Saturday, June 1, 2013

IRAN: Where did all the "Red Lines" Go?

Moscow‘s smoke screen obscures Assad’s next Syrian war moves
DEBKAfile Special Report May 31, 2013, 8:00 PM (IDT)

One minute, Russian spokesmen declare that Moscow is only filling standing contracts with Syria for the sale of weapons, i.e. – S-300 anti-air missiles; the next, that delivery will take place only in the second quarter of 2014 (ahead of Syria’s presidential election). Then, after those spokesmen previously declared that Russia would only fill outstanding arms contracts, Serge Korotkov, head of the MiG company came out with the news Friday, May 31, that a Syrian delegation was in Moscow to discuss “a new contract” for the sale of “more than 10” MiG-29 M/M2 fighters.

According to DEBKAfile’s military sources, this Russian fighter-bomber is designed to operate in complex electronic jamming environments. It is therefore just what the Syrian army lacks for overcoming the Israeli Air Force’s ability to disable Syria’s Russian-made electronic warfare systems.

Moscow is therefore offering to provide Bashar Assad and his air force with a key resource for delivering on the statement he made in a TV interview Thursday, May 30: “We have informed all foreign parties that we will retaliate against any future Israeli attack.”

Our military and Russian sources say that the conflicting Russian statements on weapons sales to Damascus have two motives:
1.  To lay down a smoke screen for concealing the true nature and volume of the military equipment Moscow is shipping to Assad and his army by airlift. Its transports land and unload their freight at various Syrian airfields, including Aleppo and Latakia. Without the Russian and Iranian air corridors, the Syrian army would soon run out of the ammunition, spare parts and fuel, needed day to day for keeping up its war on the rebels.
2. To spread a fog fraught with Russian menace for scaring Israel, the United States, Britain, France and Turkey off any thought of military intervention in the Syrian conflict.  
This too is the frame of mind Moscow is seeking to generate for June 5 when representatives of Russia, the US and the United Nations meet to prepare the ground for the Geneva conference which had been called to hammer out a political settlement of the Syrian war.  Moscow is determined to browbeat Washington into accepting Iran’s participation.

Only the UN has so far named its representatives to the preliminary meeting. They are special envoy for Syria, the Algerian diplomat Lakhdar Brahimi, and the Deputy Secretary General, US Undersecretary for Political Affairs, Jeffrey Feltman.

Some weeks ago, Brahimi was on the point of resigning his mission. He changed his mind when he saw Assad was gaining the upper hand in the way and the Obama administration unwilling to stop him except by cooperating with Moscow in calling an international conference for setting limits on Assad’s triumph.

The Algerian diplomat became convinced that without Moscow and Iran’s attendance, the conference is condemned to fail.

Most probably, therefore, the preparatory meeting will be preoccupied with settling the argument over Iran’s participation. Already, behind closed doors, Moscow, Washington and Tehran have closed the gap between them and bargaining over the format of Tehran’s attendance, whether as a separate delegation or part of the Syrian team? And will Hizballah be asked or not?

The Russians are confident they come to the event with the strongest hand. Their delegates will lead a front composed of Iran, Syria and Hizballah, which is not only united but way ahead on the war front.

In contrast, their American co-sponsors, have not been able to persuade the fractious Syrian opposition or its Gulf patrons, led by Saudi Arabia, to put in an appearance at the conference.

Unless this obstacle can be overcome, the US delegation comes to the conference without Syrian or Arab parties on its side of the table.

Israel can only watch from the sidelines.

President Vladimir Putin and his advisers feel they can safely turn up the heat in the belief that President Barack Obama will have no choice in the final reckoning but to accept the Russian-Iranian proposals for ending the Syrian war, starting with leaving Assad in power. Otherwise, Moscow is indicating that the war will escalate, fueled by the swelling input of Russian arms, and the United States will sink further in Middle East estimation.

Implicit in the Russian stance is that the Syrian war which has already spread to Lebanon thanks to Hizballah’s participation in the fighting will next spill over into Israel. Moscow is playing the S-300 missiles and MiG-29 M/M2 warplanes as pieces in its game against Israel too on the Syrian chessboard. 

Bee's note:

The line was drawn last year - and from what we can see today, even with Iran's upcoming elections, none of their candidates intend to stop their goal of working to obtain nuclear capabilities.  They are further along than they were six years ago; much further!  Nothing in the US politics or its foreign policy, gives even a hint that the WH intends to prevent Iran from obtaining its nuclear bomb.  

