FBI Pulled Official to Prevent Testimony at Key Anti-Terror Hearing

AP

AP

Washington Free Beacon, By Adam Kredo, Dec.5, 2014:

The FBI refused to appear before Congress earlier this week to testify on the threats posed to American citizens by foreign fighters and other extremists who have traveled from Western countries to fight alongside the Islamic State (IS), according to multiple congressional sources familiar with the situation.

The FBI initially agreed to provide a witness for Tuesday’s House Foreign Affairs Committee hearing regarding the threats posed to the U.S. homeland by extremists affiliated with IS (also known as ISIL or ISIS), according to those apprised of the situation.

However, the law agency changed its mind just a few days before the hearing and decided to block any official from testifying. The last minute decision was made amid reports that the FBI and Department of Homeland Security (DHS) had begun warning U.S. troops that IS fighters could be monitoring their social media accounts.

Officials from both the State Department and DHS agreed to appear at the hearing.

The FBI’s decision to stonewall Congress caused anger behind the scenes on Capitol Hill and led some to accuse it of evading its responsibility to inform American citizens about the dangers these terrorists pose.

“For the FBI to confirm its witness and then pull out only a few days before the hearing and not offer a replacement doesn’t exactly show a good faith effort on their part and it took away a lot from what we were trying to accomplish,” said one congressional source familiar with what took place behind-the-scenes.

“We are repeatedly being told that there is no credible threat to the U.S. homeland, but just a few days ago the FBI issued a warning to U.S. military members that ISIL is calling for attacks against them and it is seeking individuals in America that are sympathetic to its cause to carry out these attacks,” the source said. “So I think there is a very clear disconnect there.”

The FBI’s decision to back out had “real implications” on the hearing and the American public’s right to know about the threats posed by foreign fighters associated with IS.

“We do our hearings in an open setting so that the American public can stay informed with regard to the threats to our national security, and more importantly, what the administration is doing to counter or defend against those threats,” the source explained.

Another congressional source with knowledge of what took place said that the FBI told members and committee staff that “they had nothing to say in an unclassified setting.”

The source went on to describe this excuse as “pretty ridiculous.”

Multiple requests for comment and explanation from the FBI were not returned.

Lawmakers had prepared to ask FBI officials about an intelligence bulletin jointly issued by the FBI and DHS warning U.S.-based military personnel about potential threats from IS, which is believed to be monitoring their social media accounts.

The FBI’s absence was noticed several times at the hearing when lawmakers posed several questions that could not be answered by those officials in attendance.

When asked to explain the law enforcement mechanisms preventing jihadists with American passports from returning stateside, a DHS official referred questions to the FBI.

“If someone shows up at the U.S. and there’s indications that person has been a foreign fighter in Syria it would be referred to the FBI and then it would be a matter for the FBI,” Tom Warrick, a deputy assistant secretary for counterterrorism policy at DHS, told lawmakers during the hearing.

Lawmakers could not pose further questions on this topic and others due to the issues falling under the purview of the FBI.

After it was revealed that not a single American passport has been canceled since news that more than 100 citizens have joined IS, lawmakers had a tough time learning why.

Robert Bradtke, the State Department’s senior adviser for partner engagement on Syria foreign fighters, said that while the secretary of state has the power to cancel a person’s passport, he would only do so if asked by law enforcement.

“We would only do it in consultations with law enforcement authorities and we’ve not yet had any requests from law enforcement authorities to cancel the passports of ISIS or foreign fighters,” Bradtke said.

Without a FBI official in the hearing room, it could not be discerned why no requests had been made.

When asked about pro-IS graffiti that has been spotted in Washington, D.C., and elsewhere over the past several months, Warrick again deferred to the FBI.

“Is the graffiti we’ve seen in D.C. and other cities legitimate, or do you think it’s not?” asked Rep. Ileana Ros Lehtinen (R., Fla.).

“That would actually be a question that I think would be better addressed by the FBI or domestic law enforcement. They’d be able to help you with that,” Warrick responded.

While it is acceptable to keep sensitive details secret, organizations such as the FBI have a responsibility to be upfront with the American people, said one congressional source.

“Obviously a lot of what it is doing may be classified and we want to be mindful of those sensitivities because we don’t want to lead on to the bad guys what we know,” the source said. “However, we believe that the American people deserve to know what is being done to protect them.”

US Department of State Recruited at Muslim Brotherhood Convention

3259585027Center For Security Policy, December 1, 2014:

The United States Muslim Brotherhood political party, the United States Council of the Muslim Organizations (USCMO), was established in March 2014, but its top leadership, including USCMO Secretary General Oussama Jammal, had launched into political activism long before then. As this report will demonstrate, that political activism by Muslim Brotherhood-linked operatives has the open support of the U.S. Department of State.

One earlier event that now stands out more in retrospect than it might have at the time was the 11th annual Muslim American Society-Islamic Circle of North America Muslim Brotherhood convention that was held in Chicago in December 2012. The convention’s theme, “Toward a Renaissance: Believe, Act, & Engage,” foreshadowed the political activism to come. Today the USCMO Secretary General, Jammal at the time of the 2012 MAS-ICNA convention already was a national-level leader of the Brotherhood-linked MAS as well as the Bridgeview, Illinois-based Mosque Foundation and played an active role as speaker and discussion moderator at the event.

