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Trump and the realities of WMD in Saddam Hussein’s Iraq

GOP Presidential front runner Donald Trump, following his South Carolina victory, was on Fox News Sunday, February 21, 2016 with Chris Wallace when the subject of the War in Iraq came up.  Trump contended it was a disaster.  He asserted that Jeb Bush finally admitted he never supported it and pointed towards the result, Iran taking over there.  Something he alleges he would stop if elected President.  Trump was on record in an interview with Howard Stern in September 2002 supporting the Iraq war, later questioning its cost. Wallace’s question was triggered by an exchange with Anderson Cooper of CNN during the South Carolina town hall on February 19th. His comment about WMD in Iraq caught a wave of attention. In the exchange with Cooper he said:

“There are a lot of people that think that – look, bottom line, there were no weapons of mass destruction, and there were none, and they knew there were none,” he added. “There were no weapons of mass destruction.”

Watch Trump’s interview with FoxNews’ Chris Wallace on this YouTube Video:

The Lisa Benson Show contested Trump’s assertion in posts on social media.  Host Benson pointed out the views of noted BioWarfare expert, Dr. Jill Bellamy in our first NER interview with her in December 2007 when we raised this issue. Here was our exchange with Bellamy:

GordonWe heard that some of the late Saddam Hussein’s Bio-warfare research and pathogens may have been transferred to Syria during Operation Enduring Freedom.  Is that accurate to your knowledge, and who facilitated the transfer? What types of bio-warfare agents and materials might have been transferred?

Bellamy: Yes. It is important to remember that the Iraqi programs were far more advanced at the time than what the Syrians had, and were developing.  The delivery of certain pathogens in a ‘weaponized’ form taught the Syrians new techniques they previously had not mastered. This is very problematic. I am less concerned about the types of pathogens or specific pathogens as these were available to Syria from other sources.  What Hussein’s transfer taught the Syrians was more sophisticated ways of weaponization and dispersal. I believe Russian special ops- their Spetsnaz teams – transported sections of the programs. Remember these are not MIRVed ICBM’s we are talking about – you don’t need to stockpile biological weapons. It is the quality of the pathogen and ‘weaponization’ or aerosolization, milling processes that count, not the quantity.  I don’t believe they moved some biological arsenals into the Baqaa Valley in Lebanon, perhaps sections of their chemical and nuclear weapons, but not the biological programs.  Those are much too sensitive to dump in the desert. They must be carefully maintained in a defense laboratory. If you take something like Botulism – one gram of crystalline Botulinium is estimated to kill about a million people if it were evenly dispersed – you don’t want to bury it out in the desert.

This writer and host Lisa Benson of the eponymous Radio Show on National Security later on Sunday, February 21, 2016 interviewed Ken Timmerman,  investigative journalist, President of  the Foundation for Democracy in Iran, author of New York Times best seller, Countdown to Crisis , Shadow Warriors and Dark Forces: The Truth About What Happened at Benghazi.  We brought up Trump’s assertions about Saddam Hussein’s WMD.

Timmerman said that Trump had erred by repeating “a massive media lie.” As evidence to support this he pointed out that evidence of WMD, especially chemical weapons had been uncovered in the opening stages of Operations Enduring Freedom.  Moreover, months before the March 2003 conflict with Saddam Hussein’s Iraq began; convoys of trucks were seen on satellite imagery crossing the frontier into Syria.  “We knew,” Timmerman said,” because none other than current Director of National Intelligence James Clapper,  formerly the director of the National Geospatial Intelligence Agency, said in 2003 that he believed materials had been moved out of Iraq in the months before the war and cited satellite imagery.” Further in 2008, NBC reported secret U.S. operation transferred to Canada more than  550 metric tons of “yellow cake” uranium discovered in Iraq that was to be used for higher grade  enrichment .  Good thing, because  if not transferred it might have ended up in the hands of ISIS courtesy of those former Ba’athist officers.  There was further corroboration of Timmerman’s rebuttal in a 2012 Daily Beast article on this question:

Former Iraqi General Sada asserted that Saddam’s chemical stockpile was lifted, in his book “Saddam’s Secrets” and summarized by Investor’s Business Daily:

As Sada told the New York Sun, two Iraqi Airways Boeings were converted to cargo planes by removing the seats, and special Republican Guard units loaded the planes with chemical weapons materials.

There were 56 flights disguised as a relief effort after a 2002 Syrian dam collapse.

The IBD article also mentions then Israeli General, now Defense Minister Yaalon’s assertions, and those of John Shaw regarding Russian assistance in the form of former KGB General Primakov:

There were also truck convoys into Syria. Sada’s comments came more than a month after Israel’s top general during Operation Iraqi Freedom, Moshe Ya’alon, told the Sun that Saddam “transferred the chemical agents from Iraq to Syria.”

According to Shaw, ex-Russian intelligence chief Yevgeni Primakov, a KGB general with long-standing ties to Saddam, went to Iraq in December 2002 and stayed until just before the U.S.-led invasion in March 2003.

Anticipating the invasion, his job was to supervise the removal of such weapons and erase as much evidence of Russian involvement as possible.

