This is not Iraq, and this is not Afghanistan,” Obama said.

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This is not Pakistan. This is not Somalia. This is not Yemen. This is not Libya; he should have continued.

We are waging war all through Western Asia and Africa. mainly against terrorists but we also took on Muammar Ghadaffi and now Bashar al Assad; the legitimate leaders of their respective countries.

We are still waiting on the case against Ghadaffi and for honest answers on the impending anniversary of the Benghazi massacre.

For a president who pledged to push the “reset” button, Mr. Obama has become the most warlike leader our country has ever known. In May he declared the “War on Terror”, which he had renamed “contingency operations”, over. Now he wants to go once again to war.

He drew a red line in the sand and then redrew it again and yet we still do not have a compelling case nor a desired end state for an operation in Syria.

The Syrians, Iranians, and Russians have promised a wider war should we act. Russian destroyers have been located to the Mediterranean near Syria to back this threat up, and the Iranians have promised missile strikes on Israel. We are in a high stakes poker game and Mr. Obama is the mark.

In the background the Saudi Arabians and Gulf Arabs are supporting some form of moderate resistance in Syria to counter Iran, but are unable to rein in the Islamist extremists. There is a tri-polar political conflict between the Sunni moderates; the Islamists and the neo-Iranian Empire. And then comes the ROW (Rest of World).

In reading the political history of the Ottoman Empire in the late 1700’s and 1800’s one can begin to understand the complexities and importance of stability in the Eastern Mediterranean. The Ottomans balanced constantly changing relationships very similar to today.

The dream of empire by Napoleon in Egypt and the changing alliances of the Ottomans with the British Empire, the Tsar, and Napoleon, especially with the fates of subject peoples such as the Greeks, Moldovans, Armenians, Bulgarians, Syrians, etc in constant play required that the Sultanate despite is decrepitude and corruption be upheld.

Now,  200 years later the chronological snobbery of the new great powers is leading to an even more volatile end state. Under the Sultan, Shia and Christian and Sunni were allowed to practice their faiths but now we have a state of religious civil war at hand. Egypt narrowly missed being drawn into the maelstrom. Libya is in constant tribal conflict.

But Syria represents a new Karbala, a call to the front lines for Sunni vs. Shia.

But this time the dark shadows of modern warfare overhang everything. Chemical warfare, air strikes, and heavy artillery generate massive casualties very rapidly. Syria is tearing itself apart with the help of a wide range of outside enablers. A dictator willing to use all means at his disposal is fighting to hang on.

And in Washington and Moscow and the West there is no clearly iterated reason for our involvement. We cannot abide the use of chemical weapons except when we can, as we did with Saddam Hussein’s use of poison gas versus the Iranians and his own people.

Mr. Obama means well, but the sad fact remains that the down side in getting involved in Syria is much greater than the up side.

 

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Iran is winning in Syria and we are screwing it up

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If you haven’t noticed, Hezbollah has changed the tide of the Syrian civil war. Their troops with the Government forces took back Qusair, a key junction for supplying the rebel forces. More than 50 people were killed, including many civilians as artillery shells dropped on the town at a rate of over 50 per minute.

Qusair is 6 miles from the Lebanese border, where fighting has been going on in Tripoli for at least 3 weeks. On the other side of Syria, central Iraq and especially Anbar province have become a Wild West. The country had its highest kill rate since 2008 in May with over 1,00 killed in car bombings, political assassinations, and minor massacres. Factions are jockeying for position and the Sunni/Shiite struggle is raising its head again. Prime Minister Maliki is seen as weak and a tool of the Iranians. Iraq has, despite several warnings from the United States, been allowing unfettered transit both by land and air of arms shipments from Iran to Bashar al Assad’s forces and to Hezbollah.

The Russians have now raised the stakes even higher for the West by shipping advanced anti-aircraft missile systems to Syria. Those systems will directed specifically at NATO and Israel’s first line air forces.

Hezbollah has gone all in with Assad, their closest ally, now. Hassan Nasrallah, the leader of Hezbollah, broadcast a television message to his supporters and the world that the alliance of Hezbollah, Syria and Iran was the new paradigm in the Middle East. “According to the Iranian Kayhan newspaper, the Lebanese branch of Hezbollah entered he Syrian civil war “in response to the injunctions” of Supreme Guide Ali Khamenei.”

The spillover into Tripoli and Hezbollah’s involvement have effectively dragged Lebanon into the war. A war most Lebanese have no taste for.

On the southern border of Syria the Israelis bombed a convoy carrying heavy armaments destined for Hezbollah with massive corollary explosions on the outskirts of Damascus as Assad threatened to retaliate against Israel. News of Syrian rebels begging for  Israeli assistance in providing surgical support of wounded rebels is being touted in the Syrian press as evidence of Israeli involvement rather than as humanitarian aid.

At Turtle Bay, the Russian government has been obstructing and obfuscating the case against the Assad regime for over 2 years now.

And in the background the Gulf Arab states and Iran have been supporting the Sunni and Shia factions respectively with hundreds of millions of dollars in arms.

With the entry of Hezbollah and Russian support, Assad is on a roll. Our Secretary of State, John Kerry and Senators such as John McCain are like deer caught in the headlights with no clue what to do as our president dithers. The same is true in Europe. Leadership is clueless.

And in the meantime, Iran is ready to install Saeed Jalili as their next strong man upon the orders of the Supreme Council. Mr. Jalili has been the fox in the henhouse on Iran’s nuclear negotiations for the last several years. He has lied every step of the way, and with news of Iran’s desire to develop up to 30 nuclear warheads per year according to an Israeli MP, the Iranian government is clearly reaching for the matches to light the gasoline.

Israel has been on edge for the last 5 years. In the Fall of 2008 as the election went down to the wire, President Bush was rumored to have reined in Israel’s plan to strike at Iran’s nuclear infrastructure. Our country revised its MOP (Massive Ordnance Penetrator) program to deliver bombs that could go deeper and more destructively in order to stave off what would be a necessary Israeli nuclear strike on secret Iranian weapons facilities.

The STUXNET virus which was revealed through a White House leak was directed at this program. And now Mr. Jalili wants to build 30 warheads per year.

So what are our next steps? The risk of an Iranian nuclear option has all of the Gulf States and Israel on edge. The risk of a pan Iranian empire from  the Afghan border, where they are interfering,  to the shores of the Mediterranean is real and present.

Our government and our people are tired of war. Only this morning did I receive the news of another Green on Blue attack which killed an American Colonel and of another VBIED attack  which killed a young LT and and an SPC.

And yet we are looking at the Megiddo spoken of in the Bible. Sunni vs Shiite. Damascus, one of the oldest cities in history, is partially destroyed and now the specter of nuclear weapons has risen.

There is a weird confluence of interests. The West, Israel and the Gulf States desire to rein in Iranian interests. Turkey and Lebanon must stabilize their borders.

if Iran wins in this conflict, the world is fundamentally changed, doubtfully for the better. The nexus of crazy wins.

So what is next? Do we have the thinkers and doers to find a solution?

 

 

 

Failure Analysis – Asking the hard questions on the Boston bombings

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It has been one week since the Boston Marathon bombing. We now know that the perpetrators were two brothers acting in jihad. A primary and a secondary device were planted to maximize casualties.

The perpetrators went to ground for 3 days before they surfaced. One of them, Dzhokhar Tsaraev, went back to his dormitory room and acted as if nothing had happened. Nothing seemed out of the ordinary to those who knew him. None of those who knew him seem to have any recollection of anything out of the ordinary leading up to the bombings.

The trail of the other brother, Tamerlan, is much more clear. At a certain point he turned towards a very conservative Sunni interpretation of Islam. His family was concerned. From what little we know of his wife, a convert, she adopted the hijab and lived as an observant Muslim in a small town in Rhode Island. Not the most normal state of affairs in small town New England.

Tamerlan began to follow ultra conservative imams and posted their sermons on his web page. He also posted jihadi videos taken in Syria and elsewhere.

According to Saturday’s Wall Street Journal, the FBI visited him at some point. According to Tamerlan’s father the visit was a warning. “We know where you live. We know what web sites you are frequenting. We know who you are talking to” was the message.

And yet this week the FBI reported that the U.S. government was asked by Russia to investigate Tamerlan, did so, found nothing amiss, and were legally required to close the file.

The United States has spent hundreds of billions of dollars building a security apparatus that includes the most sophisticated surveillance systems; that allows for an unprecedented invasion of the privacy of its citizens, and that has access to virtually every database on-line.

When speaking with a FBI Agent based in the Santa Ana, CA office recently, I was told that the office had become one of the largest in the country because of the ongoing programs monitoring the Muslim community. Mosques have been bugged, imams are regularly interviewed, and close attention is paid to anything out of the ordinary.

And yet we find this week that Tamerlan Tsaraev was thrown out of his mosque in Massachusetts because of his radical and aggressive actions.

We also found that he spent six months in Dagestan, a known region for Islamist unrest, and may never have been questioned about his stay.

The UK’s Channel 4 reported that Tamerlan was under surveillance for 5 years. So said his mother. The Dail Mail reported:

The FBI said in a statement released Friday that it had investigated Tamerlan Tsarnaeva in 2011 at the request of a foreign government. The FBI did not reveal which country’s government that was.

‘The request stated that it was based on information that he was a follower of radical Islam and a strong believer, and that he had changed drastically since 2010 as he prepared to leave the United States for travel to the country’s region to join unspecified underground groups,’ the FBI statement said.

The FBI said that in response to the request the bureau culled through its databases and interviewed both Tamerlan Tsarnaeva and members of his family, but were unable to find any evidence that he was connected to a terrorist organization.

It would seem that the Wall Street Journal’s account and that of the FBI differ, or perhaps there was more than one meeting. Tamerlan’s father mentioned no questioning by the FBI.

Regardless, it now seems obvious that Tamerlan Tsaraev should have been on the terror watch list at least 2 years ago. The question is why was he overlooked? The press does not seem to want to ask that question yet.

The press has also been remarkably forgiving of an administration that stonewalled on both Fast & Furious and on Benghazi. Will they ask the hard questions now?

1 – What are the full and complete circumstances of Tamerlan Tsaraev’s interactions with our government?

2 – How and where was he radicalized?

3 – How, where, and why did he take the steps to become a terrorist?

4 – Why did his family know and his mosque know he had become radicalized and the FBI not know?

5 – How and why did the FBI and other agencies, especially Homeland Security drop the ball?

6 – Could this have been prevented by better tactics and strategy?

The carnage was minimized through the heroic actions of many and a lot of luck. The apprehension of the perpetrators is still murky, but after the largest lockdown in American history, it was a citizen who made the final link. It was ordinary Americans who finally solved the case; a dead cop in Cambridge led to the chase to Watertown and a bloody exchange with the terrorists. Some guy who noticed a tear in his boat cover.

Did we need every SWAT cop within 100 miles out there marching around and searching without warrants? Did we handle the lockdown properly? Was it an intrusion too far on civil rights?

We need answers to all of these questions and we cannot afford to have bureaucratic or political agendas keep us from the truth.

On Benghazi – Of Course Obama Knew

This morning, former CIA Director David Petraeus testified to something that has been an open secret for months. The CIA knew within minutes that the attack on the U.S. Consulate in Benghazi was a terrorist act planned in advance. Mr. Petraeus also stated that the CIA report was later altered by another Federal agency.

The Democratic Party’s left-wing held a photo-op yesterday decrying the attacks on U.N. Ambassador Susan Rice for her espousal of the Administration line that the Benghazi attacks were the result of an obscure video on YouTube in the immediate aftermath of the event.

There is just a small problem with this line of defense. It is completely false. The Administration has been doing its best to obfuscate and obscure a truthful response on the Benghazi attack. For two weeks afterwards the Secretary of State, the President, and Ms. Rice knowingly lied to the American people. After these lies were exposed, the White House has been playing keepaway with the facts and the witnesses.

How do we know this? First, the New York Times offered a remarkably accurate report of the attack on September 12. A report that surely came from inside sources.

In addition, we have the President and Secretary of State Hillary Clinton implying on September 12 that it was the video and not a terrorist attack. The State Department could not move fast enough to produce and air advertisements on Pakistani Television apologizing for the video.

On September 14, the Libyan government had four men in custody according to Al Jazeera. On the 19th, the president of Libya laid out the details to that same network.

On September 24, the President appeared on “The View” and said the investigation was continuing, and did the same on “The Daily Show” with Jon Stewart. The commemorative photo, run by the Washington Post, is especially offensive in light of the lies.

In his speech to the U.N. General Assembly on the 25th, the President stated “If we are serious about these ideals, we must speak honestly about the deeper causes of the crisis” while ignoring the crisis of trust at home as he ignored the real cause for the violence.

The Daily Beast had the administration dead to rights on September 26.

