Military defies Obama, charges Bergdahl with desertion

via ‘Was it worth it? Absolutely': Obama administration official defends Bergdahl trade despite charges

Bergdahl was accused of walking away from his post and putting his fellow soldiers in danger. The trade of hardened Taliban fighters for his freedom raised deep concerns on Capitol Hill that the administration struck an unbalanced and possibly illegal deal.

With the newly announced charges, Bergdahl could also face a dishonorable discharge, reduction in rank and forfeiture of all his pay if convicted. He is not in pretial confinement at Fort Sam Houston, a spokesman for U.S. Army Forces Command said.

The announcement of the charges marks a sharp turnaround for the administration’s narrative of Bergdahl’s service and release. After the swap last year, National Security Adviser Susan Rice said Bergdahl served with “honor and distinction.”

But as Bergdahl faced criticism from fellow servicemembers for his actions, the administration faced heated complaints from Congress over the Taliban trade itself. “This fundamental shift in U.S. policy signals to terrorists around the world a greater incentive to take U.S. hostages,” said former Rep. Mike Rogers, R-Mich., then the chairman of the House Intelligence Committee.

Wednesday’s announcement only fueled those concerns.

Sen. Roger Wicker, R-Miss., a member of the Armed Services Committee, was asked by reporters Wednesday whether the charges raised doubts about the initial trade of Bergdahl for the Taliban members.

“I would think that it would raise doubts in the mind of the average American if those doubts weren’t raised already,” Wicker said.

“This proves once again that the president’s political motivations for closing Guantanamo Bay are causing him to make reckless decisions and will put more American lives at risk,” House Homeland Security Committee Chairman Michael McCaul, R-Texas, said Wednesday in a statement.

Gen. Mark Milley, head of U.S. Army Forces Command at Fort Bragg, has been reviewing the massive case files and had a broad range of legal options, including various degrees of desertion charges. A major consideration was whether military officials would be able to prove that Bergdahl had no intention of returning to his unit.

Bergdahl disappeared from his base in the eastern Afghanistan province of Paktika on June 30, 2009. A private first class at the time, he had three days earlier emailed his parents expressing disillusionment with the war.

Bergdahl left a note in his tent that said he was leaving to start a new life and intended to renounce his citizenship, Fox News reported last year.

For the next five years, Bergdahl is believed to have been held by the Taliban and Pakistan’s infamous Haqqani network. In one of several hostage videos released during his captivity, he said he was captured when he fell behind a patrol, but fellow soldiers, outraged after the trade was made with the Taliban, accused him of deserting. Some asserted that American servicemembers’ lives were put at risk in the hunt for Bergdahl.

Bergdahl was freed on May 31, 2014, after the White House agreed to trade five high-value Taliban operatives held at Guantanamo Bay.

The trade was branded as illegal by lawmakers, who said they weren’t advised beforehand, It was also blasted by critics who said it violated America’s longstanding tradition of not negotiating with terrorists. There were also concerns – which would prove well-founded – that the Taliban members would return to the fight against the West.

Of the five — Mohammad Fazl, the former Taliban army chief of staff; Khairullah Khairkhwa, a Taliban intelligence official; Abdul Haq Wasiq, a former Taliban government official; and Norullah Noori and Mohammad Nabi Omari — at least three have attempted to reconnect with their old comrades, a source told Fox News.

Bergdhal was promoted to sergeant while in captivity, and had accrued more than $200,000 in back pay by the time he was freed.

The Obama administration’s incoming communications director said Wednesday the decision to trade Sgt. Bowe Bergdahl for five Taliban leaders last year was the right move, hours after he was charged with desertion.

“Was it worth it? Absolutely,” Jen Psaki told Megyn Kelly on “The Kelly File.” “We have a commitment to our men and women serving in the military, defending our national security every day, that we’re going to do everything to bring them home if we can, and that’s what we did in this case.”


A deserter who joined the enemy is not one of our men. These are:

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bin Laden Bodyguard Cleared for Release from Gitmo

via Herridge: Possible Bin Laden Bodyguard Cleared for Release From Gitmo.

A terror suspect who was once profiled as Usama bin Laden’s bodyguard is a step closer to leaving Guantanamo Bay.

Fox News chief intelligence correspondent Catherine Herridge reported the latest details this morning on the case of 36-year-old Yemeni foot soldier Saeed Sarem Jarabh.

