“Our enemies are innovative and resourceful, and so are we. They never stop thinking about new ways to harm our country and our people, and neither do we.” - George W. Bush

Wednesday, September 28, 2016

Listen Up Donald: Farrakhan Invites Obama Back to the Hood and Slams Hillary on Killing Ghadaffi and Creating the Refugee Crisis


Minister Farrakhan Responds to President Obama’s ‘Personal Insult’ Comments

On Sept. 18, Minister Louis Farrakhan slams President Barack Obama’s recent plea to Black voters at the Union Temple Baptist Church in Washington, D.C.

During his final address to the Congressional Black Caucus, Obama urged Black voters to support Hillary Clinton.

“… My Name may not be on the ballot but our progress is on the ballot. Tolerance is on the ballot … I will consider it a personal insult. An insult to my legacy if this community lets down its guard and fails to activate itself in this election …”

However, Farrakhan believes the president failed the Black community and does not deserve to ask them to support Clinton.

He adds that Obama did not help the people suffering in Chicago, and many residents were disappointed by his inability to come and speak with them.
“There’s your legacy Mr. President,” Farrakhan starts. ” It’s in the street, with your suffering people … And if you can’t go and see about them, the white people you’ve served so well, will preserve your legacy. The hell they will. You didn’t earn your legacy with us … [Obama] didn’t earn your legacy with Black people. You fought for the rights of gay people. You fight for Israel. Your people are suffering and dying in the streets!”

Tuesday, September 27, 2016

Hell Delivered through the US Benghazi Embassy in Libya

How Libyan ‘Regime Change’ Lies Echo in Syria

Exclusive: The mainstream U.S. media has largely ignored a U.K. report on the West’s lies used to justify the Libyan “regime change,” all the better to protect the ongoing falsehoods used in Syria, as James W Carden explains.

By James W Carden
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Earlier this month, a select committee of British parliamentarians released a reportwhich condemned the U.K. government under David Cameron for its role in the 2011 NATO intervention in Libya. The report makes plain that the principal basis on which the intervention was predicated – that then-Libyan dictator Muammar Gaddafi was on the verge of committing a wholesale slaughter of the rebel stronghold Benghazi – was a lie propagated by Western and Gulf State media outlets.

It also shows the extent to which the crisis was driven by Libyan exiles who – perhaps quite understandably – had an axe to grind with the Gaddafi regime. In this – and in other ways, as we shall see – the Libyan crisis shares a number of similarities with the Syrian crisis. Indeed, it would be fair to view the debacle in Libya as a dress rehearsal for the war outside powers have been waging against the sovereign government of Syria for the past five years.
Ousted Libyan leader Muammar Gaddafi shortly before he was murdered on Oct. 20, 2011.
Ousted Libyan leader Muammar Gaddafi shortly before he was murdered on Oct. 20, 2011.
The U.K. report documents the extent to which the narrative of impending genocide was driven by the delusions of Libyan exiles: “Libyan exiles based in France were influential in raising fears about a possible massacre in Benghazi. Visiting Professor at King’s College London, Professor George Joffé, told us that ‘the decisions of President Sarkozy and his Administration were driven by Libyan exiles getting allies within the French intellectual establishment who were anxious to push for a real change in Libya.’”

Indeed, the U.K. Select Committee was told that “émigrés opposed to Muammar Gaddafi exploited unrest in Libya by overstating the threat to civilians and encouraging Western powers to intervene.”
The narrative crafted by Libyan exiles was swallowed hook, line and sinker by a willingly credulous Western press. Similarly dynamics were at play during the initial phase of the crisis in Syria.

Professor Tim Anderson of the University of Sydney notes that Syrian clerics in exile in Saudi Arabia, like Sheikh Adnan Arour “called for a holy war against the liberal Allawi muslims” who dominated the Assad government.
The journalist Eva Bartlett, who has been on the ground in Syria, has written that the problem with many of the Western media accounts of the Syrian crisis is that “Many talking heads draw from one sole source, UK-based Syrian Rami Abdulrahman of the so-called Syrian Observatory for Human Rights (SOHR).”
Abdulrahman, who runs the oft-quoted SOHR out of his home in Coventry, England, “hasn’t,” according to Bartlett, “been to Syria for 15 years.” What is more, Abdulrahman’s operation is reliant on the reports of opposition figures. This, as Bartlett notes, is no impartial source.

Other exile groups, like the Syrian National Council, has received millions of dollars in funding from the declared enemies of the Assad regime like Qatar and UAE. Meanwhile, regime change groups like the Aleppo Media Centre (AMC), the Washington-based Syrian Expatriates Organization (SEO) have, according to Anderson, received “hundreds of thousands of dollars in donations from un-named sources.”

Professor Anderson tells us that “Like many other U.S.-created front groups (The Syrian Campaign, the White Helmets) the SEO is committed to the overthrow of the Syrian Government. That also happens to be the aim of the U.S. Government.”
Machiavelli was perhaps righter than he knew when he wrote: “how dangerous a thing it is to believe those who have been driven out of their country … such is the extreme desire in them to return home, that they naturally believe many things that are false and add many others by art.”