Timmerman also drew attention to Saddam Hussein era connections to ISIS’ use of chemical weapons in both Iraq and Syria against Kurdish Peshmerga and Syrian Kurdish YPG forces. Our colleague Ilana Freedman asserted that ISIS may have perpetrated the 2013 Sarin gas attack in a Damascus suburb killing over a thousand Syrian civilians.   Timmerman said that ISIS is a “blend of former Iraqi Ba’athist officers and Al Qaeda in Iraq Jihadists.” ‘Those former Ba’athist officers knew where those WMD caches were located in both Iraq and Syria”.

As to who may have perpetrated the media lie about there was no WMD in Iraq, Timmerman’s 2007 book, Shadow Warriors  (see pp. 285-286) suggests that it was the late Tyler Drumheller, former European division chief of the CIA’s Director of Operations, who went on 60 Minutes with the late Ed Bradley and lied about information obtained from a Saddam Hussein era, Foreign Minister, Naji Sabri.  Timmerman reported this exchange between Bradley and Drumheller:

Tyler Drumheller, a twenty-six year veteran of the Agency, has decided to do something CIA officials at his level almost never do: speak out,” intoned, Ed Bradley

And what did this high-level source tell them? Bradley wanted to know. “He told us that they had no active weapons of mass destruction program, “Drumheller said. Bush Lied, people died  [noted Timmerman].

Bradley wondered. “It directly contradicts what the president and his staff were telling us.”

No one cared about the facts, Drumheller said. “The policy was set. The War in Iraq was coming. And they were looking for intelligence to fit into the policy, to justify the policy.”

What might Trump say in response to GOP debate moderators on this assertion? Timmerman suggested that Trump might simply brush the controversy off by saying “I relied on what the media was saying at the time”.

EDITORS NOTE: This column originally appeared in the New English Review. The featured image is of Donald Trump with CNN’s Anderson Cooper, South Carolina Town hall, February 18, 2016.

Pentagon “smoking gun” email implicates Hillary Clinton

On December 8, 2015, Judicial Watch (JW) issued a press release about a long sought Pentagon email sent to Secretary of State Hillary Clinton and aide, Jake Sullivan, from Chief of Staff Jeremy Bash  to Secretary of Defense Leon Panetta on the evening of September 11th, 2012. The Bash Pentagon email was sent just after the attack by Ansar al-Sharia and others at the Benghazi Special Missions Compound. The JW release noted:

Judicial Watch today released a new Benghazi email from then-Department of Defense Chief of Staff Jeremy Bash to State Department leadership immediately offering “forces that could move to Benghazi” during the terrorist attack on the U.S. Special Mission Compound in Benghazi, Libya on September 11, 2012. In an email sent to top Department of State officials, at 7:19 p.m. ET, only hours after the attack had begun, Bash says, “we have identified the forces that could move to Benghazi. They are spinning up as we speak.” The Obama administration redacted the details of the military forces available, oddly citing a Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) exemption that allows the withholding of “deliberative process” information.

Bash’s email seems to directly contradict testimony given by then-Secretary of Defense Leon Panetta before the Senate Armed Services Committee in February 2013. Defending the Obama administration’s lack of military response to the nearly six-hour-long attack on the U.S. Consulate in Benghazi.  Panetta claimed that “time, distance, the lack of an adequate warning, events that moved very quickly on the ground prevented a more immediate response.”

The first assault occurred at the main compound at about 9:40 pm local time – 3:40 p.m. ET in Washington, DC.  The second attack on a CIA annex 1.2 miles away began three hours later, at about 12 am local time the following morning – 6 p.m. ET.

Thanks to Tom Fitton and Chris Farrell at Washington, DC-based JW, we now know that U.S. special operations assets were “spinning up” to go to the aid of beseiged U.S. personnel in Benghazi within hours of the attack on the evening of September 11, 2012. If launched that operation might also have spared the lives of former Navy Seals and CIA contractors Glen Doherty and Tyrone Woods who were killed in a mortar attack of suspicious origins on the morning of September 12.  Did Former Secretary of State Clinton, currently 2016 Democrat Presidential front runner deny release of those special operator assets?

Ken Timmerman, veteran investigative journalist  discusses the background in a Daily Caller op-ed published  today, “Benghazi “smoking gun” email unmasks Hillary Clinton”.  Chris Farrell of JW will be speaking at the Tiger Bay Club in Pensacola, Florida on Friday, December 11, 2015. Doubtless we and others in attendance will ask questions about the Pentagon and other Clinton private server classified emails.

The House Special Benghazi Committee under Chairman, Trey Gowdy (R-SC) has acquired the alleged  “smoking gun” email  prior to Mrs. Clinton’s October 22, 2015 testimony, but was missing key evidence they needed to be able to question her effectively about it. Since the Committee member Rep. Lynn Westmoreland went to Africom headquarters in early December to interview top officials and line officials, hopefully they now have that evidence. The Pentagon email raises questions that need answers, if the American public is to assess the integrity and truthfulness of both Ms. Clinton and former Secretary of Defense, Leon Panetta.

Watch this FoxNews Special Report segment on the Pentagon email obtained by JW.

