January 31, 2016

Wounded Warrior Project is More Focused on Raising Money Than on Serving Wounded Veterans, Says Former Employees

"I am a retired U.S.A. M/Sgt. Me and my fellow veterans knew this Wounded Warrior Project was a scam the first TV commercial we saw. Sad-eyed commercials work on bleeding heart Americans, whether it is for veterans, children or dogs & cats. Because Americans are Americans. If you Americans are really interested in helping veterans, find one and help direct. Cut out the scam artist. There are plenty of veterans that need a helping hand; one won't be hard to find. Get involved directly with your money. Most charities are designed to get your money, not to help people except those that own the charity. Again, if you want to help a veteran, find one and give your helping hand direct, not through a so-called charity." - Billy Shivers, Longview Texas

Former Wounded Warrior employees accuse charity of wasting millions (CBS Evening News):

In a CBS News investigation, more than 40 former employees of the Wounded Warrior Project accuse the charity of wasting millions of donated dollars on luxury hotels, lavish conferences and expensive meals for staff. The charity has defended its spending. Chip Reid reports.>

Wounded Warrior Project accused of falling short of mission (CBS This Morning):

Wounded Warrior Project, the nation's most recognizable veteran’s charity, has invested heavily in fundraising. The charity says this philosophy best positions it to carry out its stated mission: to honor and empower wounded warriors. But in Part 2 of a CBS News investigation, former employees are speaking out about programs they say fall short.

In April, Hampton Roads, Virginia-based News Channel 3 attempted to delve into some of the same Charity Navigator data that CBS examined, though its piece mostly focused on WWP CEO Steven Nardizzi's apparent opposition to so-called "charity watchdogs." That report made a point of underscoring the value of donors performing independent checks, claiming that the news team's "investigation shows how a charity and a charity-checking organization can review the same data and come up with different results."

To verify a non-profit’s financials, review its IRS form 990 – google “990 form” along with the charity’s name, or signup for a free account at GuideStar.org. On the first page of the form 990 you can ascertain total overhead (which is detailed on Part IX of the form) by subtracting the amount on line 13 from line 18. To determine percentage, divide the difference by the amount on line 18 and then multiple the result by 100.

Wounded Warrior Project 2013 IRS Form 990, Part 1
Line 18, Total Expenses
Line 13, Grants and Similar Amounts Paid

16.98 % Percentage Spent on Mission
83.02 % Percentage Spent on Overhead

A June report by The Daily Beast criticized Nardizzi, saying he pays his executives too much. "Nardizzi is an advisory board member of the Charity Defense Council, an outfit with lofty ambitions," The Daily Beast's Tim Mak wrote. "The organization wants to remake the entire charitable sector to be more permissive of high overhead and high executive compensation, explicitly citing as its model the oil industry’s efforts to rehabilitate its public image."

Wounded Warrior Project accused of wasting donation money

Chip Reid, Jennifer Janisch CBS News - A CBS News investigation into a charity for wounded veterans, the Wounded Warrior Project, looks into how the charity spends its donation money.

What caught our attention is how the Wounded Warrior Project spends donations compared to other long-respected charities.

For example, Disabled American Veterans Charitable Service Trust spends 96 percent of its budget on vets. Fisher House devotes 91 percent. But according to public records reported by "Charity Navigator," the Wounded Warrior Project spends 60 percent on vets.

Where is the money is going?

In its commercials, Wounded Warrior Project appeals to the American public's generosity, and it works. In 2014 alone the group received more than $300 million in donations.

Army Staff Sergeant Erick Millette
"Their mission is to honor and empower wounded warriors, but what the public doesn't see is how they spend their money," said Army Staff Sergeant Erick Millette.
Millette came home from Iraq in 2006 with a bronze star and a purple heart -- along with a traumatic brain injury and PTSD.

Initially, he admired the charity's work, and participated in its programs. He took a job as a public speaker with Wounded Warrior Project in 2013. But after two years, he quit.
"You're using our injuries, our darkest days, our hardships, to make money. So you can have these big parties," he told CBS News.
Millette said he witnessed lavish spending on staff.
"Let's get a Mexican mariachi band in there, let's get maracas made with [the] WWP logo, put them on every staff member's desk. Let's get it catered and have a big old party," he described.

"Going to a nice fancy restaurant is not team building. Staying at a lavish hotel at the beach here in Jacksonville, and requiring staff that lives in the area to stay at the hotel is not team building," Millette continued.
CBS News spoke to more than 40 former employees who described a charity where spending was out of control.


Two of those former employees were so fearful of retaliation they asked that their faces not to be shown on camera.
"It was extremely extravagant. Dinners and alcohol, and just total accessm" one employee explained. He continued, saying that for a charitable organization that's serving veterans, the spending on resorts and alcohol is "what the military calls fraud waste and abuse."
Wounded Warrior Project CEO Steven Nardizzi

According to the charity's tax forms, spending on conferences and meetings went from $1.7 million in 2010, to $26 million in 2014. That's about the same amount the group spends on combat stress recovery -- its top program.

Former employees say spending has skyrocketed since Steven Nardizzi took over as CEO in 2009. Many point to the 2014 annual meeting at a luxury resort in Colorado Springs as typical of his style.
"He rappelled down the side of a building at one of the all hands events. He's come in on a Segway, he's come in on a horse."
About 500 staff members attended the four-day conference in Colorado. The price tag? About $3 million.
"Donors don't want you to have a $2,500 bar tab. Donors don't want you to fly every staff member once a year to some five-star resort and whoop it up and call it team building," said Millette.
A Colorado Springs resort where a 2014 WWP conference was held

Wounded Warrior Project declined CBS News' repeated interview requests for Nardizzi, but offered their Director of Alumni and a recipient of their services, Captain Ryan Kules.

Kules denied there was excessive spending on conferences.
"It's the best use of donor dollars to ensure we are providing programs and services to our warriors and families at the highest quality."

The Feds and State Troopers Shot Oregon Protestor LaVoy Finicum While His Hands Were in the Air, and They Shot Him Some More After He Was Down on the Ground (the Feds and State Troopers Setup a Roadblock, with Snipers in the Trees, and Ambushed Their Vehicle, Shooting at Least 120 Times, But None of the Protestors Touched Their Guns)

Below is the complete video footage of a joint FBI and Oregon State Police traffic stop and OSP officer-involved shooting of Robert "LaVoy" Finicum on the Malheur National Wildlife Refuge. This footage, which has only been edited to blur out aircraft information, was taken by the FBI on 01/26/2016 and released by the FBI on 01/28/2016.

From the female witness that was in the truck with him, the cops shot at them at the first stop while they had their hands out the window but missed, so they took off. That stupid cop walked into the line of the oncoming truck, probably so he could take a shot at the driver. You can clearly see the state cop run in front of the vehicle. LaVoy's vehicle went to go around and then you see the cop JUMP IN FRONT OF THE TRUCK. Not the opposite way around. There was not a shoot out period. Instead, a murder takes place. It was a set up and no traffic violation ever took place. The FEDS are in complete control of any and all information getting out to the public. No one in the group wanted any violence to take place except for the FEDS. REMEMBER THE MOVIE FIRST BLOOD? WE NOW KNOW NOTHING THE FEDS SAY CAN BE TRUSTED. Looks like they shot LaVoy with his hands in the air and then he dropped his hands and turned when he got shot again, grabbing at where he was shot. Where's the dash cam videos or the on ground videos? If he was going to shoot, why didn't he come out shooting? Why did he raise his hands then?

