John Kerry Walks Back Comments Rationalizing Terrorist Attacks

Secretary of State John Kerry said there was more of a rationale for the attack on Charlie Hebdo than the attack at the Bataclan.

There’s something different about what happened from Charlie Hebdo, and I think everybody would feel that. There was a sort of particularized focus and perhaps even a legitimacy in terms of – not a legitimacy, but a rationale that you could attach yourself to somehow and say, okay, they’re really angry because of this or that. 

Retired Lieutenant Colonel Ralph Peters slammed Kerry’s remarks on Hannity for attempting to justify the Charlie Hebdo attack.

But the only difference between the Charlie Hebdo attacks and the attacks last Friday are, and the later attacks, 40 times more people died. I’m waiting for this president to call Eric Holder out of retirement to lead a new movement, Jihadi Lives Matter. I mean this guy clearly doesn’t get the fact that we’re not the problem. Islamic State, al-Qaeda, the jihadis, Islamic fundamentalism – that is the problem.

In Washington D.C., Secretary Kerry walked back his earlier comments by rejecting any grounds for a terrorist attack.

Now let me make my point as clearly as I can. There are no grounds of history, religion, ideology, psychology, politics, economic disadvantage, or personal ambition that justify the slaughter of unarmed civilians, the bombing of public places or indiscriminate violence toward innocent men, women and children. And such atrocities can never be rationalized, and we can never allow them to be rationalized. There’s no excuse. They have to be stopped.

WATCH: Russia Uses Unprecedented Firepower Against Islamic State In Syria

A day after Russia officially confirmed that the civilian airplane that crashed in the Sinai Peninsula at the end of October was downed by a bomb aboard, Russia’s army in Syria stepped up its actions against Islamic State.

ISIS affiliate Waliyat Sinai has claimed responsibility for the downing of the Russian plane and the death of all 224 people aboard. The group filmed the explosion that downed the plane and released the video shortly after the attack. The plane was flying at an altitude of more than 30,000 feet after taking off from the Egyptian resort town of Sharm el-Sheikh when an explosion occurred.

Today, Islamic State published details about how the plane was brought down in its Dabiq online magazine. The organization said it downed the plane with an improvised explosive device that was hidden in a soda can.

Russian President Vladimir Putin announced yesterday that he has ordered Special Forces of the Red Army to find and punish those responsible for the attack on the plane and promised a $50 million reward for information that will lead to the arrest of those responsible. The Russian leader also pledged to increase Russia’s military activity in Syria in response to the terrorist attack by Islamic State.

“Our military work in Syria must not only continue. It must be strengthened in such a way so that the terrorists will understand that retribution is inevitable,” Putin declared.

The Russian army didn’t waste time and launched an unprecedented cruise missile assault on Islamic State in Syria earlier today. The Kremlin confirmed that Russian warplanes had fired multiple cruise missiles at Raqqa, the capital of ISIS, and on Islamic State positions in the Aleppo and Idlib Provinces in Syria.

Defense Minister Sergei Shoigu of Russia reported that “the missiles were launched from Tu-160 (Black Jack) and Tu-95 (Bear) warplanes, and said they were among 2,300 sorties carried out by the Russian military in the past 48 days.” ”The 34 cruise missiles destroyed 13 key targets including command post that were used to coordinate ISIS activities in Idlib and Aleppo,” General Valery Gerasimov, Russia’s Chief of General Staff of the Armed Forces of Russia, announced.

French government officials later confirmed the Russian strikes on Raqqa, and images of the cruise missiles flying over Syria appeared on social media. The cruise missile attacks on Islamic State were launched after the Russians had briefed the U.S. led anti-ISIS coalition in Qatar.

The Russians will also bring an additional 37 warplanes to Syria “including eight Su-34 (Fullback) strike fighters and four Su-27 fighter jets,” The Russian news agency Sputnik reported.

Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov urged the international community today to unite on the fate of Syrian dictator Bashar al-Assad. Lavrov wants the U.S. and its allies to drop the demand for the resignation of Assad. Moscow wants the Syrian people to decide on Assad’s fate via elections that should be held next year.

“I hope the change in the position of our Western colleagues — which has unfortunately only come about as the result of terrible acts of terror — will spread to other Western partners. That the stance that the real battle with ISIS can only be resolved once the fate of Assad is clear, that this position will put to one side,” said Lavrov.

Lavrov referred to the coordination between France and Russia during the airstrikes on Raqqa at the beginning of this week. The Obama administration and its Western allies, however, have until now ruled out a scenario where Assad stays in power.

The U.S. and its allies have long assessed that getting rid of Assad is a prerequisite for either a limited campaign to eradicate ISIS or for a broad campaign to end the Syrian war. This has not only to do with the war crimes that Assad committed during the four-year-old civil war in Syria, but also with the fact that Assad has colluded with Islamic State to ensure the group’s survival.

