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Posts Tagged ‘Libya’

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In Iowa earlier this week, Hillary told reporters that she wanted her emails released as soon as possible.  Bear in mind that releasing them is not under her control but rather under the control of the State Department.  Today 349 pages were released and the New York Times provided this pdf.

Libya-Related Messages From Hillary Clinton’s Personal Email Account

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As a long-time fan of BHL, I was delighted to find this excellent account of three meetings with Hillary whom he has long admired for reasons he makes crystal clear.  I simply had to share this.  I rarely come across a true must-read on a Sunday, but this is not to be missed.

Bernard-Henri Levy: Th​ree encounters with Hillary Clinton

<April 25, 2015 | Op-ed — by Bernard-Henri Lévy

NEW YORK, NY – APRIL 23: Democratic presidential hopeful and former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton addresses the Women in the World Conference on April 23, 2015 in New York City. Clinton is in New York City after visiting Iowa and New Hampshire. Andrew Burton/Getty Images/AFP

July 2004. Boston.

A downtown restaurant to which Tina Brown has invited Hillary Rodham Clinton and a handful of notables, including Caroline Kennedy, filmmaker Michael Moore, and former U.S. Senator George McGovern.

What is immediately striking is Mrs. Clinton’s youthful appearance. Her bright laugh. Her blue eyes, a little too round, that gaze at you with curiosity. Sometimes that gaze is briefly clouded by a streak of stifled pain, obstinate and not wholly contained. Five years earlier, she was the most humiliated wife in America, a woman whose feelings, reactions, privacy, and bed linens were scrutinized by everyone. So she can talk national and international politics until she is blue in the face. She can sing the praises of John Kerry, whom her party has just nominated in an effort to deny George W. Bush a second term. She can expound on her notion of the role of the senator from New York, a role with which she pretends to be content. Still there persists an idea (of dubious political correctness) that it is impossible to push out of one’s head, one that I, at any rate, cannot resist the temptation of entering into the travel journal that I am writing for The Atlantic.

Read more >>>>

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This picture is from the May 1, 2009 ceremony when the name of Brian Adkins was added to the memorial wall in the lobby of the Harry S. Truman Building. Brian was a 25-year-old Foreign Service officer killed in his first tour of duty in the consular section of the American Embassy in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia.  Also added to the wall that day were the names of Felix Russel Engdahl, U.S. Consul in Shanghai, who died in 1942 in a Japanese internment camp; Thomas Waldron, first U.S. Consul in Hong Kong, who died of cholera; Edmund Roberts, a special envoy sent by President Andrew Jackson to negotiate a treaty with Japan, who died of dysentery.

It was the first time we saw Secretary Clinton cry.

Date: 05/01/2009 Description: Secretary Clinton at the American Foreign Service Association (AFSA) Plaque Ceremony in C Street Lobby.   © State Department photo by Michael Gross

 

Hillary Clinton on the Tragedy in Benghazi

Hillary Clinton’s Video Remarks on the Deaths of American Personnel in Benghazi, Libya

Yesterday, our U.S. diplomatic post in Benghazi, Libya was attacked. Heavily armed militants assaulted the compound and set fire to our buildings. American and Libyan security personnel battled the attackers together. Four Americans were killed. They included Sean Smith, a Foreign Service information management officer, and our Ambassador to Libya Chris Stevens. We are still making next of kin notifications for the other two individuals.This is an attack that should shock the conscience of people of all faiths around the world. We condemn in the strongest terms this senseless act of violence, and we send our prayers to the families, friends, and colleagues of those we’ve lost….

In the lobby of this building, the State Department, the names of those who have fallen in the line of duty are inscribed in marble. Our hearts break over each one. And now, because of this tragedy, we have new heroes to honor and more friends to mourn….

… we must be clear-eyed, even in our grief. This was an attack by a small and savage group – not the people or Government of Libya. Everywhere Chris and his team went in Libya, in a country scarred by war and tyranny, they were hailed as friends and partners. And when the attack came yesterday, Libyans stood and fought to defend our post.

May God bless them, and may God bless the thousands of Americans working in every corner of the world who make this country the greatest force for peace, prosperity, and progress, and a force that has always stood for human dignity – the greatest force the world has ever known. And may God continue to bless the United States of America.

 

President Obama and Secretary Clinton at the White House and State Department

Hillary Clinton on the Deaths of Tyrone S. Woods and Glen A. Doherty in Benghazi, Libya

Hillary Clinton at State Department Eid ul-Fitr Dinner

Religious freedom and religious tolerance are essential to the stability of any nation, any people. Hatred and violence in the name of religion only poison the well. All people of faith and good will know that the actions of a small and savage group in Benghazi do not honor religion or God in any way. Nor do they speak for the more than one billion Muslims around the world, many of whom have shown an outpouring of support during this time.

Unfortunately, however, over the last 24 hours, we have also seen violence spread elsewhere. Some seek to justify this behavior as a response to inflammatory, despicable material posted on the internet. As I said earlier today, the United States rejects both the content and the message of that video. The United States deplores any intentional effort to denigrate the religious beliefs of others. At our meeting earlier today, my colleague, the foreign minister of Morocco, said that all prophets should be respected because they are all symbols of our humanity, for all humanity.

Benghazi-Spin: Myth-Busting and Reality Check

Myth:  Hillary Clinton said the attack on the Benghazi installation was an outgrowth of a demonstration against an anti-Islamist video on the internet.

