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Posts Tagged ‘Iran’

Israel Joins Totalitarian States Using Coronavirus to Spy on Citizens | The American Conservative

Posted by M. C. on March 19, 2020

https://www.theamericanconservative.com/articles/israel-joins-totalitarian-states-in-using-coronavirus-to-spy-on-its-citizens/

Iran and China, too, are turning powerful intelligence-gathering networks on their own people. Is the U.S. next?

An Israeli soldier wearing a face mask enters a train on March 16, 2020 in Tel Aviv, Israel. Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu announced emergency measures to combat COVID-19 after more than 300 Israelis tested positive. (Photo by Amir Levy/Getty Images)

At 1:30 a.m. Tuesday morning, Israel joined Iran and China in focusing the powerful intelligence gathering tools of the state on its own citizens—all in the name of containing the coronavirus outbreak.

In the dead of the night, the government of Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu authorized advanced digital surveillance and monitoring tools to be deployed on Israeli citizens, without court order, in an effort to track coronavirus carriers.

Israel’s internal security service, the Shin Bet, will be allowed to use personal cell phone data and information such as which cell tower a device pings to, to retroactively track the movements of carriers of the “coronavirus in order to see with whom they interacted in the days and weeks before they were tested in order to place those people in quarantine,” reportsThe Times of Israel. This means that “any person in Israel could come under surveillance” of the Shin Bet, “an organization with no public transparency requirements” that reports directly to the Prime Minister.

The decision came after Netanyahu appeared ready to close down most of the court system and deploy the measure without Knesset approval Saturday night.

“The public outcry over these measures and accusations of an effective coup by the government over the other branches led Deputy Attorney-General Raz Nizri to assure a group of journalists on Sunday night that the Shin Bet would not start its surveillance without Knesset approval,” reports The Jerusalem Post.

The government ultimately authorized the surveillance in the middle of the night between Monday and Tuesday, without Knesset approval. The program removes a 30-day limit that Netanyahu had promised, and instead authorizes surveillance to continue an additional 60 days after the government’s state of emergency ends.

“Because the pandemic is spreading at an incredibly fast pace, postponing using these tools by even an hour could cause the deaths of a very large amount of Israelis,” Netanyahu said.

“I can assure you all unequivocally: There isn’t and won’t be a ‘Big Brother’ in the State of Israel, even in the framework of an extreme event like what we are dealing with now,” wrote Transportation Minister Betzalel Smotrich in a tweet on Sunday.

Blue and White leaders Benny Gantz and Gabi Ashenazi called the decision “surrendering transparency” and “political thievery.”

Israel’s new citizen surveillance program builds on a 2002 counterterrorism law that gave the Shin Bet direct access to cellular data, bypassing cell phone companies.

Netanyahu’s political rival Benny Gantz was tasked with forming a government Monday afternoon, and critics argue Netanyahu’s caretaker government does not have the authority to circumvent the relevant committees and single-handedly approve the sweeping measures.

“The government approved in the dead of night, in a move of underhanded opportunism the emergency regulations, despite the fact that the Foreign Affairs and Defense Committee started discussing the matter yesterday, without given the option to seriously delve into the issue and complete deliberations,” tweeted Gabi Ashkenazi, former chair of the Foreign Affairs and Defense Committee.

“It’s inappropriate to approve such a measure in this manner, without public and parliamentary supervision,” he continued. “I call to allow the establishment of the Foreign Affairs and Defense Committee (which was dissolved on Monday as the new Knesset was sworn in) as soon as today in order to immediately discuss the issue, and activate the necessary supervision as stated by the law.”

Israel’s new regulations come as governments around the world adopt increasingly draconian measures. Iran rolled out an app ostensibly for the purpose of informing the public of coronavirus symptoms, but which actually spied on Iranians.  The Communist government of China has brought the full weight of its mass public surveillance and social credit system to bear, using face recognition software, apps, drones and CCTV cameras to enforce quarantines.

Domestic police forces in Europe are adopting measures that would have been unthinkable in democratic societies a few months ago. The U.K. plans to give police new authority to detain people and place them in isolation. Police in Madrid, Spain are deploying drones with cameras and loudspeakers to order people in parks and on the streets to go home.

“We will not hesitate to use all the means at our disposal to ensure your security and that of everyone,” Madrid’s Police Force tweeted. “Although some still make it difficult for us.”

Amid talks that the Trump administration is seeking location data from tech giants like Google and Facebook, democratic governments around the world are balancing citizens’ civil liberties and public health.