No Angels

And then there is the role Western media has played in ginning up the twin crises. The U.K. report on Libya – citing Amnesty International – notes that, “Western media coverage has from the outset presented a very one-sided view of the logic of events, portraying the protest movement as entirely peaceful and repeatedly suggesting that the regime’s security forces were unaccountably massacring unarmed demonstrators who presented no security challenge.”
Syrian President Bashar al-Assad.
Syrian President Bashar al-Assad.
In fact, the opposite was the case: security forces in both Libya and Syria came under attack by Islamist radicals from the very start: these were hardly the “peaceful” protests as portrayed by the Western media. As the U.K. report points out, “It is now clear that militant Islamist militias played a critical role in the rebellion from February 2011 onwards.”

What is more: “The possibility that militant extremist groups would attempt to benefit from the rebellion should not have been the preserve of hindsight. Libyan connections with transnational militant extremist groups were known before 2011, because many Libyans had participated in the Iraq insurgency and in Afghanistan with al-Qaeda.”

Likewise, the dominant myth surrounding the Syrian crisis is that “millions” of peaceful Syrians took to the streets as part of the liberalizing wave which roiled the Arab world in the spring of 2011. Human Rights Watch declared that the Syrian protesters “only used violence against the security forces” as a “last resort.”
Indeed, all of the violence which soon unfolded was said to be the fault of Assad’s police state and Assad’s subsequent refusal to step down –  so the story goes – is one of the main causes of the growth in strength and numbers of radical Islamists terrorists.

As recently as last summer, none other than former Prime Minister David Cameron called Assad a “recruiting sergeant for ISIS.” And while this claim is as nonsensical as it is disingenuous, it is a line which has been dutifully echoed by former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, who in April told CNN that “ISIS was primarily the result of the vacuum in Syria caused by Assad first and foremost.”
From the very start, the opposition to Assad included sectarian extremists who chanted: “Christians to Beirut, Alawis to the grave.” And the first documented incidents of violence in Daraa were against, not by, the Syrian security forces.
Professor Anderson cites an Israel National News report from March 21, 2011, which told of “Seven police officers and at least four demonstrators in Syria have been killed.” Anderson notes, “The armed forces came to Daraa precisely because police had been killed by snipers.” [emphasis mine]

The journalist and analyst John Rosenthal translated a Jan. 12, 2012 report from Homs by a Dutch Jesuit, Father Frans van der Lugt, who was later murdered, likely by al-Nusra militants, in April 2014.

The Jesuit missionary observed that: “Most of the citizens of Syria do not support the opposition. … you also cannot say that this is a popular uprising. The majority of people are not part of the rebellion and certainly not part of the armed rebellion. What is occurring is, above all, a struggle between the army and armed Sunni groups that aim to overturn the Alawite regime and take power.
“From the start the protest movements were not purely peaceful. From the start I saw armed demonstrators marching along in the protests, who began to shoot at the police first. Very often the violence of the security forces has been a reaction to the brutal violence of the armed rebels.”

Also inconvenient to the dominant narrative is the fact that even after the large scale anti-government protests and escalation in violence, 55 percent of Syrians polled in 2012 wanted Assad to remain in power.

With all of this in mind we would do well to treat reports from the likes of CNN’s Clarissa Ward with a healthy amount of skepticism, not least because the fact that Islamists were involved from the very start of both the Libyan and Syrian uprisings have been relentlessly excised out of the dominant, acceptable mainstream narratives like hers.

Lost Alternatives

When one considers the policy alternatives which were rudely shunted aside in favor of violence, the twin catastrophes in Libya and Syria appear all the worse in retrospect. Instead of strictly adhering to the UN-mandated arms embargo in Libya, the U.K. Select Committee reports that:
U.S. President Barack Obama and British Prime Minister David Cameron trade bottles of beer to settle a bet they made on the U.S. vs. England World Cup Soccer game (which ended in a tie), during a bilateral meeting at the G20 Summit in Toronto, Canada, June 26, 2010. (White House photo by Pete Souza)
U.S. President Barack Obama and British Prime Minister David Cameron trade bottles of beer to settle a bet they made on the U.S. vs. England World Cup Soccer game (which ended in a tie), during a bilateral meeting at the G20 Summit in Toronto, Canada, June 26, 2010. (White House photo by Pete Souza)
“we were told that the international community turned a blind eye to the supply of weapons to the rebels. Lord Richards [UK Defence Chief of Staff] highlighted “the degree to which the Emiratis and the Qataris … played a major role in the success of the ground operation.”

Likewise, the Syrian arms embargo was only selectively and fitfully enforced. From May 2011 to June 2013, the E.U. imposed an arms embargo on Syria but, according to the Stockholm International Peace Research Institute, by April 2013 “the EU decided to allow the supply of certain equipment to Syrian opposition forces.”
In the ensuing years the U.S. aided and abetted the supply of weapons (laundered through Jordan) to radical opposition groups while Turkey, Qatar and Saudi Arabia were the principal suppliers of weapons to ISIS.

As Meredith Tax of the think tank, Centre for Secular Space, recently pointed out in The Nation, the U.S. continues to turn a blind eye toward the actions of NATO-member Turkey which is supporting jihadi gains by attacking Kurdish forces in northern Syria. The media, as Tax correctly observes, has “failed to look hard at the Erdogan government’s support of jihadis, or to ask what they have in common.”

