Joe Biden Humiliated In Turkish “Appeasement” As Erdogan Bombs US Allies In Syria

erdogan biden_0Zero Hedge, by Tyler Durden, Aug 27, 2016:

The last time U.S. Vice President Joe Biden flew to Turkey, in January, he had a stern message for President Erdogan: his model of Islamic democracy was setting a bad example by intimidating media and threatening academics. However, his tone was markedly different when he arrived in Ankara on Wednesday, just weeks after a failed coup in Turkey that has strained relations between the two countries, and on the same day that Turkey launched a full-blown incursion into northern Syria “to halt ISIS.” With Turkey making very clear, and very open overtures toward Russia, Biden was in full blown diplomatic damage-limitation mode.

The dramatic shift in dplomatic posture by Biden comes as the U.S.-Turkish alliance has been dealt several blows in recent weeks, to the point where the US vice president’s arrival in Ankara shows just how concerned the US, which is counting on continued support from Turkey – NATO’s second-biggest military – has become.  American worries have been compounded by Erdogan restoring ties with Russia – the Turkish president’s first diplomatic meeting after the failed coup was with Putin in St. Petersburg, as a result of which Turkey has been discussing military cooperation with the Kremlin.

Meeting with Erdogan and Turkey’s prime minister in Ankara on Wednesday, Biden delivered a message of alliance and conciliation.   “Let me say it for one last time: The American people stand with you … Barack Obama was one of the first people you called. But I do apologize. I wish I could have been here earlier,” Biden said.

But he wasn’t.

And while Biden’s pathetic attempt at appeasement may have come and gone, reinforcing just how much the American people stand with a person whose pre-arranged purge of political opponents has resulted in over 100,000 Turkish citizens fired or arrested, Turkey’s diplomatic humiliation of the US continued, when far from attacking ISIS in Syria, the stated objective behind the invasion, Turkish forces and rebels supported by Erdogan continued their deadly attacks on Kurdish-backed forces in north Syria on Saturday. The same Kurdish-backed forces which are also backed by the US.

And it’s not as if Turkey is even hiding it: Turkey’s government, which is fighting a Kurdish insurgency at home, has said the Syrian campaign it opened this week is as much about targeting Islamic State as it is about preventing Kurdish forces filling the vacuum left when Islamists withdraw. Turkey wants to stop Kurdish forces gaining control of a continuous stretch of Syrian territory on its frontier, which Ankara fears could be used to support the Kurdish militant group PKK as it wages its three-decade insurgency on Turkish soil.

According to Reuters, Turkish security sources said two F-16 jets bombed a site controlled by the Kurdish YPG militia, which is part of the broader U.S.-backed Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF) coalition.

Meanwhile, the US-backed Kurds are fighting back,  and according to military sources, one Turkish soldier was killed and three others wounded when a tank was hit by a rocket that they said was fired from territory held by the Kurdish YPG. The sources said the army shelled the area in response.

At that point the chaos that is the Syrian conflict, with so many competing elements, many of whom supported by the US, was on full display.  Case in point: Syrian rebels opposed to Ankara’s incursion said Turkish forces had targeted forces allied to the YPG and no Kurdish forces were in the area. On the ground, Turkish-backed Syrian rebels fought forces aligned with the SDF near the frontier town of Jarablus. Forces opposed to Ankara said Turkish tanks were deployed, a charge denied by Turkey’s rebel allies.

As a result, the narrative is now split in two: one “confirming” the Turkish explanation, the other justifying the actions of the YPG, just in case the US decides to flip after all, and support its “lesser” allies:

the Jarablus Military Council, part of the SDF, had said earlier on Saturday that Turkish planes hit the village of al-Amarna south of Jarablus, causing civilian casualties. It called the action “a dangerous escalation”.

The Kurdish-led administration that controls parts of northern Syria said Turkish tanks advanced on al-Amarna and clashed with forces of the Jarablus Military Council. But the Kurdish administration said no Kurdish forces were involved.

However, the leader of one Turkey-backed rebel group gave a rival account. He told Reuters the rebels battled the Kurdish YPG around al-Amarna and denied any Turkish tanks took part.

Turkish security forces simply said Turkish-backed forces had extended their control to five villages beyond Jarablus.

In short, chaos and a full-blown media propaganda war; however, as Reuters notes, one thing is clear: any action against Kurdish forces in Syria puts Turkey further at odds with its NATO ally the United States,which backs the SDF and YPG, “seeing them as the most reliable and effective ally in the fight against Islamic State in Syria.”

However, just like Biden’s arrival in Ankara was a tacit admission that the US will fully ignore Erdogan’s unprecedented crackdown on human righs in post-coup Turkey as the president purges even the remotest political opponent, so the YPG, which has been “backed” by the US, is about to realize just how little such backing really means when the US has bigger fish to fry, in this case desperately trying to keep Turkey on its good side, and away from Putin’s circle of influence, all the while providing countless concessions to Turkey as the country continues to openly defy western norms and put away dissidents, while arresting members of the press, and education system, as Erdogan nationalizes private corporations alleged to have ties with the notorious “coup plotter” Fethulah Gullen.

In doing so, the Obama administration has once again revealed the true extent of its hypocricy, as it turns a blind eye toward the trampling of human rights in Turkey, while screaming bloody murder when something similar takes place in any other part of the world.

Meanwhile, Turkey’s humiliation of its “partner”, the US, will continue, and much to the amusement of Vladimir Putin, there is absolutely nothing Obama will do about it.

Also see:

John Bolton: Iran Deal ‘Worst Appeasement in American History’

Scott Olson/Getty Images

Scott Olson/Getty Images

Breitbart, by Adelle Nazarian, Aug. 25, 2016:

LOS ANGELES, California — Former U.S. Ambassador to the U.N. John Bolton declared Sunday that the Iranian nuclear deal is the “worst act of appeasement in American history.” Bolton was speaking at the Luxe Hotel on Sunday for the American Freedom Alliance‘s conference, titled “Islam and Western Civilization: Can They Coexist?”

Bolton, who is also a senior fellow at the American Enterprise Institute, elaborated on the threat that radical Islam and political Islam pose to the United States of America, Europe and the whole of Western civilization. In doing so, he explained the propaganda inherent in the term “Islamphobia,” and dismissed the “lone-wolf” concept of radical Islamic terrorism.

Bolton said there is plenty of evidence from western intelligence, among other sources, that the Iranian regime is violating the terms of the deal, otherwise known as the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action. “I don’t think they ever intended to comply with its central provisions. They made minimal concessions to begin with and in exchange they got over $100 billion.”

Pressing further, Bolton criticized the recent ransom paid for American captives.He joked: “The good news is: each and every one of you is worth $100 million to the Obama Administration. The bad news is: Iran understands this.”

On a serious note, Bolton said: “All of our adversaries, and even our friends, are appalled by what they’ve seen. And the abandonment of our decades-long, bipartisan policy of not negotiating with terrorists. But it was all part of the nuclear deal.” He predicted there are many more surprises that will come up.

Bolton also explained that the “nature of the threat here is extraordinarily broad” and that “it has  been growing” because in the last eight years it has faced “no effective American opposition whatsoever.” That unfettered dynamic has resulted in a nuclear arms race in the Middle East. “Turkey and the Saudis and Egyptians, and likely other governments throughout the region, have also embarked on their own nuclear programs missions,” he said.

Regarding the threat of radical Islam, Bolton told the audience,  “I think it’s important to say, at the outset every time the subject comes up, that we are talking about politics and ideology here. This is not a question about religion. And those who say that ‘when you talk about radical Islam you are insulting Muslims all over the world,’ are simply engaged in propaganda.” Bolton added that these are “exactly Muslims, themselves, who have felt the worst effects of Islamic terrorism and who suffer under its rule in places as diverse as Iran and the caliphate that ISIS now holds.”

Bolton explained that individuals who do not wish to have a clear understanding of the true nature of radical Islam are “quick to obscure” it. “It’s a struggle for how the religion is perceived around the world,” Bolton noted.

He pointed out that Muslim leaders like King Abdullah of Jordan and Egypt’s President and former military general Abdel Fattah al-Sisi have called for a transformation within Islam, going so far as pointing out that this is a civil war that must be embraced and led by the people themselves.

He also lauded al-Sisi for being “courageous enough a couple of years ago to join the Coptic Christians in their celebration of Christmas and say ‘we are all Egyptians together,’ and thus putting a target on his own back with the Muslim Brotherhood.”

Bolton said that to suggest phrases like “lone-wolf terrorists and self-radicalized terrorists” when explaining these attacks is like comparing them with “spontaneous combustion: they were normal people one day and then the next day they became terrorists.” The West, he said, had failed “to understand the ideological nature of this war.”

Turning the spotlight onto President Barack Obama, Bolton said “the president says his objective is to degrade and ultimately destroy ISIS. The problem with his strategy is his first three words: ‘degrade and ultimately’. The answer to ISIS is to destroy it as rapidly as possible. The reason you want to do that is because every day that we delay allows ISIS to implement strategies in Europe.”

