Defense: What the president calls "my military" is being cleansed of any officer suspected of disloyalty to or disagreement with the administration on matters of policy or force structure, leaving the compliant and fearful.
We recognize President Obama is the commander-in-chief and that throughout history presidents from Lincoln to Truman have seen fit to remove military commanders they view as inadequate or insubordinate. Turnover in the military ranks is normal, and in these times of sequestration and budget cuts the numbers are expected to tick up as force levels shrink and missions change.
Yet what has happened to our officer corps since President Obama took office is viewed in many quarters as unprecedented, baffling and even harmful to our national security posture. We have commented on some of the higher profile cases, such as Gen. Carter Ham. He was relieved as head of U.S. Africa Command after only a year and a half because he disagreed with orders not to mount a rescue mission in response to the Sept. 11, 2012, attack in Benghazi.
Rear Adm. Chuck Gaouette, commander of the John C. Stennis Carrier Strike Group, was relieved in October 2012 for disobeying orders when he sent his group on Sept. 11 to "assist and provide intelligence for" military forces ordered into action by Gen. Ham.
Other removals include the sacking of two nuclear commanders in a single week — Maj. Gen. Michael Carey, head of the 20th Air Force, responsible for the three wings that maintain control of the 450 intercontinental ballistic missiles, and Vice Adm. Tim Giardina, the No. 2 officer at U.S. Strategic Command.
From Breitbart.com's Facebook page comes a list of at least 197 officers that have been relieved of duty by President Obama for a laundry list of reasons and sometimes with no reason given. Stated grounds range from "leaving blast doors on nukes open" to "loss of confidence in command ability" to "mishandling of funds" to "inappropriate relationships" to "gambling with counterfeit chips" to "inappropriate behavior" to "low morale in troops commanded."
Nine senior commanding generals have been fired by the Obama administration this year, leading to speculation by active and retired members of the military that a purge of its commanders is under way.
Retired U.S. Army Maj. Gen. Paul Vallely, an outspoken critic of the Obama administration, notes how the White House fails to take action or investigate its own officials but finds it easy to fire military commanders "who have given their lives for their country." Vallely thinks he knows why this purge is happening.
"Obama will not purge a civilian or political appointee because they have bought into Obama's ideology," Vallely said. "The White House protects their own. That's why they stalled on the investigation into Fast and Furious, Benghazi and ObamaCare. He's intentionally weakening and gutting our military, Pentagon and reducing us as a superpower, and anyone in the ranks who disagrees or speaks out is being purged."
Another senior retired general told TheBlaze on the condition of anonymity, because he still provide services to the government and fears possible retribution, that "they're using the opportunity of the shrinkage of the military to get rid of people that don't agree with them or do not toe the party line. Remember, as (former White House chief of staff) Rahm Emanuel said, never waste a crisis."
For President Obama, the military of a once-feared superpower is an anachronistic vestige of an America whose exceptionalism and world leadership require repeated apologies. It must be gutted and fundamentally transformed into a force wearing gender-neutral headgear only useful for holding the presidential umbrella when it rains. It is to be "his" military and used only for "his" purposes.
An international lawyer says the West is secretly and indirectly supporting al-Qaeda-linked militants in the fight against the Syrian government, Press TV reports.
Pointing to a recent report by French newspaper Le Figarothat after Saudi Arabia, the US was second in line to lead al-Qaeda forces fighting against the Syrian government, Franklin Lamb said on Wednesday that the revelation was “credible.”
“I think that even if we accept that Turkey and Qatar and Saudi Arabia, and I think we must, are overtly supporting al-Qaeda and the terrorist groups, I think the West is doing it indirectly maybe sub-rosa, maybe not totally comfortable with it,” he said.
He added that al-Qaeda had an “enormous fire power” and encouragement to expand fighting against the Syrian government due to the “funding from the West and the [Persian] Gulf” countries.
Syria has been gripped by deadly unrest since 2011. According to reports, the US and Saudi Arabia, along with their Western and regional allies, are supporting the Takfiri groups operating inside the country.
Around 10,000 of the militants, with many being foreign nationals, are fighting for groups affiliated with al-Qaeda such as the al-Nusra Front and the rest fight for different militant groups.
According to the United Nations, more than 100,000 people have been killed and millions displaced in the violence.
EU diplomats who traveled to Washington over the NSA’s spy program have been left with their questions unanswered. The US insisted all the intelligence gathered in Europe was related to warzones in the Middle East and would continue.
The European Union’s delegation of politicians trusted with getting answers from Washington over the National Security Agency’s (NSA) espionage programs in the EU left with more questions than they arrived with.
The heated condemnation of the reports the US eavesdropped on millions of calls as well as the communication of EU leaders was dampened by spy Director Gen. Keith Alexander.
