Archive for November 9, 2017

Egyptian Islamist Uses New Jersey Base to Stoke Christian Hatred

November 9, 2017

Egyptian Islamist Uses New Jersey Base to Stoke Christian Hatred, Investigative Project on Terrorism,Hany Ghoraba, November 9, 2017

Most jihadists in the world regard Qutb as the ultimate scholar to follow. Qutb’s writings on Islamic Fiqh (jurisprudence) became the handbook of every jihadist from al-Qaida’s Osama bin Laden to ISIS’s Abu Bakr Al-Baghdadi. Qutb denounced the United States after living there for a few years as a decadent and immoral society. Yet Oraby refers to Qutb as the “martyr” and a great scholar whose teachings supersede any other. She advises her audience to teach their children Qutb’s books and biography.

Known for her abusive and foul language, she gloats over the deaths of Egyptian officers fighting terrorism in Egypt and she celebrates them with her followers. “Forty Egyptian police officer got hammered, may God increase it and bless it,” she wrote.

She also frequently promotes a conspiracy theory about dividing Egypt and creating a Coptic state with al-Sisi’s help. She claims the Egyptian president is an Israeli Mossad agent, and she calls upon every Muslim end to this “Zionist-Nazarene” plan.

As with most Islamists, the national borders of their home countries don’t matter in the grand scheme for establishing a global Islamic state, or caliph. They do not believe in political borders, but in borders based on the faith. Oraby is a staunch advocate for the return of Islamic caliphate and mentions it repeatedly in her articles. She even wrote a poem about it with a map of Iberian Peninsula, showing Islamic Spain factions while lamenting its demise.

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Inciting sectarian strife against Egypt’s Coptic Christians is not a novelty. Islamist propaganda targeting the Coptic Church, businesses and doctrine thrived for decades and often led to violence and prosecution. Earlier this month, a young Islamist killed a Coptic priest in the streets of Cairo.

A new incitement campaign was launched against Copts last year, but what is surprising is that it originates from a cozy home in a peaceful New Jersey suburb.

Ayat Oraby is an Egyptian Muslim immigrant, wife, and mother of two children. Her YouTube channel and blog are dedicated to attacking the Egyptian government and other Arab leaders who do not support Islamists. She uses precious free speech rights that she sought in a country like the USA to spew hatred and violence towards others. Generally, Islamists such as Oraby do not believe in freedom of speech except as a tool in western countries to provoke hatred, propagate Jihadist rhetoric, and fantasize about their Islamist utopia i.e. Sharia ruled caliphate.

“The idea of the Islamic caliphate,” she wrote in a September Facebook post, “is not a political rhetoric but a future that we believe in and a revelation by Allah to his Prophet.”

Before the January 2011 Egyptian revolution that ousted former President Hosni Mubarak, Oraby was unknown in Egypt and the United States. She introduced herself as a purported freedom activist who opposed Mubarak and allegedly carried liberal views. She promoted many Egyptian youth demands for freedom and democracy through her Vlog and other social media outlets.

Oraby kept her support for the Muslim Brotherhood hidden and worked as a news anchor for Egyptian television before 2011. She moved to the United States in 1993 and married Ahmed Ibrahim El-Naggar, an Egyptian-American biochemist who is reportedly affiliated with the Muslim Brotherhood, according to her brother Abdel-Qader Oraby, who also denounced her actions on an Egyptian TV network in 2014. “I don’t watch her videos and I don’t follow her news because I am very sad from what she says,” he said. “The entire family severed ties with her because of her views.”

She has become one of the most outspoken Brotherhood activists in the United States, with a growing social media following. She also started wearing a hijab to appease Islamists who previously condemned her for posting videos without the Islamic attire.

She incites violence and discrimination against Egypt’s Christians and calls for denying them equal rights to Muslims, including a limit on church construction. She publicly insulted Coptic Pope Tawadoros II by calling him a “puppy” of Egyptian President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi.

“The problem of the Christians in Egypt is that they follow the church gang,” she wrote. “They believe that (Coptic Pope) Tawadoros the criminal, or any other criminal who will replace him, was selected by the Lord and speaks on His behalf. The church gang deceives its followers in this despicable way, just like a thief or a swindler from the Middle Ages.”

