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Obama Takes 'Full Responsibility' for Operation That Killed American, Italian Hostages
An American and an Italian held hostage by al-Qaida, as well
as two Americans working with the terror group, were inadvertently
killed by U.S. drone strikes earlier this year, the government revealed
President Barack Obama said he took "full responsibility" for the
counterterror missions and offered his "grief and condolences" to the
families of the hostages.
Obama defended the legality of the January drone strike that killed the
hostages and said there had been no evidence that the two men were
present at what the U.S. had determined was an al-Qaida compound.
U.S. Drone Killed Warren Weinstein
Warren Weinstein, 72, was accidentally killed by a U.S. airstrike on an Al Qaeda compound in Pakistan.
Editor’s Note: The U.S. announced on April 23, 2015 that Weinstein was killed in a drone strike on Al Qaeda in Pakistan.
It was before dawn the morning of Aug. 13, 2011, when a group of men
armed with assault rifles knocked on Warren Weinstein's front gate in
the Lahore suburb of Model Town, an upscale neighborhood where Benazir
Bhutto is said to have had a house. Weinstein was working as country
director for J.E. Austin Associates, a consulting firm based in
Arlington, Va., that contracts with the Pakistani government. The
70-year-old was helping to create small businesses in tumultuous regions
in conjunction with the U.S. Agency for International Development
Marco Rubio emerges as top GOP contender, Hillary Clinton favorables drop in poll
Sen. Marco Rubio has emerged as the strongest candidate in the GOP
presidential field, topping the rest of his announced and potential
rivals for the nomination and running best against top Democratic
candidate Hillary Rodham Clinton, according to a new Quinnipiac
University Poll Thursday.
Mrs. Clinton still leads Mr. Rubio in a national head-to-head match-up,
45 percent to 43 percent, but the 2-point margin is down from the
5-point lead she held over him a month ago in the same survey.
Mr. Rubio announced his candidacy earlier this month and has shot to the
top of the GOP field nationally, garnering 15 percent of support among
likely GOP primary voters — up from just 5 percent support a month ago.
He has surmounted Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker, who was first in the
March poll but who slipped to third place in this survey. Former Florida
Gov. Jeb Bush, meanwhile, remains in second place, with 13 percent of
Man-made earthquakes increasing in central and eastern U.S. study finds
For the first time, the U.S. Geological Survey has unveiled a map of
earthquakes thought to be triggered by human activity in the eastern and
central United States.
Oklahoma is by far the worst-hit state recently, according to the USGS
study released Thursday. The state last year had more earthquakes
magnitude 3 or higher than California, part of a huge increase recorded
in recent years.
Seismic activity in Texas near the Dallas-Fort Worth area has also
increased substantially recently. Kansas, Colorado, New Mexico and Ohio
have all experienced more frequent quakes in the last year.
Calbuco volcano erupts anew; ash causing conern
Twin blasts from the Calbuco volcano in southern Chile have sent vast
clouds of ash into the sky, increasing concerns that it could
contaminate water, cause respiratory illnesses and ground flights.
The volcano erupted Wednesday afternoon for the first time in more than four decades, then had another outburst early Thursday.
Authorities have evacuated 4,000 people and closed access to the area
around the volcano, which lies near the cities of Puerto Varas and
Puerto Montt, some 1,000 kilometers (620 miles) south of Santiago.
Obama Flip Flops on Netanyahu to Limit Damage to Dems
Barack Obama is making overtures to repair his long-strained
relationship with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, but the
efforts have more to do with currying favor with pro-Israel members of
Congress and American Jews than with the Jewish State, according to The
New York Times.
House is engaged in an aggressive effort to assuage the concerns of
American Jewish groups and pro-Israel members of Congress over the
nuclear agreement with Iran, and to limit the potential political
fallout for Democrats of what has become a bitter rift in the American
and Israeli relationship," according to the Times.
Majority of voters think Hillary is Untrustworthy
A majority of
US voters — 54 percent — say Hillary Clinton is not honest or
trustworthy according to a Quinnipiac University poll released Thursday.
Only 38 percent said they trust the Democratic frontrunner.