Testimony from Victoria Sharp, who was in the car when LaVoy Finicum was ‪EXECUTED by the Feds:

On YouTube, search "LaVoy Finicum executed."

Eleven people face federal felony charges in Oregon of conspiracy to impede federal officials in their official duties through the use of force, intimidation or threats in connection with the standoff that began Jan. 2 when a group opposed to federal land policy took over the Malheur National Wildlife Refuge. Some holdouts remain at the refuge near Burns, Oregon.

January 29, 2016

Feds' Plan to Violate the Posse Comitatus Act Dates Back to 2000 or Earlier; Taxpayers are Funding Their Future Enslavement Under Martial Law

The National Interagency Civil-Military Institute (NICI) is an educational institute—funded by the Department of Defense (DOD) through the National Guard Bureau—with the mission of improving the efficiency and effectiveness of joint civilian and military initiatives. To this end, it provides education to middle- and upper-level managers from the military, law enforcement agencies, emergency management and public safety organizations, and community groups. Founded in 1989 as the National Interagency Counterdrug Institute, its initial areas of focus involved border security and drug interdiction efforts, but it has expanded its course offerings since that time. In 1989, Dr. William Jefferds, former deputy adjutant general of the California National Guard, submitted a proposal to the National Guard Bureau for an institute to train individuals and agencies in joint operations. Congress approved the plan for NICI, established at Camp San Luis Obispo in California. In 1994, NICI added a course in military support to civil authorities (MSCA), and in the following year held its first international MSCA course, attended by participants from several former Soviet republics. Following several terrorist attacks during the mid-1990s, NICI in 1997 developed antiterrorism courses, as well as blocks of instruction in community response to emergencies. It also conducts force protection level II training under the guidance of the U.S. Military Police School. [Source]

'Gunslinger 2000' military exercises begin

Marines hit classroom, not streets, in terror simulation

There is no visible sign of Marines on the streets of Kentucky, but inside the Boone National Guard Center in Frankfort the 4th Marine Division and civil agencies will be dealing with devastation after a terrorist attack — simulated by a computer program.

“Gunslinger 2000” is an experimental program involving the 4th Marine Division in a joint exercise with civil agencies preparing for a possible terrorist attack within the continental United States, as previously reported by WorldNetDaily.
A Marine spokeswoman identified as Maj. Buckley told WorldNetDaily that Marines in uniform would not be visible on the streets during the exercise. She said “Gunslinger 2000” is a classroom event that will take place at the Boone National Guard Center in Frankfort, and inside Fort Knox.
“They’re going to have different events which test their abilities to develop policy procedures and working relationships in a controlled environment,” explained Buckley. “The locations I have are Frankfort from 17 to 24 June, and then the following week it’s in Fort Knox.”
The mock scenario has already begun, according to plans provided by Marine public affairs. A massive mock-earthquake took place yesterday along the “New Madrid” fault, causing major destruction and forcing large populations to be moved to shelters in camps set up by the Red Cross.

Plans call for each of the many camps of survivors to be attacked by terrorists using undisclosed weapons of mass destruction. The specifics of the attacks will be made known to the participants in the exercise when each happens.

The training is made possible through a computer simulation developed by Cubic Applications, Inc. (CAI) working under contract with the National Simulation Center (NSC).

The training will be part of a training exercise run by a military organization known as the National Interagency Civil-Military Institute (NICI) from San Luis Obispo, Calif.

NICI began in 1989 and provides training for military and civil agencies that need to work together for various reasons. The Community Response Emergency Simulation Training (CREST) exercise will involve federal agencies, Marines, National Guard, state and local elected leaders, emergency management leaders, local law enforcement and other civil agencies. The participants will develop a strategic and tactical plan to manage a terrorist attack of such a large magnitude that it totally immobilizes a large population.
“The participants will be confronted with over 100 scripted events which tests their ability to develop policy, procedures, and working relationships in a controlled environment,” according to Sgt. Maj. Loretta Averna, NICI public affairs in a written statement.
The computer simulation is called “Spectrum,” designed by CAI under the direction of John A. Harris, a former Army Lt. Col. with terrorism and special operations experience.

The program was developed under federal contract as a way to simulate military operations “other than war,” Harris told WorldNetDaily. Spectrum was used to train the Army for missions in Bosnia and Kosovo because it “has the capability to simulate the peacekeeping environment,” explained Harris.

CAI provided the personnel to develop, test, document, train and field the simulation under contract with NSC at Fort Leavenworth, Kansas. A newer version of Spectrum is currently under development with help from Texas A&M, according to Harris.
“We have taken the table-top methodology and made it partially electronic by using the simulation. Basically, all the simulation does is to allow graphics on a map in the form of overlays we have to create, and real-time movement over roads, obstacles and so on for vehicles. The simulation produces casualties, consumes fuel and rations, and any type of organization can be created from refugees to hospitals to contaminated patients,” explained Harris.

“The key point is the taxpayers are winning on this one as we are adapting a military simulation to apply to a civilian and DOD response to a terrorism and WMD (weapons of mass destruction) event for the purpose of training at the interagency level for local, state and federal responses,” he added.

January 28, 2016

The FBI Ambushes a Group of Oregon Protesters, Killing One and Wounding Another

The FBI said authorities arrested group leader Bundy, 40, his brother Ryan Bundy, 43, Brian Cavalier, 44, Shawna Cox, 59, and Ryan Payne, 32, during a traffic stop Tuesday afternoon on U.S. Highway 395. Authorities said another person, Joseph Donald O’Shaughnessy, 45, was arrested in Burns. The FBI says Bundy and the others arrested face felony charges of conspiracy to impede the duties of federal officials through the use of “force, intimidation, or threats.” The FBI said one individual “who was a subject of a federal probable cause arrest is deceased.” Fifty-year-old Peter Santilli of Cincinnati, Ohio, was arrested at 6:30 p.m. today in Burns. Santilli has been operating an online talk-radio show during the occupation of the wildlife refuge. [Source]

Ammon Bundy Taken Into FBI Custody; LaVoy Finicum Shot Dead by FBI; Ryan Payne Suffers Multiple Gunshot Wounds

January 26, 2016

Oathkeepers - This evening, the FBI made a felony stop on a vehicle carrying Ammon Bundy and several other individuals. After gun fire from the FBI, four individuals were reportedly taken into custody, including Ammon Bundy. Two individuals are reported to have been taken to the Burns hospital, which is currently on lock down.

FBI sources stated that those at the Refuge are currently free to leave unimpeded, implying that there might be action if they do not leave immediately.


1811L: Blaine Cooper has reportedly assumed leadership at the Refuge and has been told to leave immediately. During a phone call with Pete Santilli, Pete can be overheard saying, “Blaine, please don’t do this.” Blaine is reportedly wanting to make a stand. Women and children are still at the Refuge.

1821L: According to local government officials, Ryan Payne suffered multiple gunshot wounds and was taken to the Burns hospital.

1827L: Awaiting a forthcoming statement from law enforcement regarding the shoot out and arrests.

1844L: KATU News is now reporting that eight occupiers have been taken into custody.

1850L: Pete Santilli and Joe Oshaugnessy have also been arrested.

