While the presidential race captures the lion’s share of airtime, former candidate and Texas Senator Ted Cruz has shifted his attention to the Internet. At the end of the month the Obama administration plans to release control of domain-name oversight of the Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers, or ICANN, a global non-profit organization.
Many tech companies support the plan, but critics argue the US government would give power to authoritarian regimes like China and Russia who already censor free speech on the Web.
“Imagine an Internet run like far too many European countries that punished so-called hate speech, a notoriously malleable concept that has often been used to suppress views disfavored by those in power. Or imagine an Internet run by many Middle Eastern countries that punish what they deem to be blasphemy. Or imagine an Internet run like China or Russia that punish and incarcerate those who engage in political dissent,” said Senator Ted Cruz (R-TX), Senate Judiciary Committee.
He blasted the former director of ICANN and accused Fadi Chehade of working with the Chinese. “Mr. Chehade left ICANN after the transition plan was approved to lead a high-level working group for — wait for it, China’s world Internet conference, a conference that was rightly criticized for refusing to let New York Times and Washington Post reporters cover it. As a result Reporters Without Borders demanded a boycott calling China an enemy of the Internet. And yet, we are being asked to trust an organization without having our government have the authority to protect free speech, to trust an organization whose former leader who shepherded this plan has gone to associate himself with and stand with those who are in the words of Reporters Without Borders, the enemy of the Internet.”
In addition, Reporters Without Borders has called many of the countries that will sit on the board, enemies of the Internet. The group has even called for a boycott of China.
So what does this all mean? When was the Internet created and who claims responsibility? Unlike modern folklore, the Internet was created by ARPANET or the Advanced Research Projects Agency Network. It was funded by the Department of Defense, sorry Al Gore, in the 1960s. So technically it’s the American taxpayer who can claim ownership of the World Wide Net. Over the years, the Internet has evolved from national security tool to transforming modern day communications that represent the economic lifeblood for free economies around the globe.
Fast forward to 2014, the Obama administration announced that the US would relinquish oversight of ICANN. It’s charged with dispatching web addresses and domain names (including .gov, .com and .edu) and makes sure they are properly organized to run smoothly. The governing body was spearheaded by the Obama administration that sought to end the Department of Commerce role in maintaining the web.
The firebrand Senator Cruz reasoned that the transfer of ICANN amounted to a zero sum game—one that would decrease US influence and cede power to other unsavory countries, like Russia and China.
The latest GOP slugfest has garnered surprising support from Cruz’s former rival GOP candidate Donald Trump. His senior policy advisor, Stephen Miller released a statement.
“The Republicans in Congress are admirably leading a fight to save the Internet this week, and need all the help the American people can give them to be successful. Congress needs to act, or internet freedom will be lost for good since there will be no way to make it great again once it is lost.”
It continued, “Internet freedom is now at risk with the President’s intent to cede control to international interests, including countries like China and Russia, which have a long track record of trying to impose online censorship.”
Cruz’s efforts even garnered some support from Trump that read, “Appreciate @realDonaldTrump’s support of our efforts to stop Obama’s Internet handover & keep the #Internet free.” Surprisingly, Cruz officially endorsed Mr. Trump this week after a bitter primary campaign.
As for Democrats, Hillary Clinton supports the Obama administration’s plan. It’s even included in her tech policy platform, and highlights the transition as a “critical step towards safeguarding the Internet’s openness for future generations.” (Will this enrich her foundation? Stay tuned.)
The liberal media, as well as large tech companies, have also supported the plan. But keep in mind, large tech firms, like Facebook and Google, have cozied up to authoritarian countries giving them access to censorship tools through back doors – all in the name of added revenue and not in the furtherance of individual freedoms.
Parting words from Cruz lamented the decision to free the Internet from government oversight, “Once the government’s out of the picture, First Amendment protections go away. Why risk it? The Internet works. It’s not broken.”
Remember in 2008 when the world rejoiced with the election of Barack Hussein Obama? A few months later a Nobel Peace prize was awarded in anticipation of all the great things he would do for the world.
This community organizer, the sophomoric member of the “choom gang,” who voted present in the US Senate, and criticized the inept President Bush he would succeed, inter alia. Obama was proof America had thrown off its legacy of slavery, except BHO’s mum was white and his father was African so he had no “Roots” in the despicable American slave tragedy.
He does give good teleprompter and he is funny, but where is all the “experience” he had that Trump lacks today? The fact of the matter is that the “Establishment” offered such a lame opponent in McCain and the country was on fire with the precedent of electing a black guy that talked like a white guy as president. He started his presidency with the now infamous “apology tour” where he laid all of the world’s problems on American colonialism and greed.
The world rejoiced at the idea of a weak, humble, contrite American president. Then Trump, the American entrepreneur, comes along and says he will “make America great again” and promises to start by rebuilding American infrastructure, building a border wall, and quashing bad trade deals.
The world and the American establishment are horrified. The great anti-American that hates everything American and self-proclaimed globalist, György Schwartz aka George Soros went into crises mode and began spending millions on anti-Trump dissident groups that would foment hate and discontent at the idea America would exploit its incredible capability to better itself and not surrender American sovereignty to the globalist elite.
Then American voters whether for or against Trump started questioning issues that were unthinkable under the Bushes, Clintons, and Obama? Why must we embrace tens of millions of illegal immigrants at a cost of tens of billions and a major realignment of our society? Surely Americans must truly be racists, xenophobes, and haters to question globalization and the plummet of America into the mediocre standards of the third world we were told.
The globalists rejoiced because trillions of dollars were consumed in the immigration battle that would not be used in financing American industry and technological advancement. The globalists rejoiced when Obama altered NASA’s charter to make it more inclusive toward the Islamic world and less on space. Again more American investment off the global table that helps our competitors steal American market-share. So to the globalist agenda, Trump is a major league threat and represents the reemergence and ascendancy of the American century.
The world that has been sucking the life-blood of America for decades to bring us to equality with the third world is rightfully alarmed. But as history has shown, a strong, democratic America does not just benefit America; it establishes the gold standard to democratic governance and individual freedoms. Certainly, those are qualities the globalists fear.
