Something So Terrifying Was Just Found On A Boat Of ‘Migrants’ That Gov’t Tried To Hide It

A convicted terrorist with links to ISIS and Al Qaeda was caught trying to smuggle into Europe posing as an asylum seeker. Mehdi Ben Nasr, 38, arrived on the Italian island of Lampedusa last month on a refugee boat that had set sail from Libya. 

The Telegraph reports that Mehdi was arrested in northern Italy in 2008 and sentenced to seven years in prison after he was found to be head of a terrorist cell with links to Al Qaeda. He was extradited to Tunisia following the conviction.

“Upon his arrest…police said they had seized poisons, remote explosive detonators and manuals on guerrilla warfare. He was captured then along with 13 Algerians and Tunisians across Europe as part of an anti-terrorism operation led by Italian authorities. Medhi’s seven-year sentence, based largely on 25 wiretaps, was confirmed by the Reggio Emilia appeal court in 2011,” the Independent reports.  

Mehdi returned to Italy on October 4 under the assumed name of Mohamed Ben Sar, with false identity papers to back up his claim. He told authorities that he wanted to travel to northern Europe to be with relatives. However, officials became suspicious after meeting with him over a three day period, and then fingerprint records revealed his true identity.

“During the arrest [last week], police found al-Qaeda manuals linked to the production of explosives and detonation devices. Just days before, he was heard giving advice and recommending contacts to a group of terrorists in Syria during an intercepted phone call,” according to the Telegraph. Among the intercepted calls was one made to terrorists in Damascus. 

“German channel n-tv claims the Italian government initially tried to hide the story to avoid ‘panic’ and ‘scare tactics.’ The news did not emerge until several days after Mehdi had been detained last week,” Breitbart reports

The Italian government deported the terrorist back to Tunisia, where he was handed over to authorities.

European government officials have feared that ISIS and other terrorist groups would use the refugee crisis to infiltrate their operatives into the continent. The BBC reported last spring that refugee boat operators in ISIS controlled areas must turn over up to half their earnings to the Islamic State, as well as smuggle fighters into Europe.

The Wickedness Of Foreign Policy

If you want to see how inhumane people can be, just watch those who make and execute foreign policy. We could spend all day discussing the cruelties that politicians and bureaucrats commit against people who live inside the United States. Think how many are caged like wild animals because they manufacture, sell, or consume disapproved substances; gamble where government has forbade it; traded sexual services for money; possessed a gun they weren’t “supposed” to possess; etc. ad infinitum. Naturally, America leads the world in locking up people.

But at least the policy of mass imprisonment gets increasing attention. Subject to far less scrutiny is how America’s (mis)leaders, (mis)representatives and public (self-)servants treat foreigners, especially those with dark skins and a still-unfamiliar religion. When we talk about foreign policy, how easy it is to get wrapped up in abstractions like empire, interventionnonintervention, and kinetic military action. These are important concepts to understand, of course; but foreign-policy conversations often become sterile examinations of “policy,” when what we need is a full awareness of the harm to individual human beings, the destruction of their families, homes, communities, and societies. These persons are the victims of our rulers’ geopolitical stratagems, which seemly outrank all other considerations. Yet each victim has a story embodying unique relationships and aspirations, a story that is permanently changed by an American cluster bomb, drone-launched missile, or special-ops mission.

The best that can be said of the perpetrators of this carnage and social devastation is that they are guilty of gross negligence. Many of their acts, however, cross into the territory of premeditated murder and the infliction of mayhem with malice aforethought.

One need not look hard for the most egregious examples taking place right at this moment. In Yemen, the Obama administration gives indispensable material support to Saudi Arabia’s barbaric war — war ought not to require a qualifier like barbaric, but it seems necessary these days — on the poorest population in the region. The U.S.-facilitated starvation blockade and cluster-bombing take an untold number of Yemeni lives while devastating the social order. Policymakers — a euphemism for the architects of devastation — can rationalize this cruelty in geopolitical terms — the Houthis, who incidentally are fighting al-Qaeda-affiliated jihadis, are (falsely) said to be instruments of Iran — but the fact remains that individual persons who did no harm to anyone are being slaughtered and starved with the help of American politicians and military bureaucrats.