Meanwhile, diplomatic alternatives were never seriously pursued in Libya or in Syria – though it is true that the peaceful Russian alternative to Obama’s “red line” policy was pursued with regard to dismantling Syria’s stockpile of chemical weapons.

But a peaceful path in Libya was, it seems, never taken seriously. Saif Gaddafi’s attempts to broker a settlement with the Clinton State Department and with the U.K. through his intermediary, former Prime Minister Tony Blair, were never taken seriously by NATO principals.

As the U.K. report tartly notes: “Political options were available if the UK Government had adhered to the spirit of Resolution 1973, implemented its original campaign plan and influenced its coalition allies to pause military action when Benghazi was secured in March 2011. Political engagement might have delivered civilian protection, regime change and reform at lesser cost to the UK and to Libya.”

And given the behavior of both Gaddafi and Assad in the years following 9/11 the sovereignty of both countries should have – at a minimum – been respected; after all, Gaddafi had only just begun to accede to Western prerogatives, as when he abandoned his WMD program in 2003, while Assad had cooperated with the Bush administration in its so-called Global War on Terror. It is worth noting that in doing so, he earned the enmity of the religious fanatics who run Turkey, Qatar and Saudi Arabia.

As thanks for his cooperation, the U.S., ever at the beck and call of the Gulf State autocracies who are our actual enemies, Assad has became the target of regime change enthusiasts in the U.S. and Europe. Their designs have wrecked large swathes of Syria, resulted in an unprecedented migrant crisis, destroyed the lives of many millions, gave rise to ISIS and strengthened the very same Islamist radicals who attacked us on 9/11 and who remain the sworn enemies of the West.

James W Carden is a contributing writer for The Nation and editor of The American Committee for East-West Accord’s eastwestaccord.com. He previously served as an advisor on Russia to the Special Representative for Global Inter-governmental Affairs at the US State Department.
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Monday, September 26, 2016

Sunday, September 25, 2016

October 2001, the Bush administration launched its invasion of Afghanistan, the U.S. was bombing no other Islamic country. September 8th, almost 15 years later, U.S. dropped bombs on, or fired missiles at, Iraq, Syria, Afghanistan, Libya, Yemen, and Somalia.


Bombing Everything, Gaining Nothing - Antiwar.com Original

An Obsolescent Military

by , September 24, 2016 ANTIWAR

What, precisely, is the US military for, and what, precisely, can it do? In practical terms, how powerful is it? On paper, it is formidable, huge, with carrier battle groups, advanced technology, remarkable submarines, satellites, and so on. What does this translate to?

Military power does not exist independently, but only in relation to specific circumstances. Comparing technical specifications of the T-14 to those of the M1A2, or Su-34 to F-15, or numbers of this to numbers of that, is an interesting intellectual exercise. It means little without reference to specific circumstances.
For example, America is vastly superior militarily to North Korea in every category of arms – but the North has nuclear bombs. It can’t deliver them to the US, but probably can to Seoul. Even without nuclear weapons, it has a large army and large numbers of artillery tubes within range of Seoul. It has an unpredictable government. As Gordon Liddy said, if your responses to provocation are wildly out of proportion to those provocations, and unpredictable, nobody will provoke you.

An American attack by air on the North, the only attack possible short of a preemptive nuclear strike, would offer a high probability of a peninsular war, devastation of Seoul, paralysis of an important trading partner – think Samsung – and an uncertain final outcome. The United States hasn’t the means of getting troops to Korea rapidly in any numbers, and the domestic political results of lots of GIs killed by a serious enemy would be politically grave. The probable cost far exceeds any possible benefit. In practical terms, Washington’s military superiority means nothing with regard to North Korea. Pyongyang knows it.

Or consider the Ukraine. On paper, US forces overall are superior to Russian. Locally, they are not. Russia borders on the Ukraine and could overrun it quickly. The US cannot rapidly bring force to bear except a degree of air power. Air power hasn’t worked against defenseless peasants in many countries. Russia is not a defenseless peasant. Europe, usually docile and obedient to America, is unlikely to engage in a shooting war with Moscow for the benefit of Washington. Europeans are aware that Russia borders on Eastern Europe, which borders on Western Europe. For Washington, fighting Russia in the Ukraine would require a huge effort with seaborne logistics and a national mobilization. Serious wars with nuclear powers do not represent the height of judgment.

Again, Washington’s military superiority means nothing.

Or consider Washington’s dispute with China in the Pacific. China cannot begin to match American naval power. It doesn’t have to. Beijing has focused on anti-ship missiles – read “carrier-killer” – such as the JD21 ballistic missile. How well it works I do not know, but the Chinese are not stupid. Is the risk of finding out worth it? Fast, stealthed, sea-skimming cruise missiles are very cheap compared to carriers, and America’s admirals know that lots of them arriving simultaneously would not have a happy ending.

Having a fleet disabled by China would be intolerable to Washington, but its possible responses would be unappealing. Would it start a conventional war with China with the ghastly global economic consequences? This would not generate allies. Cut China’s oil lanes to the Mideast and push Beijing toward nuclear war? Destroy the Three Gorges Dam and drown god knows how many people? If China used the war as a pretext for annexing bordering counties? What would Russia do?

