CA Assault Weapon Registration Website Crashed As Deadline Loomed
Posted at 6:00 pm on July 2, 2018 by Tom Knighton
California wanted all so-called “assault weapons” to be registered by July 1, 2018. The state wanted it so badly that it created a website in hopes that it would make the process easy enough that most would comply with the rule. It was smart, not because registration will do anything, but in that, if you want people to comply with the law, you’d better make it easy.
However, as with so many other things in California, what worked well, in theory, turned into a colossal case of fail.
As the deadline looms for California gun owners to register their firearms that have been re-classified as “assault weapons,” the registration system has been crashing, preventing compliance with the law if the site is not fixed.
California passed a bill expanding its already lengthy definition of “assault weapon.” Under SB 880 and AB 113, which became effective in January 2017, “assault weapon” now includes firearms that are required to be equipped with a bullet button or a similar magazine locking device.
All applications must be completed and submitted by Saturday at 11:59 p.m. PDT. With less than a day until the deadline, the California Firearms Application Reporting System (CFARS) has had difficulty processing the high volume of applications, according to the Firearms Policy Coalition. The spike in traffic repeatedly crashed the CFARS website, preventing gun owners from registering properly.
If firearms are not registered before the deadline, gun owners could be charged with a felony and receive up to eight years in prison.
Now, waiting until the last minute is usually not a recipe for success, but as long as there was time on the clock, people are free to procrastinate. It’s up to the state of California to make sure its website works.
And it didn’t.
Constant crashes delay people being able to comply with the law, and it’s not their fault. Like I said, waiting until the last minute might not be ideal, but it’s not illegal, and it’s not their fault the state can’t build a working website.
Now, those who weren’t able to register their guns despite trying to may well be guilty of a felony as you read this. Hopefully not. So far, though, there’s been no mention of an amnesty for those who tried but were turned away by the state’s ineptitude.
To err is human. To really foul stuff up, though, you need the government involved.
This is a prime example.
Meanwhile, the state has made modern sporting rifles an endangered species, and the state’s violent crime rate has increased over the last couple of years despite the full-court press on “assault rifles.” Maybe it’s not the guns that are the problem in the first place? You know, California, I’m just throwing that out there for consideration.
Unfortunately, it’s not like the state is known for listening to reason or doing anything except the most anti-gun thing it can manage to do. California has never met a gun control proposal it didn’t like, and there’s no reason to expect that to change in the near future.
There are multiple freight trains headed the way of the Deep State. I know it is hard to believe that Hillary will ever spend a day behind bars. However, after reading this 3 part series, it is hard to believe that she will not. If it one thing to dodge one bullet. It is another to dodge a volley of bullets fired at point blank range and that is what key members of the Deep State are facing, especially Hillary.
The Clinton email investigation by Comey and the IG report provided Federal authorities with enough to prosecute Hillary Clinton, John Podesta, Debbie Wasserman Schultz, Comey, McCabe, Paige, Strzok, Paige et al.
Keep in mind, the FBI never looked at the content on the DNC server. Many feel that would have implicated Podesta in th murder of Seth Rich. The IG report stopped just short of implicating Obama in the fake Dossier which should be sending Loretta Lynch to prison along with Rosenstein.
In Part One, I detailed how McCain, Clinton and Obama are implicated in the formation and providing material support for terrorists including ISIS. Previously, I exposed Clinton and Obama for Benghazi and the attempted cover up that they sanctioned, with regard to gun running, drug dealing and child-sex-trafficking. Benghazi, as I previously revealed was conducted to cover up these crimes, just 7 weeks before the 2012 election.
Huma Abedin and Anthony Weiner have tapes on virtually all of these events according to a deep cover FBI source. I have written about this a number of times, maybe now, people are ready to connect the same dots I did back in 2016.
Comey and Clinton
Comey’s investigation was actually very complete and produced actionable evidence that should have sent Hillary to prison for life. Comey excoriated Clinton and then as he was reeling her in for the kill, he cut the line, exonerated her, and let America’s biggest snake slither into the darkness. The investigation could be characterized as “EXCORIATION TO EXONERATION”.
The IG Report
The IG report convicted the FBI of illegal surveillance of private citizens, collusion to plant false evidence, and most of all, flagrant violations of the Hatch Act. The Hatch Act prevents Federal employees from working to influence and publicly supporting a candidate, or in Trump’s case, working to block the election of a candidate.
The IG Report followed the same exact strategy of EXCORIATION TO EXONERATION. The American people have been made aware of the fact that crimes were committed, but are told the crimes are not sufficient enough to warrant indictments. Therefore, the same pattern of EXCORIATION TO EXONERATION REMAINS IN PLAY!
America should be in the streets with pitchforks over thes two failures to indict, but instead of people like Clinton doing the perp walk, the perps are walking. However, this may change. There are two very serious revelations surfacing that even a compromised IG cannot ignore, without being charged with obstruction.
As a side note, many people have told me to back off against my crusade against Attorney General, Jeff Sessions. They say he is playing a game of deception and he and Trump have a plan to play dumb until it is time to spring the trap. Sorry, I don’t believe in Santa Claus. However, Sessions, in the face of this new overwhelming evidence, will have only two choices: (1) Resign, or, (2) Indict and Prosecute.
Wasserman Schultz Could Bring Down the Deep State IF She’s Not Murdered
Wasserman Schultz got away with her role in the death of Seth Rich because her brother, a federal prosecutor in Washington DC intervened and got the investigation into Seth Rich’s murder stopped. I wrote extensively about this in the Summer of 2016.
However, Wasserman Schultz and her good fortune is about to come to an end. It is common knowledge that Awan was given access to classified material by Wasserman Schultz, some of it very Deep State orientated. Now, Awan and his wife have entered a guilty plea to a minor bank fraud charge. In light of all that they could have been charged with, only a minor bank fraud charge is being brought against them? There is a deal in there and it is going to have major implications on the release of the DNC tapes and Wasserman Schultz’s connections to Podesta and Clinton and their criminal activities. I have been told by a reliable informant that Awan has provided information against Wasserman Schultz and Podesta. If only one of these two turn state’s evidence, then it is over for Wasserman Schultz and ultimately Hillary Clinton. And if Clinton falls, so does the Deep State. Subsequently, Debbie Wasserman Schultz is about to slip on a banana peel. Why? Debbie Awan has a deal with the DOJ, separate and apart from her husband. If she makes the deal with the DOJ it goes back to good ‘ole Debbie Wasserman Schultz. She is the key to concealing DNC voter fraud and the murder of Seth Rich and the Pizzagate scandal. Therefore, the Awan’s present a double-barreled threat to the Deep State.
This opens up avenues to John Podesta and most importantly, Hillary Clinton. OMG, the Deep State can not afford to have Clinton investigated because it will open up everything from child-sex-trafficking to organ harvesting and how the Clinton Foundation is at the heart of all of this and their main target. The best investment in town may be to invest in a life insurance policy for Wasserman Schultz. If she’s lucky, she will only be charged and convicted for obstruction of justice and aiding and abetting.
More dirt is continuing to come out on the Awan brothers. The charges border on treason and sedition, but they have gone away.How? IT is a called a plea deal. Wasserman Schultz had to have known the extent of their criminality as they destroyed evidence which would have implicated her. Here is the entire story and it is shocking. Please keep in mind the following represents old news that I previously revealed. This is why I am so frustrated with Jeff Sessions, I revealed this information two years ago and it was easy to find.