Wall Street analyst uncovers Clinton Foundation fraud
Hillary's charity already under scrutiny for foreign donations
Hillary, and Chelsea Clinton Foundation – already under scrutiny for
foreign donations – is now being accused of fraudulent and possibly
Over the past
six weeks, Wall Street financial analyst and investor Charles Ortel has
shared with WND, prior to publication, the results of his six-month,
in-depth investigation into what he characterizes as an elaborate
scheme devised by the Clintons to enrich themselves.
foundation, Ortel contends, the Clintons have defrauded an unsuspecting
international public of hundreds of millions of dollars for personal
Year Later, Few Officials Have Been Held to Account in VA Scandal
More than a
year after it was learned that the veterans seeking medical care
experienced lengthy wait times and that the Department of Veteran
Affairs had falsified records in order to hide the delays, only three
officials have been fired as a result of their actions, reports The New
In the wake of
reports of manipulation of wait time records, Department of Veterans
Affairs Secretary Eric Shinseki submitted his resignation, but
documents provided to The New York Times show that only one official
was terminated, another chose to retire and a third individual is
waiting on a decision from the VA.Aging
reports that of the 280,000 employees who were involved in the largest
scandal in the VA's history, just eight have received some form of
reprimand or suspension.
Pentagon chief seeks to woo Silicon Valley
Secretary Ash Carter arrived in California's Silicon Valley on
Wednesday at the start of a three-day trip aiming to draw in America's
tech innovators despite major challenges, including making the Pentagon
attractive to cyber-savvy youth.
Carter plans to
make several announcements during the visit, defense officials say,
including establishing an outreach office in Silicon Valley focused on
scouting new and emerging breakthrough technologies and building
industry ties to the Pentagon.
"We don't live
in an era where all of the technology of importance to national
security is going to come out of the Pentagon. Those days are gone,"
Carter told reporters before landing in California.
The move is
also the latest example of the U.S. government's efforts to smooth
relationships with tech companies in the wake of damaging revelations
over digital surveillance by former National Security Agency contractor
Spy shocker: CIA cooperated with Chinese intelligence to target Russia
published book by former Pentagon official Michael Pillsbury has shed
light on one of the U.S. government’s darkest secrets: cooperation
between the CIA and communist Chinese intelligence services.
The book “The
Hundred Year Marathon” was cleared for publication by the FBI, CIA and
Pentagon, thus giving many of its eye-opening disclosures an official
China has not
responded to the book’s disclosures nor denied past cooperation,
although one intelligence-linked Chinese commentator stated that the
book’s author, now a consultant, does not represent “mainstream” U.S.
views on China.
Clinton vs. Clinton: Hillary's family is vulneerable on her core campaign issues
Hillary Clinton apparently plans to base her presidential campaign on the noble goals of greater fairness and shared sacrifice.
She already has
lambasted vast differences in compensation. “The average CEO makes
about 300 times what the average worker makes,” Mrs. Clinton warned.
She is right — but she can best appreciate that fact from her own career and family.
Clinton demanded up to $300,000 for 30-minute speeches. She apparently
believes in the free market theory that on the lecture circuit,
speakers — like CEOs — should be paid as much as the market can bear.
Iran, like North Korea, makes harsh demands that suggest intent to walk away from nuke talks
As a final
nuclear agreement with Iran is pending, there are valuable lessons
learned from decades of negotiations with North Korea. Ignoring these
lessons would be unfortunate.
2005, the United States sanctioned Banco Delta Asia of Macao as a
primary money-laundering institution, pursuant to the Patriot Act,
freezing North Korea’s $25 million of accounts, most acquired from
illicit sources. North Korea’s response was swift and clear: It refused
to implement a recently negotiated six-party talks joint statement on
an equitable resolution of the nuclear issue with North Korea. To
emphasize this point, on July 4, 2006, North Korea launched seven
missiles, including a long-range Taepodong 2, followed by a nuclear
test that October. In discussions, North Korea was clear in stating
that further escalation would follow if the United States did not
restore its frozen accounts. The United States complied and in June
2007, the Federal Reserve Bank arranged with the Russian Central Bank
to transfer these funds to the Russian Far Eastern Bank, where North
Korea had an active account.
