Tuesday, January 3, 2017

Obama Scandal: Emails Show EPA Director’s Extensive Use Of Fictional Alter Ego

Lisa Jackson.

Richard Windsor never existed at the EPA, but the agency awarded the fictional staffer’s email account certificates proving he had mastered all of the agency’s technology training — including declaring him a “scholar of ethical behavior,” according to documents disclosed late last week.

Windsor.Richard@epa.gov was the controversial email alias used by former Environmental Protection Agency Administrator Lisa Jackson, who resigned earlier this year amid questions about whether epa-using-instant-messages-avoid-s/?page=all”>her agency was complying with open-records laws.

The new records — the latest in a series that EPA critics have pried loose under open-records requests — suggests Ms. Jackson used the alias even more widely than known, including taking required agency computer training under the fake identity.

EPA officials say there’s nothing unusual in that, since Ms. Jackson used the alternate address regularly to conduct agency business.

The new records show the Windsor account was awarded certificates showing he has “satisfactorily competed the online email records management training”; took the 2010 “No FEAR Act Training Module”; and a completed a “Cybersecurity awareness training” course in 2011, where he scored 83 percent.
Windsor was also awarded the “scholar of ethical behavior” each year from 2010 through 2012. The only training Ms. Jackson appears to have done under her own name was for cybersecurity awareness in 2010. [source]

Friday, December 23, 2016

Best Anti-Gay, Anti-Muslim Hoaxes Of 2016

by Jim Geraghty December 23, 2016 8:48 AM
Happy Hoax-idays! We constantly argue that the national news media has to be more discerning and wary about stories that crop up on social media and seem a little too perfect. It is increasingly clear that day will not come anytime soon. The coming years will be filled with lurid, even farfetched tales of horrific abuse in public places, and a slow trickle of retractions when the details of the accounts don’t add up.
For starters, history has taught us to be wary of “you won’t believe the offensive message written on this restaurant receipt” stories. The one in New Jersey was a hoax, the one in California was a hoax, and the one in Tennessee is sketchy, with a handwriting expert saying the writing on the receipt doesn’t match the customer’s. The gay slur on the cake from Whole Foods was a hoax. How many openly racist, sexist or homophobic wait staff feel the need to offer a perfectly offensive written statement to someone they’re hoping will tip them? How many customers feel the uncontrollable impulse to leave physical evidence of socially controversial or unacceptable views, simply to lash out at someone who just brought them food?
Surely, the world has genuine hate crimes. But a lot of the most covered ones in recent weeks have turned out to be hoaxes. A Jewish family is not fleeing Lancaster County after a backlash to their complaint about their school’s Christmas play. A drunken man did not threaten to set a Michigan woman’s hijab on fire. The November burning of an African-American church and spray-painting of “Vote Trump” was committed by an African-American parishioner. That Manhattan Muslim teen who claimed she was attacked by three drunks who called her a “terrorist” on the subway while lots of New Yorkers stood and watched? Hoax. (The hoaxer’s sister later went on Facebook and criticized the police for being excessively skeptical: “It became super clear to me these past two weeks that the police’s first instinct is to doubt your story and try to disprove it.”)
That “YouTube prankster” who claimed he was thrown off the plane for speaking Arabic? Other passengers say he was being disruptive and was only thrown off for repeatedly shouting.
There are lesser-covered cases, too:
      Vincent Palmer, 27, told detectives he taped a note with racial slurs and the words “KKK”
       and “Trump” written on it to his ex-girlfriend’s mailbox early Saturday before throwing a
       brick through her car window and dousing the back seat in gasoline because they were
       having problems over the custody of their children, according to an arrest report.
In South Philadelphia, a group residents found racist, Nazi and pro-Trump graffiti spray-painted on their homes and cars the morning after the election. The perpetrator was a 58-year-old African-American man.
It’s not just the Left, of course; a New York City firefighter said his house was set aflame because he had a “Blue Lives Matter” flag outside. Earlier this month, he was charged with arson, setting his own house on fire.
Note for all future discussions of hate crimes: Did the victim file a police report? If a victim is strangely resistant to the idea of filing a police report, turn your wariness up a notch. If they say they don’t want to make too big a deal out of it, while simultaneously making a big deal out of it on social media, turn it up another notch. Of course, filing a false police report is a crime, and that makes the stunt a lot more dangerous and potentially consequential for the hoaxer.
It’s not just the political realm; social media is full of hoaxes, fueled by credulous people. U.S. Bank Stadium in Minnesota will not be open to the homeless on cold nights. Cee Lo Green’s phone did not explode in his hand. Joe Pesci and Daniel Stern are not posing as being from the gas company and robbing people’s houses during the Christmas season.
We can complain about the media’s eagerness to share and spread implausible tales – completely different from that Macedonian-generated “fake news” on Facebook, right? – but ultimately we need a warier news-consuming public. I fear we’re unlikely to get one. [Source]

Monday, November 7, 2016

Hillary's World: How Clinton's Foreign Policy Has Destabilized The Globe


Democratic presidential nominee Hillary Clinton – as senator, secretary of state, and active partner in the Clinton Foundation – has had the privilege of influencing major players in governments across the globe.

