Secretary of State Hillary Clinton sustained a concussion after becoming dehydrated and fainting, and will no longer testify Thursday before the House Foreign Affairs Committee on the deadly attack on the U.S. consulate in Benghazi, Libya.
Clinton had been suffering from a stomach virus at the time, according to a statement on Saturday from Philippe Reines, deputy assistant secretary of state.
She is being monitored by doctors and is recovering at home. She was never hospitalized, Reines said.
“At their recommendation, she will continue to work from home next week, staying in regular contact with Department and other officials. She is looking forward to being back in the office soon,” Reines said.
A senior State Department official added that the fainting occurred earlier in the week and the concussion was “not severe.”
Secretary Clinton had been scheduled to testify on Capitol Hill Thursday about the deadly attack in Benghazi, Libya, in September that killed four Americans, including the U.S. ambassador.
Jodi Seth, spokeswoman for Democratic Sen. John Kerry, Senate Foreign Relations Committee chairman, said in a statement that Clinton would not testify before that committee Thursday.
“Secretary Clinton’s team contacted Senator Kerry this morning to inform them of the Secretary’s concussion. Senator Kerry was relieved to hear that the Secretary is on the mend, but he insisted that given her condition, she could not and should not appear on Thursday as previously planned, and that the nation’s best interests are served by the report and hearings proceeding as scheduled with senior officials appearing in her place,” Seth said.
Rep. Ileana Ros-Lehtinen, R-Florida, who chairs the House Foreign Affairs Committee, said in a statement it was “unfortunate” Clinton would not be testifying before her committee either on Thursday.
William Burns and Thomas Nides, both Deputy Secretaries of State, will testify before that committee instead.
“Although I respect Bill and Tom, we still don’t have information from the Obama administration on what went so tragically wrong in Benghazi,” Ros-Lehtinen said. “We have been combing classified and unclassified documents and have tough questions about State Department threat assessments and decision-making on Benghazi. This requires a public appearance by the Secretary of State herself.”
The September 11, 2012, attack resulted in the deaths of four Americans, including Ambassador Chris Stevens, and called into question the security of U.S. diplomatic personnel abroad.
(Livia Acosta Noguera, the Venezuelan consul in Miami)
Anna Mahjar-Barducci (stonegateinstitute.org) Tensions are mounting between the U.S. and Venezuela as the State Department decided to expel Livia Acosta Noguera, the Venezuelan consul in Miami, declaring her “persona non grata.” The Venezuelan consul was implicated in an alleged plot to launch cyber attacks on U.S. nuclear power facilities. The decision was taken as a direct result of the revelations made by the documentary The Iranian Threat, aired by the U.S Spanish language channel Univision.
In the film, the Venezuelan consul was caught on camera backing Iranian-sponsored cyber-attack against U.S. targets in 2007, when she was vice-secretary in the Venezuelan Embassy in Mexico. According to the documentary, these cyber-attacks would be “worse than 9-11.” The State Department did not want to comment on this decision. However, a U.S. high official stated that this expulsion is a serious issue, as “we do not take it lightly when we declare somebody persona non grata.”
Before the expulsion, four members of the Congress — Ileana Ros-Lehtinen (Republican), Mario Diaz-Balart (Republican), David Rivera (Republican) and Albio Sires (Democrat) — wrote a letter to US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, expressing their “grave concern” over the “diplomatic credentials” of the Venezuelan Consul. “According to a documentary by Univision Network titled ‘The Iranian Threat‘ […] [the Venezuelan consul] interacted with members from the Iranian and Cuban embassies and with students posing as extremists […] in order to coordinate a cyber attack against the United States Government and our critical infrastructure systems at the White House, FBI, and CIA. If true, these actions demonstrate [Venezuelan consul’s] willingness to undermine U.S. interests and potential threat to our national security posed by [Venezuelan consul’s] activities. With this is mind, we respectfully request the Department of State to investigate these allegations, and if found true, declare her a persona non grata and require her immediate departure from the United States,” they wrote.
Congressman David Rivera also revealed that Washington has information that members of the Venezuelan diplomatic corps are also active officers of the Venezuelan intelligence services. This would mean that Venezuelan spies are allegedly acting freely in the U.S soil. Congressman Rivera warned that there should be an immediate investigation into further Venezuelan threats to the U.S. national security, especially given the cooperation between the Venezuela’s intelligence and Iran’s.
