Former Military Lawyers: Chelsea Manning Subject To Prosecution For Running For Office

Chelsea Manning has filed to run for Senate as a Democratic candidate in Maryland, but such a run subjects Manning to prosecution for violating Pentagon regulations on political activities, according to former military lawyers.

Manning, the transgender soldier who spent seven years in prison for leaking more than 700,000 sensitive documents to WikiLeaks, recently filed paperwork with the Federal Election Commission and is seeking the Democratic Party’s nomination for the Senate seat in Maryland currently occupied by Democratic Sen. Ben Cardin, a two-term senator.

In a Thursday tweet, Manning posted a certificate of candidacy obtained from the Maryland State Board of Elections, an important and required step in the process of running for Senate. One of the lines of the certificate states: “I am a registered voter and a citizen of Maryland and meet all other requirements for the above listed office.”

The website of the state board shows that Manning filed in Annapolis on Thursday, which is far in advance of the late February deadline and raises the stakes for the Democratic primary in Maryland set to begin at the end of June.

As part of the coverage of Manning’s filing with the FEC and state board, virtually every media organization has declared that Manning is a former Army private. In fact, as the Army confirmed to The Daily Caller News Foundation in September 2017, Manning remains an active-duty soldier, albeit on excess leave and in a non-pay status while his appeal of a general court-martial for violating the Espionage Act and other orders is underway. And as ABC News noted in May 2017, Manning must remain in an active-duty status while the appeal process continues.

Manning was originally sentenced to 35 years in prison, but then-President Barack Obama commuted the sentence as one of his last acts in office, freeing Manning from a military prison in Kansas.

The Army further stated that Manning holds an active-duty identification card and acknowledged his status and access to government health care prior to his release.

While Manning’s felony conviction does not appear to automatically disqualify a run for office, his active-duty status presents a much more troubling issue. Such a status, in other words, has enormous implications for engaging in any kind of political activity, especially a Senate run.

Dru Brenner-Beck, retired Army judge advocate general and president of the National Institute of Military Justice, told The Daily Caller News Foundation that on the face of it, Manning is prohibited by Department of Defense regulations from running for office while serving in an active-duty capacity. The only exception is if Secretary of Defense James Mattis grants explicit permission, a power that cannot be delegated by a secretary to anyone else.

According to Brenner-Beck, the regulation in question is DOD Directive 1344.10 Directive 1344.10, Political Activities by Members of the Armed Forces, dated Feb. 9, 2008, para. 4.2.2.

“That paragraph is punitive and violation of it subjects her to courts-martial for violation of a lawful order or regulation under Article 92,” Brenner-Beck told TheDCNF. “Her activities campaigning for herself and fundraising for herself may also violate other provisions of the DoD Directive, themselves separately punishable under the UCMJ, art. 92.”

Brenner-Beck added that prosecution in this case is a “discretionary decision by her chain of command.”

Victor M. Hansen, law professor at New England Law and former military lawyer, also agreed that Manning’s run for office is legally prohibited and could result in prosecution.

“It’s prohibited for the obvious reason that you don’t want someone serving two masters on active-duty,” Hansen stated. “But in Manning’s case, it’s less of a concern, because she’s on excess leave – she has less connection with the military than GOP Sen. Lindsey Graham did when he was an Air Force reserve judge advocate general and certainly less than Army Lt. Gen. H.R. McMaster does while serving as national security adviser to Donald Trump.”

If the Pentagon declines to prosecute, it’s possible that other active-duty members of the military will assume that running for office or engaging in political campaigns or advocacy in ways that overstep the bounds of regulations won’t be met with much resistance.

But Hansen doesn’t think someone as outlandish as Manning would inspire other active duty service members to violate DOD regulations and run for political office, in addition to other prohibited forms of political involvement. For Hansen, Manning is a bit of an exceptional case.

Brenner-Beck, however, believes that prosecution under the Trump administration is not out of the question because of Trump’s active involvement in disparaging Bowe Bergdahl, who was on trial for desertion and misbehavior before the enemy in Afghanistan. Brenner-Beck believes Bergdahl represents a blatant example of disregarding the principle of avoiding unlawful command influence. Trump blasted Manning in January 2017 after Obama commuted his prison sentence, calling him an “ungrateful traitor” who never should have been released.

Hansen also warned of the possibility of outside pressure on Manning’s chain of command.

“There’s always the risk that somebody could put pressure on that commander or take it to a higher level and prosecute at that level, so there is a risk of unlawful command influence,” Hansen said. “If someone were to decide that we want to bring charges for Manning on this, that would be the very thing I would look into — who made the decision, why, and was there any outside pressures from above.”

According to Hansen, the Army likely wants the issue of Manning to fade away from the public spotlight rather than having a commander take the time to open an investigation.

In his first interview since filing paperwork with the FEC, Manning denied that the run was merely a PR stunt and insisted that despite Cardin’s popularity and strong base of support, he is dead-set on both running and winning.

“We know it’s a real fight ahead of us,” Manning told The Guardian. “We do want to win, but if we lose our principles then winning wouldn’t matter.”

Manning’s main political positions include closing down all prisons, providing free health care and opening U.S. borders to all immigrants.

“We shouldn’t be denying the absolute right to come into the United States,” Manning told the Guardian. “You have a right, everybody does.”

It remains to be seen how other political entities will handle a prohibited run for office. So far, Democratic Sen. Ben Cardin, the incumbent Manning is attempting to challenge, has only stated: “Senator Cardin is looking forward to a vigorous debate of the issues and a robust conversation with Maryland voters.”

Cardin’s office did not respond to a request for comment on Manning’s eligibility to run, neither did the Democratic Party of Maryland.

The Army refused to comment to TheDCNF.

Chelsea Manning did not respond to TheDCNF’s request for comment.

Article posted with permission from The Daily Caller News Foundation

Poll Shows Global Confidence In US Leadership Down – Experts Say It’s Because Of Major Trump Foreign Policy Shakeup

A Gallup poll released Thursday shows that world approval of U.S. leadership has fallen to a historic low during the Trump administration, but some experts believe the low approval rate could be due to the fact that Trump is taking U.S. foreign policy in an “America First” direction.

The poll results indicate that world approval for U.S. leadership is at 30 percent, which is down by almost 20 points since 2016, former President Barack Obama’s last year in office. Particularly large declines in approval took place in countries America counts as close allies in regions like Western Europe.

A total of 43 percent of poll respondents actively disapprove of U.S. leadership.

As noted by Jon Clifton, global managing partner at Gallup, “more people now disapprove of US leadership than approve. This historic low puts the US’s leadership approval rating on par with China’s and sets a new bar for disapproval.”

But what’s notable about the poll is that the respondents are not government officials of other countries, neither are they registered or likely voters of their respective countries. Rather, the sample size is comprised of 1,000 adults aged 15 and older in countries around the world.

But according to James Jay Carafano, vice president for the Kathryn and Shelby Cullom Davis Institute for National Security and Foreign Policy at the Heritage Foundation, the first and foremost point to remember in interpreting the poll is that the views of regular adults regarding U.S. leadership and Trump are far different from the views of governments and heads of state.

“All I can do is speak from the perspective of some one who does not have a dog in the fight and spends most of meeting with representatives of friendly and allied nations and even some heads of state,” Carafano told The Daily Caller News Foundation. “I have been doing this in a sustained way for almost two years now, since before Trump was elected, trying to gauge how they see him and his policies. They don’t see the US the way this poll does. They increasingly are comfortable with his role as a global leader.”

For Carafano, one recent indication of respect for Trump’s leadership is the ongoing development of a key strategic partnership between the U.S., India, Australia and Japan. In Europe, where a lot of criticism stems from, Carafano added that there is “deep appreciation” for the U.S.’s support of NATO and actions taken to counter Russia. He also emphasized that governments evaluate governments in a manner that’s vastly different from the way people evaluate governments.

“People answering these polls are not, I imagine analyzing us the way governments do, they are consuming the global conversation about Trump. That’s a parallel universe to the world of government to government relations,” Carafano said.

But there are other issues with the poll, says Christopher C. Hull, executive vice president of the Center for Security Policy, namely that it’s only been conducted since 2007, so any claims of historic dips have to be placed in proper context. Since the poll has only been live for just over a decade, it only captured the tail end of the Bush administration and the entirety of the Obama administration. So in practical terms, the poll has almost exclusively measured President Barack Obama’s tenure. And for Hull, the way Trump is governing, which is focused more on prioritizing America’s interests and power, is emphatically not how Obama governed.

“First of all, 10 years is a long time, but it’s almost exclusively Barack Obama, and Obama loved being a global citizen,” Hull told TheDCNF.

At a news conference in 2009, Obama compared belief in American exceptionalism to the way Brits believe in British exceptionalism and the Greeks in Greek exceptionalism, characterizing his approach to world affairs, which Trump does not seem to share.

For Hull, given the Trump administration’s track record over the past year and its distinctness from the Obama administration, it should be no surprise that some people are upset.

“The poll is comparable to the result of this: if the free candy store closes, children do not favor the candy store owner. He wasn’t elected to be the global president. He was elected to be the American president. So who freaking cares? What matters is if he’s doing things in the interests of the United States,” Hull said.

Hull also took issue with the use of adults 15 and older in the sample.