The result of her efforts has largely been the unfettered consolidation of autocratic power, instability (when not total collapse) in vulnerable states, and a global jihadist movement with its own Caliphate infiltrating some of the world’s most strategic locations.
The above map shows the nations of the world Clinton’s policies have destabilized and, below, an explanation of why each is labeled the way it is. This is meant to be a comprehensive list, though by no means complete: there are few nations in which an American secretary of state has no influence whatsoever.

Emboldened Autocrats
As secretary of state, Clinton presided over a policy known as the “pivot to Asia,” meant to increase American visibility in the continent and, in particular, bring China and the United States closer together. Clinton publicly supported the “one-China policy” – China’s way of imposing itself on the Republic of China (Taiwan), Tibet, Hong Kong, and the western Xinjiang region – and encouraged China to buy up U.S. debt.
Following her tenure as secretary of state, Clinton expressed support for incoming president Xi Jinping in private. In a 2013 private speech now public, thanks to the organization WikiLeaks, Clinton said it was “good news” that Xi was “doing much more to try to assert his authority” than his predecessor, Hu Jintao.
Since then, Xi has declared himself the “core” leader, comparable to Mao Zedongcolonized the maritime territory of six nations in the South China Sea; used state violence to crack down on the nation’s skyrocketing Christian population; and engaged in multiple Communist Party purges, citing unspecified “corruption.”
Hillary Clinton has loudly supported President Obama’s policy to “normalize” relations with Cuba, and her associates maintain close ties to the Washington, D.C., community that benefits from relations with the Castro regime. President Obama’s “normalization” has triggered a boom in violent arbitrary arrests of political dissidents and a new wave of refugees seeking to leave the communist dictatorship before the United States changes its mind about treating them as political refugees.
Hillary Clinton’s work to embolden the Iranian Islamic dictatorship began early in her term as secretary of state. During Clinton’s tenure, the Obama administration all but ignored the Iranian Green Revolution, a series of protests against then-President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad and Supreme Leader Ayatollah Khamenei. Clinton’s State Department rejected requests for funding from groups doing the work on the grounds of documenting Khamenei’s rampant human rights abuses against unarmed protesters.
The Obama administration’s crowning achievement in securing the Shiite Caliphate’s rule came years later, of course, in the form of the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action, or the Iran nuclear deal. While the parties signed the deal long after her departure from State, Clinton was responsible for “naming the negotiators for the nuclear talks and approving two major U.S. concessions to Iran in 2011 – guaranteeing Iran the right to enrich uranium and agreeing to close the IAEA’s investigation of Iran’s past nuclear weapons work,” according to Fred Fleitz of the Center for Security Policy.
Under Prime Minister Najib Razak, Malaysia has become a hotbed of corruption and, increasingly, radical Islamic sentiment. The Obama administration has, nonetheless, cozied up to Kuala Lumpur, including improving its human rights ratings to make it an eligible partner in the Trans-Pacific Partnership. Among the allies Clinton world feared would challenge Clinton, the presidential candidate, on Malaysia were labor leader Richard Trumka and George Soros.
As Secretary of State, Clinton was the first in her office in more than a decade to visit Malaysia as part of President Obama’s “Asia pivot” strategy.
North Korea
Secretary of State Clinton approached North Korea with a policy known as “strategic patience,” which one expert described as “sitting back and watching while North Korea continued to build up its nuclear weapons program.” North Korea has detonated two nuclear weapons since Clinton has been out of office, in part emboldened by “strategic patience” and in part, many argued after the fourth of five tests, emboldened by the Iranian nuclear deal.
Clinton has attempted to convince the American people that her arch-rival in the presidential election is Russian President Vladimir Putin, but long before it was politically expedient for her to do so, Clinton was the face of President Obama’s “Russian reset” – the one that preceded the collapse of Ukraine – and bragged privately to big-money donors of her close ties to Putin. The strongman trusted her so much, she once boasted, that he invited her to his “inner sanctum.”
In her memoir, Hard Choices, Clinton reserved praise from President (then-Prime Minister) Recep Tayyip Erdogan that sounded not unlike her optimistic profiling of Xi Jinping. Erdogan, she said, was “an ambitious, forceful, devout and effective politician.” Of his government, she said Erdogan was correct to seek “zero problems with neighbors.” WikiLeaks-released emails have since revealed that Erdogan sought to buy influence through campaign donations to the Clintons.
During his tenure as president, Erdogan has advanced the cause of Islamism in Turkey to unprecedented levels since the rule of Mustafa Kemal Ataturk, going so far as to allow Islamic prayers in the Hagia Sophia, an iconic Christian landmark. He has also conducted mass arrests of political enemies and shut down numerous media outlets who dare challenge his government. Last Friday, Erdogan’s government arrested the leaders of the People’s Democratic Party (HDP) – a pro-Kurdish, pro-Christian center-left party – in a midnight raid on dubious “terrorism” charges.
Clinton served as secretary of state during the tail end of the tenure of socialist dictator Hugo Chávez, who died shortly after she departed. Chávez presided over a bleak time in Venezuelan history: nationalizing private industries, cozying up to enabling autocrats in Cuba, Iran, and China, and using violence to suppress anti-socialist opposition.
In 2009, Clinton defended negotiating with Chávez and fostering diplomacy with him, telling a House Foreign Affairs Committee hearing that the U.S. should dismiss Chávez’s ties to Mahmoud Ahmadinejad and communist China because “we’ve isolated him, so he’s gone elsewhere. I mean, he’s a very sociable guy.”
Venezuela’s economy is now in free fall as dozens of prisoners of conscience languish in prison under Chávez’s hand-picked successor, Nicolás Maduro. Maduro’s management of his own government has been so abysmal that, with Clinton gone, President Obama has declared Venezuela a national security threat.

