Monday, November 19, 2012

White House negotiated with terrorists and got punked

So a group of terrorists kill five Americans.  They end up in US custody.  Just when you think the killers will face justice, they end up released.  Some due to a deal and some due to incompetence.  If it's a movie, you'd start wondering who was in charge of or controlling the prosecutor's office.  Maybe it was some giant conspiracy, like the one Olivia Pope, the First Lady, the White House Chief of Staff, a Supreme Court Judge and some southern lobbyist are involved in on Scandal.

But when it's not entertainment, when it's real life, what are you to make of it?

Because Iraq's homegrown League of Righteous with the help of Lebanese terrorist Ali Musa Daqduq are believed by the US government to have been behind the murders of 5 US soldiers.

The White House has never had to explain why they negotiated with a terrorist group, let alone why they released it's leader, it's leader's brother and other high ranking members.  No one went to the American people and said, "Look we have the killers of the 5 Americans in custody.  But there are four dead British security guards and one IT hostage we think is alive.  We're thinking of releasing these terrorists, in fact, we're in talks with them, so that the corpses and maybe the one hostage can be released.  Does that sound like justice?  Because that's what we want to do."

It's that crap that has so many in the military and who are veterans feeling betrayed by the White House.  And don't get them started on the press that has refused to press on this issue.  The official US public position is: We do not negotiate with terrorists.  Yet Barack did just that.  Not because some mythical bomb would go off in 24 hours.  Not because the League of Righteous was a threat to the American people.

And he's never had to answer for it.  He was helped by one of the worst presidential candidates in recent memory. (Mitt Romney was worse than even Bob Dole who appeared to be running in 1996 solely to increase his name recognition.)  This should have been front and center of any foreign policy debate when Barack was running around shrieking he had killed Osama bin Laden.

"Yeah, but you released terrorists in US custody!" should have been the response.

From the June 9, 2009 snapshot:

This morning the New York Times' Alissa J. Rubin and Michael Gordon offered "U.S. Frees Suspect in Killing of 5 G.I.'s." Martin Chulov (Guardian) covered the same story, Kim Gamel (AP) reported on it, BBC offered "Kidnap hope after Shia's handover" and Deborah Haynes contributed "Hope for British hostages in Iraq after release of Shia militant" (Times of London). The basics of the story are this. 5 British citizens have been hostages since May 29, 2007. The US military had in their custody Laith al-Khazali. He is a member of Asa'ib al-Haq. He is also accused of murdering five US troops. The US military released him and allegedly did so because his organization was not going to release any of the five British hostages until he was released. This is a big story and the US military is attempting to state this is just diplomacy, has nothing to do with the British hostages and, besides, they just released him to Iraq. Sami al-askari told the New York Times, "This is a very sensitive topic because you know the position that the Iraqi government, the U.S. and British governments, and all the governments do not accept the idea of exchanging hostages for prisoners. So we put it in another format, and we told them that if they want to participate in the political process they cannot do so while they are holding hostages. And we mentioned to the American side that they cannot join the political process and release their hostages while their leaders are behind bars or imprisoned." In other words, a prisoner was traded for hostages and they attempted to not only make the trade but to lie to people about it. At the US State Dept, the tired and bored reporters were unable to even broach the subject. Poor declawed tabbies. Pentagon reporters did press the issue and got the standard line from the department's spokesperson, Bryan Whitman, that the US handed the prisoner to Iraq, the US didn't hand him over to any organization -- terrorist or otherwise. What Iraq did, Whitman wanted the press to know, was what Iraq did. A complete lie that really insults the intelligence of the American people. CNN reminds the five US soldiers killed "were: Capt. Brian S. Freeman, 31, of Temecula, California; 1st Lt. Jacob N. Fritz, 25, of Verdon, Nebraska; Spc. Johnathan B. Chism, 22, of Gonzales, Louisiana; Pfc. Shawn P. Falter, 25, of Cortland, New York; and Pfc. Johnathon M. Millican, 20, of Trafford, Alabama." Those are the five from January 2007 that al-Khazali and his brother Qais al-Khazali are supposed to be responsible for the deaths of. Qassim Abdul-Zahra and Robert H. Reid (AP) states that Jonathan B. Chism's father Danny Chism is outraged over the release and has declared, "They freed them? The American military did? Somebody needs to answer for it."

After Barack made the deal with the League of Righteous (and after they mocked him publicly and repeatedly in the Iraqi press after they were released), the US still had Ali Musa Daqduq in custody.

And many senators were calling for Daqduq to be brought to the United States and tried.  Instead, in 2011, the White House turned him over to Iraq and received 'promises' regarding Daqduq's fate.

'Promises" turned out not be all that.  As noted in Friday's snapshot, " Ernesto Londono (Washington Post) reports that the rumors Ali Musa Daqduq had been released from Iraqi custody are true (see Wednesday's snapshot).  It's a huge embarrassment for the White House.  Victoria Nuland, State Dept spokesperson, was asked about it in today's press briefing.Michael R. Gordon (New York Times) reported Friday:

In a phone call on Tuesday, Vice President Joseph R. Biden Jr. told the Iraqi prime minister, Nuri Kamal al-Maliki, that the United States believed that Mr. Daqduq should be held accountable for his actions and that Iraq should explore all legal options toward this end, an American official said. Robert S. Beecroft, the United States ambassador in Baghdad, made a similar appeal to Mr. Maliki that day. But Mr. Maliki told Mr. Biden that Iraq had run out of legal options to hold Mr. Daqduq, who this year had been ordered released by an Iraqi court.

Julian E. Barnes (Wall St. Journal) reminds that when the White House announced their plan to hand Daqduq over to Iraq, many members of Congress objected before the transfer took place, "Ms. [Senator Kelly] Ayotte and 18 other Senators called on U.S. officials not to hand him over to Iraq, but the Iraqi government insisted on taking him into custody."  Senators John McCain and Lindsey Graham released a joint-statement on Friday:

Washington, D.C. – U.S. Senators John McCain (R-AZ) and Lindsey Graham (R-SC) today released the following statement on the Iraqi government's release of Ali Musa Daqduq, a Lebanese Hezbollah terrorist believed to be responsible for the deaths of at least five U.S. servicemen in Iraq: "It is disgraceful that Ali Musa Daqduq, a Lebanese Hezbollah terrorist believed to be responsible for the deaths of at least five U.S. servicemen in Iraq, has been allowed to escape justice, and is now free to rejoin the terrorists bent on the destruction of America and its allies. Almost one year ago, I expressed my grave concern that Daqduq would never have to answer for his involvement in killing U.S. citizens and that he could be released from Iraqi custody for political reasons. Sadly, that concern has become reality. 
"Last year, I also criticized the Administration for failing to effectively exercise influence with the Iraqi government. Daqduq's release further shows that America's influence in the region is waning as a result of this Administration's failed foreign policy. The United States now has so little influence that it could not prevail upon the Iraqi government to extradite Daqduq to the U.S. to stand trial for his crimes. 
"We now face a similar situation in Afghanistan as we did in Iraq as America draws down troops and hands over detainees to the Afghani government. The Administration must tell the American people exactly how it will ensure that terrorists in Afghanistan with American and allied blood on their hands will be brought to justice." 

 Senator Kelly Ayotte's office issued the following Friday:

WASHINGTON, DC - U.S. Senator Kelly Ayotte (R-NH), a member of the Senate Armed Services Committee, released the following statement today regarding reports that an Iraqi court has decided to release Ali Mussa Daqduq - a Hezbollah terrorist.
"Many of us warned that the transfer of Daqduq to the Iraqis would result in his release. The administration ignored these warnings, and now a terrorist with American blood on his hands is walking free in Lebanon. There is little doubt that Daqduq is again collaborating with fellow members of Hezbollah in anticipation of their next terrorist attack. Daqduq's release tragically demonstrates the need for this administration to develop a policy for the detention of foreign terrorists."
Daqduq is suspected of orchestrating a 2007 kidnapping and murder of five U.S. military personnel in Karbala, Iraq. Daqduq also trained Iraqi exremists in Iran in the use of explosively formed penetrators, mortars, rockets, and other tactics that were used against U.S. service members in Iraq.
In addition to questioning senior Defense Department officials about Daqduq in Senate Armed Services Committee hearings last year, as well as in a hearing yesterday, Senator Ayotte joined 19 other senators in sending a letter to Secretary Panetta on July 21, 2011. The letter expressed the senators' concerns that transferring Daqduq to Iraqi custody might result in his release and return to terrorist activities.
As a member of the Senate Armed Services Committee, Senator Ayotte has led efforts to develop a comprehensive terrorist detention policy that designates a secure facility outside of the United States for the detention and interrogation of current and future foreign terrorist detainees. She believes that the administration's desire to close Guantanamo and refusal to detain new high-value foreign terrorists at Guantanamo puts our military leaders in an awkward position, deprives our intelligence community of information to prevent future attacks, and risks the release of terrorists like Daqduq. In 2011, Senator Ayotte introduced legislation that would keep Gitmo open, keep terrorist detainees out of the United States, and limit the transfer of detainees from Gitmo to foreign countries.
According to the Office of the Director of National Intelligence, almost 28% of detainees who have been released from Guantanamo have reengaged or are suspected of having reengaged in terrorist activity.

 And Senator Chuck Grassley's office issued the following:

Senator Chuck Grassley released the following statement after learning that terrorist Ali Musa Daqduq was released from an Iraqi prison.  The U.S. government turned over the well-known terrorist to the Iraqi government less than a year ago.  Grassley sent several letters to the Obama administration urging them to try Daqduq before a military tribunal.  Those letters can be found here.  Grassley is the Ranking Member of the Senate Committee on the Judiciary.
"Daqduq has one of the most significant records of terrorist activity with Hezbollah and the Iranian Revolutionary Guard Quds Force, even training them.  Yet, the Obama administration decided to turn him over to the Iraqi government knowing that it likely would result in his freedom.  Now, it appears that our fears have been realized and Daqduq has been released from the Iraqi government's custody and is in Lebanon. The United States does not have an extradition agreement with Lebanon, so there's little recourse for the U.S. government and Daqduq is expected to remain free.  A military tribunal would have been a far better avenue to bring this terrorist to justice.  Instead, it's probably just a matter of time before he finds his way back to the battlefield where undoubtedly innocent people will be killed."

Bonnie reminds that Isaiah's The World Today Just Nuts "The Grand Bargain" went up last night.  On this week's Law and Disorder Radio,  an hour long program that airs Monday mornings at 9:00 a.m. EST on WBAI and around the country throughout the week, hosted by attorneys Heidi Boghosian, Michael S. Smith and Michael Ratner (Center for Constitutional Rights) topics addressed include Bradley Manning, the Petraeus scandal, Gaza, torture, Cuba  and they discuss the 75th anniversary of the National Lawyers Guild with Jim Lefferty (host of KPFK's The Lawyers Guild Show -- Thursday nights) who is the Executive Director of the LA chapter of the NLG.

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