The consequences both probable and assured make the adventure unattractive, especially since likely pretexts for a war with China – a few rocks in the Pacific, for example – are too trivial to be worth the certain costs and uncertain outcome. Again, military superiority doesn’t mean much.

We live in a military world fundamentally different from that of the last century. All-out wars between major powers, which is to say nuclear powers, are unlikely since they would last about an hour after they became all-out, and everyone knows it. In WWII Germany could convince itself, reasonably and almost correctly, that Russia would fall in a summer, or the Japanese that a Depression-ridden, unarmed America might decide not to fight. Now, no. Threaten something that a nuclear power regards as vital and you risk frying. So nobody does.
At any rate, nobody has. Fools abound in DC and New York.

What then, in today’s world, is the point of huge conventional forces?

The American military is an upgraded World War II military, designed to fight other militarizes like itself in a world like that which existed during World War II. The Soviet Union was that kind of military. Today there are no such militaries for America to fight. We are not in the same world. Washington seems not to have noticed.

A World War II military is intended to destroy point targets of high value – aircraft, ships, factories, tanks – and to capture crucial territory, such as the enemy’s country. When you have destroyed the Wehrmacht’s heavy weaponry and occupied Germany, you have won. This is the sort of war that militaries have always relished, having much sound and fury and clear goals.

It doesn’t work that way today. Since Korea, half-organized peasant militias have baffled the Pentagon by not having targets of high value or crucial territory. In Afghanistan for example goatherds with rifles could simply disperse, providing no point targets at all, and certainly not of high value. No territory was crucial to them. If the US mounted a huge operation to take Province A, the resistance could just fade into the population or move to Province B. The US would always be victorious but never win anything. Sooner or later America would go away. The world understands this.

Further, the underlying nature of conflict has changed. For most of history until the Soviet Union evaporated, empires expanded by military conquest. In today’s world, countries have not lost their imperial ambitions, but the approach is no longer military. China seems intent on bringing Eurasia under its hegemony, and advances toward doing it, but its approach is economic, not martial. The Chinese are not warm and fuzzy. They are, however, smart. It is much cheaper and safer to expand commercially than militarily, and wiser to sidestep martial confrontation – in a word, to ignore America. More correctly it is sidestepping the Pentagon.
Military and diplomatic power spring from economic power, and China is proving successful economically. Using commercial clout, she is expanding her influence, but in ways not easily bombed. She is pushing the BRICS alliance, from which the US is excluded. She is enlarging the SCO, from which America is excluded. Perhaps most importantly, she has set up the AIIB, the Asia Infrastructure Investment Bank, which does not include the US but includes Washington’s European allies. These organizations will probably trade mostly not in dollars, a serious threat to Washington’s economic hegemony.

What is the relevance of the Pentagon? How do you bomb a trade agreement?
China enjoys solvency, and hegemonizes enthusiastically with it. Thus in Pakistan it has built the Karakoram Highway from Xian Jiang to Karachi, which will increase trade between the two. It is putting in the two power reactors near Karachi. It is investing in Afghan resources, increasing trade with Iran. . When the US finally leaves, China, without firing a shot, will be predominant in the region.

What is the relevance of aircraft carriers?

Beijing is talking seriously about building more rail lines, including high-speed rail, from itself to Europe, accompanied by fiber-optic lines and so on. This is not just talk. China has the money and a very large network of high-speed rail domestically. (The US has not a single mile.) Google “China-Europe Rail lines.”
What is the Pentagon going to do? Bomb the tracks?

As trade and ease of travel from Berlin to Beijing increase, and as China prospers and wants more European goods, European businessmen will want to cuddle up to that fabulously large market – which will loosen Washington’s grip on the throat of Europe. Say it three times slowly: Eur-asia. EurasiaEurasia I promise it is what the Chinese are saying.

What is the Pentagon’s trillion-dollar military going to bomb? Europe? Railways across Kazakhstan? BMW plants?

All of which is to say that while the US military looks formidable, it isn’t particularly useful, and aids China by bankrupting the US. Repeatedly it has demonstrated that it cannot defeat campesinos armed with those most formidable weapons, the AK, the RPG, and the IED. The US does not have the land forces to fight a major or semi-major enemy. It could bomb Iran, with unpredictable consequences, but couldn’t possibly conquer it.

The wars in the Mideast illustrate the principle nicely. Iraq didn’t work. Libya didn’t work. Iran didn’t back down. ISIS and related curiosities? The Pentagon is again bombing an enemy that can’t fight back – its specialty – but that it seems unable defeat.

Wrong military, wrong enemy, wrong war, wrong world.

Read more by Fred Reed

Fred's Biography

As He Tells It

Fred, a keyboard mercenary with a disorganized past, has worked on staff for Army Times, The Washingtonian, Soldier of Fortune, Federal Computer Week, and The Washington Times.

He has been published in Playboy, Soldier of Fortune, The Wall Street Journal, The Washington Post, Harper's, National Review, Signal, Air&Space, and suchlike. He has worked as a police writer, technology editor, military specialist, and authority on mercenary soldiers. He is by all accounts as looney as a tune.

