Saudi Snub has Deeper Meaning as Iran Nixes Inspections

Editor’s Note – Regardless how the White House spun the story of being snubbed by Saudi Arabia’s King Salman and three other leaders of Gulf States at the Camp David summit, it was obvious to clear thinking people that it was just that; a snub. The article below explains why it is actually even worse.

The Obama/Kerry policies in the region, especially regarding Iran, are an abysmal failure, just like their Israel/Palestinian stance. With the ‘deadline’ looming for a pact on Iran’s nuclear program, and open hostilities between Saudi Arabia and Iran’s Houthi proxies in Yemen, there is no positive spin that the White House can conjure up like they tried to do when Ramadi fell to IS in Iraq.

In fact, it is so bad that now the U.N. is sticking its nose into the fray in Yemen as well:

U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon - (AP Photo/Anja Niedringhaus)
U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon – (AP Photo/Anja Niedringhaus)

U.N. chief Ban Ki-moon on Wednesday announced talks between warring Yemeni parties in Geneva on May 28 to end over seven weeks of war, as Iran agreed for international inspections of an aid ship sailing to Yemen.

The moves are aimed at defusing the deepening crisis in the southern Arabian Peninsula, where Saudi-led forces killed at least 15 Houthis in the latest air strikes in a campaign to restore President Abd-Rabbu Mansour Hadi. (Read more at Yahoo/Reuters.)

Further compounding the problems for Obama in the region are the continual harsh language coming from Ayatollah Khamanei in Tehran regarding the nuclear talks.

Iran’s supreme leader on Wednesday ruled out inspections of Iranian military sites and interviews of Iranian nuclear scientists in any potential deal on its nuclear program.

In a speech at a graduation ceremony at the Imam Hussein Military University in Tehran, the supreme leader, Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, denounced what he said were escalating demands in the nuclear talks between Iran and world powers that resumed on Wednesday in Vienna.

“They say new things in the negotiations. Regarding inspections, we have said that we will not let foreigners inspect any military center,” Ayatollah Khamenei said, according to a text of the speech released on his personal website, Khamenei.ir. (Read more here at the NY Times.)

Obama seems to have the “anti-Midas touch,” everything he and his administration touches turns to something akin to the complete opposite of gold and rhymes with “ship.”

Speaking of ships, there was a positive note coming from the region regarding the inspection of the Iranian vessel steaming to the area with humanitarian relief:

From PressTV, an Iranian Publication that takes its orders from Tehran - Dubbed Rescue, Iran's ship is set to carry a group of humanitarian aid workers, medical technicians, and peace activists from the US, France, Germany, and Iran, along with a shipment of humanitarian aid, from the southern Iranian port city of Bandar Abbas in Hormozgan province to Yemen. (IRNA photo)
From PressTV, an Iranian Publication that takes its orders from Tehran – Dubbed Rescue, Iran’s ship is set to carry a group of humanitarian aid workers, medical technicians, and peace activists from the US, France, Germany, and Iran, along with a shipment of humanitarian aid, from the southern Iranian port city of Bandar Abbas in Hormozgan province to Yemen. (IRNA photo)

The U.N. announcement came as Iran announced that the Iranian cargo ship sailing to Yemen with 2,500 tonnes of food and medical supplies would submit to international inspections in Djibouti before continuing on to Yemen’s Hodaida port, which is under Houthi control.

The move reduces the risk of a potential showdown between the vessel, which had been escorted by Iranian warships, and Saudi-led forces enforcing inspections on vessels entering Yemeni ports to prevent arms supplies from reaching the Houthis.

“We have decided to dock our ship in Djibouti so the United Nations inspection protocol can take place,” Iran’s Deputy Foreign Minister Hossein Amir Abdollahian was quoted as saying by the ISNA news agency. (Read more at Yahoo/Reuters.)

But is that really a positive? Is what Iran calls the ship Iran Shaheb, dubbed the “Rescue,” really as advertised by Iran?

The Iranians still get to bring relief, but it is more likely than not, that only the Houthis will benefit once the U.N. allows them to go to Yemen. Add another one to the Obama loss column; the Iranians are getting their way despite recent efforts to thwart them.

Rejuvenated Royals – The Saudis push back against the Obama foreign policy.

By  HUSSAIN ABDUL-HUSSAIN for the Weekly Standard

The Obama administration put a happy face on its Camp David summit last week, even as four of the Gulf Cooperation Council’s six leaders turned down Obama’s invitation to attend. The most significant absence, of course, was that of Saudi Arabia’s king, Salman. In his place, Riyadh sent Salman’s 55-year-old nephew, Crown Prince Mohammed bin Nayef, and Salman’s 28-year-old son, Mohammed bin Salman, deputy crown prince and defense minister.

Composite image showing King Salman Bin Abdulaziz (C), Crown Prince Mohammed Bin Naif (R) and Deputy Crown Prince Mohammed Bin Salman. (Asharq Al-Awsat)
Composite image showing King Salman Bin Abdulaziz (C), Crown Prince Mohammed Bin Naif (R) and Deputy Crown Prince Mohammed Bin Salman. (Asharq Al-Awsat)

Both men are said to be responsible for the aggressive Saudi policies in confronting Iran, especially in Yemen, where Mohammed bin Salman is leading the campaign against the Iranian-backed Houthis. In other words, while snubbing Obama, King Salman also delivered a strong message through the two men who are in line to lead Saudi Arabia for the foreseeable future. They’re not happy with what they correctly perceive as the White House’s pro-Iranian tilt in the Middle East—and they’re in a position to challenge it.

