Posted tagged ‘White House’

White House: We’re in a ‘Narrative Battle’ With ISIS

September 19, 2016

White House: We’re in a ‘Narrative Battle’ With ISIS

BY:
September 19, 2016 9:11 am

Source: White House: We’re in a ‘Narrative Battle’ With ISIS

 

White House press secretary Josh Earnest said the U.S. was in a “narrative battle” with the Islamic State terrorist organization during an appearance Monday on CNN’s New Day.

Brought on to discuss the bombings in New York and New Jersey and the possible connections to international terrorism, Earnest cautioned against painting with a “broad brush” regarding terrorism and Islam.

“When it comes to ISIL, we are in a fight, a narrative fight with them, a narrative battle, and what ISIL wants to do is they want to project that they are an organization that is representing Islam in a fight and a war against the West, and a war against the United States,” he said. “That is a bankrupt, false narrative. It’s a mythology, and we have made progress in debunking that mythology.”

After laying out advances made militarily against ISIS, which the Obama administration calls ISIL, Earnest again repeated the U.S. had made progress in “debunking this mythology.”

“We can’t play into this narrative that somehow the United States or the West is fighting against the Muslim religion,” he said. “The fact is there are millions of patriotic Muslims in this country right now that make our country proud. They serve in our armed services. They serve in our law enforcement … These are individuals who make a substantial and positive contribution to our country, and that is an inconvenient fact for the ISIL narrative.”

Earnest used a similar line earlier on MSNBC’s Morning Joe, saying the fight against ISIS was in some ways “just a war of narratives.”

White House: Obama to Veto Bill Empowering 9/11 Families to sue the Saudis

September 13, 2016

By: JNi.Media Published: September 13th, 2016

Source: The Jewish Press » » White House: Obama to Veto Bill Empowering 9/11 Families to sue the Saudis

King Salman bin Abdulaziz of Saudi Arabia and President Barack Obama in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia, Jan. 27, 2015. / Wikipedia commons

President Obama intends to veto a bill which allows families of 9/11 victims to sue the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia in US courts, White House press secretary Josh Earnest told reporters on Monday.

“The president does plan to veto this legislation,” Earnest said, reiterating, “I do anticipate the president will veto the legislation when it is presented to him. It hasn’t been presented to him yet.”

According to The Hill, this could be the first time Congress would be able to override an Obama veto. Democratic lawmakers have been pressuring the Administration to leave the bill alone for the sake of the 9/11 victims’ families, and for the sake of their reelection come November. Democratic lawmakers are concerned the veto would ignite a showdown between the White House and Congress that would damage the president and make him less effective on the serious issues, namely the fight over the budget in the lame-duck session of Congress. The bill passed unanimously by a voice vote in both the House and Senate.

Earnest cautioned that “this law actually opens up the United States to the risk of being hauled into court in countries around the world,” and added that “the president will continue to explain his opposition to this legislation … up until Congress decides whether to override his veto.”

The Saudi dominated, six-member Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC), announced on Monday that the proposed law “contravenes the foundations and principles of relations between states and the principle of sovereign immunity enjoyed by states,” possibly assuming this sovereign immunity includes the right to plot an attack on major civilian centers of the host country.

GCC Secretary General Abdullatif al-Zayani also said in an unveiled threat that “such laws will negatively affect the international efforts and international cooperation to combat terrorism.”

Hillary Appointed Clinton Foundation Donor, Financial Bundler to Sensitive Intel Post

June 12, 2016

Hillary Appointed Clinton Foundation Donor, Financial Bundler to Sensitive Intel Post

by Aaron Klein

11 Jun 2016

Source: Hillary Appointed Clinton Foundation Donor, Financial Bundler to Sensitive Intel Post – Breitbart

Andrew Burton/Getty Images/AFP

Hillary Clinton is facing controversy over the appointment to a sensitive State Department intelligence advisory board of a Clinton Foundation donor who also served as a financial bundler for Clinton’s campaigns.

Businessman Rajiv K. Fernando seems to have no obvious qualification to serve on the International Security Advisory Board (ISAB), which, according to its charter, provides the State Department with “independent insight and advice on all aspects of arms control, disarmament, nonproliferation, international security, and related aspects of public diplomacy.”

Fernando’s position on the board came with top secret security clearance and provided him with access to highly sensitive U.S. government information.

Emails obtained by the conservative Citizens United group under a Freedom of Information Act show that after ABC News sent inquiries on the matter, Clinton’s staff worked to “protect the name” of Clinton, and “stall” the news network in its reportage on the matter. Days later, Fernando resigned from the board, claiming he did not have any more time to spare due to work constraints.

Following requests for comment on his July 2011 appointment, State Department official Jamie Mannina sent an August 15, 2011 email expressing concern about the issue. “We must protect the secretary’s and under secretary’s name, as well as the integrity of the board. I think it’s important to get down to the bottom of this before there’s any response,” he wrote, in the email released by Citizens United.

An email response by Clinton aide Wade Boese reveals that Fernando was added to the board at Clinton’s insistence by Clinton’s then-chief of staff Cheryl Mills.

“The true answer is that S staff (Cheryl Mills) added him. The board’s membership preceded me. Raj was not on the list sent to S; he was added at their insistence,” Boese wrote. According to ABC News, “S” was commonly used to refer to Clinton.

Another telling email was sent in response to an ABC News inquiry regarding another board appointee, Rep. Harold P. Naughton, Jr.  ABC News reported:

Boese wrote to Hartman to say the department would have a far easier time explaining Naughton’s credentials. “The case for Rep. Naughton is an easy one. We are on solid ground,” he said.

In 2011 and 2012, ABC News sought answers from Fernando himself:

Fernando himself would not answer questions from ABC News in 2011 about what qualified him for a seat on the board or led to his appointment. When ABC News finally caught up with Fernando at the 2012 Democratic convention, he became upset and said he was “not at liberty” to speak about it. Security threatened to have the ABC News reporter arrested.

Fernando’s expertise appeared to be in the arena of high-frequency trading — a form of computer-generated stock trading. At the time of his appointment, he headed a firm, Chopper Trading, that was a leader in that field.

