What about *your* gaffes, Hillary?

**Posted by Phineas

Hillary Clinton official Secretary of State portrait crop

Yes, my friends, it’s time once again for one of our favorite games, “If it had been a Republican…”

Remember, how, back in the 2012 campaign, the press and the Democrat support groups (redundant, I know) hounded Republican nominee Mitt Romney over supposed misstatements and gaffes while on a foreign tour? I can recall one incident in particular, when Romney was in Poland and his campaign wanted to deal US foreign policy issues, a reporter chased after him shouting “What about your gaffes??” The purpose, of course, was to plant the idea with the public that Mitt’s minor faux pas showed he wasn’t qualified to be president.

In which case, I eagerly await Hillary being pestered about her foot-in-mouth moments:

The former Secretary of State, who’s been heavily promoting her new book “Hard Choices” in a likely precursor to running for president in 2016, appeared to state the Conservative and Tory Parties in Britain were rival political parties during a BBC interview.

“Tory” is in fact another name for the Conservative Party in Britain.

Asked by the host what she thought of the “Special Relationship” between the U.S. and Great Britain, Clinton declared it was “very special between our countries.”

“There’s not just a common language, but a common set of values that we can fall back on,” she said. “It doesn’t matter in our country whether it’s a Republican or a Democrat or frankly, in your country, whether it’s a Conservative or a Tory. There is a level of trust and understanding. That doesn’t mean we always agree because, of course, we don’t.”

As the article points out, Hillary was our Secretary of State, who had to deal with our close allies in the UK on a nearly daily basis, and yet she didn’t know “Tory” and “Conservative” were synonyms? It reminds me of the recent Obama ambassadorial appointee who didn’t know his soon-to-be host country, Norway, has a king and not a president.

For supposedly being so much smarter than everyone else and for all their claiming to know what’s best for us, progressives sure are ignorant of the wider world, no?

Of course, it could easily have been a simple slip of the tongue on Hillary’s part, saying “Conservative and Tory” when she meant “Conservative and Labor,” the kind of mental backfire we’re all subject to from time to time.

But not all of us are (probably) running for president, an office that has almost sole control over US foreign affairs, including relations with one of our closest allies.

And so I expect the MSM to grill Hillary mercilessly over this gaffe, hounding her incessantly with questions about her competence and knowledge

Just as soon as she becomes a Republican.

(Crossposted at Public Secrets)

#Benghazi massacre an Iranian operation?

**Posted by Phineas

Qassem Suleymani

Qassem Suleymani

That’s the assertion of journalist Kenneth Timmerman in a forthcoming book, “Dark Forces.” In a summary article in the New York Post, Timmerman discusses Qassem Suleymani, the head of Quds Force, Iran’s external special operations forces that have conducted operations against us in Iraq and Afghanistan, helped establish Hizbullah, and carried out terrorist strikes around the world. He then talks about Iran’s concern over our presence in Benghazi, where we were monitoring jihadist groups (and, according to rumor, shipping guns to the Syrian rebels, who were fighting Iran’s client, President Assad), groups that Iran, per Timmerman’s sources, had a hand in creating and supporting. The Iranians were so concerned, in fact, that Suleymani set up an operation in which a Quds Force hit team, disguised as Red Crescent workers, were to kidnap Ambassador Stevens and destroy the CIA annex in Benghazi. The idea was to hit us hard to prove to Washington that there was no safe place for American personnel in the Middle East.

Trouble was, from the Iranian point of view, we were intercepting their communications, knew when the hit team arrived, and had them followed by Libyan militia members in our pay. That’s when things got weird:

Then at 1 in the morning, it happened.

All of a sudden, the deputy chief jumped up from where he had been dozing off. His guys were going nuts.

The ruckus got the chief’s attention. “What’s going on? What are they saying?” he asked.

The deputy translated the excited shrieks from the trackers. It seemed the Red Crescent team had been headed back to the Tibesti Hotel when they were ambushed by a half dozen Toyota pickups with .50-caliber machine guns mounted on the beds.