Or how about Syria? U.S. conduct carries out a seemingly incoherent policy of simultaneously targeting the regime of President Bashar al-Assad and one of his chief adversaries, the Islamic State, while helping another Islamist group, al-Nusra Front, that has pledged allegiance to Ayman al-Zawahiri, Osama bin Laden’s successor as head of al-Qaeda, perpetrators of the 9/11 attacks. Estimates of the death total in Syria’s civil war reach as high as 340,000, a number that represents the toll at the hands of both government and rebel forces. (The total is sometimes invidiously attributed to Assad’s military alone.) The injured and refugees are probably uncountable.

What must be understood is that most of these deaths, injuries, and dispossessions would probably not have occurred had the Obama administration — most especially Secretary of State Hillary Clinton — not early on intensified the civil war by declaring Assad’s regime “illegitimate,” demanding that he “go” (i.e., die), and overseeing the transfer weapons and jihadi fighters from Benghazi, Libya. While doing all this, the Obama administration was thwarting promising efforts toward a negotiated settlement, which might have stopped or at least reduced the killing of innocent persons. For details, see these three articles by the excellent investigate journalist Jonathan Marshall.

And then there’s Libya itself, which Clinton boasts is an example of “smart power at its best.” In 2011, she had egg on her face because she was on the wrong side of the Arab Spring, having defended Egypt’s military dictator, Hosni Mubarak, as a family friend and trusted world leader to the bitter end while throngs of aggrieved Egyptians were in the streets demanding his exit. Needing to clean up her image (perhaps in preparation for her quest for the presidency), she along with administration national-security VIPs Samantha Power and Susan Rice persuaded a reluctant Obama that the residents of Benghazi had to be saved from Col. Muammar Gaddafi’s alleged genocidal designs. The only problem was that Gaddafi had no genocidal designs. (Also see this and this.) And in a classic exhibition of mission-creep, the U.S.-led NATO air campaign went from protecting Benghazi to changing the regime in Tripoli, prompting Clinton to gloat, “We came. We saw. He died.” (Gaddafi was killed extrajudicially, reportedly in a most gruesome manner.)

Since the U.S. intervention, Libya has been wracked by sectarian civil war — even the Islamic State now holds territory there — prompting many Libyans to flee to Europe, which now has to contend with a growing refugee crisis. As noted, the Libyan power vacuum, featuring the unlocking of Gaddafi’s arsenal of heavy weapons, helped to boost the Islamist rebel militias in Syria, to the delight of U.S. allies Turkey (which fears the Kurds) and Saudi Arabia (which fears Iran and the Shi’ites). After the nightmare in Iraq, one has to wonder what Clinton was thinking. The closest thing we have to an answer is from then-Secretary of War Robert Gates, an opponent of the intervention, who said, “We were playing it by ear.” (And let’s not forget: destabilization itself can be an objective.)

Of course, we could point to Iraq, George W. Bush’s invasion of which in 2003 set most of the aforementioned mayhem in motion, and Afghanistan; but the story is largely the same: innocent lives are sacrificed to the politicians’ grand agenda. Little people living small lives can’t be allowed to stand in the way.

Sheldon Richman keeps the blog Free Association and is a senior fellow and chair of the trustees of the Center for a Stateless Society. Become a patron today!

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

Hillary Clinton Hasn’t Learned A Thing From Iraq

As the first Democratic presidential debate drew to a close, moderator Anderson Cooper posed a question to Hillary Clinton: How might her presidency differ from Barack Obama’s?

Clinton smiled. “Well, I think it’s pretty obvious,” she replied to rapturous applause. “Being the first woman president would be quite a change from the presidents we’ve had.”

Indeed, a Hillary Clinton presidency would shatter the glass ceiling for women in the United States. But it would also leave intact the old boys’ military-industrial complex that’s kept our nation in a perpetual state of war for decades.

Clinton, it seems, failed to learn anything after supporting the disastrous Iraq War, which plunged a huge swath of the Middle East into chaos and cost her the 2008 Democratic presidential nomination. Instead of embracing diplomacy, she continued to champion ill-conceived military interventions as secretary of state.

In 2011, when the Arab Spring came to Libya, Clinton was the Obama administration’s most forceful advocate for intervening to overthrow Muammar Gaddafi. She even out-hawked Robert Gates, the Pentagon chief first appointed by George W. Bush who was less than enthusiastic about going to war in Libya.

Ironically, the political grief Clinton has suffered over the subsequent attack on a U.S. diplomatic outpost in Benghazi, which killed four Americans, might never have occurred if Clinton had opted against intervening in Libya’s civil war.

While House Republicans recently spent 11 hours relentlessly drilling Clinton about Benghazi and her personal email account, the larger disaster by far is the postwar chaos that’s left Libya without a functioning government, overrun by feuding warlords and extremist militants.

Clinton favors greater military intervention in Syria’s civil war, too. In her presidential bid, she’s joined hawkish Republican senators like John McCain and Lindsey Graham in supporting the creation of a no-fly zone over the country.

That puts her at odds not only with President Barack Obama, but also with her Democratic presidential rival Bernie Sanders, who warned that it could “get us more deeply involved in that horrible civil war and lead to a never-ending U.S. entanglement in that region.”

Clinton did end up supporting the administration’s Iran nuclear deal, but her support came with a history of bellicose baggage.

Back in 2008, for example, she warned that Washington could “totally obliterate“ Iran. During that presidential campaign, she chided Obama as “naïve” and “irresponsible” for wanting to engage the country diplomatically.

Even after the nuclear agreement was sealed, she struck a bullying tone: “I don’t believe Iran is our partner in this agreement,” Clinton insisted. “Iran is the subject of the agreement.” She added that she “won’t hesitate to take military action” if it falls through.

Contrast Clinton with the more moderate Secretary of State John Kerry. It’s no wonder Obama’s two signature foreign policy achievements — the Iran deal and the groundbreaking opening of diplomatic ties with Cuba — came after Clinton left.

There was a very telling moment about Clinton’s attitude during the debate when Cooper asked, “Which enemy are you most proud of?”

Alongside the NRA, Republicans, and health insurance companies, Clinton listed “the Iranians” — which could mean either the Iranian government or the nation’s 78 million people. In either case, it wasn’t a very diplomatic thing to say while her successor and former colleagues are trying to chart a new, more cooperative relationship with Iran.

When it comes to war and peace, it might not matter too much if a Republican or Hillary Clinton wins the White House. In either case, the winner will be the military-industrial complex President Dwight D. Eisenhower warned us about.

Medea Benjamin, the founder of CODEPINK and Global Exchange, is the author of Drone Warfare: Killing by Remote Control.

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

House Benghazi Hearings: Too Much Too Late

Last week, the U.S. House of Representatives called former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton to appear before a select committee looking into the attack on a US facility in Benghazi, Libya, in 2012. The attack left four Americans dead, including U.S. Ambassador to Libya, Chris Stevens.

As might be expected, however, the “Benghazi Committee” hearings have proven not much more than a means for each party to grandstand for political points.

In fact, I would call these Congressional hearings “too much, too late.”

Four years after the U.S.-led overthrow of the Libyan government — which left the country a wasteland controlled by competing Islamist gangs and militias — the committee wants to know whether Hillary Clinton had enough guards at the facility in Benghazi on the night of the attack? The most important thing to look into about Libya is Hillary Clinton’s e-mails or management style while Secretary of State?

Why no House Committee hearing before President Obama launched his war on Libya? Why no vote on whether to authorize the use of force? Why no hearing after the President violated the Constitution by sending the military into Libya with UN authorization rather than Congressional authorization? There are Constitutional tools available to Congress when a president takes the country to war without a declaration or authorization. At the time, President Obama claimed he did not need authorization from Congress because the U.S. was not engaged in “hostilities.” It didn’t pass the laugh test, but Congress did next to nothing about it.

When the Obama Administration decided to attack Libya, I joined Rep. Dennis Kucinich and others in an attempt to force a vote on the president’s war. I introduced my own legislation warning the administration that, “the President is required to obtain in advance specific statutory authorization for the use of United States Armed Forces in response to civil unrest in Libya.”

We even initiated a lawsuit in the U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia asking the courts to rule on whether the president broke the law in attacking Libya.

Unfortunately, we got nowhere with our efforts. When it looked like we had the votes to pass a resolution introduced by Rep. Kucinich to invoke War Powers Resolution requirements on the president for the use of force in Libya, Speaker Boehner cancelled the vote.

Why were there no hearings at the time to discuss this very important Constitutional matter? Because the leadership of both parties wanted the war. Both parties — with few exceptions — agree with the ideology of U.S. interventionism worldwide.

Secretary Clinton defended the State Department’s handling of security at the Benghazi facility by pointing out that there are plenty of diplomatic posts in war zones and that danger in these circumstances is to be expected. However, she never mentioned why Benghazi remained a “war zone” a year after the U.S. had “liberated” Libya from Gaddafi.

Why was Libya still a war zone? Because the U.S. intervention left Libya in far worse shape than it was under Gaddafi. We don’t need to endorse Gaddafi to recognize that today’s Libya, controlled by al-Qaeda and ISIS militias, is far worse off — and more of a threat to the U.S. — than it was before the bombs started falling.

The problem is the ideology of interventionism, not the management of a particular intervention. Interventionism has a terrible track record, from 1953 in Iran, to Vietnam, to 2003 in Iraq, to 2011 in Libya and Syria. A real Congressional hearing should focus on the crimes and mistakes of the interventionists!

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

Watch: Here’s What Hillary Did Immediately After Benghazi Committee Hearing Ended

Hillary Clinton appeared pleased with how the morning session of questioning went with the Select Committee on Benghazi on Thursday.

In fact, a video taken in the hearing room immediate after the panel broke for lunch, shows the former secretary of state giving a “low five” handshake to Florida Democrat Rep. Alcee Hastings.

An editor with the Independent Journal, posted it on Twitter to the hip-hop tune Trap Queen by Fetty Wap:

Hastings is a former federal judge who was impeached by Congress in 1988 for bribery and perjury and was removed from office in 1989.

The disgraced judge turned around and ran for the House of Representatives and won in 1992. He has served as a congressman ever since.

President Bill Clinton pardoned Hastings on his last day as Chief Executive as part of the infamous “Pardongate,” during which he absolved 140 people of criminal wrongdoing.

As for Hillary Clinton’s morning testimony, her greatest area of struggle appeared to be addressing why she gave so much attention to emails about Libya by friend Sidney Blumenthal, who was not serving in government and not on the ground there, and so little attention to the views of Ambassador Chris Stevens and others from the State Department who actually had first hand knowledge.

Stevens was among those calling for increased security in the war-torn nation in the weeks and months leading up to the attacks, in order to protect State Department employees in the very fluid and dangerous environment.

“I think it is eminently fair to ask why Sidney Blumethal had unfettered access to you, Madam Secretary…and there’s not a single solitary email to or from you, to or from Ambassador Stevens,” Benghazi Committee Chairman Trey Gowdy said.

Clinton admitted earlier that Stevens did not even have her personal email. 

“I do not believe that he had my personal email,” she said, but adding he had a direct line to others. 

h/t: The Daily Mail