Fernando is currently a superdelegate pledged to Clinton.  He is listed on the Clinton Foundation website as having given between $1 million and $5 million.

ABC News reports on Fernando’s longtime financial support to Clinton and Democrats:

He was an early supporter of Hillary Clinton’s 2008 bid for president, giving maximum contributions to her campaign, and to HillPAC, in 2007 and 2008. He also served as a fundraising bundler for Clinton, gathering more than $100,000 from others for her White House bid. After Barack Obama bested Clinton for the 2008 nomination, Fernando became a major fundraiser for the Obama campaign.

Prior to his State Department appointment, Fernando had given between $100,000 and $250,000 to the William J. Clinton Foundation, and another $30,000 to a political advocacy group, WomenCount, that indirectly helped Hillary Clinton retire her lingering 2008 campaign debts by renting her campaign email list.

Fernando was also reportedly one of Obama’s top 2012 financial bundlers, raising at least $500,000 for Obama’s reelection bid.

In May 2015, Clinton attended a fundraiser at Fernando’s Chicago home.

Like Bill Clinton, Fernando’s father C K Fernando, was a Fulbright Scholar. C K Fernando founded an NGO that first received recognition from the Bill Clinton White House.  C K Fernando served as chairman of Sri Lankan Americans for President Obama in 2009.

Fernando’s name, meanwhile, does not appear on the State Department’s list of former ISAB board members.

Former CIA Director James Woolsey, who served on the ISAB board from 2006 to 2009, elaborated on the seriousness of the information to which board members were exposed.   “Most things that involve nuclear weapons and nuclear strategy are dealt with at a pretty sensitive basis — top secret,” he said, telling ABC News that the meetings take place in a secure facility.

With research by Brenda J. Elliott.

Seymour Hersh Says Hillary Approved Sending Libya’s Sarin To Syrian Rebels

May 2, 2016

Seymour Hersh Says Hillary Approved Sending Libya’s Sarin To Syrian Rebels Tyler Durden’s picture

Submitted by Tyler Durden

on 05/01/2016 22:00 -0400

Source: Seymour Hersh Says Hillary Approved Sending Libya’s Sarin To Syrian Rebels | Zero Hedge

Authored by Eric Zuesse via Strategic-Culture.org,

The great investigative journalist Seymour Hersh, in two previous articles in the London Review of Books (“Whose Sarin?” and “The Red Line and the Rat Line”) has reported that the Obama Administration falsely blamed the government of Syria’s Bashar al-Assad for the sarin gas attack that Obama was trying to use as an excuse to invade Syria; and Hersh pointed to a report from British intelligence saying that the sarin that was used didn’t come from Assad’s stockpiles. Hersh also said that a secret agreement in 2012 was reached between the Obama Administration and the leaders of Turkey, Saudi Arabia, and Qatar, to set up a sarin gas attack and blame it on Assad so that the US could invade and overthrow Assad.

“By the terms of the agreement, funding came from Turkey, as well as Saudi Arabia and Qatar; the CIA, with the support of MI6, was responsible for getting arms from Gaddafi’s arsenals into Syria.”

Hersh didn’t say whether these ‘arms’ included the precursor chemicals for making sarin which were stockpiled in Libya, but there have been multiple independent reports that Libya’s Gaddafi possessed such stockpiles, and also that the US Consulate in Benghazi Libya was operating a “rat line” for Gaddafi’s captured weapons into Syria through Turkey. So, Hersh isn’t the only reporter who has been covering this. Indeed, the investigative journalist Christoph Lehmann headlined on 7 October 2013, “Top US and Saudi Officials responsible for Chemical Weapons in Syria” and reported, on the basis of very different sources than Hersh used, that:

“Evidence leads directly to the White House, the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Martin Dempsey, CIA Director John Brennan, Saudi Intelligence Chief Prince Bandar, and Saudi Arabia´s Interior Ministry.”

And, as if that weren’t enough, even the definitive analysis of the evidence that was performed by two leading US analysts, the Lloyd-Postal report, concluded that:

“The US Government’s Interpretation of the Technical Intelligence It Gathered Prior to and After the August 21 Attack CANNOT POSSIBLY BE CORRECT.”

Obama has clearly been lying.

However, now, for the first time, Hersh has implicated Hillary Clinton directly in this ‘rat line’. In an interview with Alternet.org, Hersh was asked about the then-US-Secretary-of-State’s role in the Benghazi Libya US consulate’s operation to collect weapons from Libyan stockpiles and send them through Turkey into Syria for a set-up sarin-gas attack, to be blamed on Assad in order to ‘justify’ the US invading Syria, as the US had invaded Libya to eliminate Gaddafi. Hersh said:

That ambassador who was killed, he was known as a guy, from what I understand, as somebody, who would not get in the way of the CIA. As I wrote, on the day of the mission he was meeting with the CIA base chief and the shipping company. He was certainly involved, aware and witting of everything that was going on. And there’s no way somebody in that sensitive of a position is not talking to the boss, by some channel”.

This was, in fact, the Syrian part of the State Department’s Libyan operation, Obama’s operation to set up an excuse for the US doing in Syria what they had already done in Libya.

The interviewer then asked:

“In the book [Hersh’s The Killing of Osama bin Laden, just out] you quote a former intelligence official as saying that the White House rejected 35 target sets [for the planned US invasion of Syria] provided by the Joint Chiefs as being insufficiently painful to the Assad regime. (You note that the original targets included military sites only – nothing by way of civilian infrastructure.) Later the White House proposed a target list that included civilian infrastructure. What would the toll to civilians have been if the White House’s proposed strike had been carried out?”

Hersh responded by saying that the US tradition in that regard has long been to ignore civilian casualties; i.e., collateral damage of US attacks is okay or even desired (so as to terrorize the population into surrender) – not an ‘issue’, except, perhaps, for the PR people.