Emboldened Corruption
The government of Algeria is involved in one of the most egregious corruption schemes of the Clinton Foundation: offering the Clintons a $500,000 check. “The donation reportedly coincided with an intense effort by Algeria to lobby Mrs Clinton’s State Department over US criticism of its human rights record,” The Telegraph notes.
Earlier this year, Brazil impeached and ousted its socialist President Dilma Rousseff for a variety of fiscal improprieties, including the misrepresentation of government funds to lure investors. Triggering protests that numbered in the millions, however, was Rousseff’s deep involvement in something known as “Operation Car Wash,” a sprawling corruption scheme in which dozens of government officials took millions in kickbacks from projects commissioned by the state-run oil company Petrobras.
As secretary of state, Clinton had longtime ties to Rousseff and praised “her commitment to openness, transparency,” stating that “her fight against corruption is setting a global standard” in 2012.
The Clinton Foundation’s exploitation of Haiti’s poverty and the damage caused by a 2010 earthquake has left many of those nation’s leaders disgusted enough to speak up about the corruption. An operation to aid earthquake victims run by the Clintons was also found to have “played a role” in an unprecedented cholera outbreak in that country.
Among the more alarming deals Clinton cut at the State Department was the nuclear deal that handed one-fifth of America’s uranium production capacity to Russia. While Russia usurped control of the Uranium One corporation, the Clinton Foundations coffers filled with Russian money.
In addition to Uranium One control, the New York Times reports that Russia gained control of “mines in Kazakhstan that are among the most lucrative in the world.”
A more recent WikiLeaks reveal shows that the Clinton Foundation received a $12 million donation from the King of Morocco in exchange for Hillary Clinton’s presence at a Foundation summit. At the last minute, she did not attend.
Saudi Arabia
Saudi Arabia has enjoyed longstanding ties to the Clinton family and donated at least $50 million to the Clinton Foundation. These ties persisted even as Clinton privately admitted she had evidence that Saudi Arabia provided “clandestine financial and logistic support to ISIL and other radical Sunni groups in the region.”
United States
While the Clinton Foundation often served as a laundry service for foreign donations, Clinton fostered questionable ties with plenty of domestic entities, as well. Clinton has raked in millions in donations from big business in America, donors to which she privately promised “open borders.” Clinton’s ties to Department of Justice officials in the wake of an investigation into her use of an illicit private server for state business has also raised many questions regarding cronyism and corruption within our own country.

Jihadist Boom
President Obama famously declared that the war in Afghanistan was over for American soldiers in 2014. The policies that led to that point only exacerbated the damage a vacuum of American power in the nation wrought following the announcement.
Under Clinton, the State Department largely ignored a sprawling corruption problem that left Afghanistan with few resources to combat the Taliban or al-Qaeda. Clinton policies elsewhere in the world also led to the development of an Islamic State presence in the nation.
Currently, U.S. officials warn that the Taliban is stronger than it has been since September 11, 2001.
One of Clinton’s first stops as secretary of state was Indonesia, where she proclaimed, “If you want to know whether Islam, democracy, modernity and women’s rights can co-exist, go to Indonesia.” At the time (2009), her visit was met with chants of “Allahu akbar” and an inauspicious shoe-throwing protest against her.
Since then, Clinton’s foreign policy greatly contributed to the creation of the Islamic State, a jihadist group actively courting Indonesian recruits. “Between 300 and 700 Indonesians are believed to have joined the group in Syria and Iraq over the past two years,” the BBC reported in July, adding that 30 Indonesian groups had pledged allegiance to Islamic State “Caliph” Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi.
Unlike Syria, the collapse of which followed violent acts of oppression by a ruthless tyrant, Iraq’s collapse is more closely tied to American foreign policy due to the nation’s longtime occupation there. An American presence on the ground in Iraq did more to subdue jihadist elements there than any action to routinely fleeing Iraqi military and its corrupt leadership took.
While Clinton was in office, President Obama withdrew most of America’s troops from Iraq, leaving a power vacuum rapidly filled by the Islamic State, al-Qaeda, and Iran-backed Shiite militias. Military experts have agreed that a prolonged American presence in the country would have contributed to stability and withdrawing left the nation vulnerable to Islamist colonization.
Nigeria, Niger, Chad, Cameroon
The nations surrounding Lake Chad continue to struggle with the rise of Boko Haram, a jihadist group founded in 2002 but active throughout the 2010s in northeast Borno state, Nigeria. Boko Haram is currently the deadliest wing of the Islamic State and responsible for killing an estimated 15,000 and displacing millions. The group rose to international prominence following the abduction of more than 200 schoolgirls from a secondary school in the Borno region in 2014. Most of these girls remain in captivity, “married” off to Boko Haram jihadists for use as sex slaves.
As secretary of state, Clinton refused to designate Boko Haram, at the time affiliated with al-Qaeda, a Foreign Terrorist Organization. The move severely hindered the Nigerian government’s ability to target and neutralize the group, as they could not seek U.S. aid for the mission.
Somalia, Kenya
Clinton traveled to Somalia personally in 2009 t0 offer support against al-Shabaab, an al-Qaeda affiliated terrorist group. Following that visit, al-Shabaab made its ties to al-Qaeda public and went on two high-profile rampages against civilians in Kenya: the Westgate Mall massacre in 2013 and the Garissa University attack of 2015. It has since then become a popular enough jihadist group to have found itself the object of courtship of both its al-Qaeda overlords and the Islamic State.
Al-Shabaab has also expanded into Libya now that Libya is a failed state.
The United States did little in those in-between years to subdue al-Shabaab, including a “Yemen-like” drone policy to target leadership and an embarrassing failed raid on an al-Shabaab camp in 2013. Clinton herself merely implored the terrorists to allow humanitarian aid.

