U.S. steps up scrutiny of American fighters in Syria
BY MARK HOSENBALL
WASHINGTON Thu May 22, 2014 5:39pm EDT
A Free Syrian Army fighter fires a weapon towards forces loyal to Syria's President Bashar al-Assad, in the town of Morek in Hama province May 22, 2014.
CREDIT: REUTERS/BADI KHLIF
(Reuters) - The Justice Department has tapped a veteran prosecutor to probe the flow of foreign fighters, including Americans, who are joining Syria's rebels, U.S. officials said, in a sign of heightened alarm over the threat of radicalized militants returning home.
The FBI also has formed a special team to identify U.S. citizens traveling to Syria to fight with anti-government groups, and is working with both intelligence and law enforcement agencies to investigate such individuals, a spokesman said.
U.S. security agencies have expressed growing anxiety for months about a steady stream of Western militants heading to Syria. Most of the foreigners join up with the most extreme factions trying to oust Syrian President Bashar al-Assad, including Jabhat al-Nusra and the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant.
U.S. and allied officials say their main fear is that veteran fighters, radicalized by their Syrian experience, will launch terror attacks once they return home. Authorities in Western Europe say they have uncovered plots by fighters returning from Syria.
The Justice Department prosecutor assigned to deal with the issue, Stephen Ponticello, works for the department's national security division.
The head of that division, John Carlin, said on Thursday that Ponticello will coordinate investigations into foreign fighters, provide expertise, and meet with foreign counterparts in Europe and elsewhere who are dealing with the same threat.
"We want to make sure that individuals in the counterterrorism section and the U.S. Attorneys throughout the country are focused on this threat," Carlin said at an event at the Brookings Institution think tank.
In late March, the State Department also picked career diplomat Robert Bradtke to deal with the perceived threat. Bradtke will be the lead U.S. diplomat in "engaging foreign partners to prevent and interdict foreign extremist travel to Syria," a department spokeswoman said.
Paul Bresson, an FBI spokesman, said his agency had set up a team of experts within its Counterterrorism Division to scout out Americans involved or interested in fighting in Syria.
Historically, he said, "travel to locations such as Yemen, Pakistan, Somalia, have been of particular concern due to the terrorist groups operating in those regions."
But now "Syria has emerged as an area of great concern due to the ongoing conflict and extremist activity in the region," he added.
Until recently, U.S. intelligence officials had estimated that around 7,000 foreigners have since 2012 joined about 23,000 anti-government rebels fighting with the most militant anti-Assad groups.
On Wednesday, however, State Department spokeswoman Jen Psaki said the estimate now stands at 9,000 foreign fighters who have traveled to Syria since the war started.
She described U.S. allies in the Middle East and Europe as "gravely concerned" by the threat from their citizens traveling to Syria.
Psaki declined to estimate how many Americans have gone to Syria to fight. U.S. officials say that several dozen U.S. citizens or residents have traveled to Syria to fight with anti-government groups.
Hundreds of others from the United Kingdom, Belgium, Germany, France, Italy, Netherlands, Spain and other countries whose citizens are afforded easy entry to the United States also have fought in Syria, U.S. and European officials say.
U.S. authorities already have indicted a handful of individuals for alleged involvement in the Syrian conflict, often on charges of providing material support to militant groups. At least one U.S. citizen, Michigan native Nicole Mansfield, was killed in Syria last year, reportedly while fighting with anti-Assad forces.
(Additional reporting by Aruna Viswanatha.; Editing by Warren Strobel, Paul Simao andAndre Grenon)
January 14, 2014
Obama Seeks to Bring 30,000 Syrian Muslim “Refugees” to US, Waive Counterterrorism Laws
By Debbie Schlussel
Remember when Barack Obama told a French TV Channel that the U.S. is a “Muslim nation”? Well, he’s working hard to improve the demography to make it so. The Obama Administration is seeking to bring 30,000 “vulnerable” Syrian refugees to the United States by the end of 2014 and will waive counterterrorism laws and allow those Syrians who aided and abetted Islamic terrorists, including Al-Qaeda, into the country. And these “vulnerable” Hezbollah- and Al-Qaeda-supporting Syrians will be permanently resettled here, as in green card, citizenship, billions in entitlements, and the whole tisa[Arabic for "nine"] yards.
The New “Americans” . . . Courtesy of President Obama
This is a punch in the gut to America, especially to the families of the victims of the 9/11 Al-Qaeda Islamic terrorist attacks and our soldiers who were maimed or murdered in Iraq and Afghanistan. Just sickening! And they have the NERVE to call these Syrians “vulnerable”? HUH? Um, aren’t we Americans the vulnerable ones, since we will have to deal with these intolerant savages imposing themselves and their ways on us and our country? Just askin’.