“Israel is a democracy — we must uphold the balance between the rights of individuals and the public needs. And we are doing this,” said Netanyahu.

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No. 1 Sponsor of Terrorism? US Media Name Iran, but Overlook a Candidate Closer to Home | FAIR

Posted by M. C. on February 14, 2020

If you defined it, say, as “deliberately and violently targeting civilians for political purposes,” that would tend to rule out roadside bombs hitting US military patrols, and rule in Saudi Arabia’s US-backed bombing of Yemeni civilians.

The New York Times (4/8/19) also raised the limited consideration of whether “other government intelligence agencies that use violence—including those of Israel, Pakistan and Russia—also now meet that standard.”…CIA?

https://fair.org/home/no-1-sponsor-of-terrorism-us-media-name-iran-but-overlook-a-candidate-closer-to-home/

After the illegal assassination of Iranian Gen. Qassem Soleimani, FAIR (1/9/20) noted that the corporate media offered no moral objections to murdering another country’s high-ranking state official. The media consensus was that Soleimani was a despicable “terrorist” responsible for the deaths of “hundreds of Americans”—a formula that buried the crucial distinction between terrorism and armed resistance, presenting military combat against the US and its allies’ occupation forces in the Middle East as inherently illegitimate.

'The Game Has Changed'

The New York Times’ editorial board (1/3/20) declared that the “real question” about the Trump administration’s drone strike was “not whether it was justified, but whether it was wise,” because Soleimani was “indisputably an enemy of the American people,” and an “architect of international terrorism responsible for the deaths of hundreds of Americans and a great many others in the region, from Yemen to Syria.” The LA Times editorial board (1/3/20) claimed that Soleimani was a

key architect in Iran’s destabilizing policies in the Middle East, and a force behind militias and terror groups that have killed and maimed countless civilians and soldiers, including US troops and contractors.

The Wall Street Journal’s editorial board (1/3/20) proclaimed that “Mr. Trump’s decisive action” has struck “a blow against terror in the cause of justice and American interests,” and dismissed the need for evidence of Soleimani’s alleged plans to “attack American diplomats and service members.” because it was “belated justice” for the “hundreds of Americans whom Soleimani had a hand in killing,” and was another successful “show of force” to “deter terrorism against Americans.”

This credulous acceptance of the US government’s practice of branding Official Enemies as “terrorists” goes far beyond Soleimani. If there are any questions, they are often confined to whether this will negatively impact the US, with the credibility of US “terrorist” designations, with all of their repercussions, being unimpeachable. For years, corporate media have uncritically parroted the US State Department’s absurd assertions of Iran being the world’s “leading state sponsor of terrorism” with a “near-global reach” (Washington Post, 9/19/18; CNN, 6/2/16, Fox News, 11/2/19). According to the US State Department’s “Country Reports on Terrorism 2018,” Iran is the “world’s worst state sponsor of terrorism” because it supports

Hezbollah, Palestinian terrorist groups in Gaza, and various groups in Syria, Iraq and throughout the Middle East.  Iran used the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps-Qods Force (IRGC-QF) to provide support to terrorist organizations, provide cover for associated covert operations, and create instability in the region.  Iran has acknowledged the involvement of the IRGC-QF in the Iraq and Syria conflicts, and the IRGC-QF is Iran’s primary mechanism for cultivating and supporting terrorists abroad.

FAIR (Extra!, 3/02; FAIR.org, 3/13/19) has repeatedly pointed out that US media conveniently avoid defining “terrorism,” because a consistent definition would undermine the conventional usage—that terrorism is what you call weak, nonstate actors using homemade bombs, regardless of their target. If you defined it, say, as “deliberately and violently targeting civilians for political purposes,” that would tend to rule out roadside bombs hitting US military patrols, and rule in Saudi Arabia’s US-backed bombing of Yemeni civilians.

Defining terrorism by the means used to carry out violence rather than the targets of that violence, and emphasizing the identity of the perpetrators rather than their political motives, is a convenient way to avoid the conclusion that the US’s so-called “War on Terror” is a hypocritical farce (FAIR.org, 3/29/18). Glenn Greenwald noted the dishonesty and hypocrisy of US media covering attacks on military targets as terrorism, while the Obama administration redefined “combatant” to mean “all military-age males in a strike zone”—which, in practice, can be anywhere.

