An e-mail FOIA batch released by the State Department Friday included a bizarre transcript of an October 2012 interview that Wall Street Journal reporter Monica Langley had with then-Secretary of State Hillary Clinton.
The source of the email and transcript, State Department Communications Director Caroline Alder, commented, “This will be exciting when it’s FOIA’d…but will give you a sense of the interaction.”
UPDATE: Somerset Academy issued a formal written apology to 12-year-old Mackenzie Fraiser late Friday for denying her the right to use a Bible verse in a class assignment.
School officials have now agreed to allow the sixth-grader to resubmit her original project, this time with her favorite Bible verse — John 3:16 — included.
Mackenzie Fraiser is 12-years-old. She’s a sixth grader at Somerset Academy, a charter school in North Las Vegas, Nevada. Mackenzie is also a Christian.
In February, she was instructed by her technology teacher to create a PowerPoint demonstration about her life. One of the requirements was to include a slide with an inspirational message.
So Mackenzie decided to use a Bible verse – specifically John 3:16. That familiar passage reads: “For God so loved the world that He gave his only Son that whoever believes in Him shall not perish but have everlasting life.”
But the teacher had a problem with Mackenzie’s inspirational message. She explained to the class that none of the students would be allowed to use any Bible verses or quotations from the Book of Mormon.
The message was clear – you cannot be inspired by religion.
So here’s Hillary, responsible for letting Americans be killed in an Islamic terrorist attack, she’s not only blaming the video, but trying to blame it on ‘rightwing Islamophobes’.
The US Ambassador to Libya, Chris Stevens, and three US diplomats were killed in attacks and rioting provoked by an obscure, low-budget anti-Muslim film called “The Innocence of Muslims.” The producer of the film is a real estate developer supposedly named “Sam Bacile”who claims to be an Israeli Jew. Bacile told the AP the film was made with $5 million raised from “100 Jewish donors.” He said he was motivated to help his native country, Israel, by exposing the evils of Islam.
While Bacile claims to be in hiding, and his identity remains murky, another character who has been publicly listed as a consultant on the film is a known anti-Muslim activist with ties to the extreme Christian right and the militia movement. He is Steve Klein, a Hemet, California based insurance salesman who claims to have led a “hunter-killer team” in Vietnam.
Klein is a right-wing extremist who emerged from the same axis of Islamophobia that produced Anders Behring Breivik and which takes inspiration from the writings of Robert Spencer, Pamela Geller, and Daniel Pipes.
Assistant US Secretary of State for International Security and Nonproliferation, Thomas Countryman, recently visited Israel and held talks with senior Foreign Ministry officials, about the possibility of making the Middle East nuclear-free.
Washington seeks to advance the idea after reaching agreement with Russia about the matter.
The State Department confirmed Countryman’s visit and sources in the US Administration said that Israeli agreement to the idea would be a catalyst for bringing additional countries into discussions on the matter.
The Americans have been attempting to convene an international conference on the subject for some time, without success. Secretary of State John Kerry spoke about the idea with pessimism, and said it was “a very tough challenge.”
The Foreign Ministry did not want to respond to the report about Countryman’s visit and told Arutz Sheva that “the subject is a sensitive one, we will not talk about it.”
During a press briefing on Friday, White House press secretary Joshua Earnest said that reporters should ask the FBI about what led the agency to retroactively classify some of Hillary Clinton’s emails.
The State Department released 296 pages of Clinton’s emails related to Libya and Benghazi on Friday. The Associated Press reported shortly after the release that some of the emails had been classified only recently. Clinton and the State Department have maintained that she did not send or receive classified documents on her private email account.
Asked about the classified documents, Earnest twice referred reporters to the FBI, which made the determination to classify some of Clinton’s records.
“The fact is that when these kinds of emails are reviewed for public release, consistent with [Freedom of Information Act] standards, it’s not uncommon for the materials included in the review to be classified based on current events,” Earnest said.
Memorial Day is a roller coaster day of emotion for me. A four-tour Iraq War Veteran I knew and worked with was killed in a motorcycle accident last Sunday. He retired after 22 years of active duty on the first of March this year.