A U.S. official stated publicly for the first time this week that some of the 30,000 especially vulnerable Syrians the United Nations hopes to resettle by the end of 2014 will be referred to the U.S. for resettlement. . . .
About 20 countries, mostly in Europe, have agreed to take 18,000 Syrians, according to United Nations High Commission for Refugees, or UNHCR, the agency charged with referrals.
So, let me get this straight: TWENTY countries in Eurabia are taking in 18,000 of these savages, and the U.S. must take in THIRTY-FRICKING-THOUSAND???!!! And while this story claims U.S. officials are agreeing to take in “some” of the 30,000, the stories I’ve heard from immigration people in the federal government is that we are taking in at least 30,000.
The U.S. has not set a specific target for how many refugees it will resettle. But at a Senate hearing Tuesday, State Department Assistant Secretary Anne Richard said, “We expect to accept referrals for several thousand Syrian refugees in 2014.”
Um, there is a reason this idiotette Richard isn’t saying how many and just gives the nebulous “several thousand” number. In fact, it’s tens of thousands.
Post-9/11 immigration laws designed to keep out terrorists have had the unintended consequence of ensnaring some innocent people. For example, some of the provisions treat providing food or services to rebels—even those supported by the U.S.—as “material support” to terrorism.
Sen. Dick Durbin (D., Ill.), a key proponent of refugee resettlement, said the “overly broad” provisions would prevent a Syrian who gave a cigarette or a sandwich to a Free Syrian Army soldier from coming to the U.S. as a refugee.
Molly Groom, acting deputy secretary for the Office of Immigration and Border Security at the Department of Homeland Security, acknowledged that “broad definitions” of terrorist activity under U.S. law were “often a hurdle to resettling otherwise eligible refugees who pose no security threat.” She said agencies were consulting to develop exemptions for the Syrians.
In recent years, DHS and the State and Justice Departments have exercised their authority to offer exemptions to some applicants
WTF?! If you give food and services to Islamic terrorists you are indeed providing material support to terrorists. To waive these laws is absurd. But we don’t keep records of or know who gave a cigarette or sandwich to Al-Qaeda. These waivers will go to those who did far more. Why don’t we just open the gates and say, “Hey, Al-Qaeda, come on in!” If you provided wires and explosives, “Welcome to America, Habibi!”
They will sponsor and bring their relatives and friends here and on and on and on. It’s a total disaster with never-ending ripples. And, by the way, this is IN ADDITION to thethousands of Syrian Muslims here on student visas to whom Obama already gave Protected Status, including the ability to stay here indefinitely (basically for life) and to work.
Say good-bye, America. This isn’t the great country we used to know. And it never will be again. And with moves like these and massive amnesty, it will change drastically for the worse.
The end of America is coming sooner than you think.
BTW, I would be remiss if I didn’t note that President Bush and his administration were just as guilty of this crap. He claimed the war in Iraq was victorious and successful, and, yet, he brought more than 100,000 Iraqi refugees–most of them Muslim, some of them terrorists,honor killers, and child molesters–to America. Under Bush and Obama, Muslim immigration to America doubled in the ten years after 9/11. And that’s why America’s Muslim population and the number of mosques on U.S. soil doubled.
What a great strategy: blow 3,000 Americans up, and you are rewarded with non-stop golden tickets to invade the place irreparably.
And don’t hold your breath for Republicans to do anything to stem the tide. They haven’t. And they won’t.
By Baker Spring and Brett D. Schaefer
The framework agreement for destroying Syria’s chemical weapons (CW) arsenal and its supporting infrastructure is imprecise, unrealistic, and unlikely to be fulfilled. On the basis of the requirements of the Chemical Weapons Convention (CWC), which Syria has now agreed to join, and historical experience in executing the CWC, even under ideal circumstances and assuming willing compliance, it will be years before Syria would likely eliminate all of its chemical weapons.
However, there will be ample opportunity for Syrian duplicity and non-compliance. The means for verifying and ensuring Syrian compliance are expected to be addressed in a Security Council resolution. Russia has opposed previous resolutions on Syria. Nonetheless, there are certain things the Obama Administration could do to enhance verification and pressure Syria and Russia to comply.
The CWC Time Line and the Framework AgreementThe following is a summary of the CWC time line for execution compared to what is described in general terms by the framework agreement:
Moreover, even if Syria acts in good faith, it is questionable whether it is capable of meeting these deadlines. The CWC timelines were established with an eye toward reasonable implementation under stable conditions, not during an active conflict.