The militia guys forced the Iranians to get out, cuffed them, then bundled them into a pair of Jeep Cherokees and sped off.

Our guys decided it was more prudent not to follow them, he said.

So they’re gone, the chief said. That’s it. Kidnapped.

Based on information that came in later, the station chief and his deputy assumed the Iranians had been kidnapped in some Sunni-Shia dispute and were being held until they could be shipped back to Tehran.

But, what they didn’t know, per Timmerman’s sources, is that the Iranians were intercepting the CIA annex’s communications and knew we were on to them, so they staged the kidnapping of their team as a bluff, to make us think their operation was thwarted by sectarian rivalries. And it worked; the CIA station chief and his deputy bought it. In other words, we knew what the Iranians were up to, they knew we knew, but we didn’t know that they knew we knew. And that allowed them to play us for suckers, get us off our guard, and for their proxies in Ansar al Sharia (again, per Timmerman) to carry out the attacks on September, 2012. Which, by the way, the Iranians had changed to a straight “kill the ambassador” operation, since we had blown the cover of their original kidnapping squad.

Is it true? The trouble with Timmerman’s account is that it relies on anonymous sources. That’s not surprising in intelligence work, but it makes it impossible for the average person to verify.

On the other hand, I do find it at least plausible. The Iranians have considered themselves at war with us since 1979, a war we’ve only fitfully recognized. They were responsible for the bombing of the Marine barracks in Beirut in 1983, and there’s widespread opinion that they were somehow involved in the Khobar Towers bombing in 1996 (1). Iran has killed and maimed hundreds, if not thousands of Americans in Iraq and Afghanistan, via the IEDs they supplied their proxies in both places. That a commander as daring and dedicated to his cause as Qassem Suleymani appears to be might order a hit on his enemy’s embassy is not outside the bounds of reason, however.

I suppose, until and if the Iranian government falls and their records become available, this will remain one of the mysteries of the shadow war between the US and Iran.

Footnote:
(1) This was later also attributed to al Qaeda, but there’s nothing that says Iran and bin Laden couldn’t have been working together.

(Crossposted at Public Secrets)

Report: Meriam Ibrahim freed from Sudanese prison

Meriam Ibrahim

Meriam Ibrahim, pictured here in a Sudanese prison.

Wonderful news:

Meriam Ibrahim, the Sudanese woman who gave birth in a Khartoum prison after being sentenced to death in May for allegedly converting from Islam to Christianity, has been freed, FoxNews.com has confirmed.

Ibrahim, 27, refused to renounce her Christian faith in court in May, prompting a judge to sentence her to hang for apostasy. The case became an international cause, with several U.S. lawmakers and the State Department blasting the decision as barbaric. Sudan’s national news service SUNA said the Court of Cassation in Khartoum on Monday canceled the death sentence after defense lawyers presented their case, and that the court ordered her release.

“We have confirmed through her attorney that she has been released from prison today,” Tina Ramirez, executive director for the Christian advocacy group Hardwired, told FoxNews.com. Hardwired has worked closely with Ibrahim’s family and lawyer.

Ibrahim’s husband, Daniel Wani, holds dual U.S.-Sudanese citizenship, and Ibrahim’s supporters argued that their children, including a daughter named Maya born in prison in May and a 20-month-old boy named Martin who was imprisoned with her, are U.S. citizens.

Sources close to the situation tell FoxNews.com that Ibrahim was whisked away to a confidential location and that her lawyers will be meeting with representatives from the U.S. Embassy on Tuesday.

[…]

The American Center for Law and Justice, which gathered some 320,000 signatures in an online petition for Ibrahim, praised the decision but called for the U.S. to help her.

“Her release from a Sudanese prison is a critical step toward securing her freedom and safety,” said ACLJ Executive Director Jordan Sekulow. “We now call on the Obama Administration to examine all possibilities to ensure that Meriam and her two American children are granted safe passage and immediate legal status in the United States.”

Indeed.

Read more on the plight of Meriam Ibrahim here, and please pray for the safe arrival of both her and her family to the US. 

Does the White House know anything about *anything*?

Obama confused

‘Ummm …’

Great piece from Fox News detailing at least ‘9 times the Obama administration was blindsided’ – or allegedly blindsided, anyway. Here’s a sneak peek:

1. Islamist militants gaining in Iraq

The New Yorker (1/27/2014): “In the 2012 campaign, Obama spoke not only of killing Osama bin Laden; he also said that Al Qaeda had been ‘decimated.’ I pointed out that the flag of Al Qaeda is now flying in Fallujah, in Iraq, and among various rebel factions in Syria; Al Qaeda has asserted a presence in parts of Africa, too.

‘The analogy we use around here sometimes, and I think is accurate, is if a jayvee team puts on Lakers uniforms that doesn’t make them Kobe Bryant,’ Obama said, resorting to an uncharacteristically flip analogy. ‘I think there is a distinction between the capacity and reach of a bin Laden and a network that is actively planning major terrorist plots against the homeland versus jihadists who are engaged in various local power struggles and disputes, often sectarian.'”

The Wall Street Journal (6/11/2014): Iraq Drama Catches US Off Guard

[…]

8. Fast and Furious scandal

Jay Carney during a White House press briefing (6/27/2012): “The president did not know about this tactic until he heard about it through the media; the attorney general did not know about it.”

Read the whole thing and – not to be a downer this weekend – think about it when you’re out and about today that we’ve got a year and a half more to go of this executive office seeming cluelessness on major hot button issues – most of which have significant impact beyond how it plays out here in the United States. The White House’s dangerous feigned ignorance on these issues and more (including Benghazi and the emerging border crisis involving children) has not just caused PR headaches for them but – in some cases – has cost innocent lives, the deaths of which many were preventable.  If that level of willful HISS (Head In Sand Syndrome) doesn’t chill you to the bone, I don’t know what will.

(Video) #Benghazi — why it matters

**Posted by Phineas

Aside from owing a true accounting to the memories of the dead lost there and their survivors, the truth about the Benghazi massacre matters because of two words: “competence” and “character.”  Bill Whittle explains:

Remember, one of the two top American officials mentioned in the video plainly desires to be President of the United States. Ignore the faux-outrage of her supporters; questions about Hillary Clinton’s conduct, competence, and character before, during, and after the attack are absolutely appropriate.

And the answers should disqualify her from office.

(Crossposted at Public Secrets)

#Benghazi attackers used State Dept. phones the night of the attack

**Posted by Phineas

American Blood, US Consulate, Benghazi

American Blood, US Consulate, Benghazi

And we overheard them doing it. If anyone still believes Hillary’s story about blaming a YouTube video based on the best information they had at the time, that person is either dumber than a rock, or hoping for a job in a possible Hillary administration.

Via Bret Baier and James Rosen:

The terrorists who attacked the U.S. consulate and CIA annex in Benghazi on September 11, 2012 used cell phones, seized from State Department personnel during the attacks, and U.S. spy agencies overheard them contacting more senior terrorist leaders to report on the success of the operation, multiple sources confirmed to Fox News.

The disclosure is important because it adds to the body of evidence establishing that senior U.S. officials in the Obama administration knew early on that Benghazi was a terrorist attack, and not a spontaneous protest over an anti-Islam video that had gone awry, as the administration claimed for several weeks after the attacks.

Eric Stahl, who recently retired as a major in the U.S. Air Force, served as commander and pilot of the C-17 aircraft that was used to transport the corpses of the four casualties from the Benghazi attacks – then-U.S. Ambassador to Libya Chris Stevens, information officer Sean Smith, and former Navy SEALs Glen Doherty and Tyrone Woods – as well as the assault’s survivors from Tripoli to the safety of an American military base in Ramstein, Germany.