It seems clear that the State Department found these allegations to be true. According to Venezuelan media, the Venezuelan consul has been in Venezuela since December, having left the U.S. soon after the airing of the documentary. “We already knew that this was going to happen, and so she has been in Caracas in order to avoid situations, possibly even dangerous ones,” said the Venezuelan president Hugo Chavez, during a press conference.
Chavez added that the expulsion is a demonstration of “the ridiculous empire’s arrogance…..[The Venezuelan consul] is a very dignified professional, who was attacked, slandered and demonized by extremist groups and now by Barack Obama’s government,” he said, adding that – “She will continue working for our foreign service as she has done for many years.” Venezuela’s Foreign Minister Nicolas Maduro further stated that Venezuela is going to give a clear, firm and timely response about the issue.
The U.S. action against the Venezuelan Consul comes exactly at the time Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad visited Venezuela. It therefore seems a clear signal of disapproval that Washington wanted to send to Venezuela, given that the Venezuelan consul is accused of having backed an alleged Iranian plot to attack the U.S.
Ahmadinejad’s visit indicates the further strengthening of relations between Venezuela and Iran. During the visit, Ahmadinejad and Chavez took the opportunity to laugh at the U.S.’s concern over Iran’s nuclear program. “They accuse us of being warmongers,” said Chavez. “They, the Americans, are the threat.” Chavez also commented o being honored by Ahmadinejad’s visit. “Now Washington’s spokespersons are saying that it is not convenient for any country to get close to Iran. Well, the truth is that this makes us laugh,”Chavez said.
In a Univision interview, U.S. President Barack Obama declared that the Venezuelan government’s relations with Iran did not serve the interests of the Venezuelan people. “Ultimately, it is up to the Venezuelan people to determine what they gain from a relationship with a country that violates universal human rights and is isolated from much of the world. The Iranian government has consistently supported international terrorism that has killed innocent men, women and children around the world – including in the Americas. It has brutally suppressed the Iranian people simply for demanding their universal rights. And Tehran continues to pursue a nuclear program that threatens the security of the Middle East. Here in the Americas, we take Iranian activities, including in Venezuela, very seriously and we will continue to monitor them closely,” Obama said.
Chavez, however, seems not at all worried, and is evidently willing to keep on cooperating with Iran, even if this will lead to more U.S. sanctions. During the meeting with Ahmadinejad, the two heads of state agreed to expand cooperation in the fields of industry, science and nano-technology, as well as economy. They also called on the “imperialist and extremist powers to stop interfering in the internal affairs of other countries.”
It is clear, that despite the expulsion of the Venezuelan Consul, the U.S. should keep high alert, as other threats against the U.S. can come from Venezuela, in cooperation with Iran.
it’s too late. Oslo has already been voided. Time to make Judea and Samaria part of Israel.
Mark Tapscott Editorial Page Editor
President Obama and his Interior Secretary Ken Salazar have all but shut down the U.S. oil and natural gas industry drilling in the Gulf of Mexico, but foreign powers like China, Cuba and Venezuela aren’t hesitating to move in to take advantage of America’s bureaucratic paralysis.
Global Post reports preparations are moving forward for six wells in an area off the Florida coast in which U.S. experts have estimated could contain five billion barrels of oil. The Cubans are moving to tap into this potential energy bonanza with extensive aid from China, which built the massive drilling rig, and Hugo Chavez’ Venezuela, which is providing drilling and production expertise.
A Spanish firm, Repsol, with partners in Norway’s Statoil and Italy’s Saipem, will oversee the operation. For more from Global Post, go here. Not by coincidence, the latest data on U.S. drilling activity shows a continuing decline in the number of rigs in operation. The Washington Post reports this morning that another 10 units stopped operating, leaving a total of 1,958. Most of the newly idled rigs are in Texas.HAVANA, Cuba — Somewhere between here and China, a hulking, hungry oil rig dubbed “Scarabeo 9” is making its way across the oceans, preparing to put a very controversial hole deep in the Gulf of Mexico.
To nervous Floridians, even its name suggests “scare,” or “scar.” It will puncture the sea floor in Cuban-controlled waters just 60 miles off the Florida Keys, not far from a protected coastline where offshore drilling is banned under U.S. law.
More from Cuba: Economic inequality on the rise
U.S. geologists believe there may be 5 billion barrels of oil down there. Cuban studies estimate the total at four times that, enough to put the island on par with mid-size energy exporters in the region like Ecuador and Colombia.
A major oil strike could rescue Cuba’s struggling socialist system from its financial woes, giving the Castro government access to new credit and a potentially lucrative industry.