Collapse of State
Clinton’s role in the death of Americans, including a U.S. Ambassador, in the September 11, 2012, siege of Benghazi is now well-known. She had a major role in pushing for the decision to support Libya’s uprising against dictator Muammar Gadhafi, as well, however – a move President Obama followed up with little strategy to ensure that a stable, secular government would replace Gadhafi. The collapse of the Gadhafi dictatorship has left Libya a failed state, at first governed by two rival parties, but now partially governed by the Islamic State, al-Qaeda, and a variety of Islamist tribal militias.
Clinton has called the collapse of Libya “smart power at its best” and claimed there were “very few civilian casualties” in the fall of Gadhafi.
The Syrian Civil War began in 2011, during Clinton’s stewardship of the State Department. The Secretary reportedly pushed President Obama to arm Sunni Arab Syrian rebels, armed militias that included a high number of jihadist elements, many of whom would move on to fight for the Islamic State. The President reportedly did not heed Clinton’s advice, though he failed to do much of anything else, either.
In 2011, however, Clinton referred to dictator Bashar al-Assad as “a reformer” by reputation, whose nascent rule was cause for optimism, casting some doubt on how adamantly she pushed President Obama to arm the Syrian rebels.
Today, Syria remains a land mass governed piecemeal by the Islamic State, Kurdish militias, al-Qaeda linked armed Sunni groups, and the Iranian-Russian-Assad alliance. Assad claimed in an interview earlier this month that Syria is now “much better off” than before the civil war.
Sudan/South Sudan
The creation of South Sudan, the world’s youngest nation, was a direct product of Clinton’s foreign policy. Years of civil war in Sudan between the northern Muslim population and the Christian south gave way to secession and a war between two nations, not one. By the time Clinton visited in 2012, the Washington Post referred to the refugee crisis there as one of the worst in the world (soon to be eclipsed by the Syrian crisis).
The State Department persisted in aiding the South Sudanese government, even continuing to provide funding after evidence surfaced that the government employed child soldiers. Subsequent reports unveiled that Clinton-related firms received money from the South Sudanese government, as well.
Clinton’s State Department support appears to have done little to stabilize South Sudan. Report of mass rape at UN camps are common, and the country is now facing a famine.
The Obama administration’s tepid responses to Russian colonization of former Soviet states have left Ukraine without its Crimea region and its eastern provinces in collapse. In Georgia, the breakaway regions of Abkhazia and South Ossetia, invaded in 2008, remain under pseudo-Russian control.
Hillary Clinton presided over a “Russian reset” policy meant to dissuade Vladimir Putin from pillaging his neighbors. Clinton even gave her Russian counterpart Sergei Lavrov a literal “reset button” as a gift, leaving him baffled. The reset succeeded in keeping Russia from obstructing the negotiation of the Iran nuclear deal and the invasion of Libya, but did little to convince Putin to change his foreign policy.
Subsequent revelations showed the Clintons taking money from both sides of the Ukraine conflict and being careful of making too tough a stand against Putin’s aggression.
As secretary of state, Clinton made the first visit as America’s top diplomat to Yemen since 1990. There, she told Ali Abdullah Saleh that she would support a program to return al-Qaeda terrorists imprisoned at Guantánamo Bay, Cuba, to Yemen, while also acknowledging that Yemen was a hotbed of al-Qaeda activity. Saleh is now an ally of the Iran-backed Houthi rebels, which have launched a civil war against current President Abd Rabbo Mansur Hadi. Al-Qaeda is possibly the most stable entity in a nation where 80 percent of civilians live off of humanitarian aid, quadrupling its presence in the nation in a year. Yemen is a failed state torn apart by an emboldened Iran and Saudi Arabia, both major beneficiaries of the Clinton State Department’s policies.

The Migrant Crisis
Austria, Belgium, the Balkan nations, Cyprus, Denmark, France, Germany, Greece, Italy, Jordan, Lebanon, the Netherlands, Turkey, Sweden, the UK…
The Obama administration’s Syria and Libya policies (See above.), executed while Clinton was secretary of state, have triggered a flood of nearly five million displaced Syrians and more than one million Libyans seeking refuge in Europe and the Middle East. Refugees from Afghanistan, Pakistan, sub-Saharan Africa, and other volatile regions have added to the masses seeking a new home, rejected in countries like Russia, China, and Saudi Arabia who have criticized the West for being unwelcoming. (source)

Newly released emails from WikiLeaks suggest that the Democratic National Committee colluded with CNN in devising questions in April to be asked of then-Republican primary candidate Donald Trump in an upcoming interview.