In Crown Prince Mohammed bin Nayef, referred to in Western policymaking circles as MBN, the White House is likely to find an especially able statesman. MBN served as the deputy minister of the interior under his father and then won the top post himself, where he has distinguished himself as a tough-minded security official who proved instrumental in dismantling terrorist networks and providing U.S. officials with valuable insight into their workings. He has survived at least four assassination attempts.

But it is MBN’s studious navigation of court politics that landed him in the number two spot. Indeed, it’s something of a paradox that a man so skillful in handling intra-Saudi rivalries is now behind a foreign policy that, in contrast to Riyadh’s all-too-frequent navel-gazing, is remarkably activist. MBN owes his power to ambition, skill, and the fact that he has no sons to move into the line of succession, which has made him a useful ally in court maneuvering.

Saudi royal politics are typically inscrutable, since the Saudis do not make a habit of publicizing divisions within their ranks, and their disagreements are resolved in private. But here is the short version of what has happened in 2015: Since taking over earlier this year after the death of his predecessor, King Salman has engineered a new line of succession. The upshot is that we are witnessing something novel in Riyadh.

For the last several decades, the succession question has dominated Saudi politics—which is hardly a surprise when 70-something monarchs name 70-something crown princes, and illness and sudden death become central concerns in policymaking circles.

That instability often incapacitated Saudi decisionmakers and at times left an otherwise preoccupied Riyadh vulnerable to regional issues. But with a 55-year-old crown prince and a 28-year-old deputy crown prince, the royal palace seems set to enjoy a level of stability it hasn’t seen since the death of Ibn Saud, the regime’s founder, in 1953.

Saudi Arabian Defense Minister Mohammed Bin Salman attends a briefing Wang Bo/Xinhua/ZUMA Wire
Saudi Arabian Defense Minister Mohammed Bin Salman attends a briefing Wang Bo/Xinhua/ZUMA Wire

This is perhaps one reason why Riyadh seems more determined than ever to roll back Iranian influence in the Middle East. For once, they’re able to focus on external threats rather than who will inhabit the palace. For Riyadh, this fresh blood and surge of confidence couldn’t come at a better time. They’re concerned that the White House is downgrading the 70-year-long alliance with Riyadh in favor of upgrading relations with the Islamic Republic of Iran.

The Saudis have given up on the Obama administration. In return for helping the White House combat Sunni terror, Riyadh assumed the White House would keep its word and push back against Iran. However, the Obama administration has done exactly the opposite. It has paved the way for Iran to acquire a nuclear weapon within the next 15 years and accommodated Iranian interests around the Middle East, from Iraq and Syria to Lebanon and Yemen.

But to hear the Obama administration tell it, Saudi Arabia’s biggest problem comes not from Iran but inside. It’s unemployment, lack of opportunities, and a faulty education system that ail the Gulf Arabs, Obama has said in several interviews. And that, says the White House and its various media surrogates, is why the Saudis create so many terrorists.

There’s no doubt that Saudi society is riven by a host of problems and that private charities from the Gulf Cooperation Council states have frequently filled the coffers of terrorist outfits. However, why the White House feels comfortable chastising an ally of more than 70 years while turning a blind eye to Iran is unclear. After all, every indicator, from suicide to drug use, birth rate to prostitution, shows that Iranian society is as bad as or much worse than the societies of the Gulf states. Moreover, unlike Saudi Arabia and the Gulf sheikhdoms, Iranian state institutions are actively exporting terrorism.

Perhaps Obama is worried that calling out the Iranians as he has called out the Saudis might push Tehran away from the negotiating table. What he’s done instead is endanger the relationship with one of the pillars of American Middle East policy and sent Riyadh out looking for new friends. It appears that the message Riyadh is sending through MBN is that they’re not going to take it anymore. Maybe they don’t have to.


Hussain Abdul-Hussain is the Washington bureau chief of the Kuwaiti newspaper Alrai.

Air Supremacy? Are We Still the Best? Most Expensive Fighter

Editor’s Note – With the most expensive fighter in history, the F-35, is our Air Force still the dominant force across the globe? Is the F-35 really the leading edge? What about the F-22 Raptor? Is Russia or China that far behind, or are we falling behind?

If you watched the interview Shepard Smith of Fox News had with Chief-of-Staff of the USAF, General Mark A. Welsh III, you would wave flags and declare that, yes, we still are the best and will be ahead of all other air forces for decades to come. (Video of that interview follows the post below by National Review’s Mike Fredenburg.)

Screen shot of interview conducted by Fox News' Shepard Smith with USAF Chief-of-Staff Gen. Welsh
Screen shot of interview conducted by Fox News’ Shepard Smith with USAF Chief-of-Staff Gen. Welsh

In his article, Fredenburg examines the question more deeply; sans the jingoism of Gen. Welsh. Fredenburg is focused on the Russian SU-35 “Flanker” and its capabilities along with our changing fleet of attack fighters, and the rollout of the controversial F-35; the very expensive and technological wonder it is proving to be, or is it?