Over the period July through October 2014, we ran a multiple part series called “Death in Benghazi” in the New English Review.  Northwest Florida Talk Radio station, 1330amWEBY  conducted two major interviews with Ken Timmerman, author of Dark Forces: The Truth about What Happened in Benghazi. In “Death in Benghazi: Part 1 The Attack,” NER July 2014 , we asked about whether resources could have been deployed in time to spare Ambassador Stevens and communications aide, Stan Smith and  possibly prevent the mortar attack at the CIA annex on the morning of September 12, 2012 that took the lives of Glen Doherty and Tyrone Woods.

Here is Timmerman’s assessment of why the Pentagon email released by JW is significant.

Benghazi “smoking gun” email unmasks Hillary Clinton

By Kenneth R. Timmerman

It shows Mrs. Clinton gave the “stand-down” order

Touted by FoxNews as a “possible smoking gun,” the email from Secretary of Defense Leon Panetta’s chief of staff shows that special operations teams within a few hours flight from Benghazi were preparing to deploy as early as 7 PM Washington time on the night of the attacks, well within the time needed to get to Benghazi before the deadly mortar strike that killed U.S. Navy Seals Glen Doherty and Ty Woods.

You would think such a key piece of evidence would have been the first thing the State Department turned over to Congressional investigators. After all, it establishes that help was “on the way” to our diplomats and special operators and intelligence officers under siege.

Panetta aide Jeremy Bash emailed Mrs. Clinton’s top aides at 7:09 PM, to let them know that quick reaction forces, then stationed in Europe, were “spinning up as we speak” to deploy to Benghazi.

“Assuming Principals agree to deploy these elements, we will ask State to secure the approval from host nation,” Bash wrote. Please advise how you wish to convey that approval to us.”

Bash said he had just tried to call them at State, but that they were all in a meeting with Secretary Clinton, hence the email.

We know from the timeline submitted to Congress by the Defense Department exactly which forces Bash was referring to. They included a Delta Force hostage rescue team based in Fort Bragg, North Carolina that was on call 24/7, two Fleet Antiterrorism Security Team (FAST) platoons based in Rota, Spain, and the Commander’s In Extremis Force (CIF) for European Command, also known as C-110.

C-110 was a fifty-man team of Special Operations troops with their own airlift, specially composed to be able to respond to precisely the type of emergency that was then occurring in Benghazi.

They were trained in hostage rescue operations and “hot” extractions. This was the Unit most suitable for Benghazi. When they got word to start “spinning up,” they were in Croatia on a training mission, just a two-to-three hour flight from Benghazi.

As Bash sent his email, General Carter Ham, commander of Africa Command (Africom), initiated the process to transfer them from Eucom to Africom, temporarily placing them under his direct orders. The Unit commander ordered his men to begin loading their gear into their C-130s. All they needed was the go-ahead from State.

And that’s where it died. Hillary Clinton did not want U.S. Special Operations forces coming into Libya with “guns ablazing.” Instead of flying directly to Benghazi, C-110 was told to “stage” in Sigonella, Italy. Meanwhile, Panetta counter-manded General Ham’s order, and returned C-110 to the authority of EUCOM.

This is the key piece of information Mrs. Clinton and her protectors have fought tooth and nail to keep from Congress and the U.S. public until now. Why? Because it contradicts all the earlier timelines presented by the State Department, the CIA, and the Department of Defense, and shows that U.S. forces could have rescued our men in Benghazi before the fateful 5 AM mortar strike, if only Mrs. Clinton had given the go-ahead. Only a lawsuit by Judicial Watch forced its release.

I investigated this timeline and Mrs. Clinton’s role in blocking military assets from reaching Benghazi in my book Dark Forces: the Truth About What Happened in Benghazi. I interviewed senior Africom commanders, unit commanders, spec-ops officers and others with direct knowledge of the U.S. Forces available for deployment that night.

In the redacted version of his testimony that was ultimately released by the House Armed Services Committee, General Ham said the main reason he didn’t go balls to the wall to get forces to Benghazi was simple. “We were never asked,” he said.

Pathetic, but true.

The Bash email shows that the Pentagon was asking – two hours earlier than previous timelines have revealed. So far, the State Department has not released the response that Mrs. Clinton’s minions sent back to Bash. But we know what it was: stand down.

Glen Doherty and Ty Woods soon found out what it was as well.

Timmerman’s accusation begs the question of was there a stand down order issued by Clinton?

EDITORS NOTE: This column originally appeared in the New English Review.

Obama Denying Restitution for Victims of Iranian Terrorism

Thursday, October 1, 2015, Congress is scheduled to vote on the National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA) of 2016. However, President Obama has threatened to veto the NDAA because one of the provisions would bar him from lifting Iranian sanctions under the JCPOA.  Among several amendments incorporated in the NDAA that the President objects to  is the Justice for Victims of Iranian Terrorism  H.R.3457  sponsored by Rep. Pat Meeham (R-PA) as HR  and in the Senate by Senators Pat Toomey  (R-PA) and Mark Kirk (R-Ill) , S 2086.  As Ken Timmerman noted in his Threat Blog, the Act would:

Require the Islamic Republic of Iran to pay an estimated $43 billion to victims of terrorism before the U.S. government would unfreeze Iranian government assets under the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA), otherwise known as the Iran nuclear deal.”

Adam Kredo in a Washington Free Beacon article on the legislation noted the background and comments of Senator Kirk:

The $43 billion in damages to American terror victims were assessed as a result of some 50 U.S. court cases in recent years, according to official government estimates.

