U.S. officials suspect that a former Guantanamo Bay detainee played a role in the attack on the American diplomatic compound in Benghazi, Libya, and are planning to designate the group he leads as a foreign terrorist organization, according to officials familiar with the plans.
Militiamen under the command of Abu Sufian bin Qumu, the leader of Ansar al-Sharia in the Libyan city of Darnah, participated in the attack that killed U.S. Ambassador J. Christopher Stevens and three other Americans, U.S. officials said.
Witnesses have told American officials that Qumu’s men were in Benghazi before the attack on Sept. 11, 2012, according to the officials. It’s unclear whether they were there as part of a planned attack or out of happenstance. The drive from Darnah to Benghazi takes several hours.
Gates: Obama’s Advisers Were Talking About Military Options In Libya Without Consulting . . . The Military…
According to Gates the decision to move militarily was given to far-left adviser Samantha Power.
[S]imilarly, in a battle over defense spending, “I was extremely angry with President Obama,” Gates writes. “I felt he had breached faith with me . . . on the budget numbers.” As with “don’t ask, don’t tell,” “I felt that agreements with the Obama White House were good for only as long as they were politically convenient.”
Gates acknowledges forthrightly in “Duty” that he did not reveal his dismay. “I never confronted Obama directly over what I (as well as [Hillary] Clinton, [then-CIA Director Leon] Panetta, and others) saw as the president’s determination that the White House tightly control every aspect of national security policy and even operations. His White House was by far the most centralized and controlling in national security of any I had seen since Richard Nixon and Henry Kissinger ruled the roost.”
It got so bad during internal debates over whether to intervene in Libya in 2011 that Gates says he felt compelled to deliver a “rant” because the White House staff was “talking about military options with the president without Defense being involved.”
Gates says his instructions to the Pentagon were: “Don’t give the White House staff and [national security staff] too much information on the military options. They don’t understand it, and ‘experts’ like Samantha Power will decide when we should move militarily.” Power, then on the national security staff and now U.S. ambassador to the United Nations, has been a strong advocate for humanitarian intervention.
Another time, after Donilon and Biden tried to pass orders to Gates, he told the two, “The last time I checked, neither of you are in the chain of command,” and said he expected to get orders directly from Obama.
Via USA Today:
The Oneida Indian Nation says it believes more Americans would favor changing the team name of the Washington NFL club if they understood the full context of what the Oneidas and others consider a racial slur.
“Daniel Snyder’s pathological devotion to denigrating Native Americans apparently knows no bounds,” Joel Barkin, an Oneida spokesman, said Friday. “Rather than standing on the right side of history and ending the name that his segregationist predecessor gave Washington’s team, he is now citing a deeply flawed poll purporting to show support for the R-word.”
The team said Thursday that a poll showing that 71% support keeping the name “demonstrates continued, widespread and deep opposition to the Redskins changing our name.” The poll released by Public Policy Polling found 18% said the team should change it and 11% said they are not sure. The margin of error is plus or minus 3.6 percentage points.
“Incredibly, in asking Americans their opinion of the R-word, this poll deliberately omitted the fact that the term is a dictionary-defined racial slur that social science data proves has destructive public health consequences for Native Americans,” Barkin said. “We are confident that when given all the facts, most Americans do not support denigrating any group with slurs.”
Tom Jensen, director of Public Policy Polling, said his firm asked the question “in the most straightforward way possible. We don’t have a dog in this fight.” He pointed out that an AP poll last April found 79% favored keeping the name, indicating that while public support for the name remains strong, it appears to be eroding.
WASHINGTON (CBSDC/AP) — There will be no trademark for “Redskins Hog Rinds,” a bad omen for the Washington Redskins in the legal battle over their name.
The U.S. Patent and Trademark Office has rejected a request from a company to sell pork rinds using the word “Redskins” because it deemed the term to be “derogatory slang.”
In a letter dated Dec. 29, the agency wrote: “Registration is refused because the applied-for mark REDSKINS HOG RINDS consists of or includes matter which may disparage or bring into contempt or disrepute persons, institutions, beliefs, or national symbols.”
The same agency is deliberating whether to revoke the trademark protection for the NFL team, part of a long-running challenge from a group of Native Americans. A hearing was held in March, and a decision is expected soon.
Oneida Indian Nation Representative Ray Halbritter, who has been the most vocal opponent of the team’s name, is hoping the forthcoming ruling will be fortuitous.
NEW YORK (RNS) — From its historic black churches to large Jewish enclaves to landmark Catholic and Protestant churches, New York City is the ultimate religious melting pot. And now, overseeing it all is a new mayor whose only religious identity seems to be “spiritual but not religious.”
Mayor Bill de Blasio is now perhaps the nation’s most visible “none,” an icon of one of the nation’s fastest-growing religious groups — those without any formal religious identification.
His election could reflect a new kind of American politician — one who is shaped by religion and religious values but is not expected to talk about or bow to religion as in years past, said Jennifer Jones Austin, co-chairwoman of de Blasio’s transition team and the daughter of a pastor.
“What drives him are his fundamental beliefs about liberation theology when it comes to social justice, our responsibility to care for all who are on this earth,” Jones Austin said. “I heard him on several occasions say ‘Amen’ when he felt very strongly about something.”