“It is much more important for this country that we defend this nation and take the beatings than it is to give up a program that would result in us being attacked,” Alexander told House of Representatives Intelligence Committee on Wednesday.
Furthermore, he said that the reports in European media alleging the NSA recorded millions of personal phone calls were“completely false.”
Addressing allegations of EU complicity in the spying he said that some data had been provided “to NSA by foreign partners,” but it is“not information that we collected on European citizens.”
Britain’s security company G4S has been accused of electrocuting and drugging inmates at South Africa’s Mangaung prison, a claim it has dismissed as untrue, media reports said.
Earlier this month the Johannesburg government was forced to intervene to restore order at the prison after the British contractor group ‘lost effective control of the facility’ during a wave of violence.
The allegations are part of an investigation by the Wits Justice Project at Witwatersrand University in Johannesburg, in which at least 30 prisoners confessed to being electrically shocked and beaten with some saying that they were forcibly injected with anti-psychotic medication.
“A pattern that emerged throughout my investigation is that inmates who were considered difficult or who were involved in some problem, they would take them to the single cells in the prison, strip them naked, pour water over them, put them on a metal bed frame and use these electroshock shields to shock them”, said Ruth Hopkins, an investigative journalist with the Wits Justice Project.
G4S blamed the escalation in violence at the high security prison on the sacking of 300 prison guards over an illegal strike in August and September.
However, South Africa’s correctional services minister, Sibusiso Ndebele, promised an exhaustive investigation.
“We view these allegations in a very serious light,” he said. ‘We will leave no stone unturned to ensure that those implicated in such inhumane acts face the consequences of their actions.’
James Smalberger, chief deputy commissioner of incarceration and corrections, said safety and security issues at the prison, which holds 3,000 inmates, were under scrutiny well before the most recent allegations.
“There were assaults, there was labour unrest, there were hostage situations, that were a clear indication that there was not effective control,” he said.
The U.N. plans to set up an “International Asteroid Warning Group” for member nations to share information about potentially hazardous space rocks. If astronomers detect an asteroid that poses a threat to Earth, the U.N.’s Committee on the Peaceful Uses of Outer Space will help coordinate a mission to launch a spacecraft to slam into the object and deflect it from its collision course.
Former US spy agency contractor, Edward Snowden, is set to start working for an Internet site in Russia, according to his Russian lawyer. The name of the website hasn’t been disclosed for “security reasons.”
“Edward starts work in November. He will provide support for a major Russian site,” lawyer Anatoly Kucherena said, as quoted by RIA-Novosti news agency.
Kucherena added that Snowden is set to start his new job on Friday.
The lawyer said he wouldn’t reveal the name of the website for “security reasons.”
However, the main Russian search engine, Yandex, and the major e-mail service, Mail.ru, have told the ITAR-TASS news agency that they haven’t negotiated any job possibilities with Snowden, while the most popular Russian social network, Vkontakte, refused to comment on the situation.
The head of the social network, Pavel Durov, came forward with a job offer for Edward Snowden back in August, but the ex-spy agency contractor didn’t answer at the time.
Earlier this month, Kucherena said that he hoped Snowden would find a job because he was living on scant funds, mostly from donations. Also, Snowden has been reported to be learning Russian, and making good progress.
In June, Edward Snowden, a former NSA (National Security Agency) contractor who disclosed secret US surveillance programs, fled to Hong Kong and then to Russia.
Horse DNA detected in canned beef product now withdrawn from sale at Home Bargains and Quality Save storesHorsemeat has been found in tinned beef that has been on sale in the UK, officials said.
The Food Standards Agency (FSA) said horse DNA was detected in the canned beef product which was manufactured in Romania.
Officials said the Food Hall Sliced Beef in Rich Gravy, sold in Home Bargains and Quality Save stores, has been withdrawn from sale.
The FSA said the presence of horse DNA was found during routine testing carried out by Lincolnshire county council trading standards officers.
The product, which was made in January 2013, was found to contain between 1% and 5% of horsemeat.
However, the tinned product did not contain any of the veterinary painkiller bute.
NSA spied on the future Pope Francis before and during the Vatican conclave at which he was chosen to succeed Benedict XVI
The American spy agency monitored telephone calls made to and from the residence in Rome where the then Archbishop Jorge Mario Bergoglio stayed during the conclave, the secret election at which cardinals chose him as pontiff on March 13.
The claims were made by Panorama, an Italian weekly news magazine, which said that the NSA monitored the telephone calls of many bishops and cardinals at the Vatican in the lead-up to the conclave, which was held amid tight security in the Sistine Chapel.
The information gleaned was then reportedly divided into four categories — “leadership intentions”, “threats to financial system”, “foreign policy objectives” and “human rights”.
At that time, Benedict XVI was Pope, suggesting that the Vatican may also have been monitored during the last few weeks of his papacy.