Every world leader wishes to discuss Syria; or, Israel's stubborn so-called peace partners, the Palestinians, while blaming Israel for an unstable ME due to the PA's lack of interest in discussing "peace"; but, the head of the snake is Iran; Iran-Russian policies; Iran backed Hezbollah and Hamas; and Syria, the PA's, Hamas, are all side issues, compared to the greatest danger to the ME and the world, which is IRAN.

Has everyone forgotten the "Red Line" drawn over a year ago?  

Have we all resigned ourselves to Iran obtaining the bomb?  

This week PM Netanyahu discussed outfitting every Israeli with gas masks. Is that in prepration for the worse to come from its next door neighbor, Syria; or, in the worse case scenerio of Iran striking Tel Aviv?

Israel won a war in SIX DAYS; she hasn't lost to any of her enemies.  Perhaps it's time to rethink who is preventing her from acting upon the threats of her tiny nation, and move forward without delay.

The clock is ticking - countdown ..1-2-3-4 .....

Iran presidential election debate 'comical'

Iran presidential election debate 'comical'

Iranian presidential candidates (L to R), former parliament speaker Gholam-Ali Haddad Adel, former first vice president Mohammad Reza Aref, former chief of the Revolutionary Guards Mohsen Rezai and former chief nuclear negotiator Hassan Rowhani attend a live debate on state TV in Tehran: Iran presidential election debate 'comical'

Iranian presidential candidates (L to R), former parliament speaker Gholam-Ali Haddad Adel, former first vice president Mohammad Reza Aref, former chief of the Revolutionary Guards Mohsen Rezai and former chief nuclear negotiator Hassan Rowhani attend a live debate on state TV in Tehran Photo: AFP/GETTY

10:26AM BST 01 Jun 2013

Iranian newspapers gave a resounding thumbs down to the first televised debate between the candidates for this month's presidential election, echoing criticism from the hopefuls themselves of a format they said stifled real discussion.

Conservative candidate Mohsen Rezai, a former commander of the elite Revolutionary Guards, told his own Tabnak website that he would boycott the other two debates scheduled for next Wednesday and Friday if the format does not change.
The reformist Bahar newspaper said the quality of the debate had been "comical".
Another reformist daily, Etemad, commented: "Television has turned the most important political event into an entertainment programme."
Even the hardline Kayhan newspaper said the debate had "failed to live up to expectations".
All eight candidates who secured the approval of Iran's conservative-led electoral watchdog to stand in the June 14 election took part in the four-hour debate.
But despite its length, the debate failed to provide a platform for real discussion between the candidates of how they would reverse the rapid deterioration of the economy in the face of EU and US sanctions.
The lone reformist candidate, former first vice president Mohammad Reza Aref, refused to take part in one section of the programme in which each candidate was given multiple choice questions about their programme.
"This way of organising the debate and asking questions is an insult to all eight candidates and to the Iranian people," he said.
His criticism led the front page of the repeatedly banned reformist daily Shargh.
Edited for by Barney Henderson

USA's "Flexibility" President Spends Millions for Russian Helicopters

Obama To Spend $700 Million In US Tax Dollars For Russian Helicopters For Afghan Air Force

175ccbef9a0deac2f12709d3365bf2d7_XLRemember when Barack Obama was caught on a hot mic telling Russian President Dmitri Medvedyev to let incoming Russian President Vladimir Putin know that after his re-election he would have more “flexibility”? If you don’t remember, check it out here. If you do, well now we are seeing a bit of that flexibility in motion. The Obama Department of Defense is going to spend nearly $700 million to buy Russian Mi-17 helicopters for the Afghan Air Force.

That’s right, $700 million of U.S. taxpayer money is going to fund our enemy’s air force. However, not only could this be considered treasonous, but even by the federal government’s 2013 National Defense Authorization Act they are in violation of their own legislation.

