Tag Archives: foreign policy

Reality Check: No Sarin Gas Used by Assad in Syria?

It was a stunning announcement, stunning because of what was said and maybe equally as stunning because it was honest.

Secretary of Defense James Mattis says there is no evidence that the Syrian government used sarin gas on the its own people.

It is a narrative we have been pushing back on for years. So what does this mean for U.S. policy in Syria? And will President Trump continue to push for war in Syria, or will he return to the positions of candidate Trump who said the U.S. should stay out of it?

Let’s give it a Reality Check you won’t get anywhere else.

The statement is getting very little media coverage but it is a very big deal.

According to Defense Secretary James Mattis, there is no evidence that the Syrian government has used sarin gas on its own people.

Here is exactly what Mattis told reporters at the Pentagon:

“We have other reports from the battlefield from people who claim it’s been used.”

“We do not have evidence of it.”

“We’re looking for evidence of it, since clearly we are dealing with the Assad regime that has used denial and deceit to hide their outlaw actions.”

Mattis insists that he wasn’t refuting the claims. But in a sense, he did.

According to Newsweek, in 2017 a White House memorandum was quickly produced and then declassified to justify an American Tomahawk missile strike against the Shayrat airbase in Syria.

The justification used was that Assad had used chemical weapons on his own people. Then President Trump himself insisted that there was no doubt that Syrian President Assad had killed his own people with banned chemical weapons.

But Mattis also didn’t qualify the statement to just the Syrian airbase strike. That means that the 2013 gas attack in Ghouta also was not proven to be Assad.

At that time, President Obama and Secretary of State John Kerry were demanding congress approve use of force against Assad. Obama said this from the rose garden as he said American destroyers armed with Tomahawk missiles were on standby in the Mediterranean Sea.

“I’m prepared to give that order, but having made my decision as commander in chief based on what I am convinced is our national security interests, I’m also mindful that I’m the president of the world’s oldest constitutional democracy.”

Congress did not approve that use of force, but then applauded Trump for his use.

For his part, in this latest statement, Mattis says that “aid groups and others” had provided evidence of the Syrian government using sarin.

But as I have extensively reported over the past few years, there is much evidence that the so called Syrian freedom fighters are actually ISIS and Al Qaeda fighters. And there is evidence that they have used chemical weapons.

Other problems with the claims of Assad using sarin: in the 2013 Ghouta event, the sarin came from home-made rockets, which were favored by insurgents.

Also, according to Newsweek:

“In the 2013 event, the White House memorandum seemed to rely heavily on testimony from the Syrian white helmets who were filmed at the scene having contact with supposed sarin-tainted casualties and not suffering any ill effects.

“Carla del Ponte was unable to fulfill her U.N. joint investigative mechanism mandate in Syria and withdrew in protest over the United States refusing to fully investigate allegations of chemical weapons use by ‘rebels’ who are actually jihadis, allied with the American effort to oust President Assad (including the use of sarin by anti-Assad rebels).”

According to the Times of London:

“Carla del Ponte, head of the independent UN commission investigating reports of chemical weapons use in Syria, told a Swiss-Italian television station that UN investigators gleaned testimony from victims of Syria’s civil war and medical staff which indicated that rebel forces used sarin gas – a deadly nerve agent.

“‘Our investigators have been in neighboring countries interviewing victims, doctors and field hospitals and, according to their report of last week which I have seen, there are strong, concrete suspicions but not yet incontrovertible proof of the use of sarin gas, from the way the victims were treated,’ del Ponte said in the interview, translated by Reuters.

‘This was use on the part of the opposition, the rebels, not by the government authorities,’ she added.”

It was the involvement of those jihadis posing as Syrian rebels that made then-candidate Trump state emphatically that he wouldn’t intervene and help oust Assad as Hillary Clinton wanted to do.

Candidate Trump pushed back heavily against intervention. He warned that ISIS was likely to take over Syria if Assad were ousted, just as they have in Iraq and Libya.

And yet the U.S. is only escalating fighting.

Four Russian nationals, and perhaps dozens more, were killed in fighting between pro-government forces in eastern Syria and members of the United States-led coalition fighting the Islamic State, according to Russian and Syrian officials—that according to the New York Times.

Russia says that no members of the Russian armed forces were killed and that any Russians fighting alongside the Syrians were mercenaries.

So what you need to know is that candidate Trump was clear when he pointed to the bush policy in Iraq and the Obama/Clinton policies in Libya and Syria that have only strengthened the creation and spread of ISIS and jihadism.

Candidate Trump rightly pointed out that these policies had failed and that it was insanity to keep pursuing those policies and expecting a different outcome.

So why is President Trump now embracing those insane policies that if continued will undoubtedly leave another power vacuum in the Middle East which will be filled with jihadis?

That’s Reality Check, let’s talk about it tonight on Twitter and Facebook.

Examining Trump’s Meetings on North Korea with “Long-Time Friend” Kissinger

Last Friday, former U.S. Secretary of State and contentious public figure Henry Kissinger made headlines after asserting that North Korea poses the most immediate threat to “global security” and ominously stated that the “temptation to deal” with North Korea “with a pre-emptive attack is strong.” While some may dismiss Kissinger’s statements as merely the musings of a 94-year-old former statesman, others may argue that his influence over the presidential administration of his “long-time friend” Donald Trump could turn this “temptation” into reality.

After his rise to political prominence, Trump’s first meeting with Kissinger took place in May of 2016. Notably, that meeting occurred only a day after then-candidate Trump said he would open dialogue with North Korean leader Kim Jong-un if elected President. After that initial meeting, Kissinger and Trump met last November of that same year and, afterwards, Kissinger stated that Trump would likely not be keeping all his campaign promises, as he was undergoing “the transition from being a campaigner to being a national strategist.” This apparently included letting go of his promise to open dialogue with North Korea.

In addition to their meetings in 2016, Kissinger and Trump met an additional three times last year. The most recent of those took place last October, and the topic was none other than North Korea. That same day, U.S. Secretary of Defense James Mattis instructed the U.S. Army to stand ready if North Korea diplomacy fails. The next day, Trump met with the nation’s top military commanders in the White House Situation Room, sometimes called “the War Room,” to discuss possible options for responding to North Korean “aggression.”