In an email to DNC colleagues on April 25 with the headline "Trump Questions for CNN," a DNC official with the email username DillonL@dnc.org asked for ideas for an interview to be conducted by CNN anchor Wolf Blitzer.

"Wolf Blitzer is interviewing Trump on Tues ahead of his foreign policy address on Wed. ... Please send me thoughts by 10:30 AM tomorrow."

The sender of the email would seem to be DNC Research Director Lauren Dillon, who was identified in previous reports of DNC emails released by WikiLeaks in July.

Several hours after the first email was sent, Dillon said in a follow-up email that the interview had been cancelled, "as of now," but shared a list of questions thought up by the DNC that she said could be used for the next interview.

Some of the questions included: "Who helped you write the foreign policy speech you're giving tomorrow? Which advisors specifically did you talk to? What advice did they give you? Did they give you any advice that you chose not to take?" Others explored Saudi Arabia's alleged involvement in the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks, a pre-preemptive strike against North Korea and court martials for members of the military who didn't follow orders.

A separate email from Dillon that same day said "CNN is looking for questions" for then-GOP primary candidate Texas Sen. Ted Cruz, and "maybe a couple on" former Hewlett Packard CEO Carly Fiorina.

The DNC did not immediately respond to a request for comment.
CNN said the report was "unremarkable" and that the network regularly communicates with both Republicans and Democrats when preparing for interviews.
"This is completely unremarkable," a CNN spokeswoman told the Washington Examiner. "We have similar communications with Republicans. When preparing for interviews we are regularly sent suggestions from rival campaigns and political parties, both solicited and unsolicited. Casting a wide net to ensure a tough and fair interview isn't just common media practice, it's smart."

WikiLeaks dumped 8,263 new hacked DNC emails Sunday evening, the second batch released after the first was leaked in July. Those emails showed DNC officials plotting to undermine then-Democratic candidate Bernie Sanders in favor of now-Democratic nominee Hillary Clinton. The ensuing controversy led to then-DNC Chairwoman Debbie Wasserman Schultz's ouster.

CNN has already dealt with a WikiLeaks email controversy related to the 2016 election. Last month the network parted ways with interim head of the Democratic National Committee Donna Brazile after emails revealed she had funneled debate questions to Trump's opponent Hillary Clinton in advance of two primary debates. (source)

Wednesday, September 30, 2015

Russia Launches Airstrikes In Northern Syria, Senior Military Official Says

Russian warplanes began bombarding Syrian opposition targets in the war-torn nation's north Wednesday, following a terse meeting at which a Russian general asked Pentagon officials to clear out of Syrian air space and was rebuffed, Fox News has learned.

A U.S. official said Russian airstrikes targeted fighters in the vicinity of Homs, located roughly 60 miles east of a Russian naval facility in Tartus, and were carried out by a "couple" of Russian bombers. The strikes hit targets in Homs and Hama, but there is no presence of ISIS in those areas, a senior U.S. defense official said. These planes are hitting areas where Free Syrian Army and other anti-Assad groups are located, the official said.

Activists and a rebel commander on the ground said the Russian airstrikes have mostly hit moderate rebel positions and civilians. In a video released by the U.S.-backed rebel group Tajamu Alezzah, jets are seen hitting a building claimed to be a location of the group in the town of Latamna in the central Hama province.

The group commander Jameel al-Saleh told a local Syrian news website that the group's location was hit by Russian jets but didn't specify the damage.

A group of local activists in the town of Talbiseh in Homs province recorded at least 16 civilians killed, including two children.

According to a U.S. senior official, Presidents Obama and Putin agreed on a process to "deconflict" military operations. The Russians on Wednesday "bypassed that process," the official said. [source]

Kerry: If Russia Targets ISIS, "We Are Prepared To Welcome" Help

Secretary of State John Kerry speaks to the United Nations Security Council about Russian military actions happening right now in Syria.

Kerry said that U.S. forces had launched "a number of strikes [in Syria] over the past 24 hours, including some just an hour ago... And these strikes will continue," even though Russian forces are also active in the area.

"We must not and we will not be confused in our fight against ISIL," Kerry said, before repeating assurances made by President Obama to Vladimir Putin earlier this week: "If Russia’s recent actions and those now ongoing reflect a genuine commitment to defeat [the Islamic State], we are prepared to welcome those efforts and find a way to deconflict and therefore multiply our efforts."

However, he said that any Russian actions that "should strike targets where ISIL and affiliated targets are not operating," would raise "grave concerns," for the U.S.

"My colleague," Kerry said, referring to Russian Foreign Minister Lavrov, "has said we must support Assad to defeat ISIL. The reality is that Assad himself has rarely chosen himself to fight ISIL….Instead, it has focused all of its military power on moderate opposition groups who are fighting for a voice in Syria."

"The answer cannot be found in a military alliance with Assad."[source]

Sunday, July 26, 2015

Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi: Execution Videos by ISIS Are Now Banned

ISIS leader Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi

ISIS leader Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi has banned any more execution videos by the Islamic State, but the orders reportedly have created a division with the organization's ranks.

ARA News reported that, according to sources, al-Baghdadi was responding to the feelings of Muslims who regarded the videos as "disgusting and scary to children."

The video ban has upset some within ISIS who see the execution videos as an extension of terrorism activities.

