Ukraine said on Friday it had destroyed part of a Russian military convoy that entered onto its territory in an incursion that has sent cross-border tensions rocketing.
NATO accused Russia of active involvement in the “destabilisation” of eastern Ukraine, where pro-Kremlin separatists have been fighting against Kiev for four months.
The two countries have also been wrangling for days over a Russian convoy that Moscow says is carrying humanitarian aid for besieged rebel-held cities but which Kiev suspects could be a “Trojan horse” to provide military help to the insurgents.
Fears that the border clash could spill into all-out war between Kiev and Moscow sent major share markets tumbling across Europe and the United States.
Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko told British Prime Minister David Cameron that government artillery had destroyed a “considerable part” of a small military convoy that entered the country, the presidency said in a statement.
The European Union demanded that Russia “put an immediate stop to any form of border hostilities, in particular to the flow of arms, military advisers and armed personnel into the conflict region, and to withdraw its forces from the border.”
French President Francois Hollande called on Russia to respect Ukraine’s territorial integrity and for both sides to try to de-escalate the “very high tensions,” while Britain summoned Moscow’s ambassador to “clarify” the situation and a Cameron spokesman said Russia needs to show “a willingness to find a peaceful solution to the conflict”.
Moscow’s defence ministry dismissed the alleged convoy as a “phantom”, its latest denial of Western accusations that it is funnelling weapons to the pro-Russia separatists who launched an insurgency against Kiev in April.
“Such statements, based on fantasies… should not be a subject of serious discussion for leaders of any country,” spokesman Igor Konashenkov told Russian news agencies.
But NATO chief Anders Fogh Rasmussen backed reports of the “Russian incursion” after British media said it had seen the convoy of some 20 vehicles cross the border.
“It just confirms the fact that we see a continued flow of weapons and fighters from Russia into the eastern Ukraine,” he said.
“It is a clear demonstration of continued Russian involvement in the destabilisation of eastern Ukraine.”
As the fallout snowballed, Ukraine’s foreign minister announced he will meet his Russian counterpart Sergei Lavrov in Berlin on Sunday for talks alongside the top diplomats from France and Germany.
“Be it a square table or a round one, we need to talk,” minister Pavlo Klimkin wrote on Twitter.
- ‘Attempts to derail aid’ -
Russia’s foreign ministry ominously accused Ukraine of “attempts to derail the supply of humanitarian aid” as doubts swirled over what will happen next to almost 300 Russian trucks parked up some 30 kilometres (20 miles) from Ukraine’s border.
Moscow accused Kiev of stepping up military operations with the “obvious goal” of blocking the agreed route.
It had appeared earlier that the two countries might reach a deal to allow the convoy into Ukraine to help people in the east who are without water, food or power.
But the International Committee of the Red Cross said they were still ironing out details over the shipment.
“People are struggling to cope with limited access to basic services such as water and electricity, so speed is of the essence,” said Laurent Corbaz, ICRC head of operations for Europe and Central Asia.
The head of the self-proclaimed Donetsk People’s Republic, Alexander Zakharchenko, said Friday that the inhabitants were in “a very bad humanitarian situation” and desperately needing Russian aid.
“We just need it like air,” he said, accusing Kiev of deliberately stalling its arrival.
Ukraine fears the convoy could be used as a pretext to invade, as a pro-Moscow rebellion shows signs of unravelling after four months of fighting that has left more than 2,000 people dead including children and sent around 285,000 fleeing their homes.
Moscow has insisted the white-tarpaulin trucks are hauling aid and officials tried to prove that by showing off the contents of 10 lorries with baby formula, rations and bottled water to journalists.
“We’ve shown you everything. You see that we have nothing to hide – these trucks are carrying nothing but humanitarian aid,” said Sergei Karavaytsev, from Russia’s emergency situations ministry.
- Kiev pushes on offensive -
Meanwhile Ukraine said it was forging on with an offensive that has sent rebel forces reeling, retaking three small towns overnight.
Top rebel military chief Igor Strelkov and another key commander announced Thursday they were quitting after Ukraine’s military said it had completely surrounded Lugansk, cutting all links to the border with Russia.
An AFP journalist in the main rebel-held city of Donetsk in the industrial heartland of eastern Ukraine heard sporadic shelling from a suburb and saw rebels driving howitzer cannons into the city centre.
The death toll continues to climb, with mortar fire in Donetsk killing 11 civilians over the past 24 hours, local authorities said. Five soldiers were also killed in fighting over the same period.
As the Russian aid sat at the border, Ukrainian officials said their own aid convoys – some 75 lorries with 800 tonnes of supplies – had arrived at a government-held town about 100 kilometres north of Lugansk.
Teddy Roosevelt said speak softly and carry a big stick, but we need to add to that. Call this the DaleyGator Doctrine.
The United States will be a great and true friend to our allies, and the very worst enemy to those that threaten us or those allies. WE WILL speak honestly, we WILL carry the BIGGEST stick. And, if we, or our allies are attacked, or threatened, we will USE that stick. We will use it with such devastating force that no one, anywhere will doubt our resolve, or our intent to defend ourselves and our allies. WE will USE that stick with such devastating force that every nation on earth will fear our retribution. Again, we desire peace above all else, but recognize that peace cannot be bought through weakness. Further, when we say we will keep all military option open, we mean it. There is no weapon in our arsenal we will not use to defend our nation against ANY enemy who threatens us. This includes terror groups, and governments that sponsor these groups. Again, we desire to be your best friend, but will always retain our willingness to be your worst enemy if that is the path you choose.
In an interview with the New Yorker’s David Remnick in January, President Obama dismissed ISIS as the “jayvee”:
The analogy we use around here sometimes, and I think is accurate, is if a jayvee team puts on Lakers uniforms that doesn’t make them Kobe Bryant.
Yesterday, with much of Iraq now in the jayvee’s hands, Obama finally recognized it as enough of a threat to warrant the authorization of U.S. military action. Sort of:
To stop the advance on Irbil, I directed our military to take targeted strikes against ISIL terrorist convoys should they move towards the city.