She revels in labeling them as “Nazarenes,” the Quranic term for addressing Christians. It is considered offensive because it refers to an old Christian sect and it is unrelated to modern Christianity. She believes that Christians wield too much power in Egypt. In one of her YouTube videos, she urges her followers to boycott Egyptian Christian businesses and events. She created the “Campaign to Boycott the Nazarenes” with a slogan: “Buy from Houda (A Muslim Nickname) and snub Shenouda (A Coptic Christian name).

“You (Christians) supported the criminals of the Church and their efforts in killing Muslims. You came to revolt against the elected Muslim president (Mohammed Morsi) and you stood in the face of the will of the Muslims,” her introduction to the boycott campaign said.

“O Muslims, boycott them (Copts) and do not buy their products force them to understand the consequences of their actions. To understand that their Cross will not prevail over Egypt and that Islam is above all, whether they like it or not.”

She also frequently promotes a conspiracy theory about dividing Egypt and creating a Coptic state with al-Sisi’s help. She claims the Egyptian president is an Israeli Mossad agent, and she calls upon every Muslim end to this “Zionist-Nazarene” plan. The Coptic Church, she claims, illegally annexed lands next to its monasteries in Western Egypt to build a Coptic compound which will be the cornerstone of a Coptic only city.

“This church constitutes a gang,” she said, “striving to establish a Coptic mini-state. It has shared common interests with the military for a long time.”

Oraby quotes modern Islamic imams to condemn Christians and Jews. For example, she posted a quote on her Facebook page from the popular late Egyptian Sheikh Mohamed Al-Shaarawi: “We have to seek refuge in Allah from appeasing of the Jews and the Christians, and anyone the Jews and the Christians are content with him must know that he betrayed his religion. We need to differentiate between contentment and coexistence (with them).”

She also frequently quotes Islamic scholar Mohammed Al-Ghazali: “The demise of Israel must be preceded by the demise of Arab regimes that have thrived on mocking their people, and the destruction of Arab societies that have adopted illusion and weakness (instead of Islam).”

In Oraby’s eyes, anyone who opposes the Muslim Brotherhood is labeled an apostate or an infidel. She calls the late Egyptian President Gamal Abdel-Nasser a kafir [unbeliever] for executing Sayyid Qutb, the jihadist scholar and Brotherhood ideologue, and for refusing to upheld Sharia laws in Egypt. She also called Nasser’s successor Anwar Sadat a traitor who worked for the CIA and a kafir for signing a peace treaty with Israel.

Most jihadists in the world regard Qutb as the ultimate scholar to follow. Qutb’s writings on Islamic Fiqh (jurisprudence) became the handbook of every jihadist from al-Qaida’s Osama bin Laden to ISIS’s Abu Bakr Al-Baghdadi. Qutb denounced the United States after living there for a few years as a decadent and immoral society. Yet Oraby refers to Qutb as the “martyr” and a great scholar whose teachings supersede any other. She advises her audience to teach their children Qutb’s books and biography.

Known for her abusive and foul language, she gloats over the deaths of Egyptian officers fighting terrorism in Egypt and she celebrates them with her followers. “Forty Egyptian police officer got hammered, may God increase it and bless it,” she wrote.

Even dead Egyptian actors and artists get smeared, such as beloved Egyptian actor Mamdouh Abdel Aleem. Aleem opposed former Egyptian President and Muslim Brotherhood member Mohamed Morsi. “It is not gloating, but we should all be happy that the “licentious slave” actor is dead,” she wrote in a January 2016 Facebook post.

She also celebrated the death of a former Egyptian television colleague who also had criticized Morsi. “The demise of the mercenary Fatma Al-Najdi who condemned Rabaa protests and saluted the Misraeli Army,” she wrote. “Misr” is Arabic for Egypt. Oraby calls the Egyptian Army “Misraeli” for holding peace with Israel.

In May, she joined a Muslim Brotherhood delegation that visited the U.S. Congress to lobby against designating the Brotherhood as a terrorist organization. The delegation included members of Egyptian Americans for Freedom and Justice (EAFJ), which has sponsored events featuring calls for Egyptian leader Abdel Fattah al-Sisi’s beheading by Egyptian mujahideen.

The delegation included senior officials from New Jersey’s Islamic Center of Passaic County. Center Imam Mohammed Qatanani remains subject to deportation proceedings due to his connections to Hamas.