Not exactly.  Here are her words on September 12, 2012.

We are working to determine the precise motivations and methods of those who carried out this assault. Some have sought to justify this vicious behavior, along with the protest that took place at our Embassy in Cairo yesterday, as a response to inflammatory material posted on the internet.

There were demonstrations against such a video at many U.S. embassies world-wide and in the region,  however.

Sep 11, 2012

Cairo protesters scale U.S. Embassy wall, remove flag

Egyptian demonstrators climbed the walls of the U.S. Embassy in Cairo today and pulled down the American flag to protest a film they say is insulting to the prophet Mohammad.

This Wikipedia entry gives a pretty complete treatment.  All of these embassies were under the oversight of the State Department.  The American School in Tunisia was destroyed.  Secretary Clinton, just back from a tour that ended in Vladivostok,  did have her hands full, but she did not blame this attack on the video.

Hillary mentions a precedent: Terry Jones burning the Quran the previous year and the resultant deadly protest in Afghanistan.    Jones was also promoting the offensive video.

Much early discussion centered on embassy security.  Many wrongly assumed that Marine Embassy Guard were stationed at every embassy (untrue) and that their mission was to guard personnel.  Hillary points out the error as did Victoria Nuland shortly after the attacks.

Clearing The Air On How Embassy Security Works

Hillary went to Capitol Hill to testify as soon as she had gathered the necessary information and her schedule permitted.  She answered every question posed to her and also announced the appointment of the required Accountability Review Board (ARB).

Hillary Clinton with Indonesian FM Marty Natalegawa

I’m looking forward to the opportunity to go up to the Congress today. I will be briefing in two separate sessions, the House and the Senate, in a classified setting, along with my interagency colleagues, as we continue to work together, and with governments around the world, to ensure that our people and our facilities are safe. I will be joined today by the Director of National Intelligence, General Clapper, by the Deputy Secretary of Defense, Ash Carter, by the Vice Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, Sandy Winnefeld, along with experts from the FBI, the State Department, and elsewhere in the government.

Now, I anticipate that this briefing will cover our security posture before and during the events, and the steps we have taken since to do everything we can with host governments to protect our people and our embassies and consulates. The Director of National Intelligence will speak to the intelligence issues surrounding these events in Libya. Deputy Secretary Carter will brief on the superb support we have had from the U.S. military in the wake of these events, and we are at the very early stages of an FBI investigation. The team from the FBI reached Libya earlier this week. And I will advise Congress also that I am launching an accountability review board that will be chaired by Ambassador Thomas Pickering.

Partisan attacks began early.  We went on the defensive here.

House Tea Party Members In Pursuit Of Hillary Clinton: Examine Your Own Role In Cutting Diplo Post Security

Issa Flips The Coin And The Game Is On

In the course of the four-hour testimony there were some obvious gaps in congressional knowledge of how embassy security operates.  As Victoria Nuland pointed out on September 17,  internal security (walls inward) is the task of the guest country, and external security (walls outward) is up to the host country,  Marine Embassy Security Guard (MESG) is posted at embassies (not usually at consulates) primarily to secure documents not personnel.   That task  falls under the purview of the Bureau of Diplomatic Security headed by Eric Boswell who testified in camera along with Secretary Kennedy yesterday to the same committee.

Hillary Clinton at the Transfer of Remains Ceremony to Honor Those Lost in Attacks in Benghazi, Libya

In the days since the attack, so many Libyans – including the Ambassador from Libya to the United States, who is with us today – have expressed their sorrow and solidarity. One young woman, her head covered and her eyes haunted with sadness, held up a handwritten sign that said “Thugs and killers don’t represent Benghazi nor Islam.” The President of the Palestinian Authority, who worked closely with Chris when he served in Jerusalem, sent me a letter remembering his energy and integrity, and deploring – and I quote – “an act of ugly terror.” Many others from across the Middle East and North Africa have offered similar sentiments…

This has been a difficult week for the State Department and for our country. We’ve seen the heavy assault on our post in Benghazi that took the lives of those brave men. We’ve seen rage and violence directed at American embassies over an awful internet video that we had nothing to do with. It is hard for the American people to make sense of that because it is senseless, and it is totally unacceptable…

The people of Egypt, Libya, Yemen, and Tunisia did not trade the tyranny of a dictator for the tyranny of a mob. Reasonable people and responsible leaders in these countries need to do everything they can to restore security and hold accountable those behind these violent acts.

 

Hillary Clinton’s Media Interviews on Benghazi

For more than a month Hillary had been taking responsibility, talking to Congress and the press, providing explanations and information such as she could (some information was classified and later declassified, e.g. the fact that “the annex,” as the second building was called, was actually a CIA operation and the related fact that two of the four Americans killed were actually CIA officers and not State Department personnel).

Look, I take responsibility. I’m in charge of the State Department, 60,000-plus people all over the world, 275 posts.

Nevertheless, when Hillary, traveling abroad in Peru, used those words to CNN’s Elise Labott it was breaking news across prime time cable.  Remarkable. Proving that when it comes to Hillary Clinton even saying the same thing differently somehow generates headlines.

(Recently she mentioned that she would decide whether or not to run in 2016 “after the first of the year.”  The story went viral despite that fact that for three months she had been saying that she would not make that decision “before the end of the year.”)