These options included the “tempting” plan for a pre-emptive “bloody nose” strike against North Korea. Experts, and even former Trump advisor Steve Bannon, have noted that tens of millions of innocent civilians could easily be killed in the first 30 minutes of a military conflict erupting on the Korean peninsula as well as the fact that such a conflict could quickly become global in scale. Experts have also asserted that the U.S. would be “unlikely” to win a conflict against North Korea.

Yet, of all the possibilities raised during that meeting, not one of them included a diplomatic approach despite the attempts of both North Korea’s and Trump’s own State Department to open dialogue. Those present at the meeting also did not consider North Korea’s repeated offer to terminate its nuclear weapon and missile program if the U.S. stops conducting annual war games with South Korea in proximity to North Korean territory – an offer refused by both Obama and Trump.

While some Trump supporters may argue that Trump is unlikely to follow the advice of someone as closely connected to the “deep state” as Henry Kissinger, Trump has expressed nothing but praise for the man who is credited with transforming U.S. foreign policy into one of perpetual, undeclared war.

Henry Kissinger and Nancy Kissinger, Donald Trump and wife Ivana Trump backstage at a Liza Minelli show in New York, June 11, 1987. (AP/ Ron Frehm)

After their most recent meeting last October, Trump praised Kissinger’s “immense talent.” “Henry Kissinger has been a friend of mine,” he added. “I’ve liked him. I’ve respected him. But we’ve been friends for a long time, long before my emergence into the world of politics, which has not been too long.” All this, despite the fact that Kissinger is also a long-time advisor and confidante of Trump’s former rival for the presidency, Hillary Clinton.

Kissinger’s recent statements on North Korea come at an interesting time. Despite best efforts from the U.S. to inflame tensions on the Korean peninsula, North and South Korea have made major breakthroughs towards peace. The most noteworthy of these was the joint decision to have the teams of both nations march together during the upcoming Winter Olympics to be hosted on the Korean peninsula.

Yet, as Kissinger’s past clearly indicates, his version of “diplomacy” does not typically allow for peace. A 2016 article written by Greg Grandin chronicled Kissinger’s most noteworthy actions:

“Let’s consider some of Kissinger’s achievements during his tenure as Richard Nixon’s top foreign policy–maker. He (1) prolonged the Vietnam War for five pointless years; (2) illegally bombed Cambodia and Laos; (3) goaded Nixon to wiretap staffers and journalists; (4) bore responsibility for three genocides in Cambodia, East Timor, and Bangladesh; (5) urged Nixon to go after Daniel Ellsberg for having released the Pentagon Papers, which set off a chain of events that brought down the Nixon White House; (6) pumped up Pakistan’s ISI, and encouraged it to use political Islam to destabilize Afghanistan; (7) began the US’s arms-for-petrodollars dependency with Saudi Arabia and pre-revolutionary Iran; (8) accelerated needless civil wars in southern Africa that, in the name of supporting white supremacy, left millions dead; (9) supported coups and death squads throughout Latin America; and (10) ingratiated himself with the first-generation neocons, such as Dick Cheney and Paul Wolfowitz, who would take American militarism to its next calamitous level.”

Kissinger’s notable stance on North Korea and apparent sway over Trump, along with the Trump administration’s new Nuclear Posture Review, raises additional questions related to Trump’s foreign policy moving forward as well as the question of whether Trump may be later exemplified as a war criminal alongside his “long-time friend”.

Rubio Accuses Cruz of Siding with ‘Isolationists’ on Foreign Policy

On Sunday’s episode of NBC’s Meet the Press, 2016 GOP presidential candidate and U.S. Senator Marco Rubio (R-Fla.) accused opposing candidate and Republican Senator Ted Cruz (R-Texas) of siding with isolationists on foreign policy.

Sen. Rubio told NBC’s Chuck Todd, “I mean, [Sen. Cruz] talks tough on some of these issues. For example, he was going to carpet bomb ISIS. But the only budget he’s ever voted for in his time in the Senate is a budget that cut defense spending by more than Barack Obama proposes we cut it.

He voted against the Defense Authorization Act every year that it came up. And that is the bill and I assume that if he voted against it, he would veto it as president. That’s the bill that funds our troops. Even the Iron Dome for Israel. So I guess my point is each time he’s had to choose between strong national defense and some of the isolationist tendencies in American politics, he seems to side with the isolationist. And this is an important issue to have a debate over. It’s not personal,” added Rubio.

[RELATED: Reality Check: The NSA Hasn’t Actually Stopped Spying on Anybody]

Rubio also claimed that Cruz’s vote in favor of the USA Freedom Act is evidence of his loyalty to isolationist positions.

We had a program that allowed us to collect the phone records, basically the phone bill. Not the content of your conversations or your emails or anything like that. Just your phone bill of every American. And it was stored… And they retained them for a significant period of time. Under this new law, we are trusting the phone companies to hold those records,” said Rubio, who argued that Cruz’s vote for the USA Freedom Act means that the U.S. has lost the capability “in some cases” to identify “who [terrorists have] been calling and who they’ve been talking to.

For more election coverage, click here.

Ted Cruz: The Middle East was Safer Before The U.S. Toppled Hussein, Gaddafi

GOP presidential candidate Sen. Ted Cruz (R-Tx.) said on Thursday that he believes the Middle East was safer under the regimes of Saddam Hussein and Muammar Gaddafi than it is now after intervention from the United States.

During an interview with Joe Scarborough on MSNBC’s Morning Joe, Cruz said his foreign policy is “the Reagan approach.” He said he promotes “peace through strength,” and he believes the U.S. “should be defending vital national security interests of this country.”

[pull_quote_center]We’ve seen a consistent mistake in foreign policy, we’ve seen Democrats and a lot of establishment Republicans in Washington get involved in toppling Middle Eastern governments, and it ends up benefiting the bad guys. It ends up handing them over to radical Islamic terrorists.[/pull_quote_center]

[RELATED: Truth in Media: The Origin of ISIS]

Scarborough asked whether Cruz believed the Middle East was safer when Saddam Hussein was in power in Iraq and Muammar Gadhafi was in power in Libya, a question Scarborough said he has asked rival Sen. Rand Paul (R-Ky.) along with other Democratic and Republican foreign policy experts.