Jarabh was captured in 2002 as he fled the mountains of Tora Bora in Afghanistan, where bin Laden was believed to be hiding out after the 9/11 attacks.

Now, a federal parole board has cleared Jarabh to be transferred out of Gitmo, calling him a “low-level” fighter.

He had previously been classified as a “forever detainee,” meaning he was deemed too dangerous for release, but evidence for prosecution was insufficient.

According to Herridge, analysts believe the Obama administration is now accepting more risk that detainees will return to terror activities as it ramps up its efforts to further empty the prison and shut it down before the president leaves office.

The head of the Defense Intelligence Agency recently testified to Congress that the terror recidivism rate is at 18% among Guantanamo transfers in the last 4-5 years.

She said in almost all of the recent transfers, there have been no meaningful restrictions on the freed detainees once they arrive in a third country.

Herridge said about 122 detainees are left at Gitmo, with 50 cleared for transfer. The administration, she reports, is said to be trying to reduce the population under 100 so the remaining detainees can be moved to a U.S. federal prison.


 

Meanwhile, abandoned by the U.S., lawyer for doctor who helped CIA in bin Laden hunt killed in Pakistan.

The lawyer had represented Dr. Shakeel Afridi, who was convicted of treason in 2012 by a Pakistani tribal court and is now serving a 23-year prison sentence.

Unidentified gunmen attacked the lawyer, Samiullah Afridi, in his car near the city of Peshawar on Tuesday, said Mian Saeed, a police superintendent in Peshawar.

Two different militant groups claimed responsibility for the killing.

Iranians chant ‘Death to America’, leaders say will ‘Raise Banner Of Islam Over White House’

This is who Obama negotiates with, removes from terror reports and to whom Obama sends holiday greetings. h/t Linda

via Khamenei calls ‘Death to America’ as Kerry hails progress on nuke deal

Iran’s Supreme leader Ali Khamenei called for “Death to America” on Saturday, a day after President Barack Obama appealed to Iran to seize a “historic opportunity” for a nuclear deal and a better future, and as US Secretary of State John Kerry claimed substantial progress toward an accord.

Khamenei told a crowd in Tehran that Iran would not capitulate to Western demands. When the crowd started shouting, “Death to America,” the ayatollah responded: “Of course yes, death to America, because America is the original source of this pressure.

“They insist on putting pressure on our dear people’s economy,” he said, referring to economic sanctions aimed at halting Iran’s nuclear program. “What is their goal? Their goal is to put the people against the system,” he said. “The politics of America is to create insecurity,” he added, referring both to US pressure on Iran and elsewhere in the region.

More via Khamenei: We Must Instill Every Day The Culture Of Martyrdom And Jihad In Iranian Society

In his February 26, 2015 statements, Khamenei said:

“It is necessary to praise the martyrs and to keep them from being forgotten, and to keep the ethical values [embodied by] their memory from becoming obsolete. Gatherings that honor the martyrs are in effect a continuation of the movement of jihad and martyrdom. Every day in Iranian society, we must disseminate the martyrs’ memory, and the milestones of their lives. If the memory of the martyrs and the value of martyrdom are presented in society as eternal truth, defeat loses its meaning, and this nation will move fearlessly along the path of progress.

“It is vital to keep the martyrs’ names and the culture of martyrdom alive. This is one of the country’s basic needs. The culture of martyrdom is a culture of self-sacrifice for the sake of long-term goals – goals shared by the entire nation and by all mankind. This culture is precisely the opposite of Western individualist culture, that measures everything according to individual and material considerations. If the culture of sacrifice and martyrdom spreads through a society, that society will progress and will never stop or retreat.”

And Khamenei’s Representative In Qods Force: ‘We Will Not Rest Until We Raise The Banner Of Islam Over The White House’

Addressing a February 26, 2015 ceremony attended by families of Iranian martyrs who fell on the Syrian front, Ali Shirazi, Khamenei’s representative in the IRGC’s Qods Force, said:

“We will stand fast against the world of arrogance. We will not rest until we have raised the banner of Islam over the White House. The Islamic nation is determined to enter the arena with all its force, backed by God’s will and his grace, and to stand fast against the world of arrogance. They will not suppress us with sanctions and threats. You did not succeed in harming the regime on the day it emerged, and now that the regime is 36 years old, you, the enemies of Islam, must expect and realize that every day [you] will be beaten, across the world.”

