Trey Gowdy Delays Clinton’s Appearance Before Benghazi Committee; State Department Won’t Turn Over Documents

The House Select Committee on Benghazi will not be calling former secretary of state Hillary Clinton to testify before their panel after its chairman, Rep. Trey Gowdy, R-S.C., told Secretary of State John Kerry that the lack of disclosure of documents by the State Department has been hindering progress.

“Secretary Clinton is insistent she will appear once and only once before the Select Committee,” Gowdy said in a statement Thursday. “The Committee must be equally insistent that her appearance is thorough and fully productive. This requires the record to be complete so the Members can effectively base their questions on documents and the Secretary can base her answers on those same documents.”

Gowdy told Kerry in a letter that he wanted Clinton to come to the committee to discuss the private emails that came to light in March.

In an effort to ensure her public record was complete, we invited the former Secretary to explore the unusual email arrangement she had with herself while serving as Secretary. Secretary Clinton rejected our request that she provide her server, which houses public records, to a neutral, third party arbiter. She also rejected our invitation to testify in a transcribed interview.

Secretary Clinton has insisted she will appear before our Committee a single time. Consequently our Committee is equally insistent any appearance be as thorough and constructive as possible.

In the letter, Gowdy also told Kerry that “it is impossible for the Committee and the former Secretary to constructively discuss policies, decisions, and activities, related to Benghazi without your Department cooperating efficiently with the legitimate requests for relevant and salient information,” National Journal reported.

In fact, not a single document has been produced by the State Department pursuant to these requests despite the Committee’s successive efforts, at the State Department’s insistence, to narrow its request.

“Simply put, the Committee must have the records of communication requested more than six months ago before the Secretary’s appearance can be scheduled,” he wrote. “There is still the possibility of scheduling the former Secretary’s appearance soon, but that is contingent upon Department of State compliance.”

h/t: Hot Air

This post originally appeared on Western Journalism – Equipping You With The Truth

Djibouti: The Land Where Money Talks

As US Secretary of State John Kerry steps off his plane in a historic visit to the small “jostle of black volcanic rock” in the Horn of Africa, known as Djibouti, revelations about the precarious conditions at the U.S. military’s only African base, Camp Lemmonier, seem to have been all but forgotten. A day after his unexpected pit stop in Somalia, Kerry’s official visit to Djibouti on May 6 cements the country’s long time status as a vital US strategic ally and a key partner in counterterrorism operations throughout the region. However, a damning report by the Washington Post revealing the dire conditions surrounding Camp Lemmonier’s air space has cast a dark shadow over Kerry’s stay, and has underlined the Obama administration’s piecemeal efforts to protect US soldiers abroad and set standards for Africa’s leaders.

For the four thousand soldiers who call Camp Lemonnier home, the local air traffic controllers have become more dangerous than the enemies they fight. The strategic airspace, a hub for US warplanes and drones, has suffered over the past five years due to the disdain of the controllers over the US military presence, triggering them to create hazardous conditions and increasing the likelihood of an aviation disaster. In 2012, fears of a catastrophe became a reality when four Special Operations Crew members were thrust to their death after Djiboutian controllers ordered their U-28 spy plane to circle the airport after denying them permission to land.

Despite multiple training programs aimed at increasing safety conditions at the airport, the traffic controllers aggressively resisted and continued their practices of blatantly ignoring American military needs, chewing the narcotic leaf khat, playing video games, or sleeping on the job. In one instance of overt anti-Americanism, an air traffic controller swung a lead pipe at a US Navy Officer and promised to “slit Americans throats” if he ever saw them outside of the base. The hostile practice of forcing US planes to circle in the air until low on fuel is dangerously frequent. Indeed, according to one official at the Federal Aviation Administration, Camp Lemonnier has “the most dangerous airspace […] in the world,” while others have been left wondering how the US military was even operating in such treacherous conditions.

Despite these shocking revelations and the unnecessary risks faced by US soldiers at the hands of a supposedly friendly government supporting the fight against terrorism, the Obama administration has inexplicably failed to criticize Djibouti’s local strongman, Ismail Omar Guelleh (IOG). In fact, despite the many incidents involving US personnel, IOG was received in 2014 at the White House with all the pomp and circumstance of a great world leader; and not only did he walk away with a fresh 20-year long lease for Camp Lemonnier–he also doubled the price paid by Washington ($70 million per year) for using the facilities.