More from Cuba: Venezuelan subsidies keep Cuba afloat
Having conducted test wells in the area before, Spanish energy company Repsol and its partners are now bringing the Chinese-built Scarabeo 9 to a site off Cuba’s northwest coast, where it aims to drill as soon as November at a depth of more than 5,500 feet, deeper than the blown-out well that spewed 5 million barrels of crude into the Gulf last summer.
That disaster has added to anxiety about Cuba’s exploration efforts, but it has also intensified calls for U.S. officials to engage the Castro government on spill prevention and contingency plans.
A high-level delegation of U.S. oil-spill experts traveled to Havana this week to meet with Cuban officials. It has urged the Obama administration to cooperate with the Castro government on a joint-response plan that could avert environmental catastrophe for both countries.
India and Pakistan are the powerhouses of South Asia as well as historic enemies. How do their military forces stack up today?
Last week’s winner compares the military might of two continually feuding countries. Check the membership site in late-September for a link to completed piece.
The delegation included William Reilly, co-chair of the presidential commission that investigated last year’s spill at the Deepwater Horizon rig, at the well known as Macondo.
“The fact that Cuba is about to drill six wells in the next two years, some of them very deep, deeper than Macondo, in places we wouldn’t allow it if it were in our waters … you better believe that the United States has an important interest in that,” Reilly said.
“The Cubans have never regulated this industry, they don’t have familiarity with it, but they are doing things to get ready for it,” he added. “We want to make sure the Cubans have got the lessons we learned, and get a sense of what they do need — that the U.S., in its own interest — would help them get.”
Congresswoman Ileana Ros-Lehtinen (R-Fla.), a long-time Castro foe, criticized the delegation’s visit, saying it gave “credibility” to Cuba’s attempt to become “the oil tycoons of the Caribbean.” Other lawmakers have also urged retaliatory measures against Repsol.
But experts say with Cuba moving forward, the U.S. should help them do so as safely as possible. Some of the industry’s leading safety-equipment providers and cleanup contractors are nearby along the Gulf Coast, but the U.S. trade embargo bars them from doing business with the island.
In recent months, Cuban authorities have given minimal information about their drilling plans, but the U.S. delegation gave new details into the project.
The fact that the drilling rig was built in China should not raise concerns, said delegation member Lee Hunt, president of the Houston-based International Association of Drilling Contractors, a trade group. As many six other rigs already working safely in the Gulf of Mexico were built in the same Chinese shipyard, Hunt said.
“It has the latest generation of equipment,” said Hunt.
American trade sanctions against Cuba prohibited the use of more than 10 percent U.S. technology in the rig’s construction, but Hunt said the Norwegian-designed platform will have an American-made blowout-prevention system that is more advanced than the one which failed on the Deepwater Horizon.
While Cuban oil officials will manage and regulate the operations, the engineers and crews doing the actually drilling will be composed of experienced international oil workers, said Hunt. An Italian firm, Saipem, will be operating the rig, and Repsol’s partners include Statoil, a Norwegian company that he and others praise as a world leader in safe deepwater drilling.
When asked how closely U.S. oil companies were following Cuba’s drilling plans — and if they might be angling behind the scenes for access to its waters — members of the delegation said it would depend on the size of the find.
If the deposits hold close to 20 billion barrels, as Cuban geologists claim, that would probably attract some interest, said delegation member Richard Sears, a former vice president and deepwater drilling specialist at Royal Dutch Shell.
For now, though, Sears said, U.S. firms will likely prefer to work in parts of the world with proven hydrocarbon reserves and fewer political hurdles than Cuba. “The challenge for any company is how you allocate resources,” he said.
“Do I want to fight political and public-relations battles?” said Sears. “Or do I put my resources into other parts of the Gulf of Mexico where I have well-established leases?”
Threatening the UN financially won’t work if Obama and Clinton think the Jews will vote for them anyway.August 29, 2011
…And then there was Secretary of State James Baker’s infamous “fuck the Jews” remark. In a private conversation with a colleague about Israel, Baker reportedly uttered the vulgarity, noting that Jews “didn’t vote for us anyway.” This was more or less true—Bush got 27 percent of the Jewish vote, compared with 73 percent for Dukakis, in 1988. And thanks in part to Baker, it was even truer in 1992, when Bill Clinton got 78 percent of the Jewish vote and Bush got only 15 percent—the poorest showing by a Republican candidate since Barry Goldwater in 1964. via slate.com
Money talks – even at the UN – Carl