The interviewer asked why Obama is so obsessed to replace Assad in Syria, since “The power vacuum that would ensue would open Syria up to all kinds of jihadi groups”; and Hersh replied that not only he, but the Joint Chiefs of Staff, “nobody could figure out why”. He said, “Our policy has always been against him [Assad]. Period”. This has actually been the case not only since the Party that Assad leads, the Ba’ath Party, was the subject of a shelved CIA coup-plot in 1957 to overthrow and replace it; but, actually, the CIA’s first coup had been not just planned but was carried out in 1949 in Syria, overthrowing there a democratically elected leader, in order to enable a pipeline for the Sauds’ oil to become built through Syria into the largest oil market, Europe; and, construction of the pipeline started the following year. But, there were then a succession of Syrian coups (domestic instead of by foreign powers – 195419631966, and, finally, in 1970), concluding in the accession to power of Hafez al-Assad during the 1970 coup. And, the Sauds’ long-planned Trans-Arabia Pipeline has still not been built. The Saudi royal family, who own the world’s largest oil company, Aramco, don’t want to wait any longer. Obama is the first US President to have seriously tried to carry out their long-desired “regime change” in Syria, so as to enable not only the Sauds’ Trans-Arabian Pipeline to be built, but also to build through Syria the Qatar-Turkey Gas Pipeline that the Thani royal family (friends of the Sauds) who own Qatar want also to be built there. The US is allied with the Saud family (and with their friends, the royal families of Qatar, Kuwait, UAE, Bahrain, and Oman). Russia is allied with the leaders of Syria – as Russia had earlier been allied with Mossadegh in Iran, Arbenz in Guatemala, Allende in Chile, Hussein in Iraq, Gaddafi in Libya, and Yanukovych in Ukraine (all of whom except Syria’s Ba’ath Party, the US has successfully overthrown).

Hersh was wrong to say that “nobody could figure out why” Obama is obsessed with overthrowing Assad and his Ba’ath Party, even if nobody that he spoke with was willing to say why. They have all been hired to do a job, which didn’t change even when the Soviet Union ended and the Warsaw Pact was disbanded; and, anyone who has been at this job for as long as those people have, can pretty well figure out what the job actually is – even if Hersh can’t.

Hersh then said that Obama wanted to fill Syria with foreign jihadists to serve as the necessary ground forces for his planned aerial bombardment there, and, “if you wanted to go there and fight there in 2011-2013, ‘Go, go, go… overthrow Bashar!’ So, they actually pushed a lot of people [jihadists] to go. I don’t think they were paying for them but they certainly gave visas”.

However, it’s not actually part of America’s deal with its allies the fundamentalist-Sunni Arabic royal families and the fundamentalist Sunni Erdogan of Turkey, for the US to supply the salaries (to be “paying for them”, as Hersh put it there) to those fundamentalist Sunni jihadists – that’s instead the function of the Sauds and of their friends, the other Arab royals, and their friends, to do. (Those are the people who finance the terrorists to perpetrate attacks in the US, Europe, Russia, Afghanistan, Pakistan, India, India, Nigeria, etc. – i.e., anywhere except in their own countries.) And, Erdogan in Turkey mainly gives their jihadists just safe passage into Syria, and he takes part of the proceeds from the jihadists’ sales of stolen Syrian and Iraqi oil. But, they all work together as a team (with the jihadists sometimes killing each other in the process – that’s even part of the plan) – though each national leader has PR problems at home in order to fool his respective public into thinking that they’re against terrorists, and that only the ‘enemy’ is to blame. (Meanwhile, the aristocrats who supply the “salaries” of the jihadists, walk off with all the money.)

This way, US oil and gas companies will refine, and pipeline into Europe, the Sauds’ oil and the Thanis’ gas, and not only will Russia’s major oil-and-gas market become squeezed away by that, but Obama’s economic sanctions against Russia, plus the yet-further isolation of Russia (as well as of China and the rest of the BRICS countries) by excluding them from Obama’s three mega-trade-deals (TTIP, TPP & TISA), will place the US aristocracy firmly in control of the world, to dominate the 21st Century, as it has dominated ever since the end of WW II.

Then, came this question from Hersh:

“Why does America do what it does? Why do we not say to the Russians, Let’s work together?”

His interviewer immediately seconded that by repeating it, “So why don’t we work closer with Russia? It seems so rational”. Hersh replied simply: “I don’t know”. He didn’t venture so much as a guess – not even an educated one. But, when journalists who are as knowledgeable as he, don’t present some credible explanation, to challenge the obvious lies (which make no sense that accords with the blatantly contrary evidence those journalists know of against those lies) that come from people such as Barack Obama, aren’t they thereby – though passively – participating in the fraud, instead of contradicting and challenging it? Or, is the underlying assumption, there: The general public is going to be as deeply immersed in the background information here as I am, so that they don’t need me to bring it all together for them into a coherent (and fully documented) whole, which does make sense? Is that the underlying assumption? Because: if it is, it’s false.

Hersh’s journalism is among the best (after all: he went so far as to say, of Christopher Stephens, regarding Hillary Clinton, “there’s no way somebody in that sensitive of a position is not talking to the boss, by some channel”), but it’s certainly not good enough. However, it’s too good to be published any longer in places like the New Yorker. And the reporting by Christof Lehmann was better, and it was issued even earlier than Hersh’s; and it is good enough, because it named names, and it explained motivations, in an honest and forthright way, which is why Lehmann’s piece was published only on a Montenegrin site, and only online, not in a Western print medium, such as the New Yorker. The sites that are owned by members of the Western aristocracy don’t issue reports like that – journalism that’s good enough. They won’t inform the public when a US Secretary of State, and her boss the US President, are the persons actually behind a sarin gas attack they’re blaming on a foreign leader the US aristocrats and their allied foreign aristocrats are determined to topple and replace.

Is this really a democracy?

Robert Gates criticizes Obama|

January 19, 2016

Gates: Obama Thinks He’s Smartest Guy in Room, Ineffective at Developing and Implementing Strategy

BY:
January 19, 2016 10:43 am

Source: Robert Gates criticizes Obama|White House Pentagon relations|Micromanagement of military|Robert Gates new book

Former Defense Secretary Robert Gates said Tuesday that President Obama thinks he is smarter than his advisers and that he surrounds himself with people who will not question his views. As a result, the White House has struggled to develop and implement effective strategy during the Obama administration, according to Gates.

“You know, the president is quoted as having said at one point to his staff, ‘I can do every one of your jobs better than you can,’” Gates said on MSNBC’s Morning Joe.

“Oh my God, ” host Joe Scarborough said.

Gates’ statement was in response to Scarborough, who asked, “President Obama has actually been criticized for always thinking he’s the smartest guy in the room … Did Barack Obama always think he was the smartest guy in the room?”

The question came while Gates and the Morning Joe panel were discussing leadership skills presidents must possess to govern effectively. Gates appeared on the show to promote his new book, A Passion for Leadership: Lessons on Change and Reform from Fifty Years of Public Service, which examines how leaders at all levels in both the public and private sector can better manage organizations and bureaucracies to be more responsive.

Gates also said he thinks “one of the greatest weaknesses of the White House is implementation of strategy, is difficulty in developing strategy and then implementing that strategy.”

The former secretary of defense added that there are no “strong” people around the president who will challenge him on issues. Gates credited Obama for not shutting him down when he pushed back against the president while serving in the cabinet from 2009 to 2011, but he does not see people around Obama now who offer alternative views.

Critics have said the president is stubborn and does not listen to opposing viewpoints, even from his own staff. Politico published a story in October highlighting how this was the case with the administration’s Syria policy when the president’s advisors urged him to take more aggressive action, which Obama refused to do.

Another incident critics cite is when Obama was still a Senator from Illinois and traveled to Iraq in 2007. General David Petraeus, then commanding U.S. forces for the war effort, gave Obama his assessment of the fight against al Qaeda and how to prosecute it. Obama disagreed with the general’s analysis, arguing that Petraeus had it wrong.

Gates also was critical of Obama because “he has centralized power and operational activities of the government in the White House to a degree that I think is unparalleled. An NSC [National Security Council] staff of 450 people at this point.”

Senior military officials have expressed frustration with the White House under Obama for micromanaging the Pentagon and keeping national security decisions isolated within the president’s staff. Another former secretary of defense who served under Obama, Chuck Hagel, recently lambasted the president and his staff for “politically motivated micromanagement” and “debilitating meddling” of the military.

Gates himself has said on previous occasions that he was frustrated with how the White House dealt with the Pentagon.

“It was the operational micromanagement that drove me nuts, of White House and NSC staffers calling senior commanders out in the field … second-guessing commanders,” Gates told Fox News last fall.

“That’s the kind of thing that made me crazy … It was with the background of having served on the NSC under four presidents … When I was deputy national security advisor, if I would have tried to call a field commander, going around Dick Cheney, who was Secretary of Defense, or Colin Powell, who was Chairman of the Joint Chiefs, I’d of had my head handed to me, probably personally, by the president.”

Gates has served under eight presidents in various high-level roles, including as secretary of defense for both George W. Bush and Barack Obama.

The Conventional Wisdom on Putin is Dangerously Wrong

October 8, 2015

The Conventional Wisdom on Putin is Dangerously Wrong It’s not about ‘order’—it’s about empire

BY: Aaron MacLean October 8, 2015 5:00 am

Source: The Conventional Wisdom on Putin is Dangerously Wrong – Washington Free Beacon

 The official Washington line on Vladimir Putin’s military action is as follows: It is a mistake,

The official Washington line on Vladimir Putin’s military action is as follows: It is a mistake, demonstrating Russian weakness, sure to get the Russian military stuck in a “quagmire,” according to President Obama. Josh Earnest, the president’s press secretary, took that observation one further, comparing Putin’s policies to those of the Bush administration (the sickest of White House burns) by arguing the Russians “will not succeed in imposing a military solution” just as the U.S. did not succeed in imposing one in Iraq. Adopting the characteristic snark of his boss, at a later press conference Earnest assessed Putin not to be “playing chess—he’s playing checkers.” Ash Carter, the secretary of defense, weighed in by noting that the Russian strategy was “a backward approach that’s sure to backfire.”

If the Syria deployment is such an obvious mistake, why is Putin doing it? The conventional wisdom has concluded that his actions are driven by fear. The Assad regime, long friendly to Moscow, was about to fall, and Putin takes a dim view of the collapse of sovereign states as a consequence of popular uprisings or foreign interventions. Steven Lee Myers, long time Moscow correspondent for the New York Times, is out with a perfectly timed book assessing Putin’s life and ideology. Applying his broader argument to the case of Syria in the Times, Myers says:

Many have variously interpreted Mr. Putin’s intervention in Syria as a response to domestic pressures caused by an economy faltering with the drop in oil prices and sanctions imposed after Crimea; a desire to change the subject from Ukraine; or a reassertion of Russia’s position in the Middle East.

All are perhaps factors, but at the heart of the airstrikes is Mr. Putin’s defense of the principle that the state is all powerful and should be defended against the hordes, especially those encouraged from abroad. It is a warning about Russia, as much as Syria.

Myers’ argument fits well with the White House’s assessment, and has been echoed in publications friendly to the administration’s policies. You know who else agrees? Vladimir Putin—without the emphasis on fear and the expectation of failure, of course. But in his address last week to the United Nations, Putin made an argument that journalists like Myers have largely taken at face value:

It seems, however, that instead of learning from other people’s mistakes, some prefer to repeat them and continue to export revolutions, only now these are “democratic” revolutions. Just look at the situation in the Middle East and Northern Africa already mentioned by the previous speaker. Of course, political and social problems have been piling up for a long time in this region, and people there wanted change. But what was the actual outcome? Instead of bringing about reforms, aggressive intervention rashly destroyed government institutions and the local way of life. Instead of democracy and progress, there is now violence, poverty, social disasters and total disregard for human rights, including even the right to life.

I’m urged to ask those who created this situation: do you at least realize now what you’ve done?