For his part, while boasting a “strategic partnership” with the US, IOG has failed to translate any of the funds provided into benefits for the population and has in fact undermined US interests by tying the knot with China. Indeed, Beijing has been quick to work up an appetite for Djibouti’s snug commercial port, one of Africa’s largest thanks to its position in one of the world’s busiest shipping routes. In February 2014, China and Djibouti signed a Security and Defense Agreement under which Djibouti’s port could be used as a hub for the Chinese Navy, an immediate threat to US security interests in the area. Furthermore, the two countries have planned a total of 14 megaprojects worth almost $10 billion, ranging from developing the port’s facilities to constructing railways and two international airports. Meanwhile, as one analyst put it, “the country’s population suffers from hunger, water scarcity, widespread human rights abuses and endemic poverty.”

As Guelleh, who already has “a disproportionate and unaccountable hold over power and wealth” in the country, has been lured in with bags of cash and promises to develop Djibouti’s national business plan, the Obama administration expressed concern that its long-term partner has begun to illustrate undemocratic tendencies as it moves towards a dangerous relationship with Beijing. Indeed, the Middle Kingdom’s influence in Africa has been built on doling out billions to stroke the egos of local strongmen by building massive white elephant projects, which rarely benefit the population. Similarly, the IMF has voiced its reservations at Djibouti’s Chinese fueled development, arguing that the country risks bankruptcy because of the loans’ prohibitively high interest rates.

So there you have it – our country’s most important African ally is knowingly putting American lives at risk everyday, while the country’s president, seduced by Beijing’s lavish megaprojects, seems intent on selling off its future right under the indulgent eyes of Barack Hussein Obama. Somewhat unsurprisingly, Kerry’s hyped up visit didn’t translate into any real warnings for Guelleh and his regime. Not only did the US Secretary of State fail to mention the regime’s human rights abuses, its denial of civil freedoms, the dire safety problems at Camp Lemonnier, and the worrying China connection; but he also went ahead to praise the valuable Djibouti-US relationship, built “on the basis of both mutual respect, but also mutual interest.”

Rather than paying homage to Guelleh and his regime, the US must urge the government not only to increase the safety of its military operations base, but also to ensure that the development aid the country receives trickles down to the population. For a country with a GDP of some $1.7 billion, Djibouti is dependent on the funds provided by US lease agreements. Therefore, had the White House been occupied by a more responsible president, the US would have used its considerable leverage to protect its strategic interests. After all, “money talks, especially in small and underdeveloped states run by authoritarian governments such as Djibouti”; and if the country is to remain a key ally of the US, future collaboration should be made contingent on a Djibouti that respects the strategic interests of its allies and strives towards democratic change not a path of dictatorship.

The views expressed in this opinion article are solely those of their author and are not necessarily either shared or endorsed by WesternJournalism.com.

This post originally appeared on Western Journalism – Equipping You With The Truth

Adding Insult To Injury: John Kerry Tries To Fool The Israeli People About His Iran Deal

Watching John Kerry on Israeli Channel 10 trying to assure the Israeli public about the U.S. administration’s policies towards Iran’s nuclear program, I had to think of that old Jackson Brown anti-nuke song “Before the Deluge.”

Some of them were dreamers
And some of them were fools
Who were making plans and thinking of the future
With the energy of the innocent
They were gathering the tools
They would need to make their journey back to nature
While the sand slipped through the opening
And their hands reached for the golden ring
With their hearts they turned to each other’s hearts for refuge
In the troubled years that came before the deluge.

Here was Kerry trying to convince the Israeli public – with the energy of the innocent – that they had nothing to worry about. The world would finally be a safer place, and the nuclear deal with the world’s number one sponsor of terrorism would protect Israel, the U.S. Secretary of State claimed.

Did he really think he could fool the Israelis? Apparently, Kerry, with his self-proclaimed 100% voting record on Israel in the U.S. Senate, does not understand a thing about the people of Israel; otherwise, he would not have insulted them by suggesting that Israel’s criticism of the Framework Agreement between Iran and the six world powers was hysterical.

The Israeli people knew long before the Lausanne agreement that Obama would sign a bad deal with Iran because they know that Kerry and Obama do not understand the Middle East.

For the Israelis, it is absolutely clear that closing a nuclear deal with Iran is equivalent to making a pact with the devil similar to Chamberlain’s “Peace in our time” agreement with Hitler. After all, they have learned to take genocidal threats seriously; and they have heard Iranian leaders say that the annihilation of the Jewish state is “non-negotiable.”

So if you want to understand the mood in Israel after Lausanne, it’s like the second part of Jackson Brown’s song “Before the Deluge”

Some of them were angry
At the way the earth was abused
By the men who learned how to forge her beauty into power
And they struggled to protect her from them
Only to be confused
By the magnitude of her fury in the final hour
And when the sand was gone and the time arrived
In the naked dawn only a few survived
And in attempts to understand a thing so simple and so huge
Believed that they were meant to live after the deluge
.

Yes, there is anger and frustration in Israel about the deal with Iran; but that doesn’t make Israel’s criticism of the Iran deal hysterical.

Firstly, if the Israeli opposition to the Framework Agreement is ‘hysterical’ as Kerry claims, how can it be that many rational nuclear experts and experienced politicians outside of Israel share their concerns in every aspect?

Could it be that it is Kerry who is becoming increasingly hysterical in the way he reacts to critics, apparently because he doesn’t have answers to the questions about the many loopholes in the agreement?

After all, Kerry has repeatedly shown that he is not able to act rationally when he is about to lose a political battle.

Only last year, he warned Israel that it would become an apartheid state–and that the Palestinians would start a new Intifada if the U.S.-sponsored negotiations with the Palestinians should fail.

A year after PA president Mahmoud Abbas ended the negotiation track with Israel by closing a unity deal with Hamas, Israel is still a democratic state with equal rights for all citizens; and no Palestinian Intifada is on the horizon.

In March 2014, Kerry hysterically labeled global warming “a global threat, touching every region of the world and every sector of the economy,” after the U.S. had experienced the coldest winter in a century

Secondly, when assuring Israel that “there will be inspections every day forever,” Kerry conveniently ignores Iran’s track record of deceit and of stonewalling the IAEA inspections.

The most recent example of Iranian deceit was revealed last week by Great Britain to a UN panel of experts who monitor sanctions on Iran.

As Western Journalism reported:

The UK government informed the Panel on 20 April 2015 that it ‘is aware of an active Iranian nuclear procurement network that has been associated with Iran’s Centrifuge Technology Company (TESA) and Kalay Electric Company (KEC)’,” the Panel of Experts said in its annual report. The panel monitors Iran’s compliance with the U.N. sanctions regime.

KEC is under U.N. Security Council sanctions while TESA is under U.S. and European Union sanctions due to their suspected links to banned Iranian nuclear activities.

“The UK government informed the Panel on 20 April 2015 that it ‘is aware of an active Iranian nuclear procurement network that has been associated with Iran’s Centrifuge Technology Company (TESA) and Kalay Electric Company (KEC)’,” the Panel of Experts said in its annual report. The panel monitors Iran’s compliance with the U.N. sanctions regime.

KEC is under U.N. Security Council sanctions while TESA is under U.S. and European Union sanctions due to their suspected links to banned Iranian nuclear activities”.

Recently, Iranian leaders have said that they will not allow inspections of military sites such as Parchin, where Iran tested detonators for a nuclear warhead.

Only last month, the IAEA reported that no progress was made in talks about inspections of such sites.

Kerry also ‘forgot’ about the Fordow underground uranium enrichment complex that was built during the IAEA inspection regime and was finally exposed in 2009.

Does Kerry not know about current Iranian president Hassan Rouhani’s deceit? Rouhani revealed on Iranian television how he deceived the West over the regime’s illicit nuclear program–and claimed credit for vastly expanding it. “We wanted to complete all of these (nuclear programs). We needed time,” he said.

Rouhani was Iran’s nuclear negotiator starting in October 2003 in talks with France, Britain, and Germany.

“The day that we invited the three European ministers, only 10 centrifuges were spinning,” Rouhani said. He said the three European ministers promised to block the U.S. desire to transfer the Iran nuclear dossier to the United Nations, using veto power if necessary. He called Iran’s claim that it stopped its nuclear program in 2003 a statement for the uneducated and admitted that the program not only was not stopped, but was significantly expanded under his tenure.

These are only the most recent examples of Iranian deceit and stonewalling.

All this is known to the Israeli public; so when, during the interview, Kerry said the U.S. administration will not disappoint Israel, he was adding insult to injury. The Obama administration let Israel down the moment that it abandoned the original goal of the negotiations with Iran, namely, the dismantling of the Iranian nuclear program.

So if Kerry and Obama really think that Israel will inform the U.S. government about a military attack on Iran’s nuclear installations–as Kerry expects–they are dead wrong. They will no doubt be informed after the attack, just as in 1981 when Israel took out the Iraqi nuclear program in Osirak. The current U.S. government isn’t trusted, not just by the Israeli government but also by the overwhelming majority of the Israeli people.

“Ultimately we will stand alone,” former Israeli Prime Minister Barak said about Israel’s position vis-à-vis Iran. Today, his prediction has become true; and Israelis know it, Mr. Kerry.

 

 

This post originally appeared on Western Journalism – Equipping You With The Truth

BREAKING: Iran Military Reportedly Fires At US Cargo Ship, Seizing The Vessel And 34 Americans

Al Arabiya News, the English version of a 24-hour Saudi news service in the Arab world, reports that the Iran military has fired on a U.S. cargo ship and directed it to the port of Bandar Abbas on the southern coast of Iran. Details of the supposed seizure of the American vessel are sketchy, but early reports say there were up to 34 U.S. sailors on board the ship whose cargo is not publicly disclosed.

The Independent reports that the reason for the reported hostilities directed at the vessel by the Iranian military is unclear. However, the website RT reports that the Iranian military went after the ship for supposedly trespassing in territorial waters.

“The Iranian Navy has reportedly seized a US ship with 34 crew members on board, for violating Iran’s waters in the Persian Gulf.”

The BBC adds that there has been no official confirmation of the incident from either Iranian or U.S. officials. In a separate report prior to word of the dramatic turn of events in the Persian Gulf, the BBC noted that multi-national negotiations over Iran’s nuclear program are resuming in New York. And in Washington, the Senate is also looking to exert its influence over the direction of the talks that President Obama and Secretary of State Kerry are so intent on pushing forward.

“…the US Senate will begin debate on bipartisan legislation to subject any final nuclear accord to review by Congress and a potential vote to approve or reject it. Republican senators have already filed amendments that the bill’s sponsors warn could jeopardise a rare bipartisan measure.”

Western Journalism will provide updates on the reported seizure of the American ship by the Iranian Navy as they become available.

This post originally appeared on Western Journalism – Equipping You With The Truth

What Just Happened To Obama’s Iran Deal Framework Shows It Was A Shoddy House Of Cards

Image Credit: The Telegraph/Twitter

Within hours of his boastful declaration to the world that the framework of a nuclear deal worked out by his negotiators and other world powers offered “an historic opportunity” to promote peace and cooperation, President Obama found the flimsy structure of the sketchy arrangement swiftly collapsing around him.

Obama’s bid for a celebrated legacy seems to have lasted only slightly longer than one of his golf games.

Following up on their quick questioning of the terms of the prospective deal announced by the U.S. State Department and heralded by the White House, the Iranian regime has now dismissed the so-called agreement to curb its nuclear ambitions as “not acceptable.”

The Washington Free Beacon reports that the Obama administration’s depiction of the deal vastly differs from Tehran’s take, with the Iranians vowing they will agree to nothing until all sanctions against their country are lifted.

On Wednesday, Iran rejected most of the concessions it reportedly agreed to undertake. Top Iranian leaders are describing the framework as a ‘lie’ and announced that international nuclear inspectors will not be permitted to enter any of its contested military sites.

Iran’s Supreme Leader, Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, has now followed up with an all-or-nothing demand that all sanctions on Iran be lifted at the same time as any final agreement is signed. Obama had indicated the sanctions would be eased over time.

A post on Breitbart elaborates on the swift disintegration of the “thin fiction” of Obama’s trumpeted framework. Citing an article in the Times of Israel, Breitbart author John Hayward notes that the Iranians are already reportedly violating the terms of the deal–even as Obama and Secretary of State John Kerry are still cooling down after their vigorous victory lap.

The alleged violation concerns Iran’s stated intent to fire up its latest generation of centrifuges that could contribute to the production of nuclear materials for other-than-peaceful purposes.

“If accurate, the report makes a mockery of the world powers’ much-hailed framework agreement with Iran, since such a move clearly breaches the US-published terms of the deal, and would dramatically accelerate Iran’s potential progress to the bomb.”

Iran is also reportedly denying that the nuclear framework, contrary to what the Obama negotiators contend, includes a provision to allow for inspection of the regime’s military facilities.

“‘Basically, inspection of military facilities is a red line and no inspection of any kind from such facilities would be accepted,’ said Iranian defense minister Brigadier General Hossein Dehqan.”

National Review notes that virtually all the restrictions the deal places on Iran’s pursuit and development of nuclear capabilities that could lead to their having the bomb would be in place for only 10-15 years, and “there is no pretense that they will be continued after that.”

Even the president himself — displaying a worrisome lack of consistency on describing his own position on Iran and the progress of the talks — has contradicted himself on if/when Iran could obtain a nuclear weapon.

NPR points out what the president just said, which runs counter to his earlier pledge that he would make sure Iran never gets the bomb.

“As President Obama makes his sales pitch for a nuclear deal with Iran, critics have seized on his remark that Iran’s ‘breakout’ time for acquiring the nuclear material needed for a bomb could shrink as restrictions ease after about 13 years.”

This post originally appeared on Western Journalism – Informing And Equipping Americans Who Love Freedom