May 3, 2014 8:52 am
(Breitbart) – On Wednesday, an email emerged from White House in which national security aide Ben Rhodes instructed UN Ambassador Susan Rice – copying President Obama’s entire political team at the White House – that her goal on the Sunday shows following the September 11, 2012 terrorist attacks in Benghazi should be to “underscore that these protests are rooted in an Internet video, and not a broader failure of policy.”
That email demonstrates that the White House lied when it said it did not skew for political reasons the talking points provided to Rice; Rice then appeared on the Sunday shows and claimed that a YouTube video lay at the root of the terrorist attacks. Although White House press secretary Jay Carney suggested that the White House talking points merely reflected the best available information provided by the CIA, that was clearly untrue; CIA deputy director Michael Morell testified last month that when Rice “talked about the video, my reaction was, that’s not something the analysts have attributed this attack to.”
But that’s hardly the only lie from this White House surrounding Benghazi. Here, then, are the top six top lies told by the White House with regard to the terrorist attacks that ended in the murder of four Americans, including Ambassador to Libya Chris Stevens.
The Obama Administration Did All It Could To Protect American Personnel in Benghazi. Thursday on Capitol Hill, retired Air Force Brigadier General Robert Lovell, who was Deputy Director for Intelligence and Knowledge Development Directorate for AFRICOM during Benghazi, testified:
There are accounts of time, space and capability discussions of the question, could we have gotten there in time to make a difference. Well, the discussion is not in the “could or could not” in relation to time, space and capability—the point is we should have tried. As another saying goes: “Always move to the sound of the guns.” It is with a sense of duty as a retired General officer that I respectfully submit these thoughts and perspectives.
Lovell further testified that the State Department submitted no request for military force to the best of his knowledge. In 2013, Deputy Ambassador Gregory Hicks stated that Special Operations Command Africa commander Lt. Col. Gibson were going to board a C-130 to head to Benghazi “when [Col. Gibson] got a phone call from SOCAFRICA which said, ‘you can’t go now, you don’t have the authority to go now.’ And so they missed the flight…”
That’s a far cry from the consistent claim from the Obama administration that everything that could have been done was done on that night.
Furthermore, the biggest unanswered question of all remains: why weren’t there sufficient forces on the ground in the first place to protect American personnel?
Secretary of State Hillary Clinton Did All She Could To Protect State Department Personnel. In her now-infamous testimony before Congress, Clinton shouted, “What difference, at this point, does it make?” with reference to the source and rationale for the attacks. Obviously, it made a difference to the White House, which wanted focus on the YouTube video rather than on “broader foreign policy” issues.
But Hillary has never answered where exactly she was that night. According to Hicks, after speaking briefly with Hillary Clinton at 2 a.m. on the night of the attacks, she never called back to find out the latest developments. Barack Obama, too, is absent from the Benghazi story; we now know he never entered the Situation Room.
Then-Secretary of Defense Leon Panetta testified that he met with Obama on the afternoon of September 11, told him about what was happening in Benghazi, and never checked back in. Panetta says that Obama left the details on the handling of Benghazi “up to us.” The White House, Panetta said, never called for an update on the situation. Panetta had no conversations with Clinton.
The YouTube Video Was Involved. Susan Rice’s repeated statements on national television blaming a YouTube video called “The Innocence of Muslims” for the terrorist attacks in Benghazi were untrue. Rice and company maintained throughout the fallout that her statements were based on the best available intelligence. But that was a lie. Within hours, intelligence on the ground knew that this was a terrorist attack. At no point did the CIA connect even the early reports of protests with the YouTube video. The YouTube video may have been instrumental in protests in Egypt and other areas around the Muslim world. But it had nothing to do with Benghazi.
President Obama Called The Benghazi Attacks Terrorist Attacks. This, of course, was Obama’s contention in the aftermath of the Benghazi blow-up; in a debate with Mitt Romney, he and Candy Crowley famously double-teamed Romney with the claim that Obama had labeled Benghazi a terror event. But that was untrue, as Crowley later admitted. In fact, when Obama was asked by CBS News on the day after the attack whether it was a terrorist attack, he demurred. CBS News excised that portion of the tape, and released it only months later.
