Qatar – On a weekend night you can't escape the roar of race car engines along the coastal roads here in the Qatari capital. It must be a bit of a culture shock for the five Taliban detainees sprung from Guantanamo Bay last week in exchange for the freedom of Sergeant Bowe Bergdahl.
There has been an outcry from critics of the prisoner swap, who worry that these men with blood on their hands are getting off far too easily. Qatar's citizens are the richest in the world, per capita, but only a minority of residents here are actually citizens and the Taliban five are not among them.
We do know their families are coming here to live with the former prisoners in some sort of residential compound.
Sources here say they are likely to live in "5 star villas" along with more than a few of their compatriots who are already living in the Qatari capital at the expense of this gas-rich Emirate.
Qataris have a different relationship with the Taliban than does the U.S.
Afghanistan is not their war. These men and their families are fellow Muslims. And Qatar sees the latest prisoner swap as a humanitarian gesture. That is pretty much all Doha is saying.
The terms of the former Guantanamo prisoners' existence here have not been publicly spelled out either.
Price of coming forward: 37 VA whistle-blowers claim retaliation
Joshua Rhett Miller
By Joshua Rhett Miller
Published June 06, 2014
Dozens of Veterans Affairs workers who have come forward with stories of mismanagement and patient abuse say they have faced retaliation within the scandal-scarred agency, according to federal investigators.
In one case, a VA employee with a spotless record over two decades was suspended after reporting patients had been inappropriately restrained, according to one of 37 such complaints filed with the U.S. Office of Special Counsel (OSC). In another case, an employee claimed to have been demoted after disclosing alleged mishandling of patient care funds. The employee was temporarily reassigned and an investigation is still ongoing, OSC officials said.
The complaints, which involved VA facilities in 19 states, appear to show a culture that discourages whistle-bowing, said officials at the OSC, which is probing the claims.
“That fear is pervasive. But when there’s this much smoke, there’s often fire.”
- Joe Newman, Project on Government Oversight
“Receiving candid information about harmful practices from employees will be critical to the VA’s efforts to identify problems and find solutions,” Special Counsel Carolyn Lerner said in a statement Thursday. “However, employees will not come forward if they fear retaliation.”
#$%$ against #$%$
Dianne Feinstein: No threat to Bergdahl
Dianne Feinstein is pictured. | Getty
Feinstein says the administration is obligated to investigate Bergdahl’s capture. | Getty
By JONATHAN TOPAZ | 6/6/14 1:32 PM EDT
Senate Intelligence Chairwoman Dianne Feinstein said she has not seen any evidence that the Taliban would have killed Army Sgt. Bowe Bergdahl if details of an agreement had leaked, contrary to what Obama administration officials have said.
When asked whether there was a “credible threat” on Bergdahl’s life if word had gotten out, the California Democrat responded: “No, I don’t think there was a credible threat, but I don’t know. I have no information that there was.”
Feinstein’s comments, part of an interview with Bloomberg Television’s Political Capital with Al Hunt airing Friday evening, put her at odds with White House officials. At a briefing Wednesday, administration officials told lawmakers that they couldn’t give Congress advance notice on the Bergdahl deal because the Taliban vowed to kill him if any details about the prisoner exchange came out.
Feinstein and several other lawmakers have accused President Barack Obama of violating the law — specifically, a part of the 2014 National Defense Authorization Act — by not informing Congress of a prisoner exchange at least 30 days before. Top national security representatives House Armed Services Committee Chairman Buck McKeon (R-Calif.) and House Intelligence Committee Chairman Mike Rogers (R-Mich.) have blasted the administration for not keeping Congress in the loop. Rogers in particular said he hadn’t been briefed on Bergdahl by the White House since 2011.
DYCK MORRIS: “Not just because he’s a radical, not just because he’s a Democrat, but because he’s going to
raise the capital gains tax…It’s going to continue to tank. It’s lost 12 percent of its value in the last two days.” [Fox News, 11/07/08]
Good Call Dyck! How do you still have a job?
PAT BUCHANAN: “Two thousand points down on the Dow since Obama took office. That is a vote of no confidence.” [MSNBC, 3/3/09]
So I guess the the 10,000 point recovery is a vote of Confidence. Right Pat?