“Of course it was,” Cruz answered. “That’s not even a close call.”

“Why won’t people say that?” Scarborough replied. “Because I couldn’t even get Rand to say it, but it’s important to admit, is it not, because isn’t this possibly where we’re guided in the future that maybe we don’t topple secular regimes, as offensive as they are.”

[RELATED: Reps Gabbard, Scott Introduce Bill to End U.S. Effort to ‘Overthrow Syrian Government of Assad’]

Cruz noted the cases of Egypt and Libya where the U.S. toppled dictators and as a result, Islamic terrorists were able to gain power, something he said President Obama along with rival candidates such as Democrat Hillary Clinton and Republican Sen. Marco Rubio promoted.

[pull_quote_center]Then you look at Syria. It seems Barack Obama and Hillary Clinton and people like Senator Rubio have not learned the lessons of Libya and Egypt, because what are they trying to do – topple Assad. Now Assad is a bad man, he’s a monster, but if they succeed in toppling Assad, ISIS will take over Syria. It will be worse.[/pull_quote_center]

[RELATED: Reality Check: Proof The U.S. Government Wanted ISIS To Emerge In Syria]

“My view, instead of getting in the middle of a civil war in Syria, where we don’t have a dog in the fight, our focus should be on killing ISIS,” Cruz said. “Why? Because ISIS has declared war on America. They’re waging jihad. We shouldn’t keep trying to find these mythical moderate rebels, that we keep being told – like the purple unicorn – they’re going to exist, but they turn out to all be jihadists.”

For more election coverage, click here.

Defense Contractors Discuss ‘Benefits’ of Middle Eastern Conflicts

Major defense contractors Lockheed Martin, Oshkosh and Raytheon appeared pleased this week as escalating conflicts in the Middle East were touted as a reason for investor optimism at a Credit Suisse conference in West Palm Beach.

While defense spending has been a target of budget cuts for the past few years dating back to the budget sequester, this trend was recently reversed with an October budget deal which included $607 billion in additional defense spending.

“Our programs are well supported [in the budget],” said Lockheed’s Executive Vice President Bruce Tanner at the conference. “We think we did fare very well.”

Wilson Jones, president of Oshkosh, noted that countries have shown interest in buying M-ATV armored vehicles made by the company due to “the ISIS threat growing.”

The situation on the ground in Syria and recent downing of a Russian aircraft by the Turkish military has brought defense spending to the forefront of presidential rhetoric. Meanwhile, defense contractors viewed the aircraft downing through a positive lens for their bottom line.

Presidential candidate and United States Senator Rand Paul (R-Ky.), an outspoken critic of defense spending, asked “how is it conservative to pass a trillion dollars in military expenditures?” during an exchange at the November 12th presidential debate. Paul’s criticism directly targeted a proposal by fellow 2016 candidate United States Senator Marco Rubio (R-Fla.), calling for a $1 trillion dollar increase over the next 10 years. Rubio is one of several candidates calling for large scale increases in defense spending.

The perceived need for the U.S. military to operate stealth aircraft like the Lockheed Martin-made F-22, combined with increases in spending by other regional powers like Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates on munitions and other systems for use in operations in Yemen, give defense manufacturers even more reason for a positive outlook.

Given this volatility in the region, the environment also promises to provide a boost for candidates in both parties who can leverage hawkish rhetoric and calls for increased U.S. involvement in the Middle East.

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Rand Paul Says Obama’s Foreign Policy Is ‘Idiotic’

Fresh off of a strong performance in this week’s Fox Business News / Wall Street Journal debate, Republican presidential candidate and U.S. Sen. Rand Paul (R-Ky.) delivered some strong words aimed at President Obama’s foreign policy while addressing a crowd in Altoona, Iowa.

“What kind of idiot sends four people to war?” Paul asked supporters while referring to the $500 million Department of Defense program set up to train Syrian rebels. The Obama administration abandoned the program after only a small handful of trained rebels actually showed up to fight. In total, the Department of Defense spent $2 million for every one rebel trained.

“If you go to war, you don’t go with underwhelming force, you go to war with overwhelming force,” Paul said.

According to Huffington Post, Paul also criticized Obama’s move to deploy 50 special forces troops to Syria with Congress’ approval.

“If you want to send troops over there, we don’t send 50,” Paul said. “We have a declaration of war and we vote on it in Congress.”

Paul’s debate performance also bolstered his fundraising. According to the Des Moines Register, the moment Paul challenged U.S. Senator Marco Rubio (R-Fla.) on military spending, Paul’s fundraising went up 600 percent.

Nationally, Paul is tied for 6th place with Ohio Governor John Kasich and former HP executive Carly Fiorina. However, the most recent round of polling shows Paul steadily gaining some momentum. In Fox News’ latest poll, Paul was tied for 5th with Jeb Bush. A state-wide poll in Iowa mirrors those results with Paul tying Bush for 5th.

FOLLOW MICHAEL LOTFI ON Facebook, Twitter & LinkedIn.

Military Judge Denies New Lawyer for 9/11 Suspect as Trial Delays Continue

Following days of back and forth arguments, Judge Army Col. James Pohl ruled on Thursday that a Yemeni man accused of helping orchestrate the 9/11 attacks cannot fire his attorney.

“You have not shown good cause and as a result I will not terminate Ms. Bormann’s relationship with you,” Pohl said at a hearing at the U.S. military base at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba.

The ruling comes after a closed-door session was held on Wednesday between defendant Walid bin Attash, his lawyers, and Pohl to discuss the possibility of the man defending himself in court.

Bin Attash faces charges related to hijacking, terrorism, war crimes and conspiring with militants for his role in the terror attacks of September 11, 2001. The trial of bin Attash and four other men accused of the attacks have long been delayed due to accusations of the government spying on the defense team.

On Monday, bin Attash stated that he felt he could no longer trust his defense team and wanted to fire his lead defense attorney Cheryl Bormann. He also told Pohl he had privileged information to share. The Military Times reports that Pohl told bin Attash to let go of the idea of representing himself. “It’s a bad idea … you conflated three separate issues,” he said.