In an exclusive interview on Fox News’ “Special Report,” Stahl said members of a CIA-trained Global Response Staff who raced to the scene of the attacks were “confused” by the administration’s repeated implication of the video as a trigger for the attacks, because “they knew during the attack…who was doing the attacking.” Asked how, Stahl told anchor Bret Baier: “Right after they left the consulate in Benghazi and went to the [CIA] safehouse, they were getting reports that cell phones, consulate cell phones, were being used to make calls to the attackers’ higher ups.”

Funny, but the Accountability Review Board Secretary Clinton set up after the Benghazi massacre never interviewed Mr Stahl, nor, as far as I know, anyone else who might have knowledge of this. Odd oversight for them to make, isn’t it?

Remember, late on the night of the attack, right after a phone call with the president, Clinton released a statement blaming a video for the attack. She then swore before the caskets of the honored dead returning from Benghazi –and to the faces of their family members– that she would see that video maker brought to justice. She and her boss, the President of the United States, later still made a commercial for Pakistani TV denouncing the video. To this day, in her recently release memoirs, Hillary Clinton defends that claim as being based on the best intelligence we had available at the time.

And yet, if this story is true, we now know we had overheard the enemy calling their leaders and reporting a successful operation. Not a demonstration that got out of control, but an attack.

And, again, they knew that night.

This isn’t the first time we’ve had evidence that State and the White House knew that evening what was really happening, but this is explosive and, if it holds up, should destroy any remnant of Lady MacBeth’s credibility.

As I’ve said before, the only intended target for this deception could have been us. Not the enemy. In addition to getting the truth for its own sake, we the voters need to ask ourselves a question: Do we really want as president someone who not only and so casually lies to us, but to bereaved families?

I can’t wait for these hearings to get started.

(Crossposted at Public Secrets)

27 years ago today: “Mr. Gorbachev, tear down this wall!”

June 12, 1987 – one of many memorable, hugely important moments in the history of President Ronald Reagan – and the world:

General Secretary Gorbachev, if you seek peace, if you seek prosperity for the Soviet Union and Eastern Europe, if you seek liberalization: Come here to this gate! Mr. Gorbachev, open this gate! Mr. Gorbachev, tear down this wall!

Link to the CSPAN video of the full speech. Link to the transcript of the full speech.

Believe it or not, that line almost didn’t make it into the speech. From Reagan speechwriter Peter Robinson:

With three weeks to go before it was delivered, the speech was circulated to the State Department and the National Security Council. Both attempted to squelch it. The assistant secretary of state for Eastern European affairs challenged the speech by telephone. A senior member of the National Security Council staff protested the speech in memoranda. The ranking American diplomat in Berlin objected to the speech by cable. The draft was naïve. It would raise false hopes. It was clumsy. It was needlessly provocative. State and the NSC submitted their own alternate drafts—my journal records that there were no fewer than seven—including one written by the diplomat in Berlin. In each, the call to tear down the wall was missing.

Now in principle, State and the NSC had no objection to a call for the destruction of the wall. The draft the diplomat in Berlin submitted, for example, contained the line, “One day, this ugly wall will disappear.” If the diplomat’s line was acceptable, I wondered at first, what was wrong with mine? Then I looked at the diplomat’s line once again. “One day?” One day the lion would lie down with the lamb, too, but you wouldn’t want to hold your breath. “This ugly wall will disappear?” What did that mean? That the wall would just get up and slink off of its own accord? The wall would disappear only when the Soviets knocked it down or let somebody else knock it down for them, but “this ugly wall will disappear” ignored the question of human agency altogether. What State and the NSC were saying, in effect, was that the President could go ahead and issue a call for the destruction of the wall—but only if he employed language so vague and euphemistic that everybody could see right away he didn’t mean it.