There Was No Political Manipulation of Susan Rice’s Talking Points. The State Department requested changes to an initial draft of talking points from the CIA, which included the statements that the government “know[s] Islamic extremists with ties to al Qaeda participated in the attack,” as well as noting that press reports “linked the attack to Ansar al Sharia.” It also included statements that there had been threats against the American embassy in the past. State Department spokeswoman Victoria Nuland wrote back that she worried that if this information was included, Congress would blast the State Department for “not paying attention to Agency warnings.” The CIA then removed the references to Ansar al Sharia. The White House then got involved and wanted further changes. Morrell then cut all language referring to “Islamic extremists,” information about warnings about al Qaeda, and reference to jihadists. So was language about attacks.
And all of that is leaving aside Rhodes talking points mentioned above, which apparently constitute a different set of talking points entirely.
The Obama Administration Has Been Fully Transparent About Benghazi. While the White House bills itself as the most transparent in history, it’s now obvious that it is anything but. Rep. Darrell Issa (R-CA) has now subpoenaed Secretary of State John Kerry about the State Department’s initial refusal to turn over the Rhodes talking points document. Hicks testified under oath that the State Department had excoriated him for talking to Congress, and had insisted that a State Department lawyer be present for any such conversations. Rep. Jason Chaffetz (R-UT) said that the Obama administration had blocked Benghazi witnesses.
These are merely the lies, not the open questions. The open question include:
Was there gunrunning through the annex in Benghazi?
Why was there no armed protection for American personnel in Benghazi?
Where exactly were Hillary Clinton and Barack Obama during the event, and what did they do to help the men under fire?
Why did the Obama administration insist for weeks that a YouTube video had driven the Benghazi attacks?
Then there’s the biggest question of all: why didn’t the media care about any of this before the election of 2012?
May 3, 2014
Mainstream financial pundits are falling over themselves today following a report from the Labor Department indicating that the national unemployment rate has fallen yet again, this time to just 6.3%.
The Associated Press, whose report on the new rate is being distributed to news services around the country, says this is “the strongest evidence to date that the economy is picking up.” They cite numerous economic experts, claiming that the U.S. economy is now experiencing vigorous job growth, which they say is confirmation that the economic health of our nation is bouncing back from a rough winter. In fact, they mention bad “weather” and “winter” eight times in a single article just to make sure we understand that the problems we’ve seen over the last few months were seasonal.
But, as is generally the case with mainstream assessments and government statistics as of late, the devil’s in the details.
The drop in the unemployment rate from March’s 6.7 percent came as the agency’s survey of households showed the labor force shrank by more the 800,000 in April.
The participation rate, which indicates the share of working-age people in the labor force, decreased to 62.8 percent, matching the lowest level since March 1978, from 63.2 percent a month earlier.
Thus, while U.S. companies added some 288,000 jobs last month, three times as many people were dropped from the official unemployment statistics and are no longer counted in the labor pool.
At this rate we’re well on our way to achieving the Communist dream of 0% unemployment before the end of the President’s term.
Karl Denninger looks even deeper into the report at Market Ticker and points out that, while jobs were created last month, the claims of vigorous job growth are not even close.
Uh oh. Yes, that headline number looks good. But April is usually good, and that’s where the rubber meets the road; on an annualized basis we actually saw deceleration. Funny how that works, isn’t it?
That’s right. That little down-hook in the above chart says it all. We’re creating jobs at a slower pace now than at the same time last year.
Contrarian economist John Williams suggests the the government’s numbers are not even close. At his web site ShadowStats.com Williams calculates the rate of employment using the same methods that were used prior to 1994 when they were officially defined out of existence by bureaucrats looking to pad the numbers.
According to those numbers, we’re looking at an unemployment rate of over 23%.
As the above chart shows, nearly one in four Americans are without work. That’s quite a disconnect considering the government’s numbers are off by about 265%!
Moreover, how is it possible that our economy is officially growing, while everyone in 20% of all American family households is unemployed?