Not only do we have to answer these question he raises, but we also need to examine the Chinese who boast of their own sueriority they believe they have over the F-35:

A J-31 stealth fighter (background) of the Chinese People's Liberation Army Air Force lands on a runway after a flying performance at the 10th China International Aviation and Aerospace Exhibition in Zhuhai, Guangdong province, Nov. 11, 2014. Reuters/ Alex Lee
A J-31 stealth fighter (background) of the Chinese People’s Liberation Army Air Force lands on a runway after a flying performance at the 10th China International Aviation and Aerospace Exhibition in Zhuhai, Guangdong province, Nov. 11, 2014. Reuters/ Alex Lee

China is flexing its newest addition to the country’s growing military fleet, a fourth generation J-31 fighter jet. According to the president of the Chinese company that was commissioned for the project, the J-31 jet can “take down” its American counterpart, the Lockheed Martin F-35.

In an interview with Chinese Central Television, Lin Zuoming, the president of the Aviation Industry Corp. of China, the company that developed the newest jet, is confident the Chinese-developed aircraft can outperform the American version.

“When it takes to the sky, it could definitely take down the F-35,” Lin said. “It’s a certainty.”

But Lin has his sights set on more than just outdoing the F-35. He wants to propel the Chinese company to be global supplier to governments to which the U.S. refuses to sell or those that can’t afford to buy a fleet of F-35 jets, which reportedly cost more than the Chinese models. (Read more here at the International Business Times from last December.)

So just where does the truth lie? Is the USAF selling us ‘rose colored glass’ propaganda, or is Gen. Welsh correct? We hope you read on here and watch that interview at the bottom, especially past the midpoint where he really focuses on the future with the high technology helmets and the F-35.

Also ask yourselves about the Indian Air Force with the SU30 MKI supplied in a joint venture with Russia, and others like Pakistan who we supply with F-104 Starfighter as everyone appears to be gearing up quickly and in great volume. Just who else is selling their fighters? The French are supplying Egypt with the Dussault Rafale…and on it goes.

Can we keep up, especially as expensive as are the F-22s and F-35s? Then ask yourself about who will be supplying whom regarding those countries we will not do business with like Iran, North Korea, and other ne’er-do’wells?

Air supremacy, superiority, or are we kidding ourselves?

What if the World’s Most Expensive Fighter Planes Can’t Defeat Our Enemies?

By Mike Fredenburg – National Review

On April 15, 1953, North Korean Po-2 biplanes strafed a U.S. Army tent on Chodo Island, off the Korean mainland. The attack killed two U.S. servicemen.

Remarkably, that night, more than 60 years ago, was the last time a U.S. soldier lost his life to fire from enemy aircraft. Since the Korean War, U.S. air power has played a critical role in virtually every conflict, and the U.S. has enjoyed near-total air supremacy in every battle it’s fought.

But that streak isn’t going to continue automatically. Despite lavish spending on our air forces; flawed procurement priorities and strategic doctrine, driven by contractors, has put the future of U.S. air power at risk.

Russian SU-35 "Flanker"
Russian SU-35 “Flanker”

Take the new F-22 fighter. It’s the most expensive fighter in the air today, but as a recent story in The National Interest by long-time United States Naval Institute writer Dave Majumdar points out, even its missiles will have a hard time getting past the ability of Russia’s truly fearsome Su-35S Flanker E to jam radars and other sensors.

The F-22 is very stealthy while the Su-35S is not, but a senior U.S. Air Force official tells Majumdar that the F-22 will have a hard time killing the Su-35Ss. These new Flankers are already in service with the Russian Air Force, and independent air analysts see this same plane achieving lopsided kill ratios against the U.S.’s other next-generation fighter, the F-35.

F-15's over the Baltic
F-15 “Eagles”

A FLAWED AIR-POWER STRATEGY

How did we end up with such pricey, brand-new fighters being unable to decisively defeat their opponents? United States air-power doctrine after the Korean War has emphasized “beyond visual range” (BVR) engagements. The idea: With sufficiently sophisticated missile technology, we can destroy enemy fighters from more than five miles away, long before the enemy can engage our aircraft.

The cornerstone of BVR technology, large complex radars, required much bigger fighters to handle the aerodynamic challenges that bulky BVR radars present, as well as huge increases in power and cooling requirements. These larger fighters led to skyrocketing acquisition and maintenance costs. With the advent of stealth, the vision was expanded to include destroying enemy planes from behind a cloak, and costs skyrocketed again.

Visions are not always realized, and recent advances in countermeasures, like the capabilities in the Su-35S, are just another chapter in a long history of BVR missiles not living up to the hype. Expecting BVR capabilities to deliver lopsided results against peer competitors now looks more like wishful thinking than a sound strategy.

So why have billions of dollars of investments into BVR capabilities delivered such disappointing results? There are two main causes:

FEAR OF FRIENDLY FIRE

First, identify-friend-or-foe (IFF) technology — systems that enable forces to identify friendly platforms among potential targets — has not been reliable enough to allow our pilots to fire at blips on their radar screen without fear of committing fratricide. In other words, no matter how good our BVR technology, pilots still needed to get within visual distance before taking a shot. Progress has been made in IFF technology, in part because of better capabilities on our support aircraft, but it remains a problem.

CONTRACTORS OVERPROMISE, UNDERDELIVER

The second issue is that BVR missile technology has consistently failed to live up to the promises made by vendors and senior military leadership. On entering Vietnam, military leaders assured Congress that the radar-guided AIM-7 Sparrow carried by the complex and costly F-4 Phantom would give our pilots a 70 percent probability of a kill per missile fired. Instead, the much hyped Raytheon missile ended up with a BVR kill rate of less than 1 percent. Somewhat chastened, senior military leaders were forced to retrofit guns to the F-4 Phantom.