A 2014 report by Middle East analyst Kyle Orton summed up the level of this collusion. He mentioned the slitting of oil revenues, the release of Sunni Salafists who ended up in the Islamic State and sharing of intelligence. Bassam Barabandia, a defector in the Syrian Foreign Ministry, later confirmed what Orton wrote.

The former Syrian diplomat wrote in a blog post for MENAsource the following about Assad’s role in the rise of Islamic State:

The Assad plan also included allowing extremist Sunni groups to grow and travel freely in order to complicate any Western support for his opponents. The Assad regime and Iran have meticulously nurtured the rise of al-Qaeda, and then ISIS, in Syria. In his March 2011 speech addressing the protests, Assad claimed that an international terrorist conspiracy sought to topple his government. During this time, Assad released battle-hardened extremists from the infamous Sednaya prison; extremists with no association to the uprisings. These fighters would go on to lead militant groups such as ISIS and al-Qaeda affiliate Jabhat al Nusra.

In conjunction with the terrorist-release policy, Assad was sure to imprison diverse, non-violent, and pro-reform activists by the thousands, many of whom are still in government prisons. These efforts, coupled with relentless barrel bombing, torture, and chemical weapons campaigns, were designed to silence, kill, or displace civilians so that the influence of extremists would fill their absence. Assad was careful to never take any steps to attack ISIS as they grew in power and strength.

The announcement of ISIS’s caliphate is most helpful in draining time and distracting the world from Assad’s destruction of Syrian society. Now that ISIS has fully matured, the Assad regime and Iran offer themselves as partners to the United States.

Secretary of State John Kerry this weekend confirmed that the Obama administration has not changed its position on Assad and is aware of his collusion with Islamic State.

Standing next to Lavrov after their meeting, Kerry said that the Assad regime and Islamic State are “symbiotic.”

But make no mistake, Kerry said – “anybody, please – Assad has cut his own deal with Daesh. They sell oil. He buys oil. They are symbiotic, not real enemies in this. And he has not, when he had a chance over four years, mounted his attacks against Daesh. The Daesh headquarters sat in Raqqa for years. It was never bombed by his bombs. It was children and women and hospitals and schools that were bombed by his bombs.”

“So that is the reality here. And I think for him to try to blame what happed in Paris on anybody other, particularly the West who is trying to save his country and save his people and who is the biggest single donor to the refugees that he has created in order to safeguard them, is beyond insanity. It’s insulting,“ Kerry added.

Watch: Obama Spokesman Goes On Fox News And Elisabeth Hasselbeck Can’t Contain Her Anger

With President Obama shrugging off the massive terror attack in Paris as merely a “setback,” and Sec. of State John Kerry apparently saying that terror attacks are justified, Fox News’ Elisabeth Hasselbeck had Obama spokesman Josh Earnest on to discuss these weak replies to ISIS. Earnest tried desperately to spin his way out of it all, but Hasselbeck pounced on him for it.

The interview was enlivened as Earnest spent more time complaining that he wasn’t being allowed to answer the question, but Hasselbeck didn’t let him off the hook by pressuring him to address Obama and Kerry’s actual comments instead of delivering the spin.

After Fox News’ Brian Kilmeade pressed Earnest on Obama’s response to the terror attacks in Paris, Hasselbeck jumped in, asking the presidential spokesman why Obama dismissed the Paris attacks as a mere “setback,” and why Kerry seemed to think that the terror attack on the French magazine Charlie Hebdo was somehow “understandable.”

Earnest tried to spin his way out of the question by noting that Obama also called the attacks in Paris “sickening” and that people shouldn’t pay too much attention to the president’s words.

The spokesman went on to try to get Hasselbeck to focus on his own words, even as he told the Fox host not to focus on Obama’s, saying: “what I would encourage you to do is spend just as much time focusing on the President’s actions as you do on his words.”

Hasselbeck seemed incredulous. “His words matter, I have to stop you there. Josh I will stop you there. The President of the United States’ words matter,” she replied.

Then, Earnest began his attempt to reframe the discussion as an unfair attack on him and an attempt to prevent him from answering the questions. “So Elisabeth, let me finish my answer. If you want to have me on your show Elisabeth,” he said.

But Hasselbeck interjected again, pointing out that words matter and saying, “I will focus on my president’s words, Josh.”

Earnest continued to try and frame the interview as an attack on him. “Elisabeth if you want to have me on your show to talk about a serious issue then give me an opportunity to answer the question,” he again said.

Apparently not interested in answering the questions, Earnest tried this line several more times before Hasselbeck had enough.