According to the Miami Herald, on Wednesday Bin Attash submitted two documents which detail his reasons for wanting to remove Bormann. The documents were not made public. Judge Pohl might rule on the matter as early as Thursday.

At Monday’s hearing Pohl also ruled on a dispute which has plagued the entire trial. The defense team has accused the government of using informants to attempt to gain information on the defense strategy. However, Pohl ruled there was no conflict or potential conflict during the tribunal.

The Military Times reported that U.S. Attorney Fernando Campoamor-Sanchez told the government that there was “no conflict of interest” to investigate and called the accusations of planted informants “a red herring.”

The conflict of interest first became an issue in 2014 when the defense attorneys for Khalid Sheikh Mohammed and the four alleged co-conspirators said they believed they were being spied on by the Federal Bureau of Investigation.

Foreign Policy reported, “the FBI had secretly conducted an investigation into possible wrongdoing on the part of one or more members of the five separate defense teams (one for each defendant). Such an investigation could put defense team members in the untenable position of having to provide information to defend themselves or others against possible criminal action — information that could be used against the interests of their own clients.” 

There was also the issue of interference from outside sources during the hearings. FP continues:

 “In January 2013, the court’s audio-visual feed, visible to a small set of commission observers, was abruptly cut off by someone other than Judge Pohl; previously, Pohl was believed to be the only person with the authority to use the unique-to-Guantanamo ‘kill-switch.’ Later, a clearly annoyed Pohl learned that something called the Original Classification Authority (OCA) — which is likely the CIA given that most of the information subject to censorship in the case is related to the agency’s rendition, detention, and interrogation program — had hit the kill switch. Judge Pohl promptly cut off their privileges.

In February 2013, it was revealed that listening devices were hidden within smoke detectors, possibly infringing upon attorney-client privileges. The defense also claimed their emails and work files were disappearing. Former defendant Ramzi bin al-Shibh was also removed from the trial by the judge in an attempt to speed the process along after so many delays. However, critics argue that al-Shibh was removed because he refused to be quiet, complaining loudly of sleep deprivation.

The trial of the men accused of the terror attacks on September 11, 2001 has been nothing short of a sham. No justice will be found in this military kangaroo court. Regardless of the crime they stand accused of, these men are owed their day in a court of impartial judges. Unfortunately, the last 14 years of controversies have shown that these men will not receive anything closely resembling a fair and speedy trial owed to them by the 6th amendment of the U.S. Constitution.

Report: U.S. Military Ordered Troops to Overlook Afghan Allies’ Sexual Abuse

The U.S. military has reportedly been engaging in a policy of ordering its troops not to intervene when U.S.-allied and trained Afghan security forces sexually abuse children. Soldiers who have attempted to intervene in the abuses, some of which have taken place on U.S. bases, have been punished by superiors for disobeying orders.

The New York Times’ Joseph Goldstein wrote, “Rampant sexual abuse of children has long been a problem in Afghanistan, particularly among armed commanders who dominate much of the rural landscape and can bully the population. The practice is called bacha bazi, literally ‘boy play,’ and American soldiers and Marines have been instructed not to intervene — in some cases, not even when their Afghan allies have abused boys on military bases, according to interviews and court records.

The Army stripped Special Forces Captain Dan Quinn, who has since quit the military, of his command after a 2011 incident in which he allegedly assaulted an Afghan police commander who had admitted to keeping a local boy chained to his bed as a sex slave.

I picked him up and threw him onto the ground. I did this to make sure the message was understood that if he went back to the boy, that it was not going to be tolerated,” said Quinn. He added, “The reason we were here is because we heard the terrible things the Taliban were doing to people, how they were taking away human rights, but we were putting people into power who would do things that were worse than the Taliban did — that was something village elders voiced to me.

[RELATED: Inspector General Calls US Effort to Rebuild Afghanistan an “Abysmal Failure”]

Army Special Forces Sgt. First Class Charles Martland is also reportedly facing disciplinary action for assisting Quinn in the alleged beating.

The Army contends that Martland and others should have looked the other way (a contention that I believe is nonsense),” said U.S. Congressman Duncan Hunter (R-CA).

Col. Brian Tribus, spokesman for the U.S. command in Afghanistan, told The New York Times, “Generally, allegations of child sexual abuse by Afghan military or police personnel would be a matter of domestic Afghan criminal law. There would be no express requirement that U.S. military personnel in Afghanistan report it.

Gregory Buckley Sr., whose son Lance Cpl. Gregory Buckley Jr. was killed by a 17-year-old boy staying on base with an Afghan police commander, believes his son’s death was a consequence of the U.S. military’s policy of ignoring sexual abuses by allies. He said that, during his last phone call home before he was killed, his son told him, “At night we can hear [the boys] screaming, but we’re not allowed to do anything about it.

My son said that his officers told him to look the other way because it’s their culture,” said Gregory Buckley Sr.

An ex-marine speaking under conditions of anonymity explained the military’s view on the policy to The New York Times. “The bigger picture was fighting the Taliban. It wasn’t to stop molestation,” he said.

Rand Paul Comes to Donald Trump’s Defense Over Foreign Policy Gaffe

In a clip from last Friday’s episode of The Michael Smerconish Program, heard below, Kentucky Senator and 2016 Republican presidential candidate Rand Paul turned down an opportunity to attack Donald Trump and instead criticized the foreign policy questions that Hugh Hewitt asked Trump on the radio last week.


For context, on last Thursday’s episode of The Hugh Hewitt Show, Hewitt asked Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump about Iran’s Quds Force, which Trump confused for the Middle Eastern ethnic group the Kurds.

Hewitt, who has been tapped as a moderator for CNN’s September 16 Republican presidential debate, also quizzed Trump on the names of the leaders of several terrorists groups, prompting the billionaire real estate investor to admit that he had not studied them yet.

Following the interview, Trump blasted Hewitt on Twitter, accusing him of asking “gotcha’” questions.

Michael Smerconish asked Rand Paul, “Do you think it’s a ‘gotcha’ question if a presidential candidate is asked whether he or she knows the difference between the Quds and Kurds?

