PANETTA: OBAMA AN INCOMPETENT LIAR

Capture

Former CIA director criticizes president

October 8, 2014 by Joe Saunders

It’s not often that a former defense secretary calls a sitting president an incompetent liar on national television.

But that’s exactly what Leon Panetta did Tuesday night in a wide-ranging interview with Fox News host Bill O’Reilly.

oreillypanetta1008And the results were “utterly devastating” for President Obama.

That was the take from conservative columnist Charles Krauthammer, who summed up Panetta’s sometimes carefully worded responses bluntly.

“He was basically saying this president cannot lead,” Krauthammer said. “He’s indecisive and he’s weak.’

And he’s driven more by the Democrat politics of his liberal base than by the national security of the country.

“It’s not just indecisiveness and how tentative Obama is,” Krauthammer said. “But also about how political he is. “

As usual, Krauthammer nailed it.

During the interview, part of a promotional tour for Panetta’s insider memoir “Worthy Fights,” O’Reilly hammered on the disastrous developments on the world stage in the two years since Obama’s re-election. Panetta offered weak defenses for the president that were barely defenses at all.

Do our enemies fear us? O’Reilly asked at one point.

“The last two years have been a lot of mixed messages,” Panetta answered.

He all but admitted the administration’s response to the Benghazi terror attack in 2012 (an allegedly spontaneous reaction to a video almost nobody saw) was a lie to the American people. The contrast between Panetta’s responses and the president’s during his Super Bowl interview with O’Reilly was particularly damaging to Obama.

He acknowledged the White House had been caught by surprise by Russian President Vladimir Putin’s invasion of Ukraine and the rise of the Islamic State terrorist army in Iraq and Syria – even the summer’s border crisis that saw tens of thousands of illegal immigrants from Central American overwhelm American border facilities in the Southwest.

And he offered possibly the most damning judgment possible of a man entrusted to lead the world’s superpower: Incompetence verging on cowardice.

“Barack Obama has the guts to do the right thing, the real question is, will he make the decision to do so?” Panetta said. “He knows what needs to be done. What he’s got to do is develop the will to fight – to get into the ring, in order to make it happen.”

There’s no way for Democrats to sugar coat that kind of judgment about a man they once hailed as the savior of the country – not when it comes from another man Krauthammer called “an icon of the Democratic Party.”

11 Important Headlines From the Past Week That Are Not About 2016, Fence Jumpers or Ebola

By Katrina Jorgensen 22 hours ago

IJ Review brings you “just the facts” from the top international headlines of last week, in 11 quick, easy-to-read bits.
1) ISIS Beheads Aid Worker