Our cutting-edge missile technology has consistently failed to live up to the promises made by vendors and senior military leadership.

The problems continued after Vietnam. In “Promise and Reality: Beyond Visual Range (BVR) Air-To-Air Combat” a 2005 paper done for the Air War College, Lieutenant Colonel Patrick Higby (now General Higby) shows in great detail that from Vietnam up to Desert Storm the billions invested BVR missile technology contributed almost nothing to the United States’ domination of the skies.

Combining data from Israeli and American missions, he finds that out of 632 shots taken with BVR-capable missiles, only four resulted in kills from beyond visual range — a scant 0.6 percent. During this same period, 528 air-to-air kills were made at closer range — 144 with guns and 384 with missiles fired at opponents within visual range.

BVR HAS ALMOST NEVER WORKED

Starting with Desert Storm, there was an uptick in the number of kills achieved using the newer AMRAAM missiles, which are designed for relatively long range kills, but because neither the number of missiles used nor the range at which the BVR-capable missiles notched kills was recorded, it’s hard to reach any firm conclusions.

We do have anecdotal evidence: In 1999, when two MiG-25s violated the no-fly zone over southern Iraq, U.S. fighters fired six of our most sophisticated BVR missiles at them. All six missiles missed and the MiG-25s escaped to fight another day. While pervasive coverage by AWACS surveillance and control planes has given our pilots much better friend-or-foe recognition, allowing more BVR shots to be taken, true BVR kills against competent opponents are rare.

Future battles will continue to involve close-range dogfights — where superior numbers of smaller affordable fighters are better than inferior numbers of heavier, less agile, less reliable BVR-focused fighters.

A 2011 RAND report noted that enemies successfully engaged beyond visible range after 1991 “were fleeing, non-maneuvering, and did not employ countermeasures.” “In Operation Allied Force,” the 1999 NATO bombing of Yugoslavia, RAND notes, “the Serbian MiG-29s that were shot down did not even have functioning radars.”

In other words, we might now be achieving BVR kills against third-rate vastly outnumbered opponents while enjoying pervasive AWACS coverage. But that is a far cry from getting kills against equally skilled peer competitors in contested air space where we may be outnumbered in terms of both planes and missiles.

Historically, our pilots’ superior skills have allowed our big BVR fighters to dominate dogfights despite their large size, but those same pilots flying smaller, less-expensive fighters would still have dominated. In other words, the billions invested in large expensive BVR-focused planes and missiles, while highly correlated with U.S air dominance, was not the cause of that dominance.

Going forward, assuming huge kill ratios predicated on BVR missile technology looks even less wise: We have no record of successfully using such technology against peer competitors with the training and technology to dramatically reduce BVR missile effectiveness (like, say, the Russians’ Su-35S).

Both the United States and its competitors will continue to make large investments to improve BVR missiles and BVR-missile countermeasures. Since neither effort is likely to gain a decisive advantage, future battles will continue to involve close-range dogfights — where superior numbers of smaller affordable fighters are better than inferior numbers of heavier, less agile, less reliable BVR-focused fighters.

QUANTITY OVER QUALITY

It’s unrealistic to expect heavily outnumbered U.S. planes to consistently take down large numbers of enemy fighters at long ranges. The large technology lead the United States once held over other major air powers has nearly evaporated, and regaining our post-WWII lead is well-nigh impossible.

Moreover, other air powers have studied and adopted U.S pilot-training methods, and that gap, once large, has narrowed as well. In 2004, for instance, U.S. F-15 pilots were unpleasantly surprised to find themselves on the wrong side of a 9-to-1 loss ratio in exercises with Indian Air Force pilots flying Russian-designed planes, including small but formidable MiG-21s. We should plan on Chinese and Russian pilots being equally competent.

There are other major problems with large BVR fighters. One such problem is that the cost per hour to fly them is now so great that some of our pilots are only getting about ten hours per month of actual flight time — not nearly enough to maintain superior skills. Further, these fighters’ huge maintenance requirements mean they spend less time in the air than other aircraft.

The F-22 and F-15 can fly far fewer sorties per day than smaller, more reliable fighters such as the F-16. In other words: Large, higher priced, maintenance-intensive BVR-focused planes will often end up delivering less sustained combat power.

F-35A at Eglin Air Force Base
F-35A at Eglin Air Force Base

STEALTH: ANOTHER PRICEY, UNPROVEN INVESTMENT

BVR’s kissing cousin, stealth, is also not the silver bullet it was portrayed to be 20-plus years ago, when development began on the Joint Strike Fighter (the F-35). In fact, counter-stealth technology is advancing and proliferating much more quickly than stealth technology. Recognizing this, the U.S. Navy is wisely hedging its bets by not being too reliant on stealth.

Earlier this year, chief of Naval Operations Admiral Jonathan Greenert noted the inevitable limits of stealth: “Let’s face it, if something moves fast through the air, disrupts molecules, and puts out heat — I don’t care how cool the engine can be, it’s going to be detectable.”

With the rapid proliferation of integrated air defenses capable of seeing and targeting stealthy airplanes, the decades-old vision of flying into the teeth of the integrated air defenses of our top competitors and attacking them with impunity is a fast-fading fantasy. A modest premium for cost-effective stealth probably makes sense, but a huge premium for maintenance-intensive stealth doesn’t.