The Awan-Wasserman Schultz connection won’t be the only bombshells that are coming the Deep State’s way. There is a star witness that will be testifying to the Senate Intelligence Committee this week. And this witness knows where all the bodies are buried, as this person served in two administrations, and I guarantee you that this witness will not fall on their sword and this person is too public to murder. This will be the topic of Part Three along with the retaliatory options the Deep State has in their arsenal.
There is a plot that is so intricate, so detailed, so complex and so very brilliant, it is very difficult to explain to others who already don’t know some, or most of the story. The revelation of this plot may cause me, in the near future, to reverse my position on Jeff Sessions and my expressed to desire to have him removed as Attorney General.
Unlike when I stood alone for months on reports of the near coup against the Obama administration over Benghazi, what I am about to reveal is known by others, either in part or in whole. My preference would have been to have waited and several journalists report what is known at the same time. However, I just conducted a telephonic interview with Paul Preston. In addition, one of my best sources, after months of telling me big things are going to become public with regard to Deep State minions, I have concluded that I am a bit ahead of the knowledge curve and it would not be wise for me to hang onto what I have learned.
In a nutshell, this paper will reveal that high profile figures have been involved in treasonous activity against the United States, coupled with illicit criminal behavior at the same time. I have learned that some of these figures are on the verge of being arrested and indicted y the Trump administration. Unlike my Benghazi revelations, I do not stand alone in my discoveries. Without the information I have recently learned, I could have made a strong circumstantial case supporting what is going to be revealed here today. Subsequently, from a credibility standpoint, this is very low risk. However, from a personal safety perspective, it would not be wise to reveal my discoveries and recent conclusions.
Part one of this series consists of contextual background which will provide the factual justification to make the allegations against key Deep State operatives in Part two.
Relevant Contextual Background
The brief summary of what I have already reported in the past is highly relevant to what is coming.
The following events have already been documented and reported on The Common Sense Show will be revealed in this section.
John Cruz-Vice President of HSBC Bank
I first interviewed John Cruz in 2011 and again in 2o12. Most recently, I interviewed Cruz in 2016. This person is an unique position to connect keep members of the Deep State with treason against the United States as well as overt criminal behavior.
Here is a summary of what I reported in 2016 and unfortunately, the nation was ready, at that time, to fully embrace the Cruz revelations.
John Cruz is your ordinary family man. He put himself through college and worked his way up the corporate ladder. He excelled at working with bank customers. He rose to the position of Sr. Vice-President of HSBC Bank. Everything was fine was until he discovered that his bank was laundering drug money for the cartels and terrorists and some of the money ended up in the hands of the elite.
John Cruz was fired from his job at HSBC Bank in New York for whistle-blowing on the bank’s illegal activity, his family was threatened. and yet, he still feels that everyone needs to know what goes on behind the scenes of a major bank. Cruz even reported the illegal money laundering to Homeland Security, but to no avail. He should be an American hero, but instead, he was chastised, employment was hard to find and he lives in constant fear of his life. If it were not for the tapes he’s made and held back, for leverage sake, he would already be dead.
John Cruz discovered that massive amounts of drug cartel and terrorist money was being laundered through HSBC. Cruz investigated and found evidence of multiple money-laundering operations. He went to his bosses and reported what he found after he had conducted field operational investigations and found evidence of boiler rooms operations and fake business addresses, etc. His bosses told him to get back to work and to forget what he had told them. The head of HSBC security told him “This is how we make money, forget what you think you have seen”.
One of the by-products of this criminality has impacted millions of Americans. Cruz revealed that the scourge of identity theft is headquartered deep in HSBC bank as fake accounts done so in order to launder illicit drug sales, funding terrorism, gun running and child-sex-trafficking. There are some of you reading these words whose names appear on HSBC bank accounts that are being used tos upport money laundering for one or all of the interest listed above and if you run afoul of the Deep State, this information could be used to falsely set you up.
I previously documented how FBI director Comey served on the Board of Directors at HSBC during the time of the coverup of the criminal activities. Comey is not the only senior federal government official implicated in the crimes of HSBC either through participation or cover up. I asked Cruz about Comey and he was aware that Comey had been on the board of directors at HSBC bank and was responsible for “moving money” (ie laundering terrorist-based activities as well as organized crime. We now know that moving money meant, in part, included moving money to the Clinton Foundation. And are we surrpised that Comey gave Clinton a free pass for her illegal emails? Comey should be in jail.
When I first printed these documentable allegations against Comey, he was not quite the household public figure that he is now. Now, people are going to pay attention.
Cruz also stated that the Clinton emails undoubtedly deal with her involvement iwth HSBC and the connection to the Clinton Foundation.
Eric Holder’s DoJ did not investigate money-laundering charges in deference to bank clients of his very own Washington-based law firm, where Holder was a senior partner prior to joining the Obama administration. Obama participated in this coverup after the fact. Do you remember the classic movie The Firm, starring Tom Cruise in which the law firm’s purpose was to provide cover for organized criminal activity? This is Eric Holder, pre Attorney General activities. Remember, Holder was also cited for Contempt of Congress, for his role in Fast and Furious in which, under his direction as the AG, he supplied the drug cartels with weapons which resulted in the murder of Border Patrol agent, Brian Terry. Today, Holder is the spokesperson for the unconstitutional and illegal CALEXIT, in which California is trying to exit the United States as a protectorate of the United Nations.
Cruz went far and wide with his allegations. DHS told him to go away. Manhattan’s District Attorney’s told him that this would cost him his job, and that is if he was lucky. The head of the New York Eastern District covered up the crime as well, after Cruz provided her with irrefutable prof of his allegations. And who was the head of the Eastern District of New York? Why, it was none other than Loretta Lynch, the current Attorney General.
Lynch, to cover her legal behind actually found HSBC guilty of violation the “Banking Secrecy Laws”, but ignored the 800 lb. gorilla in the room, the money laundering and the violation of national laws on terrorism. I asked Cruz why Lynch would pursue the one charge and not the other. He told my audience that she could prosecute on a far lesser charge to make the serious charge go away.
This fact actually came up in the confirmation of Lynch’s nomination to the AG position, but it was quickly swept under the rug. However, the Cruz two hour testimony before the Senate Judiciary committee was so damning, that the Senate had to withhold Lynch’s nomination vote for three weeks in order “to let things calm down”.
ON THE COMMON SENSE SHOW (7/31), CRUZ STATED THAT LYNCH “HAD FULL KNOWLEDGE” OF WHAT TRANSPIRED AT HSBC BANK. HOW DOES HE KNOW THAT? BECAUSE HE GAVE HER SECRET TAPE RECORDINGS HE MADE ALONG WITH DOCUMENTS DEMONSTRATING, NOT ONLY THE ABOUT MONEY LAUNDERING, BUT THE SENIOR OFFICIALS AT THE BANK ENGAGED IN A COVERUP. LORETTA LYNCH IS AN ACCOMPLICE TO MONEY LAUNDERING FOR THE DRUG CARTELS AND TERRORIST ORGANIZATIONS SUCH AS THE MUSLIM BROTHERHOOD.
And according to Cruz, all of thee Deep State minions and notable public figures, former members of the Obama administration, have intimate connections with the Clinton Foundation.
