Rubio: ‘This is a clash of civilizations. There is no middle ground on this. Either they win or we win …’

Ben Rhodes

Stating his belief that the Paris attacks on Friday night were “clearly an act of war,” 2016 Republican candidate for U.S. President and current U.S. Senator from Florida Marco Rubio invoked the collective-defense provision of NATO (the North Atlantic Treaty Organization) provision today during an interview on ABC’s “This Week.”

“This is clearly an act of war, an attack on one of our NATO allies, and we should invoke Article 5 of the NATO agreement and bring everyone together to put together a coalition to confront this challenge,” said Rubio in a quote taken from the interview and cited in a WashingtonPost story.

Article 5

“Article 5,” according to writer Elise Viebeck, “deems an attack on one NATO member as an attack on all members. The alliance has invoked it only once, after the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks in the United States.

Rubio criticized Democratic front-runner Hillary Clinton for “declining to use the term ‘radical Islam’ in describing the fight against the Islamic State during the presidential debate on Saturday night.

“That would be like saying we weren’t at war with Nazis because we were afraid to offend some Germans who may have been members of the Nazi party but were not violent themselves,” Rubio said.He added that “[t]his is a clash of civilizations. There is no middle ground on this. Either they win or we win … Of course all Muslims are not members of violent jihadist groups.”

Ben Rhodes defends U.S. strategy

For a transcript of the Rubio interview, please click link: ABCnews

During another interview, this time with President Barack Obama’s deputy national security adviser for strategic communications, Ben Rhodes, the question came up of “the latest intelligence.”

Q: “Does the president now agree with President Hollande that this was an act of war by ISIS?”

Rhodes answered, “[y]es George. First of all, in all likelihood, clearly all the signs point to this being the responsibility of ISIL. That’s a determination that the French authorities have made. Certainly our information supports the strong likelihood that ISIL was involved in this. We absolutely agree that this was an act of war by ISIL. Anytime you have this type of indiscriminate targeting of innocent civilians, we see that as an act of war by a terrorist group.”

Further on, rhodes said this: “That’s why, frankly, we’ve been waging war against ISIL now for over a year with thousands of airstrikes and support for partners who are fighting them on the ground.”

Interviewer George Stephanopoulos asked Rhodes another question. “And is there any intelligence suggesting a specific and credible threat to the homeland?”

Rhodes replied. “No, George, the president had a meeting yesterday that included the Secretary of Homeland Security, the director of the FBI; our determination is there’s not a specific, credible threat to the homeland at this time. But we’re going to be very vigilant because we know ISIL has the aspirations to attack the United States as well as our European and other allies and partners.”

“So this was an act of war against America’s oldest ally, as the president pointed out the other day,” Stephanopoulos replied. “How would the United States respond?”

“Well, first of all, we’re clearly going to work very closely with the French in terms of intelligence sharing, also in terms of their military response inside of Syria. The French have been with us in Iraq and Syria and conducting airstrikes,” said Rhodes. “I think we want to continue to intensify that coordination. There’s a French three-star general, who’s positioned in CENTCOM to help facilitate that coordination. So we’ll be working with the French to go after ISIL in response.”

Rhodes added that the U.S. has seen “some fruit in recent weeks.”

“We’ll also be looking to intensify those things that we’ve seen. There’s some fruit in recent weeks, the types of leadership strikes that we’ve taken against the leader of ISIL in Libya, against Jihadi John in Syria and the types of operations you saw in Sinjar, where our Kurdish allies on the ground were able to retake a strategic town from ISIL.”

 

Foreign policy becomes topic of importance after Paris carnage

Candidates Hillary Clinton, Bernie Sanders and Martin O’Malley.

“We are not at war with Islam,” said 2016 candidate for President of the United States and former secretary of state Hillary Clinton in the Saturday evening Democratic debate televised after the Friday attacks in Paris which has left 129 people dead and 352 wounded. Estimates are that, of the wounded, about 98 of those persons are critically injured per various media reports.

“We are at war with violent extremism,” Clinton added, according to the story covering the debate from LatinoFoxnews.

Her Democratic opponents made their statements as well. Senator Bernie Sanders of Vermont said that Muslim countries must involve themselves more in fighting the ISIS jihadists. Sanders believes that this is a war for the “soul of Islam.” Former Maryland Governor Martin O’Malley believes that Muslims living in the United States should join the fight against Islamist extremism.

Sanders did criticize former Senator of New York Clinton for her 2003 vote in favor of the Iraq invasion. Sanders believes that this intervention was “one of the worst foreign policy blunders in the modern history of the United States,” and that it has “unraveled the (Middle East) completely.”

All of the candidates onstage denounced the attacks, per an AP article by Lisa Lerer which was carried on the  PBS website on. This marks the first time the Democratic field spoke about the incidents, and it seems that “[t]hey gave some fodder to their Republican critics, who coupled condemnation of the Paris attacks earlier in the day with sharp criticism for Obama and his former secretary of state, Clinton,” according to writer Lerer.