What is magic about Irbil? For one thing, many American diplomats and other U.S. nationals are there. In fact, the State Department relocated staffers from the embassy in Baghdad to the consulate in Irbil on the theory that the Kurds could keep the jayvee out. And then Obama ignored warnings from the Kurds that, without U.S. military supplies, they could not defend their territory.
To this conditional authorization of force, Obama added another conditional one. He authorized airstrikes “if necessary” to help Iraqi forces break the siege of Mount Sinjar.
Here, one assumes, Obama is being disingenuous. How else besides through U.S. military action might the jayvees’ siege of Mount Sinjar be broken. Diplomacy?
Speaking of diplomacy, Obama’s reliance on it is what permitted the situation in Iraq to deteriorate to its current state. Months ago, it became clear that the jayvee was on the march and would not be halted without substantial U.S. assistance.
But Obama conditioned such assistance on the overhaul of Iraq’s government and sought that overhaul through diplomacy. Naturally, Prime Minister Maliki liked his government just fine so, naturally, no overhaul occurred. And then the jayvee continued its bloody march.
Ironically, Obama ended up liking Maliki’s government well enough when it came time to decide whether to grant the Kurds’ request for weapons and ammunition. Obama turned them down on the theory that he didn’t want to bypass the central government – unreformed though it was. And then the jayvee overran the Kurdish border.
Assuming Obama deems his conditions for using force satisfied – and, objectively, they surely will be – the questions become how much force is needed and will Obama authorize that much force.
As to the first question, Fox News’ military expert, Ret. Lt. Gen. Tom McInerney said last night that “pin prick” strikes won’t be enough. He called for round-the-clock sorties.
Other military experts, including active service commanders in Iraq, say that air power won’t be enough. Apparently, the jayvee, having seized all sorts of U.S. military equipment and grown significantly in number off of its successes, has become Kobe Bryant after all. As Army Lt. Gen. Mick Bednarek, U.S. chief of the Office of Security and Cooperation-Iraq, put it: “[ISIS] is an army, and it takes an army to defeat an army.”
Gen. Bednarek was talking about “neutralizing” ISIS, though. Obama, presumably recognizing what doing so would entail, described his objectives much more narrowly as protecting Ibril and ending the siege of Mount Sinjar. These objectives can, perhaps, be accomplished without an army, and conceivably even with pin point strikes.
But if this is all Obama accomplishes, he will have accomplished little. And pretty soon, the jayvee’s blitz will produce another crisis that will grab the attention of even our criminally inattentive president.
“Christianity in Mosul is dead, and a Christian holocaust is in our midst,” said Mark Arabo, a Californian businessman and Chaldean-American leader. In an interview with CNN’s Jonathan Mann, he called what’s happening in Iraq a “Christian genocide” and said “children are being beheaded, mothers are being raped and killed, and fathers are being hung.”
“Right now, three thousand Christians are in Iraq fleeing to neighboring cities,” he told Mann. Arabo is calling on the international community to follow France’s lead and offer the Christians of Iraq asylum.
“You’re startling me with the severity of what you’re describing,” the CNN host said. “You said they are – beheading children?”
“They are systematically beheading children,” Arabo repeated slowly. “And mothers and fathers. The world hasn’t seen an evil like this for generations.”
“There’s actually a park in Mosul where they actually beheaded children and put their heads on a stick… this is crimes against humanity. They are doing the most horrendous, the most heart-breaking crimes that you can think of.”
Mann asked about the ISIS letter sent to Christians in Mosul, demanding that they either convert to Islam, pay a fine or be put to “death by the sword.”
“It’s very clear they are killing people, but are Christians managing to escape by paying a fine?” he asked.
Arabo reports that after Christians pay the fine, the fighters take the Christian wives and children “and make them their wives – so it’s really convert, or die.”
This is a tweet that reportedly shows Yazidi children who escaped the fighters by fleeing to the mountains, but have died from lack of food and water there:
100 Retweets 13 favorites
A quick scan of Youtube shows the truth of what Arabo is saying – there are gruesome videos of heads on spikes, and many of live beheadings (one poor Christian is forced to say the Shahada ‘there is no God but Allah and Muhammad is his Prophet’ and then beheaded anyway.)
Warning: don’t google these things unless you have a strong stomach.
“They are absolutely killing every Christian they see,” Arabo said of ISIS. “This is absolutely a genocide in every sense of the word. They want everyone to convert, and they want sharia law to be the law of the land.”
Democratic presidential hopeful Barack Obama said Thursday the United States cannot use its military to solve humanitarian problems and that preventing a potential genocide in Iraq isn’t a good enough reason to keep U.S. forces there.
“Well, look, if that’s the criteria by which we are making decisions on the deployment of U.S. forces, then by that argument you would have 300,000 troops in the Congo right now – where millions have been slaughtered as a consequence of ethnic strife – which we haven’t done,” Obama said in an interview with The Associated Press.
“We would be deploying unilaterally and occupying the Sudan, which we haven’t done. Those of us who care about Darfur don’t think it would be a good idea,” he said.
Obama, a first-term senator from Illinois, said it’s likely there would be increased bloodshed if U.S. forces left Iraq.
“Nobody is proposing we leave precipitously. There are still going to be U.S. forces in the region that could intercede, with an international force, on an emergency basis,” Obama said between stops on the first of two days scheduled on the New Hampshire campaign trail. “There’s no doubt there are risks of increased bloodshed in Iraq without a continuing U.S. presence there.”
The greater risk is staying in Iraq, Obama said.
“It is my assessment that those risks are even greater if we continue to occupy Iraq and serve as a magnet for not only terrorist activity but also irresponsible behavior by Iraqi factions,” he said.
The senator has been a fierce critic of the war in Iraq, speaking out against it even before he was elected to his post in 2004. He was among the senators who tried unsuccessfully earlier this week to force President Bush’s hand and begin to limit the role of U.S. forces there.
“We have not lost a military battle in Iraq. So when people say if we leave, we will lose, they’re asking the wrong question,” he said. “We cannot achieve a stable Iraq with a military. We could be fighting there for the next decade.”
Obama said the answer to Iraq – and other civil conflicts – lies in diplomacy.