"Some of IS militants supported Baghdadi's decision, taking into consideration criticism of the public that describes scenes of beheadings as barbaric," wrote ARA News' Jan Nasro. "While other militants rejected the decision saying that such scenes are meant to intimidate their enemies, represented by western powers, and not the common folk."

According to the website Middle East Eye.net, a number of Arabic-language news agencies said on Friday that Baghdadi explained his decision in a statement delivered to media offices in Syria and Iraq.

The website said Baghdadi ordered that his followers don't include scenes of the actual executions in their videos and limit them to moments before or after the act.

ISIS execution videos often show men in orange jumpsuits kneeling, heads bowed, with a black-clad masked gunman behind each one, with the ISIS flag in the background, noted Middle East Eye.net.

Past videos of executions of hostages – which have included non-combatants such as journalists and aid workers – had sparked anger not only in the United States, but in other parts of the Middle East.

In February, an ISIS video showing a Jordan pilot being burned alive, sparked Jordanians to call for acts of revenge against the organization, according to CBS News.

"(The video ban) won't eliminate the IS-led horrors that have been seen by people around the world over the past couple of years," Ferid Hisso, a Syrian politician and lawyer, told ARA News. "Instead of banning the release of such videos, Baghdadi should have rather banned the crimes behind the scenes. But he has already justified the barbarism of his followers, and his decision makes no sense."[source]

Hillary Clinton Sent Classified Information Over Email While at State Department, Review Finds

WASHINGTON — Two inspectors general have asked the Justice Department to open an investigation into whether sensitive government information was mishandled in connection with the personal email account Hillary Rodham Clinton used as secretary of state, senior government officials said Thursday.
The request follows an assessment in a June 29 memo by the inspectors general for the State Department and the intelligence agencies that Mrs. Clinton’s private account contained “hundreds of potentially classified emails.” The memo was written to Patrick F. Kennedy, the under secretary of state for management.
It is not clear if any of the information in the emails was marked as classified by the State Department when Mrs. Clinton sent or received them.
But since her use of a private email account for official State Department business was revealed in March, she has repeatedly said that she had no classified information on the account.
The Justice Department has not decided if it will open an investigation, senior officials said. A spokesman for Mrs. Clinton’s campaign released a statement on Twitter on Friday morning. “Any released emails deemed classified by the administration have been done so after the fact, and not at the time they were transmitted,” it read.
At issue are thousands of pages of State Department emails from Mrs. Clinton’s private account. Mrs. Clinton has said she used the account because it was more convenient, but it also shielded her correspondence from congressional and Freedom of Information Act requests.
She faced sharp criticism after her use of the account became public, and subsequently said she would ask the State Department to release her emails.
The department is now reviewing some 55,000 pages of emails. A first batch of 3,000 pages was made public on June 30.
In the course of the email review, State Department officials determined that some information in the messages should be retroactively classified. In the 3,000 pages that were released, for example, portions of two dozen emails were redacted because they were upgraded to “classified status.” But none of those were marked as classified at the time Mrs. Clinton handled them.
In a second memo to Mr. Kennedy, sent on July 17, the inspectors general said that at least one email made public by the State Department contained classified information. The inspectors general did not identify the email or reveal its substance.
The memos were provided to The New York Times by a senior government official.
The inspectors general also criticized the State Department for its handling of sensitive information, particularly its reliance on retired senior Foreign Service officers to decide if information should be classified, and for not consulting with the intelligence agencies about its determinations.
In March, Mrs. Clinton insisted that she was careful in her handling of information on her private account. “I did not email any classified material to anyone on my email,” she said. “There is no classified material. So I’m certainly well aware of the classification requirements and did not send classified material.”
In May, the F.B.I. asked the State Department to classify a section of Mrs. Clinton’s emails that related to suspects who may have been arrested in connection with the 2012 attacks in Benghazi, Libya. The information was not classified at the time Mrs. Clinton received it.
The revelations about how Mrs. Clinton handled her email have been an embarrassment for the State Department, which has been repeatedly criticized over its handling of documents related to Mrs. Clinton and her advisers.
On Monday, a federal judge sharply questioned State Department lawyers at a hearing in Washington about why they had not responded to Freedom of Information Act requests from The Associated Press, some of which were four years old.
“I want to find out what’s been going on over there — I should say, what’s not been going on over there,” said Judge Richard J. Leon of United States District Court, according to a transcript obtained by Politico. The judge said that “for reasons known only to itself,” the State Department “has been, to say the least, recalcitrant in responding.”
Two days later, lawmakers on the Republican-led House committee investigating the Benghazi attacks said they planned to summon Secretary of State John Kerry’s chief of staff to Capitol Hill to answer questions about why the department has not produced documents that the panel subpoenaed. That hearing is set for next Wednesday.
“The State Department has used every excuse to avoid complying with fundamental requests for documents,” said the chairman of the House committee, Representative Trey Gowdy, Republican of South Carolina.
Mr. Gowdy said that while the committee has used an array of measures to try to get the State Department to hand over documents, the results have been the same. “Our committee is not in possession of all documents needed to do the work assigned to us,” he said.
The State Department has sought to delay the hearing, citing continuing efforts to brief members of Congress on the details of the nuclear accord with Iran. It is not clear why the State Department has struggled with the classification issues and document production. Republicans have said the department is trying to use those processes to protect Mrs. Clinton.
State Department officials say they simply do not have the resources or infrastructure to properly comply with all the requests. Since March, requests for documents have significantly increased.
Some State Department officials said they believe that many senior officials did not initially take the House committee seriously, which slowed document production and created an appearance of stonewalling.
State Department officials also said that Mr. Kerry is concerned about the toll the criticism has had on the department and has urged his deputies to comply with the requests quickly.
Correction: July 25, 2015
An article and a headline in some editions on Friday about a request to the Justice Department for an investigation regarding Hillary Clinton’s personal email account while she was secretary of state misstated the nature of the request, using information from senior government officials. It addressed the potential compromise of classified information in connection with that email account. It did not specifically request an investigation into Mrs. Clinton.
Correction: July 26, 2015
An article in some editions on Friday about a request to the Justice Department for an investigation regarding Hillary Clinton’s personal email account while she was secretary of state referred incorrectly, using information from senior government officials, to the request. It was a “security referral,” pertaining to possible mishandling of classified information, officials said, not a “criminal referral.”[source]

