As brutal revenge attacks against loyalist towns and bickering between various armed factions pick up steam in Libya, the al Qaeda flag was photographed flying above the courthouse in the rebellion’s home town of Benghazi. The White House, which unconstitutionally committed American forces in the conflict, said it was not surprised by recent developments.
"There is no God but Allah," read the black flag with a full moon fluttering atop the key government building, which served as the rebel regime’s headquarters throughout much of the eight-month civil war. The first media outlet to publicize the banner also noted that Islamists could be seen throughout the city flying the al Qaeda flag and shouting Muslim slogans.
When a photographer with Vice.com approached the courthouse to take pictures of the flag, a guard came out and warned him to stop. “Whomever speaks ill of this flag, we will cut off his tongue,” the camouflaged security officer said. “I recommend that you don't publish these. You will bring trouble to yourself.”
The Libyan revolutionary also insisted the flag on the courthouse was dark black, while al Qaeda’s flag was charcoal black. Locals urged the photographer to leave too, saying Islamist fighters could be watching him.
The constitutional arguments against the Central Intelligence Agency’s assassinations of Anwar al-Awlaki and, two weeks later, his 16-year-old son have been widely discussed. Less well known, however, is the case against CIA assassinations to be made on the basis of the law of war.
Into the breach has stepped Howard University law professor Morris Davis, who in a recent column presented a well-researched case that the CIA’s drone assassination program is illegal under the law of war and that, as a result, CIA personnel participating in drone strikes could be prosecuted for murder.
Davis knows his subject well. He was a U.S. Air Force judge advocate for 25 years and served as chief prosecutor of the Guantanamo Bay military commissions from 2005 to 2007, resigning from that post in disgust at the use of torture to extract evidence from prisoners and the interference in the proceedings from the Pentagon. He is now executive director and counsel of the Crimes of War Education Project. In other words, Davis’ opinion on the matter of war crimes should not be taken lightly.
Central to Davis’ argument is the indisputable fact that the CIA is not an arm of the military but “a civilian agency made up of civilian employees and civilian contractors.” For those still not convinced, columnist Nat Hentoff reminds us that “when Gen. David Petraeus (who had led U.S. forces in Afghanistan) became the present head of the CIA, he removed his military uniform.”
Since news broke that there was an alleged plot by Iran to assassinate the Saudi ambassador to the United States, Adel A. Al-Jubeir, and destroy a number of embassies, Iran has adamantly denied the accusations. Likewise, skeptics questioned whether the plot could have been staged by Iran, who would have had little to nothing to gain from such an endeavor, and claimed that the plot was uncharacteristic of Iranian terror. Others have asserted that the entire plot was in fact manufactured by American law enforcement agencies as an impetus for war against Iran. Adding yet another layer to this news story, Iran has come out and said that the plot was in fact planned by the French/Iraqi-based Mujahedin-e Khalq Organization (MEK), which is actually funded and supported by the United States.
Last week, the United States charged American-Iranian Mansour Arbabsiar, a used car salesman, for his role in an alleged plot to murder Ambassador Adel Al-Jubeir and attack Saudi installations in the U.S. in a plan reportedly plotted earlier this year. According to the Justice Department, Arbabsiar conspired with Gholam Shakuri, a member of Iran’s Qods Force — an arm of the Iranian Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps.
Iran immediately denied the accusations, with the Iranian Foreign Ministry spokesman Ramin Mehmanparast declaring, “These attitudes, which are based on the age-old and hostile policies of the American-Zionist axis, are a ridiculous show in line with a scenario that aims to divide and that emanates from enemies of the region.”
First it was airports. Then it was bus and train stations. Now, under the Transportation Security Administration’s Visible Intermodal Prevention and Response (VIPR) program, even the highways aren’t safe from the TSA’s prying eyes and probing fingers.
“Tennessee is now the first state ever to work with the TSA to deploy a simultaneous counterterrorism operation statewide,” according to Nashville’s WTVF-TV. That operation, which involved the TSA along with the Tennessee Department of Safety and Homeland Security (TDSHS) and state and local police, was deployed at “five weigh stations and two bus stations across the state,” the station reports.
It was a two-pronged approach, the report adds. Government agents were “recruiting truck drivers … into the First Observer Highway Security Program to say something if they see something.” At the same time, “the Tennessee Highway Patrol checked trucks with drug and bomb sniffing dogs during random inspections.”
One might expect the searches to make recruiting more difficult; but at least one truck driver, Rudy Gonzales, seemed willing to assist the TSA just the same. He told WTVF reporter Adam Ghassemi: “Not only truck drivers, but cars, everybody should be aware of what’s going on, on the road.”