It is no small irony that the same American politicos and journalists who are quick to accuse their domestic political opponents of acting in bad faith now go to impressive lengths to take the Russian president at his word, and to see him as a man whose actions are, if foolish, at least driven by an understandable sense of self-preservation and a realist’s principled opposition to disorder. Indeed, when there are no cameras around, those friendly to the administration will tell you that Putin’s intervention is actually a great boon to American policy, and that our opposition to Assad has been misguided from the start. This wing of American politics, the members of which seem to believe that they are “realists,” believes that the American presence in the Middle East is at the root of the instability there.

Putin understands this all too well, and much of his UN speech was pitched directly at the consciences of these men and women. It was impossible not to chuckle at the strongman’s chutzpah when, nearing his conclusion, Putin explained his hope to partner with other nations on an “issue that shall affect the future of the entire humankind”—climate change. In his recent 60 Minutes interview with Charlie Rose, Putin parried a question about the rule of law in Russia by invoking American race relations—a tried and true rhetorical gambit of the Soviet era:

How long did it take the democratic process to develop in the United States? Do you believe that everything is perfect now from the point of view of democracy in the United States? If everything was perfect there wouldn’t be the problem of Ferguson. There would be no abuse by the police. But our task is to see all these problems and to respond properly.

Putin understands American liberals better than most of them understand themselves, and lightyears better than they understand him. This is among the reasons their assessment of his motivations is so misleading and incomplete. By presenting his actions as essentially reasonable and defensive in nature, by continuing, humiliation after humiliation, to hope that Putin will one day be their partner, they fail to focus their analysis on the dark core of his beliefs, which are ironically the very traits they believe compromise American conservatism: toxic nationalism and neo-imperialism.

He’s not trying that hard to hide it. Consider the terrifying implications of this remark, also from the Charlie Rose interview:

I indeed said that I believe that the collapse of the USSR was a huge tragedy of the 20th century. You know why? … Because, first of all, in an instant 25 million Russian people found themselves beyond the borders of the Russian state, although they were living within the borders of the Soviet Union. Then, all of a sudden, the USSR collapsed—just overnight, in fact. And it’s turned out that in the former Soviet Republics—25 million Russian people were living. They were living in a single country. And all of a sudden, they turned out to be outside the borders of the country. You see this is a huge problem. First of all, there were everyday problems, the separation of families, social problems, economic problems. You can’t list them all. Do you think it’s normal that 25 million Russian people were abroad all of a sudden? Russia was the biggest divided nation in the world. It’s not a problem? Well, maybe not for you. But it’s a problem for me.

This is not an offhand aside. This is a casus belli, and racialist rhetoric one tends to identify with fascism. It is coming from a man who has invaded two nations in the last decade, has his sights set on NATO, and has just made a big play for dominance in the Middle East, to which Obama is all but certainly going to acquiesce completely. It is true that Putin fears phenomena like the Color Revolutions and the Arab Spring, but it is dangerously wrong to reason further that the man who seized Crimea in a surprise attack has some sort of principled preference for order over chaos. It isn’t order he wants. It’s the return of the Russian Empire.

Obama Invited Hamas-Backed Qatar and PA to ‘Counter Violent Extremism’

February 20, 2015

The White House must think that extremists will fight themselves. Or maybe he wants to “engage” them. Just don’t call them Muslims.

By: Tzvi Ben-Gedalyahu

Published: February 20th, 2015

via The Jewish Press » » Obama Invited Hamas-Backed Qatar and PA to ‘Counter Violent Extremism’.

 

Imam Abdisalam Adam tells the White House summit , "Mosques serve as [a] beacon of hope."
Imam Abdisalam Adam tells the White House summit , “Mosques serve as [a] beacon of hope.”
Photo Credit: White House photo

Among the 80 groups and countries invited to this week’s White House Summit to Counter Violent Extremism were Qatar, which finances Hamas, and the Palestinian Authority, which includes Hamas.

Also invited were Hamas, another enthusiast of Hamas and the Muslim Brotherhood; and Lebanon, which is dominated by Hezbollah; and the Arab League, a collection of Middle East countries from Saudi Arabia to Afghanistan that live and breathe by the sword.

As previously reported here by The Jewish Press, President Barack Obama said the United States is not at war against Islam. The enemy is not “radical Islam” because if Muslims are violent and extremists, they aren’t true Muslims.

Just imagine how people would behave according to that philosophy. If you are violent in the name of homosexuality, you are not a true homosexual because same-sex relations are all about peace and love.

And if you are violent for the sake of liberalism, or right-wing causes, you can’t possibly be a true left-winger or right-winger because they stand for peace.

It is not far from Catholicism, by which one can sin 24/6, confess on Sunday and go back for another round.

It is a philosophy of “Judge me by whom I am and by what I do.”

That is why not much is expected from Obama’s White House summit, especially when Muslim leaders in the United States and all over the world are not standing on the soap box to denounce their own radical Muslim preachers who espouse violence, all in the name of peace.

Even worse, they insist that Muslims are radicalized because of their economic and social situation, an attitude being accepted by the Obama, as reported here by The Jewish Press.

Marwan Muasher, a Jordanian politician who oversees research on the Middle East at the US-based Carnegie Endowment, told the London Guardian:

This is not the administration’s war, any administration’s war. It is not equipped to do it; it cannot do it.

The Arab world needs to take the lead on this. The Americans can lead on the military front; they cannot lead on the ideological front. They are not capable of doing so and the region does not want them to do so. The question is, is the region capable of taking the lead ideologically.

The answer so far is “no” for exactly the reason he stated – Middle East Muslim countries do not want the American government making the world safe from radical Islam.

As for his question whether the Muslim world can take “the lead ideologically,” the answer until today has been a resounding “no.”

The Muslim world is in the midst of a war between Sunnis and Shi’ites. The war is being fought on the battlefield and not just by the Islamic State but in virtually every country. It is a war that left Egypt on the brink of anarchy, a situation that continues in Lebanon.

It is a war of who controls oil fields, but above all, it is a war of whose Islam rules, and in order to win, ideology is not a convincing weapon. Their weapon is violence.