Saturday, July 18, 2015

Obama Collecting Personal Data For A Secret Race Database

A key part of President Obama’s legacy will be the fed’s unprecedented collection of sensitive data on Americans by race. The government is prying into our most personal information at the most local levels, all for the purpose of “racial and economic justice.”
Unbeknown to most Americans, Obama’s racial bean counters are furiously mining data on their health, home loans, credit cards, places of work, neighborhoods, even how their kids are disciplined in school — all to document “inequalities” between minorities and whites.
This Orwellian-style stockpile of statistics includes a vast and permanent network of discrimination databases, which Obama already is using to make “disparate impact” cases against: banks that don’t make enough prime loans to minorities; schools that suspend too many blacks; cities that don’t offer enough Section 8 and other low-income housing for minorities; and employers who turn down African-Americans for jobs due to criminal backgrounds.
Big Brother Barack wants the databases operational before he leaves office, and much of the data in them will be posted online.
So civil-rights attorneys and urban activist groups will be able to exploit them to show patterns of “racial disparities” and “segregation,” even if no other evidence of discrimination exists.

Housing database

The granddaddy of them all is the Affirmatively Furthering Fair Housing database, which the Department of Housing and Urban Development rolled out earlier this month to racially balance the nation, ZIP code by ZIP code. It will map every US neighborhood by four racial groups — white, Asian, black or African-American, and Hispanic/Latino — and publish “geospatial data” pinpointing racial imbalances.
The agency proposes using nonwhite populations of 50% or higher as the threshold for classifying segregated areas.
Federally funded cities deemed overly segregated will be pressured to change their zoning laws to allow construction of more subsidized housing in affluent areas in the suburbs, and relocate inner-city minorities to those predominantly white areas. HUD’s maps, which use dots to show the racial distribution or density in residential areas, will be used to select affordable-housing sites.
HUD plans to drill down to an even more granular level, detailing the proximity of black residents to transportation sites, good schools, parks and even supermarkets. If the agency’s social engineers rule the distance between blacks and these suburban “amenities” is too far, municipalities must find ways to close the gap or forfeit federal grant money and face possible lawsuits for housing discrimination.
Civil-rights groups will have access to the agency’s sophisticated mapping software, and will participate in city plans to re-engineer neighborhoods under new community outreach requirements.
“By opening this data to everybody, everyone in a community can weigh in,” Obama said. “If you want affordable housing nearby, now you’ll have the data you need to make your case.”

Mortgage database

Meanwhile, the Federal Housing Finance Agency, headed by former Congressional Black Caucus leader Mel Watt, is building its own database for racially balancing home loans. The so-called National Mortgage Database Project will compile 16 years of lending data, broken down by race, and hold everything from individual credit scores and employment records.
Mortgage contracts won’t be the only financial records vacuumed up by the database. According to federal documents, the repository will include “all credit lines,” from credit cards to student loans to car loans — anything reported to credit bureaus. This is even more information than the IRS collects.
The FHFA will also pry into your personal assets and debts and whether you have any bankruptcies. The agency even wants to know the square footage and lot size of your home, as well as your interest rate.
FHFA will share the info with Obama’s brainchild, the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau, which acts more like a civil-rights agency, aggressively investigating lenders for racial bias.
The FHFA has offered no clear explanation as to why the government wants to sweep up so much sensitive information on Americans, other than stating it’s for “research” and “policymaking.”
However, CFPB Director Richard Cordray was more forthcoming, explaining in a recent talk to the radical California-based Greenlining Institute: “We will be better able to identify possible discriminatory lending patterns.”

Credit database

CFPB is separately amassing a database to monitor ordinary citizens’ credit-card transactions. It hopes to vacuum up some 900 million credit-card accounts — all sorted by race — representing roughly 85% of the US credit-card market. Why? To sniff out “disparities” in interest rates, charge-offs and collections.

Employment database

CFPB also just finalized a rule requiring all regulated banks to report data on minority hiring to an Office of Minority and Women Inclusion. It will collect reams of employment data, broken down by race, to police diversity on Wall Street as part of yet another fishing expedition.