Aftermath … Benghazi, The Great Debate, and Hurricane Hillary

Hillary does not mention that, ill and injured,  she was handling her duties from home and at one point from her hospital room during the weeks in December when the ARB Report came to her.  We owe her dedication a great debt.

She has told us many times that we should take criticism seriously but not personally.  Her summary of the ARB findings stand as an excellent example.  In fact the ARB did not find fault with her or with any particular personnel.  The faults they did spotlight were functional and procedural.   Hillary addressed these with alacrity.  She accepted all 29 recommendations and ordered them implemented.  She pledged not to leave office until all were in the process of implementation and met that goal.

Here is a link to the ARB Report and the cover letter she sent with it to Congress.

Hillary Clinton’s Cover Letter to Congress and the Unclassified ARB Report

She testified on Capitol Hill as soon as her doctors permitted (which may have been earlier than they recommended).

Video: Hillary Clinton’s Testimony to the Senate Foreign Relations Committee on Benghazi

As I have said many times, I take responsibility, and nobody is more committed to getting this right. I am determined to leave the State Department and our country safer, stronger, and more secure…

… let me underscore the importance of the United States continuing to lead in the Middle East, in North Africa, and around the world. We’ve come a long way in the past four years, and we cannot afford to retreat now. When America is absent, especially from unstable environments, there are consequences. Extremism takes root; our interests suffer; our security at home is threatened.

That’s why I sent Chris Stevens to Benghazi in the first place. Nobody knew the dangers better than Chris, first during the revolution, then during the transition. A weak Libyan Government, marauding militias, terrorist groups; a bomb exploded in the parking lot of his hotel, but he did not waver. Because he understood it was critical for America to be represented there at that time.

Our men and women who serve overseas understand that we accept a level of risk to protect the country we love. And they represent the best traditions of a bold and generous nation. They cannot work in bunkers and do their jobs. So it is our responsibility to make sure they have the resources they need, and to do everything we can to reduce the risks.

Video: Hillary Clinton Before the House Foreign Affairs Committee on Benghazi

With all due respect, the fact is we had four dead Americans. Was it because of a protest or was it because of guys out for a walk one night who decided that they’d they go kill some Americans? What difference at this point does it make? It is our job to figure out what happened and do everything we can to prevent it from ever happening again, Senator. Now, honestly, I will do my best to answer your questions about this, but the fact is that people were trying in real time to get to the best information. The IC has a process, I understand, going with the other committees to explain how these talking points came out. But you know, to be clear, it is, from my perspective, less important today looking backwards as to why these militants decided they did it than to find them and bring them to justice, and then maybe we’ll figure out what was going on in the meantime.

Hillary speaks eloquently in this chapter in her own defense.  She really should not have to, but Benghazi became a political football the very day after it happened and the fact that she was out of politics when it happened and that those who testified before Congress were career diplomats and not politically aligned mattered nothing to the people who intended a witch hunt.

None of us can really know what we might have done as colonial residents of Salem if our neighbors were accused of witchcraft.  A rapidly dwindling number of Americans knows how they reacted when asked by Congressmen or an ambitious and wrong-headed Senator to name names of “enemies” in the entertainment industry, the military, and even in the very department Hillary headed. I, however, did know what I could do to defend Hillary, so I have included in this post not only her words, but my own defenses of her – some of them.

I know Hillary does not agree with some of what I have said, and I did go ahead and name names as she has not.  None of it is secret.

The Tea Party v. Hillary Clinton: It Never Ends

Part of the partisan offensive was a review of the Accountability Review Board reporting system initiated by some in Congress who, as Hillary points out, refused to be satisfied or simply refused to listen.  It was a silly, frivolous waste of taxpayer dollars.

Hillary Clinton and the ARB Reporting System Reviewed: Things You Should Know

Hillary Clinton and the ARB Reporting System Reviewed: More Things You Should Know

 

Benghazi was the event that drew a dividing  line through the Hillary team.  People I had known since her 2008 campaign peeled off.  It was fast and furious in dramatic, stunning contrast to the pro-Hillary passion they had professed up until that point.

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Hillary Clinton’s ‘Hard Choices’ Retrospective: Introduction

Access other chapters of this retrospective here >>>>

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When the Arab Spring spread to Libya, President Sarkozy was the world leader most vocally in favor of an international initiative to assist the rebels.  By the time Hillary opens this chapter at the March 2011  G-8 meeting in Paris (now G-7 since the ouster of Russia after the invasion of Crimea), she had already evacuated Embassy Tripoli, issued a statement, and  addressed the situation at the Human Rights Council in Munich.  She was still unconvinced an international intervention would be wise.

Her questions:

  1. Would the international community unite?
  2. Who were the rebels?
  3. Were they prepared to lead?
  4. What was the endgame?

Unlike Egypt, the military in Libya and foreign mercenaries were attacking the people under Qaddafi’s orders.  The rebels had formed a transitional governing council and it was their representative, Mahmoud Jibril,  whom Hillary awaited as the chapter opens.

Hillary walks us through a brief history of the U.S. and Qaddafi including the downing of Pan Am 103 over Lockerbie, his disconcerting fixation on Condi Rice, his 2009 visit to UNGA complete with his attempt to pitch his tent in Central Park and his long rambling speech.

