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Iran saber-rattling: Trump as Israel stooge is not  a part of the solution, he is a part of the problem.

Even for those who support American empire it is now clear that Trump is a dangerous, malleable idiot with gasoline and matches and needs to be removed ASAP

The point is: Trump is loose cannon. No-one knows what the narcissistic jackass decides next. No good prospects for the world.
 

 

News Full Spectrum Dominance doctrine Recommended Links Shoot-first-ask-questions-later: Trump ME policy Mike "we killed up to 200 Russians" Pompeo Energy Geopolitics Soleimani assassination opened Pandora box in the Middle East The Role of Pro-Israel forces in US Iran Policy New American Militarism
Media-Military-Industrial Complex Neocon foreign policy is a disaster for the USA  Trump as America’s First Zionist President  History of American False Flag Operations American Exceptionalism China factor in Cold War II and the possibility of China-Russia military alliance Mark Esper - Wikipedia National Security State Demonization of Putin
 Zombie state and coming collapse of neoliberalism Trump after his Colin Powell moment Hillary Clinton and Obama created ISIS   Audacious Oligarchy and "Democracy for Winners" Doublespeak Neocolonialism as Financial Imperialism Neoliberalism as Trotskyism for the rich Militarism and reckless jingoism of the US neoliberal elite Blowback against neoliberal globalization
Israel lobby Predator state Nation under attack meme Non-Interventionism Trump2016 foreign policy platform Resurgence of neo-fascism as reaction on neoliberalism Skeptic Quotations Humor Etc
 
“Pompeo’s been caught lying, which horrifies me,” said Fred Wellman, a 1987 grad who retired as a lieutenant colonel and has been one of the more vocal detractors of his fellow cadets now running the government. “So I’ve been discouraged by what I’ve seen coming out of the military academy graduates involved in the administration.”

Trump’s ‘West Point Mafia’ Faces a Loyalty Test - POLITICO

They had a handshake agreement, which was why Soleimani wasn’t under protection. The Solemiani killed Americans stuff cracks me up. He was a military advisor for the Shia militia’s who were attacked by US forces during a unsanctioned war in 2003………….uh derp derp. There have been many other generals that have committed “death of American” crimes that the Trump Admin seems to love.

As my father used to say “homosexuals make great commie fighters” (homosexuals like Joe McCarthy of Wisconsin agree lol). The Zionists so badly want this war in the Trump administration, but Trump doesn’t have the guts to just invade like Iraq.

Bert Schlitz, January 10, 2020 3:46 pm

Killing of General Soleimani  on what looks to be a diplomatic mission (or in other version to visit burial of fighters killed previously by US strikes) was the act of war.  He was a high level Iran official.  Which make his assassination a very cowardly act on the part of Trump, Pompeo, and Esper. Which rabid exceptionalisms like Mike  "We lie, cheat and steal" Pompeo do not care one bit, relying of the USA unquestionable military superiority.

Which  does exist, but without nuclear weapons is no longer absolute, because we are taking about fighting on the local to Iran battlefield with the 80 million nation which can get 10-20 million army and which might well be supported by both Russia and China (making this for the USA the second Vietnam). Iran definitely can inflict Vietnam size  losses on the local US contingent.  The USA will win but it will be Pyrrhic victory and the end of the USA-centered global neoliberal empire as we known it.  Including possible liberation of Europe from the USA occupation.

With oil prices jumping  above two  hundred dollars per barrel (assuming Iran, KSA, Iraq and all Gulf state oil infrastructure bombed out) economically this means a serious economic crisis in all Western countries. So this will be a Pyrrhic victory in one more sense. The USA will finally manage to capture Iranian oil, but not before crashing its own and its allies economy.

This event might signify the start of gradual replacement of dollar with euro dollar as the main world reserve currency (assuming that EU will be intact.) But his can happen only if Saudis, Iran and Iraq facilities will be completely destroyed in the process. In most case we also can expect that Israel might suffer serious losses in both people and infrastructure.

Looks like malleable and incompetent Trump was lured into this trap by West Point 86 graduates gang of greedy military contractors (Pompeo and Esper). Esper previously was disloyal to Trump, when he stood up for Army Lt. Col. Alexander Vindman, a senior staff member on the NSC, who at the time was involved with formulating Ukraine policy and who has testified to House investigators in the probe against Trump. The Secretary of State’s behavior has been  neoconish for all his tenure 

Trump, the cowardly bully that he is, probably would have avoid this step, if Pompeo was less insistent (he and Esper flied to Florida).   Now Pompeo head is on the block and he is engaged in face saving PR campaign appearing on all major MSM and trying to hide that Trump administration really has  zero intelligence on "eminent threat" that would somehow justify this cowardly act and to hide as much as possible from public view.  Meanwhile Iraq Prime Minister Adil Abdul-Mahdi confirmed that he was scheduled to meet Soleimani, making effectively Soleimani a diplomatic envoy MoA - Iraqi Parliament Expels Foreign Militaries From Iraq

"Before the vote Prime Minister Adil Abdul-Mahdi told the parliament that he was scheduled to meet with Soleimani a day after his arrival to receive a letter from Iran to Iraq in response to a de-escalation offer Saudi Arabia had made. The U.S. assassinated Soleimani before the letter could be delivered by him. "

This killing raises again an important question: Why the USA invaded Iraq and what are geopolitical goals of continuing Iraq occupation? Most political analysts single out two major factors: control of Iraq oil and Israel interests in the region.

Killing of Soleimani clearly plays into Israel hands. Chris Matthews once asked the question of the level of contorl of neocons of the USA forign policy and David Corn said it is close to 100% and the goal of the neoconservative is to protect Israel.  Here’s part of the exchange:

Matthews: Why were the people in the administration like [Paul] Wolfowitz and the others talking about going into Iraq from the very beginning, when they got into the white house long before there was a 911 long before there was WMD. It seemed like there was a deeper reason. I don’t get it. It seemed like WMD was a cover story.

Corn: I can explain that. For years. Paul Wolfowitz and other members of the neocon movement had talked about getting rid of Iraq and there would be democracy throughout the region that would help Israel and they came to believe actually a very bizarre conspiracy theory that al Qaeda didn’t matter, that Saddam Hussein was behind all the acts of violence…

Matthews: The reason I go back to that is there’s a consistent pattern: the people who wanted that war in the worst ways, neocons so called, Wolfowitz, certainly Cheney.. it’s the same crowd of people that want us to overthrow Bashar Assad, .. it’s the same group of people that don’t want to negotiate at all with the Iranians, don’t want any kind of rapprochement with the Iranians, they want to fight that war. They’re willing to go in there and bomb. They have a consistent impulsive desire to make war on Arab and Islamic states in a neverending campaign, almost like an Orwellian campaign they will never outlive, that’s why I have a problem with that thinking. … we’ve got to get to the bottom of it. Why did they take us to Iraq, because that’s the same reason they want to take us into Damascus and why they want to have permanent war with Iran.

Because Soleimani is by-and-large byproduct of imperial wars the USA wages in Middle East we can state that the USA created the man and then killed him, creating a symbol of struggle against military American presence in the region.   And now as a martir he  will inflect even heavier damage on the occupying fouces then  when he was alive.  First of all he now is powerful recruitment force to anti-American groups in Iraq (Soleimani brigades).

Paradoxically with one masterful  strike Trump achieved the situation which existed at the height of Iraqis fight againt US occupation: until the hysteria connected with Soleimani murder subside no American (military contractor,  or civilian) outside fortified areas like military bases can feel safe in Iraq.  and probably several other Middle East countries.

It is worse than a crime, it is a mistake ~Talleyrand (attributed)

  C'est pire qu'un crime, c'est une faute.
It is worse than a crime, it is a mistake.

Reaction to the 1804 drumhead trial and execution of Louis Antoine de Bourbon, Duke of Enghien, on orders of Napoleon. Actually said by either Antoine Boulay de la Meurthe, legislative deputy from Meurthe (according to the Oxford Dictionary of Quotations) or Joseph Fouché, Napoleon's chief of police (according to John Bartlett, Familiar Quotations, 10th ed. (1919), http://www.bartleby.com/100/758.1.html).

In other words, what Trump committed  is worse the a crime. It was a blunder. He pained the USA in the corner as a rogue state ( which actually it has been since 1991). The Trump impeachment now comes into play as part of a WEspern realignment or restructuring of the USA Mid-Wast position.  As somebody said   “There are decades when nothing happens, but there are weeks when decades happen” I would not be  now surprised if Trump will lose 2020 re-election bid.   He is now considered dangerous rogue by a strata of independents, those who are able to think about the insanity of the USA foreign policy (and voted for Trump mainly duie to his 2016 anti-war stance). The policy which push the money to MIC while domestic infrastructure, jobs  and wages crumbles  (which is not the majority of the USA electorate) impoverishing most Americans like in classic over-extended empire scenario.  The last such case was the USSR. How it ended we now from history.

What is likely to be happening is that the US will not quit Iraq willingly, despite the  resolution of Parliament. Which will lead to increased public and armed resistance to the US, as indeed happened under Bush-Cheney regime. Moqtada al-Sadr, a powerful Shia cleric whose parliamentary alliance holds 54 of the 329 seats in Iraq’s legislature, called on militants inside and outside Iraq to create “International Resistance Legions” to end America’s military presence in the country, by force if necessary( Iraqi Parliament Backs Expulsion of US Troops Background and What to Expect Next - Sputnik International)

Rephrasing Kissinger: " Assassination is not a policy; it is an alibi for the absence of one".

What is now clear is that Trump is a neocon, or, worse, incompetent and malleable neocon puppet. And appointment of a Rapture obsessed warmongering Secretary of State was not accidental.

But it is kind of ironic to have as the top diplomat a person, who in addition to being a former military contractor (with the appropriate circle of the West Point friends, some of them probably killed or injured during Iraq invasion/occupation) is a big friend of the current head of Mossad (that's probably was the origin of his love of assassinations :-)

He is much better suited for MIC lobbyist position, than for diplomacy. Killing one person even talented and high ranking commander of the Iran army will have no effect on the total direction/methods/capabilities. It is just empower Iran hawks.

But the deep irony of Trump-Pompeo-Esper trio assassination gambit is that Soleimani was one of the key figures in defeating ISIS in Iraq and Syria and used to work with US high command. If this is not the "destruction of credibility" I do not know what is. It feels like ""The Moor has done his duty, the Moor can go."

So the vote of Iraq Parliament should not come as a huge surprise; this was logical consequence of this action. Iran surprised me attacking some objects in Iraq. This was a signature event: looks like the official end of the period of "Full spectrum Dominance". Of course, Iran incompetence with shooting down the Ukrainian airliner spoiled the broth, but still...

Reports are the Pompeo was after Soleimani for a long time, and that the neocon duo of Pomeo-Esper pushed Trump, who felt impeachment pressure and wanted to wag the dog in any case.

But again we can talk about consequences we need to wait for the 2020 elections. I do not think that this action was positive for Trump re-election chances. His base is glued to him no matter what.

But Trump with one masterstroke lost all anti-war republicans and most probably a substantial part of army vote. The army is overextended and is tired of imperial wars. With the proper candidate that may play into Democrats hands in 2020 elections.

Especially, if Tulsi will be on the ticket as a VP (there is almost zero chance for that; and IMHO little chances for Sanders or Warren to be the candidate from Neoliberal Dems )

Can the USA continue to occupy Iraq

There's no doubt that the US can hold out for a while, but a renewed US full military occupation would not be appreciated back home, especially if new flow of the body-bags is implied.

Iraqi parliament resolution about status of the foreign forces in the country is just one small step that now complicated the USA policies in the Middle East. And while the USA will ignore it (and probably it does not have binding legal power, as the government of Iraq is a marionette government who can't act against the USA) the consequences of such a vole are net negative for Trump administration -- the USA forces now clearly viewed as an occupying, hostile force.  Still I see Iraq as a US territory. Like Guam or Puerto Rico. Or Europe for that matter.

augrr | Jan 5 2020 20:23 utc | 102

One can speculate on and debate all kinds of alternative actions and outcomes for Iraq to take if the US refuses to leave, or more importantly, ignores any “no-fly” orders. As I think most of the readers of this blog put a very low probability on US compliance with whatever Iraq officially requests.

Without an ally with the clout to get the US's attention and respect Iraq's wishes will be swatted aside like a pesky mosquito.

There is exactly one – and only one – military opponent at this moment that can credibly challenge the US if Iraq were to ask for help with enforcing the will of its government. A showdown between the old hegemon and a new multipolar power constellation has been on the cards as a future event for some time, with “future” being the operative word.. The current series of events creates the potential to accelerate this transition. I would not be at all surprised if the phone lines between Moscow, Beijing and Teheran have been buzzing fulltime for the past 24 hours. President Putin is essential in this potential team, having the military means, Iran is a given as they are the ultimate US target here, which leaves China. China also knows that at some time it will have to face and defeat the US – but would prefer a time and cause of its choosing. It may be sufficient to get the US out of Iraq if all three together declare their support for Iraq and its decisions.

I knew 2020 would bring interesting times.

Tom_LX | Jan 5 2020 21:00 utc | 113

@juliania | Jan 5 2020 19:53 utc | 96

Lets face it. The US government is captured. Voting will not undo what has been done since at least 1963, assassination of John F. Kennedy. He was the last clear headed US President we had (Carter was not bad) which did not save him from the killing team in Dallas. From that point on we have been on a slow (so as to keep the sheep asleep) downward trajectory. At a minimum we would need to reverse this graph to give any hope of waking up the populace before it is too late.

https://www.personalgrowthcourses.net/images/media-ownership.gif
MSM has people's minds completely frozen to the narrative coming out of DC while Hollywood sends out subtle signals "We are watching and listening to you" with movies like "The Conversation". Perhaps I am wrong and they are awake. Perhaps they are simply too afraid to express what they think. I don't know. I'm just one soul behind a keyboard.

and reassert the need for Trump and his administration to be impeached on treasonous grounds.
"The Buck Stops Here" always operates. Trump is behind the Big Desk because he wanted to be there so he must take the responsibility. But I remind everyone that in the case of Syria Trump initially signaled pulling out all US troops. Then suddenly he stayed "For the Oil". That reversal I interpret as him being on an Israeli leash. He got a Bibi offer he could not refuse and he had to stay under the excuse of Oil, as befitting a business guy. Shallow, stupid for sure but no one would argue.

So Trump is not enough. Clinton (Yugoslavia), Bush Jr., Cheney, Rumsfeld, Colon Powell, ..... did more of the damage to get us where we are today. Later facts came out showing them to be lying to the Nation and what happened ? -----> NOTHING. Trump impeachment was a Show from the word GO. Clinton was played the same way. To play nice at the end of his term he pardoned a poor guy named Mark Rich. That's how the game is played. What's funny, all this information is out there !!!!

Why Trump-Popeo-Esper decided to Soleimani. Why now?

When we are analyzing recent actions of the USA on Middle East that  are two competing explanatory hypothecs

Nowhere those two completing hypothesis are visible more clear then in analysis of Soleymani murder. For example Scott Ritter clearly prefer the second hypothesis He does not even mention  that role of Israel in Soleimani assassination ( The US unwittingly helped create Qassem Soleimani. Then they killed him. — RT Op-ed.

 Colonel Lang takes similar position  in his opinion peace and opinion peace of TTG: 

As usual, Philip Giraldi see Israel influence as the primary factor in this despicable act.  The Soleimani Assassination, by Philip Giraldi - The Unz Review

Donald Trump rode to victory in 2016 on a promise to end the useless wars in the Middle East, but he has now demonstrated very clearly that he is a liar. Instead of seeking detente, one of his first actions was to end the JCPOA nuclear agreement and re-introduce sanctions against Iran. In a sense, Iran has from the beginning been the exception to Trump’s no-new-war pledge, a position that might reasonably be directly attributed to his incestuous relationship with the American Jewish community and in particular derived from his pandering to the expressed needs of Israel’s belligerent Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu.

His views are supposed by a sizable part of commentarial from the Moon of Alabama. The site that usually provide a high quality geopolitical analysis. For example

Nathan Mulcahy | Jan 5 2020 17:06 utc | 50

I am reposting this because the recent developments all point finger to this. BTW, in no way am I excusing Trump as a victim.

The Ziocon-Deep State-Kosher Nostra Mob has the disposable President, aka the Orange Man aka Drimpf by the balls. The Mob was going to get its war with Iran anyway - most likely after the re-election of Drumpf. But now Satanyahu desperately needs a war to stay out of prison. So the ZOG neutered Drumpf by impeaching him out of thin air (while ignoring many legitimate grounds). Drumpf now needs every vote in Senate, and the war with Iran is the ticket. With this war Drumpf just lost his practically guaranteed reelection chance. Of course this is the preferred outcome for the Mob anyway. Now the Mob will have its cake and eat it too. It will get its preferred President (another Bush or another Obama or another Clinton - of either gender, etc. ).as well as have its Iran war.

Was Soleimani on Diplomatic mission?

Several commenters at Moon or Alabama share the view that Soleimani was of some kind of official mission (which might be a trap) or even at the time of his killing enjoyed a diplomatic status of envoy:

"Before the vote Prime Minister Adil Abdul-Mahdi told the parliament that he was scheduled to meet with Soleimani a day after his arrival to receive a letter from Iran to Iraq in response to a de-escalation offer Saudi Arabia had made. The U.S. assassinated Soleimani before the letter could be delivered by him. Abdul-Mahdi also said that Trump had asked him to mediate between the U.S. and Iran. Did he do that to trap Soleimani? It is no wonder then that Abdul-Mahdi is fuming."

Saker views on the issue

Noted military analyst Saker hold position that  consequences for the USA of this killing will high highly negative. But,while an excellent analyst, he often exaggerate negative consequences for the USA or its actions.

Well, my first though when reading these bullet points is that General Qasem Soleimani has already struck out at Uncle Shmuel from beyond his grave . What we see here is an immense political disaster unfolding like a slow motion train wreck. Make no mistake, this is not just a tactical "oopsie", but a major STRATEGIC disaster . Why?

For one thing, the US will now become an official and totally illegal military presence in Iraq. This means that whatever SOFA (Status Of Forces Agreement) the US and Iraq had until now is void.

Second, the US now has two options:

The main problem with the current (and very provisional) outcome is that both the Israel Lobby and the Oil Lobby will now be absolutely outraged and will demand that the US try to use military power to regime change both Iraq and Iran.

Needless to say, that ain't happening (only ignorant and incurable flag-wavers believe the silly claptrap about the US armed forces being "THE BEST").

Furthermore, it is clear that by it's latest terrorist action the USA has now declared war on BOTH Iraq and Iran.

This is so important that I need to repeat it again:

The USA is now at war, de-facto and de-jure , with BOTH Iraq and Iran.

I hasten to add that the US is also at war with most of the Muslim world (and most definitely all Shias, including Hezbollah and the Yemeni Houthis).

Next, I want to mention the increase in US troop numbers in the Middle-East. An additional 3'000 soldiers from the 82nd AB is what would be needed to support evacuations and to provide a reserve force for the Marines already sent in. This is NOWHERE NEAR the kind of troop numbers the US would need to fight a war with either Iraq or Iran.

Finally, there are some who think that the US will try to invade Iran. Well, with a commander in chief as narcissistically delusional as Trump, I would never say "never" but, frankly, I don't think that anybody at the Pentagon would be willing to obey such an order. So no, a ground invasion is not in the cards and, if it ever becomes an realistic option we would first see a massive increase in the US troop levels, we are talking several tens of thousands, if not more (depending on the actual plan).

No, what the US will do if/when they attack Iran is what Israel did to Lebanon in 2006, but at a much larger scale. They will begin by a huge number of airstrikes (missiles and aircraft) to hit:

Iranian air defenses Iranian command posts and Iranian civilian and military leaders Symbolic targets (like nuclear installations and high visibility units like the IRGC) Iranian navy and coastal defenses Crucial civilian infrastructure (power plants, bridges, hospitals, radio/TV stations, food storage, pharmaceutical installations, schools, historical monuments and, let's not forget that one, foreign embassies of countries who support Iran). The way this will be justified will be the same as what was done to Serbia: a "destruction of critical regime infrastructure" (what else is new?!)

Then, within about 24-48 hours the US President will go on air an announce to the world that it is "mission accomplished" and that "THE BEST" military forces in the galaxy have taught a lesson to the "Mollahs". There will be dances in the streets of Tel Aviv and Jerusalem (right until the moment the Iranian missiles will start dropping from the sky. At which point the dances will be replaced by screams about a "2nd Hitler" and the "Holocaust").

Then all hell will break loose (I have discussed that so often in the past that I won't go into details here).

In conclusion, I want to mention something more personal about the people of the US.

Roughly speaking, there are two main groups which I observed during my many years of life in the USA.

Group one : is the TV-watching imbeciles who think that the talking heads on the idiot box actually share real knowledge and expertise. As a result, their thinking goes along the following lines: " yeah, yeah, say what you want, but if the mollahs make a wrong move, we will simply nuke them; a few neutron bombs will take care of these sand niggers ". And if asked about the ethics of this stance, the usual answer is a " f**k them! they messed with the wrong guys, now they will get their asses kicked ".

Group two : is a much quieter group. It includes both people who see themselves as liberals and conservatives. They are totally horrified and they feel a silent rage against the US political elites. Friends, there are A LOT of US Americans out there who are truly horrified by what is done in their name and who feel absolutely powerless to do anything about it. I don't know about the young soldiers who are now being sent to the Middle-East, but I know a lot of former servicemen who know the truth about war and about THE BEST military in the history of the galaxy and they are also absolutely horrified.

 

Iran leadership position should be very reserved as time is working in their favor.

From military and strategic perspectives the deal the  General Soleimani means the declaration of war. But the rule is if your enemy made a mistake do not interrupt him. And this was not a mistake, this was a blunder -- creating martyr who now will recruit thousands of young Iranians and Iraqis to fight the USA presence in the region.  

Iran is known to be pragmatic, and will likely find a way to walk around the issue of retaliation without needing to go to war. At the same time Trump clearly pushed Iran out of its comfort zone, obliging Iran to respond with an assassination attack similar to that which the US just perpetrated. Last year, Iran refrained from downing a US spy plane with 38 officers on board. It is unlikely to show such forbearance in the near future.

Of course, logically Iran should not rush into retaliating. No one in a military hierarchy is irreplaceable. Soleimani’s aides and high officials in the intelligence ministry are certainly more than capable of picking up his mantle and continuing his policies. He was in his position for 20 years, which is a way too much and counterproductive.

It more likely that Iran keep the US waiting for a possible attack on many fronts, exhausting its finances and security measures to protect its forces, its commanders and VIPs. They will seek to avoid dragging Iran and the Middle East into an all-out-war.

The war in which Iran can inflict heavy casualties to the USA allies in the region buy pay a heavy price by itself -- be  destroyed.  Continental USA is out of reach for Iran.

So quit work on enhancing its suverainity via defense treaties with Russia and China should be done  instead of noise statements. Iran can't afford the war with the USA (and Trump can't afford the war in election year iether)

But direct losses of Iran are limited: again, General Soleimani was in change qi quid forces for 20 years and that means  that  his re-assignment was long overdue as any such force need fresh blood in leadership. He probably would move up, but how good he could be  as a politician remains unclear. So while symbolically this is clearly type of Sarajevo assassination it would be stupid for Iran leadership to play it that way.  He was replaced by a very similar general, of the same age and career, who was mostly involved in operations in Afghanistan (Meet Qassem Soleimani's Replacement Esmail Ghaani Is Iran's New Top Military Leader Zero Hedge)

..."We are children of war,” Ghaani once said of his relationship with Soleimani, according to Iran’s state-run IRNA news agency. "We are comrades on the battlefield and we have become friends in battle."

...Like Soleimani, he first deployed to put down the Kurdish uprising in Iran that followed the shah’s downfall. Iraq then invaded Iran, launching an eight-year war that would see 1 million people killed. Many of the dead were lightly armed members of the Guard, some of whom were young boys killed in human-wave assaults on Iraqi positions.

...Volunteers “were seeing that all of them are being killed, but when we ordered them to go, would not hesitate,” Ghaani later recounted.

...He survived the war to join the Quds Force shortly after its creation. He worked with Soleimani, as well as led counterintelligence efforts at the Guard. WEspern analysts say that while Soleimani focused on nations to Iran’s west, Ghaani’s remit was those to the east like Afghanistan and Pakistan. However, Iranian state media has not elaborated on his time in the Guard.

...Also in 2012, Ghaani drew criticism from the U.S. State Department after reportedly saying that “if the Islamic Republic was not present in Syria, the massacre of people would have happened on a much larger scale.”

“The U.S. and Israel are too small to consider themselves in line with Iran’s military power,” Ghaani said at the time. “This power has now appeared alongside the oppressed people of Palestine and Gaza in the form of missiles and weapons.”

Now, Ghaani is firmly in control of the Quds Force. Yet while Iran’s leaders say they have a plan to avenge Soleimani’s death, no plan has been announced yet as the country prepares for funerals for the general starting Sunday.

Whatever that plan for revenge is, Ghaani will be leading it.

"That Qaani survived at such high ranks in the (Guard), and remained Soleimani’s deputy for so long, says a lot about the trust both Khamenei and Soleimani had in him," said Afshon Ostovar, the author of a book on the Guard. "I suspect he’ll have little difficulty filling Soleimani’s shoes when it comes to operations and strategy."

The first statement of show some level of diplomatic and strategic skills, especially by stating that "Tehran will avenge the assassination of Qassem Soleimani by driving the US out of the region." This is much better strategy then any tit-for-tat measures

Tehran will avenge the assassination of Qassem Soleimani by driving the US out of the region, his successor said shortly after another Revolutionary Guard commander warned that dozens of American targets are “within our reach.” 

“We promise to continue martyr Soleimani’s path with the same force... and the only compensation for us would be to remove America from the region,” Esmail Qaani said on Monday in an interview to local media ahead of the general’s funeral in Tehran.

Qaani was appointed new leader of the Quds Force – the secretive arm of the elite Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC) – on January 3. His comments come just days after General Gholamali Abuhamzeh, who heads the IRGC in Iran’s southern Kerman province, said 35 US targets in the region as well as Tel Aviv were identified “long ago” and are within our reach.”

Washington responded with a similarly-worded message, with Secretary of State Mike Pompeo threatening “lawful strikes” targeting “actual decision makers” if any American asset is in danger.

Excessive noise about retaliation plays into Israel hand  and allow then to use the USA as the enforcer of their agenda and that not what Iran wants.

The US extremely hawkish  policy toward Iran was in place for a long  time

Iran and the Fallacy of Saber-Rattling The National Interest Blog by Paul R. Pillar

January 10, 2013

Among several broadly held misconceptions about Iran is that to get Iranians to make concessions we want them to make at the negotiating table the United States must credibly threaten to inflict dire harm on them—specifically, with military force—if they do not make the concessions. Some in the United States (and some in Israel) who are especially keen on promoting this notion would welcome a war. If war preparations and brinksmanship used to communicate such a threat lead the two nations to stumble into an accidental war—and there is a real danger they might—so much the better from their point of view. But the belief in saber-rattling as an aid to gaining an agreement in the negotiations over Iran's nuclear program extends to many who actually want an agreement and are not seeking a war. We have heard more about this lately in connection with Chuck Hagel's nomination to be secretary of defense. People ask whether this nominee, who has evinced an appreciation of the huge downsides of a war with Iran, would be able to rattle the saber as convincingly as the same people think a secretary of defense ought to rattle it.

Even the usually thoughtful David Ignatius has adopted this line of thought. In his latest column he makes a comparison with nuclear deterrence in the time of Dwight Eisenhower. Under the doctrine of mutual assured destruction, a “bluff” of “frightening the Soviets with the danger of Armageddon” was used to dissuade them from overrunning WEspern Europe. “Obama,” says Ignatius, “has a similar challenge with Iran.”

No, he doesn't. One situation was deterrence of what would have been one of the most epic acts of aggression in history. The other is an effort to compel a far lesser country to curtail or give up an avowedly peaceful program, and to do so by threatening what itself would be an act of aggression. Thomas Schelling has taught us that deterrence and what he called compellence have significant differences, with the latter generally being harder to accomplish than the former. And this is in addition to all the other vast differences in scale, subject matter and morality between nuclear deterrence during the early Cold War and the current standoff with Iran.

These and other differences get to one of the problems with the common notion about threatening military attack in response to Iran not crying uncle at the conference table: a difficulty in making such a threat credible no matter how energetic a saber-rattler the secretary of defense might be. This is related also to the question Mr. Obama posed during the election campaign, about whether his opponent wanted a new war in the Middle East. At the level of public sentiment, most Americans do not want to become engaged in a new war in the Middle East. At the more sophisticated level of policy analysis—if that analysis is done thoroughly and objectively—such a war would be seen to have enormous costs and disadvantages. One of those disadvantages would be—as members of the opposition in Iran have repeatedly warned—to strengthen politically Iranian hardliners whose position is based partly on implacable hostility from the United States and who would benefit from a rallying around the flag in response to foreign attack. Another disadvantage would be the directly counterproductive one of leading the Iranians to make the decision they probably have not yet made, which is to build a nuclear weapon.

That last consideration is in turn related to another problem with the notion about threatening military attack, which concerns the reasons Iranians have for being interested in nuclear weapons. The chief reason almost certainly involves the presumed value of such weapons as a deterrent against major, regime-crushing foreign attack. The more that the brandishing of the threat of military attack makes such an attack seem likely, the greater will be the Iranian interest in developing nuclear weapons and the less inclined they will be to make concessions that would preclude that possibility.

As if all of this were not enough to discard the notion about the efficacy of saber-rattling, there are the central realities of the nuclear negotiations themselves and how Tehran perceives them. Inducing the Iranians to concede is not just a matter of hurting them more. They already are hurting a lot, from the economic consequences of international sanctions. What is missing from the negotiations is any reason for them to believe that the hurt will be eased if they make concessions. The P5+1 have yet to place on the table any proposal that includes any significant relief from sanctions. Without such an incentive, there is no reason for the Iranians to cry uncle or even to make lesser concessions, no matter how much more they are made to hurt.

The Iranians have good reason to be suspicious of ultimate U.S. and WEspern motivations, and threats of military force figure into that in an unhelpful way too. The Iranians do not have to look far to see ample evidence in favor of the proposition that the primary U.S. goal regarding Iran is regime change. And they do not have to look far into the past to see a recent U.S. use of military force—participation in the intervention in Libya—that overthrew a Middle Eastern regime after it had reached an agreement with the United States to give up all its nuclear and other unconventional weapons programs. What reason would Iranian leaders have to make any concessions if they believe the same thing is likely to happen to them? This is already a problem; rattling the saber only makes it worse.


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[Aug 09, 2020] NYT as an amplifier for the mislabeled US 'Intelligence' Agencies rumor and baseless claims about foreign interferences in US elections

The first and the most important fact that there will no elections in November -- both candidates represent the same oligarchy, just slightly different factions of it.
Look like NYT is controlled by Bolton faction of CIA. They really want to overturn the results of 2020 elections and using Russia as a bogeyman is a perfect opportunity to achieve this goal.
Neocons understand very well that it is MIC who better their bread, so amplifying rumors the simplify getting additional budget money for intelligence agencies (which are a part of MIC) is always the most desirable goal.
Notable quotes:
"... But a new assessment says China would prefer to see the president defeated, though it is not clear Beijing is doing much to meddle in the 2020 campaign to help Joseph R. Biden Jr. ..."
"... The statement then claims: "Ahead of the 2020 U.S. elections, foreign states will continue to use covert and overt influence measures in their attempts to sway U.S. voters' preferences and perspectives, shift U.S. policies, increase discord in the United States, and undermine the American people's confidence in our democratic process." ..."
"... But how do the 'intelligence' agencies know that foreign states want to "sway preferences", "increase discord" or "undermine confidence" in elections? ..."
"... But ascribing motive and intent is a tricky business, because perceived impact is often mistaken for true intent. [...] Where is the evidence that Russia actually wants to bring down the liberal world order and watch the United States burn? ..."
"... Well there is none. And that is why the 'intelligence' agencies do not present any evidence. ..."
"... Is there a secret policy paper by the Russian government that says it should "increase discord" in the United States? Is there some Chinese think tank report which says that undermining U.S. people's confidence in their democratic process would be good for China? ..."
"... If the 'intelligence' people have copies of those papers why not publish them? ..."
"... Let me guess. The 'intelligence' agencies have nothing, zero, nada. They are just making wild-ass guesses about 'intentions' of perceived enemies to impress the people who sign off their budget. ..."
"... Nowadays that seems to be their main purpose. ..."
Aug 08, 2020 | www.moonofalabama.org
No Evidence Of Foreign Interference In U.S. Elections, U.S. Intelligence Says

Yesterday the mislabeled U.S. 'Intelligence' Agencies trotted out more nonsense claims about foreign interferences in U.S. elections.

The New York Times sensationally headlines:

Russia Continues Interfering in Election to Try to Help Trump, U.S. Intelligence Says
But a new assessment says China would prefer to see the president defeated, though it is not clear Beijing is doing much to meddle in the 2020 campaign to help Joseph R. Biden Jr.

But when one reads the piece itself one finds no fact that would support the 'Russia Continues Interfering' statement:

Russia is using a range of techniques to denigrate Joseph R. Biden Jr., American intelligence officials said Friday in their first public assessment that Moscow continues to try to interfere in the 2020 campaign to help President Trump.

At the same time, the officials said China preferred that Mr. Trump be defeated in November and was weighing whether to take more aggressive action in the election.

But officials briefed on the intelligence said that Russia was the far graver, and more immediate, threat. While China seeks to gain influence in American politics, its leaders have not yet decided to wade directly into the presidential contest, however much they may dislike Mr. Trump, the officials said.

The assessment, included in a statement released by William R. Evanina, the director of the National Counterintelligence and Security Center, suggested the intelligence community was treading carefully, reflecting the political heat generated by previous findings.

The authors emphasize the scaremongering hearsay from "officials briefed on the intelligence" - i.e. Democratic congress members - about Russia but have nothing to back it up.

When one reads the statement by Evanina one finds nothing in it about Russian attempts to interfere in the U.S. elections. Here is the only 'evidence' that is noted:

For example, pro-Russia Ukrainian parliamentarian Andriy Derkach is spreading claims about corruption – including through publicizing leaked phone calls – to undermine former Vice President Biden's candidacy and the Democratic Party. Some Kremlin-linked actors are also seeking to boost President Trump's candidacy on social media and Russian television.

After a request from Rudy Giuliani, President Trump's personal attorney, a Ukrainian parliamentarian published Ukrainian evidence of Biden's very real interference in the Ukraine. Also: Some guest of a Russian TV show had an opinion. How is either of those two items 'evidence' of Russian interference in U.S. elections?

The statement then claims: "Ahead of the 2020 U.S. elections, foreign states will continue to use covert and overt influence measures in their attempts to sway U.S. voters' preferences and perspectives, shift U.S. policies, increase discord in the United States, and undermine the American people's confidence in our democratic process."

But how do the 'intelligence' agencies know that foreign states want to "sway preferences", "increase discord" or "undermine confidence" in elections?

As a recent piece in Foreign Affairs noted :

The mainstream view in the U.S. media and government holds that the Kremlin is waging a long-haul campaign to undermine and destabilize American democracy. Putin wants to see the United States burn, and contentious elections offer a ready-made opportunity to fan the flames.

But ascribing motive and intent is a tricky business, because perceived impact is often mistaken for true intent. [...] Where is the evidence that Russia actually wants to bring down the liberal world order and watch the United States burn?

Well there is none. And that is why the 'intelligence' agencies do not present any evidence.

Even the NYT writers have to admit that there is nothing there:

The release on Friday was short on specifics, ...

and

Intelligence agencies focus their work on the intentions of foreign governments, and steer clear of assessing if those efforts have had an effect on American voters.

How do 'intelligence' agencies know Russian, Chinese or Iranian 'intentions'. Is there a secret policy paper by the Russian government that says it should "increase discord" in the United States? Is there some Chinese think tank report which says that undermining U.S. people's confidence in their democratic process would be good for China?

If the 'intelligence' people have copies of those papers why not publish them?

Let me guess. The 'intelligence' agencies have nothing, zero, nada. They are just making wild-ass guesses about 'intentions' of perceived enemies to impress the people who sign off their budget.

Nowadays that seems to be their main purpose.

Posted by b on August 8, 2020 at 18:08 UTC | Permalink

[Aug 08, 2020] -No Difference Between John Bolton, Brian Hook Or Elliott Abrams-- Iran FM -

Aug 08, 2020 | www.zerohedge.com

"No Difference Between John Bolton, Brian Hook Or Elliott Abrams": Iran FM


by Tyler Durden Fri, 08/07/2020 - 22:45 Twitter Facebook Reddit Email Print

"There's no difference between John Bolton, Brian Hook or Elliott Abrams," Iranian Foreign Ministry spokesman Abbas Mousavi said in a tweet with the hashtag #BankruptUSPolicy on Friday.

"When U.S. policy concerns Iran, American officials have been biting off more than they can chew. This applies to Mike Pompeo, Donald Trump and their successors," Mousavi added.

Indeed in perhaps one of the greatest symbols or representations of the contradictions and absurdity inherent in US foreign policy of the past few decades, and a supreme irony that can't be emphasized enough: the new US envoy to Iran who will oversee Pompeo's 'maximum pressure' campaign remains the most publicly visible face of the 1980's Iran-Contra affair .

Elliott Abrams has been named to the position after Brian Hook stepping down. This means the man who will continue to push for the extension of a UN arms embargo against Iran once himself was deeply involved in illegally selling weapons to Iran and covering it up .

Most famously, or we should say infamously, Abrams pleaded guilty to lying to Congress in 1991 following years of the Iran-Contra scandal engulfing the Reagan administration; however, he was also pardoned by outgoing president George H.W. Bush at around the same time.

"Pardoned by George H.W. Bush in 1992, Abrams was a pivotal figure in the foreign-policy scandal that shook the Reagan administration, lying to Congress about his knowledge of the plot to covertly sell weapons to the Khomeini government and use the proceeds to illegally fund the right-wing Contras rebel group in Nicaragua ," NY Mag reviews.

Some are noting this heightens the chances that Washington could get dragged into a war involving Israel and Iran.

https://platform.twitter.com/embed/index.html?dnt=false&embedId=twitter-widget-0&frame=false&hideCard=false&hideThread=false&id=1291802541223809025&lang=en&origin=https%3A%2F%2Fwww.zerohedge.com%2Fmarkets%2Fno-difference-between-john-bolton-brian-hook-or-elliott-abrams-iran-fm&siteScreenName=zerohedge&theme=light&widgetsVersion=223fc1c4%3A1596143124634&width=550px

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Recall too that Abrams has been Trump's point man for ousting Maduro from Venezuela, and it appears he'll remain in the post of special envoy for Venezuela as well.

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The Grayzone journalist, Anya Parampil, who has frequently reported from Venezuela, alleged this week that Abrams will "try and destroy Venezuela and Iran at the same time".

me name=

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Wild Bill Steamcock , 14 hours ago

Abrams is a disgrace. This Administration should be dying in it's own shame bringing this swine back into government.

He's a leach. He's about lining his own pockets. He can't even own a .22 single shot, yet he's shaping international policy.

This country is dead. And the fact Trump has democrat and zionist Kushner as advisor, bringing in guys like Bolton and Abrams, Reince Priebus, H.R. McMaster and that Ukranian pet goblin of his, in not firing Comey et. al day 1 means he's not the answer. Face it.

And to be fair, it doesn't matter anymore who is POTUS. It hasn't really mattered in quite some time. The Plan rolls along.

Kinskian , 15 hours ago

Trump is a clumsy and transparent Zionist stooge.

PT , 14 hours ago

Gotta admit, if you're going to have a Zionist stooge then you are better off having a clumsy and transparent one.

Dank fur Kopf , 14 hours ago

Elliott Abrams is a moron. He's been running the exact same stupid coup strategy for decades, and can't conceive of a world where the enemy has worked out how to defeat that.

Venezuela was set to be US foreign policies most embarrassing failure--but maybe Iran will be worse.

Dank fur Kopf , 14 hours ago

Let's predict what Abrams will attempt:

Running out of the US/UK embassies, Abrams will attempt to identify a potential alternative leader who is corrupt and controllable. They'll throw political support behind this false leader, and try and find enough military to support him. Then, protests in the streets, and the small faction of the military--supported by foreign forces--will attempt to establish control.

Counter: China and Russia will import anti-coup specialists. Individuals in the Iranian military will pretend to be on board claiming to have thousands at call, and when the false leader gives the call, they won't answer. All the conspirators will be caught out on the street, and have to flee to embassies for political asylum. Like what happened in Venezuela recently, and Turkey in 2016. This will allow Iran to do a purge of all the real threats (remembering that Iran has the death penalty for sedition), and give them enough justification to end diplomatic missions in the country that are being used as launch pads.

[Aug 06, 2020] Is War With China Inevitable by J

Notable quotes:
"... "When I analyze the current situation, I understand that this is a rehearsal for biological warfare," ..."
"... "I am not saying that this virus was created by humans... but this is a test of the health system's strength, including the country's biological defense." ..."
"... More sinophobic drivel and propaganda. Is it coming from Bannon, Navarro,Fox News, and the other similar warmongering outfits ? This type of propaganda is irrational but certainly purposeful to whip declining exceptionals into war frenzy. They are correct in one aspect - China is outpacing the US and will eventually in 10-20 years surpass it as #1 in Economic power (already the case) and Technology ..."
"... China is a missile-based military deploying hypersonics. This means the US Navy has to standoff 1000 km from the Chinese naval forces or missiles from mainland will decimate the carrier task forces within that range. ..."
"... More sinophobic drivel and propaganda. Is it coming from Bannon, Navarro,Fox News, and the other similar warmongering outfits ? This type of propaganda is irrational but certainly purposeful to whip declining exceptionals into war frenzy. They are correct in one aspect - China is outpacing the US and will eventually in 10-20 years surpass it as #1 in Economic power (already the case) and Technology ..."
"... China is a missile-based military deploying hypersonics. This means the US Navy has to standoff 1000 km from the Chinese naval forces or missiles from mainland will decimate the carrier task forces within that range. ..."
"... Of course having moved much of our manufacturing base into China and then allowing their students to take up most of the hard engineering class space and lab assistantships while diverting our students to 'studies' programs has been a resounding success. ..."
"... "There are few viable military options for warmongering chickenhawks advising..." Bush, Obama, Biden, a Triumverate of peacemakers. Remind me who is ordering troops out of Iraq, Afghanistan and Syria. ..."
"... Of course having moved much of our manufacturing base into China and then allowing their students to take up most of the hard engineering class space and lab assistantships while diverting our students to 'studies' programs has been a resounding success. ..."
"... "There are few viable military options for warmongering chickenhawks advising..." Bush, Obama, Biden, a Triumverate of peacemakers. Remind me who is ordering troops out of Iraq, Afghanistan and Syria. ..."
Aug 06, 2020 | turcopolier.typepad.com

The rattling of sabres between the Chinese Communist Party (CCP) and the U.S. is becoming louder, and causing many to ponder if World War III is not far off. There are those in the international community increasingly alarmed given the COVID situation, the South China Sea imbroglio, and China's growing threat that they intend to invade and absorb Taiwan into Communist China within a year. These items have led to the belief that World War III is on the horizon.

Just recently, Dr.Leonid Roshal, a noted Moscow physician, hostage negotiator, and advisor to the WHO remarked that the COVID pandemic is a dry run for World War III, and that COVID-19 is practice for future biological warfare. Covid-19 pandemic has functioned as a "rehearsal for biological warfare," Dr. Roshal also believes that the rapidly-spreading virus was a test for the world's healthcare systems.

In an interview with Forbes, Professor Roshal, President of the Research Institute of Emergency Pediatric Surgery and Traumatology, explained that not all nations were ready for a mass influx of patients, and their lack of preparation has been exposed by the pandemic.

"When I analyze the current situation, I understand that this is a rehearsal for biological warfare," he explained. "I am not saying that this virus was created by humans... but this is a test of the health system's strength, including the country's biological defense."

In addition, Hong Kong-based virologist Yan Li-Meng, currently in hiding at an undisclosed location, claims that the COVID-19 coronavirus came from a People's Liberation Army lab, and not from a Wuhan wet market as Beijing has claimed. Speaking on a live stream interview on Taiwan's News Agency Lude Press, she said, "At that time, I clearly assessed that the virus came from a Chinese Communist Party military lab. The Wuhan wet market was just used as a decoy." Yan has been in hiding in the U.S. after fleeing Hong Kong in April.

Chinese PLA Senior Colonel Ren Guoqiang stated recently that TAIWAN WILL be reunified with the rest of China - and any attempt by the United States to interfere is futile and dangerous. Senior Colonel Guoqiang is Deputy Director of the Ministry of Defense's Information Office, and Chinese Defense Ministry Spokesman. J


entrybody comment-odd comment-has-avatar">

Well, this is certainly a depressing and frightening post. I can't say, however, that I have been thinking along the same lines. However, since I am basically a nobody, I have tried to assure myself that I am being paranoid. So, it's not helping that some people who are much more knowledgeable have expressed in print some of the fears I have been feeling over these months dealing with the pandemic.

All I can do is pray and hold fast to my faith in God. Perhaps He will lift up the people who can deter us from the predictions of this post. (But are we worthy of being saved?)

Posted by: Diana Croissant , 05 August 2020 at 03:44 PM

Well, this is certainly a depressing and frightening post. I can't say, however, that I have been thinking along the same lines. However, since I am basically a nobody, I have tried to assure myself that I am being paranoid. So, it's not helping that some people who are much more knowledgeable have expressed in print some of the fears I have been feeling over these months dealing with the pandemic.

All I can do is pray and hold fast to my faith in God. Perhaps He will lift up the people who can deter us from the predictions of this post. (But are we worthy of being saved?)

Posted by: Diana Croissant 05 August 2020 at 03:44 PM

entrybody comment-even comment-has-avatar">

J

I don't believe there will be any direct military conflict. However, we can expect some saber rattling from both sides.

Sec.Azhar is leading a US delegation to Taiwan. On another note Taiwan ain't HK. They have an independent government. While they will eventually be overwhelmed in any military conflict with China if no other country intervenes on Taiwan's side, they definitely have the capability to inflict a black eye.

The CCP has been emboldened precisely because the US government has actively abetted their rapaciousness for many decades under both parties. From Clinton's MFN designation to Bush & Obama administrations actively supporting the shuttering of US manufacturing.

Trump is making the first course correction albeit in a limited manner with tariffs. He has however changed the tone in an important manner by no longer just kowtowing to whatever the CCP wants.

This story of ARM China exemplifies CCP long-term policy of requiring JVs to access the Chinese market and once technology and know-how have been successfully transferred, then expropriating it. The west in general and the US in particular have turned a blind eye. Huawei got going by stealing cisco source code and design.
https://www.businessinsider.com/arm-conflict-china-complicates-acquisition-prospects-2020-8

It is high time for the US to make the totalitarian Chinese communists pay a price and directly take the fight to them economically and financially. The CCP must be doing their best to insure a Biden win to return to the status quo or wait another Trump term and hope an establishment Democrat or Republican wins after. They have bought and paid the establishment politicians, entire think-tanks, many in academia and the media.

Posted by: Jack , 05 August 2020 at 03:58 PM

J

I don't believe there will be any direct military conflict. However, we can expect some saber rattling from both sides.

Sec.Azhar is leading a US delegation to Taiwan. On another note Taiwan ain't HK. They have an independent government. While they will eventually be overwhelmed in any military conflict with China if no other country intervenes on Taiwan's side, they definitely have the capability to inflict a black eye.

The CCP has been emboldened precisely because the US government has actively abetted their rapaciousness for many decades under both parties. From Clinton's MFN designation to Bush & Obama administrations actively supporting the shuttering of US manufacturing.

Trump is making the first course correction albeit in a limited manner with tariffs. He has however changed the tone in an important manner by no longer just kowtowing to whatever the CCP wants.

This story of ARM China exemplifies CCP long-term policy of requiring JVs to access the Chinese market and once technology and know-how have been successfully transferred, then expropriating it. The west in general and the US in particular have turned a blind eye. Huawei got going by stealing cisco source code and design.
https://www.businessinsider.com/arm-conflict-china-complicates-acquisition-prospects-2020-8

It is high time for the US to make the totalitarian Chinese communists pay a price and directly take the fight to them economically and financially. The CCP must be doing their best to insure a Biden win to return to the status quo or wait another Trump term and hope an establishment Democrat or Republican wins after. They have bought and paid the establishment politicians, entire think-tanks, many in academia and the media.