When Lynch and Bill Clinton had their conflict of interest meeting in the Phoenix airport, what do you think they talked about?
Please keep in mind that these are the revelations from an insider of the most corrupt bank on the planet. By the way, I have learned that HSBC is laundering money into the CALEXIT movement.
Here is the last interview I did with John Cruz, who should be getting a lot more attention from the Independent Media than he is.
Scott Bennett-Former Army PSYOP
Dr. Scott Bennett served in the U.S. Army 11th Psychological Operations Battalion, attempted to blow the whistle by contacting the corporate controlled media as well as reaching out to US politicians after being removed from his job as a terrorist finance investigator after he proved to be too good at his job. This was due to the fact that the Obama administration and DHS were too cozy with various terrorist groups.
Dr. Bennett served in U.S. Special Operations Command, U.S. Central Command, the coordinator for the State Department Counter-terrorism and many other agencies in the US government.
If one wants to understand the close relationship between former high level operatives of the Obama administration and current Deep State interests, this is a can’t miss interview and the interview is listed below this narrative. On The Common Sense Show, Bennett laid out how terrorism was funded by key member of the Obama administration. Like John Cruz, Bennett, was not told this information. As an insider, he lived it. When Bennett began to leak the intelligence related to funding terrorism, he was imprisoned for two years by Obama for FILING A FALSE BUSINESS EXPENSE REPORT. This was to minor to imprison someone, but he served two years on totally false charges in order to cover up these crimes.
Bennett started out his intelligence career in the George W Bush administration. He transitioned into the Obama administration where they funded and supplied terrorist groups such as ISIS. These events, from a logistical and time frame perspective perfectly coincide with the Cruz revelations listed above.
The amount of information regarding the degree of the threat of terrorism which all of us face, is laid out in exquisite detail by Dr. Bennett in this interview.
Hillary Clinton and ISIS
In 2016, WikiLeaks continued to reveal criminal and outright treasonous behavior on the part of Hillary Clinton. WikiLeaks, with their “retrieval” of Clinton emails continued to show ties between Clinton and foreign governments,through the Clinton Foundation, criminally corrupt corporations and serious human rights violations.
At the center of the WikiLeaks revelations of Clinton’s treason and criminal behavior demonstrates undeniable Clinton links to Lafarge. Lafarge paid taxes to ISIS in order that they could protect its cement factory from destruction. The factor is located approximately northeast of Aleppo, Syria.
Another criminal investigation conducted by a Syrian news agency, Zaman al-Wasl, an independent news organization, stated that Lafarge bought oil from ISIS on a consistent basis.
In a 2007, a Washington Post article, at the time, when Clinton provided the bulk of the Clinton family income. in the 1990’s before husband Bill was elected President of the United States. Hillary Clinton, at that time, was “earning more than $100,000 a year from her law firm salary and corporate board fees.” At the time, she also served on Lafarge’s board, making about $31,000 a year from the company. the year 2007, was the year that Lafarge built its cement plant in Syria. By the way, CEMEX was a part of this operation. Who is CEMEX? They own the land in Tucson where a large child-sex-trafficking operation was discovered earlier this month.
John McCain and ISIS
My disdain for McCain is well known. Therefore, I will let ex-CIA clandestine officer, Robert David Steele speak to the terrorist related activities of John McCain, who remains a globalist till the end.
From Mr. Steele:
“We do now know (I did not know this at the time the below video was recorded and I have no link for this, it comes to me from an inside source) that former CIA Director John Brennan plotted this false flag attack, which may have involved some real sarin allegedly destroyed during the Obama Administration, with Senator John McCain and National Security Advisor Herbert McMaster…”
There are a couple of important considerations here. First, I have a deep-inside source that confirms Independent Media reports which places Senator John McCain at the scene of the crime. In other words, he visited Syria only days before the false flag. Further, I have had it confirmed by the same source that McCain has been tabbed to be the public source espousing Deep State propaganda to push to America towards war based on false allegations of election tampering by the Russians.
Previously on The Common Sense Show, I have documented several times, with interviews with people like Scott Bennett, that Hillary Clinton was instrumental in starting ISIS. John McCain has reportedly taken this relationship to a whole different level when he allegedly met with ISIS representatives when he was in Syria in which my source alleges that John McCain helped to coordinate the false flag attack in question. Further, my source claims that there is a Sandy Hook component to this flag attack in which he claims that First Responders were not even wearing gloves when they arrived on the scene and they should have been attired in hazmat suits and of course, crisis actors abound.
Robert David Steele continues:
“Brennan (Editor’s note: Ex-CIA director) got the Saudis to pay half and McCain got Israel to pay half. They blind-sided – this is clearly treason – not only the Director of the CIA, but the President, the Secretary of State, and the Secretary of Defense. In my personal view, both John McCain and Israel Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu should be impeached by their respective legislative bodies. Whether true or not I cannot certify – it is consistent with my evaluation of each of these people, and a good starting point for an international investigation. I have long felt that John Brennan should be standing before the International Court of Justice as a war criminal, not least because of the CIA’s drone assassination program that I recently denounced in a book review article for Intelligence and National Security.”
So, what did we learn? We have learned that prominent members of our government, both past and present haver served to undermine the country’s national security interests. In doing so, they have associated with terrorists and their organized criminal activities.
These summaries simply provide evidence that what is going to be revealed tomorrow has basis in verifiable fact. Based on what I already know and what I have recently learned, Part Two of this article will be revealing that we are sitting on revelations of unparalleled treason and corruption including attempted assassinations of President Trump, and his counter strike which will be described as the St. Valentine’s Day Massacre of Deep State Operatives.
Are you Outraged about the Refugee Crisis? (VIDEO) | refugee | Government Government Corruption Multimedia Obama Exposed Sleuth Journal Special Interests Trump War Propaganda World News
(The Real Agenda News) Where was that outrage when it all started?
Where was your protest when the Obama administration chose to support terrorist groups – with money and weapons – in both Libya and Syria?
Where were you, concerned citizen, when the Obama administration chose to support terrorists in Yemen?
Where were all the anti-war, anti-business-as-usual people when Obama dropped over 26,000 bombs over those countries only in 2016?
All of you who are protesting Donald Trump’s decision to issue a temporary ban on refugees and immigrants, because you think he is being “mean” to disgraced refugees, do you understand why millions of refugees left and continued to leave their countries?
Instead of repeating what the mainstream media says, much of which is fake news, get educated and at least attempt to understand why so many men, women and children from North Africa and the Middle East are desperate to find a peaceful place to live.
If you don’t understand why, watch the video below and understand.
Syria, Libya and Yemen are Obama’s wars and he left the White House after 8 years in office without having done a single thing to end the wars he provoked. More outrageous than that is the fact that he ran away with a Nobel Peace Prize that he never worked for to earn.
While you were seating around on your couch, your president set the Middle East and Northern Africa on fire, and left office without being held accountable. And you concerned citizen, you are responsible for that too.
In case you are wondering, there is indeed something more xenophobic, racist and discriminatory than controversial or offensive rhetoric: standing by doing nothing while your president and your government kills millions of people because of their skin color, ethnicity or religious preference.
No country on Earth has the capacity to absorb millions of refugees a year as the European Union expects countries to do, or as you, concerned citizen, expect the United States to do.