In Section 60 of Arlington National Cemetery, the emotion of the day caught up with Staff Sgt. Oliver Moore.
He had just placed silver airborne wings on the grave of his best friend, Staff Sgt. Kevin Michael Witte, in memory of the times they had gone skydiving together. Witte, 27, died in an improvised explosive device attack in Baghdad in 2006.
“With all the BS we put up with, we get one day a year where it puts everything in perspective. This is our generation,” Moore said, gesturing to the section where many of the casualties of the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan have been laid to rest.
Moore and more than 1,000 other servicemembers were taking part in Thursday’s pre-Memorial Day Flags-In ceremony, conducted at Arlington every year since 1948 by the Old Guard. American flags — more than 228,000 of them — lined every headstone, their red, white and blue contrasting with the white marble.
“This section (60) is tough,” said Moore, who also visited the grave of Sgt. 1st Class James Scott Ochsner, killed in Afghanistan in 2005.
“It’s too crowded on Memorial Day,” Moore added. “It’s just soldiers here today.”
In a different part of Section 60, at the grave of Sgt. 1st Class James D. Connell Jr., another soldier saluted sharply: His son, Spc. Nicholas Connell, who placed the American flag at the base of the headstone.
“I know in my heart, as much as it means to me, the honor and sacrifice that everybody in here has given to us,” Connell said. “If people could see us giving that same respect, they would want to do the same.”
Emails released Friday by the State Department show that former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton mixed up the names of the Americans murdered at the U.S. consulate in Benghazi on Sept. 11, 2012.
Clinton sent an email with the subject line “Chris Smith” shortly before midnight to three top aides, Cheryl Mills, Jake Sullivan and Victoria Nuland.
“Cheryl told me the Libyans confirmed his death. Should we announce tonight or wait until morning?” Clinton wrote.
Four Americans were killed that night after a terrorist group affiliated with al Qaeda stormed the consulate. But none were named Chris Smith. Clinton likely jumbled the names of ambassador Chris Stevens and diplomat Sean Smith. Two former Navy SEALs, Glen Doherty and Tyrone Woods, were also killed.
As the email exchange shows, none of Clinton’s aides corrected her flub.
WASHINGTON — THE fall of the Iraqi city of Ramadi on Sunday, and of the Syrian city of Palmyra on Wednesday, is a big gain for the Islamic State, but not an utter disaster, as many observers fear.
Rather than inducing panic in Western capitals, it should lead to a realistic assessment of the Islamic State’s strengths and weaknesses. One setback in a long war must not trigger hasty strategic shifts that lead to foreign countries’ becoming mired in Iraq once more.
Palmyra has economic and cultural significance, as it sits among gas fields and is home to renowned ruins. But Ramadi, in western Iraq, is of far greater military and strategic consequence.
The attack on Ramadi was a sign of desperation, not strength. It took 16 months of continual clashes with tenacious Iraqi security forces and loyal Sunni tribes before the Islamic State, also known as ISIS, could take Ramadi. Before it fell, the Islamic State already controlled half of the city. Its battlefield rivals were exhausted, and it wanted to give its adherents a psychological boost. Ramadi was a ripe target.
But the Islamic State is not on an unstoppable march. In Iraq, and to some extent Syria, it remains on the defensive. In April, the Islamic State’s defenses in large swaths of Salahuddin Province and the provincial capital, Tikrit, collapsed. In the north, Iraqi Kurds have contained the Islamic State. In Syria, Kurds supported by Iraqi pesh merga forces and by American airstrikes decisively defeated the group in the town of Kobani. Unlike the disastrous fall of Mosul in June 2014, the conquest of Ramadi hasn’t led to a collapse of Iraqi military units.
The newest issue of English-language ISIS propaganda mag Dabiq promises to bring slave markets to the West—and claims the first lady won’t fetch a large price.
“I swear by Allah, O you who feign to be knowledgeable and shout with falsehood in every gathering, surely the slave markets will be established against the will of the politically ‘correct’!” decries Umm Sumayyah al Muhajirah, an allegedly female columnist for Dabiq who penned a defense of the terror group’s slave trade. “And who knows, maybe Michelle Obama’s price won’t even exceed a third of a dīnār, and a third of a dīnār is too much for her!”