School database

Through its mandatory Civil Rights Data Collection project, the Education Department is gathering information on student suspensions and expulsions, by race, from every public school district in the country. Districts that show disparities in discipline will be targeted for reform.
Those that don’t comply will be punished. Several already have been forced to revise their discipline policies, which has led to violent disruptions in classrooms.
Obama’s educrats want to know how many blacks versus whites are enrolled in gifted-and-talented and advanced placement classes.
Schools that show blacks and Latinos under-enrolled in such curricula, to an undefined “statistically significant degree,” could open themselves up to investigation and lawsuits by the department’s Civil Rights Office.
Count on a flood of private lawsuits to piggyback federal discrimination claims, as civil-rights lawyers use the new federal discipline data in their legal strategies against the supposedly racist US school system.
Even if no one has complained about discrimination, even if there is no other evidence of racism, the numbers themselves will “prove” that things are unfair.
Such databases have never before existed. Obama is presiding over the largest consolidation of personal data in US history. He is creating a diversity police state where government race cops and civil-rights lawyers will micromanage demographic outcomes in virtually every aspect of society.
The first black president, quite brilliantly, has built a quasi-reparations infrastructure perpetually fed by racial data that will outlast his administration.[source]

Paul Sperry is a Hoover Institution media fellow and author of “The Great American Bank Robbery,” which exposes the racial politics behind the mortgage bust.

Scuttling Iran Deal Might Not Be Easy For Next President

WASHINGTON (AP) -- Unhappy with President Barack Obama's nuclear deal with Iran? Republicans running for the White House are vowing to rescind the agreement, some on their first day in office.
But it may not be that easy.
If Iran lives up to its obligations, a new president could face big obstacles in turning that campaign promise into U.S. policy. Among them: resistance from longtime American allies, an unraveling of the carefully crafted international sanctions, and damage to U.S. standing with the rest of the world, according to foreign policy experts.
"The president does not have infinite ability to get other countries to go along with them," said Jon Alterman, director of the Middle East program at the Center for Strategic and International Studies. "One of the consequences is the United States would be increasingly isolated at a time when Iran is increasingly integrated with the rest of the world."
Both Obama and Republicans know firsthand the difficulties of dismantling major policies, a task that only gets harder the longer a policy has been in place.
After more than six years in office, Obama has failed to achieve his promise to shutter the Guantanamo Bay prison, despite signing an executive order authorizing its closure on his first day in office. And more than five years after Obama's health care overhaul became law, Republicans have been unable to find a legal or legislative means for repealing the sweeping measure.
While some elements of the nuclear accord don't go into effect immediately, the centerpiece of the agreement is expected to be implemented quickly. If Iran curbs its nuclear program as promised, it will receive billions of dollars in relief from international sanctions.
To Republican presidential candidates, rolling back that quid pro quo would be a top priority if they were to win the White House.
Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker says he would "terminate the bad deal with Iran on day one" and work to persuade allies to reinstate economic sanctions lifted under the deal. Former Texas Gov. Rick Perry concurred, saying one of his first actions in office would be to "invalidate the president's Iran agreement."
Jeb Bush, the former Florida governor, said that while he would consult with allies about the deal on his first day in office, he was inclined to "move toward the abrogation of it." Florida Sen. Marco Rubio told The Associated Press he would withdraw from a deal even if allies objected.
The next president has no legal obligation to implement the nuclear agreement, which is a political document, not a binding treaty.
But if there's no sign Iran is cheating, it's unlikely the European allies, who spent nearly two years negotiating alongside the U.S., would be compelled to walk away and reinstate sanctions. And it's nearly impossible to imagine Russia and China, which partnered with the U.S, Britain, France and Germany in the talks, following a GOP president's lead.
"Shattering something like this with the British and the French and the Germans - that has consequences," said Ilan Goldenberg, a senior fellow at the Center for a New American Security and former Obama State Department official. "A new president isn't going to want to lead off like that."
To be sure, a U.S. president with a friendly Congress could unilaterally reinstate American sanctions on Iran. But the economic impact would be far less if other countries didn't follow Washington's lead.
Beyond Europe's interests, the White House says U.S. partners in Asia, including Japan and South Korea, will also likely have boosted their financial ties and oil purchases with Iran by the time a new president takes office in January 2017.
A wealthier, more globally integrated Iran is a scary prospect to opponents of the deal. Republicans contend Obama signed off on a weak deal with Iran, leaving the Islamic republic on the brink of building a bomb. Some say the president should have left the negotiating table, increased economic pressure on Iran, then resumed talks with greater leverage.
The president says the only realistic alternative to the diplomatic agreement is war.
Congress has 60 days to review the Iran deal. While lawmakers can't block the agreement itself, they can try to pass new sanctions on Iran or block the president from waiving existing penalties.
Some Republicans say the White House is trying to pre-empt congressional actions by seeking an endorsement of the nuclear deal at the United Nations Security Council next week. Tennessee Sen. Bob Corker, the chairman of the Senate foreign relations committee, wrote Obama a letter urging him to postpone the U.N. vote until after Congress considers the agreement.
The White House says the U.N. vote has no bearing on the status of unilateral American sanctions on Iran.
But Michael Hayden, who served as CIA director under former President George W. Bush, says the White House's push for quick U.N. action seems to have a longer-term goal than circumventing this Congress. Seeking the United Nations' stamp of approval for the deal, Hayden said, appears to be "for the express purpose of locking in the next president of the United States."[source]