent at 2:20 p.m. Eastern time after my second phone inquiry.

I was later told that a group that answers questions on Benghazi for the State Department was working on an answer for me.

However, the Associated Press first published a story quoting Clinton’s statement at 10:58 p.m. Eastern time on Sept. 11.

The AP released a story that night datelined Cairo, written by Maggie Michael and Sarah El Deeb, and carrying the headline, “American killed in Libya protest over film.” The story noted that Clinton had confirmed that “one State Department officer had been killed in the protest at the U.S. consulate in Benghazi.” It also quoted directly from Clinton’s statement: “Some have sought to justify this vicious behavior as a response to inflammatory material posted on the Internet.”

The Associated Press’ Media Relations office confirmed to me that the AP first published its version of this story quoting Clinton’s statement at 10:58 p.m. Eastern time on Sept. 11.

A CIA timeline of the Benghazi events provided by a senior U.S. intelligence official, the Senate Homeland Security Committee’s report on Benghazi and the State Department’s own Accountability Review Board Report all indicate that Tyrone Woods and Glen Doherty were killed at the U.S. “Annex” in Benghazi sometime between about 5:14 a.m. and 5:26 a.m. Benghazi time on Sept. 12. That would be between 11:14 p.m. and 11:26 p.m. on Sept. 11 in Washington, D.C. — or at least 16 minutes after the AP reported Clinton’s statement.

The CIA timeline indicates that a security team sent to the rescue by the U.S. Embassy in Tripoli got to the Benghazi Annex about 5:15 a.m. Benghazi time. “They arrive with Libyan support at the Annex by 5:15 a.m., just before the mortar rounds begin to hit the Annex,” says this timeline. “The two security officers (Woods and Doherty) were killed when they took direct mortar fire as they engaged the enemy. That attack lasted only 11 minutes then also dissipated.”

The State Department ARB report provided additional details, but also set the time of the attack that killed Woods and Doherty at approximately 5:15 a.m. Benghazi time.

“The seven-person response team from Embassy Tripoli arrived in Benghazi to lend support,” said the ARB report. “It arrived at the Annex about 0500 local. Less than 15 minutes later, the Annex came under mortar and RPG attack, with five mortar rounds impacting close together in under 90 seconds. Three rounds hit the roof of an Annex building, killing security officers Tyrone Woods and Glen Doherty.”

On Dec. 31, Senate Homeland Security Chairman Joseph Lieberman, I-Conn., and Ranking Member Susan Collins, R-Maine, published their own report on Benghazi. This report confirmed both that Woods and Doherty were killed between 5:14 a.m. and 5:26 a.m. Benghazi time on Sept. 12 and that Benghazi was six hours ahead of Washington, D.C.

“American government officials outside of Benghazi learned of the attack shortly after it started at 3:40 p.m. EST (9:40 p.m. Benghazi time),” said the Lieberman-Collins report. “DS (diplomatic security) agents, in addition to notifying personnel at the Annex, immediately alerted officials at the U.S Embassy in Tripoli and the Department of State Headquarters in Washington, D.C.”

“The team from Tripoli finally cleared the airport and arrived at the Annex at approximately 5:04 a.m., about 10 minutes before a new assault by the terrorist began, involving mortar rounds fired at the Annex,” said the report. “The attack concluded at approximately 5:26 a.m., leaving Annex security team members Tyrone Woods and Glen Doherty dead and two others wounded.”

General Stanley McChrystal questions US drone warfare

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(Digital Journal) -Retired US Army General Stanley McChrystal, who once commanded all American forces in Afghanistan, has questioned the widespread use of unmanned aerial drones in the War on Terror.
 
McChrystal, 58, acknowledged that drones cause seething hatred of the United States and cautioned that their overuse could threaten US strategic objectives in the ongoing terror war.

 

“What scares me about drone strikes is how they’re perceived around the world,” McChrystal told Reuters. “The resentment created by American use of unmanned strikes… is much greater than the average American appreciates. They are hated on a visceral level, even by people who’ve never seen one or seen the effects of one.”

 

McChrystal, the architect of America’s counterinsurgency strategy in Afghanistan, added that drones fuel a “perception of American arrogance that says, ‘We can fly where we want, we can shoot where we want, because we can.'”

 

Drones are a tool that should be used as part of a wider strategy, the former general said, and if their use creates more problems than it solves, Washington should reevaluate the situation.

 

Drone strikes, which terrorize populations subjected to them, have indeed stoked widespread anti-Americanism in the countries where they occur– Yemen, Pakistan, Afghanistan and Somalia– as well as around the world. Three-quarters of Pakistanis, for example, consider the United States an “enemy.” Drones, which Pakistanis rightfully claim are a violation of their sovereignty, are a big part of the reason why.

 

Perceived American disregard for the hundreds of innocent civilians killed by drone strikes also infuriates many people in affected countries. According to Pakistan’s Interior Minister, up to 80 percent of those killed by drones are civilians, and the London-based Bureau for Investigative Journalism says that as many as 1,117 civilians, including up to 214 children, have been killed by strikes in Pakistan, Yemen and Somalia since 2004.

 

Last October, the United Nations announced that it would investigate US drone strikes that killed Pakistani civilians as possible war crimes.

 

Still, the Obama administration has dramatically ramped up its drone program since taking over from Bush in 2009. Recently, the use of drones has increased significantly in Yemen, where there were more drone attacks in 2012 than there were in Pakistan.

 

Obama’s newly-chosen CIA director, John Brennan, is particularly controversial, both because he is the architect of the US drone war and because he has repeatedly lied about civilian drone deaths and the anti-Americanism they breed.

New report highlights ethics and policy dangers of ‘military human enhancements’

 

(EndTheLie) -The U.S. military’s constant move towards increasing so-called “human enhancements” or, as California Polytechnic State University researcher Patrick Lin says, “mutant powers,” has raised entirely novel ethical and policy concerns, according to a new report for the Greenwall Foundation.

Massive advances in technology are requiring a radical re-thinking of the future of war in other areas as well, such as weaponized hallucinations, fully automated weapons systems (also known as “killer robots”) and rapidly advancing drone technology opening up the realistic possibility of perpetual drone flight.

Yet this type of research aimed at directly changing human body – in an effort to build what some call “super soldiers – is in a league of its own. The military’s “enhancements” cover a wide range of technologies from drugs and nutrition to genetic manipulation to electroshock to robotic implants, prosthetics and more.

In a new 108-page report prepared for the Greenwall Foundation by Patrick Lin, PhD, Maxwell Mehlman, JD and Keith Abney ABD, the many risks are outlined along with some of the many “human enhancement projects recently or currently pursued by militaries worldwide.”

“Insomuch as the US military is the most transparent about its research projects as well as the most heavily invested, most but not all of our examples are projects based in US, drawn from open-source or unclassified information,” the researchers note. Some of the technologies they outline include exoskeletons designed to radically increase a soldier’s strength and endurance, external devices designed to aid mobility and allow humans to scale walls like geckos and spiders, liquid body armor and flexible fabrics capable of stiffening into armor and “virtual capabilities” designed to prevent the soldier from even being on the battlefield at all.

One such project is the “Avatar” program spearheaded by the Defense Advance Research Project Agency (DARPA) aimed at creating “interfaces and algorithms to enable a soldier to effectively partner with a semi-autonomous bi-pedal machine and allow it to act as the soldier’s surrogate.”