According to Riz Novosti:
WASHINGTON, April 4 (By Maria Young for RIA Novosti) – The US Department of Defense said Thursday it plans to sidestep a Congressional ban to purchase 30 helicopters from Russian state-owned defense firm Rosoboronexport, despite objections from US lawmakers who allege that the firm has equipped the Syrian government to commit brutal crimes against civilians.“The Department of Defense (DOD) has notified Congress of its intent to contract with Rosoboronexport for 30 additional Mi-17 rotary-wing aircraft to support the Afghanistan National Security Forces (ANSF) Special Mission Wing,” Pentagon spokesman James Gregory told RIA Novosti in emailed comments.
The 2013 National Defense Authorization Act, approved by Congress last year, includes an amendment that prohibits financial contracts between the United States and Rosoboronexport, except when the Secretary of Defense determines that such arrangements are in the interest of national security.
“Given current timelines, the department has determined that Rosoboronexport is the only viable means of meeting ANSF requirements” for the helicopters, Gregory said.
The contract totals $690 million, most of which would go to the Russian arms maker, he added.
Obviously the question should be, why are we not spending money on American made helicopters? Second, why are we spending any money on helicopters for enemies? Third, why are we giving money to Russia for these helicopters?

Well the Obama administration doesn’t want the U.S. economy to actually improve, that’s why they aren’t spending here. It seems this is also a bit of the flexibility he spoke of in 2012 and maybe a bit of payback to President Putin. Also, the Afghans have been trained to operate Russian aircraft, so switching to a new platform would delay the transition by three years, according to Gregory.

The reason for helicopters in Afghanistan is due to the fact that Obama made plans back in February to reduce the number of US troops in Afghanistan from 66,000 to 34,000 over the next year. This would set back the Afghan nation’s security force, according to the administration

The reason for purchasing from the Russians? Simon Saradzhyan, a security expert at Harvard University’s Belfer Center for Science and International Affairs, said “The objections are understandable, the US defense industry needs contracts. … But from a cost-benefit analysis, Russian helicopters are a better deal.”

Apparently, it’s also against the law.

“This is the Russian competitive edge,” Saradzhyan said. “They cost less and they are easy to maintain. This is how Russian arms supporters make their sales speech.”

Analyst Daniel Greenfield, in a piece for FrontPage magazine, noted:
“Aside from throwing almost $700 million to a company owned by the Russian government at a time when Obama has taken a chainsaw to the United States military, subsidizing the Russian defense industry helps it develop more weapons that will be sold to America’s enemies. That money will help fund R&D for the next generation of weapons that an American military dismantled by Obama will be facing on the battlefield.”

In a letter sent by a bipartisan Congressional group led by Rep. Rosa DeLauro (D-CT) to Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel on March 25 they wrote,
“We write to oppose any continuation of the Department of Defense’s (DoD) business relationship with Rosoboronexport, Russia’s primary arms exporter and an enabler of the ongoing mass atrocities in Syria.  In January, Section 1277 of the National Defense Authorization Act for Fiscal Year 2013, which expressly prohibits the use of funds to enter into any contracts or agreements with Rosoboronexport, was enacted into law. Further, during consideration of the Department of Defense Appropriations Act, 2013, the House of Representatives overwhelmingly approved an amendment prohibiting further contracts with Rosoboronexport by a vote of 407-5. We urge you to uphold this law and clear expression of Congressional intent by ensuring that any further DoD procurement of helicopters for the Afghan National Security Forces is not conducted through Rosoboronexport.”
The letter asked “What is the national security justification of continuing business with Rosoboronexport?”

“Russia continues to transfer weapons through Rosoboronexport to the regime of Bashar al-Assad in Syria,” the letter continued. “Since the Syrian uprising began, Russia has continued to serve as the Assad regime’s chief supplier of weapons, enabling the mass murder of Syrian citizens at the hands of their own government.”

The Department of Defense contract with Rosoboronexport, awarded by the Department of the Army on June 1, 2011, on a sole-source basis, procures at minimum 21 Mi-17 helicopters and spares for the Afghan military. The contract has a total value of nearly $1.0 billion and includes options for additional aircraft, spares, and support. The Department has indicated that the procurement of additional Mi-17 for the Afghan military may be required. The actual number of helicopters could be as high as 30.

Forbes points out that this is not the first time the U.S. provided this “flying whale” abroad. “It gave four Mi-17 helicopters to Pakistan to assist its anti-terrorism activity in June 2009. The U.S. Navy delivered four Mi-17s to the Afghan National Army Air Corps in September of that same year. Ten Mi-17-V5 helicopters were delivered to the Afghan Air Force (AAF) by December 2010.”

The Pentagon has already spent $411 million with Rosoboronexport since May of 2011, so this will bring the total in excess of $1 billion of taxpayer funds that have been spent with the Russian supplier.

Read more:

Obama’s Brother Works With Man Who Attacked U.S. Embassy

Bee's note: The administration is no stranger to scandals.  Corruption, deceit, lies and more lies!  I believe we awaking to at least one scandal daily these days, and here's another one for your journal (if you're keeping count):

May 27, 2013 By  
Kenya Obama's Brother
Since the IRS scam has become the most momentous topic of the day, we now know, thanks to my father, that President Obama’s brother, Malik Obama, is deeply associated with Omar al-Bashir, the one who was behind the attack on the US embassy in Khartoum, Sudan, which occurred at around the same time as the Benghazi attack. I was the first to write on this in English when the attack first happened, stating:
The attacks by Muslims on American embassies in Egypt and Libya has shocked the media enough, but now North Sudan has just exploded, with mobs raiding both the British, German and American embassies. Who is responsible? According to Al-Rakoba, a Sudanese news site, it is Omar al-Bashir, the president of North Sudan, and his despotic government who is behind this. Al-Bashir is a modern Hitler, an Islamic tyrant responsible for the deaths of over three-million people, all in the name of Jihad and war against Christians.
 Obama’s brother is working with an enemy to the United States. Meanwhile, the president attacks American liberty and sets policies that are helpful to Bashir. In 2012 I wrote an article showing how, while Obama has supported the Islamic uprisings in the Middle East, he has in fact stopped a revolution against the Hitler of Africa, Omar al-Bashir, who has been responsible for the deaths of over three million people. I wrote:
The support of the rebels in Syria, and the condemnation of Assad, by the Obama administration can only make one question as to why he is against this particular regimen, but not that of Omar al-Bashir, the tyrant who has been responsible for the deaths of millions through the Jihad that he has commenced against Christians and the non-Arab Muslims of Darfur.
In fact, Obama had at one point in time prevented Salva Kiir, [the Christian president] president of South Sudan, from aiding rebels who wanted to topple al-Bashir’s regimen, and replace it with a secular government.
Malik is the Executive Secretary for the Islamic Da’wa Organization (IDO), which is stationed in Khartoum, Sudan, and which is primarily focused on expanding Wahhabist Islam on the African subcontinent. It was also in Khartoum, as I have written on before, where Bashir declared that he was going to make Sudan’s new constitution “100 percent Islamic.”
Malik Obama shares the same desires as Bashir. In fact, both of them attended the General Conference of the Islamic Council of South Sudan, and both attended a meeting for the Board of Trustees of the Islamic Da’wa Organization, at which Bashir said,
that the enemies of Islam who attempt to impose hegemony and make a siege and to encourage plots (and evil measures) towards Sudan will fail, stressing that Sudan rejects such methods of domination, despite the blockade that has been practiced upon it by the plotters of evil that bypassed Sudan with the help of Allah and the [Sudanese] determination.
This is all in accordance with the anti-Christian goals and policies which Bashir is orchestrating, and which Malik Obama upholds and supports. In an article I wrote last year, I reported on how Bashir’s uncle, Eltayeb Mustafa, who is a part of Bashir’s government, supported a fatwa which stated:
Of the greatest calamities and evils is to permit an exhibition entitled ‘the Holy Bible,’ this lying forgery, which allows the kufars [non-Muslims] to spread their religion amongst Muslims, and to fascinate the common man, that Christianity prevents them from carrying out the path of Allah. After all, hearts are weak, and people are not equal in distinguishing truth from falsehood, and this work should not be allowed for any sane person. These things are destructive and are of great mischief. The duty for whomever Allah has given a hand by leader or man of responsibility is to prevent this evil, or else he is a traitor to Allah, and his prophet, and to the Muslim community.
 This is very akin to what the Islamic Da’wa Organization, of which Malik Obama is an Executive Secretary, believes in, writing that “Muslims in Kenya suffer from the great challenge of the tyranny of the church which is known for its aggression …”
This anti-Christian sentiment that Malik Obama upholds and instills is exactly what is fueling the violence against Christians in Africa.
The fatwa which Mustafa affirmed gave the leeway to a number of Bashir’s thugs to slaughter and attack Christians celebrating in front of Kambouni playground with sticks and machetes.
Right now, Bashir’s government is executing the dechristianization of and the systematic holocaust of Christians in his country. He is violently enforcing that Arabic, the language of Islam, be the dominant tongue. Foreign missionaries have been forcibly deported and churches have been bulldozed. In 2012, Bashir gave Christians till March 1 to leave North Sudan, but half a million of them were stranded, leaving them open targets for Muslims thirsty for Christian blood.
Malik Obama is not only working with a terrorist who attacked the United States, but also a mass murderer.
Theodore Shoebat is the author of the book, For God or For Tyranny.

