Saturday, January 31, 2015

Why Obama Needs to Pretend the Taliban Aren’t Terrorists

Why Obama Needs to Pretend the Taliban Aren’t Terrorists
The administration makes a desperate and indefensible claim.
By Andrew C. McCarthy 

Islamists in Sinai....

Egypt attack: Profile of Sinai Province militant group

Sinai Province is a militant group that has put its name to a string of deadly attacks in Egypt's Sinai peninsula, and has pledged allegiance to Islamic State (IS).
On 29 January a series of strikes against military targets in North Sinai left more than 30 people dead, attacks which analysts said showed a new level of co-ordination.
The attacks were carried out despite efforts by the Egyptian military to quell unrest in Sinai through a military crackdown. 
Attacks against Israel 
Sinai Province was previously called Ansar Beit al-Maqdis (Champions of Jerusalem), but announced a name change in November 2014 when it pledged allegiance to IS, the militant organisation that had made rapid advances in Iraq and Syria.
Ansar Beit al-Maqdis was an Al-Qaeda-inspired group that started its operations immediately after the January 2011 uprising that led to the fall of Egypt's long-running ruler Hosni Mubarak. 
The group was initially known for launching attacks on Israeli targets and interests. 
It first gained attention in July 2012 when it assumed responsibility for the blowing up of a pipeline that exports gas to Israel and Jordan, and a month later, it said it had fired rockets from Sinai into the southern Israeli resort of Eilat. 
In September 2012 the group claimed responsibility for attacking an Israeli border patrol in response to a US-produced film widely condemned in the Muslim world as having insulted the Prophet Muhammad. 
Assassination attempt
It was after Egypt's Islamist President Mohammed Morsi was forced from power in 2013 and the security forces cracked down on his Muslim Brotherhood supporters that the group started directing its violence against the Egyptian army and police. 
The group has been involved in suicide bombings, drive-by shootings, assassinations and beheadings.
In one of its most high-profile attacks, the group tried to assassinate Interior Minister Mohammed Ibrahim in September 2013, when his motorcade in Cairo was targeted by a car bomb. 
A month later there were attacks on South Sinai's Security Directorate and on the military intelligence building in the Suez Canal city of Ismailiya.
On 24 January 2014, Ansar Beit al-Maqdis once again targeted the capital, saying it had carried out an apparent suicide truck bombing outside the police headquarters in Cairo.
A day later, on the anniversary of Egypt's revolution against Mr Mubarak, the group claimed to have downed a military helicopter in northern Sinai, killing five soldiers.
It staged its first attack on foreign travellers in February of the same year, bombing a bus waiting to cross into Israel, and killing three South Koreans and the Egyptian bus-driver.
Then in August 2014, the group broadcast a brutal video showing the beheading of four military servicemen they accused of spying for Israel's security service, Mossad. Another six army personnel were killed the following month.
It was in October 2014, shortly before the group pledged allegiance to IS that it said it was behind two attacks on Egyptian military positions in the Sinai, that killed more than 30 soldiers - the biggest loss of life in decades for Egypt's army.
Outside backing?
The group has rebranded its media and its Twitter account to reflect its new IS affiliation. 
But even months before its declaration of allegiance to IS, Ansar Bayt al-Maqdis had shown signs of affinity with the group through official leadership statements and its increasingly violent tactics in its attacks, which were then shown in its media output. 
Some observers believe the group has links to the Muslim Brotherhood, and there have even been allegations that it is the Brotherhood's "military wing". 
But the group has criticised the Brotherhood, and the Brotherhood has itself condemned attacks by the militants, including those in North Sinai on 29 January. 
The group's alleged use of tunnels along the Gaza border to get weapons has also been cited as indicating a link with Palestinian militant group Hamas, which dominates the Gaza Strip. However, there is no solid evidence or confirmation of such a link.

Illegal immigrants released from custody committed 1,000 new crimes

One thousand of the 36,000 illegal immigrant criminals the government released in 2013 have gone on to commit other crimes, including child sex abuse, hit-and-run and child cruelty, according to new data released Friday evening by Senate Judiciary Committee Chairman Charles E. Grassley.
The information, which the Homeland Security Department provided to Mr. Grassley, details all 1,000 convictions including dozens of drunk-driving convictions, drug offenses and weapons convictions. But the more serious crimes include domestic abuse, carjacking and aggravated assault.


Read more: http://www.washingtontimes.com/news/2015/jan/30/illegal-immigrants-released-custody-committed-1000/#ixzz3QPx21500 

Democrat retreat: Reporters escorted to bathroom. The totalitarian impulse of the left again.

At retreat, Dem staffers escort reporters to restroom

By HADAS GOLD | 1/30/15 

Reporters covering the House Democrats' retreat in Philadelphia this week are having a much different experience than when they’re on their home turf on Capitol Hill.
Reporters are being escorted to and from the restroom and lobby and are being barred from entering the hotel outside of scheduled events, even if they've been invited by a member of Congress.
During Vice President Joe Biden’s remarks at the retreat Friday, reporters were required to have a staff member, usually a junior member of the press team, escort them when going to the bathroom or to the lobby. The filing center for reporters was at a separate hotel from where the retreat was taking place, so access was limited to members of Congress specifically made available to the press.
(Also on POLITICO: Jeb 'put me through Hell' (http://www.politico.com/magazine/story/2015/01/jeb-bush-terri- schiavo-114730.html) )
“It was a police state. It was absurd how heavy handed the capitol police and Democratic staff were in trying to control everywhere the press went,” New York Times reporter Jeremy Peters said in an interview.
page1image20080 page1image20248 page1image20408 page1image20576 page1image20744 page1image20912 page1image21080

Peters said at one point he was also barred from entering the hotel where the retreat was taking place, despite the fact he had an invitation to eat breakfast with a member of Congress.
“I was an invited guest into this hotel, into the restaurant of the hotel. The staff from the Democratic caucus refused to let me into the hotel, and the Capitol Police told me to leave, even after the congressman went to them and said 'no, he is my invited guest,'" Peters said.
Peters said he was told by a staffer they were being escorted to prevent them from talking to members of Congress. (Also on POLITICO: Obama veers left (http://www.politico.com/story/2015/01/president-barack-obama-budget-2015-
114745.html) )
At a press conference with Democratic leadership, Rep. Xavier Becerra (D-Calif.) said they were not aware reporters

were being followed.
“We were not aware they were following you. We had to have the security in the hotel that we were in because it was expected by Capitol Police that we would be secure. This hotel, where the press was located, we did not have those types of requirements. If you want to give me some names, I’m willing to talk to them. That was not at the direction of the caucus,” Becerra said.
The incident is reminiscent of the Clinton Global Initiative conference in September, where reporters were
being
escorted by staff right up to (http://www.nytimes.com/politics/first-draft/2014/09/24/at-clintons-event-a-really- close-watch-on-reporters/) the bathroom stall. 

Friday, January 30, 2015

"Suddenly, all Afghan reconstruction data made secret"...anything and everything to protect Dear Leader.

Suddenly, all Afghan reconstruction data made secret


For the first time in the long history of American military action in Afghanistan, a presidential administration has classified virtually all of the information that could be used to judge U.S. involvement and the use and effectiveness of some $65 billion in taxpayer money.
In its first quarterly report since President Obama proclaimed the end of U.S. combat involvement in that perpetually war-torn land, James F. Sopko, the Special Inspector General for Afghan Reconstruction (SIGAR) wrote:
"After six years of being publicly reported, Afghan National Security Forces (ANSF) data is now classified. The decision leaves SIGAR unable to publicly report on most of the $65 billion U.S.-taxpayer-funded efforts to build, train, equip, and sustain the ANSF. This includes Afghan troop numbers, salaries, training, equipment (including planes and helicopters), and infrastructure projects."
Gen. John Campbell, commander of coalition forces, said he could not explain the previous lack of secrecy.
But Campbell added: "I am compelled to also protect the lives of those individuals who could be put at risk by the release of sensitive information.” Presumably, some information could highlight weak spots in the Afghan military. Of course, the secrecy also covers up failed programs, corruption and poor planning and follow-ups.
A Pentagon spokesman described one concern as "unnecessarily highlighting possible vulnerabilities and capability gaps."
The IG wrote: "The classification of this volume of data is unprecedented." He also said the military had retroactively reclassified as secret some previously-provided data.
Classifying so much information theoretically denies it to the enemy and all but a few members of Congress and the military given access to the classified appendix.
But the darkness also conveniently removes any means for American taxpayers to independently judge the effectiveness of billions of dollars in aid and equipment ($39 billion more is in the pipeline) as well as of the training of Afghan troops by allies and some 9,500 remaining U.S. military in-country. 
Obama has touted this training as proof that the U.S. is winding down the war "in a responsible fashion" and not just leaving, as he did from Iraq in 2011 after failing to negotiate a status of forces agreement.
In the six years of previous unclassified SIGAR reports, we learned that the national police force totaled about 150,000, the military around 180,000 and that some 35,000 had been dropped from Army rolls for a variety of reasons, including death, disability and desertion.
"This is the most transparent administration in history," Obama has claimed. "...It’s not sufficient for citizens to just take my word for it that we’re doing the right thing.”
Such an Obama claim is frequently disputed. You may recall, for instance, he often promised that all hearings on his ObamaCare legislation would be open to the public. Not. Then, there was the day in 2010 when VP Joe Biden met for a progress report with the administration's chief of transparency. But that meeting was closed.

Boko Haram to use goats, cows, donkeys and camels as suicide bombers. The Islamist death cult spares not humans or animals.

Boko Haram to use goats, cows, donkeys and camels as suicide bombers



  • Nigerian Islamist militant group Boko Haram is plotting to use cattle as suicide bombers, officials have said.
    Nigerian authorities also suspect that the extremist group, which aims at establishing an Islamic caliphate in the country, is preparing dozens of suicide bombers to carry out large-scale attacks.
    Mike Omer, coordinator of the National Information Centre, said: "Available intelligence reports indicate a plan by Boko Haram to use young male suicide bombers disguised as cobblers to hide explosives in their tool boxes and detonate them on soft target areas such as markets, restaurants, ATM locations, political rallies, worship centres as well as other public places," according to Nigeria's Vanguard daily.
    "Also, there is indication of a plan by this group to use livestock such as, goats, cows, donkeys and camels laden with explosives to attack chosen targets."
    The extremist group is on a rampage killing thousands of people in Nigeria and neighbouring countries over the past several years as the armed insurgency has risen sharply in the recent months.
    "The general public, including all persons operating within and around the aforementioned places, are advised to be vigilant and mindful of suspicious activities in their environment," continued the Nigerian authority, warning that those who take their livestock for grazing may also be probed.
    African nations including the regional alliance African Union (AU) are attempting to stop the advances made by Boko Haram fighters, yet the group continues to gain more foothold.
    The terror group recently released pictures showing child soldiers being trained to wage war against security forces.

Is the US State Department playing footsie with the Muslim Brotherhood?

Open Jihad Declared in Egypt Following State Dept. Meeting with Muslim Brotherhood-Aligned Leaders



