Muslims

Crusader Shipwreck Discovered off Israel’s Coast, gold coins and more…


Archaeologists have found the wreck of a ship belonging to the Crusaders, dating back to their expulsion from Acre in the thirteenth century CE, off the coast of northern Israel.

The Crusader stronghold was destroyed in 1291 CE when the Mamluk Sultanate captured it, driving the Christian armies from the region. Golden coins dating to the era were found alongside the wreck, making it easy to pinpoint when the ship sank in the waters outside Acre, according to an article appearing in Haaretz.

Taking Acre was a major victory for the Mamluks, as Christian European forces had long used the site as a landing point for countless knights and soldiers. When Jerusalem fell out of Crusader hands after being recaptured by Saladin in 1187, Acre became the new Crusader capital in the Holy Land.

Marine archaeologists from Haifa University Prof. Michal Artzy and Dr. Ehud Galili spearheaded the investigation of the Crusader shipwreck. The ship itself suffered damage while the modern harbor of Acre was being dredged during its construction; the surviving wreckage includes some ballast-covered wooden planks, the ship’s keep, and a few sections of its hull.

Carbon dating has revealed the wood used to construct the hull dates to between 1062 CE and 1250 CE, firmly within the window for Crusader activity in the region. In addition to the associated golden coins found near the wreckage, marine archaeologists also discovered imported ceramic bowls and jugs from southern Italy, Syria, and Cyprus; corroded pieces of iron, mostly nails and anchors, were additional finds.

The biggest find, however, is certainly thought to be the gold coins found with the wreck. A total of 30 florins were found, according to the Israel Antiquities Authority’s coin expert Robert Kool; minted in the Italian republic of Florence – where the coins get their name – the florins were minted from 1252.

Speculation as to how the ship – and the florins – ended up on the bottom of Acre’s harbor is closely tied to the Siege of Acre, as historical eyewitness accounts from the event reported nobles and merchants fleeing from the besieged fortress by boat, often after bribing the owners of these boats with valuables. Many never made it out of the harbor, thought to have drowned there with their riches as the Christian defenders sought futilely to buy them some time to escape.

The Crusader fortress fell on May 18th, 1291, after more than 100 years of Frankish rule. The final defenders, a contingent of Knights Templar, refused to abandon their holdfast. As a result, when Mamluk sappers undermined the walls of the Templar fortress, the entire edifice collapsed, killing the remaining defenders – and around a hundred of the Sultan’s own soldiers as well.

The fall of Acre was the last gasp of the Christian crusades during the medieval era. Once the stronghold was taken by the Mamluks and summarily destroyed, the Catholic Church and the European nobles that supported it abandoned their quest to “liberate” the Holy Land.

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Categories: Ancient Treasure, Archaeology, artifacts, gold, gold coins, Legends, Lost Treasure, Middle East, Muslims, sunken ships, treasure, treasure diver, Uncategorized | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Trump rides the chariot to victory…..


The election is done, the winner has been decided and some turmoil remains but things will settle down. The Liberal establishment will soon come to grips that their Golden Goose had laid a rotten egg.
Hillary Clinton’s followers learned that her golden crown of precious gems was nothing more than gold plated tin and cut glass inserts.
The Supreme Court will now have Justices that believe in the Constitution and what the Founding Fathers meant when it was written. Our Second Amendment rights are now under more protection with the Socialists out of power and packing their bags for destinations unknown.
The retention of power in the House and Senate insures that UN mandates and treaties such as Agenda 21 will never be approved and if they in the UN continue to try and surpress our Constitution and Bill of Rights, may find us removing ourselves completely from their interference.
Washington DC will now be wiped clean of Muslim influence, the FBI, Homeland Security, Attorney General’s Office and much more will be filled with those who will uphold the law and bring integrity back to those office’s.
The Muslim in Chief has not only lost his party in this election but has lost even more face with world leaders, he is not only a lame duck president, he is a dead duck with world leaders, he not only lost face but lost what little power and sway he had with them.
The time is here to heal the wounds and work together.
LET’S MAKE AMERICA GREAT AGAIN

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Categories: 2nd Amendment, Big Brother Spying, Bill of Rights, Billionaire, Congress, Constitution, Democrats, gun control, Muslims, Obama, Obamacare, Uncategorized | Tags: , , , , , , | Leave a comment

The Real Reason Putin Hates Obama and Clinton, and Wants Trump To Win…..


In the following video, Putin reveals exactly why he cannot stand Barack Obama, and why it is clearly not in Russia’s best interests (or anyone else on the planet’s for that matter), for Hillary Clinton to become the next President of the United States. When referring to specific Obama/Clinton policy decisions that led directly to large boost in recruitment for ISIS (no, it wasn’t a Donald Trump video as Hillary likes to say), Putin says:

“I consider this absolutely unprofessional politics… [their acts] are not grounded in facts in the real world.”

Read complete article and see videos here….

http://freedomoutpost.com/the-real-reason-putin-hates-obama-and-clinton-and-wants-trump-to-win/

Categories: Banking, CIA, Congress, Constitution, Democrats, Government Secrets, Liberals, Middle-East, Muslims, Obama, Politics, Terrorists, Uncategorized | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

The Benghazi Brief – Three Year Anniversary…The Truth, The Facts, The Horror…


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Benghazi Hillary,The “Benghazi Brief” remains the most controversial research report we have ever produced. The brief contains over two years of research and hundreds of very specific citations supporting it.

The Brief has also been challenged and with extensive vetting factually withstood all scrutiny. The report, while exhaustive in detail, remains the strongest summary of events surrounding the two years leading up to the Benghazi Libya attack on 9/11/12.

We have repeatedly stated The Benghazi Brief, and ALL of the cited information contained therein, is available for use by anyone who has a goal of learning and/or communicating the truth surrounding the controversial events.

We present the brief so that a larger understanding, a factual understanding, is possible. It can be used in part or in whole, or edited for use by any party. Anyone can do whatever they want with the detailed information provided. Our only request – the truth contained within be maintained.

God Bless.

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We know from the Bret Baier interview with Hillary Clinton that she was physically located at her 7th floor office in Washington DC on the night of the attack. Unfortunately we also know during the November 2012 Thanksgiving holiday a mysterious fire took place in that building. Well, actually directly above her exact office – cause undetermined.

A “fire” which preceded an unfortunate slip and fall for the Secretary, resulting in a concussion, which led to the discovery of a blood clot, that ultimately delayed her congressional testimony before a Senate Hearing into the events of the night in question.

We know the Libyan uprising began on February 10th of 2011, and we also know that sometime around the end of February 2011 President Obama signed a presidential directive authorizing the State Dept and CIA to begin a covert operation to arm the Libyan “rebels”.

We also know of a Second Presidential Finding Memo authorizing additional CIA covert action in 2012, this time in Syria. However, unlike the 2011 Libyan operation we do not know the operational name of the second action in 2012 Syria.

We know the Libyan “rebels” were positioned in two strategic places. Benghazi, and the port city of Darnah, both located in Northeastern Libya.

We know this 2011 Libyan covert operation came to be known as “Operation Zero Footprint“, and fell under the military command authority of NATO not (important to repeat), NOT, the U.S. Military.

We know by the time operation “Zero Footprint” began, AFRICOM commander General Carter Ham was removed from OPSEC oversight in the Libyan campaign and NATO commander Admiral James G. Stavridis was in charge.

Stavridis was the Supreme Allied Commander Europe (SACEUR) at the time of the Libyan uprising. He retired as SACEUR in 2013

In 2011, 57-year-old Stavridis was the perfect pick for NATO Libyan intervention considering he is the son of Turkish immigrants. Turkey played a key role in what might be the most politically dangerous aspect of the events to the White House once the goals changed to redirection of the weapons from Operation Zero Footprint.

We know Operation Zero Footprint was the covert transfer of weapons from the U.S to the Libyan “rebels”. We also know the operation avoided the concerns with congressional funding, and potential for public scrutiny, through financing by the United Arab Emirates (UAE).

We also know that officials within the government of Qatar served as the intermediaries for the actual transfer of the weapons, thereby removing the footprint of the U.S. intervention.

We know the entire operation was coordinated and controlled by the State Department and CIA. We also know (from the Senate Foreign Relations Benghazi hearings) that “Zero Footprint” was unknown to the 2011 Pentagon and/or DoD commanders who would have been tasked with any military response to the 9/11/12 attack – namely AFRICOM General Carter Ham.

However, it would be implausible to think that then Defense Secretary Bob Gates or Joint Chiefs Chair Admiral McMullen were completely unaware of the operation, this aspect remains murky.

Both Secretary Gates and Joint Chiefs Chair McMullen were in place when Operation Zero Footprint began but retired from their jobs in Sept of 2011, and were replaced by Leon Panetta and Martin Dempsey respectively.

Leon Panetta was CIA Director at the beginning of Operation Zero Footprint (March 2011) and was replaced by CIA Director David Petraeus in the fall of 2011 as Panetta replaced Bob Gates and became Secretary of Defense.

However, Panetta (now as Def Sec) and JC Martin Dempsey were the two who initially briefed President Obama on the night of Sept 11th 2012. Because of his previous role in constructing Zero Footprint, Leon Panetta definitely had knowledge of the intents of the joint State Dept/Cia mission in Benghazi, Dempsey may not have.

We know the White House appears to have followed “The Intelligence Oversight Act of 1980” in informing the congressional “Gang of Eight” of Zero Footprint.

The Gang of Eight in 2011 would have included: Speaker – John Boehner, Minority Leader – Nancy Pelosi; House Permanent Select Committee on Intel Chairman – Mike Rogers, and his Democrat counterpart Charles Ruppersberger; Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell, and Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid; along with Senate Intel Chair Diane Feinstein and her Republican counterpart, Saxby Chambliss.

From Hillary interviews we also know the White House liaison for Secretary Clinton and CIA Director Leon Panetta during Operation Zero Footprint was National Security Advisor To the President, Tom Donilon.

With this information we can assemble a cast of people “IN THE KNOW” of Operation Zero Footprint on two specific date blocks. March 2011 through Pre 9/11/12 attack – and – Post 9/11/12 attack forward.
March 2011 through Pre 9/11/12 attack: Who knew of Operation “Zero Footprint”?:

President Obama and Vice President Biden (both Dems)
Secretary of State Hillary Clinton (Dem)
CIA Director Leon Panetta (March 2011 – June 2011)
*CIA Director General David Petraeus (?) (Sept 2011 – Nov 2012)
NATO Commander, James G Stavridis
White House National Security Advisor Tom Donilon (Dem)
White House National Security Spox Tommy Vietor (Donilon aide)
White House National Security Advisor John Brennan (Dem)
Speaker of the House John Boehner (Rep)
Minority Leader – Nancy Pelosi (Dem)
House Permanent Select Committee on Intel Chairman – Mike Rogers (Rep)
Minority House Intel Committee – Charles Ruppersberger (Dem)
Senate Minority Leader – Mitch McConnell (Rep)
Senate Majority Leader – Harry Reid (Dem)
Senate Intel Chair – Diane Feinstein (Dem)
Minority Senate Intel Committee – Saxby Chambliss (Rep)
[State Dept] U.S. Libyan Ambassador – Chris Stevens
[State Dept] U.S. Asst Secretary of State – Andrew Shapiro
[State Dept] Senior Head of U.S. Weapons Office – Mark Adams

Along with whomever inside each nation’s state government that was involved in either the finance (UAE), or the logistics (Qatar). [and later, 2012 Turkey]

Obviously the “know” crowd would include the ultimate end destination users, “The Libyan Rebel Commanders”:

Rebel Leader (Islamic Fighting Group) Abu Sufian Ibriham Ahmed Hamuda Bin Qumu – Darnah Brigade – Ansar Al Sharia
Rebel Leader (Islamic Fighting Group) Abu Khattala – Commander of an Islamist militia group called the Abu Obaida bin Jarrah Brigade (17th Feb Brigade) Benghazi – Ansar Al Sharia

*NOTE* Both of these individuals were labeled as officially recognized State Dept. terrorists in December of 2013. Khattala recently having been arrested.

In addition, the “political face” of the Libyan Transitional Government Justice Minister Mustafa Abdel Jalil, should also be included in this list of people who knew of operation Zero Footprint while it was underway.

Justice Abdel Jalil served as the international face of, and spokesperson for, “the rebels” in 2011/12. He worked closely with Chris Stevens and highly visibly with Secretary Hillary Clinton – However, in my opinion – after extensive research- Jalil was a total patsy. He was paid well to present a comfortable face of the movement, but once Gaddaffi was killed Jalil was quickly dispatched.
This Brings us to who knew about “Operation Zero Footprint” post Benghazi 9/11/12 attack:

To wit you can easily add:

CIA Director General David Petraeus
Adjunct, and Interim, CIA Director – Mike Morrel
U.S. Attorney General – Eric Holder
President Obama Advisor and now Chief of Staff – Denis McDonough
President Obama Advisor and now Treasury Sec – Jack Lew
President Obama Advisor and now National Security Advisor – Tony Blinkin
Former UN Ambassador and now Senior Nat Sec Advisor – Susan Rice
Chief White House Communications Director – Ben Rhodes

Following a one hour phone call between POTUS, V-Potus, and Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu. Jack Lew (far right) was Obama’s Chief of Staff. Donilon and McDonough had just left Tommy Vietor in the situation room to update POTUS in the Oval Office. POTUS and VPOTUS had just hung up the phone.
We know McDonough and Donilon were in the immediate loop on the night of 9/11/12 because they were photographed updating President Obama at 7:30pm in the Oval Office along with a curious Jack Lew who was Chief of Staff at the time.

In addition we know from former White House National Security spokesperson Tommy “dude” Vietor, that President Obama was not in the situation room where Vietor and his boss Tom Donilon were keeping up on events.

Here’s where it gets interesting:

Leon Panetta was the CIA Director when Operation Zero Footprint was authorized and began, but he left the CIA about 4 months later (June 30th, 2011) and was replaced by General David Petraeus (August/Sept 2011).
[*Note* it is important to remember when the 2nd authorized CIA program began in 2012 for Syria Petraeus would have been included]

Under this principle you can see that General Petraeus had ZERO liability for the origin of the Benghazi weapons deals – it was a joint State Dept/CIA program already being conducted when Petraeus arrived. If it blew up, it was not his political problem – THIS MADE PETRAEUS A RISK.

We know that during the summer of 2012 “a whistle blower” popped up and gave House Republican Leader Eric Cantor a tip about CIA Director General Petraeus being in an extramarital affair with a reporter named Paula Broadwell; along with rumors Petraeus may have shared classified information with Broadwell during pillow talk etc.

We also know that Eric Cantor told AG Eric Holder and FBI director Robert Mueller about the claim and Mueller began an investigation of Petraeus in the Summer of 2012 before the Benghazi attack in September.

However, we also know that neither Holder nor Mueller (nor Cantor) informed anyone in congress this investigation of Petraeus was taking place. That investigation included Broadwell turning over her computer to the FBI in the same summer, and later a search of her home which did reveal confidential information supposedly leaked from Petraeus.

Sometime in October of 2012 Director of National Intelligence James Clapper had a conversation with Petraeus urging him to leave.

Immediately after the election of 2012 CIA Director David Petraeus resigned (Nov 9th) and interim CIA Director Mike Morrel took over. This is why Petraeus never testified to the Senate, and Morrel took his place.

We also know this timely switch was beneficial to both the Clinton and Obama camps because Morrel was more politically connected to them than Petraeus.

Given the risks of exposure to both “Operation Zero Footprint”, and worse, the buy-back/redirection to Syria, it’s understandable the risk to Clinton that Petraeus carried. However, Petraeus was not of any risk himself; maybe Leon Panetta would be, but not Petraeus – who, it’s important to add, came from the Defense Department to the office of CIA.