[RELATED: Donald Trump Says He Hopes to Run for President Against Kanye West]

Senator Paul, who reportedly wears a hearing aid, said that he is “not big on defending Donald Trump by any means” but that “it can be sometimes hard to hear the difference… between ‘Quds’ and ‘Kurds.’

Paul took issue with how Hewitt asked Trump to identify a list of terrorist leaders by name. “I also do think that running through a list of every different Arabic name and asking somebody to respond to them is maybe a little bit of a game of gotcha,” said Paul.

Senator Paul added, “But I do think knowing the difference between Hamas and Hezbollah, knowing the difference between Shi’ites and Sunnis, and knowing a little bit of the history, or a significant amount of the history of what’s been going on in the Middle East, is important for our next leader.

Paul concluded, “But some people do like to play games with names, and it’s a lot easier if you are prepared for the interview on one side and you know all the names and you have them in front of you on a piece of paper, versus surprising people with the names. So, like I say, I’m not into defending Donald Trump, and you won’t find it very often, but I do think some interviewers do like to play this game.

For more election coverage, click here.

Trump Fails to Identify National Security Threats During Foreign Policy Interview

In a clip from last Thursday’s episode of The Hugh Hewitt Show, embedded above, 2016 Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump failed to identify the names of various leaders of international terrorist organizations, sparking a feud between Trump and Hewitt, whom Trump accused of asking “gotcha” questions.

Hewitt, who has been tapped to serve as a moderator at CNN’s September 16 Republican presidential debate, asked, “But on the front of Islamist terrorism, I’m looking for the next commander-in-chief to know who Hassan Nasrallah is, and Zawahiri, and al-Julani, and al-Baghdadi. Do you know the players without a scorecard, yet, Donald Trump?

[RELATED: CNN Amends Criteria For GOP Debate Lineup]

Donald Trump replied, “No, you know, I’ll tell you honestly, I think by the time we get to office, they’ll all be changed. They’ll be all gone. I knew you were going to ask me things like this, and there’s no reason, because number one, I’ll find, I will hopefully find General Douglas MacArthur in the pack. I will find whoever it is that I’ll find, and we’ll, but they’re all changing, Hugh. You know, those are like history questions. Do you know this one, do you know that one. I will tell you, I thought you used the word Kurd before. I will tell you that I think the Kurds are the most under-utilized and are being totally mistreated by us. And nobody understands why. But as far as the individual players, of course I don’t know them. I’ve never met them. I haven’t been, you know, in a position to meet them. If, if they’re still there, which is unlikely in many cases, but if they’re still there, I will know them better than I know you.”

Earlier in the interview, Trump appeared unaware of Iran’s elite Quds Force and confused the military group with the Kurds, a Middle Eastern ethnic group.

Now I don’t believe in gotcha questions. And I’m not trying to quiz you on who the worst guy in the world is,” said Hewitt, defending his line of questioning.

Trump fired back, “Well, that is a gotcha question, though. I mean, you know, when you’re asking me about who’s running this, this this, that’s not, that is not, I will be so good at the military, your head will spin. But obviously, I’m not meeting these people. I’m not seeing these people. Now it probably will be a lot of changes, Hugh, as you go along. They’ll be, by the time we get there, which is still a pretty long period of time, you know, you start, let’s say you figure out nominations, and who is going to represent the Republicans in, let’s say, February, March, April, you’ll start to get pretty good ideas, maybe sooner than that, actually. But that will be a whole new group of people. I think what is really important is to pick out, and this is something I’m so good at, to pick out who is going to be the best person to represent us militarily, because we have some great people, militarily. I don’t know that we’re using them.

Near the end of the interview, Hewitt warned Trump that he might face the same line of questioning at CNN’s September 16 Republican presidential debate and said, “At the debate, I may bring up Nasrallah being with Hezbollah, and al-Julani being with al-Nusra, and al-Masri being with Hamas. Do you think if I ask people to talk about those three things, and the differences, that that’s a gotcha question?

Donald Trump replied, “Yes, I do. I totally do. I think it’s ridiculous.” He added, “All right, I think it’s ridiculous. I’ll have, I’m a delegator. I find great people. I find absolutely great people, and I’ll find them in our armed services, and I find absolutely great people. And now on the bigger picture, like the fact that our Kurds are being treated so poorly, and would really is the one group that really would be out there fighting for us, I think, and fighting for themselves, maybe more importantly to them, I understand that. But when you start throwing around names of people and where they live and give me their address, I think it’s ridiculous, and I think it’s totally worthless.

Well, and by the way, the names you just mentioned, they probably won’t even be there in six months or a year,” concluded Trump.

After the show, Trump took to Twitter to blast Hewitt for asking what Trump characterized as “gotcha” questions.



For more election coverage, click here.

Kasich’s Foreign Policy Positions: Boots on the Ground vs. ISIS, Arm Syrian Rebels

Following his breakout performance in Fox News’ first Republican presidential debate of the 2016 campaign season, Ohio Governor John Kasich is surging in New Hampshire, but, as a lesser-known candidate to voters outside of Ohio, many politicos are unaware of his specific positions on the issues.

During his time as a congressman, Kasich served for 18 years on the House Armed Services Committee. As a candidate for president, Kasich is positioning himself in the Republican Party’s more hawkish wing on foreign policy.

A CNN op-ed by Kasich, published on Monday, painted a frightful picture of U.S. national security under President Obama. “Terrorism is increasingly striking here at home. Regional powers are challenging the postwar security order. Nuclear weapons are proliferating. Cyberspace has become a battlefield. The U.S. has neglected both our military and our alliances and has apparently decided, instead, to try to lead from behind,” wrote Kasich.

Though his op-ed fell short of outlining specific foreign policy positions, in May, Kasich told Jonathan Karl on ABC’s This Week, “I said months ago that we ought to have a coalition of our Western partners and our — any of our allies in the Middle East to form a coalition to knock ISIS out. And if that includes American boots on the ground, so be it.

Look, three big problems: One, we disbanded the Iraqi army and we have nothing but chaos since we started. Two, we failed to arm the opposition in Syria to push Assad out, which would have been strategic because of the support for Iran and Russia in regard to [Syrian President Bashar] Assad. Then we had a red line and we ignored that. And now we find out that over in Syria, they’re dropping barrel chlorine bombs on people. So, you know, it’s been a feckless foreign policy,” Kasich continued, criticizing President Obama.