In addition there are efforts to increase “situational awareness” through “better communication, data integration from different sources, threat identification, coordinated efforts, and so on.”

Current projects include DARPA’s Cognitive Technology Threat Warning System, a visual aid that employs a computer to instantly identify threats that otherwise “warfighters might only subconsciously see, given that only a fraction of our visual data is consciously registered.”

A similar project is DARPA’s Soldier Centric Imaging via Computational Cameras, or SCENICC, which “seeks to develop electronic contact lenses” to accomplish similar superhuman awareness.

While caffeine has long been a staple in war as an attention stimulant, the US military now uses amphetamines to “increase focus” although there are quite obviously “possible serious side-effects.”

Indeed, in one case, it seems that the stimulants were at least partially responsible for the deaths of four Canadian troops in Afghanistan, as Danger Room notes.

“Case in point: On April 18, 2002, a pair of Air Force F-16 fighter pilots returning from a 10-hour mission over Afghanistan saw flashes on the ground 18,000 feet below them,” David Axe writes. “Thinking he and his wingman were under fire by insurgents, Maj. Harry Schmidt dropped a 500-pound laser-guided bomb.”

The flashes were actually Canadian troops conducting a live-fire training exercise and the Air Force eventually dropped criminal charges. Schmidt told Chicago magazine, “I don’t know what the effect was supposed to be. All I know is something [was] happening to my body and brain” that could have influenced his judgment.

Currently, the US and other militaries are “using or exploring the use of modafinil and other drugs, which are already used illicitly to enhance academic and workplace performance,” according to the report.

Even memory is a target of potential manipulation with DARPA’s Human Assisted Neural Devices program, aimed at strengthening and restoring memories. Other programs are focused on developing drugs and treatments capable of erasing memories.

Programs are also aimed at using artificial intelligence to enhance decision-making and planning in military situations.

DARPA’s Deep Green, for instance, “automatically infers the commander’s intent and produces a plan from the commander’s hand-drawn sketches to facilitate rapid option creation, and plan recognition and understanding capabilities ensure the commander’s intent is fully represented in the system.”

DARPA is also researching enhanced learning methods with programs such as “Neurotechnology for Intelligence Analysts, Accelerated Learning, Education Dominance, Augmented Cognition, and Training Superiority programs.”

Real-time language translation is another area of DARPA research with programs like “Boundless Operational Language Translation (BOLT), Robust Automatic Translation of Speech (RATS), TRANSTAC, and other programs.”

Communication with military systems is also an area of increased focus with systems capable of facilitating “direct communication between pilot and aircraft” and “projects [that] seek to enable communication through thought alone, such as the brain-computer interface work—or “synthetic telepathy”—funded by the US Army Research Office.”

There are also programs focusing on specific senses such as telescoping contact lenses, DARPA’s RealNose project aimed at mimicking a dog’s sense of smell, a Canadian project aimed at filtering out “environmental noises while enhancing verbal signals” and another Canadian project seeking to develop “a tactile cueing system for pilots to detect motion without visual or auditory cues.”

Even human metabolism is an area of military focus with DARPA’s Peak Soldier Performance program aimed at “boost[ing] human endurance, both physical and cognitive.” Dietary supplements like quercetin are “being investigated for cognitive-enhancing effects under stress” as well.

“Relatedly, US and UK scientists are researching genetic and cellular (mitochondrial) enhancements to enable soldiers to run for long distances and to survive longer without food, e.g., as Alaskan sled dogs are able,” the researchers add.

DARPA’s Crystalline Cellulose Conversion to Glucose (C3G) program is aimed at eventually allowing soldiers to “eat otherwise indigestible materials, such as grass.”

Avoiding that pesky thing called sleep is another focus of military research with DARPA-funded research programs into “light and magnetic therapies to safely maintain wakefulness.”

The list grows considerably when one considers so-called “dual-use research” which includes “military-funded research projects in therapeutics or healing” with dual-use applications as enhancements for soldiers.

Areas of focus include research into stress, circulatory issues, metabolism, toxins and radiation, prosthetics, diagnostics, drug delivery systems and basic science which, oddly enough, includes DARPA’s “Living Foundries” program.

Every single area includes ethical, legal and policy considerations, all of which are likely even greater than we think since this report relies solely on publicly available information. The researchers conclude that the Pentagon needs to begin working on a framework for military human enhancement immediately.

However, as is the case with drones, this technology might – and, one might argue, likely will – be used extensively without any formal rules, guidelines or legal frameworks in place.

Ron Paul: New Year’s Resolutions for Congress

 

Ron-Paul

(Ron Paul) -As I prepare to retire from Congress, I’d like to suggest a few New Year’s resolutions for my colleagues to consider.  For the sake of liberty, peace, and prosperity I certainly hope more members of Congress consider the strict libertarian constitutional approach to government in 2013.

In just a few days, Congress will solemnly swear to support and defend the Constitution of the United States against ALL enemies, foreign and domestic.  They should reread Article 1 Section 8 and the Bill of Rights before taking such a serious oath.  Most legislation violates key provisions of the Constitution in very basic ways, and if members can’t bring themselves to say no in the face of pressure from special interests, they have broken trust with their constituents and violated their oaths. Congress does not exist to serve special interests, it exists to protect the rule of law.

I also urge my colleagues to end unconstitutional wars overseas.  Stop the drone strikes; stop the covert activities and meddling in the internal affairs of other nations. Strive to observe “good faith and justice towards all Nations” as George Washington admonished.  We are only making more enemies, wasting lives, and bankrupting ourselves with the neoconservative, interventionist mindset that endorses pre-emptive war that now dominates both parties.

All foreign aid should end because it is blatantly unconstitutional. While it may be a relatively small part of our federal budget, for many countries it is a large part of theirs–and it creates perverse incentives for both our friends and enemies. There is no way members of Congress can know or understand the political, economic, legal, and social realities in the many nations to which they send taxpayer dollars.

Congress needs to stop accumulating more debt. US debt, monetized by the Federal Reserve, is the true threat to our national security. Revisiting the parameters of Article 1 Section 8 would be a good start.

Congress should resolve to respect personal liberty and free markets. Learn more about the free market and how it regulates commerce and produces greater prosperity better than any legislation or regulation. Understand that economic freedom IS freedom.  Resolve not to get in the way of voluntary contracts between consenting adults.  Stop bailing out failed yet politically connected companies and industries. Stop forcing people to engage in commerce when they don’t want to, and stop prohibiting them from buying and selling when they do want to.  Stop trying to legislate your ideas of fairness.  Protect property rights.  Protect the individual.  That is enough.

There are many more resolutions I would like to see my colleagues in Congress adopt, but respect for the Constitution and the oath of office should be at the core of everything members of Congress do in 2013.

Hillary Clinton Admitted To Hospital With A Blood Clot Following Concussion

 

 
 
 
 
 

 

Hillary Clinton
(Business Insider) -The Associated Press is reporting that Secretary of State Hillary Clinton has been admitted to the hospital with a blood clot following a concussion, according to a spokesperson. 

CBS News correspondent Margaret Brennan tweets that a spokesperson for Clinton confirmed that the former First Lady has been taken to New York Presbyterian, and that the hospital will monitor her for the next 48 hours.

