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.

Former US Air Force Mechanic Turned Muslim Arrested Trying to Join Islamic State Terrorists

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via Former US Air Force Mechanic Charged With Trying to Join ISIS in Syria, Officials Say – ABC News.

A former U.S. Air Force veteran has been arrested by the FBI for allegedly trying to join ISIS, the brutal terrorist group wreaking havoc in Syria and Iraq, after watching their online propaganda videos, authorities announced today.

Tairod Nathan Webster Pugh, 47, who is from New Jersey but had been living overseas for years, was secretly arrested two months ago after being deported back to the United States.

On Jan. 10, he flew from Egypt to Turkey hoping to slip into Syria and “fight violent jihad” with ISIS, but Turkish authorities refused to let him enter their country, federal prosecutors say in court documents filed in Brooklyn, N.Y., authorities said.

Egyptian authorities then deported Pugh to the United States, where he was arrested by the FBI and found to be carrying multiple electronic devices, including a cell phone that allegedly contained a photograph of a machine gun. Some of the data on the electronic devices had been deleted, prosecutors say.

On his laptop, FBI agents discovered that he had been viewing ISIS propaganda online and conducting online searches for such phrases as “borders controlled by Islamic state,” “kobani border crossing,” and “who controls kobani,” according to prosecutors.

In addition, the FBI recovered two of Pugh’s backpacks, which allegedly contained two compasses, a solar-powered flashlight, a solar-powered power source, a fatigue jacket and camping clothes.

Pugh also allegedly searched online for the ISIS video “Flames of War,” a 55-minute piece of propaganda that even the FBI highlighted late last year when asking “for the public’s help identifying individuals who have traveled—or are planning to travel—overseas to engage in combat alongside terrorist organizations.”

A month before his alleged attempt to join ISIS, Pugh was fired from his job as an airplane mechanic in Kuwait, according to court documents. He learned how to install and maintain aircraft engines, navigation systems and weapons systems while serving in the Air Force from 1986 to 1990, the documents say.

According to court documents, he “appears to have close ties to a woman in Egypt whom he has identified as his wife.”

And Has (little terrorists) Children in America.

tairod-nathan-webster-pugh

Pugh converted to Islam after moving to San Antonio, Texas, in 1998 and “became increasingly radical in his beliefs,” the feds said.

In 2001, while he was working as a mechanic for American Airlines, a coworker notified the FBI that Pugh had been expressing anti-American sentiment and that he sympathized with Osama bin Laden, authorities said.

Pugh will be arraigned before a federal judge on Wednesday. If convicted at trial, Pugh faces a maximum sentence of 35 years in prison.

 

116 released Gitmo terrorists returned to jihad, trend likely to continue

Obama-Jihadi-Seed

via Released Gitmo prisoners return to evil ways: report | New York Post.

WASHINGTON — More than 100 prisoners released from Guantanamo Bay went right back to being terrorists when they got out, according to a new report.

Out of 647 detainees who were released, 116 — or 18 percent — have been confirmed as “re-engaging” in terrorism, according to the report by the Director of National Intelligence.

Of those, 25 are dead and 23 are back behind bars.

Another 11 percent of those released are “suspected” of re-engaging in their jihadi ways, according to the annual summary that is required by Congress.

The trend is likely to continue, even as President Obama works to clear out the prison he has vowed to close.

The report predicts that prisoners still in custody will follow a similar path when they get out.

“Based on trends identified during the past eleven years, we assess that some detainees currently at GTMO will seek to reengage in terrorist or insurgent activities after they are transferred,” said the report.

Modal TriggerTransfers to countries with ongoing conflicts and internal instability as well as active recruitment by insurgent and terrorist organizations pose particular problems.”

Oh, and Obama quietly snuck two more out last month:

Last month, the administration dispatched prisoners to Oman and Estonia.

 

Australia: One step forward, two steps back as Islam keeps creeping down under

Last week, Australia took a step forward in controlling its Islam problem when it vowed to crack down on Muslim immigration, terrorists and imams. This week it took two steps backwards.

Step 1 via Australian Defence Force to get its first Muslim Imam.

The Australian Defence Force is set to get its first Muslim Imam as part of a push to attract more recruits from different cultural and language backgrounds.

Assistant Defence Minister Stuart Robert announced on Monday he was asking Defence to “renew efforts” on recruiting a more “culturally and linguistically diverse workforce”.

Part of this is to find an Imam – an Islamic religious leader – to serve on the ADF’s religious advisory committee, which provides advice to the force on policies to meet its personnel’s spiritual needs.

“I have asked my department to move as quickly as possible to identify a part-time Islamic Imam to join the ADF’s religious advisory committee to ensure those 96 ADF members of an Islamic faith have appropriate representation,” Mr Robert said in a speech to Parliament.

The part-time Imam will join one Jewish and five Christian religious leaders who make up the committee. He will serve in a policy advisory role – a first for the ADF – but will not provide pastoral care as do Christian Chaplains in the force.

He said there would also be a “dedicated recruitment strategy” to target sections of the community from which soldiers, sailors and airmen and women are not typically drawn.

Mr Robert stressed this was not about appearances or “social engineering” but rather was vital to making the ADF a better fighting force.

“This strategy … is born out of the stark reality that combat power will be enhanced,” he said.

No evidence that’s ever worked anywhere. Although Hitler created a Muslim unit.

Step 2, via KSA gives $1m in donation to Islamic Museum in Australia

The Kingdom has donated $1 million to the Islamic Museum in Australia (IMA). Presenting a check to Australian Foreign Minister Julie Joseph, Saudi Ambassador Nabil bin Mohammed Al-Saleh said the donation was given by the Saudi leadership in order to promote human values among nations in support of peaceful co-existence among all communities. Al-Saleh said that the Kingdom was interested in projecting the correct image of Islam.

The center will provide educational and cross-cultural instruction and showcase the artistic and cultural heritage of Muslims in Australia and in Muslim societies everywhere. It aims to foster community harmony and facilitate an understanding of the values and contributions of Muslims to Australian society.

Blood money? Muslims are wreaking havoc on community harmony all across Australia. Just this year already 1,000 Muslims rallied against Charlie Hebdo and the freedom of speech and a Muslim took hostages in a Sydney cafe, forcing them to hold an Islamic flag in the window and killing two.

These steps are all part of 100 years of jihad against Australia that continues to this day.

Australia: How The Hell Did We Let This Happen?

Muslim in USMC found guilty of desertion, gets 2 years confinement

via Cpl. Wassef Ali Hassoun, the disappearing Marine, found guilty of desertion – CBS News. h/t @NadeenFlores

RALEIGH, North Carolina – A U.S. Marine who vanished a decade ago in Iraq has been sentenced to two years in prison for leaving his post and then fleeing to Lebanon after a brief return to the U.S.

As part of the sentence handed down Monday, Cpl. Wassef Hassoun will have a reduction in rank, loss of pay and a dishonorable discharge. He was given two years and five days’ confinement.

Earlier in the day, the judge at Camp Lejeune, Marine Maj. Nicholas Martz, had found Hassoun guilty of desertion for his disappearances in 2004 and 2005. He was also convicted of losing his service pistol.

Prosecutors argued during trial that Hassoun made preparations to flee his base in Fallujah in 2004 and told others that he planned to leave. They displayed quotes during opening statements attributed to Hassoun: “I’ll leave and go to Lebanon. I’m not kidding.”

They said he was unhappy with how U.S. servicemen treated Iraqis during interrogations and that he was upset that training and a second deployment to Iraq kept him from being with a woman with whom he’d entered an arranged marriage.

Defense attorneys maintain that Hassoun was kidnapped by insurgents in 2004. They argued that the case against the Muslim serviceman began with a “rush to judgment” by Navy investigators after suspicious comrades told investigators about comments Hassoun made about the conflict between his native Lebanon and Israel.

Days after his 2004 disappearance in Iraq, Hassoun appeared blindfolded and with a sword held above his head in an image purportedly taken by insurgents. An extremist group claimed to be holding him captive.

But Hassoun soon turned up unharmed at the U.S. Embassy in Beirut, Lebanon, saying he’d been kidnapped. Officials were suspicious, and he was returned to Camp Lejeune in North Carolina in 2004 while the military considered charging him.

After his return, Hassoun was allowed to visit family in Utah but disappeared a second time in early 2005. Hassoun traveled to Lebanon but was detained by that country’s authorities after Interpol issued a bulletin related to his deserter status, the defense said. The defense says court proceedings in Lebanon lasted until 2013, and Hassoun turned himself in to U.S. authorities after the government there lifted travel restrictions.


Previous posts on the two-time deserter here.

 

“We Don’t Have An Islamophobia Problem in the US, We Have an Islamophilia Problem”

Islamophobia ISLAMOPHILIA

via Retired Lt. Col. Ralph Peters | RealClearPolitics.

The only religion this president is willing to come out and publicly defend is Islam. And I’m not suggesting he’s a Muslim, but he clearly romanticizes Islam and he treats it as though Islam is above all criticism. Now, Tucker, those attacks yesterday in Denmark, they were attacks on fundamental principles of western civilization. Freedom of expression and religious tolerance.

And what does Obama do? What do his minions do? What does the American left do? They flip it around and say, ‘No, no, an attack on a synagogue doesn’t count.’ The only religious intolerance is intolerance of Islam. We have this problem where everybody on the left in the United States romanticizes Islam and they’re always scolding us. ‘Beware of Islamophobia. You can’t indulge in Islamophobia.’

We do not have an Islamophobia problem in the United States, we have an Islamophilia problem which places Islam above all criticism. And until we hold Islam to the same standards as every other religion, ethically and behaviorally, terrorism wins.

Video at the link.

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