“They’re asking children what they think about Donald Trump. Frankly, I don’t care what China’s children think about Donald Trump. What I care about is what America thinks about Donald Trump,” Hull said.

Article posted with permission from The Daily Caller News Foundation

Hypocrisy? Army OK With Transgenders – Claims Fat Recruits In South Are National Security Risk

Editor’s Note: Doesn’t the Army have physical fitness program to deal with this issue?  I thought recruits were required to be performing such things.  Yet, the hypocrisy is the allowing, and even demanding others respect truly mentally ill people who say they are actually women in men’s bodies, but that isn’t considered a “national security risk”?  If you believe the wrath of God is revealed from heaven against all ungodliness (Romans 1:18) and among those things are found to be those who are in rebellion against the Creator, then I’d say our biggest national security threat is not necessarily “fat recruits,” but justifying the very abominations that the Creator condemns.  If you don’t see how that is a national security threat, remember Sodom and Gomorrah (Genesis 19).

The Army draws a disproportionate number of recruits from the South, a region of the country known for high rates of obesity and physical inactivity, which represents a threat to both national security and military readiness.

An Army college in Charleston, S.C., found that recruits from states in the South are usually in poorer physical condition than recruits from other states, according to a study from The Citadel published Tuesday. The findings are not especially surprising given that the South, in general, is known for higher rates of physical inactivity and obesity.

The difficulty, however, is that the Army ends up recruiting a high percentage of soldiers from southern states.

Researchers discovered that Army recruits from the ten state cluster of Alabama, Arkansas, Florida, Georgia, Louisiana, Mississippi, North Carolina, South Carolina, Tennessee, and Texas are significantly less fit and more likely to suffer injuries during training. For example, training-related injuries (TRIs) increased by 22 percent for males and 28 percent for females from these states, compared to the rest of the country.

This injury rate poses a national security risk as TRIs are believed to be the greatest threat to military readiness. These injuries also impose deep fiscal costs. According to the study, every recruit who dropped out due to injury cost the government $31,000 in 2005 dollars.

Moreover, the Veterans Health Administration had to pay out $5.5 billion in 2001 to help military personnel with musculoskeletal injuries, showing yet another area where TRIs cost the system.

“Given the economic and tactical impact of TRIs on military readiness, results from this study demonstrate the disproportionate burden that certain states are having on national security,” the authors note.

Army Recruiting Command has its sights set on recruiting 80,000 new soldiers in 2018 after years of drawdowns. But according to officials, that kind of recruitment goal has never been achieved in the past without changing various Pentagon standards on education, crime, fitness, and drug use, among other indicators, that keep large swathes of the population out of the military.

Only 23 percent of age-eligible people in the United States are qualified to join the military, which is down from 50 percent in World War II, though of course physical fitness is only one reason why applicants are excluded from the military.

Article posted with permission from The Daily Caller News Foundation

Airstrike Rains Down Vengeance on Afghan Insurgents Who Lured US Military Into A Meeting & Wounded Soldier

Taliban-linked insurgents lured the U.S. military to a meeting and then opened fire, wounding a U.S. soldier, but earning the wrath of a coalition airstrike in response.

The insurgents lured a U.S. soldier, an Afghan militia leader and Afghan interpreter to a so-called security meeting on Thursday, according to U.S. Navy Capt. Tom Gresback.

As soon as the meeting finished, the insurgents, disguised as members of a local militia, opened fire, immediately killing the militia leader and wounding the U.S. soldier, The Associated Press reports.

The soldier is in stable condition.

The Taliban told The Associated Press that it had infiltrated the militia months ago in preparation for the attack.

Not long after the attack took place, the U.S.-led coalition struck the insurgent compound in Nangarhar Province, killing 10 insurgents in retribution. More specifically, the mission took place in Mohmand Valley.

Afghan residents have started to relocate back to this area after being forced out in 2015 by the Islamic State of Khorasan.

The Pentagon is planning on sending an extra 1,000 combat advisers to the region, as well as new armed and unarmed drones, in preparation for the fighting season, that begins in the spring. It’s possible to send more military hardware to Afghanistan, due to drawdowns in Iraq and Syria in response to the rapid decline of ISIS, U.S. officials told The Wall Street Journal.

However, there is consternation from U.S. military planners about resource shifting, as they don’t want an insurgency to restart in Iraq and Syria.

Article posted with permission from The Daily Caller News Foundation

ISIS Claims Responsibility For Deadly Attack On Methodist Church In Pakistan

The Islamic State has claimed responsibility for an attack on a Methodist church Sunday in Pakistan, that left at least eight people dead and 30 others injured.

Two suicide bombers attacked the church on Sunday in Quetta, Pakistan, and following the assault, ISIS’ official news agency claimed responsibility, but did not elaborate with any additional details, The New York Times reports.

The two bombers were stopped right at the doors of the church, then one detonated his vest and the other died in a firefight with a security guard.

Had the men entered the sanctuary of the church, the number of casualties could have numbered in the hundreds, as there were about 400 churchgoers in attendance. Two other attackers fled the scene.

Pakistan authorities were quick to condemn the attack.

“Attack of terrorists on Zarghoon road church in Quetta is condemned,” said Mohammad Faisal, spokesman for the Pakistan Ministry of Foreign Affairs. “Pakistan’s resolve against terrorism cannot be deterred by these cowardly acts.”

And yet, not everyone is convinced that Pakistani authorities are fully committed to protecting Christians.

“Law enforcement agencies have badly failed in protecting common citizens, and minorities in particular,” Shamaun Alfred Gill, a Christian political activist in Pakistan, told The New York Times.

“December is a month of Christian religious rituals,” Gill said. “We had demanded the government beef up security for churches all over the country. But they have failed to do so.”

Pakistan officials have refused to admit that ISIS exists on any level.

Christians comprise about two percent of Pakistan’s population.

Article posted with permission from The Daily Caller News Foundation

Pentagon Admits To Creating $22 Million Study On UFOs: “It Was Well-Spent Money”

Editor’s Note:  I’ll bet a whole lot more than $22 million was spent on this project.  The question is, what did they actually discover from the study?

The Pentagon has admitted to establishing a $22 million dollar program to studying unidentified flying objects, otherwise known as UFOs.

According to a report from Politico, Congress, specifically then-Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, instructed the Pentagon in 2007 to create a program called the Advanced Aviation Threat Identification Program.

The purpose of this program, which also had the support of Democratic Sen. Daniel Inouye and Republican Sen. Ted Stevens, was to study reports of UFOs often coming from military pilots. In initial discussions about the program, Stevens himself stated that during his time in the Air Force, he had been followed by a strange aircraft. A former congressional staffer told Politico that one possible reason for interest in the program is the possibility that the Russians or Chinese are behind strange aerial objects that seem to defy the laws of physics with superior flight technology.

The Pentagon has not acknowledged the program’s existence until now, but funding for the program ended in 2012. Nevertheless, there are still some officials with the program who continue to investigate UFO reports, while still maintaining their main duties elsewhere in the department.

Although the program ended in 2012, it has recently come into the spotlight again because of the October resignation of military intelligence official Luis Elizondo, who ran the initiative. In his resignation letter to Secretary of Defense James Mattis, Elizondo complained that the Pentagon wasn’t taking the initiative’s findings seriously. Elizondo said that although he was leaving, there was already a successor at the department to continue the program.

But Pentagon spokeswoman Dana White told Politico that there were other areas that more urgently required funding, which is why the flow of funds ended in 2012.

“The Advanced Aviation Threat Identification Program ended in the 2012 timeframe,” White said. “It was determined that there were other, higher priority issues that merited funding and it was in the best interest of the DoD to make a change.”

“The DoD takes seriously all threats and potential threats to our people, our assets, and our mission and takes action whenever credible information is developed,” White added.

A former official who was aware of Reid’s role in the project said that eventually, even Reid agreed the program was not worth continuing.

“After a while, the consensus was we really couldn’t find anything of substance,” the former official said. “They produced reams of paperwork. After all of that, there was really nothing there that we could find. It all pretty much dissolved from that reason alone—and the interest level was losing steam. We only did it a couple years.”

“There was really nothing there that we could justify using taxpayer money,” the former official continued. “We let it die a slow death. It was well-spent money in the beginning.”

Article posted with permission from The Daily Caller News Foundation

UN Calls For Iraq To Stop Executing Suspected ISIS Members

The United Nations has called on Iraq to stop executing suspected Islamic State militants convicted of terrorism.

UN High Commissioner for Human Rights spokeswoman Liz Throssell told Voice of America on Friday that she’s skeptical of the fairness of the judicial system in Iraq and was not even informed of the executions of 38 men on Thursday until after the fact.

Slightly over three dozen ISIS members were hanged in southern Iraq Thursday after a judge sentenced them to death. Iraq’s justice ministry insisted that all appeals had been exhausted.

The last time the government conducted such a large execution was on Sept. 24, when 42 Muslim extremists were executed on terrorism charges.

“That again just underscores the situation, that suddenly we get sort of word, we get news that there has been a mass execution,” Throssell said. “That goes back to the lack of transparency, the lack of information regarding what is happening to these people.”

Throssell’s office is asking for Iraq to stop all executions, due to a lack of transparency and distrust that Iraq’s judicial system is capable of handing down fair verdicts.