Muslim Brotherhood call for ‘long, uncompromising jihad 
BY: 
The Muslim Brotherhood called for “a long, uncompromising jihad” in Egypt just days after a delegation of the Islamist group’s key leaders and allies met with the State Department, according to an official statement released this week.
Just days after a delegation that included two top Brotherhood leaders was hosted at the State Department, the organization released an official statement calling on its supporters to “prepare” for jihad, according to an independent translation of the statement first posted on Tuesday.
The State Department meeting was attended by a deputy assistant secretary for democracy, human rights, and labor and other State Department officials.
The Muslim Brotherhood statement also was issued just two days before a major terror attackThursday in Egypt’s lawless Sinai region that killed at least 25.
“It is incumbent upon everyone to be aware that we are in the process of a new phase, where we summon what is latent in our strength, where we recall the meanings of jihad and prepare ourselves, our wives, our sons, our daughters, and whoever marched on our path to a long, uncompromising jihad, and during this stage we ask for martyrdom,” it states.
Preparation for jihad is a key theme of the Brotherhood’s latest call for jihad.
An image posted with the statement shows two crossing swords and the word “prepare!” between them. Below the swords it reads, “the voice of truth, strength, and freedom.” According to the statement, “that is the motto of the Dawa of the Muslim Brotherhood.”
The statement also invokes the well-known Muslim cleric Imam al-Bana, who founded the Brotherhood and has called for the death of Jews.
Imam al-Bana prepared the jihad brigades that he sent to Palestine to kill the Zionist usurpers and the second [Supreme] Guide Hassan al-Hudaybi reconstructed the ‘secret apparatus’ to bleed the British occupiers,” the statement says.
The Brotherhood’s renewed call for jihad comes at a time when current Egyptian President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi is cracking down on the group and imprisoning many of its supporters, who notoriously engaged in violence following the ouster of Brotherhood-ally Mohamed Morsi.
Egypt experts said the timing of this declaration is an embarrassment for the State Department.
“The fact that the Brotherhood issued its call to jihad two days after its meeting at the State Department will be grist for endless anti-American conspiracy theories about a supposed partnership between Washington and the Brotherhood,” said Eric Trager, a fellow at the Washington Institute for Near East Policy (WINEP). “The State Department should have foreseen what an embarrassment this would be.”
One member of that U.S. delegation, a Brotherhood-aligned judge in Egypt, posed for a picture while at Foggy Bottom in which he held up the Islamic group’s notorious four-finger Rabia symbol, according to his Facebook page.
“Now in the U.S. State Department. Your steadfastness impresses everyone,” reads an Arabic caption posted along with the photo.
Other members of that group included Gamal Heshmat, a leading member of the Brotherhood, and Abdel Mawgoud al-Dardery, a Brotherhood member who served as a parliamentarian from Luxor.
When asked on Tuesday evening to comment on the meeting, a State Department official told the Washington Free Beacon, “We meet with representatives from across the political spectrum in Egypt.”
The official declined to elaborate on who may have been hosted or on any details about the timing and substance of any talks.
The meeting was described by a member of the delegation, Maha Azzam as “fruitful,” according to one person who attended a public event in Washington earlier this week hosted by the group.
The call for jihad, while surprising in light of the Brotherhood’s attempts to appear moderate, is part and parcel of organization’s longstanding beliefs, Trager said.
“Muslim Brothers have been committing violent acts for a very long time,” Trager explained. “Under Morsi, Muslim Brothers tortured protesters outside the presidential palace. After Morsi’s ouster, they have frequently attacked security forces and state property. “
“But until now, the official line from the Brotherhood was to support this implicitly by justifying its causes, without justifying the acts themselves,” he added. “ So the Brotherhood’s open call to jihad doesn’t necessarily mean a tactical shift, but a rhetorical one.”
Terrorism expert and national security reporter Patrick Poole said he was struck by the clarity of the Brotherhood’s call.
“It invokes the Muslim Brotherhood’s terrorist past, specifically mentioning the ‘special apparatus’ that waged terror in the 1940s and 1950s until the Nasser government cracked down on the group, as well as the troops sent by founder Hassan al-Banna to fight against Israel in 1948,” he said.
“It concludes saying that the Brotherhood has entered a new stage, warns of a long jihad ahead, and to prepare for martyrdom,” Poole said. “Not sure how much more clear they could be.”
Poole wondered if the call for jihad would convince Brotherhood apologists that the group still backs violence.
“What remains to be seen is how this announcement will be received inside the Beltway, where the vast majority of the ‘experts’ have repeatedly said that the Brotherhood had abandoned its terrorist past, which it is now clearly reviving, and had renounced violence,” Poole said. “Will this development be met with contrition, or silence? And what says the State Department who met with these guys this week?”
The State Department did not respond to a request for comment before press time.

At root of Argentina spy intrigue: a deal with Iran. Another Left-Islamist link.

