Archive | July 6th, 2016

Yemeni nation steadfast in supporting Palestinians

Leader of Yemen's Ansarullah movement Abdul-Malik al-Houthi delivers a televised speech on June 30, 2016.
Leader of Yemen’s Ansarullah movement Abdul-Malik al-Houthi delivers a televised speech on June 30, 2016.

Leader of Yemen’s Ansarullah movement Abdul-Malik al-Houthi has described the Yemeni nation’s support for Palestine and Palestinian resistance movements in the face of the Israeli regime’s aggression as “solid and unwavering.”

Houthi said late on Thursday that the Yemenis wholeheartedly love their Palestinian brethren and praise the courageous stands of Palestinian resistance movements, which hail from the core of the society.

He further described popular uprising as the main means to withstand the US and Western support for the Tel Aviv regime.

Houthi also pointed to the sacrifices made by the Lebanese resistance movement Hezbollah, lauding it as an honor for the Muslim ummah.

“The Zionist regime is the common enemy of Islamic nations. It poses a pervasive threat, which we are entitled to confront,” he said, adding, “Al-Aqsa Mosque is one of our sanctities and we cannot forget it,” he pointed out.

Houthi’s remarks came ahead of the International Quds Day, which is held annually on the last Friday of the Muslim fasting month of Ramadan as designated by the late founder of the Islamic Republic, Imam Khomeini.

Israeli soldiers inspect the area around the illegal settlement of Kiryat Arba near the occupied West Bank city of al-Khalil (Hebron) on June 30, 2016. ©AFP

Each year, millions of people around the world stage rallies on the day to voice their support for the Palestinian nation and repeat their call for an end to the Tel Aviv regime’s atrocities and occupation of the Palestinian territories.

The occupied Palestinian territories have been the scene of heightened tensions since August 2015, when Israel imposed restrictions on the entry of Palestinian worshipers into the al-Aqsa Mosque compound in East al-Quds.

Palestinians are angry at increasing violence by Israeli settlers at the al-Aqsa Mosque compound, saying the Tel Aviv regime seeks to change the status quo of the sacred site.

More than 220 Palestinians have lost their lives at the hands of Israeli forces since the beginning of last October.

Masked Palestinian protesters gesture during clashes with the Israeli police at the al-Aqsa Mosque compound in the occupied Old City of al-Quds (Jerusalem) on June 28, 2016. ©AFP

Israel maintains a defiant stand on the issue of illegal settlements on Palestinian land as it refuses to freeze its land expropriation policies and settlement expansion activities.

Over half a million Israelis live in more than 230 illegal settlements built since the 1967 Israeli occupation of the West Bank, including East al-Quds (Jerusalem). All the Israeli settlements are illegal under international law. However, Tel Aviv has defied calls to stop settlement expansions.

Posted in Palestine Affairs, YemenComments Off on Yemeni nation steadfast in supporting Palestinians

Nasrallah: ‘Israel’ dreads defeat of Daesh in Syria

Sayyed Hassan Nasrallah delivers a speech on the occasion of the International Quds Day, Beirut, July 1, 2016.
Sayyed Hassan Nasrallah delivers a speech on the occasion of the International Quds Day, Beirut, July 1, 2016.

Sayyed Hassan Nasrallah, the secretary general of the Lebanese resistance movement Hezbollah, says the Israeli regime dreads the defeat of the Daesh Takfiri terrorists in Syria.

The Tel Aviv regime has been “exposed to an existential threat,” Nasrallah said, adding that Israel also fears demonstrations in some Arab capitals.

Daesh and the al-Nusra Front terrorist group follow the same ideology of Wahabism, he said.

Syria says Israel and its Western and regional allies are aiding Takfiri militant groups operating inside the Arab country.

The Syrian army has repeatedly seized huge quantities of Israeli-made weapons and advanced military equipment from the foreign-backed militants.

Late last year, British media released footage showing Israeli forces treating a wounded Takfiri terrorist in the occupied Golan Heights.

The Israeli regime has saved over 2,000 Takfiri militants at the cost of about USD 13 million over the past three years, added the report of British newspaper Daily Mail published in December 2015.

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu shakes hands with a militant wounded in Syria at a field hospital in the occupied Golan Heights, February 18, 2014. (AP)

Nasrallah made the remarks during a televised speech on the occasion of the International Quds Day.

The late founder of the Islamic Republic of Iran, Imam Khomeini, named the last Friday of the lunar fasting month of Ramadan as the International Quds Day.

The Hezbollah chief said the Quds Day is marked in the countries whose nations oppose the Saudi regime.

On Friday, as each year, millions of people around the world staged rallies to voice their support for the Palestinians and repeat their call for an end to the Tel Aviv regime’s atrocities and its occupation of the Palestinian territories.

‘Palestinians are not alone’

Muslims, Nasrallah highlighted, will not abandon the Palestinians despite efforts by enemies to undermine the Palestinian cause.

“On this day we ask everyone not to abandon the Palestinian cause,” he said.

Iran, Syria and Hezbollah form the backbone of resistance in the region, Nasrallah added.

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US, Saudi supported rebels have tortured, war crimes in Syria

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Syrian rebels, jihadists guilty of war crimes: Amnesty

 AFPJuly 4, 2016

“Islamist rebels and jihadists in Syria are guilty of war crimes, Amnesty International said in a report on Tuesday, accusing them of “a chilling wave of abductions, torture and summary killings”.

“The London-based rights group named five Syrian anti-regime factions operating in northern Syria: Al-Qaeda affiliate Al-Nusra Front, hardliner Ahrar al-Sham, Nureddin Zinki, the Levant Front and Division 16.”   

“The groups have detained and tortured lawyers, journalists,and children” the report said..some of the accused groups “are believed to have the support of governments such as Qatar, Saudi Arabia, Turkey and the US”.

“Syria’s conflict began in March 2011 with anti-government protests but has since broken down into all-out war, leaving more than 280,000 people dead…Amnesty called on world powers to “pressure armed groups to end such abuses and comply with the laws of war”.
The report said regional powers must also stop providing weapons or other forms of support to any factions involved in war crimes or other violations.”

Read the full APF story

Posted in USA, Saudi Arabia, SyriaComments Off on US, Saudi supported rebels have tortured, war crimes in Syria

The President of Uganda Kept Calling I$raHell ‘Palestine’ During Netanyahu’s Visit

NOVANEWS
BY SIOBHÁN O’GRADY
The President of Uganda Kept Calling Israel ‘Palestine’ During Netanyahu’s Visit

In July 1976, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s older brother Yonatan flew some 2,300 miles from Israel to Entebbe, Uganda, where pro-Palestinian hijackers were holding more than 100 people hostage in an abandoned airport terminal.