According to Foreign Policy’s Josh Rogin, Clinton was scheduled to return to work this week following a three-week recovery from a stomach virus and concussion.

The illness was first reported December 10, when Clinton’s office announced that it was the reason the Secretary of State had canceled a scheduled trip to the Middle East. On December 15, Clinton’s doctors reported that she had also sustained a concussion after fainting from her illness.

Conservative pundits and bloggers have accused Clinton of faking the illness in order to avoid testifying in an open Congressional hearing about the Sept. 11 attacks on the U.S. Consulate in Benghazi, Libya. Clinton has said she will testify in front of both House and Senate committees when she returns to work.

U.S. Gov’t Asks Federal Judge to Dismiss Cases of Americans Killed by Drones

 

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(Activist Post) – As Americans mourn the deaths of 20 children and 6 adults in the Newtown, CT tragedy – and the gun control debate has reached a fever pitch – autonomous killing systems are being funded by American taxpayers, and drone strikes continue to kill an increasing number of civilians abroad.

Barack Obama and the U.S. government policy makers have shown an incredible level of hypocrisy before; on the one hand lamenting such senseless deaths as have occurred in “mass shootings” while conducting their own mass killing, torture, and terror campaigns in foreign lands.

A culture of violence can’t have it both ways, though, and the welcoming of drones into American skies by Congress is sure to unleash physical havoc shortly after concerns over surveillance and privacy are dismissed.

As a clear sign of what can be expected, the U.S. government has asked a federal judge to throw out a lawsuit brought by the families of three Americans killed by drone strikes in Yemen. If federal courts rule that these cases are without merit, it will set a dangerous precedent that only the executive branch of government can decide which Americans have a constitutional right to due process, while further enhancing a framework where the government will decide who is fit to be mourned and who should be forgotten

Tweeters ‘could be military targets’

(The Age) -Social media users who use tweets and online posts to comment on a military operation could be regarded as legitimate military targets.

Australian army Land Warfare Studies Centre analyst Chloe Diggins on Thursday said a recent social media war between Israel and Hamas raised complex ethical questions about who was a combatant and therefore a legitimate military target.

A key question was whether such comments constituted an act of war.

“If that’s the case, this might mean that those using social media in support of military operations are now legitimate targets,” she wrote in a blog for the Australian Strategic Policy Institute.

 

The Geneva Convention defines legitimate military targets as objects “which by their nature, location, purpose or use make an effective contribution to military action and whose total or partial destruction, capture or neutralisation, in the circumstances ruling at the time, offers a definite military advantage”.

The convention protects civilians unless they are taking a direct part in hostilities.

“So if social media operators or users engage in the conflict by uploading, downloading, sharing, or otherwise adding to content in any way, they then become actors contributing to hostilities,” Ms Diggins said.

“In doing so, civilian social media users lose their protected status and can become legitimate targets.”

Ms Diggins said if a country could declare war over Twitter – as Israel did when it announced the start of recent hostilities – who’s to say Twitter users could not “fight” in the information space of that war?

“Moreover, who’s to say they shouldn’t reasonably expect to become legitimate targets themselves?” she said.Ms Diggins stressed her views did not reflect those of the Australian Defence Force.

US repeats same tired, desperate accusations that the Syrian army is preparing to use “chemical weapons

(LandDestroyer) Despite attempts to portray Damascus and Aleppo as on the inevitable edge of collapse, now for a full 6 months, both cities are still firmly in the hands of government troops, with only symbolic terror attacks murdering scores of civilians at a time and temporary advances made on isolated bases before promptly being abandoned by NATO-backed terrorists – a pattern not unlike that facing Western forces in NATO-occupied Afghanistan.

The accusations were printed in the Washington Post article, “Obama warns Syria amid rising concern over chemical weapons,” but despite the insinuations, includes the disclaimer (emphasis added), “Syria is thought to have several hundred surface-to-surface ballistic missiles capable of carrying chemical warheads.”

Other nations “thought to have” weapons of mass destruction included Iraq, which in hindsight, after a 10 year war and occupation, following years of crippling sanctions leaving millions dead, turned out not to in fact have such weapons.

It is unlikely that the Syrian government would use such weapons, thus giving the West the excuse it would need to directly intervene militarily, a scenario the West has been attempting to sell for the last 2 years, and particularly so following NATO’s military operations in Libya throughout 2011.

Conversely, NATO’s proxy forces operating in Syria possess both the means and motivation to carry out chemical attacks, therefore blaming Syria’s government and granting the West the impetus needed to intervene more directly.

NATO-backed Terrorists have the Means.

Libya’s arsenal had fallen into the hands of sectarian extremists with NATO assistance last year in the culmination of efforts to overthrow the North African nation . Since then, Libya’s militants led by commanders of Al Qaeda’s Libyan Islamic Fighting Group (LIFG) have armed sectarian extremists across the Arab World, from as far West as Mali, to as far East as Syria.

In addition to small arms, heavier weapons are also making their way through this extensive network. The Washington Post in their article, “Libyan missiles on the loose,” reported:

“Two former CIA counterterrorism officers told me last week that technicians recently refurbished 800 of these man-portable air-defense systems (known as MANPADS) — some for an African jihadist group called Boko Haram that is often seen as an ally of al-Qaeda — for possible use against commercial jets flying into Niger, Chad and perhaps Nigeria.”
While undoubtedly these weapons are also headed to Niger, Chad, and perhaps Nigeria, they are veritably headed to Syria. Libyan LIFG terrorists are confirmed to be flooding into Syria from Libya. In November 2011, the Telegraph in their article, “Leading Libyan Islamist met Free Syrian Army opposition group,” would report:

Abdulhakim Belhadj, head of the Tripoli Military Council and the former leader of the Libyan Islamic Fighting Group, “met with Free Syrian Army leaders in Istanbul and on the border with Turkey,” said a military official working with Mr Belhadj. “Mustafa Abdul Jalil (the interim Libyan president) sent him there.”
Another Telegraph article, “Libya’s new rulers offer weapons to Syrian rebels,” would admit

Syrian rebels held secret talks with Libya’s new authorities on Friday, aiming to secure weapons and money for their insurgency against President Bashar al-Assad’s regime, The Daily Telegraph has learned.

At the meeting, which was held in Istanbul and included Turkish officials, the Syrians requested “assistance” from the Libyan representatives and were offered arms, and potentially volunteers.
“There is something being planned to send weapons and even Libyan fighters to Syria,” said a Libyan source, speaking on condition of anonymity. “There is a military intervention on the way. Within a few weeks you will see.”
Later that month, some 600 Libyan terrorists would be reported to have entered Syria to begin combat operations and have been flooding into the country ever since.

Image: Libyan Mahdi al-Harati of the US State Department, United Nations, and the UK Home Office (page 5, .pdf)-listed terrorist organization, the Libyan Islamic Fighting Group (LIFG), addressing fellow terrorists in Syria. Harati is now commanding a Libyan brigade operating inside of Syria attempting to destroy the Syrian government and subjugate the Syrian population. Traditionally, this is known as “foreign invasion.”

….

