ALLEN WEST: We may finally know why John Boehner is helping to cover up the Benghazi debacle

Guest post by Allen West

The intricate web spun around the incident at Benghazi seems to have no end. It is really quite shameful for this nation that we have come this far and still have no resolution as to what truly occurred that fateful night of September 11, 2012 — nor do we have a select committee with subpoena powers, despite broad support in the House.

However, there are some who embody the highest level of journalistic integrity and will not allow this story to fade away. One of those individuals is Catherine Herridge of Fox News. Her recent analysis brings forth more questions than answers about how a particular consulting firm, Beacon Global Strategies, is entwined with former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton and others involved with the controversy.

As Herridge reports, Beacon Global Strategies employs former CIA Acting Director Mike Morell, Philippe Reines, whom the New York Times magazine recently described as Clinton’s “principal gatekeeper” and who traveled with her to over a hundred countries, Jeremy Bash, former chief of staff to Leon Panetta and Andrew Shapiro, a Clinton policy adviser at the State Department whose portfolio included ridding Libya of shoulder-launched missiles called MANPADs.

But this is also a bipartisan mess, as Beacon Global Strategies also employs J. Michael Allen, who was a former majority staff director for the House Intelligence Committee.

For the full report by Catherine Herrdige, click here.

One just has to become more and more suspect about what happened in Benghazi, but even more concerning, will we ever ascertain the truth?

Herridge’s report does nothing to dispel my belief there is bipartisan culpability on Benghazi and hence why, even with a majority of House support, we do not have a select committee with subpoena powers.

There are far too many lies, cover-ups, and unanswered questions — not to mention secrecy and questionable maneuvers. I believe one day America will come to know that Benghazi was one of the darkest days in our history, and our government sought to hide the truth.

Read more at AllenBWest.com

Doug Ross @ Journal

EXPORTING GAS TO EUROPE WOULD BE A HUGE VICTORY FOR THE WEST: Which explains why Obama won’t do it

Guest post by Investor’s Business Daily

Geopolitics: Four central European nations have appealed to the U.S. to increase natural gas exports should Russia cut off its supply to Ukraine. We are the superpower of energy. Time to give Vladimir Putin some gas pains.

Hungary, Poland, Slovakia and the Czech Republic sent a letter Friday to House Speaker John Boehner, with a similar letter expected to be sent to Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, asking the U.S. to expedite approval of natural-gas export applications. These nations believe a steady gas supply is key to the region’s economic and geopolitical stability.

Putin’s Russia has used its energy resources as a weapon, and the current crisis in Ukraine and Crimea is no exception. Most of the pipelines taking natural gas from Russia to a dependent Europe run though Ukraine, a fact not lost on fearful Europeans as the Russian bear growls anew.

President Obama says there will be “costs” for Russia’s seizure of Crimea, so it’s time the administration remembered that a crisis is a terrible thing to waste. This is a perfect opportunity to increase our exports, as Obama has pledged to do, and thwart in a non-military way Russia’s increasingly expansionist ambitions.

“The presence of U.S. natural gas would be much welcome in Central and Eastern Europe,” ambassadors from the four countries wrote to Boehner. “And congressional action to expedite (liquefied natural gas) exports to America’s allies would come at a critically important time for the region.”

Ukraine is dependent on Moscow for more than two-thirds of its natural gas, and Russia has been raising prices steeply. In 2012, Russia provided about 34% of the European Union’s natural-gas imports, second only to Norway, according to the Congressional Research Service.

Ukraine’s new government currently owes $ 1.89 billion to Russia for natural gas, and it might have been threats from Moscow to cut off that supply that led now-deposed Ukraine President Viktor Yanukovych to abandon a scheduled trade deal with the European Union.

Of the more than 20 applications that companies have submitted to export natural gas, the Department of Energy has approved six. We suspect this is due in large part to the Obama administration’s ideological opposition to fossil fuels. Witness the Kabuki dance the administration is doing on approval of the job-creating Keystone XL pipeline from Canada.

Exporting natural gas — the cleanest-burning of fossil fuels — from an abundance generated by private industry using the privately developed technology known as fracking is not favored by an administration that tilts at bird-slicing windmills and bird-frying solar panels as it tries to force us into electric cars.

Putin recognized the threat of the American fracking revolution to Russian power when he recently told Russia’s Duma that fracking will “seriously” shape the global energy market — and not necessarily to his, or Russia’s, advantage. “National energy companies, obviously, must respond to these challenges,” he warned.

Russian energy giant Gazprom has long had a near-stranglehold on supplies to Western and Eastern Europe, drawing on Russia’s massive energy reserves and lengthy pipelines to supply the bulk of gas to 30 countries, including most of the EU.

The fracking revolution, according to Thane Gustafson of Georgetown University, one of the world’s top experts on Russian energy, undermines Moscow’s economic and foreign policy goals. “The Russians are going to find themselves in the position of global gas price-takers,” he says. “Their capacity to influence the market there is going to diminish.”