At root of Argentina spy intrigue: a deal with Iran

Thu, Jan 29 2015
By Brian Winter and Nicolás Misculin
BUENOS AIRES (Reuters) - President Cristina Fernandez has portrayed Argentina's spy agency as sinister, accountable to no one, and possibly responsible for the mysterious death of a prominent prosecutor in his Buenos Aires apartment.
As a result, Fernandez declared this week, the Intelligence Secretariat needs to be totally shut down - and a new agency built from scratch.
"You can't extort me. You can't intimidate me. I'm not afraid of you," she said, speaking directly to the agency's leaders, in a nationally televised address on Monday. 
But the underlying story of the dispute, sources close to both the agency and Fernandez's leftist government tell Reuters, is more complicated, with roots in Iran and a terrorist attack two decades ago that has never been fully solved.
They say Fernandez has been in open conflict with her own spy agency for two years, following a deal in which she enlisted Iran's help to investigate the 1994 bombing of a Jewish community center in Buenos Aires that killed 85 people.
Fernandez has portrayed the agreement as the only way to confirm whether Iran's government was behind the attack, as Argentine prosecutors have alleged.
Without Tehran's cooperation, the investigation would have remained stalled and it would have been impossible to question Iranian suspects, Fernandez has said. 
Iran has vigorously denied any role in the bombing. 
However, some of the spy agency's leaders felt betrayed by the deal, a source with knowledge of the agency's affairs said on condition of anonymity. They had spent many years helping prosecutors build the case against Iran, and saw Fernandez's agreement as an attempt to whitewash their investigation.
"It was like she switched sides ... and was suddenly friends with Iran," the source said. "That's what this (dispute) is all about."
A government official confirmed the Iran deal was the origin of the conflict, which he described as a grave threat to Fernandez. "When (the spy agency) stops supporting you, you're screwed," the official said.
Repeated efforts to contact the Intelligence Secretariat, or SI, were unsuccessful. No one answered a doorbell this week at the mirrored entrance to its headquarters in a stately building across the street from Fernandez's palace in Buenos Aires.
ARGENTINES HORRIFIED
The conflict exploded into public view on Jan. 18, when Alberto Nisman, the chief prosecutor investigating the 1994 bombing of the Argentine Israelite Mutual Association, or AMIA, was found dead in his bathroom with a bullet in his head.
Nisman had been due the next day to present new findings to Congress regarding Fernandez's deal with Iran.
His death horrified many Argentines, as well as Jewish groups around the world, denting Fernandez's popularity at a time when she is already dealing with an economy on the verge of recession and a long-running battle with foreign creditors over defaulted debt.
Fernandez has said she believes Nisman was murdered, although she has not detailed how, and no one has been arrested in connection with the case. Officials admit privately the truth may never be known.
Meanwhile, the depth and complexity of her dispute with the spy agency suggests the case could drag on for months or longer, with unpredictable consequences for all parties.
"This will go on and on and on, and we won't stop asking questions, no matter who is involved," Patricia Bullrich, an opposition legislator who was Nisman's main contact in Congress, said in an interview. 
"The roots are very deep."
DIRTY WAR
The SI and its 3,000 or so employees report, in theory, to the president. But in practice, it has long operated in a murky world of its own, critics say.
The agency played an important role in the military government's "dirty war" against suspected leftists in the 1970s. As many as 30,000 died at the hands of the state during the dictatorship, human rights groups say. 
Many of the agency's junior officers then are its leaders now, according to Gerardo Young, a journalist who wrote a book titled "The Secret Argentina" on the intelligence community.
Today, the agency still enjoys "unacceptable autonomy" and has continued to spy on politicians, leaders of social movements and others in recent years while resisting attempts at greater oversight, according to a recent report by the Association for Civil Law, a local non-profit group.
Nonetheless, Fernandez once believed she could use the SI in constructive fashion.
When her late husband Nestor Kirchner became president in 2003, he ordered the agency to help prosecutors uncover who bombed the Argentine Israelite Mutual Association, or AMIA, the worst attack on a Jewish institution since World War Two.
The collaboration produced results. With the SI's help, Nisman published a report in 2006 saying Hezbollah agents had carried out the attack with financial and logistical support from Iran. 
Nisman cited witness testimony, information from wire taps and the bank records of Iranians, and a photo that allegedly showed a then-official at the Iranian embassy in Buenos Aires looking for the kind of truck eventually used in the bombing. 
In 2007, at Argentina's request, Interpol put five Iranians and a Lebanese national on its most-wanted list in connection with the bombing. Many in Argentina's Jewish community, Latin America's largest, believed that justice was finally at hand.
"It seemed like the government was finally on our side," said Eliana Hoel, 43, at an event to commemorate AMIA victims this week. "There was so much hope in those years." 
'THEY NEEDED HIM DEAD'
And then, on January 27, 2013 - International Holocaust Remembrance Day - an unexpected announcement changed everything.
Fernandez, who by then had replaced her husband as president, said Argentina had signed a deal with Iran to create a joint "truth commission" made up of five independent judges from third-party countries to investigate the AMIA bombing.
Why she did so remains disputed.
Fernandez has said that, because of Argentine laws that forbid trying suspects in absentia, and Iranian laws that block extradition, the agreement was the only feasible way that Iranian suspects might ever be questioned in the case. 
Yet many Jewish groups and others believed the deal signaled the end of Argentina's willingness to pursue the AMIA case. The American Jewish Committee compared it to "asking Nazi Germany to help establish the facts of Kristallnacht."
The agreement coincided with a major diplomatic push by Iran in search of South American allies, at a time when it was locked in a confrontation with Europe and the United States over its nuclear program. Leftist governments in Brazil and Venezuela also expanded trade and other ties with Iran.
In practice, the truth commission was never implemented, because an Argentine court ruled it unconstitutional - but SI leaders remained furious, the source close to the agency said.
In a report published days before his death, Nisman accused Fernandez of cutting the deal in the hope of pleasing Iran and receiving its oil, which he said would be a valuable lifeline at a time of increasing economic trouble for Argentina.
Fernandez has called that allegation absurd, and publicly accused rogue SI agents of planting false information that Nisman then used in his report. 
In a Jan. 22 letter posted on her Facebook page, Fernandez suggested that after using Nisman to embarrass her, the spies arranged for his death.
"They used him alive and then they needed him dead. It's just that sad and terrible," she wrote.
The government official that spoke to Reuters said the SI's leaders were also lashing out at Fernandez because they were loyal to U.S. and Israeli intelligence.
Some observers believe the confrontation with the spy agency is a red herring - and that Nisman died for other reasons. Despite Fernandez's public accusations, none of the SI's leaders or agents are known to have been detained so far. 
Crime scene investigators still have not ruled out suicide, and other theories abound.
But Bullrich, the opposition legislator, said that in a case with so few iron-clad facts, the intrigue over Iran is, at least, a place to start.
"You had agents who were in conflict with the president. That is very serious," she said. "We'll pursue that. We don't know where it will lead. 
(Editing by Kieran Murray and Alix Freedman)

Thursday, January 29, 2015

‘DO NOT DISCLOSE’: Obama Admin Tells Banks To Shut Up About Its Targeting of Consumers, Gun Dealers. How the totalitarian state works under Obama and the Democrats...by any means necessary.

‘DO NOT DISCLOSE’: Obama Admin Tells Banks To Shut Up About Its Targeting of Consumers, Gun Dealers

A shocking bulletin that CFPB issued to banks, which was obtained by The Daily Caller, was sent around this week in the midst of controversy regarding the administration’s Operation Choke Point program, by which the administration pressures banks to cut off accounts for supposedly suspicious businesses, including gun dealers. Operation Choke Point’s anti-gun mission was recently confirmed in a series of audiotapes published by the US Consumer Coalition, in which a bank teller explained to a gun dealer why his account was being shut down.
“The Consumer Financial Protection Bureau [CFPB] issues this compliance bulletin as a reminder that, with limited exceptions, persons in possession of confidential information, including confidential supervisory information [CSI], may not disclose such information to third parties,” the bulletin states.
“‘Confidential information’ means ‘confidential consumer complaint information, confidential investigative information, and confidential supervisory information, as well as any other CFPB information that may be exempt from disclosure under the Freedom of Information Act pursuant,” according to the bulletin.
Even non-disclosure agreements are invalid according to the CFPB’s effort to suppress information.CFPB states that “private confidentiality and non-disclosure agreements neither alter the legal restrictions on the disclosure of CSI nor impact the CFPB’s authority to obtain information from covered persons and service providers in the exercise of its supervisory authority.”
Good thing President Obama’s Dodd-Frank Act gave CFPB vast powers to enforce this kind of information-suppressing.
“Many supervised financial institutions became subject to federal supervision for the first time under the Dodd-Frank Wall Street Reform and Consumer Protection Act [Dodd-Frank Act]. Pursuant to authority granted under the Dodd-Frank Act, the CFPB has issued regulations that govern the use and disclosure of CSI. The CFPB expects all supervised financial institutions to know and comply with the regulations governing CSI.”

Is she really saying blacks are criminals or just using a racialist "dog whistle"

Posted By Patrick Howley On 8:19 PM 01/28/2015 
President Obama’s Attorney General nominee Loretta Lynch said that being “tough on crime” actually means being tough on black people.
Lynch, currently in Senate confirmation hearings to replace her sorority sister’s husband Eric Holder, expressed some bold racial views at a September 2007 panel at Duke University called “The Court of Public Opinion: The Practice & Ethics of Trying Cases In The Media,” which was convened after the Duke lacrosse rape case, in which three Duke players were falsely accused of sexual assault.
“I guess where you stand depends on where you sit — but even with the statements as a DA I’m going to be tough on crime, there are people who take that and have taken it for years because it has meant for years I’m going to be tougher on African Americans, depending upon the context, depending upon what else is being said in an election, depending upon what other issues are brought out there,” Lynch said.
“So there are times when these statements need further explanation because on the surface they say one thing but people really hear something else, and it’s informed completely by their environment and often their history.”
The Reverend Al Sharpton was instrumental in securing Lynch’s nomination to replace Holder.
Lynch’s suggestion in Wednesday’s confirmation hearing that illegal immigrants have a right to American jobs prompted a tough line of White House questioning from TheDC’s Neil Munro and a non-answer from a White House spokesman.

"If you cross this administration with perfectly accurate reporting they don’t like, you will be attacked and punished,” Attkisson said. "You and your sources may be subjected to the kind of a surveillance devised for enemies of the state."

Attkisson: Reporters treated like 'enemies of the state' under Obama



The Obama administration treats investigative journalists and their sources like “enemies of the state,” a former CBS News reporter who accuses the government of spying on her told a Senate panel Thursday.
“The job of getting at the truth has never been more difficult,” Sheryl Attkisson testified at the Senate confirmation hearing for Attorney General nominee Loretta Lynch.
She said the DOJ’s surveillance of journalists could do “long-term damage to a supposedly free press” and urged Lynch to chart a new course.
Attkisson is one of several reporters the Justice Department has been accused of spying on. She was among a number of journalists who were investigating the DOJ’s failed gun-running program, known as Operation Fast and Furious, that lost weapons to Mexican drug cartels.
After her departure from CBS, Attkisson filed a $35 million lawsuit against outgoing Attorney General Eric Holder over the spying allegations.
"They bully and threaten the access of journalists who do their jobs, news organizations that publish stories they don’t like, and whistleblowers who dare to tell the truth,” Attkisson said.
The Fast and Furious investigation upset White House and DOJ officials, who called and emailed her superiors to put a lid on the story, she said.
The DOJ also shut her out from Fast and Furious briefings with select reporters.
"Government officials weren’t angry because I was doing my job poorly,” Attkisson said. "They were panicked because I was doing my job well."
Later, Attkisson said she discovered the government was spying on her.
She said she ordered three independent forensic examinations that indicated the DOJ was remotely surveilling her by monitoring her keystrokes, capturing her passwords and even listening to her conversations.
"If you cross this administration with perfectly accurate reporting they don’t like, you will be attacked and punished,” Attkisson said. "You and your sources may be subjected to the kind of a surveillance devised for enemies of the state."

Exclusive: Secret tapes undermine Hillary Clinton on Libyan war

Exclusive: Secret tapes undermine Hillary Clinton on Libyan war

Joint Chiefs, key lawmaker held own talks with Moammar Gadhafi regime
 - The Washington Times - Wednesday, January 28, 2015
First of three parts
Top Pentagon officials and a senior Democrat in Congress so distrusted Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton's 2011 march to war in Libya that they opened their own diplomatic channels with the Gadhafi regime in an effort to halt the escalating crisis, according to secret audio recordings recovered from Tripoli.
The tapes, reviewed by The Washington Times and authenticated by the participants, chronicle U.S. officials' unfiltered conversations with Col. Moammar Gadhafi's son and a top Libyan leader, including criticisms that Mrs. Clinton had developed tunnel vision and led the U.S. into an unnecessary war without adequately weighing the intelligence community's concerns.
"You should see these internal State Department reports that are produced in the State Department that go out to the Congress. They're just full of stupid, stupid facts," an American intermediary specifically dispatched by the Joint Chiefs of Staff told the Gadhafi regime in July 2011, saying the State Department was controlling what intelligence would be reported to U.S. officials.
At the time, the Gadhafi regime was fighting a civil war that grew out of the Arab Spring, battling Islamist-backed rebels who wanted to dethrone the longtime dictator. Mrs. Clinton argued that Gadhafi might engage in genocide and create a humanitarian crisis and ultimately persuaded President Obama, NATO allies and the United Nations to authorize military intervention.
Gadhafi's son and heir apparent, Seif Gadhafi, told American officials in the secret conversations that he was worried Mrs. Clinton was using false pretenses to justify unseating his father and insisted that the regime had no intention of harming a mass of civilians. He compared Mrs. Clinton's campaign for war to that of the George W. Bush administration's now debunked weapons of mass destruction accusations, which were used to lobby Congress to invade Iraq, the tapes show.
"It was like the WMDs in Iraq. It was based on a false report," Gadhafi said in a May 2011 phone call to Rep. Dennis J. Kucinich, an Ohio Democrat serving at the time. "Libyan airplanes bombing demonstrators, Libyan airplanes bombing districts in Tripoli, Libyan army killed thousands, etc., etc., and now the whole world found there is no single evidence that such things happened in Libya."
Seif Gadhafi also warned that many of the U.S.-supported armed rebels were "not freedom fighters" but rather jihadists whom he described as "gangsters and terrorists."
"And now you have NATO supporting them with ships, with airplanes, helicopters, arms, training, communication," he said in one recorded conversation with U.S. officials. "We ask the American government send a fact-finding mission to Libya. I want you to see everything with your own eyes."
The surreptitiously taped conversations reveal an extraordinary departure from traditional policy, in which the U.S. government speaks to foreign governments with one voice coordinated by the State Department.
Instead, the tapes show that the Pentagon's senior uniformed leadership and a congressman from Mrs. Clinton's own party conveyed sentiments to the Libyan regime that undercut or conflicted with the secretary of state's own message at the time.
"If this story is true, it would be highly unusual for the Pentagon to conduct a separate set of diplomatic negotiations, given the way we operated when I was secretary of state," James A. Baker III, who served under President George H.W. Bush, told The Times. "In our administration, the president made sure that we all sang from the same hymnal."
Mr. Kucinich, who challenged Mrs. Clinton and Barack Obama for the 2008 Democratic presidential nomination, acknowledged that he undertook his own conversations with the Gadhafi regime. He said he feared Mrs. Clinton was using emotion to sell a war against Libya that wasn't warranted, and he wanted to get all the information he could to share with his congressional colleagues.
"I had facts that indicated America was headed once again into an intervention that was going to be disastrous," Mr. Kucinich told The Times. "What was being said at the State Department — if you look at the charge at the time — it wasn't so much about what happened as it was about what would happen. So there was a distortion of events that were occurring in Libya to justify an intervention which was essentially wrong and illegal."
Mr. Kucinich wrote a letter to Mr. Obama and Mrs. Clinton in August explaining his communications in a last-ditch effort to stop the war.
"I have been contacted by an intermediary in Libya who has indicated that President Muammar Gadhafi is willing to negotiate an end to the conflict under conditions which would seem to favor Administration policy," Mr. Kucinich wrote on Aug. 24.
Neither the White House nor the State Department responded to his letter, he said.
A spokesman for Mrs. Clinton declined to provide any comment about the recordings.
The State Department also declined to answer questions about separate contacts from the Pentagon and Mr. Kucinich with the Gadhafi regime, but said the goal of Mrs. Clinton and Mr. Obama was regime change in Libya.
"U.S. policy during the revolution supported regime change through peaceful means, in line with UNSCR 1973 policy and NATO mission goals," the State Department said. "We consistently emphasized at the time that Moammar Gadhafi had to step down and leave Libya as an essential component of the transition."
'President is not getting accurate information'
Both inside and outside the Obama administration, Mrs. Clinton was among the most vocal early proponents of using U.S. military force to unseat Gadhafi. Joining her in making the case were French President Nicolas Sarkozy, Sen. John McCain, Arizona Republican, and her successor as secretary of state, John F. Kerry.
Mrs. Clinton's main argument was that Gadhafi was about to engage in a genocide against civilians in Benghazi, where the rebels held their center of power. But defense intelligence officials could not corroborate those concerns and in fact assessed that Gadhafi was unlikely to risk world outrage by inflicting mass casualties, officials told The Times. As a result, Defense Secretary Robert M. Gates and Adm. Mike Mullen, chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, strongly opposed Mrs. Clinton's recommendation to use force.
If Mrs. Clinton runs for president next year, her style of leadership as it relates to foreign policy will be viewed through the one war that she personally championed as secretary of state. Among the key questions every candidate faces is how they will assess U.S. intelligence and solicit the advice of the military leadership.
Numerous U.S. officials interviewed by The Times confirmed that Mrs. Clinton, and not Mr. Obama, led the charge to use NATO military force to unseat Gadhafi as Libya's leader and that she repeatedly dismissed the warnings offered by career military and intelligence officials.
In the recovered recordings, a U.S. intelligence liaison working for the Pentagon told a Gadhafi aide that Mr. Obama privately informed members of Congress that Libya "is all Secretary Clinton's matter" and that the nation's highest-ranking generals were concerned that the president was being misinformed.
The Pentagon liaison indicated on the tapes that Army Gen. Charles H. Jacoby Jr., a top aide to Adm. Mullen, "does not trust the reports that are coming out of the State Department and CIA, but there's nothing he can do about it."
In one conversation to the Libyans, the American intelligence asset said, "I can tell you that the president is not getting accurate information, so at some point someone has to get accurate information to him. I think about a way through former Secretary Gates or maybe to Adm. Mullen to get him information"
The recordings are consistent with what many high-ranking intelligence, military and academic sources told The Times:
Mrs. Clinton was headstrong to enter the Libyan crisis, ignoring the Pentagon's warnings that no U.S. interests were at stake and regional stability could be threatened. Instead, she relied heavily on the assurances of the Libyan rebels and her own memory of Rwanda, where U.S. inaction may have led to the genocide of at least 500,000 people.
"Neither the intervention decision nor the regime change decision was an intelligence-heavy decision," said one senior intelligence official directly involved with the administration's decision-making, who spoke on the condition of anonymity. "People weren't on the edge of their seats, intelligence wasn't driving the decision one way or another."
Instead of relying on the Defense Department or the intelligence community for analysis, officials told The Times, the White House trusted Mrs. Clinton's charge, which was then supported by Ambassador to the United Nations Susan E. Rice and National Security Council member Samantha Power, as reason enough for war.
"Susan Rice was involved in the Rwanda crisis in 1994, Samantha Power wrote very moving books about what happened in Rwanda, and Hillary Clinton was also in the background of that crisis as well," said Allen Lynch, a professor of international relations at the University of Virginia. "I think they have all carried this with them as a kind of guilt complex."
Humanitarian crisis was not imminent
In 2003, Gadhafi agreed to dismantle his weapons of mass destruction and denounce terrorism to re-establish relations with the West. He later made reparations to the families of those who died in the bombing of Pan-Am Flight 103 over Lockerbie, Scotland.
News media frequently described the apparent transformation as Libya "coming in from the cold."
Still, he ruled Libya with an iron grip, and by February 2011 civil war raged throughout the country. Loyalist forces mobilized tanks and troops toward Benghazi, creating a panicked mass exodus of civilians toward Egypt.
Mrs. Clinton met with Libyan rebel spokesman Mahmoud Jibril in the Paris Westin hotel in mid-March so she could vet the rebel cause to unseat Gadhafi. Forty-five minutes after speaking with Mr. Jibril, Mrs. Clinton was convinced that a military intervention was needed.
"I talked extensively about the dreams of a democratic civil state where all Libyans are equal a political participatory system with no exclusions of any Libyans, even the followers of Gadhafi who did not commit crimes against the Libyan people, and how the international community should protect civilians from a possible genocide like the one [that] took place in Rwanda," Mr. Jibril told The Times. "I felt by the end of the meeting, I passed the test. Benghazi was saved."
So on March 17, 2011, the U.S. supported U.N. Security Council Resolution 1973 for military intervention in Libya to help protect its people from Gadhafi's forthcoming march on Benghazi, where he threatened he would "show no mercy" to resisters.
"In this particular country — Libya — at this particular moment, we were faced with the prospect of violence on a horrific scale," Mr. Obama declared in an address to the nation on March 28. "We had a unique ability to stop that violence: An international mandate for action, a broad coalition prepared to join us, the support of Arab countries and a plea for help from the Libyan people themselves."
Yet Human Rights Watch did not see the humanitarian crisis as imminent.
"At that point, we did not see the imminence of massacres that would rise to genocidelike levels," said Sarah Leah Whitson, executive director of the Middle East and North Africa division for Human Rights Watch. "Gadhafi's forces killed hundreds of overwhelmingly unarmed protesters. There were threats of Libyan forces approaching Benghazi, but we didn't feel that rose to the level of imminent genocidelike atrocities."
Instead, she said, the U.S. government was trying to be at the forefront of the Arab Spring, when many dictator-led countries were turning to democracy.
"I think the dynamic for the U.S. government was: Things are changing fast, Tunisia has fallen, Egypt has fallen, and we'd better be on the front of this, supporting a new government and not being seen as supporting the old government," Ms. Whitson said.
Clinton blocks Gadhafi outreach
On the day the U.N. resolution was passed, Mrs. Clinton ordered a general within the Pentagon to refuse to take a call with Gadhafi's son Seif and other high-level members within the regime, to help negotiate a resolution, the secret recordings reveal.
A day later, on March 18, Gadhafi called for a cease-fire, another action the administration dismissed.
Soon, a call was set up between the former U.S. ambassador to Libya, Gene Cretz, and Gadhafi confidant Mohammed Ismael during which Mr. Ismael confirmed that the regime's highest-ranking generals were under orders not to fire upon protesters.
"I told him we were not targeting civilians and Seif told him that," Mr. Ismael told The Times in an telephone interview this month, recounting the fateful conversation.
While Mrs. Clinton urged the Pentagon to cease its communications with the Gadhafi regime, the intelligence asset working with the Joint Chiefs remained in contact for months afterward.
"Everything I am getting from the State Department is that they do not care about being part of this. Secretary Clinton does not want to negotiate at all," the Pentagon intelligence asset told Seif Gadhafi and his adviser on the recordings.
Communication was so torn between the Libyan regime and the State Department that they had no point of contact within the department to even communicate whether they were willing to accept the U.N.'s mandates, former Libyan officials said.
Mrs. Clinton eventually named Mr. Cretz as the official U.S. point of contact for the Gadhafi regime. Mr. Cretz, the former ambassador to Libya, was removed from the country in 2010 amid Libyan anger over derogatory comments he made regarding Gadhafi released by Wikileaks. As a result, Mr. Cretz was not trusted or liked by the family.
Shutting the Gadhafis out of the conversation allowed Mrs. Clinton to pursue a solitary point of view, said a senior Pentagon official directly involved with the intervention.
"The decision to invade [Libya] had already been made, so everything coming out of the State Department at that time was to reinforce that decision," the official explained, speaking only on the condition of anonymity for fear of retribution.
As a result, the Pentagon went its own way and established communications with Seif Gadhafi through one of his friends, a U.S. businessman, who acted as an intermediary. The goal was to identify a clear path and strategy forward in Libya — something that wasn't articulated by the White House or State Department at the time, officials said.
"Our big thing was: 'What's a good way out of this, what's a bridge to post-Gadhafi conflict once the military stops and the civilians take over, what's it going to look like?'" said a senior military official involved in the planning, who requested anonymity. "We had a hard time coming up with that because once again nobody knew what the lay of the clans and stuff was going to be.
"The impression we got from both the businessman and from Seif was that the situation is bad, but this [NATO intervention] is even worse," the official said, confirming the sentiments expressed on the audio recordings. "All of these things don't have to happen this way, and it will be better for Libya in the long run both economically and politically if they didn't."
Pentagon looks for a way out
The Pentagon wasn't alone in questioning the intervention.
The week the U.N. resolution authorizing military force was passed, Sen. Jim Webb, Virginia Democrat, expressed his own concerns.
"We have a military operation that's been put to play, but we do not have a clear diplomatic policy or clear statement of foreign policy. We know we don't like the Gadhafi regime, but we do not have a picture of who the opposition movement really is. We got a vote from the Security Council but we had five key abstentions in that vote."
Five of the 15 countries on the U.N. Security Council abstained from voting on the decision in Libya because they had concerns that the NATO intervention would make things worse. Mrs. Clinton worked to avoid having them exercise their veto by personally calling representatives from Security Council member states.
