By Alan Caruba
Archive for the ‘Gitmo’ Category
The Obama administration violated U.S. law when it secretly exchanged five Guantanamo Bay imprisoned terrorists for a U.S. Army soldier — who was captured by the Taliban after allegedly deserting his post — and the violation is punishable by jail time, suspension and removal from office, according to a report from an Inside the Beltway watchdog group on Friday.
Judicial Watch obtained a copy of a government investigation summary that reveals the U.S. Department of Defense violated section 8111 of the Department of Defense Appropriations Act of 2014 when its officials traded five terrorists being detained at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, for the release of a U.S. prisoner of war being held by members of the Taliban in Afghanistan.
According to a Examiner news report on the prisoner swap, the five terrorists were turned over to the nation of Qatar — a nation considered by counterterrorism experts to be highly suspect — without giving notice to members of certain congressional oversight committees. What Section 8111 prohibits is the Defense Department “using appropriated funds to transfer any individuals detained at Guantanamo Bay unless the Secretary of Defense notifies certain congressional committees at least 30 days before the transfer.” Because officials at the DOD used its appropriations to break the law, in addition to violating a provision of the Department of Defense Appropriations Act of 2014, officials also violated the Anti-Deficiency Act.
The investigative arm of the House of Representatives , Government Accountability Office (GAO), accused President Obama, acting in his capacity as Commander in Chief, of breaking a “clear and unambiguous” law when he authorized the swapping of five high-level terrorists for Sgt. Bowe Bergdahl, who is accused of deserting his guard post and going AWOL in Afghanistan in 2009.
According to the White House Office of Management and Budget (OMB), the GAO described a violation that is a serious breach of federal law which may have severe consequences for the perpetrator or perpetrators. Penalties may include fines, imprisonment, administrative discipline, suspension from duty without pay or removal from office, the rules specifically state.
“Congress must be notified before acts of this magnitude are committed and the president completely disregarded the legislative branch. In fact the Department of Defense (DOD) failed to notify Congress at least 30 days in advance of the exchange, a flagrant violation of the law, and misused nearly $1 million of a wartime account to make the transfer,” the GAO report says.
“They held positions of great importance within the hard-core anti-American Taliban, including the Chief of Staff of the Taliban Army and the Taliban Deputy Minister of Intelligence. They have American blood on their hands and surely as night follows day they will return to the fight. In effect, we released the ‘Taliban Dream Team.’ The United States is less safe because of these actions,” according to Sen. Lindsey Graham, R-S.C.
Judicial Watch officials stated:.
“In a nutshell, Obama and his appointees flipped the finger at Congress, the American public and the rule of law. We’ve seen this many times during this president’s two terms and will likely see it over and over again before he moves out of the White House.
|Bowe Bergdahl and a Taliban friend|
By Alan Caruba
Americans are feeling the same fear for the future that preceded the Civil War when the incompetent James Buchanan left the mess that Abraham Lincoln had to address. I don’t think we have ever had a President with less knowledge of history than Barack Obama and less ability to solve domestic economic problems and address threatening foreign ones.
“Rarely has a U.S. President been so wrong about so much at the expense of so many,” said former Vice President Dick Cheney, along with his daughter Liz, in a June 18 opinion published by the Wall Street Journal. Liz has been a deputy assistant secretary of state for eastern affairs.
My fear now is that the President is not, as I originally assumed, driven just by ideology, but that he keeps demonstrating the illegal use of powers that he does not have under the Constitution, coupled with a disdain for the other branch of government, the Congress.
If Obama is eminently impeachable, but Congress is so divided that this is not an option.
Despite what his Justice Department told him, Obama disobeyed a law requiring him to give Congress a 30-day notice for the exchange of terrorist detainees from Guantanamo Bay. His use of executive orders may meet some legal standard, but they are often his way of getting around legal limitations such as his wish to open America’s borders to the flood of illegal immigrants we are seeing.