Posted by: Jack 05 August 2020 at 03:58 PM

entrybody comment-even comment-has-avatar">

More sinophobic drivel and propaganda. Is it coming from Bannon, Navarro,Fox News, and the other similar warmongering outfits ? This type of propaganda is irrational but certainly purposeful to whip declining exceptionals into war frenzy. They are correct in one aspect - China is outpacing the US and will eventually in 10-20 years surpass it as #1 in Economic power (already the case) and Technology .

There are few viable military options for warmongering chickenhawks advising Trump. Certainly, US Naval Intel and PACCOM (now INDOPACCOM) brass who would love a grand Coral Sea 2.0 battle to destroy PLAN vessel on the seas. However, no one, except few Marine 4 stars want any land war. The Marines think they can defeat the PLA on some islands. That kind of warfare is for hollywood movies. China is a missile-based military deploying hypersonics. This means the US Navy has to standoff 1000 km from the Chinese naval forces or missiles from mainland will decimate the carrier task forces within that range.

There won't be any war in SE Asia or East Asia. This area now has a circuit breaker, Russia. Russia is building a naval presence, expanding it's aerospace arm, has basing rights in the zone in Vietnam and has long range radars that cover a lot of the zones, and submarines the US is having issues tracking.

The signals from China and Russia to the US military is very clear. You can walk and talk like the Hegemon but the days of regional hegemony are over. ASEAN nations will not accepting accept a return to gunboat diplomacy and colonization. All these nations want prosperity and progress, not western hegemony and military destruction.

This is why the hybrid war of sanctions, trade war, Infowars, cyberwar, proxies in Central Asia (ISIS and AQ), color revolution attempts in Hong Kong, hysterics about Tibet and Xinjiang and Inner Mongolia (Bannon front) are on the front burner. Military action is a losing proposition for the US. They simply cannot win anything anywhere in the Asia Pacific, western Asia or even against near peer powers proxies like Venezuela.

China simply has to do what Russia does and tell the US to pound sand.

Posted by: Horatio , 05 August 2020 at 04:51 PM

More sinophobic drivel and propaganda. Is it coming from Bannon, Navarro,Fox News, and the other similar warmongering outfits ? This type of propaganda is irrational but certainly purposeful to whip declining exceptionals into war frenzy. They are correct in one aspect - China is outpacing the US and will eventually in 10-20 years surpass it as #1 in Economic power (already the case) and Technology .

There are few viable military options for warmongering chickenhawks advising Trump. Certainly, US Naval Intel and PACCOM (now INDOPACCOM) brass who would love a grand Coral Sea 2.0 battle to destroy PLAN vessel on the seas. However, no one, except few Marine 4 stars want any land war. The Marines think they can defeat the PLA on some islands. That kind of warfare is for hollywood movies. China is a missile-based military deploying hypersonics. This means the US Navy has to standoff 1000 km from the Chinese naval forces or missiles from mainland will decimate the carrier task forces within that range.

There won't be any war in SE Asia or East Asia. This area now has a circuit breaker, Russia. Russia is building a naval presence, expanding it's aerospace arm, has basing rights in the zone in Vietnam and has long range radars that cover a lot of the zones, and submarines the US is having issues tracking.

The signals from China and Russia to the US military is very clear. You can walk and talk like the Hegemon but the days of regional hegemony are over. ASEAN nations will not accepting accept a return to gunboat diplomacy and colonization. All these nations want prosperity and progress, not western hegemony and military destruction.

This is why the hybrid war of sanctions, trade war, Infowars, cyberwar, proxies in Central Asia (ISIS and AQ), color revolution attempts in Hong Kong, hysterics about Tibet and Xinjiang and Inner Mongolia (Bannon front) are on the front burner. Military action is a losing proposition for the US. They simply cannot win anything anywhere in the Asia Pacific, western Asia or even against near peer powers proxies like Venezuela.

China simply has to do what Russia does and tell the US to pound sand.

Posted by: Horatio 05 August 2020 at 04:51 PM

entrybody comment-odd comment-has-avatar">

Bjorn H

... BTW, "J" is a farmer in Oklahoma who served a long time in USAF.

Posted by: turcopolier , 05 August 2020 at 05:04 PM

Bjorn H

... BTW, "J" is a farmer in Oklahoma who served a long time in USAF.

Posted by: turcopolier 05 August 2020 at 05:04 PM

entrybody comment-even comment-has-avatar">

We've been in a war with China for a few decades now, and losing. Of course having moved much of our manufacturing base into China and then allowing their students to take up most of the hard engineering class space and lab assistantships while diverting our students to 'studies' programs has been a resounding success.

Horatio,

"There are few viable military options for warmongering chickenhawks advising..." Bush, Obama, Biden, a Triumverate of peacemakers. Remind me who is ordering troops out of Iraq, Afghanistan and Syria.

Posted by: Fred , 05 August 2020 at 05:05 PM

We've been in a war with China for a few decades now, and losing. Of course having moved much of our manufacturing base into China and then allowing their students to take up most of the hard engineering class space and lab assistantships while diverting our students to 'studies' programs has been a resounding success.

Horatio,

"There are few viable military options for warmongering chickenhawks advising..." Bush, Obama, Biden, a Triumverate of peacemakers. Remind me who is ordering troops out of Iraq, Afghanistan and Syria.

Posted by: Fred 05 August 2020 at 05:05 PM

entrybody comment-odd comment-has-avatar">

The rattling. of sabres between the Chinese Communist Party (CCP) and the U.S.

That line as introduction gives away the article as plain and unsofisticated propaganda. Nobody refers to the USA as the Republican Party, the red scare is a momified bogey..

Posted by: Paco , 05 August 2020 at 05:28 PM

The rattling. of sabres between the Chinese Communist Party (CCP) and the U.S.

That line as introduction gives away the article as plain and unsofisticated propaganda. Nobody refers to the USA as the Republican Party, the red scare is a momified bogey..

Posted by: Paco 05 August 2020 at 05:28 PM

[Aug 02, 2020] A couple of relevant section from the NPR which I think Putin was replying to.

Aug 02, 2020 | www.moonofalabama.org

Peter AU1 , Aug 1 2020 16:34 utc | 119

A couple of relevant section from the NPR which I think Putin was replying to.

https://media.defense.gov/2018/Feb/02/2001872886/-1/-1/1/2018-NUCLEAR-POSTURE-REVIEW-FINAL-REPORT.PDF
From page 21...
"The United States would only consider the employment of nuclear weapons in extreme circumstances
to defend the vital interests of the United States, its allies, and partners. Extreme circumstances
could include significant non-nuclear strategic attacks. Significant non-nuclear strategic attacks
include, but are not limited to, attacks on the U.S., allied, or partner civilian population or
infrastructure, and attacks on U.S. or allied nuclear forces, their command and control, or warning
and attack assessment capabilities.
The United States will not use or threaten to use nuclear weapons against non-nuclear weapons
states that are party to the NPT and in compliance with their nuclear non-proliferation obligations.
Given the potential of significant non-nuclear strategic attacks, the United States reserves the right
to make any adjustment in the assurance that may be warranted by the evolution and proliferation
of non-nuclear strategic attack technologies and U.S. capabilities to counter that threat."

And page 34...
"Our deterrence strategy is designed to ensure that the Iranian leadership understands that
any non-nuclear strategic attack against the United States, allies, and partners would be
defeated, and that the cost would outweigh any benefits. There is no plausible scenario in
which Iran may anticipate benefit from launching a strategic attack. Consequently, U.S
deterrence strategy includes the capabilities necessary to defeat Iranian non-nuclear,
strategic capabilities, including the U.S. defensive and offensive systems capable of
precluding or degrading Tehran's missile threats. The United States will continue to
strengthen these capabilities as necessary to stay ahead of Iranian threats as they grow.
Doing so will enhance U.S. security and that of our regional allies and partners."

The page 34 section states plainly that US is willing to use nuclear weapons against Iran's non nuclear capabilities.


Peter AU1 , Aug 1 2020 16:47 utc | 121

I should have highlighted this in my previous post.

The United States will not use or threaten to use nuclear weapons against non-nuclear weapons
states that are party to the NPT and in compliance with their nuclear non-proliferation obligations.

Jackrabbit , Aug 1 2020 17:03 utc | 123

After the drone shoot-down last week, Israel and USA sought to convince Russia to allow a strike against Iran. The Russians rebuffed this request as well as the depiction of Iran as a terrorist state

Newsweek: Russia Warns U.S. and Israel That Iran Is Its 'Ally' and Was Right About Drone Shoot Down

"In the context of the statements made by our partners with regard to a major regional power, namely Iran, I would like to say the following: Iran has always been and remains our ally and partner , with which we are consistently developing relations both on bilateral basis and within multilateral formats,"

!!

[Aug 02, 2020] Iran launching very clever non-silo dug down ballistic missiles. Anyone can copy the idea in earth or sand, it looks relatively simple and perhaps genius.

Aug 02, 2020 | www.moonofalabama.org

Sunny Runny Burger , Aug 1 2020 0:42 utc | 41

News I noticed:

...Iran launching very clever non-silo dug down ballistic missiles. Anyone can copy the idea in earth or sand, it looks relatively simple and perhaps genius. It should only require minimal additions similar to when missiles are "containerized"/vertical on ships.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=dytSOhfg1UM for the video.

· "W93/MK7 Navy Warhead -- Developing Modern Capabilities to Address Current and Future Threats" - Pentagon, Energy Department's National Nuclear Security Administration (NNSA), unclassified 5-page white paper, May 2020 is still not "leaked". Seems a dud: reading between the lines not written no one was convinced and instead complained about anyone saying there's any problems (how "exceptional").


Grieved , Aug 1 2020 0:54 utc | 43

@41 Sunny Runny Burger

That's a great little video clip. Missiles erupting out of the ground. Trying to guess where the next one's coming from. I'll call it genius.

Peter AU1 , Aug 1 2020 1:54 utc | 49

Millenium Challenge 2002

"Red, commanded by retired Marine Corps Lieutenant General Paul K. Van Riper, adopted an asymmetric strategy, in particular, using old methods to evade Blue's sophisticated electronic surveillance network. Van Riper used motorcycle messengers to transmit orders to front-line troops and World-War-II-style light signals to launch airplanes without radio communications.

Red received an ultimatum from Blue, essentially a surrender document, demanding a response within 24 hours. Thus warned of Blue's approach, Red used a fleet of small boats to determine the position of Blue's fleet by the second day of the exercise. In a preemptive strike, Red launched a massive salvo of cruise missiles that overwhelmed the Blue forces' electronic sensors and destroyed sixteen warships. The losses were as follows: one aircraft carrier, ten cruisers and five of six amphibious ships. An equivalent success in a real conflict would have resulted in the deaths of over 20,000 service personnel. Soon after the cruise missile offensive, another significant portion of Blue's navy was "sunk" by an armada of small Red boats, which carried out both conventional and suicide attacks that capitalized on Blue's inability to detect them as well as expected."

Iranians are not part of the rules based order it seems - not that the bad guys in the war game was played by Iranians.

Grieved , Aug 1 2020 4:29 utc | 69

@50 Peter AU1 & #55 Bemildred

In the 2002 war game, the US was defeated in 2 days - lost a massive part of its fleet or some such. So they stopped the game and changed the rules. I think that's when Van Riper quit the game in disgust, and of course ultimately went public. But even with the rules changed, the US still lost.

The point about these exercises is that they are real endeavors to create a playbook that will result in victory. Millennium cost about $200 million to stage, and even for the Pentagon that was war-fighting money spent to try to get somewhere. The next point even more crucial is that in EVERY exercise the Pentagon has undertaken since this game, the US is ALWAYS beaten by Iran.

This is the point I frequently try to hammer home here - the Pentagon has no map whatsoever that leads to victory in warfare against Iran. Any warfare will always result in defeat for the US - and we know how unpalatable a public defeat would be for the whole MIC stream of income. The fundamentals are stacked against the US. It's very similar to Israel's position right now against Hezbollah. For both the US and Israel, neither one can move forward along the path it wants to go because its foe simply cannot be beaten by any stratagem it can devise.

Sharmine Narwani talked about this extensively in her interview with Ross Ashcroft last year on Renegade, Inc. It's an excellent interview. She's expert on the geopolitics of the ME and laid out many of the fundamentals that create and support Iran's unwavering position in this theater and in the great game:

What's the real plan with Iran?

I keep this episode bookmarked largely to share it here from time to time. You will both enjoy the interview. The takeaway is that the US can bluster all it wants, but it dare not cross a red line with Iran - such as it already has, for example, with Soleimani's murder, and for which it has not yet suffered its full punishment, which is complete banishment from the ME (and which I am convinced Iran will ultimately achieve).

~~

When your generals tell you constantly, daily, that you can't go into battle in a certain theater, you are free to bluster all you want. In fact, it's all you have left, and you pour all your feeble energy into it. Thus, the US.

Sakineh Bagoom , Aug 1 2020 6:44 utc | 75

Peter AU1 50 & 55 Bemildred & Grieved 70
RE: Millenium Challenge 2002
And yet, I keep pointing out that, that was 18 long years ago, when Iran did NOT have the following:

Terminal guidance for it's ballistics
Armed drone technology
Satellite to map out the battlefield
Proximity to Israel (two countries sat between Iran and Israel)
Electronic surveillance and response, like spoofing a drone to land in Iran.
S300 and home built variations
Cyber
Experience watching coalition forces fighting in ME
Etc, etc,

Peter AU1 , Aug 1 2020 9:03 utc | 84

Re Iran

US could not attack Iran conventionally but with Trump's earlier fixation on nuclear weapons I think he was going to give that a try. Putin must have thought so to as he very publicly laid Russia's nuclear umbrella over Iran and maintained the status quo.

It was after this meeting the Russian envoy made the point plain and public in the presser that Iran was an ally of Russia.
https://www.newsweek.com/russia-iran-us-israel-drone-ally-1445802

Richard Steven Hack , Aug 1 2020 9:55 utc | 86

Posted by: Peter AU1 | Aug 1 2020 9:03 utc | 88 US could not attack Iran conventionally

The US is perfectly capable of *attacking* Iran conventionally. The only thing to question is whether the US can *defeat* Iran in the sense that Iran "surrenders" officially to the US. *That* is in my view impossible short of the US actually killing thirty million Iranians by nuking Iran.

Which in turn I believe even Trump would not do. He really would get Pentagon pushback on that, as well as from every US ally and the UNSC, because no one wants to get the geopolitical hear from being the first country to use nuclear weapons against a non-nuclear country (this isn't WWII any more, before anyone brings up Hiroshima.)

As for Putin declaring Iran an ally, that does *not* mean that Putin would risk a nuclear confrontation with the US over Iran. Not going to happen - even if the US nuked Tehran. Putin's charge is to take care of Russian interests - and having Iran as an "ally and partner" does qualify as an "interest". But it is *not* an *overriding* interest. Putin would not be authorized by the Russian people to risk their country being nuked over a bunch of Persians and if he did, they'd kick his butt out at the next election - and rightly so.

Current Russian military doctrine (discussed here specifies the following:


The section on use begins by repeating the formulation in the last two Russian military doctrines (translation from the Russian Embassy in the U.K.): "The Russian Federation shall reserve the right to use nuclear weapons in response to the use of nuclear and other types of weapons of mass destruction against it and/or its allies, as well as in the event of aggression against the Russian Federation with the use of conventional weapons when the very existence of the state is in jeopardy." Like the doctrines, Foundations underlines that the president of the Russian Federation makes any decision to use nuclear weapons. However, unlike the doctrines, it then, in paragraph 19, outlines four conditions that could allow for (not require) nuclear use:

credible information that Russia is under ballistic missile attack (the missiles don't have to be nuclear -- this isn't specified -- but in many cases, it's hard to tell before they land);
the use of nuclear or other WMD by an adversary against Russian territory or that of its allies;
adversary actions against Russian critical government or military infrastructure that could undermine Russia's capacity for nuclear retaliation (so, for example, a cyber attack on Russia's command and control -- or perhaps one that targets Russian leadership could also qualify); and, finally,
conventional aggression against Russia that threatens the very existence of the state.

The primary requirement is the use of nukes or "WMDs" against Russia, or conventional weapons where their use is an "existential threat", i.e., Russia is about to be defeated on a conventional battlefield.

the phrase "and/or its allies" almost certainly does *not* include Iran. There are two "alliances" to which Russia is a party, according to Wikipedia:
1) Collective Security Treaty Organization: Military alliance with 6 former Soviet republics: Armenia, Belarus, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Russia and Tajikistan.
2) Union State: an alliance between Russia and Belarus (also already covered by 1).

Russia and Iran do not have any formal military or mutual-defense alliance agreements. Russia and Iran are "allied" only with regard to Syria and Islamic terrorism in general. Russia is willing to sell Iran arms, obviously. Equally obviously, that does not indicate a willingness to risk nuclear war.

Putin made the following statement in June of 2019:

After talks Friday with Iranian President Hassan Rouhani at the sidelines of the Shanghai Cooperation Organization summit in the Kyrgyz capital of Bishkek, Putin said that "relations between Russia and Iran are multifaceted, multilateral" and that "this concerns the economy, this concerns the issues of stability in the region, our joint efforts to combat terrorism, including in Syria."

Nothing in that statement indicates a willingness to use Russia's nuclear arsenal to threaten the US to prevent a US attack on Iran.

It is of course *possible* that some in the Pentagon, the Deep State, and/or Congress, may interpret that to be the case. But I think the primary restraint on any President would be the heat for a first use of nukes on a non-nuclear country - even if the alleged "reason" was that Iran was developing nukes.
Even severe damage to US Navy assets in the region would not be sufficient to justify the use of nukes against Iran, in particular because the only viable target for nukes would Tehran or some other major Iranian city.

It is just possible that a tactical nuke would be used against a heavily buried facility involved in nuclear weapons development (or more precisely, alleged to be so - because Iran won't be developing nukes regardless of any US attack.) But even that would likely produce more heat than the US would want - and if it was done, it would be done as covertly as possible and then denied by the US. And even in that case, Russia would not threaten a nuclear response over that.

Of course, if the US leadership were to become even more unhinged than Trump, or say, the Russian leadership after Putin were to become more hawkish, then all bets are off. But under current conditions, it's not going to happen.

Peter AU1 , Aug 1 2020 10:52 utc | 90

Putin's speech March 1 2018

http://en.kremlin.ru/events/president/news/56957
"In this connection, I would like to note the following. We are greatly concerned by certain provisions of the revised nuclear posture review, which expand the opportunities for reducing and reduce the threshold for the use of nuclear arms. Behind closed doors, one may say anything to calm down anyone, but we read what is written. And what is written is that this strategy can be put into action in response to conventional arms attacks and even to a cyber-threat.

I should note that our military doctrine says Russia reserves the right to use nuclear weapons solely in response to a nuclear attack, or an attack with other weapons of mass destruction against the country or its allies, or an act of aggression against us with the use of conventional weapons that threaten the very existence of the state. This all is very clear and specific.

As such, I see it is my duty to announce the following. Any use of nuclear weapons against Russia or its allies, weapons of short, medium or any range at all, will be considered as a nuclear attack on this country. Retaliation will be immediate, with all the attendant consequences."

Patrushev from my link above.
"In the context of the statements made by our partners with regard to a major regional power, namely Iran, I would like to say the following: Iran has always been and remains our ally and partner, with which we are consistently developing relations both on bilateral basis and within multilateral formats"


Patrushev went to the meeting as a presidential envoy. After Putin's 2018 speech, I wondered who Russia considered an ally as I had not seen Russia name any. I tend to think Patrushev had reason to publicly name Iran as an ally at that presser. My guess is Israel and US were trying to get Russia to stand aside while they attacked Iran.

Richard Steven Hack , Aug 1 2020 13:20 utc | 96

Posted by: Peter AU1 | Aug 1 2020 10:52 utc | 95 I tend to think Patrushev had reason to publicly name Iran as an ally at that presser. My guess is Israel and US were trying to get Russia to stand aside while they attacked Iran.

Nonetheless, the two statements do not constitute an official declaration that Iran is an ally in the sense of being under the Russian nuclear umbrella, as the countries in the list I quoted from Wikipedia are. The Collective Security Treaty Organization "charter reaffirmed the desire of all participating states to abstain from the use or threat of force. Signatories would not be able to join other military alliances or other groups of states,[3] while aggression against one signatory would be perceived as an aggression against all."

That's a military alliance which specifically declares those countries as "allies" in the military sense and specifically states that an attack on any of them is an attack on all of them.

Putin nor anyone else in Russia has specifically stated that Iran is an ally in those same terms. Putin's reference to Iran as an ally applied to economic matters and the security of Syria.

There is an article at Stratfor which I cannot access, but the tagline says: "Nikolai Bordyuzha, secretary-general of the Collective Security Treaty Organization (CSTO), said Feb. 25 [2020] that Moscow's nuclear umbrella has been extended to other CSTO member countries..." In other words, the nuclear umbrella didn't even cover the former Soviet Union countries until this year, apparently. From another article I found, Russia extended the umbrella to Belarus in 2000. Another article I found says this:


Finally, Russia has created its own military alliance through the Collective Security Treaty (1992) or "Tashkent treaty". In 2002, the Collective Security Treaty Organization (CSTO) was created, with a view to parallel NATO. As of June 2009, the organization included Armenia, Belarus, Kazakhstan, Kirghizia, Tajikistan, and Uzbekistan, which are implicitly covered by a Russian nuclear guarantee. Even though Russian officials refer sometimes to all Commonwealth of
Independent States (CIS) countries being protected by Moscow's nuclear forces, it is reasonable to assume that only CSTO countries are effectively under the Russian nuclear umbrella.

So I simply don't see any reference anywhere to Russia explicitly extending its nuclear umbrella outside of the former Soviet Bloc countries. Again, all of the references made by Russians - Putin or otherwise - to Iran as an "ally" do not reference a military dimension. Of course, it's always *possible* that Putin or some future Russian leader *would* extend that umbrella to Iran, depending on future circumstances. But it seems highly unlikely.

I repeat: There is no chance that Russia will go to nuclear war over Iran. Or even conventional war against US military assets engaged in an attack on Iran because that would risk escalation to a nuclear level. The most Russia will do is supply arms and intelligence to Iran.

[Aug 01, 2020] Pompeo Vows US To Take -Necessary Action- If UN Arms Embargo On Iran Ends -

Aug 01, 2020 | www.zerohedge.com

For months the US has been in a full court diplomatic press on fellow UN Security Council members in an attempt to ensure that a UN arms embargo against Iran does not expire.

The embargo on selling conventional weapons to Iran is set to end October 18, and is ironically enough part of the 2015 nuclear deal brokered under Obama, which the Trump administration in May 2018 pulled out of.

But now Pompeo vows the US will "take necessary action" -- no doubt meaning more sanctions at the very least, and likely military action at worst. He told the Senate Foreign Relations Committee this week that "in the near future... we hope will be met with approval from other members of the P5."

And he followed with :

"In the event it's not, we're going to take the action necessary to ensure that this arms embargo does not expire," he said.

"We have the capacity to execute snapback and we're going to use it in a way that protects and defends America," Pompeo told the committee further.

Speaking to the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, Secretary of State Mike Pompeo continued to call on the world to accept extending the UN arms embargo against Iran. The embargo is scheduled to expire on October 18.

But it's clear at this point that the UN is not intent on extending the embargo . Russia for one has promised as much. Both Russia and China also have recent weapons deals in the works with the Islamic Republic.

LibertarianMenace , 55 minutes ago

"protects and defends America"

Nothing is farther from the truth, fat man. We know (((who))) it is we're "protecting".

bumboo , 37 minutes ago

Is this fat guy being blackmailed to saying stupid things all the time

monty42 , 35 minutes ago

He works for the Council on Foreign Relations who have been bankrupting the States with perpetual war since they fomented WW2.

LibertarianMenace , 30 minutes ago

Yes, him and the rest of the USG. When you can assassinate a U.S. President in broad daylight and get away with it, you can get away with more extravagant illusions, like 09/11, or if people are finally catching on, throw in just a smidgen of reality like CV-19. Sky is the limit.

This is Trump's redeeming value: he's showing all, including the densest among us (((who))) it is that runs the country. Whether he does it intentionally or not, as in kowtowing to (((them))), is ultimately irrelevant. (((They))) have to be a bit uncomfortable from the unaccustomed exposure. The censoring just proves it.

Tag 'em And Bag 'em , 36 minutes ago

This pneumatic bull frog is a deep state sock puppet with a Zionist hand way up his ***.

When his lips move, Satanyahoo's voice comes out

This has zero to do with the interests of real Americans.

**building 7 didn't kill itself**

Tag 'em And Bag 'em , 23 minutes ago

TRUMP: "Larry Silverstein is a great guy, he's a good guy, he's a friend of mine."

https://youtu.be/o62aUVobO04

**building 7 didn't kill itself**

Fluff The Cat , 43 minutes ago

The reason that the US government are trying to get Iran is because Epstein/Mossad has blackmailed them all into doing their bidding.

Why don't you cover that in the news, huh?

El Chapo Read , 31 minutes ago

"Necessary Action" = Call Israel and ask what they want him to do.

jaser , 43 minutes ago

Protect America? Protect corrupt Netanyahu more like it. Your nation is about to implode and you just cut off the $600 welfare payment to your citizens hey but let's ban TikTok and protect America from Iran.

malMono , 39 minutes ago

This why Biden might win...idiots like pompeo are a turnoff.

Grouchy-Bear , 34 minutes ago

Sometimes it looks like Pompeo is actually in charge. Okay, most of the time he is in charge. Why go through the election process at all? Pompeo is running the country and was never elected...

malMono , 39 minutes ago

This why Biden might win...idiots like pompeo are a turnoff.

Grouchy-Bear , 34 minutes ago

Sometimes it looks like Pompeo is actually in charge. Okay, most of the time he is in charge. Why go through the election process at all? Pompeo is running the country and was never elected...

rwe2late , 43 minutes ago

Embargo Iran to make them as desperate as possible.

Then accuse them of being "aggressive" while one attacks and bombs Iran's near neighbors (Syria, Iraq, Afghanistan, Pakistan, Yemen).

Sounds like a plan of aggressive war if done by any but an "exceptional" nation.

(It's not like the US denies it)

https://www.globalresearch.ca/we-re-going-to-take-out-7-countries-in-5-years-iraq-syria-lebanon-libya-somalia-sudan-iran/5166

Ron_Paul_Was_Right , 17 minutes ago

If Russia and China want to trade with Iran, how in the world is it the US Government's right to tell them not to? If we want to put sanctions on Iran, go for it. But at this point, the dollar is collapsing as world reserve currency. Iran should well be able to buy anything they need, from China/Russia and the rest of the world which doesn't respect US sanctions, or so I would think.

My point - there's really getting nothing that the US even can do about Iran. So maybe...we should just stop and give it a rest.

Einstein101 , 13 minutes ago

Iran should well be able to buy anything they need, from China/Russia

Fact is Russia and China sell almost nothing to Iran, fearing US sanctions.

Cassandra.Hermes , 2 minutes ago

Don't forget Turkey, Azerbaijan and Europe! Turkish stream is not only bypassing Ukrain but it is connected to Azeri pipeline that is 10km from Iranians border.

monty42 , 15 minutes ago

"Obviously the Iranian army has a bunch of non thinkers..."

Hypocrisy much? The US regime employs paid mercenaries who swore to uphold and defend the Constitution, yet lie and unthinkingly "just follow orders" and believe that absolves them of their oathbreaking and actions.

"Dude, I am FREE. I have firearms that are deadly." Heh, only a very limited arsenal permitted by the Central Committee in D.C., to maintain firepower supremacy in the empire's favor. Your firearms may be deadly, but the empire mercenary can take you out without you ever seeing their face.

Clearly having firearms and ammo alone do not prevent tyranny, the States under the D.C. regime prove that.

vipervenom , 17 minutes ago

pompass the fat boy coward sending our troops to die while he hides behind his own extra large rear end.

[Jul 30, 2020] It s Official: Pompeo Has Declared Cold War With China It s Official- Pompeo Has Declared Cold War With China - The American Conservative

Notable quotes:
"... Pompeo is a disgusting man. The US Oligarchic Regime is projecting a lot. It is this Regime that does not recognize any other order than its own, and always puts a messianic spin on its discourse. ..."
"... Mike Pompous can be counted upon to do everything possible to torpedo legitimate US interests below the waterline, and then nuke any survivors. ..."
Jul 29, 2020 | www.theamericanconservative.com

Mike Pompeo declared the start of a new Cold War with China last week.

...Pompeo's speech was an expression of this unreasonable and unrealistic view, and it is likely to leave most U.S. allies in East Asia and elsewhere cold. Our allies do not wish for deepening antagonism and strife between the U.S. and China, and if push comes to shove Washington may find itself without much support in the region. Calling for a "new alliance" to oppose China when Trump and Pompeo have done such an abysmal job of managing existing alliances in the region just drives home how divorced from reality the speech was.

... ... ...

The Secretary also relied on a familiar mix of simplistic analysis and threat inflation that he has used so often when talking about Iran: "It's this ideology, it's this ideology that informs his decades-long desire for global hegemony of Chinese communism." Pompeo is falling back on two of the stalest talking points from the Cold War. He interprets the behavior of another state primarily in terms of its official ideology rather than its concrete interests, and he attributes to them a goal of "global hegemony" that they are not pursuing to make them seem more dangerous and powerful than they are. China does seek to be the leading state in its own part of the world, but there is no evidence that they aspire to the global domination that Pompeo claims. A hard-line ideologue and hegemonist himself, Pompeo wrongly assumes that the things that motivate him must also drive the actions of others.

... ... ...

Most of the people on the receiving end of this "engagement" and "empowerment" will likely resent the condescension and interference from a foreign government in their country's affairs. Even if we assume that the vast majority of people in China might wish for a radically different government, they are liable to reject U.S. meddling in what they naturally consider to be their business. But, of course, Pompeo isn't serious about "empowering" the Chinese people, just as he isn't serious about supporting the people of Iran or Venezuela or any of the other countries on Washington's list of official foes. We can see from the economic wars that the U.S. has waged on Iran and Venezuela that the administration is only too happy to impoverish and strangle the people they claim to help. Hard-liners feign concern for the people that they then set out to harm in order to make their aggressive and destructive policies look better to a Western audience, but they aren't fooling anyone these days.

Pompeo's bombastic, caustic style and his personal lack of credibility make him an unusually poor messenger, and the Trump administration is uniquely ill-suited to rally a group of states in common cause. But the main problem with the policy Pompeo promotes is that an intensifying rivalry with China is not in the American interest. The U.S. has found that it is virtually impossible to change the behavior of adversaries when that behavior concerns what they believe to be their core security interests. ...


Fred Bowmana day ago • edited

I was reading the words that Nixon wrote about China that Pompeo quoted and it occurred to me that if you took out the word "China" and replaced it with the "United States" then that statement would be completely accurate in describing how America acts in the world. In OTW, it's "the Pot calling the Kettle black".

daveyl123 Fred Bowmana day ago

I wouldn't enjoin the American people with our out-of-touch, out-of-control and (In the cases of Hillary, Waters, Biden and Pelosi..) out of their minds government.

We're so conditioned to global conflicts now, it's merely a matter of the U.S. population learning how to spell the names of foreign leaders and their capitals marked for "Regime Changes", while crossing our fingers in hopes that our buildings will not again be subjected to airliner collisions and collapses in the wake of this aggression.

It would behoove Americans to start pulling on the reins of our bellicose administrations to confine their authority and actions to benefit our citizens.

KennesawJacka day ago • edited

Your comment that we have coexisted with China for 70 years is not quite accurate. There was this little dust-up called the Korean Conflict as I recall...

kouroi BobPM a day ago

The main purpose of TPP was to force the Chinese to privatize the State Owned Enterprises, likely via Wall Street.

L RNYa day ago

The communist Chinese can control our movie, sports, news and entertainment industries by denying them access to China if they don't show China in a positive light or if they show China in a negative life...

daveyl123 John Achterhof2 hours ago

You define with accuracy the core tenets of Socialists. Once a government expands to the proportions needed to implement that form of socioeconomic leadership, the character of those leaders becomes tyrannical, while they target segments of their populations for reeducation or elimination. (Abortions would fit that scenario nicely..) Obama was just such a leader, and had he somehow been able to ignore term limits, his administration would have resembled those of any Socialist State.

rayray L RNYa day ago

All of the policies you mention above would achieve absolutely nothing while inflaming conflict - thus increasingly the problems you outline. These hawkish responses prove the point...the issue isn't that there are or aren't issues, but that the US has lost the ability to have real discussions of these issues with world players and allies.

Much of that is because Trump patently hasn't the temperament, sophistication, or intelligence for discussion and diplomacy - this was proven again and again in the zero sum ineptitude of his private ventures.

The rot of that malignant ineptitude flows down from the head and into every aspect of government, both domestic and foreign. Thus we see his response to every domestic crisis is to inflame division. And the same in the foreign theater. He cannot be gotten rid of soon enough.

daveyl123 L RNYa day ago • edited

I don't believe our government is so foolish as to contemplate a shooting war with the Chinese. They have nuclear warheads. Their populations are fanatics when it comes to conflicts against them...

L RNY daveyl123 21 hours ago

Men will not fight another war nor will women leave their jobs when the men return from war as they did with WWII. There will be no war in Europe simply because Europe (including Russia) is depopulating at such a rapid rate they cant afford a losing more of their population through conflict. I dont see a shooting war with China either. I think that is the purpose of the tariffs and detachment of economies. US intelligence says that China does not want war with the US either. I don't think there is any country that would jump to a pre-emptive nuclear attack in case of a hot war. They dont have the air force superiority or the Navy or superiority in space yet.

Its not the Chinese way. The Chinese wait until they have superiority then they act otherwise they like to fly below the radar and get away with as much espionage and intimidation as possible. The opium wars came about because of the Chinese culture of trade exporting much but importing little thus creating a trade imbalance and indebting their trading partners.

Chinese culture has many forms of achieving superiority without restoring to conflict. The think tanks and experts are predicting that Xi may be pushed out of power by his competitors in the politburo which could defuse the situation. I don't think it will change detaching the economies. After COVID, countries are shifting focus from lowest cost possible to lowest cost and lowest risk possible.

That's why medical instruments, pharmaceuticals, etc are either moving out of China or moving part of their production to the US or they can win against a declining, an indebted power, an over stretched power, etc. Take a lesson with Russia and the US. Russia did not confront the US directly. It used proxies elsewhere around the world. Russia did not want a war with NATO or with the US. That balance kept the peace. If you want peace with China then there is going to have to be some sort of parity or superiority of China's neighbors via an alliance and/or superiority in trade/technology/economy. If you want war then you pacify and try to avoid war leaving a strategic space where your competitor thinks they can win. To avoid war, you need parity or superiority.

kouroia day ago

Pompeo is a disgusting man. The US Oligarchic Regime is projecting a lot. It is this Regime that does not recognize any other order than its own, and always puts a messianic spin on its discourse.

The US itself is not a democracy, but as B. Franklin put it from the beginning, is a Republic, which from the birth was design to promote and preserve the haves, the existing Oligarchy. While they looked for a balance of power in order to prevent the rise of an autocrat (the other bugbear of Oligarchy), the main fear of the framers was democracy and the threat of the mob voting for re-distribution...

The success of the socialist state of China is an indication of what might have happened if the socialist block in ensemble wouldn't have suffered the containment enforced by the US. Given the ability to engage in normal economic intercourse with the world, China developed and lifted hundreds of millions out of poverty. Vietnam is another example. But look what is happening with Cuba or North Korea or Venezuela. It is not the socialist system per se, but the blockade of those countries and the crushing economic war that ruins them.

Fortunately, Russia has learned from the mistakes of the past.

It is good that the cards are on the table to see that US Oligarchy wants to rule everything, because it is a corrupting way of life and mind. Because of this, the march for more open societies, with more, no less democracy, and people representation and input is halted.

And of course, in this new Cold War, a lot of civil liberties and freedom of speech will be curtailed. In my neck of the woods we have already experienced individuals assaulting people of Chinese ethnicity. Way to go America!

Jeff Dickey kouroi 2 hours ago

Mike Pompous can be counted upon to do everything possible to torpedo legitimate US interests below the waterline, and then nuke any survivors. He, along with Barr, Graham, and the rest of the Trump circus, are a cautionary tale for what happens to governments that let ideologues deliberately divorced from reality run a country. They've turned what was once the United States from a superpower to a failed state in an absurdly short period of time. History will be far less kind to these political Bernie Madoffs than to the original financial exemplar.

daveyl123a day ago

Wars ain't nothing to bandy about among administration subordinates. Pompeo is not supposed to be declaring wars--hot or cold. Wars cost big money, lives and property. Only the most grave threats against our country should prompt our leaders to even consider conflicts, much less initiate them. The American people cannot just sit back and absorb such profound adjustments to our national security posture and defense expenditures being unilaterally decided by Washington. It is also a condition of conflicts that our civil rights will be under increased constraints. I chuckled a little when China was listed as our 'new' foe. We won't fight the Chinese because we'll have another Vietnam War on our hands. Our troops aren't used to our enemies fighting back. They've been deployed into banana wars against poorly trained and ill equipped armies of Middle East camel holes. The U.S. Armed Forces' new culture, consisting of socially-engineered, politically-corrected soldiers-of-tolerance have yet to confront true fanatics. These facts were known waaaaay back during our Korean War Adventure.

I've always said that if the Chinese are good at anything, it's making more Chinese.

Adriana Penaa day ago

Because we did not have enough problems already.

"Eramos pocos y pario la abuela"

hoolya day ago

New Cold War? Bring it on. Competition is good. A strong rival is desired. Instead of a struggle over Ideology, this will be a Civilizational struggle, Western Civilization VS Central Civilization, liberal democracy VS Confucian/Legalist authoritarianism, Euro-America VS the Han Chinese. But this time, is America up to the tast?

During the Cold War we were led by 'Greatest Generation' who lived through the Great Depression and fought in World War II, is today's America of Facebook, Twitter, conspiracy theories, selfies, BLM, safe spaces, Diversity, mass immigration and Woke political correctness run amok up to the task?

While China is a predator, homogeneous, nationalist, revanchist and bent on returning to the glory it thinks it deserves. All I can say is, thank god for nuclear weapons and the Chinese Communist Party for keeping a short leash on the patriotic passions of the Han Chinese.

Myron Hudsona day ago

We had "an alliance of democracies" in the TPP which was developed to counter China. Of course, it handed much of our domestic sovereignty over to multinational corporations, but that's what you can expect from a corporatist like Obama. Still, might have been better than this.

Anton20 hours ago

On point analysis.

Ho Hum14 hours ago

I wonder if the Nixon family knew in advance that Pompeo was going to trash Richard Nixon's greatest legacy?

A war between China and the U.S. would not simply be costly for the US - it could end in the destruction of the world as we know it if it turns nuclear. Trump and Pompeo are sociopathic madman. I would not put it past Trump to use Nukes against China. He is just that stupid and evil.

peter mcloughlinan hour ago

President Nixon's détente with China had an important geopolitical consideration, leverage on Russia. "We're using the China thaw to get the Russians shook", he is quoted to have said. There is much talk among hawks these days of a "new Cold War", with that the confidence it will end like the first one: victory for the west and no nuclear annihilation. But this is a danger illusion: today America is in a hegemonic struggle with China for global dominance. It seems neither side can back down. The present crisis is like the Cold War in one crucial sense – world war must be avoided at all costs. The powers are not heeding the warning of history.
https://www.ghostsofhistory...

[Jul 30, 2020] Bolton is a typical crazy neocon who wants to dominate the world

Jul 30, 2020 | www.amazon.com

Pseudo D 3.0 out of 5 stars , June 24, 2020

superhawk

Ambassador John Bolton hinted that he doesn't like being called a hawk, since foreign policy labels are simplistic.

But first of all, he labeled libertarian Sen. Rand Paul an isolationist, rather than say, a non- interventionist. And after nearly 500 pages (all but the epilogue), what you will absorb is absolutely the worldview of a geopolitical hawk. He is not technically a neoconservative (like, say, Paul Wolfowitz) because the latter were more focused on nation building and spreading democracy. Bolton sees what he's promoting as defense, but it requires a constant offense.

Bolton is very bright, as Jim Baker noted decades ago, and very well-read, even endorsing his fellow Baltimorean and my teacher Steve Vicchio's book on Lincoln's faith. But his intelligence is all put into an ideological reading of situations. As Aristotle would put it, the problem is not lack of theoretical wisdom, but the deficiency in practical wisdom and prudential judgment. Certainly there are bad actors in the world, and vigilance is required. But when is aggressive action called for, and when is it better to go with diplomacy? In this book, I find few cases of such restraint. For Bolton, it seems that the goal of peace and security requires the constant threat of war and presence on every continent. All this intervention around the world requires troops, soldiers, real men and women and their lives and those of their families, requiring lots of sacrifice. At times, his theorizing seems distant from these realities on the ground.

So Bolton is critical of the "axis of adults" in the Trump administration, the "generals", but not Kelly and not much on his predecessor McMaster, much less the eccentric Flynn. So his beef is with Mattis, another fine student of history. Bolton says he went by the rules, as James Baker had said that Bush 41 was "the one who got the votes". He tried to influence Trump within the rules, while Mattis, Tillerson and Haley pursued their own foreign policy. I'm sure that Mattis was sometimes right and sometimes wrong, but I would trust his prudential judgment above that of the equally bright Bolton, because of his life experience, being the one on the ground and knowing what war is like.

When Bolton was considered for secretary state right after the 2016 election, I said, well I don't care for the guy, but at least I've heard of him and we know what we're dealing with. His opponent in GOP foreign policy is the libertarian and non-interventionist Sen. Rand Paul. What does Bolton say about the big players in the Trump administration? Nikki Haley is dismissed as a lightweight who was posing for her political future. Well, that's basically what Trump, "the one that got the votes", put her there for. But it's interesting that Bolton is so anti-Haley, when she was for Rubio and the more hawkish platform.

Tillerson's successor Mike Pompeo had sort of a love-hate relationship with Bolton.

Steve Mnuchin is the epitome of the globalist establishment, along with Javanka. Jared Kushner is dismissed as no Kissinger, but when it comes to China, his soft stance is blamed on Kissinger! While Bolton didn't testify in the impeachment, Fiona Hill is mentioned only with respect in this book.

Everybody's flaw, from Bolton's point of view, is being less belligerent than Bolton. (Even in the Bush administration, the only name I can think of would be Michael Ledeen). He even defends the concept of Middle Eastern "endless wars" on the grounds that we didn't start them and can't dictate when they end. Obama was a dove, but in 2016 the GOP marked a shift, with Trump, Paul, Ben Carson and even Ted Cruz opposing the "invade every country on earth" philosophy that this book promotes. It's true that Trump is not an ideologue and thinks in terms of individual transactions. But the movement I see is a dialectic of alternating between aggression and diplomacy, or as he sees it, friendly relationship among leaders.

Bolton is a superhawk on North Korea and Iran throughout, while China and Russia are our hostile rivals. Other matters are Syria, Iraq and ISIS, Venezuela, Afghanistan and finally Ukraine, which by the end of the book I had almost forgotten. If Bolton is dovish anywhere, it's on the Saudis, the rivals with Iran in the Sunni-Shiite dispute chronicled recently in the book "Black Wave".

You can learn a lot from this book, but just keep in mind that it's filtered through the mind of a strong ideologue, so other people's faults are seen through that lens. But he has great knowledge of the details of policy. Bolton would like to be an inter-generational guru like Henry Kissinger or Dean Acheson, but both parties have turned away from the "endless wars" philosophy.

If you are looking for anti-Trump material, I don't really see the point of investing this time and intellectual effort. The more sensational parts have been reported-the exchanges involving Xi Jinping and Kim Jong Un, and to a lesser extent Erdogan. As most reviewers have said, it's about 100 pages too long, but Bolton is looking for a scholarly work like Kissinger's Diplomacy or World Order, and this is the one that he hopes people will read.

C Wm (Andy) Anderson

Not Only is Bolton's Take on Trump Being Dangerous; Bolton Himself is a Danger to America

#1 HALL OF FAME TOP 10 REVIEWER 3.0 out of 5 stars Not Only is Bolton's Take on Trump Being Dangerous; Bolton Himself is a Danger to America Reviewed in the United States on June 23, 2020 Verified Purchase Two reviewers did better at explaining why this book is not rated by me as a must-read. Linda Galella and gammyjill. Bolton laid out some truly explosive allegations but let his own ego cloud his message.

John Bolton, on some fundamental level, is a brilliant, dedicated conservative intent on improving the future of the country he and I love. THAT similarity is probably the only point we share.

I wanted to love this book, because I knew it would be jam-packed with juicy tidbits that justify me derision of the biggest failure ever to assume the office of POTUS. Instead, quite early on, I realized the reason Trump became President was the enormous ineptitude of those otherwise brilliant people who, in short, simply felt that somebody opposing those the person they despise, on principle, was better for America than the other guy or gal.

Throughout this book, Bolton reminds us of Trump's inability to focus attention on the information provided by his handlers. Yes, Trump is naive and intellectually lazy. Yes, so, too, are many of those aiding and abetting Mr. Trump. But, yes, Mr. Bolton also suffers from gross naïveté, and, is just plain foolish. His ego led him to join the Trump Administration, as he admits in "The Room Where It Happened."

Bolton's greatest error, however, was in refusing to tell the country what he chose to sell to the public through this book.

The writing is, mechanically, quite good. But, Bolton comes across as thinking he is the only person of intelligence. That becomes clear by page two, and never changes, except for his insight that he was wrong about Trump.

Unfortunately, Bolton also was wrong about Bolton.

Whoa. Hold on. Just about everyone in both political parties is no better than Bolton. A few exceptions would be Former governor John Kasick and Utah Senator Mitt Romney. Oh, and former Vice President Joe Biden, I believe. Yet, to be honest, I need to see him prove me right. I would hate to make the same mistake regarding Biden as Bolton did regarding Trump.

Americans need to take a good, hard look at how we are governed and at those whom we support.

BOTTOM LINE

Writing quality, passable. But don't expect to gain a great deal of new knowledge.

Three stars out of five.

[Jul 26, 2020] China reaction to Mike Pompeo's 'new Iron Curtain speech'

Notable quotes:
"... Attempting to neutralise a global competitor is the main goal of Americans. Neutralising China's rapid, dynamic development is the essence of the American strategy ..."
Jul 26, 2020 | www.moonofalabama.org

karlof1 , Jul 26 2020 17:41 utc | 17

Recap from today's Global Times where the argument is to continue to stay the course and counterpunch in the typical martial arts fashion, as this op/ed from today's Global Times says :

"Chinese analysts said Sunday the key for China to handle the US offensive is to focus on its own development and insist on continued reform and opening-up to meet the increasing needs of Chinese people for better lives. In the upcoming three months, before the November US presidential election, the China-US relationship is in extreme danger as the Trump administration is likely to launch more aggressions to force China to retaliate, they said."

Stay the course; Trump's shit is just an election ploy. However,

"The US' posturing is serving to distract from domestic pressure over President Trump's failure in handling the pandemic when Trump is seeking reelection this year, Chinese observers said. However, the Trump administration's China stance still reflects bipartisan consensus among US elites, so China should not expect significant change in US policy toward China even if there is a power transition in November, which means China should prepare itself for a long fight."

Don't stray from the Long Game. An international conference was held that I'll try to get a link for. Here's GT's summation:

"According to the Xinhua News Agency on Saturday, international scholars said at a virtual meeting on the international campaign against a new cold war on China on Saturday that 'aggressive statements and actions by the US government toward China poses a threat to world peace and a potential new cold war on China goes against the interests of humanity.'

"The meeting gathered experts from a number of countries including the US, China, Britain, India, Russia and Canada.

"Experts attending the meeting issued a statement calling upon the US to step back from this threat of a cold war and also from other dangerous threats to world peace it is engaged in.

"The reason why international scholars are criticizing the US rather than China is that they can see how restrained China remains and the sincerity of China to settle the tension by dialogue, even though the US is getting unreasonably aggressive, said Chinese experts.

"Washington has made a huge mistake as it has chosen the wrong target - China - to be 'the common enemy or common fear' to reshape its declining leadership among the West. Right now, the common enemy of humanity is COVID-19, and this is why its new cold war declaration received almost no positive responses from other major powers and even raised concern, said Lü Xiang, a research fellow at the Chinese Academy of Social Sciences in Beijing, on Sunday."

Today's Global Times lead editorial asked most of the questions everyone else's asking:

"People are asking: How far will the current China-US confrontation keep going? Will a new cold war take shape? Will there be military conflicts and will the possible clashes evolve into large-scale military confrontation between the two?