I was born in 1945 in Crumpler, West Virginia, a coal camp near Bluefield. My father was a mathematician then serving in the Pacific aboard the destroyer USS Franks, which he described as a wallowing and bovine antique with absolutely no women aboard, but the best the Navy had at the time.

Turkish Immigrant, with a previous record for assault, arrested for the shooting and murder in Washington Mall

Washington mall shooting suspect named as teenage victim's mother speaks

Police name suspect in shooting deaths of five people at Cascade Mall in Burlington as Washington resident Arcan Cetin, aged 20



Washington mall shooting suspect Arcan Cetin
Arcan Cetin has been detained over a shooting at a mall in Burlington, Washington, in which five people died. Photograph: HANDOUT/Reuters

The suspect in a shooting at a Washington state mall that left five dead is in custody, authorities said on Saturday, as the identity of one of the victims, a teenager, emerged.

The suspect was identified as Arcan Cetin of Oak Harbor, Washington, a 20-year-old who had emigrated from Turkey.

Cetin was “kind of zombie-like” and said nothing during his arrest, said Island County Sheriff’s Lieutenant Mike Hawley, who spotted him during a patrol of Oak Harbor after a tipoff. Cetin was unarmed.

He had a previous arrest for simple assault and was a legal, permanent US resident, said Lieutenant Chris Cammock of Mount Vernon police at a news conference Saturday night.

A gunman opened fire at the Cascade mall in Burlington, Washington, on Friday night, killing four females and a male before fleeing. Law enforcement staged a massive search over more than 20 hours for the suspect, initially described by witnesses as a young Hispanic male wearing black.

The Seattle Times reported that one of the victims was a 16-year-old girl, Sarai Lara.

Her mother said she had survived cancer as a young girl and was a happy student.
Evangelina Lara told the newspaper she was shopping on Friday night at the mall in Burlington with Sarai and her younger sister, but they split up. She said Sarai went to Macy’s looking for pants.

Evangelina Lara said it was confirmed at 2am on Saturday that her daughter was among the five people killed.

On Friday at the mall, the first 911 call came in just before 7 pm: a man with a rifle was shooting at people in the Macy’s department store.


Five dead in Washington state shopping centre shooting attack

When police arrived moments later, the carnage at the Macy’s makeup counter was complete. Four people were dead and the shooter was gone, last seen walking toward Interstate 5. A fifth victim, a man, died early on Saturday as police finished sweeping the building, which measures 434,000 square feet (40,300 sq meters).
Burlington’s mayor, Steve Sexton, said on Saturday: “There are people waking up this morning, and their world has changed forever. The city of Burlington has probably changed forever, but I don’t think our way of life needs to change.
“This was a senseless act. It was the world knocking on our doorstep, and it came into our little community.”

As the small city absorbed the tragic news, critical questions remained, including the identity of the shooter and his motive. The FBI said terrorism was not suspected.

Surveillance video captured the suspect entering the mall unarmed and then recorded him about 10 minutes later entering the Macy’s with a “hunting type” rifle in his hand, Mount Vernon police Lieutenant Chris Cammock said.
Authorities did not say how the suspect might have obtained the weapon – whether he retrieved it from outside or picked it up in the mall – but they believe he acted alone. The weapon was recovered at the scene.

The identities of the victims four women who ranged in age from a teenager to a senior citizen were withheld pending autopsies and notification of family. The identity of the man who was fatally shot was also withheld and may not be released until Monday.

“Probably one of the most difficult moments for us last night was knowing that there were family members wondering about their loved ones in there,” Mount Vernon police lieutenant Chris Cammock said.

Residents gathered on Saturday to comfort each other at a community gathering in a city park.

“It’s too scary. It’s too close to home,” said Maria Elena Vasquez, who attended the gathering with her husband and two young children.

Joanne Burkholder, 19, of nearby Mount Vernon, was watching the movie The Magnificent Seven in the mall’s theater when security guards came in and told them to evacuate immediately. Dozens of panicked moviegoers gathered in the hallway, and Burkholder heard screaming as the officers escorted them to safety in a parking lot.

As she drove home later, she had to pull over because she was shaking so hard, she said.

“I’m just very thankful for my life this morning. I’ve never been so terrified in my life,” she said on Saturday, trying to hold back tears as she attended the community vigil.

“You’d think it would happen in Everett or Seattle, but a small town of Burlington, I’d never dream something like this would happen.”

People who believed they may have lost loved ones were being sequestered at a church three blocks from the mall, where counselors and a golden retriever therapy dog were present.

Dozens of people attended a Saturday evening prayer service for the victims. The gathering was held at Central United Methodist church in nearby Sedro-Woolley, Washington.

The Rev. Cody Natland lit five candles on a table in front of the church, one for each victim.

The Cascade mall is an enclosed shopping mall that opened in 1990. It features JC Penney, TJ Maxx, and Macy’s stores, among other shops, restaurants and a movie theater.

Saturday, September 24, 2016

A remarkable meeting took place in Grozny and was ignored by almost every media in the world – Two hundred Sunni Muslim clerics excommunicating the Saudis.