Washington Post’s reported “loose missiles” in Libya are now turning up on the battlefield in Syria. While outfits like the Guardian, in their article “Arms and the Manpads: Syrian rebels get anti-aircraft missiles,” are reporting the missiles as being deployed across Syria, they have attempted to downplay any connection to Libya’s looted arsenal and the Al Qaeda terrorists that have imported them. In contrast, Times has published open admissions from terrorists themselves admitting they are receiving heavy weapons including surface-to-air missiles from Libya.

In Time’s article, “Libya’s Fighters Export Their Revolution to Syria,” it is reported:

Some Syrians are more frank about the assistance the Libyans are providing. “They have heavier weapons than we do,” notes Firas Tamim, who has traveled in rebel-controlled areas to keep tabs on foreign fighters. “They brought these weapons to Syria, and they are being used on the front lines.” Among the arms Tamim has seen are Russian-made surface-to-air missiles, known as the SAM 7.

Libyan fighters largely brush off questions about weapon transfers, but in December they claimed they were doing just that. “We are in the process of collecting arms in Libya,” a Libyan fighter in Syria told the French daily Le Figaro. “Once this is done, we will have to find a way to bring them here.”
Clearly NATO intervention in Libya has left a vast, devastating arsenal in the hands of sectarian extremists, led by US State Department, United Nations, and the UK Home Office (page 5, .pdf)-listed terrorist organization LIFG, that is now exporting these weapons and militants to NATO’s other front in Syria. It is confirmed that both Libyan terrorists and weapons are crossing the Turkish-Syrian border, with NATO assistance, and it is now clear that heavy weapons, including anti-aircraft weapons have crossed the border too.
The Guardian reported in their November 2011 article, “Libyan chemical weapons stockpiles intact, say inspectors,” that:
Libya’s stockpiles of mustard gas and chemicals used to make weapons are intact and were not stolen during the uprising that toppled Muammar Gaddafi, weapons inspectors have said.
But also reported that:
The abandonment or disappearance of some Gaddafi-era weapons has prompted concerns that such firepower could erode regional security if it falls into the hands of Islamist militants or rebels active in north Africa. Some fear they could be used by Gaddafi loyalists to spread instability in Libya.
Last month Human Rights Watch urged Libya’s ruling national transitional council to take action over large numbers of heavy weapons, including surface-to-air missiles, it said were lying unguarded more than two months after Gaddafi was overthrown.

On Wednesday the UN secretary general, Ban Ki-moon, said the UN would send experts to Libya to help ensure nuclear material and chemical weapons did not fall into the wrong hands.
And while inspectors claim that Libya’s chemical weapons are in the “government’s” hands and not “extremists’,” it is clear by the Libyan government’s own admission, that they themselves are involved in sending fighters and weapons into Syria.
It stands to reason that NATO-backed sectarian-extremists, directly affiliated with Al Qaeda and with the support of Libya’s government, will also acquire and bring chemical and biological weapons with them – with their use in Syria almost as inevitable as the West’s duplicity and spin that will be used to then blame it on the Syrian government.

Reining in Obama and His Drones

(Ralph Nader) -Barack Obama, former president of the Harvard Law Review and a constitutional law lecturer, should go back and review his coursework. He seems to have declined to comport his presidency to the rule of law.

Let’s focus here on his major expansion of drone warfare in defiance of international law, statutory law and the Constitution. Obama’s drones roam over multiple nations of Asia and Africa and target suspects, both known and unknown, whom the president, in his unbridled discretion, wants to evaporate for the cause of national security.

More than 2,500 people have been killed by Obama’s drones, many of them civilians and bystanders, including American citizens, irrespective of the absence of any “imminent threat” to the United States.

As Justin Elliott of ProPublica wrote: “Under Obama…only 13 percent (of those killed) could be considered militant leaders – either of the Pakistani Taliban, the Afghan Taliban, or Al Qaeda.” The remaining fatalities, apart from many innocent civilians, including children, were people oppressed by their own harsh regimes or dominated by U.S. occupation of their country. Aside from human rights and the laws of war, this distinction between civilian and combatant matters because it shows that Obama’s drones are becoming what Elliott calls “a counterinsurgency air force” for our collaborative regimes.

The “kill lists”  are the work of Obama and his advisors, led by John O. Brennan, and come straight from the White House, according to The New York Times.  Apparently, the president spends a good deal of time being prosecutor, judge, jury, executioner and concealer. But he does so quietly; this is no dramatic “thumbs-down” emperor.

Mr. Brennan spoke at Harvard Law School about a year ago and told a remarkably blasé audience that what he and the president were doing was perfectly legal under the law of self-defense. Self-defense that is defined, of course, by the president.

It appears from recent statements on The Daily Show that President Obama does not share the certitude boldly displayed by Mr. Brennan. On October 18, President Obama told John Stewart, and his audience, that “one of the things we’ve got to do is put a legal architecture in place, and we need Congressional help in order to do that, to make sure that not only am I reined in but any president is reined in terms of some of the decisions that we’re making.”

So in the absence of “a legal architecture” of accountability, do presidents knock off whomever they want to target (along with bystanders or family members), whether or not the targeted person is actually plotting an attack against the United States? It seems that way, in spite of what is already in place legally, called the Constitution, separation of powers and due process of law. What more legal architecture does Mr. Obama need?

Obviously what he wants is a self-contained, permanent “Office of Presidential Predator Drone Assassinations” in the White House, to use, author, scholar and litigator Bruce Fein’s nomenclature. According to The New York Times, President Obama wants “ explicit rules for targeted killing…. So that a new president would inherit clear standards and procedures.” Mr. Fein notes that “clear standards and procedures without accountability to the judiciary, Congress, or the American people” undermine the rule of law and our democracy.

Indeed, the whole deliberation process inside the Obama administration has been kept secret, a continuing process of morbid over-classification that even today contains secret internal legal opinions on targeted killings. The government refuses even to acknowledge that a drone air force operates over Pakistan – a fact that everybody knows including the hundreds of injured and displaced Pakistanis. This drone air force uses, what The New York Times called, “signature strikes against groups of suspected, unknown militants.”

Predictably, these strikes are constantly terrorizing thousands of families who fear a strike anytime day or night, and are causing a blowback that is expanding the number of Al Qaeda sympathizers and affiliates from Pakistan to Yemen. “Signature strikes,” according to the Times, “have prompted the greatest conflict inside the Obama administration.” Former CIA director under George W. Bush, Michael V. Hayden has publically questioned whether the expansion in the use of drones is counterproductive and creating more enemies and the desire for more revenge against the U.S.

Critics point out how many times in the past that departments and agencies have put forth misleading or false intelligence, from the Vietnam War to the arguments for invading Iraq, or have missed what they should have predicted such as the fall of the Soviet Union. This legacy of errors and duplicity should restrain presidents who execute, by ordering drone operators to push buttons that target people thousands of miles away, based on secret, so-called intelligence.

Mr. Obama wants, in Mr. Fein’s view, to have “his secret and unaccountable predator drone assassinations become permanent fixtures of the nation’s national security complex.” Were Obama to remember his constitutional law, such actions would have to be constitutionally authorized by Congress and subject to judicial review.

With his Attorney General Eric Holder maintaining that there is sufficient due process entirely inside the Executive Branch and without Congressional oversight or judicial review, don’t bet on anything more than a more secret, violent, imperial presidency that shreds the Constitution’s separation of powers and checks and balances.

And don’t bet that other countries of similar invasive bent won’t remember this green-light on illegal unilateralism when they catch up with our drone capabilities.