“When you have civil conflict like this, military efforts and protective forces can play an important role, especially if they’re under an international mandate as opposed to simply a U.S. mandate. But you can’t solve the underlying problem at the end of a barrel of a gun,” he said. “There’s got to be a deliberate and constant diplomatic effort to get the various factions to recognize that they are better off arriving at a peaceful resolution of their conflicts.”
GOP: ‘Obama can’t seem to make up his mind’
The Republican National Committee accused Obama of changing his position on the war.
“Barack Obama can’t seem to make up his mind,” said Amber Wilkerson, an RNC spokeswoman. “First he says that a quick withdrawal from Iraq would be ’a slap in the face’ to the troops, and then he votes to cut funding for our soldiers who are still in harm’s way. Americans are looking for principled leadership – not a rookie politician who is pandering to the left wing of his party in an attempt to win an election.”
Obama, who has expressed reservations about capital punishment but does not oppose it, said he would support the death penalty for Osama bin Laden, the mastermind of the Sept. 11 attacks.
“The first thing I’d support is his capture, which is something this administration has proved incapable of achieving,” Obama said. “I would then, as president, order a trial that observed international standards of due process. At that point, do I think that somebody who killed 3,000 Americans qualifies as someone who has perpetrated heinous crimes, and would qualify for the death penalty. Then yes.”
Sex education for kindergartners?
In response to criticism from Republican Mitt Romney, Obama said the former Massachusetts governor was only trying to “score cheap political points” when he told a Colorado audience that Obama wanted sex education for kindergartners.
Video: Sex education for kindergarteners? “All I said was that I support the same laws that exist in Massachusetts and New Hampshire, in which local communities and parents can make decisions to provide children with the information they need to deal with sexual predators,” Obama said.
Romney on Wednesday targeted Obama for supporting a bill during his term in the Illinois state Senate that would have, among other things, provided age-appropriate sex education for all students.
“How much sex education is age appropriate for a 5-year-old? In my mind, zero is the right number,” Romney said.
Obama said Romney was wrong to take the shot and incorrect on its basis.
“We have to deal with a coarsening of the culture and the over-sexualization of our young people. Look, I’ve got two daughters, 9 and 6 years old,” Obama told the AP. “Of course, part of the coarsening of that culture is when politicians try to demagogue issues to score cheap political points.”
“What we shouldn’t do is to try to play a political football with these issues and express them in ways that are honest and truthful,” Obama said. “Certainly, what we shouldn’t do is engage in hypocrisy.”
Romney himself once indicated support for similar programs that Obama supports.
In 2002, Romney told Planned Parenthood in a questionnaire that he also supported age-appropriate sex education. He checked yes to a question that asked: “Do you support the teaching of responsible, age-appropriate, factually accurate health and sexuality education, including information about both abstinence and contraception, in public schools?”
The obsession by the Obama-Kerry administration with imposing a cease-fire on the warring parties in the Hamas-Israel war will go down in history as one of the most strategic mistakes in military history.
Here is a fact the administration deliberately and maliciously ignored: In the history of modern warfare, no terrorist group has ever honored a cease-fire. Hamas has broken every cease-fire it ever said it would honor. Every single one.
Even the Israel-Hamas 2012 cease fire, brokered by then-Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, was simply agreed to by Hamas to give it an opportunity to restock its military arsenal, pressure Israel to lift its restrictions on the import of cement and steel into Gaza – material that Clinton said would be used to build hospitals and schools, but in fact was used to build a network of underground tunnels into Israel and build a subterranean network of underground bunkers, weapons storage facilities and launching pads.
Hamas simply used the cease-fire to rebuild its military infrastructure and as predicted by Israeli military intelligence, would simply break the cease-fire when it felt ready to take on the Israelis once again.
And on Friday, Hamas did the exact same thing. It agreed, through its main financial backer Qatar (which is the world’s largest financial sponsor of terrorist groups including Hamas, Hizbollah, Al Qaeda and Al Nusra in Syria) and which the U.S. inexplicably anointed as its interlocutor to Hamas, that it would honor a 72-hour cease-fire initiated by the Obama-Kerry administration.
On Thursday night, Kerry proudly announced the cease-fire. But read the main sentence of his press conference.
“Then, as soon as the cease-fire is underway tomorrow morning – I talked to the Egyptian foreign minister tonight – Egypt will issue invitations to the parties to come to Cairo immediately in order to engage in serious and focused negotiations with Egypt to address the underlying causes of this conflict.”
“Underlying causes?” What in God’s name is Kerry talking about? That would be the equivalent of announcing a cease-fire with Al Qaeda after it killed 3000 Americans on 9-11 on the grounds that it needed to “address the underlying causes” of Al Qaeda’s war against the United States and the West.
Here is a little secret for Mr. Kerry: The underlying causes of the current Israeli-Hamas war, initiated by Hamas with its launching of tens of thousands of missiles into Israel and its use of underground tunnels from Gaza to carry out murderous attacks against Israel civilians, is that Hamas, like Al Qaeda, is a nihilistic radical Islamic organization dedicated to the destruction of the Jewish state and the establishment of an Islamic caliphate.
The term “underlying causes” directly implies there are legitimate rational grievances by Hamas. Yes, the same “underlying causes” that motivated Adolph Hitler to carry out a worldwide war of conquest, including the Holocaust of six million Jews. Hamas is the embodiment of pure evil. And its motivation is the same as that of Al Qaeda and ISIS.
On Fox News, the former U.S. Ambassador to Bahrain, Adam Ereli, summed up the conflict in words that accurately described the “underlying causes” behind the war between Israel and Hamas:
“…[W]hat we’re seeing happen between Israel and Gaza is not a localized conflict, but is much, is part of a much bigger regional war. And that war has Iran, Hezbollah and the Muslim Brotherhood on one side and it has the forces of what I would call reason and moderation on the other side – being Israel, Egypt, Jordan, Saudi Arabia and the countries of the Gulf. And United States has an interest in ensuring that the forces of reason and moderation prevail.”
