Tuesday September 2nd, 2014
"It Is Not A Question of Who Is Right Or Wrong But What Is Right Or Wrong That Counts."
Updated 1154 PDT
World & National
ISIS release another video claims beheading of American journalist Steven Sotloff
ISIS has released a video that shows the beheading of U.S. journalist Steven Sotloff and says the murder is retaliation for the Obama administration’s continued airstrikes in Iraq.
Sotloff is the second American journalist to be killed by ISIS, and his death comes two weeks after James Foley was executed in a similar video.
In the video entitled 'A Second Message to America,' Sotloff appears in a orange jumpsuit before he is beheaded by an Islamic State fighter.
The executioner appears to be the same man who killed Foley – known as ‘Jihadi John’ - and tells the camera: 'I’m back, Obama, and I’m back because of your arrogant foreign policy towards the Islamic State.”
Report: Obama Had Detailed Intelligence on ISIS Emerging Threat
President Barack Obama received a sophisticated daily intelligence briefing about the rise of the Islamic State for at least a year before the extremist group began its violent advance through Iraq this summer, Fox News reported.
A former Pentagon official, who has not been named, said the information was strong and "granular" and was supplied as part of the President's Daily Brief, which constitutes the most authoritative, classified intelligence report given to the president on international events.
The source said, "[We] were ready to fire, on a moment's notice, on a couple hundred targets," but no order was given. In some cases, targets were tracked for a "long period of time" but then slipped away.
Somali officials say U.S. struck where al Shabaab were meeting
An air strike by U.S. military forces struck an area where leaders of Somalia’s al Qaeda-linked militants were meeting, intelligence sources said on Tuesday, but it was unclear whether any insurgent commanders were killed.
The strike prompted rumours among Somali government officials that it had targeted al Shabaab leader Ahmed Abdi Godane and other leaders who were suspected to have been at the location, but there was no confirmation they were hit.
If he were killed, it would be a major victory against the group.
CDC Director: Ebola Outbreak 'Is Spiraling Out of Control'
The director for the Centers of Disease Control and Prevention says that the Ebola outbreak is going to get worse.
Speaking to “CBS This Morning” following his trip to the West African countries dealing with the outbreak, Dr. Tom Frieden explained that they have to act now to try to get Ebola under control.
“It is the world’s first Ebola epidemic and it is spiraling out of control. It’s bad now and it’s going to get worse in the very near future,” Frieden told CBS News. “There is still a window of opportunity to tamp it down, but that window is closing. We really have to act now.”
US Immigration Fears Terror Threat from 6,000 Missing on Student Visas
The Obama administration is unable to locate 6,000 foreign nationals who have entered the United States on student visas, raising concerns about the government's ability to track potential terror suspects who may already be in the country.
"My greatest concern is that they could be doing anything," Peter Edge, the U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement official who oversees investigations into visa violators, told ABC News. "Some of them could be here to do us harm."
The news comes as Prime Minister David Cameron announced plans to block British jihadists with passports from re-entering Britain as the threat of violence from the Islamic State intensifies.
Hackers may have stolen credit data from Home Depot
Home Depot may be the latest retailer to have suffered a massive credit card breach, the company confirmed on Tuesday, after a website reported that a large cache of stolen data had appeared on black market sites.
According to information first reported by Krebs on Security, the breach may have extended as far back as the spring of this year. If so, the fallout may end up being far larger than Target's incident late last year, when information pertaining to tens of millions of customers was compromised.
Home Depot is working with investigators to determine the origin of "unusual activity," a spokeswoman told CNBC in a statement.
Amnesty International: Islamic State carrying out ethnic cleansing
The militant group Islamic State, which has seized large areas of northern Iraq in recent months, has "carried out ethnic cleansing on a historic scale," according to a report released on Tuesday by the monitoring group Amnesty International.
The 26-page report, based on field investigations and hundreds of interviews with witnesses and victims of the Al Qaeda offshoot, is a litany of massacres and abductions.
US officially calls on Israel to reverse land appropriation
The United States has officially called on Israel to reverse its decision to appropriate 988 acres of land near Bethlehem in the West Bank, first declared on Sunday by the military as "state land."