1857L: Law Enforcement reporting the arrest of the following individuals:

Ammon Bundy, Ryan Bundy, Brian Cavalier, Shawna Cox, Ryan Payne — and JJoe O’Shaghnessy in a separate arrest.

1900L: FBI reporting that one of the occupiers is now deceased.

1924L: LaVoy Finicum (pictured below with his wife, Jeanette, and their 11 children) dead.

"LaVoy Finicum is a Northern Arizona Rancher who loves nothing more in life than God, family, and freedom. As he has watched the ever increasing encroachment of government into the lives of the American people he has felt to make a stand for freedom. He has drawn a line in the sand and that line is the Constitution in its original intent. The Constitution of the United States of America is a charter to protect the freedom of man by putting strict limits on government. We are living in a day when that supreme law of the land has been shredded by the very government that took an oath to uphold it. By their actions the Federal Government has become lawless and stalks the liberties of this land under the guise of social justice." [Source]

CLIVEN BUNDY: The arrest of my son should be a 'wake-up call to America'

January 27, 2016

Business Insider - Cliven Bundy — the father of now-arrested Ammon and Ryan Bundy, who were part of the Oregon "militia" that took over a federal wildlife refuge for 25 days — said his son's arrest and the killing of another group member "will be a wake-up call to America."
"This is a total disaster to be happening in America," he told the Las Vegas Review-Journal. "We have, I'm guessing, federal people killing innocent people. I'll tell you one thing, my sons and those who were there were there to do good, no harm was intended, they would never threaten anybody, they was trying to teach people about the Constitution and trying to help the Hammond family, trying to make sure this type of abuse didn't happen in America and yet, it did."
Ammon, the leader of the self-styled militia occupying the Malheur National Wildlife Refuge in eastern Oregon, was arrested after the FBI conducted a traffic stop. His brother Ryan and five others were in the vehicle at the time of the stop.

Shots were fired during the arrest. One man, Robert "LaVoy" Finicum, was killed, according to a militia spokesman. Officials have not yet publicly confirm Finicum's death.

Ryan suffered a minor gunshot wound during the traffic stop as well, according to The Oregonian. The brothers and four other associates were arrested on scene while another man, Peter Santilli,an independent broadcaster who live-streamed the occupation, was also arrested later (see video below).
BREAKING: Booking photos of Ammon Bundy, 7 others after arrest near Burns. https://t.co/AcqRyP4pd5 #KOIN6News pic.twitter.com/un82wepf95 — Brent Weisberg (@BrentKOIN) January 27, 2016
The group of occupiers was on their way to a community meeting in John Day, Oregon, per KATU News

The remaining occupiers at the refuge have no plans to leave, per The Oregonian.
Occupier Jason Patrick at the refuge: We’re all standing here ready to defend our peaceful resolution.
— Les Zaitz (@LesZaitz) January 27, 2016 The standoff in Oregon began January 2 when an armed group led by Ammon took control of the refuge to protest the sentences of two men who set fire to federal land, Dwight and Steven Hammond.

January 25, 2016

The Fascist Takeover of the United States Government

9/11 Memory: Fascism & Gold

By: Jim_Willie_CB
September 14, 2015 
The ultimate patriotic act is to invest the life savings in Gold & Silver, which does honor to real money, shows disdain for paper merchants who rule the central banks, and forces nations to put forth honest sound money in usage. It is important to recall the 9/11 event, however based in reality, not the official story. Honor should be given to the 2500 victims of the mass murder event. The official story makes far less sense than the Kennedy assassination, while the two events appear to be front and back bookends of the same Fascist takeover of the United States Govt. The Patriot Act was a fascist manifesto, much like the Enabling Act installed in Germany over seven decades ago. The two acts have a 90% correlation and overlap, yet the American public remains largely in the dark on the similarity in template.

The USCongress passed the controversial Patriot Act, which has totally opposite direction to patriotism, under threat of anthrax in their ventilation system (rumored to be engineered by the FBI). The creation of the Homeland Security Agency should ring loud gongs about the Gestapo similarities.  

That the US & London & Swiss bankers are fascists with roots to 1930 fascists should also be brought to public attention. The US bankers on Wall Street actually had loans extended to the German Nazis, a fact the public seems to overlook.

Operation Paperclip, which opened the US gates to the several hundred bankers, scientists, and industrial captains, should have been a wakeup call to Americans, but they remain asleep. Imagine a nation that makes a mockery of citizens seeking the truth on the event, calling them disparagingly the Truthers. Recall that truth is the enemy of fascist regimes, and the early victim of any war.

The 9/11 event was the coming out party for the American Fascists. It was also a complex sequence of criminal events, to abrogate $230 billion in Russian bonds, to wipe clean the Black Eagle Fund on gold obligations. But in the immediate, it was a bank heist. Few Americans realize that the World Trade Center housed the largest bank in the Western world. Thus the object of the bank robbery, where $100bn in bearer bonds were stolen, $100bn in diamonds were stolen, and $100bn in gold bullion was stolen.

For reasons tied to national security, no investigations or claims are permitted. It was also an opportunity to test out some nano-technology and extreme micro nuclear demolition methods.

Over 2000 people perished on that day. Around 200 police, firemen, and emergency medical professionals also died on that day. The event sealed the fate of the nation, to become a fascist enclave, the exceptional nation, the home of the new brown shirts.  

Much credit is due to the courageous and diligent scientific groups like AE1000, the Architects & Engineers, who have contradicted the official nonsensical silly reports which serve as the Official 9/11 Commission report, far more vacant and illogical and baseless than the Warren Report of 1963. Both were hastily produced under political pressure, both with Papa Bush fingerprints at the crime scene. The group of scientists have produced a powerful body of evidence in dispute, yet over half the US nation believes the fairy tale in the official USGovt story. It was a fascist takeover of the USGovt and establishment of the banking system as the power center.

All manner of war and sanctions cannot prevent the removal of the USDollar from its global currency reserve privilege. Too much abuse from violent war, sponsored terrorism, $trillion gifts to bankers, backdoor bailouts to bankers, has caused a global upheaval and resistance. Sanctions are the device used against nations which oppose the USDollar in usage, primarily in crude oil payments. The USGovt has refused to liquidate the big banks, which have served as the Western seat of power and pilferage.

The series of sanctions have backfired badly. The obstacles to gas pipelines cannot be maintained. The movement against the corrupt toxic USDollar has gathered tremendous momentum. It has an African monetary policy attached, an incredibly destructive policy, and worse, it is called stimulus.

The return of the Gold Standard is inevitable. The big question is how much destruction the USGovt, its powerful military, and its subversive security agencies, will permit before the legitimate monetary system is put in place. The path seems clear, that the legitimate system will first arrive on the trade front, deposing the USTreasury Bill in back pressure like excrement from the global bowels.

January 24, 2016

‘Operation Fast and Furious’ Put 2,000 Weapons into Hands of Mexican Criminals While Lecturing Americans About Gun Control

January 21, 2016

(National Review) - Obama-administration scandals never resolve. They just vanish — usually, under a new scandal.

So it was with one of this president’s earliest embarrassments, “Operation Fast and Furious,” designed to help the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms, and Explosives (ATF) dismantle drug cartels operating inside the United States and disrupt drug-trafficking routes. Instead, it put into the hands of criminals south of the border some 2,000 weapons, which have been used to kill hundreds of Mexicans and at least one American, U.S. Border Patrol agent Brian Terry.