America is reawakening to its global duty to lead by establishing standards that Kennedy so eloquently captured when he said, “we do this not because it is easy but because it is hard.” America leads the world through individual freedom, industry and God-driven compassion for our brothers and sisters. The globalist should be rightfully concerned, American exceptionalism is their worst nightmare.
Semper fi, Colonel sends
Today the White House released the “Joint Statement on Leaders’ Summit on Refugees” including Canada, Germany, Jordan, and the US.
The irony of the joint statement is the 12 million refugees subject to “violence, exploitation and abuse” are the very victims of President Obama’s and the Clinton Global Initiative’s (GCI) effort at regime change for profit.
Lest we forget, Mrs. Clinton and GCI led the charge against Libya and the overthrow of Qaddafi on the basis of some humanitarian sounding reasoning, but which we have since learned from the infamous hacked emails was done to obtain lucrative oil contracts with the new regime, which Obama and CGI forgot to set-up.
Then, while Petraeus at CIA, Panetta at Defense, Clinton at State, and General Dempsey at the Joint Chiefs testified before Congress that President Obama was opposed to intervention in Syria, they collectively believed the removal of Assad was a matter of humanitarian necessity.
What they did not mention was that the whole Benghazi operation was a gun-buying operation that then shipped the buy-back weapons to Al-Qaeda units in Syria fighting Assad.
So while Obama and the GCI were engaged in regime change in Libya and Syria, it was really all about making money. Over half a million people are dead, 12 million are refugees and the entire region is on the brink of total war. Today the Turks are fighting the Kurds who are fighting ISIS who attacked, captured, killed, and forced Kurdish and Yazidis women and girls into sexual slavery.
The Kurds have recaptured most of their territory despite the fact the US had an opportunity to create a “Highway of Death” against ISIS as we did in Kuwait in 1991, but for the admonition from Saudi Arabia and Qatar to the US not to intervene. By not intervening, ISIS was able to arm itself with billions of dollars of US supplied equipment for its war against Syria.
The Kurds have now seized part of Syria occupied by Kurds, which allowed Turkey to intervene with the US against ISIS and Assad but also offered the Turks the opportunity to attack the Kurds who are supporting the US anti-Assad action.
Then the Ruskies intervened on behalf of Assad and against ISIS, but instead of the US joining the Russians against ISIS, the US accused Russia of aggression in Syria and Iran.
So the order of battle is as follows, the US and Russia are fighting ISIS, the US, Turkey, and the Kurds are fighting ISIS, Russia, Iran, and Shia Iraq are fighting ISIS, the Turks are also fighting the Kurds and the US is fighting Assad. Israel is bombing the Syrians to protect ISIS and Jordan is just trying to hang-on, but Jordan is doomed. The US neocons are opting for a return to the confrontational good old days of the US against Russia and in favor of Israel. The worldwide military-industrial complex does not care who is fighting whom; so long as there is war there are opportunities to profit.
So having set the field, the entire fiasco that is the Middle East today is a result of the Obama-GCI efforts to depose Qaddafi (“we came, we saw, he died”) and Assad.
But so typical in the politics of today, politicians say whatever is convenient and ignore the fact the US is now spending billions to wage war in the Middle East and billions more to aid the refugees caused by waging war against Qaddafi and Assad.
Furthermore, the insane Obama-GCI policies in the Mid East have now commenced the destabilization of the European Union, leading to Brexit in the UK and it looks like the fall of Merkel in Germany with Holland in France waiting in the wings.
The US has granted asylum to thousands of Mid-East Muslims, who surveys show predominantly prefer Sharia law to Constitutional law.
Meanwhile, Kennedy had his Camelot and Obama has created his own rose-colored DC-abad where the world is safer, more prosperous, and harmonious.
Semper fi, Colonel sends
This week the Inspector General for Afghanistan Reconstruction, John Sopko, released a scathing new report: Corruption in Conflict: Lessons from the US Experience in Afghanistan. It examines how the US understood the risks of corruption, how that corruption evolved, and how $115 billion in taxpayer money was misspent nation building in the tribal nation.
Watch CW6 San Diego TV segment here
The IG reported, “Our report recounts how the United States collaborated with abusive and corrupt warlords, militias, and other powerbrokers. These men gained positions of authority in the Afghan government, which further enabled them to dip their hands into the streams of cash pouring into a small and fragile economy. Limited US oversight, institutional and political pressures to spend money quickly for fast results, and Afghan awareness that the inflow would not run forever, combined to create perverse incentives. For our part, the bureaucratic temptation to use money as evidence of commitment, and the urge to spend down accounts for fear of losing funds in the next round of appropriations, added to the rush of the reconstruction funding stream.”
But 15-years of war comes with a hefty price tag. Since 9/11, taxpayers have funded the ”War on Terror” efforts to the tune of $4.79 trillion, according to the Brown University’s Watson Institute for International and Public Affairs .
So what does this mean for America’s longest war? Is there a future for nation building in the Middle East and what are the lessons learned from uncontrolled government bureaucracies.
US Marine Corps General Joseph Dunford, Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff commissioned this latest report to discover the complexity of the corruption within Afghanistan. “Corruption directly threatens the viability and legitimacy of the Afghan state … Corruption alienates key elements of the population, discredits the government and security forces, undermines international support, subverts state functions, and rule of law, robs the state of revenue, and creates barriers to economic growth. I suspect everyone here has been appalled and discouraged by accounts of massive bribes, everyday extortion, thefts of fuel and equipment, ghost soldiers and civil servants, padding of payrolls, contract fraud, shoddy construction, and other misdeeds.”
The General said it is critical for the government to identify corruption and then punish the perpetrators in order to end the misappropriation of taxpayer dollars.
According to the multi-year study, “The US government also failed to recognize that billions of dollars injected into a small, underdeveloped country, with limited oversight and strong pressures to spend, contributed to the growth of corruption.”
The report notes that in fiscal year 2012, the US military contract obligations for services in Afghanistan nearly mirrored that nation’s annual GDP. US money was spent on “transportation, construction, base support, and translation/interpretation.” Essentially, the US taxpayers gave Afghanistan $19 billion of its estimated $20.5 billion GDP.
Former US Ambassador to Afghanistan Ryan Crocker summed up the corruption crisis by saying, “The ultimate failure of our efforts … wasn’t an insurgency. It was the weight of endemic corruption.”