US-Created “Syrian Opposition” Led by Big Oil Rep

(Land Destoyer Blog) – A year ago, it was reported that Libya’s new NATO-installed prime minister, Abdurrahim el-Keib, was in fact a long-time US resident, having taught at the University of Alabama and was formally employed by the Petroleum Institute, based in Abu Dhabi, UAE and sponsored by British Petroleum (BP), Shell, France’s Total, the Japan Oil Development Company, and the Abu Dhabi National Oil Company. El-Keib is listed as a “Professor and Chairman” in his Petroleum Institute profile which also describes extensive research conducted by him sponsored by various US government agencies and departments over the years.
His long history of serving and working in coordination with Western governments and corporations made him and his collaborators the ideal candidates to prepare Libya for its place within the Wall Street-London international order.
Now it is revealed that the US-handpicked opposition, announced in Doha, Qatar earlier this month, is led by a similarly compromised figure, Moaz al-Khatib. The corporate-financier-funded Carnegie Endowment for International Peace reported of al-Khatib that:

Moaz al-Khatib, an oil sector engineer and former imam of the Umayyad Mosque in Damascus, has garnered substantial praise since his designation, while Riad Seif and Suhair al-Atassi bring their own credibility to the coalition. They have now set up shop in Cairo and have received the full endorsement of France, Italy, the United Kingdom, Turkey, and the members of the Gulf Cooperation Council as the “sole representative” of the Syrian opposition. The European Union and the United States have endorsed the group in a more general fashion.
Even more importantly, from Syrian citizens of various affiliations with whom I have met recently, it is clear that al-Khatib and his associates seem to draw praise for their opposition to the regime—as an imam, al-Khatib refused to follow the speeches imposed by the regime and was imprisoned—their resistance, and their tolerance. These endorsements are a first achievement, but a number of steps are necessary before Moaz al-Khatib becomes the real head of the Syrian opposition and enters into a substantive relationship with EU leaders.

However, this resounding praise should be kept in the context that among the Carnegie Endowment’s sponsors are in fact many “oil sector” giants including British Petroleum (BP), Chevron, Exxon, and Shell.
VoltarieNet’s Thierry Meyssan reported in an article titled, “The many faces of Sheikh Ahmad Moaz Al-Khatib” that:

Completely unknown to the international public only a week ago, Sheikh Moaz al-Khatib has been catapulted to the presidency of the Syrian National Coalition, which represents pro-Western opposition in the Damascus government. Portrayed by an intense public relations campaign as a highly moral personality with no partisan or economic attachments, he is in truth a member of the Muslim Brotherhood and an executive of the Shell oil company.

Indeed, al-Khatib had worked at the al-Furat Petroleum Company for six years, according to the BBC, which is partnered with Shell Oil. Al-Khatib is also said to have lobbied for Shell in Syria between 2003-2004, and has likewise taught classes in both Europe and the United States, this according to his biography featured on his own website.

While the global public is repeatedly told that the violence in Syria is the result of “pro-democratic” forces fighting against the “brutal regime” of President Bashar al-Assad, it is Moaz al-Khatib himself who inexplicably states that two certified autocracies, those of Saudi Arabia and Qatar, are propping him up and that it is an “Islamic state” he hopes to create upon the rubble of a destroyed Syria.
Qatari state media front, Al Jazeera, credits the Qatari minister of state for foreign affairs for the very creation of al-Khatib’s new “opposition coalition. Al-Khatib, in an Al Jazeera interview, counts the two absolute monarchies of Qatar and Saudi Arabia as his “friends,” and admits – that while he cannot say who – “friends” have promised him weapons as he embarks on the creation of this “Islamic state.” Despite his assurances that his planned “Islamic state” will exhibit tolerance, festering extremist regimes such as Libya and Egypt, created with the same Western-backed formula now at work in Syria, have already proven such assurances are merely rhetoric aimed at placating public opinion long enough for Syria’s secular institutions to be irrevocably disfigured.
Already in Syria, al-Khatib’s “freedom fighters” are exposed as both foreign extremists – affiliates of Al Qaeda, as well as sectarian-driven Muslim Brotherhood militants that have plagued Syria’s sociopolitical landscape for decades. Clearly, al-Khatib has played a role in perpetuating this plague, clearly he plans to continue well into the foreseeable future – this time with Western, Turkish, Qatari and Saudi support

Educating the President

(anti-war)It is interesting to note that while Americans elect a president based on their perception of what he will do to create jobs and lower taxes, the issues that seem to rise to the surface and demand attention are frequently related to foreign affairs. Witness how in the aftermath of the election there has been considerable focus on what happened in Benghazi nearly three months ago, most recently leading to demands for multiple congressional investigations. The Petraeus/Broadwell scandal also resonates because the general was the proponent of the spectacularly unsuccessful COIN policies in Iraq and Afghanistan who then parlayed his resume into being named Director of the CIA, the principal U.S. instrument for collecting and analyzing foreign intelligence.

And if that weren’t enough, the U.S. appears prepared to provide heavy weapons to the Syrian opposition while the question of whether or not to negotiate with Iran continues to hang in the air, though it will probably be rejected due to the usual domestic political considerations, which means AIPAC. U.S. client Israel is, as always, creating fresh crises obliging Washington to twist like a pretzel to demonstrate its love for Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and all his works. Tel Aviv’s latest surprises include initiating a new wave of targeted assassinations and air attacks on Gaza while threatening harsh reprisals including possible “regime change” against the Palestinians if they go ahead to seek observer status at the United Nations at the end of this month. The White House has already put the Palestinians on notice for the U.N. bid while immediately giving a pass to Israel’s bombing of Gaza, describing it as “self-defense.”

So the rest of the world is regularly in your face and it does matter even to those who try to tune it out. For those of us who try to understand the pickle that we are in, the defeat of Mitt Romney has been a victory of sorts as it is always possible for things to get worse. Romney was truly an empty suit on foreign policy and it should be assumed that he would have continued the worst parts of the Obama program while adding some particular enhancements of his own including more money for the Pentagon. His victory would have meant a return of the neocons to the front stage coupled with a more generally aggressive military-based posture overseas which could easily have led to a war with Iran and heightened tension with Russia and China. It would also have resulted in major donors like Sheldon Adelson having a voice in policy formulation relating to the Middle East.