Nevertheless, when the State Department declared that Soleimani’s Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC) is a “terrorist” organization, many reports offered little pushback, except for the possibility that it might “complicate military and diplomatic work by prohibiting contact with foreign officials who have worked with the Guard” (The Hill, 4/8/19)  or “incite retaliation by Tehran against American troops and intelligence officers” (New York Times, 4/8/19).

NYT: Trump Designates Iran’s Revolutionary Guards a Foreign Terrorist Group

The New York Times (4/8/19) also raised the limited consideration of whether “other government intelligence agencies that use violence—including those of Israel, Pakistan and Russia—also now meet that standard.” Politico (4/8/19) tellingly remarked that it’s the “first time the United States has designated an official military force of another country a terrorist group,” because such designations are “typically reserved for non-state actors.”

But when one examines the State Department’s rationale for designating Iran as the “world’s worst state sponsor of terrorism,” it should be clear that Iran is considered so because it supports armed resistance groups opposing the US and Israel’s illegal occupation of Middle Eastern territories. As FAIR (6/6/19, 1/21/20) noted, if US media tend to consider the imperial violence committed by the US and its allies to be righteous and inherently defensive by default, then any anti-imperialist violence must be considered aggressive and illegitimate, simply because it resists US-backed violence.

Of course, as Stephen Zunes and Gareth Porter have already pointed out (FAIR.org, 1/21/20), there is little evidence that the IRGC-Quds Force formerly headed by Soleimani were responsible for the 13-year old talking point of Iran killing “hundreds of Americans” in Iraq—a country the US illegally invaded and is currently occupying against the will of its elected representatives—except for the far-fetched claim that those IEDs were too “sophisticated” to have been made in Iraq. Contrary to reports, Soleimani did not seem to have “imminent” plans to attack the US, because he had arrived in Baghdad to attend regional peace talks with Saudi Arabia on behest of the Iraqi prime minister, with Trump’s knowledge. Soleimani was also a widely respected adversary of ISIS and the US-backed Syrian rebels linked to Al Qaeda (FAIR.org, 3/21/16, 1/4/17, 7/27/17).

Corporate media’s propagandistic coverage is most apparent when they consistently refuse to hold the US government accountable to its own standards for what constitutes “state sponsors of terrorism.” Comparing Iran’s relationship with armed Middle Eastern resistance groups like Hamas, Hezbollah and Houthi rebels with the US’ relationship with Israel and Saudi Arabia make it abundantly clear that the US far eclipses Iran in terrorism sponsorship.

If Iran is a “state sponsor of terrorism” because it provides support to “Palestinian terrorist groups in Gaza,” then does the US providing cash, weapons and surveillance for Israel’s state terrorism against Palestinians qualify the US as a “state sponsor of terrorism”? According to B’Tselem’s figures from 2000 all the way through the end of 2019, while Palestinian militants have killed a total of 301 Israeli civilians, Israeli security forces have killed 5,279 Palestinians who did not take part in hostilities, or were killed during the course of targeted killings (which are illegal under international law).

Likewise, if Iran is considered a state sponsor of terrorism because it provides material support to Hezbollah, what does that say about US support for Israel, whose illegal occupation of southern Lebanon prompted Hezbollah’s rise? In the conflict over Lebanon, Israel has been responsible for shedding far more civilian blood: According to Human Rights Watch, the 2006 Lebanon War resulted in the deaths of 43 Israeli civilians from Hezbollah’s indiscriminate rocket attacks, and around 900 Lebanese civilian deaths from Israeli airstrikes.

Even though the vast majority of State Department–designated terrorist groups are Sunni extremists that view the West and Iran as their biggest enemies, Grayzone reporter Ben Norton has repeatedly noted that US officials dishonestly conflate Sunni miitant groups like Al Qaeda and ISIS—who advocate a genocidal takfiri policy towards civilians and fellow Muslims—with Shi’a Islamist groups like Hezbollah, which primarily attack military and government targets for the purpose of expelling US presence from the region.

Despite the dubious media consensus on Iran being the world’s greatest state sponsor of terrorism, annual reports from the National Counterterrorism Center attribute the vast majority of terrorist attacks since 2001 to “Sunni extremists” who adhere to the Wahabbi-Salafi ideology, held in common by ISIS and Al Qaeda. US ally Saudi Arabia spends vast sums of money to export this extremist Sunni ideology—while Iranian/Shi’ite terrorism isn’t even a category in US counterterrorism reporting, and is a much smaller threat than domestic white nationalist terrorist attacks. Yet, under current US law, Americans can sue Iran, but not Saudi Arabia, for terrorism in US courts, because Iran is on the US list of designated state sponsors of terrorism and Saudi Arabia is not.