Mr. Ereli was right on point. But somehow this administration lost sight of its real strategic interests and instead embraced an agenda that has resulted in extensive damage to our national interests, which in turn has resulted in increasing the strategic threat to American national security.
This administration believes that Al Qaeda is bad but the Muslim Brotherhood, which is the parent of Hamas and Islamic Jihad as well as that of Al Qaeda, is a rational organization with “legitimate grievances” that can be negotiated with on the same basis that the U.S.can negotiate with Canada or Germany. That is why this administration has embraced the Muslim Brotherhood, starting with the first speech Mr. Obama gave in Cairo in February 2009, where the first two rows of “dignitaries” were 20 leaders of the Muslim Brotherhood in Egypt hand-selected by the Obama administration.
Moreover, the Obama administration, according to an investigation carried out by my organization, the Investigative Project on Terrorism, lifted all visa restrictions on Muslim Brotherhood officials in their applications to visit the United States. In a report our organization will be releasing next week, more than 25 senior Muslim Brotherhood officials who had publicly called for jihad against the United States or the West, or had openly expressed their support for Hamas and Hezbollah, visited the United States in the past three years and met with senior U.S. officials. One of them, who served as vice president of a Muslim Brotherhood group that had called for the killing of Americans, actually met with President Obama in the White House.
So the “underlying causes” of the current war of annihilation carried out by Hamas against Israel is very simple: It believes that Israel needs to be destroyed paralleling the same agenda of Al Qaeda that believed the United States should be destroyed. We are talking about an organization that won’t be satisfied in the short term until every Jew in Israel is dead and in the long term until Western civilization is destroyed replaced by a worldwide Islamic caliphate.
Hamas on Friday succeeded in kidnapping an Israeli officer, after launching a suicide bombing against Israeli soldiers in a well-planned operation 90 minutes after the cease-fire had gone into effect.Immediately following the suicide bombing that killed several Israeli soldiers (still unreported), a group of up to 10 Hamas terrorists immediately descended upon the scene of the bombing where chaos reigned supreme, and kidnapped the Israeli officer in charge of the company stationed in Gaza.
Then Musa Abu Marzuk, a leader of Hamas in Cairo, who was invited to participate in the talks with the U.S. and UN officials on the cease fire, had the audacity to announce the kidnapping took place BEFORE the cease-fire went into effect. This was a manifestly demonstrable lie, as Israel would never have agreed to a cease-fire if it knew one of its soldiers had been kidnapped.
The Obama-Kerry administration’s obsession with imposing a cease-fire on Israel on the grounds that too many civilians were being killed in collateral damage (caused by the fact that Hamas used the Gaza population as human shields to protect its launching of missiles ensconced in hospitals, mosques, kindergartens and civilian apartment buildings) somehow convinced itself that Hamas was an organization with “legitimate” political grievances. Yes, the same type of radical Islamic group whose agenda parallels exactlythat of the same radical Islamic groups that has killed thousands of Americans and Europeans and whose wars of aggression has resulted in the deaths of hundreds of thousands of Muslims and Christians in Syria and Iraq.
At this point the administration, if it truly wants to limit the damage to our own national security and reverse the strategic threat to the survival of Israel, needs to be honest with itself and acknowledge its historic mistake in its approach to the Muslim Brotherhood and its stepchild, Hamas. The Muslim Brotherhood is the godfather of all Sunni terrorist groups, from Al Qaeda to Hamas, a fact these groups openly admit.
This is a classic war of good versus evil. The only difference between the Muslim Brotherhood and its terrorist offspring is the deception perpetrated by the Muslim Brotherhood in portraying itself as opposed to violence and committed to political pluralism. Nothing could be further from the truth. All one needs to do is read the covenant of the Muslim Brotherhood in which it states its commitment to carry out jihad to dominate the world, read the contemporary incendiary statements of Muslim Brotherhood officials issued in Arabic and not in English, and observe the Muslim Brotherhood hatred and persecution of of Christians, secular women, non-believing Muslims, infidels and gays.
This administration’s current policy towards the Muslim Brotherhood extends from the legitimacy it has conferred on the Muslim Brotherhood organization overseas and its chief patron, Qatar, to the embrace of Muslim Brotherhood front groups in the United States. This administration has gone so far as to ban the mention of the term “radical Islam” and to claim that the word jihad means only peaceful struggle and not violent commitment to impose Islam, which is the genuine historic and religious definition of jihad.
Reversing these policies would not only help protect the long term strategic interests of the United States but would also protect and help in the growth of the community of genuine Muslim moderates who in the end are the only key to reversing the growing threat of radical Islam in the world today.
A former U.S. Marine was allegedly assaulted and spit on by an angry mob of pro-Palestine protesters during a Saturday rally in front of the White House. The war veteran, who was reportedly part of a pro-Israel counter-protest, quickly found himself greatly outnumbered and in potential danger – though he didn’t appear to be afraid at all.
Video taken of the incident begins immediately after one of the pro-Palestine protesters allegedly “touched” the U.S. Marine, identified as Manny Vega.
“Don’t f***ing touch me!” Vega says, pointing his finger in the man’s face. “Don’t touch me!”
When the unidentified protester shoves the Marine, things start to spiral out of control as other demonstrators jump in to oppose Vega. They are seen throwing punches, grabbing and later spitting on the military veteran, who was completely surrounded at times.
A brief chant of “Allahu akbar” can also be heard in the video.
Fortunately, the police arrived quickly and were able to prevent any further violence.
Watch the full video here (Warning! Strong language):
Remember the laughter and snarky comments from the Left and its Ministry of Information when Texas governor Rick Perry activated one thousand Texas National Guard soldiers for duty at the southern border? “Ha ha, they’ll just stand around like wooden Indians and watch ‘undocumented immigrants’ walk by,” we heard from people Beltway liberals who hate conservatives, especially conservatives with a drawl.
The Left is about to get another lesson about underestimating those who live in “fly over country.” There is a local website (callthecops.net) that is reporting what Perry’s plan actually involves. Contrary to what has been postulated – even by some uninformed GOPe types – the Texas National Guard will not be standing around directing illegal aliens to the nearest aid station. They will be deputized as state police officers who will have the same powers as other sworn officers. Moreover, Perry has ordered the construction of holding camps modeled after military barracks where illegals who walk over the border will be housed until their case is adjudicated.