Mathematical battle models, such as the Lanchester-square model, show numerical superiority rapidly swamps quality, meaning larger forces of less-capable planes can sweep opposing forces from the sky while suffering surprisingly small losses. And there’s certainly a good chance we’ll be facing more-numerous forces: Scenarios for defending Taiwan, for instance, have our pilots going up against Chinese pilots that could outnumber us by three to ten times.

The RAND Corporation has done an instructive analysis: Even assuming we have unhittable planes with perfectly accurate missiles and opponents lining up to be shot down like sitting ducks, our forces cede airspace control over Taiwan to China while taking crippling losses in terms of support aircraft. More realistic assumptions have us losing many of our F-22s as well.

Being on the wrong side of projections for these kind of scenarios is a bad place to be for our pilots. Getting to the right side of the equation will not be achieved by the fielding small numbers of $200-million-plus fighters whose core capabilities are inferior to most advanced fighters.

The Air Force wants to retire the A-10 Thunderbolt
The Air Force wants to retire the A-10 Thunderbolt

FANCIER TECH DOESN’T ALWAYS WIN

Advanced technology will always play a critical role in ensuring the success of our fighter aircraft, but we should also remember that quantity, tactics, and training can overcome technology. Ultimately, trying to maintain air-power dominance built on bleeding-edge technology that busts the budget, takes forever to develop, and delivers severely diminishing returns is a losing strategy in a world where technology rapidly diffuses.

Better reliability, while not sexy, facilitates more sorties, puts more planes in the air, and enables better pilot training. In a world where firing up powerful active sensors makes you a target, it might make sense to field smaller fighters that rely more on networked, passive sensors. Traditional fighter performance metrics such as instantaneous turn rate, sustained turn rate, and thrust-to-weight ratio still matter.

Our air-superiority fighters need to deliver unparalleled performance in the air, and they’re not. The USAF even acknowledges that the backbone of our future fighter corps, the F-35, isn’t designed to be an air-superiority fighter. Yet, along with air-superiority missions, the Air Force is counting on this strike fighter to perform close air-support missions that the inexpensive A-10 already does so much better.

These compromises aren’t necessary. For the cost of one F-35, we can buy several air-superiority and close–air-support planes that will deliver far more bang for the buck. Sadly, contractors and top military brass gravitate to the fanciest, most expensive fighters possible with little regard for affordability and maintainability. It’s time to bring back the procurement discipline necessary to buy fighters with the right mix of capabilities and cost.

That kind of strategy will allow us to field them in the numbers needed to maintain the air dominance our armed forces have been able to count on for the past 60 years.


Mike Fredenburg is a past contributor to National Review, the California Political Review, and the San Diego Union Tribune, and was the founding president of the Adam Smith Institute of San Diego, a conservative think tank and PAC.


Fox News interview with Gen. Welsh, USAF Chief-of-Staff by Shepard Smith:

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Inside the 'Clinton Cash' war room – The Attack Plan

Editor’s Note – When the NY Times broke the story about Peter Schweizer’s book entitled ‘Clinton Cash,’ the attacks came immediately from The Clinton camp. Their talking points were flying fast and furiously and many asked how they knew what was in the book when it had not been released in full.

The answer – the Clinton camp had purloined a copy somehow, very early on, and Schweizer knew it. Despite this, the story did not fizzle and even with their web site “The Briefing,” sporting a video attempting to ‘debunk’ the book by Press Secretary Peter Fallon, it is still growing in intensity.

It should grow; if any other person or couple had even the appearance of doing one tenth of what the Clinton’s and their foundation did, every single media outlet would have run already forced a candidate to drop their campaign. Remember Gary Hart and Donna Rice from 1987? That was just an affair and many think his fall from grace was the beginning of the end of civil politics, the “week politics went tabloid.”

Of course with the Clintons, “…there is one set of rules for politics, and another set for real life, you just have to learn to deal with it…”

Now America is dealing with it, but like Bill O’Reilly, we think the FBI must open an investigation. America deserves better, and deserves the truth. We are not going to get it from the media, and the Clintons know it – so does their staff in the ‘war room.’

Inside the ‘Clinton Cash’ war room

How Hillary’s team worked furiously to attack, undermine and debunk the book that threatened to disrupt her campaign.

By Annie Karni – Politico

In early March, weeks before Hillary Clinton even announced her campaign, spokesman Brian Fallon and research director Tony Carrk began holding regular war room meetings with a team of eight volunteers on a serious mission: Fighting back against a forthcoming book, “Clinton Cash,” that threatened to seriously disrupt the campaign in its infancy.TheBriefingFallon

This was an updated version of the famed war room that fought the first round of Clinton scandals in 1992, propelling Bill Clinton to the presidency; now, two months later, aides point to the handling of the “Clinton Cash” threat – a still-unfolding stream of allegations involving the Clinton Foundation and its donors, but one that seems not to have seriously altered perceptions of Hillary – as proof of the campaign’s ability to manage messaging and counter the inevitable blowback of an 18-month campaign.

The campaign systematically raised questions about the objectivity of author Peter Schweizer and, according to sources with knowledge of the deals, strategically leaked details of the book to news outlets to undercut the exclusivity of excerpts given to reporters at The New York Times and Washington Post, who had obtained special deals with Schweizer.