The week the President left for Europe, Tom Griscom began summoning me to his office each time State or the NSC submitted a new objection. Each time, Griscom had me tell him why I believed State and the NSC were wrong and the speech, as I’d written it, was right. When I reached Griscom’s office on one occasion, I found Colin Powell, then deputy national security adviser, waiting for me. I was a 30-year-old who had never held a full-time job outside speechwriting. Powell was a decorated general. After listening to Powell recite all the arguments against the speech in his accustomed forceful manner, however, I heard myself reciting all the arguments in favor of the speech in an equally forceful manner. I could scarcely believe my own tone of voice. Powell looked a little taken aback himself.

A few days before the President was to leave for Europe, Tom Griscom received a call from the chief of staff, Howard Baker, asking Griscom to step down the hall to his office. “I walked in and it was Senator Baker [Baker had served in the Senate before becoming chief of staff] and the secretary of state—just the two of them.” Secretary of State George Shultz now objected to the speech. “He said, ‘I really think that line about tearing down the wall is going to be an affront to Mr. Gorbachev,'” Griscom recalls. “I told him the speech would put a marker out there. ‘Mr. Secretary,’ I said, ‘The President has commented on this particular line and he’s comfortable with it. And I can promise you that this line will reverberate.’ The secretary of state clearly was not happy, but he accepted it. I think that closed the subject.”

It didn’t.

When the traveling party reached Italy (I remained in Washington), the secretary of state objected to the speech once again, this time to deputy chief of staff Kenneth Duberstein. “Shultz thought the line was too tough on Gorbachev,” Duberstein says. On June 5, Duberstein sat the President down in the garden of the estate in which he was staying, briefed him on the objections to the speech, then handed him a copy of the speech, asking him to reread the central passage.

Reagan asked Duberstein’s advice. Duberstein replied that he thought the line about tearing down the wall sounded good. “But I told him, ‘You’re President, so you get to decide.’ And then,” Duberstein recalls, “he got that wonderful, knowing smile on his face, and he said, ‘Let’s leave it in.’

And so they did leave it in. **== And eventually, the wall came down, too. Two and a half years later. :D

Berlin Wall

Freedom!
Image via Getty.

#DDay70 veteran parachutes from plane 70 years after doing it the first time

Jim Martin - D-Day

93 year old U.S WW II veteran Jim Martin of the 101st Airborne, left, completes a tandem parachute jump onto Utah Beach, western France, Thursday June 5, 2014, as part of the commemoration of the 70th anniversary of the D Day.  (AP Photo/Thibault Camus)

What an awesome story! (via)

Normandy, France (CNN) — Jim “Pee Wee” Martin acted like he’d been here before, like jumping from a plane is as easy as falling off a log.

Maybe that’s because he had — 70 years ago.

“I’m feeling fine,” Martin told reporters moments after landing in a French field. “… It was wonderful, absolutely wonderful.”

Martin was part of the U.S. 101st Airborne Division that parachuted down over Utah Beach in their bid to retake France and, eventually, the rest of Europe from Nazi Germany. They actually touched down in enemy-controlled territory a night before what’s referred to as D-Day.

His jump Thursday in the same area was different and — despite his being 93 years old now — a whole lot easier.

“It didn’t (compare),” Martin said, “because there wasn’t anybody shooting at me today.”

Every year, every day it seems, the number of surviving World War II veterans like Martin dwindles. He estimates there are only a few dozen members of his unit who took part in the now historic D-Day invasion who are still around.

It’s ironic, in a sense, because Martin was among the oldest of his bunch in June 1944 — at 23 years old — surrounded by others who were mere teenagers.

Together, they parachuted onto France’s northern coast in the dark of night not knowing what awaited them. Whatever it was, it would not be friendly or easy, they expected.

[…]

Seven decades later, Martin did it again — not fighting a bloody war but at least reliving his role in a military campaign that changed the course of history. Others joined him in this now daytime jump, though he was the only one from his generation.

[…]

Martin admitted that he was motivated by “a little bit of ego, (to show that) I’m 93 and I can still do it.”

“And also I just want to show all the people that you don’t have to sit and die just because you get old,” he added. “Keep doing things.”

God bless this American hero and all other members of “The Greatest Generation” who continue to demonstrate what real courage, dedication, and honor look like.   Same same to those who gave their lives that day, and to those who have passed on since. Our world would be a much different place if it weren’t for these brave men.  To say millions owe them a debt of gratitude that can never be fully repaid would be the understatement of a lifetime.  To them, I say: Thank you. Thank you. THANK YOU.

Last but not least, a beautiful, movingly poignant picture tweeted by the French Embassy on the 70th anniversary of D-Day:


Says it all. :) **==

(Video) Hitler and Chamberlain, Putin and Obama

**Posted by Phineas

Obama as Chamberlain

(Photo via Israel Matzav)

I’ve been saying for years, almost since the Jihadi War began, that the state of international relations gives me a “1930s vibe,” a feeling that we may be on a path toward another World War. That feeling has come and gone as the years passed, as I’m sure it did for those living in the 30s, but it’s never quite gone away. In fact, Russia’s predatory moves toward Ukraine have brought that feeling roaring back, the parallels being striking.

Bill Whittle has noticed the same trends and, in this video for Truth Revolt, compares a lion, a bear, and two lambs:

But it’s not Russia that worries me most, unless it’s in combination with other powers. Russia is a dying state, its demographic trends signalling serious future decline. Its military, outside of special elite units, just isn’t all that good, and, while they’ve made steps to rebuild, they’re still  a long way off. (They had trouble mobilizing the limited forces they used to assault Georgia in 2008.) Their economy is far too dependent on natural resources, especially oil, but Russian oil is notoriously expensive to extract. Fracking technology in the West promises to cut the legs out from under Putin and his successors as it drives the price of oil and gas down, making Russia’s less marketable.

China concerns me more: a rising power with a strong hyper-nationalist faction, an aggressive foreign policy, and a strong sense of (as Bill notes about Russia) historical grievance. Some incident in the South or East China Seas could easily be the spark for a major conflagration.

And then there’s Iran: a fascist theocracy that has promised to destroy Israel and is desperately seeking its own nuclear weapons to do just that.

We face a bear, a dragon, and a lion, while we are lead by lambs.

Yep. I have a bad feeling about this.

(Crossposted at Public Secrets)

Hillary: House GOP is “playing politics” on the backs of dead #Benghazi Americans

Hillary Clinton testifies on Benghazi

HIllary Clinton testifies on Benghazi. – January 2013

Just in case you thought possible 2016 presidential contender La Clinton was going to maintain a moderate tone on the issue that is turning into her defining moment as Sec. of State, her upcoming book makes it clear she most definitely will not:

“I will not be a part of a political slugfest on the backs of dead Americans,” read an excerpt from former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton’s book which deals with the response to the Benghazi attack. In that excerpt from the book Hard Choicesreleased exclusively to Politico, Clinton attacked Republicans for playing politics with the investigation into the attack .

“It’s just plain wrong, and it’s unworthy of our great country,” Clinton said of what she called the “political slugfest” that the investigation has become. “Those who insist on politicizing the tragedy will have to do so without me.”

While Clinton took responsibility for the attack and its aftermath, she scolded the press for propagating a “regrettable amount of misinformation, speculation, and flat-out deceit.”

She added that there is no reason for the continued investigation. “Many of these same people are a broken record about unanswered question,” Clinton wrote. “But there is a difference between unanswered questions and unlistened to answers.”

There’s also a huge difference between candid, truthful answers and dishonest political spin, ma’am.  But …. I know, what difference at this point does it make, right?  The families of the victims, and the American people, deserve the truth about what happened to the four murdered Americans and the administration’s disastrous response to it.  But apparently Mrs. Clinton believes that when it comes to Congressional investigations and oversight, you should simply take the statements of her and her former State Department team … and the administration … at face value, because they just tried to do “what’s in your best interest.”  I don’t think so.

I suspect Fox News’ Bret Baier and Greta Van Susteren will ask her about this in their upcoming interview with her in mid-June.  Hope so, anyway.