Petraeus’s replacement, interim CIA Director Mike Morrel, and White House Communications Director Ben Rhodes, were the two men who constructed the infamous “Susan Rice” talking points.

After Morrel testified to congress about the CIA involvement around Benghazi, and the issues of terrorism vs. Islamic movie (happy squirrel chase) etc. Morrel was replaced at the CIA by John Brennan.

We know that both Hillary Clinton and CBS immediately hired Mike Morrel. CBS News President David Rhodes -who hired Morrel- is the brother of the White House’s Ben Rhodes; who Morrel coordinated the Clinton friendly, albeit controversial, talking points with.

While it may seem suspect to jump to conclusions, the fact that Eric Holder did not inform either Intelligence Committee of the FBI Petraeus investigation -which is generally standard procedure- lends plausible suspicion to an outline that the events were used as leverage to remove Petraeus; and all of the subsequent risk he represented.

If you accept that Petraeus’s knowledge of, but non-involvement in, “Operation Zero Footprint” represented a potential risk to Hillary and Obama; you’d have to admit that Mike Morrel was by far the more White House friendly person talking about the CIA involvement around the joint State Dept/CIA Benghazi objectives.

Also, it would be disingenuous to ignore the fact Morrel’s loyalty therein was rewarded financially.

Lastly, one of the more slippery people to pin down on the Benghazi attack, and subsequent issues, has been Leon Panetta. If you think about Panetta’s role in the origin of Operation Zero Footprint his comment avoidance makes perfect sense.

Trey Gowdy needs to subpoena Panetta for the Special Committee.
OK, sorry that was more than a moment – but was needed.

Now back to Libya 2011/2012 and the Rift Between State/CIA and DoD/Pentagon over the arming of the “Rebels”. THIS IS REALLY QUITE IMPORTANT because it explains how far out Hillary Clinton had put herself in this covert op “Zero Footprint”.

Duty – by Robert Gates

A few reminder articles will outline and refresh why the White House kept DoD and The Pentagon at arms length throughout their covert operation:

[…] defense leaders in Washington [March 2011] slammed the brakes on the extent of US help to the rebels. Top officials said that some country other than the US should perform any future training and equipping of the Libyan opposition groups. Under withering congressional probing and criticism of what was described as an ill-defined mission to aid a rebel force that officials know little about, Robert Gates, the US defense secretary, sketched out a largely limited role for the US military going forward.

Gates and Admiral Mike Mullen, Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, told members of the House Armed Services panel that many other countries have the ability to train and support the rebels. “My view would be, if there is going to be that kind of assistance to the opposition, there are plenty of sources for it other than the United States,” said Gates. “Somebody else should do that.” Gates and Mullen told Congress that future US participation will be limited and will not involve an active role in airstrikes as time goes on. (link)

From a New York Times article about the same hearing -AND- the discussion of the CIA involvement. Again, remember this is 2011 – you have Secretary Gates, Joint Chiefs Mullen, and CIA Director Panetta:

2011 […] Gates and Mullen were testifying before the House and Senate Armed Services Committees in the wake of revelations that small teams of CIA operatives are working in Libya. Gates declined to comment on the CIA activities in Libya. US officials have acknowledged that the CIA has sent small teams of operatives into Libya and helped rescue a crew member of a US fighter jet that crashed.

The CIA’s precise role in Libya is not clear. Intelligence experts said the CIA would have sent officials to make contact with the opposition and assess the strength and needs of the rebel forces in the event Barack Obama, the US president, decided to arm them.

In hindsight we are now fully aware that unknown to both Mullen and Gates -at the time they were speaking- was President Obama having authorized Operation Zero Footprint several weeks earlier, and Panetta carrying it out.

The State Dept (Hillary) and CIA (Panetta) were now in the execution mode of the covert op.

We now know against the March/April 2011 backdrop of growing information about al-Qaeda’s presence within the rebel units – there was a genuine difference of opinion on whether even getting involved was a good idea.

The Defense Department (Gates, Mullen) was saying no, the State Department (Clinton, Rice), was saying yes.

Remember too, this covert operation was going to require NATO Admiral James Stavridis to allow the weapons into Libya. So lets look at what he was quoted saying around the same timeframe as Mullen and Gates, *knowing Stavridis was one of the actual key figures to make the weapons delivery possible*:

2011 – […] Now, as the White House and NATO continue to debate the possible ramifications of arming the Libyan opposition, the Haqqani network-linked Afghan commander says Libyan al Qaeda affiliates seem to be more “enthusiastic” about the war against Gaddafi every day.

And from what the Afghan Taliban commander has seen, there appears to be more than “flickers” of al Qaeda’s presence in Libya, the description given by NATO commander Admiral James Stavridis. (link)

There is Stavridis playing down the possibility of al-Qaeda ideology within the make-up of the Islamic Fighting Group – which is important because by the time this quote was attributed Stavridis was already part of the team coordinating the shipments.

Samantha Power – Susan Rice – President Obama

Also, remember R2P? This March/April 2011 time frame is when “Responsibility To Protect” came up as a justification for our engagement. Samantha Power, Susan Rice, Hillary Clinton all wanting to fully support “the rebels”.

Ultimately Obama/Jarrett (The White House) agreed with Hillary Inc (State Dept); hence “Zero Footprint” got the nod – well, let’s be really accurate: it “sort of” got the nod.

Think about it. President Obama authorized arming the Libyan rebels, but the covert nature of Zero Footprint actually reflects the political filter through which all Obama White House decisions are made. A White House team that always looks for an escape hatch in case any decision is ever publicly wrong.

If the rebels were al-Qaeda, the covert op lends plausible deniability.

Isn’t it strange how in 2014 hindsight you can clearly see exactly what we now know as the “Benghazi narrative”; the use of their exact escape hatch because they were al-Qaeda, and it did go horribly and publicly wrong.

Operation Zero Footprint Becomes Political and Legal Risk

It should be noted, and actually emphasized, that Operation Zero Footprint, at least in 2011, was not illegal. Indeed, all indicators are that President Obama followed his constitutional responsibility as he carried out his executive authority.

We know in late February 2011 President Obama signed a Presidential Finding Memo authorizing the State Department and CIA to engage in actions within Libya to identify a course of action.

We know in March 2011 when Hillary Clinton (State Dept) and Leon Panetta (CIA) constructed “Operation Zero Footprint” that President Obama approved the covert action and then informed the Gang of Eight of the weapons transfer operation.

Both of those known facts speak well to the Executive Office following a legally outlined process. This does not, however, dismiss the concern, which became the reality, that the action itself was terribly flawed and horridly imprudent.

During March, April and May 2011 there was enough intelligence information flowing to the White House informing them of exactly who would be the beneficiaries of U.S. Libyan involvement and specifically providing weapons. It did not take long to identify the Benghazi and Darnah “rebels” were actually affiliates of al-Qaeda.

While no-one reporting in 2011 was aware of Operation Zero Footprint, there were literally hundreds of media reports showcasing the ideology of the Libyan “rebel” uprising. Indeed there were numerous reports in mainstream media outlets of al-Qaeda fighters (numerous factions) flowing to Libya to oust their life-long nemesis, Gaddaffi.

From a policy standpoint it will have to be left up to historians to pore over the facts and ultimately decide what was *this* White House goal in the entire region.

Ben Ali removal -Tunisia- seemed OK to the administration, Obama and Clinton.
Hosni Mubarak removal -Egypt- seemed even more ok to Obama and Clinton.

Both of the above were viewed as potential sources for favorable policy outcomes. Indeed the rise of the Muslim Brotherhood in Egypt -and election of President Morsi- did not seem to be a concern for the White House.

However, when you get to Gaddaffi’s removal -Libya- you see a serious split between ideologies within the U.S. political class as Obama/Clinton actually pushed the outcome. The U.S. defense department saying they were apprehensive about this outcome, and Obama/Clinton going “all in” for Gaddaffi ouster with French President Sarkozy.

The same interventionist Obama/Clinton motivation was evident with Syria’s Assad as yet another uprising surfaced in yet another Mid-East nation – again in March/April 2011.

We know on October 20th 2011 Libyan Leader Muammar Gaddaffi was finally captured, then killed by “the rebels”.

Gaddafi being shotDead-Gaddafi

From the standpoint of “regime change” operation Zero Footprint was a success.

The Libyan Transitional National Council was now in control. Well, maybe in charge, or, well, sort of.

The TNC (pictured below 4 days later) may have been the face of Libya the Obama/Clinton team wanted to portray. But they were merely just that, a face.

Abdel Jalil and the Libyan National Transitional Council

We know Eastern Libya was then (2011), and is now (2014), a hotbed of radical Islam controlled by the Libyan Islamic Fighting Groups, the very people who benefitted from the arms that were part of Zero Footprint.

We know by the Fall/Winter of 2011 the U.S. State Dept and CIA were joined and trying to re-secure the same weapons they provided in the Spring/Summer.

December 2011 – New York Times:

“Assistant Secretary of State Andrew J. Shapiro raised the American desire to arrange a purchase program in a meeting this month with Libya’s new defense minister, according to American officials familiar with the proposal.

The United States has committed $40 million to secure Libya’s arms stockpiles, much of it to prevent the spread of Manpads. No budget has been designed for a purchase program, and the price to be paid for each missile and its components has not been determined, the official said. (link)

We know from a speech delivered by Asst. Secretary of State Shapiro in Feb of 2012 the actual program to recapture the Zero Footprint weapons began in August of 2011 about two months before Gaddaffi was killed:

“Once the stalemate broke and the fighting rapidly shifted in the TNC’s [Libyan Transitional National Council] favor in August, we immediately deployed a State Department expert from the MANPADS Task Force to Benghazi.

Mark Adams, who you will hear from shortly on the panel, is the head of our MANPADS Task Force and spent considerable time on the ground in Libya.

[… ] The initial primary objective was to reach an agreement with the TNC to set up a MANPADS control and destruction program that would enable us to set up what we call our Phase I efforts.

Phase I entailed an effort to rapidly survey, secure, and disable loose MANPADS across the country. To accomplish this, we immediately deployed our Quick Reaction Force, which are teams made up of civilian technical specialists.”

We know those “civilian technical specialists”, being talked about in August 2011, were contractors, CIA contractors, hired by the State Department to recapture the weapons – some of which they provided as a specific consequence of Operation Zero Footprint.

If the story ended there it would be bad enough. A flawed policy, a secret mission arm the Libyan “rebels” without a great deal of thinking through the longer term consequences. A flawed policy with political consequences.

But when you think about the larger picture you understand why the details of the covert weapons operation Zero Footprint were so tightly guarded among select members of Congress (the Gang of Eight), the CIA (Panetta), the State Department (Clinton) and the White House (Donilon).

Each of them was trying to manage a covert operation that would expose a U.S. policy decision to arm al-Qaeda, the Muslim Brotherhood and other Islamist militias.
But that’s only “IF” the story ended there, in Libya, at the end of 2011 into the beginning of 2012. It didn’t, the decisions got worse – much worse.

Syria Banner

The uprising in Syria was only a few months behind the uprising in Libya. Arguably if the timing were reversed you could ponder that Assad would have met Gaddaffi’s fate, and Gaddaffi would be as alive today as President Assad.

Whichever rebel group got the attention of the R2P crowd was sure to be the first to get assistance. The Obama R2P Doctrine is so tenuous, and so lacking in political principle, it’s subject to change based on the political whims of capitol hill at any given moment.

The Libyan “rebels” got all the weaponry love – the Syrian “rebels”, not-so-much. At least in 2011; by mid 2012 that sentiment appears to have changed.

Enter Hillary Clinton. As she reiterated vehemently to Greta Van Sustern during a recent interview, it was Hillary who wanted to help the Syrian rebels when no-one else wanted to assist them. Secretary Hillary Clinton wanted early and direct interventionist action in Syria to topple Assad just like Gaddaffi.

Obviously consequences from the first covert weapons mission in Libya made a stark case for not repeating it in Syria. Another huge factor against helping the FSA was Israel. Ultimately Israel could not afford to be put into such a risky position if Syrian rebel forces were given arms that ultimately might be used against them.

Additionally, you would think there’s no way congress, in an election year, would approve of funding Syrian rebels against the possibility of it hurting Israel; And the White House was not about to do a known and official covert operation which had a great potential to go sideways, and become far too politically dangerous. 2012 was an election year.

But they did.

Who wanted to aid Syria more? President Obama or Hillary Clinton? That is a question for later year historians. Regardless of how the idea came up, we know a decision was made to do it, and to do it covertly.

Arming the Benghazi Darnah rebels was, well, stupid. It was actually stupid, and politically stupid, but it was not illegal.

Arming jihadist fighters in Syria likewise ended up being stupid but by all appearances NOT illegal.

obama-hillary-holding-hands-wh-photo

In August 2012, one month before the attack on the Benghazi Compound, the following Reuters article appeared. This is how we find out about the SECOND presidential finding which again authorized covert CIA involvement, this time in Syria:

WASHINGTON, Aug 1 [2012] (Reuters) – President Barack Obama has signed a secret order authorizing U.S. support for rebels seeking to depose Syrian President Bashar al-Assad and his government, U.S. sources familiar with the matter said.

Obama’s order, approved earlier this year and known as an intelligence “finding,” broadly permits the CIA and other U.S. agencies to provide support that could help the rebels oust Assad.

This and other developments signal a shift toward growing, albeit still circumscribed, support for Assad’s armed opponents – a shift that intensified following last month’s failure of the U.N. Security Council to agree on tougher sanctions against the Damascus government.

The White House is for now apparently stopping short of giving the rebels lethal weapons, even as some U.S. allies do just that.

But U.S. and European officials have said that there have been noticeable improvements in the coherence and effectiveness of Syrian rebel groups in the past few weeks. That represents a significant change in assessments of the rebels by Western officials, who previously characterized Assad’s opponents as a disorganized, almost chaotic, rabble.

Precisely when Obama signed the secret intelligence authorization, an action not previously reported, could not be determined.

The full extent of clandestine support that agencies like the CIA might be providing also is unclear.

White House spokesman Tommy Vietor declined comment.

‘NERVE CENTER’

A U.S. government source acknowledged that under provisions of the presidential finding, the United States was collaborating with a secret command center operated by Turkey and its allies.

Last week, Reuters reported that, along with Saudi Arabia and Qatar, Turkey had established a secret base near the Syrian border to help direct vital military and communications support to Assad’s opponents.

This “nerve center” is in Adana, a city in southern Turkey about 60 miles (100 km) from the Syrian border, which is also home to Incirlik, a U.S. air base where U.S. military and intelligence agencies maintain a substantial presence.

Turkey’s moderate Islamist government has been demanding Assad’s departure with growing vehemence. Turkish authorities are said by current and former U.S. government officials to be increasingly involved in providing Syrian rebels with training and possibly equipment.

European government sources said wealthy families in Saudi Arabia and Qatar were providing significant financing to the rebels. Senior officials of the Saudi and Qatari governments have publicly called for Assad’s departure.

On Tuesday, NBC News reported that the Free Syrian Army had obtained nearly two dozen surface-to-air missiles, weapons that could be used against Assad’s helicopters and fixed-wing aircraft. Syrian government armed forces have employed such air power more extensively in recent days.

NBC said the shoulder-fired missiles, also known as MANPADs, had been delivered to the rebels via Turkey.

On Wednesday, however, Bassam al-Dada, a political adviser to the Free Syrian Army, denied the NBC report, telling the Arabic-language TV network Al-Arabiya that the group had “not obtained any such weapons at all.” U.S. government sources said they could not confirm the MANPADs deliveries, but could not rule them out either.

Current and former U.S. and European officials previously said that weapons supplies, which were being organized and financed by Qatar and Saudi Arabia, were largely limited to guns and a limited number of anti-tank weapons, such as bazookas.

Indications are that U.S. agencies have not been involved in providing weapons to Assad’s opponents. In order to do so, Obama would have to approve a supplement, known as a “memorandum of notification, to his initial broad intelligence finding.

Further such memoranda would have to be signed by Obama to authorize other specific clandestine operations to support Syrian rebels.

Reuters first reported last week that the White House had crafted a directive authorizing greater U.S. covert assistance to Syrian rebels. It was unclear at that time whether Obama had signed it. (read more)

Note how the FSA says they didn’t get missiles, and yet missiles were shipped. This is important against the backdrop of the reality the extreme elements we now call ISIL were operating in Syria and openly laughing at our inability to identify them:

“NO ISLAM WITHOUT JIHAD” – members of the Free Syrian Army. Abu Khuder and his men fight for al-Qaida. They call themselves the ghuraba’a, or “strangers”, after a famous jihadi poem celebrating Osama bin Laden’s time with his followers in the Afghan mountains, and they are one of a number of jihadi organisations establishing a foothold in the east of the country now that the conflict in Syria has stretched well into its second bloody year.
They try to hide their presence. “Some people are worried about carrying the [black] flags,” said Abu Khuder. “They fear America will come and fight us. So we fight in secret. Why give Bashar and the west a pretext?” But their existence is common knowledge in Mohassen. Even passers-by joke with the men about car bombs and IEDs.

(JULY 2012) As they stood outside the commandeered government building in the town of Mohassen, it was hard to distinguish Abu Khuder’s men from any other brigade in the Syrian civil war, in their combat fatigues, T-shirts and beards.

But these were not average members of the Free Syrian Army. Abu Khuder and his men fight for al-Qaida. They call themselves the ghuraba’a, or “strangers”, after a famous jihadi poem celebrating Osama bin Laden’s time with his followers in the Afghan mountains, and they are one of a number of jihadi organisations establishing a foothold in the east of the country now that the conflict in Syria has stretched well into its second bloody year.

They try to hide their presence. “Some people are worried about carrying the [black] flags,” said Abu Khuder. “They fear America will come and fight us. So we fight in secret. Why give Bashar and the west a pretext?” But their existence is common knowledge in Mohassen. Even passers-by joke with the men about car bombs and IEDs.

According to Abu Khuder, his men are working closely with the military council that commands the Free Syrian Army brigades in the region. “We meet almost every day,” he said. “We have clear instructions from our [al-Qaida] leadership that if the FSA need our help we should give it. We help them with IEDs and car bombs. Our main talent is in the bombing operations.” Abu Khuder’s men had a lot of experience in bomb-making from Iraq and elsewhere, he added.

[…] Abu Khuder split with the FSA and pledged allegiance to al-Qaida’s organisation in Syria, the Jabhat al Nusra or Solidarity Front. He let his beard grow and adopted the religious rhetoric of a jihadi, becoming a commander of one their battalions.

“The Free Syrian Army has no rules and no military or religious order. Everything happens chaotically,” he said. “Al-Qaida has a law that no one, not even the emir, can break.

“The FSA lacks the ability to plan and lacks military experience. That is what [al-Qaida] can bring. They have an organisation that all countries have acknowledged.

“In the beginning there were very few. Now, mashallah, there are immigrants joining us and bringing their experience,” he told the gathered people. “Men from Yemen, Saudi, Iraq and Jordan. Yemenis are the best in their religion and discipline and the Iraqis are the worst in everything – even in religion.”

At this, one man in the room – an activist in his mid-30s who did not want to be named – said: “So what are you trying to do, Abu Khuder? Are you going to start cutting off hands and make us like Saudi? Is this why we are fighting a revolution?”

“[Al-Qaida’s] goal is establishing an Islamic state and not a Syrian state,” he replied. “Those who fear the organisation fear the implementation of Allah’s jurisdiction. If you don’t commit sins there is nothing to fear.” (link – more)

Against the backdrop of ISIL 2014 does this Sound familiar ?

It should also be noted this is the exact time (August 2012) when the U.N. and Kofi Annan gave up trying to influence a peaceful outcome in Syria – things had escalated beyond any hope for a diplomatic resolution.

We know the basic set up to arm the Syrian rebellion was generally not too complex.

Turkey would be used as the distribution hub, and the U.S. had Sunni friends in Saudi Arabia, and Qatar -who were more than willing to see Assad removed- and financially assist in arming the Syrians without too great a concern for what could happen to Israel.

For Obama/Clinton to get weapons to the Syrians, against the shadow of Operation Zero Footprint, without going extensively through congress, could be done covertly and easily. Either ship weapons just like Operation Zero Footprint, Saudi ==> Qatar ==> Turkey ==> Syria, OR, buy back the weapons already floating around from Operation Zero Footprint and redirect them to Syria through Turkey.

OR both.

The Saudis would be a willing financier if the State Dept needed additional money to facilitate the transfers.

We know Ambassador Chris Stevens set up a formal U.S. Embassy consulate in Tripoli around May 26th of 2012; and we know the State Dept and CIA set up their joint operations in Benghazi around the same time. We also now know this is around the EXACT time of the second Presidential CIA Directive.

Looking at the historical timeline, and knowing the contacts developed, gives a great perspective into what would have spurred the CIA/State Department to set up a more expansive presence and operation in the coastal region of Eastern Libya May/June 2012.

The official U.S. State Dept Libyan presence was vacated on Feb 25th of 2011 when the embassy personnel were evacuated. Stevens was re-establishing the diplomatic office and acting as Ambassador to Libya during the 2012 reconstruction phase.

What we did not know at the time was that Chris Stevens was also acting as the facilitator for U.S. arms shipments OUT OF LIBYA, through Turkish diplomatic couriers and into Syria. While coordinating a second covert action to arm the Syrian resistance.

A very strong argument can easily be made that Chris Stevens was a CIA operative inside the State Department. Many people within the State Department are CIA personnel using the State Dept as part of their visible cover.

In Eastern Libya June, July, August 2012 – Obviously the Libyan Islamic Fighting Group, Ansar Al Sharia, aka 17th Feb Brigade, and all of their commanders knew of the U.S. Benghazi weapons programs. Both the 2011 distribution, and the 2012 repurchase.

Considering the redeployment to Syria – for the most part the Benghazi and Darnah brigades would have been in alignment with their Jihadist brethren in Syria being the beneficiaries of any additional shipments.

But there was in 2011/2012 – as noted in the above articles – an ideological rift between the newly emboldened Muslim Brotherhood and the ‘more initially moderate’ Free Syrian Army (FSA). As the Libyan conflict rolled on through the summer of 2011 more al-Qaeda elements flocked from other engagements into the Syrian fight. Moderates were replaced by extremists.

By the time of the second presidential directive, as Hillary and Chris Stevens were working on support for Syria, Summer 2012, the radical Syrian opposition was embedded inside the FSA. Arguably in hindsight they were the majority element.

The Syrian opposition had three al-Qaida arms operating within it. Including one that also operated in Libya:

Jund al-Sham, which is made up of al-Qaida militants who are Syrian, Palestinian and Lebanese;
Jund al-Islam, which in recent years merged with Ansar al-Islam, an extremist group of Sunni Iraqis operating under the al-Qaida banner and operating in Yemen and Libya;
Jund Ansar al-Allah, an al-Qaida group based in Gaza linked to Palestinian camps in Lebanon and Syria.

It would be into this eclectic mix of Jihadist ideologues, which later became ISIL, that any diverted U.S. arms would flow. It’s no wonder that Senator John McCain was so confused when he was calling them “moderates” in 2012/2013. Almost no-one knew the severe elements in Syria would rise to the surface and become the modern ISIS now capturing all of the global attention.

ISIS John McCain – Abu Mosa

And…. If you just realized…. Yes, ISIS or ISIL currently on the march in Iraq, came from Syria, fought in Syria and more than likely was armed by the U.S. inside Syria and Turkey. They were more likely trained, in Adana, a city in southern Turkey about 60 miles (100 km) from the Syrian border, which is also home to Incirlik, a U.S. air base where U.S. military and intelligence agencies maintain a substantial presence; by the same CIA operatives used by the State Dept to send Syria weapons from Benghazi and Darnah back in Libya.

If Operation Zero Footprint in Libya was stupid, arming the Syrian branches of al-Qaeda two years after the FSA was thoroughly corrupted by al-Qaeda, is infinite degrees beyond stupid.

But that’s hindsight for ya….. or as Secretary Clinton would say “Whether they were, … at this point, what difference does it make?”

By June of 2012 the New York Times was reporting that the CIA is operating a secret arms transfer program to Syria that sounded exactly like the re-diversion plan Clinton developed with Panetta/Petraeus. According to the Times suddenly, there is: “…an influx of weapons and ammunition to the rebels.”

The Reuters article in August 2012 confirms the earlier report.

We know on September 5th 2012 – A Libyan flagged ship called Al Entisar (“The Victory”) docks in the Turkish port of Iskenderun. It is carrying 400 tons of cargo including many weapons such as rocket-propelled grenades (RPGs) and shoulder-launched surface-to-air missiles (MANPADS) destined for Syrian rebels 35 miles away from Iskenderun.

The ship’s captain told the Times of London that the Muslim Brotherhood and the Free Syrian Army broke into a fight over the arms.

Operation Zero Footprint

In response to the Times of London report, and in a generally dismissed part of her congressional testimony, Senator Rand Paul asked outgoing Secretary Hillary Clinton a very specific question – (See @2:20 of this video and pay attention to the “duping delight”):

Which would bring us to a series of now reconcilable questions surrounding the joint State Dept. and CIA Benghazi Mission.

The entire weapons operation 2011 was labeled “Operation Zero Footprint”. The intent is outlined in the operational title – to leave no visible record of U.S. involvement in arming the Libyan “rebels”. No visible footprint.

We know from congressional inquiry Ambassador Chris Stevens had asked for more security in the months prior to Sept. 11th 2012. Requests sent to the State Dept that were denied.

We also know that NO MARINE DETACHMENT was ever put in place to defend the Benghazi Mission.

We also know the Benghazi Mission was initially, and mistakenly by media, called “a consulate”, or a “consulate outpost”. But there was no State Dept record of any consulate office in Benghazi.

All of these seeming contradictions can be reconciled with the simple understanding that this “Mission” in 2011 was unofficial. Remember the goal – No visible footprint.

We also know the Second Operation, in 2012, to arm the Syrians’was also covert – No visible footprint.

Why were security requests denied? Remember the goal – No visible footprint.

We know from General Carter Ham (AFRICOM Commander now retired) the Department of Defense was not even aware the State Dept was operating a mission in Benghazi during 2012. Remember the goal – No visible footprint.

How could Hillary Clinton, Charlene Lamb, or Patrick Kennedy approve or request a marine security detachment knowing the entire mission around both Benghazi operations was covert?

Such a request would have travelled outside the small group of State/CIA insiders. The request would have gone to DoD. Short answer, they couldn’t.

Hence the disconnect between what seemed to be obvious and/or simple questions and the inability to accurately discuss in the public venues of congressional inquiry.

To the public Chris Stevens was a U.S. ambassador, a diplomat. To the folks inside the State Dept and CIA, Chris Stevens was a U.S. Ambassador, AND a CIA operative coordinating covert arms sales.

In 2011 those arms shipments were to aid the Libyan rebels, in 2012 those same arms were redirected to aid the Syrian rebels.

Even after death the public face of Chris Stevens, the official role, was the only role able to be discussed. The covert, or unofficial role, was not. Again, we see the disconnect between inquiry that could be answered, and inquiry that could not be answered. Many irreconcilable surface because of this intelligence role – even through today.

The second role of Stevens, the covert and CIA aspect, still causes problems for people trying to understand the “why not” questions. The broader public asking why have we not seen, or heard from the survivors of the attacks?

The short answer is, we have not heard from the survivors – but the intelligence community has.

Twice some of the survivors have given testimony to congress. The problem for the public is that those hearings are closed door, classified, intelligence hearings – led by Chairman Mike Rogers and the Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence. Again, go back to the beginning of Operation Zero Footprint and you see the congressional Intelligence Gang of Eight were fully aware of the intents.

The Gang of Eight in 2011 / 2012 was: House Speaker – John Boehner, Minority Leader – Nancy Pelosi; House Permanent Select Committee on Intel Chairman – Mike Rogers, and his Democrat counterpart Charles Ruppersberger; Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell, and Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid; along with Senate Intel Chair Diane Feinstein and her Republican counterpart, Saxby Chambliss.

Why was Speaker Boehner reluctant to establish a Select Committee on Benghazi ?

Simple, again he is one of the Gang of Eight – and he was briefed on both operations. How is he going to call for a select committee when he knows the substance of the committee investigation is classified under national security. Such a committee would not, because it could not, deliver what the public was requesting, sunlight.

The only reason Trey Gowdy was finally assigned the task of a Select Committee, was simply because the public lies of the White House and administration were contradicting themselves.

The White House “talking points“, which was/is a ridiculous squirrel hunt, were created to reconcile the problem faced when unable to discuss a covert operation.

It is far easier to look at the reality of the problem faced by the White House and CIA than any nefarious intention.

Unfortunately for the administration they are not that good.

Team Obama was so committed to keeping the covert operations “Zero Footprint” a secret (because of the political embarrassment from factually arming al Qaeda) that the cover story they manufactured (on the fly) was fraught with contradictions.

How could President Obama dispatch help to the Benghazi team, when DoD was not even aware of it’s existence? Sending help would have compromised OpSec, Operational Security.

The dispatch of F.E.S.T. would lead to increased knowledge of a covert operation.

Hopefully you are beginning to see the root of the contradictions. Once you understand the truth of what was going on within the backstory – there’s almost nothing left which would dangle as an unanswered question. It all reconciles.

Back to the FALL of 2012 – On September 5th/6th 2012 the Turkish vessel “Al Entisar” docked in the Turkish port of Iskenderun. 400 tons of serious cargo including weapons destined for Syrian “rebels”.

In the U.S. that September 5th night former President Bill Clinton was introducing Candidate Barack Obama at the DNC convention in Charlotte North Carolina. In Afghanistan that night something happened that had already become a serious concern for the operatives within “Operation Zero Footprint”.

Chief Warrant Officer 2 Thalia Ramirez. Ramirez was killed when her OH-58D Kiowa Warrior helicopter crashed in eastern Afghanistan Sept. 5, 2012. Ramirez was assigned to Troop F, 1-17 Air Cavalry Regiment, 82nd Combat Aviation Brigade, 82nd Airborne Division. Photo: Photo Courtesy Pro Image Digital;Inc., Courtesy / U.S. ArmyAt the exact time Clinton was speaking in North Carolina, halfway around the world in Afghanistan Army Chief Warrant Officers Thalia S. Ramirez, 28, of San Antonio and Jose L. Montenegro Jr., 31, of San Juan, in the Rio Grande Valley, were killed while flying an OH-58D Kiowa Warrior, a Defense Department news release stated.

On September 5th 2012 – A U.S. organized ship loaded with weapons including missiles was offloading at a Turkish port. Bill Clinton was introducing Barack Obama, and the first black female combat pilot was shot down and killed by a shoulder fired missile in Afghanistan.

The relationship between the three events reflects the absolute political fear that revolved around Operation Zero Footprint.

The CIA and Intelligence community had stated earlier the biggest concern anyone held about arming the Libyan Rebels was the possibility those weapons might leave the Libyan conflict and travel to other locations where they would be used against our own soldiers. More and more evidence of this happening was growing.