This plan has every chance to succeed. Those who understand the Guard and Reserve services know these units are very likely to have substantial numbers of troops who are police officers in civilian life. The transition to police work in a military uniform will not be difficult.
Given today’s headlines that tell of a new plan from Barack Obama to defeat America by flying illegal aliens directly into our country, it is likely that he believes Governor Perry has developed a powerful plan to check his attacks.
So what are the possible outcomes of this plan? If it is left to stand, it will slow the flow of illegal aliens until a better solution can be devised. It will show other governors how to handle this attack from Obama.
If it is challenged in court, it will be immediately brought before the full Supreme Court as a 10th Amendment case; and in view of Obama’s many recent losses in the Court, this could be another loss for him. It is hard to see how Obama can get this Court to declare the 10th Amendment unconstitutional.
Nevertheless, if all else fails, Perry’s plan will certainly lay a heavy chilling effect on the illegals who want to walk in and register as Democrats to get free stuff for life. It will slow the flow.
Governor Rick Perry’s plan is not a permanent counterattack to Obama’s attacks on America, but it is a short term win for America!
ISIS PERSECUTES CHRISTIANS IN IRAQ
MUSLIMS RALLY AGAINST ISRAEL IN LONDON, ENGLAND
BOKO HARAM KIDNAPS WIFE OF CAMEROON’S VICE PRIME MINISTER
HAMAS SUPPORTERS ATTACK JEWISH CAMERAMAN IN MIAMI, FLORIDA
SON OF HAMAS FOUNDER EXPLAINS TERRORIST GROUP’S TRUE INTENT
JEWS FIGHT BACK AGAINST MUSLIM HOOLIGANS IN PARIS, FRANCE
MUSLIM MOUTHPIECE REFUSES TO CALL HAMAS TERRORISTS
ANTI-ISRAEL PROTESTERS ATTACK PEDESTRIANS IN GOTTINGEN, GERMANY
U.S. EMBASSY IN TRIPOLI, LIBYA EVACUATED AS MUSLIM VIOLENCE ESCALATES
POLICE USE TEAR GAS ON ISLAMIC MOB IN CAIRO, EGYPT
PAKISTANI MUSLIMS KILL WOMAN, GRANDDAUGHTERS OVER FACEBOOK POST
IRANIANS PROTEST ISRAELI RETALIATION AGAINST HAMAS TERRORISTS
TURKISH PRIME MINISTER CALLS ISRAEL A TERRORIST STATE
Four-star Gen. James Amos, commandant of the Marine Corps, used a speaking engagement at the Brookings Institute on Tuesday to deliver a stinging rebuke of the Obama administration’s handling of Iraq.
“I have a hard time believing that had we been there, and worked with the government, and worked with parliament, and worked with the minister of defense, the minister of interior, I don’t think we’d be in the same shape we’re in today,” Gen. Amos said, the Fiscal Times reported Wednesday.
It is rare for an active-duty serviceman to give such blunt public criticism of a sitting president. While Gen. Amos was careful not to mention the president by name, The Fiscal Times reported that the top general’s upcoming retirement this fall may have played a role in his decision.
“We may think we’re done with all of these nasty, thorny, tacky little things that are going on around the world – and I’d argue that if you’re in that nation, it’s not a tacky, little thing for you. We may think we’re done with them, but they’re not done with us,” the commandant of the Marine Corps added, the paper reported. “We’re probably the only country in the world that has the resources and the capability to be able to do some of this that others can’t.”
The decorated officer added that it is breaking the hearts of Marines to see many of the gains made before U.S. troops pulled out in 2011 squandered. Sunni radicals with the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL) have taken over large swathes of Iraq since June.
Roughly 852 Marines were killed and 8,500 injured during deployments to Iraq, The Fiscal Times reported.
Veterans Affairs hospitals across the country reported more than 500 incidents last year where patients were gravely injured or died as a result of the care they received.
Data obtained by the WashingtonFree Beacon through the Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) shows 575 “institutional disclosures of adverse events” – the bureaucratic phrase for reporting a serious mistake – at VA hospitals in fiscal year 2013.
According to the Veterans Health Administration ethics handbook, such disclosures are required when “an adverse event has occurred during the patient’s care that resulted in or is reasonably expected to result in death or serious injury.”
Specifically, adverse events are defined by the department as “untoward incidents, diagnostic or therapeutic misadventures, iatrogenic injuries, or other occurrences of harm or potential harm directly associated with care or services provided” by the VA.
How many of the 575 “adverse events” reported last year resulted in patient deaths is unknown. It is also unclear how 2013 compared to previous years. The Free Beacon has filed another FOIA request seeking this information.
“Until VA leaders make a serious attempt to address the department’s widespread and systemic lack of accountability, I fear we’ll only see more of these lapses in care,” Rep. Jeff Miller (R., Fla.), the head of the House Veterans Affairs Committee, said in a statement to the Free Beacon.
“Like other hospital systems, VA isn’t immune from human error – even fatal human error,” Miller said. “But what the department does seem to be immune from is meaningful accountability. Given that these tragic events are part of a pattern of preventable veteran deaths and other patient-safety issues at VA hospitals around the country, it’s well past time for the department to put its employees on notice that anyone who lets patients fall through the cracks will be held fully responsible.”
The VA came under intense scrutiny from Congress and the media this year after whistleblowers revealed thousands of veterans were placed on secret wait lists and dozens died awaiting treatment.
VA Secretary Eric Shinseki resigned earlier this year as a result of the uproar that followed. The department also ordered a nationwide audit of its consulting practices.
Medical privacy laws strictly bar from disclosure the names of patients and other details, making it difficult to document individual cases. However, the data obtained by the Free Beacon gives a broad view of serious mistakes at VA hospitals over the past year.
The Malcom Randall VA Medical Center in Gainesville, Fla., reported 31 “adverse events” during fiscal year 2013, the most of any VA facility.
The VA also confirmed two patients died at North Florida/South Georgia system, where the Gainesville hospital is located, due to delayed cancer screenings.
The system is the busiest in the country, serving roughly 125,000 VA patients per year.
VA hospitals have struggled to handle the flood of new patients in the years following 9/11, especially after the troop drawdowns from Iraq and Afghanistan in recent years.
However, numerous congressional investigations and internal audits by the VA also describe a corrosive work environment, where leadership encouraged staff to cook the books to meet performance standards and where whistleblowers were harshly punished.
Three VA officials in Gainesville were placed on leave this year after an audit by the VA Inspector General found the hospital was using a secret paper list to keep track of appointments.
There were also allegations that surgeons were not allowed to perform certain operating room procedures to avoid increased mortality rates, and that patients with a high mortality risk were sent to a local hospital. However, the VA Inspector General said in a report Monday it could not substantiate those claims.
The Malcom Randall VA Medical Center did not return requests for comment.
The VA Pittsburgh Healthcare System reported 26 disclosures in fiscal year 2013.
CBS reported earlier this year that the Pittsburgh VA failed to warn patients of a fatal Legionnaires’ Disease outbreak. At least six veterans died and 16 fell ill from February 2011 to November 2012 as a result of the outbreak, while leadership tried to insulate the hospital from the Centers for Disease Control and congressional investigations.
A Pittsburgh VA official later falsely testified before Congress that the outbreak was the result of the city’s water treatment, when in fact the hospital had known for more than a year that it was caused by human error.
The Charlie Norwood VA Medical Center in Augusta, Ga., reported 14 “adverse events” during fiscal year 2013, and three cancer patients died as a result of delayed screenings over the past two years.
According to a 2012 report from the VA Inspector General’s Office, five patients died or sustained serious injury as a result of mismanagement between 2007 and 2010, and more than 4,500 gastrointestinal endoscopy consults went unresolved.
A recent VA audit reported that 26 new patients in Augusta had to wait at least 90 days for an appointment. Additionally, 133 veterans were not scheduled for an appointment despite requesting one in the past 10 years.
Since then, Augusta officials say they have reduced the number of veterans waiting at least 90 days for an appointment from 26 patients to two.
Acting VA Secretary Sloan Gibson toured the center last week, as part of a national tour of VA facilities, and said much of the scheduling problems were due to staff shortages.
“It should not take so darn long to hire someone,” Gibson said. “We need to make sure we’re talking to staff more frequently and understanding their needs. The employees here truly care.”
There are currently four open federal investigations into whistleblower retaliation at the hospital.
In Columbia, S.C., the William Jennings Bryan Dorn veterans hospital reported 13 serious mistakes in patient care during fiscal year 2013. There have been six total deaths since 1999 due to delayed cancer screenings, according to the VA report.
A February report by the VA Inspector General found the Dorn hospital faced staffing and equipment shortages that led to delays. The report also noted that Dorn ranked 127th out of 128 VA facilities in health care-associated infections during 2013.
In response, the Dorn VA hospital agreed said it was immediately taking steps to fix the problems.
The hospital reported four more “institutional disclosures” in the second quarter of fiscal year 2014.
The Dorn VA hospital did not return requests for comment.
Wrongful death payments
Another measure of how patients are killed or gravely injured due to VA mistakes is wrongful death payments.
The Malcom Randall VA Medical Center in Gainesville has made more than $5 million in wrongful death payments in the years since 9/11, according to data from the Center for Investigative Reporting.
Overall, the Department of Veterans Affairs has paid out more than $200 million in wrongful death payments since then. But it is also an incomplete look at the problem.
According to the Center for Investigative Reporting, “independent legal analysts say the nearly 1,000 wrongful death payments in the decade after 9/11 represent a small percentage of the veterans who have died because of malpractice by the Department of Veterans Affairs.”
Eddie Creed, a Seattle-area jazz musician, died in 2012 at a VA facility after a medical device malfunctioned and emptied a lethal dose of morphine into his body. The medical device had been recalled a month earlier.
Creed’s death certificate said he was killed by throat cancer.
The VA refused to release the details of an internal investigation into the accident to Creed’s family until after local news outlet KUOW investigated the incident.
The VA Inspector General found that the Dorn VA hospital failed to peer-review numerous patient deaths – many of them shortly after surgeries – that met the criteria for review. The hospital has since gone back and reviewed those deaths.
The Department of Veterans Affairs did not immediately return a request for comment for this article.
A woman in Kentucky is demanding answers from a local VA hospital after she claims her husband was erroneously pronounced dead.
According to Jennifer Dunn, doctors at the Lexington VA Hospital assured her last week that her husband, Danny Dunn, was no longer among the living.
The wife was given her husband’s time of death, but when she went into his room to bid a final farewell, she found Mr Dunn with a strong heart rate and blood pressure.
It all started last Thursday morning when 46-year-old Danny Dunn, an U.S. Army veteran, was discovered unconscious by his wife in their Central Kentucky home.
The former soldier was rushed to a hospital in Harrodsburg and was later airlifted to the VA Hospital in Lexington, where medical personnel pronounced him dead.
‘I said, “Are ya’ll sure he’s gone?” and they said, “There’s no pulse, ma’am, he’s gone,”‘ Jennifer Dunn told LEX18.
In accordance with her husband’s end-of-life wishes, Mrs Dunn made the decision to take him off life support, but she quickly discovered that Danny still had vital signs.
As of Monday, the 46-year-old veteran was very much alive, and according to his wife, apparently growing stronger.
‘He squeezed my hand when I asked him to,’ she said. ‘He opened his eyes when I asked him to. And he grabbed my hand.’
The Dunn family now want the ailing husband and father transferred to another hospital for treatment.
The VA facility in Lexington released a general statement to the local TV station, which read in part: ‘Veterans can have confidence that our staff of dedicated and professional providers is committed to working with them and their families to honor their wishes and support their needs.’
But the Dunns are far from satisfied with the hospital’s response to the near-fatal blunder.
‘They said his soul was gone and that he wasn’t living no more,’ said Dunn’s son, Tyler. ‘That he was gone long before we got him there… I mean we’re just looking for answers and they won’t give us any.’
This case is yet another black eye for the beleaguered VA system, which has faced public scrutiny in connection to explosive allegations of poor – and at times non-existent – medical care offered to servicemen and women.
The VA’s inspector general has confirmed that at least 35 veterans died while awaiting appointments at the agency’s Phoenix medical center alone.
The resulting election-year firestorm forced VA Secretary Eric Shinseki to resign in May. A half-dozen other VA officials have resigned or retired since then.
More than 8million of the nation’s 21million veterans are now enrolled in VA health care, although only about 6.5million seek VA treatment every year.
House Veterans Affairs Committee Chairman Jeff Miller told DC-based WMAL Radio on Tuesday about his congressional staffers recently being spied on when they looked into various VA complaints at a regional Veterans Benefits Administration office.
His staff was told on “three different occasions” to go to a specific room to do their work but one VA employee said it wasn’t necessary.
Miller, a Republican from Florida, recounted that the “VBA’s acting director took that employee outside” for several minutes and when they returned, his staff was directed again to the specific room on a different floor.
His staffers discovered the room’s sound and video system were prepared to observe their work while they reviewed case files.
“In that room, both of the mics were hot and the camera itself was activated,” the committee chairman told WMAL host Larry O’Connor.
Miller continued, “My staff said, ‘We’re not going to do it in this room,’ and they requested to be taken to another room.”
VBA relocated the committee staffers after they pushed back about the use of the room.
When Department of Veterans Affairs Undersecretary for Benefits Allison Hickey was confronted at Monday night’s congressional VA hearing about the spying incident, Miller said that “there was no attempt to deny that it had occurred.”
A former Deputy Chief of Veterans Claims in the Maryland Department of Veterans Affairs pleaded guilty Monday to extortion in connection with a scheme to fraudulently obtain over $1.4 million in veterans benefits.
The plea agreement was announced by United States Attorney for the District of Maryland Rod J. Rosenstein and Special Agent in Charge Kim R. Lampkins of the Department of Veterans Affairs Office of Inspector General.
In January 2011, U.S. Army veteran David Clark, age 67, of Hydes, Maryland, retired from the Maryland Department of Veterans Affairs as the deputy chief for veterans claims. Clark’s duties included submitting claims and documentation on behalf of veterans in Maryland who appointed the MDVA to represent them in obtaining federal benefits from the VA. Clark also submitted documents to the Maryland State Department of Assessments and Taxation in support of veterans’ applications for property tax waivers.
According to his plea agreement, while serving at Deputy Chief of Claims, Clark fraudulently obtained VA compensation for himself and at least 17 others, by submitting false documents to the VA purporting to show that the claimants had been diagnosed with diabetes, and in some cases, that the claimant had served in Vietnam when they had not. The claimants paid Clark half of the retroactive lump sum payment they received in cash or some other amount of cash. These payments to Clark were made in unmarked envelopes, at MDVA offices in Bel Air; at the Fallon Federal Building in Baltimore; and at other locations.
In support of these claims, Clark submitted fake letters from doctors purportedly treating the veterans, which falsely stated that the claimants suffered from Type II diabetes. Clark used the names and addresses of real doctors who were unaware of his conduct. Each letter stated that the diagnosis of Type II diabetes had been made a year or more prior to the date of the letter, which entitled each claimant to a retroactive lump-sum payment. The letters also stated that the claimants were currently taking insulin, which increased the amount of compensation the VA paid the claimant.
Clark created counterfeit versions of a Defense Department form for himself and five others, which falsely stated that each had served in Vietnam. These forms also falsely stated that these individuals had received various awards and decorations for the Vietnam service, including that Clark himself had been awarded the Purple Heart Medal. These documents were submitted to the VA to provide false evidence that they qualified for compensation benefits for diabetes.
Clark also submitted false certifications to the SDAT, on behalf of claimants that owned homes in Maryland, that the filers were entitled to a property tax waiver due to a service-connected disability.
The false claims cost the government $1,151,219 and the loss from the property tax evasion is $255,555, for a total loss of $1,407,134, officials said.
Clark faces a maximum sentence of 20 years in prison and a $250,000 fine. Clark has agreed to forfeit $1,407,134.
A sentencing date is scheduled for Nov. 17.
Eight other veterans have previously pleaded guilty to paying Clark cash to submit false documentation to receive VA benefits:
* John Bratcher, 56, of Conowingo, Maryland, a veteran of the U.S. Air Force
* Richard Genco, 71, of Baltimore, a veteran of the U.S. Navy
* Paul Heard, 65, of Baltimore, a veteran of the U.S. Navy
* George Kulla, 68, of Baltimore, a veteran of the U.S. Army
* Sandra Tyree, 65, of Baltimore, a veteran of the U.S. Air Force and former employee of the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs
* Kenneth Webster, 68, of Pasadena, Maryland, a veteran of the U.S. Marine Corps and a former police officer with AMTRAK
* Raymond Sadler, 63, of Middle River, Maryland, a veteran of the U.S. Marine Corps
* Kenneth Williams, age 65, of Baltimore, a veteran of the U.S. Marine Corps.
The crisis at the border continues to escalate as President Barack Obama can apparently think of nothing better to do than ask Congress for money to throw at the problem–almost none of which, incidentally, will go to actually securing America’s borders.
The illegal border crossers are often characterized as children, and many of them are, giving much of the news coverage a decidedly humanitarian slant. There is less said about the tension caused by violence and threatened violence at the border. Given the high level of involvement of Mexican criminal cartels in human trafficking, an increase in violence concurrent with the increase in illegal immigration is not unexpected.
What may be more unexpected, however, is the degree to which the Mexican military has been involved in numerous border crossings, allegedly assisting the cartels with reconnaissance even in U.S. territory. With the Obama administration essentially tying their hands, border Patrol agents are frustrated at being powerless to do their jobs.
Recently, filmmaker Dennis Michael Lynch of dmldaily.com shared video with Mike Huckabee of a Mexican military helicopter brazenly violating U.S. airspace, illustrating the tense situation at the border.
