Sunday, November 11, 2012

Benghazi Update: Hillary Sidesteps Testifying and Newly Released DOD Timeline is Full of Discrepancies

Secretary of State Hillary Clinton declined an invitation to testify before the House Foreign Affairs Committee, which will take place on Thursday, regarding the Benghazi attack. But, Michael Courts, acting director of International Affairs and Trade for the Government Accountability Office, will be testifying, and so will a RAND Corp. analyst.

Clinton, “was asked to appear at House Foreign Affairs next week, and we have written back to the chairman to say that she’ll be on travel next week,” Victoria Nuland, department spokeswoman, said. She failed to answer a question regarding whether Clinton would be willing to return from Australia to address either the Foreign Affairs panel or the Senate and House closed-door intelligence committee hearings.

“The Committee plans to hold the second segment of this hearing the week of November 26, 2012 and will request Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton testify before the Committee at that time,” the Foreign Affairs Committee reported in an advisory.

Committee Chairwoman Ileana Ros-Lehtinen (R-Fla.) wrote Clinton last Tuesday, calling for the State Department to respond to the panel’s requests for information on Benghazi. She wrote: “It is disappointing that we have yet to receive any response from your Department and that we are receiving more information from the press than from the Administration.”

Then too, though somewhat overshadowed by General David Petreaus’ resignation, was the news that the Department of Defense released a timeline in an attempt to reconcile its story line with that of the State Department and the CIA. This was done through an off-camera briefing, with an official who could only be quoted anonymously.  A report from Fox News uncovers several discrepancies in the DOD’s purported timeline:
  • The Defense Department timeline on the night of Sept. 11 begins at 9:42 p.m. local time and states, “The incident starts at the facility in Benghazi.” Right from the start, the Pentagon and the CIA timelines do not match. (The CIA timeline, which was released on Nov. 1, states that at 9:40 p.m., “A senior State Department security officer at the U.S. Consulate in Benghazi called the CIA annex and requested assistance.”)
  • A source at the CIA annex that night told Fox News that when they first asked to go and help, they were told to wait.
  • At 10:32 p.m. (4:32 p.m. in Washington), 50 minutes after the incident began, the National Military Command Center, which is the operations center at the Pentagon where Ham is overseeing the operation,  notifies Defense Secretary Leon Panetta and Joint Chiefs of Staff Chairman Gen. Martin Dempsey.
  • That means for nearly an hour, no one told the defense secretary and Joint Chiefs chairman that a U.S. ambassador is in peril and his personal security officer has pressed his “personal distress button” which sends an SMS signal back to the command authority in the U.S. and a U.S. embassy has been overrun by attackers.
  • More calls for help – Upon returning to the annex, the CIA team and those that were rescued immediately begin taking fire and at midnight, according to sources on the ground that night, begin making radio calls for help and air support. Almost immediately, they begin taking fire from small arms and rocket-propelled grenades.
  • According to a senior U.S. defense official, “This was not one long continuous fight, but two separate incidents at two separate facilities with some separation of time.”
  • However, British sources who were near the consulate and annex that night tell a different story, saying there was almost continuous fire on the annex after the team fled from the consulate.
  • Sometime over the next two hours, according to the official Pentagon timeline, Panetta gives the “go code” for two Marine FAST (Fleet Anti-terrorism Security) teams to prepare to leave Rota, Spain. A Special Operations force which is training in Central Europe is told to “prepare to deploy to an intermediate staging base in southern Europe (Sigonella, Sicily), and a Special Operations team in the U.S. is told to prepare to deploy to Sigonella as well.
  • It isn’t until 2:53 a.m. (about five hours after the incident began) that those orders are formalized by Panetta and the teams are told they can leave.
For the full list of discrepancies, click here.  For the DOD’s official timeline, click here.

There is also what appears to be an attempt at obstruction involving the Benghazi hearings. The documents needed in order to prepare for the upcoming hearings were made available for just two days last week – days when most Senators were out of town.  According to Breitbart:
“The Obama Administration’s timing is exquisite; by making the documents available only today and tomorrow, the Senators will not be able to review them to prepare for the hearings next week. Committee staffers are also forbidden to see the material, meaning practically no one will have all the information when the hearings begin.”
A senior GOP Senate staffer was reported to have said: “Funny since no member is in town. The timing and limited access clearly demonstrates the administration cares more about playing politics with the tragedy than accepting responsibility.”