 

Muslim terror attacks kill more than 150, wound nearly 400 in just last two days

Yet according to Muslims, Obama and the media in the U.S., Islamophobia is the problem. via Tunisia terror attack: What we know about the victims – CNN.com.

(CNN)At least a dozen tourists on two cruises that visited the Tunisian capital, Tunis, are among more than 20 people who were gunned down this week at the country’s Bardo National Museum, officials said.

Details of the victims in Wednesday’s attack have been slow to emerge. Some of the bodies remained unidentified at a morgue, a forensic official said Friday.

Here’s what is known so far:

Read it all but here is the short of it:

British, French, Russian, Italian, Belgian, Spanish, Colombian, Japanese, Polish and Tunisian’s were among the victims.

And in Yemen: Bombs kill 137 at mosques

(CNN) The Sunni terror group ISIS purportedly claimed it committed Friday’s bombings that killed scores of people at two mosques frequented by Shiite rebels in Yemen’s capital — an attack that would mark ISIS’s first large-scale attack in the Arabian Peninsula country.

At least 137 people were killed and 357 wounded when suicide bombers, pretending to be disabled and hiding explosives under casts, attacked the mosques in Sanaa, according to Yemen’s state-run Saba news agency.

 

Report: CIA money was given to al Qaeda for diplomat’s ransom

via Report: CIA money was given to al Qaeda – CBS News.

Five million dollars — that’s how much an Afghan official was worth in ransom money to al Qaeda. And in 2010, the Afghan government struck a deal with the terror organization, paying the $5 million price tag to free the diplomat.

But according to a New York Times report Saturday, at least $1 million of the ransom money was from U.S. funds provided by the Central Intelligence Agency.

The Times reports that in order to collect the money necessary to liberate Abdul Khaliq Farahi, the Afghan emissary who was kidnapped by al Qaeda in 2008, the country looked to a “secret fund bankrolled with monthly cash deliveries to the presidential palace in Kabul.”

Several Afghan officials involved in the episode confirmed to the newspaper that their government “had already squirreled away about $1 million from that fund.”

Recent evidence suggesting that the intelligence agency did indeed partly finance the ransom emerged in a New York trial of a Pakistani al Qaeda fighter, Abid Naseer, the Times reports.

Evidence from the trial included Osama bin Laden’s correspondence referencing the payment. The correspondence was taken from the computers and documents that Navy SEALs seized in the 2011 raid on bin Laden’s compound.

The previously classified letters, made public once entered into evidence in court, contained exchanges that hinted at the overseas source for the funds.

“God blessed us with a good amount of money this month,” Atiyah Abd al-Rahman, al Qaeda’s general manager, wrote in a letter to bin Laden in June 2010.

But bin Laden warned that the U.S. was possibly setting a trap for the militant fighters, knowing where the money was being sent.

“There is a possibility — not a very strong one — that the Americans are aware of the money delivery,” the al Qaeda leader responded, “and that they accepted the arrangement of the payment on the basis that the money will be moving under air surveillance.”

The Times reported that it was less a strategic ploy than it was continued mismanagement of U.S. funds, citing other such instances of CIA failures.

The Times, which also gathered information about the ransom from interviews with anonymous Afghan and Western officials, was not able to obtain a comment from the CIA.

 

Chicago Muslim Gets 18 Months, Then Deportation to Jordan for Lying About Terrorist Past

She was also an Obamacare navigator – where lying and fraud are key success factors.

via Rasmieh Odeh Sentenced to 18 Months In Prison, Then Deportation to Jordan :: The Investigative Project on Terrorism.

DETROIT – Rasmieh Odeh, a Palestinian woman who conceived of and led a deadly 1969 Jerusalem bombing plot that killed two civilians, has had her citizenship revoked and will serve 18 months in an American prison for naturalization fraud. Prosecutors had asked for her to serve five to seven years. Her defense maintains even her 18-month sentence in prison is “unjust.”

At Thursday’s sentencing hearing, both the courtroom and media overflow rooms were filled to capacity with over a hundred supporters from the larger Arab American community attending the hearing. Her support base anxiously tweeted a rolling commentary on the verbatim transcript of court proceedings being relayed to them online. “Just f..k the US justice system.” “The appellate judge(s) better be wiser than this douchebag” #RasmiehOdeh.