Aside from the alleged link between Saudi officials and the 9/11 attacks killing nearly 3,000 people on US soil, Saudi Arabia’s genocidal war to crush Yemeni independence (considered by the UN to be the world’s worst humanitarian crisis) can also qualify as state sponsorship of terrorism.

According to the Armed Conflict Location & Event Data Project (ACLED), the conflict has caused over 100,000 deaths since 2015. While the Houthi rebels have killed over 2,000 civilians, Saudi Arabia has killed 8,000 by deliberately attacking civilian targets. The US sponsors Saudi Arabia by being its biggest arms dealer, as well as providing intelligence, training and refueling, which makes the US a partner to the Saudi-led coalition’s war crimes (Guardian, 10/3/19).

Despite US media obfuscation, it’s often admitted that Saudi Arabia couldn’t wage this war without crucial US support, meaning the US could end this conflict anytime it wants to by withdrawing that support.

Even on the debate’s own terms, there’s a much stronger case that the US rather than Iran is actually the world’s biggest state sponsor of terrorism. A country that supported bringing “the terrors of the earth” to Cuba to sabotage its revolutionary government, and funded terrorist Contra groups in Nicaragua with cash gained from selling weapons to Iran, as well as providing the groundwork for Al Qaeda and ISIS to emerge (Extra!, 1/02; FAIR.org, 11/22/19), has no credibility to designate any other state as a terrorist organization.

This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivatives 4.0 International License.

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More Lies on Iran: The White House Just Can’t Help Itself as New Facts Emerge — Strategic Culture

Posted by M. C. on February 14, 2020

It now appears that the original death of the American contractor that sparked the tit-for-tat conflict was not carried out by Kata’ib Hezbollah at all. An Iraqi Army investigative team has gathered convincing evidence that it was an attack staged by Islamic State

https://www.strategic-culture.org/news/2020/02/13/more-lies-on-iran-the-white-house-just-cant-help-itself-as-new-facts-emerge/

 Philip Giraldi

Admittedly the news cycle in the United States seldom runs longer than twenty-four hours, but that should not serve as an excuse when a major story that contradicts what the Trump Administration has been claiming appears and suddenly dies. The public that actually follows the news might recall a little more than one month ago the United States assassinated a senior Iranian official named Qassem Soleimani. Openly killing someone in the government of a country with which one is not at war is, to say the least, unusual, particularly when the crime is carried out in yet another country with which both the perpetrator and the victim have friendly relations. The justification provided by Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, speaking for the administration, was that Soleimani was in Iraq planning an “imminent” mass killing of Americans, for which no additional evidence was provided at that time or since.

It soon emerged that the Iranian was in fact in Baghdad to discuss with the Iraqi Prime Minister Adel Abdul Mahdi a plan that might lead to the de-escalation of the ongoing conflict between Saudi Arabia and Iran, a meeting that the White House apparently knew about may even have approved. If that is so, events as they unfolded suggest that the U.S. government might have encouraged Soleimani to make his trip so he could be set up and killed. Donald Trump later dismissed the lack of any corroboration of the tale of “imminent threat” being peddled by Pompeo, stating that it didn’t really matter as Soleimani was a terrorist who deserved to die.

The incident that started the killing cycle that eventually included Soleimani consisted of a December 27th attack on a U.S. base in Iraq in which four American soldiers and two Iraqis were wounded while one U.S. contractor, an Iraqi-born translator, was killed. The United States immediately blamed Iran, claiming that it had been carried out by an Iranian supported Shi’ite militia called Kata’ib Hezbollah. It provided no evidence for that claim and retaliated by striking a Kata’ib base, killing 25 Iraqis who were in the field fighting the remnants of Islamic State (IS). The militiamen had been incorporated into the Iraqi Army and this disproportionate response led to riots outside the U.S. Embassy in Baghdad, which were also blamed on Iran by the U.S. There then followed the assassinations of Soleimani and nine senior Iraqi militia officers. Iran retaliated when it fired missiles at American forces, injuring more than one hundred soldiers, and then mistakenly shot down a passenger jet, killing an additional 176 people. As a consequence due to the killing by the U.S. of 34 Iraqis in the two incidents, the Iraqi Parliament also voted to expel all American troops.