“Josh we’ve played fair before,” she said in exasperation. “I’m letting you know that our president’s words matter not just to me, not just to the American people but to those around the globe who are very concerned right now. Our president’s words matter. He called this a ‘setback’, why? Just a setback? Seems cavalier but go ahead and answer the question.”

h/t: GatewayPundit

WATCH: Reporter Asks One Question About Obama Admin, Gets Physically Removed From Room

Carol Morello wanted to ask Uzbekistani President Islam Karimov a simple question about human rights violations reportedly occurring in Uzbekistan. Morello, a Washington Post reporter, politely asked, “Mr. President, would you take a question from the American press? Secretary Kerry, of the State Department has criticized the human rights situation. Would you respond?” And with that, Morello was escorted out of the room in which John Kerry was meeting with the Uzbekistani president.

Morello reported on the human rights abuses occurring in Uzbekistan. She wrote: “Uzbekistan has a record of abusing its own citizens that the organization Human Rights Watch labels ‘atrocious.’ The State Department’s own human rights report issued this year includes a long inventory of abuses, such as torture, the detention of hundreds — if not thousands — of political prisoners, endemic corruption and forced labor during the annual cotton harvest.”

The abuses resulted in sanctions against Uzbekistan in 2004. But later that same year, those sanctions were lifted as a result of Uzbekistani involvement in the war in Afghanistan. As a result of the lifted sanctions, Washington resumed its sales of military weaponry and technology to the country, and the sanctions have been waived annually as a result of the partnership between the two countries.

Morello wrote that the partnership between the U.S. and Uzbekistan has not resulted in diminished human rights violations. She cited Human Rights Watch’s report that “one case in which the body of a detained opposition leader that was returned to his family showed signs of severe torture, and the authorities demanded an immediate, secret burial. Transparency International lists Uzbekistan as one of the 10 most corrupt nations in the world.”

As for the forced removal from the meeting between Kerry and Karimov, Morello commented she “called out a question about human rights at the conclusion of Kerry’s meeting with Karimov, an Uzbek official and an American wearing a ‘diplomatic security’ pin each took her by an arm and firmly guided her from the room. U.S. officials later said that the Uzbeks had banned the reporter from covering the opening statements at the six-nation meeting but then apparently relented and allowed the reporter to attend. A State Department official apologized for the diplomatic security officer’s role in escorting the reporter out the door.”

It appears that not only is freedom of religion, free elections, freedom from political persecution, and freedom of speech not protected and valued in Uzbekistan–but even if you’re an American reporter, your own government will help Uzbekistan keep you quiet. It seems that instead of helping escort Morello out of the room, the U.S. diplomatic security officer should have insisted that Morello’s question be heard.

Is this simply an attempt by the Obama administration to silence the press over its partnership with one of the 10 most corrupt nations of the world?

Watch: Netanyahu Stunned By Reporter’s Absurd Question- ‘Are We Living On The Same Planet?’

(Netanyahu’s remarks regarding meeting with Abbas begin at 13:21 in the video above.)

At a press conference on Thursday, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu appeared incredulous when a BBC reporter asked him if he would be willing to meet with Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas, as Secretary of State John Kerry has suggested.

“He’s going to call on me for resuming negotiations?” he indignantly asked the reporter. “Are we living on the same planet, Liz? I have been calling day-in, day-out in every forum, in the United Nations, in the U.S. Congress, in Israel, in Jerusalem, in Tel Aviv. I haven’t done so in Nepal because I haven’t visited it. I’ve called on President Abbas to resume unconditional negotiations immediately. Right now, as we speak, we can meet. I have no problem with that.”

“Come on, get with the program. These people don’t want negotiations and they’re inciting for violence. Direct your questions to them,” Netanyahu said.

The prime minister added, “You should direct your questions to [Abbas]. You can’t give him a pass. In fact, the international community has been giving Abu Mazen [Abbas] a pass all these years…And when you give somebody a pass when they’re inciting violence, they continue to incite violence. And guess what? That violence has picked up, by Palestinian youngsters, and they go out and murder Jews. And they murder peace.”

Before Nethanyahu spoke at the press conference, Israeli officials gave a presentation to reporters regarding how Palestinian leadership has been inciting the recent wave of violence in Jerusalem, which has left 8 Israelis and 31 Palestinians dead.

One official quoted Abbas from a recent televised address, in which he said: “They (Israelis) have no right to desecrate the Al-Aqsa Mosque with their filthy feet” and, “We welcome every drop of blood spilled in Jerusalem.”

Netanayahu called the allegations that the Israelis are trying to change the status quo on the Temple Mount, including Al-Aqsa Mosque, “false.”

He said the Palestinians real agenda is and has been to force the Jewish people to leave. “They’re attacking us, not because they want peace or don’t want peace. It is because they don’t want us here. If they are frustrated, I assure you that frustration will continue, because we’re going to continue to be here.”

As some in the press issue accusations that Israel has used excessive force in dealing with the attacks, “What do you think would happen in New York if you saw people rushing into crowds trying to murder people. What do you think they would do? Do you think they would do anything different from what we’re doing?” the prime minister asked. 

h/t: Right Scoop