Odeh never would have been allowed into the United States, and never would have been naturalized as an American citizen, had immigration officials known about the 10 years she spent in Israeli prisons for helping bomb a Jerusalem supermarket, killing two Hebrew University students. But Odeh, 67, failed to disclose that history, checking “no” on her immigration and naturalization applications to questions that asked if she had ever been arrested, convicted or imprisoned.

Those false answers allowed her to live an idyllic life in America for 20 years. Her lies ultimately caught up with her, and the prosecutors, to their credit, initiated an investigation and prosecution that resulted in her conviction on one count of naturalization fraud last November.

The Investigative Project on Terrorism exposed Odeh’s terrorist history and spin strategy in a five-part video series, “Spinning a Terrorist Into a Victim.”

U.S. District Judge Gershwin A. Drain said Thursday that Odeh’s case was about “lying under oath” but had been “politicized” to make the Palestinian-Israeli conflict the “rallying point to engender sympathy.”

Regular naturalization fraud guidelines, in this case, recommend that Odeh serve 15-21 months in prison, but prosecutors urged Judge Drain to go far beyond those guidelines due to the nature of the crime she hid from authorities. A sentence of five to seven years fits the crime, Assistant U.S. Attorney Jonathan Tukel argued, saying the original guideline range would fail to deter other terrorists who might consider seeking entry into the United States by failing to disclose their terrorist backgrounds.

Judge Drain cited the prosecution’s deterrence argument saying he wanted to “impose a sentence that will make people think twice before lying under oath to enter the country.” He chided Odeh saying, “you don’t have respect for the law.” He added that “people are watching this case” and he wanted to set a precedent that “promotes respect for the law.”

Judge Drain also said that Odeh not only committed perjury in how she filled out the application, claiming she thought it only applied to her time in the U.S., he also pointed out that she testified about her alleged “torture” and Israeli conviction despite repeated instructions by the court not to do so. For these actions, he not only revoked her citizenship, he sentenced her to 18 months in prison – still far below a prison term of five to seven years that the prosecution requested.

Read it all via IPT News.

White House removes Iran from annual terror report; celebrates Iranian holiday (video)

via Intelligence Report Removes Iran From Terror List | The Daily Caller.

President Barack Obama’s appointees have airbrushed Iran out of the terror section of the 2015 annual report on national security threats, just as he tries to negotiate a nuclear weapons deal with Iran’s theocratic leaders.

The 2015 “Worldwide Threat Assessment of the U.S. Intelligence Community” excludes Iran and its network of jihadi groups who are motivated by Islam’s Shia sect, from the report’s terror section.

Instead, the assessment focuses entirely jihadis motivated by the Sunni sect of Islam, including those in al-Qaida and ISIS, sometimes known as the Islamic State.

“Sunni violent extremists are gaining momentum and the number of Sunni violent extremist groups, members, and safe havens is greater than at any other point in history,” the report admits.

That’s a big shift from 2014, when Iran’s network of jihadis — chiefly, the Hezbollah army in Lebanon — got their own subsection.

“Iran and Hizballah – Outside of the Syrian theater, Iran and Lebanese Hizballah continue to directly threaten the interests of US allies. Hizballah has increased its global terrorist activity in recent years to a level that we have not seen since the 1990s,” said the 2014 report.

Non-government experts say Iran has funded and directed many terror attacks, including hundreds of attacks on U.S. troops in Iraq, on Jews in Israel and even a huge bomb against a Jewish site in Argentina.

During 2014, Iran and Hezbollah stepped up their roles in the Syrian and Iraqi wars, where they’re fighting the Syria-based Sunni jihad groups.

Read it all.

And that calls for a celebration via Michelle O Just Reached Out To Islamic Iran With A Big White House Party

In keeping with President Obama’s public praise for Islam and the supposedly noteworthy threads of Muslim Americans woven through the fabric of the nation’s history, the first lady suggested to the Nowruz gathering something that could be considered rather curious…if not absolutely stunning.

Mrs. Obama said that a celebration like the one marking the Iranian New Year is part of the “traditions that make us who we are as a country.”

In other words, it certainly sounds as though Michelle Obama wants us to believe that Nowruz is much like Thanksgiving or the Fourth of July or Presidents’ Day.

By clicking on the video above, you can watch Mrs. Obama’s address to the Nowruz gathering at the White House — a short speech that some might consider history-warping.

 John Kerry’s daughter married an Iranian with extensive ties to Iran – could that be why Kerry has been so aggressive in allowing Iran to get nukes?

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