The election came and went and the Administration has continued to do its best to cover up the cover up. But on October 26th, Director Petraeus dropped a curiously worded statement saying that  “No one at any level in the CIA told anybody not to help those in need; claims to the contrary are simply inaccurate. ”  This called into question whether a rescue force was prevented from rushing to Benghazi and absolved the CIA of decision-making authority. This after the Administration did its best to pin blame on the CIA and intelligence community.

Director Petraeus statement this morning is at complete odds with the Administration’s narrative. The CIA did its job on September 11 and reported the facts as they saw them.

Someone else was responsible for editing the report. But Ambassador Rice has a very difficult position. When she was trooped out to mouth the party line to the talk shows a few days after the assault, there was only one person who was authorized to approve her talking points; the President himself.

State reports to the President. The U.N. Ambassador reports to the President. The Director of National Intelligence reports to the President. The Director of the CIA reports to the President. The buck stops there.

The President has been caught in a web of his own lies. It is now up to us to hold him accountable.

The elephant in the living room in Benghazi

Yesterday, Hillary Clinton fell on her sword according to the national media, but without actually taking responsibility for the lies regarding who and why and how the Benghazi assassinations occurred. She took blame for the security failure, but not for the mischaracterization of the attack as from a spontaneous reaction to an obscure movie rather than its true source, Al Qaeda.

From the outset, Ms. Clinton, the President, and U.N. Ambassador Susan Rice hewed to the party line that it was the rioters and not the radicals; at the U.N.; on “The View”, and on the talk shows a lie was propagated.

In the meantime, after the president spiking the ball on Osama Bin Laden and after hundreds of Hellfire strikes in Pakistan and Yemen, Al Qaeda was supposed to have rolled over and died. Instead, not only were Ambassador Stevens and his team killed, but also a senior security officer at our embassy in Yemen a few days later. They know who we are and where we live. Al Qaeda is alive and well.

And this is the President’s problem.  The facts don’t fit the narrative.

The Administration has a problem with the truth. But they have an even bigger problem.

11 years after 9/11, Al Qaeda and our enemies still have the ability to penetrate our intelligence and security and carry out complex attacks based upon that information.

Just like they did on December 30, 2009 when a Jordanian double agent went through 5 layers of security and penetrated a top security CIA facility at Camp Chapman in Afghanistan and detonated himself, killing 7 top analysts trailing Al Qaeda.

Just as the Taliban did in penetrating Camp Bastion in a complex attack on September 14.

There is a message being sent with these attacks that the Administration is desperate to cover up. The enemy have penetrated our security and can strike when they feel the time is right.

Our government and those of our allies have erected an Orwellian security apparatus costing hundreds of billions of dollars. This apparatus violates our civil liberties as it taps pretty much anything it pleases; traces financial transactions all over the globe, and stares at us through the cameras on the street or drones 60,000′ in the air.

And now we find that there are basic security leaks. The watchers have been penetrated. The all-powerful Oz, in this case our President, is a man behind a curtain peddling lies. And we are less safe than we were 11 years ago.

 

Indicting Obama on Intelligence

Today’s London Dail Mail has an article written by Toby Harnden, their America watcher, in which he notes that former Homeland Security Director Michael Chertoff and former CIA Director Michael Hayden have damned Vice President Joe Biden and his boss for blaming CIA employees for the confusion caused by the Administration’s insistence on blaming an obscure video for the terrible attack in Benghazi.

This is the second time in recent months that former intelligence officials have blasted the Administration for its cavalier way with the facts. The last time was a chortling insider account of a secret mission in Yemen where high level White House insiders described in detail the capture of another underwear bomber. But it was actually an allied secret agent.

The UK was forced to exfiltrate a deep cover agent within Al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula (AQAP) because he was compromised. This was virtually the first human intelligence asset we had been able to place within this incredibly paranoid organization. The Administration came in for widespread criticism both here and abroad once more.

In June, Senator Feinstein called for an investigation to leaks from high places revealing details of the Stuxnet computer virus attack on Iran. These leaks were once again attributed to the White House.”In recent weeks, we have become increasingly concerned at the continued leaks regarding sensitive intelligence programs and activities, including specific details of sources and methods,” said Chambliss; Chairwoman Dianne Feinstein, D-California; Chairman Mike Rogers, R-Michigan; and Ranking Member C.A. “Dutch” Ruppersberger, D-Maryland, in the statement.

We were informed in incredible detail by the New York Times in June of a secret “kill list” as well. Senator John McCain called for an investigation.The FBI was ordered in June to investigate these leaks. Since then there has been a complete blackout. I might remind you, dear reader, who the FBI reports to.

Last year our government abandoned Dr. Shakil Afridi, the Pakistani doctor who helped locate Osama Bin Laden in Abbottabad. Dr Afridi is now serving a 33 year term for treason. In an interview with the UK Independent he said that Pakistan’s ISI considers the United States its prime enemy, even before India. Dr. Afridi was outed by news leaks made to American newspapers by Administration officials. The White House was the source of a number of leaks in the immediate aftermath of the Bin Laden raid and again there were calls for an investigation.

If you recall, early in the Administration seven former CIA Directors dating back to the Reagan Administration issued a joint condemnation of the Administrations reckless conduct in pursuing a politically motivated vendetta against CIA interrogators.

The history of the politicization of intelligence matters in the Administration dates to its opening months.

The problem is that everyone knows where these leaks and distortions have come from. The information released is of such a highly secret nature that there can only be a few people on the list, and believe me, there is a list and those who knew had the highest of security clearances with corresponding penalties up to and including life imprisonment without parole.

The black farce that the Benghazi blame game has become; the leaks; the vendettas all point to the very top. The buck clearly stops on the President’s desk on this  3 1/2 year fiasco.

Anyone else would have had their security clearance revoked and be facing criminal charges. That’s the way the system works.

It is time to take away the President’s secret decoder ring. It is time to change the codes. To change the locks. To change the policy. It is time to do a kiss ass tour of every major intel agency we have pissed off around the world with our cavalier and smirking conduct.

He is the president, but he is also a danger to himself and the country.

 

 

Following the breadcrumbs on the Libyan cover up

Last night, Vice President Joe Biden was adamant that the responsibility for the Libyan fiasco and subsequent deception lays everywhere but the White House.

First the Director of National Intelligence’s office misinformed them, and then the State Department didn’t have the answers and then the FBI was sent in 2 weeks after the incident to try to apply some sort of Jedi forensics on a “crime scene” that had been completely compromised.

Let’s look at the facts:

On late Tuesday night, September 11 (mid afternoon Washington time) the Ambassador was kidnapped and found dead at a Benghazi hospital early Wednesday morning, September 12.

The New York Times in their article on the event on September 12, a few hours after the attack raised the specter of Islamic militants armed with RPG’s and anti-aircraft missiles. According to the article:

“American and European officials said that while many details about the attack remained unclear, the assailants seemed organized, well-trained and heavily armed, and they appeared to have at least some level of advance planning.”

On  September 12 our president and Secretary of State stated unequivocally that it was a spontaneous riot triggered by an obscure film no one had heard of until September 11. Our UN Ambassador Susan Rice, not the Secretary of State, went on a number of talk shows that weekend and was quoted in all of the mainstream media delivering the Administrations version of events.

On September 14, the Libyan government had 4 men in custody. On September 19, the president of Libya in an interview with Al Jazeera, Libyan president President Mohamed al-Magarief stated that the attacked was planned well in advance and that Al Qaeda was responsible.

On September 24, the President appeared on “The View” instead of attending the U.N. General Assembly or perhaps even working to find the facts of the case, and once again stated that our government was still investigating the case.

The Daily Beast released the story which truly upset the apple cart first on September 26, which was when the coverup started morphing.

On October 3, Reuters reported that the Administration knew within hours that the attack was tied to militants, and that the CIA had this information.

“Officials familiar with them said they contained evidence that members of a militant faction, Ansar al-Sharia, as well as al Qaeda in the Islamic Maghreb, or AQIM, were involved in the assaults.

So our president expects us to believe that 2 days before the facts went public and a week after the president of Libya identified the attackers he still knew nothing about the true nature of the assassination. There is such a thing as plausible deniability. This is implausibly deniable.

U.N. Ambassador Rice has an interesting position. She is a direct report to both the Secretary of State and the President. This month’s Foreign Policy Magazine has a fascinating article on Ms. Rice and informs us that she has placed her relationship with the president well ahead of that with Secretary Clinton. So whose version was she reporting? Has anyone asked her? Who wrote the version reported? Who was the author of the deception?

The House Committee investigating the attack established yesterday that the Department of State failed to protect Ambassador Stevens adequately. So what next?

As they said back in 1973; “What did the President know and when did he know it?” I would add to that, “why did he lie to us, and what did he hope to gain?”