Most of us who seek appropriate foreign and defense policies based on the traditional principles that the government should always serve clearly defined U.S. national interests while avoiding unnecessary interventionism overseas were disappointed at the Obama re-election but can plausibly today, on Thanksgiving day, lift a glass and toast the downfall of Mitt. But we should understand that now the task is to turn up the heat and try to reform Mr. Obama. I would suggest that a seeking-to-be-sane majority attempt to convince the president to alter course in the following ten areas to repair the horrible damage that has been done to the United States through its psychopathic foreign policy over the past eleven years:

  • The war on terror (also known as “overseas contingency operations”) is a pious fiction designed to justify intervention and regime change in Muslim majority countries. It has little to do with actual terror, which is a tactic. The White House should instead understand that not all Islamists are radicals and even radical Islamists are not necessarily terrorists who actually threaten the United States. The United States has a duty to respond effectively to those who wish to harm the American people but it also has to learn to live with political Islam, which will unite in hostility against the U.S. unless the basic perception of who the enemy is can be changed.
  • A transparent, all source loss vs. gain assessment must be made on drone attacks. It is not enough that the Pentagon and CIA assert that they are necessary while the Justice Department says that they are legal. In Pakistan the independent evidence suggests that drones make more new enemies than they succeed in killing and it is also clear that they destabilize the governments where they take place. Their use has been universally condemned by many governments, NGOs, human rights organizations and even by the U.N. but they have nevertheless increased in number under the current administration. Their efficacy as a counter-terrorism tool should be challenged and the government must make a clear case and establish firm guidelines to limit their use if they are to continue. Even better, the U.S. should unilaterally suspend the use of killer drones.
  • Asserting a right to kill people in foreign countries with only limited due process should be examined as part of the assessment of drone attacks, which are the weapons of choice. The constitutionality of killing American citizens overseas without a trial and without a chance to offer a defense should be challenged as a primary issue, but the killing of anyone without transparent judicial process and the justification of imminent threat should be determined to be unacceptable.
  • A realistic assessment of the situation in Afghanistan should be made, but not by going to the generals who will offer a predictable response. Independent observers and non-government sources should be free to describe the situation based on their own on-the-ground experience. Such a study would likely conclude that the attempted nation building is beyond repair and that a settlement that includes the Taliban as a party of government is inevitable, so serious negotiations to that end should become a sine qua non. Continued pledges of support for the corrupt Karzai government should be conditional on genuine reform and efforts to establish good governance.
  • The United States should finally embrace reality regarding Iran. It should openly state that Iran does not currently pose any serious threat to U.S. interests. It should accept that Iran is interested in getting out from under sanctions and Washington should agree to negotiate in good faith to reduce the punishment that is being inflicted commensurate with agreements by Iran to modify some worrisome aspects of its nuclear program, creating a step-by-step process. The threat to intervene military should be taken off the table and Israel should be informed that attacking an Iran that does not have nuclear weapons is not in the U.S. interest and will not be supported or in any way encouraged.
  • Israel should also be informed that its relationship with the United States will henceforth be the same as that maintained with any friendly nation. Annual subsidies for Israeli defense will cease and Washington will no longer damage its own interests by protecting Israel in international venues including the United Nations.
  • The government should admit that humanitarian interventionism under President Obama has not worked any better than preemptive attacks under President George W. Bush. The necessary lesson in that respect has been learned in Libya, which has become ungovernable and a source of weapons for genuine terrorists. Obama should also be encouraged to maintain his reticence over getting more heavily involved in Syria. He should tell Hillary Clinton to stop sermonizing.
  • Obama should recognize that Russia and China will only become actual enemies again if the United States continues to criticize and even intervene in their internal politics by supporting dissidents and democracy-promoting NGOs. The internal politics of any nation, unless there is negative impact on actual U.S. interests, have nothing to do with Washington and should be off limits.
  • End the war on drugs. Forty years is enough for an expensive and lethal program that has not stopped drug trafficking or use and has only destabilized America’s neighbor Mexico to such an extent that it has nearly become a failed state. Work out rational ways to deal with drug use as a medical condition and addiction without criminalizing tens of thousands of small scale offenders.
  • There should be a broad understanding within the government foreign policy team that preemption based on the potential or actual use of force has essentially failed to make Americans safer, has generated new enemies unnecessarily, and has nearly bankrupted the United States. A new foreign policy should be shaped that is commensurate with and responsive to actual U.S. interests worldwide. Large overseas presence in the form of military bases should be eschewed and scaled back in exchange for a less muscular policy that would be cheaper, more welcomed by potential friends overseas, and ultimately capable of making the United States itself more secure.

US building drone subs to track, chase away enemy vessels: Report

(Press TV) -The United States Department of Defense is in the initial stages of developing “unmanned drone submarines” that will navigate oceans across the globe, “tracking and following enemy subs for months at a time,” RIA Novosti reported Wednesday.

Pentagon’s Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA), tasked with developing new military technologies, began the project since “the growing number of adversaries able to build and operate quiet diesel electric submarines is a national security threat that affects US and friendly naval operations around the world,” the report adds, citing a statement posted on DARPA’s website.

The drone subs would potentially be capable of patrolling US coastlines for up to 80 days at a time covering thousands of kilometers using non-conventional sensor technologies that “achieve robust continuous track of the quietest submarine targets over their entire operating envelope,” adds the DARPA’s statement.

The main task of the oceanic drone will be to “patrol the waters for enemy submarines and then chase them away if located,” the report adds, citing Discovery News. “The sub will also gather information deemed necessary by the US government, which will then be sent to US naval commanders up above on land.”

DARPA awarded a $58 million contract in August to Science Applications International Corporation (SAIC) for design and construction of a prototype of the vessel.

A Covert Affair: Petraeus Caught in the Honeypot?

(Anti-War)So who would have an interest in getting rid of Petraeus? Here’s where the Cantor connection comes in. The tip by an anonymous “FBI employee” that wound up in Cantor’s office two weeks ago came through Rep. David Reichert, Republican of Washington state, who has a friend who knows the whistleblower. Cantor then spoke to the whistleblower directly, who put him in touch with FBI Director Mueller.

The outing of Gen. David Petraeus as an adulterer, and his subsequent resignation as CIA Director, was carried out by an unknown FBI “whistleblower” who leaked the facts of the FBI investigation into the General’s private life to Rep. Eric Cantor. The New York Times reports:

Eric Cantor, the House majority leader, said Saturday an F.B.I. employee whom his staff described as a whistle-blower told him about Mr. Petraeus’s affair and a possible security breach in late October, which was after the investigation had begun.

“’I was contacted by an F.B.I. employee concerned that sensitive, classified information may have been compromised and made certain Director Mueller was aware of these serious allegations and the potential risk to our national security,’ Mr. Cantor said in a statement.

Mr. Cantor talked to the person after being told by Representative Dave Reichert, Republican of Washington, that a whistle-blower wanted to speak to someone in the Congressional leadership about a national security concern. On Oct. 31, his chief of staff, Steve Stombres, called the F.B.I. to tell them about the call.”

The FBI probe apparently started in late spring, when several people associated with Petraeus — not just the one woman, as has been reported elsewhere — received harassing emails. The emails were traced to 40-year-old Paula Broadwell, national security analyst, military intelligence veteran, and author of a biography of Petraeus. Authorities believed his email account may have been hacked, and this led to a remarkable irony: the CIA chief’s emails were monitored, without his knowledge, whereupon it was discovered Broadwell may have either had access to his account or tried to obtain access. In any case, in the course of their spying, FBI monitors discovered a large volume of emails to and from Broadwell. Looking for evidence of a security breach, all they found was evidence of a “human drama,” as one anonymous FBI official put it: an illicit affair between Petraeus and Broadwell.

 

Following an FBI Investigation that uncovered the extramarital affair, within weeks, one of the most decorated retired generals in the US and chief of the leading spy agency was submitting his resignation to a re-elected US President, Barack Obama Credit:www.theage.com.au

Petraeus was only informed of the investigation on October 25 or 26. So here we have the astonishing fact of the CIA’s head honcho being spied on for a period of months by our own law enforcement officials.