(A January estimate puts a single golden dinar at $139 USD.)
Umm Sumayyah has written for previous issues of the magazine, telling women that immigration to the caliphate is as obligatory for them as it is for men. (Her own name, al Muhajirah, suggests that she is an immigrant herself.)
In the six-page piece titled “Slave Girls or Prostitutes,” she defends the practice of taking slaves through war—saby—as inherently Islamic, a “great prophetic Sunnah [teachings of the prophet] containing many divine wisdoms and religious benefits.” She even decries ISIS supporters who initially denied reports of slave-taking “as if the soldiers of the Khilāfah had committed a mistake or evil.”
Amid all the Islamic State’s atrocities — its massacres of civilians, its beheading of hostages, its pillaging of antiquities — the systematic violence the jihadists have carried out against countless enslaved women and girls never fails to shock. For months now, we’ve heard appalling testimony from women who escaped the Islamic State’s clutches, many of whom endured rape and other hideous acts of violence.
Zainab Bangura, the U.N.’s special representative on sexual violence in conflict, recently conducted a tour of refugee camps in the shadow of the conflicts in Syria and Iraq, war-ravaged countries where the Islamic State commands swaths of territory. She heard a host of horror stories from victims and their families and recounted them in an interview earlier this week with the Middle East Eye, an independent regional news site.
“They are institutionalizing sexual violence,” Bangura said of the Islamic State. “The brutalization of women and girls is central to their ideology.”
Bangura detailed the processes by which “pretty virgins” captured by the jihadists were bought and sold at auctions. Here’s a chilling excerpt:
After attacking a village, [the Islamic State] splits women from men and executes boys and men aged 14 and over. The women and mothers are separated; girls are stripped naked, tested for virginity and examined for breast size and prettiness. The youngest, and those considered the prettiest virgins fetch higher prices and are sent to Raqqa, the IS stronghold.
May 21, 2015 The Central Intelligence Agency is shutting down a research program that offered classified data to scientists to examine the link between climate change and global security threats.
A CIA spokesman confirmed that the agency had ended its MEDEA program, a 1990s-era intelligence program restarted in 2010 under President Obama. The collaboration gave scientists access to intelligence assets like satellite data to study climate change and inform on how its impacts could inflame conflicts.
CIA spokesman Ryan Whaylen said “these projects have been completed and CIA will employ these research results and engage external experts as it continues to evaluate the national security implications of climate change.”
The news was first reported by Mother Jones.
The announcement comes just days after President Obama said climate change was a “serious threat to global security” in a commencement address to the U.S. Coast Guard Academy. Climate change, Obama said, “will impact how our military defends our country. So we need to act, and we need to act now.”
Under MEDEA, which stands for Measurements of Earth Data for Environmental Analysis, gave a group of scientists security clearance and access to previously collected data for study. The program itself was kept largely under wraps and was not largely cited, but scientists quoted in reports about the program say the data was often more high quality than what they could get through other sources.
From Steven Crowder: Time to put your learning hats on, because we’re going to take you through the modern Social Justice Warrior (#SJW for short) dictionary. Thug is the new “N” word, “riot” is inherently racist and “terrorism” doesn’t actually mean… terrorism.
TAMPA, Florida — Fighting simmering frustration in their ranks over ISIS advances in Iraq and Syria, top U.S. special operations commanders say they are building forces for a multi-generational fight—not a war that will be won in the next few years.
“We recognize this is a longterm prospect,” said Gen. Joseph Votel, the overall leader of U.S. Special Operations Command, in remarks to The Daily Beast during a special operations forum in Tampa. “We’re patient.”
“We talk about it being a 15-year struggle,” added Lt. Gen. Bradley Heithold, who heads the Air Force Special Operations Command, said describing the fight.
But many special operations officers and troops both in Tampa and Washington don’t want to wait that long to take the fight to ISIS. They were eager to talk about their aggravation over fighting by remote in Iraq and Syria: having to advise Iraqis, Kurdish Peshmerga, and rebel Syrian fighters from afar instead of joining them in battle.