Bolton added: “Innocent civilians are at risk because of our unwillingness to take appropriate military action.”

Follow Adelle Nazarian on Twitter @AdelleNaz

From Vlad Tepes:

What’s the Plan for Winning the War?

iranian-nuclear-weaponDoes anyone in the administration recognize that we’re in one?

CounterJihad, Aug. 25, 2016:

Michael Ledeen makes a clever observation:

Everyone’s talking about “ransom,” but it’s virtually impossible to find anyone who’s trying to figure out how to win the world war we’re facing.  The two keystones of the enemy alliance are Iran and Russia, and the Obama administration, as always, has no will to resist their sorties, whether the Russians’ menacing moves against Ukraine, or the Iranians’ moves against us.

The moves are on the chessboard, sometimes kinetic and sometimes psychological warfare.  Like a chess game, we are in the early stages in which maneuver establishes the array of forces that will govern the rest of the game.  Russia’s deployment of air and naval forces to Syria stole a march on the Obama administration.  Its swaying of Turkey, which last year was downing Russian aircraft, is stealing another.  Its deployment of bombers and advanced strike aircraft to Iran is another.  That last appears to be in a state of renegotiation, as Ledeen notes, but that too is probably for show.  The Iranians have too much to gain in terms of security for their nuclear program, at least until they’ve had time to build their own air force.

Iran is making strategic moves as well.  Ledeen notes the “Shi’ite Freedom Army,” a kind of Iranian Foreign Legion that intends to field five divisions of between twenty and twenty-five thousand men each.  Overall command will belong to Quds Force commander Qassem Suliemani, currently a major figure in the assault on Mosul, having recovered from his injury in Syria commanding Iranian-backed militia in the war there.  The fact of his freedom of movement is itself a Russian-Iranian demonstration that they will not be governed by international law:  Suliemani is under international travel bans for his assassination plot against world diplomats, but was received in Moscow and now travels freely throughout the northern Middle East.

Turkey, meanwhile, has been effectively cut off by Iran’s and Russia’s success in the opening game of this global chess match.  As late as the Ottoman Empire, the Turks looked south through Iran and Iraq to power bases as far away as Arabia.  Now the Ayatollahs are going to control a crescent of territory from Afghanistan’s borders to the Levant, leaving the Turks locked out.  One might have expected the Turks to respond by doubling their sense of connection to Europe and NATO.  Instead, the purge following the alleged coup attempt is cementing an Islamist control that leaves the Turks looking toward a world from which they are largely separated by the power of this new Russian-Iranian alliance.  The Turks seem to be drifting toward joining that alliance because being a part of that alliance will preserve their ties to the Islamic world.

For now, the Obama administration seems blind to the fact that these moves are closing off America’s position in the Middle East.  This is not a new policy.  Eli Lake reports that the Obama administration told the CIA to sever its ties to Iranian opposition groups in order to avoid giving aid to the Green revolution.  Their negotiation of last year’s disastrous “Iran deal” has led to Iran testing new ballistic missiles and receiving major arms shipments from Russia.  Yet while all these moves keep being made around them, the Obama administration proceeds as if this were still just an attempt to crush the Islamic State (ISIS).  The commander of the XVIIIth Airborne Corps has been given a task that amounts to helping the Iranians win.  Our incoherent policy has left us on both sides in Syria.  Our only real ally in the conflict, the Kurds, stand abandoned by America.

Who is even thinking about how to win the war?  Will the legacy of the Obama administration be a shattered NATO, a Turkey drawn into Russia’s orbit, an Iranian hegemony over the northern Middle East, and a resurgent Russia?  It certainly looks to be shaping up that way.  Russia is playing chess while the US is playing whack-a-mole.  The absence of a coherent governing strategy is glaring.

Kerry in Nigeria: ‘Trouble Finding Meaning’ of Life Leads ‘Too Many’ to Terrorism

Secretary of State John Kerry walks with Sultan Muhammadu Sa’ad Abubakar, Sokoto Gov. Aminu Waziri Tambuwai at the Sultan’s Palace in Sokoto, Nigeria, on August 23, 2016. (State Department photo)

Secretary of State John Kerry walks with Sultan Muhammadu Sa’ad Abubakar, Sokoto Gov. Aminu Waziri Tambuwai at the Sultan’s Palace in Sokoto, Nigeria, on August 23, 2016. (State Department photo)

PJ MEDIA, BY BRIDGET JOHNSON, AUGUST 23, 2016:

On a visit to Nigeria today, Secretary of State John Kerry declared there are “far too many” who join terrorist groups like Boko Haram “because they have trouble finding meaning or opportunity in their daily lives.”

“Because they are deeply frustrated and alienated — and because they hope groups like Boko Haram will somehow give them a sense of identity, or purpose, or power,” Kerry said after meeting with local religious leaders to discuss community building and countering violent extremism in Sokoto, Nigeria.

“We see this in every part of the world — whether we are talking about the Lake Chad Basin or the Sahel, or a village in the Middle East or a city in Western Europe, it’s the same. When people — and particularly young people — have no hope for the future and no faith in legitimate authority — when there are no outlets for people to express their concerns — then aggravation festers and those people become vulnerable to outside influence,” he added. “And no one knows that better than the violent extremist groups, which regularly use humiliation and marginalization and inequality and poverty and corruption as recruitment tools.”

Kerry stressed that “one of our central tasks — and almost every single religious leader I just heard in the other room talked about this task — has to be to remove the vulnerabilities in our own position.”

“To effectively counter violent extremism, we have to ensure that military action is coupled with a reinforced commitment to the values this region and all of Nigeria has a long legacy of supporting — values like integrity, good governance, education, compassion, security, and respect for human rights,” he said.

The Obama administration has been critical of Nigeria’s military campaign against Boko Haram, charging that human rights are being violated as they target suspected terrorists.

“It is understandable that in the wake of terrorist activity, some people are tempted to crack down on everyone and anyone who could theoretically pose some sort of a threat. I caution against that today,” Kerry said. “Extremism cannot be defeated through repression or just creating fear. Fear instilled through repression invites not confidence; it invites contempt. It creates terrorists — trust creates citizens.”

Nigeria is about half Muslim and 40 percent Christian, with indigenous religions making up the balance. Kerry told the Nigerians that “those who would tear our communities apart — pitting one religion or one sect against another — they can only be defeated by citizens’ unyielding commitment to unity and mutual understanding.”

“Equality and tolerance; justice and mercy; compassion and humility — these are values that transcend religions, ethnicities, and all kinds of moral codes,” he said. “They are certainly in keeping with the teachings of Islam that have enriched the world for centuries.”

Kerry’s trip also included a meeting with Nigerian President Muhammadu Buhari and a sit-down with northern governors.

The Nigerian Army claimed Monday that “believed to have fatally” Boko Harm leader Abubakr Shekau. The army claimed the same back in 2014, only to have Shekau emerge alive and well.

“In what one could describe as the most unprecedented and spectacular air raid, we have just confirmed that as a result of the interdiction efforts of the Nigerian Air Force, some key leaders of the Boko Haram terrorists have been killed while others were fatally wounded,” spokesman Col. Sani Kukasheka said in a statement, claiming the terrorists were killed during Friday prayers.

Deaths and injuries from Boko Haram attacks jumped 190 percent in 2015. Over the same period, the Nigeria-based terror group’s use of suicide bombers rose 167 percent. They pledged allegiance to ISIS in 2014.

The Problem Isn’t Nation-Building. It’s Islam-Building

war-helicopter

Front Page Magazine, by Daniel Greenfield, Aug. 19, 2016:

Nation-building has become a very controversial term. And with good reason. Our conviction that we can reconstruct any society into another America is unrealistic. It ignores our own exceptionalism and overlooks the cultural causes of many conflicts. It assumes that a change of government and open elections can transform a tribal Islamic society into America. They can’t and won’t.

But it’s also important to recognize that what we have been doing isn’t nation-building, but Islam-building.

Nation-building in Germany and Japan meant identifying a totalitarian ideology, isolating its proponents from political power and recreating a formerly totalitarian state as an open society. That is the opposite of what we did in Afghanistan and Iraq, never mind Egypt, Libya, Tunisia, Yemen and all the rest.

We did temporarily pursue de-Baathification in Iraq. But the Baathists were just Saddam’s cult of personality. Saddam was a problem in Iraq. But he wasn’t the problem in Iraq. His rule was a symptom of the real problem which was the divide between Sunnis and Shiites. The real problem was Islam.

Because we failed to recognize that, de-Baathification failed. The Baathists just folded themselves into ISIS. The Sunni-Shiite war went on even without Saddam. Today Sunnis and Shiites are still killing each other in Iraq much as they had for a long time. We have boiled this war down to ISIS, but ISIS, like Saddam is just another symptom of the political violence and divisiveness inherent in Islam.

Instead of secularizing Iraq, our efforts at democracy only heightened divisions along religious lines. The “Lebanon” model for Iraq with power sharing arrangements between Sunnis and Shiites was doomed.

Iraq’s first election was dominated by the Supreme Council for Islamic Revolution in Iraq. If that name rings a bell, it should. It came out of Iran. You know, the original Islamic Revolution. The “free” election had given a boost to an Islamic terror group whose goal was the creation of an Islamic State in Iraq.

The bloodiest days of the Iraq War actually came when two sets of Islamic terror groups fighting to create an Islamic State began killing each other… and us. We know one of those groups today as ISIS. The other group is the Iraqi government. And a decade later, they’re still killing each other.

Instead of nation-building in Iraq, we practiced Islam-building. Iraq’s constitution made Islam the official religion and the fundamental source of legislation. Its first real law was that, “No law that contradicts the established provisions of Islam may be established.” The new Iraq we had built was an Islamic State.

We did no better in the Islamic Republic of Afghanistan whose constitution declared much the same thing. Its first parliamentary elections saw victories for the National Islamic Movement of Afghanistan and the Islamic Society. As in Iraq and Syria, the distinctions between the bad Islamists and the good Islamists were often fuzzy at best. We had replaced the bad Islamist warlords who raped and murdered their enemies with the good Islamist warlords who raped and murdered their enemies.

Our nation-building had created an Islamic Republic of Afghanistan and an Islamic State in Iraq. It was no wonder that the fighting never stopped.

Matters grew much worse with the Arab Spring when Obama and Hillary’s Islam-building project flipped countries that had been democratic and secular in the loosest sense into the tar pit of political Islam.

Coptic Christians were massacred and churches were burned in Egypt. The Christian communities in Iraq and Syria were threatened with annihilation.  The Jewish community in Yemen may be close to disappearing entirely. The Yazidis were raped and murdered on a genocidal scale by the Islamic State.

But in many cases they were just collateral damage from fighting between Sunni and Shiite Islamists, and among Sunni Islamists battling each other for dominance.

The ugliest part of Islam-building was that the resulting conflicts between Islamists and secularists in Egypt and Tunisia highlighted starkly just how wrong our policy was. Instead of backing secular and democratic forces, Obama had thrown in with Islamists. And even after the Muslim Brotherhood was overthrown in Egypt, his administration continued advocating on behalf of its Islamic reign of terror.

If we had practiced actual nation-building, then we would have identified Islamic tribalism as the central corrosive force in Iraq and Afghanistan, and Islamic political movements as the totalitarian threat in Egypt, Libya and Tunisia. Our efforts would have been directed at isolating them and keeping them out of power while working to democratize and secularize these countries on the old Turkish model. It might not have worked, but at least it would have been nation-building, not Islam-building.

Nation-building might very well have failed. America doesn’t have infinite resources and the lives of our soldiers are precious. Assuming that we can upend radically different societies is excessively optimistic.

But we didn’t even try.

What we have been doing in this century isn’t nation building. Instead we’ve been empowering our enemies. We’ve been sticking our hands into Islamist snake pits and playing, “Find the Muslim moderate” and refusing to learn any better no matter how many times we get bitten.

We have been perfectly happy to help the Islamic terrorists that our soldiers were shooting at last week so long as their leader signed some sort of accord paying lip service to equality yesterday. We didn’t just get into bed with the Muslim Brotherhood, but with former affiliates of Al Qaeda and current proxies of Iran. We allied with the Sunni and Shiite Islamist murderers of American soldiers in Iraq.

And all we got for it was more violence, chaos and death.

Even without Islam, ethnic and tribal divisions would have made nation-building into a difficult challenge. But Islam-building didn’t just leave wrecked societies, but terror threats. Tensions between Arabs, Turkmen and Kurds wouldn’t have led to massacres in Paris and Nice. Only Islam could do that.

Islam takes local conflicts and makes them global. That’s why disputes over the authority of the House of Saud led to the mass murder of thousands of people in New York or why Arab attacks on Israel became a burning international issue. Or why Sunni and Shiite feuds in Iraq and Syria led to a massacre of attendees at a rock concert in Paris.

That is also why the combination of Islam and politics in any form is an existential threat to us.

Not only should we not be subsidizing it in any way, shape or form, but we should be doing our best to stamp it out. If we must have any form of nation-building, it should be the building of secular nations in which Islam is isolated and detached from any political involvement.

We have two options for preventing the spread of Islamic political violence into our countries. The first is a ban on Muslim immigration. The second is a ban on Muslim politics. The former has been dubbed isolationism and the latter nation-building. Neither term is truly accurate, but they capture the essence of the choice.

We however have chosen a choice that is far worse than either. We have opened our doors to Muslim migration while opening Muslim countries to further Islamic political involvement. We have Islamized terror states and ourselves. Is it any wonder that we suffer from a severe Islamic terror threat?

Open borders for Islamic terror and Islam-building have led to our current state of national insecurity. We have made the world more dangerous by backing Islamic politics and we have made our countries more dangerous by welcoming in Muslim migrants to be indoctrinated into terror by Islamist organizations. The more we build up Islam, the more we destroy ourselves.

Also see:

Hillary Clinton’s Foreign Policy Failures: A Recent History

The Associated Press

The Associated Press

Breitbart, by Tera Dahl, Aug. 15, 2016:

On Monday, fifty Republican national security veteransreleased a letter saying that none of them will vote for the Republican nominee, Donald Trump. They said in their letter that Trump would be a “dangerous President” on foreign policy and national security.

Monday also marked the 2-year anniversary of the war launched by the U.S. against Islamic State. NBC recently released a map showing the global expansion of Islamic State, showing how the U.S. policy to defeat them clearly has failed.

According to NBC:

U.S. State Department documents indicated that in 2014, when the U.S. military began its campaign to destroy the extremists, there were only seven nations in which the fledgling state was operating. A map from the National Counterterrorism Center shows the worldwide expansion of ISIS as of August 2016. By 2015, according to the State Department’s own numbers, there were nearly double that — 13 countries. The current briefing map shows 18 countries where  ISIS is fully operational. The map also displays a new category — “aspiring branches” — and lists six countries where  they’re taking root: Egypt, Indonesia, Mali, the Philippines, Somalia and Bangladesh.

We are currently facing a humanitarian catastrophe in the Middle East not seen since WWII. In 1945, Democratic President Harry Truman used the atomic bomb against the Japanese in Hiroshima and Nagasaki ending WWII, killing over 150,000 people. Truman stated that he did it to save lives and end the war. He argued that it wasn’t an option to prolong the war resulting in more bloodshed. President Obama has done nothing in the Syrian conflict and little in the global war on Islamic State, which has resulted in over400,000 deaths in Syria alone and displacing millions under his Presidency. Prolonging the war costs lives and money.

A do-nothing foreign policy as we have seen under President Obama and Hillary’s State Department is dangerous, not Donald Trump. Donald Trump would win and end the war against Islamic State, ultimately saving lives.

It is Hillary Clinton that has a proven record of a dangerous foreign policy. As Secretary of State, she has a consistent track record of supporting our enemies and alienating our allies.

A short list of Hillary’s policies that have jeopardized American national security include: undermining the service and sacrifice of thousands of men and women in uniform by reaching out to the Taliban in Afghanistan while they were killing American troops; supporting the withdrawal of American troops in Iraq which led to the creation of Islamic State; supporting the Muslim Brotherhood (a designated terrorist organization in Egypt,UAE and Saudi Arabia) throughout the Middle East and in the United States which undermined America’s Muslim allies; refusing to designate the Boko Haram as a foreign terrorist organization in Nigeria; undermining the democratic Iranian Green Revolution in 2009; and supporting the Iran Nuclear deal.

As Secretary of State, Hillary Clinton refused to designate Islamic State affiliate Boko Haram in Nigeria, which was named the deadliest terrorist organization in 2015, a terrorist group. She not only refused, but she hindered the efforts of Members of Congress who were trying to make the designation.

The FBI, CIA and Justice Department wanted Boko Haram designated but, ultimately, the State Department opposed the designation despite hard evidence from our Intelligence services.

Clinton’s refusal to designate them a FTO could be because of conflict of interest with the Clinton Foundation and a Nigerian businessman. Gilbert Chagoury, a Nigerian businessman with Lebanese dual citizenship and land developer, gave $5 million dollars to the Clinton Foundation throughout the years and pledged $1 billion to the Clinton Global Initiative in 2009 through the Chagoury Group. He hosted former President Bill Clinton in Nigeria as head of the Clinton Foundation.

Chagoury would have a financial interest in the impact on Nigeria that would have followed a FTO designation. The FTO designation would affect his developments in Nigeria.

Boko Haram is responsible for kidnapping over 260 young female students in 2014. If the designation for Boko Haram occurred sooner, the search for the girls could have started sooner. Boko Haram gained significant footing and expanded during Clinton’s time as Secretary of State. Boko Haram has killed more than 20,000 people and displaced 2 million.

Hillary calls herself a “champion of women’s rights,” but did not designate Boko Haram a terrorist organization despite being responsible for killing and kidnapping thousands of people, including women and children, using them as sex slaves and suicide bombers.