Editor’s note:Joe Scarborough Slams FBI’s Handling Of Petraeus Situation:

‘Somebody Needs To Be Fired Here’

Have a look, courtesy of MSNBC:

Or maybe it wasn’t a simple case of complaints about “harassing” or threatening emails. Fox News avers:

The FBI had been investigating an unrelated and much broader case before stumbling on the affair. Fox News has learned that during the course of this investigation, the name of biographer Paula Broadwell came up. The FBI followed that lead and in doing so, uncovered his affair with her.”

What was this “much broader case”? Almost certainly it was a counterintelligence investigation, i.e. a pushback against efforts by some foreign entity to penetrate or otherwise compromise US secrets. We can only guess at the specifics, however we do know that in the course of that investigation Broadwell’s name “came up.”

On the surface, at least, Broadwell is not the sort of person whose name would come up in a counterintelligence investigation: a West Point graduate, where she earned degrees in political geography and systems engineering, she seems like the veritable embodiment of All-American red-white-and-blue super-patriotism. This biographical account on her high school website says

Paula pursued a military intelligence career abroad, serving in Asia, Europe, the Middle East, and Africa. During her service, especially after 9-11, Paula’s intensity was directed toward the war against terror; her contributions and efforts to thwart terrorism have been commended by the U.S. Army and by Europe’s Special Operations Forces Commanding General. In this arena, she has planned counter-terrorism initiatives presented to NATO and worked on transnational counter-terrorism issues with foreign and domestic agencies, U.S. Special Forces, and the FBI.”

 

Graduate studies at the University of Denver in Middle East studies enabled her to travel to “Jordan and Israel,” and make a swing through the Persian Gulf and Europe where she spoke at various conferences. This triumphal tour was capped by a Harvard fellowship “for study in Syria and Iran.”

While Broadwell’s current academic affiliation is with Harvard’s Kennedy School of Government, her previous post was deputy director of the Jebsen Center for Counter-Terrorism Studies at Tufts University’s Fletcher School. The Center, according to its self-description, “distinguishes itself by a philosophy that maintains counter-terrorism should be predictive, preventive and preemptive, with the latter being a last resort.” Founded in 2005, the Jebsen Center was made possible by the generous donation of one Jan Henrik Jebsen, heir to the Norwegian shipping fortune, who gave $1.3 million to set it up. Jebsen, a former investment banker with Lazard Freres, is the principal of Gamma Applied Visions Group, an international octopus with tentacles all over the place: part arms dealer and weapons developer, part “green” energy company. As one might expect from someone who has so much of his multi-billion dollar fortune invested in making and selling armaments, Jebsen is on the board of directors of the distinctly warlike Hudson Institute, where Scooter LibbyDouglas FeithMichael Ledeen, and practically every neocon you’ve ever heard of have found refuge.

While, in true neocon fashion, Hudson scholars conjure a wide diversity of imminent “threats” to the US, including China and Russia, their main focus is the threat of Islamist radicalism, especially as it impacts Israel. Indeed, Hudson operates inside Israel, where it pushes the far-rightist views of the most extreme elements in Israeli society: the settler movement, and the faction of Likud angling for war with Iran. It has also focused its attention on purging universities of academics who don’t toe the right-wing ultra-nationalist Likudnik line.

More recently, former Hudson president and “trustee emeritus” Max Singer — who has since moved to Israel, where, as a “public policy consultant” at Bar Ilan University, he spends his time inciting violence against Palestinians — is on a mission to protect Israel from the alleged threat posed by the President of the United States.

The Jebsen Center has been equally useful to the neocons. Richard H. Schultz, head of Tufts’ International Studies program (of which the Center is a part) was a signatory to the Project for a New American Century’s “open letter” to President Bush urging war with Iraq and a number of other Middle Eastern actors in the wake of 9/11. Here he isrecommending the importation of Israeli “anti-terrorist” techniques to pacify the restless natives of Iraq. Here is another Jebsen Center scholar describing alleged terrorist actions engaged in by Iran worldwide. And then there’s the testimony of this guy:

The idea of overthrowing the Iranian government through covert but peaceful means is not original. The project was first brought to my attention in August 2006 when I worked as an intern research assistant at Tufts University’s Fletcher School of Diplomacy’s Jebsen Center for Counter-terrorism. I worked for the then director of the center Brigadier General Russell Howard (Ret.) on a project titled Bringing Down Iran Without Firing A Shot. I wasn’t very experienced in the world of covert operations in the field or in the academic realm but I was very interested in becoming involved in it. General Howard, on the other hand, was not only a counter-terrorism strategist but a veteran Special Forces officer, an academic, and a tutor. It was General Howard who introduced me to the idea of targeting factors specific to Iran in order to adapt to the country’s specific needs. He had six factors which he believed were important: The military use of ongoing insurgencies within Iran, political strife, economic strife, declining oil revenues, demographics, and deteriorating infrastructure.”

Interestingly, in November of 2006, during her tenure at the Jebsen Center, Broadwell led a group of Fletcher School students on a trip to New York City to meet with then Iranian UN representative Javad Zarif. Both are alumni of the Josef Korbel School of International Studies at the University of Denver.

All this establishes a context that goes far beyond the titillating details of the alleged affair between Petraeus and Broadwell — and this is no doubt what set alarm bells ringing in the intelligence community when it was revealed. Is there really any need to point out the uses of the “honeypot” in intelligence-gathering and other covert activities regularly engaged in by spooks of all nations? From Mata Hari to the Mossad agent who lured Israeli nuclear scientist Mordecahi Vanunu, sex is a time-honored weapon in the war of spy-vs-spy. A secret affair with the CIA Director is the equivalent of the Honeypot Olympics, and we have to ask: was the remarkably fit Ms. Broadwell a lure? If so, she’s won a Gold Medal.

Broadwell’s actions — sending emails that were bound to be traced back to her — appear to make little sense on the surface. But if the goal of luring a 60-year-old geezer into an affair with a much younger woman was to expose him, and get him fired, then surely her antics succeeded in accomplishing that goal.

So who would have an interest in getting rid of Petraeus? Here’s where the Cantor connection comes in. The tip by an anonymous “FBI employee” that wound up in Cantor’s office two weeks ago came through Rep. David Reichert, Republican of Washington state, who has a friend who knows the whistleblower. Cantor then spoke to the whistleblower directly, who put him in touch with FBI Director Mueller.

Cantor is a great friend of Israel, and Petraeus — not so much. The General was attacked, as you’ll recall, by partisans of the Lobby, including Abe Foxman, when he deliveredtestimony before Congress citing Israel as a strategic liability in the Middle East. As the executor of the new Obamaite policy of sidling up to Islamists, not only in Libya but also inSyria and Egypt, Petraeus was no doubt seen by the Israelis as an enemy to be neutralized.

Broadwell’s affiliation with the Jebsen Center, and the Center’s connection to the neoconservative network, sets the scene: a young, attractive woman with impeccable national security credentials throws herself at Petraeus, and he takes the bait. Whether she’s been recruited by a foreign intelligence agency at this point or not is irrelevant: he’s already put himself in a vulnerable position, and there are any number of actors on the international stage more than willing to press their advantage.

Will we ever know the full story? At this point, the story is so hot that it may burn the cover story — “it’s all about sex” — right off the wrapper. Because there’s more — a lot more — here than meets the eye. When Cantor pledged to Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu that he and his fellow Republicans “will serve as a check on the administration” in regard to the President’s policy toward Israel, he was clearly aligning himself with a foreign leader against American interests as perceived by the White House. But would he really go this far — deliberately taking down a key figure, one beloved by Republicans, in order to keep his promise to Netanyahu?