[…]

Iranian-backed terrorist groups, for example, have killed more than 700 Americans, including at least 290 in Lebanon over the past several decades. This accounts for the 241 U.S. service members murdered during the 1983 Beirut barracks bombing, which Iran sponsored.

Kirk said in the statement on the legislation:

Iran-sponsored terrorists have killed more Americans than the Islamic State. Families of Americans killed by Iranian-backed terrorism have used U.S. laws to take Iran to court and lawfully win approximately $43.5 billion in unsatisfied damages, so if the United States fails to ensure Iran fully pays these judgments before Iranian terror financiers get over $100 billion in sanctions relief, we risk emboldening Iran and other state sponsors of terror to continue targeting and killing more Americans.

One of those Americans was US Navy diver Chief Petty Officer Robert Stethem, was murdered by Hezbollah terrorist mastermind Imad Mughniyah during the 1985 hijacking of Trans World Airlines Flight 847. Another was  teenager Danny Wultz of Weston, Florida  who was mortally wounded in a suicide bombing  by an operative of Iranian – sponsored  terror group, Palestine Islamic Jihad at  a Tel Aviv outdoor café in 2006 while vacationing with his father,Tuly,  who survived the blast.

Stethem’s brother Kenneth, a former Navy SEAL joined Rep. Meeham and other Members of Congress Wednesday to draw attention to tomorrow’s vote on the NDAA incorporating the Iran Victims Terror Act.  The Washington Free Beacon cited  Kenneth Stethem’s comments:

Terrorism has become something more and more frequent because we haven’t developed an effective policy against it and we need to do that. I really believe this bill is the first step in doing that. He added that the passage of the legislation would offer “closure” for families of terror victims. My brother can never be brought back, but the people who perpetrated these acts on my brother and hundreds of other victims can and should be held accountable.

Watch this You Tube video that Rep. Meehan used to introduce the Justice for Iran Victims Act in the House:

Note what Meehan said:

We’re putting our victims to the side if we enable these dollars to be returned to Iran without any attachment to them.

Look, these are Marines who died protecting our barracks, these are American citizens who were sitting in cafes in Israel, and these are people who were hijacked in planes and murdered in cold blood after being tortured. It’s some small measure of accountability that [Iran] should be required to pay [these families] before the very money we now have some influence over is returned.

Rep. Meeham is running a Twitter campaign in support of the legislation using the hashtag, #NotOneCent.

Timmerman drew attention to the statement issued by the President’s Office of Management and Budget threatening a veto:

The Office of Management and Budget today issued a statement that it “strongly opposes” making Iran pay the terrorism claims, arguing that “obstructing implementation of the JCPOA would greatly undermine our national security interests.

President Obama will veto the bill if it makes it through to his desk, the OMB promised.

In the midst of Defense Secretary Ashton Carter’s Pentagon press conference over the controversial Russian bombing of Syrian targets, a thoughtful reporter, why the Administration would veto the NDAA incorporating the Justice for Victims of Iranian Terrorism ActWatch this C-Span video excerpt of Secretary Carter’s response:

EDITORS NOTE: This column originally appeared in the New English Review. The featured image is of American victims of Iranian terrorism. Screenshot, U.S. Rep. Meeham Facebook, September 29, 2015.

If you want to know what’s in the Nuclear Deal with Iran — Ask Tehran

Yesterday, we wrote how 47 Republican Senators, led by Arkansas U.S. Senator Tom Cotton, did us a real favor when they sent an open letter to the “Leadership of the Islamic Republic of Iran”. By published the open letter to Iran’s leaders, responses from Tehran revealed that the Congress may be by-passed and its approval might not be required to ratify a nuclear deal with Iran. Secretary of State Kerry indicated during his Senate Armed Services Hearing Wednesday that the Memorandum of Understanding was “non-binding” and thus no approval was required. State Department Spokesperson Jen Psaki affirmed that position. The White House “We the People” website petition campaign created by  “C.H.” of Bogota, New Jersey accused the 47 signatories of ‘traitorous’ actions violating the 1799 Logan Act which  bars private persons, but not members of Congress, from conducting  foreign relations was simply a smokescreen. Ditto for the New York Daily News front page and editorial declaration published Tuesday. 

Two independent legal experts confirmed the Constitutional requirements for review of foreign treaties and Congressional executive agreements. Sen. Cotton’s letter also pointed out that any executive order signed by the President may not survive past the end of his term in 22 months and might be modified or terminated for cause by any successor. That raised a question of why the Memorandum of Understanding was non-binding. That provoked responses from both Foreign Minister Zarif and Supreme Ruler Ayatollah Khamenei.  While the latter railed in rhetoric about how the GOP initiative reflected “the disintegration of the U.S.” and why our representations can’t be trusted and laughing at the State Department citing Iran as a state sponsor of terrorism. It was left to Foreign Minister Zarif, to reveal that Congress wouldn’t have to approve anything saying: “The executive agreement was not bilateral but rather multi-lateral with the rest of the Permanent Members of the UN Security Council, plus Germany, subject to a resolution of the Security Council.”

Tzvi Ben-Gedalyahu wrote in a Jewish Press article published today, “U.N. Security Council’s lifting of sanctions and endorsement of a deal might make Congress irrelevant.” He then cites the observation of Omri Ceren, Communications Director for the Washington, DC-based The Israel Project:

The letter forced the Administration to explain why they’re icing Congress out of Iran negotiations, and now that explanation has ignited a firestorm. The administration looks like it intentionally chose a weaker, non-binding arrangement, rather than a treaty, to avoid Senate oversight

After we published our clarification of Sen. Cotton’s letter, our colleague Ken Timmerman wrote and thanked us for our piece. He said more would be revealed in his FrontPage Magazine, article published today, “Iran Deal Secrets Revealed – by Iran.”

Here are some excerpts from the Timmerman article.

On why Zarif said Congressional approval wasn’t required:

 That if the current negotiation with P5+1 result[s] in a Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action, it will not be a bilateral agreement between Iran and the US, but rather one that will be concluded with the participation of five other countries, including all permanent members of the Security Council, and will also be endorsed by a Security Council resolution.

Timmerman’s observation:

The Obama administration has told Congress that it won’t submit the nuclear agreement with Iran for Congressional approval, but now Zarif is saying that it will be submitted to the United Nations, to form the basis of a United Nations Security Council resolution, presumably aimed at lifting UN sanctions on Iran.

That prompted Sen. Coker (R-TN) and Foreign Relations Senate Committee chair co-sponsor of The Iran Nuclear Agreement Review Act of 2015 to write President Obama Thursday:

There are now reports that your administration is contemplating taking an agreement, or aspects of it, to the United Nations Security Council for a vote.

Enabling the United Nations to consider an agreement or portions of it, while simultaneously threatening to veto legislation that would enable Congress to do the same, is a direct affront to the American people and seeks to undermine Congress’s appropriate role.

Timmerman then recounts the repeated Iranian violations of the interim Joint Plan of Action adopted in November 2013 and how the Administration has caved to Iran’s demands:

When the negotiations began, the U.S. was insisting that Iran comply with five United Nations Security Council resolutions and suspend all uranium enrichment. Now the discussion is on how many centrifuges Iran can spin, and more importantly, how many new generation (and more efficient) centrifuges Iran can install.

On issue after issue, it’s the United States – not Iran – that has given way. When Iran got caught violating the terms of the November 2013 agreement within the first two months, by enriching fresh batches of uranium to 20%, the United States pretended not to notice.

When the International Atomic Energy Agency revealed that Iran had produced fresh batches of 20% uranium on Jan. 20, 2014, no one called it a violation, highlighting instead Iranian steps to convert a portion of the 20% uranium into fuel rods for a research reactor.

Anyone who was been observing Iran’s nuclear cheat and retreat over the past twenty years recognizes the pattern: Iran is constantly pushing the limits, and when they get called out, they take a step backwards until they think we are no longer watching, when they do it again.

And we never punish them. Not ever.

Timmerman asked a rhetorical question and gave the obvious answer:

Can Obama legally circumvent Congress and go directly to the United Nations?

Undoubtedly, just as he could ignore multiple U.S. laws – and his own statements – that prevented him for granting amnesty to millions of illegal aliens by Executive Order.

But if the Iranians really believe they can find sanctuary from Congress in Turtle Bay, former White House speech writer Marc Thiessen suggests they should think again.

“The US constitution trumps international law. The U.S. constitutional trumps the United Nations,” he told FoxNews anchor Megyn Kelly on Thursday. “The Supreme Court has actually ruled on this.”

It should be crystal clear to anyone observing the U.S.-Iran charade what Tehran wants from these talks: absolute victory over the United States.

Iran’s “moderate” president Hassan Rouhani, a former nuclear negotiator himself, said it the day the November 2013 agreement was announced: “In #Geneva agreement world powers surrendered to Iran’s national will,” he tweeted victoriously.

So why is Iran engaging in this subterfuge?  It is all about achieving victory, meaning continuing the inevitable development of nuclear weapons, and having their financial sanctions lifted:

This is the deal-maker for the Iranian regime, the one thing they want so bad they actually will make concessions to achieve it.

But wait: even though the Iranians claim the sanctions are unjust, and that all the sanctions imposed over the past two decades must be removed instantaneously for a deal to be signed, that does not mean they will walk away if some sanctions stay in place.

“What they really care about are the financial sanctions,” an Iranian businessman familiar with the way the Tehran regime moves money told me. “As long as they can use and move dollars, the rest they don’t care about.”

Iran has lived so long with sanctions on dual use technology and weapons procurement that they have learned how to get around them. “They can get anything they want,” the businessman told me. “It may cost them 5 percent or 10 percent more, but they consider that the cost of doing business.”

So be prepared for a last minute, Hail Mary deal that will lift financial sanctions on Iran in exchange for Iranian promises not to build the bomb.

If such a deal will prevent or even delay a nuclear holocaust in the Middle East is anyone’s guess.

Remember, Sen. Cotton’s observation in a Tweet, after hearing Secretary Kerry’s testimony on Capitol Hill, Wednesday:

cotton tweet on iranEDITORS NOTE: This column originally appeared in the New English Review. The featured image is of Secretary of State John Kerry, left, and Iranian Foreign Minister Javad Zarif, second from right. Source: CNN September 2014.