Sources close to Clinton described meetings at her personal office in Midtown Manhattan that were so focused that when Fallon’s twins were born April 8 — four days before Clinton officially launched her campaign — he continued to join the conferences by phone from the hospital in Washington, D.C., despite being on leave.

The game plan at first was two-pronged: debunk author Peter Schweizer by stressing his ties to Republicans and his close friendship with the Koch brothers, while a second group of research and communications operatives pushed positive messages the campaign would roll out while the book was making headlines.

Instead of hunkering down, Clinton would make news herself with a speech on criminal justice — where she called for an end to mass incarcerations — and a newsy speech on immigration, where she vowed to expand on President Obama’s executive actions to include another 5 million undocumented immigrants from deportation.

ClintonCash.640Behind the scenes, the strategy turned from defense to offense in late April, when the campaign caught a break and obtained an early copy of the 256-page book.

At that point, the campaign began pitching its own stories about “Clinton Cash,” and then finally turned to new media to tell its own version of the story.

Campaign operatives leaked single chapters of the book to national media outlets, sources with knowledge of the deals said — a strategy that allowed them to undercut the reporters who, through exclusive agreements with Schweizer, had obtained early copies of the entire tome, and also to attack the content at the same time.

Schweizer, in an interview, said he was aware of the strategy.

“I knew fairly early on they had access to the book,” he said. “Sure, it helped them. They’re famous for that. I was aware they were leaking selectively chapters, particularly as journalists who had access to the full book had contacted them with questions. They didn’t want to share the complete book, just chapters. For me, the power of the book is in the pattern of the behavior.”

Schweizer said he caught on to the strategy when the New York Times investigative team was working on a 4,000-word story about the connection between Clinton donor Frank Giustra and the approval of a sale of a mining company to Russia, which drew from chapters 2 and 3 of his book.

Indeed, the Clinton team was particularly concerned that the Times and Post would use his book as a jumping off point for investigations — coverage that would make it harder for them to simply dismiss Schweizer as a tool of the right.TheBriefing

Just as the New York Times was preparing to publish its investigation of the Giustra matter, “the Clinton team is sending chapter 3 of the book to Time magazine and other reporters,” Schweizer said. “Who gets just one chapter of the book?

They gave them chapter 3 but not chapter 2, which is also on the uranium deal. You’ve got reporters running with stories that didn’t have the full picture. That was the Clinton strategy: to muddy the waters and not have an honest conversation.”

The campaign says that Giustra, the Canadian billionaire whose role in the uranium deal is outlined in chapter 3, sold his stock two years before Clinton was appointed as Secretary of State. Schweizer says that’s only part of the story. “The book talks about nine people who are shareholders, not just Giustra,” he said. “They never mentioned the other eight. They’re mentioned in chapter 2, not 3.”

The goal of aggressively parceling out parts of the book was to generate headlines that could be discredited before the book hit the shelves and before Schweizer went on the television circuit promoting his work.

When Schweizer started making the media rounds on the Sunday shows ahead of the May 5 book release, the Clinton team had managed to get ahead of him to put him on the defensive. “We’ve done investigative work here at ABC News, found no proof of any kind of direct action,” “This Week” host George Stephanopoulos said of the claims about the uranium deal with Russia.

Clinton campaign chairman John Podesta and Fallon published their own posts directly to Medium, to point out what they said were errors and omissions.

DONATING MILLIONS Former President Bill Clinton with Sir Tom Hunter, left, and Frank Giustra, major donors to Mr. Clinton’s charitable foundation - NY Times
DONATING MILLIONS Former President Bill Clinton with Sir Tom Hunter, left, and Frank Giustra, major donors to Mr. Clinton’s charitable foundation – NY Times

During the weeks that various chapters of the book were making headlines, the campaign began releasing nightly memos to surrogates and supporters with stories and commentators on air who had discredited the book, or raised questions about the reporting. In total, the campaign put out five detailed memos to its network.

“In the last two days alone, three new claims by the partisan author of the Clinton Cash book have been discredited by independent news outlets,” read a line in one of the memos.

The final push came on the day of the book’s release. The campaign spent over 96 hours building out “The Briefing,” a website that launched on the day of the book’s release, which included an upbeat video featuring Fallon responding to the book and a supercut of Clinton surrogates and talking heads with the general message: “there’s no there there.”

In the donor world, the painstaking strategy to deal with the book was noticed.

“The campaign didn’t get paralyzed,” said Tom Nides, a vice chairman at Morgan Stanley and a close Clinton confidant who is her main liaison to Wall Street. “They didn’t get in a bunker, they kept supporters up to date daily— it felt very proactive.”

And perhaps most important to the donor class who may have harbored fears about Clinton’s weaknesses on display so early in the campaign, the candidate herself appeared relaxed and confident as she attended fundraisers in Washington and New York City.

“This could have gotten nutty,” Nides admitted. “She herself was a more relaxed Hillary. I’ve gotten universal feedback from these meetings that she’s excited to be there, she hung around. She was supposed to be at the event for an hour-and-a-half, she stayed for almost two hours. She didn’t act like she had to get back to the bunker. She was upbeat, positive, and not defensive. People tee off of that.”

So far, Clinton herself has answered only one question about the book, without referring to it by name. At a campaign stop in New Hampshire last month, she dismissed it and said she expected to be “subject to all kinds of distractions and attacks.” She has not addressed it publicly since then.