There is some comfort in being someone who warned against electing him both times, but there is no comfort in reviewing the harm he has done to date. Only a major Republican victory in the November midterm elections will offer any protection against him until he leaves office.
Let’s just do a quick review:
He traded five members of the Taliban’s highest ranked detainees from Guantanamo for an alleged prisoner of war who deserted his unit in Afghanistan, negotiating with the Islamic criminal group, the Haqqani, known for extracting high ransoms but no mention of money has been made.
Having initiated negotiations with Iran in a futile attempt to get them to cease seeking their own nuclear arsenal, there is conjecture the U.S. will enlist Iran’s help in addressing the jihadist attack on Iraq, but Iran has been the declared enemy of the United States since it seized our diplomats in 1979 and held them hostage until President Reagan was sworn into office. Iran is the world’s greatest supporter of terror. It was behind the truck bomb that destroyed our embassy in Beirut in 1984 and a few months later killed U.S. Marines in an attack on their barracks there. It provided weapons to our enemies during the Iraq war.
He has driven the nation’s debt up so high that, for the first time in its history, its credit rating was reduced. That debt continues to grow and is pegged at $17 trillion. The price of food is beginning to soar.
Unemployment now affects the lives of those unable to find work—literally millions—and those who have ceased to look. Raising the minimum wage will only serve to further reduce job creation and opportunities. Millions are on food stamps while millions are receiving disability benefits. There is likely no way to know who legitimately deserves assistance and who does not.
The U.S. Senate, under the guidance – or, if you prefer, the thumb — of Harry Reid isn’t interested in getting to the bottom of scandals involving the IRS Benghazi or the Veterans Administration. But half the Senate—50 members, count ‘em, 50 – decided that the worst problem facing us was that their hometown football team continues to call itself the Washington Redskins.
Even though a poll has shown that 80% of actual Native Americans have no problem with the name, Harry Reid and his coven of chowderheads have decided that something must be done. The very idea that Reid, who refers to Republicans as un-American– and that’s on one of his more civil days — and calls cancer victims liars if they complain about ObamaCare, should set himself up as a moral arbiter and as the last word on decorum is ludicrous at best, stomach-turning at worst.
And the Senate Democrats go along with it, ignoring the fact that if you take the ravings of a nutburger to heart, it’s a lot like giving money to an addict. It’s the one fool-proof way to ensure he’ll never get well.
On the same day that the Senate Democrats proved how compassionate they are, they refused to pass a House bill that would have given Secretary Eric Shenseki the authority to fire members of the VA for malfeasance. The actual reason why was that the Democrats are beholden to the public sector unions for campaign contributions, and would screw military veterans every day of the week and twice on Sunday rather than risk pissing off federal bureaucrats.
But as bad as that was, the reason that Bernie Sanders, who now calls himself an Independent even though he caucuses with the Democrats and proudly admits to being a socialist, gave for postponing the vote was that he needed more time to read the bill. Isn’t it odd that no Democrat asked for time to read the Affordable Care Act, and that ran longer than “Gone With the Wind” and “War and Peace” put together? But, then again, Nancy Pelosi famously pointed out that there’d be plenty of time to read it once it was passed.
Just for the record, the House bill that Sen. Sanders couldn’t digest in one afternoon ran about 500 words, or about half as long as this article.
Speaking of numbers, while nine million American vets have to make do with 267,000 VA employees – not nearly all of whom are medical professionals – 150 Muslim terrorists at Gitmo have 100 doctors and nurses at their beck and call. It begs the question: What sort of people are we that we treat the creeps trying to kill us better than we treat the men and women who risked their lives and lost their limbs trying to defend us?
Recently, I confessed to being sick and tired of having “gate” added to every Washington scandal for no other reason than that Nixon met his Waterloo over the Watergate break-in. But even worse is having “phobic” added as suffixes by those who are perpetually offended.