The elder Netanyahu was part of a small group of elite Israeli commandos sent to assist in the rescue of the hostages, most of whom were Israeli and whose kidnapping was endorsed by then-Ugandan dictator Idi Amin. He was also the only Israeli soldier who would not return home alive from the otherwise successful mission: He was shot outside the Entebbe airport and buried days later in Jerusalem’s Military Cemetery.

On Monday, 40 years after his brother died in Entebbe crossfire, the younger Netanyahu, who has repeatedly pointed to his brother’s death as a turning point in his own pursuit of a career in politics, flew to Uganda to mark the grim twin anniversary.

“This is a deeply moving day for me,” Netanyahu said in a speech in Entebbe on Monday. “Forty years ago they landed in the dead of night in a country led by a brutal dictator who gave refuge to terrorists. Today we landed in broad daylight in a friendly country led by a president who fights terrorists.”

But despite the Israeli leader’s praise for Ugandan President Yoweri Museveni, who has been in power since 1986 and was controversially re-elected for another five-year term this year, the aging Ugandan leader barely made note of Israel in his Monday speech. That’s because Museveni repeatedly called it “Palestine” in what appears to be an embarrassing gaffe, considering that Netanyahu’s visit was meant to mark the anniversary of his brother’s death at the hands of the pro-Palestinian liberation movement’s hijacking.

“The sad event, 40 years ago, turned into another bond linking Palestine to Africa,” Museveni said. “I said this is yet another bond between Africa and Palestine because there were earlier bonding events.”

According to some reports, Israeli radio stations cut off broadcast of Museveni’s speech after his repeated references to Palestine. But Netanyahu, who sat beside Museveni as he made his speech, hardly seemed to flinch.

A representative of the Ugandan government could not be reached byForeign Policy Tuesday, but Ofwono Opondo, a Museveni spokesman, reportedly tweeted that the Ugandan president hadn’t made a mix-up at all.

“The whole of that land was originally known as Palestine so Museveni’s reference isn’t wrong,” he wrote. The tweet was no longer publicly available Tuesday.

The gaffe didn’t seem to disrupt Netanyahu’s landmark visit to sub-Saharan Africa, the first of any Israeli prime minister in three decades. His itinerary includes Kenya, Rwanda, and Ethiopia, and is meant to reinvigorate Israel’s partnership with the region, which Netanyahu in a speech in Kenya on Tuesday called critical to defeating terrorism.

“I think we see eye to eye on the nature of this problem, and I think Africa and Israel overwhelmingly see eye to eye on this,” he said, pointing to al-Shabab terrorist attacks in Kenya in recent years.

In the mid-20th century, after many African countries had freed themselves from their European colonizers, Israel helped them transition to independent states. But after Arab countries upped their assistance to the continent in the 1970s, many of those aid recipients cut their ties with Israel in an effort to boost the funds Arab leaders promised them.

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Turkey on the Ropes

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turkeyflagimage5

This has been an amazing week which saw the first clear sign of the collapse of the EU and Turkish President Erdogan presenting his excuses to Russia for the downing of a Russian SU-24 over Syria 7 month ago. While the latter event was largely eclipsed by the former, it might be the sign of something even more dramatic taking place: the collapse of Turkey.

Does that seem like hyperbole?

Let’s look again.

Drop of Light / Shutterstock.com

Drop of Light / Shutterstock.com

The Presidency of Erdogan has been nothing short of cataclysmic for Turkey which resulted in a perfect storm of crises, each of the very serious:

1) Crisis in Syria: the Turkish policy of support for Daesh to overthrow Assad has failed. Abjectly so. Not only is Assad still in power, but the latest bombing in Turkey seem to indicated that Daesh is turning against Turkey now (assuming the official explanations is true, which it might not be as we will discuss below). The entire Syria policy of Erdogan is now in shambles.

2) Crisis with the EU: the last thing the Brits did before Brexiting was to tell Turkey that it could join the EU in 3000 years. Other EU member states were not as direct, but everybody knows that this is true. Furthermore, the grand Erdogan-Merkel friendship and alliance has completely fizzled out.

3) Crisis with the Armenians: when the German Parliament recognized the genocide of the Armenians and, soon thereafter, so did the Pope, it was pretty darn clear that the western powers that be were sending Turkey a simple message: a raised middle finger. Love story over, screw you!

4) Crisis with the USA: US special forces have now been spotted in Iraq wearing Kurdish badges. While minor, this incident is telling and has greatly angered the Turks. Bottom line: the Empire needs the Kurds in Iraq and Syria and Turkey takes second place right now.

5) Crisis with Iran: by supporting Daesh, by trying to sabotage the “Islamic pipeline” and by trying to overthrow Assad, Turkey has completely alienated Tehran.

6) Crisis with the Kurds: by engaging in an even more brutal level of anti-Kurdish violence the Turks have basically re-ignited a full scale civil war and the Kurds are showing no signs of getting weaker. In fact, they are currently more powerful than ever, courtesy of the US invasion of Iraq.

7) Crisis with NATO: following the downing of the Russian SU-24 NATO clearly indicated to Erdogan that he was on his own and that NATO would not get involved in a Turkey-triggered war.

8) Crisis with Russia: the downing of the SU-24 did not result in the expected Russian military response, but resulted in 7 months of crippling economic sanctions by Russia and an enormous loss of prestige by Turkey. More about this later.

So, this can be all summed up by saying that Turkey under Erdogan has shown a truly Ukrainian-level of incompetence, arrogance and delusion.

It is in this, truly dramatic, context that Erdogan had to write his letter of apology.

The first thing which should be said about this is that Erdogan took a major political risk: after spending months chest-thumping and declaring uri et orbi that Turkey will never, ever, apologize if only because Turkey was in the right, this sudden “zag!” puts Erdogan is a very difficult position. Hence the initial rumors that the letter said that he was “sorry” but not “apologizing” or, second variant, that the apology was only to the family of the murdered Russian pilot, but not to Russia. This did not last too long and pretty soon the bewildered Turks gave up trying to give this apology a face-lift. It was exactly what everybody understood it to be: a real full and humiliating apology.

Next there was a statement of the Turkish foreign minister categorically denying that any compensation would be paid. That too lasted a couple of hours until it was admitted that not only would Turkey pay, but Turkey would pay whatever was demanded.

Finally, there is a very real possibility that the bombing of the airport in Ankara Istambul might be a very direct message sent to Erdogan: “if you try to appease the Russians we will unleash hell on you”. And while Daesh is a prime candidate for sending that kind of message, there are other possible candidates: the US, of course, and the Turkish deep-state. To make matters even more complicated, we should not discard any scenario as impossible, including the possibility that Erdogan himself, and his supporters, engaged in a false-flag event to justify 1) cooperation with Russia against terrorism and 2) turning against Daesh.