The Department of Defense finally noticed corruption was a big problem in 2005, but ultimately the US civilian leadership did not take it seriously. The problem of corruption was ignored despite the billions of dollars in poppy cultivation and repeated military reports of drug dealing and corruption throughout Afghanistan.
Once President Obama took office in 2009, some military personnel voiced their concern. “US civilian and military leaders became increasingly concerned that corruption was fueling the insurgency by financing insurgent groups and stoking grievances that increased popular support for these groups,” the report said. However, by the time Obama assumed the role as commander in chief, the military decided to concentrate on winning “hearts and minds” in its efforts against a resurging jihadi army.
The SIGAR report also found “systemic corruption within the Afghan government that absconded with billions in US cash. Omnipresent misconduct within Afghan security ministries and the Afghan National Security Forces created the environment to spend taxpayer money freely. Examples of the gross negligence led the investigators to former President Hamid Karzai’s half-brother, Ahmed Wali Karzai.”
In essence, the US military allocated funds to fight the insurgency but ended up building a drug lord’s empire in Kandahar Province. According to the report, President Karzai’s brother was supposed to control private security forces, contracting firms, and real estate. However, the report noted, “known-drug traffickers with ties to corrupt Afghan politicians ended up with a substantial amount of the US dollars.”
- Corruption undermined the U.S. mission in Afghanistan by fueling grievances and channeling support to the insurgency.
- The U.S. contributed to the growth of corruption.
- The U.S. was slow to recognize the magnitude of the problem.
- U.S. security and political goals consistently trumped strong anticorruption actions.
- Anticorruption efforts lacked sustained political commitment and saw limited success.
SIGAR recommended the next Congress should make anticorruption a national-security priority for all contingency operations. Second, they suggested that Congress approve sanctions against corrupt foreign officials that will provide a deterrent effect. Third, SIGAR recommends requiring joint vendor vetting by DOD, Department of State, and USAID, in an effort to institutionalize lessons learned in Afghanistan.
“Our recommendations for the Executive Branch include having the National Security Council establish an interagency task force to formulate policy and lead anticorruption strategy in contingency operations; using the intelligence community to regularly assess links between corrupt officials, criminals, traffickers, and terrorist organizations; and establishing dedicated positions and offices for anticorruption work in contingencies. We also recommend expanding Treasury’s list of transnational criminal organizations to include individuals and entities who have transferred the proceeds of corruption abroad, as an important tool to bring pressure to bear on host governments,” Sopko said.
While the US has made some improvements to correct the rampant corruption, Sopko says enormous strides are required or the systemic corruption will ultimately undermine US strategic goals overseas.
He stated that America must develop a “shared understanding of the nature and scope of corruption in a host country through a political economy and network analyses. Take into account the amount of assistance a host country can absorb, and agencies should improve their ability to effectively monitor this assistance.”
He also urged the US government to refrain from alliances with dark-side powerbrokers and “aim to balance any short-term gains from such relationships against the risk that empowering these actors will lead to systemic corruption. US strategies and plans should incorporate anticorruption objectives into security and stability goals, rather than viewing anticorruption as imposing tradeoffs on those goals.”
It’s not a secret corruption is a centuries old practice.
“In 70 BC, a young Roman lawyer named Marcus Cicero made a name for himself by prosecuting a corrupt governor, Caius Verres. Speaking at the trial before the Roman Senate, Cicero attacked Verres as ‘the embezzler of the public funds,’ ‘robber,’ and ‘the disgrace and ruin of the province of Sicily,’” Sopko said.
So far, in Afghanistan, anticorruption efforts have lacked a sustained political commitment by either country and will only offer limited success. With the defense industry feeding at the government trough, a strong fix will require a firm executive hand to set the standards for future conflicts.
What is known today is that corruption remains an enormous threat to Afghanistan’s efforts to become a peaceful, modern nation and its state condoned corruption of US tax dollars remains a major obstacle to its effort to succeed in a post-terrorist region.
Full SIGAR report here
Hate to agree but Lyin’ Ted could be anti-Pryin’ Ted and right on this issue.
The Globalist agenda seeks to bring all world governments under some sort of unified command. We already know from military history that unified commands are very difficult beasts to control because a united objective is not a consensus on how to get there. Besides there are more authoritarian governments in the world than democratic, so the scales are already tipped against the rule of law.
Even in the US over the last couple of decades, the respect for the rule of law has been waning, but at least we have the rule of law embedded in our governing documents (if we should choose to follow it). We know from the selective prosecution of people who have allegedly breached their duties to safeguard classified material (i.e., Major Jason Brezler, Edward Snowden, and Hillary Clinton) only Brezler has been prosecuted, Snowden has been convicted in absentia with the revocation of his US passport, and only Hillary has been vindicated by the FBI.
Despite the erosion of the rule of law over last 20-30 years, no one can argue with the impact the internet has in producing instantly accurate videos and reports describing political and world events in real-time. These real-time reports oftentimes do not jibe with government sponsored spin such as the attacks on the US Embassy in Cairo and the US Special Mission in Benghazi were in response to an anti-Islamic video.
The Globalist are threatened by this real-time reporting and some politicians, including California’s senior US Senator Diane Feinstein, believe the government should have an
Internet “kill switch” to control the information available to the public. Similar “kill switches” have been used in Egypt, Turkey and other countries with some success.
Globalist companies have modified hardware and software to comply with foreign government controls over censorship of content. Ironically, some hi-tech companies known for their own censorship are clamoring for an Internet operated by the UN to ensure the public only receives information from approved government sources.
Such a transfer of control of the Internet could not come at a worse time for the US and the world. The US government has launched hyper-invasive domestic spying and social media monitoring programs without warrants or probable cause. We know from the Stratfor email leaked by Wikileaks that the CIA was allegedly pursuing a “witch-hunt” against journalists, and the Obama Administration’s unrivaled prosecution of whistleblowers, and the self-proclaimed most transparent administration in history is repressing press fact-finding through the obfuscation of the FOIA process. The assault on the press and whistleblowers is unprecedented from Cheryl Atkinson, James Rosen, William Binney, Thomas Drake, Barrett Brown, John Kiriakou, Edward Snowden, Julian Assange, and Chelsea Bradley, to name a few.
The governments of the world so fear the public learning the truth that Political-speak used by governments recites all of the rights that need to be protected and even go so far as to deceptively name bills, such as the USAPATRIOT ACT, that actually authorized invasive government electronic spying on all or any Americans.
The reason our Declaration of Independence reserved the right and duty to overthrow tyrannical governments and our Constitution guarantees our Second Amendment to keep and bear arms is because our founders knew freedom from government oppression can only be protected by a free, informed public with the means to resist – that is what frightens governments and why the US government seeks to disarm Americans while it arms jihadists who would do us harm.
The US has many problems as it continues its slide to authoritarianism but we do have the legal authority of our Constitution to protect the people from the oppression of the government – the rest of the world has no such historical or legal precedent. The Globalists are worried because people are rising-up throughout the Democratic western nations to resist globalization and governments and businesses are worried. Their worry should be the strength of our conviction. Stopping the transfer of the Internet to the Globalist will help to end globalism and government control of everything, including how we think and what we learn. #listentothevoters
Semper fi Colonel sends
The FBI release of a 58-page report of the 4th of July weekend interview of Hillary Clinton left unresolved questions regarding the Democratic Presidential nominee and former Secretary of State’s timing of the destruction of her emails. Those glaring questions led the House Oversight committee to subpoena four individuals involved in setting up and then destroying the emails and hardware in an effort to piece together the chronology.
Brian Pagliano, the former Department of State IT guy who set up Clinton’s private email server decided to skip the mandatory appearance. His lawyer advised the committee Chair that Pagliano would be invoking his 5th Amendment rights, despite an immunity deal with the FBI, but only if the hearing was held in a closed session.
Rep. Jim Jordan (R-OH), an outspoken critic on the House Oversight Committee asserted, “No regular American can get away with the kind of behavior Secretary Clinton gets away with.”
And Committee Chair Jason Chaffetz (R-UT) vociferously said Pagliano would face serious penalties for “thumbing his nose at Congress.”
Pete Nunez, who served as the U.S. attorney for San Diego from 1982 to 1988, said there could be consequences. “He could be held in contempt for failing to appear, an arrest warrant could be issued; (or) on the other hand, he could argue that he wasn’t served properly, or that he got sick or otherwise had an excuse for not appearing.”
This isn’t the first time Pagliano exercised his Fifth Amendment right not to testify against himself; he invoked the Constitutional right during a hearing on Benghazi in 2015. Following that hearing, he was given an immunity deal by the FBI as part of the investigation into Mrs. Clinton’s private email server. “It’s a serious matter. Mr. Pagliano has chosen to evade a subpoena duly issued by the committee. I will consult with counsel and my colleagues to consider a full range of options available to address Mr. Pagliano’s failure to appear,” Chairman Chaffetz said. “He should be here. When you are served a subpoena by the United States Congress, that is not optional.”
Nunez concurs, “He (Pagliano) doesn’t get to decide – the committee sets the rules.”
However, the Democrats had a different view of the third emergency committee hearing. “I believe this Committee is abusing taxpayer dollars and the authority of Congress in an astonishing onslaught of political attacks to damage Secretary Clinton’s campaign for president,” Elijah Cummings (D-MD) said. “This entire hearing is a contrived campaign photo op.”
Democrats argued that the GOP-led committee is unfairly targeting Pagliano for possible criminal liability because there is an outstanding criminal referral from Chairman Chaffetz that asks the US Attorney’s office to investigate email deletions from Clinton’s private server.
“What we have done is put him under threat of criminal prosecution,” Rep. Steve Lynch (D-Mass.) assumed. “It puts him in jeopardy coming before this committee while that criminal referral is in existence. He’s an American citizen; I know the Constitution gets in the way of this committee sometimes.”
However, the leader of the Special Committee on Benghazi Trey Gowdy (R-NC) lamented; “I want to read the agreement between the Department of Justice and this witness and whether that agreement requires this witness to cooperate with other entities of government — that is commonplace! For them to say you can tell us the truth and not tell Congress makes no sense!”
Nevertheless at least one of the witnesses did answer questions from the committee members. He was a former senior adviser to former President Bill Clinton. The aide Justin Cooper played a key role in setting up Clinton’s private email system and server. His public testimony revealed that he had no security clearances when he set up the Clinton server, where the FBI found more than 2,000 classified documents.
Once Cooper left Bill Clinton’s employment he told the Committee that he had no security clearances and said he wasn’t even a communications security expert. “It was not in any way to destroy or hide any information at all,” Cooper swore. “In fact, the opposite would be the case in that I was going out of my way to preserve all the information that was on those devices.”
The big question remains, if that’s true, where are the 33,000 emails?
The answer may come from two Platte River Networks employees of the Colorado-based company that maintained the server. Bill Thornton and Paul Combetta were also subpoenaed and as expected, both asserted their Fifth Amendment rights and did not shed any daylight on the private server security.
It was the New York Times that publicly revealed Mrs. Clinton’s private server used during her four years as Secretary of State. According to a report, “a Platte River Networks technician deleted an archive of emails from the server in March 2015. The unconfirmed chronology suggests the deletion followed a House Benghazi Committee’s subpoena for records relating to the 2012 attack on the Libyan outpost. According to the notes of FBI investigators, longtime Clinton aide Cheryl Mills instructed technology vendor Platte River Networks to delete a set of archived emails in December 2014. Mills told investigators Clinton had decided she no longer needed access to emails older than 60 days.”
However, the employee forgot about the request and failed to destroy the emails immediately. The FBI report said, between March 25 and March 31 of 2015, the operator “believed he had an ‘oh s–t’ moment and … deleted the Clinton archive mailbox from [Platte River Networks] server and used BleachBit to delete the exported .PST files he had created on the server system containing Clinton’s emails.”
Last week it was learned that the company eventually decided to use BleachBit, expensive software designed to delete files that God couldn’t resurrect.
According to the report, the Platte River employee “was aware of the existence of the [Benghazi Committee] preservation request and the fact that it meant he should not disturb Clinton’s email data on the [Platte River Networks] server.”