In fact, neither the U.S. nor Russia is currently in compliance with the CWC even though the OPCW extended the CWC’s deadlines due to “exceptional circumstances.” At least on the part of the U.S., this is due not to a lack of commitment but to the difficulties of disposing of CW. Thus, even if Syria commits to fulfilling its responsibilities, the very real complexities of this process could lead to delay. If Syria is not committed, the complexities of verifying declarations disposing of chemical weapons provide ample opportunity for duplicity.
Relying on RussiaThe overarching flaw behind the Administration’s framework agreement is that it relies on the cooperation and goodwill of Syria and Russia. The CWC has no enforcement provision. Instead, “cases of particular gravity and urgency” are to be brought to the attention of the U.N. General Assembly and the U.N. Security Council. General Assembly resolutions are non-binding, and Russia and China have repeatedly blocked the Security Council from taking action on Syria.
The framework agreement states that both the U.S. and Russia will work to adopt a Security Council resolution reinforcing the OPCW “special procedures for expeditious destruction of the Syrian chemical weapons program and stringent verification thereof” and containing steps to “ensure its verification and effective implementation.”
However, the U.S. and Russia fundamentally disagree on the particulars of these provisions. The U.S. has insisted that the resolution on the framework agreement be adopted under Chapter VII of the U.N. charter, which implies that violations could result in punishment such as sanctions or the use of force. Even under Chapter VII, however, use of military force is not considered approved unless explicitly stated or the resolution authorized “all necessary means” or “all necessary measures” to enforce its provisions.
Russia insists that the initial resolution should not be adopted under Chapter VII but that Syrian non-compliance should lead the Security Council to impose additional measures under Chapter VII. Russia would, of course, be in a position to veto such measures.
Minimum Criteria for the ResolutionBy choosing to return to the Security Council, President Obama has created an expectation that he will achieve a resolution that will apply strong pressure on Syria to declare and destroy its CW in an incredibly rapid manner. Such a resolution would, at a bare minimum:
By agreeing to engage Russia and Syria in the framework agreement, the Obama Administration assumed responsibility for ensuring that the resulting Security Council resolution will be effective. A resolution with the above provision would not ensure Syrian compliance, but it would enhance verification and establish tangible incentives for compliance. Anything less would be a charade.
--Baker Spring is F. M. Kirby Research Fellow in National Security Policy in the Douglas and Sarah Allison Center for Foreign Policy Studies, a division of the Kathryn and Shelby Cullom Davis Institute for International Studies, and Brett D. Schaefer is Jay Kingham Fellow in International Regulatory Affairs in the Margaret Thatcher Center for Freedom, a division of the Davis Institute, at The Heritage Foundation.
UPDATED: Obama waives ban on arming terrorists to allow aid to Syrian opposition
President Obama waived a provision of federal law designed to prevent the supply of arms to terrorist groups to clear the way for the U.S. to provide military assistance to "vetted" opposition groups fighting Syrian dictator Bashar Assad.
Some elements of the Syrian opposition are associated with radical Islamic terrorist groups, including al Qaeda, which was responsible for the Sept. 11 attacks in New York, Washington, D.C., and Shanksville, Pa., in 2001. Assad's regime is backed by Iran and Hezbollah.
The president, citing his authority under the Arms Export Control Act, announced today that he would "waive the prohibitions in sections 40 and 40A of the AECA related to such a transaction." Read more...
US Sep. 12, 2013 9:02am
by Wayne Allyn Root
Root is a former Libertarian Vice Presidential nominee, successful entrepreneur, small business defender, business speaker, Capital Evangelist, and media personality- appearing on over 5000 interviews in the past 5 years. Wayne’s latest book is: The Ultimate Obama Survival Guide: How to Survive, Thrive, and Prosper During Obamageddon. It hit #1 in bookstores, and is currently the 6th bestselling political hardcover in America for the past year. Wayne’s web site: ROOTforAmerica.com.
Let’s take an honest look at what Obama is doing to black Americans and his own most loyal supporters. It is, in a word…unimaginable.
It all starts with Syria. Why Syria? Why now? Until Russia interceded, going to war in Syria seemed the most important thing in the world to Obama and his Secretary of State John Kerry. They seemed DESPERATE to go to war, at any costs.
President Obama is using Syria to distract from his poor jobs record. Photo Credit: Mandel Ngana/AFP/Getty Images
But why? Syria has nothing to do with us. They are not threatening us. Their own war is a civil war with no “good guys.” How does America benefit from a war with Syria? Why did Obama suddenly decide a “red line” has been crossed, when there are “red lines” all over the world- including the killing of Christians and the burning of 71 Christian churches in Egypt. Why is it so important to risk American lives to defend the Syrian rebels- who are partners with Al Qaeda, America’s sworn enemy? We didn’t go to war to avenge the murder of our own citizens at Benghazi, so why would we go to war to avenge Al Qaeda deaths in Syria? None of this makes any sense at all.