One of the most strategic consequential failures of the Hillary State Department was in 2009 when the U.S. undermined the Iranian Green Revolution. Not only did the U.S. do nothing to help the opposition against the terrorist Iranian regime, but US funding was cut for democratic organizations/programs in Iran under Clinton’s State Department. Democracy funding under the State Department continued in countries like Egypt, where the US supported “democratic” opposition groups which led to the removal of US ally Mubarak, but were cut for opposition groups that were pro-western against a terrorist regime.

According to a Wall Street Journal article published in October 2009, democratic organizations that were funded under the Bush Administration were cut under Hillary’s State Department. The article states

Less widely known is that Freedom House, the nonpartisan watchdog group founded in 1941, also lost State Department funding. It applied in April for significant funds to support initiatives including Gozaar, its Farsi-English online journal of democracy and human rights, and was turned down in July. Since 2006, Freedom House had received over $2 million from the U.S. and European governments for Iran-related efforts. “We might have to close Gozaar if we run out of money,” deputy executive director Thomas O. Melia told us this week…then there’s the International Republican Institute (IRI), which for several years received State Department support to train Iranian reformers and connect them to like-minded activists in Europe and elsewhere. IRI’s recent application for funds was denied, an IRI official told us last week.

The article continued saying, “In a recent letter to Secretary of State Hillary Clinton about Iran policy, seven congressmen including Chris Smith (R., N.J.), Bob Inglis (R., S.C.), and James Moran (D., Va.), wrote: ‘We are particularly concerned by reports that the State Department and USAID are being ‘extremely cautious’ in their funding decisions, have stopped funding projects, and have approved no new strategy for promoting civil society and the rule of law.’ Mrs. Clinton has not responded.”

The war in Libya is another one of Hillary’s greatest foreign policy mistakes, leading to thousands killed and millions displaced. Gaddafi was not a good man, but he had a stake in the global war on terrorism after he allegedly dismantled his nuclear program in 2003. In 2007, the United States removed Libya from the list of state sponsors of terrorism andresumed normal diplomatic relations.

Under Gaddafi, Islamists were consistently trying to overthrow his regime, so he had an interest in standing up against Islamist terrorists, using state force against them. Libyan intelligence worked with the CIA and the US intelligence during the Iraq war to arrest members of the Libyan Islamic Fighting Group (LIFG) who had pledged allegiance to Al Qaeda.

The LIFG has been a U.S. designated terrorist organization since 2004. According to aWest Point study conducted in 2007, Libya contributed far more foreign fighters in Iraq to fight American troops per capita than any other country.

It was Hillary Clinton’s State Department that gave a contract to the February 17th Martyrs Brigade in Libya to protect America’s Consulate, who were known sympathizers to Al Qaeda and are main suspects in the Benghazi attack on the U.S. consulate that killed U.S. Ambassador Chris Stevens, Sean Smith, Tyrone Woods and Glen Doherty.

In Afghanistan, Hillary undermined American and Afghan troops by leading and spearheading the negotiations with the Taliban, pushing for an office in Qatar while the Taliban refused. She led negotiations with the Taliban while they were killing American troops.

As Secretary of State, the US failed to secure the Status of Forces Agreement in Iraq, leaving a vacuum for ISIS – undermining the sacrifice that thousands of Americans gave in securing victory in the war.

In Yemen, Hillary Clinton met with one of the leading members of the opposition, Tawakkol Karman, who is a member of the Muslim Brotherhood in Yemen and was a leader in the overthrow of President Ali Abdullah Saleh’s regime. Hillary Clinton stated, “”the United States supports a democratic transition in Yemen and the rights of the people of Yemen – men and women – to choose their own leaders and futures.”  The White House issued a statement supporting the United Nations Security Council’s Resolution that called for a peaceful transition in Yemen, stating, “a united and unambiguous signal to President Saleh that he must respond to the aspirations of the Yemeni people by transferring power immediately.” Today, Yemen is a failed state and fighting a proxy war, another disaster of Hillary’s Arab Spring.

The Middle East is on fire because of Hillary Clinton’s State Department and the Obama Administration’s policies of fighting against the rule of law and supporting those that break the law – creating anarchy and safe havens for terrorists. Hillary will bring anarchy and lawlessness, which she has already done as Secretary of State.

Hillary Clinton is dangerous for America’s national security, not Donald Trump.

Tera Dahl is the Executive Director of the Council on Global Security.

Hillary’s secret ties to Putin will undermine American interests

usa russian flags

Just how far back does the Clinton-Kremlin connection go? It’s worth investigating. 

Conservative Review, by Benjamin Weingarten, Aug. 14, 2016:

Russia’s malignant influence on American foreign policy is finally becoming a relevant issue in the 2016 presidential election, and that is definitely a positive development. Based upon their actions and associations, neither candidate has shown a sufficient understanding of — or worse, they have ignored — the nature of the Russian regime and its threat to America’s national interest. These deficiencies ought to be of grave concern to the American people.

As the Government Accountability Institute lays out in a recent report, Hillary Clinton’s dealings with Russia while serving as secretary of State appear to represent the worst kind of cronyism: sacrificing America’s national interest for her own and Russia’s benefit. As the Executive Summary of the report explains:

  • A major technology transfer component of the Russian reset overseen by Hillary Clinton substantially enhanced the Russian military’s technological capabilities, according to both the FBI and the U.S. Army.
  • Russian government officials and American corporations participated in the technology transfer project overseen by Hillary Clinton’s State Department that funnelled (sic) tens of millions of dollars to the Clinton Foundation.

The report also notes that Hillary’s presidential campaign chairman, Tony Podesta, had dubious ties with the Russian regime:

  • A Putin-connected Russian government fund transferred $35 million to a small company with Hillary Clinton’s campaign chairman John Podesta on its executive board, which included senior Russian officials.
  • John Podesta failed to reveal, as required by law on his federal financial disclosures, his membership on the board of this offshore company.
  • Podesta also headed up a think tank which wrote favorably about the Russian reset while apparently receiving millions from Kremlin-linked Russian oligarchs via an offshore LLC.

Building upon Peter Schweizer’s work in his book, “Clinton Cash,” The New York Times revealed another alleged quid pro quo detrimental to America’s national interest — but again, benefitting Hillary and Russia — with the infamous Uranium One deal.

Recall that the Russians took control of Uranium One and thus one-fifth of all U.S. uranium production capacity through three separate transactions between 2009 and 2013. Given the strategic importance of uranium, authorizing Russian control required the approval of various government agencies, including Hillary’s State Department.

Meanwhile, the Clinton Foundation received contributions totaling more than $100 million from Uranium One’s chairman and several of its shareholders in addition to those with ties to Uranium One or UrAsia, which had originally acquired Uranium One’s valuable Kazakh mine assets. Secretary Clinton also received $500,000 for a speech she gave at Renaissance Capital — a Kremlin-linked investment bank, which had recommended purchasing Uranium One stock soon after the Russians announced their intent to acquire a majority stake in the company.

Just how far back does the Clinton-Kremlin connection go? It’s worth investigating.

Concerning Donald Trump, even if we were gracious and excused his praise of Vladimir Putin as mere rhetoric (intended as a dig at Barack Obama and by extension Hillary), or just “Trump being Trump,” his substantive actions and associations are more troubling.

Even though the Trump campaign contributed little to the 2016 Republican Party platform changes, despite protestations to the contrary it did intervene regarding language about American support for Ukraine against Russian aggression. Trump officials reportedly watered down a portion of the platform calling for GOP support of “providing lethal defensive weapons” to the Ukrainians in the face of Russian intervention, replacing the phrase with the softer provision, “appropriate assistance.”

Previously, Trump wavered on whether the U.S. would fulfill its North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) obligations to defend Baltic nations against Russian aggression, giving a standoffish response to The New York Times that amounted to the following: I would not tell Vladimir Putin what we would do in the event of Russian intervention in the Baltics, but we cannot ignore the fact that irrespective of our own treaty obligations, NATO members must fulfill their obligations in terms of funding NATO.

Again, we could charitably chalk this up to mere rhetoric, consistent with Trump’s narrative on globalism and deal-making. By Trump’s logic, NATO is just another international deal in which America has gotten ripped off by freeloader nations, and Trump will be the only negotiator that drives a hard enough bargain to fix the deal — including threats to not fulfill its terms.

Leaving aside the not-so-small issue of honoring treaties, the central problem here is that NATO’s purpose is, in large part, to counter Russia. And Trump’s advisors have significant ties to that nation, casting a pall over everything Trump says and does relating to it.

Trump campaign chairman, Paul Manafort, has done substantial work for Viktor Yanukovych — former president of Ukraine and backed by Putin. That Yanukovych pulled Ukraine closer into Putin’s orbit is well-documented. Manafort has also partaken in business dealings with oligarchs loyal to Putin.

Trump’s advisor on Russia, Carter Page, is a big investor in Gazprom, an energy company and one of the crown jewels of Putin’s kleptocracy. Page has railed against U.S. foreign policy towards Russia with all manner of calumnies — notably at times while in Russia — and called for the easing of sanctions against Russia that affected Gazprom and other companies.

Trump’s personal and professional ties to Russia, though worthy of scrutiny, raise fewer red flags than those of Hillary.

What does Russia itself actually want out of the 2016 presidential election?