In February of this year, Ben Swann released a Truth in Media episode, seen below, exposing the fact that the federal government actually did covertly fund and train Syrian rebels to fight Assad and, in so doing, led to the rise of ISIS in Iraq.


For more 2016 election coverage, click here.

Ron Paul: Should We Expect Blowback From U.S. Drone Strikes?

U.S. officials have assured the American people that the 34 killed at a funeral in Afghanistan last week were all terrorists. At the same time, CIA Director John Brennan admitted that our foreign policy can spur terrorism. Should we expect more blowback from U.S. drone strikes?

Our solution was that our officials that we control in Afghanistan along with our government decided that all 34 at the funeral were terrorists and therefore this was an acceptable practice,” three-time presidential candidate and former Texas Rep. Ron Paul said in the latest episode of his Liberty Report.

Paul cited comments from Air Force Lt. Gen. John Hesterman that the war against the Islamic State (ISIS) is very effective. Lieutenant Hesterman said U.S. pilots are killing more than 1,000 terrorists per month and that the airstrikes are so effective that they don’t kill civilians, and government troops don’t get killed.

I don’t know what newspapers he reads or reports he reads, but I understand ISIS is not exactly a perfect situation over there,” Paul said. “. . . I don’t know about you, but I have trouble buying into this.”

Liberty Report co-host Daniel McAdams compared Lieutenant Hesterman’s comments about killing 1,000 terrorists each month to the U.S. measuring its success during the Vietnam War by how many Vietcong were killed. “Meanwhile, we were losing the war,” McAdams said.

In drone strikes like the one that hit the funeral in Afghanistan, McAdams claimed that U.S. officials simply redefine who is a terrorist and who isn’t based on the situation.

You can almost imagine by the terms of our own NDAA that anyone attending a funeral of a Taliban person would be supporting, aiding and abetting,” McAdams said. “So even if it was a kid . . . but what the people there on the ground claim is that at least 20 people were civilians who were killed. And I don’t know, maybe people on the ground would have an incentive to lie, but they certainly would seem to know better.”

Paul questioned whether the killing is a success or inviting more blowback, citing comments from Brennan that terrorists are essentially anyone who resists our American occupation of other countries.

That makes it pretty convenient then,” McAdams replied. “I remember the Obama administration redefining a terrorist was as any male of military fighting age. So that would relieve them of the actual burden of proving that they were all actual terrorists.”

During an interview on Face The Nation, Brennan said, “I think the president has tried to make sure that we’re able to push the envelop when we can protect this country. But we have to recognize that sometimes our engagement and direct involvement will stimulate and spur additional threats to our national security interest.”

Paul said the quote is very telling of the problems with U.S. foreign policy. “Our intervention hurts our national security because we invite retaliation and blowback,” he said.

Watch the full episode above and check out more episodes of the Ron Paul Liberty Report here at Truth In Media.

In case you missed Ben Swann’s Truth In Media episode on ISIS watch it below:


Video Shows Sen. Cotton Confronted By Father Of Deceased Veteran

Washington, D.C.- During a lengthy discussion about foreign policy on Friday, Sen. Tom Cotton (R-Ark.) was confronted by Fred Boenig, a Pennsylvania man who described himself as a gold star dad before calling Cotton “the biggest hawk in Washington” and asking when combat in the Middle East will end.

The exchange began when Cotton asked Boenig about the 4 lapel pins he was wearing. “I’m a gold star dad and I have three more kids currently serving,” Boenig answered.

Boenig then said, “And I would consider you probably the biggest hawk in Washington, maybe Lindsey Graham, right? I mean, you’d admit that, right?”

As the attendees broke into laughter, Cotton responded that he believes in “strength in confidence,” a term that Boenig said reminds him of “someone knocking on my door again.” Boenig’s son died in Afghanistan in 2010.

Boenig asked Cotton to tell him how many days have passed since the last U.S. military combat zone death. Cotton did not give a direct answer.

Boenig, who told Cotton that the answer is 58 days, went on to ask “When do we get to hang the ‘Mission Accomplished’ banner, and when do I get my kids to come home safe again? That’s the only thing that matters to me.”

Cotton said that there is “no definitive answer because our enemies get a vote in this process. I’m deeply sorrowful for your loss and I greatly honor the service that all of your children have rendered like all of our veterans do, but in the end I think the best way to honor our veterans-“

“Is to have more killed?” Boenig interrupted.

“Is to win the wars in which they fought,” Cotton said.

Boenig went on to challenge Cotton about combat in Iraq and Iran as a means to prevent terror attacks in the United States, and noted that Cotton met with defense contractors the day after he wrote a letter to Iranian leaders warning that a nuclear deal with President Barack Obama could be revoked after Obama left office.

Watch the debate between Boenig and Cotton below:



Exclusive: Journalist Dr. Nafeez Ahmed Explains Media Blackout on DIA – ISIS Report

A newly declassified Defense Intelligence Agency report confirmed what Truth In Media has been reporting for the last two years: the U.S. and its allies contributed to the rise and success of ISIS.

Senator and Presidential candidate Rand Paul (R-Ky.) told Morning Joe that the Republican “war hawks” essentially helped create the rise of ISIS.

Perhaps more disturbing than the report was the complete media blackout of this important document.

Was there a notice that was sent out to the U.K. media that ordered them not to report on this section because of national security concerns?

Nafeez Ahmed is an award winning journalist who wrote about the DIA report last week and spoke to a major U.K. newspaper who was interested the DIA section, but delayed in reporting it.

Truth In Media’s Joshua Cook asked Dr. Ahmed in an exclusive interview why the media was ignoring the issue of the DIA report and its implications of aiding ISIS.

“I spoke to a major national newspaper here in the U.K. and what was interesting was they were quite sympathetic to the line of inquiry, but just felt like they couldn’t cover it. And it wasn’t that they were told they couldn’t cover it. The journalist that I spoke to who is a senior journalist that I have a lot of respect for was very sympathetic to what I was saying. He literally said to me look — I actually could sense that there was this fear that I shouldn’t be talking about this, this is going to far — is the document really strong enough? He didn’t feel confident,” said Ahmed.