Until you realize it’s a massive cover-up. Obama’s WMD- Weapon of Mass Distraction. Obama is desperate to cover-up the facts about his dying economy and the damage he’s done to his own most loyal voters. Obama has destroyed the lives of the very people who consider him “the American Idol.”How bad is Obama’s economy? Forget the 7.3 percent unemployment rate that is reported by the government. That’s pure fraud and propaganda. That figure goes down only because hundreds of thousands of Americans drop out of the workforce. In other words, if you stop looking for work, and go on food stamps and welfare, Obama says the unemployment number just got better!
The only truth about unemployment is found in the Labor Force Participation Rate of 63 percent. That’s the lowest in four decades. For men it’s the lowest since record-keeping began in the 1940’s. What this means is 37 percent of the able-bodied, working age adults in America are not only not working, they’ve given up looking for work.
Even worse, a unimaginable percentage of those who are employed have only part-time jobs. Seventy-seven percent of the new jobs created since January 1st are part-time jobs. That’s not good folks. Studies show 1-in-4 part-time workers live in poverty, while only 1-in-20 full-time workers live in poverty. So millions of Americans under Obama who show up as “employed” are merely working their way towards poverty. And millions of others who have full-time jobs are working at McDonalds, or working as waiters, or bartenders, or janitors. Those are the only jobs left under Obama. The middle class is being slaughtered.
Here are the two most ironic points about this slow-motion train wreck called the Obama economy:
Obamacare is the number one culprit destroying real jobs. Business owners are done. No smart business owner in all of America will lift a finger to create a full-time, high-paying job with benefits. It just makes no economic sense anymore. So Obama’s signature achievement has not only created a part-time economy, but all those people in part-time jobs don’t have health insurance. This should be a Saturday Night Live skit. The man has created nationalized health care so that everyone loses their jobs and no one has health care. Insanity. Unless your goal is to create an entire nation of Americans living in poverty, dependent on government welfare.
Secondly, here’s the really sad, tragic, and ironic fact of the Obama economy. Obama hurts the ones he loves. Obama’s policies are destroying the very people who elected and believed in him. It’s almost as if Obama is out to destroy his own voters. Let’s take a look at who is suffering the most from this Obama Great Depression.
Obama won the 2012 election with a razor thin 51 percent of the vote. His biggest supporters were blacks (93 percent voted for Obama), Hispanics (71 percent), single women (67 percent), young people (60 percent), and those without a high school diploma (64 percent). This is the loyal foundation of Barack Hussein Obama. This is who made him President, without a single qualification, except being a community organizer.
Now let’s look at how Obama repays his loyal fans. New research out just last week proves that since 2009 income for black heads of households dropped by 10.9 percent. For Hispanic heads of households it dropped by 4.5 percent. For single women head of households it dropped by 7 percent. For young people (under age 25) it dropped by 9.6 percent. For those with a high school diploma or less, income dropped by 8 percent.
In dollar terms the numbers are even worse. Female incomes are down by $2,300 per year under Obama; black incomes are down over $4,000 per year; Hispanic incomes are down by $2,000 per year.
How about actual unemployment figures for Obama’s fans? We see the same results. Reported unemployment (a bogus figure) is 7.3 percent. But among blacks (who voted 93 percent for Obama) it is an unimaginable 13.3 percent. Among Hispanics it’s 9.4 percent. Among black youth it’s 20.9 percent. Among teens it’s 23.7 percent.
The black middle class is being destroyed. Black homeownership has slipped to the lowest level in decades.
But perhaps the worst statistic of all is the unemployment plus under-employment rate for college graduates under age 25: 18.3 percent. That means new college graduates (also big supporters of Obama) not only can’t find a decent full-time job in the Obama economy, at the same time they are saddled with the highest student debt in history. That could be why we have the highest student loan default rates in history.
So what does a President, who couldn’t find a job if it hit him in the head, do to keep the masses of his own voters from revolting and rioting in the streets? Go to war.
Create a distraction. Make people look away from the scene of the tragedy. Create a “situation” that induces patriotism. Make the masses rally around the President. And if that “situation” happens to help unemployment by sending unemployed young people and minorities off to war, BINGO- you’ve just hit the lottery!
That is the answer to the questions “Why Syria? Why now? How does this benefit America?” Obama’s war is a desperate attempt to keep his own most loyal supporters from noticing that his policies have ruined their lives and set their economic progress back decades. His policies have sent black Americans in particular hurtling back to the days of poverty and racial inequality.