The Obama administration’s insistence on not mentioning “radical Islam” in its war on terror makes it impossible to root out violent extremism.

Retired Lt. Gen. Michael Flynn, a former director of the Defense Intelligence Agency, told the House Armed Services Committee in remarks concerning the war against the Islamic State:

We are at war with violent and extreme Islamists (both Sunni and Shiite) and we must accept and face this reality. We must engage the violent Islamists wherever they are, drive them from their safe havens and kill them.”

President Obama has put his administration in a Catch-22 situation.

He cannot Lt. Gen. Flynn’s thinking because it is politically incorrect.

Otherwise, Muslim countries would not have attended the summit, but because he won’t mention “radical Islam,” nothing will happen.

 

Top Lawmakers Launch Counterattack on Obama Anti-Israel Campaign

February 13, 2015

Top Lawmakers Launch Counterattack on Obama Anti-Israel Campaign

Republicans voice support for Netanyahu congressional speech

BY: Adam Kredo Follow @Kredo0
February 13, 2015 12:00 pm

via Top Lawmakers Launch Counterattack on Obama Anti-Israel Campaign | Washington Free Beacon.

Top Republican leaders took to public and private channels Thursday to expose a coordinated campaign by the Obama administration to attack Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu over his acceptance of an invitation to speak before Congress, according to conversations with multiple lawmakers and leading pro-Israel insiders.

The statements, many of which were obtained by the Washington Free Beacon in conversations with leaders in Congress, come in the aftermath of a widely cited New York Times report in which Obama administration officials accused Netanyahu of breaking diplomatic protocol by agreeing to speak before receiving approval from the White House.

However, the paper of record was quickly forced to issue a correction reversing its previously published timeline that claimed Netanyahu went behind the White House’s back. As the correction notes, Netanyahu did not accept the invitation until after the White House was informed.

Several leading congressional offices that spoke to the Free Beacon in recent days indicated they support Netanyahu’s address, a sentiment that was echoed on Thursday afternoon by the Senate’s second most powerful member, Sen. John Cornyn (R., Texas).

Sen. Ted Cruz (R., Texas), a vocal administration opponent, told the Free Beacon that Obama “is more interested in undermining a close ally than in addressing the common threat we face, which is a nuclear-armed Islamic Republic of Iran.”

The controversy over Netanyahu’s appearance—which has prompted some Democrats to boycott the speech—was manufactured by the White House and its media allies, Cruz said.

“There is growing evidence that, as the New York Times correction demonstrates, this was never an issue of protocol—Prime Minister Netanyahu’s office followed protocol by accepting the invitation only after the White House was notified,” Cruz said. “The real issue is the president’s reluctance to hear a dissenting voice challenging his assumption that the Iranians are negotiating in good faith over their nuclear program.”

Cornyn took to the Senate floor Thursday afternoon to reveal that a majority of his colleagues have signed onto a letter welcoming Netanyahu and reiterating support for him in light of efforts by some lawmakers to boycott the speech.

“I hope the rest of my colleagues on both sides of the aisle will join me in welcoming the prime minister to Washington so we can continue to work together as he details in graphic detail like no one else can do the threat of a nuclear Iran,” Cornyn said. “During this time of such great instability and danger in the Middle East, the United States cannot afford to waver in our commitment to one of our closest and most important allies.”

Sen. Mark Kirk (R., Ill.), one of the leading backers of a bill to impose new sanctions on Iran, said that now is not the time for Congress to waver in its support of Israel.

“At a time when the civilized world faces Islamic extremist threats not just from the [Islamic State], but also from a nuclear Iran and its terror proxies, the United States should speak with one voice and stand with our allies,” Kirk said.

The statements of support among Republicans also come despite thinly sourced reports in left-wing anti-Netanyahu media outlets claiming Republican displeasure with the prime minister.

An official timeline of how the speech came to be contradicts the New York Times story and comments by Obama administration officials.

Discussions about inviting Netanyahu to speak about Iran began nearly a year ago and were initiated by House Speaker John Boehner (R., Ohio) and his Senate counterpart, Mitch McConnell (R., Ky.), according to Boehner’s office.

Boehner called Israeli Ambassador Ron Dermer in early January to extend the invitation and gauge Netanyahu’s interest. On Jan. 20, Boehner and McConnell formally extended the invitation to Netanyahu and informed the White House the following day.

Netanyahu only agreed to speak after Congress and the White House were informed about the invite.

Still, several Democratic allies of the White House have promised to boycott the speech.

Rep. Earl Blumenauer (D., Ore.) told CNN he is offended that Netanyahu wants to speak about the dangers of a nuclear Iran at the same time the White House is conducting diplomacy with it.

“It’s inappropriate to have a deliberate effort by the speaker and Prime Minister Netanyahu to sabotage the negotiating that we have with Iran,” Blumenauer said.

Lawmakers such as Cruz and Rep. Lee Zeldin (R., N.Y.), Congress’ sole Jewish Republican, said it is offensive and inappropriate for their colleagues to boycott a speech by the leader of America’s closest ally.

“It is an unnecessary reckless act of foolishness to skip out on this joint session of Congress,” Zeldin told the Free Beacon. “It’s a critical hour and there really should be no questions where they belong. It’s very telling as to who has their priorities misplaced when looking around that room and seeing who decides to skip out for all the wrong reasons.”

Cruz went on to call Democratic opposition to Netanyahu “profoundly irresponsible,” telling the Free Beacon that “no friend of Israel would work to undermine, much less actually boycott, the elected leader of Israel in this time of peril.”

Zeldin also blamed the White House for fueling the controversy, which has dominated the narrative in Washington, D.C., for weeks.

“The president is all politics all the time,” Zeldin said. “He’ll stick his chest out to a friend while going out of his way to reduce his negotiating ability with an enemy to a position of equality or weakness. It’s time for the White House to have a refresher course on who our friends are and who our enemies are.”

Rep. Tim Walberg (R., Mich.), a member of the Israel Allies Caucus, said it is completely appropriate for Netanyahu to brief Congress on the Iranian threat as negotiations with Tehran reach their deadline.

“Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has a real and consequential understanding of the dangers in allowing Iran to procure a nuclear missile,” Walberg said. “With both Israel and the United States’ safety and security at stake, the speaker did the right thing by inviting the prime minister to address Congress.”

Sen. Marco Rubio (R., Fla.) came out late Thursday with a direct appeal to his Democratic colleagues.

“You have your right to voice your concerns, but don’t do this to an ally; don’t do this to a nation that is as threatened today as it has ever been at any time in its existence,” Rubio said in a statement. “Don’t do this to a people that are in the crosshairs of multiple terrorist groups with the capability of attacking them.

Christians United for Israel (CUFI) launched on Thursday a campaign urging its members to demand that their member of Congress attend Netanyahu’s speech. More than 10,000 CUFI members acted on the alert in less than five hours, according to the group.

“The spectacle of Democrats boycotting Netanyahu’s speech is a new low for Washington. Our elected officials have a sacred duty to listen to all views on this critical issue—including those with which they may disagree—before making up their minds. Whether they like the fact that Netanyahu was invited or not, they should stop acting like peevish children and listen for a change,” CUFI executive director David Brog said.

Boehner: We gave White House heads up on Netanyahu

January 26, 2015

Boehner: We gave White House heads up on Netanyahu

Defending the invitation that angered Obama, House speaker says prime minister is top authority on Iranian threat

By Times of Israel staff January 26, 2015, 1:42 pm

via Boehner: We gave White House heads up on Netanyahu | The Times of Israel.

 

US Speaker of the House John Boehner said Sunday night that he informed President Barack Obama that he’d asked Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu to speak before Congress hours before the invite was made public.

Boehner and Netanyahu agreed that the Israeli prime minister would speak in Washington on March 3 without consulting the administration — the customary policy on such things. But it gave rise to anger in Washington and to criticism in the media.

Asked about the White House’s statements that it had been blindsided by the plan, Boehner told CBS’s “60 Minutes,” “We gave them a heads up that morning.”

He defended the decision to invite Netanyahu to speak to Congress about his position on Iran’s nuclear program, a stance considerably more hawkish than that of the Obama administration.

“There’s nobody in the world who can talk about the threat of radical terrorism — nobody can talk about the threat the Iranians pose, not just to the Middle East and to Israel… but to the entire world — than Bibi (Benjamin) Netanyahu,” he said.

Boehner went on to say he did not believe Obama was giving that threat the attention it deserved.

“The president didn’t spend but a few seconds (in his State of the Union address last week) talking about the threat, the terrorist threat that we as Americans face,” he said.

“This problem is growing all over the world…the president is trying to act as though it’s not there, but it is there and it’s going to be a threat to our homeland if we don’t address it in a bigger way.”

Netanyahu is expected to urge US lawmakers to ready new sanctions on Iran in order to force it to comply with international demands to curb its nuclear program, a move Obama strongly opposes and has vowed to veto.

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell told “60 Minutes” he did not agree with Obama’s insistence that new sanctions at this sensitive time would cause negotiations with Tehran to break down.

“Under the proposal we’re considering those enhanced sanctions would only occur if a deal is not reached,” he said. “In other words it further incentivizes the Iranians to reach an agreement, because they know things could get considerably worse if they do not.”

On Sunday Israel’s Ambassador to the US Ron Dermer also defended Netanyahu’s planned speech, saying it was the prime minister’s “sacred duty” to present his stance on Iran.

Speaking at an Israel Bonds event in Florida, Dermer charged that the nuclear agreement being discussed between the P5+1 and Tehran “could endanger the very existence of the State of Israel,” by leaving Iran as a “nuclear threshold state.”

Israel's ambassador to Washington, Ron Dermer, formerly senior adviser to Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu (photo credit: Miriam Alster/Flash90)

Israel’s ambassador to Washington, Ron Dermer, formerly senior adviser to Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu (photo credit: Miriam Alster/Flash90)

 

The six world powers — Britain, China, France, Russia, the United States and Germany — are working with Iran to finalize an agreement that would curb Tehran’s nuclear program, which the West believes is intended to build atomic weapons, a charge the Islamic Republic denies. Two earlier deadlines passed without the final deal and a third deadline is looming on July 1.

Dermer said Netanyahu’s visit was “intended for one purpose: To speak up while there is still time to speak up. To speak up when there is still time to make a difference.”

Netanyahu’s upcoming speech sparked a public row between his government and Obama’s administration. The administration has been at odds with Netanyahu for years over international efforts to reach an agreement on Iran’s nuclear program, with Israel expressing skepticism over emerging terms that would allow Tehran to retain some uranium enrichment capacity.

Amid growing criticism in the US and in Israel of Netanyahu’s move, including by Israel’s former US envoy Michael Oren, who called on the prime minister to cancel the speech, Dermer said the visit was “not intended to show any disrespect for President Obama,” nor was it intended “to wade into your political debate.”

Earlier Sunday, White House Chief of Staff Denis McDonough appeared to downplay the tensions between the White House and Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, insisting that the US relationship with Israel was “many-faceted, deep and abiding.”

McDonough deferred questions about comments attributed to an American official in Friday’s edition of the Haaretz daily, to the effect that Netanyahu “spat in our face publicly, and that’s no way to behave.”

The unnamed official warned that “Netanyahu ought to remember that President [Barack] Obama has a year and a half left to his presidency, and that there will be a price.”

Beating Bibi: Obama’s Last Campaign

December 24, 2014

Beating Bibi: Obama’s Last CampaignThe real goal of the Obama administration is to bring Netanyahu down.

by Rich Baehr

December 23, 2014 – 10:47 pm

via Beating Bibi: Obama’s Last Campaign | PJ Media.

 

Barack Obama has proven to be a determined man when it comes to achieving goals he really cares about. He may not get everything he wants when he wants it, but he has shown that there is often more than one way to advance his agenda, and he can be patient when the political environment is unfavorable. This has been true on both the domestic front and in foreign policy.