“We are at war with violent extremism, we are at war with people who use their religion for purposes of power and oppression,” Clinton is quoted. She gave her opinion that the U.S. is not at war with Islam or all Muslims. “I don’t want us to be painting with too broad a brush.”

Democratic opponents Sanders and O’Malley agreed with Clinton’s statements last night. The term “radical Islam,” which is being used by current Florida Senator Marco Rubio and other Republican presidential candidates, is unnecessarily offensive to American Muslims.

Carnage in Paris as 150+ unarmed civilians killed, muslim terrorists rampage

Soldiers have been deployed in Paris and the borders surrounding France are being closed according to reports after multiple, possibly coordinated attacks on the unarmed citizens and visitors in France Friday night.

French President François Hollande, quoted in the IBItimes, vowed to wage a “pitiless” war after the rampage.

One hostage/witness said the killers inside the Bataclan Hall shouted “Allah Akbar”  and “this is for Syria” before opening fire on the trapped customers, according to a report from theMirror.

President Hollande made his promise to go after the terrorists for these atrocities. “To all those who have seen these awful things, I want to say we are going to lead a war which will be pitiless. Because when terrorists are capable of committing such atrocities they must be certain that they are facing a determined France, a united France, a France that is together and does not let itself be moved, even if today we express infinite sorrow.”

‘Apocalyptic’ scenes as Paris hit by multiple attacks

The message “porte-ouverte” (“door-open”) was being utilized to help and welcome people needing to get to safety as well. News from France 24 is that “Parisian taxi drivers switched off their meters, and were taking people home for free.”

American President Barack Obama had words to say as well in response to the terrorism, although he did not identify it as being muslim extremism. “France is our oldest ally,” said Obama. “The French people have stood shoulder to shoulder with the U.S. time and time again. We want to be very clear that we stand with them in the fight against terrorism and extremism.”

Benghazi fog up: ‘secret channels,’ emails, foreign policy and public testimony

The recent “digital dumping” of United States State Department emails from Hillary Clinton’s personal accounts may be raising eyebrows all over the world, as some of the communications reveal that before then-Secretary Clinton relinquished her job with the Obama Administration to John Kerry in early 2013, suggestions on setting up “secret channels between insurgents,” handling security requests from transitional Libyan leaders, and communiqués from people close to the situation came into her digital email box.

Very suddenly perhaps, Secretary Clinton had to make leadership decisions. What should be done during the the turmoil and what could be done in the sudden end of the Qadhafi Regime appeared in her personal inbox. Now, as she is running to become the next President of the United States, voters may want to read something of her leadership in her previous job at State.

The ‘al-Qaeda’ enemy

Former Secretary of Defense Leon E. Panetta gives a glimpse of the situation in a November 2012 speech in Washington D.C., according to a Defense.gov transcript.

“Over the past decade, we have successfully directed our military, and intelligence capabilities at fighting terrorism.  And yet, we are still struggling to develop an effective approach to address the factors that attract young men and women to extreme ideologies, and to ensure that governments and societies have the capacity, and the will to counter, and reject violent extremism,” Panetta stated.

Later Panetta offered remarks on the September 11, 2012 tragedy. “To truly end the threat from al-Qaeda, military force aimed at killing our enemy alone will never be enough.  The United States must stay involved and invested through diplomacy, through development, through education, through trade in those regions of the world where violent extremism has flourished.”

Panetta told his listeners then that “an historic transition” which would offer more people in the chaotic regions “hope for a better future” needed the influence of the international community or it would result in a “greater turmoil.” The Defense Secretary also stated that Americans “were outraged by the loss of Ambassador Chris Stevens, and three others in Benghazi.”  These individuals, in Panetta’s words, “… were emissaries of peace, and friends of Libya.  And the Libyan people have turned against the violent extremists who killed them.”

A ‘secret channels’ email

While the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) examines the handling of “sensitive information” during the former Secretary of State’s term, per a recent story from McClatchydc, the Department she used to head has released another batch of emails. The previous news, mentioned in this story, was that “[a]t least 671 emails she sent or received now contain classified information.”

Reporters everywhere are digging into the thousands of messages sent and received. Here are some important findings, however.

An email chain shared among Hillary Clinton, Sid Blumenthal and Jonathan Powell (a man who may be described as Tony Blair’s former chief-of-staff) mentions the idea of setting up covert communications channels. (This one was found by Chuck Ross working for the Daily Caller and can be seen JohnPowellemail.)

John Powell idea.

John Powell: “We are trying to replicate what we did in Northern Ireland by setting up secret channels between insurgents and governments and then, where appropriate, developing these into negotiations.”

“We are starting work in Syria, in conjunction with Kofi Annan, in Yemen, in Somalia and in Burma,” Powell wrote also. He had arrived in the U.S. “to talk about what we do,” and was going to be accompanied by his deputy, an ex-United Nations and ex-FCO, perhaps meaning  previously an employee of the United Kingdom’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs.