“There is almost like an unspoken recognition I think in the mainstream media that there are certain things we are not allowed to say. The idea that something as despicable as ISIS could actually been foreseen or facilitated deliberately, which is really what is implied by this report quite clearly,” he said.

“It’s almost too much,” he said. “It goes against the grain of so much we take for granted. So many assumptions about not just American, but Western kind of supremacy and the benevolence of our government that we would never do anything like this … it’s a big kind of leap.”

“On the one hand I think that journalists are scared and worried about pushing boundaries to that extent. It does raise a concern that there is an absolute silence on this issue, especially in the English speaking media. It raises real questions about what is behind that silence?”

Read Ahmed’s update on the DIA report regarding ISIS here. Find his original article on the DIA report here.

Nafeez Ahmed PhD is an investigative journalist, international security scholar and bestselling author who tracks what he calls the ‘crisis of civilization.’ He is a winner of the Project Censored Award for Outstanding Investigative Journalism for his Guardian reporting on the intersection of global ecological, energy and economic crises with regional geopolitics and conflicts. He has also written for The Independent, Sydney Morning Herald, The Age, The Scotsman, Foreign Policy, The Atlantic, Quartz, Prospect, New Statesman, Le Monde diplomatique, New Internationalist. His work on the root causes and covert operations linked to international terrorism officially contributed to the 9/11 Commission and the 7/7 Coroner’s Inquest.

Watch Senator Paul on Morning Joe here.

Confirmed Secret Pentagon Report Reveals US “Created” ISIS As A “Tool” in a Proxy War Against Assad

Truth In Media questioned 2 years ago why the U.S. and our allies were financing ISIS in Iraq and arming so-called “moderate rebels” in Syria.


Reports have confirmed that US Intelligence knew in 2012 that backing Syrian rebels would result in an ISIS victory.

A newly declassified DIA document from 2012 confirms that arming the anti-Assad rebel forces and Islamist groups would lead to the emergence of ISIS.

According to award winning journalist Dr. Nafeez Ahmed, “the secret Pentagon document provides extraordinary confirmation that the US-led coalition currently fighting ISIS, had three years ago welcomed the emergence of an extremist ‘Salafist Principality’ in the region as a way to undermine Assad.”

Below is an excerpt from the DIA report:

[pull_quote_center]… there is the possibility of establishing a declared or undeclared Salafist Principality in eastern Syria (Hasaka and Der Zor), and this is exactly what the supporting powers to the opposition want, in order to isolate the Syrian regime, which is considered the strategic depth of the Shia expansion (Iraq and Iran).[/pull_quote_center]

War hawks like Sen. John McCain (R-AZ) have lobbied the White House to arm “moderate rebels,” but these moderate rebel groups have reportedly joined with ISIS.


As reported on the LevantReport.com, the above video entitled “US Key Man in Syria Worked Closely with ISIL and Jabhat al Nusra,” which shows raw reporting footage compiled by “Eretz Zen” channel (YouTube), is the clearest video evidence to date documenting the role of the United States in creating and sustaining ISIS on the Syrian battlefield.

Last year, Vice President Joe Biden slipped up and admitted (start at 1:30:00) that there were no “moderate rebels” and had to later apologize for stating “the biggest problems are our allies.” He admitted that Saudi Arabia and Gulf states were funding ISIS to oust Assad.

Recently on the Scott Horton show, Brad Hoff reminded listeners that the former U.S. Ambassador to Syria, Robert Ford, admitted to an Al-Monitor journalist that he knew the U.S. backed rebels fought with ISIS on front lines.

The mainstream media has ignored and refused to report on the important DIA section regarding the Syrian proxy war led by the U.S. and its allies.

TruthInMedia’s Joshua Cook recently interviewed former Senator Bob Graham about the 28 pages and the House of Saud being the main support of ISIS and international terrorism.

If Biden is correct and the Gulf states are funding ISIS, why is the U.S. not holding them accountable?

In an exclusive interview, TruthInMedia’s Joshua Cook interviewed Congressman Mark Sanford regarding U.S. foreign policy. Cook asked Congressman Sanford about his experience reading the classified 28 pages in the 9/11 report.

Sanford told Cook, “It cements my belief in the importance of government being transparent about what they do and why they do it.”

“I think that for people to trust their government, they may agree or may disagree with the decision, but they want to know the why, and too often people are told just trust us, it’s not appropriate or you don’t have the capacity to know – that’s just not true, said Sanford.

“Open and free governments are built upon transparency so that people can look under the hood, and say I agree or I disagree, and consequently hold people accountable, and when things are hidden people can’t do that…These kind of things for me reinforce my belief in the importance of freedom resting on openness and transparency in the way the government conducts its business.”

Listen to Ron Paul’s perspective on the newly declassified report.

Ben Swann presents a clear and damning report on how the US actions in Iraq and Syria led to the rise of ISIS. Watch Ben Swann’s ground breaking report on ISIS that the mainstream media refuses to report.



The Hersh Bombshell: “Allies” were guarding and funding America’s worst enemy

According to veteran investigative journalist Seymour Hersh, the story the Obama Administration told about the killing of Osama bin Laden was just that- a story.

Hersh claims that the Pakistani military knew of the U.S. mission; that bin Laden was a prisoner in Abbottabad since 2006; that an ex-Pakistani official told the U.S. where bin Laden was in exchange for $25 million; and that there was no fire fight in bin Laden’s alleged compound.

The White House calls the claims baseless with too many inaccuracies to check each one.

Some have noted that it’s difficult to dismiss Hersh’s claims. “You don’t believe a story until it’s officially denied,” said Afshin Rattansi on RT.com.

The mainstream media has been aiming to discredit the story.

“The United States media won’t have it,” added Rattansi, who pointed out that Hersh had to get it published in the London Review of Books. “He can’t get them published in the land of the free.”

Hersh is a longtime contributor to The New Yorker.

In an article in New York magazine, Hersh said his relationship with The New Yorker has been tense and that they had already written a long-form feature about the killing of bin Laden, which focused on the action movie narrative from the administration.