“We are doing everything through cellphones… It’s hard to do much when you can’t go outside the wire,” said one special operator, using the military jargon for the perimeter of a base.
They blame the hands-off approach on an Obama administration unwilling to risk even small numbers of American lives in battle, burned by the fallout of the loss of four Americans in Benghazi, Libya, and intent on preserving the legacy of President Barack Obama’s troop drawdowns in Iraq and Afghanistan.
The unemployment rate for foreign-born workers in the U.S. fell to 5.6% in 2014 from 6.9% in 2013, the Bureau of Labor Statistics reported Thursday, reflecting the overall firming up of the labor market last year.
The unemployment rate for the native-born fell to 6.3% last year from 7.5% in 2013.
Since 2009, when the national unemployment rate peaked, joblessness among foreign-born workers has fallen by 4.1 percentage points. The drop was 2.9 percentage points for the native born.
The report is compiled annually from the Current Population Survey. Foreign-born workers are those living in the U.S. who were not U.S. citizens at birth and who were born outside the country to parents who were not themselves U.S. citizens, according to the BLS.
The number of foreign-born workers kept rising. Last year, there were 25.7 million in the U.S., up from 25.3 million in 2013. They accounted for 16.5% of the labor force in 2014, up from 16.3% the year before and 15.5% in 2009, the year the recovery began.
Isis has used the latest issue of its propaganda magazine Dabiq to suggest the group is expanding so rapidly it could buy its first nuclear weapon within a year.
The hyperbolic article, which the group attributes to the British hostage John Cantlie, claims Isis has transcended its roots as “the most explosive Islamic ‘group’ in the modern world” to evolve into “the most explosive Islamic movement the modern world has ever seen” in less than twelve months.
Photojournalist Cantlie is regularly used in the terror group’s propaganda and has appeared in a number of videos, including a YouTube series called “Lend Me Your Ears”. He has been held a hostage by Isis for more than two years.
The piece, entitled “The Perfect Storm”, describes militant Islamist groups such as Boko Haram, which recently pledged allegiance to Isis, uniting across the Middle East, Africa and Asia to create one global movement.
The article claims this alignment of groups has happened at the sane time as Isis militants have seized “tanks, rocket launchers, missile systems, anti-aircraft systems,” from the US and Iran before turning to the subject of more extreme weapons the group is not in possession of – such as nuclear weapons.
In the first network interview with new Attorney General Loretta Lynch for Friday’s CBS This Morning, co-host Norah O’Donnell used recent police shootings to push accusations of racism: “Your first day on the job, you were dealing with what was going on in Baltimore….I mean, we’ve had Ferguson, we’ve had Cleveland, we’ve had North Charleston. What’s going on in this country?…is it individual racism or do you think it’s institutional racism?”
Lynch replied: “You know, I think that when you look at America and for all of its glory and all of the wonderful things that it achieves, it’s clear that we still have issues involving race in this country.”
Then-Secretary of State Hillary Clinton discussed with aides the chatter on cable news about whether she actually suffered a concussion in 2012, according to emails released by the State Department on Friday.
A week before she was to testify before Congress in December 2012 about the attacks in Benghazi, Clinton postponed her appearance with aides explaining she had fainted and suffered a concussion.
On Dec. 20, chief of staff Cheryl Mills forwarded Clinton by email a transcript of Fox News host Greta Van Susteren discussing Clinton’s health with Arizona Republican Sen. John McCain.
“Senator,” Van Susteren said during that segment, “there is a report from the State Department that Secretary of State Hillary Clinton will testify on Benghazi before the middle of January. There has been some criticism of whether or not she has a concussion. I believe she has a concussion. What do you think?”
McCain replied: “I have never seen her back down. And I believe that she is now not physically well enough to testify and she will testify the middle of January.”
Mills sent a transcript of that interview to Clinton’s personal email — [email protected] — and to close aide Huma Abdein.
Speaking of McCain, Clinton replied: “Huma called him and [South Carolina Sen. Lindsey] Graham.”
“Also,” Clinton added, “someone should call Greta VS to thank her for ‘knowing the truth.’”