In addition to his current leadership role overseeing the operations of the USCMO, Oussama Jammal is the vice president of the Mosque Foundation, where he was once the president. Two among the Mosque Foundation’s current leaders, Sheikh Jamal Said and Sheik Kifah Mustapha, were named as unindicted, coconspirators in the Holy Land Foundation (HLF) Hamas financing trial in Texas, which concluded in late 2008 with a unanimous guilty verdict on 108 counts. Additionally, Jammal serves on the MAS National Executive Council; he is also the Executive Director for Illinois MAS Public Affairs and Civic Engagement (PACE). The MAS presents itself as “a non-profit 501(C)(3) organization,” and “a dynamic charitable, religious, social, cultural, and educational, organization” with a mission “to move people to strive for God consciousness, liberty, and justice, and to convey Islam with utmost clarity.”

In fact, however, the MAS was established in 1993 by the Muslim Brotherhood “whose goal is the “introduction of the Islamic Shari`ah as the basis controlling the affairs of state and society.” The MAS also happens to be a founding member of the USCMO. Positive references to so-called ‘martyrdom operations’ have featured in the MAS magazine The American Muslim, which contains fatwas issued by various Islamic scholars including Yusuf al-Qaradawi (senior jurist of the Muslim Brotherhood) and Muhammad al-Hanooti. A 2001 FBI memorandum stated that al-Hanooti, who attended the 1993 Philadelphia meeting of U.S.-based HAMAS members and supporters that led to the establishment of CAIR (Council on American Islamic Relations), raised over $6 million for HAMAS.

So, this was the political milieu for the December 2012 MAS-ICNA conference. The speakers list below reads like a Who’s Who of notables from the U.S. Muslim activist scene with long-established links to the Muslim Brotherhood.

USCMO1

Photo copy of the speaker’s list from the 11th Annual MAS-ICNA Convention, held in Chicago, IL in December 2012

One whose presence among such a gathering fairly begs for explanation is Mark S. Ward, the Deputy Special Coordinator in the Office of Middle East Transition, Office of the Deputy Secretary. Not only was Ward a featured speaker at this Muslim Brotherhood event, as can be seen from the official speakers list above, but he used the podium that day to solicit recruits from among the Muslim Brotherhood-dominated audience for employment with the State Department Foreign Service and U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID).

Read more

Reporters Mock State Dept for Downplaying Benghazi Terrorists Link to Al Qaeda


November 21, 2014 

Reporters poked fun at State Department spokesman Jeff Rathke on Friday as he tried to elaborate on the Obama administrations stance on the recent UN report linking Ansar al-Sharia to Al Qaeda.

“These groups are associated with Al Qaeda in Maghreb,” Rathke said, “but they are not arms of core Al Qaeda.

Ansar al-Sharia is said to be responsible for the 2012 Benghazi attacks on the U.S. consulate in which four Americans were killed.

Reporters gave Rathke some terms that they deemed more fitting, including, “Al Qaeda light”, “the jayvee team”, and a subsidiary of McDonald’s.

USA Policy on Nigeria – See No Jihad, Hear No Jihad, Say No Jihad

J. Peter Pham PhD of the Atlantic Center; Emmanuel Ogebe of Jubilee; Anselm John-Miller of the Movement for Ogoni People; and Robin Renee Sanders former U.S. Ambassador to Nigeria. Note the Nigerian Ambassador seated behind Mr. Ogebe. http://jubileecampaign.org/congressional-hearing-on-boko-haram-and-the-continued-violence-in-nigeria/

J. Peter Pham PhD of the Atlantic Center; Emmanuel Ogebe of Jubilee; Anselm John-Miller of the Movement for Ogoni People; and Robin Renee Sanders former U.S. Ambassador to Nigeria. Note the Nigerian Ambassador seated behind Mr. Ogebe. http://jubileecampaign.org/congressional-hearing-on-boko-haram-and-the-continued-violence-in-nigeria/

Obama Administration can find no jihad in murders and kidnappings in the name of Islam in Nigeria

By Andrew Harrod:

American Nigerian policy is to “see no jihad, hear no jihad, say no jihad,” the Nigerian human rights activist Emmanuel Ogebe from the Jubilee Campaign criticized in submitted testimony for a September 18 congressional hearing.  Along with Christian girls who escaped kidnapping by the jihadist group Boko Haram (BH), Ogebe and others at recent Washington, DC, briefings analyzed Nigeria’s bloody security crisis.

“Stop the denial,” Ogebe stated at the hearing while his prepared remarks criticized United States government agencies for blaming Nigerian conflict on socioeconomic grievances.  “Contrary to” this “recurring…narrative,” BH has “made amply and repeatedly clear” that it is an “Islamist insurgency” seeking an “Islamic Sharia state,” Ogebe wrote.  A BH video, for example, proclaimed “Jihad war against…Christianity…western education, democracy.”

The result is “possibly the worst on-going genocide against Christians” even as globally “Christianity is the most persecuted religion.” “More Christians were killed in Northern Nigeria in 2012 than the rest of the world,” for example, while official reports ranked BH the “second most deadly terrorist group in the world right below the Taliban.”  In total, BH has killed over “10,000 people since 2009, both Nigerian nationals and international victims…from over 15 nations—far more than ISIS, AL Qaeda and possibly the Taliban.”