Is Hersh’s story true? What do members of the U.S. military think of Hersh’s claims?

TruthInMedia.com’s Joshua Cook talked to a high ranking officer in the U.S. Army who said, “The Hersh article seems quite credible.”

One former Navy Seal told Cook, “Everyone in politics kills each other off with facts and fantasy.”

But it seems, according to Hersh, that the Bin Laden raid was just that- pure fantasy. “White House cooperated with Zero Dark Thirty. They did not cooperate with Seymour Hersh,” said Rattansi, pointing out that the Obama Administration provided guidance to the makers of Zero Dark Thirty, a Hollywood film about the mission to kill bin Laden.

One of the most disturbing points in Hersh’s article is the claim that the Pakistanis captured Osama bin Laden in 2006 in the Hindu Kush and the Saudis were financing the Pakistanis to keep him from the U.S.

Hersh told Scott Horton in an exclusive interview that Saudi Arabia financed this imprisonment, so Bin Laden wouldn’t reveal who was funding him (Listen here at 10:45).

The New York Times makes an important point: if Pakistan knew where bin Laden was or were holding him in prison as they claim, they were complicit in hiding a man charged with international terrorism and on the United Nations sanctions list.

It certainly makes one wonder even more about those censored 28-pages of the 9/11 report. What lengths will the U.S. government go to protect the Saudi royal family and our so-called allies who finance global terrorism?

For more on this story, click here.

To see RT America’s full interview with Seymour Hersh, watch here:

Rand Paul Has Choice Words For Lindsey Graham, John McCain

Appearing on Fox News Tuesday morning, Kentucky Senator and 2016 Presidential candidate Rand Paul called Lindsey Graham and John McCain “lap dogs” for President Obama’s foreign policy.

On Monday, South Carolina Senator Graham called Paul “more wrong than right” when it comes to foreign policy.

Here is the fireball Paul threw back:

“This comes from a group of people wrong about every policy issue over the last couple decades. I’ll give you a couple examples where they support the president’s foreign policy and I don’t: They supported Hillary Clinton’s war in Libya; they supported President Obama’s bombing of Assad; they also support President Obama’s foreign aid to countries that hate us. So if there is anyone who is most opposed to President Obama’s foreign policy, it’s me. People who call loudest to criticize me are great proponents of President Obama’s foreign policy — they just want to do it ten times over. I’m only one actually standing up and saying the war in Libya was a mistake; the bombing of Assad would make ISIS stronger; the arms to the Islamic rebels would make ISIS stronger. So I’m really the one standing up to President Obama. And these people are essentially the lapdogs for President Obama and I think they’re sensitive about that.”

Do you think that Rand Paul proved his foreign policy prowess?


Rand Paul NH Speech Condemns Government Data Collection: Phone Records “Are None Of Their Damn Business”

Milford, NH- Republican presidential candidate Rand Paul spoke at Milford Town Hall on Wednesday as part of his multi-state announcement tour. The Milford speech appealed to the conservative base while touching on a few liberty-minded ideas including pledging to protect Americans from bulk phone data collection by the federal government. He spoke briefly yet favorably about repealing unfair drug laws, avoiding unnecessary military intervention and promoting school choice.

While critical of both conservative and liberal policies, his tone about the future of America remained optimistic, saying that “America and freedom are so intertwined that people are literally dying to come to our country.”

Paul, in criticizing the national debt, was sure to place some of the responsibility of the Republican party. “It seems to me that both parties and the entire political system is to blame. Big government debt doubled under the Republicans and now its tripling under Barack Obama’s watch,” he said.

When moving to discuss the economy, Paul said that he has an “ambitious plan” that includes introducing “economic freedom zones to allow impoverished areas like Detroit, Chicago, and eastern Kentucky, to prosper not by taking your money,” but by “leaving more of their money in their pockets.”

Paul spoke in favor of term limits, saying that he ran for Senate because of career politicians “who go to Washington and never come home.” He said that “we need less career politicians now more than ever. We limit the president to two terms- it’s about time we limit the terms of Congress.”

Paul went on to praise the idea of school choice, which led to heavy applause from the crowd. “We need to top limiting our kids in poor neighborhoods to failing public schools and offering them school choice,” he said.

“Not only do we not need Common Core, we need school choice, let them have choice,” Paul declared.

Paul, who has been criticized for what some say is a weak foreign policy, spoke strongly of fighting terrorism while abiding by the Constitution. “Until we name the enemy, we cannot win the war,” he said. “This enemy is radical Islam.”

“I will do whatever it takes to defend america from these haters of mankind,” Paul claimed, while calling for “a national defense robust enough to defend against all attack, moderate enough to deter all enemies, and nimble enough to defend our vital interests.”

Paul warned against nation building, saying that “conservatives should not succumb to the notion that a government inept at home will somehow succeed in building nations abroad.” Paul said he envisions an America with a national defense that is “unparalleled, undefeatable, and unencumbered by overseas nation building.”

Later, Paul said that “we must defend ourselves, but we must never give up who we are as a people. We must never diminish the Bill of Rights as long as we fight this long war against evil.”

Paul went on to argue for the need to gather foreign intelligence while condemning the federal government’s collection of American phone records. Paul, a longtime critic of the NSA, said that to defend the country “we do need to gather intelligence on our enemy. But when the intelligence director is not punished for lying under oath, how are we to trust our government agencies?”

“Warrantless searches of Americans phone records and computer records, are un-American and a threat to our civil liberties. I say that your phone records are yours. I say the phone records of law abiding citizens are none of their damn business. The president created this vast dragnet by executive order. As President, on day one I will immediately end this unconstitutional program.”

In closing his speech, Paul said: “I see an America strong enough to deter foreign aggression, yet wise enough to avoid unnecessary intervention. I see an America where criminal justice is applied equally. And any law, like some of our drug laws, that disproportionately incarcerate people of color, should be repealed.”

“Today begins the journey to take America back, to rescue a great country now adrift. Join me as together we seek a new vision for America. Today, I announce that with God’s help, with the help of liberty lovers everywhere, that I am putting myself forward as a candidate to be President of the United States,” he concluded.