Obama is desperate to keep his own voters from noticing he is the worst thing to happen to them in their lifetimes. His socialist policies don’t solve poverty, they cause poverty. And it’s no surprise. Socialism, income redistribution, big taxes, big spending, big unions, and big government have caused poverty in every nation they’ve ever been tried.
Obama, Mao, Stalin, Castro, Chavez. Same people. Same policies, Same results.
They always hurt the masses. They always victimize their own voters. They always hurt the ones they claim to love. A sick, dysfunctional death spiral.
History will not look kindly on Barack Hussein Obama. Trust me, this death spiral has only just begun.
Monday, Sep 9, 2013 at 10:22 AM EDT
by Glenn Beck
The anti-war Glenn Beck?
I’ll admit it doesn’t exactly roll off the tongue. After all, I used to be guy on the sidelines cheering the ‘freedom on the march’ argument every time a President wanted to lob missiles or put boots on the ground somewhere.
But that all changed for me several years ago when I began to realize this democracy building mentality was a progressive mentality. Discovering the progressive strain of politics existed was a major pivot point in my life. I’m really big on pivot points – if you have a major change on an issue it should be accompanied by something so memorable you remember ever detail in the room when you discovered it. I remember being our Radio City studios when I heard Hillary Clinton explain she didn’t like to be called liberal but preferred being called an early 20th century progressive. I started researching and my eyes were opened to the fact that progressives were marching forward while regular liberals and conservatives were simply being used. That’s my pivot point and the main reason why I’m against war in Syria today.
I want to address everyone making the opposite argument today than they did ten years ago:
Why have you switched?
Are you doing it merely because of politics or because of loyalty to Obama? Have you had an honest pivot point?
Too much is at stake to not know or admit the honest answer to this question. You may disagree with me on almost everything I say – that’s fine — but I defy you to look at the facts of Syria and come away concluding this is something America should be engaging in.
War with Syria is suicidal and here are just a few reasons why.
China’s Foreign Minister said American should ‘think thrice’ before acting and exercise ‘extreme caution’ in what is a clear declaration of support for Assad’s regime. Russia has unabashedly come to the aid of Assad by sending a steady stream of weapons and recently they bolstered their naval presence near the Syrian coast with a missile cruiser and a destroyer among other ships. Iran, of course, has vowed to support Syria ‘to the end’ in the face of possibly military strikes from the United States.
Since the Arab Spring the Middle East has come unraveled – something that didn’t seem possible given its already volatile nature. Egypt is on the verge of civil war, Libya is suffering in lawless ruin, and Syria is mired in a deadly civil war that’s killed hundreds of thousands of people. The Assad regime, the radical terrorists fighting against Assad, and the Obama administration itself all admit a limited and measured strike from the United States will neither end the civil war nor change regimes.
So why bother doing it? What is this really all about? Here are a few of the keys:
But there is another factor at play: destabilization.
I’ve talked a lot about the Archduke Ferdinand moment. When Archduke Ferdinand (of Austria-Hungary) was assassinated in Bosnia in 1914 it triggered a chain reaction that ultimately led to World War I.
Here’s what happened:
I believe I was right.
We all know the powerful images and the message of peaceful protest that came out of the civil rights movement. What has come from the Tunisian fruit cart vendor?
We have not seen peaceful marches – we’ve seen the violent overthrow of governments in Egypt, Tunisia, Libya and Yemen. We’ve seen devastating civil war in Syria for over two and a half years and hundreds of thousands of people dead. We’ve seen radical Islamists murdering Christians and eating the hearts out of their sworn enemy on videotape. We’ve seen American journalists raped in the streets, Priests beheaded, scores of civilians brutally executed in the streets. We’ve seen Russia, Iran, China, and the United States preparing and posturing for war on a global scale.
I’m having a really hard time finding Rosa Parks anywhere near this colossal mess.
It isn’t some political game for us to get involved in so those who have made threats can save a little face. ‘Limited’ and ‘measured’ means nothing to the family whose home was just obliterated by a stray bomb. It means nothing to the Christians, the moderate Muslims, the homosexuals, the atheists, or anyone else who won’t submit to the will of a dictator or the dictates of Sharia Law under radical Islamic rule. Try this – put yourself in the shoes of the typical woman in Syria. Are they excited about the prospect of United States military strikes? What is the best possible outcome for them?
First they have to survive the bombings. If they manage to accomplish that, they’ll face one of two scenarios. Either Assad remains in power and they have to live in fear of government crackdowns OR Assad is ousted and the people are forced to live under radical Islamic rule and the harsh conditions of Sharia Law.
The cost of getting involved is far too high and it’s the people of Syria are the ones who will pay the price. It will eventually cost all citizens of the globe as it will put us another step closer to World War III.
And for what? America to save face? To secure pipelines?