Suspension of United States Embassy Operations in Libya

Hillary Clinton: Holding the Qadhafi Government Accountable

We have always said that the Qadhafi government’s future is a matter for the Libyan people to decide, and they have made themselves clear. When a leader’s only means of staying in power is to use mass violence against his own people, he has lost the legitimacy to rule and needs to do what is right for his country by leaving now. Moammar Qadhafi has lost the confidence of his people and he should go without further bloodshed and violence. The Libyan people deserve a government that is responsive to their aspirations and that protects their universally recognized human rights.

Secretary Clinton’s Remarks at the Human Rights Council

Colonel Qadhafi and those around him must be held accountable for these acts, which violate international legal obligations and common decency. Through their actions, they have lost the legitimacy to govern. And the people of Libya have made themselves clear: It is time for Qadhafi to go – now, without further violence or delay.

On March 9, she met at the White house with the national security team.   There was no appetite for engagement and not much hope that the one option that seemed most likely – a no fly zone – would work.

She mentions testifying before Congress on March 10.  If this was the testimony, the comments she quotes occurred in the Q & A and not in her opening statements, but she did assure Congress that there were no plans for unilateral action.

Video: Secretary Clinton’s Remarks To The House Appropriations Committee

Secretary Clinton’s Travel to Europe and the Middle East

When Jibril did show up he was in the company of Bernard-Henri Lévy, philosopher, advisor to Sarkozy, and one who. in an Indiana Jones sort of way,  had managed to be on the ground to see what was happening in Libya.  The Arab League had voted to request a no fly zone of the Security Council.  Jibril, in the meeting, warned of imminent slaughter in Benghazi – the seat of the revolution in Libya.

Video: Secretary Clinton’s Remarks With UAE FM Abdullah bin Zayed Al-Nahyan

CNN Video: Bernard-Henri Lévy Validates Hillary Clinton on Libya

Truth time: I have long had an intellectual crush on Lévy. He is an odd mix of philosopher-journalist, and his logic is always superbe! Speaking with Eliot Spitzer on CNN’s In The Arena tonight, he said that we should listen more to Mrs. Clinton.

On the show tonight because he is the one who convinced Sarkozy to take up the free Libyan cause,  he said that he told the French President that there were French flags flying in Benghazi,  and if Sarkozy did nothing, there would be blood on the French flags.  What a dramatic image! Uncomplicated and  true.

Slideshow: Hillary Clinton at Paris G8

 On the ground in Cairo. Hillary mentioned the resolutions before the U.N. Security Council.  There was a weak Russian-Chinese resolution and a strong French-Lebanese resolution.  In the end Lavrov agreed that Russia would not to vote against the stronger one, but would simply abstain – and that was enough. The language of the stronger resolution contained the words “all necessary measures” to protect civilians.   The issue was whether there was to be strictly a no fly zone or whether there was by extension a no drive zone.  Would the attacks be strictly air-to-air, or would air-to-ground  (seen as necessary to stop Qaddafi’s ground troops from attacking rebel strongholds) be permissible?

Secretary Clinton’s Remarks With Egyptian Foreign Minister Nabil Al-Araby

… with regard to Libya, we welcomed the Arab League’s statement on Saturday. And I consulted with my G-8 colleagues yesterday in Paris. As you probably know, there is a British-French-Lebanese Security Council resolution that is being discussed at this time in New York. We are consulting with the Arab League about their understanding of the goals and modalities of a no-fly zone as well as other forms of support. We understand the urgency of this and therefore we are upping our humanitarian assistance. We are looking for ways to support the opposition, with whom I met last night. But we believe that this must be an international effort and that there has to be decisions made in the Security Council in order for any of these steps to go forward.

After Cairo, she visited Tunisia, went back to DC briefly, and then was wheels up again for Paris.   This time she arrived with an agreement to participate in a no fly zone in her very stylish bag.

In the course of reading her book and digging up the posts from the events, I have learned not to be surprised anymore when her account differs from how it was reported since she is telling the story from the inside while we observed from outside.  She tells this differently, but this is the way it looked to all of us.  We also have become accustomed to Hillary waiving credit for her accomplishments.

Hillary Clinton à Paris : Chapitre Deux

CNN’s John King dubbed her the “Acting President” yesterday, and no less a former adversary than MSNBC’s Chris Matthews called her the Commander-in-Chief, saying she was presidential and strong.  Roger L. Simon at Pajamasmedia treated us to this header: Jets over Libya as H. Clinton Assumes Presidency.

The amazing Hillary Rodham Clinton departed Paris on Tuesday on a mission to convince the White House that participating in a No-Fly Zone was the right thing to do to protect the brave Libyan freedom fighters who have risen up against 42 years of dictatorship under the tyrant Mouammar Gadhafi.   In her meetings on Monday and Tuesday, she reportedly responded to repeated requests for U.S. cooperation from various world leaders with the mantra, “There are difficulties.”

But HRC knew exactly what kind of an NFZ she wanted in order for the U.S. not to look like the cliched “world’s policeman.”  She knew exactly how the coalition should be formed,  and how her country should fit in.  So when she returned to D.C. early Friday morning,  after visits to Egypt and Tunisia,  she did so with a mission.  In a Situation Room meeting that morning, she finally scored her victory,  winning President Obama’s agreement to participate in the coalition.

Hillary Clinton’s Press Availability in Paris

America has unique capabilities and we will bring them to bear to help our European and Canadian allies and Arab partners stop further violence against civilians, including through the effective implementation of a no-fly zone. As President Obama said, the United States will not deploy ground troops, but there should be no mistaking our commitment to this effort.