Screen Shot 2014-10-06 at 12.01.02 PM

The Islamic State has continued its campaign of fear by beheading Alan Henning, a British humanitarian aid worker. The terrorists have also threatened the life of American Peter Kassig, another aid provider.
Kassig’s family responded with a YouTube video asking ISIS to spare their son’s life, and encouraging the world to pray for Henning’s family and everyone held captive including their son.
A new report from the UN about the Islamic State says massive human rights crimes have been committed by the organization. At least 26,000 Iraqis have died this year.
2) Brazil’s Election Outcome Uncertain
Dilma Rousseff receives Presidential sash
Dilma Rousseff receives Presidential sash
Brazilians are heading to the polls today in one of the most exciting elections of the year. President Dilma Rousseff has faced a tough race from dark horse candidate and environmentalist Marina Silva, who suddenly began winning voters in August when she joined the race.
But just yesterday a poll showed Aecio Neves, a former governor, ahead of [correction] Silva in the polls. A run-off between Rousseff and one of these opponents is expected.
3) Bulgarians Head to the Polls Today
Boyko Borisov, former PM of Bulgaria may win again this weekend
Boyko Borisov, former PM of Bulgaria may win again this weekend
Bulgaria has parliamentary elections today. A transitional government has been in place since fall 2013, due to political gridlock and tough economic issues. The center-right GERB party is expected to win, putting former prime minister Boyko Borisov back in charge.
Borisov resigned in February 2013 due to massive anti-corruption protests. Then a socialist-led government took over, but also resigned in August of last year.
4) Palestine Seeks Greater Recognition at Israel’s Expense
The U.S. still does not recognize Palestine as a state at the UN.
The U.S. still does not recognize Palestine as a state at the UN.
The Palestinians have drafted a U.N. resolution that is not formalized yet, but would end what the resolution calls the Israeli occupation by 2016. The UN Security Council would need to unanimously approve the resolution.
Additionally, this week Sweden became the first EU country to recognize Palestine as a state and has begun pressuring other EU countries, particularly the UK, to follow suit. Israel has summoned the Swedish envoy over the issue.
5) Russia Ends Student Exchange with U.S.
FLEX (Future Leaders Exchange) has given thousands of students in Eurasia the opportunity to visit the U.S.
FLEX (Future Leaders Exchange) has given thousands of students in Eurasia the opportunity to visit the U.S.
The Kremlin has halted a student exchange program that sends Russian high-schoolers to the U.S. for a year. The Kremlin claimed they wanted to stop the influence of homosexual couples that applied to act as guardians.
More than 8,000 Russian students have participated in the program in the last 21 years. Alumni of the program and students hoping to be selected have protested the move. The U.S. has expressed disappointment in Moscow’s decision.
6) New Opposition for Putin
The guilt verdict against Mikhail Khodorkovsky in 2005 was more than 600 pages long
The guilt verdict against Mikhail Khodorkovsky in 2005 was more than 600 pages long
New on the scene in internal Russian politics, former Russian oil-tycoon Mikhail Khodorkovsky has announced plan to lead an anti-Kremlin movement. Khodorkovsky was pardoned by Putin after spending 8 years in prison for what is seen as trumped-up charges connected to privatizing his business.
7) Suicide Boming in the Capital of Chechnya
Grozny, the capital of Chechnya
Grozny, the capital of Chechnya
Grozny, the capital of Russia’s Chechnya, celebrated its 196th “City Day” today. But the celebration was marred by a suicide bomber, who blew himself up when questioned by police outside of a concert venue. Four police officers were killed and four more wounded in the explosion.
Chechnya has a history of violence and Islamic terrorism but the current Moscow-backed leader has sought to crack down on militants. The last, major suicide attack happened in 2011.
8) Latvia’s Center-Right Coalition Retains Power
Laimdota Straujuma will stay as Prime Minister of Latvia
Laimdota Straujuma will stay as Prime Minister of Latvia
After elections this weekend, Latvia’s center-right coalition government has managed to retain power. However, Harmony, a pro-Russia party still has significant power, winning 24 seats in the Latvian parliament. Harmony is made up of mostly ethnic Russians favoring closer ties with Moscow.
9) Syria’s Border Towns Under Heavy Attack
Anti-Assad demonsration in Kobani
Anti-Assad demonstration in Kobani
As the U.S. and allies turn their air power on the ISIS militants in Syria, the city of Kobani has been under heavy attack from all sides. Kobani is only one of many Syrian cities experiencing increased violence, but the city’s unique location on the edge of Turkey makes it militarily significant.
Kobani has been defended on the ground by Kurdish forces and bombed from the air by Americans and British, but has remained under siege by the Islamic State. Turkey has recently made promises to work against the militants on the border, despite threats from Syria’s President Assad.
10) Ukraine’s Ceasefire Fails to Hold
ViceNews reports on non-Ukrainian fighters in Donetsk
ViceNews reports on non-Ukrainian fighters in Donetsk
Pro-Russian separatists have made a renewed effort to take back the government-held airport in Donetsk. Twelve have died in clashes over the weekend as the ceasefire continues to be broken. On Friday, Ukraine’s government accused Russia of helping the separatists in the most recent assault on the areas.
11) Hong Kong Protests Still Ongoing
Protest in Hong Kong being nicknamed the Umbrella Revolution
Protest in Hong Kong being nicknamed the Umbrella Revolution
After a week of protests that halted both government and business in Hong Kong, protesters continue to stand their ground, seeking greater independence from China through democracy. Both protesters and the government have expressed a willingness to start a dialogue, but neither side will agree to the other’s preconditions.
Hong Kong’s Chief Executive C.Y. Leung has ordered the protesters to disperse by Monday. The protesters have been calling for his resignation.

Biden says US ‘embarrassed’ EU into sanctioning Russia over Ukraine

Capture

America’s leadership had to embarrass Europe to impose economic hits on Russia over the crisis in Ukraine – even though the EU was opposed to such a motion, US Vice President Joe Biden revealed during a speech at Harvard.

“We’ve given Putin a simple choice: Respect Ukraine’s sovereignty or face increasing consequences,” Biden told a gathering at the John F. Kennedy Jr. Forum at Harvard University’s Institute of Politics on Thursday.

The consequences were the sanctions which the EU imposed on Russia, first targeting individual politicians and businessmen deemed responsible for the crisis in Ukraine, then switching to the energy, defense, and economic sectors.

“It is true they did not want to do that,” Biden admitted.

“It was America’s leadership and the president of the United States insisting, oft times almost having to embarrass Europe to stand up and take economic hits to impose costs,” the US vice president declared.

Those costs deemed behind the ruble’s historic plunge not only forced America’s ExxonMobil to retreat from Russia’s Arctic shelf, but also provoked counter-measures from Moscow, which suspended certain food imports from the EU.

Russia’s counter-sanctions have hit many of the EU’s agricultural states. EU members, particularly those close to Russia, were the most affected by the loss of the Russian market.

For instance, the Netherlands – the world’s second-largest exporter of agricultural products – is set to lose 300 million euro annually from canceled business with Russia, as it accounts for roughly 10 percent of Dutch exports of vegetables, fruit, and meat.

At the same time, Poland was hit hard by the Kremlin’s sanctions, as its food exports to Russia totaled $1.5 billion in 2013.

Spain, a large exporter of oranges to Russia, is estimated to miss out on 337 million euro ($421 million) in food and agriculture sales, while Italy has estimated its losses at nearly 1 billion euro ($1.2 billion).

Following pressure from local farmers, a 125 million euro EU Commission Common Agricultural Policy fund was established, from which the growers are expected to get some cash, while Amsterdam is willing to cover the cost of transporting excess produce to eight food banks across Holland.

Overall, Moscow’s one-year food embargo against the EU, the US, Norway, Australia, and Canada will block an estimated $9 billion worth of agricultural exports to Russia.

With European countries now at a loss with apple and dairy surplus, it is not exactly clear whether EU producers will be able to return to the Russian markets after the one-year ban expires.

However, this is no secret to the US, as Assistant Secretary of State Victoria Nuland remarked on Thursday.

“Implementing sanctions isn’t easy and many countries are paying a steep price. We know that. But history shows that the cost of inaction and disunity in the face of a determined aggressor will be higher,” Nuland said.

U.S. Assistant Secretary of State for European and Eurasian Affairs Victoria Nuland (R) and U.S. Ambassador Geoffrey Pyatt (2nd R) distribute bread to riot police near Independence square in Kiev December 11, 2013. (Reuters / Andrew Kravchenko)U.S. Assistant Secretary of State for European and Eurasian Affairs Victoria Nuland (R) and U.S. Ambassador Geoffrey Pyatt (2nd R) distribute bread to riot police near Independence square in Kiev December 11, 2013. (Reuters / Andrew Kravchenko)

Nuland’s reference to necessary action against the “aggressor” might be taken with a grain of salt by the Europeans, as the “F**k the EU” leak is still fresh in their memory.

The four-minute video – titled ‘Maidan puppets,’ referring to Independence Square in Ukraine’s capital – was uploaded by an anonymous user to YouTube.

READ MORE: ‘F**k the EU': Snr US State Dept. official caught in alleged phone chat on Ukraine

Nuland was recorded as saying the notoriously known phrase during a phone call with US Ambassador to Ukraine Geoffrey Pyatt, as the two were seemingly discussing a US-preferred line-up of the Ukrainian government. It apparently referred to Washington’s policy differences with those of the EU on ways of handling the Ukrainian political crisis, with Nuland suggesting to “glue this thing” with the help of the UN and ignore Brussels.

The US State Department did not deny the authenticity of the video and stressed that Nuland had apologized for the “reported comments.”

RUSSIA, IRAN TO BOYCOTT US DOLLAR IN BILATERAL TRADE

Screen Shot 2014-10-02 at 11.42.12 AM

Russia and China also agreed to trade with each other using the ruble and yuan

by WORLD BULLETIN | OCTOBER 2, 2014

The move away from the U.S. dollar is yet another reaction to Western sanctions placed on Russia since it annexed Crimea from Ukraine in March.

Russia and Iran have agreed to use their own national currencies in bilateral trade transactions rather than the U.S. dollar.

Iran’s IRNA news agency reported that the plans were announced in a meeting on Tuesday in Tehran by Iranian business magnate and head of the Iran-Russia Joint Chamber of Commerce, Asadollah Asgaroladi.

An original agreement to trade in rials and rubles was made earlier this month in a meeting between Russian Energy Minister Alexander Novak and Iranian Oil Minister Bijan Namdar Zanganeh.

Similarly, Russia and China also agreed to trade with each other using the ruble and yuan in early September, following a Russian deal with North Korea in June to trade in rubles.

The move away from the U.S. dollar is yet another reaction to Western sanctions placed on Russia since it annexed Crimea from Ukraine in March.

In response to sanctions on Russia by the European Union, Russia has also threatened to cut off Europes gas supply and close its air space to European airlines. Russia has also boycotted European food imports, in a move likely to affect farmers in the EU.

Biden 2012: Romney Wants to Go to War with Syria

By Ian Tuttle
September 23, 2014 11:42 AM

Joe Biden mocked Mitt Romney’s foreign policy during the 2012 presidential campaign — but Obama-approved air strikes in Syria, which commenced Monday evening, suggest that the administration is coming around to the position of the former GOP nominee.

“He [Romney] said it was a mistake to end the war in Iraq and bring all of our warriors home,” Biden told an audience in York, Penn., on September 2, 2012. “He said it was a mistake to set an end date for our warriors in Afghanistan and bring them home. He implies by the speech that he’s ready to go to war in Syria and Iran.”

Biden also scoffed at Romney for his tough talk about Russia: “He wants to move from cooperation to confrontation with Putin’s Russia. And these guys say the president’s out of touch?”

Ukraine hosts military drills led by US and joined by NATO

Screen Shot 2014-09-15 at 11.18.34 AM

A total of 1,300 troops from 15 nations, either active NATO members or would-be members, have come together for a military exercise in western Ukraine – even as the fragile truce in the east of the country barely holds.

NATO members start supplying weapons to Kiev – Ukrainian Defense Minister

The exercise, code-named “Rapid Trident” has been an annual event since 2006, and has been organized by the Germany-based US European Command (EUCOM). It was initially planned to have this year’s drills in mid-July, but they were postponed because of heavy fighting in eastern Ukraine.

Screen Shot 2014-09-15 at 11.20.26 AM

“This year’s exercise will involve command post exercises, patrolling, counter-IED training and a field training exercise,” the EUCOM Public Affairs Office said in a statement. It adds that “no live fire exercises” have been scheduled for the drills.

The exercise is being conducted near Yavoriv, 60 kilometers from the city of Lvov in north-western Ukraine, at the International Peacekeeping and Security Center (IPSC).

The US earlier pledged to send 200 troops to take part in the exercise.

US prepares military drill in W. Ukraine for mid-September

Earlier in September, Ukrainian and American naval forces held joint maritime drills in the northwestern part of the Black Sea.

The Russian Black Sea fleet simultaneously tested its new-generation Bastion coastal defense system, saying the test was pre-scheduled and was not a response to the US-Ukraine drills in the Black Sea.

Moscow has been particularly sensitive about NATO’s increased activity in Eastern Europe and has been thinking of reviewing its military doctrine due to this new situation.

Russia to adjust military doctrine due to NATO expansion, Ukraine crisis

Eastern Ukraine has meanwhile seen the fragile ceasefire there being put to a serious test on Sunday, when the city of Donetsk witnessed some heavy shelling.

A crew from RT’s video agency Ruptly working on the outskirts of Donetsk witnessed an episode when a family was forced to run for shelter to escape shelling.

A group of OSCE observers also came under fire near Donetsk the same day.

Ukrainian troops and the anti-government forces have blamed each other for the ceasefire violations.