Human Rights Watch and Amnesty International have also accused Iraq of failing to dispense proper justice.

“This raises the prospect of irreversible miscarriages of justice and violations of the right to life,” Throssell said. “The imposition of the death sentence upon the conclusion of a trial in which fair trial provisions have not been respected constitute a violation of the right to life.”

But according to Iraqi officials, concerns about fairness are overblown.

Iraqi Justice Minister Haidar al-Zamili said he “already expects more executions.”

Article posted with permission from The Daily Caller News Foundation

Marine Saves Five People From Drowning In Japan

Marine 1st Lt. John Dixon saved five people from drowning at a beach in Okinawa, Japan, in a heroic act the day after Thanksgiving.

Dixon was walking with his wife Nov. 24 on a seawall in Okinawa when Japanese police, who were trying to find out if some swimmers were in danger, managed to grab his attention.

As soon as Dixon heard screams coming from the ocean, he jumped in while Japanese police called for backup, Marine Corps Times reports.

“That’s when I knew something needed to happen,” Dixon said. “I just jumped in the water and started going out to them as deep as I could without losing my own footing.”

Dixon used his Marine Corps training to avoid being swept away in the ocean, but did not have any extra background experience as a lifeguard.

He threw a life preserver to one of the men and dragged him out of the surf.

“Every once in awhile, you would kind of slip, but I would just lean back toward shore as far as I could and just keep reeling them in as hard as I could,” Dixon said. “There were times where I could feel myself being pulled in the opposite direction out to open water. That’s when I would just readjust my feet and keep trying to do backward stepping as hard as I could until I got them in.”

He continued to fight the current as he pulled the swimmers to safety, in addition to a Japanese police officer who had tried to rescue the swimmers but got caught up in the riptide.

Three of the four original swimmers were American college students, and the fourth was a South Korean woman.

Positive news from the Marine presence in Japan has been somewhat lacking as of late. U.S. military officials have only just allowed troops to drink again after an intoxicated Marine struck an elderly Okinawan’s vehicle while driving a truck.

Article posted with permission from The Daily Caller News Foundation

Pentagon Must Train 23,000 On Gender Dysphoria By January 1

Editor’s Note: Oh, the folly of a military that believes it can enlist mentally ill people who don’t know their own gender and think they can change it at will or through body mutilation.  Has anything really changed here?

The Pentagon must train 23,000 personnel on the subject of transgender individuals before January 1, the date when transgender recruits will be allowed to enlist in the military.

Lernes Hebert, acting deputy assistant secretary of defense for military personnel policy, stated in a court filing that the training will be provided to recruiters at military entrancing processing stations, who will have to understand some of the medical requirements for the recruits, The Washington Examiner reports.

Given all the training necessary, the Pentagon has asked for an emergency delay on the order to accept transgender recruits starting in January.

Federal judge Colleen Kollar-Kotelly denied the delay request Monday, but the Department of Justice has appealed the decision. Former Navy Secretary Ray Mabus, who was the most vocal service head under former President Barack Obama’s administration for diversity, said in a statement to the court he believes the Pentagon is ready to accept transgender recruits.

“Based on my personal knowledge, the services had already completed almost all of the necessary preparation for lifting the accession ban when I left office almost a year ago,” Mabus said.

The danger of a Jan. 1 start date is that the Pentagon may not be able to conduct sufficient screening, according to Hebert.

Although transgender people can apply to enlist in January, not all are automatically eligible.

As part of rules instituted by former Secretary of Defense Ash Carter, applicants who have a history of gender dysphoria have to be “stable without clinically significant distress or impairment in social, occupational, or other important areas of functioning for 18 months.”

Additionally, those applicants have to have completed all their medical treatment prior to signing up and remained in stable in their new gender for 18 months.

Article posted with permission from The Daily Caller News Foundation

NYC Terror Suspect: ‘Trump, You Failed To Protect Your Nation’

Editor’s Note: Actually, this guy failed in his mission because he was an idiot.

New York City terror suspect Akayed Ullah posted “Trump, you failed to protect your nation” on Facebook just prior to executing a botched terror bombing of the subway system.

Ullah, a 27-year-old Bangladeshi who moved to the United States on a family immigrant visa in 2011, attempted to cause major damage Monday morning with a homemade pipe bomb at a bus terminal close to Times Square, but the explosion only injured five people.

A criminal complaint filed Tuesday reveals that prior to the bombing, Ullah made a Facebook post that stated: “Trump you failed to protect your nation,” according to NBC News.

Ullah has so far been charged with material support for a terrorist organization, use of weapons of mass destruction and bombing of a public place. He was not previously known by law enforcement to have any terror ties.

Prosecutors are expected to discuss the charges more in-depth later on Tuesday.

One law enforcement source told CNN that Ullah detonated the bomb because he was upset at Israel’s recent “incursion into Gaza.”

It’s not clear exactly what Ullah meant by that comment, but over the weekend, Israel targeted Gaza with airstrikes in response to rockets fired by Hamas. Those rockets came amid President Donald Trump’s decision to recognize Jerusalem as the capital of Israel.

Article posted with permission from The Daily Caller News Foundation

Putin Declares Victory In Syria, Announces Pullout Of Troops

Russian President Vladimir Putin made a monumental visit to Syria on Monday, declaring victory and also announcing the partial withdrawal of Russian troops from the country.

Putin’s visit to the Heimeimeem air base in Latakia Province marks the first visit of a head of state to Syria since the civil war began seven years ago, The Associated Press reports.

“You have shown the best qualities of a Russian soldier — courage, valor, team spirit, decisiveness and excellent skills,” Putin said during a speech Monday at the base. “The Motherland is proud of you.”

Over the last two years, Russian intervention in the Syrian civil war has turned the tide in favor of the regime of Syrian President Bashar al-Assad with a relatively small number of military assets, specifically 30-50 combat aircraft and 16-40 helicopters.

And unlike the Soviet Union’s intervention in Afghanistan, Russia has achieved essentially all of its goals for the region in roughly two years.

The Syrian government now has control of 90 percent of the country, having beat U.S.-backed rebels groups and the Islamic State into submission with major assistance from Russia and Iran.

“Here in Syria, far away from our borders, you helped the Syrian people to preserve their state and fend off attacks by terrorists,” Putin said. “You have dealt a devastating blow to those who blatantly threatened our country. We will never forget about the victims who fell in the fight against terror both here and in Russia.”

As part of the speech, Putin ordered a withdrawal of a large number of Russian troops.

“Friends, the Motherland is waiting for you,” Putin said. “You are coming back home with victory!”

And yet, some Russian presence will remain at Hemeimeem and the naval installation at Tartus.

Although Putin ordered a similar withdrawal in 2016, a large number of Russian forces remained behind.

Article posted with permission from The Daily Caller News Foundation

Senior Palestinian Official: Vice President Pence Not Welcome In Palestine

Senior Palestinian official Jibril Rajoub said Thursday that U.S. Vice President Mike Pence is not welcome in Palestine.

“In the name of Fatah I say that we will not welcome Trump’s deputy in the Palestinian Territories. He asked to meet (Abbas) on the 19th of this month in Bethlehem, such a meeting will not take place,” Jibril Rajoub said, according to Reuters.

Rajoub is part of Fatah, the ruling political party in Palestine.

Pence was planning a visit to Israel in late December for meetings with Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas regarding the Middle East peace process, The Associated Press reported in October.

If Rajoub is correct, it seems that the planned meeting with Abbas will not take place.

A White House official, however, told Politico that Pence still very much intends to meet with Abbas during his December trip.

This official stated that any attempts to pull out of meetings would be deemed “counterproductive.”

Outrage directed at the U.S. has emerged after President Donald Trump announced recognition of Jerusalem as the capital of Israel and also stated he would begin the process of relocating the U.S. embassy from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem.

“Today, we finally acknowledge the obvious: that Jerusalem is Israel’s capital,” Trump said Wednesday. “This is nothing more or less than a recognition of reality. It is also the right thing to do.”

“After more than two decades of waivers, we are no closer to a lasting peace agreement between Israel and the Palestinians,” Trump added. “It would be folly to assume that repeating the exact same formula would now produce a different or better result.”

Protests have kicked off throughout Israel, specifically in the West Bank, Gaza and Jerusalem.

So far, 49 have been injured after Israeli security forces fired rubber bullets and deployed tear gas in response to protesters who threw rocks at officers and started fires.

Article posted with permission from The Daily Caller News Foundation

Report: VA Hired Doctors With Malpractice Claims, Felony Convictions Against Them

The Department of Veterans Affairs has carried on with the practice of hiring doctors with malpractice claims and felony convictions in their backgrounds.

USA Today investigation has found that the VA’s hiring process for physicians may not be as thorough as it seems.

The hiring process entails license verification and reference-checking, but it appears as though VA officials have some amount of discretion when they discover medical licensing problems, malpractice or felony convictions.

In other words, VA officials can simply disregard sordid pasts and approve hiring of questionable doctors, anyway.

For example, in one case USA Today uncovered, a VA hospital in Muskogee, Oklahoma, brought on a psychiatrist in 2013, despite knowing he had a history of actions taken against his medical license for sexual misconduct, among other things.

This psychiatrist, Stephen Lester Greer, ended up having a sexual relationship with a patient at the VA.

In August, he pleaded guilty to trying to persuade the patient to lie about the relationship.

Another psychiatrist started work at a VA clinic in 2014 in Lafayette, Louisiana, although he had felony convictions on his job application.

The VA overlooked those convictions, but then ran a background check more than a year after his firing. Officials discovered eight arrests, some of which involved drug dealing and burglary.

This unnamed psychiatrist was still allowed to practice until a couple of years ago., at which point the VA was inundated with complaints about patient mistreatment. He was finally fired earlier in 2017.

Infamous psychiatrist David Houlihan, who worked at the Tomah VA in Wisconsin and was known by veterans as the “candy man” for doling out copious amounts of drugs, took on the job in 2002 and then became chief of staff in 2004.

The VA ignored the fact that the Iowa Board of Medicine had stated he became involved with a patient inappropriately and also that he had taken patient medications home.

He was fired in 2015.

Curt Cashour, VA press secretary, told USA Today that the department will examine whether any doctors were hired who should not have been hired.

“We will take the same prompt removal action with any other improper hires we discover,” Cashour said.

The USA Today investigation comes on the heels of a Government Accountability Office report, which determined that the VA failed in 90 percent of cases to report doctors who may be dangerous to a national database.

Article posted with permission from The Daily Caller News Foundation

VA Forced To Take Back VA Medical Center Director Who Retaliated Against, Demeaned Employees

The Department of Veterans Affairs has been forced to rehire Toby Mathew, the former director of the Overton Brooks VA Medical Center in Shreveport, La., after he was fired due to serious retaliation against his staff.

Screenshots of the VA’s internal database system provided to The Daily Caller News Foundation indicate that Toby Mathew is currently working as associate chief officer at the Office of Disability and Medical Assessment, which is part of VA Central Office and located in Houston, Texas.

The VA confirmed that Mathew has been hired back into the system due to a “flawed and outdated civil service personnel system,” but said that he will not be working at the Shreveport VA.

Rather, he will be assigned to the Office of Organizational Excellence.

“The Department of Veterans Affairs had to take back Toby Mathew, the former director of the Overton Brooks VA Medical Center who was removed from duty in February of 2017, as a result of a flawed and outdated civil service personnel system that makes it difficult to remove employees for legitimate reasons,” Curt Cashour, press secretary at the VA, told TheDCNF.

“While VA is returning Mathew, he will not assume his previous duties or perform duties at the Overton Brooks Medical Center.

He is being assigned to the Office of Organizational Excellence, where among his duties, he will be focusing on the GAO High Risk List improvement initiative,” Cashour added.

Cashour noted that the VA will continue looking into Mathew’s initial dismissal with the new authorities provided by the VA Accountability and Whistleblower Protection Act.

President Donald Trump signed the legislation into law in June.

Mathew was first removed from his position as director of the Overton Brooks VA medical center in Louisiana in February 2017, following a detailed investigation into numerous complaints from employees.

He was transferred to a VA job in Mississippi.

An internal VA legal memo from April stated that Mathew was fired on April 13.

The memo stated that it was likely Mathew would file an appeal.

It appears that his appeal has been successful.

An Office of Accountability Report obtained by The Daily Caller News Foundation in July revealed that Mathew engaged in misconduct and mistreated his staff.

The OAR was first initiated in October 2016 into Mathew’s leadership at the Overton Brooks VA medical center. According to investigators, Mathew “belittled, demeaned and mistreated VA employees” to such an extent that “the totality of evidence shows that OBVAMC is clouded by a culture of fear.”

He also slammed doors and other objects, in addition to engaging in retaliation. He moved an employee’s work station after she revealed to him what others were saying about the work environment.

“You all can cry hostile work environment all you want.

Nobody is ever going to believe you,” Mathew said.

Shea Wilkes, whistleblower and social worker at Overton Brooks, told TheDCNF that the VA’s inability to successfully fire Mathew places veterans at risk.

“This recent failure has not only put our Veterans at risk but it has failed its own employees, who like so many before, put their careers and livelihoods at risk to report wrongdoing,” Wilkes said. “While there is a lot of big talk in the political arena about improvements at the VA, those who have been in the fight since the beginning, continue to see the same good ole boys prevailing time and time again despite the continued promises of new beginnings.”

Article posted with permission from The Daily Caller News Foundation

McCain Complains About Trump ‘Politicizing’ Navajo Code Talkers

Editor’s note: This man is such a treasonous disgrace who politicizes everything, including his support for Islamic jihadis that he has helped fund, train and arm.

Republican Sen. John McCain complained Tuesday that President Donald Trump was politicizing Navajo veterans by calling Democratic Sen. Elizabeth Warren “Pocahontas.”

In a Tuesday tweet, McCain blasted Trump for insulting sacrifice of the Navajo code talkers, who served during World War II.

“Our nation owes a debt of gratitude to the Navajo Code Talkers, whose bravery, skill & tenacity helped secure our decisive victory over tyranny & oppression during WWII,” McCain said. “Politicizing these genuine American heroes is an insult to their sacrifice.”

At an event Monday honoring the code talkers, Navajo veterans who transmitted uncrackable messages using their native tongue, Trump made fun of Warren, calling her “Pocahontas.”

“You were here long before any of us were here,” Trump said Monday at a White House event honoring the Navajo veterans. “Although we have a representative in Congress who they say was here a long time ago. They call her ‘Pocahontas.’ But you know what? I like you.”

Warren has been widely mocked for using her self-claimed Native American heritage to gain political advantages.

But in fact, research conducted by genealogist Chris Child has revealed that Warren only had a great-great-great-grandmother who was Cherokee, which would make her just 1/32nd Native American. But the New England Historic Genealogical Society later reversed the finding, saying there is “no proof that Elizabeth Warren’s great-great-great-grandmother O.C. Sarah Smith either is or is not of Cherokee descent.”

Trump first made use of the insult in 2016, when he called her a “lowlife” for faking her heritage.

After the event, Warren blasted Trump for using a “racial slur,” but she did not address the issue of her background.

Article posted with permission from The Daily Caller News Foundation

Number Of US Troops Killed In Plane Crashes Jumps In 2017

The number of U.S. troops killed in plane crashes has jumped in the course of a single year, according to an analysis by Fox News.

This analysis revealed that there has been 22 U.S. military plane crashes in non-combat settings, which is an increase of 38 percent from November 2016. The number of troops dead has increased by 130 percent.

That figure does not even include the recent Navy C-2A Greyhound crash, which occurred Wednesday in the Pacific Ocean as the aircraft was attempting to bring supplies to the USS Ronald Reagan from Japan.

While eight sailors on the plane survived, search and rescue operations for three of the men still missing ended earlier this week. Navy officials told Fox News that they’re focusing on an engine failure in the investigation.

Just two days prior to the Greyhound incident, an Air Force T-38 training aircraft crashed Monday, killing Air Force Capt. Paul J. Barbour. The other pilot managed to eject safely. The Air Force suspects a mechanical failure was at work.

An Army Black Hawk helicopter crashed near Hawaii in August, leading to the deaths of five soldiers.

The Marine Corps, too, has also been hit by tragedy.

A KC-130 transport plane that crashed back in July in Mississippi killed 15 Marines and one sailor, while en route to California from North Carolina.

Secretary of Defense James Mattis has been reticent to directly place the blame for military accidents on budget constraints, but pledged in September to investigate those constraints as a possible factor.

However, during a Nov. 14 hearing on Pentagon nominees, GOP Sen. John McCain, chairman of the Senate Committee on Armed Services, went so far as to say that Congress is “complicit” in the military readiness crisis.

“The military readiness crisis has impacted every service from ship collisions, aircraft crashes and vehicle accidents to personnel shortages in critical roles, like aviation and cybersecurity,” McCain said. “And by the way, the Congress is also complicit in this almost criminal behavior.”

Owing to limited aircraft maintenance, about 70 percent of old F-18 Hornets in the Marine Corps cannot fly. Just 31 percent of Navy F-18 Super Hornets are capable of fighting at a moment’s notice.

Article posted with permission from The Daily Caller News Foundation

Trump To Sign Defense Bill Calling Climate Change A National Security Threat

Editor’s Note:  The NDAA has become nothing more than unconstitutional legislation advancing a communist-style agenda.  It needs to be burned.  President Trump, you said you didn’t agree with this nonsense.  Why are you signing it?

President Donald Trump is expected to sign the annual defense budget bill, that calls climate change a threat to national security.

The National Defense Authorization Act states that climate change is a threat to the Pentagon’s 128 military bases, and now Trump is expected to sign the legislation, despite downplaying and poking fun at climate change in the past, The Washington Examiner reports.

Trump has called climate change a “hoax” and said he’s “not a big believer in man-made climate change.” He’s also stated that “nobody really knows” whether climate change is real.

The final version of the bill mandates the Pentagon produce a report about which bases are most at risk for the effects of climate change and what steps, if any, should be taken to mitigate the damage.

Trump has made of fun of climate change in the past, however, both Democrats and Republicans seem convinced of the phenomenon enough to slide it into the defense bill.

In fact, although Congress has ordered a report in the past, this will be the first report to force the Pentagon to state how it will protect its military installations and what the cost of those efforts will be.

Democratic Rep. Jim Langevin of Rhode Island first forwarded the legislation earlier this year.

“It should come as no surprise that we are discussing climate change as a national security threat during consideration of our annual defense policy bill in the Armed Services Committee,” Langevin said in June. “Numerous leaders from our defense and intelligence communities, appointed by both Democratic and Republican administrations, have acknowledged that a volatile climate is a serious threat to our readiness and to our long-term defense posture.”

Article posted with permission from The Daily Caller News Foundation.

Navy’s New Running Standards Take It Easy On Women – Their Enemies Won’t

The Navy announced Wednesday that new female recruits to the service are going to have to complete a one-and-a-half mile run in 18 minutes, seven seconds.

Male recruits will have to run the same distance in 16 minutes, 10 seconds, and if neither male nor female recruits can pass the initial test, they won’t graduate to further training at the Great Lakes, Ill., boot camp, reports.

“It’s an effort to raise the bar and develop tough, more qualified sailors during basic military training to increase the lethality of the fleet overall,” Navy Lt. Sean Brophy, spokesman for Naval Service Training Command, told

And yet, the standard is not very high, especially for women.

With a pace of about 4.5-5 miles per hour, it’s possible to complete 1.5 miles in 18-20 minutes.

This speed is slightly faster than a very brisk walk.

Although the standard is easy to meet compared to other services, the Navy will still allow potential recruits who fail the test to try their hand at it again within 48 hours.

If they don’t meet the standard at that point in time, they will be cut.

Recruits will still be able to apply to Navy Recruiting Command at a later date, if they so choose.

“All military services have an initial physical fitness standard before recruits can commence basic training,” said Rear Adm. Mike Bernacchi, commander, Naval Service Training Command. “The initial run standard raises the bar at RTC, helping us develop tough, more qualified Sailors during basic military training and send a more lethal force to the fleet.”

Female Marine recruits, on the other hand, have 31 minutes to run three miles and males have to complete the same distance in 28 minutes.

Up until now, the Navy has been the only service without an initial fitness test, but now Navy officials are implementing the new standard, which will come into effect starting Jan. 1, 2018.

Article posted with permission from The Daily Caller News Foundation

Air Force Gives Big Bonuses to Pilots – Pilots Won’t Stay

The Air Force is throwing money at pilots to stay in the service, but the bonuses don’t seem to be reversing the trend of pilots exiting.

Air Force officials hoped that at least 65 percent of eligible pilots would accept the bonuses and remain in the service, but in fiscal year 2015 that number dropped to 55 percent, the Air Force Times reported.

That figure has continued to plummet.

The percentage of eligible pilots accepting bonuses dropped to 48 percent in fiscal year 2016 and in fiscal year 2017 it dipped even lower to 44 percent.

The Air Force is currently trying to combat a deficit of approximately 2,000 pilots, and the only positive results so far is that the decline of pilots rejecting bonuses is starting to slow.

“Any time we’re short of that [65 percent] target, it’s an area of concern,” Air Force spokeswoman Capt. Kate Atanasoff told the Air Force Times. “However, given the continued increase in airline hiring, which is historically our biggest challenge to retention, we’re encouraged that the take rate has not continued to decline at the same rate.”

“We’ll continue to pursue programs that incentivize retention both through quality of life and monetary incentive programs,” she added.

Through the bonus effort, called the Aviation Bonus Program, the Air Force is now handing out $455,000 for pilots who agree to serve an additional 13 years. The highest bonus offer available prior to June was $225,000 over nine years. The benefit is meant to apply principally to fighter pilots, but also extends to drone pilots.

Part of the reason for pilots fleeing the service, according to Atanasoff, is that the Air Force has been conducting continuous operations at breakneck pace since the Gulf War in 1990. And just as the pace has been frenetic, aircraft and manning levels have been trending downward.

Article posted with permission from The Daily Caller News Foundation

DOD Sexual Assault Rate Continues To Fall

The Department of Defense has released data about sexual assault reports for fiscal years 2013-2016, finding the prevalence rate continues to fall.

The latest figures show that the prevalence rate of sexual assault has been on the decline.

For example, the rate for active duty women dropped from 6.1 percent in 2012 to 4.3 percent in 2016.

For men, the rate dropped from 1.2 percent in 2012 to 0.6 percent in 2016.

While the number of reported cases in 2016 is up, this is due to the fact that the Pentagon estimates that 32 percent of service members who suffered from sexual assault in fiscal year 2016 reported the incident to the Sexual Assault Prevention and Response Office or to military law enforcement.

This is an increase from 25 percent in fiscal year 2015, as the military has worked hard over the last several years, in particular, to encourage victims to come forward and report any instances of abuse.

The report breaks down sexual assault rates for each installation, which is the first time this has been done.

In fiscal year 2016, there were a total of 199 reports at Fort Hood, making it the Army base with the largest number of reports.

Naval Station Norfolk represented the Navy with 270 reports.

There were 169 reports from Camp Lejeune in North Carolina, a Marine Corps installation.

The Air Force Academy in Colorado had 44 reports, the highest for the Air Force.

However, Dr. Nate Galbreath, deputy director of the DOD’s Sexual Assault Prevention and Response Office, noted that the location of the incident doesn’t necessarily mean the assault took place at that installation.

Rather, that place is where the incident was reported.

Moreover, the incident could have also taken place before that victim even joined the military.

“One of the features of the department’s reporting program is that service members can report allegations of sexual assault at any time and at any place,” Galbreath said. “As a result, the number of reports listed for an installation doesn’t necessarily mean that the alleged incident occurred there. A report could involve allegations for an incident that occurred while on deployment, while away on leave, or even prior to entering the military. This kind of flexibility allows the department to better meet the department’s goals to increase reporting of sexual assault and decrease the occurrence of the crime through prevention.”

Article posted with permission from The Daily Caller News Foundation

Air Force Accepts Award For Combating Fake Hate Race Incident

The Air Force dutifully accepted an award from the Anti-Defamation League on Monday for combating intolerance, but buried the fact that the recent hysteria over racist writings at its Academy Preparatory School turned out to be a total hoax.

The ceremony took place in San Francisco at the ADL’s Never is Now Summit on Monday, during which time Scott Levin, director of the ADL’s Mountain States’ Region, heaped praise on the Academy for “swiftly, clearly and forcefully accessing the racial slurs at the Air Force Academy Preparatory School.”

Academy Superintendent Lt. Gen. Jay Silveria then accepted the award, according to the Air Force’s press release.

“I can only accept this award on behalf of the faculty, staff and the coaches of the U.S. Air Force Academy,” Silveria said. “They are the ones that everyday teach those values to the cadets. They are the ones who should be really recipients of the award for their teaching tolerance, character, leadership, and integrity.”

Yvonne Roland, the Academy’s director of Culture, Climate and Diversity, said differences should be embraced to cultivate respect and dignity.

“By embracing our differences we help create a culture of respect and dignity,” Roland said. “As an institution of higher education and a military installation, we strive to develop future leaders who can serve our diverse nation. We prepare our cadets to meet the challenges of an ever changing global environment and to value ethics and human dignity.”

Notably, the Air Force’s press release on the subject failed to mention that the incident in question was exposed as a fraud.

In September, five black cadet candidates discovered racial slurs written on their doors.

One of the slurs stated: “Go home n——.”

Such language prompted national outrage.

Silveria delivered a rousing speech, which subsequently went viral for its sternness and overflow of earnestness.

However, an investigation into the incident revealed that one of the black cadet candidates had written the racial slurs.

This cadet candidate had apparently written the slurs to distract from misconduct he committed while at the Academy.

That individual is no longer at the school.

For Silveria, who then spoke at the ADL’s conference, the fact that the incident turned out to be a hoax is essentially irrelevant to the point he made during his original Academy speech.

“There have been a few that are very vocal that have come back to me that have suggested that maybe my words were over the top, that maybe my words are now null and void, or perhaps that my words are inappropriate because one of those students actually wrote it on there themselves, and I tell you, I disagree,” Silveria said.

The audience erupted in applause.

“Thank you. Because regardless of who wrote the words, regardless of the circumstances, regardless of who put that slur on the wall, it was written,” Silveria said. “Whoever wrote it, it was still written. And so, dignity and respect cannot be overemphasized.”

Neither the Air Force nor the ADL responded to requests for comment from The Daily Caller News Foundation.

Article posted with permission from The Daily Caller News Foundation

Former Army Reservist Confesses To Escaping Prison, Stealing Guns And Trying To Rob Banks

Former Army reservist James W. Morales pleaded guilty Monday to stealing firearms, escaping prison and trying to rob two banks.

Morales started his crime spree back in late 2015, when he stole weapons from the Lincoln Stoddard United States Army Reserve Center in Worcester, Mass., subsequently escaped prison and then tried to rob two banks, The Boston Globe reports.

He stole six M-4 carbines and 10 M-11 handguns from the Army Reserve Center in total after obtaining access to the building through a kitchen window, but authorities quickly arrested him four days later in New York.

He then managed to escape on Dec. 31, 2016, from the Donald W. Wyatt Detention Facility in Rhode Island by “climbing a basketball hoop, jumping onto a roof, and going through a barbed wire fence.”

Police arrested him again after he tried to rob two banks.

At one of the banks, Morales demanded the teller hand over cash.

The teller refused, and Morales stated in response: “Okay, have yourself a nice day.”

Morales’ sentencing hearing is set for Feb. 8. Morales could serve up to 15 years in prison based on the charges filed against him and the plea agreement reached between prosecutor and defense, but Judge Timothy S. Hillman still has to agree.

It’s still possible that Hillman could sentence Morales to 90 years in prison, which is the maximum sentence for all the charges involved in the case.

Article posted with permission from The Daily Caller News Foundation

Military Readiness Think Tank: Army Should Not Be Giving Waivers To Self-Mutilators

Editor’s Note:  Isn’t this exactly the same kinds of people who want to undergo “sex reassignment surgery”?  Aren’t those people self-mutilators, just asking for a doctor’s help in doing it?  Seriously, those leading our military have some serious logical and moral issues.

A military policy organization has decried the U.S. Army’s decision to make it easier to issue recruit waivers for self-mutilation and other serious mental health issues.

Elaine Donnelly, founder and president of the Center for Military Readiness, told The Daily Caller News Foundation that although the Army is now insisting that there hasn’t been any reversal of the ban on recruits with serious mental health issues or a history of self-mutilation, the fact is that the Army shouldn’t be issuing any waivers for these conditions at all.

“In a military environment, these and other behaviors have been disqualifying, due to negative consequences for morale and readiness, plus elevated tensions and risks for everyone,” Donnelly said.

The Army has shot back against a recent USA Today story pointing out that in August, the Army quietly allowed recruits, who have engaged in self-mutilation or suffer from other mental health issues, to seek waivers. The ban on waivers was originally imposed in 2009 after a wave of troop suicides.

But Army Lt. Gen. Thomas Seamands, deputy chief of staff for personnel, said that despite USA Today’s story, no outright bans on enlistment were lifted.

“Recent reports that the Army has changed medical entrance standards for those with mental health issues are inaccurate,” Seamands wrote, according to Army Times. “The Army has made no such policy change and follows the accession standards prescribed by the Department of Defense.”

Rather, Seamands noted that the Army Recruiting Command, instead of Army headquarters, will now grant waivers in certain cases to those with a history of self-mutilation and other mental health issues.

“Unfortunately, this simple, administrative change has been substantially misinterpreted,” Seamands said.

However, Army officials, regardless of level of authority, should not be granting waivers for potential recruits with drug and alcohol abuse or serious mental health issues, according to Donnelly. What this reflects is a desperation for more recruits, meaning that the number of qualified recruits applying to join the Army is clearly declining.

Downgrading the authority to issue the waivers from Army headquarters to Recruiting Command also makes it more likely that waivers will be issued.

Former Army physician Mike Simpson, who served more than three decades in the military and deployed to 17 different countries, believes that the move making it easier to issue waivers is “the exact opposite of what we should be doing.”

Simpson told The Daily Caller News Foundation that many mental health problems that are barely noticed in civilian life fully erupt in active service because of the stresses of the job.

Few people would argue that military life isn’t stressful. It can expose any weakness in a person’s mental armor,” Simpson said. “This is particularly true today, as we are engaged in a dynamic and asymmetrical war on terror throughout the globe. Today, more than ever, we need to be recruiting the most mentally and physically resilient recruits possible for our military. Now is not a time to lower standards. On the contrary, mental and psychological screening should be even more stringent.”

Article posted with permission from The Daily Caller News Foundation

Russia Considers Designating CNN, Voice Of America As Foreign Agents

Editor’s Note:  Well, Many Americans have already designated CNN as foreign agents, referring to them as the Communist News Network due to their Communist leanings and complete fabrication of stories.

Russia is considering designating CNN, Voice of America and Radio Liberty as foreign agents, now that the U.S. has forced state-run RT to register as a foreign agent.

Russian officials said Friday that they’re thinking of making private and government-run American media entities register as foreign agents, which is exactly what Russia warned it would do if American authorities moved to censure RT, The New York Times reports. Such a move could prevent CNN and other U.S. state-owned media entities from operating or distributing content in certain areas.

RT editor-in-chief Margarita Simonyan signaled her intent to comply Thursday, saying that the state-run company would, for now, give in to U.S. demands to avoid bank account freezes and disclosures of personal employee information. Simonyan believes the application of the Foreign Agents Registration Act to RT America is discriminatory. The deadline to register is Monday.

“We believe that the demand does not only go against the law, and we will prove it in court – the demand is discriminative, it contradicts both the democracy and freedom of speech principles,” Simonyan said. “It deprives us of fair competition with other international channels, which are not registered as foreign agents.”

Simonyan said that while 400 entities are registered under FARA, not a single one of those entities is a media outlet.

The crackdown on RT has come in response to continued investigations into Russian interference in the 2016 U.S. presidential election. The U.S. intelligence community believes RT, formerly known as Russia Today, to be little more than a propaganda outlet. A January report from the Director of National Intelligence stated that RT “contributed to the influence campaign by serving as a platform for Kremlin messaging to Russian and international audiences.”

Russian Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Maria Zakharova pledged Thursday that Russia will hit back against any actions designed to attack RT.

“If someone starts to fight dirty, perverting the law by using it as a tool to eradicate the TV station, every move aimed against the Russian media outlet would be repaid in kind,” Zakharova said.

It’s unclear whether Russia will follow through on its threat or not.

Article posted with permission from The Daily Caller News Foundation

Fort Bragg Warns About Homicidal Former Lieutenant Kicked Out Of Military

Fort Bragg officials have issued a warning about former Army Lt. Col. Anna Heres, saying Thursday that she is armed, dangerous and has possible homicidal intentions.

The warning was directed towards staff on the military installation, particularly those working at the Womack Army medical center and also Warrior Transition Battalion employees, The News & Observer reports.

The flier stated that 50-year-old Heres was “recently separated from the military against her will and expressed homicidal intentions as an active shooter.”

There is a reason for the threat to be credible, according to the flier, as Heres is “familiar with weapons.”

Although Heres is banned from the base, she “may seek entry through deceptive means and has done so in the past year.”

Officials clarified that the warning they sent is not relevant to the general public, since Heres is only a threat to several individuals on base and not the base as a whole.

Heres is a black female about 5 feet, 4 inches and weighs 120 pounds.

It’s unclear why she was separated from the military.

Article posted with permission from The Daily Caller News Foundation

On Veterans Day, Vets & Americans Don’t Believe US Foreign Policy Makes US Safer

A new poll in advance of Veterans’ Day shows that vets and Americans don’t believe U.S. foreign policy has made the country safer.

The poll, released by RealClearPolitics and the Charles Koch Institute on Thursday, shows many Americans and veterans believe U.S. foreign policy has made the country less safe over the last 20 years and aren’t even sure about where troops are deployed.

For example, 41 percent of veterans, when asked about the effects of U.S. foreign policy over the last 20 years, said that it made the country less safe, while 35 percent said the country was safer.

A total of 19 percent said safety levels remained the same. Among the general population, 43 percent said the effects of U.S. foreign policy made the country less safe, while only 28 percent said safer.

Veterans also don’t seem to believe that U.S. foreign policy made the world safer, either, as 40 percent reported that the world has become less safe over the last 20 years.

The same figure held true for the general population.

Both the general public and veterans also think that threat posed by terrorism to the U.S. has markedly increased over the same time period.

A total of 71 percent of veterans said there are more terrorists threatening the U.S., while just 9 percent said there were fewer.

The general population, at 71 percent, also believes there are more threats from terrorists.

Interestingly, the poll revealed a tension between opinions of U.S. foreign policy and opinions of military engagement.

As such, while many veterans and civilians don’t believe U.S. foreign policy has made either the country or the world safer, 40 percent of veterans said that more military engagement would make America safer and just 34 percent said less safe.

Among the general population, however, 41 percent said more military engagement would make the U.S. less safe and only 27 percent said safer.

Interestingly, in one specific case of potential intervention, 47 percent of veterans said that military intervention in North Korea would make the already volatile situation even more dangerous. And 57 percent of the general population agreed.

“Americans are unclear of all the places where the U.S. military is engaged, concerned about whether our foreign policy has been making us safer, and wary of war with North Korea.

These views are also shared by veterans,” Will Ruger, vice president for research and policy at the Charles Koch Institute, said in a statement. “This survey shows that veterans are actually a diverse group when it comes to issues of using force abroad. They aren’t all enthusiastic about relying on military power to solve problems, as is sometimes stereotypically assumed.”

Many veterans and Americans also have no real idea about where U.S. troops are deployed abroad.

The recent revelations of troops in Niger, which many members of Congress even professed bafflement about, were unknown to 71 percent of the general public and 55 percent of veterans.

The survey was conducted from Oct. 26 to Oct. 31 and relied on a sample size of 1,000 Americans, 500 of whom are either active-duty service members or veterans.

The margin of error for the general population is plus or minus four percentage points.

Article posted with permission from The Daily Caller News Foundation

US Begins First Airstrikes On ISIS In Somalia

Editor’s Note:  And where is the constitutional authority for this?  Did Congress declare war?  This is ridiculous that we just start bombing wherever we like without congressional authorization, and if you give me the “open-ended” mess in the war on terror and the War Powers Act, you must not understand the reason for the separation of powers and the limiting of the president as commander-in-chief until the armed forces are actually called up in the service of the united States by Congress (Art. II, Sec. 2, cl.1).  If you think otherwise, then you have to understand that you are siding with those who think they can write a law that undermines the Constitution and it is justified.

The U.S. has begun its first airstrikes against the Islamic State in Somalia, expanding the number of countries where it’s hitting the terror group.

The U.S. launched two airstrikes Friday in Somalia, killing numerous terrorists, which comes a day after President Donald Trump said he would increase airstrikes and other operations against ISIS, following the terrorist attack in New York City perpetrated by Sayfullo Saipov that claimed eight lives.

“They claimed him as a soldier, good luck,” Trump said Friday in response to reports that ISIS claimed responsibility for the attack. “Every time they hit us, we know it’s ISIS, we hit them like you folks won’t believe.”

Currently, the pro-ISIS affiliate operating in northeastern Somalia is run by Sheikh Abdulkadir Mumin, who pledged allegiance to Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi in 2015.

“U.S. forces will continue to use all authorized and appropriate measures to protect Americans and to disable terrorist threats,” U.S. Africa Command said in a statement. “This includes partnering with AMISOM and Somali National Security Forces (SNSF); targeting terrorists, their training camps and safe havens throughout Somalia, the region and around the world.”

The strike also comes after the attack launched by an ISIS affiliate in Niger. Militants ambushed Green Berets on Oct. 4 and killed four soldiers using small arms and rocket-propelled grenades.

Africa Command is still assessing the results of the strike.

Article posted with permission from The Daily Caller News Foundation

NYC Islamic Jihadist Bragged About Attack In Hospital

New York City terror suspect Sayfullo Saipov said he was proud of the attack in Manhattan Tuesday and bragged about its success from his hospital bed.

Saipov told police he refused to apologize for the attack and was in fact very proud of what he had done, saying that if he hadn’t crashed into a school bus, he would’ve continued the attack further, CBS News reports.

Saipov drove a rental truck onto a bicycle path alongside the Hudson River on Tuesday afternoon, and mowed down pedestrians, killing eight people and injuring about a dozen others.

After hitting pedestrians and crashing into a bus, he got out of his truck, screamed “Allahu Akbar” and brandished imitation firearms, at which point police shot him in the abdomen and then took him to a local hospital for treatment. He is now out of surgery and will likely survive.

Police found a note near the truck in English stating that the attack was done on behalf of the Islamic State, though ISIS has not yet officially made any claims of responsibility.

Saipov is an Uzbek national who moved to the U.S. in 2010 and obtained a green card as part of the Diversity Visa Program.

He’s lived in various regions of the country.

Law enforcement sources told CNN that his most recent location was New Jersey.

Notably, Saipov was interviewed by authorities in 2015 because he was a point of contact for two men on a counterterrorism list.

He nevertheless passed the background check for Uber but has since been banned from the app.

Article posted with permission from The Daily Caller News Foundation

Navy SEAL Team 6 Under Investigation In Strangling Of Green Beret

The Navy is investigating two members from Navy SEAL Team 6 to find out whether or not they strangled a Green Beret to death in Mali.

Army Green Beret Staff Sgt. Logan J. Melgar was discovered dead in embassy housing in Mali in June, and his superiors immediately believed there to be foul play at work, which led investigators to subsequently declare the death a homicide by strangulation, The New York Times reports.

The first investigator was dispatched to Mali within 24 hours.

Shortly after the death, two Navy SEALs were taken out of Mali and put on administrative leave. At first, the SEALs were merely “witnesses,” but investigators soon changed that status to “persons of interest.”

Army Criminal Investigation Command looked into the case for several months before passing it off to the Naval Criminal Investigative Service (NCIS).

At this point, it’s not clear why Melgar was killed, and NCIS has been mum on the current investigation. Speculation has revolved around the possibility of a housing dispute gone horribly wrong, or the possibility that Melgar stumbled upon illicit activities the SEALs were trying to cover up.

“NCIS does not discuss the details of ongoing investigations,” NCIS spokesman Ed Buice told The Times.

News of the suspicious death has come about amid a troubling incident in Niger, in which four Green Berets were killed in an ambush by up to 50 Islamic State-affiliated fighters armed with small arms, mortars and rocket-propelled grenades.

Like in the case of Niger, special operators from the Army and Navy are deployed to Mali to assist local forces with training and counterterrorism projects.

Article posted with permission from The Daily Caller News Foundation.

First American Citizen To Be Convicted Of Joining ISIS Gets 20 Years

The first American citizen to be convicted of successfully joining the Islamic State has been sentenced to 20 years in prison.

Mohamad Khweis, unlike the dozens of other people in the United States who failed to join ISIS and were subsequently charged, actually made it to  Syria, but after just three months tried to escape and was captured by Kurdish forces, The Washington Post reports.

Khweis is an interesting case for numerous reasons.

First, there was no particular event or friend who ignited his radicalization.

Second, he successfully made it to Syria via Turkey.

And third, he came from a secular home that was stable.

His life before joining the caliphate was unremarkable.

He obtained an associate’s degree in criminal justice and worked as a bus driver in Alexandria, Va.

He also abused marijuana over the past few years.

Khweis’ defense attorney said Friday that even he has no idea what caused Khweis to join ISIS.

“It’s difficult to understand,” defense attorney John Zwerling said Friday. “We don’t really know what caused him to travel to Syria.”

From the very start of his trial, Khweis said he regretted his actions and said his decision to join ISIS in December 2015 was a drunken one.

“I hated myself for making the worst decision I ever made,” Khweis wrote to the judge in a letter. “I ruined my life and my family’s life.”

Prosecutors, who pushed for 35 years in prison, accused Khweis of lying repeatedly over the last 15 months of the trial.

When Khweis was first captured in Iraq in March 2016, he told the FBI that he was following a young woman.

However, that young woman didn’t exist.

“This defendant executed his plan to perfection,” prosecutor Dennis Fitzpatrick said. “He got into the Islamic State. He was in their machinery. He was providing himself and his services to the organization.”

Article posted with permission from The Daily Caller News Foundation

Military Officials Requested Armed Drone For Green Beret Team Ambushed by Jihadis, But Were Denied

U.S. military officials wanted an armed drone to accompany Green Berets in Niger before the ambush took place, but their request was denied.

The Green Beret team, ambushed by up to 50 fighters that were part of an Islamic State-affiliate, belonged to a larger mission that may have been more dangerous than the original one, which Pentagon officials have maintained was believed to be low-risk, The Wall Street Journal reports.

In reality, the threat situation escalated to the point where military officials thought an armed drone was warranted, and unfortunately, the Green Beret team was subsequently hit by an ambush of ISIS-affiliated fighters, who made use of rocket-propelled grenades, mortars and small arms.

However, that request was blocked. The chain of approval for an armed drone includes the Pentagon, State Department and Nigerien government. The fact that a request ever existed in the first place indicates that military officials believed this particular mission to be more dangerous than other previous ones, which occurred without major incident. U.S. forces have operated in the area for the past year without being attacked.

A military official told The Wall Street Journal that the investigation into what led to the deaths of four Green Berets will look at two notable changes in the mission. First, the Green Beret team was supposed to train and advise local Nigerien forces, but then they began advising on how to capture or kill a terrorist. The second change was that the Green Beret team ended up investigating an abandoned camp left by the terrorist, who has been described as a senior recruiter for ISIS. ABC News reports that the target has been code-named Naylor Road and is a top-three objective on the list in Niger. He was neither captured, nor killed Oct. 4.

Once the camp was destroyed Oct. 4, the Green Berets and local Nigerien forces were ambushed, resulting in four dead Americans and five dead Nigeriens.

Heather Nauert, spokeswoman for the State Department, stated that no diplomats blocked a request for a military drone.

“The U.S. ambassador in Niger did not deny support or protection for military personnel involved in the October 4 ambush,” Nauert said. “The ambassador supported all efforts to ensure the safety of our military colleagues in the field.”

It’s unclear at this time who blocked the request.

Article posted with permission from The Daily Caller News Foundation

McCain: The US Needs To Back The Kurds Over Iranian-Supported Militias

Editor’s Note:  If by backing, McCain means we need to send money and weapons, I completely disagree.  If he means morally supporting the Kurds, fine.  However, when it comes to America’s foreign policy, McCain’s opinion isn’t worth the air it took to give it.

GOP Sen. John McCain is pushing for the U.S. to take the side of the Kurds in the ongoing Iraqi-Kurdish conflict that recently culminated in the Iraqi seizure of Kirkuk.

In a Tuesday op-ed in The New York Times, McCain reiterated the importance of the U.S.’s friendship with the Kurds and how disturbed he was at the brief and recent firefight between Kurdish and Iraqi forces, which led to Iraqi forces and Iranian-backed militias taking control of Kirkuk.

For McCain, the recent takeover is a noxious combination of undue Iranian influence in Iraq and also Iraqi forces reportedly using U.S.-provided arms in the fight. CIA Director Mike Pompeo said at a recent event that he was aware that Qassim Soleimani, a senior commander of the Iranian Revolutionary Guard Corps, was present in Kirkuk during the attack.

This led McCain to issue a veiled warning to the Iraqi government.

“Let me be clear: If Baghdad cannot guarantee the Kurdish people in Iraq the security, freedom and opportunities they desire, and if the United States is forced to choose between Iranian-backed militias and our longstanding Kurdish partners, I choose the Kurds,” McCain wrote.

Part of the reason for the clash, according to McCain, is because of the gradual end of American power and influence in the region, which is creating a vacuum in the Middle East slowly being filled by Iran and Russia. McCain argued that reversing the trend starts with backing the Kurds to push back against creeping Iranian influence in Iraq.

“If we keep sleepwalking on our current trajectory, we could wake up in the near future and find that American influence has been pushed out of one of the most important parts of the world,” McCain wrote. “That is why Americans need to care about what is going on in the Middle East right now. That is why we need to stick with our true friends, like the Kurds. And that is why, now more than ever, we need a strategy that lifts our sights above the tactical level and separates the urgent from the truly important.”

Article posted with permission from The Daily Caller News Foundation

Green Berets Ambushed By Jihadis While Chasing ISIS Recruiter

Army Green Berets were chasing after an unnamed Islamic State recruiter in Niger when they were caught in an ambush Oct. 4.

U.S. officials told NBC News that the soldiers came under fire from Islamic State-affiliated fighters when they were attempting to catch a senior ISIS recruiter in Niger.

The Green Berets did not succeed.

Instead, four Green Berets died and two more were wounded. Five Nigerian troops also died.

The U.S. did not obtain the body of Army Sgt. La David Johnson, which was discovered a mile away from the ambush, until two days after the attack.

The militants on vehicles and motor bikes used small arms and rocket-propelled grenades.

The Pentagon is still trying to find out exactly what went wrong during the operation. Marine Gen. Joseph Dunford, chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, said Monday that intelligence believed the original reconnaissance mission was low-risk.

It’s unclear whether the unit received authorization to chase the recruiter.

“It was an ISIS affiliated group,” Dunford said. “ISIS and Al Qaeda try to leverage local insurgencies and connect those insurgencies globally.”

“Is this a dangerous area? Yeah,” Dunford added. “We’re there because ISIS and Al Qaeda are there.”

Interestingly, the call for help from the Green Berets came only after an hour into the fight.

In response, a drone moved into the area but only sent intelligence back and did not fire on any militants.

Military officials think the unit of Green Berets may have been set up for the attack by villagers who passed along information about the location of the unit to 50 ISIS-affiliated attackers.

The White House has been caught in the fray of the operation, partly because President Donald Trump issued remarks on the subject after a period of 12 days elapsed, and partly because of his call with Johnson’s widow, which upset Democratic Rep. Frederica Wilson.

Article posted with permission from The Daily Caller News Foundation

Military Judge Delays Bergdahl Sentencing Hearing After New Trump Comments

The military judge presiding over Army Sgt. Bowe Bergdahl’s case has delayed the sentencing hearing to Wednesday after considering new comments from President Donald Trump that may threaten public confidence in military courts.

Bergdahl, who walked off his post in Afghanistan and was captured by the Taliban before being sent back to the United States in 2014 as part of a Taliban prisoner swap, pleaded guilty last week to desertion and misbehavior before the enemy. He faces a sentence of up to life in prison.

The sentencing hearing was supposed to happen Monday, but as part of a last-ditch effort, Bergdahl’s defense attorneys argued that new comments from Trump indicate that he still has the same views of Bergdahl as he had during the campaign, which may negatively influence public perception of the military court system, The Associated Press reports.

“I can’t comment on Bowe Bergdahl because he’s — as you know, they’re — I guess he’s doing something today, as we know,” Trump said Oct. 16. “And he’s also — they’re setting up sentencing, so I’m not going to comment on him. But I think people have heard my comments in the past.”

Bergdahl’s lawyers said that Trump’s reference to his past comments means he still holds the same views; namely, that Bergdahl is a “dirty, rotten traitor.” At another point during his campaign, Trump suggested that Bergdahl should be shot. Trump also said in December 2015 that Bergdahl should be thrown out of a plane with no parachute.

While Nance thinks he can deliver a fair ruling because he plans on retiring and thus isn’t bent on securing promotions, he’s concerned about public confidence in the justice system, given Trump’s comments.

“The member of the public that we are interested in maintaining confidence in the military justice system … is going to be influenced by context,” Nance said.

The Bergdahl sentencing hearing is set to resume Wednesday.

Article posted with permission from The Daily Caller News Foundation

White House Slams ‘Slanderous’ Senator For Calling Stephen Miller A White Supremacist

The White House slammed Democratic Sen. Sherrod Brown in a statement Sunday for calling Stephen Miller, senior adviser to President Donald Trump, a white supremacist.

White House press secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders condemned Brown for his appearance Sunday on CNN, in which he stated that Miller “seems to be” a white supremacist. Brown also said without citation that “studies have shown that they have their allies sprinkled around the White House.”

“Senator Brown’s comments are outrageous and slanderous,” Sanders said in a statement. “The nonstop name-calling from the left continues to show an inability to build consensus and fix the problems ailing hardworking Americans. Senator Brown needs to understand that when he calls out public servants who are part of the Trump Administration, he is indicting the voters in Ohio themselves who overwhelmingly voted for the President’s agenda.”

“Instead of performing theatre for the extreme left fringe, his time would be better spent fighting for everyday people by supporting the Trump Agenda of pro-worker trade and immigration policies that will raise wages and living standards for all Americans,” Sanders added.

During the CNN interview, Brown also said he considered Stephen Bannon, former White House chief strategist and current executive chairman of Breitbart News, to definitively be a white supremacist, using even stronger language than accusations he threw at Miller.

Brown’s comments come following Democratic Rep. Frederica Wilson’s remarks Friday. In an interview with The New York Times, Wilson charged that “The White House is full of white supremacists.”

The spat between Wilson and the White House emerged after Trump made a phone call to Myeshia Johnson, widow of one of the four Green Berets killed by an Islamic State-affiliate in Niger during an operation. Wilson was apparently in the room listening to the call, which was on speakerphone. She later stated that Trump told Johnson that her husband “must’ve known what he signed up for.”

Trump subsequently denied that he made the comment and attacked Wilson in a tweet Sunday, calling her “wacky.”

Article posted with permission from The Daily Caller News Foundation.

VA’s New Whistleblower Protection Office Swoops In As Bedford VA Employee Experiences Retaliation Over Drug Ring Allegations

Ever since VA employee Redger Hennah blew the whistle on an apparent drug dealing scheme at the Bedford VA he’s been retaliated against in a myriad of ways, and now the VA’s new Office of Accountability and Whistleblower Protection is moving in to conduct a full investigation.

Hennah, an Army veteran and peer support specialist, told his bosses that employees at the facility were selling drugs to patients, and now since making those disclosures, hospital management has been trying to force him out of his job, which he’s held for close to a decade.

“The people I reported this to tried to cover it up,” Hennah told The Daily Caller News Foundation. “The hospital took away my credentials and isolated me. They said I couldn’t talk with veterans or access certain buildings. And even to this day, I’m still banned from various building, even though I’m also a patient.”

The allegations of drug dealing and retaliation have been damning enough for the FBI to start making inquiries, Hennah told TheDCNF, but despite the FBI poking around and the Office of Special Counsel taking on the case for a year and three months, not much has changed in his situation. The Office of Special Counsel is responsible for investigating whistleblower retaliation claims.

“I’ve been in the Office of Special Counsel for a year and three months and my case has been elevated, but I don’t see any results,” Hennah said. “I just see them asking questions and writing letters.” Democratic Massachusetts Rep. William Keating’s office also been writing letters to the Bedford VA in an effort to get to the bottom of the retaliation.

What’s different now is that the new VA Office of Accountability and Whistleblower Protection (OAWP) is getting a team on the ground in the next few days to start investigating what’s been occurring at the Bedford VA.

Curt Cashour, press secretary at the VA, confirmed to TheDCNF that OAWP is flying out to the area for an investigation.

“VA does not tolerate retaliation,” Cashour said. “We take these allegations seriously and are sending an investigative team from our Office of Accountability and Whistleblower Protection to the Bedford VA Medical Center next week.”

“All VA employees, regardless of protected status, are expected to be present for work at the assigned place and time,” Cashour added. “Failure of VA employees to show up for work as expected does not benefit Veterans or taxpayers and is not in keeping with VA’s Core Values.”

Hennah says his role as a peer support specialist and background as a veteran gives him a unique ability to get through to veterans seeking help from the Bedford VA.

“I talk to veterans in a way that regular employees can’t, because there’s been a disconnect in the past,” Hennah said.
“Doctors are all intellect, and I’m dialectic. I’ve taken veterans skydiving and to equine therapy. They took all that away from me.”

Now, Hennah says he’s on family leave as of about a month ago because the retaliation has started to take a toll on his mental health.

“I couldn’t take it anymore,” Hennah told TheDCNF. “I had to admit myself to the hospital because I’m 100% service-connected disabled. The retaliation exacerbated my mental health. They threatened to pack up my office and pull all my belongings out of there. I don’t know if I can go back because I’ve been retaliated against so badly.”

The Lowell Sun reported in February that after Hennah blew the whistle on the drug ring operating at the facility, he walked into his office one day only to discover a teddy bear on his desk with a noose on it and a note attached that read: “GO HOME OR DIE.”

The hospital subsequently launched an investigation into the noose incident, but there have been no findings.

Article posted with permission from The Daily Caller News Foundation