Cross-posted on  RedState & Red Pill Report.

Syrian Opposition Unites

Syria's opposition groups claim to have finally united as one body, on Sunday.

Calling themselves the Syrian National Coalition for Opposition and Revolutionary Forces they are already being back by several international countries and bodies.

Made up of sixty members, the group has one representative from each of the major cities, well known opposition leaders, and twenty-two members of the Syrian National Council.

The SNC has been the leading and largest opposition group, and previously had been expected to take control, but couldn't come to full terms with all of the other groups.

Ahmed al-Khatib, a moderate cleric from Damascus, was named President of the Coalition, Sunday night.

Over the next weeks he will have the job of leading the Coalition through an election of ten cabinet members.

The cabinet members will then be in charge of overseeing the war effort, gaining the Syria's seat in the Arab League, and taking over frozen Syrian assets.

International group, Friends of Syria, has pledged millions of dollars to financially support the Coalition.

Secession Petitions

According to the White House's own site, nineteen states have seen secession petitions filed.

They began to be filed on Wednesday, right after President Obama was reelected.

Each petition asks for the United States government to allow the state to peacefully leave the US and form it's own sovereign government.

The government allows for one month, from the day of first post, for a petition to reach twenty-five thousand votes.

If a petition can hit that mark, in the time allowed, then the Obama administration must consider the request.

Now the likely hood of them actually saying yes, is completely well below zero, one might even say frigidly so.

They will mostly become a sign of protest and not really end up meaning much, but it might be interesting to see how many signatures they actually end up with.

Most of them have around two thousand signatures, so far.

For now Louisiana, Texas, Alabama, North Carolina, Florida, Kentucky, Georgia, Mississippi, Indiana, Montana, North Dakota, New Jersey, Oregon, Colorado, New York, South Carolina, Michigan, Tennessee, and Missouri all have petitions.

Likely we'll see one for each of the fifty states, by the end of this week.

Sunrise Rock Has It's Cross Again

The longtime cross
For decades a cross stood atop Sunrise Rock in the California Mojave Desert.

It had stood there since 1934 as a promise to a WWI veteran.

In 1994, the area became part of the Mojave Desert Preserve, and then trouble started in 2001.

The American Civil Liberties Union filed in court against the cross, saying that it's placement in a national park violated separation of church and state.

Several court battles took place over the cross, during which the cross was kept covered up, until in 2003 Congress ordered a land swap.

Under the land swap, Sunrise Rock, and the surrounding acre of land would be traded for five acres of land on the edge of the park.

Ownership of the Rock and it's acre would then be transferred to veteran's organizations in Barstow.

That however wasn't acceptable to the ACLU, and eventually the case made it all the way to the Supreme Court, who in April of 2010 backed Congress's decision and ordered the cross to be kept where it stood.

But to make matters worse, within weeks of the win, and it's uncovering, the cross was stolen.

Earlier this month, the cross was found in the San Fransisco area, and was to be returned.

However, the veterans have decided that they would create an all new cross.

On this Veteran's Day they dedicated it in a special ceremony.

The US Park Service plans to put a fence, with entrances and signs, around the acre, and a plaque will be placed to note that the cross is a veteran's memorial.

Georgia Amber Alert: Griselda Cibrian

Fourteen year old Griselda Cibrian has been reportedly kidnapped from Glennville, Georgia.

Police believe she was kidnapped by a twenty-four year old Hispanic male named Danny or Daniel.

They are believed to be traveling towards Atlanta in a black 2003 Chevy Silverado with the license plate PDH 6391.

Griselda is described as being Hispanic, five foot seven, one hundred and eighty-five pounds, with long black hair, brown eyes.

She was last seen wearing blue jeans and a pink shirt with "Green Tea" printed on it.

Her abductor is considered armed and dangerous.

Anyone with information should call the Glennville Police Department at (912) 654-2103.

Michigan Man Killed After Pulling Gun in Police Station

Sunday afternoon a man walked into the Southfield, Michigan police station and pulled a gun.

His first shot, aimed at the desk sergeant, did not go off.

Police, with guns drawn, demanded he drop his weapon.

He not only refused, but managed to fire it at the gathering officers, wounding one of them.

Responding fire, from the officers, struck the man several times, killing him.

 The wounded officer is in the hospital, in stable condition, with a shoulder wound.