Chaffetz wrote a letter to Platte River Networks asking about “The sequence of events leading up to the destruction of Secretary Clinton’s emails… raises questions about whether Secretary Clinton, acting through her attorneys, instructed [Platte River Networks] to destroy records relevant to the then-ongoing congressional investigations.”
But recovered emails revealed a different story. “Wondering how we can sneak an email now after the fact asking them when they told us to cut the backups and have them confirm it for our records. Starting to think this whole thing is really covering up some shaddy [sic] shit,” one exchange read. “I just think if we have it in writing that they told us to cut the backups, and we can go public saying we have had backups since day one, then we were told to trim to 30 days, it would make us look a WHOLE LOT better.”
Responding to that email chain Jordon said, “They wanted something in writing because they knew they were going to (be) thrown under the bus.”
Most ironic is Mrs. Clinton’s prompt ability to locate and publish an exculpatory 2009 email from former Secretary of State Colin Powell.
The fact-finding continues.
Fifteen years ago today, 19 al-Qaeda terrorists hijacked four American planes, used them as guided missiles, brought down the World Trade Towers, severely damaged the Pentagon, and four terrorists were overpowered by Americans over a field in Pennsylvania. The suicide terrorist attacks killed 2,996, caused more than $100 billion in damages and stole America’s innocence.
WATCH KIMBERLY’S CW6 SAN DIEGO TV SEGMENT HERE
According to a new Pew Research Center poll, the 9/11 attacks continue to be a powerful memory for Americans: 91 percent of adults remember exactly where they were or what they were doing when they heard about the terrorist attacks.
So how has the 15–year “war on terror” changed America? Looking back and forward, can Americans really believe they are safer?
First a bit of history, the “war on terror” rightly started in the tribal nation of Afghanistan. Brand-new President George W. Bush summoned his top advisors to the Oval Office and chose Cofer Black, former CIA whiz, to implement a devastating retaliation for the nearly three thousand deaths. Black offered no mercy and told the rookie president that this effort required a few hundred specially trained military forces, 110 CIA officers, direct firepower, a bunch of money and his plan would end with what Black called – using an old Angola War expression – “when this is all over, the bad guys are going to have flies walking across their eyeballs.”
After 10 weeks, Black and his stealth-fighting machine proclaimed victory. All the Taliban cities, as well as their government, had been toppled.
In a 2013 Men’s Journal interview Black was asked if he briefed the Russians about the impending attack and how the Ruskies responded to his plan. They said, “You’re really going to get the hell kicked out of you.” Black replied, “We’re going to kill them – we’re going to put their heads on sticks… and you know what, the Russians loved it! After the meeting was over, two senior Russian officials, whom I will not name, said to me, ‘Mr. Black, finally America is acting like a superpower!’”
The follow through earned Black and the US the respect that had been sorely lacking.
The success should have ended there. But as we know, it didn’t. Bush ensnared the country into an ill-defined and ill-conceived “war on terror” that continues today.
Whether you agree with the “war on terror” or not, the consequences are very real and very alarming. With the advent of comprehensive counterinsurgency, COIN or nation-building, thanks General Petraeus, the taxpayers have spent trillions of dollars in a region made up of tribal nations.
Case in point, in a recent interview, Commander of Afghanistan US and NATO Forces, General John Nicholson told PBS the war’s progress is tedious. “We’re trying to build an airplane while in flight, OK? So they’re fighting a war while we’re trying to build an army. This is very hard,” he explained.
It must be said that the “war on terror” falls under the asymmetrical category. The sneaky “stateless” armies must be defeated with clear goals and end-state solutions. It’s here where the most powerful armed forces on the planet have stumbled.
In his book the Field of Fight, retired Army three-star General Mike Flynn describes the best way to defeat marauding radical Islamic terrorists. Flynn says to win the battle against radical Islam we must destroy the jihadi armies, kill or capture their leaders, discredit their ideology, create a 21st-century alliance and must hold countries, like Saudi Arabia, accountable for supporting terrorism.
“The best plan gives you the most options at the last possible minute. Right now we don’t have the best plan. A real strategic discussion about what it is that we are trying to achieve. Is it the defeat of radical Islam? It has to be beyond that and that’s where an alliance of nations has to get it together,” Flynn said.
It cost Osama bin-Laden roughly $500,000 to bring down the Twin Towers and Pentagon. In return, the US has suffered tens of thousands of casualties and flushed away trillions of dollars into the Middle East black hole. Plus, hundreds of thousands of Middle Easterners have died and more than 12 million of refugees are now stateless. Newt Gingrich said this week the US has failed so badly in the Middle East that we are giving the number one state sponsor of terrorism, Iran, $1.7 billion in cash, just like a drug cartel.
“So 15 years after 9/11, we’re not winning. We’re not winning in Afghanistan. We’re not winning in Iraq. We’re not winning in Syria. We’re not winning in Libya. We’re not winning in Yemen,” Gingrich emphasized (mimicking Donald Trump). He’s right.
One reason for the protracted war may be the US Foreign Military Sales (FMS) program. American arms and technology companies export, firearms, fighter jets, tanks, as well as Patriot Missile batteries.
The big winner in the Department of State’s 2017 budget includes $5.7 billion for Foreign Military Financing. The main recipients of the proposed budget will be Israel ($3.1 billion), Egypt ($1.3 billion), Jordan ($350 million), Pakistan ($265 million), and Iraq ($150 million).
While the Middle East tops the list, funding for Africa in 2017 will double from last year. Due to ISIS’ expansion into Africa, countries like Mali, Somalia, and Nigeria will see an influx of American weaponry. But why do American leaders want to militarize the African continent? Of course, the prominent argument is; “if the US doesn’t do something then other countries will do it.” However, no other country on the planet finances military sales like the US.
The US and its band of misfit coalition partners have implemented a massive military build-up on the Arabian Peninsula and Israel. Let’s take a look at the military arsenal provided to a few coalition partners, most of which are also classified as human rights violators according to the State Department (link to other FMS article).
For the last three years, the US has provided tens of billions of dollars in military weaponry through Foreign Military Sales (FMS) to the United Arab Emirates (UAE); population 5.6 million, Qatar; population 2.1 million, Kuwait; population 2.7 million and the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia (KSA); population 27.3 million.