House Intelligence Committee Benghazi Report Misleads and Conceals Facts

dark forces timmermanKen Timmerman, author of Dark Forces: The Truth about What Happened in Benghazi   was interviewed Wednesday, November 26, 2014 on 1330AM WEBY  in Pensacola by host Mike Bates and this writer.  This is the third in a series of interviews with Timmerman on the Benghazi terrorist attack that took the lives of four Americans, US Ambassador to Libya, J. Christopher Stevens, Foreign Service Information Manager Sean Smith, and CIA security contractors, Tyrone Power and Glen Doherty.  This latest interview with Timmerman was occasioned by the recently released House Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence (HPSCI) chaired by outgoing Rep.  Mike Rogers (R-MI).

Timmerman’s views expressed in the interviews are reflective of his Daily Caller, article, “House Intelligence Committee Report Obfuscates Benghazi Arms Smuggling.“  His views parallel those of ex-CIA agent Larry Johnson and Col. Dick Brauer of Special Operations Speaks, that we posted: “UPDATE: The Benghazi House Permanent Select Intelligence Committee Report is a “Whitewash”. Overall Timmerman considers the report, “lame” and a “whitewash” of the conduct by the Administration and the Central Intelligence Agency leadership. He especially called in to question Deputy Director Michael Morell and the Chiefs of Base in Benghazi.

Timmerman believes the media abetted this deception by suggesting that the HPSCI Report exonerated the Administration and the CIA dismissing so-called conspiracy theories.  He noted that given the short news cycle following the release of the report, Friday, November 21, 2014, the press barely had time to digest the 37 page report let alone delve into the underlying transcripts.    Report findings denying that there was no stand down orders have been contradicted by surviving CIA security contractors in the book 13 Hours.  Those contractors engaged in the battle at the Annex  said  that the Chief of Base in Benghazi had issued such stand down orders  several times, resulting in a critical 21 minute delay  too late, to rescue Amb. Stevens and aide Sean Smith. When asked his opinion, Timmerman said that with arms and equipment already in a vehicle, the CIA contractors if released in a timely manner might have saved the lives of both Ambassador Stevens and Smith.

Timmerman said that the Report leaves many unanswered questions that might be addressed by the House Select Committee on Benghazi, led by Rep. Trey Gowdy (R-SC). He doesn’t believe that possible GOP Senate creation of a parallel Select Benghazi Committee in the 114th Session beginning January 2015 would be productive.  He noted there have already been five House Committee investigations, including this final report issued by the HPSCI.

On the matter of arms shipment from Libya to Syrian opposition, Timmerman drew a fine line between so-called Presidential Findings authorizing covert operations and liaison with foreign intelligence agencies, the latter not subject to Congressional oversight.   He said the CIA briefings on covert operations in Benghazi under Presidential findings were typically given to the Chairs and Ranking Members of both the House and Senate Intelligence Committees and the Senate Majority and Minority leaders as well as the House Speaker and Minority Leader, the so-called ‘eight Cardinals.’  According to his sources none of the briefed Congressional members made any objections. Timmerman, following the revelations by ex-CIA agent Johnson, indicated the filtration of arms was accomplished through a ‘cut out involving British, Turkish, and Qatari Intelligence and Australian contractors.

According to Timmerman, a 400 ton shipment of arms on the vessel Al Entisar was sent by a Libyan Jihadist group to a Turkish Muslim Brotherhood charity, IHH.  That attracted Western press whose reports embarrassed CIA Director Gen. David Petreaus and led to former Secretary of State Clinton dispatching the late Ambassador Stevens to Benghazi to shut the operation down.  The Turkish Embassy General Consul, who Stevens met in Benghazi on the evening of 9/11/2012, was likely an intelligence official.  Timmerman commented that Stevens had conducted liaison with Islamist Libyan militias during the Arab Spring rebellion against Gaddafi.  He said that was reflective of the Administration’s distinction that there were good versus bad Jihadists.

When asked about what was going on at the CIA Annex in Benghazi, Timmerman pointed out there were two groups of intelligence personnel there, not including the CIA security contractors at the Annex.  One group of CIA operatives was monitoring the activities of local Islamist militia and the arms filtration cut out operation with foreign intelligence agencies. Not even mentioned in the HSPCI report, Timmerman contends was the presence of NSA agents intercepting communications of local Islamist militias and Iranian Quds Force operatives in Benghazi.  Timmerman agrees with the comments of Col. Brauer that the Iranian Quds Force operatives had surveyed the Annex in Benghazi preparing it for a possible mortar attack.

Timmerman noted the HSPCI Report comment that use of mortars by the Taliban in Afghanistan was woefully inaccurate reflecting little training in the use of such weapons. Col. Brauer said in an interview with this writer that Soviet 82 mm mortars require a team of four and weigh over 120 pounds. Moreover, each rounds weighs over 7 pounds. Brauer pointed to the expertise in the use of mortars by the Iranian Quds force and military during the Iran-Iraq war of the 1980’s. Timmerman believes that members of the Quds Force in Benghazi were possibly involved in preparation and execution of the mortar attack in Benghazi.