Indianapolis Explosion Kills 2

A Saturday night explosion left two dead and seven injured, in Indianapolis.

None of the injuries were life threatening.

Two houses were completely destroyed and at least eighteen more damaged.

Firefighters were eventually able to put out the blaze, that the explosion started.

The cause of the fire is at this time unknown and under investigation.

Italy Drenched by Rain

Rain has soaked Italy over the weekend, leading to flooding in several areas.

Venice saw water levels rise by over five feet, flooding many streets and squares.

City officials say seventy percent of they city is under water.

Hundreds of people were evacuated from Tuscany, as water levels rose to life threatening levels.

Mudslides have taken out homes in the area, luckily no deaths have been reported.

The government is celebrating their new weather systems which gave them a couple days of warning.

Gaza Fires Dozens of Rockets at Israel

Dozens of rockets, aimed at Israel, have flown from the Gaza Strip, on Sunday.

Hamas and other groups are retaliating for Israeli shelling, which happened on Saturday.

The Israeli shelling was in turn in retaliation for an attack, out of Gaza, that injured Israeli border troops.

Israel has responded to the rockets, with airstrikes and more shelling.

At least two Gazan militants have been killed for their attacks on Israel.

Residents in Gaza say that several civilians have been injured in the fighting.

So far the rockets have not caused any injuries or damage on the Israeli side of the border, but cities in the area have been paralyzed by the constant threat.

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said that, "The world needs to understand that Israel will not sit with arms crossed when faced by attempts to hurt us. And we are prepared to harshen the response."

His statement ignited worries that Israel is considering moving ground troops into Gaza, which it has been forced to do so before.

Syria and Israel Exchange Fire

Sunday morning, a mortar round crossed over from Syria, into the Golan Heights of Israel.

Israel quickly responded by firing a warning shot right past a Syrian border post.

Neither round caused any damage or injury.

It marks the first time since 1973 that the Israeli Defense Forces fired into Syria.

The incident happened just eight days after Israel caught three Syrian tanks entering the demilitarized zone.

Argentinian Sailors Refuse to be Moved

Argentinian sailors remaining on the ARA Libertad took to the side of their ship with rifles, on Saturday.

Ghana seized the ship in October, and announced their intent to move the ship.

Her sailors refused, and showed their readiness to use force to repel any would be boarders.

Officials in Ghana have yet to comment on the refusal.

The ship was seized as part of payment due NML Capital Ltd., and appeals by Argentina have gone nowhere.

Argentina has until December 1 to begin paying what it owes.

It is unclear what will happen with the ship, if Argentina continues to refuse to pay.

Military Joins Portugal's Austerity Protests

Thousands of members of Portugal's military, and their families, joined austerity measure protests, in Lisbon, on Saturday.

Both former and current members of the military took to civilian clothes as they shouted their resentment of what the government plans.

They joined their fellow citizens in decrying the austerity measures planned by the government.

But they also demanded better equipment and training for the military.

The Portuguese had met the austerity measures more with complaints than marches, until the government increased the amount of social security being taken from people.

Still, Portugal's protests have been mostly peaceful, unlike other countries where violence has become the norm.

New York Residents Protest Lack of Power, Two Weeks After Sandy

Hundreds of residents came out Saturday to protest the Long Island Power Authority, in Hicksville, New York.

They are angry that the company still has yet to turn their power on, after Sandy struck the area, nearly two weeks ago.

Others, who have gotten their power back, came out to support their neighbors and protest the company's lack of communication, with residents.

Between New York and New Jersey, well over a hundred thousand are still without power.
 
LIPA and other power companies say they are just struggling with too much damage.

Michael Hervey, LIPA Chief Operating Officer, says that compared to a normal two hundred linemen, they are still running with sixty-four hundred linemen.

Despite their efforts, some counties have announced they will no longer work with LIPA, and would attempt to work directly with the people who run the substations.

New York Governor Andrew Cuomo and Representative Peter King have called for investigations into LIPA.

Myanmar Quake Now a 6.8 With a Dozen Dead

Myanmar's deadly 6.6 quake, from Sunday morning, has been upgraded to a 6.8.

Aftershocks as high as 5.8 have followed.

During the shaking bridges fell, mines collapsed, roads split, and homes crashed down.

At least a dozen people have been killed in the quake, with more than a hundred injured, and others missing.

The national government is reporting different figures than local sources are, making real numbers hard to come by.