The US has also provided both offensive and defensive weapon systems – some are designed to protect against airborne missile retaliation and air attacks. For example, the US supplied Qatar ($9.9B), Kuwait ($4.2 billion), and UAE ($1.1B) with Patriot anti-missile systems and UAE also acquired a $6.5B theater anti-air defense (THAAD) system. This type of weaponry typically protects against missile attacks from such weapons as SCUDs and the MLRS (Multiple Launch Rocket Systems) like the 880 launchers the Islamic Republic of Iran operates. The MLRS has a range of approximately 300 kilometers, making it easily capable of reaching any of the Gulf States of Kuwait, Qatar, UAE, and even KSA.
America also sold KSA $6.7 billion worth of KC-130 aerial refueling tankers, the UAE $4 billion and KSA $6.8 billion of munitions including “bunker buster bombs,” (typically used to attack harden targets like nuclear facilities); Qatar a $1.2 billion early warning radar suite; KSA $1.3 billion for 30 patrol boats for use in the Gulf of Hormuz; KSA $4 billion to upgrade its national guard; Qatar spent $3 billion on Apache Longbow attack helicopters used for special operations insertions. The list also includes the Globemaster long-range air transport planes, Javelin missiles, F-18’s and F-16’s, and Sidewinder anti-air missiles.
Also for last few years, the US has been quietly aiding the rebel insurgency in Syria trying to overthrow the Iranian-backed government of Bashir al-Assad. There have been multiple news reports, (including this report) that the US provided weapons collected from deposed Libyan Dictator Qaddafi and moved them through its CIA clearinghouse in Turkey to supply al-Qaeda-linked extremist groups opposing the Assad regime. It’s worth pointing out that both Qatar and KSA have been major supporters of the anti-Assad insurgency that evolved from a national rebellion and morphed into a major jihadi operation.
Details of this massive military build-up can be found on the Department of State (DoS) website. The DoS oversees Government-to-Government defense transfers through the Foreign Military Sales (FMS) program and is implemented through DoD’s Defense Security Cooperation Agency.
Interestingly, “(I)n addition to FMS, the Department of State also issues export licenses to US companies providing defense articles and services through our Direct Commercial Sales (DCS) efforts, usually after an intensive interagency review to ensure that exports further US foreign policy and national security interests,” a State Department official said. However, “Export license information is not disclosed by the Department due to restrictions under the Arms Export Control Act and International Traffic in Arms Regulations, but general information is released from DCS.”
According to the State Department, in the case of either FMS or DCS, the United States takes into account political, military, economic, arms control, and human rights conditions in making decisions on the provision of military equipment and the licensing of direct commercial sales to any country, in accordance with the Conventional Arms Transfer Policy, the Arms Export Control Act, and relevant international agreements
“Review and monitoring are an integral component of the process for US- origin defense articles delivered to any recipient nation. This is to make sure that those articles are being used in the manner intended and are consistent with our legal obligations, foreign policy goals, and values,” a Senior State Department official said.
And both State and Defense argue that Middle Eastern countries have agreed to work toward US security interests and abide by President Obama’s foreign policy doctrine.
However, looking at the current Middle East conflicts finds every country focused on sectarian protectionism, especially since the Obama administration has seemingly checked out. It is essential that this high-tech arsenal provided to foreign nations by US defense contractors be carefully monitored. The consequences of equipment falling into the wrong hands can be deadly, as it was for flight MH17 in Ukraine.
As the impact of ISIS’ offensive continues to sink in, US intelligence officials contend ISIS did not just randomly explode on the scene in 2014, they claim to have been reporting to high-level government officials the rise as well as the expansion of ISIS since 2012. This murderous organization is largely fueled by Qatar and Saudi Arabia. Deputy Assistant Secretary of State Brett McGurk testified before a Committee claiming, “The ISIS’ operations are calculated, coordinated and part of a strategic campaign led by its Syria-based leader, Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi.”
“This was a very clear case in which the US knew what was going on but followed a policy of deliberate neglect,” said Vali Nasr, the Dean of Johns Hopkins University’s School of Advanced International Studies and a former State Department adviser for the Middle East. During its assault in the region, ISIS received protection from KSA and Qatar. Both nations warned the US not to interfere with ISIS’s march to conquer northwestern Iraq and its turn west toward Syria and Jordan. America obeyed and ISIS gobbled up the region and spoils of war that included American tanks, helicopters, and artillery.
Many military experts said the opportunity to strike ISIS came and went when the 7,500-man Islamic Army crossed the wide-open Damascus-Baghdad Highway.
Military generals said the terror group was vulnerable to air attack with minimal collateral damage concerns. In the end, ISIS got its free passage from Mosul to eastern Syria with US inaction, which was tantamount to acquiescence.
“We oppose all foreign intervention and interference. There must be no meddling in Iraq’s internal affairs, not by us or by the US, the UK or by any other government. This is Iraq’s problem and they must sort it out themselves,” Saudi Prince Mohammed told the UK Telegraph. Just in case that bad intel was on the horizon, the Saudis immediately moved 30,000 combat troops to protect its border with Iraq.
Many Middle East policy experts say the Sunni’s view of ISIS as an Iraqi Sunni revolution against their Shiite oppressors is myopic and portends a broader Islamic war between Sunnis and Shiites.
From the US perspective, the ISIS campaign presents a myriad of conflicts. Qatar and KSA are major recipients of billions of dollars worth of US weapons through FMS, yet their direct support of ISIS, a terrorist group, means Qatar and KSA meet the definition of state sponsors of terrorism and should be banned from participation in the military program. Nevertheless, the end user certificates and export licenses are routinely approved by the State and Defense Departments, including an $11 billion sale to Qatar. (The Pentagon has refused multiple efforts to release the end-user agreements to this reporter as requested under FOIA.)
Furthermore, Qatar, KSA, and Kuwait are listed as Tier 2WL (Watch List) and Tier 3 under U.S. anti-trafficking in humans reports, which require a waiver by President Obama stating the sale is in national security interests. To the outside world, the US ostensibly appears to be violating its own anti-terrorism and anti-trafficking laws to provide sophisticated weapons systems to these human rights violators.
The infusion of military-grade weapons in the region only portends much more war. The war between the Sunnis and Shiites has grown more contentious due to the dysfunction of the Sykes-Picot Agreement of May 1916. Essentially the Agreement drew a twentieth-century map that granted control of Syria, Lebanon and Turkish Cilicia to the French and Palestine, Jordan and areas around the Persian Gulf, Baghdad to the British. That was followed by the 1919 Paris Peace Conference that outlined a “Kurdistan” as an entity by Şerif Pasha, who represented the Society for the Ascension of Kurdistan (Kürdistan Teali Cemiyeti). That promise was never kept and it’s doubtful the Kurds, who are Caucasian or Indo-European and not Arab, will wait another 100 years to establish their own country, one that will control its destiny through its own oil and revenues from oil pipelines from the Caspian Sea.
The complexity of the middle east today reflects Winston Churchill’s description of Russia in October 1939: “I cannot forecast to you the action of Russia. It is a riddle, wrapped in a mystery, inside an enigma; but perhaps there is a key. That key is Russian national interest.” Perhaps Russia is the key to the Middle East today.
Neither agreement ever took into account the tribal nature of the region that will continue to dog the Middle East until new maps emerge, or complete Armageddon is achieved. Until that day, America will continue to find itself under the threat of attack from a region that really doesn’t offer the US much. So are we safer after 15 years of war? Stay tuned!
© Copyright 2016 Kimberly Dvorak All Rights Reserved
Everything! Leading a large enterprise demands reliance on subordinates and colleagues. No one is expected to know everything and when it is the president of the US, it is dangerous to presume such. At the Commander-in-Chief interviews on NBC, both Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump tried to convince viewers that they had a grasp of all things and answers for everything.
The fact of the matter is that sound leadership relies on the subject matter experts in each area of the massive government bureaucracy. It is the responsibility of the leader to choose competent people and delegate responsibility for developing ideas and solutions to problems and bring them to the leader for approval.
In presidential politics, some plans should be public and specific and some should be private and vague. Diplomacy and war involve our national security at THE highest levels. Those matters should be classified. It is the responsibility of the American voters to choose leaders in whom we can be confident the national security issues will be handled in our best interests. Telling all in a public forum eliminates options the leaders may have available if the opposition already knows what actions are on and off the table. Many business and military leaders study the Chinese general Sun Tzu’s “Art of War” because it teaches the differences between strategic and tactical and deception and reality. Mr. Trump said he wanted to be unpredictable – that follows Sun Tzu’s teachings.
National security issues are different from reforming the IRS, the VA, and school vouchers. Those issues can be explained and debated in public without compromising strategic and tactical advantages. The reasons we have spies, security operations, and secrets is because it is not a fair fight if the other side already knows your strategy.
It would have been preferable had Mr. Trump and Mrs. Clinton say they would hire the best people they could find and delegate the responsibility for national security issues to them to vet ideas and strategies based upon the leader’s specific guidance.
War is not something to be decided lightly based on personalities and posturing. War should only be declared in matters pertaining to the national interests and national security of our country. War is not surgical or humane. War is about killing the enemy, its infrastructure of support, and will to resist. You cannot win “hearts and minds” while you are killing everyone and thing in your path, including their pet goats.
As Mr. Trump has said on numerous occasions, “we do not win anymore.” We do not win because politicians prevent the military from executing its mission and defeating the enemy by creating rules of engagement that benefit the enemy and determining the targeting based on politics. While excessive destruction must be avoided when necessary, destruction of infrastructure and annihilation of the enemy is how you win wars. We reduced Germany and Japan to rubble and today they are two of our strongest allies.
The one thing the Islamists understand is force. When the US ousted the Taliban from Afghanistan for harboring Al Qaeda we demonstrated the lethality and reach of the USA. But when we turned around and apologized for our assault by pouring trillions into nation building they laughed at us and the fear of further retaliation was lost.
My colleague, KD, and I have discussed many times the value of providing a demonstration of power in Afghanistan and elsewhere by detonating a fuel-air mixture bomb over poppy fields in Kandahar or ISIS in Raqqa. The total and complete destruction of everything in the area would send a powerful message as to our intent and capability. American politicians have got to get over the idea that people die in war. It is the job of our military to make sure it is the other guys. We can never be so concerned about casualties that we put our troops at risk. That is why the decision to go to war must be deliberate and reasoned.
Matters pertaining to the commitment of troops into combat are political, but execution of combat is military and must be left to the military. The commanders must determine the rules of engagement, not politicians. When our lives are put at risk in war, we want the other side to do the dying.
When dozens of Americans were under attack in Benghazi American politicians were concerned about over-flight rights to get American combat aircraft on the scene. Can you imagine what limp-dick in DC was making that call! Terrorism will stop, not when we all submit to Islam, not when jihadis get jobs, not when Iran has nuclear parity with Israel, terrorism will stop when the jihadis are tired of getting their asses kicked by Americans.
Thomas Jefferson established the standard in Tripoli in 1803. The Quran has not changed since 1803, but American resolve has. If we are to coexist with Islam it will be on our terms- not theirs. It is time to stop placating these peckerheads that rape children (yes, girls and boys), stone, lash, burn-alive, bury-alive, and behead human beings that disagree with their twisted version of humanity.
If they want a fight, then give them a demonstration of what to expect … most people I know do not want to live under Islam, if they want us then we make the price so high there is not one of them left to savor the smell of napalm in the morning air.
If you get the feeling I am tired of this tiptoeing around the gorilla in the room you are right. We either live on this planet in peace and harmony or we kill every one of them and “their pet goats.”
So leadership, aspiring presidents, is the key to victory and victory requires the masterful use of all available assets with the decisive will to win by defeating the enemy not winning their hearts and minds.
Semper fi, Colonel sends
Oh boy, the Obama Administration is suddenly concerned about the integrity of the United States electoral process posed by a risk from the Russians, inter alia.
Not surprisingly, though, this is the same administration that has opposed every single state that has sought to implement some sort of voter identification system in an effort to ensure that only citizens who are eligible to vote in the state actually vote.
But the threat is real. Hackers have seemingly attacked every electronic venue from banking, emails, political parties, and even medical equipment. Most recently the voter databases for Illinois and Arizona were reportedly hacked. There have been rumors in the past of clandestine organizations being able to download electronic voter databases and then upload the adulterated databases. There can be little doubt that the worldwide expertise in computer hacking poses a threat to the US electoral process.
But even more disconcerting is the idea that a federal agency, the Department of Homeland Security, has offered to undertake responsibility for ensuring the integrity of the electoral process. DHS is the same organization that was unable to provide disaster relief during Hurricane Katrina and has had its own systems hacked by unknown persons. Voters should not take comfort in the so-called “maintaining integrity.”
But putting the federal government in overall control of state actions protected by the 10th Amendment seems the bigger threat. It seems the more centralized and standardized the electronic voting processes are the more inviting a target they become for hackers.
Until the government figures out how to keep databases free from election hacking, the simplest solution seems to be paper ballots. Paper ballots must include bar coding and be numbered sequentially. The reformed ballot process could also require a thumbprint kinda like what we did in Afghanistan with purple thumbprints.
If we used self-carboning paper ballots everyone would have a paper record of their vote that could be matched against their recorded barcode for authenticity.
Then, get ready for this, we could hand-tabulate the ballots and retain them as a paper trail for any election recounts or challenges. Naturally, our fast food mentality would rebel against the idea of waiting hours for election results, but accuracy should trump (sorry) speed.
However, the confidence voters have in the reliability of the voting system far surpasses the delays it may cause in the notification of the election of President and Vice President. For example, we know historically ballots were transmitted from the farthest reaches of the continent to Washington DC to be tabulated, which sometimes took weeks if not months to reach Washington.
Clearly, if we were to adopt the idea of paper ballots, then something must be done quickly as just the process of printing paper ballots will be expensive and onerous on the states and counties. Since it is unlikely anything will be done to eliminate electronic voting in the near future, it is incumbent upon every American to ensure that their votes are recorded properly because every vote does count.
A further concern for some conspiracy-thinking American voters is the idea that the election could be postponed and perhaps postponed indefinitely due to DHS concerns about the integrity of electoral process due to hacking. Such a notion would surely lead to an unthinkable Constitutional crisis.
The trial balloon floated by Department of Homeland Security must be scrutinized as the Washington power grab it is, and instead, all elected officials must come together to develop state and federal safeguards to protect us from hacking to ensure we choose our leaders at the ballot box and not in the streets. #ListenToTheVoters
Semper fi, Colonel sends
Last week the terrorist group ISIS announced the death of its spokesperson Abu Muhammad al-Adnani in Syria. According to US officials, al-Adnani played an instrumental role in the Paris, Brussels, and Orlando terror attacks as well as the issuing authority for fatwas worldwide.
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The Pentagon said: “His elimination would be a significant blow to ISIL, a significant blow to ISIL’s leadership and more importantly a dent in ISIL’s ability to conduct external attacks inside Iraq and Syria.”
ISIS has already vowed retaliation for al-Adnani’s death and US officials say they are now worried other ISIS leaders have told terrorist plotters to accelerate their plans to attack the US and its coalition partners.
But what does this mean for America’s war on terror?
While the death of al-Adnani may not signal any noticeable short-term changes, over time, ISIS will have trouble with recruits and training. As a key ISIS advisor, al-Adnani was being groomed to takeover for ISIS leader Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi, if/when something happened to him.
The death sparked a rare statement from ISIS’ Amaq news agency that confirmed al-Adnani died while reviewing military operations in Aleppo, Syria.
“After a journey filled with sacrifice and fight against non-believers, the Syrian Gallant knight, Abu Mohammed al-Adnani, joined the convoy of martyr leaders,” ISIS statement read. “To the filthy and coward (ly) nonbelievers and to the holders of the Christ emblem, we bring the good news, which will keep them awake, that a new generation in the Islamic State … that loves death more than life … this generation will only grow steadfast on the path to Jihad, stay determined to seek revenge and be violent toward them.”
Under Baghdadi, al-Adnani managed ISIS’ external operations and coordinated ISIS fighters’ movement, promoted lone-wolf attacks, and actively recruited new jihadis for the terrorist group.
In one audio recording, al-Adnani provided proof he advocated for violence against the West. “If you can kill a disbelieving American or European — especially the spiteful and filthy French — or an Australian, or a Canadian, or any other disbeliever from the disbelievers waging war, including the citizens of the countries that entered into a coalition against the Islamic State, then rely upon Allah, and kill him in any manner or way however it may be. Smash his head with a rock, or slaughter him with a knife, or run him over with your car, or throw him down from a high place, or choke him, or poison him.”
Born in Syria in 1977, al-Adnani was the highest-ranked Syrian inside ISIS’ hierarchy. As such, the State Department added al-Adnani to the US terror watch list in August 2014 and put a $5 million reward for his capture or death.
“He was the strategic leader of the organization, especially when it comes to attacks on the West,” said journalist Graeme Wood, Edward R. Murrow Press Fellow at the Council on Foreign Relations. “To have that voice destroyed is a serious blow to the organization, probably the most significant kill that the enemies of the Islamic State have perpetrated since its declaration of the caliphate.”
Meanwhile, the never-ending war on terror continues to add to the death and injured coffers. According to Antiwar.com, “4,245 people were killed and 658 were wounded during August. In comparison, July’s figures were 2,695 killed and 1,352 wounded. These figures are only estimates. Due to the nature of the conflict, precise numbers are unavailable, and the true numbers may never be known.”
The US military said, “they will continue to prioritize and relentlessly target ISIS leaders and external plotters in order to defend our homeland, our allies and our partners, while we continue to gather momentum in destroying ISIL’s (military’s term for ISIS) parent tumor in Iraq and Syria and combat its metastases around the world.”
Commander of US Central Command, General Joseph Votel told reporters that al-Baghdadi had told fighters “to fight to the death. They didn’t.” A fact that Votel said, highlighted ISIS leadership may not be in control of its fighters.
In the last six months, the U.S.-led coalition has relentlessly targeted ISIS leadership. Airstrikes have killed their number four finance minister; Haji Iman and ISIS number three, the group’s defense minister, Omar al-Shishani. The death of their number two gives the US military confidence that repeated airstrikes are beginning to take a toll on ISIS.
However, time will be the judge of the effectiveness of this campaign.