Read more

Ben Weingarten is Founder & CEO of ChangeUp Media LLC, a media consulting and publication services firm. A graduate of Columbia University, he regularly contributes to publications such as City Journal, The Federalist, Newsmax and PJ Media on national security/defense, economics and politics. You can follow him on Facebook and Twitter.

Preview of Donald Trump’s Foreign Policy Speech (video)

donald-trumpTrump to deliver foreign policy speech, focusing on fighting ISIS (Fox News)

Donald Trump will declare an end to nation building if elected president, replacing it with what aides described as “foreign policy realism” focused on destroying the Islamic State group and other extremist organizations.

In a speech the Republican presidential nominee will deliver on Monday in Ohio, Trump will argue that the country needs to work with anyone that shares that mission, regardless of other ideological and strategic disagreements. Any country that wants to work with the U.S. to defeat “radical Islamic terrorism” will be a U.S. ally, he is expected to say.

“Mr. Trump’s speech will explain that while we can’t choose our friends, we must always recognize our enemies,” Trump senior policy adviser Stephen Miller said Sunday.

On the eve of the speech, the Clinton campaign slammed Trump’s campaign manager for ties to Russia and pro-Kremlin interests, an apparent reference to a New York Times story published Sunday night. The story alleges Paul Manafort received $12.7 million from Ukraine’s former pro-Russia president and his political party for consultant work over a five-year period. The newspaper says Manafort’s lawyer denied his client received any such payments.

Trump on Monday is also expected to outline a new immigration policy proposal under which the U.S. would stop issuing visas in any case where it cannot perform adequate screenings.

It will be the latest version of a policy that began with Trump’s unprecedented call to temporarily bar foreign Muslims from entering the country — a religious test that was criticized across party lines as un-American. Following a massacre at a gay nightclub in Orlando, Florida, in June, Trump introduced a new standard.

“As he laid out in his Orlando remarks, Mr. Trump will describe the need to temporarily suspend visa issuances to geographic regions with a history of exporting terrorism and where adequate checks and background vetting cannot occur,” Miller said.

Trump is also expected to propose creating a new, ideological test for admission to the country that would assess a candidate’s stances on issues like religious freedom, gender equality and gay rights. Through questionnaires, searching social media, interviewing friends and family or other means, applicants would be vetted to see whether they support American values like tolerance and pluralism.

The candidate is also expected to call in the speech for declaring in explicit terms that, like during the Cold War, the nation is in an ideological conflict with radical Islam.

Trump’s Democratic rival Hillary Clinton and top U.S. government officials have warned of the dangers of using that kind of language to describe the conflict, arguing that it plays into militants’ hands.

While Trump has been criticized in the past for failing to lay out specific policy solutions, aides say that Monday’s speech will again focus on his broader vision. Additional speeches with more details are expected in the weeks ahead, they said.

Trump is also expected to spend significant time going after President Barack Obama and Clinton, the former secretary of state, blaming them for enacting policies he argues allowed the Islamic State group to spread. Obama has made ending nation building a central part of his foreign policy argument for years.

“Mr. Trump will outline his vision for defeating radical Islamic terrorism, and explain how the policies of Obama-Clinton are responsible for the rise of ISIS and the spread of barbarism that has taken the lives of so many,” Miller said Sunday in an email, using an alternative acronym for the Islamic State group.

The speech comes as Trump has struggled to stay on message. Last week, an economic policy speech he delivered calling for lower corporate taxes and rolling back federal regulations was overshadowed by a series of provocative statements, including falsely declaring that Obama was the “founder” of the Islamic State group.

Trump’s allies said Sunday they’re confident that this time, the billionaire developer will stay on track.

“Stay tuned, it’s very early in this campaign. This coming Monday, you’re going to see a vision for confronting radical Islamic terrorism,” his vice presidential running mate, Mike Pence, said on Fox News Sunday.

Trump and his top advisers, meanwhile, have blamed the media for failing to focus on his proposals.

“If the disgusting and corrupt media covered me honestly and didn’t put false meaning into the words I say, I would be beating Hillary by 20 percent,” he tweeted Sunday.

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pdf of Donald Trumps speech: Understanding The Threat: Radical Islam And The Age Of Terror

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Michael Del Rosso, author of ‘Shariah: The Threat to America,’ previews the Republican presidential nominee’s major policy speech. Del Rosso packs a lot of information into this interview. A must watch and share!

McCarthy: Obama’s Iraq Policy Did Not Create ISIS

isis militants in RaqqaOur challenge in the Middle East is that sharia supremacism fills all vacuums.

National Review, by Andrew C. McCarthy, Au. 13, 2016:

The early Cold War wisdom that “we must stop politics at the water’s edge” has never been entirely true. In endeavors as human as politics, no such altruistic aspiration ever will be. But Senator Arthur Vandenberg’s adage does reflect a principle critical to effective national security: The United States is imperiled when partisan politics distorts our understanding of the world and the threats it presents.

We’ve been imperiled for a long time now. The most salient reason for that has been the bipartisan, politically correct refusal to acknowledge and confront the Islamic roots of the threat to the West. It has prevented us from grasping not only why jihadists attack us but also that jihadists are merely the militant front line of the broader civilizational challenge posed by sharia supremacism.

Inevitably, when there is a profound threat and an overarching strategic failure to apprehend it, disasters abound; and rather than becoming occasions for reassessment of the flawed bipartisan strategy, those disasters become grist for partisan attacks. From 2004 through 2008, the specious claim was that President Bush’s ouster of Saddam Hussein created terrorism in Iraq. Now it is that President Obama is the “founder of ISIS,” as Donald Trump put it this week.

The point here is not to bash Trump. He is hardly the first to posit some variation of the storyline that Obama’s premature withdrawal of American forces from Iraq led to the “vacuum” in which, we are to believe, the Islamic State spontaneously generated. Indeed, this narrative is repeated on Fox News every ten minutes or so.

The point is to try to understand what we are actually dealing with, how we got to this place, and what the security implications are. There is no denying that American missteps have exacerbated a dangerous threat environment in the Middle East to some degree. It is spurious, though, to suggest that any of these errors, or all of them collectively, caused the catastrophe that has unfolded.

The problem for the United States in this region is Islam — specifically, the revolutionary sharia-supremacist version to which the major players adhere. There is no vacuum. There never has been a vacuum. What we have is a bubbling cauldron of aggressive political Islam with its always attendant jihadist legions.

The question is always: How to contain the innate aggression? The fantasy answers are: (a) let’s convert them to Western democracy, and (b) let’s support the secular democrats. In reality, the region does not want Western democracy — it wants sharia (Islamic law), even if there is disagreement about how much sharia and how quickly it should be imposed. And while there are some secular democrats, there are far, far too few of them to compete with either the sharia-supremacist factions or the dictatorial regimes — they can only fight the latter by aligning with the former. At best, the secularists provide hope for an eventual evolution away from totalitarian sharia culture; for now, however, it is absurd for Beltway Republicans to contend that ISIS emerged because Obama failed to back these “moderates” in Iraq and Syria.

The fact that top Republicans use the term “moderate” rather than “secular democrat” should tell us all we need to know. They realize there are not enough secularists to fight either Bashar Assad or ISIS, much less both of them. For all their justifiable ridiculing of Obama’s lexicon, Republicans invoke “moderates” for the same reason Obama uses terms like “workplace violence” — to obscure unpleasant truths about radical Islam. In this instance, the truth is that the “moderates” they claim Obama should have backed include the Muslim Brotherhood and other anti-Western Islamist factions, including al-Qaeda. Of course, if they told you that, there wouldn’t be much bite in their critique of Obama’s infatuation with the Muslim Brotherhood . . . and you might even start remembering that, during the Bush years, the GOP couldn’t do enough “outreach” to “moderate Islamists.”

The Middle East is aflame because of sharia supremacism and the jihadism that ideology always produces. That was the problem long before there was an ISIS. The Baathist regimes in Iraq and Syria, like other Middle Eastern dictatorships, kept sharia supremacism in check by alternatively persecuting Islamist insurgents, turning them against each other, or using them to harass Israel and the West. In Iran, to the contrary, the shah was overthrown by a revolutionary Shiite jihadist movement that he failed to keep in check.

Bush, with what started out as bipartisan support, ousted the Iraqi regime without any discernible plan for dealing with Iran, Syria, and the wider war — delusionally calculating that Iran might actually be helpful because of its supposedly keen interest in Iraqi stability. Iran, of course, went about the business of fueling the terrorist insurgency against American troops. Saddam’s fall unleashed the competing Islamist forces that continue to tear Iraq apart. The thought that we could democratize the culture was fantasy; far from taming sharia supremacism, the government we birthed in Baghdad was converted by the Iran-backed Shiite parties into a mechanism for abusing Sunnis. Naturally, the Sunnis turned to their own sharia supremacists for their defense.

It is fair enough to argue that Obama should not have pulled U.S. forces out of Iraq just as the security situation was badly deteriorating in 2011. But a big part of the reason that Democrats thrashed Republicans in the 2006 midterms, and that Obama was elected in 2008, was mounting American opposition to maintaining our troops there. Critics, moreover, conveniently omit to mention that (a) the agreement with the Iraqi government to withdraw our troops on a timeline unrelated to conditions on the ground was made by Bush, not Obama, and that (b) Bush reluctantly made that agreement precisely because Iraqis were demanding that Americans get out of their country.

The war became unpopular in the United States because it seemed unconnected to U.S. security interests: so much sacrifice on behalf of ingrates, while Iran exploited the mayhem to muscle in. There was no public appetite for a long-range U.S. military presence. What would be the point, when Bush had given the increasingly hostile Iraqi government the power to veto U.S. military operations to which it objected, and had agreed that our forces would not use Iraqi territory as a base of operations against Iran, Syria, or any other country? (See 2008 Status of Forces Agreement, articles 4 and 27.) This was not post-war Europe or Japan, where the enemy had been vanquished. Most Americans did not see the point of further risking American lives in order to stop anti-American Shiites and anti-American Sunnis from having at each other, as they’ve been doing to great lethal effect for 14 centuries.

ISIS (now, the Islamic State) got its start as al-Qaeda in Iraq, the primary culprit (along with Iran) in the Iraqi civil war. ISIS thus long predates Obama’s presidency. Furthermore, the oft-repeated GOP talking-point that al-Qaeda in Iraq was defeated by the Bush troop surge is a gross exaggeration. Our jihadist enemies could not be defeated in Iraq, because Iraq was never their sole base of operations. Since we’ve never had a strategy to defeat them globally, we were never going to do more than temporarily tamp them down in Iraq. They were always going to wait us out. They were always going to reemerge, in Iraq and elsewhere.

One of the places in which they regrouped was Syria. That made perfect sense, because Syria — the client of al-Qaeda’s long-time supporter, Iran — was always a waystation for jihadists seeking to fight American and Western forces in Iraq. Meanwhile, there was an internal Syrian uprising against the Assad regime. To be sure, the revolt had some secular components; but it was thoroughly coopted by the Muslim Brotherhood (as analyst Hassan Hassan comprehensively outlined in Foreign Affairs in early 2013).

Notwithstanding the Republicans’ ISIS myopia, it was not the only jihadist presence in Syria — not even close. Al-Qaeda still had a franchise there (al-Nusrah), along with several other tentacles. Importantly, in its rivalry with breakaway ISIS, al-Qaeda has adopted the Muslim Brotherhood approach of ground-up revolution — the antithesis of the Islamic State’s top-down strategy of forcibly expanding its declared caliphate and implementing sharia full-scale.

As Tom Joscelyn perceptively explained in 2015 congressional testimony, al-Qaeda is attempting to spark jihadist uprisings in Muslim-majority countries while appealing to local populations with fundamentalist education initiatives. Like the Brotherhood, al-Qaeda leaders now preach a gradualist implementation of sharia, which is more appealing to most Middle Eastern Muslims than ISIS’s inflexibility and emphasis on sharia’s barbaric hudud penalties (mutilation, stoning, scourging, etc.). Understand: Al-Qaeda is just as anti-American as it has ever been. In Syria, however, its shrewd approach has enabled the network to insinuate itself deeply into the forces that oppose both Assad and ISIS. So has the Brotherhood.

These forces are the “moderates” that Republicans, apparently including Trump, claim Obama failed to support, creating the purported “vacuum” out of which ISIS emerged. The charge is doubly specious because Obama actually did provide these “moderates” with plenty of support. The GOP rap on Obama is that he failed to jump with both feet into the Syria civil war and take the side of “moderates.” But jumping in with both feet, at the urging of Beltway Republicans, is exactly what Obama did on behalf of the “moderates” in Libya. How’d that work out?

Our challenge in the Middle East is that sharia supremacism fills all vacuums. It was this ideology that created ISIS long before President Obama came along. And if ISIS were to disappear tomorrow, sharia supremacism would still be our challenge. It is critical to be an effective political opposition to the Obama Left. But being effective means not letting the political part warp our judgment, especially where national security is concerned.

— Andrew C. McCarthy is as senior policy fellow at the National Review Institute and a contributing editor of National Review.

Here is another good opposing view:

Republicans and Democrats Agree: CENTCOM Cooked ISIS War Intel

49032597.cachedDaily Beast, by Nancy A. Youssef, Aug. 111, 2016:

Senior officials at U.S. Central Command manipulated intelligence reports, press statements, and congressional testimony to present a more positive outlook on the war against the so-called Islamic State, a House Republican task force concluded in a damning report released Thursday.

The report, written by the members of the House Armed Services and Intelligence committees and the Defense Appropriations subcommittee, confirmed more than a year of reporting by The Daily Beast about problems with CENTCOM analysis of the war against ISIS.

House Democrats, who conducted their own separate investigation, reached a similar conclusion as their Republican colleagues, finding that CENTCOM “insufficiently accommodated dissenting views,” Rep. Adam Schiff, the top Democrat on the House Intelligence Committee, said in a statement.

The altering of intelligence reports, which included information that made its way into briefings to President Obama, was systematic, lawmakers found.

“There was a consistent trend that across four specific campaigns against [ISIS] in Iraq throughout 2014 and 2015, assessments approved by the J2 [CENTCOM’s Joint Intelligence Center] or leadership were consistently more positive than those presented by the [intelligence community],” the report found.

The lawmakers noted, for instance, that the CIA publicly portrayed ISIS as a more resilient and powerful organization than CENTCOM’s analysis—which was not publicly shared—suggested.

The lawmakers were limited in the amount of reporting they could review, but focused their attention on the period when ISIS expanded its reach to Iraqi cities like Fallujah, Tikrit, and Irbil in the Kurdish north. They found that senior CENTCOM intelligence officials gave a “deference to operational reporting,” including reports on the number of ISIS targets that were hit in airstrikes each day. But these incremental, day-to-day reports didn’t fully capture the trajectory of the overall war effort, which analysts said was not leading towards a U.S. victory over the terrorist group.

The Daily Beast had previously reported that CENTCOM intelligence leaders demanded significant alterations to analysts’ reports that questioned whether airstrikes against ISIS were damaging the group’s finances and its ability to launch attacks. Reports that showed the group being weakened by the U.S.-led air campaign received comparatively little scrutiny.

The congressional report confirmed those earlier allegations. The result of the altered reports was “analysis that was more positive regarding the capabilities of the [Iraqi Security Forces] and the progress of the fight against [ISIS]” than analysts felt could be justified.

“According to multiple interviewees, operational reporting was used as a justification to alter or ‘soften’ an analytic product so it would cast U.S. efforts in a more positive light,” the report found.

Lawmakers pinned the blame for the doctored reports—which prompted more than 50 analysts to complain to the Defense Department inspector general—on the top two leaders in CENTCOM’s intelligence directorate, Maj. Gen. Steven Grove, the head of the organization, and Gregory Ryckman, his civilian deputy. (Neither were mentioned by name in the report, but it makes clear that the problems coincided with their tenure and leadership.)

But for all the congressional report’s troubling findings, there is one important question that remains unanswered: Why did senior leaders alter the intelligence about ISIS? The report doesn’t answer whether Ryckman or Grove were acting on orders from higher up or suggestions of their leadership, whether changes in analysis were politically driven, or whether there was a climate that encouraged a positive assessment of the war effort.

The report doesn’t find any evidence that the White House ordered reports to be changed to present a rosier picture.

But Rep. Mike Pompeo, who was part of the task force, said the group believes that there was an unspoken understanding within the administration of how the war against jihadists was going and that drove decision makers within CENTCOM.

“The most senior leaders in Central Command and the J2 had a deep understanding of the political narrative the administration was putting forth,” Pompeo said in an interview with The Daily Beast. “The culture was one where you were rewarded for embracing that political narrative.

“The president was out talking about the same fight, the success of defeating the jihadist threat. The messaging from the [National Security Council] and the White House was all in one direction. So there is no alternative explanation for why they would behave this way they did,” Pompeo said.

Indeed, there’s little doubt that the rise of ISIS was a political embarrassment as well as a security challenge for the White House. It came one year after President Obama’s re-election, in a campaign that celebrated the wind down of the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan. In early 2014, Obama infamously described ISIS as the “J.V. team” among terrorist groups. U.S. troops left Iraq at the end of 2011 and, at the time, were supposed to be mostly out of Afghanistan by 2015.

“Despite nearly nine months of review, we still do not fully understand the reasons and motivations behind this practice and how often the excluded analyses were proven ultimately to be correct,” Republican Rep. Brad Wenstrup, a lieutenant colonel in the Army Reserve and member of the task force, said in a statement.

But Wenstrup noted the effects have been damaging regardless.

“We cannot win a war against ISIS with incomplete intelligence,” he wrote.

The Republican report attributed the problems at CENTCOM in part to a change in leadership and in the process by which intelligence reports are created. In the weeks after ISIS took control of Iraq’s second-largest city, Mosul, in June 2014, intelligence leaders were given a more direct say in how lower-level analysts’ reports were produced and then sent along to the military brass. That irked some analysts who, while outranked by the CENTCOM leaders, had been studying ISIS and other terrorist groups for years and thought their expert views weren’t being given full weight.