It now appears that the original death of the American contractor that sparked the tit-for-tat conflict was not carried out by Kata’ib Hezbollah at all. An Iraqi Army investigative team has gathered convincing evidence that it was an attack staged by Islamic State. In fact, the Iraqi government has demonstrated that Kata’ib Hezbollah has had no presence in Kirkuk province, where the attack took place, since 2014. It is a heavily Sunni area where Shi’a are not welcome and is instead relatively hospitable to all-Sunni IS. It was, in fact, one of the original breeding grounds for what was to become ISIS.

This new development was reported in the New York Times in an article that was headlined “Was U.S. Wrong About Attack That Nearly Started a War With Iran? Iraqi military and intelligence officials have raised doubts about who fired the rockets that started a dangerous spiral of events.” In spite of the sensational nature of the report it generally was ignored in television news and in other mainstream media outlets, letting the Trump administration get away with yet another big lie, one that could easily have led to a war with Iran.

Iraqi investigators found and identified the abandoned white Kia pickup with an improvised Katyusha rocket launcher in the vehicle’s bed that was used to stage the attack. It was discovered down a desert road within range of the K-1 joint Iraqi-American base that was hit by at least ten missiles in December, most of which struck the American area.

There is no direct evidence tying the attack to any particular party and the improvised KIA truck is used by all sides in the regional fighting, but the Iraqi officials point to the undisputed fact that it was the Islamic State that had carried out three separate attacks near the base over the 10 days preceding December 27th. And there are reports that IS has been increasingly active in Kirkuk Province during the past year, carrying out near daily attacks with improvised roadside bombs and ambushes using small arms. There had, in fact, been reports from Iraqi intelligence that were shared with the American command warning that there might be an IS attack on K-1 itself, which is an Iraqi air base in that is shared with U.S. forces.

The intelligence on the attack has been shared with American investigators, who have also examined the pick-up truck. The Times reports that the U.S. command in Iraq continue to insist that the attack was carried out by Kata’ib based on information, including claimed communications intercepts, that it refuses to make public. The U.S. forces may not have shared the intelligence they have with the Iraqis due to concerns that it would be leaked to Iran, but senior Iraqi military officers are nevertheless perplexed by the reticence to confide in an ally.

If the Iraqi investigation of the facts around the December attack on K-1 is reliable, the Donald Trump administration’s reckless actions in Iraq in late December and early January cannot be justified. Worse still, it would appear that the White House was looking for an excuse to attack and kill a senior Iranian official to send some kind of message, a provocation that could easily have resulted in a war that would benefit no one. To be sure, the Trump administration has lied about developments in the Middle East so many times that it can no longer be trusted. Unfortunately, demanding any accountability from the Trump team would require a Congress that is willing to shoulder its responsibility for truth in government backed up by a media that is willing to take on an administration that regularly punishes anyone or any entity that dares to challenge it. That is the unfortunate reality in America today.

 

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US Continue Piling on the Lies About Iran - But the World ...

 

 

 

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The Unbearable Hypocrisy of US Sanctions on Iran – Antiwar.com Original

Posted by M. C. on January 28, 2020

The bottom line is this: the US Administration cites Iran’s restricting of outside
media as evidence of the evil nature of the Iranian government, all the while
scrambling to restrict American citizens’ access to Iranian media outlets.

Pot. Kettle. Black. Hypocrisy.

Sanctions: killing innocent civilians by design.

https://original.antiwar.com/daniel-mcadams/2020/01/27/the-unbearable-hypocrisy-of-us-sanctions-on-iran/

On November 22nd of last year, the US government announced it would impose sanctions on Iran’s information minister for his alleged role in limiting domestic Internet access while protests raged in that country over increases in gas prices.

At the time, US Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin condemned the Iranian government for censuring information that Iranian citizens could view online, stating that, “Iran’s leaders know that a free and open internet exposes their illegitimacy, so they seek to censor Internet access to quell anti-regime protests.”

The Iranians were evil, said the US government official in charge of economic sanctions, because it restricted what its citizens could read in the international press.

Our government would never do that…right?

Wrong. Yesterday, the US government knocked Iran’s state news agency, FARS, off of the Internet entirely, citing US sanctions against the country.

What that means is the Iranian news service is being censored by the United States government and that Americans will therefore no longer be able to see anything from this foreign media outlet.

Exactly what Mnuchin accused Iran of doing back in November.