Obama has used federal agencies such as the EPA and NLRB to move aggressively to favor Obama interests (bashing coal producers, making it easier for workers to organize into unions) when Congress did not adopt climate change legislation or “card check” legislation. The Department of Health and Human Services has regularly changed the rules of Obamacare, seemingly making the rules up as they go along when it became clear that certain provisions were either very badly conceived or politically unpalatable to important Obama interest groups.

There has also been subterfuge to make it seem that the abuse of the separation of powers and routine bypassing of Congress has not really occurred. The president says he has issued far fewer executive orders than prior presidents, when in fact he has issued far more when you include his memoranda – which serve the same purpose.

In foreign policy, the administration has pursued several policies with the same doggedness. One of these has been to damage the historically close ties between Israel and the United States. The alternative way to say this is that so long as Israel elects leaders who do not see things the way the administration does, it will be very much out of favor with the White House.

Over the first six years of the Obama administration, there is little that Israel under the leadership of Prime Minister Bibi Netanyahu has ever done right according to the White House or the State Department. Conversely, almost nothing the Palestinians have done has been called out for similar criticism. Meanwhile, the administration has pursued a new relationship with Iran (much as it has with Cuba), signaling that traditional alliances and enmities were out the window with this administration. The obsession of Secretary of State Kerry with pushing the Israeli-Palestinian peace negotiations and the Iranian nuclear negotiations seems to be a mix of legacy-building for both Kerry and Obama, but also part of the shift away from the traditional alliance with Israel.

A goal of the White House seems to have been to break the bipartisan support for a strong U.S-Israel relationship in Congress by making it far easier for Democrats to go their own way. In essence, the White House has facilitated a transition within the party to better reflect the views of the Democratic Party’s base, now heavily made up of younger voters and minorities, among whom there is not nearly as much support for Israel as in the past. The Obama administration has set in place a longer-term process to separate Democrats in Congress from their historic role as strong supporters of Israel.

Whether Obama is following his base on this issue or leading it is a different question. As the single most visible political figure in government, when a president is viewed as being engaged in a bitter feud with a foreign leader, as the press has dutifully reported is the case between Netanyahu and Obama, a strong message has been delivered. This message particularly gets to those who support the president in general, and on pretty much all specific issues. The president has also blessed and opened the White House’s door to J Street, an organization allegedly committed to both Israel and peace. In reality, the group is a “blocking back for the White House,” as its own leaders have admitted, for the regular Israel-bashing and pressure campaign that has been underway since both Obama and Netanyahu took office in 2009. If one looks for instances of J Street uttering a kind word about Netanyahu, you will find even fewer than those from the president himself.

Prime Minister Netanyahu’s government has collapsed following the firing of two ministers from parties in his coalition that had broken with his government. New elections have been called for March 17. The Israeli election system is a parliamentary one, although one without legislative districts. Parties nominate slates and determine the order of their candidates. If a party wins 20 of 120 seats in the Knesset, based on their share of the overall vote among the parties who register at least 3.5% of the total vote, then the first 20 names on that party’s list will become Knesset members.

Thirteen parties hold seats in the current Knesset (the hurdle until this current election  had been only 2% of the total vote for representation for a party), an indication of the fragmentation of the current system. After the Knesset elections are held, since no single party ever wins a majority on its own or even comes close, the country’s president picks the leader of a party that he thinks has the best chance of putting together a coalition of parties to get to at least 61 seats, a Knesset majority. That has been Netanyahu for two consecutive elections, though a third victory is not assured.

A recent poll shows right-wing parties winning 40 seats, left-wing and Arab parties winning 40 seats, and 40 seats up for “sale” (or persuasion), though many of these would be with religious parties generally more comfortable as part of a right-wing government.

One of the issues Bibi has to deal with is that many Israeli voters are concerned about deteriorating U.S.-Israei relations. Israel has few allies beyond America, Canada under Stephen Harper, and Australia most of the time. Among these three, of course American support has always mattered most, given the history of foreign aid, weapons supply, and the Americans’ Security Council veto. European behavior, on the other hand, has become  more viper-like every week. Most Israelis are smart enough to understand that whatever Netanyahu’s faults, the problems in the relationship the last few years have been largely created by the Obama administration. Though there are some who are right-of-center on security issues who might think that someone other than Bibi might be better able to shepherd the country through the rocky last two years of the Obama administration, since any new president after Obama is unlikely to be so hostile.

When Bill Clinton was president, he allowed his campaign team, including pollster Stanley Greenberg, Bob Shrum, current J Street operative Jim Gerstein, and Jim Carville, to assist Labor party leader Ehud Barak and to help bring down Netanyahu’s government  in 1999. Greenberg is going back to Israel to help the Labor Party again. Surely, this has the Obama seal of approval.

The Obama team may have overplayed its hand when it allowed a rumor to get out that sanctions against Israel over its settlement building had been discussed at the White House. Congressional Democrats pushed back hard against the idea, and the administration denied it had ever come up. A few weeks back, a reporter close to the White House had repeated various obscenities which top administration figures had used to describe Netanyahu, including “chickens**t.”

This week, Secretary of State Kerry seems to be trying a different approach, by reassuring Israel that the U.S. will use its veto in the Security Council (if it has to, assuming the Palestinians collect nine votes) to prevent the Palestinian Authority from getting its resolution passed on a two-year deadline for statehood within the 1967 borders. Of course, Kerry has generally been milder in his public criticisms of Israel than the off-the-record amateurs at the White House. At the same time, Kerry has let slip that Israeli leaders from the left believe a debate and vote on a PA resolution at the UN now will only solidify support for Netanyahu and right-wing parties, so he is loathe to give Bibi an assist.

In any case, the administration seems to be trying to deliver two messages: things could get far worse for Israel in the next two years (we won’t use our veto at the UN next time), or there could be more support if Israel is more forthcoming and accepts the American approach (offering concessions to the Palestinians and not opposing a U.S.-Iran nuclear deal). Of course, since Bibi Netanyahu is unlikely to become a J Street prime minister, the real goal of the administration, as was the case in the Clinton administration, is to bring him down.