"Perhaps everyone believes that China does not want a new cold war, let alone a hot war. But the above-mentioned questions have become disturbing suspense because no one knows how wild the ambitions the US ruling team has now, and whether American and international societies are capable of restraining their ambitions."

IMO, the editor's conclusions are quite correct:

"The world must start to act and do whatever it can to stop Washington's hysteria in its relations with China.

"Right now, it is no longer a matter of whether China-US ties are in freefall, but whether the line of defense on world peace is being broken through by Washington. The world must not be hijacked by a group of political madmen. The tragedies in 1910s and 1930s must not be repeated again ."

Trump is elevated to the same plane as Hitler and Mussolini, and the Outlaw US Empire is now the equivalent of Nazi Germany and the Fascist drive to rule the world--a well illustrated trend that's been ongoing since 1991 that only those blinded by propaganda aren't capable of seeing. I think it absolutely correct for China to focus its rhetoric on the Outlaw US Empire's utter failure to control COVID, which prompts some probing questions made from the first article:

"Shen Yi, a professor at the School of International Relations and Public Affairs of Fudan University, told the Global Times on Sunday that there is wide consensus among the international community that the COVID-19 pandemic is the most urgent challenge that the world should deal with. Whether on domestic epidemic control or international cooperation, the US has done almost nothing right compared to China's efforts to assist others and its successful control measures for domestic outbreaks .

"In response to US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo's 'new Iron Curtain speech' at the Richard Nixon Presidential Library on Thursday declaring a new cold war against China, Shen said, ' We can also ask 'is Pompeo an ally of coronavirus?' Because he wants to confuse the world to target the wrong enemy amid the tough fight against the pandemic, so that the virus can kill more people, especially US people, since his country is in the worst situation .'

Shen said, 'In 2018, US Vice President Mike Pence already made a speech which the media saw as a new 'Iron Curtain speech,' and in 2020, Pompeo made a similar speech again, which means their cold war idea is not popular and brings no positive responses from its allies, so they need to try time and again. Of course, they will fail again.'" [My Emphasis]

Wow! The suggestion that Trump, Pompeo, Pence, and company want to "kill more people, especially US people" seems to be proven via their behavior which some of us barflies recognize and have discussed. Now that notion is out in the public, internationally. You don't need Concentration Camps and ovens when the work can be done via the dysfunctional structure of your economy and doing nothing about the situation.

Shen provides the clincher, what Gruff, myself, and others have said here:

"'So if we want to win this competition that was forced by the US, we must focus on our own development and not get distracted. The US is not afraid of a cold war with us, it is afraid of our development .'" [My Emphasis]

My synopsis of both articles omitted some additional info, so do please click the links to read them fully.

karlof1 , Jul 26 2020 18:02 utc | 19

Sputnik offers this analysis of the China/Outlaw US Empire issue , where I found this bit quite apt from "Alexey Biryukov, senior adviser at the Centre for International Information Security, Science and Technology Policy (CIIS) MGIMO-University":

"'The US is fighting with a country that is developing very rapidly, gaining power, increasing its competitiveness in areas where previously there was undeniably US leadership. Attempting to neutralise a global competitor is the main goal of Americans. Neutralising China's rapid, dynamic development is the essence of the American strategy . Meanwhile, China is interested in developing friendly relations with all countries. Recently, it presented the idea of building a community of common destiny for humanity. That's what Sino-American relations should be built around . It would seem that the pandemic should have brought people together around the idea of building a prosperous world for all, not just someone. But the Americans didn't understand that: they started looking for the guilty ones. This is the favourite strategy of Anglo-Saxons, Americans including, to look for the guilty . As a result, they found their main competitor – China'". [My Emphasis]

That is the "guilty ones" that aren't within the Outlaw US Empire. Many more opinions are provided in the article, but they all revolve around the one theme of Trump's actions being motivated by the election and his morbidly poor attempts to corral COVID.

[Jul 26, 2020] Watch- China Answers Houston Closure With Raid On US Consulate In Chengdu

Closing consulates is far from the best foreign policy and fat Pompeo known it. It just starts the unnecessary and counter productive spiral of retaliation and Chinese have more leverage over the USA as more the USA diplomatic personnel woks in China than the china diplomatic personnel in the USA. They were always burned in Russia and now they stepped on the same rake again.
Jul 26, 2020 | www.zerohedge.com

Musum , 8 hours ago

One good turn deserves another.

Maybe fat Pompeo knows he's on his way out and desperate to make a lasting mark on the geopolitical stage on behalf of the West Point mafia and his brothers-in-arm at the Jweish mafia.

QABubba , 8 hours ago

Quit stealing Russian consulates, Chinese consulates, etc.

It serves no purpose.

Haboob , 7 hours ago

Closing diplomacy with nations as USA shrinks on the world stage shows America's juvenile behavior.

Salisarsims , 7 hours ago

We are a young twenty something nation what do you expect but drama.

Haboob , 7 hours ago

It is funny how the young and arrogant always think they are right and have manifest destiny over the old and wise. The young never listen to the old and as the story goes they are defeated everytime. China is older than America, older than the west, they understand this world we are living in far more than we do.

me or you , 9 hours ago

He is right!

The world has witnessed the US is not more than a banana Republic with a banana healthcare system

To Hell In A Handbasket , 9 hours ago

I love seeing how gullible the USSA dunces are susceptible to hating an imaginary enemy. Go on dunces wave the star spangled banner, and place the hand over the heart, you non-critical thinking imbeciles. I told you fools years ago we are going to invoke the Yellow Peril 2.0, and now we are living it. China bad, is just as stupid as Russia bad, while the state stenographers at the MSM netowrks do all in their power to hide our rotten behaviour.

Who falls for this ****? The poorly educated, and the inherently stupid.

To Hell In A Handbasket , 8 hours ago

No, it's called nationalism or self preservation.

What are the citizens of the US suppose to do,

You are wrong on so many levels, but ultimately the Chinese have beaten us at our own rigged game. When I was riling against unfettered free-markets, and the movement of capital, that allowed the west for centuries to move into undeveloped foreign markets and gain a stranglehold, I was called a communist, and a protectionist.

While the USSA money printing b@stards was roaming around the planet like imperialists, and their companies was not only raping the planet, but gouging foreign markets, the average USSA dunce was brainwashed into believing USSA companies were the best.

Now these same market and economic rules we the west have set for the last several hundred years no longer work for us, we want to change the rules. Again, my point is "where was you on this position 5-10-20-30 years ago?" I've always seen this outcome, because logic said so. To reject our own status quo, and return to mercantilism, makes us look like the biggest hypocrites ever.

[Jul 23, 2020] Iran's top security official: Harsher revenge awaits perpetrators of Gen. Soleimani's assassination

Jul 23, 2020 | www.presstv.com

News / Politics Iran's top security official: Harsher revenge awaits perpetrators of Gen. Soleimani's assassination Wednesday, 22 July 2020 4:29 PM [ Last Update: Wednesday, 22 July 2020 4:29 PM ]

Members of the Iraqi honor guard walk past a huge portrait of Iran's late top general Qassem Soleimani (L) and Iraqi commander Abu Mahdi al-Muhandis, both killed in a US drone strike near Baghdad airport last month, during a memorial service held in Baghdad's high-security Green Zone on February 11, 2020. (Photo by AFP)

Iran's top security official says harsher revenge awaits the perpetrators of the attack that killed senior Iranian anti-terrorism commander Lieutenant General Qassem Soleimani and his companions.

In a post on his Twitter page on Wednesday, Secretary of Iran's Supreme National Security Council Ali Shamkhani said that US President Donald Trump had admitted that the American, upon his direct order, committed the crime of assassinating General Soleimani, the commander of the Quds Force of Iran's Islamic Revolution Guards Corps (IRGC), and Abu Mahdi al-Muhandis, the second-in-command of Iraq's Popular Mobilization Units (PMU) counter-terrorism force, who were two prominent figures of the anti-terrorism campaign.

"The two Iranian and Iraqi nations are avengers of blood of these martyrs and will not rest until they punish the perpetrators," read part of the tweet.

"Harsher revenge is one the way," it concluded.

The two commanders and a number of their companions were assassinated in a US airstrike near Baghdad airport on January 3, as General Soleimani was on an official visit to the Iraqi capital.

Both commanders were extremely popular because of the key role they played in eliminating the US-sponsored Daesh terrorist group in the region, particularly in Iraq and Syria.

UN experts calls US drone attack on Gen. Soleimani 'unlawful' killing A senior UN human rights investigator says the United States' assassination of top Iranian commander Lieutenant General Qassem Soleimani in Baghdad was an "unlawful" killing in violation of the international law.

In retaliation for the attack, the IRGC fired volleys of ballistic missiles a US base in Iraq on January 8. According to the US Defense Department, more than 100 American forces suffered "traumatic brain injuries" during the counterstrike. The IRGC, however, says Washington uses the term to mask the number of the Americans, who perished during the retaliation.

Iran has also issued an arrest warrant and asked Interpol for help in detaining Trump, who ordered the assassination, and several other US military and political leaders behind the strike.

Leader of the Islamic Revolution Ayatollah Seyyed Ali Khamenei said on Tuesday Iran will never forget Washington's assassination of General Soleimani and will definitely deliver a "counterblow" to the United States.

Leader: Iran to deal US 'counterblow' for Gen. Soleimani's assassination Leader of the Islamic Revolution Ayatollah Seyyed Ali Khamenei meets with visiting Iraqi Prime Minister Mustafa al-Kadhimi in Tehran.

"The Islamic Republic of Iran will never forget this issue and will definitely deal the counterblow to the Americans," Ayatollah Khamenei said in a meeting with visiting Iraqi Prime Minister Mustafa al-Kadhimi in Tehran.

"They killed your guest at your own home and unequivocally admitted the atrocity. This is no small matter," Ayatollah Khamenei told the Iraqi premier.

A UN special rapporteur says has condemned the US assassination and said Washington has put the world at unprecedented peril with its murder of Iran's top anti-terror commander.

UN expert raps US for arbitrary drone attack that killed Gen. Soleimani A UN special rapporteur slams the US for refusing to take responsibility for the assassination of General Soleimani in violation of international law.

Agnes Callamard, UN special rapporteur on extrajudicial, summary or arbitrary executions, has also warned that it is high time the international community broke its silence on Washington's drone-powered unlawful killings.


Press TV's website can also be accessed at the following alternate addresses:

[Jul 19, 2020] The Chinese and Russian Foreign Ministers just jointly agreed in a rare published account of their phone conversation that the Outlaw US Empire " has lost its sense of reason, morality and credibility .

Jul 19, 2020 | www.moonofalabama.org

karlof1 , Jul 18 2020 22:54 utc | 6 4

Does Cancel Culture intersect with Woke? The former's not mentioned in this fascinating essay , but the latter is and appears to deserve some unpacking beyond what Crooke provides.

As for the letter, it's way overdue by 40+ years. I recall reading Bloom's The Closing of the American Mind and Christopher Lasch's Culture of Narcissism where they say much the same.

What's most irksome are the lies that now substitute for discourse--Trump or someone from his admin lies, then the WaPost, NY Times, MSNBC, Fox, and others fire back with their lies. And to top everything off--There's ZERO accountability: people who merit "canceling" continue to lie and commit massive fraud.

The Chinese and Russian Foreign Ministers just jointly agreed in a rare published account of their phone conversation that the Outlaw US Empire " has lost its sense of reason, morality and credibility .

Yes, they were specifically referring to the government, but I'd include the Empire's institutions as well. In the face of that reality, the letter is worse than a joke.

[Jul 16, 2020] The spate of gas explosions are unlikely to be accidents

Jul 16, 2020 | www.moonofalabama.org

Peter AU1 , Jul 15 2020 20:41 utc | 30

The spate of gas explosions are unlikely to be accidents. One maybe but not a spate of them. Unlikely to be cyber as both a physical leak and ignition source are required.

Sat image of the site of the first explosion and grass fire https://static.timesofisrael.com/www/uploads/2020/06/AP20179369014525-1024x640.jpg

The gas tank can be seen on google https://www.google.com.au/maps/@35.688164,51.6513532,92m/data=!3m1!1e3
Out away from buildings and easy to access. Something to create a leak and a delayed ignition source is all that's required.

Richard Steven Hack , Jul 16 2020 1:05 utc | 50

@Peter AU1 | Jul 15 2020 20:41 utc | 30

I agree that most of these explosions are probably not "cyberattacks". Despite all the scare stories about hacking destroying infrastructure, it's not that easy, especially in the US where every industry and every company within that industry has their own "standards", which means there are no real standards a hacker can rely on. It's much easier to steal data than it is to influence hardware, although that certainly can be done in many cases.

On the other hand, there are plenty of internal Iranian dissidents and foreign visitors who can be employed by both the CIA and Israel to further a spate of physical attacks.

Obviously these sorts of attacks are going to do next to nothing to actually damage Iranian infrastructure, as Iran is a big country. These sorts of sabotage are merely a psychological warfare ploy. This is amplified by Western media coverage of the incidents which is intended to portray Iran as weak and unable to defend itself.

I've often speculated about what a few hundred saboteurs could do if inserted into the US, armed with nothing but small arms and a decent amount of explosives. Depending on how well they are kept covert and how smart they are in choosing targets, you could bring the US to its knees in perhaps six months of operations. Car bombs, for instance - the US is *made* for car bombs, given our reliance on vehicles and the congestion in the inner cities. Detonate a car bomb in each of the 50 Major Metropolitan Areas simultaneously and do so consistently every week for a month and most of the inner cities would be shut down and under martial law.

That's the kind of actual physical campaign that could produce significant results in a country. These pin-prick attacks in Iran are just a combination of psychological warfare plus perhaps some effects as causing their protective services to be overstretched somewhat.

Mostly what they are is an attempt to provoke Iran into doing something *overtly* against Israel or the US. The neocons want Iran to be the instigator of the war, not the US or Israel. They want Iran to provide a casus belli for the war, so that Trump and Netanyahu can present themselves as blameless for the resulting disaster, much like Bush presented Iraq as responsible for 9/11.

In essence, the US and Israel are acting as Internet trolls, pin-pricking Iran in an attempt to get Iran to engage and thus manipulate Iran for their own purposes.

Hopefully Iran will not take the bait, or if it does so, that it makes sure its retaliations are as covert and deniable as the CIA's while being at least equally as damaging or more so. If I were Iran, I would specifically target the CIA and its assets in the region. It would not be hard to identify the CIA officers stationed in most countries and conduct harassment operations against them, even perhaps engineering "accidental deaths". It would be an analog of the US-Russian Cold War days. Competent spies aren't that plentiful and killing them off tends to put a real crimp in operations while mostly being deniable since all such events would be "classified".

[Jul 16, 2020] If Pompeo has a functioning brain, he should realize that all these blatant efforts to reserve markets for America by sanctioning all its competitors out of the picture is having the opposite effect, and frightening customers away from becoming dependent on American products

Jul 16, 2020 | thenewkremlinstooge.wordpress.com

MOSCOWEXILE July 15, 2020 at 7:58 am

Fat bully boy speaks for Bully Boy state:

"Today the Department of State is updating the public guidance for CAATSA authorities to include Nord Stream 2 and the second line of TurkStream 2. This action puts investments or other activities that are related to these Russian energy export pipelines at risk of US sanctions. It's a clear warning to companies aiding and abetting Russia's malign influence projects and will not be tolerated. Get out now or risk the consequences".

Pompeo speaking at a press conference today.

CAATSA -- Countering America's Adversaries Through Sanctions Act

So Russia and Turkey are "adversaries" of the USA?

In what way?

Do these states wish to wage war against the USA?

Is it adversarial to United States interest to compete economically with the hegemon?

MOSCOWEXILE July 15, 2020 at 7:59 am

Link to above:

https://sputniknews.com/world/202007151079893067-us-plans-to-add-nord-stream-2-turkstream-to-list-of-projects-to-be-sanctioned/

MARK CHAPMAN July 15, 2020 at 3:51 pm

Who cares? Really, is Pompeo still scary? If he has a functioning brain, he should realize that all these blatant efforts to reserve markets for America by sanctioning all its competitors out of the picture is having the opposite effect, and frightening customers away from becoming dependent on American products which might be withheld on a whim when America wants political concessions. 'Will not be tolerated' – what a pompous ass. Sanction away. The consequence is well-known to be seizure of assets held in the United States or an inability to do business in the United States. That will frighten some into submission – like the UK, which was threatened with the cessation of intelligence-sharing with the USA (sure you can spare it?) if it did not drop Huawei from its 5G networks. But others will take prudent steps to limit their exposure to such threats, in the certain knowledge that if they work, they will encourage the USA to use the technique again.

[Jul 11, 2020] Pounding to nothing - Patrick Porter - The Critic Magazine

Jul 11, 2020 | thecritic.co.uk

Pounding to nothing

Patrick Porter reviews The Room Where It Happened: A White House Memoir, by John Bolton ARTILLERY ROW BOOKS 4 July, 2020

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P resident Donald Trump's third National Security Advisor opens his memoir with this quote from the Duke of Wellington at Waterloo: 'Hard Pounding, this, gentlemen. Let's see who will pound the longest.' And pound for pound, that's the (nearly) 500 page memoir in a nutshell. Unremitting pounding is both the theme and the style. As John Bolton urged the White House to take a 'harder line" on Iran and North Korea, Trump's chief of staff "urged me to keep pounding away in public, which I assured him I would.' China 'pounded away during my tenure, sensing weakness at the top.' As with Bolton's mission, so too with America's statecraft, that must 'keep moving and keep firing, like a big grey battleship.'

From his infamous unsubtle moustache to his bellicosity, Bolton traffics on a self-image of straight shooter who sprints towards gunfire. He does not set out to offer a meditation on a complex inner life. This image is also slightly misleading. For all the barrage, Bolton turns out to be a more conflicted figure, especially when his supporting fire is most called upon.

The Room Where it Happened is Bolton's account of his part in the power struggles within Trump's almost medieval court, his attempt to steer the executive branch towards the right course, unmasked supremacy everywhere, and his failure and disillusion with Trump's chaotic, self-serving and showbiz-driven presidency.

The room where it happened: A White House memoir, by John Bolton

The memoir itself is a non-trivial political event. Other reviewers have assailed it for being turgid. Bolton, though, has at least done the state some service by habitually recording and recounting every meeting. This is an important record of an important eighteen months packed with the escalating brinksmanship with Iran, an impeachment inquest, the return of great power competition and a fierce struggle to control the policy levers in Washington itself. For that detail, especially when contrasted with the exhausting melodrama of the era, Bolton deserves a little credit. The Trump administration's determined effort to suppress it on the grounds of classified information suggests there is substance to Bolton's allegations of corruption and turmoil at the heart of government.

It is also, though, a work of self-vindication. Bolton's life is an adversarial one. A former attorney, he became a policy advocate and a Republican Party institution, consistently taking the hardest of lines. He was ever drawn to aggressive combatants – like Hillary Clinton, in his formative years he supported Barry Goldwater. He interned for Vice-President Spiro Agnew, the "number one hawk." As a measure of Bolton's faith that war works and that co-existence with "rogue states" is impossible, he advocated attacking a heavily (and nuclear)-armed North Korea in 2018, an adversary that lies in artillery range of Seoul and thousands of Americans as effective hostages, and offered up a best-case scenario in doing so.

Bolton brought to government a world view that was dug-in and entrenched. For Bolton, the world is hostile, and to survive America must be strong (wielding and brandishing overwhelming force) at all times. Enemy regimes cannot be bargained with or even co-existed with on anything less than maximalist terms dictated by Washington. The US never gives an inch, and must demand everything. And if those regimes do not capitulate, America must topple or destroy them: Iran, Syria, Libya, Venezuela, Cuba, Yemen and North Korea, and must combat them on multiple fronts at once. In doing so, America itself must remain unfettered with an absolutely free hand, not nodding even hypocritically to law or custom or bargaining.

If Bolton's thoughts add up to anything, it is a general hostility, if not to talking, certainly to diplomacy – the art of giving coherence and shape to different instruments and activities, above all through compromise and a recognition of limits. The final straw for Bolton was Trump's cancelling an airstrike on Iran after it shot down a drone. An odd hill to die on, given the graver acts of corruption he as witness alleges, but fitting that the failure to pull the trigger for him was Trump's most shocking misdemeanour.

What is intended to be personal strength and clarity comes over as unreflective bluster

This worldview is as personal as it is geopolitical. Importantly for Bolton, in the end he fights alone, bravely against the herd. He fights against other courtiers, even fellow hawks, who Bolton treats with dismissive contempt – Nikki Haley, Steve Mnuchin, Mike Pompeo, or James Mattis who like Bolton, champions strategic commitments and views Iran as a dangerous enemy, but is more selective about when to reach for the gun. The press is little more than an "hysterical" crowd. Allies like South Korea, who must live as neighbours with one of the regimes Bolton earmarks for execution, and who try conciliatory diplomacy occasionally, earn slight regard. Critics, opponents or those who disagree are 'lazy,' 'howling' or 'feckless.'

For a lengthy work that distils a lifetime's experience, it is remarkably thin regarding the big questions of security, power and order. The hostile world for him contains few real limits other than failures of will. He embraces every rivalry and every commitment, but explanations are few and banal. 'While foreign policy labels are unhelpful except to the intellectually lazy,' he says, 'if pressed, I like to say my policy was "pro-American".' Who is lazy, here?

The purpose of foreign policy, too, is largely absent. Armed supremacy abroad, and power-maximisation, seems to be the end in itself, regardless of what is has wrought at home. This makes his disdain for Trump's authoritarian ways especially obtuse: what does he think made possible an imperial presidency in the first place?

There's little room for principled or reasonable disagreement. What is intended to be personal strength and clarity comes over as unreflective bluster, in a town where horse-trading and agility matter. Unintentionally, it is a warning to anyone who seeks to be effective as well as right, and to those of us who debate these questions.

The most provocative part of the book comes at the end, and points to a man more conflicted than his self-image of the straight shooter. Bolton issues an extended, uneasy defence of his decision not to appear as a witness before the House impeachment inquiry against a president he believed to be corrupt. Having celebrated the need to "pound away" with inexhaustible energy, it turned out his ammunition was low. 'I was content to bide my time. I believed throughout, as the line in Hamilton goes, that "I am not throwing away my shot".' Drawing on a characteristic claim to certainty, 'it would have made no significant difference in the Senate outcome.' How can he know this? And even if the odds were long, was there not – for once – a compelling basis in civic virtue to be that relentless grey battleship, pounding away? He now hopes "history" will remember Trump as a one-term president. History needs willing agents.

Other reviews have honed in on Bolton's decision to delay his revelations for a book pay-day. But consider another theme – the war-hawk who is in fact torn and agonised around combat when it comes to himself. It echoes his retrospective rationale for not fighting in Vietnam, a war he supported, and (as he has recorded) the detailed efforts he made to avoid service in that tragic theatre after being drafted. It was, he decided, bound to fail given that the anti-war Democrats would undermine the cause, a justification he later sheepishly regretted.

So twice the advocate of forceful confrontation refused the call to show up, generously awarding to himself a rationale for non-intervention that relieves him of commitment. He refuses to extend that same exonerating, prudential logic to his country, when it debates whether to wade in to conflict abroad. Neither does he extend it to other Americans who think the nation, like Bolton, might be better off sometimes holding its fire, biding its time, dividing its enemies, and keeping its powder dry.

Given that Bolton failed in the end to attend the "room where it happened", his title is unwittingly ironic. In his favour, Bolton's testy defence of his absence at least suggests something. In contrast with the front cover of another forthcoming, Trump-era memoir , he retains a modest capacity for embarrassment.

[Jul 07, 2020] As for the timing of the likely pending Iran war,another consideration is the impact on financial markets.

Jul 07, 2020 | www.moonofalabama.org

Schmoe , Jul 6 2020 3:27 utc | 85

As for the timing of the likely pending Iran war,another consideration is the impact on financial markets.

The market went into a mini panic last September when the Yemeni missiles hit the Saudi refineries because the Saudis withdrew ~$60n - $80b from repo markets. Some blame JP Morgan for that, but someone I know who works at the repo trading desk of the US branch of a large foreign bank was adamant it was the Saudi pullback and JP Morgan had nothing to do with it. I thought that the US withdrew Patriot batteries from the Gulf infrastructure in Saudi Arabia, that is an odd move given Iran could destroy those facilities.

[Jul 06, 2020] US claim of 'Russian Bounty' plot in Afghanistan is dubious and dangerous - The Grayzone

Highly recommended!
Notable quotes:
"... the essential backdrop for the timing of this story. It really reveals how completely decayed mainstream media is as an institution, that none of these reporters protested the story, didn't see fit to do any independent investigation into it. At best they would print a Russian denial which counts for nothing in the US, or a Taliban denial which counts for nothing in the US. And then and this gets into the domestic political angle because so much of Russiagate, while it's been crafted by former or current intelligence officials, depends on the Democratic Party and it punditocracy, MSNBC and mainstream media as a projection megaphone, as its Mighty Wurlitzer. ..."
"... That took place in this case because, according to this story, Donald Trump had been briefed on Putin paying bounties to the Taliban and he chose to do nothing. Which, of course Trump denies, but that counts for nothing as well. But, again, there's been no independent confirmation of any of this. And now we get into the domestic part, which is that this new Republican anti-Trump operation, The Lincoln Project, had a flashy ad ready to go almost minutes after the story dropped. ..."
"... They're just, like, on meth at Steve Schmidt's political Batcave, just churning this material out. But I feel like they had an inkling, like this story was coming. It just the coordination and timing was impeccable. ..."
"... And The Lincoln Project is something that James Carville, the veteran Democratic consultant, has said is doing more than any Democrat or any Democratic consultant to elect Joe Biden. ..."
"... the Carter Administration, at the urging of national security chief Zbigniew Brzezinski, had enacted what would become Operation Cyclone under Reagan, an arm-and-equip program to arm the Afghan mujahideen. The Saudis put up a matching fund which helped bring the so-called Services Bureau into the field where Osama bin Laden became a recruiter for international jihadists to join the battlefield. And, you know, the goal was, in the words of Brzezinski, as he later admitted to a French publication, was to force the Red Army, the Soviet Red Army, to intervene to protect the pro-Soviet government in Kabul, which they proceeded to do. ..."
"... What he means is by basically paying bounties, which the US was literally doing along with its Gulf allies, to exact the toll on the allies of Assad, Russia. So, let's just say it's true, according to your question, let's just say this is all true. It would be a retaliation for what the United States has done to Russia in areas where it was actually legally invited in by the governments in charge, either in Kabul or Damascus. And that's, I think, the kind of ironic subtext that can hardly be understated when you see someone like Dan Rather wag his finger at Putin for paying the Taliban as proxies. But, I mean, it's such a ridiculous story that it's just hard to even fathom that it's real. ..."
"... just kind of neocon resistance mind-explosion, where first John Bolton was hailed as this hero and truthteller about Trump. ..."
"... And then you have this and it, you know, today as you pointed out, Chuck Todd, "Chuck Toddler", welcomes on Meet the Press John Bolton as this wise voice to comment on Donald Trump's slavish devotion to Vladimir Putin and how we need to escalate. ..."
"... This is what Russiagate has done. It's taken one of the most Strangelovian, psychotic, dangerous, bloodthirsty, sadistic monsters in US foreign policy circles and turned him into a sober-minded, even heroic, truthteller. ..."
Jul 06, 2020 | thegrayzone.com

US claim of 'Russian Bounty' plot in Afghanistan is dubious and dangerous

Max Blumenthal breaks down the "Russian bounty" story's flaws and how it aims to prolong the war in Afghanistan -- and uses Russiagate tactics to continue pushing the Democratic Party to the right

Multiple US media outlets, citing anonymous intelligence officials, are claiming that Russia offered bounties to kill US soldiers in Afghanistan, and that President Trump has taken no action.

Others are contesting that claim. "Officials said there was disagreement among intelligence officials about the strength of the evidence about the suspected Russian plot," the New York Times reports. "Notably, the National Security Agency, which specializes in hacking and electronic surveillance, has been more skeptical."

"The constant flow of Russiagate disinformation into the bloodstream of the Democratic Party and its base is moving that party constantly to the right, while pushing the US deeper into this Cold War," Blumenthal says.

Guest: Max Blumenthal, editor of The Grayzone and author of several books, including his latest "The Management of Savagery."

TRANSCRIPT

AARON MATÉ: Welcome to Pushback, I'm Aaron Maté. There is a new supposed Trump-Russia bombshell. The New York Times and other outlets reporting that Russia has been paying bounties to Afghan militants to kill US soldiers in Afghanistan. Trump and the White House were allegedly briefed on this information but have taken no action.

Now, the story has obvious holes, like many other Russiagate bombshells. It is sourced to anonymous intelligence officials. The New York Times says that the claim comes from Afghan detainees. And it also has some logical holes. The Taliban have been fighting the US and Afghanistan for nearly two decades and never needed Russian payments before to kill the Americans that they were fighting; [this] amongst other questions are raised about this story. But that has not stopped the usual chorus from whipping up a frenzy.

RACHEL MADDOW, MSNBC: Vladimir Putin is offering bounties for the scalps of American soldiers in Afghanistan. Not only offering, offering money [to] the people who kill Americans, but some of the bounties that Putin has offered have been collected, meaning the Russians at least believe that their offering cash to kill Americans has actually worked to get some Americans killed.

FORMER VICE PRESIDENT JOE BIDEN: Donald Trump has continued his embarrassing campaign of deference and debasing himself before Vladimir Putin. He had has [sic] this information according to The Times, and yet he offered to host Putin in the United States and sought to invite Russia to rejoin the G7. He's in his entire presidency has been a gift to Putin, but this is beyond the pale.

CHUCK TODD, NBC: Let me ask you this. Do you think that part of the that the president is afraid to make Putin mad because maybe Putin did help him win the election and he doesn't want to make him mad for 2020?

SENATE MINORITY LEADER CHUCK SCHUMER: I was not briefed on the Russian military intelligence, but it shows that we need in this coming defense bill, which we're debating this week, tough sanctions against Russia, which thus far Mitch McConnell has resisted.

Joining me now is Max Blumenthal, editor of The Grayzone, author of The Management of Savagery . Max, welcome to Pushback. What is your reaction to this story?

MAX BLUMENTHAL: I mean, it just feels like so many other episodes that we've witnessed over the past three or four years, where American intelligence officials basically plant a story in one outlet, The New York Times , which functions as the media wing of the Central Intelligence Agency. Then no reporting takes place whatsoever, but six reporters, or three to six reporters are assigned to the piece to make it look like it was some last-minute scramble to confirm this bombshell story. And then the story is confirmed again by The Washington Post because their reporters, their three to six reporters in, you know, capitals around the world with different beats spoke to the same intelligence officials, or they were furnished different officials who fed them the same story. And, of course, the story advances a narrative that the United States is under siege by Russia and that we have to escalate against Russia just ahead of another peace summit or some kind of international dialogue.

This has sort of been the general framework for these Russiagate bombshells, and of course they can there's always an anti-Trump angle. And because, you know, liberal pundits and the, you know, Democratic Party operatives see this as a means to undermine Trump as the election heats up. They don't care if it's true or not. They don't care what the consequences are. They're just gonna completely roll with it. And it's really changed, I think, not just US foreign policy, but it's changed the Democratic Party in an almost irreversible way, to have these constant "quote-unquote" bombshells that are really generated by the Central Intelligence Agency and by other US intelligence operations in order to turn up the heat to crank up the Cold War, to use these different media organs which no longer believe in reporting, which see Operation Mockingbird as a kind of blueprint for how to do journalism, to turn them into keys on the CIA's Mighty Wurlitzer. That's what happened here.

AARON MATÉ: What do you make of the logic of this story? This idea that the Taliban would need Russian money to kill Americans when the Taliban's been fighting the US for nearly two decades now. And the sourcing for the story, the same old playbook: anonymous intelligence officials who are citing vague claims about apparently what was said by Afghan detainees.

MAX BLUMENTHAL: This story has, as I said, it relies on zero reporting. The only source is anonymous American intelligence officials. And I tweeted out a clip of a former CIA operations officer who managed the CIA's operation in Angola, when the US was actually fighting on the side of apartheid South Africa against a Marxist government that was backed up by Cuban troops. His name was John Stockwell. And Stockwell talked about how one-third of his covert operations staff were propagandists, and that they would feed imaginary stories about Cuban barbarism that were completely false to reporters who were either CIA assets directly or who were just unwitting dupes who would hang on a line waiting for American intelligence officials to feed them stories. And one out of every five stories was completely false, as Stockwell said. We could play some of that clip now; it's pretty remarkable to watch it in light of this latest fake bombshell.

JOHN STOCKWELL: Another thing is to disseminate propaganda to influence people's minds, and this is a major function of the CIA. And unfortunately, of course, it overlaps into the gathering of information. You, you have contact with a journalist, you will give him true stories, you'll get information from him, you'll also give him false stories.

OFF-CAMERA REPORTER: Can you do this with responsible reporters?

JOHN STOCKWELL: Yes, the Church Committee brought it out in 1975. And then Woodward and Bernstein put an article in Rolling Stone a couple of years later. Four hundred journalists cooperating with the CIA, including some of the biggest names in the business.

MAX BLUMENTHAL: So, basically, I mean, you get the flavor of what someone who was in the CIA at the height of the Cold War I mean, he did the same thing in Vietnam. And the playbook is absolutely the same today. These this story was dumped on Friday in The New York Times by "quote-unquote" American intelligence officials, as a breakthrough had been made in Afghan peace talks and a conference was finally set for Doha, Qatar, that would involve the Taliban, which had been seizing massive amounts of territory.

Now, it's my understanding, and correct me if I'm wrong, that the Taliban had been fighting one of the most epic examples of an occupying army in modern history, just absolutely chewing away at one of the most powerful militaries in human history in their country for the last 19 years, without bounties from Vladimir Putin or private-hotdog-salesman-and-Saint-Petersburg-troll-farm-owner Yevgeny Prigozhin , who always comes up in these stories. It's always the hotdog guy who's doing everything bad from, like, you know, fake Facebook ads to poisoning Sergei Skripal or whatever.

But I just don't see where the Taliban needs encouragement from Putin to do that. It's their country. They want the US out and they have succeeded in seizing large amounts of territory. Donald Trump has come into office with a pledge to remove US troops from Afghanistan and ink this deal. And along comes this story as the peace process begins to advance.

And what is the end-result? We haven't gotten into the domestic politics yet, but the end-result is you have supposedly progressive senators like Chris Murphy of Connecticut attacking Trump for not fighting Russia in Afghanistan. I mean, they want a straight-up proxy war for not escalating. You have Richard Haass, the president of the Council on Foreign Relations, someone who's aligned with the Democratic Party, who supported the war in Iraq and, you know, supports just endless war, demanding that the US turn up the heat not just in Afghanistan but in Syria. So, you know, the escalatory rhetoric is at a fever pitch right now, and it's obviously going to impact that peace conference.

Let's remember that three days before Trump's summit with Putin was when Mueller chose to release the indictment of the GRU agents for supposedly hacking the DNC servers. Let's remember that a day before the UN the United Nations Geneva peace talks opened on Syria in 2014 was when US intelligence chose to feed these shady Caesar photos, supposedly showing industrial slaughter of Syrian prisoners, to The New York Times in an investigation that had been funded by Qatar. Like, so many shady intelligence dumps have taken place ahead of peace summits to disrupt them, because the US doesn't feel like it has enough skin in the game or it just simply doesn't want peace in these areas.

So, that's what happened here. That's really, I think, the essential backdrop for the timing of this story. It really reveals how completely decayed mainstream media is as an institution, that none of these reporters protested the story, didn't see fit to do any independent investigation into it. At best they would print a Russian denial which counts for nothing in the US, or a Taliban denial which counts for nothing in the US. And then and this gets into the domestic political angle because so much of Russiagate, while it's been crafted by former or current intelligence officials, depends on the Democratic Party and it punditocracy, MSNBC and mainstream media as a projection megaphone, as its Mighty Wurlitzer.

That took place in this case because, according to this story, Donald Trump had been briefed on Putin paying bounties to the Taliban and he chose to do nothing. Which, of course Trump denies, but that counts for nothing as well. But, again, there's been no independent confirmation of any of this. And now we get into the domestic part, which is that this new Republican anti-Trump operation, The Lincoln Project, had a flashy ad ready to go almost minutes after the story dropped.

THE LINCOLN PROJECT AD: Now we know Vladimir Putin pays a bounty for the murder of American soldiers. Donald Trump knows, too, and does nothing. Putin pays the Taliban cash to slaughter our men and women in uniform and Trump is silent, weak, controlled. Instead of condemnation he insists Russia be treated as our equal.

MAX BLUMENTHAL: I mean, maybe they're just really good editors and brilliant politicians who work overtime. They're just, like, on meth at Steve Schmidt's political Batcave, just churning this material out. But I feel like they had an inkling, like this story was coming. It just the coordination and timing was impeccable.

And The Lincoln Project is something that James Carville, the veteran Democratic consultant, has said is doing more than any Democrat or any Democratic consultant to elect Joe Biden. They're always out there doing the hard work. Who are they? Well, Steve Schmidt is a former campaign manager for John McCain 2008. And you look at the various personnel affiliated with it, they're all McCain former McCain aides or people who worked on the Jeb and George W. Bush campaigns, going back to Texas and Florida. This is sort of the corporate wing of the Republican Party, the white-glove-country-club-patrician Republicans who are very pro-war, who hate Donald Trump.

And by doing this, by them really taking the lead on this attack, as you pointed out, Aaron, number one, they are sucking the oxygen out of the more progressive anti-Trump initiatives that are taking place, including in the streets of American cities. They're taking the wind out of anti-Trump more progressive anti-Trump critiques. For example, I think it's actually more powerful to attack Trump over the fact that he used, basically, chemical weapons on American peaceful protesters to do a fascistic photo-op. I don't know why there wasn't some call for congressional investigations on that. And they are getting skin in the game on the Biden campaign. It really feels to me like this Lincoln campaign operation, this moderate Republican operation which is also sort of a venue for neocons, will have more influence after events like this than the Bernie Sanders campaign, which has an enormous amount of delegates.

So, that's what I think the domestic repercussion is. It's just this constant it's the constant flow of Russiagate disinformation into the bloodstream of the Democratic Party and its base that's moving that party constantly to the right, while pushing the US deeper into this Cold War that only serves, you know, people who are associated with the national security state who need to justify their paycheck and the budget of the institutions that employ them.

AARON MATÉ: Let's assume for a second that the allegation is true, although, you know, you've laid out some of the reasons why it's not. Can you talk about the history here, starting with Afghanistan, something you cover a lot in your book, The Management of Savagery, where the US aim was to kill Russians, going right on through to Syria, where just recently the US envoy for the coalition against ISIS, James Jeffery, who handles Syria, said that his job now is to basically put the Russians in a quagmire in Syria.

JAMES JEFFREY: This isn't Afghanistan. This isn't Vietnam. This isn't a quagmire. My job is to make it a quagmire for the Russians.

MAX BLUMENTHAL: Yeah, I mean, it feels like a giant act of psychological and political projection to accuse Russia of using an Islamist militia in Afghanistan as a proxy against the US to bleed the US into leaving, because that's been the US playbook in Central Asia and the Middle East since at least 1979. I just tweeted a photo of Dan Rather in Afghanistan, just crossing the Pakistani border and going to meet with some of the Mujahideen in 1980. Dan Rather was panned in The New York in The Washington Post by Tom Toles [Tom Shales], who was the media critic at the time, as "Gunga Dan," because he was so gung-ho for the Afghan mujahideen. In his reports he would complain about how weak their weaponry was, you know, how they needed more how they needed more funding. I mean, you could call it bounties, but it was really just CIA funding.

DAN RATHER: These are the best weapons you have, huh? They only have about twenty rounds for this?

TRANSLATOR: That's all. They have twenty rounds. Yes, and they know that these are all old weapons and they really aren't up to doing anything to the Russian weaponry that's around. But that's all they have, and this is why they want help. And he is saying that America seems to be asleep. It doesn't seem to realize that if Afghanistan goes and the Russians go over to the Gulf, that in a very short time it's going to be the turn of the United States as well.

DAN RATHER: But I'm sure he knows that in Vietnam we got our fingers burned. Indeed, we got our whole hands burned when we tried to help in this kind of situation.

TRANSLATOR [translating to the Afghan man and then his reply]: Your hands were burned in Vietnam, but if you don't agree to help us, if you don't ally yourself with us, then all of you, your whole body will be burnt eventually, because there is no one in the world who can really fight and resist as well as the as much and as well as the Afghans are.

DAN RATHER: But no American mother wants to send her son to Afghanistan.

TRANSLATOR [translating to the Afghan man and then his reply]: We don't need anybody's soldiers here to help us, but we are being constantly accused that the Americans are helping us with weapons. What we need, actually, are the American weapons. We don't need or want American soldiers. We can do the fighting ourselves.

MAX BLUMENTHAL: And a year or several months before, the Carter Administration, at the urging of national security chief Zbigniew Brzezinski, had enacted what would become Operation Cyclone under Reagan, an arm-and-equip program to arm the Afghan mujahideen. The Saudis put up a matching fund which helped bring the so-called Services Bureau into the field where Osama bin Laden became a recruiter for international jihadists to join the battlefield. And, you know, the goal was, in the words of Brzezinski, as he later admitted to a French publication, was to force the Red Army, the Soviet Red Army, to intervene to protect the pro-Soviet government in Kabul, which they proceeded to do.

And then with the introduction of the Stinger missile, the Afghan mujahideen, hailed as freedom fighters in Washington, were able to destroy Russian supply lines, exact a heavy toll, and forced the Red Army to leave in retreat. They helped create what's considered the Soviet Union's Vietnam.

So that was really but the blueprint for what Russian for what Russia is being accused of now, and that same model was transferred over to Syria. It was also actually proposed for Iraq in the Iraq Liberation Act in 1998. Then Senate Foreign Relations chair Jesse Helms actually said that the Afghan mujahideen should be our model for supporting the Iraqi resistance. So, this kind of proxy war was always on the table. Then the US did it in Syria, when one out of every $13 in the CIA budget went to arm the so-called "moderate rebels" in Syria, who we later found out were 31 flavors of jihadi, who were aligned with al-Qaeda's local affiliate Jabhat al-Nusra and helped give rise to ISIS. Michael Morell, I tweeted some video of him on Charlie Rose back in, I think, 2016. He's the former acting director for the CIA, longtime deputy director. He said, you know, the reason that we're in Syria, what we should be doing is causing Iran and Russia, the two allies of Bashar al-Assad, the Syrian president, to pay a heavy price.

MICHAEL MORELL: We need to make the Iranians pay a price in Syria. We need to make the Russians pay a price. The other thing

CHARLIE ROSE: We make them pay the price by killing killing Russians?

MICHAEL MORELL: Yes.

CHARLIE ROSE: And killing Iranians.

MICHAEL MORELL: Yes, covertly. You don't tell the world about it, right? You don't stand up at the Pentagon and say we did this, right? But you make sure they know it in Moscow and Tehran.

MAX BLUMENTHAL: What he means is by basically paying bounties, which the US was literally doing along with its Gulf allies, to exact the toll on the allies of Assad, Russia. So, let's just say it's true, according to your question, let's just say this is all true. It would be a retaliation for what the United States has done to Russia in areas where it was actually legally invited in by the governments in charge, either in Kabul or Damascus. And that's, I think, the kind of ironic subtext that can hardly be understated when you see someone like Dan Rather wag his finger at Putin for paying the Taliban as proxies. But, I mean, it's such a ridiculous story that it's just hard to even fathom that it's real.

AARON MATÉ: Let me read Dan Rather's tweet, because it's so it speaks to just how pervasive Russiagate culture is now. People have learned absolutely nothing from it.

Rather says, "Reporters are trained to look for patterns that are suspicious, and time and again one stands out with Donald Trump. Why is he so slavishly devoted to Putin? There is a spectrum of possible answers ranging from craven to treasonous. One day I hope and suspect we will find out."

It's like he forgot, perhaps, that Robert Mueller and his team spent three years investigating this very issue and came up with absolutely nothing. But the narrative has taken hold, and it's, as you talked about before, it's been the narrative we've been presented as the vehicle for understanding and opposing Donald Trump, so it cannot be questioned. And now it's like it's a matter of, what else is there to find out about Trump and Russia after Robert Mueller and the US intelligence agencies looked for everything they could and found nothing? They're still presented as if it's some kind of mystery that has to be unraveled.

MAX BLUMENTHAL: And it was after, like, a week of just kind of neocon resistance mind-explosion, where first John Bolton was hailed as this hero and truthteller about Trump. Then Dick Cheney was welcomed into the resistance, you know, because he said, "Wear a mask." I mean, you know, his mask was strangely not spattered with the blood of Iraqi children. But, you know, it was just amazing like that. Of course, it was the Lincoln project who hijacked the minds of the resistance, but basically people who used to work on Cheney's campaign said, "Dick Cheney, welcome to the resistance." I mean, that was remarkable. And then you have this and it, you know, today as you pointed out, Chuck Todd, "Chuck Toddler", welcomes on Meet the Press John Bolton as this wise voice to comment on Donald Trump's slavish devotion to Vladimir Putin and how we need to escalate.

CHUCK TODD, NBC: Let me ask you this. Do you think that part of the that the president is afraid to make Putin mad because maybe Putin did help him win the election and he doesn't want to make him mad for 2020?

MAX BLUMENTHAL: I mean, just a few years ago, maybe it was two years ago, before Bolton was brought into the Trump NSC, he was considered just an absolute marginal crank who was a contributor to Fox News. He'd been forgotten. He was widely hated by Democrats. Now here he is as a sage voice to tell us how dangerous this moment is. And, you know, he's not being even brought on just to promote his book; he's being brought on as just a sober-minded foreign policy expert on Meet the Press . That's where we're at right now.

AARON MATÉ: Yeah, and when his critique of Trump is basically that Trump was not hawkish enough. Bolton's most the biggest critique Bolton has of Trump is, as he writes about in his book, is when Trump declined to bomb Iran after Iran shot down a drone over its territory. And Bolton said that to him was the most irrational thing he's ever seen a president do.

MAX BLUMENTHAL: Well, Bolton was mad that Trump confused body bags with missiles, because he said Trump thought that there would be 150 dead Iranians, and I said, "No, Donald, you're confused. It will be 150 missiles that we're firing into Iran." Like that's better! Like, "Oh, okay, that makes everything all right," that we fire a hundred missiles for one drone and maybe that wouldn't that kill possibly more than 150 people?

Well, in Bolton's world this was just another stupid move by Trump. If Bolton were, I mean, just, just watch all the interviews with Bolton. Watch him on The View where the only pushback he received was from Meghan McCain complaining that he ripped off a Hamilton song for his book The Room Where It Happened , and she asked, "Don't you have any apology to offer to Hamilton fans?" That was the pushback that Bolton received. Just watch all of these interviews with Bolton and try to find the pushback. It's not there. This is what Russiagate has done. It's taken one of the most Strangelovian, psychotic, dangerous, bloodthirsty, sadistic monsters in US foreign policy circles and turned him into a sober-minded, even heroic, truthteller.

AARON MATÉ: And inevitably the only long-term consequence that I can see here is ultimately helping Trump, because, if history is a pattern, these Russiagate supposed bombshells always either go nowhere or they get debunked. So, if this one gets forcefully debunked, because I think it's quite possible, because Trump has said that he was never briefed on this and they'll have to prove that he's lying, you know. It should be easy to do. Someone could come out and say that. If they can't prove that he's lying, then this one, I think, will blow up in their face. And all they will have done is, at a time when Trump is vulnerable over the pandemic with over a hundred thousand people dead on his watch, all these people did was ultimately try to bring the focus back to the same thing that failed for basically the entirety of Trump's presidency, which is Russiagate and Trump's supposed―and non-existent in reality―subservience to Vladimir Putin.

MAX BLUMENTHAL: But have you ever really confronted one of your liberal friends who maybe doesn't follow these stories as closely as you do? You know, well-intentioned liberal friend who just has this sense that Russia controls Trump, and asked them to really defend that and provide the receipts and really explain where the Trump administration has just handed the store to Russia? Because what we've seen is unprecedented since the height of the Cold War, an unprecedented deterioration of US-Russia relations with new sanctions on Russia every few months. You ask them to do that. They can't do it. It's just a sense they get, it's a feeling they get. And that's because these bombshells drop, they get reported on the front pages under banners of papers that declare that "democracy dies in darkness," whose brand is something that everybody trusts, The New York Times , The Washington Post , Woodward and Bernstein, and everybody repeats the story again and again and again. And then, if and when it gets debunked, discredited or just sort of disappears, a few days later everybody forgets about it. And those people who are not just, like, 24/7 media consumers but critical-minded media consumers, they're left with that sense that Russia actually controls us and that we must do something to escalate with Russia. So, that's the point of these: by the time the disinformation is discredited, the damage has already been done. And that same tactic was employed against Jeremy Corbyn in the UK, to the point where so many people were left with the sense that he must be an antisemite, although not one allegation was ever proven.