A phobia, after all, is defined as an unnatural fear. I don’t happen to believe that people who object to either sodomy or to same-sex marriages are suffering from a mental disorder.
I get very discouraged when I come across polls that show Barack Obama’s job approval rate as high as 43.9% and a generic congressional ballot that has Democrats leading Republicans 43% to 42.3%, even though the percentage of those thinking that America is headed in the right direction stands at just 29.8%.
Apparently, about 14% of us are incapable of connecting even two or three dots. So much for public education!
Still, being an eternal optimist, I take some comfort from the fact that Obama is the only two-term president who ever received fewer votes the second time around, and that since 2008, the GOP has won most of the elections, whether it was Senate and House seats, or a governor’s mansion, that was up for grabs.
We Republicans would have done even better if we had kept just a few simple rules in mind. First off, no matter how enticing you, as a candidate, find a TV lens or how much you enjoy having reporters hang on your every word, never answer a question unless you happen to be appearing on Fox. Just about everyone else in the media is your mortal enemy.
Also, never go off script. Even Bob Hope didn’t become Bob Hope by ad-libbing. He had a stable of very expensive writers.
If you can’t avoid answering questions, learn from the opposition. On those very rare occasions when Democrats find themselves being asked a question they don’t wish to deal with, they pretend they were asked an entirely different question and that’s the one they answer.
So, whenever a reporter asks how you feel about some social issue, such as same-sex marriages, abortions or the legalization of marijuana, ask them how they feel about it. If the reporter replies that how he feels is unimportant because he’s not running for the Senate or the House, point out that you are, and the reason that you are is because you want to do something about ObamaCare, the EPA, taxes and unemployment, and finish up by mentioning that you intend to do everything in your power to restore America’s military might. By the time you stop talking, he’ll have probably forgotten his own silly question and so will everyone else.
Obama has been so badly damaged by the scandal at the VA and his pretense of knowing nothing about it until he read about it in some newspaper — even after we saw footage of his talking about the problems at the VA as far back as 2009 — that he was forced to don a military jacket and put his golf game on hold while he flew to Afghanistan for a photo op with the troops, laid a wreath at the Tomb of the Unknowns and gave a commencement address at West Point.
I know some people are put off by Obama’s obvious contempt for the military, a contempt shared by Secretary of State John Kerry. I, on the other hand, am more deeply offended when the alleged Commander-in-Chief feigns respect for those in uniform. At least the contempt has the saving grace of being sincere.
It was hard enough trying to keep up with the revelations of various scandals that have been the product of the Obama administration, but now into the second year of his second term, the news of its actions—some of which are illegal, some of which ignore Congress’s authority, and some of which seemed determined to destroy our economy and attack our constitutional freedoms–all keep assaulting our comprehension.
Like many Americans I have fears of losing our freedoms as set forth in the Bill of Rights. I have doubts about an almost invisible “recovery” of the economy when 92,009,000 are still not in the labor force. I look at the Obama presidency and see one that seems increasingly lawless and witless in so many ways.
The latest assault was the exchange of five Taliban detainees, top field commanders, for an American soldier who administration spokeswoman, Susan Rice, said had served with “honor and distinction.” Like her lies about the Benghazi attack, this too was a lie. Sgt. Bowe Bergdahl had, we swiftly learned, walked away from his post in Afghanistan. That makes him a deserter, something the administration must surely have known. Giving up the Taliban leaders, done without the required thirty days’ notice to Congress, looks more like Obama’s intention to empty Guantanamo then the claim of retrieving an alleged POW. Negotiations to achieve this had been ongoing for months.
This comes at a time when a report by the think tank, the Rand Corporation, spells out a 58% increase from 2010 to 2013 of jihadist groups worldwide, from 31 to 49, and a doubling of the number of jihadist fighters to an estimated 100,000. In addition, the report notes the number of attacks by al Qaeda affiliates had increased to roughly 1,000 from 392. As Seth G. Jones, the author of the report, says, “The current trends suggest that the struggle against extremism is likely to be a generational one, much like the Cold War.”