For the first time, Saudi Arabia is being attacked by both Sunni and Shia leaders

What, the Saudis must be asking themselves, has happened to the fawning leaders who would normally grovel to the Kingdom?


The Saudis step deeper into trouble almost by the week. Swamped in their ridiculous war in Yemen, they are now reeling from an extraordinary statement issued by around two hundred Sunni Muslim clerics who effectively referred to the Wahhabi belief – practiced in Saudi Arabia – as “a dangerous deformation” of Sunni Islam. The prelates included Egypt’s Grand Imam, Ahmed el-Tayeb of al-Azhar, the most important centre of theological study in the Islamic world, who only a year ago attacked “corrupt interpretations” of religious texts and who has now signed up to “a return to the schools of great knowledge” outside Saudi Arabia.

This remarkable meeting took place in Grozny and was unaccountably ignored by almost every media in the world – except for the former senior associate at St Antony’s College, Sharmine Narwani, and Le Monde’s Benjamin Barthe – but it may prove to be even more dramatic than the terror of Syria’s civil war. For the statement, obviously approved by Vladimir Putin, is as close as Sunni clerics have got to excommunicating the Saudis. 

Although they did not mention the Kingdom by name, the declaration was a stunning affront to a country which spends millions of dollars every year on thousands of Wahhabi mosques, schools and clerics around the world.

Wahhabism’s most dangerous deviation, in the eyes of the Sunnis who met in Chechenya, is that it sanctions violence against non-believers, including Muslims who reject Wahhabi interpretation. Isis, al-Qaeda and the Taliban are the principal foreign adherents to this creed outside Saudi Arabia and Qatar.

The Saudis, needless to say, repeatedly insist that they are against all terrorism. Their reaction to the Grozny declaration has been astonishing. “The world is getting ready to burn us,” Adil Al-Kalbani announced. And as Imam of the King Khaled Bin Abdulaziz mosque in the Saudi capital of Riyadh, he should know.

As Narwani points out, the bad news kept on coming. At the start of the five-day Hajj pilgrimage, the Lebanese daily al-Akhbar published online a database which it said came from the Saudi ministry of health, claiming that up 90,000 pilgrims from around the world have died visiting the Hajj capital of Mecca over a 14-year period. Although this figure is officially denied, it is believed in Shia Muslim Iran, which has lost hundreds of its citizens on the Hajj. Among them was Ghazanfar Roknabadi, a former ambassador and intelligence officer in Lebanon. Iran’s supreme leader, Ali Khamenei, has just launched an unprecedented attack on the Saudis, accusing them of murder. “The heartless and murderous Saudis locked up the injured with the dead in containers...” he said in his own Hajj message.

A Saudi official said Khameni’s accusations reflected a “new low”. Abdulmohsen Alyas, the Saudi undersecretary for international communications, said they were “unfounded, but also timed to only serve their unethical failing propaganda”.

Yet the Iranians have boycotted the Hajj this year (not surprisingly, one might add) after claiming that they have not received Saudi assurances of basic security for pilgrims. According to Khamenei, Saudi rulers “have plunged the world of Islam into civil wars”. 

However exaggerated his words, one thing is clear: for the first time, ever, the Saudis have been assaulted by both Sunni and Shia leaders at almost the same time.

The presence in Grozny of Grand Imam al-Tayeb of Egypt was particularly infuriating for the Saudis who have poured millions of dollars into the Egyptian economy since Brigadier-General-President al-Sissi staged his doleful military coup more than three years ago. 

What, the Saudis must be asking themselves, has happened to the fawning leaders who would normally grovel to the Kingdom? 

“In 2010, Saudi Arabia was crossing borders peacefully as a power-broker, working with Iran, Syria, Turkey, Qatar and others to troubleshoot in regional hotspots,” Narwani writes. “By 2016, it had buried two kings, shrugged off a measured approach to foreign policy, embraced ‘takfiri’ madness and emptied its coffers.” A “takfiri” is a Sunni who accuses another Muslim (or Christian or Jew) of apostasy.

Kuwait, Libya, Jordan and Sudan were present in Grozny, along with – you guessed it – Ahmed Hassoun, the grand mufti of Syria and a loyal Assad man. Intriguingly, Abu Dhabi played no official role, although its policy of “deradicalisation” is well known throughout the Arab world.

But there are close links between President (and dictator) Ramzan Kadyrov of Chechenya, the official host of the recent conference, and Mohamed Ben Zayed al-Nahyan, the Abu Dhabi Crown Prince. The conference itself was opened by Putin, which shows what he thinks of the Saudis – although, typically, none of the Sunni delegates asked him to stop bombing Syria. But since the very meeting occurred against the backcloth of Isis and its possible defeat, they wouldn’t, would they? 

That Chechenya, a country of monstrous bloodletting by Russia and its own Wahhabi rebels, should have been chosen as a venue for such a remarkable conclave was an irony which could not have been lost on the delegates. But the real questions they were discussing must have been equally apparent. 

Who are the real representatives of Sunni Muslims if the Saudis are to be shoved aside? And what is the future of Saudi Arabia? Of such questions are revolutions made.







Friday, September 23, 2016

Suspect Shot and Killed in Home Invasion Accomplices Captured on Surveillance. Know them call 404-577-8477

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An Atlanta-area woman opened fire on three armed intruders early last Friday morning who were breaking into her home.
The dramatic home invasion shootout at 4 a.m., during which the woman defended herself from the men after a very rude and scary awakening, was recorded by surveillance video (see embedded footage below) as drywall debris flew everywhere from the gunfire.
As depicted in the footage, the burglars entered the home in Gwinnett County, Georgia, with their guns drawn.
The woman came running out of her bedroom in the Atlanta suburb and fired her gun at the intruders who apparently had kicked in the front door. All three suspects fled the scene, with one shown crashing through a glass door.
The suspect wearing a wig reportedly died in the encounter from wounds to his chest and was found in the driveway. He was identified as a 28-year-old Atlanta resident. The other two men are still at large, prompting cops to release the home video footage now.
“She exercised her right to defend her livelihood and property,” observed Cpl. Deon Washington of the Gwinnett County Police Department, Atlanta’s WSB-TV detailed in the news report below. “It’s not common that we receive this caliber of surveillance video showing the crime unfold. They’re not wearing anything on their faces so we’re highly anticipating someone watching the evening newscast will recognize these people.”

How Does This Play?

Mark Cuban takes front-row seat for presidential debate

When Donald Trump looks out at the crowd during his upcoming presidential debate with Hillary Clinton, Mark Cuban plans to make sure he sees at least one unfriendly face. 

The bombastic billionaire who’s been an outspoken critic of the Republican nominee will be sitting front-row when the two opponents square off for their first televised debate at Hofstra University Monday, Cuban revealed in a tweet Thursday night.



Billing it as the "Humbling at Hofstra," Cuban says he plans to watch closely as Clinton tries to "overwhelm" Trump. 

Wednesday, September 21, 2016

Trump still trumps Clinton on a bad day

Deplorable Elites

Hillary is showing contempt for the voters.



While I have consistently dissented in this column and elsewhere from extreme versions of the anti-Trump barrage across the American and international media, he was not my first choice for the Republican nomination, and I have tried not to close the door prematurely on the election. The antics of the Democrats and their noisiest sympathizers in the last ten days have made any effort to retain a glimmer of hope that Mrs. Clinton might survive as election-worthy all the way to November 8 very challenging. Her reference to half of Donald Trump’s supporters as “deplorable” is now old news, but the analysis of the implications of the assertion has been threadbare in the almost unanimously anti-Trump media. Mrs. Clinton regretted that she had so described half of his supporters: her retraction was on her arithmetic, not her characterization of tens of millions of Americans.

This is a familiar pattern, in media treatment of the clumsy assertions or asides of candidates, and in Mrs. Clinton’s response to her own errors. In 2008, Barack Obama was inspired by a campaign trip to Pennsylvania to disparage those who in their ignorance and redundancy were sustained by religiosity and a love of firearms. The media almost uniformly failed to remark that this was a bit rich coming from someone who sat for 20 years in the pews of the Reverend Jeremiah Wright, listening to his assertions that AIDS was a white conspiracy and then that the terrorist attacks of September 2001 were not an unjust chastisement of the United States; or that firearms and religion had little to do with unemployment.
In 2012, Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney mentioned in what he took to be a closed meeting that the Democrats were bidding for the votes of all 47 percent of the American electorate that receive some form of state benefit, leaving only the slightest margin for a Republican victory. (In fact, he had a won election after the first debate and then managed to blow it, and not because of this utterance.) The media view of Romney was that he had insulted half the people and pitched to racist and class-antagonist impulses. He was not hated by the media as a threat as Trump is, since the latter has succeeded despite them and denounced their biases, to the approval of very many voters.

The most severe strictures the vast hallelujah chorus of the Clinton media echo chamber could muster were that “deplorables” was a poor choice of words, and a minor gaffe, not at all comparable to Mitt Romney’s heinous mass slur about the 47 percent. (Democrats should have been more grateful to have so feckless and defeatist an opponent as Romney.)

The media are so stung by the billions of dollars’ worth of free exposure they have given the Republican candidate — on the false assumption that the public would be as repulsed by Trump as the lumpenliberal and highbrow-conservative media are — that they have taken, especially on CNN, to announcing for hours that they will be covering a Trump speech, to build their audience, and then cutting out of the speech after three or four minutes. As Mr. Lincoln said, “You can’t fool all of the people all of the time.”

It is clear that there is no Democratic campaign except Trump-fear, and waiting for Trump blunders and relying on the media claque to tear him apart before the whole country. For several weeks, there have been no Trump blunders; they were useful for rousing the Archie Bunker vote, which increased Republican primary turnouts by 60 percent, with the added benefit of inflating Democratic overconfidence. There have been Clinton blunders and unseemly media efforts to minimize or ignore them, and ever greater recourse to the argument that neither is a good candidate but that Mrs. Clinton is reliable and capable and a reassuring personification of continuity, while Trump is nightmarishly unacceptable for reasons too well known to mention.

