JERUSALEM – As media reports present evidence the U.S. has played a central role in arming Syrian rebels, new questions now emerge about former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton’s involvement in the controversial scheme.
The questions prompt a second look at the perplexing security decisions made by Clinton and other top Obama administration officials the night of the Sept. 11, 2012, attacks on American facilities in Benghazi.
One of those key decisions reportedly delayed an investigative FBI team from arriving at the Benghazi site for 24 days. The site was widely reported to have contained classified documents.
WND raised the Thursday of whether Clinton was telling the truth when she claimed in a Senate hearing that she had no information about whether the U.S. mission in Libya was procuring or transferring weapons to Turkey and other Arab countries.
Her claim appears to contradict a New York Times report that the CIA has been aiding Arab governments and Turkey in obtaining and shipping weapons to the Syrian rebels.
The goal of the alleged weapons shipments was to arm the rebels fighting Syrian President Bashar al-Assad’s regime.
Any training or arming of the Syrian rebels would be considered highly controversial. A major issue is the inclusion of jihadists, including al-Qaida, among the ranks of the Free Syrian Army and other Syrian opposition groups
Now a closer reading of two separate reports from the New York Times paints a picture of Clinton as the ring leader of the plan to arm Syrian rebels.
Confirming WND’s exclusive reporting for over a year, the New York Times last week reported that since early 2012, the CIA has been aiding the Arab governments and Turkey in shopping for and transporting weapons to the Syrian rebels.
The reported plan to arm the rebels mirrors a plan that, according to the New York Times, was concocted by Clinton herself.
Last month, the New York Times described Clinton as one of the driving forces advocating a plan to arm the Syrian rebels. At the time, the newspaper quoted White House officials stating they rejected the plan, which was also proposed by then-CIA Director David Petraeus.
A comparison of the Clinton plan to arms the rebels, as first reported by the Times, and the new Times report of American-aided shipments to the rebels since last year makes clear the Clinton plan was apparently put into action.
Last month, the Times reported that the idea of the Clinton plan was to “vet the rebel groups and train fighters, who would be supplied with weapons.”
Last week, the Times reported that since at least November 2012, the U.S. has been helping “the Arab governments shop for weapons, including a large procurement from Croatia, and have vetted rebel commanders and groups to determine who should receive the weapons as they arrive.”
The earlier Times article described Clinton as having instincts that were “often more activist than those of a White House that has kept a tight grip on foreign policy.”
In an administration often faulted for its timidity abroad, “Clinton wanted to lead from the front, not from behind,” Vali R. Nasr, a former State Department adviser on Afghanistan and Pakistan, told the Times.
Benghazi cover up?
Middle Eastern security officials speaking to WND have said U.S.-aided weapons shipments go back more than a year, escalating before the Sept. 11, 2012, attack on the U.S. facilities in Benghazi.
In fact, the Middle Eastern security officials speaking to WND since last year describe the U.S. mission in Benghazi and nearby CIA annex attacked last September as an intelligence and planning center for U.S. aid to the rebels in the Middle East, particularly those fighting Syrian President Bashar al-Assad’s regime.
The aid, the sources stated, included weapons shipments and was being coordinated with Turkey, Saudi Arabia and Qatar.
Earlier this month, WND reported Sen. Lindsey Graham, R-S.C. stated in interview with Fox News that murdered U.S Ambassador Christopher Stevens was in Benghazi to keep weapons caches from falling into the hands of terrorists. Until that point, no official explanation for Stevens deployment to Libya has acknowledged any such activity.
Meanwhile, the New York Times reporting on how the plan for arming the rebels was put into action has prompted major questions about the role Clinton played in the U.S. response to the Benghazi attacks, assaults against the very facilities where the arms-to-rebels scheme was allegedly being coordinated.
National Security Council spokesman Tommy Vietor confirmed to Fox News in November that Clinton herself worked on the immediate U.S. response to Benghazi.