Now, Fast and Furious is back in the news. Earlier this month, a raid on the hidey-hole of drug kingpin Joaquin “El Chapo” Guzman recovered not only the notorious drug lord, but a (“massive”) .50-caliber rifle, capable of stopping a car or shooting down a helicopter, that originated with the ATF program. Rest easy, though: Only 34 such rifles were sold through the program.

The news comes just days after a federal judge rejected President Obama’s assertion of executive privilege to deny Congress access to Fast and Furious–related records it requested back in 2012 as part of an investigation into the gun-walking operation. Despite the IRS scandal, Benghazi, and a host of other accusations of malfeasance against this White House, it remains this president’s sole assertion of executive privilege.

Three-and-a-half years later, the question is still: Why?

In November 2009, the ATF’s Phoenix field office launched an operation in which guns bought by drug-cartel straw purchasers in the U.S. were allowed to “walk” across the border into Mexico. ATF agents would then track the guns as they made their way through the ranks of the cartel.

At least, that was the theory. In reality, once the guns walked across the border, they were gone. Whistleblowers reported, and investigators later confirmed, that the ATF made no effort to trace the guns.

In March 2010, a few ATF agents voiced an obvious concern: Couldn’t the guns end up being used in crimes? Seven months later, that’s exactly what happened. The brother of the former attorney general of the state of Chihuahua was murdered, and Fast and Furious weapons were found at the scene.

In December, the scheme’s ramifications crossed back over the border. On December 14, four Border Patrol agents were staked out near Rio Rico, Ariz., eleven miles north of the Mexican border. A five-man “rip crew,” a group looking to rob drug smugglers crossing the border, opened fire when the agents attempted to apprehend. Agent Terry was struck in the back and bled to death. Two of the guns involved in the shootout were traced back to Fast and Furious, which continued for another six weeks.

The operation was finally shut down with the help of Senator Chuck Grassley (R., Iowa), then ranking member of the Senate Judiciary Committee, who promptly opened an investigation. Two months later, Darrell Issa (R., Calif.), then chairman of the Committee on Oversight and Government Reform, opened his own investigation in the House.

Operation Fast and Furious would have been bad enough. But the investigation made clear a widespread cover-up. In February, in response to a request from Grassley, Assistant Attorney General Ronald Weich submitted for the record a letter declaring that any claim “that ATF ‘sanctioned’ or otherwise knowingly allowed the sale of assault weapons to a straw purchaser who then transported them to Mexico — is false. ATF makes every effort to interdict weapons that have been purchased illegally and prevent their transportation to Mexico.” In November, Attorney General Eric Holder admitted that gun-walking was, in fact, used, and in December the Obama administration formally withdrew Weich’s letter from the congressional record — because it was, in Holder’s words, “inaccurate.”

Operation Fast and Furious would have been bad enough. But the investigation made clear a widespread cover-up.

By that time, Holder had become a figure of particular interest. What did the attorney general know about the operation, and when did he know it? In May 2011, he claimed to have known about gun-walking tactics for only a few weeks. But by October, new documents showed that Holder had been briefed about Operation Fast and Furious as early as July 2010. And in January 2010, just months after the ATF had launched Operation Fast and Furious, personnel from the Organized Crime Drug Enforcement Task Force, a multi-agency network run by the Department of Justice, had been brought in to provide additional manpower.

Furthermore, the operation may have had an explicitly political angle. E-mails obtained by CBS News in late 2011 showed ATF officials corresponding about the possibility of using Fast and Furious to push through a regulation requiring gun shops to report the sale of multiple rifles or “long guns.” In other words, the ATF permitted certain gun shops to conduct certain, inadvisable sales to dangerous people and then planned to point to those sales to justify the need for new reporting requirements.

By the summer of 2012, Holder and the House Oversight Committee were at a standoff, the attorney general claiming he had been fully responsive to the committee’s request for documents, Issa claiming that the DOJ had withheld 1,300 key pages. President Obama, intervening, declared that the documents were protected under executive privilege — a risible claim, legally, and a suggestive one, given the White House’s denial of involvement. In late June, at the recommendation of the committee, Holder became the first sitting member of a presidential cabinet to be held in contempt by the House of Representatives.

In September, the administration declared victory. The Department of Justice’s inspector general released a report recommending disciplinary action against 14 federal officials and absolving Holder — seemingly. In fact, the report noted a series of extraordinary coincidences in which, several times in 2010 and 2011, information about the program made it all the way to Holder’s desk — but without the attorney general’s ever managing to pass his eyes over it. Odd, that.

Since then, the investigation into Fast and Furious has been tied up in the courts, where the House challenged the president’s executive-privilege claim.

But the ATF & Co.’s horrendous judgment continues to take a toll. By the time of the House’s contempt vote, some 300 Mexicans had been killed or wounded by Fast and Furious firearms, and that number has surely risen. In December 2013, a walked gun was found at the site of a gunfight at a Mexican resort that left five cartel members dead.

The guns have found their way north, too. A weapon owned by Nadir Soofi, one of the two Muslim terrorists who tried to shoot up Pamela Geller’s “Draw Muhammad” contest in Texas last May, was acquired through Fast and Furious.

The guns have found their way north, too.

It is difficult to overstate both how stupid and how incompetent were the whole host of federal officials involved in this fiasco, who first thought it was a swell idea to traffic thousands of guns to Mexican criminals, then blithely forgot about them. It is difficult, too, to overstate the contempt of this administration for transparency, given that, having made those fatal mistakes, its response was to hide them from a congressional inquiry, going so far as to invoke executive privilege to do so. At best, the operation and its aftermath were an exercise in astonishing malpractice; at worst, the administration knowingly exhibited a reckless disregard for human life — then covered it up.

Under “Operation Fast & Furious,” the U.S. government became a de facto arms dealer to Mexican drug cartels and Islamist criminals.

But this administration still wants to lecture Americans about gun control . . .

January 23, 2016

Career Civil Servants and the Culture of Government is at the Heart of Flint Water Problems, Says Governor

Michigan Governor Throws Government Workers Under The Bus For Flint Disaster

January 22, 2016

The Huffington Post - Michigan Gov. Rick Snyder (R) had no issue shouldering responsibility for the water crisis afflicting the city of Flint, Michigan, but not without also blaming his own employees.
"There were major failures here," Snyder said in an interview on MSNBC's "Morning Joe" on Friday. "People being much too technical, not having the culture of asking common-sense questions."
Flint's water became poisoned with lead after the city switched its water source nearly two years ago.

Snyder said that he's accepted responsibility for the disaster and is now focused on fixing the problem.

Yet he did not shy away from condemning government workers who "made terrible decisions" in determining that the high levels of lead in Flint's water were not a concern.
"It's part of the problem with culture in government," Snyder said. "The department heads were not being given the right information by the 'experts.' These were career civil servants and had strong science, medical backgrounds. But as a practical matter, when you look at their conclusions, I wouldn't call them experts anymore." 
The Environmental Protection Agency's regional administrator, Susan Hedman, resigned on Thursday. She belonged to the team that oversaw state officials' handling of the crisis.