The international community came together to speak with one voice and to deliver a clear and consistent message: Colonel Qadhafi’s campaign of violence against his own people must stop. The strong votes in the United Nations Security Council underscored this unity. And now the Qadhafi forces face unambiguous terms: a ceasefire must be implemented immediately – that means all attacks against civilians must stop; troops must stop advancing on Benghazi and pull back from Adjabiya, Misrata, and Zawiya; water, electricity, and gas supplies must be turned on to all areas; humanitarian assistance must be allowed to reach the people of Libya.

As you may know, French planes are already in the skies above Benghazi. Now, America has unique capabilities and we will bring them to bear to help our European and Canadian allies and Arab partners stop further violence against civilians, including through the effective implementation of a no-fly zone. As President Obama said, the United States will not deploy ground troops, but there should be no mistaking our commitment to this effort.

Before the end of the month, command of the no fly zone operation was ceded by the U.S. to NATO.

Video & Transcript: Secretary Clinton’s Remarks on Transition of NFZ Command

In response, the UN Security Council mandated all necessary measures to protect civilians, including a no-fly zone. But the regime’s forces continued their assaults, and last weekend they reached Benghazi itself. We faced the prospect of an imminent humanitarian disaster. Hundreds of thousands of civilians were in danger. So an international coalition was compelled to act. French planes were the first to reach the skies over Benghazi. Cruise missiles from the United States and the United Kingdom followed, striking the region – the regime’s air defenses and clearing the way for allied aircraft to implement the no-fly zone.

Many other nations have now joined this effort. After only five days, we have made significant progress. A massacre in Benghazi was prevented, Qadhafi’s air force and air defenses have been rendered largely ineffective, and the coalition is in control of the skies above Libya….

Today we are taking the next step. We have agreed, along with our NATO allies, to transition command and control for the no-fly zone over Libya to NATO. All 28 allies have also now authorized military authorities to develop an operations plan for NATO to take on the broader civilian protection mission under Resolution 1973.

Secretary Clinton To Travel to London, United Kingdom

Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton will travel to London, United Kingdom, March 29 to attend an international conference to discuss the Libyan crisis, including ongoing implementation of United Nations Security Council Resolutions 1970 and 1973 and the humanitarian needs of those affected by the conflict.

Hillary Clinton: Remarks at the International Conference on Libya

Thank you very much, Prime Minister, and thanks to you and your government for the critical leadership effort you have demonstrated in our common effort. Thanks too to France, which has been at the forefront of this mission, including by hosting many of us last week in Paris, and really thanks to everyone around this table. We have prevented a potential massacre, established a no-fly zone, stopped an advancing army, added more partners to this coalition, and transferred command of the military effort to NATO. That’s not bad for a week of work at a time of great, intense international concern…

We believe that Libya’s transition should come through a broadly inclusive process that reflects the will and protects the rights of the Libyan people. The Transitional National Council and a broad cross-section of Libya’s civil society and other stakeholders have critical contributions to make…

This is a time of great change for Libya, for its neighbors across the region and around the world. Under different governments, under different circumstances, people are expressing the same basic aspirations – a voice in their government, an end to corruption, freedom from violence and fear, the chance to live in dignity, and to make the most of their God-given talents. Now, we know these goals are not easily achieved, but they are, without question, worth working for together. And I’m very proud that this coalition has come to this place at this time to try to pursue those goals.

Hillary Clinton: Remarks After the International Conference on the Libyan Crisis

In late August, Qaddafi fled.

Secretary Clinton’s Statement on Libya

Secretary Clinton’s Travel to Paris

Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton will travel to Paris, France September 1 to participate in a senior-level meeting of the Contact Group on Libya.

Secretary Clinton: A New Future Dawning in Libya

Well, this is my ninth trip to discuss the current crisis in Libya, and each time I have urged that our partners stay focused on the ultimate objective of helping the Libyan people chart their way to a better future. And today, that future is within their reach. All of us are inspired by what is happening in Libya.

Six months ago, Libyans stood up to demand fundamental rights and freedom. And when Qadhafi met their peaceful protest with violence, the Libyan people refused to back down. While their struggle is not over, the Libyan people are taking back their country. Libya’s transformation is the – largely the result of their own courage and their resilience in the face of very difficult days. The sacrifice that the Libyan people have been willing to make in order to obtain freedom and dignity has been extraordinary.

 

The next month Hillary visited Malta and Libya.  Malta, of course, had been a way station for Americans evacuated in February and deserved a grateful visit. From Malta, she proceeded to Libya.

Secretary Clinton: Wheels Down in Malta

 

Landing in Libya, she was apprehensive but received a warm reception from the militia.

U.S. Secretary of State Clinton meets soldiers at the steps of her C-17 military transport upon her arrival in Tripoli U.S. Secretary of State Clinton meets soldiers at the steps of her C-17 military transport upon her arrival in Tripoli10-18-11-26b 10-18-11-26c U.S. Secretary of State Clinton meets soldiers at the steps of her C-17 military transport upon her arrival in Tripoli U.S. Secretary of State Clinton meets soldiers at the steps of her C-17 military transport upon her arrival in TripoliU.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton gestures with Libyan soldiers upon her departure from Tripoli in Libya

Mahmoud Jibril, with whom she had met in Paris in March, was the transitional Prime Minister.