In 2011 a total of four air assets were destroyed by enemy fire in Afghanistan. Two of those helicopters happened at the same time in August 2011 when we lost the Navy Seal unit that killed Osama Bin Laden. 22 Americans killed.

We had been in close quarter full combat operations in Afghanistan for 10 years, and we never had a problem with close air support. We had never faced the concern of our enemy having MANPADS.

From 2002 through 2010 Combat Operations saw zero occurrences of SAMS, Stingers, or MANPADS in general.

Within months after delivering weapons to the Benghazi and Darnah rebels (May, June and July 2011) we began facing MANPADS in Afghanistan.

Four instances in late in 2011 including the 22 lives lost in what came to be known as Operation “Extortion 17”.

In 2012 it got worse, much worse: June 1st AFGHANISTAN:

A combined patrol discovered a weapons cache containing three shoulder-fired, surface-to-air missiles, three anti-tank mines, 423 RPGs, 118,600 7.62 mm rounds, 30 rifles and other ordnance in the Tarin Kot district of Uruzgan province. The cache’s contents were destroyed. (link)

We had a serious problem and it was picking up speed exponentially. June 6th 2012 we lost another crew. July 25th 2012 yet another. August 16th 2012 again more losses. September 5th 2012 more deaths. It just kept getting worse.

By September 5th 2012 in the preceding nine months we had lost 11 helicopters to shoulder fired missiles in Afghanistan. The following headline hit the media:
America Suffers Worst Airpower Loss Since Vietnam

One of the incidents revealed details of what was being faced. The July 25th 2012 downing of a CH-47 which was found to have been hit with a “new generation” stinger missile. The risks were no longer mere worries, they were real:

[O]n July 25, 2012, Taliban fighters in Kunar province successfully targeted a US Army CH-47 helicopter with a new generation Stinger missile.

They thought they had a surefire kill. But instead of bursting into flames, the Chinook just disappeared into the darkness as the American pilot recovered control of the aircraft and brought it to the ground in a hard landing.

The assault team jumped out the open doors and ran clear in case it exploded. Less than 30 seconds later, the Taliban gunner and his comrade erupted into flames as an American gunship overhead locked onto their position and opened fire.

The next day, an explosive ordnance disposal team arrived to pick through the wreckage and found unexploded pieces of a missile casing that could only belong to a Stinger missile.

Lodged in the right nacelle, they found one fragment that contained an entire serial number.

The investigation took time. Arms were twisted, noses put out of joint. But when the results came back, they were stunning: The Stinger tracked back to a lot that had been signed out by the CIA recently, not during the anti-Soviet ­jihad.

Reports of the Stinger reached the highest echelons of the US command in Afghanistan and became a source of intense speculation, but no action.

Everyone knew the war was winding down. Revealing that the Taliban had US-made Stingers risked demoralizing coalition troops. Because there were no coalition casualties, government officials made no public announcement of the attack.

My sources in the US Special Operations community believe the Stinger fired against the Chinook was part of the same lot the CIA turned over to the ­Qataris in early 2011, weapons Hillary Rodham Clinton’s State Department intended for anti-Khadafy forces in Libya.

They believe the Qataris delivered between 50 and 60 of those same Stingers to the Taliban in early 2012, and an additional 200 SA-24 Igla-S surface-to-air missiles. (link)

In Afghanistan the DoD field response was immediate; all Close Air Support was cancelled.

The White House had a problem – “Operation Zero Footprint” missiles were now being used against us, but DoD didn’t know the origin because the Defense Department did not know about Zero Footprint, the State Department and CIA did.

The killing of Army Chief Warrant Officers Thalia S. Ramirez, 28, and Jose L. Montenegro Jr., 31, might not have been the final straw – but their September 5th 2012 deaths coincided with an absolute change in direction.

While the ISIS-minded Syrian Muslim Brotherhood and the Free Syrian Army were arguing over who gets what from aboard the Turkish vessel, back in Benghazi, Libya it was obvious the ideology of the Syrian factions were too extreme and the CIA could no longer control who would use such weapons.

God forbid DoD ground commanders in Afghanistan find out the MANPADS they were facing originated by our covert efforts in Libya.
Tayyip Erdogan – Turkey, David Cameron – U.K.

Tayyip Erdogan – Turkey, David Cameron – U.K.

Strangely one must give credit to Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan. As unbelievable as it might sound he was the lone Islamic voice in March 2011 saying “don’t arm the Benghazi rebels“:

March 2011 – Recep Tayyip Erdogan, the Turkish prime minister, has said he does not support the idea of arming Libyan rebels fighting to oust Muammar Gaddafi from power.

Speaking at a joint news conference with David Cameron, the British prime minister, in London, Erdogan said: “Doing that would create a different situation in Libya and we do not find it appropriate to do that.”

Erdogan also said that that sending weapons to Libya could feed terrorism, saying such weapons shipments “could also create an environment which could be conducive to terrorism”. (read more)

Erdogan and U.S. Defense Secretary Bob Gates were of the same mindset.

“My view would be, if there is going to be that kind of assistance to the opposition, there are plenty of sources for it other than the United States,” said Gates. “Somebody else should do that.” (link)

However, for Syria in 2012 Erdogan had a divergent opinion. He was all for arming the Syrian branch of al-Qaeda. This article, again from August 2012 – one month prior to the attack against Chris Stevens, outlines the goal of both Erdogan and President Obama:

(August 2012) President Barack Obama and Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan spoke by telephone Monday “to coordinate efforts to accelerate a political transition in Syria,” the White House said.

This “would include the departure of (Syrian leader) Bashar Assad and be responsive to the legitimate demands of the Syrian people,” the statement said.

Obama and Erdogan shared their concerns over the Syrian regime’s crackdown on opposition “and the deteriorating humanitarian conditions throughout Syria as a result of the regime’s atrocities.”

Both [Obama and Erodgan] promised to coordinate efforts to help the growing numbers of Syrians displaced by the violence within Syria or forced to flee over the border to take refuse in Turkey or other nations in the region.

The statement said US and Turkish teams “would remain in close contact on ways that Turkey and the United States can work together to promote a democratic transition in Syria.” (link)

Obama Erdogan – Turkey

Alas, given the backstory of DoD not wanting to arm the rebels, and given the unintended consequences of 2011/2012 from Operation Zero Footprint, and given an upcoming election in November 2012, you can see why in post September 11 of 2012 the Obama administration would want to discontinue this operation and throw a bag over the events of the past 17 months.

Perhaps following the fiasco at the Port of Iskenderun a week earlier, Turkish Diplomat Consul General Ali Sait Akin arrives at the Benghazi Mission on Sept 11th 2012 to talk about the ongoing efforts to support Syria.

Perhaps, the conversation was about the increasing risk of arming a rising group of radicals against the backdrop of MANPADS being used against U.S. forces in other fields of combat.

Regardless of motivation Ali Sait Akin and Stevens were most certainly discussing the current situation with Turkey suffering the consequences and pushing a greater sense of urgency.

Indeed Turkey’s border region was filled with historic numbers of Syrian refugees fleeing the fighting which was completely out of control. The Scale of the crisis was staggering and out of control. Over 500,000 Syrians were now seeking shelter in Turkey.

Meanwhile the ideology of the radical elements controlling the arms shipments was openly becoming a danger to the entire region, and especially U.S. interests beyond Syria.

This would have put Stevens (U.S.) and Akin (Turkey) as opposing ends of the issue.

What we now know as ISIS – originated inside this group of Zero Footprint recipients, and Erdogan while willing to see Assad removed, was also well aware that these elements do not believe in borders. These rabid ideologues (now known as ISIS-2014) were quickly evolving into a risk for the region.

The U.S. policy team would have viewed the risk far differently than Turkey.

As the New York Times reported in an Oct. 14 2012 article, “Most of the arms shipped at the behest of Saudi Arabia and Qatar to supply Syrian rebel groups fighting the government of Bashar Assad are going to hard-line Islamic jihadists, and not the more secular opposition groups that the West wants to bolster.”

We can only imagine the conversation within the Benghazi compound as both Ali Sait Akin and Chris Stevens parted ways for the final time on September 11th 2012.

Outside the compound walls, the 17th Feb Brigade – Ansar Al Sharia – were also assembled to deliver their final goodbyes.

The Turkish delegation was able to navigate the roadblocks without issue. And within 30 minutes of Consul Akin leaving the venue, Ansar Al Sharia executed their attack.

The Benghazi and Darnah Brigades already knew the compound inside and out, as well as the CIA ANNEX compound, a kilometer away, which contained four warehouse type buildings used by the CIA during the collection, distribution and delivery of Zero Footprint’s objectives over the past 17 months.
In June of 2009 the primary Benghazi Mission compound looked like this:

In March of 2011, when Operation Zero Footprint began, the Tactical Operations Command building (TOC) was added and it looked like this:

.
In December of 2005 the area which became the CIA Annex compound held two buildings:

.
In 2009 two more buildings were added bringing the total to FOUR:

.
By the time the CIA took over 2011, and when the compound came under mortar fire 2012, it looked like this:
Author’s notes:

patriotThe primary reason for outlining this brief is to deliver a greater understanding of why things happened the way they did in the post 9/11/12 attack media frenzy.

If you understand what took place from March 2011 through the night of the attack itself all of the contradictions reconcile, and most of the questions become answered.

Factually, I would challenge anyone who reads this brief to actually have a question left unanswered.

The events of the attack itself are gut wrenching and troubling. Our brave operations folks had to fight their way out of a situation where they literally were on their own due to the political risks inherent in carrying out their objectives.

However, they knew they were beyond the wire – they knew there was no manner, method or possibility of protection…. And this is the point everyone seems to miss:

THEY KNEW THE DoD WAS IN THE DARK ABOUT THEIR ACTIVITY. There was NOTHING the Pentagon could have done to help them. Those people inside the Eastern Libya City of Benghazi, operating on behalf of the administration, were, for all intents and purposes, GHOSTS. They did not “technically” exist.

Regardless of whether you agree or disagree with the mission they were tasked to carry out, there is no doubt they worked honorably to serve their nation. Ultimately the leadership within the State Department, The CIA, and the White House are responsible for the outcomes of policy.

Our hope is that this outline will stimulate journalists to question those who were at the heart of these two operations. Ultimately the Trey Gowdy select committee will find there is no venue to discuss intelligence operations with public sunlight. While both Zero Footprint in 2011, and the Unnamed CIA operation in 2012 were flawed policy – they were not necessarily illegal.

There is a matter of an unidentified State Dept $6 billion contractor fund missing from Hillary’s term as Secretary of State; that might bear investigation. However, beyond those smaller questions there is little if anything to gain.
FUBAR.

~ Sundance
Common Questions: The AFTERMATH – “The Cairo Protest VS The Benghazi Attack”

Here is where people get confused – because the U.S. State department wanted people to get confused.

On 9/11/12 the State Department was originally trying to deflect attention away from the Cairo Embassy Protest.

CNN correspondent Nick Robertson interviewed Muslim Brotherhood leader Mohammed Al Zawahiri on the morning of the planned Cairo protest 9/11/12. Zawahiri and team told Robertson they were rallying and protesting for the release of the Blind Sheik.

The protest turned violent and the U.S. Embassy was overrun by extremists who eventually hoisted the black flag of al-Qaeda within the compound.

The State Dept was trying desperately to cover their ass and frame the narrative so the optics of the al-Qaeda onslaught to the Embassy could be controlled.

To hide the intentions of the protesting mob (release of the Blind Sheik) the U.S. State Department fell back on a story about the Mohammed video – which they found out about two days earlier.

Against the backdrop of an upcoming election, and with Republicans beating up Democrats over the short-sighted foreign policy, the State Dept did not want the Muhammed Al Zawahiri narrative. The compound being overrun was a political embarrassment so they used the silly video to explain the protest:

(Remember this is all early in the day – prior to the Benghazi attack)

However, Mitt Romney jumped on this State Dept. Press Release to make the case that the U.S. appeared weak and apologetic. It created an immediate stir.

Unknown at the time was an UNRELATED attack was taking place at the Benghazi compound. The attack at Benghazi Libya had nothing to do with the protests at the Cairo embassy.

However, once the Benghazi attack took place, the State Dept needed a cover story which would sell to the U.S. electorate to explain the Benghazi issues. What Hillary and team did was sell/use the Cairo story as an explanation for Benghazi.

This is how the U-Tube video came into play.

The U-Tube video had nothing to do with the Cairo Embassy Protest.
The U-Tube video had nothing to do with the Benghazi attack.

Nothing about the U-Tube story was correct. It was all manufactured excuse-making, strategically put into the media cycle to protect the administration from the reality of flawed policy.

The U-Tube video had nothing to do with the Embassy protest in Cairo, nor the Benghazi attack in Libya. By now I think everyone would concur, albeit the media never went back to the Cairo motive to discuss because it became a secondary issue.

Did the Muslim Brotherhood leadership in Cairo, or specifically Muhammed Al Zawahiri, coordinate in some way with Ansar al Sharia in Libya, specifically on 9/11/12?

That’s a good question – unfortunately however, it’s a question without a factual answer. I don’t know; and an argument can be made that given all of the players and the influx of their communication it’s quite possible there was some coordination of effort.

What is factually certain is any communication they did have had nothing to do with a ridiculous U-Tube video.

The Cairo protest was 100% certain to be about the release of the Blind Sheik.

Was the Benghazi attack related in some effort to gain a hostage (Chris Stevens) as leverage toward that Al Zawahiri effort? Possible. I’ve seen that argument made, but have not been able to definitively connect the two.

It is a hard question to answer because the leadership of the Muslim Brotherhood, Muhammed Al Zawahiri (the brother of al-Qaeda’s #1 Ayman Al Zawahiri), and the leadership of Ansar Al Sharia were not necessarily telling the foot soldiers the plans or larger objectives.

I do, however, believe the answer, if known, would be known by Fattah el-Sisi in Egypt and his team of military and intelligence people. The most reasonable approach is to listen to the Egyptian intelligence leadership on this point.

The original article with photos can be found here:

The Benghazi Brief – Three Year Anniversary…

 

Categories: CIA, Execution, Government Secrets, Muslims, Obama, Politics, Syria, Terrorists, Uncategorized | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

[Terror alert] ISIS planning major U.S. attack…Obama unconcerned, imports more muslims.


muslim

Next week kicks off the unofficial start to summer – but Islamic terrorists are hoping to launch something else entirely, and it has security experts concerned.

ISIS commanders are ordering followers to launch a major attack on Americans on U.S. soil in “celebration” of the Muslim holiday of Ramadan, which begins June 5.

Their objective is simple — kill as many innocent Americans as possible.

“Ramadan, the month of conquest and jihad,” declared Abu Mohammed al-Adnani, the madman considered the “official” spokesman for the Islamic State, according to Reuters. “Get prepared, be ready… to make it a month of calamity everywhere for the non-believers… especially for the fighters and supporters of the caliphate in Europe and America.”

He didn’t just call on attacks against American soldiers locked in battle with ISIS in Iraq. He called on terrorist operatives and sleeper cells to launch a wave of terror right here in the United States.

He even urged supporters not to fly to the Middle East to join ISIS’s twisted effort, but to stay home and kill on American soil instead.

“The smallest action you do in their heartland is better and more enduring to us than what you would if you were with us,” he ranted. “If one of you hoped to reach the Islamic State, we wish we were in your place to punish the Crusaders day and night.”

Despite the threat, President Barack Obama has so far failed to respond. The terror threat level remains unchanged, and there are no indications of a beefed-up law enforcement effort.

In fact, the U.S. continues to accept Middle Eastern migrants that ISIS has promised to infiltrate with fighters.