As will their economy, their military power and their capacity for belligerence abroad. If the administration wants to stop Putin without military intervention, it needs to get on board with more fracking and get behind increased exports.

Read more at Investor’s Business Daily

Doug Ross @ Journal

Sources say Israel prepared to give up 90% of West Bank. Here’s the latest in the drip, drip, drip of leaks from the peace process.

netanyahu-map(Washington, D.C.) – A drip, drip, drip of leaks this week may be giving us a clearer picture of the Mideast peace plan that President Obama and Secretary Kerry are cooking up.

Here’s the latest:

To be clear, neither Netanyahu nor his inner circle has been quoted as saying they are ready to give Abbas and the Palestinians 90% of the West Bank. That’s a leak from the American side, and I cannot confirm it’s true.

Maybe Netanyahu is just playing along with Kerry, biding his time, looking interested, looking ready to make major concessions, but hoping all the while that the Palestinians say “no” to the American plan first, thus making it unnecessary for him to do so.

But it is also possible that Netanyahu is really getting close to saying “yes” to Obama and Kerry.

Remember: In his address to the U.N. General Assembly last October, Netanyahu signaled he was preparing to make “painful concessions” for peace. “Israel continues to seek an historic compromise with our Palestinian neighbors, one that ends our conflict once and for all,” the PM said. “We want peace based on security and mutual recognition, in which a demilitarized Palestinian state recognizes the Jewish state of Israel. I remain committed to achieving an historic reconciliation and building a better future for Israelis and Palestinians alike. Now, I have no illusions about how difficult this will be to achieve. Twenty years ago, the peace process between Israel and the Palestinians began. Six Israeli prime ministers, myself included, have not succeeded at achieving peace with the Palestinians. My predecessors were prepared to make painful concessions. So am I. But so far the Palestinian leaders haven’t been prepared to offer the painful concessions they must make in order to end the conflict.”

At the time, it wasn’t clear anyone was listening to that paragraph, or believed him — after all, the bulk of that speech was about the Iran nuclear threat.

But it’s clear that Israelis are listening now, and some are growing angry, even those within his own government.

For more context:

Here are the latest leaks picked up in a Times of Israel story:

  • The closed-door negotiations between Israel and the Palestinian Authority over the future contours of a Palestinian state, and how much land and settlements Israel will retain, have reportedly come down to a matter of a few percentage points, with both sides agreeing in principle that the majority of Jewish West Bank settlements would be transferred to Israeli sovereignty in a final status deal.
  • Citing anonymous Israeli, Palestinian and American sources close to the negotiations, Walla News reported on Thursday that Israel is seeking to annex about 10 percent of the West Bank’s land area in a final deal. Meanwhile, the Palestinians are seeking to have Israel annex only around 3% of the West Bank, the report said.
  • According to both Israeli and Palestinian officials cited in the report, the Palestinians have agreed to Israel’s annexation of the Gush Etzion bloc, just south of Jerusalem, but are arguing over the settlements of Efrat and Migdal Oz, which lie east of Route 60, a major north-south road running between Nazareth and Beersheba, through Jerusalem, Hebron and much of the West Bank.
  • Israel is seeking to also retain several of the smaller communities in the immediate area of Ma’ale Adumim, just east of Jerusalem, but the Palestinians have been opposed to such a move, the report said. Israel has said in the past it expects to keep control of the city of Ma’ale Adumim.
  • Both sides have reportedly agreed that the settlements that lie more or less along the 1967 border will be annexed by Israel, as will Givat Ze’ev, just north of Jerusalem. More-isolated Jewish settlements, such as Beit El, Ofra and others in the Samaria region, are not slated to be annexed, but Israel is reportedly seeking a long-term lease agreement for those communities.
  • The report did not touch on the issue of East Jerusalem, which Israel formally annexed in 1980, a move not recognized by the international community. The Palestinians seek to create their capital in the eastern part of the city, but the area is also home to several large Jewish neighborhoods, such as Gilo, Pisgat Ze’ev and Har Homa, which Israel is unlikely to consider parting with.
  • The future of settlements such as Ariel and Karnei Shomron in the northern West Bank is unclear, as the Palestinians are said to be extremely opposed to their annexation by Israel. It is supremely important for the PA to create “a contiguous Palestinian state” with sensible borders, and it will not agree to “a state whose map will be broken,” according to sources cited in the report.
  • The report noted that Israel seeks to “retain a presence” in Hebron, but there was no mention of the status of Kiryat Arba, a major settlement just outside the city, or any of the smaller Jewish communities in the surrounding area.
  • Israel has offered land adjacent to the southern West Bank, inside of Israel proper and not far from Hebron, as well as an area near Bet She’an, in exchange for the West Bank areas to be annexed. Israel has also raised the possibility of monetary compensation and other forms of economic assistance in exchange for the annexed territories, the report said.
  • The Americans are also attempting to persuade the two sides to agree to the creation of a “safe road” linking the West Bank and Gaza, but that idea, which has been raised before during previous rounds of Israeli-Palestinian negotiations, is complicated by the security situation in the Strip, which is controlled by Islamic terror group Hamas. Israel is not opposed to the idea, an official said, but its implementation depends on “developments in Gaza.” If such a deal were agreed upon by the two sides, the official noted, it would create massive pressure on Hamas to comply with a general peace agreement.