Video: Secretary Clinton with TNC Prime Minister Jibril in Tripoli

 I am proud to stand here on the soil of a free Libya. And on behalf of the American people I congratulate all Libyans. It is a great privilege to see a new future for Libya being born.  And indeed, the work ahead is quite challenging, but the Libyan people have demonstrated the resolve and resilience necessary to achieve their goals.

U.S. Secretary of State Clinton walks with Jibril, head of Libya's National Transitional Council, before a news conference in Tripoli

One of those challenges was coalescing so many disparate militias into a single military force under civilian authority,  Hillary points out.  Transitional Council leaders agreed with her.  As we know, as of this writing, that never happened and is the reason that today Libya is in chaos with numerous militias battling each other and two parliaments.  Again our embassy is evacuated.

Secretary Clinton’s Town Hall Meeting in Tripoli

A Libyan student asks U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton a question during a town hall meeting with the Youth and Civil Society at Tripoli University in Libya

She also visited a hospital.

U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton meets a wounded soldier at a Tripoli hospital during her visit to Libya U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton meets a wounded soldier at a Tripoli hospital during her visit to Libya 10-18-11-34e 10-18-11-34f

Our embassy had been ransacked.  They were running embassy services and operations out of the Ambassador’s residence.

Secretary Clinton’s Embassy Meet-and-Greets in Valletta and Tripoli

 

Then she was wheels-up and out.

U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton

In the book,  Hillary explains that from Malta to Libya and back they flew in a C-17 cargo transport because of the many shoulder-to-air weapons on the ground in Libya and the obvious markings on her plane.  I can attest that these are very visible.  When I lived in Haiti, then U.N. Ambassador Andrew Young visited and flew in a similar plane.  When his flight was leaving I could, from my gallerie, clearly see the words “The United States of America” on his plane as it took off over the Gulf of La Gonave.  My heart burst with pride to see it.  It was wise not to send her “Big Blue Bird” into possible danger.

She notes that on the flight to Libya from Malta this happened.

U.S. Secretary of State Hillary ClintonOriginal image by Kevin Lamarque for Reuters.

10-18-11-49Original image by Diana Walker for Time.

Leading to this:  Texts From Hillary

A submission from Secretary Hillary Clinton.<br /><br /><br /><br /><br /><br /><br /><br /><br /><br /><br /><br /><br /> Original image by Diana Walker for Time.

And ultimately this!

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Despite all the fun generated by those pics of Hillary “running the world,”  she left Libya that day soberly worried about its future.

She had been forced in late 2010 to recall Ambassador Gene Cretz, quite a character as portrayed in her book,  because of credible threats against him.  Chris Stevens, an expert on Libya, former envoy to the rebels in Benghazi during the revolution, and very enthusiastic supporter of their cause, accepted the job with gusto. Anyone who has seen his video introducing himself to the people of Libya as the new American Ambassador can see that.

The attacks on our outposts in Benghazi were not the last of the problems engendered by a new government unable to wrangle the many militias.  As I write, Embassy Tripoli is once again evacuated.  Everyone has seen the videos by now.  None of that is for clouded vision on Hillary’s part or anyone else’s.  Our mission, always, is to go to the dangerous places and to try to talk and reason with people.

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Hillary Clinton’s ‘Hard Choices’ Retrospective: Introduction

Access other chapters of this retrospective here >>>>

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Heartbreaking news: a vital voice for justice is silenced.

Prominent Rights Activist Assassinated

June 26, 2014
(Tripoli) – Human Rights Watch today issued the following tribute to Salwa Bughaighis, a prominent human rights and women’s rights activist who was assassinated in Libya on June 25, 2014.
SNIP

On Wednesday, following countless threats against her and her family, Salwa was assassinated, shortly after she voted in Libya’s parliamentary election. With Salwa’s death, the original idealism of the 2011 uprising that overthrew Gaddafi’s tyranny has received another crushing blow, and many Libyan women have lost a role model.

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I am republishing this post in response to a request from Freespirit who correctly sees a need for available fact in response to the mythology and spin still being advanced in certain quarters.

Since it was originally published,  a New York Times investigation claims to have found the notorious and offensive anti-Islam video indeed to have been a factor in the Bengjazi unrest of 9/11/12.  As with all media investigations, we should withhold a blind embrace based solely on the conclusions drawn by the authors.   We have seen how it is possible for media investigators,  via negligence or intent,  to influence outcomes.

Today, the State Department released a statement designating two of three terrorist organizations as having been actors in the Benghazi attacks.  Some will remember that Victoria Nuland, then State Department spokesperson, hesitated to finger a specific organization in the early days after the Benghazi attacks,  absent hard evidence,  as demonstrated  in the vast exchange of emails among her “building,” the White House, and the CIA.    Some were pushing to have Ansar Al-Shari’a named at the time.  The State Department acted out of an abundance of caution then and today designated that organization as an agent.

That much established, here is the original post from May 10, 2013.

Benghazi-Spin: Myth-Busting and Reality Check

May 10, 2013 by still4hill

Myth:  Hillary Clinton said the attack on the Benghazi installation was an outgrowth of a demonstration against an anti-Islamist video on the internet.

Not exactly.  Here are her words on September 12, 2012.

We are working to determine the precise motivations and methods of those who carried out this assault. Some have sought to justify this vicious behavior, along with the protest that took place at our Embassy in Cairo yesterday, as a response to inflammatory material posted on the internet.

There were demonstrations against such a video at many U.S. embassies world-wide and in the region,  however.  This Wikipedia entry gives a pretty complete treatment.  All of these embassies were under the oversight of the State Department.  The American School in Tunisia was destroyed.  Secretary Clinton, just back from a tour that ended in Vladivostok,  did have her hands full, but she did not blame this attack on the video.

Myth: She blamed the attack on the video at the Transfer of Remains Ceremony at Andrews AFB on the 14th.  Nope again.  She referred to the demonstrations above, but she did not say they caused the attack. Speaking of Ambassador Chris Stevens she said this.

The President of the Palestinian Authority, who worked closely with Chris when he served in Jerusalem, sent me a letter remembering his energy and integrity, and deploring – and I quote – “an act of ugly terror.” Many others from across the Middle East and North Africa have offered similar sentiments.

This has been a difficult week for the State Department and for our country. We’ve seen the heavy assault on our post in Benghazi that took the lives of those brave men. We’ve seen rage and violence directed at American embassies over an awful internet video that we had nothing to do with.

Spin: “What difference does it make?”  First of all, those are not her exact words.  Second,  the exasperated remark came in the course of an exchange during Hillary Clinton’s testimony at the House Foreign Affairs Committee on January 23.  The focus of that exchange was whether Secretary Clinton had spoken to any individual on the ground in Benghazi on the night of September 11.  Thanks to Tom Kertscher at PolitiFact we have the transcript (there is more at this link.)

Clinton: Senator, you know, when you’re in these positions, the last thing you want to do is interfere with any other process going on, number one—

Johnson: I realize that’s a good excuse.

Clinton: Well, no, it’s the fact. Number two, I would recommend highly you read both what the ARB said about it and the classified ARB because, even today, there are questions being raised. Now, we have no doubt they were terrorists, they were militants, they attacked us, they killed our people. But what was going on and why they were doing what they were doing is still unknown —

Johnson: No, again, we were misled that there were supposedly protests and that something sprang out of that — an assault sprang out of that — and that was easily ascertained that that was not the fact, and the American people could have known that within days and they didn’t know that.

Clinton: With all due respect, the fact is we had four dead Americans. Was it because of a protest or was it because of guys out for a walk one night who decided that they’d they go kill some Americans? What difference at this point does it make? It is our job to figure out what happened and do everything we can to prevent it from ever happening again, Senator. Now, honestly, I will do my best to answer your questions about this, but the fact is that people were trying in real time to get to the best information. The IC has a process, I understand, going with the other committees to explain how these talking points came out. But you know, to be clear, it is, from my perspective, less important today looking backwards as to why these militants decided they did it than to find them and bring them to justice, and then maybe we’ll figure out what was going on in the meantime.

Johnson: OK. Thank you, Madame Secretary.

Read more >>>>

Spin: Nordstrom, understandably distressed,  keeps returning like the Ancient Mariner saying Hillary Clinton refused additional security requested in March 2012.   The body that properly should be called upon to address the reason for the reduction of available security resources is the House Appropriations Committee that cut the diplomatic security budget by hundreds of millions of dollars  two years in a row. (Oh!  Hi there Jason Chaffetz of the teary eyes and choked up throat!)

Spin: Gregory Hicks, demoted for speaking out. Leaving aside for the moment that you chose to speak to a Congress person without a lawyer present as that terrible witch Cheryl Mills pointed out to be State Department protocol, let’s look at what you did do.  Left in charge of Embassy Tripoli on September 11 with four special forces in place, contacted by Ambassador Stevens (who had the other six special forces assigned to Embassy Tripoli with him in Benghazi), and told the installation was under attack, you thought it would be a great idea to send the last four special forces in Tripoli 400 miles away.

This,  while embassies across the region and beyond were subject to rather aggressive demonstrations. Let’s also leave aside the logistics of getting those forces to Benghazi in time to do anything to help.  There were two things that were unknown.  First,  was the Benghazi attack a distractor and precursor to a bigger attack on Embassy Tripoli (of which you were in charge)?  Second, is there another attack coming in Benghazi?  The second happened to be the case.  But Hicks decided it made the best sense to send the last remaining forces out of Tripoli.

“I’m in charge” echoes from the grave of Alexander Haig aside, I have never seen a less responsible decision.  Hicks was second in command and in charge of Embassy Tripoli that night.  He was responsible for all embassy personnel and all classified material and electronics inside the embassy.  This was his decision – to strip away all special forces on the ground there -yes, in the fog of an attack hundreds of miles away.  We appreciate your service, but, questioning your judgment,  understand why you were assigned a “desk job.”

Is this who should be chief of any mission?  Or second in command?  If you have ever been in charge of anything,  you know the answer to this question.  If you are a mom, you know the answer.

It remains up to us, Hillary’s loyalists, to keep a record of the truth and to provide it as needed in debates over Hillary’s words and actions. We all need to remain attentive and vigilant and to share as necessary to protect our girl from the slander and lies of those who would denigrate her performance.

12-06-13-Z-21a

Hillary!  We’ve got your back!

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The latest swipe at Hillary Clinton over Benghazi was the unlikely story that first came on the radar screen two days ago from The Blaze.