Not exactly the “end of a war” that Obama keeps talking about.
At the same time Obama turned five Taliban commanders loose, his Attorney General, Eric Holder, announced the creation of a special task force within the Justice Department to combat what he characterized as “escalating danger” from “homegrown” terrorists within the U.S. Given the fact that we have a huge Department of Homeland Security, created after 9/11, one wonders why such a task force is necessary, but we are told it will be composed of members of the FBI and the Department’s National Security Division.
The Obama administration is the same one in which the Internal Revenue Service targeted Tea Party and patriot groups seeking non-profit status. A pattern of using the government against them reflects an agenda to target any American who disagrees and speaks up against the abuse or neglect of constitutional rights.
One of those is the right to own and bear guns, but this is also an administration that has made many efforts to curb the Second Amendment and gun ownership. At the same time, we have read reports of massive purchases of ammunition and weapons by various elements of the federal government.
While the news media has discovered something worth applauding in the Obama White House — the prisoner exchange that freed an American soldier — a couple of lawmakers aren’t as joyful about the exchange of five terrorists for a U.S. POW Sgt. Bowe Bergdahl on Saturday.
Two GOP lawmakers are accusing President Barack Obama of breaking federal law by approving the release of five terrorists captured in Afghanistan and held at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, in exchange for the soldier held by Islamist insurgents since 2009.
The Obama minions even agreed that the prisoner exchange may have been illegal, but attorneys working for the White House are claiming the circumstances themselves is sufficient justification.
“Of course, the exchange is questionable from a legal standpoint, but our philosophy of jurisprudence — that we are a nation of laws not men — seems to be frequently kicked to the side of the road with this administration,” claims political strategist Michael Barker.
The 28-year-old Bergdahl was turned over to U.S. special forces by the Afghan Taliban in a trade for five Islamists who were prisoners at the Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, detention center (Gitmo). The terrorists were given to officials with Qatar’s government, the Arab nation that brokered the prisoner exchange deal, according to theExaminer on Saturday.
The chairman of the House Armed Services Committee, Rep. Howard “Buck” McKeon, R-Calif., and Sen. James Inhofe, R-Okla., the top Republican on the Senate Armed Services Committee,said in a statement that by law Obama had to alert Congress 30 days before any terrorists are transferred from the Gitmo detention center.
The two lawmakers said Obama is by law supposed to explain how the terrorists pose no threat to the United States once given their freedom. But that law was ignored by Obama minions.
In response, White House officials said they had to move as soon as possible since the opportunity arose to secure Bergdahl’s release, as described in an Examiner news story.
While they claim they applaud Bergdahl’s release, McKeon and Inhofe warned that the exchange “may have consequences for the rest of our forces and all Americans.”
“Our terrorist adversaries now have a strong incentive to capture Americans. That incentive will put our forces in Afghanistan and around the world at even greater risk,” they said.
President Barack Obama and his national security team allowed a Muslim terrorist, who served in the late Osama bin Laden’s 55th Arab Brigade, a part of al-Qaeda, to have a self-serving political diatribe published by a highly-rated Arab news organization. The letter-to-the-editor claimed he was humiliated and treated brutally by the U.S. during his incarceration at the military detention center at the U.S. Marine Base in Guantanamo Bay, Cuba (Gitmo), a non-partisan, public-interest group based in Washington, D.C., and World Net Daily reported on Tuesday.
According to Judicial Watch, an organization known for its investigations into government and public corruption, Islamic jihadist Moath al-Alwi, was permitted to send out his propaganda from his Gitmo cell.