Medal of Honor is the highest award for valor in action
enemy force which can be bestowed upon an individual serving
Armed Services of the United States.
to its recipient by the President of the
United States of America in the name of Congress.
first award of the Medal of Honor was made March 25, 1863 to
JACOB PARROTT.The last award of the Medal of Honor was made
September 15, 2011
to Sergeant DAKOTA MEYER.
then there have been: •
3458 recipients of the Medal of Honor.
Today there are 85 Living Recipients of the
Medal of Honor.
BENAVIDEZ, ROY P.
Rank: Master Sergeant
Organization: U.S. Army
Company: Detachment B-56
Division: 5th Special Forces Group
BENAVIDEZ, ROY P.
Master Sergeant (then Staff Sergeant) Roy P. Benavidez
United States Army, who distinguished himself by a series of daring and
extremely valorous actions on 2 May 1968 while assigned to Detachment
B56, 5th Special Forces Group (Airborne), 1st Special Forces, Republic
of Vietnam. On the morning of 2 May 1968, a 12-man Special Forces
Reconnaissance Team was inserted by helicopters in a dense jungle area
west of Loc Ninh, Vietnam to gather intelligence information about
confirmed large-scale enemy activity. This area was controlled and
routinely patrolled by the North Vietnamese Army. After a short period
of time on the ground, the team met heavy enemy resistance, and
requested emergency extraction. Three helicopters attempted extraction,
but were unable to land due to intense enemy small arms and
anti-aircraft fire. Sergeant Benavidez was at the Forward Operating
Base in Loc Ninh monitoring the operation by radio when these
helicopters returned to off-load wounded crewmembers and to assess
aircraft damage. Sergeant Benavidez voluntarily boarded a returning
aircraft to assist in another extraction attempt. Realizing that all
the team members were either dead or wounded and unable to move to the
pickup zone, he directed the aircraft to a nearby clearing where he
jumped from the hovering helicopter, and ran approximately 75 meters
under withering small arms fire to the crippled team. Prior to reaching
the team's position he was wounded in his right leg, face, and head.
Despite these painful injuries, he took charge, repositioning the team
members and directing their fire to facilitate the landing of an
extraction aircraft, and the loading of wounded and dead team members.
He then threw smoke canisters to direct the aircraft to the team's
position. Despite his severe wounds and under intense enemy fire, he
carried and dragged half of the wounded team members to the awaiting
aircraft. He then provided protective fire by running alongside the
aircraft as it moved to pick up the remaining team members. As the
enemy's fire intensified, he hurried to recover the body and classified
documents on the dead team leader. When he reached the leader's body,
Sergeant Benavidez was severely wounded by small arms fire in the
abdomen and grenade fragments in his back. At nearly the same moment,
the aircraft pilot was mortally wounded, and his helicopter crashed.
Although in extremely critical condition due to his multiple wounds,
Sergeant Benavidez secured the classified documents and made his way
back to the wreckage, where he aided the wounded out of the overturned
aircraft, and gathered the stunned survivors into a defensive
perimeter. Under increasing enemy automatic weapons and grenade fire,
he moved around the perimeter distributing water and ammunition to his
weary men, reinstilling in them a will to live and fight. Facing a
buildup of enemy opposition with a beleaguered team, Sergeant Benavidez
mustered his strength, began calling in tactical air strikes and
directed the fire from supporting gunships to suppress the enemy's fire
and so permit another extraction attempt. He was wounded again in his
thigh by small arms fire while administering first aid to a wounded
team member just before another extraction helicopter was able to land.
His indomitable spirit kept him going as he began to ferry his comrades
to the craft. On his second trip with the wounded, he was clubbed from
additional wounds to his head and arms before killing his adversary. He
then continued under devastating fire to carry the wounded to the
helicopter. Upon reaching the aircraft, he spotted and killed two enemy
soldiers who were rushing the craft from an angle that prevented the
aircraft door gunner from firing upon them. With little strength
remaining, he made one last trip to the perimeter to ensure that all
classified material had been collected or destroyed, and to bring in
the remaining wounded. Only then, in extremely serious condition from
numerous wounds and loss of blood, did he allow himself to be pulled
into the extraction aircraft. Sergeant Benavidez' gallant choice to
join voluntarily his comrades who were in critical straits, to expose
himself constantly to withering enemy fire, and his refusal to be
stopped despite numerous severe wounds, saved the lives of at least
eight men. His fearless personal leadership, tenacious devotion to
duty, and extremely valorous actions in the face of overwhelming odds
were in keeping with the highest traditions of the military service,
and reflect the utmost credit on him and the United States Army.