But there are no such reasons, now that he is taking care to be explicit, and to speak moderately and in syntactically correct sentences. It is the reverse of the old fable about the king having no clothes. The Republican candidate is fully clothed: He is not naked to his enemies and is not committing indiscretions. And with each week, Mrs. Clinton appears more firmly anchored in the quagmire of all the mistakes with which she has been complicit, these 20 years, while her opponent has been operating his business, albeit not without some controversy.

It is not possible that there is no element of accumulated public resentment of Clinton-Obama presumption, in the narrowing, now about even, polls. There was a foregone conclusion that it would be a Democratic landslide, even by a group of distinguished Democratic historians with whom I appeared on Fareed Zakaria’sCNN program on the eve of the Republican convention, who reproached the Republicans for not deserting their hopeless candidate as that party had Barry Goldwater in 1964. I suggested, to blank stares and stammered responses of incredulity, that this election was not so one-sided as they thought and that the Republicans could not be blamed for not doing all they could to ensure the eradication of their party by the Democrats. (In 1964, Goldwater trailed Lyndon Johnson in the total vote by almost 23 percent.) As the Democrats’ overconfidence melts, their desperation is becoming palpable.

The New York Times attacks Trump every day, last week stooping to a complaint that he had availed himself of some tax reductions as a developer, without mentioning that the New York Times Company had done the same to the extent of almost $30 million. Bret Stephens wrote in the Wall Street Journal on September 13 that Trump’s expressed desire to reintroduce the civil tort of defamation was a threat to freedom of expression. The right of free expression is not the right to defame and neither the authors of the Constitution nor any other civilized country in the world would hold that it is. The frenzied animosity to Trump among the ruling political and media harpies is essentially a frightened attachment to the cocoon of the Bush-Clinton-Obama incumbency, where the power elite is immovable and the most senior positions are passed around a few families for decades on end. In such a culture, propped up by a docile media, a threat to the right to defame is a horrifying assault on civil liberties.

It is a related symptom of the problem that the continuing indulgence of President Obama’s rewriting of history in a way entirely satisfactory to America’s enemies is generally overlooked by the media. There was practically no dissent at his censure of Winston Churchill and Franklin D. Roosevelt over their “autocratic” direction of the Western Allied war effort, “brandies in hand,” in World War II. They snatched victory from the jaws of defeat and were the two greatest democratic leaders in the world in the last 150 years, since Lincoln. Obama even dissembled about sending back to the British the bust of Churchill that had been in the Oval Office.

Obama apologized for Truman’s use of the atomic bomb, which saved the Allies a million casualties, and Japan probably 2 million casualties. And he apologized for President Eisenhower’s role in removing Mohamed Mossadegh as leader of Iran. (Mossadegh was a lunatic who almost bankrupted the country. It was Carter’s complicity in the removal of the Shah that was disgraceful.) These disparagementsare not greatly less outrageous than Joseph R. McCarthy’s infamous claims that Roosevelt, Truman, Eisenhower, and General George C. Marshall, all among the nation’s most distinguished leaders, in peace and war, were Communist dupes.

Two weeks ago, the president spoke in Laos and condemned the dropping of 2 million tons of bombs by the United States on Laos during the Vietnam War, more, as he said, than were dropped on Germany and Japan during World War II. The media failed signally to put this assertion into context: Under the Laos neutrality agreement negotiated by the Kennedy administration in 1962, the country was turned into the Ho Chi Minh Trail — a superhighway for the invasion of South Vietnam by the North. Richard Nixon said at the time that the Laos agreement was just “Communism on the installment plan.” Ninety-eight percent of American bombing was on the Trail, and there was no significant damage to the Lao civil population; the Lao government did not seriously object to the bombing, as it was the only restraint on the Communist Pathet Lao movement and its North Vietnamese backers.

’Deplorables’ was Empress Hillary emptying the contents of her chamber pot out the palace window onto “We the people.”

Of course, Mrs. Clinton and President Obama are not interchangeable, but she identified entirely with and was the chief executor of his foreign policy for four years, and is glued to him like a limpet now. It is all part of the practice, clearer each day, that there is no defense for, and comparatively little serious media criticism of, this long, cliquish incumbency that has produced disasters in every policy area for 20 years. With Mrs. Clinton, from Whitewater and the White House travel office, through Benghazi, the squalor of the Clinton Foundation’s pay-to-play casino and the e-mail debacle, it is always deny, prevaricate, “short-circuit” (i.e. lie), and then say it’s old news — “What difference, at this point, does it make?”

There was something in the “deplorables” comment that went beyond the familiar hauteur of left and right and profoundly rankled. What Mrs. Clinton was deploring was the ingratitude to the ruling elite of these bumptious unwashed, the updated dismissal of the gun-toting, churchgoing (Republican) rabble that so irritated Obama eight years ago. This wasn’t just good-natured criticism of the wrongheaded supporters of an opponent, or FDR’s cunning assault on nonexistent culprits as “money-changers,” “economic royalists,” “warmongers.” etc. This was Empress Hillary emptying the contents of her chamber pot out the palace window onto the heads of those described in the phrase “We the people.” The entire complacent incumbent Washington leadership are inviting the same people to give them a bloodless trip to the electoral guillotine. More-unexpected events have overtaken office-holders and office-seekers less deserving of such a fate.