"We are deeply concerned about the declaration of a large area as 'state land' to be used for expanded settlement building," State Department spokeswoman Jen Psaki said on Tuesday. "We have long made clear our opposition to continued settlement activity. We call on the Government of Israel to reverse this decision."
GOP Ready to Control Senate, Has New Strategy for Obama
With Republicans poised to take control of the Senate, GOP lawmakers are developing a strategy to pass key bills, while steering clear of negative atmospherics that could damage their chances of capturing the presidency in 2016, The Wall Street Journal reported.
The legislative priorities include approving the Keystone XL pipeline, enacting accelerated rules for overseas trade deals, expediting federal reviews of natural-gas exports, and reversing Obamacare's medical device tax. The new majority will at least be able to offer its vision for major tax reform, according to the Journal.
Gov. Christie Faces Doubts on Foreign Policy Acumen
New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie will be under increasing scrutiny by the GOP for his foreign policy knowledge after recent comments prompted doubts about his international savvy, The New York Times reported.
The potential GOP presidential contender raised eyebrows after suggesting to activists that Russian President Vladimir Putin would not have invaded Crimea under a Christie presidency.
When terrorists compete, Americans lose
For nearly two months, the Islamic State has been jockeying for control over the global jihad movement. In recent days, signs have emerged that the group’s strategy for winning the popularity contest underway between it and al Qaeda will entail convincing jihadis of the group’s capabilities to terrorize Americans.
The implications of this strategy are ominous for U.S. interests, but, in terms of their immediacy, perhaps even greater for an American held hostage by al Qaeda. U.S. national security managers would be wise to consider the implications of this situation before making more misadvised statements regarding which group poses the greater threat to Americans.
Restarting the Common Core debate
Facts must replace invective in discussing the best educational methods
Over the past couple of years, a raucous debate has emerged over the Common Core, content standards in English and mathematics adopted by states nationwide. The debate has been marked by acrimony rather than analysis, but there is hope that both sides want a reset. We — one Core advocate, one opponent — want to assist by laying out the facts on which we think everyone should agree.
What are some signs of detente? Core architect David Coleman recently decried characterizations of Core opponents “as crazies or people who don’t tell the truth,” while strategists at firebrand Glenn Beck’s “We Will Not Conform” event called for ditching invective like “ObamaCore” or “communist plot.”
Now, the facts.
Medal of Honor
The Medal of Honor is the highest award for valor in action against an enemy force which can be bestowed upon an individual serving in the Armed Services of the United States.
GeneTrerally presented to its recipient by the President of the United States of America in the name of Congress.
The first award of the Medal of Honor was made March 25, 1863 to Private JACOB PARROTT.The last award of the Medal of Honor was made September 15, 2011 to Sergeant DAKOTA MEYER.
Since then there have been: • 3458 recipients of the Medal of Honor.
• Today there are 85 Living Recipients of the Medal of Honor.
CARPENTER, WILLIAM KYLE
Rank: Lance Corporal
U.S. Marine Corps
For conspicuous gallantry and intrepidity at the risk of his life above and beyond the call of duty while serving as an Automatic Rifleman with Company F, 2d Battalion, 9th Marines, Regimental Combat Team 1, 1st Marine Division (Forward), 1 Marine Expeditionary Force (Forward), in Helmand Province, Afghanistan in support of Operation Enduring Freedom on 21 November 2010. Lance Corporal Carpenter was a member of a platoon-sized coalition force, comprised of two reinforced Marine squads partnered with an Afghan National Army squad. The platoon had established Patrol Base Dakota two days earlier in a small village in the Marjah District in order to disrupt enemy activity and provide security for the local Afghan population. Lance Corporal Carpenter and a fellow Marine were manning a rooftop security position on the perimeter of Patrol Base Dakota when the enemy initiated a daylight attack with hand grenades, one of which landed inside their sandbagged position. Without hesitation, and with complete disregard for his own safety, Lance Corporal Carpenter moved toward the grenade in an attempt to shield his fellow Marine from the deadly blast. When the grenade detonated, his body absorbed the brunt of the blast, severely wounding him, but saving the life of his fellow Marine. By his undaunted courage, bold fighting spirit, and unwavering devotion to duty in the face of almost certain death, Lance Corporal Carpenter reflected great credit upon himself and upheld the highest traditions of the Marine Corps and the United States Naval Service.
From the Archives
American Fairness to a Fault — a Deadly One
Tuesday, 10 Nov 2009 02:28 PM
American’s tragic flaw is our unbridled fairness, which has been corrupted ever more by the cancer of political correctness to the point we put ourselves at risk rather than create even the perception of prejudice.
Sometime after the VOLAR (all volunteer) Army, the military veered from the “yes sir, yes sir, three bags full” blind adherence to all orders to the concept of refusing “unlawful orders” and that was ostensibly a good thing.
However, the uniformed services do not set or get to pick and choose foreign policy. The civilian leadership sets foreign policy, and the U.S. military enforces it — with a big, honking combined arms stick.
Retired Lt. Col. Ralph Peters has been one of the rare pundits with the courage to target the “culture of political correctness” in leadership of the military. In at least two interviews on Fox, Peters (correctly) blamed the culture of political correctness for the Army’s diffidence in taking action against Nidal Malik Hasan in the wake of knowledge of the problem.
Many mechanisms exist for dealing with matters of deep conscience — all without killing those one might think disagree with in principle.
However, it is not prejudice to discriminate based on threat facts in evidence. Refusal to act judiciously for fear of a tainted perception is just plain dumb.
Notwithstanding the articulated fears of the Army chief of staff and the secretary of Homeland Security, officials made an epic mistake in handling suspicions about Hasan. A mistake founded on political correctness and sustained by diffidence that cost the lives of innocents.
Reportedly, U.S. intelligence agencies were aware (months ago) that Hasan was attempting to make contact with people associated with al-Qaida. He spoke openly to too many people about his angst and misdirected sympathies. He was apparently a poster child for suspicion, and the Army failed bigtime to intervene.
“It is not known whether the intelligence agencies informed the Army that one of its officers was seeking to connect with suspected al-Qaida figures," the officials said.
But you damnbetcha they SHOULD have done so.
Investigators want to know whether Hasan maintained contact with a radical mosque leader from Virginia, Anwar al Awlaki, who now lives in Yemen and runs a Web site that promotes jihad around the world against the United States.
In a recent blog posting titled "Nidal Hassan Did the Right Thing," Awlaki calls Hasan a "hero" and a "man of conscience who could not bear living the contradiction of being a Muslim and serving in an army that is fighting against his own people."
Increasingly we are told people who knew or worked with Hasan say he seemed to become gradually more radical in his condemnation of the war in Iraq and Afghanistan. Subordinates and superiors had a responsibility to flag the inappropriate rhetoric, and they apparently did not.
The fear to speak out is a symptom of the PC disease fueled by recriminations and implied threats of discrimination — a fear that indirectly resulted in mayhem.
Sen. Joseph Lieberman said, "If Hasan was showing signs, saying to people that he had become an Islamist extremist, the U.S. Army has to have a zero tolerance," and despite the echo of shutting the barn door after the horse got out, he is right.
Army Chief of Staff Gen. George Casey Jr. is concerned that speculation about the religious beliefs of Hasan could “cause a backlash against some of our Muslim soldiers.” He’s right, but such a backlash would be a direct result of the failure of command — not prejudice.
When confronted about whether he thought the Army “dropped the ball” in not responding to warning signs, Casey replied that the Army needs to be careful not to jump to conclusions based on early tidbits of information.
Sen. Lindsey Graham, R.-S.C., and Sen. Jack Reed, D-R.I., both of whom are veterans, took pains to say that Muslims have served honorably in the military and at risk to their lives.
“At the end of the day, this is not about his religion — the fact that this man was a Muslim,” Graham said on CBS’ “Face the Nation.”
But, hey, it is (kinda/sorta) about religion (when the FBI says 10 percent of American Mosques preach jihad) — at least from a risk analysis perspective.