But that doesn’t mean it hasn’t been on the minds of the staffers and volunteers who manned the war room. As Clinton was speaking about immigration reform at a high school in Las Vegas on Tuesday, her campaign operatives back in Brooklyn waited eagerly on the results of a new poll.

When The New York Times poll popped, showing Clinton’s favorability had risen over the past year, the team from the war room finally exhaled.

ClintonFDT.CashBook

“Clinton Cash,” the poll showed, had not had the devastating impact the campaign had feared. After weeks of stories pegged to chapters in the book, only 10 percent of voters said they believed foreign donations affected Clinton’s decisions as secretary of state, according to the poll, and more voters said they saw Clinton as a strong leader than they did earlier in the year.

But Schweizer notes that the themes of the book have now become a part of the Clinton narrative, and could easily pop up later in the campaign — especially as news organizations continue to plumb the Clinton Foundation and its donors.

“I think they have done a very detailed and aggressive campaign to try to undermine the credibility of the book,” Schweizer said. But he pointed to polls showing a relatively high percentage of voters questioning her trustworthiness.

“The narrative is now framed around the foundation and Bill’s speeches, and what role did that have on her decisions at the State Department,” Schweizer said. “My sense is those questions are going to be asked whenever she decides to actually talk to the press.”

RICO – McCarthy Calls Clinton Foundation a Racket

Editor’s Note – Once again, Andy McCarthy hits the nail on the head. The Clinton Foundation IS best defined as a RICO operation from all we are now learning. Maybe they can “justify” their actions individually, but when you collect all the parts, it is a racket.

The trouble is, would the Department of Justice consider it RICO? Would Loretta Lynch launch an investigation?

She is about to be voted upon for Attorney General finally and may win approval in the Senate, but would she act just like her predecessor, Eric Holder and avoid yet another investigation of a ‘friend of the family’ unlike Senator Menendez?

The Emerging Clinton Foundation Scandal

Posted By Andrew C. McCarthy – PJ Media

Is this the beginning … of RICO?

Okay, so that’s not quite as catchy as Edward G. Robinson’s immortal line. But it is what a good prosecutor would be asking while pondering the growing cloud around Clinton Foundation.

Among Little Ceasar’s imprints on popular culture is that Robinson’s mobster character, Cesare Enrico Bandello, inspired Congress to name its seminal anti-organized crime legislation “RICO” – the Racketeer Influenced and Corrupt Organizations Act of 1971. The mafia was its most infamous target, but far from its only target.

RICO.Justice

RICO makes it a crime to run an organization through what’s called a “pattern of racketeering activity.” The term racketeering is extensively defined in the statute. It includes acts involving bribery, fraud, and obstruction of justice, to name just a few.

Prosecutors are fond of RICO because it enables them to unite disparate illicit or corrupt transactions into one framework, the enterprise. It need not be a mafia family or traditional criminal organization; it can be an ostensibly legitimate organization – e.g., a foundation, a labor union, a corporation, a guild – that, contrary to the image it projects publicly, commits sundry legal offenses in conducting its affairs.

As a matter of fact, if the pattern of offenses includes fraud and influence peddling, then the enterprise’s portrayal of itself as a caring, altruistic charitable foundation can be very helpful to the case. Juries do not like hypocrisy and shady dealing.HiilaryRICO

They get turned off by “charitable organizations” that turn out, in the main, to be vehicles for their principals to live lavishly, or covers for selling political influence. And juries know charitable organizations tend not to wipe their servers clean even after congressional investigators have instructed them to preserve evidence.

Plus, it is important to bear in mind that, at the moment, the political dimension of the Clinton Foundation scandal transcends the possibility of criminal or civil legal liability. Right now, the Clinton Foundation provides a stark reminder of the last enterprise these characters ran: the Clinton White House. Remember that one?

Campaign finance irregularities, selling influence (remember the Lincoln bedroom?), awarding pardons to fraudsters and terrorists for the purpose of rewarding donors and courting political constituencies, blatant obstruction of justice, and perjury.

You see the Hillary! 2016 campaign launch, you consider what we’re learning about the Clinton Foundation, and you naturally ask yourself: Do we really want to go through this again?

You consider the Clinton Foundation, you think about the State Department – Benghazi, the courting of the Muslim Brotherhood, the secret, unlawful email system, the foreign money pouring into Clinton coffers while Mrs. Clinton was making key decisions about American foreign policy – and you naturally ask yourself: What has Hillary Clinton ever run that did not turn into a debacle?

Finally, we should also consider the Obama administration’s legal standards. As I’ve recently discussed here at Ordered Liberty, the Justice Department has just filed its indictment of Senator Robert Menendez (D., N.J.) on various corruption charges. The prosecution’s theory is that Menendez accepted “things of value” in exchange for using his political influence to benefit a big time donor.

Sen. Menendez counters that he did nothing wrong – i.e., that there is no nexus between, on the one hand, the hefty contributions, private jet rides to ritzy resorts, and other posh gifts he received, and, on the other hand, the use of his office in ways that just happened to favor the donor.

We are still at a very early stage of scrutinizing the Clinton Foundation, but we can already say two things with confidence:

  1. The millions upon millions of dollars the Clinton Foundation has collected from foreign donors and others with significant self-interest in U.S. government policy – during a time when Mrs. Clinton had a key role (and the prospect of an even bigger role) in designing U.S. government policy – makes the gifts to Menendez look like chump change.
  2. To the best of our knowledge, Menendez never withheld his emails from the government or wiped his server clean.