Germany and Brazil published statements on March 18, 2011, explaining their reasons for abstention.
"We weighed the risks of a military operation as a whole, not just for Libya but, of course, also with respect to the consequences for the entire region and that is why we abstained," Germany said.
Brazil wrote, "We are not convinced that the use of force as contemplated in the present resolution will lead to the realization of our most important objective — the immediate end of violence and the protection of civilians.
We are also concerned that such measures may have the unintended effect of exacerbating tensions on the ground and causing more harm than good to the very same civilians we are committed to protecting."
Sergey Ivanovich Kislyak, Russia's ambassador to the U.S., told The Times that history has proved those concerns correct.
"The U.N. Security Council resolution on Libya was meant to create a no-fly zone to prevent bombing of civilians," said Mr. Kislyak. "NATO countries that participated in this intervention were supposed to patrol the area. However, in a short amount of time the NATO flights — initially meant to stop violence on the ground — went far beyond the scope of the Security Council-mandated task and created even more violence in Libya."
On March 19, the U.S. military, supported by France and Britain, fired off more than 110 Tomahawk missiles, hitting about 20 Libyan air and missile defense targets. Within weeks, a NATO airstrike killed one of Gaddafi's sons and three grandsons at their the family's Tripoli compound, sparking debate about whether the colonel and his family were legitimate targets under the U.N. resolution.
Mr. Gates, the defense secretary, said the compound was targeted because it included command-and-control facilities.
Even after the conflict began, U.S. military leaders kept looking for a way out and a way to avoid the power vacuum that would be left in the region if Gadhafi fell.
As the intelligence asset working with the Joint Chiefs kept his contacts going, one U.S. general made an attempt to negotiate directly with his Libyan military counterparts, according to interviews conducted by The Times with officials directly familiar with the overture.
Army Gen. Carter Ham, the head of the U.S. African Command, sought to set up a 72-hour truce with the regime, according to an intermediary called in to help.
Retired Navy Rear Adm. Charles Kubic, who was acting as a business consultant in Libya at the time, said he was approached by senior Libyan military leaders to propose the truce. He took the plan to Lt. Col. Brian Linvill, the U.S. AFRICOM point of contact for Libya. Col. Linvill passed the proposal to Gen. Ham, who agreed to participate.
"The Libyans would stop all combat operations and withdraw all military forces to the outskirts of the cities and assume a defensive posture. Then to insure the credibility with the international community, the Libyans would accept recipients from the African Union to make sure the truce was honored," Mr. Kubic said, describing the offers.
"[Gadhafi] came back and said he was willing to step down and permit a transition government, but he had two conditions," Mr. Kubic said. "First was to insure there was a military force left over after he left Libya capable to go after al Qaeda. Secondly, he wanted to have the sanctions against him and his family and those loyal to him lifted and free passage. At that point in time, everybody thought that was reasonable."
But not the State Department.
Gen. Ham was ordered to stand down two days after the negotiation began, Mr. Kubic said. The orders were given at the behest of the State Department, according to those familiar with the plan in the Pentagon. Gen. Ham declined to comment when questioned by The Times.
"If their goal was to get Gadhafi out of power, then why not give a 72-hour truce a try?" Mr. Kubic asked. "It wasn't enough to get him out of power; they wanted him dead."
Libyan officials were willing to negotiate a departure from power but felt the continued NATO bombings were forcing the regime into combat to defend itself, the recordings indicated.
"If they put us in a corner, we have no choice but to fight until the end," Mr. Ismael said on one of the recordings. "What more can they do? Bomb us with a nuclear bomb? They have done everything."
Under immense foreign firepower, the Gadhafi regime's grip on Libya began to slip in early April and the rebels' resolve was strengthened. Gadhafi pleaded with the U.S. to stop the NATO airstrikes.
Regime change real agenda
Indeed, the U.S. position in Libya had changed. First, it was presented to the public as way to stop an impending humanitarian crisis but evolved into expelling the Gadhafis.
CIA Director Leon E. Panetta says in his book "Worthy Fights" that the goal of the Libyan conflict was for regime change. Mr. Panetta wrote that at the end of his first week as secretary of defense in July 2011, he visited Iraq and Afghanistan "for both substance and symbolism."
"In Afghanistan I misstated our position on how fast we'd be bringing troops home, and I said what everyone in Washington knew, but we couldn't officially acknowledge: That our goal in Libya was regime change."
But that wasn't the official war cry.
Instead: "It was 'We're worried a humanitarian crisis might occur,'" said a senior military official, reflecting on the conflict. "Once you've got everybody nodding up and down on that, watch out because you can justify almost anything under the auspices of working to prevent a humanitarian crisis. Gadhafi had enough craziness about him, the rest of the world nodded on."
But they might not be so quick to approve again, officials say.
"It may be impossible to get the same kind of resolution in similar circumstances, and we already saw that in Syria where the Russians were very suspicious when Western powers went to the U.N.," said Richard Northern, who served as the British ambassador to Libya during part of the conflict. "Anything the Western powers did in the Middle East is now viewed by the Russians with suspicion, and it will probably reduce the level of authority they're willing to give in connection to humanitarian crises."
Mr. Kucinich, who took several steps to end the war in Libya, said he is sickened about what transpired.
He sponsored a June 3 resolution in the House of Representatives to end the Libyan war, but Republican support for the bill was diluted after Speaker John A. Boehner, Ohio Republican, proposed a softer alternative resolution demanding that the president justify his case for war within 14 days.
"There was a distortion of events that were occurring in Libya to justify an intervention which was essentially wrong and illegal because [the administration] gained the support of the U.N. Security Council through misrepresentation," said Mr. Kucinich. "The die was cast there for the overthrow of the Gadhafi government. The die was cast. They weren't looking for any information.
"What's interesting about all this is, if you listen to Seif Gaddafi's account, even as they were being bombed they still trusted America, which really says a lot," said Mr. Kucinich. "It says a lot about how people who are being bombed through the covert involvement or backdoor involvement of the U.S. will still trust the U.S. It's heart-breaking, really. It really breaks your heart when you see trust that is so cynically manipulated."
In August, Gadhafi's compound in Tripoli was overrun, signaling the end of his 42-year reign and forcing him into hiding. Two months later, Gadhafi, 69, was killed in his hometown of Sirte. His son Seif was captured by the Zintan tribe and remains in solitary confinement in a Zintan prison cell.
Since Gadhafi was removed from power, Libya has been in a constant state of chaos, with factional infighting and no uniting leader. On Tuesday, an attack on a luxury hotel in Tripoli killed nine people, including one American. A group calling itself the Islamic State-Tripoli Province took responsibility for the attack, indicating a growing presence of anti-American terrorist groups within the country.
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