Barack Obama

President Obama admits he has no strategy

President Obama Thursday, admitted that he has no strategy to combat ISIS. ISIS currently controls large parts of Iraq and Syria. The President was asked if he would seek Congressional approval for U.S. attacks on ISIS targets in Syria, he responded, “I don’t want to put the cart before the horse. We don’t have a strategy yet.”

Obama says the options he is asking for from the Joint Chiefs of Staff targets on making sure that ISIS is not overrunning Iraq. Earlier in the week, President Obama approved surveillance operations over Syria. During the press conference, he assured the media that “As commander in chief, I will always do what is necessary to protect the American people,” “Our military action in Iraq has to be part of a broader comprehensive strategy to protect our people and to support our partners who are taking the fight to ISIL.”

Obama is sending Secretary Kerry back to the Middle East to work with allies and has dispatched Secretary Hagel to prepare options for dealing with ISIS extremists. Obama also addressed the fact that the region needs to also do their job when it comes to peace in the region saying: “It also means that states in the region stop being ambivalent about these extremist groups,” Obama said. “This should be a wake-up call to Sunni, to Shia, to everybody that a group like ISIS is beyond the pale; that they have no vision or ideology beyond violence and chaos and the slaughter of innocent people.”

President Obama promised to consult with Congress in the following days and weeks; “I do think that it’ll be important for Congress to weigh in, or that our consultations with Congress continue to develop, so that the American people are part of the debate.” he said. “I will consult with Congress and made sure their voices are heard.”

After Obama’s speech, Senator Mitch McConnell made it clear that he believes that the President would have “significant congressional support” if he does consult with members of congress. Since news of the beheading of U.S. journalist James Foley was released, the president has faced major criticism of his failing foreign policy.

Obama is now facing criticism for admitting that he has no strategy in place for fighting back ISIS. He’s like Tiger Woods on a golf course without his clubs. Plenty of Republicans blasted Obama for not having a strategy.

Karl Rove appeared on Fox News and saying Obama was warned about the role that ISIS was playing inside Syria, and he has had all that time to develop a strategy about what to do about ISIS in Syria and he still doesn’t. White House Press Secretary Earnest tried to calm the storm by trying to explain what Obama really meant.

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Freed Journalist Peter Theo Curtis speaks to reporters | CREDIT: TV Capture

Freed American Journalist grateful for support

American Journalist relieved to be back on American soil.

Freed Journalist Peter Theo Curtis speaks to reporters | CREDIT: TV Capture
Freed Journalist Peter Theo Curtis speaks to reporters | CREDIT: TV Capture

Recently freed journalist Peter Theo Curtis made a brief statement blocks away from his house. He first thanked everyone who helped him get back to America but asked for time to be alone with his family. “In the future, I promise I will respond to your emails,” he told the reporters outside his home. “I will be present, and I will help you do your jobs.”

‘I’m overwhelmed by emotion. I’m overwhelmed that total strangers are coming up to me saying, ‘we are glad you are back. Glad you are safe. Great to see you.’ – Peter Theo Curtis

Curtis appeared with a new clean-shaven face and was grateful that people were interested in his story. “At the same time, I have to bond with my mother and my family now,” he said. “I cannot give you an interview.” Curtis said that this morning he had just learned about the hundreds of “brave, determined and big-hearted people” all over the world who worked for his release.

‘I’m overwhelmed by emotion. I’m overwhelmed that total strangers are coming up to me saying, ‘we are glad you are back. Glad you are safe. Great to see you.’ So i suddenly remember how good the American people are and what kindness they have in their hearts. And to all those people I say a huge thank you from my heart. From the bottom of my heart. Now I am so grateful that you are expressing all this interest in me. At the same time, I have to bond with my mother and my family now,” said Curtis.

Curtis was released Sunday and arrived in America on Tuesday. His release comes just days after ISIS’s beheading of fellow American journalist James Foley. Curtis spent 22 months imprisoned by Al-Qaida afilliate al-Nusra. He thanked the countless people who have greeted him since his return back to America. “Total strangers have been coming up to me and telling me, ‘Welcome home,'” Curtis said.

Both U.S. and Qatar officials had been working for his release. Extremists turned him over to United Nations representatives in a section of Syria controlled by Israel. Curtis did not give time for any questions or do interviews but promised he would do so in the future.

isis, terrorism

Obama set to fight ISIS in Syria without Congressional approval

Obama attempting to fight ISIS in Syria against wishes of Assad and Congress.

isis, terrorism
ISIS Fighters | CREDIT: Wiki Commons

President Obama is likely to ignore the wishes of Congress and President Asssad, by expanding the war against ISIS into Syria. The White House is reminding the American people, that President Obama has yet to make decision on whether he will order strikes on ISIS strongholds in Syria.

Press Secretary Josh Earnest spoke to reporters aboard Air Force One saying “We have not speculated about what sort of authority would be required from Congress if the president were to make a decision to authorize the use of military force in Syria.”

Earnest continues to press reporters that the Administration does not think they need congressional approval for the airstrikes they launched on ISIS in Iraq on August 7 or for the depoloyment of troops there to protect American assets. Earnest explained “The current military action that has been ordered in Iraq is vested in the powers of the commander in chief,” The Press Secretary assured the press the White House’s “commitment to coordinating with Congress as we deploy that power.”

Earnest assured that the White House was committed to complying with the notification requirements of the War Powers Act. Both Democrats and Republicans are calling for President Obama to obtain congressional approval.

Earnest discussed the possibility that the White House might be seeking additional funds for operations against ISIS. “If additional resources are requested or needed, we’ll make that request,” “And we hope that we’ll see the kind of bipartisan support we’ve traditionally seen from Congress to ensure that our men and women in uniform who are putting their lives on the line to protect the country is adequately and consistently funded.”

Obama has laying the groundwork for ground operations since the early part of 2014. Obama has already given the go-ahead for U.S. drone surveillance operations over Syria; many see this move as a possible prelude to an American military campaign.

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FBI warns of retaliation from ISIS over recent airstrikes

FBI/DHS issues bulletin over potential ISIS attacks in America

 

Both Homeland Security and FBI have warned local law enforcement agencies across America to the possible retaliation from ISIS sympathizers in the U.S. Both agencies released a bulletin saying that they are “unaware of any specific, credible threats against the Homeland” and find most threats to the U.S. homeland by supporters of ISIS “not credible,” they cannot rule out attacks in the United States from sympathizers radicalized by the group’s online propaganda.

“[B]ecause of the individualized nature of the radicalization process – it is difficult to predict triggers that will contribute to [homegrown violent extremists] attempting acts of violence,” the bulletin states. Moreover, such lone offenders “present law enforcement with limited opportunities to detect and disrupt plots, which frequently involve simple plotting against targets of opportunity,” according to the bulletin.

Tweet from possible ISIS account
Tweet from possible ISIS account

The bulletin also discussed ISIS’s social media strategy, emphasizing that ISIS will continue to use Twitter to spread its propaganda; possibly hijacking other news events to promote themselves. ISIS has been reported as having hijacked the social media trafficking following the California earthquake. The bulletin cited the Foley execution video and the posting, earlier this month, of an ISIS flag photo in front of the White House.

whitehouse

The recent beheading of Foley was in retaliation for American airstrikes on ISIS extremists. ISIS is holding one other journalist, Steven Soltoff, and has threatened to kill him. DHS and the FBI have often released these “bulletins” as a a generic “FYI” to local, state and federal law enforcement who don’t have the same access to classified information that the nation’s top counter terrorism officials see every day.

ISIS has issued threats against the U.S. homeland before. In a recent video series, Vice Media embedded with ISIS militants and recorded an ISIS militant saying, “God willing, we will raise the flag of Allah in the White House.”

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Barack Obama, US Senate, Drone strikes

Obama approves drone surveillance over Syria

Obama aproves both manned and unmanned surveillance over Syria

WASHINGTON – President Obama has authorized drone surveillance flights over Syria even as Syria demanded the U.S. government seek permission before launching any airstrikes on its territory against ISIS targets. The main concern the Obama administration is facing, is how to target the Sunni extremists without aiding Syrian President Assad.

The U.S. Department of Defense announced that the Pentagon is sending in manned and unmanned reconnaissance flights over Syria; both drones and U2 spy planes will be used. President Obama authorized the flights over the weekend. The order was first reported by the Wall Street Journal.

According to the Wall Street Journal; “The Pentagon is preparing to conduct reconnaissance flights over Syria,” “There is no decision yet to do strikes, but in order to help make that decision, you want to get as much situational awareness as possible.” These flights are a huge step towards direct military action in Syria, which could change the course of Syria’s civil war.

The Pentagon is discussing military options that would strike the heart of ISIS near the “erased” border between Syria and Iraq, as opposed to being behind enemy lines. Syria offered its hand in fighting the ISIS extremists, however the Assad government demanded the White House coordinate airstrikes with them or they would consider them an “act of aggression.” Questions of whether Obama should authorize airstrikes has increased since the beheading of American journalist James Foley.

This latest move against ISIS comes days after Syrian Foreign Minister Walid al-Moualem warned the U.S. government against unilateral action to counter ISIS in Syria following the group’s takeover of a critical airbase in Syria’s Raqqah province.

Syria is ready to cooperate and coordinate on the regional and international level in the war on terror,” he said, according to the AP. “But any effort to combat terrorism should be coordinated with the Syrian government.”

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James Foley Execution | CREDIT: YouTube

British Intelligence narrowing in on suspect of James Foley murder

British Intelligence close to identifying ISIS fighter “John”

James Foley Execution | CREDIT: YouTube
James Foley Execution | CREDIT: YouTube

British Intelligence agents think they have positively identified “John”; John is the ISIS member that killed American freelance journalist James Foley. According to The Telegraph, both MI5 and MI6 have been using voice recognition technology to identify the ISIS fighter, spoke on the video with a heavy British accent.

British Ambassador to the U.S. Peter Westmacott appeared on Meet The Press; he was asked about how soon we’ll be able to have an identification of the suspect. He responded by saying that “I think we are close. I’ve been in touch, obviously, in the last day or two with my colleagues at home. We’re not yet in a position to say exactly who this is, but there is some very sophisticated voice identification technology and other measures that we have which should allow us to be very clear about who this person is before very long.”

According to Fox News, a 23-year-old rapper named Abdel Majed Abdel Bary is the main suspect in the death of Foley. The Sunday Times and Sunday People identified Bary as a member of a group of at least three British-born ISIS fighters known among former hostages as “The Beatles.” Westmacott did admit that as many as 500 British subjects have gone to Syria and Iraq in support of jihad.

ISIS is still holding American journalist Steven Sotloff hostage and has been threatened with death. On Sunday, another kidnapped American journalist was released. Peter Theo Curtis, 45, who writes under the name Theo Padnos, had been held by the al-Nusra Front, a branch of al-Qaeda in Syria.

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Ferguson Police

White House conducting review of military equipment being sent to police forces

White House to review military equipment being sent to police

Ferguson Police

After massive riots in Ferguson and Police wearing and using military equipment, The White House is weighing whether the federal government should continue to arm local police departments. The review will consider whether the government should continue to provide military grade equipment and if whether local police have sufficient training to use the equipment. The government will also consider whether it is keeping a close enough watch on equipment inventories, and how the weapons and other gear are used.

. “The whole country and every representative and senator have seen the visuals, and at some level, it made all of us uncomfortable.” Senator McCaskill (D)

America saw the equipment being used against the citizens of Ferguson, Missouri, when police officers launched tear gas at protestors and officers rode military-grade vehicles. “The whole country and every representative and senator have seen the visuals, and at some level, it made all of us uncomfortable,” said Senator Claire McCaskill, Democrat of Missouri, a member of the Senate Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee who will lead a hearing in September into police use of military-style equipment. “It’s a moment where we can take a timeout and look at these policies.”

Changes in this regular tradition would change the role of the local police. After the 9/11 attacks local police were seen as the front line defenders for America in the “War on Terror.” The agency responsible for transferring the equipment to the police forces across the country known as The Defense Logistics Agency (DLA) has put the total value of equipment transferred at $5.1 billion dollars; this includes weapons, vehicles, clothing, helicopters, and boats. According to top law enforcement officials, only 5% of the equipment is weapons.

Attorney General Eric Holder released a statement saying “this equipment flowed to local police forces because they were increasingly being asked to assist in counterterrorism.” But he also said that “displays of force in response to mostly peaceful demonstrations can be counterproductive,” and so “it makes sense to take a look at whether military-style equipment is being acquired for the right purposes and whether there is proper training on when and how to deploy it.”

Pentagon Press Secretary John Kirby released a statement saying Secretary Chuck Hagel is “keeping an open mind” about the program, said Rear Adm. John F. Kirby, the Pentagon press secretary. “He shares the president’s concerns about any blurring of lines between the military and local law enforcement, of course, certainly, as that concern could lead to the use of military equipment.” Kirby mentioned that most equipment transferred doesn’t include weapons or vehicles. Democrats and Libertarians have come together for an end to NSA’s infringing on civil rights.

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