But based on the past week, the feds need to stop avoiding the issue and get serious about protecting Americans from the Islamic threat – because European authorities are warning that this could be the bloodiest month in history.

“We risk being confronted with a new form of attack: A terrorist campaign characterized by leaving explosive devices in places where big crowds gather, multiplying this type of action to create a climate of panic,” warned Patrick Calvar, head of French intelligence.

But they might not just be aiming for crowds on the ground… but also innocents in the air, planes full of travelers who want nothing more than a little summer fun with family members.

It’s not yet clear what brought down EgyptAir Flight 804 last week, but many leading experts believe it was a terrorist act.

House Foreign Affairs Committee Rep. Ed Royce said on ABC’s “This Week” on Sunday that terror is “highly likely.”

This plane didn’t start out in Egypt, which is known for its problems and where lax security may have helped terrorists down Metrojet Flight 9268 to Russia last year.

The flight originated from Charles de Gaulle Airport in Paris, home to some of the world’s strictest security standards.

If ISIS-linked radicals have managed to find a way to evade that extra security and get a bomb onto a plane in Paris, there’s no telling where they might strike next.

And that may even be why there has been no claim of responsibility just yet.

“The more sinister but less likely explanation is that a terrorist group has figured out a novel way to attack aircraft and is concealing its involvement in order to replicate the attack elsewhere,” intelligence advisory company Strategic Forecasting said in a report issued over the weekend.

Categories: Democrats, Illegals, Immigration, Liberals, Muslims, Obama, revealing information, Syria, Terrorists, Uncategorized | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Sandpit view of the Afghan War Zone….


A very interesting read, a Marine’s View of what is really going on.  This young man is articulate and has a flare for colorful language, and descriptive prose,  Scorpions, Chiggers & Sand Fleas.  It’s a great letter, a must read for every American citizen.

From a Recon Marine in Afghanistan:

From the Sand Pit

It’s freezing here.  I’m sitting on hard cold dirt between rocks and shrubs at the base of the Hindu Kush Mountains, along the Dar’yoi Pamir River, watching a hole that leads to a tunnel that leads to a cave.  Stake out, my friend, and no pizza delivery for thousands of miles.

I also glance at the area around my ass every ten to fifteen seconds to avoid another scorpion sting.  I’ve actually given up battling the chiggers and sand fleas, but the scorpions give a jolt like a cattle prod.  Hurts like a bastard.  The antidote tastes like transmission fluid, but God bless the Marine Corps for the five vials of it in my pack.  The one truth the Taliban cannot escape is that, believe it or not, they are human beings, which means they have to eat food and drink water.  That requires couriers and that’s where an old bounty hunter like me comes in handy.

I track the couriers, locate the tunnel entrances and storage facilities, type the info into the hand held, and shoot the coordinates up to the satellite link that tells the air commanders where to drop the hardware.  We bash some heads for a while, and then I track and record the new movement.  It’s all about intelligence.  We haven’t even brought in the snipers yet.  These scurrying rats have no idea what they’re in for.  We are but days away from cutting off supply lines and allowing the eradication to begin.  But you know me; I’m a romantic.  I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again: This country blows, man.  It’s not even a country.  There are no roads, there’s no infrastructure, there’s no government.

This is an inhospitable, rock-pit shit-hole ruled by eleventh century warring tribes.  There are no jobs here like we know jobs.  Afghanistan offers only two ways for a man to support his family, join the opium trade or join the army.  That’s it.  Those are your options.  Oh, I forgot, you can also live in a refugee camp and eat plum-sweetened, crushed beetle paste and squirt mud like a goose with stomach flu, if that’s your idea of a party.  But the smell alone of those ‘tent cities of the walking dead’ is enough to hurl you into the poppy fields to cheerfully scrape bulbs for eighteen hours a day.

I’ve been living with these Tajiks and Uzbeks, and Turkmen and even a couple of Pashtu’s, for over a month-and-a-half now, and this much I can say for sure: These guys, are Huns, actual, living Huns.  They LIVE to fight.  It’s what they do.  It’s ALL they do.  They have no respect for anything; not for themselves, their families, or for each other.  They claw at one another as a way of life.  They play polo with dead calves and force their five-year-old sons into human cockfights to defend the family honor.  Just Huns, roaming packs of savage, heartless beasts who feed on each other’s barbarism.  Cavemen with AK-47’s.  Then again, maybe I’m just a cranky young bastard.

I’m freezing my ass off on this stupid hill because my lap warmer is running out of juice, and I can’t recharge it until the sun comes up in a few hours.  Oh yeah!  You like to write letters, right?  Do me a favor, Bizarre.  Write a letter to CNN and tell Wolf and Anderson and that awful, sneering, pompous Aaron Brown to stop calling the Taliban “smart”.  They are not smart.  I suggest CNN invest in a dictionary because the word they are looking for is “cunning”.  The Taliban are cunning, like jackals, hyenas, and wolverines.  They are sneaky and ruthless, and when confronted, they are cowardly.  They are hateful, malevolent parasites who create nothing and destroy everything else.

Smart?  Bullshit!  Yeah, they’re real smart,  Most can’t read, but they’ve spent their entire lives listening to Imams telling them about only one book (and not a very good one, as books go).  They consider hygiene and indoor plumbing to be products of the devil.  They’re still trying to figuring out how to work a Bic lighter.  Talking to a Taliban warrior about improving his quality of life is like trying to teach an ape how to hold a pen.   Eventually he just gets frustrated and sticks you in the eye with it.

OK, enough.  Snuffle will be up soon, so I have to get back to my hole.  Covering my tracks in the snow takes a lot of practice, but I’m good at it.

Please, I tell you and my fellow Americans to turn off the TV sets and move on with your lives.  The story line you are getting from CNN and other news agencies is utter bullshit and designed not to deliver truth but rather to keep you glued to the screen so you will watch the next commercial.  We’ve got this one under control.  The worst thing you guys can do right now is sit around analyzing what we’re doing over here.  You have no idea what we’re doing, and you really don’t want to know.  We are your military, and we are only doing what you sent us here to do.

From a Jack Recon Marine in Afghanistan, Semper Fi.

“Freedom is not free, but the U.S. Marine Corps is paying most of your share”.

Send this to YOUR FRIENDS so that people there will really know what is going on over here.

God Bless America.

PS  Why would any civilized country want to bring these barbarians into their cities or states.  To do so is total suicidal insanity!

Categories: CIA, Congress, Constitution, Democrats, Government Secrets, Illegals, Liberals, Middle East, Muslims, Obama, Uncategorized | Tags: , , , , , , | 5 Comments

Fact Check: Top 10 Lies in Obama’s State of the Union…..


President Barack Obama promised his final State of the Union address would be short. Dana Bash of CNN called it “low-energy.” One thing it was not was accurate–or honest. Here are Obama’s top ten lies, in chronological order.

1. “[W]e’ve done all this while cutting our deficits by almost three-quarters.”This is pure fiction. Obama has doubled the national debt, and it’s not because he cut the deficit. Rather, he spent staggering amounts of money in his first months in office–which he assigns, dishonestly, to the previous fiscal year, under George W. Bush. He “cut” (i.e. spent more gradually) from that spending, but only under protest, after Republicans took the House in 2010.

(Update: It is true that Obama’s 2015 budget deficit was about 25% of his 2010 deficit. But he referred to “deficits,” plural. Until last year, all of Obama’s deficits were worse than all of Bush’s deficits except for the last two.)

2. “Anyone claiming that America’s economy is in decline is peddling fiction.” With that line, Obama took a shot at his would-be Democratic successors, as well as his Republican critics. But the truth is that despite the slow recovery–the slowest since World War II–labor force participation is the lowest it has been in decades. Wages are stagnant, household incomes still have not recovered from the recession, and young people see a bleak future.

3. “That’s what the Affordable Care Act is all about. It’s about filling the gaps in employer-based care so that when we lose a job, or go back to school, or start that new business, we’ll still have coverage.”That is a cruel joke, given that Obamacare canceled insurance coverage for millions of Americans who did not change jobs. It also raised deductibles and premiums so high that many insurance companies are leaving the Obama exchanges totally.

4. “Food Stamp recipients didn’t cause the financial crisis; recklessness on Wall Street did.” Actually, food stamp recipients, metaphorically speaking, were indirectly responsible–as well as Wall Street sharks. Obama leaves out the government’s role, under the Community Reinvestment Act, in pushing mortgages on people who could not afford them, and in backing the derivatives based on those mortgages that ultimately burst the whole bubble.

5. “We’ve protected an open internet…”. Obama’s policy of Net Neutrality has turned Internet service providers into public utilities under an ancient regulatory regime. The result has been a sharp decline in broadband investment and a much less free and open system. In addition, the Obama administration is rushing to shift control of ICANN to the international community, which will ensure that the Internet is less free, and subject to overseas censorship.

6. “Seven years ago, we made the single biggest investment in clean energy in our history. Here are the results.” It is laughable that Obama would claim his failed clean energy spending–think Solyndra–led to the fracking-fed energy boom we have enjoyed for the past several years, especially when the administration did all it could to stop oil and gas development. He also nixed the Keystone pipeline and started a plan to kill coal plants.

7. “No nation dares to attack us or our allies because they know that’s the path to ruin.” Of all the lies in Obama’s speech, this was undoubtedly the worst, coming hours after Iran seized two U.S. Navy boats and ten sailors. Obama did not even mention those Americans in captivity at any point in his speech, declining the chance to reassure the nation that they would come home safely. It is an omission that will define this address in history.

8. “As someone who begins every day with an intelligence briefing, I know this is a dangerous time.” Obama does not attend most of his daily intelligence briefings, preferring instead to read intelligence reports–so he claims–on his iPad, a stark contrast to the attentive approach of his predecessor. Late last year, even as Obama claimed that there was little risk from attack, radical Islamic terrorists carried out brutal attacks in Paris and in San Bernardino.

9. “We are training, arming, and supporting forces who are steadily reclaiming territory in Iraq and Syria [from Islamic State].” The Obama administration’s attempt to train and arm Syrian rebels has been a disaster. Belatedly, the administration has helped Kurdish peshmerga forces, and the Iraqi military has made gains lately, but Obama has not made a serious effort to defeat the Islamic State, and is even giving up on regime change in Syria.

10. “Fifty years of isolating Cuba had failed to promote democracy, setting us back in Latin America.” And a year of appeasement has not promoted democracy, either. The Castros remain firmly in power, and we are not helping the opposition. Worse, the Cuban regime continues to arrest thousands of political dissidents, to cozy up to enemies like Iran and North Korea, and to carry out provocative acts–such as stealing a U.S. Hellfire missile.

Towards the end of his speech, Obama told one important truth: “There’s no doubt a president with the gifts of Lincoln or Roosevelt might have better bridged the divide…”.

An unusual, but overdue, admission of guilt.

Categories: 2nd Amendment, Banking, Bill of Rights, Congress, Constitution, Democrats, Government Secrets, gun control, Illegals, Immigration, Muslims, Obama, Obamacare, Politics, Syria, Uncategorized | Tags: , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

What Obama Got Wrong in the State of the Union….


Heritage Foundation experts weighed in on the policies President Barack Obama mentioned in his last State of the Union address. Here is what they had to say after the president’s speech.

Economy

The Economy Is Far From Booming

President Obama boasts America is in the “middle of the longest streak of private-sector job creation in history.” On paper, he is right. But the economy is far from booming.

While the labor market has improved, it remains much weaker than before the recession hit.

As Obama noted, the unemployment rate has fallen and the economy has added jobs. Unfortunately, much of this improvement comes from Americans dropping out of the labor force. People not looking for work do not count as unemployed.

Yet, they still lack jobs.

The employment rate for 25-54 year olds remains over 2 percentage points below pre-recession levels. Most of the hiring the president touted was simply job creation keeping pace with population growth.

Those Americans who did lose their jobs still have a hard time finding new work. The average unemployed worker has spent over six months jobless. That is longer than any time between the end of World War II and Obama’s inauguration. Workers have good reason to feel anxious about the economy.

– James Sherk, research fellow in labor economics

Obama’s Backwards Thinking on Economic Value of Renewable Energy

President Obama boasted that “On rooftops from Arizona to New York, solar is saving Americans tens of millions of dollars a year on their energy bills and employs more than coal – in jobs that pay better than average.”

Proponents of renewable energy consistently argue that renewables create more jobs per kilowatt hour and thus are a good investment. If that’s the recipe for job creation and economic growth, we can scrap using machinery to pave roads and grow crops.

By Obama’s logic, we can create more jobs by giving people shovels to perform those duties. That would certainly create jobs, but it would also significantly reduce productivity. If we can produce more energy with less labor, that frees up human resources to be productive elsewhere in the economy.

Importantly, there are several key omissions from Obama’s statement. Heavy-handed regulations devoid of any meaningful environmental benefit are driving out coal as an important, reliable energy source and destroying jobs in the process. Solar benefits from generous taxpayer-funded subsidies and while the costs are coming down, solar still remains one of the priciest ways to generate electricity.

If Obama wants to tip his hat to something, he should point to that fact that market-driven small drilling technologies have put money back into the wallets of families. According to the government’s own Energy Information Administration,

“Wholesale electricity prices at major trading hubs on a monthly average basis for on-peak hours were down 27 percent-37 percent across the nation in 2015 compared with 2014, driven largely by lower natural gas prices.”

As Obama said, “I believe a thriving private sector is the lifeblood of our economy.” The oil and gas boom is but one shining example.

Nicolas Loris, Herbert and Joyce Morgan Fellow

It’s Obama’s Economy, Not the Robots, Workers Should Fear

The President argued that automation has become uniquely challenging for American workers. It’s a strange problem to highlight, for two reasons. First, economists have found no historical relationship between automation and employment rates. In the past, workers who lost their jobs because of technology always found new work. Automation only seems like a threat because finding new jobs in Obama’s recovery has been historically difficult.

Chart2

Second, the rate of automation has slowed sharply since 2003. Employers are finding fewer new ways to automate labor in this decade than they did in the last. Increased automation increases labor productivity; it allows employers to produce their goods with fewer man hours (and more machine hours) than before. But the Bureau of Labor Statistics finds labor productivity has slowed for the past decade. Automation has become a smaller challenger for workers than it was in the past.

The economy faces many challenges. Robots broadly eliminating the need for human labor is not among them.

 – James Sherk, research fellow, labor economics

Government Policies Caused the Financial Crisis and Made the Recession Worse

No, recklessness on Wall Street did not cause the financial crisis, a host of terrible government policies did.

President Bill Clinton’s National Partners in Homeownership set a completely arbitrary goal of increasing home ownership, and it turned out most qualified homebuyers already owned homes. All the additional lending helped to create a housing bubble and increased consumer debt, and the capital requirements that federal regulators imposed on the financial system spread risky loans throughout the markets.

The ever-increasing socialization of losses, by both implicit and explicit government guarantees, added fuel for the fire. The system that gave us the crisis – affordable housing goals, shaky underwriting standards and Fannie and Freddie – remains largely in place.  If we want to prevent another crisis,these policies need to be reversed.

Norbert Michel, research fellow in financial regulations

We Dont Need Government ‘Investments’ in Energy

Energy is one of the last sectors of the economy that needs help from the federal government or a centralized plan. The laws of supply and demand work quite well. We have an abundance of resources, and a great deal of suppliers producing energy from a mix of energy sources. The global market for energy is a multi-trillion dollar opportunity.

One energy consulting firm estimated that in 2011, world expenditures for energy totaled more than $6 trillion – 10 percent of global Gross Domestic Product and the second largest expenditure behind health care.