“The most senior people in government worked on this issue from the minute it happened,” he said.
“That includes the secretary of defense, chairman of the Joint Chiefs, secretary of state, national security adviser, et cetera. Additionally, the Deputies Committee – the second in command at the relevant national security agencies – met at least once and more often twice a day to manage the issue.”
One of the key decisions by Clinton’s State Department that has perplexed many security experts was the determination not to deploy an interagency rapid response unit designed to respond to terrorist attacks known as a Foreign Emergency Support Team, or FEST.
FEST teams previously deployed immediately after al-Qaida bombings of U.S. embassies in East Africa in 1998 and the USS Cole in 2000. But they were not used for Benghazi, confounding insiders speaking to the news media
Counterterrorism officials told Fox News in November that the FEST teams could have helped the FBI gain access to the site in Benghazi faster. It ultimately took the FBI 24 days.
The site reportedly contained a large volume of classified documents related to the activities of the Benghazi facilities.
Further, during the night of the attack, top counter terror officials felt out of the loop, according to emails shared with both Fox News and CBS News in November.
Counterterrorism sources and internal emails reviewed by CBS News expressed frustration that key responders were ready to deploy but were not called upon to help in the attack.
Besides strangely not deploying FEST, the Counterterrorism Security Group, or CSG, was never asked to meet the night of the attack or in subsequent days, according to two separate counterterrorism officials, as first reported by CBS News.
The CSG is composed of experts on terrorism from across government agencies and makes recommendations to the deputies who assist the president’s Cabinet in formulating a response to crises involving terrorism.
It is likely that the CSG task force, if contacted, would have recommended FEST aid, according to CBS.
CBS reported the lack of coordination with the Counterterrorism Security Group made the response to the Benghazi crisis still more confused.
One official told CBS News the FBI received a call during the attack representing Clinton and requesting agents be deployed. But he and his colleagues explained the call was just a gesture and could not be implemented.
He said his colleagues at the FBI agreed the agents “would not make any difference without security and other enablers to get them in the country and synch their efforts with military and diplomatic efforts to maximize their success.”
Days after the Benghazi attack, WND broke the story that Ambassador Stevens himself played a central role in recruiting jihadists to fight Assad’s regime in Syria, according to Egyptian and other Middle Eastern security officials.
Stevens served as a key contact with the Saudis to coordinate the recruitment by Saudi Arabia of Islamic fighters from North Africa and Libya. The jihadists were sent to Syria via Turkey to attack Assad’s forces, said the security officials.
The officials said Stevens also worked with the Saudis to send names of potential jihadi recruits to U.S. security organizations for review. Names found to be directly involved in previous attacks against the U.S., including in Iraq and Afghanistan, were ultimately not recruited by the Saudis to fight in Syria, said the officials.
The latest New York Times report has bolstered WND’s reporting, citing air traffic data, interviews with officials in several countries and the accounts of rebel commanders describing how the CIA has been working with Arab governments and Turkey to sharply increase arms shipments to Syrian rebels in recent months.
The Times reported that the weapons airlifts began on a small scale in early 2012 and continued intermittently through last fall, expanding into a steady and much heavier flow late last year, the data shows.
The Times further revealed that from offices at “secret locations,” American intelligence officers have helped the Arab governments shop for weapons, including a large procurement from Croatia. They have vetted rebel commanders and groups to determine who should receive the weapons as they arrive.
The CIA declined to comment to the Times on the shipments or its role in them.
The Times quoted a former American official as saying that David H. Petraeus, the CIA director until November, had been instrumental in helping set up an aviation network to fly in the weapons. The paper said Petraeus had prodded various countries to work together on the plan.
Petraeus did not return multiple emails from the Times asking for comment.
Both WND’s reporting, which first revealed the U.S.-coordinated arms shipments, and the Times reporting starkly contrast with statements from top U.S. officials who have denied aiding the supply of weapons to the rebels.