Stay tuned to this space, because this story is moving fast….

Update: This morning [11/12/12] the New York Times reports:

F.B.I. agents interviewed Ms. Broadwell for the first time the week of Oct. 21, and she acknowledged the affair, a government official briefed on the matter said. She also voluntarily gave the agency her computer. In a search, the agents discovered several classified documents, which raised the additional question of whether Mr. Petraeus had given them to her. She said that he had not. Agents interviewed Mr. Petraeus the following week. He also admitted to the affair but said he had not given any classified documents to her. The agents then interviewed Ms. Broadwell again on Friday, Nov. 2, the official said.”

Bingo!

Why Did CIA Director Petraeus Suddenly Resign … And Why Was the U.S. Ambassador to Libya Murdered?

The Deeper Questions Behind the Ambassador’s Murder … and the CIA Boss’ Sudden Resignation

(WashingtonsBlog)While the GOP is attacking (and Dems defending) the Obama administration in connection with the murder of the U.S. ambassador to Libya, there is a deeper story.

Sure, it is stunning that the State Department never requested backup or that people such as Lieutenant Colonel Anthony Shaffer allege that President Obama personally watched in real time the attacks as they occurred via video feeds from drones flying over the Benghazi consulate.

But these claims only can be assessed – and the whole confusing mess only makes sense – if the deeper underlying story is first exposed.

Many Syrian Terrorists Come from Libya

The U.S. supported opposition which overthrew Libya’s Gadaffi was largely comprised of Al Qaeda terrorists.

According to a 2007 report by West Point’s Combating Terrorism Center’s center, the Libyan city of Benghazi was one of Al Qaeda’s main headquarters – and bases for sending Al Qaeda fighters into Iraq – prior to the overthrow of Gaddafi:
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Al Qaeda is now largely in control of Libya.  Indeed, Al Qaeda flags were flown over the Benghazi courthouse once Gaddafi was toppled.

(Incidentally, Gaddafi was on the verge of invading Benghazi in 2011, 4 years after the West Point report cited Benghazi as a hotbed of Al Qaeda terrorists. Gaddafi claimed – rightly it turns out – that Benghazi was an Al Qaeda stronghold and a main source of the Libyan rebellion.  But NATO planes stopped him, and protected Benghazi.)

CNN, the Telegraph,  the Washington Times, and many other mainstream sources confirm that Al Qaeda terrorists from Libya have since flooded into Syria to fight the Assad regime.

Mainstream sources also confirm that the Syrian opposition is largely comprised of Al Qaeda terrorists.  See thisthisthisthisthisthisthisthisthis and this.

The U.S. has been arming the Syrian opposition since 2006. The post-Gaddafi Libyan government is also itself a top funder and arms supplier of the Syrian opposition.

The Real Story At Benghazi

This brings us to the murder of ambassador Stevens and the sudden resignation of CIA boss David Petraeus.

The Wall Street JournalTelegraph and other sources confirm that the US consulate in Benghazi was mainly being used for a secret CIA operation.

They say that the State Department presence in Benghazi “provided diplomatic cover” for the previously hidden CIA mission.

Reuters notes that the CIA mission involved finding and repurchasing heavy weaponry looted from Libyan government arsenals.

Business Insider reports that Stevens may have been linked with Syrian terrorists:

There’s growing evidence that U.S. agents—particularly murdered ambassador Chris Stevens—were at least aware of heavy weapons moving from Libya to jihadist Syrian rebels.

In March 2011 Stevens became the official U.S. liaison to the al-Qaeda-linked Libyan opposition, working directly with Abdelhakim Belhadj of the Libyan Islamic Fighting Group—a group that has now disbanded, with some fighters reportedly participating in the attack that took Stevens’ life.

In November 2011 The Telegraph reported that Belhadj, acting as head of the Tripoli Military Council, “met with Free Syrian Army [FSA] leaders in Istanbul and on the border with Turkey” in an effort by the new Libyan government to provide money and weapons to the growing insurgency in Syria.

Last month The Times of London reported that a Libyan ship “carrying the largest consignment of weapons for Syria … has docked in Turkey.” The shipment reportedly weighed 400 tons and included SA-7 surface-to-air anti-craft missiles and rocket-propelled grenades.

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Reuters reports that Syrian rebels have been using those heavy weapons to shoot downSyrian helicopters and fighter jets.

The ship’s captain was ”a Libyan from Benghazi and the head of an organization called the Libyan National Council for Relief and Support,” which was presumably established by the new government.

That means that Ambassador Stevens had only one person—Belhadj—between himself and the Benghazi man who brought heavy weapons to Syria.

Furthermore, we know that jihadists are the best fighters in the Syrian opposition, but where did they come from?

Last week The Telegraph reported that a FSA commander called them “Libyans” when he explained that the FSA doesn’t “want these extremist people here.”

And if the new Libyan government was sending seasoned Islamic fighters and 400 tons of heavy weapons to Syria through a port in southern Turkey—a deal brokered by Stevens’ primary Libyan contact during the Libyan revolution—then the governments of Turkey and the U.S. surely knew about it.

Furthermore there was a CIA post in Benghazi, located 1.2 miles from the U.S. consulate, used as “a base for, among other things, collecting information on the proliferation of weaponry looted from Libyan government arsenals, including surface-to-air missiles” … and that its security features “were more advanced than those at rented villa where Stevens died.”

And we know that the CIA has been funneling weapons to the rebels in southern Turkey. The question is whether the CIA has been involved in handing out the heavy weapons from Libya.

In other words, ambassador Stevens may have been a key player in deploying Libyan terrorists and arms to fight the Syrian government.

Other sources also claim that the U.S. consulate in Benghazi was mainly being used as a CIA operation to ship fighters and arms to Syria.

Many have speculated that – if normal security measures weren’t taken to protect the Benghazi consulate or to rescue ambassador Stevens – it was  because the CIA was trying to keep an extremely low profile to protect its cover of being a normal State Department operation.

Why Did CIA Chief David Petraeus Suddenly Resign?

CIA boss David Petraeus suddenly resigned, admitting to an affair.  This could be the real explanation, given that affairs of high-level intelligence chiefs could compromise national security.

But the timing of Petraeus’ resignation becomes more interesting once one learns that that he was scheduled to testify under oath next week before power House and Senate committees regarding the Benghazi consulate.

Many speculate that it wasn’t an affair – but the desire to avoid testifying on Benghazi – which was the real reason for Petraeus’ sudden resignation.

The Big Picture

Whatever the scope of the CIA’s operation in Benghazi – and whatever the real reason for the resignation of the CIA chief – the key is our historical and ongoing foreign policy.

For decades, the U.S. has backed terrorists for geopolitical ends.

The U.S. government has been consistently planning regime change in Syria and Libya for 20 years, and dreamed of regime change – using false flag terror – for 50 years.

Obama has simply re-packaged Bush and the Neocons’ “war on terror” as a series of humanitarian wars.

And the U.S. and its allies will do anything to topple Iran … and is systematically attempting to pull the legs out from Iran’s allies as a way to isolate and weaken that country.

Americans should ask ourselves if that’s what we want …