BH has “not beheaded an American…not for want of trying,” given several abduction attempts in northern Nigeria.  “I want to cut White people,” BH leader Abubaker Shekau stated in a video shortly after the Islamic State in Syria and Iraq (ISIS) beheaded American journalist James Foley.  Several Americans, though, survived an August 26, 2011, BH bombing of United Nations’ Nigerian headquarters in the capital Abuja, including one recently identified.

BH’s “threat to not only Nigerian people but also the world” has a “well documented nexus with global jihad,” as shown by Nigerians captured fighting for the Taliban in Afghanistan and Osama bin Laden’s personal secretary visiting Nigeria.  Groups like BH and ISIS globally “feed off each other,” as BH schoolgirl kidnappings have inspired ISIS sex slavery and BH has emulated ISIS’ caliphate declaration.  BH is “paralleling” ISIS atrocities, religious freedom expert Nina Shea seconded Ogebe on a September 19 Hudson Institute (HI) panel, with “clear confirmation” of BH Islamization in Nigeria under a “very brutal religious cleansing.”

“Starving refugees on mountaintops, towns overrun and their Christian population exterminated, children decapitated” characterize not just Iraq, but northern Nigeria, Ogebe wrote.  “Practically every ignoble deed” of ISIS “has been done by Boko Haram in the last three years.”  A “putative third world war” is occurring in an “incremental,” “retail,” or “franchise” manner or, as Pope Francis I recently declared, “piecemeal, with crimes, massacres, destruction.”  An “iron veil” in some countries has replaced the iron curtain’s tyranny, Ogebe assessed.  “We are all in this together,” Ogebe stated at HI given jihad’s global reach in countries like Iraq, Nigeria, and the Philippines.

“Violent Jihad is as Violent Jihad does” and “cannot be rationalized,” Ogebe’s congressional testimony criticized in assessing American attributions of BH violence to, for example, deprivation.  Nigeria is Africa’s wealthiest economy and BH bribes people from neighboring Niger to fight, Ogebe argued at a September 9 Rayburn House Office Building briefing.  The “good old days” before BH, in contrast, already exhibited Muslim animus against Nigerian Christians; Ogebe recalled a Christian student illegally forced to kneel in the sun while receiving Islamic instruction in a Muslim-majority area.  “Violent jihadist groups are never about an inclusive government,” Ogebe meanwhile qualifies American concerns about sectarianism in Iraq and Nigeria, “they are about an exclusive government.”

Yet “Violent Extremist Organization” or VEO, not jihadist, is the description for groups like BH in American training undergone by African military officers.  An equally anodyne “junket-filled tenure” marked America’s last Ambassador-at-Large for International Religious Freedom, Suzan Johnson Cook.  She covered a “record 27 countries in 29 months” with equal time in Nigeria and Ghana, a country with few religious freedom concerns.  While the presumptive presidential candidate Hillary Clinton “is playing to the gallery” now by calling BH terrorists, Ogebe noted on September 9, she resisted this designation as secretary of state.

Media such as the Wall Street Journal and American officials have often presented BH as equal opportunity killer. BH’s “campaign against all Nigerians,” for example, concerned Undersecretary of State Sarah Sewall at the September 18 hearing.  (Sewall also did not “have numbers in front of me” concerning Christianity as the world’s most persecuted faith and speculated that claims of more Christians killed in Nigeria in 2012 than the rest of the world “might not be accurate.”)  Yet BH only attacks Muslims “for cause” such as government collaboration in the midst of wholesale targeting of Christians.  Thus about 90% of the 276 schoolgirlskidnapped by BH on April 14 were Christian from Chibok, a specifically targeted majority-Christian community.

Read more at Religious Freedom Coalition

Update IV of The Benghazi Brief – “Operation Zero Footprint” – What We Know About The Benghazi Mission, And Subsequent Attack…

benghazi4-e1351495805540By Sundance, June 25, 2014:

UPDATE IV -  In response to the Times of London report, and in a generally dismissed part of her congressional testimony,  Senator Rand Paul asked outgoing Secretary Hillary Clinton a very specific question – (See @2:20 of this video and pay attention to the “duping delight”):

 

Which would bring us to a series of now reconcilable questions surrounding the joint State Dept. and CIA Benghazi Mission.

The entire weapons operation was labeled “Operation Zero Footprint”.  The intent is outlined in the operational title – to leave no visible record of U.S. involvement in arming the Libyan “rebels”.   No visible footprint.

We know from congressional inquiry Ambassador Chris Stevens had asked for more security in the months prior to Sept. 11th 2012.   Requests sent to the State Dept that were denied.

We also know that NO MARINE DETACHMENT was ever put in place to defend the Benghazi Mission.

We also know the Benghazi Mission was initially, and mistakenly by media, called “a consulate”, or a “consulate outpost”.  But there was no State Dept record of any consulate office in Benghazi.

All of these seeming contradictions can be reconciled with the simple understanding that this “Mission” was unofficial.   Remember the goal – No visible footprint.

Why were security requests denied?   Remember the goal – No visible footprint.

We know from General Carter Ham (AFRICOM Commander now retired) the Department of Defense was not even aware the State Dept was operating a mission in Benghazi during 2012.   Remember the goal – No visible footprint.

How could Hillary Clinton, Charlene Lamb, or Patrick Kennedy approve or request a marine security detachment knowing the entire mission around Benghazi was covert?  Such a request would have travelled outside the small group of State/CIA insiders.  The request would have gone to DoD.  Short answer, they couldn’t.

