Beltway Insider: Benghazi Suspect Enters Plea; ISIS/ISIL Surges; Ukraine Cease Fire; Ebola Worsens

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Ahmed Abu Khatallah, the suspected mastermind behind the American Consulate terror attack has been formally charged in a U.S. court after being apprehended, without incident, in a resort location outside the coastal city of Benghazi, Libya.


According to Gallup, President Obama's job approval, over the past week increased two percentage points to 43% of those polled who approve of his effectiveness as President and those who disapprove of his effectiveness as President dropped three percentage points to 51%. 

Benghazi Suspect Enters Plea

Ahmed Abu Khatallah, 43, the alleged ringleader behind the Benghazi Terror attack, that killed four Americans, including Ambassador J. Christopher Stevens, immediately, after arrival in the United States, taken to federal court in the District of Columbia.

He appeared in court, casually dressed and heavily guarded. Through an interpreter, he entered the plea of "Not Guilty." Represented by a court appointed public defender, Khatallah has been given a representative from the Libyan embassy to ensure his rights are not violated.

"Our nation's memory is long, and our reach is far," said U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder. "The arrest of Ahmed Abu Khatallah represents a significant milestone in our efforts to ensure justice is served for the heinous and cowardly attack on the U.S. diplomatic facility in Benghazi."

Indicated one year ago, Khatallah was charged in a sealed criminal complaint in the District of Columbia for his alleged role in the attacks.

The Obama Administration has made the arrest and capture of those responsible for the September 11, 2012 terror attack that left the American Consulate burned to the ground, the highest priority.

Although the original indictment contained a three count criminal complaint containing a single death penalty eligible offense, Khatallah was only charged in his first U.S. court appearance with a single count.

Transported aboard the USS New York, the Libyan extremist was interrogated frequently prior to being read his Miranda rights and after.  He maintained constant dialogue with Federal officials after understanding he could remain silent.  

Federal officials have remained tight lipped and have not released any information regarding the level of the interrogation and if they produced any credible or previously unknown information. Nor has it been released if he provided information as to additional suspects or others who were present.

"The arrest of Khatallah proves that the U.S. government will expend any effort necessary to pursue terrorists who harm our citizens. Khatallah currently faces criminal charges on three counts, and we retain the option of adding additional charges in the coming days. Even as we begin the process of putting Khatallah on trial and seeking his conviction before a jury, our investigation will remain ongoing as we work to identify and arrest any co-conspirators. This is our pledge; we owe the victims of the Benghazi attack and their loved ones nothing less," Holder said.

Human Rights and Civil Society Activist Murdered

Salwa Bugaighis, a human rights and civil activist and catalyst for change was murdered this week in Benghazi, Libya.

National Security Advisor Susan E. Rice released this statement, "The United States strongly condemns yesterday's brutal and senseless murder of human rights and civil society activist Salwa Bugaighis in Benghazi, Libya.  I was deeply impressed by her courage, leadership and dedication to building a peaceful, democratic Libya where the rights and freedoms of all Libyan women and men are respected and protected.  We call on all Libyans to reject violent extremists seeking to silence their opponents and derail the aspirations of the Libyan people." 

Obama Sends War Powers Letter; ISIS/ISIL Surges;

ISIS/ISIL,the Iraqi terror grouployal to the methodology of former terror leader Osama Bin Laden, has advanced taking three border crossings, two Syrian and one Jordanian, as it gains ground and strongholds outside the capital city of Baghdad.

 Aligned with Syria ISIS/ISIL,has advanced further and has more resources available than any terror group in history, and as Osama Bin Laden was oil funded, the money behind this terror group must be considered.

"Specifically," the President said, "as I announced publicly on June 19, I have ordered increased intelligence, surveillance, and reconnaissance that is focused on the threat posed by the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL). I also ordered up to approximately 300 additional U.S. Armed Forces personnel in Iraq to assess how we can best train, advise, and support Iraqi security forces and to establish joint operations centers with Iraqi security forces to share intelligence and coordinate planning to confront the threat posed by ISIL."

All sources from the White House have indicated the president will not rule out air strikes and has yet to announce the criteria which will initiate military, firepower, assistance.

Ukraine Cease Fire

One month has passed since Petro Poroshenko, 48, was elected president of the Ukraine in an election that brought an historic turnout to the polls endorsing the former confections magnet, and the decision to distance the country's direction from Putin and the old Soviet guard and move forward into the new Ukraine.

In the past month, continued fighting along the eastern border in direct violation of Russian President Vladimir Putin's pledge to honor the election results, have brought fatalities to both sides.

"The United States remains concerned about the continued presence of Russian forces along the border and prepositioned heavy weaponry that we believe is intended for separatists.  Moving these forces away from the border, ceasing support for separatists, and calling on separatists to continue to abide by the ceasefire and disarm would send a clear signal that Russia is interested in a diplomatic settlement resulting in stability in eastern Ukraine," said White House Press Secretary Josh Earnest.