January 21, 2016

Governor-appointed Board May Replace Chicago's School Board in an Effort to Resolve a $1 Billion Budget Deficit and Massive Unfunded Pension Liability

Illinois Republicans called for a state takeover of Chicago's financially troubled school district, which has a nearly $1 billion budget deficit that could lead to thousands of teacher layoffs and a strike. Chicago Public Schools will lay off some of its central office staff this week as it deals with its precarious financial state, the head of the district said on January 21, 2016. For years, Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel has called for a change in state law regarding how pensions are funded. Currently, Chicago taxpayers cover the cost of city teachers' pensions, while taxpayers statewide contribute to retirement funds for teachers outside Chicago — a system Emanuel argues is unfair because Chicago residents pay twice.

Easing pension costs was made harder after the Illinois Supreme Court last May tossed out a 2013 state law that would have saved as much as $145 billion over 30 years, ruling that public sector workers have iron-clad protection in the state constitution against cuts to retirement benefits. The high court could rule as soon as January 22nd on a union challenge to a 2014 state law to shore up two of Chicago's financially struggling pension funds. The city used a consideration argument to defend the law, claiming that pension benefit cuts and higher pension contributions will save the funds from insolvency. Union coalition We Are One Illinois contended the governor's plan was unconstitutional. [Reuters]

Rauner, GOP leaders want state takeover of Chicago schools

January 21, 2016

AP - Backed by Gov. Bruce Rauner, top Illinois Republicans called Wednesday for a state takeover of the financially troubled Chicago Public Schools, which faces a nearly $1 billion budget deficit that could lead to thousands of teacher layoffs and a possible strike in a matter of months.

Radogno and House Republican Leader Jim Durkin said the legislation would give the Illinois State Board of Education control over the nation's third-largest school district. They also noted that GOP lawmakers may reveal a bankruptcy plan for CPS and the city of Chicago in the coming weeks, but didn't offer many details.
"What we're proposing is a lifeline," Radogno said of CPS, which has a massive unfunded pension liability. "We didn't come to this lightly, but the track record of Chicago and its public school system is abysmal."
The plan calls for the state schools superintendent, who is chosen by a governor-appointed board, to name up to seven members of an independent authority that would essentially replace Chicago's school board, which is chosen by the mayor. They would also negotiate teacher contracts, though Republicans said the authority wouldn't be able to "unilaterally cancel or modify" existing agreements.

At least a half-dozen districts in Illinois have come under state management since 2003, including East St. Louis in 2012, which was fought hard by people in the struggling St. Louis suburb.

Rauner announced his support for the takeover not long after Radogno and Durkin's news conference. But Democrats — who hold big majorities in both chambers of the Illinois Legislature, are close allies of Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel and are locked with Rauner on a long-overdue state budget — blasted the plan almost immediately.
"This is not going to happen," Senate President John Cullerton said, calling the idea and a distraction from the state's other problems.
The mayor was at a conference in Washington, D.C., but his spokeswoman said Emanuel is "100 percent opposed to Gov. Rauner's 'plan'" and accused Republicans of "trying desperately to distract from their own failures."
"If the governor was serious about helping Chicago students, he should start by proposing — and passing — a budget that fully funds education and treats CPS students like every other child in the state," Emanuel spokeswoman Kelley Quinn said.
For years, Emanuel has called for a change in state law regarding how pensions are funded. Currently, Chicago taxpayers cover the cost of city teachers' pensions, while taxpayers statewide contribute to retirement funds for teachers outside Chicago — a system Emanuel argues is unfair because Chicago residents pay twice.

But Rauner has repeatedly said he won't approve any help for Chicago until Emanuel gets behind legislative measures that the former businessman says will make Illinois more competitive. Those include allowing local governments to curb labor unions' bargaining rights and making changes to workers' compensation insurance.

New Jersey to Cut Public Services and Raise Taxes to Fund Public Employees’ Retirement Systems

Pension Funding Fight Nears a Climax in Deficit-Stung New Jersey

January 20, 2016

Bloomberg - New Jersey has seven retirement plans for public sector workers, teachers and emergency personnel. The primary plan, the Public Employees’ Retirement System, may run out of money by 2024. The state would probably cut services and raise taxes to make the obligations, said Rob Amodeo, head of municipals in New York for Western Asset Management Co., which holds $25 billion of the securities. New Jersey’s individual income taxes are already the sixth-highest in the U.S., according to the Tax Foundation, a Washington-based group. It’s ranked No. 1 for property taxes.

DEA Recruited a TSA Bag-checker to Screen Luggage for Cash That the DEA Could Confiscate by Abusing Civil Asset Forfeiture Laws

DEA Hired A TSA Informant To Help Take Cash From People's Luggage

It also promised the agent a cut of the profits.

January 20, 2016 

The Huffington Post - The DEA recruited a TSA bag-checker as an informant to help seize cash from passengers' luggage.

A Department of Justice watchdog officially condemned the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration this month, following a report that the agency had recruited a Transportation Security Administration security screener to search bags for cash that the DEA could confiscate.

The very existence of such a partnership highlights much broader concerns about the controversial legal practice known as civil asset forfeiture, which critics say contorts law enforcement priorities and props up a system of policing for profit.

In a summary of its investigation, the DOJ's Office of the Inspector General concluded that the agreement "violated DEA policy" on a number of levels. While the OIG determined that the TSA informant never provided any actionable information to the DEA, it concluded that the plans to pay the agent out of the cash he or she helped seize "could have violated individuals’ protection against unreasonable searches and seizures if it led to a subsequent DEA enforcement action."

In effect, the OIG was questioning the propriety of an arrangement in which a TSA agent would use his or her power to tip off the DEA to the presence of cash in travelers' luggage, and then receive compensation based on how profitable that information was to the agency.

Robert Everett Johnson, an attorney for the libertarian public interest law firm Institute for Justice, says the same criticism could be made about the entire practice of civil asset forfeiture, which allows law enforcement officials to seize a person's property -- including cash, cars, jewelry and houses -- without obtaining a conviction or even charging the owner with a crime.
"This really is what we see every day around the country -- when law enforcement takes property using civil forfeiture, law enforcement is able to keep that property and use it to fund their budgets and in many cases even to pay the salaries of people who are overseeing the forfeitures," said Johnson.

"That creates an obvious financial incentive to take property from people who haven't done anything or haven't been proven to have done anything wrong. It creates an incentive for all kinds of abuse," he added.
Civil forfeiture has become a critical source of revenue for law enforcement over the past decade, with state and federal agencies now taking in hundreds of millions of dollars in property, and likely more, each year. Cash has meanwhile emerged as a favorite target for police, even if it's just hundreds or thousands of dollars.

Transportation hubs are a particular point of focus for the DEA. A 2015 OIG report found that from 2009 to 2013, the DEA seized $163 million in 4,138 individual cash seizures, many of which were contested and later overturned. The agency has also come under fire in recent cases that involved agents seizing cash from airline and train passengers, and in some cases, allegedly shaking them down.

January 18, 2016

Israel is the Middle East's Sole, But Undeclared, Nuclear Power, and Netanyahu Threatens to Use Military Force to Keep It That Way

Israel will not allow Iran to obtain nuclear weapons: Netanyahu

January 17, 2016

AFP - Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu warned Iran on Sunday that Israel would not allow it to obtain nuclear weapons, after sanctions were lifted under Tehran's historic nuclear deal with global powers.
"Israel's policy has been and will remain exactly what has been followed: to not allow Iran to acquire nuclear weapons," Netanyahu said during a cabinet meeting, according to his office.
Netanyahu strongly opposed the nuclear deal with Israel's arch-foe Iran and argued that it would not prevent Tehran from obtaining nuclear weapons.