Adm. “Ace” Lyons – Our Greatest Threat to National Security

Editor’s Note – The author of the following article is also a “Kitchen Cabinet” member at Stand Up America US (SUA). As always, “Ace” is spot on with his commentary!

The Greatest Threat to Our National Security

By ADMIRAL JAMES A. “ACE” LYONS – Breitbart

Admiral James "Ace" Lyons - USN (Ret.)
Admiral James “Ace” Lyons – USN (Ret.)

When President-elect Obama declared that he was going to “fundamentally transform” America, not many Americans understood what that meant. They certainly did not understand that he did not believe in America’s exceptionalism and greatness.

They were also unaware of his past Marxist indoctrination, blaming America for many of the world’s problems.

Therefore, anything that undercuts and withdraws America’s power and influence is seen as being objectively progressive.

This is fundamental to understanding why President Obama shows empathy with American’s enemies, e.g., Iran, Cuba, Russia, and China.

It is also key to understanding our precipitous withdrawal from Iraq, as well as the loss of our influence in the region with the rise of Islam. President Obama apparently shares the view that the colonial powers unjustifiably suppressed Islam for the better part of two centuries. Therefore, the best way to rectify that situation is to withdraw the U.S. and let Islam rise again.

Of course, this actually started under the Carter administration with the rise of Islamic fundamentalism when the Ayatollah Khomeini overthrew the Shah of Iran in 1979.

Complicating the current Mid-East chaos is the fact that the administration has great difficulty in identifying the enemy. The President of Turkey, Recep Tayyip Erdogan, said it best, “There is no moderate or immoderate Islam. Islam is Islam and that’s it.”

Make no mistake – ISIS is Islam. The barbarism and atrocities they commit are sanctioned by the Quran and Islam’s Shariah law. We must face facts, ISIS is impervious to any rational dialogue. They must be killed into submission.

The Associated Press
The Associated Press

As I have previously stated, symbols matter throughout the world, but no more so than in the Middle East.

When President Obama delivered his June 4, 2009 Cairo “Outreach to Muslims” speech, with the outlawed Muslim Brotherhood leadership sitting in the front row, and declared that it was part of his responsibility as President of the United States to fight against negative stereotypes of Islam wherever they appear – that said it all!

Furthermore, there should have been no doubt remaining after his September 2012 UN General Assembly speech when he stated in reference to the Benghazi tragedy, “the future must not belong to those who slander the prophet Islam.”

No matter how many excuses President Obama makes for Islam and Muslim sensitivities, freedom of speech for the civilized world will not be silenced.

In yet another indication, the Obama Administration continues to embrace the Muslim Brotherhood even though their creed is to destroy the United States from within (silent jihad) by our own hands and substitute our Constitution with Islam’s Shariah law.

The Muslim Brotherhood have been able to successfully penetrate all our national security and intelligence agencies. They are now institutionalized. Their impact on our policies cannot be overstated.

The Kabuki dance just completed in Switzerland produced a “framework” of “understandings” which is supposed to limit Iran’s nuclear weapons program is already being disputed by Iran. Of course, this is to be expected with no agreed upon text.

According to Fred Fleitz of the Center For Security Policy, the framework as now understood legitimizes and actually advances Iran’s uranium-enrichment program. All the core elements of Iran’s program remain in place.

They do not have to dismantle anything and be allowed to keep their heavily fortified Fordow underground enrichment facilities — a major, unbelievable, concession by the United States.

In effect, we have rewarded Iran for ignoring (plus lying and cheating) UN Security Council resolutions for a decade. They do not have to destroy any of their ICBMs nor stop their aggression throughout the Middle East.

More importantly, the Obama administration has dismissed the fact that the Iranian government has caused the loss of life of thousands of Americans. At the end of the day, there is only one option that guarantees Iran will not achieve a nuclear weapon capability, and that is a military strike.

To show their disdain for President Obama, an Iranian spokesperson stated that the destruction of Israel is “non-negotiable.” So much for the two state peace process! Of course, death to America is a recurring theme.

The Middle East is not the only place our influence is being challenged. We are being challenged by China in the Western Pacific. In Europe, we are standing idly by as NATO is being emasculated by Putin’s aggression in the Ukraine. Many believe the “reset button” with Russia has failed. Actually, it is working quite well – for Russia.

The Obama administration has allowed the KGB thug Putin to conduct a policy of aggression in the Ukraine unopposed. President Obama’s refusal to provide legitimate defensive military equipment to Kiev appears to be part of the reset button “understanding.”

It is the same understanding that applies to the withdrawal of our commitment to place anti-ballistic missile systems in Poland and the Czech Republic. Furthermore, President Obama’s refusal to meet with NATO’s Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg (during his 3 days visit to Washington) was another signal to Putin.

There is no doubt our influence and status as a great power and reliable ally is being challenged. Our enemies don’t fear us and our allies don’t trust us – a formula for disaster. President Obama’s refusal to call for a reformation of Islam, plus his empathy with our enemies, combined with our unilateral disarmament, place our national security in jeopardy.

The greatest threat to our national security today clearly is the Obama administration policies, which must be reversed. Americans must stand up and demand that Congress act now.


James A. Lyons, U.S. Navy retired Admiral, was commander-in-chief of the U.S. Pacific Fleet and senior U.S. military representative to the United Nations.