Hence the disconnect between what seemed to be obvious and/or simple questions and the inability to accurately discuss in the public venues of congressional inquiry.

To the public Chris Stevens was a U.S. ambassador, a diplomat.  To the folks inside the State Dept and CIA, Chris Stevens was a U.S. Ambassador, AND a CIA operative coordinating covert arms sales.

Even after death the public face of Chris Stevens, the official role, was able to be discussed.   The covert, or unofficial role, was not.   Again, we see the disconnect between inquiry that could be answered, and inquiry that could not be answered.  Many irreconcilables surface because of this intelligence role – even through today.

The second role of Stevens, the covert and CIA aspect, still causes problems for people trying to understand the “why not” questions.   The broader public asking why have we not seen, or heard from the survivors of the attacks?

The short answer is, we have not – but the intelligence community has.

Twice some of the survivors have given testimony to congress.   The problem for the public is that those hearings are closed door, classified, intelligence hearings – led by Chairman Mike Rogers and the Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence.   Again, go back to the beginning of Operation Zero Footprint and you see the congressional Intelligence Gang of Eight were fully aware of the intents.

Why was Speaker Boehner reluctant to establish a Select Committee on Benghazi ?

Simple, again he is one of the Gang of Eight – and he was briefed of the operation.   How is he going to call for a select committee when he knows the substance of the committee investigation is classified under national security.   Such a committee would not, because it could not, deliver what the public was requesting, sunlight.

The only reason Trey Gowdy was finally assigned the task of a Select Committee, was simply because the public lies of the White House and administration were contradicting themselves.

The White House “talking points”, which is a ridiculous squirrel hunt, were created to reconcile the problem faced when unable to discuss a covert operation.  It is far easier to look at the reality of the problem faced by the White House than any nefarious intention.

Unfortunately for the administration they are not that good.   Team Obama was so committed to keeping the covert operation “Zero Footprint” a secret (because of  the political embarrassment from factually arming al Qaeda) that the cover story they manufactured (on the fly) was fraught with contradictions.

How could President Obama dispatch help to the Benghazi team, when DoD was not even aware of it’s existence?   Sending help would have compromised OpSec, Operational Security.

The dispatch of F.A.S.T. would lead to increased knowledge of a covert operation.

Hopefully you are beginning to see the root of the contradictions.  Once you understand the truth of what was going on within the backstory – there’s almost nothing left which would dangle as an unanswered question.   It all reconciles.

Read more at The Conservative Tree House (scroll down for Update IV)

(Update Part III): “Operation Zero Footprint” – What We Know About The Benghazi Mission and Subsequent Attack…

benghazi4-e1351495805540By Sundance, June 22, 2014: (Hat tip Allen West)

We now have a pretty good understanding of who, what, where, and why surrounding the 9/11/12 attack on the U.S. compound in Benghazi Libya. We are also better positioned to understand why, or perhaps more importantly why not, certain actions were taken before, during, and in the immediate aftermath of the attack itself.

We know from the Bret Baier interview with Hillary Clinton that she was physically located at her 7th floor office in Washington DC on the night of the attack. Unfortunately we also know during the November 2012 Thanksgiving holiday a mysterious fire took place in that building. Well, actually directly above her exact office - cause undetermined.

A “fire” which preceded an unfortunate slip and fall for the Secretary, resulting in a concussion, which led to the discovery of a blood clot, that ultimately delayed her congressional testimony before a Senate Hearing into the events of the night in question.

We know the Libyan uprising began on February 10th of 2011, and we also know that sometime around the end of February 2011 President Obama signed a presidential directive authorizing the State Dept and CIA to begin a covert operation to arm the Libyan “rebels”.

We know the “rebels” were positioned in two strategic places. Benghazi, and the port city of Darnah, both located in Eastern Libya.

We know this covert operation came to be known as “Operation Zero Footprint“, and fell under the military command authority of NATO not (important to repeat), NOT, the U.S. Military.

We know by the time operation “Zero Footprint” began, AFRICOM commander General Carter Ham was removed from OPSEC oversight in the Libyan campaign and NATO commander Admiral James G. Stavridis was in charge.

Stavridis was the Supreme Allied Commander Europe (SACEUR) at the time of the Libyan uprising. He retired as SACEUR in 2013

In 2011, 57-year-old Stavridis was the perfect pick for NATO Libyan intervention considering he is the son of Turkish immigrants. Turkey played a key role in what might be the most politically dangerous aspect of the events to the White House once the goals changed to redirection of the weapons from Operation Zero Footprint.

We know Operation Zero Footprint was the covert transfer of weapons from the U.S to the Libyan “rebels”. We also know the operation avoided the concerns with congressional funding, and potential for public scrutiny, through financing by the United Arab Emirates (UAE).

We also know that officials within the government of Qatar served as the intermediaries for the actual transfer of the weapons, thereby removing the footprint of the U.S. intervention.

We know the entire operation was coordinated and controlled by the State Department and CIA. We also know (from the Senate Foreign Relations Benghazi hearings) that “Zero Footprint” was unknown to the 2011 Pentagon and/or DoD commanders who would have been tasked with any military response to the 9/11/12 attack – namely AFRICOM General Carter Ham.

However, it would be implausible to think that then Defense Secretary Bob Gates or Joint Chiefs Chair Admiral McMullen were completely unaware of the operation, this aspect remains murky.