Some of his comments to Huckabee, transcribed from YouTube:
The morale of the Border Patrol right now is at its all-time low. They’re losing guys every single day. And the Border Patrol really trusts me; they send me information all the time because they know I get it out.
And they’re suffering this from two perspectives: one is, as an American, and number two is, they’re professionals. Imagine if I told you every day you had to come on here that you had to talk about something you didn’t want to talk about. It starts to go down.
The country right now is under an attack, if you will, because he have absolutely no leadership. There is nobody. I hear nobody talking about solving this problem the right way.
Lynch is absolutely right. Whether through inability or apathy, President Obama has completely failed to present any sort of comprehensive solution to the border problem, insisting instead on temporary funding and band-aids despite the clear wishes of the American people to secure the border and deport the illegals already here.
Unfortunately, Congress hasn’t done much better, with many establishment Republicans supporting some sort of amnesty as a means to reward corporate donors with cheap labor. The sad cynicism of such a position, much less its blatant disregard for both human dignity and national security, can hardly be overstated.
The American people deserve better.
Please share this article on Facebook and Twitter to raise awareness about the true nature of the national security threat at America’s southern border.
Army Sgt. Bowe Bergdahl is returning to regular duty, the U.S. Army said Monday, and has been assigned to a base in Texas following his completion of a “reintegration process” after five years as a Taliban captive.
The Army didn’t specify what his duties would be, but said in an announcement that he has been assigned to Joint Base San Antonio-Fort Sam Houston, “where he can contribute to the mission.”
Military officials also said Sgt. Bergdahl remains the focus of an Army investigation that is trying to determine why he disappeared from his unit on June 30, 2009, while stationed at a U.S. outpost in eastern Afghanistan.
Some former members of his unit have publicly accused him of deserting his post. Under military law, desertion carries penalties including possible court-martial, prison time, or even the death penalty.
Sgt. Bergdahl hasn’t commented publicly on his disappearance or his recovery since returning to the U.S. on June 13. He was freed by the Taliban on May 31 as part of a controversial swap for five Taliban detainees held by the U.S.
The Army has said that there is no evidence Sgt. Bergdahl engaged in any misconduct while in captivity. He had been receiving care in San Antonio and earlier this month began making supervised trips off the military base, officials said.
Last week, Pentagon spokesman Col. Steve Warren said Sgt. Bergdahl would return to regular duty when he finished the treatment. An Army announcement Monday said Sgt. Bergdahl “has completed the final phase of the reintegration process.”
The Memphis VA Medical Center has yet another medical records backlog, The Daily Caller has learned – this one estimated at three to five months long.
According to the whistleblower, who provided the photo of this second set of medical records piling up at the Memphis VA Medical Center, the individual responsible for scanning in these records is Carnell Clark, an employee at the facility who is currently busy helping to catch up on a backlog TheDC exposed in June.
Sandra Glover, the spokeswoman for the Veteran Integrated Services Network 9, told TheDC the records are for “Intensive Care Unit (ICU) ‘flow sheets,’ also referred to as ‘work sheets,’ which contain real-time vital sign, input/output, and other pertinent information during the time a patient is in the ICU.” Veteran Integrated Services Network 9 includes the Memphis facility.
According to a March 2014 Office of Special Counsel (OSC) complaint filed by another employee of the Memphis VA, the hospital has known about this problem – and an alleged cover-up – since at least that time.
“Two and a half months of inpatient stay flow sheets are missing and so far unaccounted for,” the complaint reads. “There are investigations going on and people are grouping up against each other. Even cover-ups are happening.”
In another portion of the OSC complaint, the employee accuses Clark of routinely not showing up for work, and accused then-head of Medical Records Department Brenda Jackson and her boss, David Huhman, of looking the other way.
“The employees have reported the allegation of theft of time (by Mr. Carnell Clark) to the business office chief Mr. David Huhman and the supervisor Brenda Jackson” The complaint reads. “The two allegations are serious, and it appears that nothing is going to be done about it.”
According to the whistleblower who supplied the photo, Jackson was replaced as head of the Medical Records Department at around that time. She was replaced because of an unrelated Equal Employment Opportunity complaint that was filed against her.
Jackson now works in a different department in the hospital, the whistleblower said.
In June, TheDC was supplied with a photo of another medical records backlog – that one was of medical records for outsourced medical procedures.
The new supervisor of the Medical Records Department is Rebecca England, and according to the whistleblower, England has approved overtime for Clark so he could help catch the department up on the other backlog.
According to the whistleblower, England took over after her position as the compliance officer was phased out.
The whistleblower said that England hasn’t been certified in medical records, and has no prior experience in medical records.
Glover said she hasn’t seen the OSC complaint, and said the records in question were for historical documentation purposes and didn’t affect patient care.
“Upon discharge from the ICU, the hard copy flow sheets are removed from the unit, taken to the appropriate file room, and scanned into the patient record for historical documentation purposes,” Glover said. “At no point do flow sheets have any impact on future or follow up care. They are used to aid in a patient’s care while still active on the Intensive Care Unit. Registered nurses enter summary data from the flow sheets into each patient’s computerized patient record system (CPRS) daily at the end of their shift while the patient is still on the unit.”
Glover said that the full patient history is available to any doctor upon request, if it hasn’t already been scanned into the system.
“The scanning process essentially duplicates the information with the actual forms that the nurse has already summarized and entered.”
TheDC’s whistleblower says Glover’s suggestion that the backlog isn’t affecting future patient care is spin, because doctors routinely rely on a patient’s entire medical history, including medical history generated in the ICU.
The whistleblower estimated that this backlog is three to five months.
A recent Veteran Administration Office of Inspector General report found that average wait times for initial appointments at the Memphis VA Medical Center are among the worst in the country, at more than fifty days.
TheDC also exposed that the same facility closed down an aqua therapy pool in 2011 – months after approving more than $1 million in bonuses.
The whistleblower asked to remain anonymous because they remain employed by the facility. TheDC’s whistleblower is the individual responsible for initially tipping TheDC off to the previous stories, both of which were eventually independently verified by the Memphis VA Medical Center.