The only way to reduce the large number of refugees, and to prevent it from being greater than it is already, is by stopping your governments from aiding terrorist groups, so they do their dirty work for them, and to stop bombing third world nations.
Maybe Americans aren’t taking to Hillary Clinton’s sour attitude toward guns. Maybe they’re arming themselves out of concern about terrorists and criminals of a more conventional stripe. And maybe they’re showing what they think of members of Congress who use terrorists’ crimes as the excuse to push for more gun control. image hosting sites
One way or the other, though, Americans are continuing to acquire guns at an unprecedented level. The FBI reported this week that in June 2016, firearm-related background checks set a new record for any month of June, up 39% from the number of checks conducted in June 2015.
For the first six months of 2016, checks are up 32 percent over the same period in 2015. If the present rate of checks holds through December, there will be over 32 million checks conducted this year, more than double the number conducted during President Obama’s first year in office. There have been 26.5 million checks during the last 12 months, more than in any 12-month period previously.
NICS checks don’t precisely indicate the number of firearms acquired in a given time frame. But the trend in checks makes clear that Americans are acquiring firearms at a record pace. The annual number of checks has risen from 12.7 million during the last year of President George W. Bush’s administration to an average of 23 million during Obama’s second term. how to print screen on pc
NICS checks don’t stop criminals from stealing guns or acquiring guns on the black market, and criminals defeat checks by having other people, who can pass checks, buy guns for them. But they continue to deliver data undermining gun control supporters’ perennial boast that gun ownership is declining. If anything, the data suggest that the opposite is true.
Reprimanded last month for presiding over his own divorce case for four months after it was randomly assigned to his own court, a Texas judge told a local newspaper that doing so did no harm.
“This was my personal divorce,” said 383rd District Judge Mike Herrera to the El Paso Times on Tuesday, explaining that there was “no rush” to transfer the case to another judge because he and his wife were trying at the time to work things out.
Hence, “the fact that it was in this court made no difference. It stayed there,” Herrera said of the divorce case. “I wasn’t actively doing anything. Me and my former spouse were working on everything. She and I were working on everything carefully.”
The Texas Commission on Judicial Conduct noted that Herrera had filed motions in the case while it was in his own court. The commission said that the judge “failed to comply with the law, demonstrated a lack of professional competence in the law, and engaged in willful and persistent conduct that was clearly inconsistent with the proper performance of his judicial duties,” the newspaper reports.
In addition to reprimanding Herrera, the commission ordered him to get six hours of training.
016 STATE OF THE JUDICIARY ADDRESS
THE HONORABLE CHIEF JUSTICE HUGH P. THOMPSON
SUPREME COURT OF GEORGIA
January 27, 2016, 11 a.m.
House Chambers, State Capitol
Lt. Governor Cagle, Speaker Ralston, President Pro Tem Shafer, Speaker Pro Tem Jones, members of the General Assembly, my fellow judges and my fellow Georgians:
Good morning. Thank you for this annual tradition of inviting the Chief Justice to report on the State of Georgia’s Judiciary. Thanks in large part to your support and the support of our governor, as we move into 2016, I am pleased to tell you that your judicial branch of government is not only steady and secure, it is dynamic; it has momentum; and it is moving forward into the 21st century with a vitality and a commitment to meeting the inevitable changes before us.
Our mission remains the same: To protect individual rights and liberties, to uphold and interpret the rule of law, and to provide a forum for the peaceful resolution of disputes that is fair, impartial, and accessible to all.
Our judges are committed to these principles. Each day, throughout this state, they put on their black robes; they take their seat on the courtroom bench; and they work tirelessly to ensure that all citizens who come before them get justice.
Our Judicial Council is the policy-making body of the state’s judicial branch. It is made up of competent, committed leaders elected by their fellow judges and representing all classes of court. They are assisted by an Administrative Office of the Courts, which is under a new director – Cynthia Clanton – and has a renewed focus as an agency that serves judges and courts throughout Georgia.
A number of our judges have made the trip to be here today. Our judges are here today because the relationship we have with you is important. We share with you the same goal of serving the citizens of this great state. We could not do our work without your help and that of our governor.
On behalf of all of the judges, let me say we are extremely grateful to you members of the General Assembly for your judicial compensation appropriation last year.
Today I want to talk to you about Georgia’s 21st century courts – our vision for the future, the road we must travel to get there, and the accomplishments we have already achieved.
It has been said that, “Change is the law of life. And those who look only to the past or present are certain to miss the future.”
Since a new state Constitution took effect in 1983, our population has nearly doubled to a little over 10 million, making us the 8th most populous state in the country. We are among the fastest growing states in the nation, and in less than four years, our population is projected to exceed 12 million.
Because it is good for our economy, we welcome that growth. Today, Georgia ranks
among states with the highest number of Fortune 500 companies, 20 of which have their global headquarters here; we have 72 four-year colleges and universities; we have the world’s busiest airport and we have two deep-water ports. Georgia is a gateway to the South, and for a growing number of people and businesses from around the world, it is a gateway to this country.
All of this growth produces litigation – increasingly complex litigation – and just as our state must prepare for this growth by ensuring we have enough roads and modes of transportation, enough doctors and hospitals, and enough power to reach people throughout the state, our courts also must be equipped and modernized for the 21st
While our population has nearly doubled since 1983, the number of Georgia judges has
grown only 16 percent. We must work together to ensure that our judicial system has enough judges, staff and resources in the 21st century to fulfill the mission and constitutional duties our forefathers assigned to us.
A healthy, vibrant judiciary is absolutely critical to the economic development of our state. Thanks to many leaders in the judiciary, as well as to our partnership with the governor and to you in the legislature, we are well on our way to building a court system for the 21st century.
This time next year, with your support, we will have put into place an historic shift in the types of cases handled by the Georgia Supreme Court – the highest court in the state – and by the Court of Appeals – our intermediate appellate court. Thanks to Governor Deal’s Georgia Appellate Jurisdiction Review Commission, this realignment will bring the Supreme Court of Georgia in line with other state Supreme Courts, which handle only the most critical cases that potentially change the law. Serving on the Commission are two of my colleagues – Justice David Nahmias and Justice Keith Blackwell – as well as two judges from the Court of Appeals – Chief
Judge Sara Doyle and Judge Stephen Dillard.
I thank you, Justices and Judges, for your leadership.
Under the Georgia Constitution, Supreme Court justices collectively decide every case that comes before us. Currently the state’s highest court hears divorce and alimony cases; we hear cases involving wills; we hear cases involving titles to land; and we hear disputes over boundary lines.
But the Governor’s Commission, and a number of reports by other commissions and
committees issued since 1983, have recommended that such cases should be heard by our intermediate appeals court, not by our highest court.
Both of our courts are among the busiest in the nation. But unlike the Supreme Court, which sits as a full court with all seven justices participating in, and deciding, every case, the Court of Appeals sits in panels of three. With your approval last year of three new Court of Appeals judges, that court will now have five panels, so it will have the capacity to consider five times as many cases as the Supreme Court.
Modernization of the Supreme Court makes sense. In a 19th century court system, when
most of the wealth was tied up in land, maybe title to land cases were the most important. Maybe they had the greatest implications for the public at large. But as we move into the 21st century, that is no longer true.