Right now, the official version (Daesh did it) makes sense to me, but I would not discount any other possibility.

What is certain is that the stakes in Turkey are now sky-high and that Erdogan is fighting for his future and, possibly, the future of Turkey as a state. His opening towards Russia and, at the same time, Israel is a clear sign of despair. If only because Russia is unlikely to offer much in terms of rewards for the following reasons:

First, the Russians are now deeply suspicious of Erdogan and consider him a loose cannon, possibly a lunatic, who cannot be trusted and who can make a zag after every zig.

Second, the letter was a first, necessary, step to reopen negotiations, but the negotiations themselves will be a long process. Foreign Ministers Lavrov and Cavusoglu will begin these negotiations this week, but the number of issues to be discussed in very long. Most importantly, the Russians will demand tangible and important steps from Turkey, especially in Syria and in regards to Turkey sponsored terrorism in Russia and the Ukraine. It is by no means clear to me that Erdogan will be willing to make such major concessions. Officially, I expect a lot of smiles and hopeful declarations, but behind closed door the Russians will be making many tough demands. It is not clear to me that Ergodan could yield to the Russian demands even if he wanted to.

Erdogan really appears to have deluded himself that he is some kind of major player and he is now discovering that he is not. What is even worse, he now probably realizes that he has many dangerous enemies and no friends at all.

Potentially, Russia could offer Turkey a lot, way more than just a return to better relations, tourists and a market for Turkish vegetables. But my feeling is that Erdogan is turning to Russia in despair and to improve his bargaining position towards all the others enemies he has made. The problem is that he Russians probably see that too and that they will be very cautious, even if they hide this caution behind all manners of nice diplomatic language.

I might be wrong here, but I think that the Russians want Erdogan out. In their minds they have already “Saakashvilized” him if only because Turkey is an extremely important country, strategically located and Russia cannot afford to have a delusional lunatic ruling it. Furthermore, the Turkish people have a major problem on their hands: a severe case of multiple personality disorder. They have to decide if they want to be secular Europeans, “Young Turk” neo-Fascist nationalists, Islamic radicals, Kemalist secularists? Do they want an impossible mono-ethnic Turkey or can they accept that others not only live there too, but also that these “others” lived in these lands long before the Turkic nomads invaded them? Right now, Turkey is anti-European, anti-Russian, anti-Armenian, anti-Kurdish, anti-Armenian, anti-Christian, anti-Arabic, anti-Persian, anti-Greek, etc. That makes Turkey a big powder keg which any spark could detonate. And the problem for Russia is that this powder keg is uncomfortably close and deeply involved in the Ukraine, Crimea, the Caucasus and Central Asia.

What this all means is that it is in Russia’s strategic interest to have a responsible and trustworthy partner to deal with. Sadly, I don’t see that as very likely because, just as in the case of the Ukraine and Israel, the problem with Turkey is that this an artificial, illegitimate and fundamentally unsustainable country.

Israel, the Ukraine and Turkey are all built on a rabidly nationalist/racist worldview which offers no hope to anybody that does not agree with this worldview. This is why, for the Turks, the Kurds are either mountain Turks or “terrorists” who deserve to be shot. It would be naïve to the extreme to think that the mindset which made the genocide of Armenians, along with many other minorities (Christian Assyrians, Syrians, Chaldeans and Greeks), has somehow disappeared especially if we keep in mind that a) the Turks still deny the reality of this genocide and b) that this genocide has never stopped, but only slowed down:

Genocide, besides the actual physical destruction of the members of the target group, aims also to erase all traces of the target group’s identity, through forced assimilation. In the Armenian case, it was mainly women and children who were forced to convert to Islam, adopting Turkish or Kurdish names and thus lost their Armenian identity over time. Another measure of the genocidal process is deleting all traces of the population who have been massacred or driven away by such deportations. This includes destruction of all buildings and monuments while renaming all the names of villages, towns, rivers, and other things that can attest to the presence of Armenians in the area. In 1914, the Armenian Patriarch of Constantinople presented a list of Armenian sacred places that were under his supervision. The list contained 2,549 religious sites of which 200 were monasteries while 1,600 were churches. A survey in 1974 showed that only 916 Armenian churches could be identified within Turkey’s borders, half of which were almost completely destroyed and among the rest only ruins of 252 items remained. The authorities have also renamed almost all villages, towns, mountains, and rivers in Armenia and changed their historical Armenian name to Turkish ones. This policy continues even in our days when, for example, the Turkish Interior Ministry announced in 2005 that it would rename certain animal Latin names since they had “separatist tendencies”. Armeniana Ovis (sheep) would be renamed Ovis orientalis Anatolicus, while Capreolus Capreolus Armenus (deer) would be called Capreolus Capreolus capreolus. Even Vulpes Vulpes Kurdistanica (red fox) was to be renamed Vulpes Vulpes. The proposal was rejected by UNESCO, the UN agency in charge of these data, referring to the unfounded the Turkish reasons for the changes (source)

And then there is Cyprus, which the Turks still illegally occupy. Again, such levels of violence in and around artificial and illegitimate countries is something normal and not a temporary fluke (see: the Ukraine and Israel).

What this all means for Russia is that while the Kremlin will warmly welcome Erdogan’s latest “zag” and while efforts will be made to return to a more or less situation, the only possible long term goal for Russia is to support either the break-up or the federalization of Turkey into some kind of more or less civilized country. The good news for Russia is that she really need not make any special efforts towards that goal as the Turks, just like the Israelis and the Ukrainians, are doing a splendid job making sure that their political project never becomes viable. The best thing Russia can do at this point in time is to brace for the likely flare-up of violence in Turkey and try to protect herself, and her allies, from the inevitable fallout.

As for Turkey – the future looks very grim. The latest move to court Russia and Israel will not meaningfully improve the strategic situation for Turkey. At best, it will give the appearance of a pseudo-regional détente. But nothing else will change unless the Turkish state itself changes and that is something that the Turkish people do not seem to be willing to accept, at least not in the foreseeable future.

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Select Committee on Benghazi Releases Proposed Report

NOVANEWS

 

81 New Witnesses, 75,000 New Pages of Documents Reveal Significant New Information,

Fundamentally Changes the Public’s Understanding of the 2012 Terrorist Attacks that Killed Four Americans

Washington, D.C. – Select Committee on Benghazi Chairman Trey Gowdy (SC-04) released the following statement after the committee’s Majority released a mark of its investigative report:

“Chris Stevens, Sean Smith, Glen Doherty and Tyrone Woods were heroes who gave their lives in service to our country. Their bravery and the courageous actions of so many others on the ground that night should be honored.

“When the Select Committee was formed, I promised to conduct this investigation in a manner worthy of the American people’s respect, and worthy of the memory of those who died. That is exactly what my colleagues and I have done.

“Now, I simply ask the American people to read this report for themselves, look at the evidence we have collected, and reach their own conclusions. You can read this report in less time than our fellow citizens were taking fire and fighting for their lives on the rooftops and in the streets of Benghazi.”

The committee’s proposed report is just over 800 pages long and is comprised of five primary sections and 12 appendices. It details relevant events in 2011 and 2012.

The following facts are among the many new revelations in Part I:

  • Despite President Obama and Secretary of Defense Leon Panetta’s clear orders to deploy military assets, nothing was sent to Benghazi, and nothing was en route to Libya at the time the last two Americans were killed almost 8 hours after the attacks began. [pg. 141]
  • With Ambassador Stevens missing, the White House convened a roughly two-hour meeting at 7:30 PM, which resulted in action items focused on a YouTube video, and others containing the phrases “[i]f any deployment is made,” and “Libya must agree to any deployment,” and “[w]ill not deploy until order comes to go to either Tripoli or Benghazi.” [pg. 115]
  • The Vice Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff typically would have participated in the White House meeting, but did not attend because he went home to host a dinner party for foreign dignitaries. [pg. 107]
  • A Fleet Antiterrorism Security Team (FAST) sat on a plane in Rota, Spain, for three hours, and changed in and out of their uniforms four times. [pg. 154]
  • None of the relevant military forces met their required deployment timelines. [pg. 150]
  • The Libyan forces that evacuated Americans from the CIA Annex to the Benghazi airport was not affiliated with any of the militias the CIA or State Department had developed a relationship with during the prior 18 months. Instead, it was comprised of former Qadhafi loyalists who the U.S. had helped remove from power during the Libyan revolution. [pg. 144]

Rep. Mike Pompeo (KS-04) released the following statement regarding these findings:

“We expect our government to make every effort to save the lives of Americans who serve in harm’s way. That did not happen in Benghazi. Politics were put ahead of the lives of Americans, and while the administration had made excuses and blamed the challenges posed by time and distance, the truth is that they did not try.”

Rep. Martha Roby (AL-02) released the following statement regarding these findings:

“Our committee’s insistence on additional information about the military’s response to the Benghazi attacks was met with strong opposition from the Defense Department, and now we know why. Instead of attempting to hide deficiencies in our posture and performance, it’s my hope our report will help ensure we fix what went wrong so that a tragedy like this never happens again.”

The following facts are among the many new revelations in Part II:

  • Five of the 10 action items from the 7:30 PM White House meeting referenced the video, but no direct link or solid evidence existed connecting the attacks in Benghazi and the video at the time the meeting took place. The State Department senior officials at the meeting had access to eyewitness accounts to the attack in real time. The Diplomatic Security Command Center was in direct contact with the Diplomatic Security Agents on the ground in Benghazi and sent out multiple updates about the situation, including a “Terrorism Event Notification.” The State Department Watch Center had also notified Jake Sullivan and Cheryl Mills that it had set up a direct telephone line to Tripoli. There was no mention of the video from the agents on the ground. Greg Hicks—one of the last people to talk to Chris Stevens before he died—said there was virtually no discussion about the video in Libya leading up to the attacks. [pg. 28]
  • The morning after the attacks, the National Security Council’s Deputy Spokesperson sent an email to nearly two dozen people from the White House, Defense Department, State Department, and intelligence community, stating: “Both the President and Secretary Clinton released statements this morning. … Please refer to those for any comments for the time being. To ensure we are all in sync on messaging for the rest of the day, Ben Rhodes will host a conference call for USG communicators on this chain at 9:15 ET today.” [pg. 39]
  • Minutes before the President delivered his speech in the Rose Garden, Jake Sullivan wrote in an email to Ben Rhodes and others: “There was not really much violence in Egypt. And we are not saying that the violence in Libya erupted ‘over inflammatory videos.’” [pg. 44]
  • According to Susan Rice, both Ben Rhodes and David Plouffe prepared her for her appearances on the Sunday morning talk shows following the attacks. Nobody from the FBI, Department of Defense, or CIA participated in her prep call. While Rhodes testified Plouffe would “normally” appear on the Sunday show prep calls, Rice testified she did not recall Plouffe being on prior calls and did not understand why he was on the call in this instance. [pg.98]
  • On the Sunday shows, Susan Rice stated the FBI had “already begun looking at all sorts of evidence” and “FBI has a lead in this investigation.” But on Monday, the Deputy Director, Office of Maghreb Affairs sent an email stating: “McDonough apparently told the SVTS [Secure Video Teleconference] group today that everyone was required to ‘shut their pieholes’ about the Benghazi attack in light of the FBI investigation, due to start tomorrow.” [pg. 135]
  • After Susan Rice’s Sunday show appearances, Jake Sullivan assured the Secretary of the State that Rice “wasn’t asked about whether we had any intel. But she did make clear our view that this started spontaneously and then evolved.” [pg. 128]
  • Susan Rice’s comments on the Sunday talk shows were met with shock and disbelief by State Department employees in Washington. The Senior Libya Desk Officer, Bureau of Near Eastern Affairs, State Department, wrote: “I think Rice was off the reservation on this one.” The Deputy Director, Office of Press and Public Diplomacy, Bureau of Near Eastern Affairs, State Department, responded: “Off the reservation on five networks!” The Senior Advisor for Strategic Communications, Bureau of Near East Affairs, State Department, wrote: “WH [White House] very worried about the politics. This was all their doing.” [pg. 132]
  • The CIA’s September 13, 2012, intelligence assessment was rife with errors. On the first page, there is a single mention of “the early stages of the protest” buried in one of the bullet points. The article cited to support the mention of a protest in this instance was actually from September 4. In other words, the analysts used an article from a full week before the attacks to support the premise that a protest had occurred just prior to the attack on September 11. [pg. 47]
  • A headline on the following page of the CIA’s September 13 intelligence assessment stated “Extremists Capitalized on Benghazi Protests,” but nothing in the actual text box supports that title. As it turns out, the title of the text box was supposed to be “Extremists Capitalized on Cairo Protests.” That small but vital difference—from Cairo to Benghazi—had major implications in how people in the administration were able to message the attacks. [pg. 52]

Rep. Jim Jordan (OH-04) released the following statement regarding these findings:

“Obama Administration officials, including the Secretary of State, learned almost in real time that the attack in Benghazi was a terrorist attack. Rather than tell the American people the truth, the administration told one story privately and a different story publicly.”

Rep. Peter Roskam (IL-06) released the following statement regarding these findings:

“In the days and weeks after the attacks, the White House worked to pin all of the blame for their misleading and incorrect statements on officials within the intelligence community, but in reality, political operatives like Ben Rhodes and David Plouffe were spinning the false narrative and prepping Susan Rice for her interviews.”

The following facts are among the many new revelations in Part III:

  • During deliberations within the State Department about whether and how to intervene in Libya in March 2011, Jake Sullivan listed the first goal as “avoid[ing] a failed state, particularly one in which al-Qaeda and other extremists might take safe haven.” [pg. 9]
  • The administration’s policy of no boots on the ground shaped the type of military assistance provided to State Department personnel in Libya. The Executive Secretariats for both the Defense Department and State Department exchanged communications outlining the diplomatic capacity in which the Defense Department SST security team members would serve, which included wearing civilian clothes so as not to offend the Libyans. [pg. 60]
  • When the State Department’s presence in Benghazi was extended in December 2012, senior officials from the Bureau of Diplomatic Security were excluded from the discussion. [pg. 74]
  • In February 2012, the lead Diplomatic Security Agent at Embassy Tripoli informed his counterpart in Benghazi that more DS agents would not be provided by decision makers, because “substantive reporting” was not Benghazi’s purpose. [pg. 77]
  • Emails indicate senior State Department officials, including Cheryl Mills, Jake Sullivan, and Huma Abedin were preparing for a trip by the Secretary of State to Libya in October 2012. According to testimony, Chris Stevens wanted to have a “deliverable” for the Secretary for her trip to Libya, and that “deliverable” would be making the Mission in Benghazi a permanent Consulate. [pg. 96]
  • In August 2012—roughly a month before the Benghazi attacks—security on the ground worsened significantly. Ambassador Stevens initially planned to travel to Benghazi in early August, but cancelled the trip “primarily for Ramadan/security reasons.” [pg. 99]
  • Former Secretary of Defense Leon Panetta bluntly told the committee “an intelligence failure” occurred with respect to Benghazi. Former CIA Deputy Director Michael Morell also acknowledged multiple times an intelligence failure did in fact occur prior to the Benghazi attacks. [pg. 129]

Rep. Susan Brooks (IN-05) released the following statement regarding these findings:

“President Obama has said his worst mistake was ‘failing to plan for the day after … intervening in Libya.’ As a result of this ‘lead from behind’ foreign policy, the Libyan people were forced to make the dismal trade of the tyranny of Qadhafi for the terror of ISIS, Al-Qaeda and others. Although the State Department considered Libya a grave risk to American diplomats in 2011 and 2012, our people remained in a largely unprotected, unofficial facility that one diplomatic security agent the committee interviewed characterized as ‘a suicide mission.’”

Rep. Lynn Westmoreland (GA-03) released the following statement regarding these findings:

“One of the most concerning parts of the State Department’s policy in Libya was its reliance upon the militias of an unstable nation to protect our men and women in Benghazi. These were by no means forces that could adequately protect Americans on the ground, and the State Department knew it. But the appearance of no boots on the ground was more important to the administration.”

Part IV of the report reveals new information about the Select Committee’s requests and subpoenas seeking documents and witnesses regarding Benghazi and Libya, and details what the Obama administration provided to Congress, what it is still withholding, and how its serial delays hindered the committee’s efforts to uncover the truth.

Part V proposes 25 recommendations for the Pentagon, State Department, Intelligence Community, and Congress aimed at strengthening security for American personnel serving abroad and doing everything possible to ensure something like Benghazi never happens again, and if it does, that we are better prepared to respond.

The Select Committee intends to convene a bipartisan markup to discuss and vote on the proposed report on July 8, 2016. All members of the committee will have the opportunity to offer changes in a manner consistent with the rules of the House.

Letter from Chairman Trey Gowdy to Speaker Paul Ryan

FACT SHEET: The Benghazi Committee’s Investigation – By the Numbers

Below is the full report with links to PDF files of each section.

Report of the Select Committee on the Events Surrounding the 2012
Terrorist Attack in Benghazi

Illustrations

 

  1. Terrorist Attacks on U.S. Facilities in Benghazi

 

  1. Internal and Public Government Communications about the Terrorist

Attacks in Benghazi

 

III. Events Leading to the Terrorist Attacks in Benghazi

 

  1. Compliance with Congressional Investigations

 

  1. Recommendations

 

Appendix A: Resolution Establishing the Select Committee on the

Events Surrounding the 2012 Terrorist Attack in Benghazi

 

Appendix B: Significant Persons and Organizations

 

Appendix C: Questions for the President

 

Appendix D: Significant Events in Libya Prior to the Attacks

 

Appendix E: Security Incidents in Libya

 

Appendix F: Deterioration of Benghazi Mission Compound Security

 

Appendix G: Timelines of the Attacks

 

Appendix H: The September 12 Situation Report and the President’s

Daily Brief

 

Appendix I: Witness Interview Summaries

 

Appendix J: Requests and Subpoenas for Documents

 

Appendix K: Analysis of Accountability Review Board, House Armed

Services Committee and House Permanent Select Intelligence Committee

Reports

 

Appendix L: Glen A. Doherty, Sean P. Smith, J. Christopher Stevens,

and Tyrone S. Woods

 

Additional Views by Rep. Jordan and Rep. Pompeo

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2012 Terrorist Attacks on Libya’s Special Mission Compound

NOVANEWS
800-Page Benghazi Report Containing Old News
Benghazi-Report-1-640x360

It took two years and a mind-boggling $7 million for House Republicans to finally complete an exhausting 800-page report on Benghazi that largely reiterates a lot of the information Judicial Watch has already released since the 2012 terrorist attacks on the Special Mission Compound in Libya. That amounts to a staggering $8,750 a page for material piled into an insufferable document that doesn’t even contain a smoking gun.

Nevertheless, members of the Benghazi Select Committee released the findings of their tiresome investigation this week with great fanfare, as if they had uncovered earth-shattering information during their lengthy probe. The reality is that most of the material had already been divulged to the public, much of it by Judicial Watch which has litigated in federal court to uncover the truth about Benghazi and published two special reports (read them here and here) on the attacks that killed U.S. Ambassador Chris Stevens and three other Americans. The millions it cost to conduct this particular congressional probe could have been better spent. Not surprisingly, the mainstream media is having a field day pointing out that the two-year investigation produced no bombshells. One national newspaper editorial says that it’s hard to imagine a bigger waste of government resources.

Here’s the spark notes version of the report highlights for those who don’t have the stomach—or time—to go through hundreds of pages; the military was never deployed to help save the victims, the Special Mission Compound didn’t have adequate security and the Obama administration knowingly lied to the American people by claiming the attack was a spontaneous protest ignited by an obscure anti-Muslim internet video. All of this is old news that was unearthed and disseminated long ago. Before the first anniversary of the Benghazi attacks Judicial Watch had obtained records and reported that a group of approximately 150 heavily armed Islamist militia members attacked the U.S. diplomatic mission. Subsequent to that Judicial Watch got ahold of droves of government files showing that then Secretary of State Hillary Clinton and other Obama administration officials knew in real time that the Benghazi attackers were “armed extremists.”

Back in 2014 Judicial Watch reported that the U.S. military had a multitude of forces in the region surrounding Libya when terrorists attacked the Special Mission in Benghazi, but the order from the administration was to stand back as the violent ambush unfolded. A retired Air Force Lieutenant Colonel, Randall R. Schmidt, provided Judicial Watch with a detailed Navy map pointing the specific locations of all the forces—including dozens of destroyers and amphibious assault ships—that could have responded to the attack. Schmidt got the information after filing a Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) request with the Navy while he investigated how the military responded to the Benghazi massacre. Last year Judicial Watch uncovered Department of Defense (DOD) documents that show the U.S. military was poised and ready to respond immediately and forcefully against terrorists in Benghazi. In an email to State Department leadership, then DOD Chief of Staff Jeremy Bash immediately offers “forces that could move to Benghazi” during the attack and reveals that “we have identified the forces that could move to Benghazi. They are spinning up as we speak.” Years earlier then-Secretary of Defense Leon Panetta explained the administration’s lack of military response to the nearly six-hour-long attack like this: “Time, distance, the lack of an adequate warning, events that moved very quickly on the ground prevented a more immediate response.”

In 2013 Judicial Watch obtained documents showing that the State Department hired an inexperienced and virtually unknown foreign company to protect American interests in the dangerous North African country long known to be infested with terrorists. The State Department paid the obscure and untested British firm, Blue Mountain Group, $794,264 for nearly 50,000 guard hours to secure the U.S. compound. British government sources said that even they were unfamiliar with Blue Mountain and in fact the Brits used a different—certainly more competent—security company to protect their mission in Libya. It’s not like the State Department wasn’t aware of the eminent dangers in Benghazi. In fact, the agency knew for years that weak security at American embassies and consulates worldwide could result in a tragedy like Benghazi yet senior officials failed to act. Benghazi was simply one of a long string of security failures that date back more than a decade, according to a probe conducted by an independent panel of security and intelligence experts.

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Hillary Clinton: Lies, Misdemeanors, Felonies, and Treason

NOVANEWS
 
FBI-HQ-Sign

It is hard to imagine how one person could do so much wrong and never once be charged with a crime. Even worse she was elected to the U.S. Senate, was nominated to be Secretary of State and confirmed to be Secretary of State by the U.S. Senate. Now she is about to be “anointed” the President of the United States of America by the Democratic National Committee and Obama in spite of the fact that she is the subject of two FBI criminal investigations.

One of the investigations is about her illegal use of an unsecured private server to conduct Official Government business and the other is an investigation into the activities of the Clinton Foundation. However Obama’s recent enthusiastic public endorsement of her to be President proves that he has ordered the Department of Justice to refuse to file any charges against her no matter how strong a case the FBI presents to the Department of Justice.

Many people refer to Hillary as the “devil”, with good reason. I actually began to refer to her that way years ago and then began to hear other people do the same thing. Recently I saw a news clip of one of her carefully choreographed speeches, to a carefully screened audience where she actually pointed out that she, “does not have horns”! It was meant as a laugh line for her sycophant supporters but it told me that her handlers are very much aware of her image problem. My delight at hearing this quickly subsided when I remembered hearing so many people say, “yes I know she is bad, but I am still going to vote for her” and learning that I could literally be verbally assaulted at places like the gym if I dared to say anything negative about her around some people!

I have no idea how many books have been written about her specifically, much less about her and Bill together. When you add the internet writings about her and him to the books there is probably more public information available about them than any couple in history. While some of the published information was written to make them look good or to attempt to overcome negative information, the majority of the writings provide detailed negative information about them. With Hillary running for President the focus has been much more on her than Bill in recent years.

Congress Benghazi

Hillary began her irrational, head first dive into politics during her college years when she became a disciple of Saul Alinsky. For those of you who are not familiar with Alinsky he was the father of the radical community organizer movement in America. Hillary’s senior thesis in college was about him. Obama was also an Alinsky disciple.

Over the years a lot of what has been written about Hillary, from a wide variety of unrelated sources, confirms that she is totally irrational and has an explosive temper. Some of her long, loud, profanity laced, and at times physical, attacks on Bill behind closed doors at the White House were so bad that the Secret Service agents on duty were concerned about how to protect the President from the First Lady.

Anyone who has watched her interviews or speeches, even on a limited basis has to admit that she “changes her story” from one moment to the next (lies).

Hillary’s first job after law school was working for the Watergate Special Prosecutor. She got the job as a favor to a friend. She was fired from that job for lying and evidence tampering. She should have been disbarred and criminally charged. This appears to be the beginning of her lifetime of believing she could say or do anything without any negative consequences.

When some of her activities at the Rose Law firm in Arkansas were questioned critical files mysteriously disappeared. The obviously altered files reappeared on a bed side table in one of the White House bedrooms when the investigation ended.

There was also her extraordinarily successful, one time cattle futures trade.

Six months into Clinton’s first term as President, White House Deputy Counsel Vince Foster committed suicide under what many say were questionable circumstances. He was more attached to Hillary than Bill. His primary responsibilities were to set up the Clinton’s Blind Trust, which was not going well, and to be the “keeper” of the Clinton’s pre White House files, including the “White Water” files.  Regardless of what anyone may believe about his death, it is undeniable that Hillary’s Chief of Staff, Margaret Williams literally walked around the Secret Service agent assigned to guard his office until appropriate investigators could get there and removed boxes of files.

“Travelgate” was an irrational and illegal Hillary disaster. She fabricated claims of inappropriate activities and actual charges were brought against the career, White House travel office staff in a failed attempt to award their positions to personal friends. In the process the career, working staff people’s lives were virtually destroyed.

Everything in the White House except for personal things the First Family brings with them is public property. Much of it is very valuable (like the antique vase Hillary broke into many pieces when she threw it at Bill). There is actually a person assigned to maintain a detailed inventory of everything in the White House that is public property. The number and value of the items Hillary took with her when they moved out of the White House may be debated, but it is undeniable that she did remove items that were public property and had to return them.

After they left the White House the Clinton’s immediately set out to clean up Bill’s reputation, establish his legacy, set Hillary up to be President, and amass a personal fortune. Nothing was off limits in their efforts to accomplish all these goals. This is when Hillary first began to make her obsessive drive for personal money and power (she will never have enough of either).  She immediately began her carefully orchestrated plan to become a U.S. Senator from New York, which was supposed to be her stepping stone to becoming President. Just prior to becoming a Senator (while it was still legal?) she closed a deal for an $8,000,000 book advance.

As soon as Hillary was sworn in as a U.S. Senator she began to do what almost all senators do. She worked at becoming friends with all the other senators, avoided doing anything that may appear to be controversial, fund raised and planned for her presidential run. However, unlike the other Senators dreaming about being President, she was supposed to be preordained. And then another Alinsky disciple came along and took the Presidency from her! But Hillary was not to be denied the Presidency. She simply moved on to a new plan to replace Obama as president and joined Bill in his efforts to turn the Clinton Foundation into an international money machine.

Hillary’s new plan to be president actually worked out better than her initial one. It gave the Clinton’s an opportunity to cut an unbeatable deal with Obama. Hillary became Secretary of State, which added to her resume and allowed the Clinton’s to turn the Clinton Foundation into an international money machine on steroids! In exchange the Clinton’s agreed to help make sure Obama got re-elected and Hillary would be assured the Presidency in 2016.

Hillary was now in a position to do anything she wanted to with absolutely no concern about any consequences as long as she did her part to make sure Obama was reelected. This was an absolute “win win” situation for the Clintons and Obama. Obama was assured that he would be unchallenged by Hillary in his reelection bid and he would have her full support for his ideologically driven transformation of America.  She was free to commit massive fraud and treason as Secretary of State and was guaranteed to be the next president.

Here is a small sample of the illegal and treasonous things Hillary did as Secretary of State:

  • Did not appoint an Inspector General for the State Department while she was in office.
  • Illegally used her power to facilitate hundreds of millions of questionable/illegal dollars in donations to the Clinton Foundation.
  • Also illegally used her power to facilitate hundreds of millions of questionable/illegal dollars going into Bill Clinton’s pockets for speaking fees and international business deals.
  • Appointed an unqualified big donor to a sensitive committee.
  • Refused to use State Department approved communication systems under any circumstances including using an unsecured private server in her home for all official communications.
  • Everything she did was deliberate and coldly calculated to facilitate and cover up her illegal and treasonous activities regardless of the damage she did to America or how much she put America at risk.
  • Obama has done what may be un-repairable damage to America economically and put us at an extreme level of risk for more and bigger terrorist attacks here and abroad.

Hillary will be worse than Obama in all respects unless we do something about it!

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Carnage in Istanbul, Dhaka and Baghdad

NOVANEWS
 Who are the Masterminds behind ISIS-Daesh Terrorism?
Istanbul airport bomb attack

The month of Ramadan witnessed unspeakable carnage in three Muslim cities in three different countries. On 28 June 2016, 41 people, both locals and foreigners were killed in shootings and suicide bombings at the Istanbul Ataturk Airport. On 2nd July, 20 people taken hostage by militants in an upmarket restaurant in Dhaka, Bangladesh were shot and murdered. On the 3rd of July in Baghdad, 165 were massacred in massive bomb blasts.

The killers in all three episodes were Muslims, specifically Sunni Muslims.  The majority of the 226 victims were also Muslims. In all three instances, ISIS or Daesh was alleged to be the perpetrator. In the case of Istanbul, the Turkish government made this allegation in the immediate aftermath of the bombings. In the case of Dhaka, Daesh claimed responsibility though the Bangladeshi government has maintained that the savagery was committed by a home grown militant outfit known as the Jamatul Mujahedeen Bangladesh. In the case of Baghdad, Daesh was quick to claim “credit.” It made it a point to emphasise that its target were Shias.

A number of Muslim governments have condemned the Istanbul-Dhaka- Baghdad (IDB) carnage. Both Sunni and Shia religious elites have also denounced in strong language the IDB atrocities. They have demanded that the masterminds behind these perpetrators of terror be severely punished.

Most analysts are agreed that the spurt in Daesh terrorism during Ramadan is to demonstrate to Muslims and the world at large that it is still a formidable force, in spite of major setbacks on the battlefield in recent months. It was defeated in the strategic city of Fallujah, close to Baghdad, just a few days before it embarked upon its 2nd July act of terror. Daesh has been pushed out of other areas in Iraq as well. The Syrian army, with Russian air support re-captured the ancient world renowned heritage city of Palmyra at the end of March this year. The Syrian government has also regained control over large swathes of land that Daesh and other terrorist groups had captured in the last two years.

Because Daesh and its allies and rivals in terror are in decline, governments in West Asia and North Africa (WANA) and other powers should step up their efforts to defeat and destroy the scourge they represent. They should enhance their cooperation and work resolutely towards a single goal. It is important to emphasise this because governments within and without WANA have been known to facilitate the flow of funds, firearms and fighters to Daesh while professing opposition to terrorism. It is this hypocrisy on their part which has helped Daesh to grow so rapidly. Even if some of these governments and the clandestine channels they have created are no longer colluding with Daesh, they remain linked directly or obliquely to other terrorist organisations such as Al-Qaeda and its affiliate, the Jabhat al-Nusra.

Why are they doing this? The reason is obvious. They are pursuing their own individual or collective political or economic agendas. These agendas maybe related to natural resources in WANA or its strategic routes or the security and ideological concerns of certain actors in the region. Often they correspond to the hegemonic ambitions of a superpower that has sought to dominate and control WANA for the last 50 years at least.

It is these ambitions sometimes complicated by the goals of national and regional actors that have resulted in occupation, intervention and the politics of regime change. Occupation and regime change have given rise to mayhem and chaos that have in turn spawned terrorist outfits and activities. Iraq is an outstanding example of this. The humiliation and the anger  generated by occupation — whether it is Palestine or Iraq or Afghanistan — often shared by tens of thousands of others who are not its direct victims  explains to a great extent the contemporary terrorist and why he acts the way he does.

This is why combating terrorism on the battlefield important as it is, can never be the real solution. One must have the honesty and the integrity to address the underlying causes. It requires those who prescribe remedies for terrorism from the lofty heights of global politics to hold a mirror to their own souls. They must be willing to admit that their unrestrained drive for hegemonic power and for control over wealth may be the root problem. Or, as the 19th century Russian thinker, Alexander Herzen, put it in another context, “The doctor is the disease.”

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“Perception Management”: How to Sell a War

War-USA

“Perception Management” was pioneered in the 1980’s under the Reagan administration in order to avoid the public opposition to future wars that was seen during the Vietnam War.

The United States Department of Defense defines perception management as:

Actions to convey and/or deny selected information and indicators to foreign audiences to influence their emotions, motives, and objective reasoning as well as to intelligence systems and leaders at all to influence official estimates, ultimately resulting in foreign behaviors and official actions favorable to the originator’s objectives. In various ways, perception management combines truth projection, operations, security, cover and deception, and psychological operations.

At the onset of the Iraq war in 2003, journalists were embedded with US troops as combat cameramen.  The reason for this was not to show what was happening in the war, but to present the American view of it.  Perception management was used to promote the belief that weapons of mass destruction were being manufactured in Iraq to promote its military intervention, even though the real purpose behind the war was regime change.

Alvin and Heidi Toffler cite the following as tools for perception management in their book, War and Anti-War: 

  • accusations of atrocities;
  • hyperbolic inflations;
  • demonization and dehumanization;
  • polarization;
  • claim of divine sanction; and
  • meta-propaganda.

In 2001, the Rendon Group, headed by John Rendon, was secretly granted a $16 million contract to target Iraq with propaganda. Rendon, who had been hired by the CIA to help create conditions to removal Saddam Hussein from power, is a leader in “perception management”.  Two months later, in December 2001, a clandestine operation performed by the CIA and the Pentagon produced false polygraph testimony of an alleged Iraqi civil engineer, who testified that he had helped Saddam Hussein and his men hide tons of biological, chemical and nuclear weapons.  Of course, we now know that there were no weapons of mass destruction hidden in Iraq.

A study by Professor Phil Taylor reveals the differences between the US and global media over the coverage of the war to be:

  • Pro-war coverage in the US made US media “cheerleaders” in the eyes of a watchful, more scrutinous global media;
  • Issues about the war were debated more in countries not directly affected by the September 11, 2001 terrorist attacks;
  • The non-US media could not see the link between the “war on terror” and the “axis of evil”; and,
  • The US media became part of the information operations campaign, which weakened their credibility in the eyes of global media.

President Bush himself admitted in a televised interview with Katie Couric on the CBS Evening News that, “One of the hardest parts of my job is to connect Iraq to the war on terror.”  Vice President Dick Cheney stated on Meet the Press, “If we’re successful in Iraq…we will have struck a major blow right at the heart of the base, if you will, the geographic base of the terrorists who have had us under assault for many years, but most especially on 9/11.”

Prior to 2002, the CIA was the Bush Administration’s main provider of intelligence on Iraq. In order to establish the connection between Iraq and terrorists, in 2002, the Pentagon established the “Office of Special Plans” which was, in reality, in charge of war planning against Iraq, and designated by Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld to be the provider of intelligence on Iraq to the Bush Administration.  Its head, the Undersecretary of Defense, Douglas J. Feith, appointed a small team to review the existing intelligence on terrorist networks, in order to reveal their sponsorship states, among other things.  In 2002, Deputy Secretary of Defense Paul Wolfowitz wrote a memo to Feith entitled, “Iraq Connections to Al-Qaida”, which stated that they were “not making much progress pulling together intelligence on links between Iraq and Al-Qaida.”

Peter W. Rodman, the Assistant Secretary of Defense for International Security, established a “Policy counter Terror Evaluation Group” (PCTEG) which produced an analysis of the links between Al-Qaida and Iraq, with suggestions on “how to exploit the connections.”

“In February 2003, when former Secretary of State Colin Powell addressed the U.N., he described “a sinister nexus between Iraq and the Al-Qaeda network,” stating that “Iraq today harbors a deadly network headed by Zarqawi’s forces, an associate and collaborator of Osama bin Laden,” and that Zarqawi had set up his operations, including bioweapons training, with he approval of the Saddam Hussein regime.  This has since been discredited as false.

However, in October 2004, due to the fact that the Iraqi insurgency was catching on as a cause in jihadist circles, Zarqawi pledged his allegiance to Al-Qaeda.  This was after his group had exploded a massive bomb outside a Shiite mosque in August 2003, killing one of Iraq’s top Shiite clerics and sparking warfare between the Shiite and Sunni communities.  The tipping point toward a full-blown civil war was the February 2006 attack on the Golden Mosque in Samarra, which is credited to Haythem Sabah al-Badri, a former member of Saddam Hussein’s Republican Guard, who joined Al-Qaeda after the U.S. invasion.  This gave birth to the AQI, Al-Qaeda in Iraq

General Wesley Clark, the former NATO Allied Commander and Joint Chiefs of Staff Director of Strategy and Policy, stated in his book, Winning Modern Wars:

As I went back through the Pentagon in November 2001, one of the senior military staff officers had time for a chat. Yes, we were still on track for going against Iraq, he said. But there was more. This was being discussed as part of a five-year campaign plan, he said, and there were a total of seven countries, beginning with Iraq, then Syria, Lebanon, Libya, Iran, Somalia and Sudan.

In 2004, John Negroponte, who had served as ambassador to Honduras from 1981 to 1985, was appointed as ambassador to Iraq with the specific mandate of implementing the “Salvador Option”, a terrorist model of mass killings by US sponsored death squads.

In 2004, Donald Rumsfeld sent Colonel James Steele to serve as a civilian advisor to Iraqi Paramilitary special police commandos known as the “Wolf Brigade”.  Steele was a  counter-insurgency specialist who was a member of a group of US Special Forces advisors to the Salvadorian Army and trained counter-insurgency commandos in South America, who carried out extreme abuses of human rights.  The Wolf Brigade was created and established by the United States and enabled the re-deployment of Saddam Hussein’s Republican Guard.  The Brigade was later accused by a UN official of torture, murder and the implementation of death squads.  The techniques used by these counter-insurgency squads were described as “fighting terror with terror”, which was previously done in other theaters, such as Vietnam and El Salvador.

The use of death squads began in 2004 and continued until the winding down of combat operations in 2008.  In addition to the death squads, regular military units were often ordered to “kill all military age males” during certain operations; “dead-checking” or killing wounded resistance fighters; to call in air strikes on civilian areas; and 360 degree rotational fire on busy streets.  These extreme measures were justified to troops in Iraq by propaganda linking the people to terrorism.

Colonel Steele, with the help of Col. James Hoffman, set up torture centers, dispatching Shia militias to torture Sunni soldiers to learn the details of the insurgency.  This has been attributed as a major cause of the civil war which led to the formation of ISIS.

The operation of death squads as counter-insurgency measures was also common knowledge at the time.

Private contractors, such as Steele, were often subject to different rules than the military forces they served and, in some cases, served with.  As of 2008, an estimated 155,286 private contractors were employed by the US on the ground in Iraq, compared to 152,275 troops. The estimated annual cost for such contractors ballooned to $5 billion per year by 2010.

In August 2006, four American soldiers from a combat unit in Iraq testified in an Article 32 hearing that they had been given orders by their commanding officer, Colonel Michael C. Steele, to “kill all military age males”.

According to the journalist Glen Greenwald, all military age males in strike zones of the latest drone aircraft strike programs are considered militants unless it can be proved otherwise. Some say that this has resulted in more civilian casualties than has been reported by the government.

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