AARON MATÉ: Yeah, and now to the point where, in the Labour Party―we should touch on this for a second―where you had a Labour Party member retweet an article recently that mentioned some criticism of Israel and for that she was expelled from her position in the shadow cabinet.

MAX BLUMENTHAL: Yeah, well, you know, as a Jew I was really threatened by that retweet [laughter]. I don't know about you.

I mean, this is Rebecca Long Bailey. She's one of the few Corbynites left in a high position in Labour who hasn't been effectively burned at the stake for being a, you know, Jew hater who wants to throw us all in gas chambers because she retweets an interview with some celebrity I'd never heard of before, who didn't even say anything that extreme. But it really shows how the Thought Police have taken control of the Labour Party through Sir Keir Starmer, who is someone who has deep links to the national security state through the Crown Prosecution Service, which he used to head, where he was involved in the prosecution of Julian Assange. And he has worked with The Times of London, which is a, you know, favorite paper of the national security state and the MI5 in the UK, for planting stories against Jeremy Corbyn. He was intimately involved in that campaign, and now he's at the head of the Labour Party for a very good reason. I really would recommend everyone watching this, if you're interested more in who Keir Starmer really is, read "Five Questions for [New Labour Leader] Sir Keir Starmer" by Matt Kennard at The Grayzone. It really lays it out and shows you what's happening.

We're just in this kind of hyper-managed atmosphere, where everything feels so much more controlled than it's ever been. And even though every sane rational person that I know seems to understand what's happening, they feel like they're not allowed to say it, at least not in any official capacity.

AARON MATÉ: From the US to Britain, everything is being co-opted. In the US it's, you know, genuine resistance to Trump, in opposition to Trump, it gets co-opted by the right. Same thing in Britain. People get manipulated into believing that Jeremy Corbyn, this lifelong anti-racist is somehow an antisemite. It's all in the service of the same agenda, and I have to say we're one of the few outlets that are pushing back on it. Everyone else is getting swept up on it and it's a scary time.

We're gonna wrap. Max, your final comment.

MAX BLUMENTHAL: Well, yeah, we're pushing back. And I saw today Mint Press [News], which is another outlet that has pushed back, their Twitter account was just briefly removed for no reason, without explanation. Ollie Vargas, who's an independent journalist who's doing some of the most important work in the English language from Bolivia, reporting on the post-coup landscape and the repressive environment that's been created by the junta installed with US help under Jeanine Áñez, his account has been taken away on Twitter. The social media platforms are basically under the control of the national security state. There's been a merger between the national security state and Silicon Valley, and the space for these kinds of discussions is rapidly shrinking. So, I think, you know, it's more important than ever to support alternative media and also to really have a clear understanding of what's taking place. I'm really worried there just won't be any space for us to have these conversations in the near future.

AARON MATÉ: Max Blumenthal, editor of The Grayzone, author of The Management of Savagery , thanks a lot.

MAX BLUMENTHAL: Thanks for having me.

[Jul 06, 2020] Bolton Changes Tune- Now Refuses To Answer 'Russian Bounties' Questions After Stoking The 'Scandal' -

Jul 06, 2020 | www.zerohedge.com

By middle of last week we observed of the Russian bounties to kill American troops in Afghanistan story that "at this point this non-story looks to be dead by the weekend as it's already unraveled."

Indeed by Thursday and Friday, as more Congressional leaders received closed door intelligence briefings on the allegations which originated with an anonymously sourced NY Times report claiming Trump supposedly ignored the Russian op to target Americans, the very Democrat and Republican lawmakers previously hyping it as a 'major scandal' went conspicuously silent .

Recall too that John Bolton, busy with a media blitz promoting his book, emerged to strongly suggest he had personal knowledge that Trump was briefed on the matter . The former national security adviser called the Trump denial of being briefed "remarkable". Well, look who is now appearing to sing a different tune. A week ago Bolton was all too wiling to voluntarily say Trump had "likely" been briefed and that was a big scandal. The whole story was indeed dead by the weekend:

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Other reports said Bolton has been telling people he had personally briefed the president :

Former national security adviser John Bolton told colleagues that he personally briefed President Donald Trump about intelligence that Russia offered Afghan militants bounties to kill American troops , U.S. officials told the Associated Press .

Bolton briefed Trump on the matter in March of 2019, according to the report, a year earlier than previously reported by The New York Times . The information was also included in at least one presidential Daily Brief, according to the AP, CNN and The Times . The AP earlier reported that it was also included in a second presidential Daily Brief earlier this year and that current national security adviser Robert O'Brien discussed the matter with Trump.

His Sunday refusal to even address the question - again after he was all too willing to speak to the issue a week ago when it was driving headlines - speaks volumes.

Via The Daily Mail

Now that even The Washington Post awkwardly walked back the substance of much of its reporting on the 'Russian bounties' story, Bolton has conveniently gone silent .


[Jul 06, 2020] Provocation will eventuially make Iran deal dead, which is what the USA badly wants

Jul 06, 2020 | www.moonofalabama.org

Deimetri , Jul 5 2020 19:53 utc | 32

Hi b,

What is your take on the rash of "accidents" that Iran has been suffering from, these past couple of weeks?


Et Tu , Jul 5 2020 23:07 utc | 56

@ Posted by: Deimetri | Jul 5 2020 19:53 utc | 32

Wanted to ask the same question, i am sure B will have something as soon as some facts are there to be dissected, seems for now that all we have to go by is the assumption it is either US or Israel dirty work, one that is hard to disagree with.

Iran will have to respond, 4 attacks in less than 2 weeks is really taking the piss and makes them look weak. Quite a reversal from the Iran that was seizing tankers, acting on its threats and dictating the tempo of escalation. Israel and US are only deterred by credible threats and the longer Iran waits, the more emboldened they will feel.

Perhaps Iran is more focused on investigations and searching through its own ranks for collaborators or traitors first, meaning it is still not sure who to hit back at. Is it the US or Israel, who is directly responsible for these attacks? What would be an appropriate response? Anything too overt could be counterproductive as there is no proof tying the explosions to anyone, much less anything concrete that Western media would publish that could justify Iran's actions.

Hezbollah has plenty of problems of its own as explained in B's Lebanon article... so not likely we'll see rocket showers on Israel any time soon on Iran's behalf. Seems those new tankers on the way to Venezuela could be targeted soon too... perhaps they are waiting for that as their pretext for escalation or retaliation?

Richard Steven Hack , Jul 6 2020 0:14 utc | 63

Posted by: Et Tu | Jul 5 2020 23:07 utc | 56

Iran will have to respond

I expect Iran to measure its response tit-for-tat. If these explosions are the result of computer intrusion, Iran will respond in cyberspace. If they are not - and I find it hard to believe they are, disrupting a centrifuge is one thing (and too clever by half), causing an explosion is another - then Iran or a proxy will have to respond in kind. As the article cited below states:


He said Israel was "bracing" for an Iranian response, likely via a cyberattack. In an April cyberattack attributed by western intelligence officials to Iran, an attempt was made to increase chlorine levels in water flowing to residential Israeli areas.

Probably BS by Israel and the US, but this sort of thing goes on all the time. Note that there was no explosions involved.

The problem is that covert operations require some planning, especially if hacking is involved. So Iran's response might be days, weeks or months delayed. Of course, it can respond more directly by using Iraqi Shia militias against US forces in Iraq, or allies like Hezbollah elsewhere. But that is a trap the US neocons have laid - anything Iran does can be used to justify further attacks. Even if Iran proves that these explosions were not accidents, they will not be believed. So anything Iran does which is not equally covert will be used to justify further aggression.

There really is no winning this game by Iran. Only if the US and Israel stops covert attacks - and that isn't going to happen.

Meanwhile, allegedly the EU has claimed Iran has now triggered the JCPOA dispute mechanism.

EU says Iran has triggered nuclear deal dispute mechanism

I don't know if this is true, but if so, it represents the final collapse of the JCPOA. The dispute mechanism has a specific time mechanism to which all parties must adhere. So within a short period of time, Iran will either be granted its sanctions relief as promised or the deal will end. The deal's snapback mechanism won't be applied, because Russia and China will veto that no matter the US does. The US has no standing, but will try anyway just for the propaganda value.

Once the JCPOA is finally declared dead, the US and Israel will escalate their aggression against Iran, because no one in the ignorant electorate in those countries will be told that the deal was ruined by Trump and the EU's spinelessness.

Without the JCPOA, the US can revert to the sort of warmongering it engaged in before the Iraq war - constantly escalating accusations that can never be proven false and an unending stream of propaganda justifying a war.

The *only* thing preventing an Iran war is Hezbollah's ability to derail the Israeli economy. The US and Israel have no choice but to find a solution to that problem. Whether they will succeed in that, and at what cost to Lebanon, is the question.

Historically, I don't think there has ever been this level of enmity between countries without a war resulting (other than between nuclear armed nations due to MAD.) It may take some years more to get the Iran war started, but it is inevitable.

And that recognition, contrary to Bagoom's claims, is *not* advocacy. An Iran war is going to be very bad for *everyone* except Israel, the neocons and the military-industrial complex.

[Jul 06, 2020] Third 'Mystery' Blast In Less Than A Week Rocks Iran Power Plant -

Notable quotes:
"... To review, starting over a week ago a massive explosion was observed lighting up the midnight sky outside Tehran, caught on film by local residents, which Iran's military dismissed as a gas leak explosion incident. But it was later revealed to have occurred at a ballistic missile development facility. ..."
"... And this past week, another reported "accident" occurred at Natanz nuclear complex. But that particular 'mystery' blast caused Iranian officials to lash out in anger Thursday, saying "hostile countries" like the US and Israel are near the point of crossing "red lines". Crucially, Iran also said there were no radioactive leaks as a result of the incident. ..."
Jul 06, 2020 | www.zerohedge.com

Third 'Mystery' Blast In Less Than A Week Rocks Iran Power Plant by Tyler Durden Sun, 07/05/2020 - 11:30 Twitter Facebook Reddit Email Print

On Saturday an explosion ripped through a power plant in the Iranian city of Ahvaz, marking the third 'mystery' blast to hit the country in only under a week, and the fourth recently .

State media showed emergency crews on the scene of the daytime incident while a fire raged at the power plant. This followed days ago a huge blast which destroyed Sina hospital in northern Tehran, which killed 19 people and injured 14.

To review, starting over a week ago a massive explosion was observed lighting up the midnight sky outside Tehran, caught on film by local residents, which Iran's military dismissed as a gas leak explosion incident. But it was later revealed to have occurred at a ballistic missile development facility.

And this past week, another reported "accident" occurred at Natanz nuclear complex. But that particular 'mystery' blast caused Iranian officials to lash out in anger Thursday, saying "hostile countries" like the US and Israel are near the point of crossing "red lines". Crucially, Iran also said there were no radioactive leaks as a result of the incident.

Both US and Israeli media, including The New York Times and Times of Israel, have begun speculating that it could be part of a Mossad or CIA op to set back Iran's nuclear development .

The Jerusalem Post on Sunday asked in a headline and op-ed : Have four explosions pushed Iran farther away from a nuke?

Of the myriad fascinating questions surrounding the four recent, mysterious explosions in Iran, there is still one key issue that rises above the rest: Has any of this significantly distanced Iran further from a nuclear weapon?

The jury is still out, as there is so much that is unconfirmed. But to date, the early answer would need to be: probably not .

Since the IAEA's March report that the Islamic Republic crossed the threshold for having enough low-level enriched uranium for a nuclear bomb, the estimated time for Tehran to enrich enough of that uranium up to a weaponized level dropped from 12 months to as little as four months.

Most interestingly, an unnamed intelligence source said to be based in the Middle East told The New York Times this past week said of the mysterious incident at Natanz: "The blast was caused by an explosive device planted inside the facility."

The official added that the bombing "destroyed much of the aboveground parts of the facility where new centrifuges are balanced before they are put into operation."

Reports out of Iran's state media also suggest a possible cyber-attack, to which Tehran military officials say "they'll respond" if the attack did indeed originate from Iran's enemies like the US or Israel.

[Jul 06, 2020] Trump's two Russias confound coherent US policy

This is a neocon written article. Reader beware.
Trump as wolf in sheep's clothing in his policy toward Russia. Any person who can appoint Bolton as his national security advisor should be criminally prosecuted for criminal incompetence. To say nothing about Pompeo, Haley and many others. Such a peacenik, my ***
The USA foreign policy is not controlled by the President. It is controlled by the "Deep state"
Notable quotes:
"... The dizzying, often contradictory, paths followed by Trump on the one hand and his hawkish but constantly changing cast of national security aides on the other have created confusion in Congress and among allies and enemies alike. To an observer, Russia is at once a mortal enemy and a misunderstood friend in U.S. eyes. ..."
"... But Trump has defended his perspective on Russia, viewing it as a misunderstood potential friend, a valued World War II ally led by a wily, benevolent authoritarian who actually may share American values, like the importance of patriotism, family and religion. ..."
"... despite Trump's rhetoric, his administration has plowed ahead with some of the most significant actions against Russia by any recent administration. ..."
"... Dozens of Russian diplomats have been expelled, diplomatic missions closed, arms control treaties the Russians sought to preserve have been abandoned, weapons have been sold to Ukraine despite the impeachment allegations and the administration is engaged in a furious battle to prevent Russia from constructing a new gas pipeline that U.S. lawmakers from both parties believe will increase Europe's already unhealthy dependence on Russian energy. ..."
Jul 06, 2020 | apnews.com

When it comes to Russia, the Trump administration just can't seem to make up its mind.

For the past three years, the administration has careered between President Donald Trump's attempts to curry favor and friendship with Vladimir Putin and longstanding deep-seated concerns about Putin's intentions. As Trump has repeatedly and openly cozied up to Putin, his administration has imposed harsh and meaningful sanctions and penalties on Russia.

The dizzying, often contradictory, paths followed by Trump on the one hand and his hawkish but constantly changing cast of national security aides on the other have created confusion in Congress and among allies and enemies alike. To an observer, Russia is at once a mortal enemy and a misunderstood friend in U.S. eyes.

Even before Trump took office questions about Russia abounded. Now, nearing the end of his first term with a difficult reelection ahead , those questions have resurfaced with a vengeance. Intelligence suggesting Russia was encouraging attacks on U.S. and allied forces in Afghanistan by putting bounties on their heads has thrust the matter into the heart of the 2020 campaign.

The White House says the intelligence wasn't confirmed or brought to Trump's attention, but his vast chorus of critics are skeptical and maintain the president should have been aware.

The reports have alarmed even pro-Trump Republicans who see Russia as a hostile global foe meddling with nefarious intent in Afghanistan, the Middle East, Ukraine and Georgia, a waning former superpower trying to regain its Soviet-era influence by subverting democracy in Europe and the United States with disinformation and election interference .

Trump's overtures to Putin have unsettled longstanding U.S. allies in Europe, including Britain, France and Germany, which have expressed concern about the U.S. commitment to the NATO alliance, which was forged to counter the Soviet threat, and robust democracy on the continent.

But Trump has defended his perspective on Russia, viewing it as a misunderstood potential friend, a valued World War II ally led by a wily, benevolent authoritarian who actually may share American values, like the importance of patriotism, family and religion.

Trump's approach to Russia was at center stage in the impeachment proceedings, when U.S. officials testified that the president demanded political favors from Ukraine in return for military assistance it needed to combat Russian aggression. But the issue ended up as a largely partisan exercise, with House Democrats voting to impeach Trump and Senate Republicans voting to acquit .

Within the Trump administration, the national security establishment appears torn between pursuing an arguably tough approach to Russia and pleasing the president. Insiders who have raised concern about Trump's approach to Russia -- including at least one of his national security advisers, defense secretaries and secretaries of state, but especially lower-level officials who spoke out during impeachment -- have nearly all been ousted from their positions.

Suspicions about Trump and Russia go back to his 2016 campaign. His appeal to Moscow to dig up his opponent's emails , his plaintive suggestions that Russia and the United States should be friends and a series of contacts between his advisers and Russians raised questions of impropriety that led to special counsel Robert Mueller's investigation . The investigation ultimately did not allege that anyone associated with the campaign illegally conspired with Russia.

Mueller, along with the U.S. intelligence community, did find that Russia interfered with the election, to sow chaos and also help Trump's campaign. But Trump has cast doubt on those findings, most memorably in a 2018 appearance on stage with Putin in Helsinki .

Yet despite Trump's rhetoric, his administration has plowed ahead with some of the most significant actions against Russia by any recent administration.

Dozens of Russian diplomats have been expelled, diplomatic missions closed, arms control treaties the Russians sought to preserve have been abandoned, weapons have been sold to Ukraine despite the impeachment allegations and the administration is engaged in a furious battle to prevent Russia from constructing a new gas pipeline that U.S. lawmakers from both parties believe will increase Europe's already unhealthy dependence on Russian energy.

At the same time, Trump has compounded the uncertainty by calling for the withdrawal or redeployment of U.S. troops from Germany, angrily deriding NATO allies for not meeting alliance defense spending commitments, and now apparently ignoring dire intelligence warnings that Russia was paying or wanted to pay elements of the Taliban to kill American forces in Afghanistan.

On top of that, even after the intelligence reports on the Afghanistan bounties circulated, he's expressed interest in inviting Putin back into the G-7 group of nations over the objections of the other members.

White House officials and die-hard Trump supporters have shrugged off the obvious inconsistencies, but they have been unable to staunch the swell of criticism and pointed demands for explanations as Russia, which has vexed American leaders for decades, delights in its ability to create chaos.

[Jul 03, 2020] Podcast- Empire Has No Clothes, Episode 9, Foreign Policy Dissent Is Patriotic by DANIEL LARISON

Bolton is just "yet another MIC puppet", who has complete vacuum in his head as for morality and decency. In other words he is a typical Washington psychopath. Like many sociopaths he is a compulsive liar, undeniable careerist and self-promoter.
Jul 02, 2020 | www.theamericanconservative.com

This week on Empire Has No Clothes, we spoke with Elizabeth Shackelford, a former Foreign Service Officer and author of The Dissent Channel: American Diplomacy in a Dishonest Age . Kelley Vlahos, Matt Purple and I talked about demoralization in the department, the reasons for her resignation, U.S. policy in South Sudan and Africa, and the need for greater accountability in our foreign policy. We also covered John Bolton's new book, his outdated foreign policy views, and whether anything he says can be trusted.

Listen to the episode in the player below, or click the links beneath it to subscribe using your favorite podcast app. If you like what you hear, please give us a rating or review on iTunes or Stitcher, which will really help us climb the rankings, allowing more people to find the show.

[Jul 03, 2020] The Iran Obsession Has Isolated the US

So former tank repairman decided again managed to make a make a mark in world diplomacy :-).
Notable quotes:
"... Mike Pompeo delivered an embarrassing, clownish performance at the U.N. on Tuesday, and his attempt to gain support for an open-ended conventional arms embargo on Iran was rejected the rest of the old P5+1: ..."
"... The Trump administration has abused our major European allies for years in its push to destroy the nuclear deal, and their governments have no patience with any more unilateral U.S. stunts. This is the result of two years of a destructive policy aimed solely at punishing Iran and its people. The administration's open contempt for international law and the interests of its allies has cost the U.S. their cooperation. ..."
"... Underscoring the absurdity of the Trump administration's arms embargo appeal were Pompeo's alarmist warnings that an end to the arms embargo would allow Iran to purchase advanced fighters that it would use to threaten Europe and India: ..."
"... This is a laughably unrealistic scenario. Even if Iran purchased advanced fighters, the last thing it would do is send them off on a suicide mission to bomb Italy or India. This shows how deeply irrational the Iran hawks' fearmongering is. Iran has already demonstrated an ability to launch precise attacks with drones and missiles in its immediate neighborhood, and it developed these capabilities while under the current embargo. ..."
"... The Secretary of State called on the U.N. to reject "extortion diplomacy." The best way to reject extortion diplomacy would be for them to reject the administration's desperate attempt to use America's position at the U.N. to attack international law. ..."
Jul 03, 2020 | www.theamericanconservative.com

Mike Pompeo delivered an embarrassing, clownish performance at the U.N. on Tuesday, and his attempt to gain support for an open-ended conventional arms embargo on Iran was rejected the rest of the old P5+1:

Secretary of State Mike Pompeo called on Tuesday for an arms embargo on Iran to be extended indefinitely, but his appeal fell flat at the United Nations Security Council, where Russia and China rejected it outright and close allies of the United States were ambivalent.

The Trump administration is more isolated than ever in its Iran obsession. The ridiculous effort to invoke the so-called "snapback" provision of the JCPOA more than two years after reneging on the agreement met with failure, just as most observers predicted months ago when it was first floated as a possibility. As I said at the time, "The administration's latest destructive ploy won't find any support on the Security Council. There is nothing "intricate" about this idea. It is a crude, heavy-handed attempt to employ the JCPOA's own provisions to destroy it." It was never going to work because all of the other parties to the agreement want nothing to do with the administration's punitive approach, and U.S. withdrawal from the JCPOA meant that it forfeited any rights it had when it was still part of the deal.

Opposition from Russia and China was a given, but the striking thing about the scene at the U.N. this week was that major U.S. allies joined them in rebuking the administration's obvious bad faith maneuver:

The pointedly critical tone of the debate saw Germany accusing Washington of violating international law by withdrawing from the nuclear pact, while Berlin aligned itself with China's claim that the United States has no right to reimpose U.N. sanctions on Iran.

The Trump administration has abused our major European allies for years in its push to destroy the nuclear deal, and their governments have no patience with any more unilateral U.S. stunts. This is the result of two years of a destructive policy aimed solely at punishing Iran and its people. The administration's open contempt for international law and the interests of its allies has cost the U.S. their cooperation.

Underscoring the absurdity of the Trump administration's arms embargo appeal were Pompeo's alarmist warnings that an end to the arms embargo would allow Iran to purchase advanced fighters that it would use to threaten Europe and India:

If you fail to act, Iran will be free to purchase Russian-made fighter jets that can strike up to a 3,000 kilometer radius, putting cities like Riyadh, New Delhi, Rome, and Warsaw in Iranian crosshairs.

This is a laughably unrealistic scenario. Even if Iran purchased advanced fighters, the last thing it would do is send them off on a suicide mission to bomb Italy or India. This shows how deeply irrational the Iran hawks' fearmongering is. Iran has already demonstrated an ability to launch precise attacks with drones and missiles in its immediate neighborhood, and it developed these capabilities while under the current embargo.

It has no need for expensive fighters, and it is not at all certain that their government would even be interested in acquiring them. Pompeo's presentation was a weak attempt to exaggerate the potential threat from a state that has very limited power projection, and he found no support because his serial fabrications about Iran have rendered everything he says to be worthless.

The same administration that wants to keep an arms embargo on Iran forever has no problem flooding the region with U.S.-made weapons and providing them to some of the worst governments in the world. It is these client states that are doing the most to destabilize other countries in the region right now. If the U.N. should be putting arms embargoes on any country, it should consider imposing them on Saudi Arabia and the UAE to limit their ability to wreak havoc on Yemen and Libya.

The Secretary of State called on the U.N. to reject "extortion diplomacy." The best way to reject extortion diplomacy would be for them to reject the administration's desperate attempt to use America's position at the U.N. to attack international law.

[Jul 01, 2020] Three Glaring Problems with the Russian Taliban Bounty Story by Barbara Boland

Highly recommended!
This is an attempt to move Trump in the direction of more harsher politics toward Russia. So not Bolton's but Obama ears are protruding above this dirty provocation.
Notable quotes:
"... According to the anonymous sources that spoke with the paper's reporters, the White House and President Trump were briefed on a range of potential responses to Moscow's provocations, including sanctions, but the White House had authorized no further action. ..."
"... Bolton is one of the only sources named in the New York Times article. Currently on a book tour, Bolton has said that he witnessed foreign policy malfeasance by Trump that dwarfs the Ukraine scandal that was the subject of the House impeachment hearings. But Bolton's credibility has been called into question since he declined to appear before the House committee. ..."
"... "Who can forget how 'successful' interrogators can be in getting desired answers?" writes Ray McGovern, who served as a CIA analyst for 27 years. Under the CIA's "enhanced interrogation techniques," Khalid Sheik Mohammed famously made at least 31 confessions, many of which were completely false. ..."
"... This story is "WMD [all over] again," said McGovern, who in the 1980s chaired National Intelligence Estimates and prepared the President's Daily Brief. He believes the stories seek to preempt DOJ findings on the origins of the Russiagate probe. ..."
"... The bungled media response and resulting negative press could also lead Trump to contemplate harsher steps towards Russia in order to prove that he is "tough," which may have motivated the leakers. It's certainly a policy goal with which Bolton, one of the only named sources in the New York Times piece, wholeheartedly approves. ..."
"... Not only did CIA et al.'s leak get even with Trump for years of insults and ignoring their reports (Trump is politically wounded by this story), but it also achieved their primary objective of keeping Putin out of the G7 and muzzling Trump's threats to withdraw from NATO because Russia is our friend (well his, anyway). ..."
"... Point 4: the whole point of the Talibans is to fight to the death whichever country tries to control and invade Afghanistan. They didn't need the Russians to tell them to fight the US Army, did they? ..."
"... Point 5: Russia tried to organise a mediation process between the Afghan government and the Talibans already in 2018 - so why would they be at the same time trying to fuel the conflict? A stable Afghanistan is more convenient to them, given the geographical position of the country. ..."
"... As much as I love to see everyone pile on trump, this is another example of a really awful policy having bad outcomes. If Bush, Obama, trump, or anyone at the pentagon gave a crap about the troops, they wouldn't have kept them in Afghanistan and lied about the fact they were losing the whole time. ..."
"... the idea is stupid. Russia doesn't need to do anything to motivate Afghans to want to boot the invaders out of their country, and would want to attract negative attention in doing so. ..."
"... Contrast with the CIA motivations for this absurd narrative. Chuck Schumer famously commented that the intelligence agencies had ways of getting back at you, and it looks like you took the bait, hook, line and sinker. ..."
"... And a fourth CIA goal: it undermines Trump's relationship with the military. ..."
"... Having failed in its Russia "collusion" and "Russia stole the election" campaigns to oust Trump, this is just the latest effort by the Deep State and mass media to use unhinged Russophobia to try to boost Biden and damage Trump. ..."
"... The contemporary left hate Russia , because Russia is carving out it own sphere of influence and keeping the Americans out, because it saved Assad from the western backed sunni head choppers (that the left cheered on, as they killed native Orthodox, and Catholic Christians). The Contempary left hate Russia because it cracks down on LGBT propaganda, banned porn hub, and return property to the Church , which the leftist Bolsheviks stole, the Contempaty left hate Russia because it cracked down on it western backed oligarchs who plundered Russia in the 90's. ..."
Jul 01, 2020 | www.theamericanconservative.com

Bombshell report published by The New York Times Friday alleges that Russia paid dollar bounties to the Taliban in Afghanistan to kill U.S troops. Obscured by an extremely bungled White House press response, there are at least three serious flaws with the reporting.

The article alleges that GRU, a top-secret unit of Russian military intelligence, offered the bounty in payment for every U.S. soldier killed in Afghanistan, and that at least one member of the U.S. military was alleged to have been killed in exchange for the bounties. According to the paper, U.S. intelligence concluded months ago that the Russian unit involved in the bounties was also linked to poisonings, assassination attempts and other covert operations in Europe. The Times reports that United States intelligence officers and Special Operations forces in Afghanistan came to this conclusion about Russian bounties some time in 2019.

According to the anonymous sources that spoke with the paper's reporters, the White House and President Trump were briefed on a range of potential responses to Moscow's provocations, including sanctions, but the White House had authorized no further action.

Immediately after the news broke Friday, the Trump administration denied the report -- or rather, they denied that the President was briefed, depending on which of the frenetic, contradictory White House responses you read.

Traditionally, the President of the United States receives unconfirmed, and sometimes even raw intelligence, in the President's Daily Brief, or PDB. Trump notoriously does not read his PDB, according to reports.

Director of National Intelligence John Ratcliffe said in a statement Saturday night that neither Trump nor Vice President Pence "were ever briefed on any intelligence alleged by the New York Times in its reporting yesterday."

On Sunday night, Trump tweeted that not only was he not told about the alleged intelligence, but that it was not credible."Intel just reported to me that they did not find this info credible, and therefore did not report it to me or @VP" Pence, Trump wrote Sunday night on Twitter.

Ousted National Security Advisor John Bolton said on NBC's "Meet the Press" Sunday that Trump was probably claiming ignorance in order to justify his administration's lack of response.

"He can disown everything if nobody ever told him about it," said Bolton.

Bolton is one of the only sources named in the New York Times article. Currently on a book tour, Bolton has said that he witnessed foreign policy malfeasance by Trump that dwarfs the Ukraine scandal that was the subject of the House impeachment hearings. But Bolton's credibility has been called into question since he declined to appear before the House committee.

The explanations for what exactly happened, and who was briefed, continued to shift Monday.

White House press secretary Kayleigh McEnany followed Trump's blanket denial with a statement that the intelligence concerning Russian bounty information was "unconfirmed." She didn't say the intelligence wasn't credible, like Trump had said the day before, only that there was "no consensus" and that the "veracity of the underlying allegations continue to be evaluated," which happens to almost completely match the Sunday night statement from the White House's National Security Council.

Instead of saying that the sources for the Russian bounty story were not credible and the story was false, or likely false, McEnany then said that Trump had "not been briefed on the matter."

"He was not personally briefed on the matter," she said. "That is all I can share with you today."

It's difficult to see how the White House thought McEnany's statement would help, and a bungled press response like this is communications malpractice, according to sources who spoke to The American Conservative.

Let's take a deeper dive into some of the problems with the reporting here:

1. Anonymous U.S. and Taliban sources?

The Times article repeatedly cites unnamed "American intelligence officials." The Washington Post and The Wall Street Journal articles "confirming" the original Times story merely restate the allegations of the anonymous officials, along with caveats like "if true" or "if confirmed."

Furthermore, the unnamed intelligence sources who spoke with the Times say that their assessment is based "on interrogations of captured Afghan militants and criminals."

That's a red flag, said John Kiriakou, a former analyst and case officer for the CIA who led the team that captured senior al-Qaeda member Abu Zubaydah in Pakistan in 2002. "When you capture a prisoner, and you're interrogating him, the prisoner is going to tell you what he thinks you want to hear," he said in an interview with The American Conservative . "There's no evidence here, there's no proof."

"Who can forget how 'successful' interrogators can be in getting desired answers?" writes Ray McGovern, who served as a CIA analyst for 27 years. Under the CIA's "enhanced interrogation techniques," Khalid Sheik Mohammed famously made at least 31 confessions, many of which were completely false.

Kiriakou believes that the sources behind the report hold important clues on how the government viewed its credibility.

"We don't know who the source is for this. We don't know if they've been vetted, polygraphed; were they a walk-in; were they a captured prisoner?"

If the sources were suspect, as they appear to be here, then Trump would not have been briefed on this at all.

With this story, it's important to start at the "intelligence collection," said Kiriakou. "This information appeared in the [CIA World Intelligence Review] Wire, which goes to hundreds of people inside the government, mostly at the State Department and the Pentagon. The most sensitive information isn't put in the Wire; it goes only in the PDB."

"If this was from a single source intelligence, it wouldn't have been briefed to Trump. It's not vetted, and it's not important enough. If you caught a Russian who said this, for example, that would make it important enough. But some Taliban detainees saying it to an interrogator, that does not rise to the threshold."

2. What purpose would bounties serve?

Everyone and their mother knows Trump wants to pull the troops out of Afghanistan, said Kiriakou.

"He ran on it and he has said it hundreds of times," he said. "So why would the Russians bother putting a bounty on U.S. troops if we're about to leave Afghanistan shortly anyway?"

That's leaving aside Russia's own experience with the futility of Afghanistan campaigns, learned during its grueling 9-year war there in the 1980s.

If this bounty campaign is real, it would not appear to be very effective, as only eight U.S. military members were killed in Afghanistan in 2020. The New York Times could not verify that even one U.S. military member was killed due to an alleged Russian bounty.

The Taliban denies it accepted bounties from Russian intelligence.

"These kinds of deals with the Russian intelligence agency are baseless -- our target killings and assassinations were ongoing in years before, and we did it on our own resources," Zabihullah Mujahid, a spokesman for the Taliban, told The New York Times . "That changed after our deal with the Americans, and their lives are secure and we don't attack them."

The Russian Embassy in the United States called the reporting "fake news."

While the Russians are ruthless, "it's hard to fathom what their motivations could be" here, said Paul Pillar, an academic and 28-year veteran of the Central Intelligence Agency, in an interview with The American Conservative. "What would they be retaliating for? Some use of force in Syria recently? I don't know. I can't string together a particular sequence that makes sense at this time. I'm not saying that to cast doubt on reports the Russians were doing this sort of thing."

3. Why is this story being leaked now?

According to U.S. officials quoted by the AP, top officials in the White House "were aware of classified intelligence indicating Russia was secretly offering bounties to the Taliban for the deaths of Americans" in early 2019. So why is this story just coming out now?

This story is "WMD [all over] again," said McGovern, who in the 1980s chaired National Intelligence Estimates and prepared the President's Daily Brief. He believes the stories seek to preempt DOJ findings on the origins of the Russiagate probe.

The NYT story serves to bolster the narrative that Trump sides with Russia, and against our intelligence community estimates and our own soldiers lives.

The stories "are likely to remain indelible in the minds of credulous Americans -- which seems to have been the main objective," writes McGovern. "There [Trump] goes again -- not believing our 'intelligence community; siding, rather, with Putin.'"

"I don't believe this story and I think it was leaked to embarrass the President," said Kiriakou. "Trump is on the ropes in the polls; Biden is ahead in all the battleground states."

If these anonymous sources had spoken up during the impeachment hearings, their statements could have changed history.

But the timing here, "kicking a man when he is down, is extremely like the Washington establishment. A leaked story like this now, embarrasses and weakens Trump," he said. "It was obvious that Trump would blow the media response, which he did."

The bungled media response and resulting negative press could also lead Trump to contemplate harsher steps towards Russia in order to prove that he is "tough," which may have motivated the leakers. It's certainly a policy goal with which Bolton, one of the only named sources in the New York Times piece, wholeheartedly approves.

Barbara Boland is TAC's foreign policy and national security reporter. Previously, she worked as an editor for the Washington Examiner and for CNS News. She is the author of Patton Uncovered , a book about General George Patton in World War II, and her work has appeared on Fox News, The Hill , UK Spectator , and elsewhere. Boland is a graduate from Immaculata University in Pennsylvania. Follow her on Twitter @BBatDC .


Tomonthebeach 9 hours ago • edited

Caitlin Johnstone was the first journalist to question this NYT expose' several days ago in her blog. After looking into it, I had to agree with her that the story was junk reporting by a news source eager to stick it to Trump for his daily insults. NYT must love the irony of a "fake news" story catching fire and burning Trump politically. After all, paying people to kill their own enemies? That is a "tip," not a bounty. It is more of an intel footnote than the game-changer in international relations as asserted by Speaker Pelosi on TV as she grabbed her pearls beneath her stylish COVID mask.

I was surprised that Ms. Boland could not think of any motivation for leaking the story right now given recent grousing on the Hill about Trump's inviting Putin to G7 over the objections of Merkel and several other NATO heads of state. I even posted a congratulatory message in Defense One yesterday to the US Intel community for mission accomplished.

Not only did CIA et al.'s leak get even with Trump for years of insults and ignoring their reports (Trump is politically wounded by this story), but it also achieved their primary objective of keeping Putin out of the G7 and muzzling Trump's threats to withdraw from NATO because Russia is our friend (well his, anyway).

Connecticut Farmer Tomonthebeach 3 hours ago

That "bounty" story never passed the smell test, even to my admittedly untrained nose. My real problem is that it's a story in the first place, given that Trump campaigned on a platform that included bringing the boys home from sand hills like Afghanistan; yet here we are, four years later, and we're still there.

Lavinia 6 hours ago

Point 4: the whole point of the Talibans is to fight to the death whichever country tries to control and invade Afghanistan. They didn't need the Russians to tell them to fight the US Army, did they?

Point 5: Russia tried to organise a mediation process between the Afghan government and the Talibans already in 2018 - so why would they be at the same time trying to fuel the conflict? A stable Afghanistan is more convenient to them, given the geographical position of the country.

This whole story is completely ridiculous. Totally bogus.

Wally 5 hours ago

As much as I love to see everyone pile on trump, this is another example of a really awful policy having bad outcomes. If Bush, Obama, trump, or anyone at the pentagon gave a crap about the troops, they wouldn't have kept them in Afghanistan and lied about the fact they were losing the whole time.

Of course people are trying to kill US military in Afghanistan. If I lived in Afghanistan, I'd probably hate them too. And let's not forget that just a few weeks ago the 82nd airborne was ready to kill American civilians in DC. The military is our enemy too!

If you are in the US military today, please quit.

https://www.washingtonpost....

Don't ever forget how they lied to us.

Feral Finster 4 hours ago

Moreover, the idea is stupid. Russia doesn't need to do anything to motivate Afghans to want to boot the invaders out of their country, and would want to attract negative attention in doing so.

The purported bounty program doesn't help Russia, but the anonymous narrative does conveniently serve several CIA purposes:
1. It makes it harder to leave Afghanistan.
2. It keeps the cold war with Russia going along.
3. It damages Trump (whose relationship with the CIA is testy at best).

Then there's the question of how this supposed intelligence was gathered. The CIA tortures people, and there's no reason to believe that this was any different.

Feral Finster Sidney Caesar 2 hours ago

1. Russia wants a stable Afghanistan. Not a base for jihadis.

2. The idea that Russia has to encourage Afghans to kill Invaders is a hoot. They don't ever do that on their own.

3. Not only do Afghans traditionally need no motivation to kill infidel foreign Invaders, but Russia would have to be incredibly stupid to bring more American enmity on itself.

Contrast with the CIA motivations for this absurd narrative. Chuck Schumer famously commented that the intelligence agencies had ways of getting back at you, and it looks like you took the bait, hook, line and sinker.

Either that, or you're just cynical. You'll espouse anything, however absurd and full of lies, as long as it damages Trump.

I detest Trump, but I am not a list.

Wally Feral Finster 3 hours ago

I don't have a clue if this bounty story is correct, but I can imagine plenty of reasons why the Russians would do it. It's easy enough to believe it or believe it was cooked up by CIA as you suggest.

Feral Finster Feral Finster 2 hours ago

And a fourth CIA goal: it undermines Trump's relationship with the military.

FND 4 hours ago

There will be one of these BS blockbusters every few weeks until the election. There are legions of buried-in democrat political appointees that will continue to feed the DNC press. It will be non-stop. The DNC press is shredding the 1st amendment.

former-vet FND 2 hours ago

Not shredding the First Amendment, just shining light on the pitfalls of a right to freedom of speech. There are others ramifications to free speech we consider social goods.

Kent FND 2 hours ago

These aren't buried-in democrats. These people could care less which political party the President is a member of. They only care that the President does what they say. Political parties are just to bamboozle the rubes. They are the real power.

Connecticut Farmer 4 hours ago

"U.S. Intelligence"-lol--a contradiction in terms. Just repeat three times: "George 'Slam Dunk' Tenet."

Sidney Caesar Connecticut Farmer 3 hours ago

Tenet knew his role- he said what his superiors wanted to hear: https://www.motherjones.com... The Iraq debacle was a top-down con job.

Stephen R Gould 3 hours ago • edited

The best defence that the WSJ and Fox News could muster was that the story wasn't confirmed as the NSA didn't have the same confidence in the assessment as the CIA. "Is there anything else to which you would wish to draw my attention?" "To the curious incident of the denial from the White House", "There was no denial from the White House". "That was the curious incident".

I note that Fox News had buried the story "below the scroll" on their home page - if they had though the story was fake, the headlines would be screaming at MSM.

maxsnafu 3 hours ago

I was suspicious when I saw it originated in Walter Duranty's newspaper.

The Derp State 3 hours ago

"What if Obama...." #4,267

former-vet 2 hours ago • edited

Pravda was a far more honest and objective news source than The New York Times is. I say that as someone who read both for long periods of time. The Times is on par with the National Enquirer for credibility, with the latter at least being less propagandistic and agenda-driven.

SatirevFlesti 2 hours ago

Having failed in its Russia "collusion" and "Russia stole the election" campaigns to oust Trump, this is just the latest effort by the Deep State and mass media to use unhinged Russophobia to try to boost Biden and damage Trump.

The extent to which the contemporary Left is driven by a level of Russophobia unseen even by the most stalwart anti-Communists on the Right during the Cold War is truly something to behold. I think at bottom it comes down to not liking Putin or Russia because they refuse to get on board with the Left's social agenda.

James SatirevFlesti 2 hours ago • edited

The contemporary left hate Russia , because Russia is carving out it own sphere of influence and keeping the Americans out, because it saved Assad from the western backed sunni head choppers (that the left cheered on, as they killed native Orthodox, and Catholic Christians). The Contempary left hate Russia because it cracks down on LGBT propaganda, banned porn hub, and return property to the Church , which the leftist Bolsheviks stole, the Contempaty left hate Russia because it cracked down on it western backed oligarchs who plundered Russia in the 90's.

The Contempary left wants Russia to be Woke, Broke, Godless, and Gay.

The democrats are now the cheerleaders of the warfare -welfare state,, the marriage between the neolibs-neocons under the Democrat party to ensure that President Trump is defeated by the invade the world, invite the world crowd.

WilliamRD TheSnark 44 minutes ago

"The Trumpies are right in that this was obviously a leak by the intel community designed to hurt Trump. But what do you expect...he has spent 4 years insulting and belittling them. They are going to get their pound of flesh."

Intel community was behind an attempted coup of Trump. He has good reason not to trust them and insulting is only natural. Hopefully John Durham will indict several of them

Kent an hour ago

I honestly don't find "unnamed officials", the CIA, the NSA, the NYT, John Bolton, or President Trump to be credible sources.

Sidney Caesar Kent an hour ago • edited

I've found myself to be the only honest and trustworthy person- everyone should just listen to me.

WilliamRD 42 minutes ago • edited

Montage: Mainstream Media Hype About Russia Collusion https://twitter.com/ggreenw...

WilliamRD 36 minutes ago

Russiagate's Last Gasp https://consortiumnews.com/...

phreethink 20 minutes ago • edited

Interesting take. I certainly take anything anyone publishes based on anonymous sources with a big grain of salt, especially when it comes from the NYT...

[Jul 01, 2020] Control freaks that cannot even control their own criminal impulses!

Highly recommended!
Jul 01, 2020 | www.unz.com

No Friend Of The Devil , says:

Control freaks that cannot even control their own criminal impulses!

...They suffer from god-complexes, since they do not believe in God, they feel an obligation to act as God, and decide the fates of over 7 billion people, who would obviously be better off if the PICs were sent to the Fletcher Memorial Home for Incurable Tyrants!

[Jun 25, 2020] Pompeo's UN Move Against Iran Will Fail. Why Is He Still Pressing It

Jun 25, 2020 | www.moonofalabama.org

Pompeo is suggesting that Iran will spend tens of millions on planes, fly them unopposed through the radar coverage of several countries, to let Iranian Kamikaze pilots crash them into some temple in Nepal.

This does not make any sense. No foreign politician will be impressed by this 'argument'. Pompeo's tweet is for consumption at home.

At the UN the U.S. is trying to get a new arms embargo resolution against Iran:

The administration of U.S. President Donald Trump introduced a long-awaited U.N. Security Council (UNSC) draft resolution extending an arms embargo on Iran that is due to expire in October, setting the stage for a great-power clash and likely veto in the U.N.'s principal security body, according to a copy of the draft obtained by Foreign Policy .
...
If passed, the resolution would fall under Chapter VII of the U.N. charter, making it legally binding and enforceable. But the U.S. measure, according to several U.N. Security Council diplomats, stands little chance of being adopted by the 15-nation council.
...
Some council diplomats and other nonproliferation experts see the U.S. move as a way to score political points at home , not to do anything about Iran's destabilizing activities in the region.

"The skeptic in me says that the objective of this exercise is to go through the arms embargo resolution, and when it fails, to use that as an excuse to get a snapback of the embargo, and if and when that fails too, to use as a political talking point in the election campaign ," said Mark Fitzpatrick, a former State Department nonproliferation official now at the International Institute for Strategic Studies. Since China and Russia are almost certain to ignore any U.N. arms embargo forced by U.S. maneuvers, the practical impact on Iran's ability to cause mischief will be minimal, he said.

"It's not actually about stopping any arms from China and Russia, it's about winning a political argument ," he said.

We explained that the U.S. does not have a 'snapback' option . Russia and China have also clarified that :

Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov and the Chinese government's top diplomat, Wang Yi, both wrote to the 15-member council and U.N. chief Antonio Guterres as the United States threatens to spark a so-called sanctions snapback under the Iran nuclear deal, even though Washington quit the accord in 2018.

Lavrov wrote in the May 27 letter, made public this week, that the United States was being "ridiculous and irresponsible."

"This is absolutely unacceptable and serves only to recall the famous English proverb about having one's cake and eating it," Lavrov wrote.

Washington has threatened to trigger a return of U.N. sanctions on Iran if the Security Council does not extend an arms embargo due to expire in October under Tehran's deal with world powers to prevent it from developing nuclear weapons.
...
Lavrov cited a 1971 International Court of Justice opinion, which found that a fundamental principle governing international relationships was that "a party which disowns or does not fulfill its own obligations cannot be recognized as retaining the rights which it claims to derive from the relationship."

Despite the evident failure to convince others the U.S. continues make stupid arguments :

Russia and China will be isolated at the United Nations if they continue down the "road to dystopia" by blocking a U.S. bid to extend a weapons ban on Iran, U.S. Iran envoy Brian Hook told Reuters ahead of his formal pitch of the embargo to the U.N. Security Council on Wednesday.
...
"We see a widening gap between Russia and China and the international community," Hook said in an interview with Reuters on Tuesday evening.

The U.S. has left the JCPoA deal and can not claim a right under that deal to snap back the sanctions that the deal has lifted. It is the U.S. that is isolated. Even its allies do not support the attempt:

"We firmly believe that any unilateral attempt to trigger UN sanctions snapback would have serious adverse consequences in the UNSC," the foreign ministers of Britain, France, and Germany said in a statement on June 19. "We would not support such a decision which would be incompatible with our current efforts to preserve the JCPoA."

The Trump policy against Iran has failed. He has tried a 'maximum pressure' campaign to blackmail Iran into more concessions. But despite sanctions and economic problems caused by them Iran is not willing to talk with him. Its conditions for talks are clear :

"We have no problem with talks with the U.S., but only if Washington fulfils its obligations under the nuclear deal, apologies and compensates Tehran for its withdrawal from the 2015 deal," Rouhani said in a televised speech.

The U.S. foreign policy in the Middle East, including the new sanctions against Syria under the 'Ceasar's Law', have been helping Iran to strengthen its position :

Iran is reaping huge benefits, including more robust allies and resistant strongholds as a result of the US's flawed Middle Eastern policies. Motivated by the threat of the implementation of "Caesar' Law", Iran has prepared a series of steps to sell its oil and finance its allies, bypassing depletion of its foreign currency reserves.

Iranian companies found in Syria a paradise for strategic investment and offered the needed alternative to a Syrian economy crippled by sanctions and nine years of war. Iran considers Syria a fertile ground to expand its commerce and business like never before.

With Iran's influence growing and Russia making inroads even with once staunch U.S. allies like Saudi Arabia it seems that real U.S. influence in the Middle East is on a decisive downturn.

Whatever Pompous Pompeo says or tweets will not change that. But there's a sucker born every minute. Some of those may still fall for the stuff he says.

---
Twice a year I ask readers of this blog to support my effort. Please consider contributing .

Posted by b on June 24, 2020 at 17:10 UTC | Permalink

[Jun 23, 2020] John Bolton's Mission was to Destroy Donald Trump's Detente with North Korea

Jun 23, 2020 | nationalinterest.org

Bolton, of course, dismissed the entire concept of diplomacy from the very start. He never bought into the notion that North Korean officials could be talked to sensibly because they were, well, insane. Bolton's version of North Korea diplomacy was to tighten the economic screws, brandish the U.S. military, and wait until one of two things happened: 1) the Kim regime surrendered its entire nuclear weapons program like Libya's Muammar al-Qaddafi, or 2) the Kim regime continued to spur Washington's demands, in which the White House would have no option but to use U.S. military force. Bolton's record is analogous to a stereotypical linebacker on an obscene amount of steroids -- smash your opponent to pieces and don't think twice about it. Top Beauty Surgeon Says "Forget Facelifts, This at Home Tip is My #1 Wrinkle Red Del Mar Laboratories Dr: This May Be the Best CBD Ever for Arthritis, Aching Joints & Inflammation Mirror News Online Enlarged Prostate Gone - Just Do This Before Bed (Watch) Newhealthylife 3 Ways Your Cat Asks for Help Dr. Marty The content you see here is paid for by the advertiser or content provider whose link you click on, and is recommended to you by Revcontent. As the leading platform for native advertising and content recommendation, Revcontent uses interest based targeting to select content that we think will be of particular interest to you. We encourage you to view our Privacy Policy and your opt out options here . Got it, thanks! Remove Content Link?

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The only problem: North Korea isn't some helpless punter with string bean arms and a lanky midsection. It's a nuclear weapons state fiercely proud of its independence and sovereignty, constantly on guard for the slightest threat from a foreign power, and cognizant of its weakened position relative to its neighbors. This is one of the prime reasons Bolton's obsession with the Libya-style North Korea deal, in which Pyongyang would theoretically discard its entire nuclear apparatus and allow U.S. weapons inspectors to take custody of its nuclear warheads before flying them back to the U.S. for destruction, was unworkable from the start. The Libya-model trumpeted by Bolton was a politically correct way of demanding Pyongyang's total surrender -- an extremely naive goal if there ever was one. When one remembers the fate of Qaddafi 8 years after he traded sanctions relief for his weapons of mass destruction -- the dictator was assaulted and humiliated before being executed in the desert -- even the word "Libya" is treated by the Kim dynasty as a threat to its existence. As Paul Pillar wrote in these pages more than two years ago, "Libya's experience does indeed weigh heavily on the thinking of North Korean officials, who have taken explicit notice of that experience, as a disincentive to reaching any deals with the United States about dismantling weapons programs."

One can certainly take issue with Trump's North Korea policy. Two years of personal diplomacy with Kim Jong-un have yet to result in the denuclearization Washington seeks (denuclearization is more of a slogan than a realistic objective at this point, anyway). But Trump's strategy aside, Bolton's alternative was worse. The president knew his former national security adviser's public insistence on the Libya model was dangerously inept. He had to walk back Bolton's comments weeks later to ensure the North Koreans didn't pull out of diplomacy before it got off the ground. Trump hasn't forgotten about the experience; on June 18, Trump tweeted that "Bolton's dumbest of all statements set us back very badly with North Korea, even now. I asked him, "what the hell were you thinking?"

[Jun 23, 2020] Chickenhawk B olton May Be a Beast, But He's Washington's Creature by Richard Hanania

Personally he is a bully and as such a coward: he can attack only a weaker opponent. His new book shows that however discredited and intellectually thin his foreign policy views are, they always rise to the top. To Bolton the country is simply a vehicle for smiting his enemies abroad.
Notable quotes:
"... Bolton's hawkishness is combined with an equally striking lack of originality. It is possible to be an unorthodox or partisan hawk, as we see in populists who want to get out of the Middle East but ramp up pressure on China, or Democrats who have a particular obsession with Russia. Bolton takes the most belligerent position on every issue without regards for partisanship or popularity, a level of consistency that would almost be honorable if it wasn't so frightening. No alliance or commitment is ever questioned, and neither, for that matter, is any rivalry. ..."
"... Bolton lacks any intellectual tradition or popular support base that he can call his own. Domestic political concerns are almost completely missing from his book, although we learn that he follows "Adam Smith on economics, Edmund Burke on society," is happy with Trump's judicial appointments, and favors legal, but not illegal, immigration. Other than these GOP clichés, there is virtually no commentary or concern about the state of American society or its trajectory. Unlike those who worry about how global empire affects the United States at home, to Bolton the country is simply a vehicle for smiting his enemies abroad. While Bolton's views have been called "nationalist" because he doesn't care about multilateralism, nation-building, or international law, I have never seen a nationalist that gives so little thought to his nation. ..."
"... Bolton recounts how his two top aides, Charles Kupperman and Mira Ricardel, had extensive experience working for Boeing. Patrick Shanahan similarly became acting Secretary of Defense after spending thirty years at that company, until he was replaced by Mark Esper, a Raytheon lobbyist. Why working for a company that manufactures aircraft and weapons prepares one for a job in foreign policy, the establishment has never felt the need to explain, any more than it needs to explain continuing Cold War-era military commitments three decades after the collapse of the Soviet Union. ..."
"... The most important question raised by the career of John Bolton is how someone with his views has been able to achieve so much power. While Bolton gets much worse press and always goes a step too far even for most of the foreign policy establishment, in other ways he is all too typical. Take James Mattis, a foil for Bolton throughout much of the first half of the book. Although more popular in the media, the "warrior monk" slow-walked and obstructed attempts by the president to pull out of the Middle East, and after a career supporting many of the same wars and commitments as Bolton, now makes big bucks in the private sector, profiting off of his time in government. ..."
Jun 23, 2020 | www.theamericanconservative.com

The Room Where It Happened: A White House Memoir, John Bolton, Simon & Schuster, 592 pages

The release of John Bolton's book today has become a Washington cultural event, because he is, by all measures, Washington's creature.

Those who dislike the Trump administration have been pleased to find in The Room Where It Happened confirmation in much of what they already believed about the Ukraine scandal and the president's lack of capacity for the job. Some accusations in the book, such as the story about Trump seeking reelection help from China through American farm purchases, are new, and in an alternative universe could have formed the basis of a different, or if Bolton had his way, more comprehensive, impeachment inquiry.

While Bolton's book has been found politically useful by the president's detractors, the work is also important as a first-hand account from the top of the executive branch over a 19-month period, from April 2018 to September 2019. It also, mostly inadvertently, reveals much about official Washington, the incentive structures that politicians face, and the kind of person that is likely to succeed in that system. Bolton may be a biased self-promoter, but he is nonetheless a credible source, as his stories mostly involve conversations with other people who are free to eventually tell their own side. Moreover, the John Bolton of The Room Where It Happened is no different from the man we know from his three-decade career as a government official and public personality. No surprises here.

There are three ways to understand John Bolton. In increasing order of importance, they are intellectually, psychologically, and politically -- that is, as someone who is both a product of and antagonist to the foreign-policy establishment -- in many ways typical, and in others a detested outlier.

On the first of these, there simply isn't much there. Bolton takes the most hawkish position on every issue. He wants war with North Korea and Iran, and if he can't have that, he'll settle for destroying their economies and sabotaging any attempts by Trump to reach a deal with either country. He takes the maximalist positions on great powers like China and Russia, and third world states that pose no plausible threat like Cuba and Venezuela. At one point, he brags about State reversing "Obama's absurd conclusion that Cuban baseball was somehow independent of its government, thus in turn allowing Treasury to revoke the license allowing Major League Baseball to traffic in Cuban players." How this helps Americans or Cubans is left unexplained.

Bolton's hawkishness is combined with an equally striking lack of originality. It is possible to be an unorthodox or partisan hawk, as we see in populists who want to get out of the Middle East but ramp up pressure on China, or Democrats who have a particular obsession with Russia. Bolton takes the most belligerent position on every issue without regards for partisanship or popularity, a level of consistency that would almost be honorable if it wasn't so frightening. No alliance or commitment is ever questioned, and neither, for that matter, is any rivalry.

Anyone who picks up Bolton's over 500-page memoir hoping to find serious reflection on the philosophical basis of American foreign policy will be disappointed. The chapters are broken up by topic area, most beginning with a short background explainer on Bolton's views of the issue. In the chapter on Venezuela, we are told that overthrowing the government of that country is important because of "its Cuba connection and the openings it afforded Russia, China, and Iran." The continuing occupation of Afghanistan is necessary for preventing terrorists from establishing a base, and, in an argument I had not heard anywhere before, for "remaining vigilant against the nuclear-weapons programs in Iran on the west and Pakistan on the east." Iran needs to be deterred, though from what we are never told.

Bolton lacks any intellectual tradition or popular support base that he can call his own. Domestic political concerns are almost completely missing from his book, although we learn that he follows "Adam Smith on economics, Edmund Burke on society," is happy with Trump's judicial appointments, and favors legal, but not illegal, immigration. Other than these GOP clichés, there is virtually no commentary or concern about the state of American society or its trajectory. Unlike those who worry about how global empire affects the United States at home, to Bolton the country is simply a vehicle for smiting his enemies abroad. While Bolton's views have been called "nationalist" because he doesn't care about multilateralism, nation-building, or international law, I have never seen a nationalist that gives so little thought to his nation.

The more time one spends reading Bolton, the more one comes to the conclusion that the guy just likes to fight. In addition to seeking out and escalating foreign policy conflicts, he seems to relish going to war with the media and the rest of the Washington bureaucracy. His book begins with a quote from the Duke of Wellington rallying his troops at Waterloo: "Hard pounding, this, gentlemen. Let's see who will pound the longest." The back cover quotes the epilogue on his fight with the Trump administration, responding "game on" to attempts to stop publication. He takes a mischievous pride in recounting attacks from the media or foreign governments, such as when he was honored to hear that North Korea worried about his influence over the President. Bolton is too busy enjoying the fight, and as will be seen below, profiting from it, to reflect too carefully on what it's all for.

Bolton could be ignored if he were simply an odd figure without much power. Yet the man has been at the pinnacle of the GOP establishment for thirty years, serving appointed roles in every Republican president since Reagan. The story of how he got his job in the Trump administration is telling. According to Bolton's account, he was courted throughout the transition process and the early days of the administration by Steve Bannon and Jared Kushner, ironic considering the reputation of the former as a populist opposed to forever wars and the latter as a more liberal figure within the White House. Happy with his life outside government, Bolton would accept a position no lower than Secretary of State or National Security Advisor. Explaining his reluctance to enter government in a lower capacity, Bolton provides a list of his commitments at the time, including "Senior Fellow at the American Enterprise Institute; Fox News contributor; a regular on the speaking circuit; of counsel at a major law firm; member of corporate boards; senior advisor to a global private-equity firm."

Clearly, being an advocate for policies that can destroy the lives of millions abroad, and a complete lack of experience in business, have proved no hindrance to Bolton's success in corporate America.

Bolton recounts how his two top aides, Charles Kupperman and Mira Ricardel, had extensive experience working for Boeing. Patrick Shanahan similarly became acting Secretary of Defense after spending thirty years at that company, until he was replaced by Mark Esper, a Raytheon lobbyist. Why working for a company that manufactures aircraft and weapons prepares one for a job in foreign policy, the establishment has never felt the need to explain, any more than it needs to explain continuing Cold War-era military commitments three decades after the collapse of the Soviet Union.

Ricardel resigned after a dispute over preparations for the First Lady's trip to Africa, an example of how too often in the Trump administration, nepotism and self-interest have been the only checks on bad policy or even greater corruption ("Melania's people are on the warpath," Trump is quoted as saying). Another is when Trump, according to Bolton, was less than vigorous in pursing destructive Iranian sanctions due to personal relationships with the leaders of China and Turkey. At the 2019 G7 summit, when Pompeo and Bolton try to get Benjamin Netanyahu to reach out to Trump to talk him out of meeting with the Iranian foreign minister, Jared prevents his call from going through on the grounds that a foreign government shouldn't be telling the President of the United States who to meet with.

The most important question raised by the career of John Bolton is how someone with his views has been able to achieve so much power. While Bolton gets much worse press and always goes a step too far even for most of the foreign policy establishment, in other ways he is all too typical. Take James Mattis, a foil for Bolton throughout much of the first half of the book. Although more popular in the media, the "warrior monk" slow-walked and obstructed attempts by the president to pull out of the Middle East, and after a career supporting many of the same wars and commitments as Bolton, now makes big bucks in the private sector, profiting off of his time in government.

In the coverage of Bolton, this is what should not be lost. The former National Security Advisor is the product of a system with its own internal logic. Largely discredited and intellectually hollow, and without broad popular support, it persists in its practices and beliefs because it has been extremely profitable for those involved. The most extreme hawks are simply symptoms of larger problems, with the flamboyant Bolton being much more like mainstream members of the foreign policy establishment than either side would like to admit.

Richard Hanania is a research fellow at the Saltzman Institute of War and Peace Studies at Columbia University.

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[Jun 23, 2020] John Bolton Tells How Iran Hawks Set Up Trump's Syrian Kurdish Disaster

Notable quotes:
"... Bolton's account sheds light on how it happened: hawks in the administration, including Bolton himself, wanted U.S. forces in Syria fighting Russia and Iran. They saw the U.S.-Kurdish alliance against ISIS as a distraction -- and let the Turkish-Kurdish conflict fester until it spiralled out of control. ..."
Jun 23, 2020 | nationalinterest.org

The drama eventually ended with President Donald Trump pulling U.S. peacekeepers out of Syria -- and then sending them back in . One hundred thousand Syrian civilians were displaced by an advancing Turkish army, and the Kurdish-led Syrian Democratic Forces turned to Russia for help. But U.S. forces never fully withdrew -- they are still stuck in Syria defending oil wells .

Bolton's account sheds light on how it happened: hawks in the administration, including Bolton himself, wanted U.S. forces in Syria fighting Russia and Iran. They saw the U.S.-Kurdish alliance against ISIS as a distraction -- and let the Turkish-Kurdish conflict fester until it spiralled out of control.

Pompeo issued a statement on Thursday night denouncing Bolton's entire book as "a number of lies, fully-spun half-truths, and outright falsehoods."

[Jun 22, 2020] MoA community discussion of Bolton book

Notable quotes:
"... let us not forget that bolton threatened a un officials kids because they guy wasn't going along with the iraq war propaganda. ..."
"... Close -- the threatened official was Jose Bustani, at that time (2002) the head of the Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons (OPCW)as he had been for five years. ..."
"... Bustani had been working to bring Iraq and Libya into the organization, which would have required those two countries to eliminate all of their chemical weapons. ..."
"... The US, though, had other ideas -- chiefly invading and destroying both of those nations, and when Bustani insisted on continuing his efforts then Bolton threatened Bustani's adult children. ..."
Jun 22, 2020 | www.moonofalabama.org

pretzelattack , Jun 17 2020 21:49 utc | 14

let us not forget that bolton threatened a un officials kids because they guy wasn't going along with the iraq war propaganda.

Duncan Idaho , Jun 17 2020 22:03 utc | 15

Only with Late Stage Capitalism could we have a vicious war criminal write a book criticizing a psychopathic sociopath.
Anonymous , Jun 17 2020 22:06 utc | 16
The political establishment in Canada appeared dismayed at the prospect of Bolton as National Security Adviser. See these interviews with Hill + Knowlton strategies Vice-chairman, Peter Donolo, from 2018:

https://www.bnnbloomberg.ca/video/there-s-risk-trump-s-actions-are-driving-the-u-s-into-a-recession-peter-donolo~1342264
https://www.bnnbloomberg.ca/video/trade-wars-easy-to-start-not-so-easy-to-finish-peter-donolo~1365104

So Bolton gets in, Meng Wangzhou is detained in Vancouver on the US request (that's another story), and in time, Canada appoints a new Ambassador to China - Mr. Dominic Barton.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Dominic_Barton

Then Bolton gets fired. 'Nuff said. Just to let everyone know that Bolton is well and truly hated, as a government official, in certain circles.

AntiSpin , Jun 17 2020 22:07 utc | 17
@ pretzelattack | Jun 17 2020 21:49 utc | 14

Close -- the threatened official was Jose Bustani, at that time (2002) the head of the Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons (OPCW)as he had been for five years.

Bustani had been working to bring Iraq and Libya into the organization, which would have required those two countries to eliminate all of their chemical weapons.

The US, though, had other ideas -- chiefly invading and destroying both of those nations, and when Bustani insisted on continuing his efforts then Bolton threatened Bustani's adult children.

Jpc , Jun 17 2020 22:32 utc | 18
Why was he appointment made in the first place anyone,?
Ian2 , Jun 17 2020 23:08 utc | 19
Jpc | Jun 17 2020 22:32 utc | 18:

My guess Trump went along with the tough guy image that Bolton projected in media and recommendations by others.

james , Jun 17 2020 23:13 utc | 20
let the lobbyists with the most money win... that's what defines the usa system, leadership and decision making process... no one in their right mind would support this doofus..
Jen , Jun 17 2020 23:40 utc | 21
At least the one saving grace about John Bolton's memoir is that it might be a tad closer to reality than Christopher Steele's infamous dossier and might prove valuable as a source of evidence in a court of law. Maybe Yosemite Sam himself should start quaking in his boots.
jen , Jun 17 2020 23:42 utc | 22
Jpc @ 18, Ian2 @ 19:

Personal interest on DJT's part? :-)

JC , Jun 17 2020 23:43 utc | 23
Posted by: Tower | Jun 17 2020 21:43 utc | 13

This is the most intelligent post so far.

Yes why not? If Obama awarded the Noble prize even before he begins serving his first term I can't see why Bolton not nominated now. America is a joke, not a banana republic. It deserves Obama, Trump, Bolton or Biden another stoopid joker.

Stoopid president elected by stoopid citizens

Don Bacon , Jun 17 2020 23:44 utc | 24
@ Jpc
When faced with Trump's behavior of employing warmongers, including several generals, some observers opined that Trump wanted people with contrasting opinions so that he could consider them and then say "no." He did more with Bolton eventually, sending him to Mongolia while he (Trump) went to Singapore (or somewhere over there).
A User , Jun 17 2020 23:47 utc | 25
re Ian2 | Jun 17 2020 23:08 utc | 19
who hazarded : My guess Trump went along with the tough guy image that Bolton projected in media and recommendations by others.
Not at all, if you go back to the earliest days of the orangeman's prezdency, you will see Trump resisted the efforts by Mercer & the zionist casino owner to give Bolton a gig.
He knew that shrub had problems with the boasts of Bolton and as his reputation was as an arsehole who sounded his own trumpet at his boss's expense orangeman refused for a long time. Trump believes the trump prezdency is about trump no one else.
Thing was at the time he was running for the prez gig trump was on his uppers, making a few dollars from his tv show, plus licensing other people's buildings by selling his name to be stuck on them. trump tower azerbnajan etc.
He put virtually none of his own money into the 'race' so when he won the people who had put up the dosh had power over him.
Bolton has always been an arse kisser to any zionist cause he suspects he can claw a penny outta, so he used the extreme loony end of the totally looney zionist spectrum to hook him (Bolton) up with a gig by pushing for him with trump.

It was always gonna end the way it did as Bolton is forever briefing the media against anyone who tried to resist his murderous fantasies. Trump is never gonna argue for any scheme that doesn't have lotsa dollars for him in it so he had plenty of run ins with Bolton who then went to his media mates & told tales.
When bolton was appointed orangey's stakes were at a really low ebb among DC warmongers, so he reluctantly took him on then spent the next 18 months getting rid of the grubby parasite.

div> Yosemite Sam did it better. I would prefer a Foghorn Leghorn-type character, for US diplomacy.

Posted by: Ribbit , Jun 18 2020 0:20 utc | 26

Yosemite Sam did it better. I would prefer a Foghorn Leghorn-type character, for US diplomacy.

Posted by: Ribbit | Jun 18 2020 0:20 utc | 26

Kristan hinton , Jun 18 2020 0:46 utc | 27
Real History: Candidate Trump praised Bolton and named him as THE number one Foreign Policy expert he (Trump) respected.

Imagine the mustachioed Mister Potatoe (sic) Head and zany highjinks!

Bolton and one of his first wives were regulars at Plato's Retreat for wife swapping orgies. The wife was not real keen on the behavior, but she allegedly found herself verbally and physically abused for objecting.

DannyC , Jun 18 2020 1:17 utc | 28
Trump is at fault for hiring him to appease the Zionist lobby. We all knew the guy was a warmonger and a scumbag. It's not a surprise. Trump surrounds himself with the worst people
jadan , Jun 18 2020 1:30 utc | 29
Did John Bolton put his personal interests above the will of congress in an attempt to extort the Ukrainian government? You're making a false equivalence. You seem to have a soft spot for Trump. Bolton is an in-your-face son of a bitch, but Trump, Trump is just human garbage.
Kay Fabe , Jun 18 2020 2:27 utc | 30
Pretty much a nothing burger if thats all he has got. Just a distraction. Trumps outrage just meant help Bolton sell some books. Lol. People are so easy to fool.

I still think Bolton managing the operations as COG in Cheneys old bunker. Coming out for a vacation while next phase is planned

Jackrabbit , Jun 18 2020 2:56 utc | 31
Kay Fabe @Jun18 2:27 #29
Pretty much a nothing burger if thats all he has got.

You underestimate the craftiness of this kayfabe.

The tiff with Bolton makes Trump look like a peace-loving moderate so that he's acceptable to Independent voters.

!!

Den lille abe , Jun 18 2020 3:03 utc | 32
Bolton is just another American arsehole. Nothing new. When they do not get their way, the y always turn on their superiors, or those in charge. Bolton is just another "Anhänger" personal gain is what motivates him.
He should have been a blot on his parents bedsheets or at least a forced abortion, but unfortunately that did not happen...
Piotr Berman , Jun 18 2020 3:53 utc | 33
The self-appointed Deep State has pretty much thwarted him (Trump) and his voters.

Posted by: bob sykes | Jun 17 2020 20:55 utc | 11

Trump thwarted Trump. Before he got elected, Trump mentioned his admiration of Bolton more than once. Voters of Trump elected a liar and an incoherent person -- at time, incomprehensible, a nice bonus. But it is worth noticing that Trump never liked being binded by agreement, like, say, an agreement to pay money back to creditors, or whatever international agreement would restrict USA from doing what they damn please.

Superficially, it is mysterious why Trump made an impression that he wants to negotiate with North Korea with some agreement at the end. Was he forced to make a mockery from the negotiation by someone sticking knife to his back?

Some may remember that Trump promised to abolish Affordable Care Act and replace it with "something marvelous". The latest version is that he will start thinking about it again after re-election. If you believe that...

Granted, Trump is more sane than Bolton, but just a bit, unlike Bolton he has some moments of lucidity.

In conclusion, I would advocate to vote for Biden. If you need a reason, that would be that Biden never tweets, or if he does, it is forgettable before the typing is done. Unlike the hideous Trumpian productions.

jason , Jun 18 2020 3:55 utc | 34
"men fit to be shaved," Tiberius, on Bolton and Friedman.

he is the best & brightest we have. when a dreadful mouth is called for. his insights into the Trump WH are probably as deep as his knowledge of VZ, Iran, Cuba, etc. he's a useful idiot, a willing fool. like Trump, he's the verbal equivalent of the cops on the street, in foreign "policy." another abusive father figure

reading the imperial steak turds - an American form of reading the tea leaves or goat livers or chicken flight or celestial what have you. an emperor craps out a big hairy one like Bolton and the priests and hierophants and lawyers and scribes come for a long, close up inspection and fact-gathering smell of another steaming pile of gmo-corn-and-downer-cow-fed, colon cancer causing, Kansas feed-lot raised, grade A Murkin BEEF. guess what they in their wisdom find? Trump stinks.

kiwiklown , Jun 18 2020 4:20 utc | 35
Scotch Bingeington @ 6 -- "Take a look at his face. It's obvious to me that even John Bolton does not enjoy being John Bolton. That mouth, it's drooping to an absurd degree. Comparable to Merkel's face, come to think of it.

At last, someone who notices physionomy!

That face drips with false modesty, kind of trying to make his face say, "... look at harmless old me..."

That walrus bushiness points at an attempt to hide, to camouflage his true thoughts, his malevolence.

That pretended stoop, with one hand clutching a sheaf of briefing papers, emulating the posture of deferential court clerks, speaks to a lifetime of a snake in the grass "fighting" from below for things important to himself.

But those of us who have been around the block a couple times will know to watch our backs around this type. Poisoned-tipped daggers are their fave weapons, and your backs are their fave "battle space". LOL

This statement by Jeffrey Sachs may as well also describe America's leadership crisis: "At the root of America's economic crisis lies a moral crisis: the decline of civic virtue among America's political and economic elite."

kiwiklown , Jun 18 2020 5:29 utc | 36
GeorgeV @ 8 -- "It's like standing on a street corner watching two prostitutes calling each other a whore! How low has the US sunk."

And the US "leadeship" sends these types out to lecture other peoples on "values"? on how to become "normal nations"? on how to "contain" old civilisations such as Iran, Russia, China?

It is axiomatic that the stupid do not know they are stupid. Same goes for morals. The immoral do not know they are immoral. Or, perhaps, as Phat Pomp-arse shows, they know they are immoral, but do not care. Which makes one rightly guess that people like Bolt-On and him must be depraved.

Yes, it may take centuries before the leadership in this depraved Exceptionally Indispensable Nation to become truly normal again.

snake , Jun 18 2020 5:38 utc | 37
Of course, Trump actually campaigned to leave Afghanistan and Syria, and he was elected to do so. The self-appointed Deep State has pretty much thwarted him and his voters. by: bob sykes 11

I wondered about He King claims that Trump actually attempted to do those awful things, . .. , I looked for evidence to prove the claim.. I asked just about every librarian I could find to please show me evidence that confirms the deep state over rode Mr. Trump's actual attempt to remove USA anything from Afghanistan and Syria. thus far, no confirming or supporting facts have been produced. to support such a claim. Mr. Trump could easily have tweeted to his supporters something to the effect that the damn military, CIA, homeland security, state department, foreign service, federal reserve, women's underwear association and smiley Joe's hamburger stand in fact every militant in the USA governed America were holding hands, locked in a conspiracy to block President Trumps attempt to remove USA anything from Afghanistan or Syria.. If Mr. Trump has asked for those things, they would have happened. The next day there would have been parties in the streets as the militant agency heads began rolling as Mr. Trump fired them each and everyone.. No firings happened, the party providers were disappointed, no troops, USA contractors or privatization pirates left any foreign place.. as far as I can tell. 500 + military bases still remain in Europe none have been abandoned.. and one was added in Israel. BTW i heard that Mr. Trump managed to get 17 trillion dollars into the hands of many who are contractors or suppliers to those foreign operations. I can't say I am against Trump, but i can ask you to show me some evidence to prove your claim.

Jackrabbit , Jun 18 2020 5:50 utc | 38
snake @Jun18 5:38 #36

As always, watch what they do, not what they say.

Trump is the Republican Obama. A faux populist 'insider' who pretends to be an 'outsider'.

Trump was selected to be the nationalist President that meets the challenge from Russia and China. And serves all the usual interests while doing so.

Americans fools keep electing these establishment stooges and then wonder why nothing seems to get any better.

!!

Mao , Jun 18 2020 6:25 utc | 39
Sack cartoon: Trump's 'swamp'

https://www.startribune.com/sack-cartoon-trump-s-swamp/401964365/

https://www.startribune.com/sack-cartoon-the-swamp/420668223/

Mao , Jun 18 2020 6:39 utc | 40
Trump searches for new slogan as he abandons Keep America Great amid George Floyd and covid turmoil

The president has taken to inserting the term 'Transition to Greatness' into his remarks. His 2016 slogan was 'Make America Great Again'. After election he polled audiences on whether to go with 'Keep America Great'. He told CPAC this year and said at the State of the Union 'The Best is Yet to Come'. Tweaks come as he trails Biden in new NBC and CNN polls, as the nation struggles with the coronavirus and protests over police violence.

https://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-8398993/Donald-Trump-searches-new-slogan-amid-cratering-polls-against-Joe-Biden.html

Mao , Jun 18 2020 6:44 utc | 41
Rudy W. Giuliani @RudyGiuliani

Ukrainian police seize $6 Million in bribes paid to kill the new case into crooked Burisma.

This money is a Followup to the multi-millions in bribes Joe Biden, Hunter Biden, and President Poroshenko earned to leverage their offices to kill the original case.

All covered up!

https://twitter.com/RudyGiuliani/status/1273298170966159366

Ghost Ship , Jun 18 2020 7:28 utc | 42
Christian J. Chuba @ 3
goals that you consider important are different from personal interests.

What personal interests has Trump actually advanced during his time as president. Leaving out the fake allegations, I'm hard put to think of any. If you look at Trump's actual behaviour rather than his bullshit or the bullshit aimed at him, I'm also hard put to think of anything illegal he's done while in office that wasn't done by previous administrations.
Mao , Jun 18 2020 7:41 utc | 43
US President Donald Trump sought help from Xi Jinping to win the upcoming 2020 election, "pleading" with the Chinese president to boost imports of American agricultural products, according to a new book by former national security adviser John Bolton. The accusations were included in an excerpt from The Room Where It Happened: A White House Memoir, which is set to be released on June 23. Bolton also wrote that Trump demonstrated other "fundamentally unacceptable behaviour", including privately expressing support for China's mass interment of Uygur Muslims and other ethnic minority groups in Xinjiang.*This video has been updated to fix a spelling mistake.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=agk61kyDS1k

Yeah, Right , Jun 18 2020 8:35 utc | 44
@42 Mao I'm struggling to see how "pleading" with any country for it to purchase more US goods is "fundamentally unacceptable behaviour" from a US President.

Pleading to Xi for China to give, say, Israel preferential access to markets, sure.

Down South , Jun 18 2020 9:56 utc | 45
The Saker takes an interesting look at this "spontaneous or popular" revolt taking place in America

https://thesaker.is/what-kind-of-popular-revolution-is-this/#comments

Mao , Jun 18 2020 10:35 utc | 46
The Saker:

I have lived in the United States for a total of 24 years and I have witnessed many crises over this long period, but what is taking place today is truly unique and much more serious than any previous crisis I can recall. And to explain my point, I would like to begin by saying what I believe the riots we are seeing taking place in hundreds of US cities are not about. They are not about:

* Racism or "White privilege"
* Police violence
* Social alienation and despair
* Poverty
* Trump
* The liberals pouring fuel on social fires
* The infighting of the US elites/deep state

They are not about any of these because they encompass all of these issues, and more.

It is important to always keep in mind the distinction between the concepts of "cause" and "pretext". And while it is true that all the factors listed above are real (at least to some degree, and without looking at the distinction between cause and effect), none of them are the true cause of what we are witnessing. At most, the above are pretexts, triggers if you want, but the real cause of what is taking place today is the systemic collapse of the US society.

https://www.unz.com/tsaker/the-systemic-collapse-of-the-us-society-has-begun/

Steve , Jun 18 2020 10:57 utc | 47
The only time I'd be interested in anything Bolton had to say is if he were saying it from the docket at The Hague
Matt , Jun 18 2020 11:40 utc | 48
Don't really want to take sides between those two odious characters, but I think there's a difference in what the paper is saying.

One is about someone pursuing policy goals they favour, the other "personal interest". From what I have seen so far, Bolton's main definition of Trump's "personal interest" is his chances for re-election (rather than any personal business interest).

I think Bolton was happy for Trump to pursue the policy goals he favoured, at least when they coincided with Bolton's!

Tadlak Davidovitsh , Jun 18 2020 12:04 utc | 49
In modern Italy, mentioning Jupiter (Jove) and the ox (Bove) in the same sentence usually implies a demand that the two be treated the same.
450.org , Jun 18 2020 12:07 utc | 50
How many people have cashed in on Trump so far? Countless numbers of them. An ocean of them. Scathing books about Trump is one way to cash in on thr Trump effect, and the authors, many of whom don't even write the book themselves, get promoted and their books promoted in the mainstream media and elsewhere.

There is nothing new under the sun when it comes to Trump. We know everything there is to know about Trump. Some of us knew everything there was to know about him before he became POTUS. And yet, there he is, sitting like the Cheshire Cat in the Oval Office, untouchable and beyond reproach. Meanwhile, even more scathing books are in the pipeline because there's money, so much money, to be made don't you know.

Bolton is a shitbird every bit as much as Trump is and in fact an argument can be made Bolton is even worse and even more dangerous than Trump because if Bolton had his druthers, Iran would be a failed state right about now and America would be bogged down in a senseless money-making (for the defense contractors owned by the extractive wealthy elite) quagmire in Iran just as it was in Iraq and still is in Afghanistan.

Colbert is all into the Bolton book because he and his staff managed to secure an interview with Bolton. Bolton, of course, has agreed to this because it's a great way to promote his book to the likes of Cher who is the perfect example of the demographic Colbert caters to with his show. Some of the commercials during Colbert's show last night? One was an Old Navy commercial where they bragged about how they're giving to the poor. The family they used for the commercial, the recipients of this beneficence, was a black family. Biden is proud of Old Navy because don't you know, poor and black are one and the same. In otherwords, there are no poor people except black people. No, that's not racist. Not at all. Also, another commercial during Colbert's show was for the reopening of Las Vegas amidst the spreading pandemic. This is immediately after a segment where Colbert is decrying Republican governors for opening southern states too early. The hypocritical irony is so stark, you can cut it with a chainsaw.

kiwiklown , Jun 18 2020 12:24 utc | 51
Mao @ 45 quoting The Saker -- ".... the real cause of what is taking place today is the systemic collapse of the US society."

And the cause of American societal collapse has been corrupt US leadership.

In my 50 years of studying American society, I have learned to watch what US leaders do, not what they preach. More profitable is to look at what declassified US documents tell us about the truth, not what the presstitudes of the day pretend to dish up. Also, what other world leaders might, in a candid moment, tell us about America.

450.org , Jun 18 2020 12:30 utc | 52
@50
And the cause of American societal collapse has been corrupt US leadership.

I would argue that this is a symptom or a feature versus the root of the problem. Afterall, a system that allows for creeping entrenched endemic corruption, is a crappy system. It's the system that's the root of this and it's not just isolated to the United States. It's civilization itself that's the root and what enabled civilization -- the spirit in our genes as Reg asserts.

450.org , Jun 18 2020 12:47 utc | 53
@4
I'm fully expecting the Dem "left" to try and praise the monsterous Bolton for "going against Trump", as they did with war criminal Mad Dog Matis and Bush. Bolton has to be one of the most evil mass murders on the face of the Earth. The world will be an infinitely better place when he and his ilk like Netanyahu, Cheney, Rumsfeld, Chertoff..etc finally go back to hell.

I agree. They would, because they already have and continue to do so, coddle and provide apologia for any and all monsters who decry Trump. Hell, I'm convinced they would clamor for Derek Chauvin's exoneration if he vocally decried Trump. Chauvin would make the rounds on the media circuit excoriating Trump and telling the world, contritely of course, that it was Trump who made him do it and now he sees the error of his ways. He'd be on Morning Joe and Chris Cuomo's and Don Lemon's shows not to mention Ari Melber and Anderson Cooper and Lawrence O'Donnell. The conservatives and their networks, who have provided apologia for Chauvin thus far, would now be his worst enemy. Colbert and Kimmel would have him on and guffawing with him asking him how it felt to choke the life out of someone, laughing all the way so long as he hates Trump and tells the world how much he hates Trump.

This world is an insane asylum, especially America. All under the banner and aegis of progress. And to think, humanity wants to export this madness to space and the universe at large. Any intelligent life that would ever make its way to Planet Earth, if ever, would be well-advised to exterminate the species human before it spread its poison to the universe at large. Not that that is possible, but just in case the .000000000001% chance of that does miraculously manifest.

kiwiklown , Jun 18 2020 12:48 utc | 54
Mao @ 42

Concerning Trump "pleading" with Xi, it is only right for a leader to request others to buy more US farm produce. We have only Bolton's word that the request was a plea. We also have only Bolton's word that the request / plea was to seek "help from Xi Jinping to win the upcoming 2020 election". Too early to believe Bolton. Wait till we see the meeting transcripts.

Bolton also alleged that Trump exhibited "fundamentally unacceptable behaviour" concerning the Uygurs. Again, only Bolton's word. Even so, saying it is "unacceptable behavior" presumes that China does wrong to incarcerate Uygurs. If not, ie, China either does not incarcerate them, or if China has good moral grounds to do so, then Bolton is wrong to disagree with his boss for uttering the right sentiment. Judging by how the anglo-zios shout about China's "crime", I tend to think the opposite just might be the truth, and that says that Bolton is simply mudslinging to sell books; score brownie points with the anglo-zios, virtue-signalling for his next gig.

Sabine , Jun 18 2020 12:56 utc | 55
so is Trump or Biden the Yeltsin of the US? And who is gonna be the US version of Putin? Mr. Cotton from Arkansas?
vk , Jun 18 2020 13:00 utc | 56
The American people must decide if Trump is anti-China or Xi's bff. He can't be both at the same time.
murgen23 , Jun 18 2020 13:04 utc | 57
I don't see a contradiction with both sentences.

NYT writes Bolton direct US policy to fit his own political agenda,
while Bolton emphasizes Trump direct US policy in the way that pocket him most money.

Politician Bolton is consistent with his politician job (like it or not), Trump is corrupted.

This is how I understand.

450.org , Jun 18 2020 13:14 utc | 58
@56, I would argue that if one person could be both at the same time, that one person would be Donald Trump. He's already proven, like Chauncey Gardner, he can walk on water. Seriously, that excellent movie, Being There , starring the incomparable Peter Sellers, was about Donald Trump's ascension to the Oval Office.

There Are No Limits Except The Limits We Invent And Impose

augusto , Jun 18 2020 13:44 utc | 59
Using this 'quod licet jovi ...' the author apparently knows quite a bit of Latin, the dead language!
But seriously, the nomination of Bolton who had always behaved like 2nd rate advisor, a 3rd rate mcarthist cold warrior was a surprise to me. Such a short sighted heavily biased person could be, yes, chosen a Minister or advisor in a banana Republic but was picked up by the United states.
One can only conclude such a choice was driven by very specific interests of the deep state.They needed a bulldog and got it for one year and half and threw the stinky perro soon as the job was done.
BM , Jun 18 2020 14:05 utc | 60
And the cause of American societal collapse has been corrupt US leadership.
I would argue that this is a symptom or a feature versus the root of the problem.
Posted by: 450.org | Jun 18 2020 12:30 utc | 52

The primary cause of corrupt leadership is corrupt and corruption-accepting population.

Without a population that is fundamentally corrupt and immoral, corrupt leadership is unstable. Conversely - and this is important to recognise as the same phenomenon - democracy cannot exist if the population accepts and takes for granted corruption, as the two are mutually exclusive. In other words if you root out the corrupt leadership without dealing with the mentality of the population, the corruption will quickly come back and any democratic experiment will collapse very quickly.

There is one important qualifier - an overwhelming external influence (since WWII always the USA, either directly or as secondary effect) can leverage latent corruption so that it becomes more exaggerated than it normally would be.

Down South , Jun 18 2020 14:48 utc | 61
What is clear from only this account of the crucial role of big money foundations behind protest groups such as Black lives Matter is that there is a far more complex agenda driving the protests now destabilizing cities across America. The role of tax-exempt foundations tied to the fortunes of the greatest industrial and financial companies such as Rockefeller, Ford, Kellogg, Hewlett and Soros says that there is a far deeper and far more sinister agenda to current disturbances than spontaneous outrage would suggest.

https://m.journal-neo.org/2020/06/16/america-s-own-color-revolution/

michael888 , Jun 18 2020 15:53 utc | 62
Bolton pretended to be President, screwing up negotiations with his Libya Model talk, threatening Venezuela (and anywhere generally) and directing fleets all over the world (including Britain's to capture that Iranian oil tanker). Vindman revered "Ambassador" Bolton because he was keeping the Ukraine corruption in Americans (and Ukrainian Americans') hands, and daring the Russians to "start" WWIII. Bolton might have been a bit more bearable if he had ever been elected, but was happy to see him go. Trump seemed mystified by him.
juliania , Jun 18 2020 16:29 utc | 63
b has presented us (knowingly or not, but I wouldn't put it past him) with the Socratic question of the presumed identity between the morality of the State and personal morality, as best encountered in Plato's dialogue, 'The Republic' ['Politeia' in the Greek] That dialogue begins by examining personal morality, but changes to an examination of what would bring into being a perfect state. In doing the latter, however, it is how to create public spirited persons, in the best sense, which is the actual concern, and the conversation ranges far and wide, becoming more and more complex.

I've always thought that to consider the perfect state had to be an impossibility if the individual, the person him or herself isn't up to the task - and that is the point of the Politeia enterprise. Like the ongoing relay race on horseback that is happening at the same time in the Piraeus, the passing of the argument one person to another that happens in the dialogue demonstrates that what is most crucial for the state as well as for the individual is personal integrity.

I take as an example the message of Saker's essay, linked by Down South and commented on above by others. Saker is pointing out that the protests have been seized upon by the anti-Trumpists who have been disrupting things from the beginning of his administration. But he also says:

"My personal feeling is that Trump is too weak and too much of a coward to fight his political enemies"

Which comes first, the chicken or the egg? The discussion of different kinds of states, which we often have here pursued, or the discussion of what makes a person able to function in one or another state? I don't think Plato was saying that Greece had it made, that Greece needed to throw its weight around more to be great. He's pointing out that it had lost greatness, the same way every empire loses when it forgets that individual spark that is in a single person, his virtue. And the sad thing is it all comes down to the education of our young people in the values, the virtues that apply both to his own personal life and to the life of the state.

At its heart, the protests which are beginning, only beginning, and which are peaceful, may be politeia vs. republic, the 'polis' itself against 'things political'. A new and true enlightenment, multipolar.

karlof1 , Jun 18 2020 16:39 utc | 64
BM @60--

Corruption's been a fact of life in North America ever since it was "discovered." Bernard Bailyn captured it quite well in his The New England Merchants in the Seventeenth Century , that is during the very first stages of plantation, with most corruption taking place in Old England then exported to the West. Even the Founders were corrupt, although they didn't see themselves as such. Isn't Adam & Eve's corruption detailed in Genesis merely an indicator of a general human trait that needs to be managed via culture? That human culture has generally failed to contain and discipline corruption speaks volumes about both. John Dos Passos in his opus USA noted that everyone everywhere was on the "hustle"--from the hobo to the banker. "Every child gots to have its own" are some of the truest lyrics ever written. Will humanity ever transcend this major failure in its nature?

Allen Edmundson , Jun 18 2020 23:30 utc | 65
Who is behind the claim that China is imprisoning vast numbers of Uighurs in concentration camps and what evidence has been presented? See the Greyzone for its recent report on this.

Edmundson

Jpc , Jun 18 2020 23:39 utc | 66
Thanks to all of you for your insights on Bolton.
I still don't see anything to explain why he got a second gig in the Whitehouse.
Or anything that he did that enhanced US security long term.
And another guy who dodged active service.
Strange angry dude,!
Hoarsewhisperer , Jun 19 2020 14:47 utc | 67
Pat Lang believes that Bolton has breached a law requiring US Officials with access to Top Secret Stuff to submit personal memoirs for scrutiny before publishing. Col Lang is awaiting similar approval for a memoir of his own and thinks Bolton didn't bother waiting for the Official OK.
There's a diverse range of comments. Most commentators like the idea of Bolton being tossed in the slammer. Others speculate that as a Swamp Creature, Bolton will escape prosecution. It's interesting that no-one has asked to see the publisher's copy of the USG's signed & dated Approval To Publish document, relevant to Bolton's book.
arby , Jun 19 2020 19:34 utc | 68
Jut a little thread on Bolton and his book.

It is amazing the way these clowns sit around and talk about countries and people as if they were so much dirt. The arrogance and power is disgusting.

link

[Jun 22, 2020] Does John Bolton deserves a Nobel peace Price? In our perverted world why not.

Jun 22, 2020 | www.moonofalabama.org

Tower , Jun 17 2020 21:43 utc | 13

It's just about time. John Bolton deserves the Nobel Peace Prize. At this point, why not?

JC , Jun 17 2020 23:43 utc | 23

Posted by: Tower | Jun 17 2020 21:43 utc | 13

This is the most intelligent post so far.

Yes why not? If Obama awarded the Noble prize even before he begins serving his first term I can't see why Bolton not nominated now. America is a joke, not a banana republic. It deserves Obama, Trump, Bolton or Biden another stoopid joker.

Stoopid president elected by stoopid citizens

[Jun 21, 2020] Leaker fell victim of the leak: The neocon-warhawk may not see a penny for his book as the PDf was leaked online

MIC eventually will pay this neocon prostitute for services, anyway
Jun 21, 2020 | www.zerohedge.com
As Ben Garrison recent noted, in an interview Bolton stated that it was OK for the government agencies to lie to the American people if national security is at stake. And it always seems to be at stake for dominant men who want secrecy and power. Bolton is a dangerous liar and his anti-Trump screed cannot be trusted.

It's time to slam the book shut on Bolton.

[Jun 21, 2020] Paul R. Pillar who pointed out that U.S. sanctions are frequently peddled as a peaceful alternative to war fit the definition of 'crimes against peace'.

Highly recommended!
Jun 21, 2020 | www.moonofalabama.org

Christian J. Chuba , Jun 21 2020 14:18 utc | 78

Re: the Nuremberg trials , I became fascinated by the writings of Paul R. Pillar who pointed out that U.S. sanctions are frequently peddled as a peaceful alternative to war fit the definition of 'crimes against peace' . This is when one country sets up an environment for war against another country. I'll grant you that this is vague but if this is applicable at all how is this not an accurate description of what we are doing against Iran and Venezuela?

In both cases, we are imposing a full trade embargo (not sanctions) on basic civilian necessities and infrastructures and threatening the use of military force. As for Iran, the sustained and unfair demonization of Iranians is preparing the U.S. public to accept a ruthless bombing campaign against them as long overdue. We are already attacking the civilian population of their allies in Syria, Yemen, and Lebanon.

How Ironic that the country that boasts that it won WW2 is now guilty of the very crimes that it condemned publicly in court.

[Jun 19, 2020] Bolton should be arrested and charged with any of a number of possible crimes

Jun 19, 2020 | turcopolier.typepad.com

Security screening of manuscripts I t is the law in the United States that those who have had legal access to the secrets of the government must submit private manuscripts for removal of such secrets BEFORE they are published or even presented to a potential publisher. Every department of government has an office charged with such work.

I know this process well because my memoir "Tattoo" has been in the hands of the appropriate Defense Department office for nigh on six months. The book is long, and I was so unlucky as to have DoD shut down its auxiliary services during my wait. I have thought of withdrawing it from screening but, surprisingly, the screeners tell me it has some worth for those who will come after. So, I will wait.

All this applies to John Bolton, a career State Department man whose adult life has been soaked in government secrets. I first noticed Bolton as a glowering presence at briefings I gave to selected State Department people with regard to national command authority projects I was running. His attitude was consistent. If the idea was not his, it was simply wrong.

Bolton's "kiss and tell" book about Trump is IMO as much caused by wounded ego as a desire to make money. He submitted the book for security review to DoD and the CIA. Why not State? Ah, Pompeo would tear it to pieces. Bolton evidently grew impatient with the pace of clearance and decided to go ahead with publication without clearance

To do this is a felony. The release of the book today completes the elements of proof for the crime.

Bolton should be arrested and charged with any of a number of possible crimes. pl


Jack , 18 June 2020 at 11:56 AM

Sir,

Let's see what Trump does with Bolton now that he has committed a felony.

My bet is that other than crying on Twitter, he'll not do much. His previous actions/inactions on these matters show weakness.

In any case bitching on Twitter makes him look like an executive with poor hiring judgement as he was the one that hired him. Just like he hired Mattis and Kelly as well as Rosenstein and Wray.

Barbara Ann , 18 June 2020 at 12:03 PM
Bolton being successfully charged with violations associated with his sour grapes hit piece memoir is analogous to Al Capone finally going down for tax evasion. But if that's the way it goes I will not be sad.

Re "Tattoo", your Memorial Day "Ap Bu Nho" extract alone makes "some worth" an amusingly ludicrous understatement. I wish you luck with the censors & very much look forward to one day reading "Tattoo".

eakens , 18 June 2020 at 12:05 PM
Who can we rely on to uphold the rule of law anymore? It's starting to appear we are living in a failed state.
Artemesia , 18 June 2020 at 01:22 PM
AIS

He was a convert to the neocon faith early in life and all else was mischief.

Posted by: turcopolier | 18 June 2020 at 12:21 PM

"He was a convert - - -"
I was going to ask what went wrong with Bolton: was he dropped on his head as an infant? No father in the home? The Dulles brothers spent their childhoods being harangued by their bible-thumping Calvinist grandfather (reports Kinzer in his useful bio on the brothers).

In Jeff Engel's book about the decision-making behind G H W Bush's decision to wage war against Saddam re Kuwait, he recounts that an argument by Brent Scowcroft was significant, AND that "Scowcroft, who was very short," confronted taller-than-average Bush while knees-to-knees in an airplane.
Bolton is shorter than the average American male. Does he have 'short-person' compulsion to compensate?