In answer to questions such as who owns a strip of land, what does a will mean, and who should prevail in a divorce settlement or an alimony dispute, most judicial systems believe that three judges are enough to provide the parties with a full and fair consideration of their appeal. It no longer makes sense to have seven – or nine – justices collectively review these types of cases.
There is no doubt these cases will be in good hands with the Court of Appeals.
Let me emphasize that all these cases the Commission recommended shifting to the Court of Appeals are critically important to the parties involved.
Let me also emphasize that the purpose of this historic change is not to lessen the burden on the Supreme Court. Rather, the intent is to free up the state’s highest court to devote more time and energy to the most complex and the most difficult cases that have the greatest implications for the law and society at large.
We will therefore retain jurisdiction of constitutional challenges to the laws you enact, questions from the federal courts seeking authoritative rulings on Georgia law, election contests, murder and death penalty cases, and cases in which the Court of Appeals judges are equally divided.
Significantly, we want to be able to accept more of what we call “certiorari” cases
which are appeals of decisions by the Court of Appeals. The number of petitions filed in this category during the first quarter of the new docket year is nearly 14 percent higher this year over last. Yet due to the amount of appeals the law now requires us to take, we have had to reject the majority of the petitions for certiorari that we receive.
These cases are often the most complex – and the most consequential. They involve
issues of great importance to the legal system and the State as a whole. Or they involve an area of law that has become inconsistent and needs clarification.
Businesses and citizens need to know what the law allows them to do and what it does
not allow them to do. It is our job at the highest court to reduce any uncertainty and bring consistency and clarity to the law.
Under the Commission’s recommendations, our 21st century Georgia Supreme Court will
be able to accept more of these important appeals.
As we move into the 21st century, plans are being discussed to build the first state Judicial Building in Georgia’s history that will be dedicated solely to the judiciary. We are grateful for the Governor’s leadership on this. The building that now houses the state’s highest court and the Court of Appeals was built in 1954 when Herman Tallmadge was governor. Back then, it made sense to combine the state judicial branch with part of the executive branch, by locating the Law Department in the same building.
But the world has changed since 1954, and the building we now occupy was not designed with visitors in mind. It was not designed with technology in mind. And it surely was not designed with security in mind. Indeed, it was designed to interconnect with neighboring buildings that housed other branches of government.
A proper Judicial Building is about more than bricks and mortar. Outside, this building will symbolize for generations to come the place where people will go to get final resolution of civil wrongs and injustices; where the government will go to safeguard its prosecution of criminals; and where defendants will go to appeal convictions and sentences to prison for life.
Inside such a building, the courtroom will reinforce the reality that what goes on here is serious and solemn; it is a place of great purpose, in the words of a federal judge. The parties and the lawyers will understand they are all on equal footing, because they are equal under the law.
There is a majesty about the law that gets played out in the courtroom. It is a hallowed place because it is where the truth must be told and where justice is born. The courtroom represents our democracy at its very best.
No, this building is not just about bricks and mortar. Rather it is a place that will house Georgia’s highest court where fairness, impartiality, and justice will reign for future generations.
We are no longer living in a 1950s Georgia. The courts of the 21st century must be
equipped to handle an increasingly diverse population. Living today in metropolitan Atlanta alone are more than 700,000 people who were born outside the United States. According to the Chamber of Commerce, today some 70 countries have a presence in Atlanta, in the form of a consulate or trade office. We must be ready to help resolve the disputes of international businesses that are increasingly locating in our state and capital. Our 21st century courts must be open, transparent and accessible to all. Our citizens’ confidence in their judicial system depends on it. We must be armed with qualified, certified interpreters, promote arbitration as an alternative to costly, courtroom-bound litigation, ensure that all those who cannot afford lawyers have an avenue toward justice, and be constantly updating technology with the aim of improving our courts’ efficiency while saving literally millions of dollars. For all of this, we need your help.
When I first became a judge, we had no email, no cell phones, no Internet. People didn’t Twitter or text, or post things on YouTube, Facebook or Instagram. The most modern equipment we had was a mimeograph machine.
This past year, by Supreme Court order, we created for the first time a governance
structure to bring our use of technology into the 21st century. Chaired by my colleague Justice Harold Melton, and co-chaired by Douglas County Superior Court Judge David Emerson, this permanent Judicial Council Standing Committee on Technology will lead the judicial branch by providing guidance and oversight of its technology initiatives.
Our courts on their own are rapidly moving away from paper documents into the digital age. At the Supreme Court, lawyers must now electronically file all cases. This past year, we successfully launched the next phase by working with trial courts to begin transmitting their entire court record to us electronically. The Court of Appeals also now requires the e-filing of applications to appeal, and this year, will join the Supreme Court in accepting electronic trial records.
Our goal is to develop a uniform statewide electronic filing and retrieval system so that lawyers and others throughout the judiciary can file and access data the easiest way possible.
Using a single portal, attorneys will be able to file documents with trial courts and appellate courts – and retrieve them from any court in the state. This is the system advocated by our partner, President Bob Kaufman of the State Bar of Georgia, and by attorneys throughout the state.
Such a system will not only make our courts more efficient at huge savings, but it will make Georgia safer. When our trial judges conduct bond hearings, for example, they often lack critical information about the person before them. They usually have reports about any former convictions, but they may not have information about cases pending against the defendant in other courts. The technology exists now to ensure that they do.
Also on the horizon is the expanded use of videoconferencing – another electronic
improvement that will save money and protect citizens’ lives. After a conviction and sentence to prison, post-trial hearings require courts to send security teams to pick up the prisoner and bring him to court. Without encroaching on the constitutional right of confrontation, we could videoconference the inmate’s testimony from his prison cell. Again, the technology already exists.
Our Committee on Technology will be at the forefront of guiding our courts into the 21st century.
As Georgia grows, it grows more diverse.
Our Georgia courts are required by the federal government to provide language services free of charge to litigants and witnesses, not only in criminal cases but in civil cases as well.
Even for fluent English speakers, the judicial system can be confusing and unwelcoming.
My vision for Georgia’s judiciary in the 21st century is that every court, in every city and every county in Georgia, will have the capacity of serving all litigants, speaking any language, regardless of national origin, from the moment they enter the courthouse until the moment they leave. That means that on court websites, signs and forms will be available in multiple languages, that all court staff will have the tools they need to assist any customers, and that court proceedings will have instant access to the interpreters of the languages they need.
Chief Magistrate Kristina Blum of the Gwinnett County Magistrate Court has been
working hard to ensure access to justice for all those who come to her court, most of whom are representing themselves.
Recently her court created brochures that provide guidance for civil trials, family
violence matters, warrant applications, garnishments, and landlord-tenant disputes. These brochures provide basic information about each proceeding – what to expect and how best to present their case in court.
Judge Blum, who is in line to be president of the Council of Magistrate Judges and is a member of our Judicial Council, has had the brochures translated into Spanish, Korean and Vietnamese. Such non-legalese forms and tutorial videos that our citizens can understand go a long way toward building trust in the judicial system, and in our entire government.
The Supreme Court Commission on Interpreters, chaired by Justice Keith Blackwell, is
making significant strides in ensuring that our courts uphold the standards of due process. With the help of Commission member Jana Edmondson-Cooper, an energetic attorney with the Georgia Legal Services Program, the Commission is working around the state to educate judges,court administrators and lawyers on the judiciary’s responsibilities in providing language assistance.