Col. Brauer’s sources suggested that some Republican members of the HPSCI may not have been consulted on the release of Final Report.  That prompted observations by Timmerman that in too many instances, ruling majority parties are often side tracked by the interests of Chairman and Ranking Members.  That may have played a part in the timing of the release of the House Intelligence Committee report. Timmerman noted former CIA Director Michael Morell’s role in editing the talking points exonerating the Administration and subsequently joining a Washington, DC-based strategic consulting firm, Beacon Global Strategies.  The firm with close connections to former aides of Secretary Hillary Clinton and former Pentagon Chief, Leon Panetta.  Also joining the firm as Managing Director was Michael Allen former Majority Chief of Staff to outgoing House Intelligence Committee Chair, Mike Rogers.  It appears that the revolving door in Washington Intelligence circles creates conflicts overarching important national security interests.

Listen to the 1330 am WEBY interview with Ken Timmerman:

Segment 1Segment 2, Segment 3Segment 4.

EDITORS NOTE: This column originally appeared in the New English Review.

Who is Sabotaging Israeli-US Intelligence Collaboration?

Jeff Stein, the Spy Talk columnist for the resurrected Newsweek let loose with accusations of Israeli intelligence industrial espionage in the US as the cause of the holdup in the visa waiver program for Israeli visitors.  That does not square with the facts of the enduring 29 year relations and contributions between the two allies. That was a reference to the pledge made by Israel not to engage in espionage following the conviction of American spy for Israel, Jonathan Pollard.  Subsequent there were more bizarre allegations from Stein at Newsweek. This time it was about an episode involving former Vice President Gore during a trip to Israel.  Allegedly, a Secret Service agent found a Mossad operative hiding in an air shaft listening to conversations.

That raised statements from former Mossad director, Danny Yatom, in a Times of Israel (TOI) report this weekend  suggesting that was ‘delusional.’ He said Israel’s spy agency had less intrusive means of monitoring conversations.  Former Israeli military intelligence chief, Maj. Gen Amos Yadlin,   commented  in another TOI  article, “Israel does not spy on the US “, further suggesting the  Newsweek reports were “unreliable” and sources  “questionable”.  Israel’s Strategic Minister, Yuval Steinitz asked the obvious question was “Someone was trying to sabotage relations?”   Moreover, he was going to investigate this during discussions with the Administration this coming week in Washington, DC.

Who is Newsweek’s Jeff Stein?

Stein who wrote these questionable stories contended in a comment to an Algemeiner account alleging anti-Semitic intent and anti-Israel bias in the Newsweek report that he was neither.  Stein has an interesting background.  Born in Philadelphia and raised in New England, he is a graduate of Boston University who took a Master’s in Chinese History at the University of California at Berkeley. He was  in Army Intelligence during the Vietnam era serving there for a year in 1968 to 1969 and awarded a Bronze Star.

He started out his journalistic career reporting for NPR and worked on fledgling news papers   founding The Washington Weekly in 1981, which went defunct in 1984.  A year later he joined UPI where he ultimately became deputy foreign editor. He authored his first book, The Vietnam Fact Book in 1987. His 1992 Green Beret book, Murder in Wartime caught the attention of reviewers who cited it as the best military morality tale since The Caine Mutiny.  In the 1990’s he began writing for Salon.com exposing the links between Ringling Bros Circus and an ex- CIA official, Clair George.  In 2000, he co-authored  Saddam’s Bomb-maker with  Khidhir Hamza, who headed the late Iraqi dictator’s nuclear program. That book caught a wave of attention. Following 9/11 he was hired in 2002 by Congressional Quarterly to head CQ Homeland Security.  He started the Spy Talk column and blog while at CQ in 2005 moving on in 2009 to continue Spy Talk at the Washington Post.  Along the way he was several articles  about both counter-terrorism officials and the head of the  US House Intelligence Committee   lacking  an appreciation  of Sunni versus Shiite doctrine and Al Qaeda in the Middle East. In 2009 he revealed wire taps of former House Intelligence member Rep. Jane Harman regarding her efforts to aid two former AIPAC officials whose case was subsequently dismissed by a Federal judge for wrongful prosecution. The incident spotlighted NSA warrant-less eavesdropping.  Stein joined the re-constituted Newsweek as contributing editor in December 2013.   See Stein’s Spy Talk columns at Newsweek, here.

The Bizarre Entanglement of Newsweek’s owners at the International Business Times

Newsweek was acquired by International Business Times (IBT) in 2013.  The IBT  founded in 2005 by French American Etienne Uzac  and Jonathan Davis, is the subject of a dossier article in the May/June 2014 edition of Mother Jones“Whose Behind Newsweek” .   There are accusations of  the multi-lingual publication group  principals backed by a shadowy Korean Christian cultist, the Rev. David Jang. Jang founder of Olivet University in San Francisco is alleged in the Mother Jones article  to  have provided funding for IBT.   Further, it is and is alleged  he has  deep involvement in the publication group’s editorial and business management, including sweat shop operations using illegal aliens.  Notwithstanding these allegations by Mother Jones, IBT has hired a credible group of editors with recognized experience at the New York Times:

Newsweek‘s new editor in chief, Jim Impoco  is formerly of the New York TimesPortfolio, and Reuters,. Under IBT’s ownership, Impoco has attracted an experienced and well-respected crew of journalists.  On March 4, IBT also announced that Peter Goodman, an award-winning former New York Times economics correspondent and business editor at the Huffington Post, would take over as IBT’s editor in chief.