People psychologize Trump constantly, usually from ignorance and malice. But something is very wrong with Bolton. Pompeo as well. What is it?
"What huge imago made a psychopathic god?" (Auden, Sept. 1939)

Polish Janitor , 18 June 2020 at 04:11 PM
Col Lang,

#1 I read this WaPo article that argued because the recent DOJ's lawsuit against the release of the book is based on "prior restraint on speech before it occurs", meaning the Trump administration cannot censor speech before it happens, therefore there is no 1st amendment breach against the Trump admin by Bolton. As the court elaborated in Nebraska Press Association v. Stuart, prior restraints are "the most serious and the least tolerable infringement on First Amendment rights" and "one of the most extraordinary remedies known to our jurisprudence."

#2 Bolton took all of his notes containing classified intelligence with him after he was fired and nobody took an issue. How is that possible?

#3 The Wapo article says his manuscript was reviewed for four months by one Ellen Knight, an official (doesn't mention which department) responsible for reviewing publishing material and she gave it the green light for publication on April 27th.

#4 During a press conference, Bill Barr gave an unusual take on Bolton's book as if he was giving publicity to the book. He said he had never seen a book being written on Trump with such pace and in such quick time and that it had a lot of sensitive information and stuff. It sounded really odd what Bill Barr said. I dunno maybe I am reading to much between the lines...

#5 With regards to Pompeo, back in September during a press conference at the State, when asked by a reporter about Bolton's firing I specifically remember watching him on TV giving a big meaningful chuckle and a smile... it was revealed later that they clearly did not get along with each other and Pompeo had complained on numerous times that Bolton as NSA, who does not have executive authorities, had been doing a lot of policy stuff and running his own show in shadow.

On a final note, I don't think Bolton is a neocon in the mold of Perle, Wolfowitz, Feith, Abrams, Kagan, Kristol etc...There is this long piece by New Yorker published last year that really gets into detail of how and why Bolton is not a neocon, but adheres to a more hawkish Jacksonian nationalism approach rather than the liberal idealism of arch neocons I mentioned above. However, he does have quite similar F.P. views with neocon oldies such as Irving Kristol, Norman Podhoretz, and Jeane Kirkpatrick.

JohnH , 18 June 2020 at 04:39 PM
If Bolton does NOT get the book thrown at him, it will be pretty good evidence of the existence of the Deep State allowing those it favors to write their own rules. Of course, we already knew that after Clapper lied with impunity to Wyden when he was under oath.
TV , 18 June 2020 at 04:49 PM
He'll never be prosecuted and neither will Comey, Clapper and the rest of the swamp scum.
Strozk (lower on the food chain) might be the human sacrifice (with a sentence of "community service") but no one of any significance (or "royal" title) is ever prosecuted in the swamp.
Trump has tried, but his miserable lack of hiring experience and skill has not made a dent
Polish Janitor , 18 June 2020 at 04:53 PM
Artemisia,

I feel like I have a few words to say about Bolton if I may,

IMHO Bolton's view of the world is very dark and extremely Hobbesian. He is no slouch by any stretch of imagination, in fact he is extremely knowledgeable and masterful when it comes to policy-making and that basically how things are done in D.C. He has made a brand for himself as the most hawkish national security expert in all of America in my opinion. Honestly I cannot think of anyone else who espouses more hawkishness and zero diplomacy than Bolton, ever... maybe Tom Cotton or Liz Cheney but still not close. This is the reason why Trump hired him. In fact Trump did not want to hire him as the top brass in first place, citing his mustache as one reason that would not look good on TV and wanted to give him 2nd tier jobs at the State or as NSA early on, but Bolton refused. Trump, wanted to hire Bolton's "brand" not his policies or hawkishness to intimidate Nkorea, Iran, and China to force them come into making deals with him and him personally.

IMO Trump found out after the first Kim summit that Bolton was
such an ambitious and counterproductive foreign policy maker and one-man-team that if he allowed Bolton to get his way, there would be world war III (Trump's own words) and his most important promise to keep America out of forever wars which was his wining platform over neocons such as Hilary, Jeb and Rubio during 2016 election would disappear into thin air.

So, Trump found ways to check Bolton and keep him out of the loop in sensitive and crucial moments by Mattis, Kelly, Joe Dunford, Pompeo and even Melania (in the case of getting rid of Bolton's close confidant and neocon Mira Ricardel when she called for bombing Iranian forces back in September 2018 in respone to several rockets by iraqi militias hitting the ground close to the U.S. embassy in Baghdad), and even sent him to Mongolia last year on a goose chase to make an embarrassing example of him for undermining him (i.e. Trump's) authority in the case of sitting down with the Taliban in Camp David to discuss military pullout from Afghanistan back in Sep. whereas at the same time Pompeo was smart enough to tow the same line as Trump and survive.

I few years ago I came across this interesting but odd piece by B on the Moon of Alabama on Bolton. I honestly dunno what to make of it.

https://www.moonofalabama.org/2006/02/a_glasshouse_in.html

ked , 18 June 2020 at 05:11 PM
The book is already released in the hundreds. It will be on-line soon enough regardless of the niceties of Barr's attempt to slam shut the barn door, or what the legal system does with Bolton going fwd.
Those close to Trump know his emotional state must be appeased or they will soon be departing - unless there's a DNA match.
Reaction to it will be a test of one's ability to distinguish Bolton from the events he describes & their veracity. Is there anything of Trump's statements & acts (released so far) that surprises anyone... that rings untrue?
Those ideologically (or religiously) dependent upon the Trump Phenomenon for validating their core beliefs will demonstrate how creative true believers can be when attached to a personality.
A.I.S. , 18 June 2020 at 05:34 PM
For what its worth I am looking forward to buying it, should scratch that Peter Scholl Latour itch.

Another thing is that I just dont get the Neocons.
Their politics are bad both from a Machieavellian (dilutes US forces, creates enemies, considerably restricts creative ways in which US power could be employed) and from a moral (obviously) point of view. I also dont get their power, stupid/evil tends to be competed out. Heck, even if they are stupid/evil but very good at beurocratic backbiting stuff, they are still supposedly disadvantadged against skilled beurocratic backbiters that arent stupid/evil (or at least only evil and not stupid).
Is it internal cohesion or a much higher degree of ruthlessness that maintains their position?

PB , 18 June 2020 at 07:05 PM
I've for many years thought that the Bolton problem was best solved with a speedy trial and a swift execution, with remains thrown overboard somewhere in the Indian ocean.
turcopolier , 18 June 2020 at 07:13 PM
polish janitor

He signed an oath to safeguard the secrecy of the information when "read on" for it and another such when he was "read off." The 1st Amendment does not come into it at all

[Jun 18, 2020] Poor Johnny! What's sadder than being a crook, but an ineffective one? I think that's what he is. He may be infamous enough to be a household name, but he never really managed to make a career. Hardly ever did he stay on a job for more than 2 years

Jun 18, 2020 | www.moonofalabama.org

John , Jun 17 2020 19:24 utc | 4

I'm fully expecting the Dem "left" to try and praise the monsterous Bolton for "going against Trump", as they did with war criminal Mad Dog Matis and Bush. Bolton has to be one of the most evil mass murders on the face of the Earth. The world will be an infinitely better place when he and his ilk like Netanyahu, Cheney, Rumsfeld, Chertoff..etc finally go back to hell.

karlof1 , Jun 17 2020 19:33 utc | 5

Bolton deserves having a parasite named after him, if that.
Scotch Bingeington , Jun 17 2020 19:57 utc | 6
Poor Johnny! What's sadder than being a crook, but an ineffective one? I think that's what he is. He may be infamous enough to be a household name, but he never really managed to make a career. Hardly ever did he stay on a job for more than 2 years, before his fellow crooks deemed him unfit for his position, again and again. Says a lot.

I hope they will confiscate his book on some flimsy pretext, only to lose the piles of copies in storage, so they cannot possibly be released to bookstores again. Maybe some mice will make use of it to furnish their nests?

Take a look at his face. It's obvious to me that even John Bolton does not enjoy being John Bolton. That mouth, it's drooping to an absurd degree. Comparable to Merkel's face, come to think of it.

GeorgeV , Jun 17 2020 20:25 utc | 8
John Bolton's tell all book about his tenure with the Trump administration is a perfect example of the pot calling the kettle burned. It is a fitting description of the leadership of the US government and it's capitol city as a den of backstabbing, corkscrewing and double dealing vipers. It's like standing on a street corner watching two prostitutes calling each other a whore! How low has the US sunk.
bob sykes , Jun 17 2020 20:55 utc | 11
Of course, Trump actually campaigned to leave Afghanistan and Syria, and he was elected to do so. The self-appointed Deep State has pretty much thwarted him and his voters.
uncle tungsten , Jun 17 2020 21:00 utc | 12
karlof1 #5
Blastocystis hominis could be renamed easily enough. It is a pain in the gut and arse.

I will not bother to read any more on Bolton the man is beneath contempt. b has said more than enough.

Tower , Jun 17 2020 21:43 utc | 13
It's just about time. John Bolton deserves the Nobel Peace Prize. At this point, why not?
pretzelattack , Jun 17 2020 21:49 utc | 14
let us not forget that bolton threatened a un officials kids because they guy wasn't going along with the iraq war propaganda.
Duncan Idaho , Jun 17 2020 22:03 utc | 15
Only with Late Stage Capitalism could we have a vicious war criminal write a book criticizing a psychopathic sociopath.
Anonymous , Jun 17 2020 22:06 utc | 16
The political establishment in Canada appeared dismayed at the prospect of Bolton as National Security Adviser. See these interviews with Hill + Knowlton strategies Vice-chairman, Peter Donolo, from 2018:

https://www.bnnbloomberg.ca/video/there-s-risk-trump-s-actions-are-driving-the-u-s-into-a-recession-peter-donolo~1342264
https://www.bnnbloomberg.ca/video/trade-wars-easy-to-start-not-so-easy-to-finish-peter-donolo~1365104

So Bolton gets in, Meng Wangzhou is detained in Vancouver on the US request (that's another story), and in time, Canada appoints a new Ambassador to China - Mr. Dominic Barton.
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Dominic_Barton
Then Bolton gets fired. 'Nuff said. Just to let everyone know that Bolton is well and truly hated, as a government official, in certain circles.

AntiSpin , Jun 17 2020 22:07 utc | 17
@ pretzelattack | Jun 17 2020 21:49 utc | 14

Close -- the threatened official was Jose Bustani, at that time (2002) the head of the Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons (OPCW)as he had been for five years.

Bustani had been working to bring Iraq and Libya into the organization, which would have required those two countries to eliminate all of their chemical weapons.

The US, though, had other ideas -- chiefly invading and destroying both of those nations, and when Bustani insisted on continuing his efforts then Bolton threatened Bustani's adult children.

james , Jun 17 2020 23:13 utc | 20
let the lobbyists with the most money win... that's what defines the usa system, leadership and decision making process... no one in their right mind would support this doofus..
Jen , Jun 17 2020 23:40 utc | 21
At least the one saving grace about John Bolton's memoir is that it might be a tad closer to reality than Christopher Steele's infamous dossier and might prove valuable as a source of evidence in a court of law. Maybe Yosemite Sam himself should start quaking in his boots.
Don Bacon , Jun 17 2020 23:44 utc | 24
@ Jpc
When faced with Trump's behavior of employing warmongers, including several generals, some observers opined that Trump wanted people with contrasting opinions so that he could consider them and then say "no." He did more with Bolton eventually, sending him to Mongolia while he (Trump) went to Singapore (or somewhere over there).
A User , Jun 17 2020 23:47 utc | 25
re Ian2 | Jun 17 2020 23:08 utc | 19
who hazarded : My guess Trump went along with the tough guy image that Bolton projected in media and recommendations by others.
Not at all, if you go back to the earliest days of the orangeman's prezdency, you will see Trump resisted the efforts by Mercer & the zionist casino owner to give Bolton a gig.
He knew that shrub had problems with the boasts of Bolton and as his reputation was as an arsehole who sounded his own trumpet at his boss's expense orangeman refused for a long time. Trump believes the trump prezdency is about trump no one else.
Thing was at the time he was running for the prez gig trump was on his uppers, making a few dollars from his tv show, plus licensing other people's buildings by selling his name to be stuck on them. trump tower azerbnajan etc.
He put virtually none of his own money into the 'race' so when he won the people who had put up the dosh had power over him.
Bolton has always been an arse kisser to any zionist cause he suspects he can claw a penny outta, so he used the extreme loony end of the totally looney zionist spectrum to hook him (Bolton) up with a gig by pushing for him with trump.

It was always gonna end the way it did as Bolton is forever briefing the media against anyone who tried to resist his murderous fantasies. Trump is never gonna argue for any scheme that doesn't have lotsa dollars for him in it so he had plenty of run ins with Bolton who then went to his media mates & told tales.
When bolton was appointed orangey's stakes were at a really low ebb among DC warmongers, so he reluctantly took him on then spent the next 18 months getting rid of the grubby parasite.

Kristan hinton , Jun 18 2020 0:46 utc | 26
Real History: Candidate Trump praised Bolton and named him as THE number one Foreign Policy expert he (Trump) respected.

Imagine the mustachioed Mister Potatoe (sic) Head and zany highjinks!

Bolton and one of his first wives were regulars at Plato's Retreat for wife swapping orgies. The wife was not real keen on the behavior, but she allegedly found herself verbally and physically abused for objecting.

DannyC , Jun 18 2020 1:17 utc | 27
Trump is at fault for hiring him to appease the Zionist lobby. We all knew the guy was a warmonger and a scumbag. It's not a surprise. Trump surrounds himself with the worst people

[Jun 17, 2020] Collusion with China, wanting to stay in office forever Leaked Bolton book excerpts cash in on anti-Trump frenzy

If we view Bolton as Adelson puppet, such a behaviour clearly does not make much sense. Or this is a single from Israel lobby to Trump "moor did his duty, moor can go"?
Notable quotes:
"... "a variety of instances when he sought to intervene in law enforcement matters for political reasons." ..."
"... "in effect, give personal favors to dictators he liked," ..."
"... "The pattern looked like obstruction of justice as a way of life, which we couldn't accept," ..."
"... "bombshells" ..."
"... "exactly the right thing to do." ..."
"... "systematic use of indoctrination camps, forced labor, and intrusive surveillance to eradicate the ethnic identity and religious beliefs of Uyghurs and other minorities in China." ..."
"... "Panda Hugger." ..."
"... The mustachioed warhawk had served as Trump's national security adviser from April 2018 to September 2019. While the exact reason for his firing was never revealed, Trump has since commented that Bolton was interfering with his peace initiatives and had "never seen a war he didn't like." ..."
"... Indeed, the "most irrational thing" Bolton accuses Trump of was to refuse to bomb Iran in June 2019, according to the New York Times excerpt. ..."
"... "soft on China" ..."
"... As for Trump supporters, many were indifferent about Bolton's betrayal, noting that Trump hired the neocon in the first place and kept him on for over a year, while ditching the faithful General Michael Flynn after less than two weeks on the job, following a FBI ambush and a Washington Post hit job. ..."
Jun 17, 2020 | www.rt.com
Former national security adviser John Bolton has leaked excerpts of his book to major newspapers, accusing President Donald Trump of colluding with leaders in China and Turkey, and obstruction of justice "as a way of life." Facing a DOJ lawsuit seeking to block the publication of his memoir for containing classified information, Bolton decided to go to the press, leaking parts of the book to the New York Times, the Washington Post and the Wall Street Journal on Wednesday.

Breaking News: John Bolton says in his new book that the House should have investigated President Trump for potentially impeachable actions beyond Ukraine https://t.co/8lpd4xAzYu

-- The New York Times (@nytimes) June 17, 2020

Bolton famously refused to testify before the Democrat-led impeachment proceedings against Trump over his alleged abuse of power regarding Ukraine, but now claims that they should have expanded the probe to "a variety of instances when he sought to intervene in law enforcement matters for political reasons."

He accuses Trump of wanting to "in effect, give personal favors to dictators he liked," bringing up companies in China and Turkey as examples, according to the Times. "The pattern looked like obstruction of justice as a way of life, which we couldn't accept," the Times quotes him as saying.

One of the Bolton "bombshells" is that he sought China's purchase of US soybeans in order to get re-elected, during trade negotiations with President Xi Jinping.

SOYBEAN DIPLOMACY: The WSJ has published an excerpt of @AmbJohnBolton 's forthcoming book, revealing Trump-Xi conversation and how the American president pleaded his Chinese counterpart to buy U.S. soybeans so he could win farm states in the 2020 presidential elections | #OATT pic.twitter.com/XKAogLCCtN

-- Javier Blas (@JavierBlas) June 17, 2020

An excerpt in the Wall Street Journal has Trump telling Xi that – alleged – concentration camps for Uighur Muslims in China's Xinjiang province were "exactly the right thing to do." It also alleges that Trump did Xi a favor by relaxing US sanctions on ZTE, a Chinese telecom company.

WSJ excerpt of Bolton book has Trump & China bombshells. Trump told Xi building concentration camps for Muslims "was exactly the right thing to do." Trump pleaded w/ Xi to help him w/ re-election by making US farm product buys. And Trump helped Xi w/ ZTE. https://t.co/4CSflQQqcL

-- Edward Wong (@ewong) June 17, 2020

This comes as Trump signed into law the Uyghur Human Rights Policy Act of 2020, which mandates US sanctions against Chinese officials over "systematic use of indoctrination camps, forced labor, and intrusive surveillance to eradicate the ethnic identity and religious beliefs of Uyghurs and other minorities in China."

Another excerpt has Bolton referring to Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin as a "Panda Hugger."

According to Bolton, Trump told Xi to "go ahead with building the camps" for imprisoned Uighurs.

-- Philip Wegmann (@PhilipWegmann) June 17, 2020

As another proof of Trump's perfidy, Bolton writes that the president told Xi that he would like to stay in office beyond the two terms the US Constitution would allow him. Bolton's one-time colleague Dinesh D'Souza commented that Bolton was unable to recognize a clear joke.

Really? This is it? John Bolton's smoking gun? Trump has been jokingly putting out memes about this for four years. This conversation, if it occurred at all, seems obviously jocular. Bolton, however, whom I knew quite well from AEI, doesn't have a jocular bone in his body pic.twitter.com/Qe8sXCAT58

-- Dinesh D'Souza (@DineshDSouza) June 17, 2020

Trump has on more than one occasion shared a meme showing him staying in power forever, triggering Democrats into denouncing him as an aspiring dictator. Apparently, Bolton thought the same.

According to John Bolton posting this meme was an impeachable offense https://t.co/q2BHlfVTEu

-- Will Chamberlain 🇺🇸 (@willchamberlain) June 17, 2020

The mustachioed warhawk had served as Trump's national security adviser from April 2018 to September 2019. While the exact reason for his firing was never revealed, Trump has since commented that Bolton was interfering with his peace initiatives and had "never seen a war he didn't like."

Indeed, the "most irrational thing" Bolton accuses Trump of was to refuse to bomb Iran in June 2019, according to the New York Times excerpt.

Pretty telling that the episode which pissed off Bolton the most during his tenure was Trump calling off airstrikes which would have killed dozens of Iranian soldiers in June 2019 https://t.co/ruFSInj2Mu pic.twitter.com/5zO7UrxMTM

-- Saagar Enjeti (@esaagar) June 17, 2020

Arguing that Trump is being "soft on China" and colluding with Xi also happens to be a Democratic Party strategy for the 2020 presidential election, outlined in April and reported by Axios.

While Democrats and the mainstream media welcomed Bolton's bombshells as validating their position on Trump, he is unlikely to become a #Resistance hero, simply because they still remember he refused to say these things under oath during the impeachment hearings, when they – in theory – could have bolstered their case for getting Trump out of office.

As for Trump supporters, many were indifferent about Bolton's betrayal, noting that Trump hired the neocon in the first place and kept him on for over a year, while ditching the faithful General Michael Flynn after less than two weeks on the job, following a FBI ambush and a Washington Post hit job.

Do I care that Bolton is stabbing Trump in the back? Not at all. General Flynn was NSA and Trump made his choices. Being outraged on behalf of a 70+ year old man who makes poor choices is well beyond my job description.

-- Blue Flu Cernovich (@Cernovich) June 17, 2020

[Jun 16, 2020] It's tough to make predictions, especially about the future (incorrectly attributed to Yogi Berra)

Jun 16, 2020 | carnegieendowment.org

... There are no signs that the [USA-Russia] relationship will improve in the near future.

[Jun 14, 2020] Jeane J. Kirkpatrick 30 Years Unheeded

Highly recommended!
The national security establishment does represent the actual government of dual "double government". And it is not unaccountable to, and unsupervised by, the elected branches of government. Instead it controls them and is able to stage palace coups to remove "unacceptable" Presidents like was the case with JFK, Nixon and Trump.
For them is are occupied country and then behave like real occuplers.
Notable quotes:
"... In Trumpian fashion, Kirkpatrick then goes on to warn Americans about the danger of an unaccountable "deep state" in foreign policy that is immune to popular pressures. ..."
"... She says that, no, "it has become more important than ever that the experts who conduct foreign policy on our behalf be subject to the direction of and control of the people." ..."
"... She points out that because America had for much of the twentieth century assumed global responsibilities, our foreign policy elites had developed "distinctive views" that are different from those of the electorate. ..."
"... foreign policy elites "grew accustomed to thinking of the United States as having boundless resources and purposes . . . which transcended the preferences of voters and apparent American interests . . . and eventually developed a globalist attitude." ..."
"... In support of Kirkpatrick's concern, Tufts professor Michael Glennon has more recently argued that the national security establishment has now become so "distinctive" in their separation from our constitutional processes that they represent one wing of a now "double government" that is not unaccountable to, and unsupervised by, the popular branches of government. The Russiagate investigations and the attempt to disable the Trump presidency, aided by many in the establishment, would appear to confirm Kirkpatrick's warning that foreign policy elites want no part of the electoral preferences of voting Americans. ..."
"... Kirkpatrick died in 2006 and had, like many neoconservatives, evolved from a Humphrey Democrat into a member of the GOP establishment. With William Bennett and Jack Kemp, in 1993 she cofounded a neoconservative group, Empower America, which took a very aggressive stance against militant Islam after the 9/11 attacks. However, she was quite ambivalent about the invasion of Iraq and was quoted in The Economist ..."
Jun 14, 2020 | nationalinterest.org

Kirkpatrick's essay begins by insisting that, because of world events since 1939, America has given to foreign affairs "an unnatural focus." Now in 1990, she says, the nation can turn its attention to domestic concerns that are more important because "a good society is defined not by its foreign policy but its internal qualities . . . by the relations among its citizens, the kind of character nurtured, and the quality of life lived." She says unabashedly that "there is no mystical American 'mission' or purposes to be 'found' independently of the U.S. Constitution and government."

One cannot fail to notice that this perspective is precisely the opposite of George W. Bush's in his second inauguration. According to Bush, America's post –Cold War purpose was to follow our "deepest beliefs" by acting to "support the growth of democratic movements and institutions in every nation and culture." For three decades neoconservative foreign policy has revolved around "mystical" beliefs about America's mission in the world that are unmoored from the actual Constitution.

In Trumpian fashion, Kirkpatrick then goes on to warn Americans about the danger of an unaccountable "deep state" in foreign policy that is immune to popular pressures. She rejects emphatically the views of some elitists who argue that foreign policy is a uniquely esoteric and specialized discipline and must be cushioned from populism. She says that, no, "it has become more important than ever that the experts who conduct foreign policy on our behalf be subject to the direction of and control of the people."

She points out that because America had for much of the twentieth century assumed global responsibilities, our foreign policy elites had developed "distinctive views" that are different from those of the electorate. Again, in Trumpian fashion, she argued that foreign policy elites "grew accustomed to thinking of the United States as having boundless resources and purposes . . . which transcended the preferences of voters and apparent American interests . . . and eventually developed a globalist attitude."

In support of Kirkpatrick's concern, Tufts professor Michael Glennon has more recently argued that the national security establishment has now become so "distinctive" in their separation from our constitutional processes that they represent one wing of a now "double government" that is not unaccountable to, and unsupervised by, the popular branches of government. The Russiagate investigations and the attempt to disable the Trump presidency, aided by many in the establishment, would appear to confirm Kirkpatrick's warning that foreign policy elites want no part of the electoral preferences of voting Americans.

Kirkpatrick concludes her essay with thoughts on "What should we do?" and "What we should not do." Remarkably, her first recommendation is to negotiate better trade deals. These deals should give the U.S. "fair access" to foreign markets while offering "foreign businesses no better than fair access to U.S. markets." Next, she considered the promotion of democracy around the world and, on this subject, she took the John Quincy Adams position : that "Wherever the standard of freedom and Independence has been or shall be unfurled, there will her heart, her benedictions and her prayers be." However, she insisted: "it is not within the United States' power to democratize the world."

When Kirkpatrick goes on to discuss America's post –Cold War alliances, she makes clear that she is advocating, quite simply, an America First foreign policy. Regarding the future of the NATO alliance, a sacrosanct pillar of the American foreign policy establishment, she argued that "the United States should not try to manage the balance of power in Europe." Likewise, we should be humble about what we can accomplish in Eastern Europe and the former Soviet Union: "Any notion that the United States can manage the changes in that huge, multinational, developing society is grandiose." Finally, with regard to Asia: "Our concern with Japan should above all be with its trading practices vis-à-vis the United States. We should not spend money protecting an affluent Japan, though a continuing alliance is entirely appropriate."

She famously concludes her essay by making the plea for the United States to become "a normal country in a normal time" and "to give up the dubious benefits of superpower status and become again an unusually successful, open American republic."

Kirkpatrick became Ronald Reagan's United Nations ambassador because her 1979 article in Commentary , "Dictatorships and Double Standards," caught the eye of the future president. In that article, she sensibly points out that authoritarian governments that are allies of the United States should not be kicked to the curb because they are not free and open democracies. The path to democracy is a long and perilous one, and nations without republican traditions cannot be expected to make the transition overnight. Regarding the world's oldest democracy, she remarked: "In Britain, the road from the Magna Carta to the Act of Settlement, to the great Reform Bills of 1832, 1867, and 1885, took seven centuries to traverse."

While at the time neoconservatives opportunistically embraced her for this position as a tactic to fight the Cold War, the current foreign policy establishment would consider Kirkpatrick's argument to be beyond the bounds of decent conversation, as it would lend itself to an accommodation with authoritarian Russia as a counterweight to totalitarian China.

Kirkpatrick died in 2006 and had, like many neoconservatives, evolved from a Humphrey Democrat into a member of the GOP establishment. With William Bennett and Jack Kemp, in 1993 she cofounded a neoconservative group, Empower America, which took a very aggressive stance against militant Islam after the 9/11 attacks. However, she was quite ambivalent about the invasion of Iraq and was quoted in The Economist as saying that George W. Bush was "a bit too interventionist for my taste" and that Bush's brand of moral imperialism is not "taken seriously anywhere outside a few places in Washington, DC."

The fact that Kirkpatrick's recommendations in her 1990 essay coincide with some of Donald Trump's positions in the 2016 campaign (if not with many of his actual actions as president) make her views, ipso facto, not serious. The foreign policy establishment gives something like pariah status to arguments that we should negotiate better trade deals, reconsider our Cold War alliances and, most especially, subject American foreign policy to popular preferences. If she were alive today and were making the arguments she made in 1990, then she would be an outcast. That a formidable intellectual like Kirkpatrick would be dismissed in such a fashion is a sign of how obtuse our foreign policy debate has become.

William S. Smith is Senior Research Fellow and Managing Director of the Center for the Study of Statesmanship at The Catholic University of America. His recent book, Democracy and Imperialism , is from the University of Michigan Press. He studied political philosophy under Professor Jeane Kirkpatrick as an undergraduate at Georgetown University.

[Jun 13, 2020] Note on Trump/Pompeo diplomacy of insults: Iran proved to be quite good at swapping insults with the USA and Iran's insults are usually funnier

Jun 13, 2020 | www.moonofalabama.org

Hoarsewhisperer , Jun 12 2020 23:08 utc | 27

Since this nothing-burger appears to have kicked off with an article in the NYT, it looks to me as though someone reminded The Swamp that Iran hasn't been disarmed and is thus not the kind of soft target that can be pushed around with impunity by AmeriKKKa. Imo, Iran is a lot closer to the top of the Military Genius pecking order than AmeriKKKa. i.e. Iran has made it quite clear that "Israel" will cop the blowback if Iran is attacked, and has also demonstrated its ability to conduct high-precision strikes on US bases & bunkers in the region. Iran is also quite good at swapping insults with AmeriKKKa and Iran's insults are usually funnier than AmeriKKKa's...

Threatening North Korea probably seemed like a better/safer idea than threatening Iran but only until China's diplomatic comedians start ripping into AmeriKKKa's loud-mouthed dorks and daydreamers.

[May 26, 2020] Mike Pompeo is the number one evangelist of Trumpism in the world by Michael H Fuchs

Notable quotes:
"... Pompeo's penchant for undermining America's credibility is top-notch. ..."
May 25, 2020 | www.theguardian.com

When it comes to foreign policy, Pompeo's penchant for undermining America's credibility is top-notch

'Pompeo is a natural Trumpist.' Donald Trump's disdain for the people, country and values his office is supposed to represent is unmatched in recent memory. And he has found in the secretary of state, Mike Pompeo , a kindred spirit who has embraced his role as Trumpism's number one proselytizer to the world.

Pompeo doesn't wield nearly as much power or have the jurisdiction to inflict damage on as wide a range of issues as the president. He's not as crass or erratic as Trump, and his Twitter feed seems dedicated more to childish mockery than outright attacks. But when it comes to foreign policy, Pompeo's penchant for undermining America's credibility is top-notch.

At Pompeo's recommendation, Trump fired the state department's inspector general, who is supposed to be an independent investigator charged with looking into potential wrongdoing inside the department. Steve Linick was just the latest in a series of inspectors general across the government that Trump had fired in an attempt to hide the misconduct of his administration – but it also shone a spotlight on how Pompeo has undermined his agency.

Watchdog was investigating Pompeo for arms deal and staff misuse before firing

According to news reports, Pompeo was being investigated by the inspector general for bypassing Congress and possibly breaking the law in sending weapons to Saudi Arabia, even though his own department and the rest of the US government advised against the decision. He was also supposedly organizing fancy dinners – paid for by taxpayers – with influential businesspeople and TV personalities that seemed geared more towards supporting Pompeo's political career than advancing US foreign policy goals. And he was reportedly being scrutinized for using department personnel to conduct personal business, such as getting dry cleaning and walking his dog.

But these revelations merely reaffirm a pattern of activities by Pompeo unbecoming of the nation's top diplomat. When the House of Representatives was in the process of impeaching Trump over his attempt to extort Ukraine for personal political purposes – an act that Pompeo was aware of – Pompeo defended Trump while throwing under the bus career state department officials, like the ousted US ambassador to Ukraine Marie Yovanovitch, who spoke out. Pompeo has regularly ignored Congress, withholding documents from lawmakers – including during the Ukraine impeachment investigation – and refusing to appear for testimony. In 2019, the IG released a report detailing political retaliation against career state department officials being perpetrated by Trump officials. And Pompeo has spent considerable time traveling to Kansas and conducting media interviews there, fueling speculation that he has been using his position to tee up a run for the Senate, a violation of the Hatch Act.

Pompeo is a natural Trumpist. In her fantastic profile of the secretary of state, Susan Glasser notes of his first congressional race: "Pompeo ran a nasty race against the Democrat, an Indian-American state legislator named Raj Goyle, who, unlike Pompeo, had grown up in Wichita. Pompeo's campaign tweeted praise for an article calling Goyle a 'turban topper', and a supporter bought billboards urging residents to 'Vote American – Vote Pompeo'."

... ... ...

Facebook Twitter Pinterest 'Trump is undermining American leadership in incalculable ways, and Pompeo has weaponized the state department on the president's behalf.' Photograph: Kevin Lamarque/Reuters

Next to Trump's assault on US values, Pompeo's role as top Trump lackey may seem insignificant. But the secretary of state is often the most senior US official that other countries and publics hear from on any number of issues. Even with Trump in the Oval Office, a secretary of state that was committed to the constitution - not Trump - would at least be able to fight for the values that US foreign policy should embody, and shield the department's day-to-day business from Trump's outbursts.

The work that department professionals conduct around the world – helping American citizens abroad get home in the early days of the pandemic or coordinating assistance to other countries to cope with the coronavirus – is vital to American national security, and at the core of the image that America projects abroad.

Trump is undermining American leadership in incalculable ways, and Pompeo has weaponized the state department on his behalf

... ... ...

[May 24, 2020] About Pompeo threat to cut Australia from the fives eyes intelligence flows

From MoA comment 57: "Warmongering shit bags endlessly flatulent about their moral superiority while threatening to nuke nations on the other side of the globe daily. ... the greatness of the US consists of how gullible its hyper-exploited populace has been to a long series of Donald Trumps who use the resources of the land and people for competitive violence against other nations. the world heaves a collective hallelujah that this bullshit is about to end. "
Notable quotes:
"... Lets reverse that point, shall we. There is a US spy base in Australia at a place called Pine Gap. Without it being operational the USA would lose its 3 dimensional vision across the planet. ..."
"... This Bannon/Trump bluster is weak as p!ss as 'sharing intelligence' is the cornerstone of the five eyes perversion that gives the USA some superiority in intelligence matters. So if sharing intelligence were withdrawn by the USA with Australia it would have meaningless consequences. ..."
"... Pompeo is blathering bullsh!t and he knows it and we all know it ..."
May 24, 2020 | www.moonofalabama.org

uncle tungsten , May 25 2020 0:44 utc | 56

vk #4
Pompeo Warns US May Stop Sharing Intelligence With Australia Over Victoria Inking Deal With China's BRI

The battle for Australia's soul has begun.

Lets reverse that point, shall we. There is a US spy base in Australia at a place called Pine Gap. Without it being operational the USA would lose its 3 dimensional vision across the planet.

This Bannon/Trump bluster is weak as p!ss as 'sharing intelligence' is the cornerstone of the five eyes perversion that gives the USA some superiority in intelligence matters. So if sharing intelligence were withdrawn by the USA with Australia it would have meaningless consequences.

On the other hand if Australia ceased its intelligence sharing and shut down all the data traffic out of Australia - the USA would go ballistic. Not that the Oz government would ever do such a thing being a craven water carrier for the new world order etc...

Pompeo is blathering bullsh!t and he knows it and we all know it. Odd that you would reiterate his brainless threat vk.

[May 19, 2020] America: "We demand an coronavirus origin investigation, but the investigators must agree on the outcome that we specify before they begin investigating!"

Highly recommended!
May 19, 2020 | www.moonofalabama.org

William Gruff , May 18 2020 15:40 utc | 13

America: "We demand an investigation, but the investigators must agree on the outcome that we specify before they begin investigating!"

Why not? It works for gas attacks, chemical weapons poisoning, and airliner shoot downs, so why not biological weapons attacks too?

[May 18, 2020] Trump Fires State's IG to Protect Pompeo from Investigation

May 18, 2020 | www.theamericanconservative.com

Yhe president announced on Friday that he was firing Steve Linick, the State Department's Inspector General. One possible reason that Linick was removed may have been that he was conducting an investigation into the bogus emergency declaration that the administration used to expedite arms sales to Saudi Arabia and the UAE last year:

House Democrats have discovered that the fired IG had mostly completed an investigation into Secretary of State Mike Pompeo's widely criticized decision to skirt Congress with an emergency declaration to approve billions of dollars in arms sales to Saudi Arabia last year, aides on the Foreign Affairs Committee tell me.

"I have learned that there may be another reason for Mr. Linick's firing," Rep. Eliot L. Engel (D-N.Y.), the chair of the Foreign Affairs Committee, said in a statement sent to me. "His office was investigating -- at my request -- Trump's phony declaration of an emergency so he could send weapons to Saudi Arabia."

If Linick was investigating the bogus emergency declaration, he would have come across reporting that showed how a former Raytheon lobbyist serving at the department was instrumental in pushing through the plan to expedite arms sales that benefited his old employer. He would have discovered that there was no genuine emergency that justified going around Congress. Once his investigation was concluded, it would have found that the emergency declaration was made in bad faith and that the law was abused so that the administration could proceed with arms sales that Congress opposed.

Another reason for the firing was to protect Mike Pompeo from an investigation into the Secretary's abuses of government resources for personal purposes:

The State Department inspector general fired by President Trump was looking into allegations that a staffer for Secretary of State Mike Pompeo was performing domestic errands and chores such as handling dry cleaning, walking the family dog and making restaurant reservations, said a congressional official familiar with the matter.

The House Foreign Affairs Committee chairman and the ranking member of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee released a statement immediately on Friday objecting to Linick's firing and suggesting that it might be an illegal act of retaliation. There will now be a Congressional investigation into the circumstances surrounding Linick's firing. If Trump hoped to reduce the scrutiny on Pompeo by getting rid of Linick, he will be disappointed. It remains to be seen how much of a price Pompeo will pay for this, but the price is likely higher now than it would have been if he hadn't pushed for removing the inspector general.

Pompeo reportedly recommended Linick's removal. This is not the first time that Pompeo has been accused of misusing government resources. There was a report last summer that a whistleblower alleged that Pompeo and his wife were using Diplomatic Security agents as their personal errand boys:

Democrats on a key House congressional committee are investigating allegations from a whistleblower within the State Department about Secretary of State Mike Pompeo and his family's use of taxpayer-funded Diplomatic Security -- prompting agents to lament they are at times viewed as "UberEats with guns".

Congressional investigators, who asked for the committee not to be named as they carry out their inquiries, tell CNN that a State Department whistleblower has raised multiple issues over a period of months, about special agents being asked to carry out some questionable tasks for the Pompeo family.

Pompeo has also repeatedly used government resources for domestic travel that seems to have more to do with advancing the Secretary's political ambitions in Kansas. There has been widespread speculation that he has used official trips in an attempt to lay the groundwork for a possible Senate campaign . If so, it would be a flagrant violation of the Hatch Act. That prompted a call for a special counsel investigation into Pompeo's travel. If Pompeo and his wife have been using a political appointee as a gofer, that would be more of the same abusive behavior.

Linick has previously clashed with other Trump administration officials at State. Last year, he released a damning report on Brian Hook over his treatment of Sahar Nowrouzzadeh, the Iranian-American official who was apparently targeted for political retaliation because of her policy views and ethnic background. The fired inspector general was well-respected at the department, and his firing at Pompeo's urging will likely cause further demoralization at a department that has already been run into the ground under the Secretary's dismal leadership.

The Secretary of State seems to think that government funds and personnel are at his disposal for his personal errands and political activities. Linick was doing exactly what an inspector general is supposed to be doing by investigating the allegations against him, and then he was conveniently fired on Pompeo's recommendation. You could hardly ask for a more straightforward case of a corrupt official using his influence to remove the person responsible for scrutinizing his conduct. If Linick was also fired because he was in the process of exposing the administration's dishonest push for more arms sales to the Saudi coalition, that makes his removal all the more outrageous and sinister.

JMWB an hour ago

Mike Pompeo is a Tea Party darling. The Tea Party's motto should be : Austerity, fiscal responsibility, and integrity for Thee, but not for Me.
Feral Finster JMWB 33 minutes ago
Mike Pompeo's idea of austerity is only a double order of french fries.

[May 15, 2020] "We lied, we cheated, we stole", version 2.0

May 15, 2020 | turcopolier.typepad.com

WHY IS THE US IN SYRIA?

Washington longer bothers to prettify – the boot is straight to the face. ISIS?

Forget ISIS says Jeffrey : " My job is to make it a quagmire for the Russians ".

An amazing confession, in the same class as " We lied, we cheated, we stole ".

[May 13, 2020] Dramatic change of direction for Syrian envoy

Highly recommended!
This is MIGA in action...
Notable quotes:
"... former CIA Deputy Director Mike Morell admitted in a TV interview he views that the US should be in the business of "killing Russians and Iranians covertly" ). ..."
"... Ironically, Jeffrey's official title has been Special Envoy for the Global Coalition to Defeat ISIL, but apparently the mission is now to essentially "give the Russians hell". His comments were made Tuesday during a video conference hosted by the neocon Hudson Institute : ..."
"... He also emphasized that the Syrian state would continue to be squeezed into submission as part of long-term US efforts (going back to at least 2011) to legitimize a Syria government in exile of sorts. This after the Trump administration recently piled new sanctions on Damascus. As University of Oklahoma professor and expert on the region Joshua Landis summarized of Jeffrey's remarks: "He pledged that the United States will continue to deny Syria - international funding, reconstruction, oil, banking, agriculture & recognition of government." ..."
May 13, 2020 | www.zerohedge.com

Washington now says it's all about defeating the Russians . While it's not the first time this has been thrown around in policy circles (recall that a year after Russia's 2015 entry into Syria at Assad's invitation, former CIA Deputy Director Mike Morell admitted in a TV interview he views that the US should be in the business of "killing Russians and Iranians covertly" ).

And now the top US special envoy to region, James Jeffrey, has this to say on US troops in Syria :

"My job is to make it a quagmire for the Russians."

Ironically, Jeffrey's official title has been Special Envoy for the Global Coalition to Defeat ISIL, but apparently the mission is now to essentially "give the Russians hell". His comments were made Tuesday during a video conference hosted by the neocon Hudson Institute :

Asked why the American public should tolerate US involvement in Syria, Special Envoy James Jeffrey points out the small US footprint in the fight against ISIS. "This isn't Afghanistan. This isn't Vietnam. This isn't a quagmire. My job is to make it a quagmire for the Russians."

He also emphasized that the Syrian state would continue to be squeezed into submission as part of long-term US efforts (going back to at least 2011) to legitimize a Syria government in exile of sorts. This after the Trump administration recently piled new sanctions on Damascus. As University of Oklahoma professor and expert on the region Joshua Landis summarized of Jeffrey's remarks: "He pledged that the United States will continue to deny Syria - international funding, reconstruction, oil, banking, agriculture & recognition of government."

"My job is to make it a quagmire for the Russians."

Special US envoy to Syria - James Jeffery

He pledged that the United States will continue to deny Syria - international funding, reconstruction, oil, banking, agriculture & recognition of government. https://t.co/MSAkQqAmdh

-- Joshua Landis (@joshua_landis) May 12, 2020

But no doubt both Putin and Assad have understood Washington's real proxy war interests all along, which is why last year Russia delivered it's lethal S-300 into the hands of Assad (and amid constant Israeli attacks). But no doubt both Putin and Assad have understood Washington's real proxy war interests all along, which is why last year Russia delivered it's lethal S-300 into the hands of Assad (and amid constant Israeli attacks).

As for oil, currently Damascus is well supplied by the Iranians, eager to dump their stock in fuel-starved Syria amid the global glut. Trump has previously voiced that part of US troops "securing the oil fields" is to keep them out of the hands of Russia and Iran.

* * *

Recall the CIA's 2016 admission of what's really going on in terms of US action in Syria:

https://www.youtube.com/embed/OJ3fTFHQ0KA

[May 07, 2020] Is "raptuted" Pompeo functionally illiterate?

May 07, 2020 | www.moonofalabama.org

karlof1 , May 5 2020 22:22 utc | 29

Haven't heard from Iranian FM Zarif in awhile. Here he is calling Pompeo illiterate or so it seems:

".@SecPompeo pretends UNSCR 2231 is independent from #JCPOA.

"He should READ 2231.

"JCPOA is PART of 2231. That's why it's 104 pages -- & why he's not read it.

"2231 for Dummies:

"-It would NOT EXIST w/o JCPOA

"-US violated it & prevented others from complying

"-US has NO standing."

[May 07, 2020] Bolton and the culture of corruption and intimidation

May 07, 2020 | www.unz.com

Sam 12123 , says: Show Comment May 6, 2020 at 8:39 pm GMT

The OPCW is claimed to be an independent agency but we know that it suppressed the results of its own engineers when it reported that the Syrian government was responsible for the alleged chemical attack in Douma. The former head of the agency has publicly asserted that when John Bolton demanded that he step down, he added, "We know where your children live." The US has a history of corruption and intimidation. Any investigation would result in finding China responsible just as Russia was found to be responsible for the airliner that was shot down over Ukraine.

[May 06, 2020] McMaster and the Myths of Empire by Daniel Larison

Notable quotes:
"... Myths of Empire ..."
May 06, 2020 | www.theamericanconservative.com
| Ethan Paul dismantles H.R. McMaster's "analysis" of the Chinese government and shows how McMaster abuses the idea of strategic empathy for his own ends:

But the reality is that McMaster, and others committed to great power competition, is actually playing the role of Johnson and McNamara. This shines through clearest in McMaster's selective, and ultimately flawed, application of strategic empathy.

Just as Johnson and McNamara used the Joint Chiefs as political props, soliciting their advice or endorsement only when it could legitimize policy conclusions they had already come to, McMaster uses strategic empathy as a symbolic exercise in self-validation. By conceiving of China's perspective solely in terms of its tumultuous history and the Communist Party's pathological pursuit of power and control, McMaster presents only those biproducts of strategic empathy that confirm his policy conclusions (i.e. an intuitive grasp of China's apparent drive to reassert itself as the "Middle Kingdom" at the expense of the United States).

McMaster calls for "strategic empathy" in understanding how the Chinese government sees the world, but he then stacks the deck by asserting that the government in question sees the world in exactly the way that China hawks want to believe that they see it. That suggests that McMaster wasn't trying terribly hard to see the world as they do. McMaster's article has been likened to Kennan's seminal article on Soviet foreign policy at the start of the Cold War, but the comparison only serves to highlight how lacking McMaster's argument is and how inappropriate a similar containment strategy would be today. Where Kennan rooted his analysis of Soviet conduct in a lifetime of expertise in Russian history and language and his experience as a diplomat in Moscow, McMaster bases his assessment of Chinese conduct on one visit to Beijing, a superficial survey of Chinese history, and some boilerplate ideological claims about communism. McMaster's article prompted some strong criticism along these lines when it came out:

I have heard from other colleagues that several CN scholars met w/ McMaster before he wrote this (while working on his book) and corrected him on many issues. He apparently ignored all of their views. This is what we face people: a simple, deceptive narrative is more seductive.

-- Michael D. Swaine (@Dalzell60) April 20, 2020

McMaster's narrative is all the more deceptive because he claims to want to understand the official Chinese government view, but he just substitutes the standard hawkish caricature. Near the end of the article, he asserts, "Without effective pushback from the United States and like-minded nations, China will become even more aggressive in promoting its statist economy and authoritarian political model." It is possible that this could happen, but McMaster treats it as a given without offering much proof that this is so. McMaster makes a mistake common to China hawks that assumes that every other great power must have the same missionary, world-spanning goals that they have. Suppose instead that the Chinese government is not interested in that, but has a more limited strategy aimed at securing itself and establishing itself as the leading power in its region.

Paul does a fine job of using McMaster's earlier work on the Vietnam War to expose the flaws in his thinking about China. McMaster has often been praised for his criticism of the military's top leaders over their role in running the war in Vietnam, but this usually overlooks that McMaster was really arguing for a much more aggressive war effort. He faulted the Joint Chiefs for "dereliction" because they didn't insist on escalation. Paul observes:

McMaster's tale of Vietnam is, counterintuitively, one of enduring confidence in the U.S.'s ability to do good in the world and conquer all potential challengers, if only it finds the will to overcome the temptations of political cowardice and stamp out bureaucratic ineptitude. This same message runs through McMaster's tale about China: "If we compete aggressively," and "no longer adhere to a view of China based mainly on Western aspirations," McMaster says, "we have reason for confidence."

McMaster would have the U.S. view China in the worst possible light as an implacable adversary. Following this recommendation will guarantee decades of heightened tensions and increased risks of conflict. McMaster's dangerous China hawkishness calls to mind something that Jim Mattis said about him regarding a different issue when they served together in the Trump administration: "Oh my God, that moron is going to get us all killed." His aggressiveness towards China is not driven by an assessment of the threat from China, but comes from his tendency to advocate for aggressive measures everywhere.

As Paul notes, McMaster is minimizing the dangers and risks that his preferred policy of confrontation entails. In that respect, he is making the same error that American leaders made in Vietnam:

Like Johnson and McNamara before him, McMaster is misleading both the public and himself about the costs, consequences, and likelihood for success of the path he is committed to pursuing, and in so doing is laying the groundwork for yet another national tragedy.