Oraby joined other U.S. based Islamists in mourning former Muslim Brotherhood General Guide Mahdi Akef’s death last month.

“To hell with Egypt, its flag, its army and their institutions, to hell with Egypt a million times,” she wrote in a Twitter post.

As with most Islamists, the national borders of their home countries don’t matter in the grand scheme for establishing a global Islamic state, or caliph. They do not believe in political borders, but in borders based on the faith. Oraby is a staunch advocate for the return of Islamic caliphate and mentions it repeatedly in her articles. She even wrote a poem about it with a map of Iberian Peninsula, showing Islamic Spain factions while lamenting its demise.

Ayat Oraby’s radical rants and conspiracy theories are nothing new, but her style and reach attract many young Islamist followers. With more than 600,000 Facebook followers, she should not be taken lightly by any security apparatus.

Hany Ghoraba is an Egyptian writer, political and counter-terrorism analyst at Al Ahram Weekly, author of Egypt’s Arab Spring: The Long and Winding Road to Democracy and a regular contributor to the BBC.

“Allahu Akbar”: Islamic Battle Cry

November 9, 2017

“Allahu Akbar”: Islamic Battle Cry, Gatestone InstituteA. Z. Mohamed, November 9, 2017

What the phrase “Allahu Akbar” actually means is that “Allah is greater” than any other god. When recited, it empowers Muslims, making them feel superior to the rest of mankind. “Allahu Akbar” has, in fact, been a jihadist tool since the early years of Islam.

Muslims do use it in various benign situations, as well. When it is shouted publicly as an expression of rage, however, particularly during an attack on others, it is intended to intimidate or threaten; its purpose is to emphasize that the assault is being committed on behalf of Allah — submitting to his command to kill enemies — and in the expectation of the reward of eternal paradise.

When mainstream media outlets in the West whitewash a key tenet of Islam — jihad in the name of Allah — these “fellow travelers” are both enabling the problem and obstructing its solution.

Within hours of the recent ISIS-inspired truck-ramming attack in lower Manhattan — which left eight innocent people dead and more than a dozen others wounded — much of the media began to divert attention away from the plight of the victims and focus instead on defending Islam. A common thread in the coverage of the mass murder was an accompanying analysis of the Arabic phrase “Allahu Akbar,” which the terrorist, Sayfullo Saipov, shouted when he exited his vehicle and continued his rampage on foot.

Sayfullo Saipov shouted the Arabic phrase “Allahu Akbar” when he exited the truck with which he murdered eight people and wounded more than a dozen others, during his October 31 terrorist attack in Manhattan. (Image source: Gh9449/Wikimedia Commons)

The New York Times, for example, prefaced the tweet of an article about the use of the phrase, by saying: “‘Allahu akbar’ has somehow become inextricably intertwined with terrorism. Its real meaning is far more innocent.”

The Times, like Shariah law apologist and Palestinian-American activist Linda Sarsour, played down the definition of “Allahu Akbar,” by insisting that it simply means is “God is great.”

The Huffington Post, meanwhile, said that the phrase actually means “God is greater.” This is also the translation used by Imam Omar Suleiman, founder and president of the Yaqeen Institute for Islamic Research and an adjunct professor of Islamic Studies at Southern Methodist University, in an op-ed on CNN’s website. Suleiman said that “Allahu Akbar… should be known as a celebration of life, not death and destruction.”

What the phrase “Allahu Akbar” actually means, however, is that “Allah is greater” than any other god. When recited, it empowers Muslims, making them feel superior to the rest of mankind. “Allahu Akbar” has, in fact, been a jihadist tool since the early years of Islam. According to the Sahih Muslim, a highly acclaimed collection of hadiths (sayings of the Prophet Muhammed), Allah’s messenger (Muhammed) launched a raid against the Jews living in Khaybar, 90 miles north of Medina, with the battle cry: “Allahu Akbar, Khaybar shall face destruction.”

This is not to say that “Allahu Akbar” is always uttered in a violent context. Muslims do use it in various benign situations, as well. When it is shouted publicly as an expression of rage, however, particularly during an attack on others, it is intended to intimidate or threaten; its purpose is to emphasize that the assault is being committed on behalf of Allah — submitting to his command to kill enemies — and in the expectation of the reward of eternal paradise.