He has also said that the lifting of sanctions will allow Iran to further back proxy militants in the region, including Israeli enemies Hezbollah.

Israel has not ruled out military force in order to keep Iran from developing nuclear weapons, though analysts say unilateral action would be highly unlikely.

Netanyahu said Israel will continue to monitor Iran's agreements "on nuclear, on ballistic missiles and on terrorism" for potential violations.

If violations occur, the international community should "take tough and aggressive sanctions" against Iran, Netanyahu said, adding that Israel "is ready to face any threat".

Israel is the Middle East's sole, but undeclared, nuclear power.

Netanyahu said in a statement on Saturday that "Iran has not relinquished its ambition to obtain nuclear weapons" and pledged to "warn of any violation" of the agreement.

The UN's atomic watchdog late on Saturday confirmed that Iran had complied with its obligations under last summer's accord and the United States and European Union announced they were lifting the sanctions that have for years crippled the country's economy.

January 16, 2016

Sheriffs and Police Chiefs Embrace the Second Amendment as a Crime-fighting Tool as Americans Grow Ever-more Pro-gun

"It appears that the President continues to subscribe to the thought that more restrictions on law abiding gun owners will reduce crime and save lives. For the vast majority of homicides committed in this country, the suspects are not obtaining their firearms through a dealer, at a gun show, or through any other legal pathway. Criminals are buying firearms from other criminals in order to commit more criminal acts. It is clear that it is the criminal that we need to focus on and not the law-abiding gun owner who deserves and, more importantly, has the Constitutional right, to own firearms for their personal protection, for their collection, for hunting, for target practice, or for no other reason that they want to. It is important to note that the addition of restrictions directed at the law-abiding gun owner has done nothing to reduce the criminal elements use of a firearm in the commission of crime. Look no further than Baltimore City with their record breaking firearm murder rate and over 900 shootings in 2015. This is a state that is viewed as one of, if not, the most restrictive states for firearms purchasers in the country. To sum this up, no, I am unsure how these proposals might impact the all too numerous gun laws already on the books, but I am confident the President's proposals will have no impact on crime. - Harford County Maryland Sheriff Jeffrey Gahler, January 6, 2016

Growing number of police chiefs, sheriffs join call to arms

One of a growing number of rural and big-city law enforcement officials who openly encourages responsible gun ownership, Judd believes guns allow citizens to defend themselves when police cannot.
“If you are foolish enough to break into someone’s home, you can expect to be shot in Polk County,” Judd said in a statement after a homeowner shot a would-be home invader earlier this month. “It’s more important to have a gun in your hand than a cop on the phone."
Such full-throated embrace of the Second Amendment as a crime-fighting tool isn't confined to red states like Florida.

One California police chief is backing teachers in his district packing heat. Detroit Police Chief James Craig has been a leader in urging his community to arm itself. A Maryland sheriff is working with the state’s general assembly to try to make it easier for citizens to obtain handgun permits.

In the Law Center to Prevent Gun Violence’s most recent ranking of states with the strongest gun laws, California (1), Maryland (4) and Michigan (15) ranked near the top of the pack.

Some gun rights advocates say terror attacks at home and abroad have contributed to a change in attitudes about gun ownership among community members and authorities, even in locales historically hostile towards the Second Amendment.
“That has helped play into it, and there’s no doubt the active shooter scenario has, too,” said Alan Gottlieb, founder of the Second Amendment Foundation. “You’re seeing people say, ‘How do you respond?’”
The answer varies based on where you live, and how your law enforcement leaders are selected.

Police chiefs are typically appointed by mayors, and their politics tend to line up with whoever chose them. Sheriffs, in contrast, are voted into office and in some cases espouse values of a constituency that is growing ever-more pro-gun.
“Historically, sheriffs have been very pro-gun rights,” Gottlieb told FoxNews.com. “But they’ve stepped out of the box and they’re now publicly making it known that firearms are good for self-defense.”
In Oklahoma, Garvin County Sheriff Larry Rhodes and Creek County Sheriff John Davis have each recently reduced costs associated with getting a gun license. Davis is also keeping administrative offices open longer on weekends to allow more people to apply.
“As a result of the ever-increasing violence being committed upon the American citizen and the current state of our country, I encourage each citizen of Creek County who is legally able to fully utilize their Second Amendment right ‘to keep and bear arms,’ as legally prescribed by the Oklahoma Defense Act,” Davis said in a statement.
Rhodes said his plan made simple fiscal sense.
“The benefits of people getting their license, carrying lawfully, certainly outweigh the money I would lose,” he told KFOR.
In Florida, several sheriffs are playing the role of pitchman for an armed populace.
Brevard County Sheriff Wayne Ivey has told citizens they must be “that first line of defense,” according to Florida Today. Marion County Sheriff Chris Blair told the Tampa Tribune, “If you are certified to carry a gun, I would like to encourage you to do so.”
In Wisconsin, Milwaukee County Sheriff David Clarke is one of the more visible pro-gun faces.
“I want as many law-abiding citizens to arm themselves in this county as we can get so that I have the partner that I need to beat back this sort of violence,” Clarke said during an interview on “Hannity” last week.
The attitude of sheriffs like Clarke and Judd is, at least in-part, a response to the attitudes of the people they serve.
“There’s no doubt at this point it’s consumer-driven to a large extent,” Gottlieb said. “Because they’re elected, they have to make their constituents happy. We’ve seen a record number of firearms sold. And people come in to get permits to carry, and you want to be customer-service friendly, and you want to make it easier – or you might not get re-elected.”
The number of concealed handgun permits soared from 4.6 million in 2007 to 12.8 million in 2015, according to the Crime Prevention Research Center. Those numbers match an evolution in the general public’s attitude toward guns. Just 35 percent of respondents in an August 2000 Gallup poll said they felt safer with a gun in the house. That rose to 42 percent in 2004, 47 percent in 2006 and 63 percent in 2014.
“There is momentum in the country for expanding the right to carry,” New York University Law Professor James Jacobs told FoxNews.com. “But the people who are leading the charge on gun control, they say momentum is changing in their direction. There seems to be a real disconnect here in terms of peoples’ perceptions of what the trends are.”

January 12, 2016

Shadow Government Wants to Seize All Weapons, Including Personal Citizen-owned Conventional Firearms Used for Hunting and Self Defense, and Draw Down the U.S. Military Under an "International Agreement to Establish an Effective System of International Control," a "UN Peace Force"

The UN Programme of Action (PoA) and the UN Arms Trade Treaty (ATT) are arms control processes that take place within the framework of the United Nations. They are developed and advanced by the 193 UN Member States; however, elements of the two processes and what they aim to achieve are very different. Click here for a chart that outlines and clarifies some of the major differences between the PoA and the UN ATT.

The ATT passed by a huge majority on April 2, 2013. The U.S. signed the treaty on September 23, 2013. In the U.S., the biggest pro-gun lobby group, the National Rifle Association, vowed to fight against ratification of the treaty by the Senate, although the UN says the treaty does nothing to interfere with domestic firearms legislation. However, a comprehensive ATT would cover all conventional arms, including small arms and light weapons and possibly ammunition.

On the last day of the Arms Trade Treaty conference, which began in March 2013, the North Lawn building buzzed with reporters seeking perspectives. There were Russian and Arab TV crews, Japanese magazine journalists, and writers from at least half a dozen African publications. The U.S. media presence, hailing from the world's largest arms exporter, was harder to find. Which is to say, it was nearly impossible to find. In two weeks of commingling with ATT delegates and observers, the only American reporters I met were Ginny Simone, the face of NRA News, and Richard Johnson, a freelancer who has covered the U.N. since Brezhnev, most recently for an obscure website called South-South News. "In terms of media, it's gotten pretty sleepy around here," said Johnson, before recounting the glory days of the 1970s. "Now it's more about Twitter than press conferences. The institutional media only flocks when North Korea does something, or there's drama in the Security Council."  This lack of media presence was reflected in the pages of the nation's largest newspapers, which largely ignored the treaty negotiations. The Washington Post was a no-show. So was The Wall Street Journal. The Los Angeles Times reported from the West Coast on a State Department press release and published a story on the treaty's passage credited to "Times Staff and Wire Reports." [Alexander Zaitchik, Media Matters, April 3, 2013]

On December 4, 2015, the Zionist-controlled New York Times called for the confiscation of firearms from U.S. citizens in a bombshell front-page editorial—the first one in almost 100 years.

Treason: The Disarmament of the United States, and the Declaration of World Government [Excerpt]

October 30, 2013

Timothy A. Pope - CFR member and Judge Advocate General of the US Navy Admiral Chester Ward wrote:
"The main purpose of the CFR is promoting the disarmament of US sovereignty and national dependence and submergence into an all powerful, one world government." 
This high ranking military officer went on to explain their procedures for influencing policy, claiming:
"Once the ruling members of the CFR shadow government have decided that the US government should adopt a particular policy, the very substantial research facilities of the CFR are put to work to develop arguments, intellectual and emotional, to support the new policy and to confound and discredit, intellectually and politically, any opposition."
And that is precisely what is now happening among the ranks of our military command structure. The shake-up (identification, vilification and nullification) of all flag officers and other ranking commanders loyal to the Republic and the US Constitution who will not outwardly go along with the one world government—the main opposition force—are being confounded, discredited and removed.

One world government, you say?

On February 17, 1950, James Paul Warburg, founder of the United World Federalists, who helped fund Hitler's rise to power during the Nazi's Third Reich, confidently declared to the United States Senate:
"We shall have World Government, whether or not we like it. The only question is whether World Government will be achieved by conquest or consent." 
In America, the original seeds of world government were planted by Truman in the US Public Law 87-297 Arms Control and Disarmament Act. Look it up.

January 10, 2016

The Three World Wars Fomented by the Illuminati

In 1784, “an act of God” placed the Bavarian government in possession of evidence which proved the existence of the continuing Luciferian Conspiracy.  Adam Weishaupt, a Jesuit-trained professor of canon law, defected from Christianity and embraced the Luciferian ideology while teaching in Ingoldstadt University.  In 1770, the money lenders, who had recently organized the House of Rothschild, retained him to revise and modernize the age-old ‘protocols’ designed to give the Synagogue of Satan ultimate world domination so they, by use of satanic despotism, can impose the Luciferian ideology upon what remains of the Human Race after the final social cataclysm. Weishaupt completed his task on May 1st, 1776.

The plan required the destruction of ALL existing governments and religions.  This objective was to be reached by dividing the masses, whom he termed Goyim (meaning human cattle), into opposing camps in ever increasing numbers on political, racial, social, economic and other issues.  The opposing sides were then to be armed and an ‘incident’ provided which would cause them to fight and weaken themselves as they destroyed National Governments and Religious Institutions.

In 1776, Weishaupt organized the Illuminati to put the plot into execution.  The word Illuminati is derived from Lucifer, and means ‘holders of the light’.  Using the lie that his objective was to bring about a one world government to enable men with proven mental ability to govern the world, he recruited about two thousand followers.  These included the most intelligent men in the field of Arts and Letters, education, the sciences, finance and industry.  He then established Lodges of the Grand Orient to be their secret headquarters.

Weishaupt’s revised plan required his Illuminati to do the following things to help them accomplish their purpose.

Armed Turkish Jets Infiltrate Greek Airspace, Adding to the More Than 1,300 Airspace Violations Last Year Around the Greek Islands in the Aegean Sea

Armed Turkish Jets Infiltrate Greek Territory As NATO Members Continue Old Feud

January 8, 2016

IBT - Greece accused Turkey of infiltrating its airspace late Thursday after four jets flew over disputed islands in the northeastern part of the Aegean Sea, according to the Greek Ministry of Defense, which also said that two of the aircraft were armed. The alleged flyover of the islands adds to the centuries-old feud between the two neighboring NATO nations in the Middle East.
“Ankara’s provocative actions are meant to tell the world that Turkey does not recognize the existing air and sea borders in the Eastern Mediterranean,” said Greece’s former deputy military chief of staff Frangoulis Frangos, according to a report Friday by Russian news outlet Sputnik.
The infiltration is the first of 2016 and adds to the more than 1,300 airspace violations that happened last year over a 10-mile airspace zone around the Greek islands in the Aegean Sea that Turkey refuses to recognize. More than 30 of those were directly inside the country's sovereign and non-disputed territory. In all, airspace violations from 2014 had doubled to more than 2,400 in 2015, according to the Sputnik report.

In November a Russian jet was shot down by a Turkish air force F-16 after it allegedly strayed into Turkey from Syria, adding to diplomatic strain between NATO and Russia over conflict in Syria and Ukraine.

January 9, 2016

U.S. Invasion of Iraq in 2003 Upended the Balance of Power in the Mideast; the Single Greatest Threat to America in the Middle East Comes from Radical Sunni Jihadists

Fareed Zakaria: U.S. Should Stay Out Of Islam's Civil War

January 7, 2016

Fareed Zakaria, Investor's Business Daily - Over the last two decades, the United States has approached the Middle East though its own conceptual frameworks — dictatorships vs. democracy, secularism versus religion, order versus chaos. But the most significant trend shaping the region today is something different — Sunnis vs. Shiites.

That sectarian struggle now infects almost every aspect of the region's politics. It has confounded U.S. foreign policy in the past and will continue to limit the ability of America, or any outside power, to stabilize the region.

In his prescient book, "The Shia Revival," Vali Nasr argues that the American invasion of Iraq in 2003 was the tipping point. The U.S. saw itself bringing democracy to Iraq, but people in the region saw something different — the upending of the balance of power.

Sunnis, who make up 85% of Muslims, had long dominated the Arab world, even in Shiite-majority countries like Iraq and Bahrain. But that changed. Iraq, a major Arab state, would now be ruled by Shiites. This rattled other Arab regimes, and their anxieties have only grown since then.

Though there always was tension, Sunnis and Shiites lived in peace, mostly, until recently. In the 1960s and '70s, the only Shiite power, Iran, was ruled by the shah, whose regime was neither religious nor sectarian.

In fact, when the shah was overthrown, the country that first gave him safe harbor was Egypt, the region's largest Sunni power, something unimaginable in today's sectarian atmosphere.

The pivotal shift took place in 1979. The Islamic Revolution in Iran brought to power an aggressively religious ruling class, determined to export its ideas and support Shiites in the region.

That same year, in Saudi Arabia, radicals took over the Grand Mosque in Mecca, proclaiming opposition to the royal family and its lax ways. This scared the Saudis, pushing the regime substantially to the religious right. And Saudi Arabia's governing ideology of Wahhabi Islam was always anti-Shiite. Around the time of its founding, Saudi Arabia demolished Shiite mosques and shrines and spread its view that Shiites are heretics.

As Iran has expanded its influence in Lebanon, Iraq and Syria, Saudi Arabia has responded by adopting an even more sectarian edge to its policies.

A decade ago, Saudi officials spoke of the need to include and empower the country's Shiite minority. Today Saudi Shiites are viewed with suspicion, seen by some as agents of Iran.

In Yemen, a civil war has become a sectarian one. In a report for the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace, Farea Al-Muslimi points out that now the two sides in Yemen refer to each other as "Persians" and "Daeshites" (an Arabic term).

Al-Muslimi writes that "sectarian discourse has become more heated, reorganizing Yemeni society along sectarian lines and rearranging people's relationships to one another on a non-nationalist basis."

Saudi Arabia has real strategic concerns about Iran's influence, especially in Iraq. As Ali al Shihabi, a Saudi banker-turned-writer said to me,
"Southern Iraq is full of Iranian-backed militias. That's just a two-hour drive from Saudi Arabia's oil fields. The kingdom has to be worried."
But the policy of sectarian warfare may be about more than simply geopolitics. Saudi Arabia is facing a series of challenges, from the Islamic State to domestic extremists. The country's large and active social media is dominated by radical Islamists. And as oil prices plunge, government revenues have collapsed, and generous subsidies to people will be hard to sustain. The regime needs greater legitimacy.

Add up last weekend's execution of a prominent Shiite cleric, the break with Iran, the war in Yemen and Saudi policy toward Syria, and you see a more assertive, aggressive and sectarian foreign policy than Saudi Arabia has ever pursued.

The strategy is not without risks, external and internal. About 10% to 15% of Saudi Arabia is Shiite, and they live in the Eastern province, atop the kingdom's oil fields. Neighboring Bahrain and Yemen are now filled with resentful Shiites, who see Saudi Arabia as repressing them. And Iran will surely react to Saudi actions over time.

In general, the U.S. should support Saudi Arabia in resisting Iran's encroachments in the region, but it should not take sides in the broader sectarian struggle. This is someone else's civil war. After all, Washington's principal ally in the fight against the Islamic State is the Shiite dominated-government in Baghdad.

And besides, the single greatest threat to America in the Middle East comes from radical Sunni jihadists — many of whom have drawn inspiration, funding and doctrine from Saudi Arabia. There are very few good guys in this story.

German Politician Says Turkey Needs to be Pressured to Finally Stop Covert Support of ISIS

German MP: West ‘Should Put End’ To Erdogan’s Secret Ties With ISIS

As long as the Turkish President pursues a policy that contributes to the prosperity of terrorists in the Middle East, a resolution on addressing the situation in the region would be extremely difficult, German politician Sahra Wagenknecht said.

Sputnik News - Western countries should exert pressure on Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan and put an end to the secret relations of Ankara and Daesh (also known as Islamic State terrorist group), otherwise the conflict in Syria may escalate, Deputy Chairman of the Left Party Sahra Wagenknecht said in an interview with German magazine Spiegel
“The escalation risks are extremely high,” Wagenknecht said. “There are now 15 countries fighting in Syria, sometimes together, sometimes side by side, sometimes against each other. There is no common strategy,” she added.
According to the politician, the parties involved do not have any consensus regarding their actions. They don’t even have an agreement on the fact that the fight against the Daesh should be of the highest priority. For instance, Turkey has different priorities and maintains ties with jihadists.
“Erdogan has to be put under pressure to finally stop his covert terrorist support and close the Turkish border for the Islamic State,” Wagenknecht said.
At the same time, the German politician stressed that the military intervention plays into the hands of Daesh terrorists, because the airstrikes lead to a large number of civilian casualties, causing hatred and indignation among the local population.
“Germany is involved in a war, the course of which no one can really control,” the German politician stressed.
Since 2014, Daesh militants have seized vast areas in Syria and Iraq, and have declared a caliphate under the rule of Sharia law in territories they control.

After that the US formed a coalition of some 60 nations which has been carrying out airstrikes against the terrorists since September 2014. The mission has not been authorized by the Syrian government or the UN Security Council.

January 8, 2016

Kingdom of Saudi Arabia vs. Islamic Republic of Iran

A proxy war in the Middle-East


The Maghreb and Orient Courier - The Middle East is currently the scene of a huge proxy war involving the oil-rich regional powers. Both countries are the main leaders for their own Muslim faith in the world, Sunni for Saudi Arabia, and Shia for Iran, and are supporting governments, legalized or banned opposition groups, or insurgency groups in those countries where popular protests have emerged in the recent years and have challenged legal powers.

carte 1 octobre D

January 7, 2016

Turkey Positions Itself as the Leader of Sunni Islam in the Mideast; Iranian Media Outlets Link Turkish President to Saudi Executions

Turkey, Which Sought Middle Ground, Enters Saudi-Iranian Dispute

January 8, 2016

New York Times - As the Middle East has descended into bitter sectarian conflict in recent years, Turkey has tried to remain above the fray, posing as an honest broker and peacemaker. Increasingly, though, it is being drawn into the conflict, and its preferred status as disinterested mediator is slowly becoming untenable.

Late Thursday, for example, Turkey said it had summoned the Iranian ambassador to register its objections to reports in Iran’s state-controlled news media linking a visit by President Recep Tayyip Erdogan to Riyadh, Saudi Arabia, late last month to the kingdom’s execution of a Shiite cleric.

The execution of the cleric, Sheikh Nimr al-Nimr, among 47 men put to death on terrorism-related charges, and the subsequent sacking of the Saudi Embassy in Tehran, ruptured relations between the Sunni monarchy in Saudi Arabia and Shiite-led Iran, setting the region on edge.

Turkey, a Sunni-majority country, has pursued an aggressive foreign policy in the Middle East in recent years in an effort to expand its influence and to position itself as the region’s leader of Sunni Islam. In doing so, it has sought to occupy a middle ground in the dispute between Saudi Arabia and Iran. As a number of Sunni-led countries in the region, including Bahrain, Kuwait and the United Arab Emirates, sided with Saudi Arabia, Turkey sought to calm tensions by advocating dialogue and offering itself as a possible mediator.

On Friday, as Iranians throughout the country turned out to protest the sheikh’s execution, chanting “Death to Al Saud,” a reference to the Saudi royal family, Prime Minister Ahmet Davutoglu of Turkey warned that the tensions were “further enhancing antagonism in the region.” At the same time, a spokesman for the Turkish government, Numan Kurtulmus, pointedly noted that Turkey does not have the death penalty — a veiled criticism of Saudi Arabia.

Yet, the rift between Saudi Arabia and Iran is presenting a growing challenge.

While Ankara is trying to rebuild its relationship with Riyadh — fractured during the Arab Spring, when Turkey supported the Muslim Brotherhood in Egypt and Saudi Arabia opposed it — it also seeks to maintain some semblance of a relationship with Iran, despite the two countries supporting opposing sides of the civil war in Syria. Turkey, like Saudi Arabia, has supported Sunni rebels seeking the ouster of President Bashar al-Assad of Syria, while Iran has been one of Mr. Assad’s chief supporters.