GOP Rep. Claims Hillary Clinton ‘Screamed’ at Member of Congress During Briefing Two Days After Benghazi – Here’s the Stunning Reason Why

Speaking at a town hall meeting on Wednesday, Rep. Adam Kinzinger (R-Ill.) claimed former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton “screamed at a member of Congress” two days after the Benghazi attack for daring to classify the tragedy as terrorism.

The alleged incident occurred during a briefing just two days after four Americans were killed in a fiery assault on a U.S. compound in Benghazi, Libya.

“Two days after this attack we were in a briefing with Hillary Clinton and she screamed at a member of Congress who’d dare suggest that this was a terrorist attack,” Kinzinger told constituents in Rochelle, Ill., on Wednesday. ”Now we find out that while it was happening they knew it was a terrorist attack. These are answers, we are going to get to the bottom of this.”

Read more and see video >>>>

A few things did not ring true.  First was that two days after the attack no such hearing was on her schedule.  Second was the use of the verb “scream.”  It is not that it is unimaginable that Hillary  might raise her voice – but “scream?”  Certainly, even from a closed hearing,  some word of her “screaming” would have leaked somehow.   Third, even a closed hearing would have appeared on her schedule, and there was none that week.

Yesterday,  Hillary’s spokesperson, Nick Merrill, came back at the story thus.

By Jonathan Easley 08/16/13

Nick Merrill, a Clinton aide, provided the following statement to The Hill on the condition that it be run in its entirety.“Here are the facts: on September 20th, 2012, nine days after the attack – not two as he falsely stated – Secretary Clinton was part of two large briefings held for the benefit of all 535 Members of Congress.

Hundreds of House members were present for their session, and more than 90 Senators attended theirs. On January 23rd, 2013, she testified publicly before both the Senate and House. Those are the only two times Adam Kinzinger would have been within a mile of her.”So we are to believe that he woke up today, 10 months and 27 days later, and suddenly remembered he heard something that 434 other people somehow missed? Not so much. What happened this morning was nothing short of brazen deceit.”

Hillary Clinton was on an extended trip in Asia the week prior to the attack ending with APEC in Vladivostok.  She returned to the State Department immediately upon her arrival and went straight to work.  No Congressional briefings appear on her schedule the week of the attack.

U.S. DEPARTMENT OF STATE PUBLIC SCHEDULE SUNDAY SEPTEMBER 9, 2012

U.S. DEPARTMENT OF STATE PUBLIC SCHEDULE MONDAY, SEPTEMBER 10, 2012

U.S. DEPARTMENT OF STATE PUBLIC SCHEDULE TUESDAY SEPTEMBER 11, 2012

U.S. DEPARTMENT OF STATE PUBLIC SCHEDULE WEDNESDAY SEPTEMBER 12, 2012

U.S. DEPARTMENT OF STATE PUBLIC SCHEDULE THURSDAY SEPTEMBER 13, 2012

U.S. DEPARTMENT OF STATE PUBLIC SCHEDULE FRIDAY SEPTEMBER 14, 2012

U.S. DEPARTMENT OF STATE PUBLIC SCHEDULE Monday, September 17, 2012

U.S. DEPARTMENT OF STATE PUBLIC SCHEDULE TUESDAY SEPTEMBER 18, 2012

Public Schedule Washington, DC September 19, 2012

Finally here, as stated by Nick Merrill, are those closed briefings on her schedule nine days after the attack, not two.

Public Schedule for September 20, 2012

Public Schedule

Washington, DC
September 20, 2012

SECRETARY HILLARY RODHAM CLINTON

9:15 a.m. Secretary Clinton meets with the regional bureau secretaries, at the Department of State.
(CLOSED PRESS COVERAGE)

10:00 a.m. Secretary Clinton delivers remarks at the Global Infrastructure Conference, at the Department of State. Please click here for more information.
(OPEN PRESS COVERAGE FOR SECRETARY CLINTON’S REMARKS)

10:30 a.m. Secretary Clinton holds a bilateral meeting with Indonesian Foreign Minister R.M. Marty Natalegawa, at the Department of State.
(CLOSED PRESS COVERAGE)

10:45 a.m. Secretary Clinton hosts the third annual U.S.-Indonesian Joint Commission meeting with Indonesian Foreign Minister R.M. Marty Natalegawa, at the Department of State.
(OPEN PRESS FOR OPENING REMARKS)

11:50 a.m. Secretary Clinton hosts a working lunch for Indonesian Foreign Minister R.M. Marty Natalegawa, at the Department of State.
(CLOSED PRESS COVERAGE)

1:00 p.m. Secretary Clinton hosts a joint press availability with Indonesian Foreign Minister R.M. Marty Natalegawa, at the Department of State.
(OPEN PRESS COVERAGE)

3:00 p.m. Secretary Clinton briefs members of the House, at the U.S. Capitol.
(CLOSED PRESS COVERAGE)

4:00 p.m. Secretary Clinton briefs members of the Senate, at the U.S. Capitol.
(CLOSED PRESS COVERAGE)

Mr. Kinzinger’s memory of events is apparently faulty.  Perhaps he meant two working days for him after the attack although we do not have his schedule.  We know that Republicans  tend to have problems with larger numbers as indicated by their cuts to embassy security budgets submitted by Secretary Clinton two years in a row.

Finally, let us not forget that Hillary Clinton took full responsibility for incidents in Benghazi with no reservations.   She has been entirely forthcoming and cooperative with Congress and should not be used as a political football by those seeking votes – neither should the tragic events in Benghazi.

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