When mainstream media outlets in the West whitewash a key tenet of Islam – jihad in the name of Allah – they are unwittingly aiding and abetting the killing of innocents. In so doing, these “fellow travelers” are both enabling the problem and obstructing its solution.

A.Z. Mohamed is a Muslim born and raised in the Middle East.

Senator who Protected Iran’s Nukes Wants Hearing on Trump’s Nukes

November 9, 2017

Senator who Protected Iran’s Nukes Wants Hearing on Trump’s Nukes, The Point (FrontPage Magazine), Daniel Greenfield, November 9, 2017

 

Senator Bob Corker (R-Boeing) is at it again. This time he’s using the Senate Foreign Relations Committee to troll Trump.

Sen. Bob Corker, R-Tenn., announced Wednesday that he would convene a hearing to examine the president’s authority to use nuclear weapons.

The announcement of the Nov.14 hearing before the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, which Corker chairs, amounts to a significant escalation of what has so far been a war of merely words between the powerful Republican and his party’s standard-bearer.

“A number of members both on and off our committee have raised questions about the authorities of the legislative and executive branches with respect to war making, the use of nuclear weapons, and conducting foreign policy overall,” Corker said in a statement Wednesday.

Sure. Let’s undermine North Korea’s perception of the first strike authority of the President of the United States.

That’s the only conceivable thing these hearings can accomplish. That and annoying Trump. And that seems to motivate Corker as much as any Democrat. 

But can the Senate Foreign Relations Committee have a hearing on the role that domestic financial and political interests played in creating an echo chamber that allowed Iran to continue developing its nuclear program? I’m sure Senator Corker would have something to say about that.

The Constitution’s treaty procedures would have required Obama to win the approval of two-thirds of the Senate, which would have been impossible. The Corker legislation flipped this, allowing Obama to prevail unless there was two-thirds’ opposition in both houses of Congress – meaning blocking Obama would be impossible.

I suggested one reason: top GOP donors like Boeing stood to cash in big-time if the Iran deal was consummated. Boeing had ingratiated itself with Tehran when Obama granted some sanctions relief for Iran’s crippled aviation sector in order to keep the mullahs at the negotiation table. Boeing leapt in to provide Iran Air, the regime’s national carrier, with all manner of assistance – notwithstanding that Iran Air, basically an arm of Iran’s Revolutionary Guards Corps, was best known for providing material support to Hezbollah and the Assad regime. Indeed, in 2011, the Treasury Department designated Iran Air as a proliferator of weapons of mass destruction.

By helping Iran at a key point in the negotiations, I pointed out, Boeing stood to win huge Iranian contracts once the Iran deal was approved and sanctions were lifted. Well I know you’ll be shocked to hear this, but Iran has just announced a huge deal to buy aircraft from Boeing!

Yes, let’s have that hearing. Please.

Gorka’s back on Fox – and Ben Rhodes will be kicking the wall

November 9, 2017

Gorka’s back on Fox – and Ben Rhodes will be kicking the wall, American ThinkerMonica Showalter, November 9, 2017

Sebastian Gorka, one of President Trump’s former national security officials, is finally back.

The popular explainer of Trump’s policies will be taking a spot on Fox News as a national security strategist, adding depth and analysis to how the U.S. role in the world is playing out.  With his inside knowledge of how the Trump White House works, he should be an excellent source of information who can help listeners understand what is going on as events play out.

Here’s the fun part: it should drive the left apoplectic.

Ben Rhodes, a former Obama official and Gorka’s noisiest detractor, will be kicking the wall over this.  He’s hated Gorka for months and made no secret of it on his Twitter account.  No, he hasn’t said anything on Twitter about this, but he probably will, if, for nothing else, jealousy alone.  (Nobody apparently wants to hire Rhodes on the networks.)  The far-left press has already gotten busy, bringing up old phony smears about Gorka being a Nazi due to his Hungarian roots, same as they call everyone who doesn’t see things the way they do Nazis.  I’m not bothering to link.

The irony of the whole thing is that the left thought they had gotten rid of him when he left the White House last August.  They crowed like maniacs that Gorka was finally gone.  Well, now they get him all the time on Fox News, saying the truths they don’t want to hear.  Instead of getting rid of him, they got more of him.  This is sweet revenge.

Gorka himself sees it as something subtly different: an expanded mission compared to what he had been doing earlier with the Trump administration.  Speaking to The Hill:

He said he won’t miss appearing on other networks, dismissing them as “the fake news industrial complex.”

“Fox doesn’t generate propaganda. Those outlets do,” he told The Hill. “I went on them as a deputy assistant to the president to push back on the literal propaganda they were pumping. Now I’ve got another role to play with Fox News – which is just crushing it in terms of viewership, and there’s a very good reason for that. They speak truthfully about this administration, unlike everybody else.”

In other words, instead of spending his time countering every phony narrative put out about what the Trump administration is trying to accomplish, point by point, like a catcher, he’s now going for the pitch, just scarfing up their audiences in terms of viewership, by being a more interesting and informative draw than the lunatic ravings from the rival networks.

Sounds like a plan.  Looks as if it will be worth it to watch Seb mow these leftists down in the one thing they care about, the ratings – and, in turn, make the public much more informed than before.

 

Army to determine if Bergdahl will receive up to $300,000 in back pay, benefits

November 9, 2017

Army to determine if Bergdahl will receive up to $300,000 in back pay, benefits, American Military News, November 9, 2017

(Please see also, Bergdahl Rescue Mission ‘Haunts’ Navy SEAL Team Member Eight Years Later. Giving him back pay and benefits, in any amount and of any type, would be a grave insult to everyone who ever served honorably.– DM)

Bowe Bergdahl

Soldiers who are captured normally are given about $150,000 in special compensation, plus hostile-fire pay on top of their basic pay at the appropriate rank during time they are in captivity.

However, because of his guilty plea, the Army must decide whether to treat Bergdahl as a prisoner of war or not; as a prisoner of war, Bergdahl would be eligible for back pay and benefits accumulated during time in captivity.

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The U.S. Army needs to determine whether or not former Army Sgt. Bowe Bergdahl, who pleaded guilty in October to desertion and misbehavior before the enemy after deserting his Afghanistan outpost, will receive back pay and other benefits, following his sentencing last week.

A military judge at Fort Bragg ruled that Bergdahl will receive a dishonorable discharge from the U.S. Military. Bergdahl was also demoted from sergeant to private, but he does not have to serve prison time – which could have been a life sentence, given the charges against him.

Now, the Army must decide if Bergdahl is entitled to up to $300,000 in back pay and benefits accumulated during five years, according to an Army Times report.

Bergdahl, now 31, deserted his Army outpost in Afghanistan in 2009, was later captured by the Taliban and held captive for five years. Six service members died while searching for him. In 2014, the Obama Administration was able to get him back to the United States through a prisoner swap. Bergdahl was released in exchange for five Guantanamo Bay detainees.

Bergdahl’s case is not cut and dry, given that he ultimately deserted his Army outpost, but the Defense Department had marked him as “Missing-Captured” after a Taliban propaganda video came out featuring him alive. The Defense Department had previously marked Bergdahl as “Duty Status-Whereabouts Unknown.”

Soldiers who are captured normally are given about $150,000 in special compensation, plus hostile-fire pay on top of their basic pay at the appropriate rank during time they are in captivity.

However, because of his guilty plea, the Army must decide whether to treat Bergdahl as a prisoner of war or not; as a prisoner of war, Bergdahl would be eligible for back pay and benefits accumulated during time in captivity.

Bergdahl enlisted in the Army in 2008, graduated Infantry School at Fort Benning and deployed in 2009.

According to an Army pay chart for active duty soldiers, an E5 with less than two years experience – Bergdahl’s rank while in captivity – would make a little more than $27,000 a year. At five years, that’s approximately $135,000.

Army Pay Grade (Screen Shot)

“My understanding is there has to be an administrative determination of his duty status at each point, from the time he was captured until now,” an Army official told the Army Times reported. “In order to figure out what he’s owed, you’re basically going to have to start from that point of captivity.”

The Army Times reported that an official said Bergdahl would only be given his accumulated basic pay.

But the Army could also decide that Bergdahl should not be paid for his time in captivity, given his guilty plea – meaning he would have to pay back his salary; and the Army could also determine he was overpaid since being back in the U.S., the official told the Army Times.

“Based upon the results of trial, the Army is reviewing Sgt. Bergdahl’s pay and allowances,” Lt. Col. Randy Taylor told the Army Times. “His final pay and allowances will be determined in accordance with [Department of Defense] policy and Army regulation.”

Bergdahl could have served a life sentence in prison. The prosecutors had said Bergdahl should receive 14 years in prison and a punitive discharge from the military. Bergdahl’s defense attorneys argued in favor of leniency, and said he should receive a dishonorable discharge and no prison time – that he has faced enough punishment after five years of captivity.

Bergdahl Rescue Mission ‘Haunts’ Navy SEAL Team Member Eight Years Later

November 9, 2017

Bergdahl Rescue Mission ‘Haunts’ Navy SEAL Team Member Eight Years Later, Washington Free Beacon, November 9, 2017

Bergdahl’s case became politically fraught after former President Barack Obama traded five high-level Taliban prisoners held at Guantanamo Bay in exchange for his release in 2014. The circumstance further deteriorated when then National Security Adviser Susan Rice said the private had served with “honor and distinction.”

Toussaint, who now serves as an officer with a San Antonio-area police department, said the Obama administration’s characterization of Bergdahl was a “slap in the face” to the men who risked their lives searching for the private and a disgrace to Remco’s sacrifice.

As for Bergdahl’s sentence, he asks, “What kind of a message does that send to the world, the military, and the victims who suffered because of this?”

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Retired Senior Chief Petty Officer Mike Toussaint, a burly Navy dog handler, grudgingly wiped away tears as he described the barrage of insurgent gunfire that killed his military service dog, Remco, during the search for Army Pvt. Bowe Bergdahl.

Though he was never called to testify, Toussaint served as a prospective witness in the case against Bergdahl, who last week received a dishonorable discharge from the U.S. Army, but avoided prison time for desertion, misbehavior before the enemy, and endangering troops.

The military judge ordered that Bergdahl’s rank be reduced from sergeant to private and required him to surrender $1,000 a month from his pay for 10 months. The sentencing arrived eight years after Bergdahl abandoned his outpost in Afghanistan in 2009 before the Taliban held him captive for five years.

Toussaint called the sentencing “disgusting” and said Bergdahl should have received life in prison for his “reckless” actions.

Nine days after Bergdahl’s desertion, SEAL team members Toussaint and Remco were sent on a hostage rescue operation in southeastern Afghanistan to search for the missing private. He said the team, led by Senior Chief Petty Officer Jimmy Hatch, knew prior to the July 8 mission that Bergdahl voluntarily left his post, despite earlier reports stating he was captured on patrol.

“We all agreed we were going to go get him—he’s an American, that’s our job—but we all wanted to have a talk with him,” Toussaint said.

Hostage rescue missions are inherently dangerous, and Hatch testified last week that the operation to rescue Bergdahl was no different. He recalled expressing concern prior to the operation that someone would be killed or hurt given the hasty planning and grueling conditions.

Toussaint said he had no doubt the enemy knew they were coming. His unit came under heavy fire even before their two helicopters landed, leaving the team surrounded while they disembarked.

As the unit advanced to the position where they believed Bergdahl was being held, Toussaint, Hatch, Remco, and a third shooter peeled off to pursue two men wearing traditional Afghan dresses. Toussaint said they had to operate on the assumption one of the two men could be Bergdahl, limiting their engagement options.

When the two men disappeared into a field, Remco moved ahead to detect their location. Toussaint watched as Remco ran through a spray of bullets before he was shot in the head and killed.

Moments later, Hatch was shot in the right leg, shattering his femur and effectively ending his career. He subsequently endured 18 surgeries over a two-year span.

“It all happened real quick,” Toussaint said. “I remember seeing Remco get within a couple feet of their location and then he got shot in the head and came flying back out, I mean literally flying out. Right about that time … because it all got chaotic real quick … Jimmy who was right to my right, got shot. I remember hearing him, I could tell he was in pain, and then all I remember was kind of like a fireworks show.”

Toussaint said he ran into an onslaught of gunfire and grenades to kill the two militants. He grabbed Remco by his vest and dragged him back to Jimmy, where a couple of U.S. servicemen had arrived to administer first aid.

Toussaint choked back tears as he recalled carrying Remco onto a helicopter that airlifted him and Jimmy to a nearby hospital.

“I hadn’t accepted that he was mortally wounded at that time, I think it was just denial,” he said as he described clipping off Remco’s vest and trying to revive his breathing.

After accompanying Jimmy and Remco to the hospital, Toussaint and the third shooter went back out to the battlefield to search for Bergdahl.

Toussaint later received the Silver Star for pursuing the two men and ending the engagement, “allowing his teammates to provide lifesaving combat casualty care to his wounded team leader,” according to the award citation. Remco also received a Silver Star for sacrificing himself “as he aggressively engaged the enemy, drew effective fire onto himself, and gave his teammates the split seconds needed to change the balance of the fight.”

Toussaint said that night continues to haunt him eight years later.

He remembers Remco, who he described as a “complete live-wire,” sitting uncharacteristically still and looking somberly into his eyes before charging toward the enemy. He said the moment felt like an intuitive goodbye.

“That and the fact that I relive watching him getting him shot—those two—those are the two that tend to stick with me and they probably always will,” he said. “But the reality is he did his job. He did exactly what we told him to do.”

Toussaint said Remco’s death has been harder to accept given the circumstances of the mission.

“We knowingly went out in hazardous situations, it’s just part of the job,” he said. “It’s not like I didn’t accept the reality of any of us not coming home on any given night, that’s just the realistic truth to it … but to have that night take place only because—solely because—we had a selfish American that walked off a base, it just makes it harder to swallow.”

The defense maintained during the sentencing hearing that Bergdahl couldn’t be blamed for the series of consequences stemming from his desertion, given the chain of events included decisions made by others. Bergdahl’s attorneys also argued Trump’s comments on the case impacted their client’s ability to receive a fair sentencing.

Though the defense had told the judge a dishonorable discharge would be acceptable, Bergdahl’s chief defense lawyer told the New York Times last week he would challenge the ruling so his client could receive health care and other “benefits he badly needs” from the Department of Veterans Affairs.

Bergdahl’s case became politically fraught after former President Barack Obama traded five high-level Taliban prisoners held at Guantanamo Bay in exchange for his release in 2014. The circumstance further deteriorated when then National Security Adviser Susan Rice said the private had served with “honor and distinction.”

Toussaint, who now serves as an officer with a San Antonio-area police department, said the Obama administration’s characterization of Bergdahl was a “slap in the face” to the men who risked their lives searching for the private and a disgrace to Remco’s sacrifice.

As for Bergdahl’s sentence, he asks, “What kind of a message does that send to the world, the military, and the victims who suffered because of this?”

Saudi Arabia’s Adel al-Jubeir: World must hold Iran accountable for supporting terrorism

November 9, 2017

During an interview with an American news outlet, Saudi Foreign Minister Adel al-Jubeir accused his country’s regional rival of supporting terrorism and called on the international community to slap Iran with new sanctions. Al-Jubeir then called the nuclear deal with Tehran “weak.”

Becca Noy
http://www.jerusalemonline.com/news/world-news/around-the-globe/saudi-minister-iran-must-be-held-accountable-for-supporting-terrorism-32302
Adel al-Jubeir Photo Credit: EPA

After Iran warned that Riyadh made a “strategic mistake” by recognizing the US and Israel as friends, Saudi Foreign Minister Adel al-Jubeir accused Tehran of supporting terrorism. During an interview with CNBC Thursday, al-Jubeir said that Iran should be punished for its continued support of terrorism in the Middle East, urging the international community to impose new sanctions on the country.

“We would like to see sanctions on Iran for its support of terrorism and sanctions on Iran for violating the ballistic missile resolutions of the United Nations,” he told CNBC. When the former Saudi ambassador to the US was asked whether his country is on a path toward a direct conflict with its regional rival, al-Jubeir said: “We hope not.”

Al-Jubeir also commented on the nuclear deal with Iran, calling it “weak.” The Saudi minister then described the recent political developments in Lebanon as “unfortunate” and accused the Iranian-backed Hezbollah terrorist group of “hijacking the system” in the country.

Earlier today, JOL reported that a senior Lebanese government claimed that Saudi Arabia is holding Lebanese Prime Minister Saad Hariri, who announced his resignation on Saturday. The official told Reuters that the violation of Hariri’s freedom is a “direct attack on Lebanese sovereignty.”