Both Secretary Gates and Joint Chiefs Chair McMullen were in place when Operation Zero Footprint began but retired from their jobs in Sept of 2011, and were replaced by Bob Gates and Martin Dempsey respectively.

Leon Panetta was CIA Director at the beginning of Operation Zero Footprint (March 2011) and was replaced by CIA Director David Petraeus in the fall of 2011 as Panetta replaced Bob Gates and became Secretary of Defense.

However, Panetta (now as Def Sec) and JC Martin Dempsey were the two who initially briefed President Obama on the night of Sept 11th 2012. Leon Panetta definitely had knowledge of the intents of the joint State Dept/Cia mission in Benghazi, Dempsey may not have.

We know the White House appears to have followed “The Intelligence Oversight Act of 1980” in informing the congressional “Gang of Eight” of Zero Footprint.

The Gang of Eight in 2011 would have included: Speaker – John Boehner, Minority Leader – Nancy Pelosi; House Permanent Select Committee on Intel Chairman – Mike Rogers, and his Democrat counterpart Charles Ruppersberger; Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell, and Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid; along with Senate Intel Chair Diane Feinstein and her Republican counterpart, Saxby Chambliss.

From Hillary interviews we also know the White House liaison for Secretary Clinton and CIA Director Leon Panetta during Operation Zero Footprint was National Security Advisor To the President, Tom Donilon.

With this information we can assemble a cast of people “IN THE KNOW” of Operation Zero Footprint on two specific date blocks. March 2011 through Pre 9/11/12 attack – and – Post 9/11/12 attack forward.

Read more at The Conservative Tree House

RNC Slams Hillary’s Record at State Dept

BY: 
May 20, 2014 10:22 am

The RNC on Tuesday released a web video titled “Bad Choices” which focuses on the numerous failures of former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton.

The failures discussed are BenghaziBoko Haram, the reset with Russia, and her confusing record on Iran sanctions.

EXECUTION COULD COME THURSDAY FOR YOUNG PREGNANT MOTHER IN SUDAN UNLESS SHE ‘REVERTS’ TO ISLAM

Eleza JohnBreitbart, by FAITH J. H. MCDONNELL:

For the past couple of weeks, the brutal abduction of some 300 schoolgirls in Chibok, Borno State, in northern Nigeria, has sparked outrage against their abductors, Boko Haram. Some journalists have even been prompted to take such phrases as “Islamic extremists” and “Islamist terrorists” out of the mothballs where they have been for the past five or six years.  There is no way to soft pedal the obscenity of selling young girls as slaves because they are “infidels.” But the war against women waged by Islam is not just raging in Nigeria.

The same ideology, the same way of looking at and controlling the world, is now threatening the life of a young mother in Sudan. Take all the misogyny, the rage against infidels, and the belief of the supremacism of strict adherence to the Koran that allows for no other way of life manifested in Boko Haram, telescope it, and you have the death sentence given to Meriam Yahia Ibrahim, 27, by the Islamist Government of Sudan.

Ibrahim, who is almost nine months pregnant, is married to South Sudanese Christian American citizen, Daniel Wani. She was arrested on Sunday, May 11, and incarcerated in Omdurman Prison in Khartoum, along with the couple’s two-year-old son, Martin. Wani, who lives in New Hampshire, had been in the process of applying for, but had not yet received, a spousal visa for his wife to come to the United States with him.

Although Ibrahim was raised as a Christian by her Ethiopian Orthodox mother, under Shariah she is considered a Muslim because her father was a Muslim. Therefore, her marriage to Wani was declared invalid and she was sentenced to be given 100 lashes for adultery since the marriage was deemed void.

  According to Sudanese human rights activist Safwan Abdalmoniem of the Hardwired organization, Judge Abbas Al Khalifa of the Criminal Court in al-Haj Yousif in Khartoum Bahri also sentenced Ibrahim to death for apostasy when she told the court that she was indeed a Christian and lawfully married to Wani.  

The Islamist regime has very graciously given Ibrahim an opportunity to avoid the death sentence, which otherwise is supposed to be carried out onThursday, May 15. All she needs to do is to renounce her Christian faith and convert to (or as they phrase it “return to”) Islam, a process referred to as istitabah in Arabic. She would, of course, be separated from her husband forever, and it is unclear what would happen to her children. 

According to Abdalmoniem, Ibrahim’s lawyer has requested that she be transferred to a hospital for treatment of complications related to her pregnancy, but the court has refused. The African Center for Justice and Peace Studies further reveals that the court invited two organizations, including one, Munazzamat al-Da’wa al-Islamiia, which is affiliated with the Muslim Brotherhood, to ‘counsel’ Ms. Ibrahim on her faith. This young mother is being harassed and intimidated to convert not just for her own sake, but for the sake of her unborn child who will die with her. 

In response to this violation of human rights and religious freedom, the United States Embassy in Khartoum issued – not a hashtag – but a reprimand to the Sudanese government in which they were joined by the Embassies of the United Kingdom, Canada, and the Netherlands. 

After expressing their obligatory “deep concern,” the Embassies called “upon the Government of Sudan to respect the right to freedom of religion, including one’s right to change one’s faith or beliefs, enshrined in international human rights law as well as in Sudan’s own 2005 Interim Constitution.” They also urged “Sudanese legal authorities to approach Ms. Meriam’s case with justice and compassion that is in keeping with the values of the Sudanese people” and expressed concern “over the brutal sentence that could be faced with respect to the finding of adultery.”