The International Energy Agency projects that that tens of trillions of dollars of energy investment will be necessary to meet global energy demands over the next twenty years. Any company that has a viable technology will not need any help from the taxpayer or a government program. Profits will reward innovative ideas and promising technologies.

Nicolas Loris, Herbert & Joyce Morgan Fellow

Obama-Era Regulations Cost Taxpayers $80 Billion a Year

President Obama tonight stated that “there are outdated regulations that need to be changed, and there’s red tape that needs to be cut.”

He is right. But he has said that many times before. And, despite all the talk, his administration has done virtually nothing to reform or repeal the unnecessary red tape. Instead of rooting out outdated rules, he has added on record numbers of new ones.

Overall, according to our annual “Red Tape Rising” report on federal regulation, 184 major new rules have been imposed on the American people since Obama took office, costing some $80 billion each and every year. The number of such rules pared back: only 17. So much for cutting red tape.

Rather than the careful assessment of new and old rules the president spoke of, in practice his regulatory policy has been a one way ratchet toward ever more rules from Washington governing the lives of Americans.

James Gattuso, senior research fellow in regulatory policy

Squeezed Earnings Happened Under Obama’s Watch

President Obama talked about long-term economic trends squeezing workers. He should have made it clear this squeeze is a recent phenomenon.Congressional Budget Office data shows that workers at every income level prospered between 1979 and 2007.

During that period non-elderly households in the middle quintile saw their labor market earnings rise by a third. Households in the poorest quintile saw their labor market income rise well over 50 percent. From the Reagan Presidency until the Great Recession, American economic opportunities expanded up and down the income ladder.

Chart

Since the Recession and the slow Obama recovery that has changed. Between 2007 and 2011 (the most recent data available) labor income for non-elderly households in the middle quintile dropped roughly 10 percentage points.

No wonder Americans are down on the economy. But these problems have predominantly occurred on Obama’s watch. That should make Americans skeptical that doubling down on his preferred policies would fix them.

James Sherk, research fellow, labor economics

No Presidential Leadership on Entitlement Reform

President Obama stated in the State of the Union tonight that “Social Security and Medicare are more important than ever; we shouldn’t weaken them, we should strengthen them.” Beyond catering to his political base, Obama offered no details on how he would strengthen these programs.

Obama failed the nation during his term thus far when it comes to reforming Social Security and Medicare. Despite his 2009 promise that “some of the hard decisions are made under my watch, not someone else,” we’ve seen very little action from the president on accomplishing this feat. Unsustainable, poorly conceived cuts to Medicare from Obamacare and a bailout of Social Security’s disability program can hardly be counted as entitlement reform.

One of every $10 produced by the U.S. economy in fiscal year 2015 was spent on only three federal programs: Social Security, Medicare and Medicaid.

These three programs alone consume more than half of all federal spending and they are growing rapidly. The next president must lead on entitlement reform upon entering office.

Romina Boccia, deputy director, Thomas A. Roe Institute for Economic Policy Studies and Grover M. Hermann Research Fellow

When Job Training Hurts, Not Helps

The Hippocratic oath enjoins doctors to “first, do no harm.” The president should keep that in mind with his job training proposals. He suggested sending unemployment insurance recipients through federal job training. But evaluations find one of the major federal job training programs makes it harder for workers to get jobs.

The federal government funds “Trade Adjustment Assistance” benefits for workers who lose their job to foreign trade. The program includes generous federal subsidies and free job training. You might expect this to improve displaced workers’ incomes. But when Mathematica evaluated the program, it found participants made $27,000 less than workers outside the program.

What happened? Trade Adjustment Assistance encouraged jobless workers to enroll in federal job training programs instead of looking for new work immediately. But the job training didn’t improve their job prospects. So they wasted over a year they could have spent job hunting in a training program employers didn’t value. Workers never fully recovered from missing those potential job opportunities. Even the federal subsidies only partially made up their losses. The unemployed workers would have made more money skipping the training program, even if it meant forgoing the federal subsidies.

Congress should think carefully before creating another federal job training program. They could easily wind up hurting the workers they want to help.

James Sherk, research fellow, labor economics

The Same Tired Line on Federal Infrastructure Spending

Once again, President Obama made a cursory mention of infrastructure in his State of the Union, claiming that if only the federal government would spend more taxpayer money (gleaned from higher taxes on fossil fuels), the government can “put tens of thousands of Americans to work building a 21st century transportation system.” But as innocuous as this agenda sounds, it fundamentally misses the mark.

Using government spending to stimulate job creation was a cornerstone of the Obama stimulus plan that ultimately failed to produce the “shovel ready” jobs the president promised. A big problem is that infrastructure projects take a long time to plan and require highly-skilled labor, meaning that spending on these projects is ineffective at creating new jobs for recently unemployed Americans (most of whom lack the necessary job skills). The federal government has a very poor track record as a job creator, and spending on infrastructure is no exception.

Instead, transportation infrastructure should focus scarce resources on enhancing mobility and relieving congestion so that American workers, businesses, and travelers all over the country can get where they need to go. At this, the top-down federal transportation program has been ineffective. The federal gas taxes that were originally intended to maintain the Interstate Highway System – a true national priority – are diverted to various special interests by Congress and federal bureaucrats. Over a quarter of gas taxes are siphoned to projects that are not proper federal priorities, such as local transit and bike-share programs, while a mere six percent goes to the actual construction of major projects.

Due to perennial overspending on transportation projects, the federal Highway Trust Fund has required over $140 billion in bailouts since 2008. And even though the president pledged that we should not “subsidize the past”, the federal government spends millions in subsidies incentivizing cities to build cumbersome and expensive streetcar projects, which last saw their heyday in the early 20th century.

Federal promises of job creation and effective infrastructure investment have floundered. Rather than continuing the one-size-fits all approach out of Washington that has left millions of Americans stuck in traffic, the federal government should get out of the way to empower the states and private sector–who can best gauge local priorities–to truly build a 21st century transportation system.

Michael Sargent, research associate, Thomas A. Roe Institute for Economic Policy Studies

Presidents Obama vs. President Reagan on Trade

In his final State of the Union Address, President Obama suggested the proposed Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) would “open markets, protect workers and the environment, and advance American leadership.”

The key factor for Congress to evaluate will be whether TPP really doespromote open markets and economic freedom. If it does, workers and the environment will benefit. The latest rankings of trade freedom around the world in the Heritage Foundation’s forthcoming 2016 Index of Economic Freedom confirm that citizens of countries that embrace free trade are better off than those in countries that do not. The data continue to show a strong correlation between trade freedom and a variety of positive indicators, including economic prosperity, low poverty rates, and clean environments.

Obama missed an opportunity to explain the benefits of trade when he said, “Companies in a global economy can locate anywhere, and face tougher competition. As a result, workers have less leverage for a raise.” In fact, the global economy brings enormous benefits to workers, both through importsused by American manufacturers to compete, and through jobs provided to nearly 6 million workers thanks to foreign investment in the United States.

As President Ronald Reagan observed in his final State of the Union address: “One of the greatest contributions the United States can make to the world is to promote freedom as the key to economic growth. A creative, competitive America is the answer to a changing world, not trade wars that would close doors, create greater barriers, and destroy millions of jobs.”

Bryan Riley, Jay Van Andel senior policy analyst

Education

President’s Preschool Push Entangles Washington in the Care of the Youngest Americans

President Obama’s suggestion that government should become further entangled in the education and care of the youngest Americans would not serve children or taxpayers well.

Washington already has a poor track record engaging in K–12 education, with federal spending more than doubling over the past three decades while academic achievement and attainment has languished, particularly among low-income students.

Further federal intervention in preschool and childcare will crowd out the private provision of care, increase costs for taxpayers, and will fail to create lasting academic benefits for children, as recent evaluations of state and federal programs have demonstrated. A large-scale evaluation of the federal Head Start program found the program had no impact on the academic outcomes, social-emotional well being, health outcomes, or parenting practices of participants.

A recent evaluation of Tennessee’s voluntary pre-K program (TN-VPK) had similarly unimpressive outcomes. Researchers from Vanderbilt found that in Tennessee’s program, which is lauded as a model of state preschool programs by proponents, by second grade,

the [experiment and control] groups began to diverge with the TN-VPK children scoring lower than the control children on most of the measures. The differences were significant on both achievement composite measures and on the math subtests.

More federal intervention in preschool and childcare will also fail to address deeper social issues while being largely duplicative of existing efforts, as nearly three-quarters of four-year-olds are already enrolled in some form of preschool.

Lindsey Burke, Will Skillman Fellow in Education at The Institute for Family, Community, and Opportunity

More Federal Subsidies Will Not Solve the College Cost Problem

The president’s proposal to provide “free” community college is not the solution to the college affordability problem. Students who are low-income already have access to federal student aid such as Pell Grants, which can be used to finance the cost of attending community college. So the proposal will serve as little more than a federal handout to the community college system. Community colleges also face their own challenges, with less than 20 percentof first time students enrolled in community colleges graduating within three years.

America’s $1.2 trillion student loan tab presents a serious problem in our economy. Americans would be better served by policies that actually help to lower higher education costs, making higher education an engine of upward mobility for American who choose to pursue it. That goal requires broad reforms to accreditation, reforms to federal student aid programs, and streamlining and reducing burdensome regulations and requirements that permeate higher education today.

Mary Clare Reim, research associate in education policy 

Foreign Policy and National Security

No Strategy, Only Spin When It Comes to Fighting ISIS

A few years ago President Obama described ISIS as the “JV team.”

Today, the terror group poses more of a threat to the world than ever before. As recent Heritage Foundation research pointed out, in the past two years ISIS has established a presence in 19 countries. Foreign fighters are flocking to the wannabe caliphate in droves.

In Syria and Iraq, ISIS controls territory the size of Maryland and rules over a population equivalent to Virginia’s. Although ISIS was recently kicked out of the Iraqi town of Ramadi, it still occupies Mosul—Iraq’s second largest city of almost 2 million people.

Obama’s remarks tonight reaffirmed what everyone already knew: that there is no strategy to defeat ISIS and he cannot wait to pass the buck to his successor.

Even though the U.S. dropped 22,110 bombs against ISIS in 2015 (by comparison, during the first 30 days alone of the 2003 Iraq invasion the U.S dropped 29,000 munitions) the air campaign has achieved minimal success on the ground. The administration’s program to train and equip so-called ‘moderate’ Syrian rebels has been a complete failure—to the tune of $500 million. More importantly, the U.S. has failed at drumming up more support on the Arab Street to take on ISIS.

Sadly, the next U.S. President will inherit a mess in the region.

Luke Coffey, director of Douglas and Sarah Allison Center for Foreign Policy

A Delusional National Security Review

When it came to national security issues, President Obama’s State of the Union address veered from delusional to dishonest. He presented the American people with a series of false choices, straw arguments and inaccurate assessments regarding his track record.

Regarding Islamic State (ISIS, or ISIL), Obama tried to downplay the existential threat they posed. The president has past form on this. It was, after all, his complacency towards the gathering strength of the group in 2013/14 (when he referred to them as a “jayvee team”) that helped ISIS grow into the threat it now truly is. Rather than learning this lesson, he instead focused his ire on those who “build [ISIL] up”.

Obama went on to provide a list of initiatives that the U.S. was spearheading in the war against the group, which included efforts to “cut off ISIL’s financing, disrupt their plots, stop the flow of terrorist fighters, and stamp out their vicious ideology.” These were unusual examples to cite, because on every count, these efforts have failed. ISIS is stocked with foreign fighters, its ideology has spread across the globe, it has launched attacks in mainland Europe and it remains financially strong.

Obama also dismissed the idea that theology could be at the heart of ISIS’s appeal, dubbing them simply “killers and fanatics”. Yet a refusal to acknowledge the religious component to ISIS’s activities is counter-productive. It is only by understanding the group’s appeal and its beliefs that we can subsequently cut off the sources of its recruitment.

Obama constructed another straw man by claiming that “the lesson of Vietnam, of Iraq” was that the U.S. cannot “try to take over and rebuild every country that falls into crisis”. This was particularly absurd. No one seriously believes that the U.S. could or should take on such a role. It also ignores the fact that what Obama claims to be his “smarter” approach has led to disasters in Libya, Syria and Yemen, to name but three. Attempting to argue that his “patient and disciplined” strategy meant the U.S. was “leading international efforts to help that broken society pursue a lasting peace” in Syria was a particularly deluded attempt at recasting the situation there as anything other than an utter disaster.

Robin Simcox, Margaret Thatcher Fellow

US Lacks a Grand Strategy to Deal With Russian Aggression

Almost seven years later, the so-called Russian ‘reset’ policy is now a Russian regret. Russia still occupies 20 percent of Georgia’s territory. Moscow’s imperialism has resulted in the illegal occupation and annexation of Crimea and a Russian invasion of eastern Ukraine. Russia is testing NATO in the Baltics, rebuilding its military bases in the Arctic, and has intervened in the Syrian Civil War with no regard to the consequences.

Since taking office President Obama and many of those around him have assumed that Vladimir Putin is someone you can do business with, that Europe is no longer important, and that military power no longer buys the same influence on the world stage as it once did. These assumptions have led to bad policy decisions (such as the removal of 10,000 U.S. troops from Europe and drastic cuts to the U.S. military) by this White House that has emboldened Russian aggression and tested the transatlantic alliance to its limits.

During the State of the Union address Obama glossed over Russia’s aggression. Astoundingly, the upcoming NATO Summit in July 2016, Obama’s last, did not even get a mention in the Commander in Chief’s 5,438 word long speech. In fact, the word NATO was not said at all.

Just because a problem is ignored does not mean it will go away. As Heritage Foundation experts have pointed out, the U.S. needs a comprehensive grand strategy to deal with Russia. Unfortunately, it looks like America and her allies will have to wait for 2017 because this becomes a possibility. No doubt Putin will be taking advantage of the situation during the meantime.

Luke Coffey, director of Douglas and Sarah Allison Center for Foreign Policy

A Disconnect on Middle East Policy

President Obama remained in denial about the disastrous nature of his Middle East policy throughout the small parts of his state of the union speech that dealt with foreign policy.

He said that: “Priority number one is protecting the American people and going after terrorist networks.” That certainly was not the case in his last state of the union speech, which was the first that did not mention al-Qaeda since George W. Bush’s 2002 speech. He glossed over the uneven results of his half-hearted, slow-motion incremental response to the rise of ISIS and fumbling responses to the deepening crisis in Syria, where his administration has been consistently behind the curve.

His optimism on defeating these two terrorist networks would be reassuring if he wasn’t the same misinformed person who told Americans that the war in Iraq had ended, that ISIS was a “J.V. team” and that ISIS was contained the day before it launched the Paris terrorist attacks that killed 130 people.

He also made no mention of Iran’s terrorist network, which is sure to be boosted when Tehran collects up to $100 billion in sanctions relief under his risky nuclear deal. But perhaps he believes that Iran’s theocratic dictatorship will swayed by his optimism that “the unarmed truth and unconditional love will have the final word.”

– James Phillips, senior research fellow for middle eastern affairs

Yet Another ‘Close GITMO’ Promise

Once again, President Obama used his State of the Union speech to urge Congress to work with him to close the terrorist detention facility at Naval Station Guantanamo Bay, Cuba (GITMO). But it is worth reminding everyone that GITMO is open for one reason and one reason only: because Obama failed to close the facility when the stage was set for him to do so.

In 2009-2010, Obama’s own party held a 59-41 majority in the Senate, and a 257-178 advantage in the House of Representatives. If the president needed any legislation to close Guantanamo—a debatable point—or simply the political backing of the majorities in both houses of Congress, the stars were aligned for him to do so.

But instead of working with Congress to close GITMO in 2009-2010, the administration engaged in a series of controversial moves that caused a bi-partisan uproar, resulting in the Democrat-controlled congress passing legislation that each year since 2009 has made it more difficult to close GITMO.

Failing to lead has serious consequences. The window to close GITMO has come and gone.

Today, the threats from al-Qaeda, the Afghan Taliban, ISIS and associated forces are very real. Transferring some of the 103 remaining detainees and moving the rest to the United States – in direct violation of a congressional statute passed with Democratic support – is not prudent.

Changing the zip code of where we keep terrorist detainees will not alter the terrorists’ hatred for and attempted attacks against the United States one bit.

– Cully Stimpson, manager, national security law program and senior legal fellow

Obama’s Failed Cuba Policy

The facts clearly demonstrate the ineffectiveness of President Obama’s radical new Cuba policy. Diplomatic recognition and increased commercial opportunities to the Castro regime have emboldened the military dictatorship. This has directly resulted in historic levels of repression against the anti-Castro opposition.

It’s also resulted in a continuation of hostility against U.S. national security interests.

Despite a year chock full of unilateral concessions, Havana continues undermining the U.S. and our interests. Dissidents have suffered historic levels of repression, even during Pope Francis’s visit to the island.

Recently, it was discovered the regime has been in possession for over a year of an inert U.S. Hellfire Missile, which was shipped from Spain to the island. The administration has not been able to answer how it got there, or if other hostile countries have obtained sensitive defense technology from it.

We must also keep in mind that it was only two summers ago when the Cuban government violated U.N. Security Council sanctions by clandestinely shipping weapons to North Korea.

It was incredibly shameful for the president to laude his overtures to Havana as a “success.”

– Ana Quintana, policy analyst, Latin America and the Western Hemisphere

A Presidential Lecture

Perhaps one of the most petulant presidents in modern history, lectured the country during the State of the Union not to assume that people who disagree with them act with malice. And this same president, known for a slew of controversial executive actions on such important issues as immigration and the right to bear arms, grumbled that he could not act alone, but needed Congress.

Yes, just three months after pouring invective on governors and congressmen who disagreed with him on refugees as not simply leaders with whom he disagreed; they were “un-American” and “shameful,” President Barack Obama said in the State of the Union message that “democracy does require basic bonds of trust between its citizens. It doesn’t work if we think the people who disagree with us are all motivated by malice, or that our political opponents are unpatriotic.”

Obama appeared close to coming to grips with the fact that his peevish, sullen approach to politics has made things worse in Washington. “It’s one of the few regrets of my presidency – that the rancor and suspicion between the parties has gotten worse instead of better. There’s no doubt a president with the gifts of Lincoln or Roosevelt might have better bridged the divide,” said Obama.

But then, Obama added, “But, my fellow Americans, this cannot be my task – or any president’s – alone.” Tell that to a Congress that keeps complaining that Obama does go alone whenever he doesn’t get his way on Capitol Hill.

Mike Gonzalez, senior fellow, The Kathryn and Shelby Cullom Davis Institute for National Security and Foreign Policy

Obama Tries to Downplay ISIS Threat (Again)

First President Obama called the Islamic State a “JV Team,” then he said they were “contained,” just before an ISIS inspired terrorist attack. Now Obama has characterized ISIS as “masses of fighters on the back of pickup trucks” during the State of the Union address.

The president’s most recent characterization of ISIS again tries to downplay the terrorist group’s capabilities, suggesting it is something far less formidable than it actually is.

ISIS is, however, armed to the teeth with tanks, Humvees, surface-to-air missiles, and artillery. It fields a conventional force that has routed a far-larger Iraqi military that was trained and equipped by the United States. It still controls swathes of territory in Iraq and Syria, and millions live under its subjugation. It is carving out a presence in Libya, and making a push to control that country’s lucrative oil fields.

ISIS lost approximately 14 percent of its territory in 2015, but it is far from defeated. It is certainly not a ragtag band of second-tier terrorists, which is how Obama too frequently portrays the group. During the State of the Union, the President decried the mistrust between Republicans and Democrats. Frequently mischaracterizing the ISIS danger that is obvious to most Americans is precisely the sort of thing that breeds the very suspicion the president laments.

Luke Coffey, director of Douglas and Sarah Allison Center for Foreign Policy

A False Foreign Policy Alternative 

President Obama offered his usual false alternative between occupying and rebuilding “every country that falls into crisis” (an option that literally no one is proposing), or agreeing with his foreign policy. Putting it that way is a cheat, not a choice.

But let’s take the president at his word, which is that he wants the U.S. to “help remake” the international system that the U.S. built after 1945.

Even he doesn’t seem sure about this, because a few lines later, he suggests instead that we should be seeking to strengthen that order, not remake it. And a president more grounded in history might wonder if it’s wise to want to remake the order: from 1815 to 1918 to 1945 to 1991, the system has been at its most flexible after the world has been exhausted by a major war, which isn’t what any of us want.

Nor did the president suggest a single measure that would genuinely re-make the world order: from fighting terrorism to complaining about ungoverned spaces to lecturing Russia to talking about trade deals, his proposals (or rather, his applause lines) were all old hat. But yet, if his goal really is to remake the order, he’s actually doing a good job of it. That order was grounded on U.S. pre-eminence – but from Ukraine, to Syria, to Iran, it’s American weakness, not its strength or its leadership, that’s on display.

A world order without American leadership would indeed be a new one. But it’s not one that most Americans, or most people around the world, would like.

Theodore R. Bromund, senior research fellow in Anglo-American relations

Climate Change

Reasons You Should Not Feel Lonely If You’re Questioning Whether Climate Change Is a Problem

President Obama said feel free to question the science behind climate change but doing so will leave you “pretty lonely” because “you’ll be debating our military, most of America’s business leaders, the majority of the American people, almost the entire scientific community, and 200 nations around the world who agree it’s a problem and intend to solve it.”

This “problem” of climate change is hardly one at all. Natural variations have altered the climate much more than man has. Proponents of global action on climate change will argue that 97 percent of the climatologists agree on climate change. There is significant agreement among climatologists, even those labeled as skeptics, that the Earth has warmed moderately over the past 60 years and that some portion of that warming may be attributed to manmade carbon dioxide emissions. However, there is no consensus that temperatures are increasing at an accelerating rate and we’ve seen them plateau for nearly two decades now.

Even studies that have attempted to refute the 18-year pause in global warming show that the temperature trend is much less than that projected by climate models. And even though man-made greenhouse gas emissions have increased, the world has not experienced trends in the increased frequency or magnitude of extreme weather events.

Heritage research has shown that the statistical models that the administration relies on to quantify the economic impact of climate change are heavily dependent upon certain assumptions and extremely sensitive to very reasonable tweaks to these assumptions.  In fact, under some assumptions one of the models that the administration relies on suggests that there may even be net benefits to global warming. That’s right: benefits.

The climate data simply does not suggest that man-made global warming should be at the top of the list of public concerns. Most importantly, even if you do believe the planet is heading toward catastrophe, the Obama administration’s climate agenda will drive up energy costs by driving out affordable energy sources for no meaningful climate reduction. We could grind all economic activity to a halt, hold our breaths forever, and cut carbon emissions to zero in the U.S. — and still only wind up lowering average temperatures by no more than 0.2 degrees Celsius by the end of the century.

Politicians might want to start listening to those “lonely” climate voices and have an objective, scientific debate on climate change.

Nicolas Loris, Herbert and Joyce Morgan Fellow

Kevin Dayaratna, senior satistician and research programmer

Obama’s Climate Agenda Will Cost the Economy, Not Grow It

When discussing taking action on climate change, President Obama said that it doesn’t really matter if you believe in climate change because “why would we want to pass up the chance for American businesses to produce and sell the energy of the future?” He went on to say, “But the jobs we’ll create, the money we’ll save, and the planet we’ll preserve – that’s the kind of future our kids and grandkids deserve.”

But the reality of a government-forced shift away from carbon-emitting natural resources such as coal, oil and natural gas will be a net cost to the economy – not a net gain. And the math isn’t even close. At a time when 80 percent of America’s energy needs are met by these carbon-emitting energy sources, restricting their use will drive up costs for households and businesses.

Carbon dioxide cutting policies will do nothing but kill jobs and stifle the American economy for years to come. Heritage research has found that the policies associated with these carbon cutting regulations will reduce aggregate gross-domestic product (GDP) by more than $2.5 trillion and kill hundreds upon thousands of jobs over the course of the next decade—all for a negligible impact on global temperatures. Manufacturing employment throughout the country will be hit particularly hard.

Obama’s climate agenda is all pain, no gain.

– Kevin Dayaratna, senior statistician and research programmer

Nicolas Loris, Herbert & Joyce Morgan Fellow

Agree or Disagree With Catastrophic Global Warming, There Are Serious Problems With Obama’s Approach

President Obama continues to distract from the legitimate disagreements Americans and their representatives in local, state, and federal levels of government have with this administration’s global warming agenda. Obama focused on painting a picture of “lonely” opponents who are anti-science. But even people who believe that global warming is a problem have disagreed with the President on how he has attempted to address it.

Most notably, the cornerstone of Obama’s agenda – a pair of greenhouse gas regulations known as the Clean Power Plan – fail to meet the standards of the American system of government. The Clean Power Plan rules require states to meet carbon dioxide emissions reduction goals for existing power plants and to cap emissions of carbon dioxide from new power plants to levels that are so low as to effectively prevent any coal power plant from running without carbon capture and sequestration technology (technology which has yet to be proven feasible).

Laurence Tribe, a Harvard law professor, put it eloquently in saying that representative government, not the pros and cons of addressing climate change, is at issue:

“At its core, the issue the Clean Power Plan presents is whether EPA is bound by the rule of law and must operate within the framework established by the United States Constitution. … Accordingly, EPA’s gambit would mean citizens surrendering their right to be represented by an accountable and responsive government that accords with the postulates of federalism.”

As Obama said, “Our Founders distributed power between states and branches of government, and expected us to argue, just as they did, over the size and shape of government, over commerce and foreign relations, over the meaning of liberty and the imperatives of security.” But that system breaks down when decisions normally left to states and individuals are centralized in Washington.

Regardless of political party or position on climate change or global warming, there are serious problems with the climate agenda that the Obama administration has attempted to push through.

– Katie Tubb, research associate, Thomas A. Roe Institute for Economic Policy Studies

The Energy Investments ‘We’ Made

President Obama boasted during his State of the Union address that “Seven years ago, we made the single biggest investment in clean energy in our history.”

The trouble isn’t investing in alternative technologies like wind and solar; as with other energy resources, these should have the opportunity to compete in a truly free market of energy choices. The problem is who Obama means when he says “we.”

Rather than leaving energy choices to American families and businesses, “we” has consistently meant forcing taxpayers to subsidize politically preferred energy technologies. And here are some of those results:

  • Americans footed the bill for billions of dollars in federal energy spending under the Obama stimulus package, which increased federal energy spending by over 2,000 percent. And yet politicians keep buying into the same mentality that got us Solyndra, which cost American taxpayers millions.
  • $23.8 billion in tax credits will go to subsidize wind, solar, and other renewables over the next decade by the yet-again extension of production and investment tax credits for these energy sources. The wind production tax credit has been extended, re-extended, and retroactively extended 10 times, and the solar investment tax credit as it’s known today has been around since 2005 (though it goes back to the 1970s).
  • As Obama pointed out, jobs in the solar industry have increased and solar energy is becoming more affordable. The same can be said for wind. And yet these industries have become dependent on federal support in the form of loan guarantees, targeted tax favors, and government programs. In the long run, targeted subsidies only hurt the industries they’re intended to help.
  • Even the president’s stated goal of impacting global temperatures cannot be listed as among the benefits of forcing taxpayers to subsidize green energy technologies. According to the National Academy of Science, eliminating the tax credits would increase greenhouse gas emissions by only 0.3 percent. In fact, if the president were truly concerned about environmental impacts, he might consider that a very efficient wind farm would need 260 times the amount of land to produce the same amount of electricity as a typical nuclear power plant requires, the latter which produces virtually no emissions.

Instead of defining the rules of the game as the government should do, the president’s vision for “all of the above” energy choices has consistently meant special treatment for his politically preferred energy resources.

– Katie Tubb, research associate, Thomas A. Roe Institute for Economic Policy Studies

Health Care

Less Competition and Less Access to Doctors

President Obama and his allies in Congress said that the Affordable Care Act would increase competition. In fact, there is no evidence that the law has increased the number of carriers in the insurance market. The absence of competition at the county level is stark.

Another Heritage Foundation analysis of health plan participation at the state level shows that in 2013, there were 395 individual market carriers, and in 2015, under the exchange, there were 310, a 21.5 percent reduction.

The president also said that if a person liked their doctor they would be able to keep their doctor. In fact, the law has made that access increasingly difficult. Insurance plan changes, and the loss of previous coverage, often resulted in a loss of physician or health care provider networks. For example, in April 2014, analysts at the Congressional Budget Office (CBO) found that the exchange plans had much narrower networks than they anticipated.

While the narrowing of networks reduced plan costs and thus the cost of the government insurance subsidies, the effect has been to constrict enrollee access to medical providers.

Robert Moffit, senior fellow, Center for Health Policy Studies

Public Opinion on Obamacare

President Obama claims his health care law is a success. Yet public opinion does not follow. According to the Real Clear Politics average, the health care law has yet to see approval outweigh opposition. In its latest average, from November to January – public support flounders at 43.3 percent while opposition is at 51.7 percent.

– Nina Owcharenko, director of the center for health policy studies

Health Insurance Costs

President Obama and his allies in Congress sold the Affordable Care Act (ACA) as a measure to lower health care costs for individuals, businesses and the federal government. The president even stated, repeatedly, that his version of health reform would lower health insurance premiums for the typical family by $2,500 per year.

The exact opposite of what the president promised has occurred. Beginning in 2014, as Heritage has shown, the first full year of Obamacare, premiums in the individual market sharply increased in most states. In some states, the increases were dramatic; for 50-year-olds alone, there was a premium increase of 50 percent or more in 13 states. The administration likes to emphasize that premium subsidies are available to paper over the premium costs; but no person with an annual income above 400 percent of the federal poverty level (approximately $47,000) is eligible for those subsidies. This is a big hit on the middle class.

In 2015, there was indeed a moderation of premium increases, but insurance deductibles continued to skyrocket: for the “silver” plans in the exchange – the benchmark plans – the average deductible was $2,927 for an individual and $6,100 for a family plan. In comparison, employer-based plans had traditionally low deductibles.

The biggest “rate shock” hit those persons transitioning from employer to exchange coverage. (The average deductible in employer based health insurance – nationwide – is a little over $1,200 for individual coverage). As with premiums, there are also government subsidies to paper over the costs of these high deductibles.

But no person with an annual income above 250 percent of the federal poverty level ($29,425) is eligible for those subsidies, and moreover, that assistance is only available if they enroll in a “silver” exchange plan – not bronze, gold or platinum plans. This is another big hit on the middle class.

Robert Moffit, senior fellow, Center for Health Policy Studies

Health Plan Enrollment

While the law has increased some insurance coverage, enrollment has fallen well short of the robust official projections. For 2016, the Congressional Budget Office (CBO) projected that there would be 21 million in the exchanges. More recently, the Obama administration conceded that the enrollment would be much less: a little more over 10 million.

Based on previous experience, there is every reason to be skeptical of projections. In the Spring of 2014, the administration claimed that over 8 million persons selected plans on the government website. It later corrected itself and reported that the number of those selecting plans was 7.3 million. Toward the end of 2014, around the time of the Christmas holidays, the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) said the correct number at 6.7 million.

For 2015, CBO projected 13 million people in the exchanges. But then, HHS said that 11.7 million signed up. HHS later announced that between 9 to 9.9 million were expected to enroll by the end of 2015. About 17 percent of 2014 enrollees, HHS projected, would not renew in 2015.

Enrollment depends on a variety of things: how people felt about their experience, the cost the deductibles, the networks, their satisfaction with their coverage in the exchange, the opportunities to re-enroll in employer-based coverage, and various other factors.

Projections are, of course, a poor substitute for raw data. Examining the final data for 2014 confirmed the ACA’s enrollment pattern due mostly to expansion of coverage through Medicaid, a poorly performing welfare program, where roughly one in three enrollees have trouble finding a doctor to care for them is hardly progress toward an expansion of quality care.

At the time of passage of the Affordable Care Act, the president  also insisted, routinely, that if persons like their current plan, they would be able to keep their current plan. That also turned out to be untrue. Heritage research showed that for the first three quarters of 2014 while Individual private market coverage in the exchanges grew by over 6.3 million, the number of persons with employment based coverage declined by 4.9 million. So, based on the raw data, concern over a loss of employment based coverage was justified.

Robert Moffit, senior fellow, Center for Health Policy Studies

Alternatives to Obamacare

While not raised tonight, the president and his allies in Congress repeatedly charge that congressional opponents have no alternative health plans.

This charge is flat out false. Republican Sens. Hatch, R-Utah, and Burr R-N.C., and Rep. Upton, R-Mich., produced a health plan replace blueprint. Rep. Tom Price, R-Ga., and members of the Republican Study Committee have authored comprehensive health plans. Before that Speaker Paul Ryan included major health reforms in his “Road to Prosperity” proposal.

Meanwhile, conservative public policy institutes including the Heritage Foundation, the American Enterprise Institute, the Manhattan Institute, the Goodman Institute, and many others, have outlined comprehensive plans to reform the health care system. All are united on common objectives: the reform of the tax treatment of health insurance, reform of Medicare and Medicaid, the reduction of federal regulation and the creation of open markets driven by consumer choice and competition.

 – Robert Moffit, senior fellow, Center for Health Policy Studies

Taxpayer Costs

President Obama has previously said that no taxpayer making less than $250,000 would face increased taxes. This was also clearly untrue. In fact, as Heritage Foundation analysis has shown, the bulk of the taxes imposed through Obamacare would directly impact middle or low income persons or be passed on to them in higher health care costs. This is particularly true of the tax penalties that accompany the individual and employer mandate, the medical device tax, and the federal health insurance fees. Taxes imposed on companies such as the so-called “Cadillac Tax” on high value health plans, the elimination of the employer deduction for Part D drug subsidy will also directly affect middle income citizens.

– Robert Moffit, senior fellow, Center for Health Policy Studies

Legal

The President is Correct to Support Criminal Justice Reform

At the beginning of his speech, President Obama voiced his support for bipartisan criminal justice reform. The President is correct that this does present an opportunity. Indeed, Republican and Democratic governors have been leading that reform effort throughout the country, as incarceration rates have continued to fall due to innovative approaches to fix our criminal justice system.

Congress will have the opportunity to consider bipartisan proposals such as the Smarter Sentencing Act, the Recidivism Reduction and Public Safety Enhancement Act, as well as much-needed mens rea (criminal intent) reform, all designed to make our criminal justice system more fair and more effective for all Americans. Proposals along these lines merit serious consideration.

– Alden Abbott, Rumpel Senior Legal Fellow and deputy director of the Meese Center for Legal and Judicial Studies

The President has the Wrong Perspective on Campaign Finance

The president stated that “we have to reduce the influence of money in our politics, so that a handful of families and hidden interests can’t bankroll our elections – and if our existing approach to campaign finance can’t pass muster in the courts, we need to work together to find a real solution.” This statement ignores the fact that individuals have a First Amendment right to spend their money to engage in political speech, as the Supreme Court has recognized.

Moreover, the notion that “a handful of families and interests” bankroll our elections is inaccurate and misleading. Put simply, there is no need “to find a real solution” to a supposed campaign finance “problem” that does not exist.

– Alden Abbott, Rumpel Senior Legal Fellow and deputy director of the Meese Center for Legal and Judicial Studies

The President’s Discussion of the Voting System is Misguided

The president stated that “we’ve got to make voting easier, not harder, and modernize it for the way we live now. And over the course of the year, I intend to travel the country to push for reforms that do.” There is simply no credible evidence that voting is unnecessarily hard, nor that undefined “reforms” are needed to “modernize” it.

Rather, to the extent there are problems associated with voting, they arise out of the hundreds of cases of criminal voter fraud that have been documented and published on the Heritage Foundation’s website.

To deal with this problem, election officials should seek to guarantee the sanctity of the ballot box by taking steps to prevent fraud, including in particular cleaning up voter registration rolls and verifying voter IDs.

– Alden Abbott, Rumpel Senior Legal Fellow and deputy director of the Meese Center for Legal and Judicial Studies

Life and Marriage

Expansion of EITC for Single, Childless Adults Would Increase Welfare System’s Marriage Penalties

President Obama talked about fighting poverty by expanding the Earned Income Tax Credit (EITC) for childless adults. It’s a strategy that, as the President noted, has also been promoted by House Speaker Paul Ryan, R-Wisc.

However, increasing EITC for single, childless adults would increase marriage penalties already rampant in the government’s means-tested welfare system. Absent fathers and other single individuals would only be eligible for the expanded tax credit until they married. Marriage is the greatest protection against child poverty.

Children in married-parent homes are 80 percent less likely to be poorcompared to their peers in single-parent households. Tragically, more than 40 percent of children are born outside of marriage every year. Rather than increase marriage disincentives in the government’s massive welfare system, policymakers should look for ways to reduce these penalties and strengthen marriage.

– Rachel Sheffield, policy analyst in policy analyst in the DeVos Center for Religion & Civil Society 

Categories: Bill of Rights, Congress, Constitution, Democrats, gun control, Liberals, Middle East, Muslims, Obama, Obamacare, One Government, Politics, Saudi Arabia, Syria, Terrorists, Uncategorized | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

UK Declares Muslim Brotherhood Terrorist Group, Obama is furious…


Image: UK Declares Muslim Brotherhood Terrorist Group, Breaks With ObamaBritish Prime Minister David Cameron (Photo by ALAIN JOCARD/AFP/Getty Images)

By Todd Beamon  

The United Kingdom declared the Muslim Brotherhood a terrorist group after an 18-month study ordered by British Prime Minister David Cameron — and the Obama administration slammed the document as flying in the face of the Brotherhood’s history as a “nonviolent Islamist group.”

The report, which Cameron presented to the House of Commons on Thursday, described the Muslim Brotherhood as anti-democratic, openly supportive of terrorism, dedicated to establishing an Islamist government — and opposed to the rule of law, individual liberty, and equality.

“Aspects of the Muslim Brotherhood’s ideology and activities … run counter to British values of democracy, the rule of law, individual liberty, equality and the mutual respect and tolerance of different faiths and beliefs,”Cameron said in a statement with the report’s release. “The Muslim Brotherhood is not the only movement that promotes values which appear intolerant of equality and freedom of faith and belief.”

“Nor is it the only movement or group dedicated in theory to revolutionizing societies and changing existing ways of life,” he continued. “But I have made clear this government’s determination to reject intolerance, and to counter not just violent Islamist extremism, but also to tackle those who create the conditions for it to flourish.”

“The main findings of the review support the conclusion that membership of, association with, or influence by the Muslim Brotherhood should be considered as a possible indicator of extremism,” Cameron said.

As a result, the prime minister said that the U.K. government would continue to refuse visas to Muslim Brotherhood members and associates and take other steps that included increasing surveillance on the group’s activities and whether these actions could be prosecuted.

Britain also will continue to uphold the European Community’s freeze on the assets of Hamas, another terrorist group with ties to the Brotherhood, Cameron said.

The Obama administration quickly condemned the report in a statement to the Investigative Project on Terrorism, saying that the Muslim Brotherhood had a history of nonviolence and that opposing the group could lead some members to become radicalized.

The “political repression of nonviolent Islamist groups has historically contributed to the radicalization of the minority of their members who would consider violence,” the administration said. “The de-legitimization of non-violent political groups does not promote stability, and instead advances the very outcomes that such measures are intended to prevent.”

President Barack Obama has long embraced the Muslim Brotherhood and has defended and promoted Islam in an effort to fight Islamophobia.

In 2011, Director of National Intelligence James Clapper told Congress that the Muslim Brotherhood has “pursued social ends, a betterment of the political order in Egypt.”

“In other countries, there are also chapters or franchises of the Muslim Brotherhood, but there is no overarching agenda, particularly in pursuit of violence, at least internationally.”

And in a 2009 interview with Al-Arabiya, a Saudi-based television network, Obama said: “My job is to communicate to the American people that the Muslim world is filled with extraordinary people who simply want to live their lives and see their children live better lives.”

“My job to the Muslim world is to communicate that the Americans are not your enemy.”

Here are some key statements from Cameron’s report:

  • “The founder and first Supreme Guide (spiritual leader), Hassan al Banna, called for the religious reformation of individual Muslims, the progressive moral purification of Muslim societies and their eventual political unification in a caliphate under sharia law.”
  • “There is little evidence that the experience of power in Egypt … has caused a rethinking in the Muslim Brotherhood of its ideology or conduct. U.K. official engagement with the Egyptian Muslim Brotherhood produced no discernible change in their thinking. Indeed even by mid-2014, statements from Egyptian Muslim Brotherhood-linked media platforms seem to have deliberately incited violence.”
  • “Literature in the Muslim Brotherhood movement in this country continues to reflect some of the concerns of the foundational Muslim Brotherhood ideology, notably that Western society is inherently hostile to Muslim faith and interests and that Muslims must respond by maintaining their distance and autonomy.”
  • “Material still being promoted by UKIM [U.K. Islamic Mission] as of July 2014 continued to explicitly claim that it is not possible for an observant Muslim to live under a non-Islamic system of government.”

 

Categories: 2nd Amendment, Big Brother Spying, Bill of Rights, Congress, Constitution, Democrats, Liberals, Muslims, Obama, Terrorists, Uncategorized | Tags: , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

The tiny pill fueling Syria’s war and turning fighters into superhuman soldiers….



Captagon pills are displayed along with a cup containing cocaine at an office of the Lebanese Internal Security Forces, Anti-Narcotics Division, in Beirut in 2010. (Joseph Eid/AFP/Getty Images/File)

As The Post’s Liz Sly recently noted, the war in Syria has become a tangled web of conflict dominated by “al-Qaeda veterans, hardened Iraqi insurgents, Arab jihadist ideologues and Western volunteers.”

On the surface, those competing actors are fueled by an overlapping mixture of ideologies and political agendas.

Just below it, experts suspect, they’re powered by something else: Captagon.

A tiny, highly addictive pill produced in Syria and widely available across the Middle East, its illegal sale funnels hundreds of millions of dollars back into the war-torn country’s black-market economy each year, likely giving militias access to new arms, fighters and the ability to keep the conflict boiling,according to the Guardian.

“Syria is a tremendous problem in that it’s a collapsed security sector, because of its porous borders, because of the presence of so many criminal elements and organized networks,” the U.N. Office on Drugs and Crime (UNDOC) regional representative, Masood Karimipour, told Voice of America. “There’s a great deal of trafficking being done of all sorts of illicit goods — guns, drugs, money, people. But what is being manufactured there and who is doing the manufacturing, that’s not something we have visibility into from a distance.”

A powerful amphetamine tablet based on the original synthetic drug known as “fenethylline,” Captagon quickly produces a euphoric intensity in users, allowing Syria’s fighters to stay up for days, killing with a numb, reckless abandon.

“You can’t sleep or even close your eyes, forget about it,” said a Lebanese user, one of three who appeared on camera without their names for a BBC Arabic documentary that aired in September. “And whatever you take to stop it, nothing can stop it.”

“I felt like I own the world high,” another user said. “Like I have power nobody has. A really nice feeling.”

“There was no fear anymore after I took Captagon,” a third man added.

According to a Reuters report published in 2014, the war has turned Syria into a “major” amphetamines producer — and consumer.

“Syrian government forces and rebel groups each say the other uses Captagon to endure protracted engagements without sleep, while clinicians say ordinary Syrians are increasingly experimenting with the pills, which sell for between $5 and $20,” Reuters reported.

Captagon has been around in the West since the 1960s, when it was given to people suffering from hyperactivity, narcolepsy and depression, according to the Reuters report. By the 1980s, according to Reuters, the drug’s addictive power led most countries to ban its use.

The United State classified fenethylline (“commonly known by the trademark name Captagon”) as a Schedule I drug under the federal Controlled Substances Act in 1981, according to the National Criminal Justice Reference Service

Still, the drug didn’t exactly disappear.

VOA notes that while Westerners have speculated that the drug is being used by Islamic State fighters, the biggest consumer has for years been Saudi Arabia. In 2010, a third of the world’s supply — about seven tons — ended up in Saudi Arabia, according to Reuters. VOA estimated that as many as 40,000 to 50,000 Saudis go through drug treatment each year.

“My theory is that Captagon still retains the veneer of medical respectability,” Justin Thomas, an assistant professor of psychology and psychotherapy at the UAE’s Zayed University and author of “Psychological Well-Being in the Gulf States,” told VOA in 2010. “It may not be viewed as a drug or narcotic because it is not associated with smoking or injecting.”

Five years later, production of Captagon has taken root in Syria — long a heavily trafficked thoroughfare for drugs journeying from Europe to the Gulf States — and it has begun to blossom.

“The breakdown of state infrastructure, weakening of borders and proliferation of armed groups during the … battle for control of Syria, has transformed the country from a stopover into a major production site,” Reuters reported.

“Production in Lebanon’s Bekaa valley – a traditional centre for the drug – fell 90% last year from 2011, with the decline largely attributed to production inside Syria,” the Guardian noted.

Cheap and easy to produce using legal materials, the drug can be purchased for less than $20 a tablet and is popular among those Syrian fighters who don’t follow strict interpretations of Islamic law, according to the Guardian.

Doctors report that the drug has dangerous side effects, including psychosis and brain damage, according to the BBC.

Ramzi Haddad, a Lebanese psychiatrist, told Reuters that the drug produces the typical effects of a stimulant.

“You’re talkative, you don’t sleep, you don’t eat, you’re energetic,” he said.

According to the news service:

A drug control officer in the central city of Homs told Reuters he had observed the effects of Captagon on protesters and fighters held for questioning.

“We would beat them, and they wouldn’t feel the pain. Many of them would laugh while we were dealing them heavy blows,” he said. “We would leave the prisoners for about 48 hours without questioning them while the effects of Captagon wore off, and then interrogation would become easier.”

One secular ex-Syrian fighter who spoke to the BBC said the drug is tailor-made for the battlefield because of its ability to give soldiers superhuman energy and courage:

“So the brigade leader came and told us, ‘this pill gives you energy, try it,’ ” he said. “So we took it the first time. We felt physically fit. And if there were 10 people in front of you, you could catch them and kill them. You’re awake all the time. You don’t have any problems, you don’t even think about sleeping, you don’t think to leave the checkpoint. It gives you great courage and power. If the leader told you to go break into a military barracks, I will break in with a brave heart and without any feeling of fear at all — you’re not even tired.”

Another ex-fighter told the BBC that his 350-person brigade took the pill without knowing if it was a drug or medicine for energy.

“Some people became addicted to it and it will damage the addicts,” he said. “This is the problem.”

Categories: Government Secrets, Middle East, Muslims, Saudi Arabia, Syria, Uncategorized | Tags: , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

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