The time for politics and party loyalty is over. Do your own homework. If you just take the administration’s word for it (or John McCain or John Boehner or Lindsey Graham’s for that matter) that it’s ‘slam dunk’ case, I believe you are part of the problem. Likewise, if you are against it just because I said so but you really don’t know why – you are part of the problem too. You are stopping, dare I say it – progress.
If we continue to allow others to dictate our thinking then we deserve what we reap.
But the innocent people who will suffer in the Middle East do not.
Sep. 9, 2013 7:59am Jonathon M. Seidl
BEVERLY HILLS, CA – AUGUST 07: Journalist Charlie Rose speaks onstage during the ‘Charlie Rose: The Week’ panel discussion at the PBS portion of the 2013 Summer Television Critics Association tour at the Beverly Hilton Hotel on August 7, 2013 in Beverly Hills, California. Credit: Getty Images
WASHINGTON (TheBlaze/AP) — Syrian President Bashar Assad (bah-SHAR’ AH’-sahd) is warning there will be retaliation against the U. S. for any military strike launched in response to a chemical weapons attack.
In an interview broadcast Monday on CBS’ “This Morning,” Assad says, quote, “You should expect everything.”
Asked by anchorman Charlie Rose to elaborate, Assad says, “You should expect everything. Not necessarily from the government.”
He said the U.S. would “pay the price if you are not wise with dealing with terrorists,” and also said any strike would be supporting the same Al Qaeda terrorists who struck America on 9/11.
President Barack Obama is seeking an authorization from Congress to punish Assad for an Aug. 21 chemical weapons attack that the administration maintains Assad ordered.
Assad denied that, saying his soldiers were “in another area” at the time. Asked about the case the U.S. is arguing, Assad said, “nothing has been presented.”
“He doesn’t have [it]. He didn’t present it because he doesn’t have [it]. Kerrry doesn’t have [it]. No one in the administration has [it],” Assad told Rose.
The interview excerpt also included Assad taking a shot at Obama by accusing him of adopting the same ideology as George W. Bush:
“Our soldiers in another area were attacked chemically, our soldiers. They went to the hospital, as casualties because of chemical weapons,” Assad also told Rose. “But in the area where they said the government used chemical weapons, we only had video and we only have pictures and allegations. We’re not there. Our forces — our police, our institutions don’t exist. How can you talk about what happened if you don’t have evidences? We’re not like the American administration. We’re not social media administration or government. We are the government that deals with reality.”
The full interview will be aired on Monday night on PBS.
Please contact your representative and Senators and say no to attacking Syria
UPDATE 2-U.S. says works with partners to raise pressure on Syria on chemical arms
Fri Jan 31, 2014 10:04pm GMT
(Adds comments from senior U.S. official In paragraphs 13-19)
By Matt Spetalnick and Lesley Wroughton
Jan 31 (Reuters) - The White House said on Friday it was working with partners to ratchet up pressure on Syria to accelerate removal of its chemical weapons after the United States accused it of deliberately stalling an international disarmament deal.
The Obama administration stepped up criticism of President Bashar al-Assad's government as Secretary of State John Kerry met Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov in Munich amid a U.S. push for Moscow to do more to win cooperation from its ally Damascus.
Russia earlier rejected U.S. charges that Syria is dragging its feet on giving up chemical weapons, saying that a June 30 deadline to destroy Assad's arsenal of toxic agents remains viable despite delays.
"Syria must immediately take the necessary actions to comply with its obligations," White House spokesman Jay Carney said at a briefing in Washington.
"We all know that the Syrian regime has the capability to move these weapons," Carney said. "We're going to continue to work with our partners on this to keep up the pressure on the Assad regime."
But Carney stopped short of threatening any specific action if Syria did not get chemical weapons deliveries on track.
Asked what the consequences would be if Syria did not take action, he said: "The United States and our partners in this effort will insist that Syria meet its commitments."
Assad's decision in September to give up chemical arms helped him avoid threatened U.S. air strikes in retaliation for a poison gas attack near Damascus in August that killed hundreds of people, many of them women and children.
President Barack Obama this week touted the chemical weapons agreement as one of the few U.S. diplomatic achievements on Syria, but the State Department said on Thursday just 4 percent of Syria's deadliest chemical agents has been shipped out of the country for destruction at sea.
The United States has few good choices to force Assad to comply. Americans are weary of war and Congress is unlikely to go along with any new military engagement in the Middle East.
Russia has been Assad's most powerful diplomatic backer during the nearly three-year-old conflict in Syria that has killed 130,000, using its veto power in the U.N. Security Council to block Western-backed efforts to push him from power or impose sanctions.
But even as Moscow defends Syria over the chemical weapons issue, it runs the risk of diplomatic embarrassment if the international community broadly deems Assad to be in violation of a deal Russia brokered in the first place.
Underscoring U.S. efforts to get Russia to use its influence with Assad, a senior U.S. official said Wendy Sherman, a top State Department diplomat, met Russian officials in Moscow on Wednesday to discuss delays in chemical weapons shipments.
The chemical weapons dispute unfolded in the final stages of a first round of Syrian peace talks that ended in Geneva on Friday with no progress toward ending the nearly civil war.
"There is a credibility issue for the Syrian government whether it be with respect to chemical weapons or implementing any deal reached in Geneva if we do get to a deal," the senior official said.
"It is time for the Syrian government to show its seriousness of purpose and begin to move the materials from the 12 sites so they can be transported out of Syria and destroyed."
The official declined to say whether the United States might resort to seeking U.N. Security Council approval for punitive action under Chapter 7 of the U.N. charter if Syria continues to defy the chemical weapons agreement.
The council adopted a resolution in September that demanded eradication of Syria's chemical weapons but, at Russia's insistence, did not threaten new sanctions or a military response if Assad broke the deal. A second council decision would be needed for that, giving Moscow a chance to nix it.
But the U.S. official said of the Chapter 7 option, "If we have to go down that route, we will go down that route." (Additional reporting by Mark Felsenthal; Editing by James Dalgleish and Mohammad Zargham)
Seymour Hersh: Obama Told Half-Truth on Syria's Chemical Weapons
Monday, 09 Dec 2013 12:42 PM
By Courtney Coren
President Barack Obama told a half-truth in September when he went before the nation to make the case for why the United States needed to respond militarily to the use of chemical weapons in Syria, Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist Seymour Hersh alleges.
"In some instances, he omitted important intelligence, and in others he presented assumptions as facts," Hersh wrote in the London Review of Books. "Most significant, he failed to acknowledge something known to the U.S. intelligence community: that the Syrian army is not the only party in the country's civil war with access to sarin, the nerve agent that a U.N. study concluded — without assessing responsibility — had been used in the rocket attack."
The Obama administration has responded to Hersh's allegations, saying that they are "simply false," said Shawn Turner, spokesman for the director of National Intelligence,USA Today reports.
Hersh explained that according to a report included in the Operations Order — a document put together by U.S. intelligence prior to a ground invasion — evidence is included "that the al-Nursa Front, a jihadi group affiliated with al-Qaida, had mastered the mechanics of creating sarin and was capable of manufacturing it in quantity."
Hersh alleges that the Obama administration "cherry-picked" the intelligence it cited in favor of blaming Syrian President Bashar Assad for the use of sarin gas, when it should have included al-Nursa in its list of suspects.
"We know the Assad regime was responsible," Obama said in a speech he gave Sept. 10. "In the days leading up to Aug. 21, we know that Assad's chemical weapons personnel prepared for an attack near an area where they mix sarin gas. They distributed gas masks to their troops. Then they fired rockets from a regime-controlled area into 11 neighborhoods that the regime has been trying to wipe clear of opposition forces.
"I determined that it is in the national security interests of the United States to respond to the Assad regime's use of chemical weapons through a targeted military strike," he added.
Hersh argues that Obama was about to go to war against Syria because Assad had apparently crossed the "red line" by using chemical weapons, but he was about to do so without verifying who it really was that had used the chemical weapons on the Aug. 21 attack.
According to the Hersh, there was a lot of frustration and even anger over what those in the intelligence and military community viewed as a "deliberate manipulation of intelligence" by the administration.
"One high-level intelligence officer, in an email to a colleague, called the administration's assurances of Assad's responsibility a 'ruse,'" Hersh wrote. "The attack 'was not the result of the current regime', he wrote."
"A former senior intelligence official told me that the Obama administration had altered the available information — in terms of its timing and sequence" to make it look like the administration had captured intelligence in "real time," Hersh explained.
"The same official said there was immense frustration inside the military and intelligence bureaucracy: 'The guys are throwing their hands in the air and saying, 'How can we help this guy' — Obama — 'when he and his cronies in the White House make up the intelligence as they go along?'"
The officials said that Obama made it sound like the government had received an advance warning that the attack was going to take place before it did, but that wasn't the case, the officials claim.
The United States has set up "a secret sensor system inside Syria" that is watched by the National Reconnaissance Office to alert the government in case there is any "movement of chemical warheads stored by the military."
Hersh explains that for sarin gas to be used, it can only be prepared a few days in advance, as it will start to eat away at the warhead. However, there was no movement detected in the days leading up to the Aug. 21 attack. A possible alternative explanation is that the warheads were supplied to the Syrian army from somewhere else.
The administration is continuing to stand by its claim that Assad was responsible for the August attack.
"The intelligence clearly indicated that the Assad regime and only the Assad regime could have been responsible for the 21 August chemical weapons attack," Turner said. "The suggestion that there was an effort to suppress intelligence about a nonexistent alternative explanation is simply false."
One of Hersh's best-known investigative works broke the Abu Ghraib prisoner abuse scandal during the Iraq War in 2004 in The New Yorker.
The New Yorker and The Washington Post passed on Hersh's Syria story before he asked the London Review of Books to publish it, according to The Huffington Post.
Thank you Kent Lamberson
Thank you Kent Lamberson
THURSDAY, SEPTEMBER 5, 2013
Unconnected dots: Rep. Wasserman heartbroken by Syrian child victims… supports chemical abortion?
by Lauren Enriquez
Unborn Babies, Chemicals and Syria
In a CNN debate on September 4- the eve of today’s vote on Syria authorization – Democratic Congresswoman Debbie Wasserman Schultz of Florida argued with Republican Congressman Michael Burgess about the need for American intervention in the Syrian civil war. U.S. intervention is being considered because Syrian president, Bashar al-Assad is being suspected of having used chemical weapons on his own people. These people were civilians, and among them were hundreds of young children. The civil war has also created two million refugees, half of whom are children, according to the United Nations, who are calling these million children a “lost generation.”
In a poignant summary of her opinion that U.S. involvement is necessary, the congresswoman said the following:
As a mother, to me, I have an indelible searing imprint on my mind after seeing the pictures of those babies lined up. We have a moral responsibility to respond.It is an unimaginable tragedy and utter injustice that hundreds of Syrian children appear to have died at the hands of the man who is designated to look out for their welfare. Wasserman Shultz overlooked fundamental flaw in her argument when she observed America’s moral responsibility to respond: Wasserman Shultz has spent her career ensuring that chemical and other forms of death continue to be protected by law and carried out on the babies in her own country.
You see, Wasserman Shultz has an extended track record of voting against the rights of American children by working to further abortion and research rights that endanger and ensure the end of millions of innocent young lives. She has voted in favor of destructive embryonic stem cell research. She has voted against laws that would protect American children by withdrawing government funding from abortion providers. She has worked against protecting young American women from predatory abortion practices by voting “no” on legislation that would restrict interstate abortion availability to minors.
Wasserman Schultz, like any compassionate human being, is appalled by the use of chemical weapons on children. But she has created a false dichotomy by working to ensure that American babies can be killed by the chemical weapon of a saline abortion, in which a woman’s uterus is filled with a saline solution that eats away at the inside and outside of the baby until it is burned to death in utero. Wasserman Schultz also works to ensure that other babies can be killed by the RU-486 chemical abortion, in which the mother ingests a pill that cuts off her baby’s food supply and starves it to death, before ingesting another pill that makes her uterus contract to expel the dead baby into toilet water, to be flushed out of existence. No one gently dresses these fatally-wounded children in white shrouds, lining them up that we may see and mourn for them, and honor their lives. They are flushed, tossed, and ground out of existence.
And yet, the congresswoman rallies for America to go to the aid of a country that is suspected of using chemical weapons on a much smaller scale than that of America’s chemical abortion practice. Human morality demands action in the face of injustice. It also demands consistency in these actions: there are unconnected dots in the congresswoman’s argument that America should rally to aid Syria while simultaneously continuing to snuff out the lives of its own children.
PRAY FOR THE SANCTITY OF LIFEI
Lord, protect the unborn.
For you created my inmost being; you knit me together in my mother's womb. Psalm 139:13
O Lord, we thank you for the gift of life. Grant mothers wisdom and courage to choose life for their babies. Turn the hearts of fathers to their children and cover the unborn with your protective hand. "Before I formed you in the womb I knew you…”
Obama In Full Spin Mode As Syria Says ‘No’ To Keeping Chemical Weapons Deadline
Somewhere in the Middle East, right now, Putin and Assad are sharing cigars and cognac around a roaring fire, with the melodious sound of laughter rising into the night sky as they high-five each other over an 8×10 glossy of Obama. ‘Red line’ indeed.
WASHINGTON — The ambitious U.S.-Russian deal to eliminate Syria’s chemical weapons, hailed as a diplomatic breakthrough just days ago, hit its first delay Wednesday with indications that the Syrian government will not submit an inventory of its toxic stockpiles and facilities to international inspectors by this weekend’s deadline.
The State Department signaled that it would not insist that Syrian President Bashar Assad produce the list Saturday, the end of a seven-day period spelled out in the framework deal that Washington and Moscow announced last weekend in Geneva.
War in Syria, Slaughter of Christians by radical Islamists, Drone Strikes, Abortion, Benghazi