Zerohedge writes, “as Iran’s PressTV describes further“:

The news agency said that it had received an email from the server company, which explicitly said that the blockage is due to an order by the Treasury’s Office of Foreign Assets Control (OFAC) and its inclusion in the list of Specially Designated Nationals (SDN).

The agency attached to its post a screenshot of its website with the message “www.farsnews.com’s server IP address could not be found.”

This latest US censorship of Iranian media is nothing new. Iran’s PressTV has been removed from YouTube and other US social media with “US sanctions on Iran” being given as the reason.

Americans are not allowed to see the Iranian perspective on the Middle East because the Beltway bombardiers and their bosses in the military-industrial complex depend on successfully demonizing all Persians so that Americans will accept their annihilation in another neocon war. If Americans are allowed to see the Iranian perspective they might not be so supportive of the slaughter the neocons are cooking up.

The bottom line is this: the US Administration cites Iran’s restricting of outside media as evidence of the evil nature of the Iranian government, all the while scrambling to restrict American citizens’ access to Iranian media outlets.

Pot. Kettle. Black. Hypocrisy.

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The Science of Sanctions - Sputnik International

 

 

 

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What’s the Point of NATO If You Are Not Prepared to Use It Against Iran? — Strategic Culture

Posted by M. C. on January 18, 2020

…there are certain things that NATO does that are not really defensive  
in nature but are rather destabilizing. Having expanded NATO right up to
the border with Russia, which the U.S. promised not to do and then
reneged, military exercises staged by the alliance currently occur right
next to Russian airspace and coastal waters.

In short-A CIA foreign policy tool.

https://www.strategic-culture.org/news/2020/01/16/whats-the-point-of-nato-if-you-are-not-prepared-to-use-it-against-iran/

Philip Giraldi

Article 5 of the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) alliance commits all members to participate in the defense of any single member that is attacked. An attack on one is an attack on all. Forged in the early stages of the cold war, the alliance originally included most of the leading non-communist states in Western Europe, as well as Turkey. It was intended to deter any attacks orchestrated by the Soviet Union and was defensive in nature.

Currently NATO is an anachronism as the Soviet Union collapsed in 1991, but the desire to continue to play soldier on an international stage has granted it a measure of life support. Indeed, the alliance is regularly auditioning for new members. Its latest addition is Montenegro, which has a military consisting of 2,000 men and women, roughly one brigade. If Montenegro should be attacked, the United States is obligated to come to its assistance.

It would all be something like comic opera featuring the Duke of Plaza Toro but for the fact that there are certain things that NATO does that are not really defensive in nature but are rather destabilizing. Having expanded NATO right up to the border with Russia, which the U.S. promised not to do and then reneged, military exercises staged by the alliance currently occur right next to Russian airspace and coastal waters. To support the incursions, the myth that Moscow is expansionistic (while also seeking to destroy what passes for democracy in the West) is constantly cited. According to the current version, Russian President Vladimir Putin is just waiting to resume control over Ukraine, Georgia, Poland and the Baltic States in an effort to reconstitute the old Soviet Union. This has led to demands from the usual suspects in the U.S. Congress that Georgia and Ukraine be admitted into the alliance, which would really create an existential threat for Russia that it would have to respond to. There have also been some suggestions that Israel might join NATO. A war that no one wants either in the Middle East or in Europe could be the result if the expansion plans bear fruit.

Having nothing to do beyond aggravating the Russians, the alliance has gone along with some of the transnational abominations initially created by virtue of the Global War on Terror initiated by the loosely wrapped American president George W. Bush. The NATO alliance currently has 8,000 service members participating in a training mission in Afghanistan and its key member states have also been parts of the various coalitions that Washington has bribed or coerced into being. NATO was also actively involved in the fiasco that turned Libya into a gangster state. It had previously been the most developed nation in Africa. Currently French and British soldiers are part of the Operation Inherent Resolve (don’t you love the names!) in Syria and NATO itself is part of the Global Coalition to Defeat ISIS.

NATO will now be doing its part to help defend the United States against terrorist attack. Last Wednesday the alliance Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg spoke with President Donald Trump on the phone in the wake of the assassination of Iranian Major General Qassem Soleimani at the Baghdad International Airport. The killing was apparently carried out using missiles fired by a U.S. Reaper drone and was justified by the U.S. by claiming that Soleimani was a terrorist due to his affiliation with the listed terrorist Quds Force. It was also asserted that Soleimani was planning an attack on the U.S. Embassy in Baghdad and would have killed “hundreds” of Americans. