Daily Archives: May 16, 2014

​State Dept lashes out over second Kerry subpoena to testify on Benghazi

US Secretary of State John Kerry.

The chair of House Oversight Committee has subpoenaed Secretary of State John Kerry for the second time this month over the 2012 Benghazi consulate attack, prompting an angry rebuke from the US State Department and Democrat representatives.

Darrell Issa issued the second subpoena on Thursday for Kerry to appear on May 29 before his committee and testify on the Benghazi attack, in which four members of the US diplomatic mission, including US Ambassador to Libya Christopher Stevens, were killed. It came days after he revoked the first subpoena for May 21, which the State Department said was in conflict with the secretary’s schedule.

“I lifted the subpoena requiring Secretary Kerry to testify on May 21 because the State Department made reasonable arguments for an accommodation and told our committee they were seeking a suitable alternative date for his testimony on a voluntary basis. But soon after I lifted the subpoena, the State Department backtracked – stating publicly that we should accept ‘a more appropriate witness’ and refusing to commit to making Secretary Kerry available,” Issa said in a statement.

The State Department replied angrily to Issa’s move, branding his tweet announcing the second subpoena “a headline-grabbing, highly political” attack on “the integrity of the State Department itself.”

“This is not the way legitimate and responsible oversight is conducted, and it’s a departure from the days when Rep. Issa himself once lamented that a Secretary of State should not be distracted from the work of national security to testify at the barrel of a subpoena,” spokesperson Marie Harf said in a statement.

“We will continue to work with the committee to resolve their request, but we have not made arrangements for a hearing date, and we hope to explore with them whether there are witnesses better suited to answer their questions and meet their needs for oversight.”

The Oversight Committee is one of five bodies in the House currently probing the Benghazi attack. Republican representatives voted Thursday on forming a Select Committee with an intention to merge the multiple probes into a single panel. Issa, a Republican, is not part of the select committee, and Democrats believe his second subpoena works against the Republican effort.

“Chairman Issa’s subpoena of Secretary Kerry calls into question the Republicans’ stated purpose of the Select Committee on Benghazi,” Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi said in a statement.

She said “the Select Committee is a sign of no confidence in Issa just as Issa’s action today is a sign of a lack of confidence in the Select Committee.”

A similar assessment came from Elijah Cummings, senior Democrat on the House Oversight Committee.

“I don’t know if this is Chairman Issa’s attempt to reinsert himself into this investigation after the speaker removed him, but this looks more and more like the ‘sideshow’ and ‘circus’ Speaker Boehner said he would not tolerate,” Cummings said in a statement.

But Boehner’s office said the speaker supports Issa’s subpoena, while Issa last week defended the Select Committee idea, saying it would help focus the investigation on the White House actions in the wake of the attack.

Republicans believe that President Barack Obama administration hushed up details of the Benghazi tragedy to protect his re-election campaign. Democrats accuse the Republicans of spinning the investigation to score political points ahead of the November mid-term elections.

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Turkey mine fire: Image of aide kicking Soma protester stokes anger

Yusuf Yerkel, an aide to Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan, kicks a person who is being wrestled to the ground by two police officers during protests in Soma, Turkey, on Wednesday, May 14.

Soma, Turkey (CNN) — The image of an aide to Turkey‘s Prime Minister kicking a man protesting the mine disaster that has claimed nearly 300 lives has prompted outrage — and has become a symbol of the anger felt against the government.

The incident occurred as Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan visited the western city of Soma a day after the devastating mine fire.

The man, detained by special forces, can be seen lying on the ground as the suited adviser to Erdogan, identified as Yusuf Yerkel by Turkish media and CNN Turk, aims a kick at him.

The shocking image outraged many in Turkey, prompting an outpouring of anger on social media, and is seen as symbolizing the increasingly polarizing impact of Erdogan’s authority on the country.

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Operation American Spring : Militias promise to oust Obama, Boehner on Friday

A retired United States Army colonel expects as many as 30 million like-minded individuals will descend on Washington, DC this week and demand that President Barack Obama and other members of his administration be booted from office.

Those are just some of the demands that Col. Harry Riley, founder of “Operation American Spring,” said he’ll ask the Obama administration to adhere to when militia members and patriots of all sorts arrive in the nation’s capital on Friday and begin demonstrating against a government the group considers to be in violation of the principles established by the founders of the country.

“We are calling for the removal of Barack Obama, Joe Biden, Harry Reid, Mitch McConnell, John Boehner, Nancy Pelosi and Eric Holder as a start toward constitutional restoration,” Riley told the Before Its News website during an interview earlier this year.

“They have all abandoned the US Constitution,” he said, and “are unworthy to be retained in a position that calls for servant status.”

Riley told Before Its News in January that he expects his Operation American Spring movement will provoke anywhere from 10 million to 30 million Americans to mobilize this week and arrive in DC, where they will participate in a “massive, gigantic effort as a last stand before America moves into a more devastating condition.”

“For more than five years, ‘we the people’ have been writing, calling, faxing Congress, the media, screaming in town halls, marching, rallying, demonstrating, petitioning, all to no avail,” he said. “Every branch of government looks at ‘we the people’ whom they have taken an oath to serve, as ‘pests,’ interfering with their political agenda, cramping their self-serving, greedy agendas. We have no faith in the ballot box any longer, as many believe this sacred secret box has been compromised.”

To bring about that change, Riley says he hopes his group succeeds at shutting down the federal government. Whether or not all 29,999,999 of his compatriots will follow through, however, remains yet to be seen — a similar protest against Pres. Obama’s administration arranged last year by a fleet of truck drivers fell well short of making the dent that that group hoped to make.

“Last October,‘10,000’ truckers were reportedly on their way to literally clog the Beltway and shut down traffic in protest of Washington politics,” Abby Ohlhiser wrote for The Wire on Thursday this week. “In reality, about 30 truckers showed up, and they caused no delays worth mentioning.”

Should Riley succeed in wrangling up 30 million Americans, Ohlhiser added, then he’ll have garnered the support of around one-tenth of the US population.

And though that goal — or the substantially smaller 10 million figure — is unlikely to be met, some individuals are already claiming on the official Operation American Spring forums to have arrived in the DC area ahead of Friday’s planned demonstration: on Thursday morning, one member of the message board wrote that his truck had already finished the 2,750 mile haul to the DC region in around 50.5 hours and had set up a base at a compound 27 miles outside of the city in rural Virginia.

“Camp is up and we have been meeting the other state camps. Good solid folks all the way around,” he wrote in another post.

According to other posts on the page, fellow Operation American Spring participants planned to meet at Arlington National Cemetery a stone’s throw from the District of Columbia on Friday morning, then march to the capital and stay there for days. Others on the forum have been attempting to arrange travel accommodations from as far away as Tucson, Arizona, Des Moines, Iowa and southeast Texas, and have been debating on the website where to camp in the DC area or whether or not to bring firearms along for the ride.

On a separate page linked from the forums, Col. Reid wrote that “One million or more of the assembled 10 million must be prepared to stay in DC as long as it takes to see Obama, Biden, Reid, McConnell, Boehner, Pelosi and Attorney General Holder removed from office.”

“We must appeal to ten million and more American patriots to come and stay in Washington, DC to stop the White House and Congress from total destruction of the United States. It’s now or never. God help us,”
he wrote.

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