“We need the U.S. and others to pressure the Government of Sudan to release my wife and son and cancel the charges against her,” Wani told Abdalmoniem.

It is good that the U.S. Embassy statement expresses a unified message from the embassies of four nations. Its failing is that the message, like so many in the present day, is tepid and lacks the pressure of which Wani speaks. The United States government should not just call on Khartoum to respect the right to freedom of religion, but should demand the release of the wife of an American citizen, affirming Meriam Yahia Ibrahim’s right to practice her Christian faith and be married to a Christian husband. In addition, Meriam’s story should be spread throughout the country today – whether with hashtags or otherwise. 

Time is running out to stop Islam’s war on women from winning one more battle. 

Faith J. H. McDonnell directs the Institute on Religion and Democracy’s Religious Liberty Program and Church Alliance for a New Sudan and is the author of Girl Soldier: A Story of Hope for Northern Uganda’s Children (Chosen Books, 2007).

Also see:

 

IPT Exclusive: Records Prove MB Delegates Skipped Airport Inspections

Finally: U.S. Names Boko Haram as Foreign Terrorist Organization

victims of boko haram1

Why did the U.S. resist designating the group for so long, even though it fits every definition of a foreign terrorist org. and threatens the West?

BY RYAN MAURO:

The U.S. government has finally designated Boko Haram, an Al-Qaeda affiliate in Nigeria, as a Foreign Terrorist Organization. In July, the Clarion Project started a petition to label the group as such. The State Department also designated Ansaru, a Boko Haram offshoot, as foreign terrorists.

“Boko Haram is a Nigeria-based militant group with links to al-Qa’ida in the Islamic Maghreb (AQIM) that is responsible for thousands of deaths in northeast and central Nigeria over the last several years including targeted killings of civilians,” the State Department said, making the announcement.

Notice the timeframe mentioned by the State Department: “Several years.” For “several years” — during both the Bush and Obama Administrations — the U.S. government resisted designating Boko Haram as a terrorist group, even though it fits every definition of one and threatens the West.

Three top Boko Haram officials were blacklisted as terrorists by the U.S. government in June 2012, but the Obama Administration dragged its feet in designating the group entirely. This was due to a complete misreading of Boko Haram’s ideology and an apparently desire to keep the “War on Terror” as narrow as possible.

In May, President Obama gave a speech where he emphasized that “not every collection of thugs that labels themselves al-Qaeda will pose a credible threat to the United States.

Read more at Clarion Project

TIMMERMAN: The real questions about Benghazi

SHROUDED: Nearly a year after the remains of the four Americans were repatriated, little is known about the Benghazi terrorist attack that killed them. Survivors have said little publicly, "talking points" have proved false and the White House has called it a "phony scandal." (ASSOCIATED PRESS)

SHROUDED: Nearly a year after the remains of the four Americans were repatriated, little is known about the Benghazi terrorist attack that killed them. Survivors have said little publicly, “talking points” have proved false and the White House has called it a “phony scandal.” (ASSOCIATED PRESS)

By Kenneth R. Timmerman:

Secrets about how the tragedy happened still remain hidden

A year has gone by since the catastrophic attacks on U.S. government facilities in Benghazi, and the Obama administration has yet to provide any answers to the families of the four Americans who were killed, or to the American people.

What really happened in Benghazi on Sept. 11, 2012? More importantly, why?

We know one thing for sure: The initial story put out by the administration — that it began as a demonstration over an Internet video — is simply not true.

Far more astonishing is the fact that everyone in the chain of command — from President Obama on down to the duty officers at the Department of State and the Pentagon who were following video and audio feeds from Benghazi as the attacks unfolded — knew that the cover story provided to the ambassador to the U.N.Susan E. Rice, for talk shows the following Sunday was an utter fabrication. Even the State Department’s own Accountability Review Board admitted last December, “there was no protest prior to the attacks.”

Why did the administration take the risk of putting out a fabricated cover story? What does it tell us about what really happened, and why?

These are questions that Rep. Darrell E. Issa, California Republican, needs to ask the members of the review board when they testify at a House Oversight and Government Reform Committee hearing he will chair on Thursday.

The White House cover-up first sought to disguise the identity of the attackers. They wanted us to think the attackers were just a flash mob, not an organized terrorist group.

What did that hide? For starters, that an Iranian-backed brigade, run by a former Gitmo detainee who knew Ambassador J. Christopher Stevens personally, claimed responsibility for the attack. This came at a time when the administration was deep in discussions with the Iranian regime over a “grand bargain” to bring Iran back into the concert of nations.

Also missing was any mention of Muslim Brotherhood operatives from Egypt whose presence during the attack has been documented in YouTube videos and subsequently by a Libyan government investigation.

Why was that embarrassing? Because the Muslim Brotherhood, and specifically Egypt’s president, Mohammad Morsi, were supposed to be our friends. Instead, Mr. Morsi’s agents apparently took part in the killing of four Americans.

Second, the cover-up sought to disguise the motivation of the attackers. The administration wanted us to believe that the attack was a spontaneous response to an Internet video that Muslims found offensive — in other words, that it was our fault.

We still don’t know for sure the motivation of the attackers, other than they were well-organized terrorists hell-bent on killing Americans. However, sources I have interviewed in this country and abroad with firsthand knowledge of the events in Libya have raised several theories I continue to investigate:

• The attackers were retaliating for the targeted killing of Islamists by a CIA-Joint Special Operations Command teams working out of the Benghazi CIA annex.

• They were seeking to loot surface-to-air missiles gathered up by the CIA and State Department contractors that were being stockpiled at the annex, or to prevent the transfer of those weapons to Syrian rebels;

• They were seeking to acquire the classified communications codes used by the intelligence teams at the annex and the diplomatic cipher used at the Special Mission Compound.

• They initially planned to kidnap the ambassador and exchange him for convicted Egyptian terrorist Omar Abdul Rahman, the so-called “blind sheik” imprisoned in the United States since 1994 for plotting to blow up the Lincoln and Holland tunnels in New York. In this theory, the attack got out of hand and the ambassador died.

The simplest explanation for the cover-up is the most familiar: President Obama was determined to cling to the fiction that he had defeated al Qaeda, in the hopes this would pull the rug out from under his Republican challenger, Mitt Romney, in November. If the cover-up unraveled after the elections, so be it.

However, from what I have uncovered so far, I think this story goes much deeper, and gets much darker.

Read more at Washington Times

Kenneth R. Timmerman is the author of “Shadow Warriors: Traitors, Saboteurs and the Party of Surrender” (Three Rivers Press, 2008).

Kennedy: Libya Is Not Allowing U.S. Law Enforcement to Enter Country and Arrest People

BY: 
September 18, 2013 2:11 pm

 

 

Under Secretary of State Patrick Kennedy said the government of Libya is not allowing U.S. law enforcement into the country to arrest individuals connected with the Benghazi attack because the Libyan government “is not in control to that degree” Wednesday in a House Foreign Affairs Committee hearing.

Kennedy explained ever since the events of September 11, 2012 the country has taken a “serious turn for the worse.”

Journalists, according to Kennedy, still have access to the country but the Libyan government’s authority is so diminished it is incapable of allowing the United States in to arrest people:

REP. TED POE: But at the end of the day, here we are. Nobody has been taken out. Nobody is in custody. Nobody is in jail. Either on the side of the State Department, nobody is in jail, accountable for the murder. So whether it’s the people who were responsible for the killing or the people who may have made mistakes about the administration of this, nobody’s in custody.

[…]

REP. LOIS FRANKEL: Mr. Kennedy, Ambassador, thank you for your service. And, please, if you want to answer.

MR. PATRICK KENNEDY: I just — in response to the last question, Congressman, I believe that individuals of the State Department were held responsible. Being a deputy assistant secretary of state or an assistant secretary of state is not — is not, I humbly submit, sir, being a junior employee. Those are senior positions in the State Department. And for — one of those individuals resigned as the assistant secretary, and then all of them be relieved of their responsibilities is a serious act of accountability to be relieved at that level. And secondly, Benghazi has taken, even since the events of 9/11, has taken a serious turn for the worse. Yes, they will let journalists in, but they are not letting U.S. law enforcement in to arrest people there because the government of Libya is not — is not in control to that degree.

Also see:

The White House’s Visas-for-Terrorists Program

hani-nour-eddinBy :

A new Department of Homeland Security Office of Inspector General (DHS OIG) report raises more questions than answers regarding the circumstances behind the approval of a visa for a known member of a group identified by the State Department as being a member of a Foreign Terrorist Organization.

In June 2012, Egyptian Hani Nour Eldin visited the United States as a member of an Egyptian parliamentary delegation to meet with U.S. government officials and business leaders. During the course of those meetings, Eldin raised with then Deputy National Security Adviser Denis McDonough the issue of the release of Omar Abdel Rahman, the Blind Sheikh, from federal prison for humanitarian reasons.

Eldin’s presence at all these meetings is peculiar because in 1993 he admitted to being a member of Gama’a al-Islamiyya. Gama’a al-Islamiyya is an Egyptian Islamist group first designated by the State Department as a Foreign Terrorist Organization in 1997. Gama’a al-Islamiyya has been linked, though indirectly,to the assassination of Anwar Sadat. In the 1990s, the group was linked to a string of terrorist acts, including the murder of Egypt’s speaker of parliament and a 1995 attempted assassination of Hosni Mubarrak.

In 1993, Eldin was arrested after members of Gama’a al-Islamiyya got into a shoot-out with Egyptian security officials at a mosque. In a 1993 article that accompanied the arrest, Eldin denied his involvement in the shoot-out but proclaimed he was a member of Gama’a al-Islamiyya.

As such, the strictest reading of State Department protocols means that Eldin should have been denied a visa. After hearing complaints from New York Republican Congressman Peter King, the Department of Homeland Security Office of Inspector General did an audit of DHS efforts to screen members of Foreign Terrorist Organizations.

Read more at Front Page

Security Closures of US Embassies Across Middle East Coincide With Ramadan ‘Night of Power’

download (24)(CNSNews.com) – Many U.S. embassies across the Middle East will be closed on Sunday – usually a working day in the Arab world – in what the State Department says is a precautionary measure based on “security considerations.”

The State Department has not released a list of the missions ordered to close, but a review of official websites shows that they include the embassies in most Arab capitals from Cairo to Baghdad, as well as those in Israel, Afghanistan and Bangladesh.

Exceptions are the embassies in Beirut and Islamabad, but neither is usually open on a Sunday anyway.