Libyan airstrikes

Much information has been discovered by Sarah Westwood over at the WashingtonExaminer. “New emails released Friday also reveal the internal pressure Clinton faced while serving as secretary of State to coax the administration into launching airstrikes against Libya,” writes Westwood in her story. “Sidney Blumenthal and Tony Blair, two close Clinton friends, fed Clinton information about Libya as the civil war there escalated, and encouraged her to take military action. [Clinton] was ultimately successful in rallying the U.S. government to do just what her friends were asking her to do, raising questions about how seriously she regarded the ‘unsolicited memos’ Blumenthal sent her throughout her tenure.”

Chris Stevens worked hard to accomplish the State Department goals in the chaos of April 2011.  A ChrisStevensEmail  was forwarded to Hillary Clinton from Huma Abedin, a trusted staff member, regarding his situation. The first line reads: “Security: Today’s focus is on the security situation in Benghazi. There is new local reporting that hotels are being targeted.”

Security update from Chris Stevens, 2011.

Clinton receive a security update on Security and Chris Stevens in April 2011.

 

‘Benghazi Update’

Another email from Hillary Clinton at her HClintonEmail  was sent in August 2011 to Secretary Clinton’s underlings at the State Department, and the subject line reads “Re: Benghazi update (1200 local) Can we arrange shipments of what’s requested?” It included an update from “Rep. [Chris] Stevens in Benghazi” and begs the question that if Stevens was mentioning a “move to Tripoli” because “[Ali] Tarhouni said security arrangements would need to be made before they could send the TNC leadership to the capital,” perhaps things were getting worse?

Here is the email from August 2011:

Things getting worse in August 2011.

“… Tarhouni said security arrangements would need to be made before they could send the TNC leadership to the capital.”

 

At the time, per this email, the Transitional National Council was searching for Qadhafi so regime change could be declared. A statement was already being prepared by the Libyan TNC, per the email.

Sadly, also mentioned in this communiqué regarding the situation are two concerning statements from Stevens: “TNC chairman Abd al Jalil and PM Jibril made statements to the media last night, urging people to refrain from revenge attacks and destruction of public buildings,” so apparently the situation was dangerous, and although he added that thus far there had been “no bloodbath” or serious looting, we know on September 11, 2012 Chris Stevens was killed in Benghazi.

Testimony on Benghazi

In her recent statements to the Congressional Committee on Benghazi, Hillary Clinton is quoted by the WashingtonPost. “When the revolution broke out in Libya, we named Chris as our envoy to the opposition. There was no easy way to get him into Benghazi to begin gathering information and meeting those Libyans who were rising up against the murderous dictator Gadhafi. But he found a way to get himself there on a Greek cargo ship, just like a 19th- century American envoy. But his work was very much 21st-century, hard-nosed diplomacy.”

Testimony from Clinton when she was questioned by Representative Roby of Alabama came later in the conversation on what happened in Benghazi.

ROBY: But I — real quickly, Mr. Chairman, I want to run through one quick timeline and — and — and make an observation. On August 17th, you received a memo on the deteriorating security in Libya. The same day, you were asked to give $20 million to the Libyan government to beef up its own security.

Your department issued a — a — a warning telling American citizens to get out of Libya and not to travel there. And then Libya itself issued a, quote, “maximum alert” for Benghazi.

You several times made the statement — and we believe you — that Ambassador Stevens was your friend. And I’m wondering why, with all of this in front of you, the Secretary of State, why did it not occur to you to pick up the phone and call your friend?

I know you’ve — you’ve mentioned experts. I know you’ve said that Ambassador Stevens and — and — and other diplomats go into these high-threat situations with their eyes wide open.

But I just want to hear from you why, with all of this information in front of you, particularly on the date of August 17th, did it not occur to you to pick up the phone and call your friend, Ambassador Stevens, and ask him what he needed?

CLINTON: We knew what he was asking for. Those requests went to the security professionals. And I would only add, with respect to the travel warning, we issue travel warnings for many, many places in the world.

They are really aimed at informing American travelers, business travels — travelers, tourists about conditions that they might face if they go to countries. They are not a criterion for determining whether we keep or end a diplomatic presence.

And I just want to go back to the point you were making, and read from the Accountability Review Board. “For many years, the State Department has been engaged in a struggle to obtain the resources necessary to carry out its work, with varying degrees of success.

“This has brought about a deep sense of the importance of husbanding resources to meet the highest priorities — laudable in the extreme, but it has also had the effect of conditioning a few State Department managers to favor restricting the use of resources as a general orientation.

“It is imperative for the State Department to be mission-driven rather than resource-constrained, and one overall conclusion in this report is that Congress must do its part to meet this challenge and provide necessary resources to the State Department to address security risks and meet mission imperatives.”

Private email and server issue

As voters consider who they want to lead the nation next as President, the newly available information may prove quite important to a wise choice. The facts seem to be that HillaryClinton used a private email account and server. Some suggest she did this to shield her official communications, and wonder why Chris Stevens, the Ambassador in Benghazi did not appear to have direct access to her private email if he was such a valued friend. It appears that Clinton only gave a few trusted aides and pals, inside and outside the State Department, this email address.