It is no secret that Obama dislikes Gitmo immensely. According to an Examiner news story, he even purchased an empty penitentiary in his home state of Illinois to house the detainees and closedown Guantanamo Bay’s facility. But the uproar in both houses of congress — by both Republicans and Democrats — put the brakes on his plan.
“For a president who always fears Internet films and photographs will inflame the so-called ‘Arab street,” he allowed a jihadist to have a letter published that no doubt will infuriate America’s enemies in the Muslim world and their leftist supporters in the U.S. and Europe,” said former military intelligence officer and NYPD detective Sidney Franes.
And another former intelligence officer and police official believes that President Obama wants to use such propaganda to help him and his Attorney General Eric Holder “to finally close down the hated detention center and release the terrorists or bring them to places like New York City,” claims Mike Snopes.
Al-Alwi, originally from Yemen, once served on bin Laden’s security detail before becoming part of al-Qaeda’s elite Arab Brigade fighting against the United States military and members of the international coalition sent to Afghanistan. As documented in al-Alwi’s pentagon file, he was adept at unarmed combat through his training by al-Qaeda.
However, perusal of al-Alwi’s letter in Al Jazeera reveals his “extensive terrorist credentials” are nowhere to be found in the Al Jazeera letter.
Al-Alwi self-serving diatribe describes him as being a Yemeni citizen who has been imprisoned by the U.S. since 2002. He also wrote that he was “one of the very first prisoners moved to Guantanamo, where the U.S. military assigned him the Internment Serial Number 028.”
Besides complaining about forced-feedings that cause him pain, “humiliating groin searches,” and other indignities, according to Judicial Watch’s report:
“He claims guards at the military compound make fun of him and laugh loudly and that sometimes they lay him on his stomach and press forcefully on his back. “Aside from those imprisoned with me, nobody can truly understand how we suffer,” Al-Alwi writes. “The Colonel will not allow media into Guantanamo Bay, claiming he is protecting our privacy. No man here wants privacy from the media. The Colonel fears that if the media comes in and meets with the prisoners, all of this daily brutality will be exposed. Hopefully this letter serves that end.””
A terrorist detainee released from the Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, detention center who claims to now be a human rights activist was arraigned in a London criminal courtroom on Saturday on charges that he has been promoting jihad in Syria, according to officials at Scotland Yard.
Moazzam Begg, who has lived in Britain since his 2005 release from Gitmo, is described by his supporters as a strong advocate for terrorist suspects’ rights.
He was born a citizen of the United Kingdom but left with his family to live in Afghanistan in 2001, and then they moved to Pakistan in 2002 when the United States attacked al-Qaeda and the Taliban in Afghanistan, according to the BBC.
The 45-year old Islamist was arrested along with three other terrorism suspects in the British city of Birmingham. Gerrie Tahari, 44, appeared with Begg in front of a judge on Saturday and pleaded not guilty to aiding and abetting terrorist operations, according to British news media.
Begg and Tahari were denied bail and ordered to be detained until their court appearances scheduled for March 14, 2014.
Detectives are said to be interrogating the two other terrorism suspects one of whom is believed to be Tahari’s son, according to BBC.
Moazzam Begg was first arrested in Pakistan in 2002 as an “enemy combatant.” He was held by U.S. forces in Afghanistan and sent a year later to the U.S.-run detention center on the Marine base in Guantanamo Bay, Cuba.
Begg was released three years later with his attorney’s help. When he returned to the U.K., he headed a group called Cage which is similar to CAIR (Council on American Islamic Relations) which is based in the United States.
Cage officials stated that the charges against Begg are an excuse to close down his organization and stifle his pursuit of Muslim rights.
“Today, former Guantanamo Bay detainee Moazzam Begg stood in front of Westminster Magistrates Court after being charged with terrorism offences. Whatever the outcome on March 14th, it is clear that the left-wing British establishment have tied themselves to a highly contentious figure, and one that they should all perhaps have steered clear of,” said Raheem Kassam, Breitbart’s Middle East correspondent.