Mother Jones extensive investigations of IBT and Jang’s Olivet movement revealed the latter’s influence and bizarre cultist beliefs:

According to the Times, Uzac and Davis said “Jang had no financial stake in IBT or influence on the business.” But the pair acknowledged to Mother Jonesthat Jang has provided “advice” to IBT. And while there’s no evidence Jang controlled editorial matters, internal documents show him routinely weighing in on a wide range of business decisions, from personnel and business strategy to typography.

Jang sees Community-affiliated media organizations, including IBT, as an essential part of his mission to build the kingdom of God on Earth. He has said that media companies affiliated with the Community are part of a new Noah’s ark designed to save the world from a biblical flood of information.

Ex-CIA Official Paul Pillar’s Anti-Israel Smear Campaign

As we posted in our  prior Iconoclast report, we found Stein’s allegations lacking credibility. Subsequent reports by him verge on the bizarre. Yadlin’s questioning of sources is reflected in emerging information on a public source cited by Stein, ex-CIA Near East and South Asian analyst, Paul R. Pillar. Pillar left the agency in 2004 during the period when former Florida Congressman, Porter J. Goss was Director from 2004 to 2006 under President George W. Bush.   Pillar was one of the authors of the 2003 National Intelligence Estimate (NIE) that was leaked to the New York Times in the waning days of the 2004 Presidential campaign. It used by the Kerry campaign to accuse Bush of ignoring intelligence community warnings about a “failed policy” in the Iraq War. Ken Timmerman in his 2007 book, Shadow Warriors: The Untold Story of Traitors, Saboteurs, and the Party of Surrender  cited Jack Wheeler, a intelligence community insider, calling out Pillar for leading a band of “rogue weasels driving a CIA war… to secure Bush’s defeat”.  According to Timmerman Pillar’s views on terrorism post 9/11 were published in a Brookings Institution monograph, Terrorism and U.S. Foreign PolicyHis views reflected earlier assessments suggesting that state sponsorship of terrorism was passé and that non state actors like al Qaeda  should be treated  as the equivalent of  a communicable disease.  Pillar completely missed the “stupendous growth of al Qaeda”, its relations with the late Saddam Hussein and the Islamic regime in Iran.  Myopically, Pillar never understood Osama bin Laden and the Muslim Brotherhood derived Jihad doctrine.  Pillar believed  there was the equivalent of an iron wall between Sunni and Shiite extremists.  Richard Perle is cited by Timmerman saying that Pillar’s  pre-Iraq war briefing in January 2003 was “the worst in 25 years, couldn’t answer questions, and was clueless about what was going on in Iraq.”  Timmerman quotes the observation by John Hinderecker saying, ” Recent events indicate that the CIA might even be willing to compromise the effectiveness of its own covert operations, if by doing so it can damage the Bush Administration.”

By coincidence Hinderecker, a CIA veteran who also knew Pillar produced evidence of the rabid anti-Israel positions of Pillar in a Powerline report this weekend calling him, “an anti-Israel smear agent”.  Hinderecker cites a piece in The National Interest by Pillar attacking gambling mogul Sheldon Adelson called “The Sheldon Primary”. Pillar wrote:

For this man who will likely have such enormous influence on who will be the Republican presidential nominee, the Republican Party isn’t even his first love among political parties. That would be the Likud party. Adelson’s money also plays a very big role in Israeli politics, much of it in subsidizing a free-distribution newspaper, Israel HaYom, which has the largest circulation of any daily newspaper in Israel and functions as a cheerleader for Benjamin Netanyahu and Likud.

Nor is the United States Adelson’s first love among countries. He has said that when he performed military service as a young man it “unfortunately” was in a U.S. uniform rather than an Israeli one. He has expressed the wish that his son become a sniper in the Israeli Defense Forces.

Hinderecker’s comment on Pillar’s attack against Adelson:

Reading Paul Pillar’s smear of Sheldon Adelson saddened me. Paul, when I knew him, was as honest, as intelligent, and as idealistic as anyone of my acquaintance. Forty-odd years later, is this what liberalism has come to? A dead end where its best representatives have nothing substantive to offer, but can only smear Republican campaign donors? Where formerly brilliant minds labor to justify a claimed equivalence between the Democrats’ “white primaries” of the 1930s and a Republican donor trying to find a good presidential candidate to support?

Ex-CIA covert officer, who goes by the nom de guerre, “Cowboy”, had this assessment of Pillar:

Paul Pillar is a well known anti-American, leftist and anti-Israeli nutcase.  Even by CIA/State Dept bureaucracy standards.  Not surprising, probably, that he links up with similar folks.

The Outstanding Question; who is behind this smear campaign?

Against this background, we can appreciate why former Israeli intelligence heads and Netanyahu government officials in Jerusalem are concerned about what is behind Newsweek launching this smear campaign.  The allegations of skulduggery in Israeli intelligence collaboration with the US are doubtful. These stories come amidst efforts by the Obama Administration, especially Secretary of State Kerry, endeavoring to pin the blame on Israel for ‘torpedoing’ the Final Status talks with the Palestinian Authority, newly united with terrorist group Hamas.

My ex-CIA colleague, Cowboy, observed: “clearly they are cats paws for O’s anti-Israel campaign.”

EDITORS NOTE: This column originally appeared on The New English Review.