The essence of due process is the opportunity to be heard. Our justice system is the envy of other countries because it is open and fair to everyone seeking justice. By helping those who have not yet mastered English, we reinforce the message that the doors to the best justice system in the world are open to everyone.
Our law demands it. Our Constitution demands it.
The courts of the 21st century will symbolize a new era. A turning point in our history occurred when we realized there was a smarter way to handle criminals.
Six years ago, my colleague and then Chief Justice Carol Hunstein accompanied
Representative Wendell Willard to Alabama to explore how that state was reforming its criminal justice system. Back in Georgia, Governor Deal seized the reins, brought together the three branches of government, and through extraordinary leadership, has made criminal justice reform a reality. Georgia is now a model for the nation.
Today, following an explosive growth in our prison population that doubled between
1990 and 2011 and caused corrections costs to top one billion dollars a year, last year our prison population was the lowest it has been in 10 years. Our recidivism rate is the lowest it’s been in three decades. And we have turned back the tide of rising costs.
For the last five years, the Georgia Council on Criminal Justice Reform – created by the governor and your legislation – has been busy transforming our criminal justice system into one that does a better job of protecting public safety while holding non-violent offenders accountable and saving millions in taxpayer dollars. I am extremely grateful to this Council and commend the steady leadership of co-chairs Judge Michael Boggs of the Court of Appeals and Thomas Worthy of the State Bar of Georgia.
Throughout this historic reform, Georgia’s trial court judges have been in the trenches.
Our number one goal in criminal justice reform is to better protect the safety of our citizens.
Central to that goal is the development of our specialty courts – what some call accountability courts.
These courts have a proven track record of reducing recidivism rates and keeping our
citizens safe. Nationwide, 75 percent of drug court graduates remain free of arrest two years after completing the program, and the most conservative analyses show that drug courts reduce crime as much as 45 percent more than other sentencing options. Last year, these courts helped save Georgia more than $51 million in prison costs.
From the beginning, you in the legislature have steadfastly supported the growth in these courts, most recently appropriating more than $19 million for the current fiscal year.
Georgia now has 131 of these courts, which include drug courts, DUI courts, juvenile and adult mental health courts, and veterans courts. Today, only two judicial circuits in the state do not yet have a specialty court, and both are in the early stages of discussing the possibility of starting one. In addition to those already involved, last year alone, we added nearly 3500 new participants to these courts.
Behind that number are individual tales of lives changed and in some cases, lives saved.
Our judges, who see so much failure, take pride in these success stories. And so should you.
Chief Judge Richard Slaby of the Richmond County State Court, speaks with great pride of Judge David Watkins and the specialty courts that have grown under Judge Watkins’ direction. Today the recidivism rate among the Augusta participants is less than 10 percent.
The judges who run these courts are committed and deserve our thanks. We are grateful to leaders like Judge Slaby, who is President-Elect of the Council of State Court Judges and a member of our Judicial Council; to Judge Stephen Goss of the Dougherty Superior Court, whose mental health court has been recognized as one of the best mental health courts in our country; to Chief Judge Brenda Weaver, President of the Council of Superior Court Judges and a member of our Judicial Council. Judge Weaver of the Appalachian Judicial Circuit serves on the Council of
Accountability Court Judges of Georgia, which you created last year by statute. Its purpose is to improve the quality of our specialty courts through proven standards and practices, and it is chaired by Superior Court Judge Jason Deal of Hall County. Judge Deal’s dedication to the specialty court model in his community, and his guidance and encouragement to programs throughout the state, are described as invaluable by those who work with him.
We may not have a unified court system in Georgia. But we have judges unified in their commitment to our courts. Among our one thousand four hundred and fifty judges, Georgia has many fine leaders. I’ve told you about a number of them today. In closing, I want to mention two more.
When the United States Supreme Court issued its historic decision last year on same-sex marriage, our Council of Probate Court Judges led the way toward compliance. Three months before the ruling was issued, the judges met privately at the behest of the Council’s then president, Judge Chase Daughtrey of Cook County, and his successor, Judge Don Wilkes of Emanuel County. Together, they determined that regardless of what the Supreme Court decided, they would follow the law. Both Governor Deal and Attorney General Sam Olens also publicly announced they would respect the court’s decision, despite tremendous pressure to do otherwise.
These men are all great leaders who spared our state the turmoil other states endured. The bottom line is this: In Georgia, we may like the law, we may not like the law, but we follow the law.
The day-to-day business of the Georgia courts rarely makes the news. Rather judges,
their staff and clerks spend their days devoted to understanding the law, tediously pushing cases through to resolution, committed to ferreting out the truth and making the right decision. It is not easy, and they must often stand alone, knowing that when they sentence someone to prison, many lives hang in the balance between justice and mercy.
So I thank all of our leaders, and I thank all of our judges who are leading our courts into the 21st century.
May God bless them. May God bless you. And may God bless all the people of Georgia.
I ran across this tonight, looking for something else, but it caught my eye and so I read it.
Knowing what I know about this country and being “awake”, I find the following pretty fucking interesting. What are your thoughts?:
Active Issues | Monitored Issues
ACTIVE LEGISLATIVE ISSUES
Independence of the Federal Judiciary
The Federal Bar Association reaffirms the importance of the independence of the judiciary, recognizing that judicial decisions are not immune from scrutiny, but are to be made solely on the basis of the law.
Funding for the Federal Courts
The Federal Bar Association supports adequate funding for the general and continuing operations of the federal courts, including an equitable level of rent and facilities expense consistent with actual costs, budgetary constraints, staffing needs and security considerations, to permit the courts to fulfill their constitutional and statutory responsibilities
Federal Judgeships and Caseloads
The Federal Bar Association supports the authorization and establishment of additional permanent and temporary federal judgeships, including bankruptcy judgeships, along with support personnel, as proposed by the Judicial Conference of the United States, when rising caseloads in the federal courts threaten the prompt delivery of justice. The Federal Bar Association also supports efforts to educate Congress, the legal profession and the general public about how the overwhelming case loads threaten the ability of the Third Branch of the federal government to function.
Federal Judicial Vacancies
The Federal Bar Association calls upon the President and Congress to act promptly and responsibly in nominating and confirming nominees to the federal appellate and district courts. The Federal Bar Association supports the development of strategies to reduce the time required to fill federal judicial vacancies.
The Federal Bar Association supports the adoption of adequate security measures to protect the federal judiciary, their families and court personnel in and outside the courthouse, while preserving meaningful public access to judicial proceedings.
Federal Judicial Pay
The Federal Bar Association support equitable compensation and regular periodic adjustments for the federal judiciary, as well as senior officials of the Executive Branch and Members of Congress, to promote the recruitment and retention of the highest quality public servants.
Respect for the Federal Courts
Declining public confidence in our courts undermines public respect for the courts and the legitimacy of their rulings. To counter that influence, the Federal Bar Association supports programming and other efforts to educate the public about the federal courts and the role they serve in assuring a just society.
Professionalism and Stature of Federal Attorneys
The Federal Bar Association supports and promotes efforts to improve the professionalism and stature of attorneys employed by the federal government, including: enhancements to the compensation packages of federal attorneys, including pay and retirement benefits, to assist in recruitment and retention; the expansion, consistent with applicable conflict of interest laws, of policies encouraging full participation of attorneys employed by the federal government in professional organizations and pro bono legal activities, including approval for use of administrative leave; enhanced federal funding for participation in continuing legal education and training programs, including paid tuition and administrative leave; and the establishment of programs for student loan deferral and repayment assistance for all federal attorneys, including federal law clerks, federal defenders and judge advocates of the Armed Forces, in support of recruitment and retention efforts.
Social Security Disability Appeals Backlog
The Federal Bar Association supports adequate funding and resources for the Social Security Administration to remove the significant backlog of disability benefit appeals awaiting adjudication and to assure the fair and timely administration of justice for all appellants.
Authority of Bankruptcy Judges in “Core Proceedings”
The Federal Bar Association supports amendment of bankruptcy law to expressly allow bankruptcy judges to issue proposed findings of fact and conclusions of law in core proceedings in which they are otherwise barred from entering final judgments under Article III of the United States Constitution.
Commission on Nazi-Confiscated Art Claims
The Federal Bar Association supports the Congressional creation of a commission to address identification and ownership issues related to Nazi-confiscated artworks, pursuant to the Washington Conference Principles on Nazi-Confiscated Art, as signed by the United States and the international community.
Article I Immigration Court
The Federal Bar Association supports the transfer of responsibilities for the adjudication of immigration claims from the Executive Office of Immigration Review within the Department of Justice to a specialized Article I court, as established by Congress, for the adjudication of claims under the Immigration and Naturalization Act.
Federal Criminal Sentencing
The Federal Bar Association supports efforts to advance fairness and consistency in federal sentencing, while preserving judicial independence and discretion to deal with the particular circumstances of individual cases.
Military Spouse Attorney Mobility
The Federal Bar Association supports state-level legal licensing accommodations, including bar admission without additional examination, for attorneys who are spouses of service members, i.e., members of the uniformed services of the United States as defined in 10 USC §101(a)(5), when: (1) those “military spouse attorneys” are present in a particular state, commonwealth, or territory of the United States or District of Columbia due to their service members’ military assignment; (2) they are graduates of accredited law schools; and (3) they are licensed attorneys in good standing in the bar of another state, commonwealth, or territory of the United States or District of Columbia.
Patent Litigation Reform
The Federal Bar Association supports legislation that curbs abusive patent litigation practices and other responsible measures to improve the quality and clarity of patents. The FBA opposes legislation that reduces judicial discretion in adjudicating patent actions or circumvents the Rules Enabling Act by mandating changes that depart from the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure in patent cases.
MONITORED LEGISLATIVE ISSUES
The Federal Bar Association supports the full funding of courthouse construction proposed by the Judicial Conference of the United States.
Cameras in the Courts
The Federal Bar Association encourages a discussion of the competing considerations vis-a-vis proposed legislation which would authorize federal judges, in their discretion, to permit photographing, electronic recording, broadcasting, and televising of federal court proceedings in appropriate circumstances.
Division of the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals
The Federal Bar Association opposes the division of the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals, consistent with its capacity to effectively and efficiently render justice.
Continuing Legal Education Funding for the Federal Judiciary
The Federal Bar Association supports the expansion of and enhancement of federal funding for continuing legal education and training programs for the federal judiciary.
Expansion of Federal Jurisdiction Over State and Local-Prosecuted Crimes
The Federal Bar Association advocates strict scrutiny of legislation proposing to grant original jurisdiction to federal authorities over crimes traditionally reserved to state and local prosecution.
Criminal Justice Act Panel Attorney Compensation
The Federal Bar Association supports Congressional funding to permit an increase in compensation rates for Criminal Justice Act panel attorneys.
National Security and Civil Liberties
The Federal Bar Association encourages the discussion of the competing considerations in the nation’s war against terror between the protection of civil liberties and the interests of national security.
Prevention of Epidemics and Civil Liberties
The Federal Bar Association encourages and contributes to a discussion of the competing considerations between governmental restrictions to guard against epidemics and pandemics and the preservation of individual rights, as well as the use of technology to ensure the continuance of participatory governance.
Safety of Administrative Judges
The Federal Bar Association supports the efforts by the Social Security Administration and the Executive Office of Immigration Review to take appropriate steps to ensure the security of their administrative law judges and immigration judges, and all others who participate in its proceedings.
Veteran Disability Claims Adjudication
The Federal Bar Association supports legislative and administrative improvements to the veterans disability claims process in the Department of Defense and Department of Veterans Affairs to assure equitable and expeditious determinations.
Attorney Fee-Based Representation of Veterans
The Federal Bar Association supports proposals to expand the availability of fee-based representation of veterans in the disability claims process and to oppose any efforts to repeal the authority of attorney representation to veterans in the furtherance of such claims.
The Federal Bar Association opposes legislative proposals to eliminate judicial discretion in the imposition of sanctions for frivolous litigation, including proposals to revise Rule 11 of the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure by imposing mandatory sanctions and preventing a party from withdrawing challenged pleadings on a voluntary basis within a reasonable time.
Adopted by the Board of Directors
Federal Bar Association
July 10, 2015
The compass of FBA’s government relations program is its Issues Agenda, a roster of policy priorities to which the Association devotes its advocacy resources. The policy priorities embraced by the Issues Agenda are associated with active issues that concern the health and welfare of the federal judicial system and effective federal legal practice. For example, they concern the preservation of judicial independence, adequate funding and facilities for the federal courts, sufficient numbers of federal judgeships, equitable compensation for the federal judiciary, fairness and consistency in federal sentencing and a host of other matters
So while the US citizen’s rights are being taken, they are constantly under surveillence, and the administration is trying to convince us, that to keep us safe, we must continue to give up more and more rights; the administration is supplying Al-Qaida weapons, so that they can continue being terrorists. There is something wrong with this picture!!!
GENERALS CONCLUDE OBAMA BACKED AL-QAIDA
Probe of military experts finds U.S. ‘switched sides’ in terror war
Published: 1 day ago
NEW YORK – The Obama White House and the State Department under the management of Secretary of State Hillary Clinton “changed sides in the war on terror” in 2011 by implementing a policy of facilitating the delivery of weapons to the al-Qaida-dominated rebel militias in Libya attempting to oust Moammar Gadhafi from power, the Citizens Commission on Benghazi concluded in its interim report.
In WND interviews, several members of the commission have disclosed their finding that the mission of Christopher Stevens, prior to the fall of Gadhafi and during Stevens’ time as U.S. ambassador, was the management of a secret gun-running program operated out of the Benghazi compound.
The Obama administration’s gun-running project in Libya, much like the “fast and furious” program under Eric Holder’s Justice Department, operated without seeking or obtaining authorization by Congress.
WND reported Monday that in exclusive interviews conducted with 11 of the 17 members of the commission, it is clear that while the CCB is still enthusiastic to work with Rep. Trey Gowdy, R-S.C., chairman of the House Select Committee on Benghazi, and hopeful that Boehner is serious about the investigation, various members of the CCB, speaking on their own behalf and not as spokesmen for the commission, are expressing concerns, wanting to make sure the Gowdy investigation is not compromised by elements within the GOP.
The Citizen’s Commission on Benghazi’s interim report, in a paragraph titled “Changing sides in the War on Terror,” alleges “the U.S. was fully aware of and facilitating the delivery of weapons to the Al Qaeda-dominated rebel militias throughout the 2011 rebellion.”