In May 2015, CENTCOM analysts formally complained to the inspectors general for the Defense Intelligence Agency and for the intelligence community, which passed the complaints on to the congressional committees. Seven months later, an internal survey of intelligence analysts revealed that 40 percent of respondents “had experienced an attempt to distort or suppress intelligence in the past year,” the report found.

“The survey results alone should have prompted CENTCOM and [intelligence community] leaders to take corrective action without other inducements. During interviews, however, multiple Intelligence Directorate senior leaders challenged the legitimacy of the survey results rather than taking responsibility for them,” the report found.

The amount of damage such misleading reports had on the Obama administration’s and the military’s overall understanding of the war on ISIS remains unclear. But the report noted that Ryckman and Grove had several secure conference calls with top civilian intelligence officials, including the director of National Intelligence, James Clapper, and that such access gave CENTCOM’s reports “outsized influence on the material presented to the president outside of formal coordination channels.”

“The impact was that you have a false signal being sent to officials,” Pompeo told The Daily Beast. “They had information what wasn’t true. It difficult to wind back and say what would have happened had they had different information.”

As part of a normal personnel rotation, Grove left CENTCOM’s intelligence directorate this summer and now is stationed at the Pentagon as director of the Army Quadrennial Defense Review Office. He has been replaced by Maj. Gen. Mark R. Quantock. Ryckman remains in the same position.

“U.S. Central Command has seen the Congressional Joint Task Force initial report and we appreciate the independent oversight provided,” Navy Cmdr. Kyle Raines, a CENTCOM spokesman, said in a statement to The Daily Beast. “We are reviewing the findings of the initial report; since the Joint Task Force investigation is ongoing, as is the [Defense Department Inspector General’s] investigation, we will refrain from further comment at this time.”

The Defense investigation is expected to be released by the end of this year.

The task force investigation in ongoing, Pompeo said, and he hopes to release a final report by the end of the year.

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Former CIA Deputy Director Mike Morell Can’t Keep His Stories Straight

morell-russia.sized-770x415xtPJ MEDIA, BY PATRICK POOLE, AUGUST 9, 2016:

Just last Friday, former CIA Deputy Director Mike Morell opined in the pages of theNew York Times: “I ran the CIA. Now I’m endorsing Hillary Clinton.” He added that Donald Trump “may be a national security threat” due to his connections with Russia.

But just last November on Face the Nation, Morell was in favor of Trump’s approach.

So what does Morell really believe?

Here is the NYT tweeting about Morell’s op-ed, followed by Monday’s interview with CBS where Morell said he wanted to “scare Assad” and kill Russians:

He ran the CIA. Now he’s endorsing Hillary Clinton for president. https://t.co/MAbSD4DFBO via @nytopinion pic.twitter.com/T0UYEJGz52

“When we were in Iraq, the Iranians were giving weapons to the Shi’a militia, who were killing American soldiers,” Morell told “CBS This Morning” co-host Charlie Rose.

“The Iranians were making us pay a price. We need to make the Iranians pay a price in Syria. We need to make the Russians pay a price.”

He went on to explain making them “pay the price” would mean killing Russians and Iranians, and said he wants to make Syrian president Bashar al-Assad uncomfortable.

“I want to go after those things that Assad sees as his personal power base. I want to scare Assad.

Now, here’s Morell back in November advising the opposite: that the U.S. needs to reconsider engagement with Assad and Putin as part of a rethinking of U.S. counter-ISIS strategy:

Morell-Putin-Assad

So should we be scaring Assad and killing Russians in Syria, or should we be engaging the Assad regime and Putin to counter ISIS?

Don’t expect the Washington, D.C. media to press Morell over that contradiction.

Or this one: in his New York Times oped, Morell also suggested that Donald Trump had been recruited by Putin as “an unwitting agent of the Russian Federation.”

But, as I noted at PJ Media two weeks ago, Hillary Clinton has her own Russia problems — namely, a Russian spy ring that the FBI had to shut down because it was getting too close to Clinton. That Russia problem is in addition to themillions the Clinton Foundation received while a government board that Hillary sat on as secretary of State was considering approval of the sale of a majority stake of Uranium One — which controls 20 percent of U.S. uranium assets — to Rosatom, the Russian atomic energy agency.

Also, Bill Clinton received $500,000 to give a speech in Moscow on behalf of a Russian investment bank tied to the Uranium One deal.

Read more

More than incompetence in Benghazi

Illustration on the real factors behind the Benghazi facilities attack by Linas Garsys/The Washington Times

Illustration on the real factors behind the Benghazi facilities attack by Linas Garsys/The Washington Times

Washington Times, , August 8, 2016:

Trey Gowdy’s recently released Special Committee on Benghazi report, followed by the Citizens’ Commission on Benghazi report, provide new insights into the tragedy that cost the lives of four Americans, including Ambassador J. Christopher Stevens. This catastrophe goes much deeper than our failure to respond to multiple, well-coordinated attacks on our Benghazi facilities on the night of Sept. 11, 2012. The genesis for the attack was actually the “Outreach to Muslims” speech by President Obama on June 4, 2009, in Cairo with the outlawed Muslim Brotherhood leadership prominently seated in the front row. When he declared that it was part of his responsibility as president of the United States to fight against negative stereotypes of Islam, wherever they appear — that said it all.

Therefore, when al Qaeda and the Muslim Brotherhood-controlled militias launched their revolt against the Moammar Gadhafi regime in February 2011, the Obama administration showed where its true sympathies lay. It switched sides in the global war on terror and allied with the Islamic jihadists. This dramatic change in U.S. policy can most likely be attributed to the fact that Mr. Obama made an ideological commitment to support the expansion of Muslim Brotherhood power throughout the Middle East and North Africa. This commitment is substantiated by the 2010 Presidential Study Directive 11, which solicited proposals and instructed key government agencies to collaborate on the formation and execution of a plan for enabling Muslim Brotherhood expansion by way of regime change in Bahrain, Egypt, Jordan, Yemen and other Middle East countries.

Based on newly released emails, there is no question that then-Secretary of State Hillary Clinton and President Obama knew they would be supporting Islamic jihadists — our sworn enemy — with funding, training and weapons, as well as facilitating the flow of arms to rebels in Syria, including those that morphed into the Islamic State.

 Mrs. Clinton then ignored all military advice not to intervene militarily in the Libyan civil war. The decision turned out to be a catastrophic disaster that transformed Libya into an Islamic jihadi safe haven. When Gadhafi entered into truce negotiations with Gen. Carter Ham of United States Africa Command, and sent signals that he was willing to abdicate, the indications are that it was Mrs. Clinton who terminated those negotiations. Her political aide Jake Sullivan said it all when he wrote in August 2011 that Mrs. Clinton had “leadership/ownership/stewardship of [Libya] policy from start to finish.” This alone should raise serious questions about her judgment and leadership qualifications.

According to the Gowdy Select Committee report and new evidence, there was never a humanitarian crisis in Benghazi, which was the stated reason for the intervention. It appears Mrs. Clinton, the Clinton Foundation and unscrupulous individuals’ real motivation for intervention was money. Incredible.

After the fall of Gadhafi in October 2011, chaos reigned in Benghazi. In Egypt, Mohammed Morsi’s Muslim Brotherhood government was firmly in control. With the Brotherhood penetration of U.S. government agencies and carte blanche entry into the White House, Egypt enjoyed unprecedented relations with America. Mr. Morsi’s No. 1 objective was to attain the release of Omar Abdel-Rahman (the Blind Sheikh).

Repeated requests by Ambassador Stevens for increased security were either denied or unanswered. Security forces that were in country were deliberately withdrawn, e.g., Lt. Col. Andy Woods’ 16-man team stationed in Tripoli was removed. On Aug. 11, Stevens called the security situation unpredictable. On Aug. 16, he sent a cable stating that the Special Mission Compound could not withstand a coordinated attack.

On Aug. 29, the Libyan government placed Benghazi under a “state of maximum alert” due to attacks on foreigners and other acts of violence. According to the CIA annex security team, there were multiple warnings of an impending attack against our facilities in Benghazi. For reasons that remain unanswered, these warnings were ignored.

Read more

James A. Lyons, a retired U.S. Navy admiral, was commander in chief of the U.S. Pacific Fleet and senior U.S. military representative to the United Nations.

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Tim Kaine and Mike Pence — Where They Stand

Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton and her vice-presidential pick Tim Kaine (left); Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump (right) with his vice-presidential pick Mike Pence (Photos: Video screenshots)

Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton and her vice-presidential pick Tim Kaine (left); Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump (right) with his vice-presidential pick Mike Pence (Photos: Video screenshots)

Clarion Project, by Ryan Mauro, Aug. 9, 2016:

Tim Kaine

Iran

  • Early supporter of the nuclear deal with Iran.

Syria

  • Criticized Obama Administration for lack of involvement in the Syrian civil war and called for the U.S. military to be used to establish a no-fly zone.