From the Archives
American Fairness to a Fault — a Deadly One
Tuesday, 10 Nov 2009 02:28 PM
American’s tragic flaw is our unbridled fairness, which has been
corrupted ever more by the cancer of political correctness to the point
we put ourselves at risk rather than create even the perception of
Sometime after the VOLAR (all volunteer) Army, the military veered from
the “yes sir, yes sir, three bags full” blind adherence to all orders to
the concept of refusing “unlawful orders” and that was ostensibly a
However, the uniformed services do not set or get to pick and choose
foreign policy. The civilian leadership sets foreign policy, and the
U.S. military enforces it — with a big, honking combined arms stick.
Retired Lt. Col. Ralph Peters has been one of the rare pundits with the
courage to target the “culture of political correctness” in leadership
of the military. In at least two interviews on Fox, Peters (correctly)
blamed the culture of political correctness for the Army’s diffidence in
taking action against Nidal Malik Hasan in the wake of knowledge of the
Many mechanisms exist for dealing with matters of deep conscience — all
without killing those one might think disagree with in principle.
However, it is not prejudice to discriminate based on threat facts in
evidence. Refusal to act judiciously for fear of a tainted perception is
just plain dumb.
Notwithstanding the articulated fears of the Army chief of staff and the
secretary of Homeland Security, officials made an epic mistake in
handling suspicions about Hasan. A mistake founded on political
correctness and sustained by diffidence that cost the lives of
Reportedly, U.S. intelligence agencies were aware (months ago) that
Hasan was attempting to make contact with people associated with
al-Qaida. He spoke openly to too many people about his angst and
misdirected sympathies. He was apparently a poster child for suspicion,
and the Army failed bigtime to intervene.
“It is not known whether the intelligence agencies informed the Army
that one of its officers was seeking to connect with suspected al-Qaida
figures," the officials said.
But you damnbetcha they SHOULD have done so.
Investigators want to know whether Hasan maintained contact with a
radical mosque leader from Virginia, Anwar al Awlaki, who now lives in
Yemen and runs a Web site that promotes jihad around the world against
the United States.
In a recent blog posting titled "Nidal Hassan Did the Right Thing,"
Awlaki calls Hasan a "hero" and a "man of conscience who could not bear
living the contradiction of being a Muslim and serving in an army that
is fighting against his own people."
Increasingly we are told people who knew or worked with Hasan say he
seemed to become gradually more radical in his condemnation of the war
in Iraq and Afghanistan. Subordinates and superiors had a responsibility
to flag the inappropriate rhetoric, and they apparently did not.
The fear to speak out is a symptom of the PC disease fueled by
recriminations and implied threats of discrimination — a fear that
indirectly resulted in mayhem.
Sen. Joseph Lieberman said, "If Hasan was showing signs, saying to
people that he had become an Islamist extremist, the U.S. Army has to
have a zero tolerance," and despite the echo of shutting the barn door
after the horse got out, he is right.
Army Chief of Staff Gen. George Casey Jr. is concerned that speculation
about the religious beliefs of Hasan could “cause a backlash against
some of our Muslim soldiers.” He’s right, but such a backlash would be a
direct result of the failure of command — not prejudice.
When confronted about whether he thought the Army “dropped the ball” in
not responding to warning signs, Casey replied that the Army needs to be
careful not to jump to conclusions based on early tidbits of
Sen. Lindsey Graham, R.-S.C., and Sen. Jack Reed, D-R.I., both of whom
are veterans, took pains to say that Muslims have served honorably in
the military and at risk to their lives.
“At the end of the day, this is not about his religion — the fact that
this man was a Muslim,” Graham said on CBS’ “Face the Nation.”
But, hey, it is (kinda/sorta) about religion (when the FBI says 10
percent of American Mosques preach jihad) — at least from a risk