McMaster's China argument is reminiscent of other arguments made by imperialists in the past, and he relies on many of the same shoddy assumptions that they did. Like British Russophobes in the mid-19th century, McMaster decided on a policy of aggressive containment and then searched for rationalizations that might justify it. Jack Snyder described this in his classic study Myths of Empire thirty years ago:

Russia is portrayed as a unitary, rational actor with unlimited aims of conquest, but fortunately averse to risk and weak if stopped soon enough. (p. 168)

McMaster uses the same "paper tiger image" to portray China as an unstoppable aggressor that can nonetheless be stopped at minimal risk. He wants us to believe that China is at once implacable but easily deterred, insatiable but quick to back off under pressure. We have seen the same contradictory arguments from hawks on other issues, but it is particularly dangerous to promote such a misleading image of a nuclear-armed major power. about the author Daniel Larison is a senior editor at TAC , where he also keeps a solo blog . He has been published in the New York Times Book Review , Dallas Morning News , World Politics Review , Politico Magazine , Orthodox Life , Front Porch Republic, The American Scene, and Culture11, and was a columnist for The Week . He holds a PhD in history from the University of Chicago, and resides in Lancaster, PA. Follow him on Twitter .

[May 05, 2020] Could there be a more obvious demonstration that the man is FULL OF SHIT??

Notable quotes:
"... The bungling, toxic incompetence of this administration is quite something to behold. Wow... ..."
May 05, 2020 | www.moonofalabama.org

farm ecologist , May 4 2020 18:53 utc | 4

RADDATZ: Do you believe it was manmade or genetically modified?

POMPEO: Look, the best experts so far seem to think it was manmade. I have no reason to disbelieve that at this point.

RADDATZ: Your -- your Office of the DNI says the consensus, the scientific consensus was not manmade or genetically modified.

POMPEO: That's right. I -- I -- I agree with that. Yes. I've -- I've seen their analysis. I've seen the summary that you saw that was released publicly. I have no reason to doubt that that is accurate at this point.

To summarize: Pompeo does not doubt that the virus has been genetically modified, but he also does not doubt that is has not been genetically modified.

Could there be a more obvious demonstration that the man is FULL OF SHIT??


Jpc , May 4 2020 19:13 utc | 8

To Farm ecologist.

You are totally on the money. How or why is he in this job?
It's demented!

Sol Invictus , May 4 2020 19:16 utc | 12
Those incompetent neo-confederates leading america into oblivion will jumble strategic defeats with winning. So much for accountability, hard work and personal responsability... Seems they can't compete fairly without superior military variable of adjustment and threat of violence against adversaries. Orange springs eternal and their great white hope has now adopted a paralizing rhetoric of victimization - republican lawmakers follow suit and are going so far as invoking a western bid for monetary reparations from Chinese depredations. # the art of winnig for maggots, derp.
Daniel , May 4 2020 20:56 utc | 34
The bungling, toxic incompetence of this administration is quite something to behold. Wow...

[May 04, 2020] Pompeo believes coronavirus was 'man-made,' also agrees with intelligence that it was not

Notable quotes:
"... "The best experts so far seem to think it was man-made. I don't have reason to disbelieve them at this point," ..."
"... "I don't believe the virus was man-made." ..."
May 04, 2020 | www.rt.com

In his rush to accuse Beijing of unleashing the scourge of Covid-19 on an unsuspecting world, the US Secretary of State said the coronavirus was man-made, before making a U-turn without even blinking. "The best experts so far seem to think it was man-made. I don't have reason to disbelieve them at this point," Mike Pompeo told ABC's 'This Week' when asked about a statement from the US intelligence community that unequivocally said the opposite.

Host Martha Raddatz twice asked Pompeo to clarify whether his view differed from that of American intelligence, and he voiced his total support for the spies – though he stopped short of actually saying "I don't believe the virus was man-made."

See also : 'We lied, we cheated, we stole' Pompeo offers honest, if disturbing admission about CIA activity , Apr 29, 2019

[May 02, 2020] For brevity, I always post that our IC (Intelligence Community) is masterful in shaping U.S. public opinion and causing problems for targeted countries but terrible in collecting and analyzing Intel that would benefit the U.S. The truth of course, is more complicated.

Notable quotes:
"... The person trying to tell the truth is forced to defend, 'Communist China' (Tom Cotton thinks that is one word), Russia, or Iran and to the U.S. public this is toxic. ..."
"... Someday it just won't matter anymore. We will have deceived ourselves for so long that we have squandered so much of our power that no one will pay attention to us. ..."
"... Intelligence is a rare commodity in American politics and diplomacy even more elusive so the consequences of malicious rumours are never weighed nor assessed ..."
"... Intelligence is a rare commodity in American politics and diplomacy even more elusive so the consequences of malicious rumours are never weighed nor assessed ..."
May 02, 2020 | www.moonofalabama.org

Christian J Chuba , May 1 2020 13:17 utc | 9

Spy vs Spy

For brevity, I always post that our IC (Intelligence Community) is masterful in shaping U.S. public opinion and causing problems for targeted countries but terrible in collecting and analyzing Intel that would benefit the U.S. The truth of course, is more complicated.

There is a remnant that is doing their jobs properly but is shut out from higher level offices. But I cannot give long disclaimers at the start of my posts, (I'm not talking about the men and women ...) where 50 words later I finally start to make my point. It's boring, sounds insincere, and defensive.

This is yet another effective defense mechanism that protects the troublemakers in our IC bureaucracy.
1. The person trying to tell the truth is forced to defend, 'Communist China' (Tom Cotton thinks that is one word), Russia, or Iran and to the U.S. public this is toxic.

2. These rogues get to use the remaining good people as human shields.

3. They know their customers, it gives the politicians a way to turn themselves into wartime leaders rather than having to answer for their shortcomings.

Someday it just won't matter anymore. We will have deceived ourselves for so long that we have squandered so much of our power that no one will pay attention to us.


/div> Intelligence is a rare commodity in American politics and diplomacy even more elusive so the consequences of malicious rumours are never weighed nor assessed . The American public are easily enough fooled being constantly fed a racist diet, especially Sinophobia, Russophopia and Iranophobia and the drumbeats for war, financial or military, are easily banged to raise the public's blood pressure....but what about the consequences? America can win neither, even with he assistance of a few vassal states. What happens if, and when, normal service is resumed? If they managed to succeed with any of their hair-brained ideas, what are the consequences for American companies in China, rare earth minerals, the IT industries etc etc. Guard your words wisely for they can never be retracted.

Posted by: Séamus Ó Néill , May 1 2020 13:46 utc | 13

Intelligence is a rare commodity in American politics and diplomacy even more elusive so the consequences of malicious rumours are never weighed nor assessed . The American public are easily enough fooled being constantly fed a racist diet, especially Sinophobia, Russophopia and Iranophobia and the drumbeats for war, financial or military, are easily banged to raise the public's blood pressure....but what about the consequences? America can win neither, even with he assistance of a few vassal states. What happens if, and when, normal service is resumed? If they managed to succeed with any of their hair-brained ideas, what are the consequences for American companies in China, rare earth minerals, the IT industries etc etc. Guard your words wisely for they can never be retracted.

Posted by: Séamus Ó Néill | May 1 2020 13:46 utc | 13

dan of steele , May 1 2020 14:32 utc | 23
GeorgeV

I think there is very good intelligence in the US. so much data is collected and there are many analysts to go over the data and present their forecasts. The World Factbook is an example of collected intelligence made available to the unwashed masses.

what you are thinking is that this information should be used to your benefit. that is where it goes wrong. the big players are able to access and exploit that mass of data and use it to their benefit.

Billmon used to say that this is a feature, not a bug.

Piero Colombo , May 1 2020 15:08 utc | 28
s @19

"Not precluded" are also a Fort Detrick origin and contagion taken to Wuhan by the US military, staying at a hotel where most of the first cluster of patients was identified. So why wouldn't you always mention both in the same breath?

concerned , May 1 2020 15:27 utc | 31
First hollywood movie I am aware of that deals with pandemics and has Fort Detrick front and center was "Outbreak" 1995. In this film, the "Expert" played by D. Huffman uncovers a plot by a rogue 2 star general sitting on the serum from another outbreak years ago, and how he witheld this information and the serum to "protect their bioweapon". There is also a very overt background sub-plot about Dod and CDC being at odds.

DoD is not listed in the credits for Outbreak. Many of the scenes are supposed to take place in CDC and Fort Detrick.

--

Last hollywood movie was "Contagion" 2011. In this film, which pretty much anticipates Covid-19 madness but with an actually scary virus, the "Expert" in charge tells the DHS man that "Nature has already weaponized them!".

So this lie about the little bitty part "function gain" man-made mutations being the critical bit for "weaponizing" viruses is turned on its head. It was "Nature" after all. A wet market, you know.

Contagion does list DoD in its credits. Vincent C. Oglivie as US DoD Liason and Project Officer.

Just some 'fun' trivia for us to while away our lives. Remember that consipirational thought is abberational thought. Have a shot of Victory Gin and relex!

md , May 1 2020 15:34 utc | 32
Ten questions the US needs to answer
https://www.facebook.com/PeoplesDaily/posts/3243339602384501

[May 01, 2020] Coutriers and coutisans vs neocon blobsters and blobstresses in State Department and elsewhere

Blobsters are simply prostitute to the military industrial complex. No honesty, no courage required (Courage is replaced with arrogance in most cases.) Pompeo is a vivid example of this creatures of Washington swamp.
Notable quotes:
"... historically courtiers themselves led their troops on the battlefield and considered it a question of honor for one or both of their oldest sons pursuing a military career, while Renaissance courtesans were among the most intellectual and educated women of their epoch. Neither is true for blobsters and blobstresses. ..."
"... In French and (I think) most other romance languages, the words for courtier and courtesan are the same. Something to think about. ..."
May 01, 2020 | www.theamericanconservative.com

Alex (the one that likes Ike) 13 hours ago

Courtiers and courtesans. That's rich.

On the other hand, though, historically courtiers themselves led their troops on the battlefield and considered it a question of honor for one or both of their oldest sons pursuing a military career, while Renaissance courtesans were among the most intellectual and educated women of their epoch. Neither is true for blobsters and blobstresses.

LFM Alex (the one that likes Ike) 5 hours ago
In French and (I think) most other romance languages, the words for courtier and courtesan are the same. Something to think about.

[Apr 29, 2020] Trump, despite pretty slick deception during his election campaign, is an typical imperialist and rabid militarist. His administration continuredand in some areas exceeded the hostility of Obama couse against Russia

Highly recommended!
One of trademarks of Trump administration is his that he despises international law and relies on "might makes right" principle all the time. In a way he is a one trick pony, typical unhinged bully.
In a way Pompeo is the fact of Trump administration foreign policy, and it is not pretty
Apr 29, 2020 | www.moonofalabama.org
Passer by , Apr 29 2020 17:32 utc | 7
It is mostly, though not only, Trump related or libertarian pseudo "alt media" behind "just the flu" theories or "China unleashed virus to attack US".

There is a small military/zionist cabal at the White House that is pushing for that information war in order to prop up the dying US empire as well as US oligarhic business interests, and to secure Trump reelection prospects.

It is enough to see how Zerohedge have been turned into full blown imperialist media with many "evil China" outbursts every day.

Beware of Trumptards infiltrating alt media to prop up the dying US Empire and its business interests.

Trump is the biggest US imperialist for the last 30 years. He made a good job at deceiving many anti-system voices.

His WTO attacks are too part of US efforts to take over the organisation. His has no problem with international institutions as long as they are US empire controlled (such as OPCW, WADA, etc.)

Trump-tards and related libertarians (Zerohedge etc.) made their choice on the side of global US imperialism (driven by their hidden racism, hence the evil "chinks" making a good enemy) and are now the enemy of the multipolar world.

Trump is scum. He turned on Russia and Assange after he got into the White House and did far more against Russia than even Obama. I say that as someone who initially made the mistake to support him.

[Apr 28, 2020] Background reading on Pompeo and his mafia

Apr 28, 2020 | www.moonofalabama.org

Stonebird , Apr 27 2020 19:17 utc | 28

Background reading on Pompeo and his mafia.

This is part of Tom's description of the Article on Pompeo, Esper and the gang of 1986 (west pointers). They are well embedded.
In fact, one class from West Point, that of 1986, from which both Secretary of Defense Mark Esper and Secretary of State Mike Pompeo graduated, is essentially everywhere in a distinctly militarized (if still officially civilian) and wildly hawkish Washington in the Trumpian moment.

In case you missed it the first time, I repeat this link from the beginning of April,

http://www.tomdispatch.com/post/176686/tomgram%3A_danny_sjursen%2C_trump%27s_own_military_mafia_/

-----------------
Red Ryder | Apr 27 2020 17:07 utc | 14

One addition there. The EU lost "market share" in Iran due to US sanctions. (As they did with Russia). What they would like to do is to get it back. (France was one of the bigger losers)


Yeah, Right , Apr 27 2020 22:48 utc | 45

"Secretary of State Mike Pompeo is preparing a legal argument"...

Oh, a LEGAL argument? In that case the articles of the Vienna Convention On The Law Of Treaties is going to be our friend.

Article 31(b) prohibits any legal argument that leads to a result that "is manifestly absurd or unreasonable".

Granted that the JCPOA is not a treaty, as such. But it is an international agreement, and that nobody disputes.

Just as nobody disputes that the Vienna Convention is the codification of what had hitherto been accepted as International Customary Law.

LEGALLY-speaking - as we are, apparently - Pompous has handed his lawyers a task that they would call "a hopeless brief".

Dick , Apr 27 2020 23:08 utc | 47
The US is very good at making enemies and loosing friends, simply due to their treatment of other nations in the same manner they treat their domestic population.
Arch , Apr 28 2020 5:12 utc | 61
@jiri #75

The United States announced its withdrawal from the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA), also known as the "Iran nuclear deal" or the "Iran deal", on May 8, 2018.

This document discusses the legal rationale for the US withdrawal from tje JCPOA in detail:


https://fas.org/sgp/crs/row/R44761.pdf

Since when does announcing your "withdrawal" from a contract NOT mean "leaving the agreement" ?

Mina , Apr 28 2020 11:19 utc | 73
https://www.counterpunch.org/2020/04/27/pompeo-gantz-and-the-end-of-the-two-state-solution/

[Apr 27, 2020] Pompeo is steering the US Department of State into becoming arm of the Central Intelligence Agency

Apr 27, 2020 | www.moonofalabama.org

karlof1 , Apr 26 2020 23:02 utc | 37

The gloves are now off as China has called out Pompeo quite correctly saying, "Pompeo an enemy to world peace" --and we ought to expect more disruptions here at MoA. Here's just one of several slaps in Pompeo's face:

"The former top intelligence official is steering the US Department of State into becoming the Central Intelligence Agency. He is playing with fire, making the 21st century an era of major power confrontation and undermining the foundations for peace. Despite being the chief diplomat of the US, he totally betrayed the basic responsibility with which he is entrusted to promote international understanding. He has become the enemy of world peace."

What's most unfortunate is few seem to consult Global Times , as I was rather surprised this major editorial wasn't already linked. Here's yet another slap:

"Geopolitics cannot dominate the world anymore. Pompeo and his like are desperately pulling the world backwards. They are unable to handle a diverse and complicated new century and so they attempt to resume the Cold War. They can only 'realize their ambition' in polarized confrontation."

And that clearly wasn't enough as yet another slap's delivered in the closing two sentences:

"Lies may fulfill Pompeo's personal ambition, but they will never accomplish the US dreams to be "great again." Pompeo is not only a figure harmful to world peace, but also should be listed as the worst US secretary of state in its history."

Hmm... Don't know if he qualifies as "worst" yet as he must still top Ms. Clinton, but she certainly didn't treat China as has Pompeo.

[Apr 24, 2020] They can top off the national reserves on the cheap and profit when their war sends prices up again

Apr 24, 2020 | www.moonofalabama.org

Zengine3 , Apr 23 2020 18:03 utc | 30

If ever there was a time, it's now. Oil has bottomed out. They can top off the national reserves on the cheap and profit when their war sends prices up again. Maybe it's why The Orange Goober has ordered the Navy to "shoot down" any Iranian boats that harass/approach/rudely gesture at US ships.

Musburger , Apr 23 2020 18:08 utc | 31

@30

Scott Ritter thinks this is quite possible.
https://www.rt.com/op-ed/486598-trump-iran-war-oil/

Tuyzentfloot , Apr 23 2020 18:23 utc | 36
Ritter's article worries me. There is now a sales argument for war: "don't worry about oil prices going sky high, Iran can't use that weapon against us now!".
LOL , Apr 23 2020 18:38 utc | 38
You over excitable little Iran war-monkeys really should take time out of your busy war-monkey daily-schedules to learn something about the topography of Iran and it's defensive and offensive military capabilities.

It would certainly save everyone else from having to listen to you being wrong yet again.

karlof1 , Apr 23 2020 18:53 utc | 39
dh @34--

You're on the right track. There's a huge supply glut as all forms of storage are mostly filled as proven by the negative WTI pricing. Global demand is still being destroyed. War in the Persian Gulf region will further destroy demand; and since very little oil's being shipped from there, the supply glut won't be used up anytime soon--certainly not quickly enough to see a sharp rebound in oil price. The crucial point is domestic US refineries have cut back their runs as their margins are even thinner than before, plus demand destruction is still occurring, thus the domestic storage glut. The wife and I jested last night if we only had a rail spur we could order up a couple of tank cars full of unleaded at the current very distressed price and be set for a longtime.

As The Saker notes in his latest , Trump must make the voting public look everywhere except at him and Congress, the bellowing at Iran being part of that entire theatre. Yes, a mistake could have very negative consequences for the USN and all US assets in the region as well as Occupied Palestine--the overall underlying dynamic hasn't changed since Trump broke the Iran Nuclear Treaty. Too add further insult to Trump and Pompeo, Iran's doing a much better job at containing COVID-19 than the Outlaw US Empire :

"The US pandemic death toll is this week heading above 50,000 compared with Iran's figure of 5,300. Considering the respective population numbers of 330 and 80 million that suggests Iran is doing a much better job at containing the virus. On a per-capita basis, according to publicly available data, Iran's mortality rate is less than half that of the US.

"This is while the US has sanctioned Iran to the hilt. American sanctions – arguably illegal under international law – have hit Iran's ability to import medical supplies to cope with COVID-19 and other fatal diseases, yet Iran through its own resources is evidently managing the crisis much better than the US."

As with the Tar Baby, the more wrestling the Outlaw US Empire does the weaker it gets.

Zengine3 , Apr 23 2020 18:55 utc | 40
@LOLtroll

They can't invade. That's your own moronic straw-man. And yes, it would further cut supply and prices would go up. The current bottom is due to overproduction but so long as civilization cranks along the oil gets used eventually.

[Apr 06, 2020] Pompeo problem: how to continue to bully when the bullied can very effectively shoot back?

Apr 06, 2020 | www.moonofalabama.org

Bemildred , Apr 6 2020 15:25 utc | 187

Posted by: Walter | Apr 6 2020 15:03 utc | 185

Re: Pompeo and his West Point clique and their associates, I have not spent much time on it, didn't seem like a useful or entertaining thing to do, but my impression is they have lots of plans and very little grasp of what is required to carry them out. (One thinks of Modi here.) This has been ongoing since the Iranians shot our fancy drone down there last year. The first shot across the bow. We are now withdrawing from Syria, Iraq & Afghanistan, however haltingly, as it has dawned on the commanders on the ground there how exposed they really are to Iranian fire, and that of their allies. Israel seems to be struggling with the same problem, how to continue to bully when the bullied can very effectively shoot back?

Many unseemly things being said about Crozier and the Teddy R. situation too. Lot's of heat, very little light. Trump says there is light at the end of the tunnel, I seem to remember that from somewhere in the past. I think that's about where we are again.

[Apr 01, 2020] For just $27K USD you can see John Bolton's relatives in natural environment

Apr 01, 2020 | www.moonofalabama.org

Piotr Berman , Mar 31 2020 17:22 utc | 151

Given some time and currency, I guess Morocco would offer more value for money if you want some exotic customs and landscapes. If you have more money, you could spend them on a carbon-free cruise with stunning vistas and off-the-beaten route: North Pole on board of nuclear-powered ice breaker! It is wise to have swimming costume (a pool is on board, heated, I presume) and sensible apparel -- enough for normal winter (in Moscow). The number of places is below 150, with a little hospital on board too. In the latest ads I read about discounts, but the deal was that you can pay in rubbles with prices below the rubble plunged by 25%, still, for 27 k USD you can see John Bolton's relatives in natural environment (like mommy walrus taking care of youngsters), polar bears, seals, and landscapes of Franz Josef Land. Helicopter rides included. You can also take a plunge into the arctic water -- with safety precautions .

[Mar 30, 2020] Pompeo as a sign of more serious problem with the US military

Mar 30, 2020 | www.moonofalabama.org

Bemildred , Mar 29 2020 18:13 utc | 23

Posted by: Noirette | Mar 29 2020 17:09 utc | 13

I think you have the main danger (some nitwit using a "small nuke") to try to make a point about right.

Other than that, the impression I get from Pompeo and his ilk is that the main thing is having someone to threaten and abuse to show "leadership" and "manhood", at least one shitty little country we can still throw up against the wall and slap around to show we mean business. Dangerous times for Nicaragua.

Neither he nor his other West Point friends seems to have much clue about military affairs either, which is strange. I mean we've always had our George Armstrong Custers, but they didn't run things. Now they seem to have some sort of cult mentality. One is reminded of the French before WWI: "De L'audace, Encore De L'audace, Et Toujours De L'audace ..." and we know how that worked out.

[Mar 29, 2020] United States Secretary of State Mike Pompeo had a slip of the tongue while addressing the American people from the White House when he stated that COVID-19 is a live military exercise.

Mar 29, 2020 | twitter.com

"This is not about retribution," Pompeo explained. "This matter is going forward -- we are in a live exercise here to get this right."

@realDonaldTrump is mad that the deep state took control through Continuity of Government, there has been a coup? pic.twitter.com/GcrjNNvVsc #Covid_19 #CoronavirusPandemic #MartialLaw

-- Shepard Ambellas (@ShepardAmbellas) March 21, 2020

With a disgusted look on his face, President Trump replied: "You should have let us know."

Military Exercise meaning (from Wikipedia): "A military exercise or war game is the employment of military resources in training for military operations, either exploring the effects of warfare or testing strategies without actual combat. This also serves the purpose of ensuring the combat readiness of garrisoned or deployable forces prior to deployment from a home base."

https://www.youtube.com/embed/3Qscuw_3aUk

What is actually going on here? Does the White House care to explain?

*Note to readers: please click the share buttons above or below. Forward this article to your email lists. Crosspost on your blog site, internet forums. etc.

Featured image is from Gage Skidmore CC BY 2.0

[Mar 29, 2020] The essence of Trump's psychology is that he likes to dominate people. He accomplishes this by hiring incompetent psychopaths

Mar 29, 2020 | www.moonofalabama.org

Timothy Hagios , Mar 28 2020 18:14 utc | 44

The essence of Trump's psychology is that he likes to dominate people. He accomplishes this by hiring incompetent psychopaths who make him legitimately look good by comparison. This is why he's constantly overruling their worst plans. But once every so often, his incompetent underlings convince him to do something exceptionally stupid. This is because occasionally going along with them allows him to feel like a wise, discerning ruler who occasionally follows his advisors' guidance and occasionally overrules them.

[Mar 26, 2020] Pompeo is on record having said that our government "lies, cheats, and steals" in order to accomplish its anti-Christian objectives.

Mar 26, 2020 | www.unz.com

Sokrates , says: Show Comment March 25, 2020 at 11:54 am GMT

@37 Yesterday I went to Home Depot to buy some water tubing for my ice-maker.

I noticed all doors were blocked with a tape, except one with at least 25 people waiting to get in and a female employee holding a sign "the line starts here".

I ask the lady what was all about and she said because of the virus etc.

I said to her "You must be kidding" and I start going back to my car.

Some old lady from the line waiting to get in she scream to me something about "we protect ourselves" and similar nonsense.

I turn around and I said to her: Quit watching TV you idiot. They rob your money on broad daylight and send your kids to die fighting israels enemies.

RichardTaylor , says: Show Comment March 25, 2020 at 12:01 pm GMT
The overreaction to the virus makes no sense. Is something being hidden from us? The freak out over this virus – to the tune of $trillions – is all out of proportion.

2.8 million Americans die every year. Why the obsession with this one virus which may kill in the thousands?

Something is off. But Trump should have known early if there was some other hidden danger. If there is some hidden suspicion by the people obsessing over this, please share it!

[Mar 26, 2020] The face of Trump in foreign policy is Pompeo and it is wicked, ungly face of a gangster

Yet another Gofgather
Notable quotes:
"... The more I watch these moves by Pompeo the more sympathetic I become to the most sinister theories about COVID-19, its origins and its launch around the world. Read Pepe Escobar's latest to get an idea of how dark and twisted this tale could be . ..."
March 24, 2020 < Older
No Respite for the Wicked, Pompeo Unleashed Written by Tom Luongo Tuesday

There are few things in this life that make me more sick to my stomach than watching Secretary of State Mike Pompeo talking. He truly is one of the evilest men I've ever had the displeasure of covering.

Into the insanity of the over-reaction to the COVID-19 outbreak, Pompeo wasted no time ramping up sanctions on firms doing any business with Iran, one of the countries worse-hit by this virus to date.

It's a seemingly endless refrain, everyday, more sanctions on Chinese, Swiss and South African firms for having the temerity in these deflating times to buy oil from someone Pompeo and his gang of heartless psychopaths disapprove of.

This goes far beyond just the oil industry. Even though I'm well aware that Russia's crashing the price of oil was itself a hybrid war attack on US capital markets. One that has had, to date, devastating effect.

While Pompeo mouths the words publicly that humanitarian aid is exempted from sanctions on Iran, the US is pursuing immense pressure on companies to not do so anyway while the State Dept. bureaucracy takes its sweet time processing waiver applications.

Pompeo and his ilk only think in terms of civilizational warfare. They have become so subsumed by their big war for the moral high ground to prove American exceptionalism that they have lost any shred of humanity they may have ever had.

Because for Pompeo in times like these to stick to his talking points and for his office to continue excising Iran from the global economy when we're supposed to be coming together to fight a global pandemic is the height of soullessness.

And it speaks to the much bigger problem that infects all of our political thinking. There comes a moment when politics and gaining political advantage have to take a back seat to doing the right thing.

I've actually seen moments of that impulse from the Democratic leadership in the US Will wonders never cease?!

Thinking only in Manichean terms of good vs. evil and dehumanizing your opponents is actually costlier than reversing course right now. Because honey is always better at attracting flies than vinegar.

But, unfortunately, that is not the character of the Trump administration.

It can only think in terms of direct leverage and opportunity to hold onto what they think they've achieved. So, until President Trump is no longer consumed with coordinating efforts to control COVID-19 Pompeo and Secretary of Defense Mark Esper are in charge of foreign policy. They will continue the playbook that has been well established.

Maximum pressure on Iran, hurt China any way they can, hold onto what they have in Syria, stay in Iraq.

To that end Iraqi President Barham Salei nominated Pompeo's best choice to replace Prime Minister Adil Abdel Mahdi to throw Iraq's future into complete turmoil. According to Elijah Magnier, Adnan al-Zarfi is a US asset through and through .

And this looks like Pompeo's Hail Mary to retain US legal presence in Iraq after the Iraqi parliament adopted a measure to demand withdrawal of US troops from the country. Airstrikes against US bases in Iraq continue on a near daily basis and there have been reports of US base closures and redeployments at the same time.

This move looks like desperation by Pompeo et.al. to finally separate the Hashd al-Shaabi from Iraq's official military. So that airstrikes against them can be carried out under the definition of 'fighting Iranian terrorism.'

As Magnier points out in the article above if al-Zarfi puts a government together the war in Iraq will expand just as the US is losing further control in Syria after Turkish President Erdogan's disastrous attempt to remake the front in Idlib. That ended with his effective surrender to Russian President Vladimir Putin.

The more I watch these moves by Pompeo the more sympathetic I become to the most sinister theories about COVID-19, its origins and its launch around the world. Read Pepe Escobar's latest to get an idea of how dark and twisted this tale could be .

It is sad that, to me, I see no reason to doubt Pompeo and his ilk in the US government wouldn't do something like that to spark political and social upheaval in those places most targeted by US hybrid war tactics.

But, at the same time, I can see the other side of it, a vicious strike back by China against its tormentors. And China's government does itself, in my mind, no favors threatening to withhold drug precursors and having officials run their mouths giving Americans the excuse they need to validate Trump and Pompeo's divisive rhetoric.

Remaining on the fence about this issue isn't my normal style. But everyone is dirty here and the reality may well be this is a natural event terrible people on both sides are exploiting.

And I can only go by what people do rather than what they say to assess the situation. Trump tries to buy exclusive right to a potential COVID-19 vaccine from a German firm and his administration slow-walks aid to Iran.

China sends aid to Iran and Italy by the container full. Is that to salve their conscience over its initial suppression of information about the virus? Good question. But no one covers themselves in glory by using the confusion and distraction to attempt further regime change and step up war-footing during a public health crisis, manufactured or otherwise.

While Pompeo unctuously talks the talk of compassion and charity, he cannot bring himself to actually walk the walk. Because he is a despicable, bile-filled man of uncommon depravity. His prosecuting a hybrid war during a public health crisis speaks to no other conclusion about him.

It's clear to me that nothing has changed at the top of Trump's administration. I expect COVID-19 will not be a disaster for Trump and the US. It can handle this. But the lack of humanity shown by its diplomatic corps ensures that in the long run the US will be left to fend for itself when the next crisis hits.

Reprinted with permission from Strategic Culture Foundation .


Related

[Mar 20, 2020] That "beyond dispute" phrase is what retards like Mike Pompeo use to try to shut down a discussion in which he's getting his fat ass kicked.

Mar 20, 2020 | www.unz.com

Twodees Partain , says: Show Comment March 20, 2020 at 3:02 am GMT

@SBaker "It's beyond dispute that the novel coronavirus officially known as COVID-19originated in Wuhan, China."

No, it's being disputed every day. That "beyond dispute" phrase is what retards like Mike Pompeo use to try to shut down a discussion in which he's getting his fat ass kicked.

[Mar 20, 2020] Pompeo myth that USA and the West were unprepared because China withheld information about the virus.

Mar 20, 2020 | www.moonofalabama.org

occupatio , Mar 19 2020 20:16 utc | 161

@b Another myth to add to your collection ...

... that USA and the West were unprepared because China withheld information about the virus.

Posted by: Jackrabbit | Mar 19 2020 18:20 utc | 106

The "Report of the WHO-China Joint Mission on COVID-19" states that China transparently reported the identification of virus to the WHO and the international community on January 3rd, and a WHO investigative team was invited to Wuhan a week after that.

From January 3rd, 2020, information on COVID-19 cases has been reported to WHO daily.

On January 7th, full genome sequences of the new virus were shared with WHO and the international community immediately after the pathogen was identified.

On January 10th, an expert group involving Hong Kong, Macao and Taiwanese technical experts and a World Health Organization team was invited to visit Wuhan.

From page 31 of:
https://www.who.int/docs/default-source/coronaviruse/who-china-joint-mission-on-covid-19-final-report.pdf

[Mar 19, 2020] US imposes sanctions against #Iran after offering to help with #Coronavirus outbreak

Mar 19, 2020 | www.moonofalabama.org

karlof1 , Mar 18 2020 18:28 utc | 53

This might soon become the global rallying cry :

"USA is the greatest enemy of humanity - I hope they will pay for that:

"US imposes sanctions against #Iran after offering to help with #Coronavirus outbreak"

The situation has now gone well beyond immorality and into the realm of EVIL--an EVIL that's Bipartisan, shared by Ds and Rs alike.


bevin , Mar 18 2020 18:33 utc | 54

Miss Lacy and Arby both draw our attention to the obscenity of the US using this crisis in order to put pressure on governments that it dislikes by cutting off medicine and other resources.

Among the places where people are currently dying in large numbers because Washington chooses that they should are Cuba-under an oil embargo-, Nicaragua, Venezuela and Iran.

Those who cannot bring themselves to believe that government could be so evil as to deploy a virus as a weapon to weaken another state, only have to look at what is happening today: Venezuela desperately needs funds, much of its foreign exchange having been seized illegally by the US and its satellites, in order to weather the pandemic.

Anyone supporting such a policy, condoning the killing of vulnerable people to embarrass another state, is an accessory to murder.

farm ecologist , Mar 18 2020 19:40 utc | 67
Re., IMF refuses emergency funds to Venezuela

Posted by: arby | Mar 18 2020 14:32 utc | 11
Posted by: Miss Lacy | Mar 18 2020 18:15 utc | 50
Posted by: bevin | Mar 18 2020 18:33 utc | 55

Anyone supporting such a policy, condoning the killing of vulnerable people to embarrass another state, is an accessory to murder.

Although many argue that the foreign policies of the US government don't really reflect the views and desires of ordinary citizens, the comments in the Fox News report on this story suggest otherwise (caveat - be prepared to be appalled).

https://www.foxnews.com/world/venezuela-asks-imf-for-massive-emergency-loan-to-fight-coronavirus


[Mar 13, 2020] Daffy Duck. cartoon was made in 1953 and like many Looney Tune cartoon's, they are an extreme parody of life. It dawned on me that this cartoon is an almost perfect description of US Military policy and action.

Highly recommended!
Mar 13, 2020 | thesaker.is

Vaughan on March 12, 2020 , · at 7:43 pm EST/EDT

Recently, I was watching the old Looney Tunes Cartoons with my Grandchild and we were watching, "Duck Dodges in the 21st and a Half Century"
I don't know if you've watched this cartoon starring Daffy Duck. You can view it here
https://vimeo.com/76668594

This cartoon was made in 1953 and like many Looney Tune cartoon's, they are an extreme parody of life. But while watching this cartoon, it dawned on me that this cartoon is an almost perfect description of US Military policy and action.
I could write an article on this but I think we'll leave it as a note with a snide laugh to be had by all.

Patricia Ormsby on March 12, 2020 , · at 8:16 pm EST/EDT
Laughter is one of the best medicines. Thank you for this!

[Mar 09, 2020] COVID-19 burst the asset price bubble. In a new low, Pompeo passes buck to Beijing

Mar 09, 2020 | www.moonofalabama.org

CitizenX , Mar 9 2020 2:58 utc | 57

"Perhaps this will finally burst the out-of-control asset price bubble and drop-kick the Outlaw US Empire's economy into the sewer as the much lower price will rapidly slow the recycling of what remains of the petrodollar. Looks like Trump's reelection push just fell into a massive sinkhole as the economy will tank."

Posted by: karlof1 | Mar 9 2020 1:29 utc | 49
....

Call me crazy- but this Virus provides great cover as to why the economy plummets, the Murikan sheeple will eat it up. Prepare for the double media blitz on the virus AND the economy tanking as its result.

Don't worry...just continue to go shopping and take those selfies.


vk , Mar 9 2020 3:37 utc | 60

Pompeo accuses China of giving "imperfect data" on COVID-19, blame it for US failure in containing the virus:

In new low, Pompeo passes buck to Beijing

It will be hard for the American people to swallow that one. From day 1 I've read a lot of "articles" and "papers" from know-it-all Western doctors and researchers from commenters here in this blog, all of them claiming to have very precise and definitive data on what was happening. A lot of bombastic conclusions I've read here (including one that claimed R0 was through the roof - it's funny how the R0 is being played down after it begun to infect the West; suddenly, it's all just a stronger cold...).

And that's just here, in MoA's comment section. Imagine what was being published in the Western MSM. I wouldn't be surprised there was a lot of rednecks popping their beers celebrating the fall of China already.

--//--

China to back global virus fight with production boost

Since China allegedly had a lot of idle industrial capacity - that is, if we take the Western MSM theories seriously (including the fabled "ghost towns" stories) - then boosting production wouldn't be a problem to China.

Disclaimer: it's normal for any kind of economy - socialist or capitalist - to have a certain percentage of idle capacity. That's necessary in order to insure the economy against unexpected oscillations in demand and to give space of maneuvre for future technological progress. Indeed, that was one of the USSR's mistakes with its economy: they instinctly thought unemployment should be zero, and waste should also be zero, so they planned in a way all the factories always sought to operate at 100% capacity. That became a problem when better machines and better methods were invented, since the factory manager wouldn't want to stop production so that his factory would fall behind the other factories in the five-year plan's goals. So, yes, China indeed has idle capacity - but it is mainly proposital, not a failure of its socialist planning.

--//--

... ... ...

vk , Mar 9 2020 3:56 utc | 61
This is important. The only reason I didn't comment about it is I hadn't the data:

Follow the money: Understanding China's battle against COVID-19

By the latest count, in addition to yuan loans worth 113 billion U.S. dollars granted by financial institutions and more than 70 billion U.S. dollars paid out by insurance companies, the Chinese government has allocated about 13 billion U.S. dollars to counter fallout from the outbreak.

The numbers could look abstract. However, breaking the data down reveals how the money is being carefully targeted. The government is allocating the money based on a thorough evaluation of the system's strengths.

...

Local governments are equipped with more local knowledge that allows them to surgically support key manufacturers or producers that are struggling.

Together, they have borne the bulk of the financial responsibility with an allocation of equivalently more than nine billion U.S. dollars. It is carefully targeted, divided into hundreds of thousands of individual grants that are tailor-made by and for each county, town, city and business.

This is the mark of a socialist system.

The affected capitalist countries will simply use monetary devices (so the private sector can offset the losses) and burn their own reserves with non-profitable palliatives such as masks, tests, other quarantine infrastructure etc.

Pft , Mar 9 2020 4:44 utc | 64
Sounds like US socialism. Basically corporate socialism. Loans are just dollars created out of thin air, same as in US. Insurance payouts come from premiums, nothing socialist about that, pure capitalism. Government hand outs to provinces, cities, state owned corporations,well all of these are run by the party elite, its called pork. US handed out a lot of pork during the last financial crisis. None of it trickled down to the little people. I doubt it does in China either.

All crisis are opportunities for the elite to get richer. Those Biolake firms in Wuhan will make out like bandits. Chinese firms will double the price of API's sold to India and US. China will knock out the small farmer in the wake of concurrent chicken and swine flu so the big enterprises take over, a mimicry of the US practice over the last century. China tech firms will double up on surveillance apps, censoring tools, surveillance and toughen up social credit restrictions. 5G will allow China to experiment with nanobots to monitor citizens health from afar (thanks to Harvards Dr Leiber).

Oh yes, socialism with Chinese characteristics is a technocratic capitalists dream. Thats why the West has never imposed sanctions on China since welcoming them to the global elites club. Sanctions are reserved for those with true socialism, especially those who preach equality and god forbid, democracy.

uncle tungsten , Mar 9 2020 8:35 utc | 83

CitizenX #57

Call me crazy- but this Virus provides great cover as to why the economy plummets, the Murikan sheeple will eat it up. Prepare for the double media blitz on the virus AND the economy tanking as its result.


Don't forget the Russians.. They have to be to blame. See they just kept the price of oil low so now the rest of the world gets gas cheaper than the USA. The USA motorist now has to bail out the dopey frackers and shale oil ponzis.

Global envy will eat murica. Maybe they will just pull out all their troops and go home. ;)

[Mar 03, 2020] The USA policy is to destroy Iran for the crime of existence.

Mar 03, 2020 | www.moonofalabama.org

Trailer Trash , Mar 2 2020 17:53 utc | 97

>Bernie Sanders will also restore the JCPOA

This is like a new gangster who takes control of a neighborhood and reduces the required weekly protection payment. Hurray For Less Extortion!

Hey Bernie, how about throw away the JCPOA, restore normal diplomatic and commercial relations, and apologize for 40 years of economic warfare?

But that will never happen, because the Dummycrat policy is to destroy Iran for the crime of existence. How is it the Bernie people don't notice that Bernie always caucuses with the Dummycrats in Congress and is running on the Dummycrat ticket? We are supposed to believe that someone elected on the Dummycrat ticket won't follow Dummycrat party polices?


Russ , Mar 2 2020 17:59 utc | 99

"Bernie Sanders will also restore the JCPOA"

He must think the Iranians are really stupid if he thinks he can get them to fall for that one again.

fnord , Mar 2 2020 18:18 utc | 101
@Trailer Trash, 97
We are supposed to believe that someone elected on the Dummycrat ticket won't follow Dummycrat party polices?

The way American electoral politics works, Sanders doesn't really have a choice except to try and steal the Democratic party's ballot line. An independent bid would split the left vote and make it impossible to win the general election, which is winner take all.

At least that's what his supporters say. I think there's a grain of truth there. If Bernie wants to win, and not merely be a protest candidate, he has to take the ballot line of the party with the most left-wing voters, and that's not the Republican party.

[Mar 01, 2020] That the whistleblower works for the CIA is a matter of public record, not some conspiracy theory

Notable quotes:
"... The Democrats did not want Adam Schiff to have to answer questions about the whistleblower, and they don't want the whistleblower's identity to be officially revealed. Such things do not contribute to the greatest cause of our time, the destruction of Donald Trump. ..."
"... The whole point of having the House impeachment investigation proceed from the House Intelligence Committee, headed by Adam Schiff, was to send the signal that Trump is unacceptable to the nefarious powers that make up the Deep State, especially the intelligence agencies, especially the CIA. ..."
"... What a world, then, when OP Democrats are cheering on John Bolton, hoping again for a savior to their sacred resistance cause, and meanwhile they aren't too excited about Rand Paul's intervention. For sure, it is a sign that a "resistance" isn't real when it needs a savior; it's not as if the French Resistance sat back waiting for Gen. de Gaulle. In any case, in the procession of horrible reactionary figures that Democrats have embraced, Bolton is probably the worst, and that's saying quite a lot. ..."
"... People are even talking about "getting used to accepting the help of the CIA with the impeachment," and the like. (I realize I'm being repetitious here, but this stuff blows my mind, it is so disturbing.) At least they are recognizing the reality -- at least partially; that's something. But then what they do with this recognition is something that requires epic levels of TDS -- and, somehow, a great deal of the Left is going down this path. ..."
"... The USA Deep State is a Five Eyes partner and as such Trump must be given the proverbial boot for being an uneducated boor lacking political gravitas & business gravitas with his narcissistic Smoot-Hawley II 2019 trade wars. Screw the confidence man-in-chief. He is a liability for the USA and global business. Trump is not an asset. ..."
"... Almost as a by product of his 2016 victory, Trump showed up the MSM hacks for what they were, lying, partisan shills utterly lacking in any integrity and credibility. The same applies to the intrigues and corruption of the Dirty Cops and Spookocracy. They had to come out from behind the curtain and reveal themselves as the dirty, lying, seditious, treasonous, rabid criminal scum they are. The true nature of the State standing in the spotlight for all the world to see. This cannot be undone. ..."
Mar 01, 2020 | off-guardian.org

First , the whistleblower was ruled out as a possible witness -- this was essentially done behind the scenes, and in reality can be called a Deep State operation, though one exposed to some extent by Rand Paul. This has nothing to do with protecting the whistleblower or upholding the whistleblower statute, but instead with the fact that the whistleblower was a CIA plant in the White House.

That the whistleblower works for the CIA is a matter of public record, not some conspiracy theory. Furthermore, for some time before the impeachment proceedings began, the whistleblower had been coordinating his efforts to undermine Trump with the head of the House Intelligence Committee, who happens to be Adam Schiff. It is possible that the connections with Schiff go even further or deeper. Obviously the Democrats do not want these things exposed.

... ... ...

In this regard, there was a very special moment on January 29, when Chief Justice John Roberts refused to allow the reading of a question from Sen. Rand Paul that identified the alleged whistleblower. Paul then held a press conference in which he read his question.

The question was directed at Adam Schiff, who claims not to have communicated with the whistleblower, despite much evidence to the contrary. (Further details can be read at here .) A propos of what I was just saying, Paul is described in the Politico article as "a longtime antagonist of Republican leaders." Excellent, good on you, Rand Paul.

Whether this was a case of unintended consequences or not, one could say that this episode fed into the case against calling witnesses -- certainly the Democrats should not have been allowed to call witnesses if the Republicans could not call the whistleblower. But clearly this point is completely lost on those working in terms of the moving line of bullshit.

One would think that Democrats would be happy with a Republican Senator who antagonizes leaders of his own party, but of course Rand Paul's effort only led to further "outrage" on the part of Democratic leaders in the House and Senate.

The Democrats did not want Adam Schiff to have to answer questions about the whistleblower, and they don't want the whistleblower's identity to be officially revealed. Such things do not contribute to the greatest cause of our time, the destruction of Donald Trump.

However, you see, there is a complementary purpose at work here, too. The whole point of having the House impeachment investigation proceed from the House Intelligence Committee, headed by Adam Schiff, was to send the signal that Trump is unacceptable to the nefarious powers that make up the Deep State, especially the intelligence agencies, especially the CIA.

The only way these machinations can be combatted is to pull the curtain back further -- but the Republicans do not want this any more than the Democrats do, with a few possible exceptions such as Rand Paul. (As the Politico article states, Paul was chastised publicly by McConnell for submitting his question in the first place, and for criticizing Roberts in the press conference.)

What a world, then, when OP Democrats are cheering on John Bolton, hoping again for a savior to their sacred resistance cause, and meanwhile they aren't too excited about Rand Paul's intervention. For sure, it is a sign that a "resistance" isn't real when it needs a savior; it's not as if the French Resistance sat back waiting for Gen. de Gaulle. In any case, in the procession of horrible reactionary figures that Democrats have embraced, Bolton is probably the worst, and that's saying quite a lot.

... ... ...

Now we are at a moment when "the Left" is recognizing the role that the CIA and the rest of the "intelligence community" is played in the impeachment nonsense. This "Left" was already on board for the "impeachment process" itself, perhaps at moments with caveats about "not leaving everything up to the Democrats," "not just relying on the Democrats," but still accepting their assigned role as cheerleaders and self-important internet commentators. (And, sure, maybe that's all I am, too -- but the inability to distinguish form from content is one of the main problems of the existing Left.)

Now, though, people on the Left are trying to get comfortable with, and trying to explain to themselves how they can get comfortable with, the obvious role of the "intelligence community" (with, in my view, the CIA in the leading role, but of course I'm not privy to the inner workings of this scene) in the impeachment process and other efforts to take down Trump's presidency.

People are even talking about "getting used to accepting the help of the CIA with the impeachment," and the like. (I realize I'm being repetitious here, but this stuff blows my mind, it is so disturbing.) At least they are recognizing the reality -- at least partially; that's something. But then what they do with this recognition is something that requires epic levels of TDS -- and, somehow, a great deal of the Left is going down this path.

They might think about the "help" that the CIA gave to the military in Bolivia to remove Evo Morales from office. They might think about the picture of Donald Trump that they find necessary to paint to justify what they are willing to swallow to remove him from office. They might think about the fact that ordinary Democrats are fine with this role for the CIA, and that Adam Schiff and others routinely offer the criticism/condemnation of Donald Trump that he doesn't accept the findings of the CIA or the rest of the intelligence agencies at face value.

The moment for the Left, what calls itself and thinks of itself as that, to break with this lunacy has passed some time ago, but let us take this moment, of "accepting the help of the CIA, because Trump," as truly marking a point of no return.

MASTER OF UNIVE ,

The USA Deep State is a Five Eyes partner and as such Trump must be given the proverbial boot for being an uneducated boor lacking political gravitas & business gravitas with his narcissistic Smoot-Hawley II 2019 trade wars. Screw the confidence man-in-chief. He is a liability for the USA and global business. Trump is not an asset.

paul ,

Trump, Sanders and Corbyn were all in their own way agents of creative destruction. Trump tapped into the popular discontent of millions of Americans who realised that the system no longer even pretended to work in their interests, and were not prepared to be diverted down the Identity Politics Rabbit Hole.

The Deep State was outraged that he had disrupted their programme by stealing Clinton's seat in the game of Musical Chairs. Being the most corrupt, dishonest and mendacious political candidate in all US history (despite some pretty stiff opposition) was supposed to be outweighed by her having a vagina. The Deplorables failed to sign up for the programme.

Almost as a by product of his 2016 victory, Trump showed up the MSM hacks for what they were, lying, partisan shills utterly lacking in any integrity and credibility. The same applies to the intrigues and corruption of the Dirty Cops and Spookocracy. They had to come out from behind the curtain and reveal themselves as the dirty, lying, seditious, treasonous, rabid criminal scum they are. The true nature of the State standing in the spotlight for all the world to see. This cannot be undone.

For all his pandering to Adelson and the Zionist Mafia, for all his Gives to Netanyahu, Trump has failed to deliver on the Big Ticket Items. Syria was supposed to have been invaded by now, with Hillary cackling demonically over Assad's death as she did over Gaddafi, and rapidly moving on to the main event with Iran. They will not forgive him for this.

