Archive for State Department

Breaking News: Benghazi Attack Leader Captured By U.S.

FacebookTwitterRedditDiggStumbleUponTumblrLinkedInPinterestEmailShare

Benghazi attack pic(AFP/Getty Images)

Oh, no. Now what will all those Republican Benghazi conspiracy theorists going to do? WWTGS -- What Will Trey Gowdy Say?

According to the Washington Post:

U.S. Special Operations forces captured one of the suspected ringleaders of the terrorist attacks in Benghazi in a secret raid in Libya over the weekend, the first time one of the accused perpetrators of the 2012 assault has been apprehended, according to U.S. officials.

The officials said Ahmed Abu Khattala was captured Sunday near Benghazi by American troops, working alongside the FBI, following months of planning, and was now in U.S. custody “in a secure location outside Libya.” The officials said there were no casualties in the operation, and that all U.S. personnel involved have safely left Libya.

This looks bad. Bad if you're a Republican who was counting on the Benghazi special congressional committee, the eighth committee to witch-hunt the terrible Libyan tragedy, to find something to tag onto Obama and Hillary Clinton. One of the major talking points is that Obama, who promised right away to seek out and find the culprits, has done nothing since the event nearly two years ago. Nobody had been apprehended. This was a GOP talking point on the lack of interest in the Benghazi attacks and the President's concern.

So much for that asshat argument. Obama said he'd take out Osama Bin Laden. He did. He said he'd bring to justice those responsible for Ambassador Christopher Stevens and three other American deaths in this Benghazi attack, and the round-up has begun.

Now what do you have to say for yourself, Speaker Boehner on your special committee? So Obama's been doing nothing, eh?

What have you been doing? Your job is to run the Congress. Where's the jobs bill, your alternative to the ACA, the long-term unemployment extension, the immigration reform bill, minimum wage increases, etc?

Seems if anyone's asleep at the wheel, it's the House of Representatives. You're the Speaker, Boehner. Maybe you should be doing the people's work like you're being paid for and let the President do his. He's showing results.  You? Not so much. You saw what the conservatives in Virginia's 7th district did to your right hand man, Eric Cantor. Don't think it can't happen to you.

FacebookTwitterRedditDiggStumbleUponTumblrLinkedInPinterestEmailShare

When Will We Learn, McCain Is Not A Diplomat?

FacebookTwitterRedditDiggStumbleUponTumblrLinkedInPinterestEmailShare

Oops I did it again

It takes a big (wo)man, not necessarily a good (wo)man, to admit he/she's made a mistake. John McCain this weekend proved he's that (wo)man. He's admitted what we've all known for years -- he means well, but is prone to exaggeration gaffs.

So in the spirit of fairness, I'm willing to say John simply got caught up in the moment, took some time to reflect on his own actions of the past and decided Obama's handshake with Raul Castro wasn't the disgraceful act of "appeasement" on par with the Neville Chamberlain/Adolph Hitler handshake. Time to get past that.

With that settled, I think it's about time that the US Government reconsider it's policy of sending McCain and usually his personal valet Senator Lindsay Graham on official "fact finding" trips to political 'hot spots' on behalf of this country. This hawk and his sidekick have never found a place where they didn't feel the US should make it a flashpoint for war.

They were early and multiply times visitors to Iraq where we escalated our efforts there -- remember the "surge" of troops?

They visited Syria and voted against Obama's using peaceful means to negotiate the chemical weapons disarmament.

McCain made a number of official visits to Israel where each time the middle east country announced increased anxiety over Iran which lead to threats of a possible unilateral Israeli strike on their warring neighbor. McCain went so far as to refer to then current Iranian leader this way according to NBC news:

McCain made a joke comparing Iranian leader Mahmoud Ahmadinejad to a monkey.

The Arizona senator even more recently has been vocal on pushing new sanctions against Iran which would most certainly derail the peaceful efforts to negotiate a shutting down of the nuclear weapons development program in Iran despite pleas by Secretary of State John Kerry to allow unfettered negotiations to take place. 

Now today we find McCain (without his Graham valet) once again off to a foreign land as an official envoy, this time in the rioting Ukraine.

In all these these cases, the McCain visits have turned out, by his actions once he returned, to be the opposite of our best interests. How many times must this old warhorse be sent to gather intel and report back? It's not as if his efforts have netted us any qualitative or even quantitative findings. He may be a good guy, and his military background -- at least in years spent as a prisoner of war -- is laudable. But like the accountant today who forgoes contemporary computer technology to prepare your taxes, he's slow, prone to human error and basically just out of it. He's got his old ways and refuses to change with the times. Rather than input data in a computer and have it instantly analyzed and metadata mined for multiple uses, he's still got the pencil, a paper spreadsheet (with coffee stains) and a hand-pull adding machine at his side.

We'll all be served when he finally signals his retirement. He doesn't need to be put out to pasture just yet, but he certainly doesn't need to be our eyes and ears on the ground surveying our next possible moves in volatile locations. He could help us best by passing on his knowledge in improving the standards of living and assistance to soldiers returning from service as well as issues affecting our growing aging population.

Internation diplomacy needs a bit more than just having served for a long time or a Senator singing "Bomb, bomb, bomb, bomb, bomb Iran."