According to shocking new numbers that were just released by the Bureau of Labor Statistics, 20 percent of American families do not have a single person that is working.
So when someone tries to tell you that the unemployment rate in the United States is about 7 percent, you should just laugh. One-fifth of the families in the entire country do not have a single member with a job.
On top of that, nearly 50 million people are actively receiving food assistance – fully one in six Americans.
Yet, the stock market hit all time highs just this week.
Something isn’t right, especially if you take a look at the following chart which shows that America’s leading companies showed nearly zero earnings growth in the first quarter of 2014:
So, while the experts from the government and private business bloviate over the rigorous health of our economy and the success of President Obama’s policies, it’s important to keep in mind that they are doing their damnedest to bury the real story.
That’s because reality isn’t a fairy tale and as we have noted on numerous occasions it will end with the total detonation of the U.S. economy and financial markets, likely leading to a variety of serious issues that include a collapse of our currency and widespread impoverishment of the majority of people in this country.
What will follow will be nothing short of a total collapse of our way of life, so much so that Richard Duncan, author of The New Great Depression, suggests our entire civilization is in serious trouble:
If this credit bubble pops the depression is going to be so severe that I honestly don’t think our civilization can survive it.
When it does finally buckle, as noted by well known investor Doug Casey, it will be unstoppable and the speed of it will leave most people waking up to the danger after it has already happened.
How long the illusions will continue is anybody’s guess, but it should be clear that what we’re seeing from our government and their propaganda arm in the media is nothing but conjecture.
When the trick is finally revealed a whole lot of people are going to feel quite foolish.
This article was posted: Saturday, May 3, 2014 at 6:47 am
Wall Street Criminals Threaten that Economy Will Blow Up If They’re Prosecuted
May 3, 2014
The Department of Justice is “considering” initiating criminal charges against 2 banks.
In response, the normal cast of characters is saying – as they have for years – that prosecuting banks will cause a meltdown of the economy.
The U.S. attorney for the Southern District of New York recently mocked the silly claims of gloom and doom:
“Companies, especially financial institutions, will do almost anything to avoid a tough enforcement action and therefore have a natural and powerful incentive to make prosecutors believe that death or dire consequences await,” he said. “I have heard assertions made with great force and passion that if we take any criminal action, the skies will darken; the oceans will rise; nuclear winter will be upon us; and the world as we know it will end.”
As we’ve repeatedly noted, this is wholly untrue.
Indeed, prosecuting the individual Wall Street executives who knowingly committed criminal fraud won’t harm the economy. After all, the main driver of economic growth is a strong rule of law. And numerous Nobel prize winning economists have said that prosecuting Wall Street white collar is necessary for a prosperous economy.
In response to the sky-is-falling spouting banking apologists, professor of law and economics – and chief S&L prosecutor – William Black explains:
First, no banker is “too big to jail.” They are easily replaceable and removing a fraudulent bank CEO from power is the single most productive act that regulators and prosecutors can accomplish. [The Department of Justice's chief of criminal prosecutions] Breuer and Attorney General Eric Holder were involved in a con when they claimed that their failure to prosecute the senior bank officers leading the frauds was in any way related to “too big to fail.” Hilariously, they even applied the “rationale” for non-prosecution to former bank officers – as if a bank would fail “because” its former officers were prosecuted. It is a testament to the weakness of the reportage that this claim was not treated with ridicule.
Second, valid fraud prosecutions do not “cause” a business to fail. The fraud causes them to fail. They should fail when their “profits” arise from fraud. In particular, they should fail in the case of accounting control fraud because their “profits” are the fictional product of accounting fraud. The markets and the economy are greatly improved when fraudulent enterprises are destroyed. ***
Third, very little is actually “destroyed,” when we place a fraudulent bank in receivership, fire the crooked CEO, and sell the bank to an acquirer of integrity and competence. The new bank will, net, be greatly improved because it has been freed from control by the fraudulent leadership that was “looting” the bank (George Akerlof and Paul Romer, 1993, “Looting: The Economic Underworld of Bankruptcy for Profit”).
Fourth, there is rarely a need to prosecute a bank. In virtually every case in which the bank’s frauds cause serious harm senior officers of the bank will have led the fraud and profited from it. Everyone in law enforcement realizes that any effective deterrence will come from prosecuting those officers and not only removing their fraud proceeds but also imposing fines that will leave the officers bankrupt.
Fifth, the bank’s controlling officers are in an immense conflict of interest when their frauds are detected. They control the bank and its resources. Their first priority is to prevent their own prosecution. Their second priority is to prevent any substantial “claw back” of their compensation. Their third and fourth priorities are to do the same for less senior officers. This isn’t altruism (though it certainly has an aspect of class-based affinity). Fraudulent CEOs realize that it is risky to allow the prosecutors to gain any leverage over more junior officers who may “flip” and testify against the CEO. The fraudulent officers controlling the bank, therefore, will gladly trade seemingly huge fines in exchange for obtaining their top four priorities.
[Finally, the government's policy of not prosecuting Wall Street criminals] produceswhat Akerlof and Romer warned was the “sure thing” of CEO “looting” through accounting control fraud plus the assurance that the CEO will not be prosecuted, forced to surrender his fraud proceeds, or forced to pay fines that bankrupt him.Unsurprisingly, the result has been unprecedented accounting control fraud by elite banksters.***
None of this explains why they don’t prosecute bankers (much less ex bankers)
Indeed, the whole if-y0u-prosecute-the-economy-dies scam is like the 2008 bailouts. As we wrote at the time:
Congressmen Brad Sherman and Paul Kanjorski and Senator James Inhofe all say that the government warned of martial law if Tarp wasn’t passed.
As Karl Denninger wrote yesterday:
[S]ounds like “Bail me out or I will crash everything.”
Isn’t that analagous to walking into a bank, opening one’s coat to reveal an explosives-laced belt, and saying “gimme all the money or everyone dies!”
I noted in November:
In the 1974 comedy Blazing Saddles, Cleavon Little plays the new sheriff in an old Western town. The sheriff is African-American, and when he rides into town for the first time, the [racist] townspeople pull out their guns and are about to shoot him.
But he quickly puts a gun to his own head, pretends he’s scared of his own gun, and says “BACK OFF OR THE AFRICAN-AMERICAN GUY GETS IT!!!” The townspeople are dumb and fall for it, suddenly terrified that he’ll kill himself. Here’s the scene.
That’s what Wall Street is doing with the bailout.
The fat cats on Wall Street are saying “give us a lot of money, and buy all of our bad debt for a lot more than its worth, or Wall Street will get it and we’ll go into a depression!”
Are Americans stupid enough to fall for it?
In a recent interview, William K. Black uses the exact same Blazing Saddles sheriff-bank analogy.
Any way you look at it, the too big to fails are not needed and they are dragging our economy into a black hole. Like the sheriff in Blazing Saddles … they are playing us for fools.
[Yves Smith] shared another analogy with me: a man with 15lbs. of Semtex strapped to his waist. She says “any surprise people in the vicinity are very attentive to his desires?”
Indeed, it’s the old protection racket.
This article was posted: Saturday, May 3, 2014 at 6:46 am
People’s privacy is violated without any suspicion of wrongdoing, former National Security Agency contractor claims
theguardian.com, Saturday 3 May 2014 01.27 EDT
Edward Snowden Meets With German Green Party MP Hans-Christian Stroebele Edward Snowden joined a debate on surveillance, by video link from Russia. Photograph: Sunshinepress/Getty Images
The US intelligence whistleblower Edward Snowden has warned that entire populations, rather than just individuals, now live under constant surveillance.
“It’s no longer based on the traditional practice of targeted taps based on some individual suspicion of wrongdoing,” he said. “It covers phone calls, emails, texts, search history, what you buy, who your friends are, where you go, who you love.”
Snowden made his comments in a short video that was played before a debate on the proposition that surveillance today is a euphemism for mass surveillance, in Toronto, Canada. The former US National Security Agency contractor is living in Russia, having been granted temporary asylum there in June 2013.
The video was shown as two of the debaters – the former US National Security Administration director, General Michael Hayden, and the well-known civil liberties lawyer and Harvard law professor, Alan Dershowitz – argued in favour of the debate statement: “Be it resolved state surveillance is a legitimate defence of our freedoms.”
Opposing the motion were Glenn Greenwald, the journalist whose work based on Snowden’s leaks won a Pulitzer Prize for the Guardian last month, and Alexis Ohanian, co-founder of the social media website Reddit.
The Snowden documents, first leaked to the Guardian last June, revealed that the US government has programs in place to spy on hundreds of millions of people’s emails, social networking posts, online chat histories, browsing histories, telephone records, telephone calls and texts – “nearly everything a typical user does on the internet”, in the words of one leaked document.
Greenwald opened the debate by condemning the NSA’s own slogan, which he said appears repeatedly throughout its own documents: “Collect it all.”
“What is state surveillance?” Greenwald asked. “If it were about targeting in a discriminate way against those causing harm, there would be no debate.
“The actual system of state surveillance has almost nothing to do with that. What state surveillance actually is, is defended by the NSA’s actual words, that phrase they use over and over again: ‘Collect it all.’ ”
Dershowitz and Hayden spent the rest of the 90 minutes of the debate denying that the pervasive surveillance systems described by Snowden and Greenwald even exist and that surveillance programs are necessary to prevent terrorism.
“Collect it all doesn’t mean collect it all!” Hayden said, drawing laughter.
Greenwald sparred with Dershowitz and Hayden about whether or not the present method of metadata collection would have prevented the terrorist attacks on 11 September, 2011.
While Hayden argued that intelligence analysts would have noticed the number of telephone calls from San Diego to the Middle East and caught the terrorists who were living illegally in the US, Greenwald argued that one of the primary reasons the US authorities failed to prevent the attacks was because they were taking in too much information to accurately sort through it all.
Before the debates began, 33% of the audience voted in favour of the debate statement and 46% voted against. It closed with 59% of the audience siding with Greenwald and Ohanian.
May 3, 2014
As the White House continues to spin the Benghazi scandal, it has become increasingly clear that this is an administration that is perfectly content with lying to the American people. The question Americans have to ask themselves is whether they have become an electorate that is content to listen.
White House Press Secretary Jay Carney assumed the latter this week, claiming that new Benghazi documents linking the White House to the cover-up were not actually about Benghazi at all – “it was explicitly not about Benghazi”, Carney said, going so far as to suggest that discussing the cover-up makes for a “conspiracy theory”. In the face of the new evidence, Carney’s words are nothing short of shameless.
Of course, Carney’s explanation makes little sense when taking into account that Judicial Watch’s Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) lawsuit, which revealed the White House connection, explicitly demanded records from the State Department relating to talking points given to Susan Rice about Benghazi.
In an interview yesterday, Judicial Watch President Tom Fitton remarked, “The Benghazi document we received was from the State Department that said, ‘here is a Benghazi document’…this would be the first time we have received documents we didn’t ask for from the Obama administration.”
Perhaps the White House should coordinate with the State Department about the definition of a “Benghazi record”.
Furthermore, these documents were not easily given up. It took Judicial Watch two years of litigation to capture the documents, while the same documents were simply omitted from the Congressional investigation, which raises questions of obstruction. This led Fitton to describe Carney’s response as a “legalistic” one, characterizing the Obama Administration’s principle strategy when it comes to public speaking engagements.
It is important not to forget the context surrounding the origin of the cover up. For a scandal that surfaced two months before the 2012 Presidential elections, it took two years to obtain the documents connecting the White House to the scandal – an abhorrent timeline for the self-described “transparent administration” and one that, with the newly uncovered documents, is more than enough to confirm the White House’s involvement in a cover-up just weeks before a presidential election.
“This brings it right into the White House and it shows that the idea that the CIA created talking points that Susan Rice was using is a big fat lie” Tom Fitton said yesterday. “There was a press operation in the White House that was pushing this line.”
Watch: Alex covered the White House Press Secretary’s lies on yesterday’s Alex Jones Show. Scroll to 6:15 for reference:
This article was posted: Saturday, May 3, 2014 at 2:00 pm