Did Elizabeth O’Bagy commit Perjury?

It appears that Elizabeth O’Bagy – who works for a pro-Syrian rebel group and got into hot water recently, thanks to Senator John McCain (RINO-AZ) – signed an affidavit on behalf of an American citizen named Eric Harroun, who was indicted for fighting with terrorists. In her affidavit, O’Bagy essentially defends Harroun by saying that she could find no evidence the group he’s affiliated with (Al Aqsa brigades) is affiliated with Jabhat al-Nusra.

Elizabeth O'Bagy: Did she commit perjury?

Elizabeth O’Bagy: Did she commit perjury?

Via Fox News (h/t PJM’s Bryan Preston):

In the document, O’Bagy said she had reviewed the apparent Facebook page for the Al Aqsa Islamic Brigades, and found no signs of jihadist leanings.

“I have also reviewed a Facebook site … that purports to be associated with the al Aqsa (Islamic) brigades,” she stated in the affidavit. “The facebook site does not appear to be particularly jihadist in orientation, and posts videos associated with groups that are all affiliated with the Free Syrian Army.”

Yet newly uncovered images from the group’s Facebook page depict otherwise – including one that shows the U.S. Capitol building engulfed in flames, and armed fighters marching in the foreground. Other images show what appears to be a black-and-white flag, which is viewed by intelligence analysts as a sign of a group’s Islamist bent (although O’Bagy wrote that many fighters not affiliated with jihadist groups use a similar flag).

The Facebook postings, which had been up for weeks, were recently taken down following an NBC News investigative report about the group.

Fox goes on to say it’s possible that O’Bagy never saw the images. Based on O’Bagy’s background, it’s difficult to believe she doesn’t know the group’s intentions even without seeing the photos.

Moreover, consider that O’Bagy once insisted that Jabhat al-Nusra shouldn’t be designated as a terrorist group. Via McClatchy:

“I’m not saying they aren’t a terrorist group. But given the circumstances and given their cooperation with the opposition as a whole, designating them now would be disastrous,” said Elizabeth O’Bagy, an analyst with the Institute for the Study of War who recently returned from touring rebel-held areas to research Nusra and other Islamist groups. {emphasis ours}

In a recent interview with the Daily Caller’s Charles Johnson, O’Bagy was asked about that assertion, which she made just a few months prior to al-Nusra pledging allegiance to al-Qaeda:

O’Bagy told TheDC that she had opposed the terrorist designation because she feared it would damage the rebellion against Bashar al-Assad’s dictatorship.

“The point that I was trying to make in terms of al-Nusra being designated a terrorist organization was that at the time they had been embraced to a large degree by certain aspects of the population and they were very much seen as fighting for the cause,” she said. “I knew that designating them as a terrorist organization would have a very radicalizing impact on the ground. I wasn’t sure if that trend could be reversed. I was terrified that this could be an irreversible process of radicalization.” {emphasis ours}

It should be noted that based on her own explanation, O’Bagy admitted to not wanting the designation to be made, for strategic reasons, not because she didn’t believe it wasn’t accurate. This goes back to her being a political director for a group that lobbies for the rebels. Does this not establish motive?

This brings us back to that affidavit. Was her motivation for not identifying Harroun’s group as being a terrorist organization – when evidence indicates otherwise – similar?

Along these lines, take a look at this excerpt from O’Bagy’s affidavit:

“There are three distinct opposition groups in Syria that call themselves by the name al-Aqsa Islamic brigade. The three groups are located in (1) Homs, (2) the northern part of Syria in the area of Aleppo and Raqqa, and (3) the southern area of Syria near Deraa. These groups operate entirely independently of each other, and do not share any command structure or resources with each other. There is a facebook site associated with the al-Aqsa Islamic brigades in the northern region of Syria that lists the al-Nasser brigade as an affiliated force, but it is not possible to tell if this al-Nasser brigade is the same group as that depicted in the video.”

Evidence has now surfaced that this statement is demonstrably false. Again, to quote the part of the Daily Caller article in bold above. Did O’Bagy “fear(ed) it would damage the rebellion against Bashar al-Assad’s dictatorship” to identify Harroun’s group as being a terrorist group?

When factoring in her past actions and evidence via a now scrubbed facebook page, odds may be better than not. Speaking of scrubbed websites, the SETF’s site has undergone some very suspicious scrubbing as well.

Instead of asking if Sunni Muslim groups are terrorists, the question that must start being asked is:

Is any Sunni Muslim group in question part of the Muslim Brotherhood?

The answer to that question is almost always, exclusively, yes. When that question is answered in the affirmative, the enemy of the U.S. is thereby identified.

As of this writing, O’Bagy is still listed as the Political Director for the Syrian Emergency Task Force (SETF), though two of her colleagues have disappeared from the website – Ahmad Soliman and Cassie Chesley. It appears that the longer O’Bagy remains with the SETF, the more it will reveal about the group than it will about her.

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