Wife in cahoots with former IRS commissioner’s war against tea party

June 1, 2013 by  
Wife in cahoots with former IRS commissioner’s war against tea party
Former IRS commissioner Douglas Shulman, who visited the White House 157 times during the period the IRS was targeting tea party groups, is married to the senior program adviser for the liberal organization Public Campaign.
As reported by Daily Caller, Shulman’s wife Susan L. Anderson works for the Washington-based nonprofit that bills itself as a “non-partisan organization dedicated to sweeping reform that aims to dramatically reduce the role of big special interest money in American politics.”
It’s safe to assume they didn’t have any problems when filing with the IRS.
Interestingly, those who try to defend the IRS in the ongoing scandal point to outside spending and special interest money pumped into the 2012 campaign by conservative benefactors, as Daily Caller notes.
While calling itself “non-partisan,” Public Campaign receives “major funding” from some very partisan sources, according to Daily Caller.
Sources that include the pro-Obamacare alliance Health Care for America NOW!which is made up of labor unions AFL-CIO, AFSCME, SEIU, and the progressive activist organization Move On, among others.
The group also receives funding from the Ford Foundation, the Common Cause Education Fund, and Barbra Streisand’s The Streisand Foundation, among other foundations and private donors.
Tea party friendly these entities are not!
In its 2011 Annual Report, Public Campaign president and CEO Nick Nyhart hailed the Occupy movement as having “dramatized the inequality of income and power in our society,” and wrote of a focus “on the divide between the 1 percent and the 99 percent.”
Nyhart added that they get tough on politicians and corporations who stand against “pro-democracy reforms” — a common catchword used often by the progressive left.

Report claims Obama administration reason bin Laden doctor imprisoned

Shakil Afrid cropped

June 1, 2013 by 

In its desire to triumphantly disclose detailed elements of the raid that lead to Osama bin Laden’s death, the Obama administration condemned to prison the Pakistani physician who provided or confirmed those details, according to a confidential Pakistani informant.
Shortly after the May 2, 2011 raid, then-CIA Director Leon Panetta recognized Dr. Shakil Afrid’s assistance in pinpointing the location of bin Laden’s compound, and in so doing,“any chance that Pakistani authorities could help him get out of the country vanished,” according toFox News.
This information was disclosed in a 357-page report prepared by an independent Pakistani commission, which, although is as yet unpublished, Fox News has viewed.
“The statement by the U.S. Defense Secretary Leon Panetta, who was the CIA Director when May 2 happened, confirming the role of Dr. Afridi in making the U.S. assassination mission a success, rendered much of what Afridi told the Commission very questionable if not outright lies,” the report stated.
Sometime after Dr. Afridi testified to the independent Pakistani commission, Panetta and others in the Obama administration disclosed that the physician had used a ruse to obtain DNA from bin Laden and confirm his presence.
According to Fox News:
Nearly five months before Afridi’s sentencing, while the doctor was being held and interrogated by Pakistan’s shadowy intelligence agency, Panetta spoke on record in an interview to CBS “60 Minutes” confirming Afridi’s role in late January 2012. The statements came after Afridi had testified to the commission, and sharply contradicted his story.
“[Afridi] was an individual, in fact that helped provide intelligence, that was very helpful in regards to this operation and he was not in any way treasonous towards Pakistan,” Panetta disclosed in the January, 2012, “60 Minutes” interview.
As a result of this report, the Pakistani commission concluded that the doctor was acting as an American agent.
“Dr. Afridi had been cultivated by the CIA and ultimately used in its project to assassinate Usama Bin Laden,” the commission’s report concluded.
Although Rep. Dana Rohrabacher, R-Calif., is both Afridi’s biggest supporter as well as long-critical of the administration, he nonetheless doesn’t necessarily take the report at face value.
“It doesn’t take genius to figure out that the Pakistanis have been betraying us all along and Dr. Afridi is being used as a pawn in their game with the United States,” Rohrabacher said.
Others aren’t so ready to dismiss the commission’s report. Thomas Fitton, president of Judicial Watch, is another one who has been long-critical of the Obama administration.
“The lesson from the Afridi episode is, if it suits the political purpose of the Obama administration, you’ll be exposed and placed in jeopardy,” said Fitton.
Whether the Pakistani report can be believed or not, one thing has been made clear in recent weeks: If a leak makes the administration look good, it’s news. If the leak in any way embarrasses the administration, it’s a crime.
Bee's note:  This administration does not have "clean' hands when it comes to leaks, as the article above demonstrates.  Nor, does it in relation to numerous "leaks" to the NYT, from the WH - but like every other scandal committed, "no one knows how those leaks just happened to appear in the local newspapers"!  One of those leaks placed our ally Israel in a bad position, as reports were "Leaked" about Israel's plans for Iran.  Outrageous! Double standards?
Mar 29, 2012 1:23pm  abc news
 Israelis Suspect Obama Media Leaks to Prevent Strike on Iran
JERUSALEM – Two reports today about Iran’s nuclear program and the possibility of an Israeli military strike have analysts in Israel accusing the Obama administration leaking information to pressure Israel not to bomb Iran and for Iran to reach a compromise in upcoming nuclear talks.
The first report in Foreign Policy quotes anonymous American officials saying that Israel has been given access to airbases by Iran’s northern neighbor Azerbaijan from which Israel could launch air strikes or at least drones and search and rescue aircraft.The second report from Bloomberg, based on a leaked congressional report, said that Iran’s nuclear facilities are so dispersed that it is “unclear what the ultimate effect of a strike would be…” A strike could delay Iran as little as six months, a former official told the researchers.“It seems like a big campaign to prevent Israel from attacking,” analyst Yoel Guzansky at the Institute for National Security Studies told ABC News. “I think the [Obama] administration is really worried Jerusalem will attack and attack soon. They’re trying hard to prevent it in so many ways.”
However, the same administration that leaks like a sieve, has no conscience when it comes to accusing a video for the deaths of four Americans in Benghazi and sending an innocent man to prison (and he's still sitting in prison) for a YouTube video that supposedly set the Islamic terrorists across the Middle East on fire!  It was a deliberate lie, promoted by Obama and Hilliary during the first months after Benghazi.  Obama continued lying when facing the United Nations the following month, still blaming a video no one had seen, and spending over $70,000 on his own "apology" video that he quickly released to our enemies in Pakistan and Afghanistan.  This placed our troops lives in jeopardy and I blame the assassin-style shootings to the back of the heads of our troops to Obama's "Apology" video.  Covering up the intentions of Islamic terrorism hinders the livilihoods of USA troops in the battlefields.  
There is a Private First Class, Manning, in a Federal prison for "leaking" information to "Wikileaks", exposing war crimes and will probably receive a "life" sentence for his actions.  And yet, officials in much higher positions have "leaked" information causing great damage to our allies and our own troops and not a peep is heard from our leaders in D.C.; no thorough investigations; no heads rolled, or removed from office; and the security of both America and our allies are left in jeopardy.
Can anyone say, "Double Standards"?

Marines in Afghanistan Lose Midnight Meal Service

Bee's Note:  The treatment of our Marines and military by this administration is despicable.  "Budget issues"?  Really?!  Read this: Obama Signs Executive Order Giving Himself a Pay Increase -  America, prisoners receive three meals per day; do you think our troops should receive less?  Contact your representatives in D.C. and let them know the treatment of our troops by this White House is unacceptable.  Thank you!

Marines in Afghanistan Lose Midnight Meal Service
Marines at Camp Leatherneck in Afghanistan are losing midnight meal services, starting today, that means many of them will miss a hot breakfast and others will work extended shifts without being able to fill their tanks with cooked food. It is just the latest in a long series of policies that take away from those who have given us their all. 

Marines at Camp Leatherneck in Afghanistan will lose a key daily meal starting Saturday, causing some to forgo a hot breakfast and others to work six-plus hours without refueling on cooked food, according to Marines at the base and Marine Corps officials.
The midnight ration service — known there as “midrats” — supplies breakfast to Marines on midnight-to-noon shifts and dinner to Marines who are ending noon-to-midnight work periods. It’s described as one of the few times the Marines at Leatherneck can be together in one place.
The base, which is located in Afghanistan’s southwestern Helmand Province, flanked by Iran and Pakistan, also will remove its 24-hour sandwich bar. It plans to replace the dishes long offered at midnight with pre-packaged MREs, said Marine Corps Lt. Col. Cliff Gilmore, who has been deployed in Afghanistan since February.
The moves, though unpopular with many Marines on the ground and their families back home, are emblematic of the massive drawdown of American troops in Afghanistan and the dismantling of U.S. military facilities. More than 30,000 U.S. service members will leave Afghanistan in coming months as the U.S. prepares to hand responsibility for security to Afghan forces in 2014.
While no Marine at Camp Leatherneck agreed to speak on the record, many are privately angry about the hit on base morale.
While I understand that troop withdrawal is happening and I can fully understand the explanation that is being given, I can in no way accept it as an adequate excuse. My belief is that we owe everything we have in this country to God and the American Warrior.
I understand that Marines are tough. They are America’s finest. I also understand that these Marines have earned a little more respect than this. They put their lives on the line for us daily while we sit at home and eat hot pockets and drink cold beer, while watching re-runs of Friends.
Many of them would love to have just one night of that lazy lifestyle but they have chosen to be a part of the “dangerous freedom” that Thomas Jefferson talked about.
They deserve much better than this. The good news is that most of them will be home soon.
It’s about respect. This country does not seem to respect those who serve and that is a shame. We have waited almost four years now for the accused Fort Hood killer to go to trial and it has still not happened. To add insult to injury Nidal Hasan has been paid $278,000 as he awaits trial and the Army classified the incident as “workplace violence” which is keeping many injured survivors from benefits that their families need. So let’s not make this about fiscal responsibility. Why start now?
How would you like to spend your final months in Afghanistan without hot food and come home to the honor of holding Obama’s umbrella?
Marines are better than that.
This may seem like an obscure and insignificant story to some but to me it has nothing to do with a sandwich bar or a hot bowl of soup and everything to do with a growing level of disrespect for our nation’s finest.
If any of you jarheads in Afghanistan are reading this, Thank You for your service.

What in the World is going on in Turkey?!?

Turkey Protests Rage On: Nearly 1,000 Arrested

Police arrest 939 people in more than 90 demonstrations as anti-government protests in Istanbul spread to Ankara and other areas.

9:35pm UK, Saturday 01 June 2013

Authorities in Turkey have arrested almost a 1,000 people across the country in the fiercest anti-government demonstrations the nation has seen for years.
Police withdrew from a main Istanbul square to allow in tens of thousands of protesters, as clashes spread to the capital Ankara and other towns and cities.
Officers removed barricades - some of which had been set alight - in a bid to calm tensions after days of clashes with demonstrators who hurled objects including fireworks at them.
Demonstrators clash with police during a protest against Turkey's PM Erdogan and his ruling AKP in central Ankara
Protesters clash with police in central Ankara
Riot police backed by armoured vehicles and helicopters in Istanbul had for much of Saturday fought running battles with thousands of people who turned out to protect a park in the city's central Taksim Square.
Police, who have been accused of using disproportionate force to quash the demonstrations, attempted to disperse crowds with water cannon and tear gas.
What started as a peaceful environmental protest over plans to redevelop the Gezi Parka has turned into a national demonstration against the Islamist-rooted government of Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan that is seen by many as authoritarian.
Riot police use a water canon to restrain a protester during an anti-government protest at Taksim Square in central Istanbul
Water cannon is used to restrain one protester
In a surprise move last week, the government quickly passed legislation curbing the sale and advertising of alcoholic drinks, alarming secularists. Many felt insulted when he defended the legislation by calling people who drink "alcoholics."
Crowds of protesters chanting "shoulder to shoulder against fascism" and "government resign" marched on Taksim Square, littered with broken glass, rocks and an overturned vehicle.
A defiant Mr Erdogan said the redevelopment would go ahead despite the opposition and vowed to bring the unrest under control.
Demonstrators throw stones as they clash with riot police in front of Turkish Prime Minister Tayyip Erdogan's Istanbul office
Protesters clash with police outside the PM's Istanbul office
"Police were there yesterday, they'll be on duty today and also tomorrow because Taksim Square cannot be an area where extremists are running wild," he said in televised remarks.
"If this is about holding meetings, if this is a social movement, where they gather 20, I will get up and gather 200,000 people. Where they gather 100,000, I will bring together one million from my party.
"Every four years we hold elections and this nation makes its choice. Those who have a problem with government policies can express their opinions within the framework of law and democracy."
Riot police shield themselves from stones thrown by protesters during an anti-government protest in central Istanbul
Riot police shield themselves from stones thrown by protesters
Support rallies have gathered in Ankara, Izmir, Kocaeli and Adana and their numbers are increasing.
Interior Minister Muammer Guler said 939 arrests had been made in more than 90 separate demonstrations.
As in Istanbul, water cannon and tear gas were also used to stop protesters from reaching the parliament building in the capital, Ankara.
Riot police use tear gas to disperse the crowd during an anti-government protest at Taksim Square in central Istanbul
Tear gas and water cannon are used to disperse a crowd
First pictures, then videos of brutal police attacks on unarmed protesters in Istanbul caused the protests to spread to other towns and cities.
Earlier in the week on Thursday morning, riot police were sent to disperse the sleeping protesters camping in the park. Videos of masked police burning down tents and firing tear gas at unarmed people shocked the public.
The protesters rallied once more on Thursday night and the situation got worse on Friday morning.
Protesters gather in Taksim Square's Gezi Parka
The police raid was more brutal than the previous day and people who were trying to escape police got crushed under a wall they were trying to climb.
The videos spread quickly through social networks while news channels and mainstream media failed to report on what was starting to become a social resistance movement.
Throughout Friday, protesters tried re-entering the park that had been sealed off by police barricades.
A demonstrator throws a tear gas canister back at riot police during an anti-government protest in central Istanbul
A protester throws a tear gas canister back at police
People from all walks of life rallied around this seemingly unimportant protest. University students, actors, journalists, artists, young or old, conservative or liberal, were all united in the movement.
Social media has become the main source of information and people are now afraid the government will shut down the internet.
Twitter has become the eyes and ears of the Gezi movement. Protesters relay crucial information about police barricades, open roads, injury status or emergency situations.
Demonstrators shout slogans during an anti-government protest in Istanbul
Demonstrators shout slogans as they march through the streets
Police closed access to ambulances on Friday and protesters who were injured asked for medical help via Twitter or Facebook.
A group of medical students and doctors volunteered and their names and numbers were quickly broadcast on Twitter, urging protesters to call them if anyone was seriously injured.
Lawyers have volunteered their services to those who have been arrested.
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Turkey Rage Not Just About The Park

Updated: 9:07pm UK, Saturday 01 June 2013
Turkey is protesting over beer. Sort of.
The building of a new shopping mall on a green park in Istanbul is not the only reason for the violent clashes in Turkey.
The protests reflect a general displeasure in a government that many in the country fear is becoming increasingly authoritarian.
Just over a week ago, the government rushed through new laws governing the sale and advertising of alcohol.
Drinks companies cannot sponsor events anymore, shops will be prevented from selling alcohol between 10pm and 6am and there will also be stricter punishments for drink driving.
The government argues it is to protect society from the harmful effects of alcohol but many regard it as proof that their leaders are becoming increasingly conservative in their policy-making. (Shiari law?)
Foreign journalists currently in Turkey are reporting that local media, for whatever reason, is largely ignoring the protests. That is sinister.
Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan insists he promotes democracy - he has won the last three elections, with increasing majorities. In the most recent, his party polled almost 50% of the vote.
Turkey is enjoying a growing economy which is the envy of most European countries.
Mr Erdogan has continued to steer the country away from military rule that has been such a significant part of its recent history.
He is an accomplished politician and in the event of an ongoing crisis in the Middle East, a friend of the West.
Turkey is predominantly Islamic - around 99% of the population are Muslims and the Ankara-based government is traditionally sectarian.
Western leaders would hold it up as an example to follow for countries that underwent change in the Arab Spring.
But it is living under the threat of spill-over violence from neighbouring Syria and a resulting humanitarian emergency on its border.
"The protests are a test of Mr Erdogan's power.
His message earlier that the population gets its chance to voice its opinions in general elections was directed as much at the international community as it was to the demonstrators.
Three consecutive terms as prime minister is impressive for any democratically elected leader.
But history has shown that for most such a hat trick of triumphs is also the start of the end.
If that is the case for PM Erdogan, and if these protests are truly reflecting the wider will of the nation, then when the time comes for him to step down, Turkey's future (which is certainly promising) will depend on how he does it."