They realise they are under severe time pressure. It took them a century to gain their stranglehold over America, and this is a wasting asset. America is in terminal decline, and may soon be unable to fulfil its ordained role as dumb goy muscle serving Zionist interests. And the parasite will find it difficult to find a replacement host.

George Mc ,

Haven't you just agreed with him here?

He thinks the left died in the 1960s, over a half century ago. It's pretty simple to identify a leftist: anti-imperialist/ anti-capitalist. The Democrats are imperialists. People who vote for the Democrats and Republicans are imperialists. This article is a confused mess, that's my whole point;)

If the Democrats and Republicans (and those who vote for them) are imperialists (which they are) then the left are indeed dead – at least as far as political representation goes.

Koba ,

He's sent more troops to Iraq and Afghanistan he staged several coups in Latin America and wanted to take out the dprk and thier nukes and wants to bomb Iran! Winding down?!

sharon marlowe ,

First, an attempted assassination-by-drone on President Maduro of Venezuela happened. Then Trump dropped the largest conventional bomb on Afghanistan, with a mile-wide radius. Then Trump named Juan Guido as the new President of Venezuela in an overt coup. Then he bombed Syria over a fake chemical weapons claim. He bombed it before even an investigation was launched. Then the Trump regime orchestrated a military coup in Bolivia. Then he claimed that he was pulling out of Syria, but instead sent U.S. troops to take over Syrian oil fields. trump then assassinated Gen. Solemeni. Then he claimed that he will leave Iraq at the request of the Iraqi government, the Iraqi government asked the U.S. to leave, and Trump rejected the request. The Trump regime has tried orchestrating a coup in Iran, and a coup in Hong Kong. He expelled Russian diplomats en masse for the Skripal incident in England, before an investigation. He has sanctioned Russia, Iran, North Korea, China, and Venezuela. He has bombed Yemen, Syria, Libya, Somalia, Afghanistan, and Pakistan. Those are the things I'm aware of, but what else Trump has done in Africa, Asia, Eastern Europe, and South America you can research if you wish. And now, the claim of leaving Afghanistan is as ridiculous as when he claimed to be leaving Syria and Iraq.

Dungroanin ,

Yeah yeah and 'he' gave Maduro 7 days to let their kid takeover in Venezuela! And built a wall. And got rid of obamacare and started a nuke war with Rocketman and and and ...

sharon marlowe ,

There were at least nine people killed when Trump bombed Douma.

Only a psychopath would kill people because one of its spy drones was shot down. You don't get points for considering killing people for it and then changing your mind.

People should get over Hillary and pay attention to what Trump has been doing. Why even mention what Hillary would have done in Syria, then proceed to be an apologist for what Trump has done around the world in just three years? Trump has been quite a prolific imperialist in such a short time. A second term could well put him above Bush and Obama as the 21st century's most horrible leaders on earth.

Dungroanin ,

...If you think that the potus is the omnipotent ruler of everything he certainly seems to be having some problems with his minions in the CIA, NSA, FBI..State Dept etc.

Savorywill ,

Yes, what you say is right. However, he did warn both the Syrian and Russian military of the attack in the first instance, so no casualties, and in the second attack, he announced that the missiles had been launched before they hit the target, again resulting in no casualties. When the US drone was shot down by an Iranian missile, he considered retaliation. But, when advised of likely casualties, he called it off saying that human lives are more valuable than the cost of the drone. Yes, he did authorize the assassination of the Iranian general, and that was very bad. His claims that the general had organized the placement of roadside bombs that had killed US soldiers rings rather hollow, considering those shouldn't have been in Iraq in the first place.

I am definitely not stating that he is perfect and doesn't do objectionable things. And he has authorized US forces to control the oil wells, which is against international law, but at least US soldiers are not actively engaged in fighting the Syrian government, something Hillary set in motion. However, the military does comprise a huge percentage of the US economy and there have to be reasons, and enemies, to justify its existence, so his situation as president must be very difficult, not a job I would want, that is for sure.

The potus is best described (by Assad actually) as a CEO of a board of directors appointed by the shareholders who collectively determine their OWN interests.

Your gaslighting ain't succeeding round here – Regime! So desperate, so so sad 🤣

[Feb 29, 2020] Rand Paul says he will oppose John Bolton and Rudy Giuliani for Secretary of State

Notable quotes:
"... "Bolton is a longtime member of the failed Washington elite that Trump vowed to oppose, hell-bent on repeating virtually every foreign policy mistake the U.S. has made in the last 15 years - particularly those Trump promised to avoid as president," ..."
"... "It's important that someone who was an unrepentant advocate for the Iraq War, who didn't learn the lessons of the Iraq War, shouldn't be the secretary of state for a president who says Iraq was ..."
Nov 20, 2016 | rare.us

Senator Rand Paul said Tuesday in an op-ed for Rare that he would oppose President-elect Donald Trump's rumored selection of former U.N. Ambassador John Bolton as Secretary of State.

"Bolton is a longtime member of the failed Washington elite that Trump vowed to oppose, hell-bent on repeating virtually every foreign policy mistake the U.S. has made in the last 15 years - particularly those Trump promised to avoid as president,"

Paul wrote citing U.S. interventions in Iraq and Libya that Trump has criticized but that Bolton strongly advocated.

Reports since have indicated that former New York City mayor and loyal Trump ally, Rudy Giuliani is being considered for the post.

The Washington Post's David Weigel reports , "Sen. Rand Paul (R-Ky.), a newly reelected member of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, said this morning that he was inclined to oppose either former U.N. ambassador John Bolton or former New York City mayor Rudy Giuliani if they were nominated for secretary of state."

"It's important that someone who was an unrepentant advocate for the Iraq War, who didn't learn the lessons of the Iraq War, shouldn't be the secretary of state for a president who says Iraq was a big lesson," Paul told the Post. "Trump said that a thousand times. It would be a huge mistake for him to give over his foreign policy to someone who [supported the war]. I mean, you could not find more unrepentant advocates of regime change."

Related: Rand Paul: Will Donald Trump betray voters by hiring John Bolton?

[Feb 29, 2020] Secret Wars, Forgotten Betrayals, Global Tyranny. Who s Really In Charge Of The US Military by Cynthia Chung

Highly recommended!
Notable quotes:
"... Thus, it should be no surprise to anyone in the world at this point in history, that the CIA holds no allegiance to any country. And it can be hardly expected that a President, who is actively under attack from all sides within his own country, is in a position to hold the CIA accountable for its past and future crimes ..."
Jan 21, 2020 | www.zerohedge.com

Authored by Cynthia Chung via The Strategic Culture Foundation,

"There is a kind of character in thy life, That to the observer doth thy history, fully unfold."

– William Shakespeare

Once again we find ourselves in a situation of crisis, where the entire world holds its breath all at once and can only wait to see whether this volatile black cloud floating amongst us will breakout into a thunderstorm of nuclear war or harmlessly pass us by. The majority in the world seem to have the impression that this destructive fate totters back and forth at the whim of one man. It is only normal then, that during such times of crisis, we find ourselves trying to analyze and predict the thoughts and motives of just this one person. The assassination of Maj. Gen. Qasem Soleimani, a true hero for his fellow countrymen and undeniably an essential key figure in combating terrorism in Southwest Asia, was a terrible crime, an abhorrently repugnant provocation. It was meant to cause an apoplectic fervour, it was meant to make us who desire peace, lose our minds in indignation. And therefore, that is exactly what we should not do.

In order to assess such situations, we cannot lose sight of the whole picture, and righteous indignation unfortunately causes the opposite to occur. Our focus becomes narrower and narrower to the point where we can only see or react moment to moment with what is right in front of our face. We are reduced to an obsession of twitter feeds, news blips and the doublespeak of 'official government statements'.

Thus, before we may find firm ground to stand on regarding the situation of today, we must first have an understanding as to what caused the United States to enter into an endless campaign of regime-change warfare after WWII, or as former Chief of Special Operations for the Joint Chiefs of Staff Col. Prouty stated, three decades of the Indochina war.

An Internal Shifting of Chess Pieces in the Shadows

It is interesting timing that on Sept 2, 1945, the very day that WWII ended, Ho Chi Minh would announce the independence of Indochina. That on the very day that one of the most destructive wars to ever occur in history ended, another long war was declared at its doorstep. Churchill would announce his "Iron Curtain" against communism on March 5th, 1946, and there was no turning back at that point. The world had a mere 6 months to recover before it would be embroiled in another terrible war, except for the French, who would go to war against the Viet Minh opponents in French Indochina only days after WWII was over.

In a previous paper I wrote titled "On Churchill's Sinews of Peace" , I went over a major re-organisation of the American government and its foreign intelligence bureau on the onset of Truman's de facto presidency. Recall that there was an attempted military coup d'état, which was exposed by General Butler in a public address in 1933, against the Presidency of FDR who was only inaugurated that year. One could say that there was a very marked disapproval from shadowy corners for how Roosevelt would organise the government.

One key element to this reorganisation under Truman was the dismantling of the previously existing foreign intelligence bureau that was formed by FDR, the Office of Strategic Services (OSS) on Sept 20, 1945 only two weeks after WWII was officially declared over. The OSS would be replaced by the CIA officially on Sept 18, 1947, with two years of an American intelligence purge and the internal shifting of chess pieces in the shadows. In addition, de-facto President Truman would also found the United States National Security Council on Sept 18, 1947, the same day he founded the CIA. The NSC was a council whose intended function was to serve as the President's principal arm for coordinating national security, foreign policies and policies among various government agencies.

In Col. Prouty's book he states,

" In 1955, I was designated to establish an office of special operations in compliance with National Security Council (NSC) Directive #5412 of March 15, 1954. This NSC Directive for the first time in the history of the United States defined covert operations and assigned that role to the Central Intelligence Agency to perform such missions , provided they had been directed to do so by the NSC, and further ordered active-duty Armed Forces personnel to avoid such operations. At the same time, the Armed Forces were directed to "provide the military support of the clandestine operations of the CIA" as an official function . "

What this meant, was that there was to be an intermarriage of the foreign intelligence bureau with the military, and that the foreign intelligence bureau would act as top dog in the relationship, only taking orders from the NSC. Though the NSC includes the President, as we will see, the President is very far from being in the position of determining the NSC's policies.

An Inheritance of Secret Wars

" There is no instance of a nation benefitting from prolonged warfare. "

– Sun Tzu

On January 20th, 1961, John F. Kennedy was inaugurated as President of the United States. Along with inheriting the responsibility of the welfare of the country and its people, he was to also inherit a secret war with communist Cuba run by the CIA.

JFK was disliked from the onset by the CIA and certain corridors of the Pentagon, they knew where he stood on foreign matters and that it would be in direct conflict for what they had been working towards for nearly 15 years. Kennedy would inherit the CIA secret operation against Cuba, which Prouty confirms in his book, was quietly upgraded by the CIA from the Eisenhower administration's March 1960 approval of a modest Cuban-exile support program (which included small air drop and over-the-beach operations) to a 3,000 man invasion brigade just before Kennedy entered office.

This was a massive change in plans that was determined by neither President Eisenhower, who warned at the end of his term of the military industrial complex as a loose cannon, nor President Kennedy, but rather the foreign intelligence bureau who has never been subject to election or judgement by the people. It shows the level of hostility that Kennedy encountered as soon as he entered office, and the limitations of a President's power when he does not hold support from these intelligence and military quarters.

Within three months into JFK's term, Operation Bay of Pigs (April 17th to 20th 1961) was scheduled. As the popular revisionist history goes; JFK refused to provide air cover for the exiled Cuban brigade and the land invasion was a calamitous failure and a decisive victory for Castro's Cuba. It was indeed an embarrassment for President Kennedy who had to take public responsibility for the failure, however, it was not an embarrassment because of his questionable competence as a leader. It was an embarrassment because, had he not taken public responsibility, he would have had to explain the real reason why it failed. That the CIA and military were against him and that he did not have control over them. If Kennedy were to admit such a thing, he would have lost all credibility as a President in his own country and internationally, and would have put the people of the United States in immediate danger amidst a Cold War.

What really occurred was that there was a cancellation of the essential pre-dawn airstrike, by the Cuban Exile Brigade bombers from Nicaragua, to destroy Castro's last three combat jets. This airstrike was ordered by Kennedy himself. Kennedy was always against an American invasion of Cuba, and striking Castro's last jets by the Cuban Exile Brigade would have limited Castro's threat, without the U.S. directly supporting a regime change operation within Cuba. This went fully against the CIA's plan for Cuba.

Kennedy's order for the airstrike on Castro's jets would be cancelled by Special Assistant for National Security Affairs McGeorge Bundy, four hours before the Exile Brigade's B-26s were to take off from Nicaragua, Kennedy was not brought into this decision. In addition, the Director of Central Intelligence Allen Dulles, the man in charge of the Bay of Pigs operation was unbelievably out of the country on the day of the landings.

Col. Prouty, who was Chief of Special Operations during this time, elaborates on this situation:

" Everyone connected with the planning of the Bay of Pigs invasion knew that the policy dictated by NSC 5412, positively prohibited the utilization of active-duty military personnel in covert operations. At no time was an "air cover" position written into the official invasion plan The "air cover" story that has been created is incorrect. "

As a result, JFK who well understood the source of this fiasco, set up a Cuban Study Group the day after and charged it with the responsibility of determining the cause for the failure of the operation. The study group, consisting of Allen Dulles, Gen. Maxwell Taylor, Adm. Arleigh Burke and Attorney General Robert Kennedy (the only member JFK could trust), concluded that the failure was due to Bundy's telephone call to General Cabell (who was also CIA Deputy Director) that cancelled the President's air strike order.

Kennedy had them.

Humiliatingly, CIA Director Allen Dulles was part of formulating the conclusion that the Bay of Pigs op was a failure because of the CIA's intervention into the President's orders. This allowed for Kennedy to issue the National Security Action Memorandum #55 on June 28th, 1961, which began the process of changing the responsibility from the CIA to the Joint Chiefs of Staff. As Prouty states,

" When fully implemented, as Kennedy had planned, after his reelection in 1964, it would have taken the CIA out of the covert operation business. This proved to be one of the first nails in John F. Kennedy's coffin. "

If this was not enough of a slap in the face to the CIA, Kennedy forced the resignation of CIA Director Allen Dulles, CIA Deputy Director for Plans Richard M. Bissell Jr. and CIA Deputy Director Charles Cabell.

In Oct 1962, Kennedy was informed that Cuba had offensive Soviet missiles 90 miles from American shores. Soviet ships with more missiles were on their way towards Cuba but ended up turning around last minute. Rumours started to abound that JFK had cut a secret deal with Russian Premier Khrushchev, which was that the U.S. would not invade Cuba if the Soviets withdrew their missiles. Criticisms of JFK being soft on communism began to stir.

NSAM #263, closely overseen by Kennedy, was released on Oct 11th, 1963, and outlined a policy decision " to withdraw 1,000 military personnel [from Vietnam] by the end of 1963 " and further stated that " It should be possible to withdraw the bulk of U.S. personnel [including the CIA and military] by 1965. " The Armed Forces newspaper Stars and Stripes had the headline U.S. TROOPS SEEN OUT OF VIET BY '65. Kennedy was winning the game and the American people.

This was to be the final nail in Kennedy's coffin.

Kennedy was brutally shot down only one month later, on Nov, 22nd 1963. His death should not just be seen as a tragic loss but, more importantly, it should be recognised for the successful military coup d'état that it was and is . The CIA showed what lengths it was ready to go to if a President stood in its way. (For more information on this coup refer to District Attorney of New Orleans at the time, Jim Garrison's book . And the excellently researched Oliver Stone movie "JFK")

Through the Looking Glass

On Nov. 26th 1963, a full four days after Kennedy's murder, de facto President Johnson signed NSAM #273 to begin the change of Kennedy's policy under #263. And on March 4th, 1964, Johnson signed NSAM #288 that marked the full escalation of the Vietnam War and involved 2,709,918 Americans directly serving in Vietnam, with 9,087,000 serving with the U.S. Armed Forces during this period.

The Vietnam War, or more accurately the Indochina War, would continue for another 12 years after Kennedy's death, lasting a total of 20 years for Americans.

Scattered black ops wars continued, but the next large scale-never ending war that would involve the world would begin full force on Sept 11, 2001 under the laughable title War on Terror, which is basically another Iron Curtain, a continuation of a 74 year Cold War. A war that is not meant to end until the ultimate regime changes are accomplished and the world sees the toppling of Russia and China. Iraq was destined for invasion long before the vague Gulf War of 1990 and even before Saddam Hussein was being backed by the Americans in the Iraq-Iran war in the 1980s. Iran already suffered a CIA backed regime change in 1979.

It had been understood far in advance by the CIA and US military that the toppling of sovereignty in Iraq, Libya, Syria and Iran needed to occur before Russia and China could be taken over. Such war tactics were formulaic after 3 decades of counterinsurgency against the CIA fueled "communist-insurgency" of Indochina. This is how today's terrorist-inspired insurgency functions, as a perfect CIA formula for an endless bloodbath.

Former CIA Deputy Director (2010-2013) Michael Morell, who was supporting Hillary Clinton during the presidential election campaign and vehemently against the election of Trump, whom he claimed was being manipulated by Putin, said in a 2016 interview with Charlie Rose that Russians and Iranians in Syria should be killed covertly to 'pay the price' .

Therefore, when a drone stroke occurs assassinating an Iranian Maj. Gen., even if the U.S. President takes onus on it, I would not be so quick as to believe that that is necessarily the case, or the full story. Just as I would not take the statements of President Rouhani accepting responsibility for the Iranian military shooting down 'by accident' the Boeing 737-800 plane which contained 176 civilians, who were mostly Iranian, as something that can be relegated to criminal negligence, but rather that there is very likely something else going on here.

I would also not be quick to dismiss the timely release, or better described as leaked, draft letter from the US Command in Baghdad to the Iraqi government that suggests a removal of American forces from the country. Its timing certainly puts the President in a compromised situation. Though the decision to keep the American forces within Iraq or not is hardly a simple matter that the President alone can determine. In fact there is no reason why, after reviewing the case of JFK, we should think such a thing.

One could speculate that the President was set up, with the official designation of the IRGC as "terrorist" occurring in April 2019 by the US State Department, a decision that was strongly supported by both Bolton and Pompeo, who were both members of the NSC at the time. This made it legal for a US military drone strike to occur against Soleimani under the 2001 AUMF, where the US military can attack any armed group deemed to be a terrorist threat. Both Bolton and Pompeo made no secret that they were overjoyed by Soleimani's assassination and Bolton went so far as to tweet "Hope this is the first step to regime change in Tehran." Bolton has also made it no secret that he is eager to testify against Trump in his possible impeachment trial.

Former CIA Director Mike Pompeo was recorded at an unknown conference recently, but judging from the gross laughter of the audience it consists of wannabe CIA agents, where he admits that though West Points' cadet motto is "You will not lie, cheat, or steal, or tolerate those who do.", his training under the CIA was the very opposite, stating " I was the CIA Director. We lied, we cheated, we stole. It was like we had entire training courses. (long pause) It reminds you of the glory of the American experiment. "

Thus, it should be no surprise to anyone in the world at this point in history, that the CIA holds no allegiance to any country. And it can be hardly expected that a President, who is actively under attack from all sides within his own country, is in a position to hold the CIA accountable for its past and future crimes .

Tags Politics War Conflict


ThomasChase1776 , 3 minutes ago link

General Smedley Butler had an answer. Read his book.

https://www.americanswhotellthetruth.org/portraits/major-general-smedley-butler

Is-Be , 8 minutes ago link

Maj. Gen. Qasem Soleimani, a true hero for his fellow countrymen

All his countrymen?

Element , 15 minutes ago link

Who's Really In Charge Of The US Military? - Cynthia Chung via The Strategic Culture Foundation

Donald Trump, you stupid time-wasting twat .

ThomasChase1776 , 5 minutes ago link

LOL. That's a good one.

Assuming Trump is doing what he said he would, why isn't our military guarding our border?
Why hasn't our military left the middle east already?

Who really runs our government?

InTheLandOfTheBlind , 1 hour ago link

As much as I hate the CIA, mi6 had more of hand in overthrowing iran than Langley did

ThomasChase1776 , 4 minutes ago link

Is that supposed to be an excuse?

GRDguy , 1 hour ago link

". . . the CIA holds no allegiance to any country." But they sure kiss the *** of the financial sociopaths who write their paychecks and finance the black ops.

ThomasChase1776 , 4 minutes ago link

and Mossad

Slaytheist , 1 hour ago link

Does this bitch not know that the CIA is the currency mafia police....ffs, that's a **** ton of words.

oneno , 1 hour ago link

She knows ...

SRV , 1 hour ago link

Fletcher Prouty's book The Secret Team is a must read... he was on the inside and watched the formation of the permanent team established in the late 50s that assumed the power of the president.

JFK fought that team...

cynicalskeptic , 1 hour ago link

Look at who the OSS recruited - Ivy League Skull and Bones types from rich families that made their fortunes in often questionable ventures.

If you're the patriarch of some super wealthy family wouldn't you be thrilled to have younger family members working for the nation's intelligence agencies? Sort of the ultimate in 'inside information'. Plus these families had experience in things like drug smuggling, human trafficking and anything else you can imagine..... While the Brits started the opium trade with China, Americans jumped right in bringing opium from Turkey.

Didn't take long before the now CIA became owned by the families whose members staffed it.

InTheLandOfTheBlind , 43 minutes ago link

Again ignoring the British influence. The CIA does not have a monopoly on intelligence

Spiritual Anunnaki , 2 hours ago link

One major aspect pertaining American involvment in Veitnam was something like 90% of the rubber produced Globally came from the region.

It is more diverse now, being 3rd, with the association revealing that in 2017, Vietnam earned US$2.3 billion from export of 1.4 million tonnes of natural rubber, up 36% in value and 11.4% in volume year on year.

Haboob , 2 hours ago link

Fighting for rubber monopoly in Vietnam,fighting for oil monopoly in the middle east.

That's life.

Benito_Camela , 1 hour ago link

Gunboat diplomacy is nothing new. War is and always has been a racket.

InTheLandOfTheBlind , 38 minutes ago link

Unfortunately it is a winning racket.

Art_Vandelay , 2 hours ago link

Betrayals, secrets, tyranny? Who's in charge? **** Cheney & Co.

Benito_Camela , 1 hour ago link

Mike Pimpeo. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=DPt-zXn05ac

InTheLandOfTheBlind , 36 minutes ago link

The British crown

Kan , 2 hours ago link

Rockfellers formed the OSS then the CIA which is the brute force for the CFR which they also run and own. The bankers run y our country and bought and blackmailed all your politicians... Only buttplug and pedo's get to be in charge now folks.... and some 9th circle witches of course...

TeethVillage88s , 1 hour ago link

OSS & CIA were formed from Ivy League Schools/Uni's... who turned out to be Traitors to England & USSR... Same today I

[Feb 29, 2020] Pompeo lies and smokescreen

Pompeo has just four terms in the House of Representives befor getting postions of Director of CIA (whichsuggests previous involvement with CIA) and then paradoxically the head of the State Department, He retired from the alry in the rank of comptain and never participated in any battles. He serves only in Germany, and this can be classified as a chickenhawk. He never performed any dyplomatic duries in hs life and a large part of his adult life (1998-2006) was a greddy military contractor.
Jan 07, 2020 | www.truthdig.com

UN Special Rapporteur on Extra-Judicial Executions Agnes Callamard tweeted,

#Pentagon statement on targeted killing of #suleimani :

1. It mentions that it aimed at "deterring future Iranian attack plans". This however is very vague. Future is not the same as imminent which is the time based test required under international law. (1)

-- Agnes Callamard (@AgnesCallamard) January 3, 2020

2. Overall, the statement places far greater emphasis on past activities and violations allegedly commuted by Suleimani. As such the killing appears far more retaliatory for past acts than anticipatory for imminent self defense.

-- Agnes Callamard (@AgnesCallamard) January 3, 2020

3. The notion that Suleimani was "actively developing plans" is curious both from a semantic and military standpoint. Is it sufficient to meet the test of mecessity and proportionality?

-- Agnes Callamard (@AgnesCallamard) January 3, 2020

4. The statement fails to mention the other individuals killed alongside Suleimani. Collateral? Probably. Unlawful. Absolutely.

-- Agnes Callamard (@AgnesCallamard) January 3, 2020

[Feb 27, 2020] Qasem Soleimani - Wikipedia

Jan 06, 2020 | en.wikipedia.org

Orchestration of military escalation in 2015 In 2015, Soleimani started to gather support from various sources in order to combat the newly resurgent ISIL and rebel groups which were both successful in taking large swathes of territory away from Assad's forces. He was reportedly the main architect of the joint intervention involving Russia as a new partner with Assad and Hezbollah. In 2015, Soleimani started to gather support from various sources in order to combat the newly resurgent ISIL and rebel groups which were both successful in taking large swathes of territory away from Assad's forces. He was reportedly the main architect of the joint intervention involving Russia as a new partner with Assad and Hezbollah. [47] [48] [49] [50]

According to Reuters, at a meeting in Moscow in July, Soleimani unfurled a map of Syria to explain to his Russian hosts how a series of defeats for President Bashar al-Assad could be turned into victory – with Russia's help. Qasem Soleimani's visit to Moscow was the first step in planning for a Russian military intervention that has reshaped the Syrian war and forged a new According to Reuters, at a meeting in Moscow in July, Soleimani unfurled a map of Syria to explain to his Russian hosts how a series of defeats for President Bashar al-Assad could be turned into victory – with Russia's help. Qasem Soleimani's visit to Moscow was the first step in planning for a Russian military intervention that has reshaped the Syrian war and forged a new According to Reuters, at a meeting in Moscow in July, Soleimani unfurled a map of Syria to explain to his Russian hosts how a series of defeats for President Bashar al-Assad could be turned into victory – with Russia's help.

Qasem Soleimani's visit to Moscow was the first step in planning for a Russian military intervention that has reshaped the Syrian war and forged a new Iran–Russia alliance in support of the Syrian (and Iraqi) governments. Iran's supreme leader, Ali Khamenei also sent a senior envoy to Moscow to meet President Vladimir Putin. "Putin reportedly told [a senior Iranian envoy] 'Okay we will intervene. Send Qassem Soleimani.'" General Soleimani went to explain the map of the theatre and coordinate the strategic escalation of military forces in Syria. [49]

Operations in Aleppo
Map of the 2015 Aleppo offensives. [51] [52] [53] [54] [55] [56]

Soleimani had a decisive impact on the theater of operations, which led to a strong advance in southern Aleppo with the government and allied forces re-capturing two military bases and dozens of towns and villages in a matter of weeks. There was also a series of major advances towards Kuweiris air-base to the north-east. [57] By mid-November, the Syrian army and its allies had gained ground in southern areas of Aleppo Governorate, capturing numerous rebel strongholds. Soleimani was reported to have personally led the drive deep into the southern Aleppo countryside where many towns and villages fell into government hands. He reportedly commanded the Syrian Arab Army's 4th Mechanized Division, Hezbollah, Harakat Al-Nujaba (Iraqi), Kata'ib Hezbollah (Iraqi), Liwaa Abu Fadl Al-Abbas (Iraqi), and Firqa Fatayyemoun (Afghan/Iranian volunteers). [58]

In early February 2016, backed by Russian and Syrian air force airstrikes, the 4th Mechanized Division – in close coordination with Hezbollah, the National Defense Forces (NDF), Kata'eb Hezbollah, and Harakat Al-Nujaba – launched an offensive in Aleppo Governorate's northern countryside, [59] which eventually broke the three-year siege of Nubl and Al-Zahraa and cut off the rebels' main supply route from Turkey. According to a senior, non-Syrian security source close to Damascus, Iranian fighters played a crucial role in the conflict. "Qassem Soleimani is there in the same area", he said. [60] In December 2016, new photos emerged of Soleimani at the Citadel of Aleppo , though the exact date of the photos is unknown. [61] [62]

... ... ...

In 2014, Qasem Soleimani was in the Iraqi city of Amirli , to work with the Iraqi forces to push back militants from ISIL. [68] [69] According to the Los Angeles Times , which reported that Amirli was the first town to successfully withstand an ISIS invasion, it was secured thanks to "an unusual partnership of Iraqi and Kurdish soldiers, Iranian-backed Shiite militias and U.S. warplanes". The U.S. acted as a force multiplier for a number of Iranian-backed armed groups – at the same time that was present on the battlefield. [70] [71] Iranian Major General Qasem Soleimani prays in the Syrian desert during a local pro-government offensive in 2017

A senior Iraqi official told the BBC that when the city of Mosul fell, the rapid reaction of Iran, rather than American bombing, was what prevented a more widespread collapse. [11] Qasem Soleimani also seems to have been instrumental in planning the operation to relieve Amirli in Saladin Governorate, where ISIL had laid siege to an important city. [66] In fact the Quds force operatives under Soleimani's command seem to have been deeply involved with not only the Iraqi army and Shi'ite militias but also the Kurdish in the Battle of Amirli , [72] not only providing liaisons for intelligence-sharing but also the supply of arms and munitions in addition to "providing expertise". [73]

In the operation to liberate Jurf Al Sakhar , he was reportedly "present on the battlefield". Some Shia militia commanders described Soleimani as "fearless" – one pointing out that the Iranian general never wears a flak jacket , even on the front lines. [74]

In November 2014, Shi'ite and Kurdish forces under Soleimani's command pushed ISIS out of Iraqi villages of Jalawla and Saadia, in the Diyala Governorate . [67]

Soleimani was also intimately involved in the planning and execution of the operation to liberate Tikrit . [75] [76]

Soleimani played an integral role in the organisation and planning of the crucial operation to retake the city of Tikrit in Iraq from ISIS. The city of Tikrit rests on the left bank of the Tigris river and is the largest and most important city between Baghdad and Mosul, giving it a high strategic value. The city fell to ISIS during 2014 when ISIS made immense gains in northern and central Iraq. After its capture, ISIL's massacre at Camp Speicher led to 1,600 to 1,700 deaths of Iraqi Army cadets and soldiers. After months of careful preparation and intelligence gathering an offensive to encircle and capture Tikrit was launched in early March 2015. [76]

[Feb 27, 2020] Geraldo Rivera: "Don't For A Minute" Cheer Killing Of Iranian General; "What We Have Unleashed?"

In view of event of Jan 7 it looks like Geraldo Rivera had the point. He beautifully cut the neocon jerk by reminding him the role of the US intelligence agencies in unleashing Iraq war
Jan 02, 2020 | www.realclearpolitics.com

FOX News correspondent Geraldo Rivera debated "Fox & Friends" hosts Brian Kilmeade and Steve Doocy Friday about the assassination of Iranian special forces General Qassim al Soleimani in Iraq, warning of dire consequences if Iran chooses to retaliate and telling Kilmeade: "You, like Lindsey Graham, have never met a war you didn't like."

"Your arrogance is exactly what's wrong with the region," Geraldo said. "You're not a front-line fighter that has to go back into Iraq again."

GERALDO RIVERA: We thought that when the de-escalation at the embassy happened a couple of days ago that was the end of this chapter. The U.S., with it's firmness, had won the victory. It wasn't going to be Benghazi, it wasn't going to be Tehran from 1980. We won that technical victory.

Now we have taken this huge military escalation. Now I fear the worst. You're going to see the U.S. markets go crazy today. You're going to see the price of oil spiking today. This is a very, very big deal.

BRIAN KILMEADE: I don't know if you heard, this isn't about his resume of blood and death, it was about what was next. That's what you're missing.

STEVE DOOCY: According to the Secretary of Defense.

GERALDO RIVERA: By what credible source can you predict what the next Iranian move will be?

BRIAN KILMEADE: Secretary fo State and American intelligence provided that material.

GERALDO RIVERA: They've been excellent. They've been excellent, the U.S. intelligence has been excellent since 2003 when we invaded Iraq, disrupted the entire region for no real reason. Don't for a minute start cheering this on, what we have done, what we have unleashed --

BRIAN KILMEADE: I will cheer it on. I am elated.

GERALDO RIVERA: Then you, like Lindsey Graham, have never met a war you didn't like.

BRIAN KILMEADE: That is not true, and don't even say that.

GERALDO RIVERA: If President Trump wanted a de-escalation --

BRIAN KILMEADE: Let them kill us for another 15 years?

GERALDO RIVERA: If President Trump wanted a de-escalation and to bring our troops home--

BRIAN KILMEADE: What about the 700 Americans who are dead, should they not be happy?

GERALDO RIVERA: What about the tens of thousands of Iraqis who have died since 2003? You have to start seeing. What the hell are we doing in Baghdad in the first place? Why are we there?

BRIAN KILMEADE: So you're blaming President Bush for the maniacal killing of Saddam Hussein?

GERALDO RIVERA: I am blaming President Bush in 2003 for the fake weapons of mass destruction that never existed and the con-job that drove us into that war.

[Feb 25, 2020] How John Bolton and a Phony Script Brought Us to the Brink of War by Scott Ritter

Bolton is a typical "Full Spectrum Dominance" hawk, a breed of chickenhawks that recently proliferated in Washinton corridors of power and which are fed by MIC.
Notable quotes:
"... the way the IRGC came to be designated as an FTO is itself predicated on a lie. ..."
"... The person responsible for this lie is President Trump's former national security adviser John Bolton, who while in that position oversaw National Security Council (NSC) interagency policy coordination meetings at the White House for the purpose of formulating a unified government position on Iran. Bolton had stacked the NSC staff with hardliners who were pushing for a strong stance. But representatives from the Department of Defense often pushed back . During such meetings, the Pentagon officials argued that the IRGC was "a state entity" (albeit a "bad" one), and that if the U.S. were to designate it as a terrorist group, there was nothing to stop Iran from responding by designating U.S. military personnel or CIA officers as terrorists. ..."
"... The memoranda on these meetings, consisting of summaries of the various positions put forward, were doctored by the NSC to make it appear as if the Pentagon agreed with its proposed policy. The Defense Department complained to the NSC that the memoranda produced from these meetings were "largely incorrect and inaccurate" -- "essentially fiction," a former Pentagon official claimed. ..."
"... This was a direct result of the bureaucratic dishonesty of John Bolton. Such dishonesty led to a series of policy decisions that gave a green light to use military force against IRGC targets throughout the Middle East. ..."
Feb 25, 2020 | www.theamericanconservative.com
President Trump's decision to assassinate Qassem Soleimani back in January took the United States to the brink of war with Iran.

Trump and his advisors contend that Soleimani's death was necessary to protect American lives, pointing to a continuum of events that began on December 27, when a rocket attack on an American base in Iraq killed a civilian translator. That in turn prompted U.S. airstrikes against a pro-Iranian militia, Khati'ab Hezbollah, which America blamed for the attack. Khati'ab Hezbollah then stormed the U.S. embassy in Baghdad in protest. This reportedly triggered the assassination of Soleimani and a subsequent Iranian retaliatory missile strike on an American base in Iraq. The logic of this continuum appears consistent except for one important fact -- it is all predicated on a lie.

On the night of December 27, a pickup truck modified to carry a launchpad capable of firing 36 107mm Russian-made rockets was used in an attack on a U.S. military compound located at the K-1 Airbase in Iraq's Kirkuk Province. A total of 20 rockets were loaded onto the vehicle, but only 14 were fired. Some of the rockets struck an ammunition dump on the base, setting off a series of secondary explosions. When the smoke and dust cleared, a civilian interpreter was dead and several other personnel , including four American servicemen and two Iraqi military, were wounded. The attack appeared timed to disrupt a major Iraqi military operation targeting insurgents affiliated with ISIS.

The area around K-1 is populated by Sunni Arabs, and has long been considered a bastion of ISIS ideology, even if the organization itself was declared defeated inside Iraq back in 2017 by then-prime minister Haider al Abadi. The Iraqi counterterrorism forces based at K-1 consider the area around the base an ISIS sanctuary so dangerous that they only enter in large numbers.

For their part, the Iraqis had been warning their U.S. counterparts for more than a month that ISIS was planning attacks on K-1. One such report, delivered on November 6, using intelligence dating back to October, was quite specific: "ISIS terrorists have endeavored to target K-1 base in Kirkuk district by indirect fire (Katyusha rockets)."

Another report, dated December 25, warned that ISIS was attempting to seize territory to the northeast of K-1. The Iraqis were so concerned that on December 27, the day of the attack, they requested that the U.S. keep functional its tethered aerostat-based Persistent Threat Detection System (PTSD) -- a high-tech reconnaissance balloon equipped with multi-mission sensors to provide long endurance intelligence, surveillance, reconnaissance (ISR) and communications in support of U.S. and Iraqi forces.

Instead, the U.S. took the PTSD down for maintenance, allowing the attackers to approach unobserved.

The Iraqi military officials at K-1 immediately suspected ISIS as the culprit behind the attack. Their logic was twofold. First, ISIS had been engaged in nearly daily attacks in the area for over a year, launching rockets, firing small arms, and planting roadside bombs. Second, according to the Iraqis , "The villages near here are Turkmen and Arab. There is sympathy with Daesh [i.e., ISIS] there."

As transparent as the Iraqis had been with the U.S. about their belief that ISIS was behind the attack, the U.S. was equally opaque with the Iraqis regarding whom it believed was the culprit. The U.S. took custody of the rocket launcher, all surviving ordnance, and all warhead fragments from the scene.

U.S. intelligence analysts viewed the attack on K-1 as part of a continuum of attacks against U.S. bases in Iraq since early November 2019. The first attack took place on November 9, against the joint U.S.-Iraqi base at Qayarrah , and was very similar to the one that occurred against K-1 -- some 31 107mm rockets were fired from a pickup truck modified to carry a rocket launchpad. As with K-1, the forces located in Qayarrah were engaged in ongoing operations targeting ISIS, and the territory around the base was considered sympathetic to ISIS. The Iraqi government attributed the attack to unspecified "terrorist" groups.

The U.S., however, attributed the attacks to Khati'ab Hezbollah, a Shia militia incorporated with the Popular Mobilization Organization (PMO), a pro-Iranian umbrella organization that had been incorporated into the Iraqi Ministry of Defense. The PMO blamed the U.S. for a series of drone strikes against its facilities throughout the summer of 2019. The feeling among the American analysts was that the PMO attacked the bases as a form of retaliation.

The U.S. launched a series of airstrikes against Khati'ab Hezbollah bases and command posts in Iraq and Syria on December 29, near the Iraqi city of al-Qaim. These attacks were carried out unilaterally, without any effort to coordinate with America's Iraqi counterparts or seek approval from the Iraqi government.

Khati'ab Hezbollah units had seized al-Qaim from ISIS in November 2017, and then crossed into Syria, where they defeated ISIS fighters dug in around the Syrian town of al-Bukamal. They were continuing to secure this strategic border crossing when they were bombed on December 29.

Left unsaid by the U.S. was the fact that the al-Bukamal-al Qaim border crossing was seen as a crucial "land bridge," connecting Iran with Syria via Iraq. Throughout the summer of 2019, the U.S. had been watching as Iranian engineers, working with Khati'ab Hezbollah, constructed a sprawling base that straddled both Iraq and Syria. It was this base, and not Khati'ab Hezbollah per se, that was the reason for the American airstrike. The objective in this attack was to degrade Iranian capability in the region; the K-1 attack was just an excuse, one based on the lie that Khati'ab Hezbollah, and not ISIS, had carried it out.

The U.S. had long condemned what it called Iran's "malign intentions" when it came to its activities in Iraq and Syria. But there is a world of difference between employing tools of diplomacy to counter Iranian regional actions and going kinetic. One of the reasons the U.S. has been able to justify attacking Iranian-affiliated targets, such as the al-Bukamal-al-Qaim complex and Qassem Soleimani, is that the Iranian entity associated with both -- the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps, or IRGC -- has been designated by the U.S. as a Foreign Terrorist Organization (FTO), and as such military attacks against it are seen as an extension of the ongoing war on terror. Yet the way the IRGC came to be designated as an FTO is itself predicated on a lie.

The person responsible for this lie is President Trump's former national security adviser John Bolton, who while in that position oversaw National Security Council (NSC) interagency policy coordination meetings at the White House for the purpose of formulating a unified government position on Iran. Bolton had stacked the NSC staff with hardliners who were pushing for a strong stance. But representatives from the Department of Defense often pushed back . During such meetings, the Pentagon officials argued that the IRGC was "a state entity" (albeit a "bad" one), and that if the U.S. were to designate it as a terrorist group, there was nothing to stop Iran from responding by designating U.S. military personnel or CIA officers as terrorists.

The memoranda on these meetings, consisting of summaries of the various positions put forward, were doctored by the NSC to make it appear as if the Pentagon agreed with its proposed policy. The Defense Department complained to the NSC that the memoranda produced from these meetings were "largely incorrect and inaccurate" -- "essentially fiction," a former Pentagon official claimed.

After the Pentagon "informally" requested that the NSC change the memoranda to accurately reflect its position, and were denied, the issue was bumped up to Undersecretary of Defense John Rood. He then formally requested that the memoranda be corrected. Such a request was unprecedented in recent memory, a former official noted. Regardless, the NSC did not budge, and the original memoranda remained as the official records of the meetings in question.

President Trump designated the IRGC a Foreign Terrorist Organization (FTO) in April 2018.

This was a direct result of the bureaucratic dishonesty of John Bolton. Such dishonesty led to a series of policy decisions that gave a green light to use military force against IRGC targets throughout the Middle East. The rocket attack against K-1 was attributed to an Iranian proxy -- Khati'ab Hezbollah -- even though there was reason to believe the attack was carried out by ISIS. This was a cover so IRGC-affiliated facilities in al-Bakumal and al-Qaim, which had nothing to do with the attack, could be bombed. Everything to do with Iran's alleged "malign intent." The U.S. embassy was then attacked. Soleimani killed. The American base at al-Assad was bombarded by Iranian missiles. America and Iran were on the brink of war.

All because of a lie.

Scott Ritter is a former Marine Corps intelligence officer who served in the former Soviet Union implementing arms control treaties, in the Persian Gulf during Operation Desert Storm, and in Iraq overseeing the disarmament of WMD. He is the author of several books, most recently, Deal of the Century: How Iran Blocked the West's Road to War (2018).

[Feb 25, 2020] A Worthless 'New Deal' from the Iran Hawks

So Menendez survived as MIC stooge. Nice.
Iran hawks never talk about diplomacy except as a way to discredit it.
Notable quotes:
"... And even if Iran were to accept and proceed comply in good faith, just as Iran complied scrupulously with the JCPOA, what's to prevent any US administration from tearing up that "new deal" and demanding more? ..."
Feb 25, 2020 | www.theamericanconservative.com
|

10:03 am

Daniel Larison Two Iran hawks from the Senate, Bob Menendez and Lindse Graham, are proposing a "new deal" that is guaranteed to be a non-starter with Iran:

Essentially, their idea is that the United States would offer a new nuclear deal to both Iran and the gulf states at the same time. The first part would be an agreement to ensure that Iran and the gulf states have access to nuclear fuel for civilian energy purposes, guaranteed by the international community in perpetuity. In exchange, both Iran and the gulf states would swear off nuclear fuel enrichment inside their own countries forever.

Iran is never going to accept any agreement that requires them to give up domestic enrichment. As far as they are concerned, they are entitled to this under the Non-Proliferation Treaty, and they regard it as a matter of their national rights that they keep it. Insisting on "zero enrichment" is what made it impossible to reach an agreement with Iran for the better part of a decade, and it was only when the Obama administration understood this and compromised to allow Iran to enrich under tight restrictions that the negotiations could move forward. Demanding "zero enrichment" today in 2020 amounts to rejecting that compromise and returning to a bankrupt approach that drove Iran to build tens of thousands of centrifuges. As a proposal for negotiations, it is dead on arrival, and Menendez and Graham must know that. Iran hawks never talk about diplomacy except as a way to discredit it. They want to make a bogus offer in the hopes that it will be rejected so that they can use the rejection to justify more aggressive measures.

The identity of the authors of the plan is a giveaway that the offer is not a serious diplomatic proposal. Graham is one of the most incorrigible hard-liners on Iran, and Menendez is probably the most hawkish Democratic senator in office today. Among other things, Menendez has been a booster of the Mujahideen-e Khalq (MEK), the deranged cult of Iranian exiles that has been buying the support of American politicians and officials for years. Graham has never seen a diplomatic agreement that he didn't want to destroy. When hard-liners talk about making a "deal," they always mean that they want to demand the other side's surrender.

Another giveaway that this is not a serious proposal is the fact that they want this imaginary agreement submitted as a treaty:

That final deal would be designated as a treaty, ratified by the U.S. Senate, to give Iran confidence that a new president won't just pull out (like President Trump did on President Barack Obama's nuclear deal).

This is silly for many reasons. The Senate doesn't ratify treaties nowadays, so any "new deal" submitted as a treaty would never be ratified. As the current president has shown, it doesn't matter if a treaty has been ratified by the Senate. Presidents can and do withdraw from ratified treaties if they want to, and the fact that it is a ratified treaty doesn't prevent them from doing this. Bush pulled out of the ABM Treaty, which was ratified 88-2 in 1972. Trump withdrew from the INF Treaty just last year. The INF Treaty had been ratified with a 93-5 vote. The hawkish complaint that the JCPOA wasn't submitted as a treaty was, as usual, made in bad faith. There was no chance that the JCPOA would have been ratified, and even if it had been that ratification would not have protected it from being tossed aside by Trump. Insisting on making any new agreement a treaty is just another way of announcing that they have no interest in a diplomatic solution.

Menendez and Graham want to make the obstacles to diplomacy so great that negotiations between the U.S. and Iran can't resume. It isn't a serious proposal, and it shouldn't be taken seriously.

Feral Finster 5 hours ago

And even if Iran were to accept and proceed comply in good faith, just as Iran complied scrupulously with the JCPOA, what's to prevent any US administration from tearing up that "new deal" and demanding more?

[Feb 24, 2020] Missiles Attack on Al Assad Base was a message: Iran is No Paper Tiger

Feb 24, 2020 | www.winterwatch.net

Although Trump decided to call this as "Iran standing down," analysts on both sides can work the calculus of this test run. I have been suggesting that Iran's cheaper technology is quite effective and an advantage near their "home court."


Read "The Van Riper Gambit: Iran Scores Against Expensive High-Tech US Gadgetry"

The Iranians used a third- or fourth-generation Fateh 110, which was generally given a range of 300 km. But the Al Assad base is 370 km from the border, so it seems the Iranians squeezed out some extra range. The fourth generation Fateh 100 carries a 650 kg warhead. Iran certainly has missiles with more punch. The Quim 1 is essentially a similar missile.

https://www.youtube.com/embed/63ehLAg7mSU

Iran showed that it can put most of Iraq in range of these low-cost missiles should it become a battleground. The Al Assad base is large and target-rich.

Leaked pictures taken by a Puerto Rican soldier of the damage to the Al-Asad US airbase in Iraq, after being hit by Iranian missiles.

The Pentagon have told soldiers not to film the damage. #NoWarWithIran #Iran pic.twitter.com/Kl4WF6tmy0

-- Ian56 (@Ian56789) January 9, 2020

Meanwhile, Russia offered Iraq its state-of-the-art S-400 air defense to defend its air space.

Besides the added range, the accuracy looks impressive.

"Some of the locations struck look like the missiles hit dead center," said David Schmerler, an analyst with the Middlebury Institute.

Numbers and production information relating to the Fateh 110 are currently uncertain, yet Iranian media sources claim that facilities have been created to mass produce the weapon.

Michael Elleman, director of the Nonproliferation and Nuclear Policy Programme at the International Institute for Strategic Studies, estimates that Iran has numbers "in the high hundreds" of the Fateh-110.

Our takeaway is that this night demonstration is hardly a dud and will give Americans some pause. It shows this key base at Al Assad will be vulnerable. If one night Iran threw a hundred of these missiles up and aimed them at personnel, things could get ugly fast.

Observers are asking "where was the Patriot defense missile?" The problem is economic. The cost of each missile is $2.75 million. A Rand study estimated that a Patriot will need three rounds to take down basic short-range ballistic missiles like the Fateh-110. That's 30 times more than the cost of Fateh. Iran would hope the Patriot is wasted on Fatehs and Quims, and they would gladly run that kind of cost-benefit math all over the region.

"For the time being, the Americans have been given a slap, revenge is a different issue," Iran's Fars News Agency quotes Iran's supreme leader, Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, as saying Wednesday. "Military moves like this are not enough. The Americans' corruption-stirring presence will come to an end."

Winter Watch Takeaway

U.S. vulnerability at Al Assad has now been well demonstrated. If anything -- especially as more sanctions are being slapped on -- the War Party in Iran will be emboldened to run with their advantages and do so well before more American tro