President Obama and Vice President Biden have remained in contact with both Presidents Putin and Poroshenko which is an improvement in Soviet relations.

Obama, during the phone conversation, urged the Russian president to press the separatists who are continuing to act as a destabilizing agent across the eastern Ukraine "to recognize and abide by the ceasefire and to halt the flow of weapons and materiel across its border into Ukraine."

President Obama also "emphasized that words must be accompanied by actions and that the United States remains prepared to impose additional sanctions should circumstances warrant, in coordination with our allies and partners."

Russian President Putin has remained sanctioned from participation in G7 leadership meetings as well as incurring sectorial sanctions over the continued violation of Ukraine territorial sovereignty that began with the invasion of Crimea.

The embattled leader, after taking the Crimean peninsula, initiated elections where Crimean residents voted, under duress, to formally secede from the Ukraine.

Crimea has yet to be returned to the Ukraine.  

Deadly Ebola Virus Outbreak Worsens; Pandemic Possible

Not since the initial Ebola virus and AIDS outbreak in the mid 1970's have officials voiced the level of concern calling for immediate intervention as the virus cases have been reported across three  West African nations.

The outbreak first reported in February has already become the deadliest outbreak in the 21st century with 657 known cases and more than half dead from the disease that attacks and causes rapid deterioration of the immune system.

The World Health Organization, (WHO) have indicated the cases are concentrated in Guinea, Sierra Leone and Liberia, all on the West African coast with the plague persisting in forested areas.

Although eradication methods have not been discussed the control options for the highly contagious disease are limited. Doctors Without Borders on the ground have sent communiqués expressing the need for "drastic action" to contain the Ebola outbreak that threatens to explode throughout the region.

Ebola beings with flu like symptoms with headaches, fever, chills, and diarrhea. The incubation period can ranges from eight to twenty-one days although horror stories are emerging of the disease ripping through the immune system in as little as two days. Ebola causes a break down in the immune system resulting in the inability of blood to clot which causes severe and irreparable internal bleeding.

The virus was initially reported by The Centers for Disease Control in 1976. Since then, isolated cases of the virulent disease have been reported throughout each decade since.

Governments, in response to the dangerous plague have instituted extraordinary measures and unusual policy making harboring any person contracting or exposed to the Ebola virus a crime. The virus is highly contagious, with no treatment or vaccine and has a 90% fatality rate.

The virus spreads through the exchange of bodily fluids and blood. In addition to sexual transmission, and exposure to contaminated objects, isolated cases across the past thirty years have included workers butchering infected animals and exposure to imported exotic cargo.  Ebola is also spread through the mishandling and unsafe burial practices of the dead. Death of an infected individual does not stop the diseases from contaminating others.

Border Jumping

"We want other countries in West Africa to be ready - bordering countries, Ivory Coast, Mali, Senegal, Guinea Bissau - to prepare themselves in case people affected with the disease may be also travelling," WHO medical officer Dr. Pierre Formenty told a briefing in Geneva.

Current concern is the apparent spread outside the original ground zero village in central Guinea, the largest nation with a reported 396 cases and 280 known deaths. Neighboring countries Sierra Leone 176 cases; 46 deaths, Liberia 63 cases, 41 deaths and recently  

Officials throughout the region along with WHO and other global health organizations are deeply concerned local villagers in these infected areas are not either understanding the ramifications of the deadly disease or are simply not aware they have been exposed and are returning to neighboring countries or making contact with strangers aiding the quick spread of this pandemic.

Ebola is considered so dangerous medical professionals treating patients are required to dress in a HazMat suit, including goggles, to prevent even a drop of blood from touching the care giver reducing the risk of exposure.

Ebola Timeline

The Centers for Diseases Control first reported Ebola in 1976 with cases reported approximately every ten years until the turn of the century when outbreaks became more frequent with six outbreaks occurring in the past 14 years.

Of the 3000 known cases, since 1976, more than half, 1600 have resulted in death. Ebola has five subspecies. Each named for the origination point Zaire Ebola virus (EBOV), Bundibugyo Ebola virus (BDBV), Sudan Ebola virus (SUDV), Taï Forest Ebola virus (TAFV) and Reston Ebola virus (RESTV) of the sub-strains RESTV, Reston is named after type found in Reston, Virginia after exposure to monkeys imported from the Philippines.        

The current and exploding outbreak in West Africa is believed to be Zaire Ebola, which is the most deadly and dangerous. Definite identification of the exact strain and even the confirmation of the virus itself is only available after five separate laboratory tests which often results in a delay of information, even with confirmation occurring post mortem.

An outbreak is considered over once 42 days, double the incubation period of the disease, have passed without any new cases.



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