It takes someone who thinks before he speaks. What it needs is diplomacy, not mockery. And lately, Senator McCain has proven he's doting with emotional lust for one final battle, not one grand peace. Let's stop putting our worst foot forward. Let's start putting our best.

FacebookTwitterRedditDiggStumbleUponTumblrLinkedInPinterestEmailShare

Luckily For Peace, Our Congress Is Inept

FacebookTwitterRedditDiggStumbleUponTumblrLinkedInPinterestEmailShare

nuclear explosion

If it weren't for the inability of either chamber of Congress to get their acts together and actually do something, we might be heading for war. Yup, war.

Just after Obama chose to involve Congress in a decision to take action against Syria for the use of chemical weapons, the elected officials went nutso. Everyone including the shoe-shine guy in the rotunda had an opinion and most were not leaning toward the elected official whose call it really was - President Obama's. The Republicans are a war machine and they wanted to start bombing. The Democrats were timid and were afraid they'd get nailed to the tree like they did when they went along with the phony war in Iraq. So they ran around like the beheaded chickens we've heard so much about.

Finally, in steps a possible diplomatic solution. You'd think everyone in Congress would breath a sigh of relief, even if only temporarily while the plan had a chance to be ironed out. But no, the Republicans were insisting on war. The only thing that kept us from spilling blood, lost lives both American and Syrian was that Congress can't agree on anything.

You'd think that's a bad thing. But there's a little bit of light at the end of the tunnel here. Even that blind squirrel finds a nut sometimes.

The good fortune in this picture is that we have a diplomatic chance to shut down, possibly even remove totally any threat of nuclear armament in Iran. Yes, that country who for over 30 years we had no official contact with. On the cusp of their going nuclear, a possible treaty is in the works. The only thing that could gum it up would be Congress. A warmongering Republican run House of Representatives. All it would take to tip the fragile preliminary diplomacy would be the House and Senate coming up with new economic sanctions against Iran. And the GOP were pushing as hard as they could. If they succeeded, the talks would be called off and probably immediate escalations would have taken place as a possible nuclear flash point could have been reached.

The Republicans in Congress didn't care if this would lead to nuclear war. The simple fact that Obama might go down in history for two huge diplomatic solutions to potential wars, on top of his successes with finishing up Iran's conflict and potentially running down the war in Afghanistan was just too much. How could a Black president be allowed a place like that in history?

So fortunately, the dis-functionality of Congress worked in the American people's favor this time.  Watch Rachel Maddow as she lays it out clearly, precisely and accurately for us. We owe our Congresspeople a collective acknowledgement that their inability to work is going to perhaps save our lives.

FacebookTwitterRedditDiggStumbleUponTumblrLinkedInPinterestEmailShare

State Department: All Clear To Watch "Fifth Estate"

FacebookTwitterRedditDiggStumbleUponTumblrLinkedInPinterestEmailShare

Assange real and actor

Okay, I'm reading my morning feeds of news stories and this headline catches my eye from FOREIGN POLICY.

State Department Employees Cleared to Watch WikiLeaks Movie

Ever since WikiLeaks.org began releasing thousands of classified cables, State Department employees have been forbidden from visiting the website without explicit authorization. (Sure, it was a silly prohibition given the proliferation of mainstream newspaper stories based on the WikiLeaks cables, but them's the rules). So how about viewing WikiLeaks the movie?

Not a problem, the State Department tells The Cable. Watching the hotly anticipated WikiLeaks drama Fifth Estate will not place employees on the naughty list.

Now I know that in the State Department, they have all kinds of rules and regulations about how you conduct yourselves, what you can do, who you can speak with and where you can go. But really, how can an organization expect to run at full efficiency if they clamp on a governor to your viewing habits if these activities are fully legal to anyone else?

It's okay for my barber or kid's teacher to read these reports, or my watching the news and getting them fed to me, but I can't go to the site myself to see what I'm missing? I think there's a screw loose here, or maybe many of them.

I can understand asking a State Department employee from forgoing an activity which could lead to their being blackmailed. But going to Wikileaks? Watching a movie? Where is this line drawn and who gets to make the decision if something is to be  stamped, verboten?

Fifth Estate

Wouldn't it be in the country's best interest if the State Department allowed its workers to have access to a site like Wikileaks -- especially Wikileaks? If Julian Assange is printing things that are false, who would know better than the people who might be fingered on the site? And if the media organization's accusations and reports are true, but considered secret, who would know better?

I think viewing these sites, not by ordained monitors but by the full slate of State Department personnel should not only be allowed, but required. This way, if some secret is being revealed, or someone's safety is compromised, identity or hints insinuated, they can report it to the department. They shouldn't have to rely on some intra-agency readers to shed light on an employee's possible danger.

Doesn't it  make you wonder? Here's a film about a whistle blower (Julian Assange) who published classified info and continues to do so on his site (Wikileaks.org) and it's okay to watch but not visit the actual site?

This is nuts. And maybe John Kerry can explain it. If I was with the State Department, I would want to know everything the public knows, especially if my safety is being compromised. Wouldn't you?

FacebookTwitterRedditDiggStumbleUponTumblrLinkedInPinterestEmailShare