Iraq War

  • Opposed the 2003 invasion of Iraq to topple the Saddam Hussein regime and supported the withdrawal of U.S. forces.

Muslim Brotherhood Ties

  • Has been criticized for his ties to the U.S. Muslim Brotherhood network.
  • In 2007, he appointed Esam Omeish to his state immigration committee despite Omeish’s status as the leader of the Muslim American Society, a group that federal prosecutors identified as having been “founded as the overt arm of the Muslim Brotherhood in America.” The Kaine administration initially accused critics of the decision of being bigots, but Omeish resigned once videos surfaced of him declaring support for Hamas and Palestinians waging jihad against Israel.
  • In September 2011, Kaine spoke at a dinner organized by the New Dominion PAC that honored a Muslim Brotherhood terror suspect named Jamal Barzinji with a Lifetime Achievement Award. Kaine acknowledged the help his campaign received from his “friends” in the audience and asked for their support for his Senate campaign. Donors linked to Barzinji and the U.S. Muslim Brotherhood network contributed heavily to Kaine and the Virginia Democratic Party.

Mike Pence

Iraq War

  • Voted for the 2003 invasion of Iraq to topple the Saddam Hussein regime and has never said it was a mistake. He also endorsed the 2007 “surge” and opposed the timetable for withdrawing U.S. forces.

Libya

  • Endorsed the U.S. military intervention in Libya and overthrow of Muammar Qaddafi.

Iran

  • Opposes the nuclear deal with Iran

Muslim Immigration to the U.S.

  • Criticized Trump’s proposed ban on Muslim immigration but opposes resettling Syrian refugees in the United States.

Dr. Sebastian Gorka: Intel Professionals Say ‘Reality Doesn’t Matter’ When White House Spins War Against ISIS

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Breitbart, by John Hayward, Aug. 6, 2016:

Breitbart News National Security Editor Dr. Sebastian Gorka, author of the best-selling book Defeating Jihad: The Winnable War, joined guest host Mike Huckabee on Fox News’ “Hannity” to address President Obama’s mixed messages on the war against the Islamic State.

“The President’s kind of all over the board on this. He tells us that this is an ISIS that’s getting defeated, but we still have a threat. So which is it?” Huckabee asked.

“That is the question, Governor,” Dr. Gorka replied, with a rueful laugh. “You just have to listen to the professionals. Let’s take politics out of the equation. Let’s take spin out of the equation.”

“We have the most senior intelligence officer in federal government – that’s DNI Clapper, the Director of National Intelligence – who, in his last testimony, his last unclassified testimony on the Hill, just a matter of maybe three weeks ago, said the following: he said that the capacity of the Islamic State, of ISIS, to execute global attacks has not been diminished at all by our actions in theater,” Gorka recalled.

“That’s Number One. Their capacity to do terrorism in San Bernardino, in Orlando, in France, has not changed,” he stressed. “And on top of that, the one sentence that the media really missed – it came later on in his testimony – is the following: he said, in my 30+ [year] career as an intelligence professional, I have never seen the world as unstable as it is today. That’s after seven and a half years of Obama and Clinton foreign policy.”

“Let’s leave the answer to the professionals,” Gorka urged. “The most senior intelligence officer said the world is on fire.”

“How does the President, and this Administration, get away with diminishing the description, and the threat that ISIS poses to the world?” Huckabee asked.

“Because it’s not about reality. It’s not about protecting America,” Gorka answered. “It’s about spin. It’s about legacy.”

“Think about the fact that last year, we had 60 CENTCOM analysts, Central Command analysts – the people who are looking at ISIS, at Syria, at Iraq – publicly complain and protest that their analysis reports on ISIS were being either doctored, changed, or thrown away when they didn’t comport with the White House narrative that we’re winning,” he said. “If it didn’t meet the preconceived political message, it was distorted, or it was lost.”

“We didn’t even have that, Governor, during Vietnam,” Gorka reminded Huckabee. “We never had 60 intel analysts say reality doesn’t matter, and the White House simply wants to spin. It’s outrageous.”

Huckabee wondered why there hasn’t been a definitive effort to shut ISIS out of social media platforms, which they have aggressively used for jihad recruiting and strategic communications.

“There’s a couple of reasons for that. The first one is a technical one: the Internet was invented by DARPA, by the defense research hub for the DOD, and it was invented deliberately to have built-in redundancy,” Gorka explained. “So you can shut down one server, shut down one IPA address provider, and it will rejuvenate, and another place will take over. So the technology is really on the side of the terrorists.”

“Secondly, what is Internet provision about? It’s about the bottom line. It’s about making a buck. It’s about the service provider having the shares report positively in the next quarterly stock meeting,” he continued.

“Look what happened after San Bernardino. Apple doesn’t want to allow the FBI to open the county government’s iPhone that was issued to Mr. Farook,” said Gorka, referring to jihadi Syed Farook, a county employee whose encrypted telephone became the focus of a national controversy. “Why is that? Because they’re scared over whether they’re going to make profit on the next iPhone 7.”

“This is the challenge. We really have a lack of cooperation between the national security establishment, the private sector, and the nature of the Internet itself,” Dr. Gorka said.

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Also see:

Ex-CIA spook who whitewashed Benghazi endorses Hillary

Hillary Clinton Photo: Reuters

Hillary Clinton Photo: Reuters

New York Post, by Kenneth R.  Timmerman, Aug. 5, 2016:

Hillary has become a spook’s candidate. Former deputy CIA Director Michael Morell, who so conveniently covered her tracks in Benghazi, has now confirmed it.

In a glowing endorsement his friends at The New York Times prominently featured Friday, Morell gave his full-throated support to Clinton, while insisting that he was no partisan and had even voted Republican in the past.

Like an obedient party hack vying for a new job, Morell spouted the party line that Donald Trump was “not only unqualified for the job, but he may well pose a threat to our national security.”

Those are strong words, especially coming from someone who we are led to believe is an unimpeachable source. But is he?

The “non-partisan” Morell was caught “mis-speaking” to Congress about his role in sanitizing the infamous CIA talking points prepared for US Ambassador Susan Rice to deliver on the Sunday talk shows after the Benghazi attacks. And when he was caught out, like a faithful soldier, he fell on his sword.

Here’s how it happened: After Susan Rice’s outlandish claims on the Sunday talk shows that the Benghazi attacks began as a spontaneous protest over a “hateful” YouTube video, Congress began asking where she had gotten that information. This is how lawmakers discovered that the intelligence community had drafted her talking points, with input from the White House and Hillary Clinton’s staff.

Early drafts of the talking points included a mention of al Qaeda. But that reference was removed in the final drafts. Sen. Lindsay Graham explained to me what happened next.

“On Nov. 27, 2012, Morell and Susan Rice came into my office,” he told me. “I asked Morell who changed [the talking points]. He said, the FBI deleted the reference to al Qaeda because of an ongoing criminal investigation. So I called the FBI. They said, no, they didn’t change the talking points. They were furious.”

Apparently, that was an understatement: Someone at a senior level at FBI called the CIA to protest directly. Graham continued the story: “At 4 p.m. that day, CIA called me and said Morell ‘mis-spoke’ in his meeting with me, and that CIA deleted [the reference to al Qaeda], but they couldn’t give a reason why.”

Graham thought the reason was obvious: “If the truth had been known that al Qaeda killed four Americans seven weeks before an election, it would have been a different political story.”

Remember what Obama and his surrogates were saying? “Osama is dead, GM is alive.” That was their campaign mantra.

In fact, it was Morell himself who made those changes.

Morell subsequently testified before the House Select Committee on Intelligence, and eventually before the Benghazi Select Committee, twisting himself into a pretzel to explain why he removed any mention of the al Qaeda involvement in the attacks.

He ultimately claimed he believed news reports calling the Benghazi attacks a protest gone wild were more credible than repeated e-mails and cables from his own station chief in Libya insisting there had never been a protest.

It was an admission of gross incompetence — or partisanship. But that was the party line Clinton was putting out.

Morell was rewarded after the 2012 election. When he retired from CIA, Morell took a position with Beacon Global Strategies, a company cofounded by Andrew Shapiro and Philippe Reines, members of Hillary Clinton’s inner circle at the State Department.

In his Times op-ed, Morell claims Donald Trump is an “unwitting agent” of Russia because he makes friendly remarks toward Putin. But Trump has never taken a dime from Putin. As we now know, Clinton and her husband have both profited handsomely from their relations to Russian state-owned banks and corporations — and actually helped Russia get its hands on a company with rights to a fifth of US uranium. Does that make her a “witting agent” of Russia?

This former spook’s willingness to skewer the truth on behalf of a political patron should suffice to make any thinking person reject his judgment.

As for the truth about Hillary, well, we’ve seen her selling political favors to foreign countries and companies while secretary of state through the Clinton Foundation. And lying to the public incessantly — about Benghazi, her e-mails, you name it. Just imagine what she’ll do if elected president.

Kenneth R. Timmerman’s latest book, Deception: the Making of the YouTube Video Hillary and Obama Blamed for Benghazi, was released two weeks ago and is already in its 4th printing.