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Joel C. Rosenberg’s Blog

ALLEN WEST: Speaker Boehner, find the courage to establish a Benghazi select committee

Guest post by Allen West

This morning I had a chance to visit with a former colleague, someone for whom I have the utmost respect, Virginia Representative Frank Wolf. Rep. Wolf is the author of House Resolution 36, which calls for a Benghazi select committee with subpoena powers to formally and singularly focus on the incidents surrounding the US Consulate attack in Benghazi Libya.

Rep. Wolf shared with me today that he now has 182 cosponsors, all from the House GOP. One has to ask if the Democrats are more aligned with their political party or truth? The 182 cosponsors represent approximately 80 percent of the House Republican conference, and according to former Speaker Dennis Hastert, meet the standard of the “Hastert Rule,” a majority of the majority. Yet this piece of legislation is blocked from being brought to the House floor for a vote.

Rep. Wolf and I mused — actually we both became infuriated — considering how in the State of New Jersey Democrats have established a select committee and are pursuing subpoenas against Governor Chris Christie over traffic lanes being closed. Is it possible that traffic lane closures are more important than the abandonment, murder, and lying that hangs like a dark cloud over the events of September 11, 2012? Have we become so degraded that we do not see the utterly despicable hypocrisy of the Democrats in New Jersey and the liberal progressive media?

Over the weekend, we witnessed the arrogant dismissal of President Obama, who has already referred to Benghazi as a “phony scandal,” as he chided Bill O’Reilly, stating that Benghazi, among other nefarious actions, are just talking points driven by Fox News. The belligerence of President Obama has been enabled by a House GOP leadership reluctant to stop the diluted process of five different committees who must ask for information by way of FOIA requests. Just yesterday before a House Intelligence Committee hearing, Director of National Intelligence, James Clapper, and others were asked when will someone be held responsible for the incidents surrounding Benghazi? The question was met with nearly 10 seconds of silence.

Losing an American Ambassador is not the new normal. Abandoning brave Americans to die is not the new normal. Supplying arms to Islamic terrorist and jihadists and running a covert weapons program is treasonous and represents high crimes and misdemeanors.

And liberals, just stop it. Stop telling America there is nothing there. You all know that if it were Speaker Pelosi and a Republican president, there would have been a select committee, an incessant screech calling for impeachment, and calls for imprisonment. If Democrats can become frenzied over the closing of traffic lanes and create a select committee to investigate a Republican governor, we all know what you would do in this case to a Republican President — lying hypocrites that you all are.

However, I am beginning to develop an even stronger concern about House GOP leadership, primarily Speaker John Boehner. Speaker Boehner, you know very well, your approach on this has not been effective. President Obama and Hillary Clinton, as well as the entire Democrat party are laughing at you. You have a majority of your conference supporting this select committee — explain why you do not? It can’t be that resources do not exist and there’s not enough time.

Here is my recommendation. Select five individuals to make up this committee, three Republican and two Democrat. We don’t need a committee of pontificators who will not get to the bottom of this. I recommend you select from House GOP Representatives Jim Jordan, Jason Chaffetz, and Trey Gowdy as head of the Select Committee. I really don’t care who the House Democrats are since they lack any integrity and concern on the matter. They’d all be the same. If you do not want a select committee, then appoint a special investigator with subpoena powers. I would be happy to volunteer. All I ask for is a staff of five and cranberry juice.

Whether you pursue a select committee or special investigator with subpoena powers here is the initial list to be called: President Obama, Valerie Jarrett, Hillary Clinton, Susan Rice, Leon Panetta, General David Petraeus, John Brennan, Victoria Nuland, Michael Morell, General Carter Ham, General Martin Dempsey. As well, they would need to have their Chiefs of Staff prepared for subpoena and testimony. This would be a public hearing and all subpoenaed would present themselves in person before the committee.

Speaker Boehner, this should make you angry — angry at what happened in Benghazi, which cannot be the new normal. I implore you to find the courage to make the right decision and establish the select committee with subpoena powers on Benghazi, and operations in Libya. If you cannot find the courage to do so, Americans will see it as one of two things: cowardice or complicit. Neither are good, combined they are disheartening.

Speaker Boehner, Thomas Paine once stated, “These are the times that try men’s souls. The summer soldier and the sunshine patriot will, in the crisis, shrink from the service of his country; but he that stands it NOW, deserves the love and thanks of man and woman.”

The choice is yours, summer soldier and sunshine patriot, or will you win the love and thanks of all Americans? One thing I know, in keeping with the finest traditions of our Founding Fathers from Virginia, Representative Frank Wolf has earned the love and thanks of man and woman, especially those who lost their loved ones at Benghazi.

Read more at AllenBWest.com.

Doug Ross @ Journal