The report asserted the jihadist agenda of AQIM, the Libyan Islamic Fighting Group and other Islamic terror groups represented among the rebel forces was well known to U.S. officials responsible for Libya policy.
“The rebels made no secret of their Al Qaeda affiliation, openly flying and speaking in front of the black flag of Islamic jihad, according to author John Rosenthal and multiple media reports,” the interim report said. “And yet, the White House and senior Congressional members deliberately and knowingly pursued a policy that provided material support to terrorist organizations in order to topple a ruler who had been working closely with the West actively to suppress Al Qaeda.”
The report concluded: “The result in Libya, across much of North Africa, and beyond has been utter chaos, disruption of Libya’s oil industry, the spread of dangerous weapons (including surface-to-air missiles), and the empowerment of jihadist organizations like Al Qaeda and the Muslim Brotherhood.”
Christopher Stevens: ’1st U.S. envoy to al-Qaida’
In the WND interviews, several members of the citizens’ commission, speaking for themselves, not for the commission, added important background to the interim report’s conclusion.
“In early 2011, before Gadhafi was deposed, Christopher Stevens came to Benghazi in a cargo ship, and his title at the time was envoy to the Libyan rebels,’ which basically means Christopher Stevens was America’s very first envoy to al-Qaida,” explained Clare Lopez, a member of the commission who served as a career operations officer with the CIA and current is vice president for research at the Washington-based Center for Security Policy.
“At that time, Stevens was facilitating the delivery of weapons to the al-Qaida-related militia in Libya,” Lopez continued. “The weapons were produced at factories in Eastern Europe and shipped to a logistics hub in Qatar. The weapons were financed by the UAE and delivered via Qatar mostly on ships, with some possibly on airplanes, for delivery to Benghazi. The weapons were small arms, including Kalashnikovs, rocket-propelled grenades and lots of ammunition.”
Lopez further explained that during the period of time when Stevens was facilitating the delivery of weapons to the al-Qaida-affiliated militia in Libya, he was living in the facility that was later designated the Special Mission Compound in Benghazi.
“This was about weapons going into Libya, and Stevens is coordinating with Abdelhakim Belhadj, the leader of the Libyan Islamic Fighting Group, other al-Qaida-affiliated militia leaders and leaders of the Libyan Muslim Brotherhood that directed the rebellion against Qadhafi as an offshoot of the Egyptian Muslim Brotherhood,” Lopez said. “Many of the individual members of the al-Qaida-related militias, including the LIFG, and the groups that would later become Ansar Al-Sharia, were Muslim Brotherhood members first.”
According to the interim report, as detailed by Lopez, a delegation from the UAE traveled to Libya after the fall of Gadhafi to collect payment for the weapons the UAE had financed and that Qatar had delivered to the Transitional National Council in Libya during the war.
“The UAE delegation was seeking $1 billion it claimed was owed,” the interim report noted. “During their visit to Tripoli, the UAE officials discovered that half of the $1 billion worth of weapons it had financed for the rebels had, in fact, been diverted by Mustafa Abdul Jalil, the Muslim Brotherhood head of the Libyan TNC, and sold to Qaddafi.”
According to information discovered during the UAE visit to Tripoli, when Jalil learned that Maj. Gen. Abdel Fatah Younis, Gadhafi’s former minister of the interior before his late February 2011 defection to the rebel forces, had found out about the weapons diversion and the $500 million payment from Gadhafi, Jalil ordered Abu Salim Abu Khattala, leader of the Abu Obeida Bin al-Jarrah brigade to kill Younis.
“Abu Khattala, later identified as a Ansar al- Shariah commander who participated in the 11 September 2012 attack on the U.S. mission in Benghazi, accepted the orders and directed the killing of Gen. Younis in July 2011,” the interim report noted.
Abu Khattala is currently in custody in New York awaiting trial under a Department of Justice-sealed indictment, after U.S. Delta Force special operations personnel captured him over the weekend of June 14-15, 2014, in a covert mission in Libya. Abu Khattala’s brigade merged into Ansar al-Shariah in 2012, and he was positively identified to the FBI in a cell phone photo from the scene of the attack on the U.S. mission in Benghazi.
The language of the interim report made clear why the sequence of events is important.
“The key significance of this episode is the demonstration of a military chain-of-command relationship between the Libyan Muslim Brotherhood leadership of the TNC and the Al Qaeda-affiliated militia (Ansar al-Shariah) that has been named responsible for the attack on the U.S. mission in Benghazi,” the interim Rreport concluded.
“What we have here is the Muslim Brotherhood leadership of the revolution giving a kill order to a Muslim militia affiliated with al-Qaida, which then carried it out,” Lopez summarized. “This chain-of-command link is important even though it has not yet received enough attention in the media.
A big ‘oh no’ moment
“After Gadhafi is deposed and Stevens was appointed U.S. ambassador to Libya, the flow of weapons reverses,” Lopez noted. “Now Stevens has the job of overseeing the shipment of arms from Libya to Syria to arm the rebels fighting Assad, some of whom ultimately become al-Nusra in Syria and some become ISIS.”
Lopez distinguished that “al-Nusra in Syria still claims allegiance to al-Qaida, while ISIS has broken away from al-Qaida, not because ISIS is too violent, but out of insubordination, after Abu Bakr Al-Baghdadi, the leader of ISIS, wanted to run his own show inside Syria as well as Iraq, thereby disobeying orders from al-Qaida leader Ayman Al-Zawahiri.”
She noted that in this period of time, after the fall of Gadhafi and before the Sept. 11, 2012, attack on the Benghazi compound, Stevens was working with Turkey to ship weapons out of Libya into Syria for the use of the rebels fighting Assad.
According to the authors of the bestselling book “13 Hours,” on Sept. 11, 2012, before the attack on the Benghazi compound started, Stevens had dinner with Turkish Consul General Ali Sait Akin. Stevens reportedly escorted the Turkish diplomat outside the main gate of the Benghazi compound to say good-bye to Akin at approximately 7:40 p.m. local time, before he returned to Villa C to retire for the evening.
Kevin Shipp, a former CIA counterintelligence expert who worked on the seventh floor at Langley as protective staff to then-CIA Director William Casey, again speaking for himself in his interview with WND, agreed with Lopez that the gun-running operation Stevens managed is a secret the Obama White House and Clinton State Department have sought to suppress from the public.
“The shocking part, maybe even a violation of international law that the Obama administration has been terrified to have fully revealed, is that Stevens as part of his duties as a State Department employee was assisting in the shipment of arms first into Libya for the al-Qaida-affiliated militia, with the weapons shipped subsequently out of Libya into Syria for use by the al-Qaida-affiliated rebels fighting Assad,” Shipp told WND.
“Very possibly, these gun-running activities could be looked at even as treasonable offenses,” he said.
Shipp further noted that in gun-running operations in which the CIA wants deniability, the CIA generally involves a third party.
“The way the CIA works is through a ‘cut-out,’ in that you get Qatar to transport the weapons and you facilitate the transport. So now the third party is to blame,” he explained.
“Qatar probably would have been able to pull this off without any attribution to the CIA if the Benghazi attack had not happened. The attack basically shed the light on this operation the White House, the State Department and the CIA were trying to keep quiet,” he said.
“The attack on Benghazi was a big ‘oh no’ moment.”