It’s not the first time WND’s original investigative reporting on U.S. support for the Syrian rebels was later confirmed by reporting in major media outlets. Other WND reporting indicates support for the Syrian rebels that goes beyond supplying arms, painting a larger picture of U.S. involvement in the Middle East revolutions.
A story by the German weekly Der Spiegel earlier this month reporting the U.S. is training Syrian rebels in Jordan was exclusively exposed by WND 13 months ago.
Quoting what it said were training participants and organizers, Der Spiegel reported it was not clear whether the Americans worked for private firms or were with the U.S. Army, but the magazine said some organizers wore uniforms.
The training in Jordan reportedly focused on use of anti-tank weaponry.
The German magazine reported some 200 men received the training over the previous three months amid U.S. plans to train a total of 1,200 members of the Free Syrian Army in two camps in the south and the east of Jordan.
Britain’s Guardian newspaper also reported U.S. trainers were aiding Syrian rebels in Jordan along with British and French instructors.
Reuters reported a spokesman for the U.S. Defense Department declined immediate comment on the Der Spiegel report. The French foreign ministry and Britain’s foreign and defense ministries also would not comment to Reuters.
While Der Spiegel quoted sources discussing training of the rebels in Jordan over the last three months, WND was first to report the training as far back as February 2012.
At the time, WND quoted knowledgeable Egyptian and Arab security officials claimed the U.S., Turkey and Jordan were running a training base for the Syrian rebels in the Jordanian town of Safawi in the country’s northern desert region.
Read more at http://www.wnd.com/2013/03/hillary-clinton-snagged-in-benghazi-cover-up/#4qalZVfj0dmip7mQ.99
Sun Mar 31, 2013 9:42 AM
LAKEHURST, N.J. — History buffs will gather this week near the New Jersey coast to commemorate a major airship disaster.
No, not that one.
Newsreel footage and radio announcer Herbert Morrison’s plaintive cry, “Oh, the humanity!” made the 1937 explosion of the Hindenburg at the Lakehurst Naval Air Station probably the best-known crash of an airship.
But just four years earlier, a U.S. Navy airship seemingly jinxed from the start and later celebrated in song crashed only about 40 miles away, claiming more than twice as many lives.
The USS Akron, a 785-foot dirigible, was in its third year of flight when a violent storm sent it plunging tail-first into the Atlantic Ocean shortly after midnight on April 4, 1933.
“No broadcasters, no photographers, no big balls of fire, so who knew?” said Nick Rakoncza, a member of the Navy Lakehurst Historical Society. “Everybody thinks that the Hindenburg was the world’s greatest (airship) disaster. It was not.”
A ceremony to commemorate the 80th anniversary of the crash, the deadliest airship disaster on record, is being held Thursday at a veterans park where there is a tiny plaque dedicated to the victims. Below it is a small piece of metal from the airship.
Few in the area seemed to know about the disaster, let alone the memorial plaque; even a Navy officer sent on an underwater mission to explore the wreckage many years later had not heard of the Akron.
“It’s almost a forgotten accident,” said Rick Zitarosa, historian for the Navy Lakehurst Historical Society. “The Akron deserves to be remembered.”
The Akron crashed off the community of Barnegat Light just a few hours after taking off from Lakehurst, killing 73 of the 76 men aboard, largely because the ship had no life vests and only one rubber raft, according to Navy records and the Navy Lakehurst Historical Society. They had been moved to another airship and were never replaced.
Lt. Cmdr. Herbert Wiley, Moody Erwin and Richard Deal were pulled from the frigid waters by a German tanker that had been nearby.
Erwin and Deal had been hanging on a fuel tank. Wiley was clinging to a board, according to an account he gave to a newspaper the next day.
In a newsreel interview, Wiley, standing next to the other survivors, said he was in the control car just before the crash. He said crew members could not see the ocean until they were about 300 feet above the water.
“The order was given to stand by for a crash,” Wiley said. “The ship hit the water within 30 seconds of that order and most of us, I believe, we catapulted into the water.”
Among the casualties was Rear Adm. William Moffett, the first chief of the Bureau of Navy Aeronautics.
When the wreckage was found, Zitarosa said, the airship had collapsed to about 25 feet in height. It had originally stood at about 150 feet.
“It was a catastrophic disintegration of the ship once it hit the water,” Zitarosa said.
Part of the wreckage was lifted from the sea a few weeks after the accident.
The Goodyear Tire & Rubber Co. in Akron, Ohio, had been awarded a Navy contract in 1928 to build the Akron and a second rigid airship, the Macon. Construction of the Akron by the Goodyear-Zeppelin Corp. was completed in 1931.
It was plagued by problems from the start.
It was involved in three accidents before its final flight, including one in which its tail slammed into the ground several times. Another accident killed two sailors.
Some men who died in the Akron had survived the airship crash of the USS Shenandoah less than a year before.
A day after the Akron disaster, a blimp sent out to look for bodies malfunctioned and crashed in Barnegat Light, killing two more crew members.
A year later, Wiley was the commanding officer on the USS Macon when it was lost in a storm off of Port Sur, Calif., also killing two crew members. Wiley survived, but that was it for him and airships.
In June 2002, the Navy ordered a mission to explore the wreckage of the Akron. The NR-1 explored several hundred feet of debris 120 feet deep.
The officer of the NR-1 at the time, Dennis McKelvey, said that they could not see much of the wreckage through murky waters, but that some metal along the ocean floor resembled “ribs sticking out of the mud.”
Even McKelvey, now a retired Navy captain, had not heard of the Akron disaster before he was dispatched to view the site.
“I had to go do my own research,” McKelvey said. “I thought I would have learned about it at some point.”
I guess the criminals do not respect the gun laws in NY. But they know that the civilians do.
New York police have stepped up patrols in the center of Manhattan today over fears of gang violence over the Easter weekend.
Times Square and Midtown have seen a growing trend for crime on Easter Day with gangs seemingly using it as a day of ‘initiation’.
Over recent years dozens of people have been arrested for violence and vandalism on Easter Sunday in the downtown area of the city popular with tourists.
33 youths were taken in by police in 2010 and four people were shot in bloody street scenes as rival gangs clashed in a pre-arranged meeting in downtown New York.
Many carried knives and guns used to harass businesses and members of the public.
‘There will be hundreds of extra officers on duty, particularly from 7 p.m. to 9 p.m. We are not going to have any repeat of the past,’ an officer told DNAinfo.com.
The gang tradition to gather and clash on Easter Sunday has traditionally been linked to the New York Intentional Auto Show at the Javits Center on 11th Avenue, the website said.
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Gang members previously attended the show and clashed on leaving its central New York location.
Because of the link stretching back to 2003, police have upped patrols in the area, especially in the evening when the show draws to a close.
According to NBC New York, NYPD officers have also been combing social media websites in recent weeks in a bid to find out what gangs have planned.
They have managed to control violence since 2010 and the officers want to keep it that way.
‘The top item on our plate this weekend is the car show,’ an officer said.
Mayor Michael Bloomberg described the tradition as ‘wilding’ in 2010
‘The mayhem in Midtown appears to be a bunch of gang members wilding,’ the Mayor said according to a New York Times report at the time.
‘There’s a bunch of people that think it’s cute to go out and to run around and to cause chaos, and we loaded the area up with police, but they can’t be everywhere.’
The car show tends to have its first weekend over Easter.
Many now believe the violent tradition is no longer even linked to the show, which showcases hundreds of the flashiest cars on the market, with youths just using the day as a marker to initiate new members.
Many were said to have sported gang colors in the 2010 clashes.
Previously downtown restaurants and shops have also hired extra security to deal with the threat.
Read more: http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-2301916/Police-patrols-increased-New-York-gangs-use-Easter-Sunday-day-initiation-attack-people-businesses.html#ixzz2P8gGquJO
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I am really looking forward to that first Justin Bieber mugshot. I say first, because I think over the course of the next few years he is going to give us lots more mugshots. Part of me also wonders though if he is going to get seriously hurt or even killed in a car wreck.
We know he loves to speed in very fast cars. We know he loves to drink and he loves pot. Tell me again why this combination will keep him alive? I know this might sound crazy, but I think if I had a death pool, I would pick Justin before Lindsay. Lindsay would have to overdose because she does not do anything else that is possibly injurious. Justin has lots of dangerous activities he participates in.
Anyway, the LA County Sheriff says that they will forward the Justin spitting case to the prosecutors. I think Justin will be charged with battery. That means a mugshot.
BERLIN (AP) — An entire troupe of performing fleas has fallen victim to the freezing temperatures currently gripping Germany.
Flea circus director Robert Birk says he was shocked to find all of his 300 fleas dead inside their transport box Wednesday morning.
The circus immediately scrambled to find and train a new batch so it could fulfill its engagements at an open-air fair in the western town of Mechernich-Kommern.
Michael Faber, who organizes the fair, told The Associated Press that an insect expert at a nearby university was able to provide 50 fleas in time for the first show Sunday.
Faber says he hopes they’ll “get through this without any more fatalities.”
Birk said it was the first time his circus had lost all of its fleas to the cold in one go.
President Barack Obama signed an Executive Order Thursday establishing a Presidential Commission to deal with “election administration” that critics say is an attempt to nationalize the country’s elections for partisan advantage.
The Executive Order states the Commission “shall identify best practices and otherwise make recommendations to promote the efficient administration of elections in order to ensure that all eligible voters have the opportunity to cast their ballots without undue delay.”
The Commission will focus on polling places, how better to train and recruit poll workers, managing voter rolls and poll books, voting machines, ballot simplicity, English proficiency, and absentee ballots. The states–not the federal government–traditionally have responsibility over such matters.
Obama will appoint no more than nine members to the Commission and appointees will be drawn from among individuals with “knowledge about or experience in the administration of State or local elections, as well as representatives of successful customer service-oriented businesses, and any other individuals with knowledge or experience determined by the President to be of value to the Commission.”
Election law expert and former Department of Justice official J. Christian Adams labeled such a Commission a “solution in search of a problem.”
The President has previously cited the supposed long lines from last November’s election as the main reason for voting reforms. Adams responded that many of these stories are of people who waited hours in line during early voting, not on Election Day. Had they voted on Election Day, they would have had minimal wait times in nearly every precinct throughout the country.
The Obama administration claims it wants to make it easier for military members to vote, but the White House has been accused of violating federal law, as Adams noted, by not establishing voter-assistance offices on military bases. Congress appropriated the Pentagon $75 million to do so.
On his radio show on Thursday, Mark Levin said Obama was using “falsehoods” about long lines to “nationalize” elections in a power grab that will “further weaken our voting system” at the state level.
Levin said he may be okay with nationalizing elections to prevent voter fraud by instituting Voter ID laws but reiterated that the federal government has no control over voting.
The talk radio host attacked progressive news outlets for claiming Obama had to create this commission because of long lines in 2012’s election based on anecdotal evidence. Levin noted there have been studies to the contrary.
Adams cited one such study by the Massachusetts Institute of Technology that found the average wait to vote last November on Election Day was 13 minutes, compared to 20 minutes in early voting locations.
Levin tied the debate on election laws to the discussions of federal power when states weighed ratifying the U.S. Constitution.
“Some of the anti-federalists who opposed the Constitution were very, very concerned that the federal government would interfere with state election laws. And they felt if the federal government did that, the federal, central government would have control over the election process and use it to its benefit,” he said.