“The Department has been apprised of information that, out of an abundance of caution and care for our employees and others who may be visiting our installations, indicates we should institute these precautionary steps,” says a notice posted on many of the affected embassies’ websites.

“It is possible we may have additional days of closings as well, depending on our analysis,” it adds. As of early Friday all specified closures were for Sunday only except for the embassy in Sana’a, Yemen, which will be closed on Sunday and Monday.

“The Department, when conditions warrant, takes steps like this to balance our continued operations with security and safety,” the notice says. “However, beyond this announcement we do not discuss specific threat information, security considerations or measures, or other steps we may be taking.”

State Department spokeswoman Marie Harf said she would not “go into any more detail about specific threat information,” or any particular significance attached to the August 4 date.

August 4 this year marks the 27th night of Ramadan, which according to most but not all Muslim scholars is Laylat al-Qadr (“night of power” or “night of destiny”), when Muslims believe the first verses of the Qur’an were revealed to Mohammed in the 7th century.

Laylatul-Qadr

The Qur’an describes the night as “better than a thousand months,” and many devout Muslims stay up through the night.

In its entry for August 4, the U.S. National Counterterrorism Center’s 2013 calendar notes: “Laylat al-Qadr (Night of Power; the night of revelation of Qur’an to Mohammed, begins this evening.)”

The 2013 NTCT calendar does not offer any further detail about the night, but in earlier editions up until 2010 (archived copy) it commented, “Islamic extremists might consider Laylat al-Qadr (“Night of Power”) especially auspicious for a terrorist attack. Islamic tradition holds that on this night rewards for deeds pleasing to Allah are magnified a thousandfold; extremists, in particular, believe that the gates of heaven are opened then for those who wage ‘jihad’ in defense of Islam to enter paradise.”

Since the Islamic calendar is lunar, dates of holidays change each year. Major Islamist terror attacks that have taken place around Laylat-al-Qadr in the years since 9/11 include: an attack on the Indian parliament, 13 killed (Dec. 2011); suicide bombings at the British consulate-general in Istanbul, 30 killed (Nov. 2003); a suicide car bombing in Kirkuk, Iraq, five killed (Nov. 2003); bombings in New Delhi, 62 killed (Oct. 2005); and a Boko Haram suicide bombing at the United Nations headquarters in Abuja, Nigeria, 25 killed (Aug. 2011).

Read more

 

Cyber Jihadists, State Department Now In Full-Blown Twitter War

 fsgfdsdf118900428FP, By Will McCants:

Since 2011, the State Department has sponsored a Digital Outreach Team tasked with countering al Qaeda propaganda on the Internet. In its brief existence, it’s difficult to quantify the team’s progress (and easy to laugh at its failures), but there’s one thing it is doing successfully: Making the right enemies.

The Digital Outreach Team (DOT) is part of the larger Center for Strategic Counterterrorism Communications, an interagency center housed at the State Department with a presidential mandate to subvert al Qaeda’s online outreach efforts (full disclosure: I helped set up the DOT’s current operations while at the State Department). The Center and the DOT venture on Twitter is relatively new and until now elicited little more than scorn from jihadi tweeters. But this month, it started to make some serious waves.

On July 17, a prominent jihadi on Twitter, Mu`awiya al-Qahtani (M_Al_Saqr), established a new Twitter account @Al_Bttaar whose mission is a mirror image of the Digital Outreach Team’s. Whereas the DOT aims to counter jihadi propaganda and discredit its promulgators using social media, @Al_Bttaar aims to spread that propaganda and silence its detractors. Now, there is reason to believe the @Al_Bttaar initiative is a direct response to the DOT’s activities: not only is it patterned after the DOT, its opening salvo was directed against one of the DOT’s tweeters, Tariq Ramzi (@dsdotar).

The DOT first provoked complaints from jihadis after crashing mainstream forums and casting their form of radical Islam in a negative light.  The day after @Al_Bttaar’s inaugural tweets, the group organized its first Twitter “raid,” an effort to take down the State Department’s account. Themethod was pretty simple: Just click the “report” button multiple times until a Twitter administrator removes the account.

Five minutes after passing out the instructions, the administrator posted the address of @dsdotar. Although there was spotty information during the attack on how it was going, @Al_Bttaarannounced the following day that it had failed. The administrator attributed the failure to the lack of participation — only 150 people reported the enemy account, short of the goal of 400 — and to the fact that people had followed the account before reporting it. (In a moment of internal bickering: one of the group’s followers noted that it was the administrator’s themselves who had recommended following the account.)

@Al_Bttaar has since moved on to conduct several attacks against other Twitter users, all of whom are Arabs who have displeased them in one way or the other.Few of them have been successful but that has not dampened the group’s enthusiasm or that of its now 1,570 followers. In one of its latest tweets, it promises even more action in the days to come.

So far, @Al_Bttaar’s efforts on Twitter are pretty small scale, which could also be said of the DOT’s activities. Part of the reason is resources: there are not many jihadis or counter-jihadis. But another reason is that both sides realize that this influence game is not about swaying large numbers of people but rather persuading just a few to join or turn away. Seen in this light, @Al_Bttaar’s antics probably have less to do with actually silencing its enemies than it does with attracting enthusiastic new followers who like its aggressive approach.

Will McCants is an analyst at the Center for Naval Analyses and a former State Department senior advisor for countering violent extremism.