A historic and highly controversial prisoner swap between Israel and the Palestinian terrorist group Hamas has Middle East observers predicting a fresh wave of violence and attacks against the Jewish nation. On October 18, Israel freed 477 Palestinians it had captured over the past 30 years in the ongoing conflict over land claimed by Israel since the famed 1967 Six-Day War. Its reported prize in return for the prisoners — along with the promised release of several hundred more over the next year — was one lone Israeli soldier, 25-year-old Gilad Shalit (pictured at left), who had been held by Hamas since his capture more than five years ago.
Shalit, reportedly the only Israeli soldier released by Hamas in some 26 years, said that he always believed he would be freed one day, adding that he was happy for the Palestinians to be released “if they don’t return to fight us. I very much hope that this deal will advance peace.”
Such a hope appears to be futile. As the hundreds of terrorists and others were freed, many expressed their eagerness to be cycled back into the terrorist attacks for which their parent organization is well known. “As long as there is going to be occupation over all of Palestine, martyrs will be there to resist and to fight, and I will be among the first of the strugglers,” Wafa al-Bis, one of the freed prisoners, told the UK’s Daily Telegraph. The 27-year-old young woman was captured in 2005 as she was on her way to an Israeli hospital to detonate 22 pounds of explosives hidden on her body. “This is an honorable thing and I would be a suicide bomber three times over if I could,” she proclaimed.
Former Libyan strongman Col. Moammar Gadhafi was killed by militia groups during a battle to take the loyalist stronghold city of Sirte, National Transitional Council (NTC) officials announced on Thursday. His bloody body was then reportedly dragged through the streets.
Conflicting accounts of what may have happened flooded the press in the early hours of October 20. Most reports suggested, however, that a convoy carrying a fleeing Gadhafi and his top aides was bombed by NATO war planes after revolutionary forces overran most of Sirte.
Citing a variety of rebel fighters and war correspondents, some accounts claimed the tyrant had been wounded but captured alive. Other narratives said Gadhafi died from injuries sustained during a battle. And a few reports even suggested he was alive and well, though several videos would appear to contradict the notion.
Footage posted online showed revolutionary fighters shooting bullets into the air and celebrating as a man resembling Gadhafi lay lifeless and covered in blood. Chants of "Allah akbar" reportedly erupted among revolutionary fighters across Libya.
Texas Governor and Republican presidential hopeful Rick Perry is no stranger to controversy. Perry’s record as Governor is marred by numerous instances of increased taxation, lackluster job growth, and fiscal impropriety and outright corruption, all tied together by a common ethos of fiscal liberalism, Keynesian economics, and statism, a desire for increased governmental power. While Perry’s economic record and association with the Bilderberg Group ought to be of legitimate concern to true conservatives, another aspect of Perry’s record must also be scrutinized: his associations with the Islamist Aga Khan Foundation, which has been linked to incendiary anti-American and anti-Western rhetoric and has been identified as a source of funding to numerous terror groups.
In June 2006, Hamas terrorists tunneled into Israel from the Gaza strip, surprised an Israeli tank crew, killed two of its soldiers, and took a third soldier, 19-year-old Gilad Shalit, prisoner. It was simply a case of deliberate kipnapping since this was not a combat situation. Shalit was taken back into Gaza and held incommunicado for five years, until Tuesday, October 18, 2011, when he was released in exchange for 1,027 Palestinian prisoners. It was Egyptian mediation which made the exchange possible.
Most of the Palestinian prisoners were terrorists guilty of multiple murders of innocent Israelis. Yet, Israel was willing to release them in order to get Gilad Shalit back to his family in Israel. Was this a wise deal or an act of stupidity on the part of Netanyahu’s government? Some see it as a sign of Israel’s strength that it could agree to such an exchange. They think that it might even bring the parties closer to a peace settlement. What could be a better good-will gesture for peace than releasing all of these prisoners?
There has been a growing push from Americans, particularly those along the Mexican border, for the federal government to label the Mexican drug cartels as terrorists. On Thursday, the State Department indicated that the actions of the cartels are consistent with those considered to be “terrorism or insurgency.”
“I do acknowledge that many of the facts on the ground, the things that are being done by those organizations, are consistent with what we would call either terrorism or insurgency in other countries,” William Brownfield told a House Foreign Affairs Committee hearing. The statement by Brownfield, who serves as the Assistant Secretary at the Bureau of International Narcotics and Law Enforcement Affairs, came in response to the following question posed by Rep. Connie Mack (R-Fla.) of the Foreign Affairs Western Hemisphere subcommittee: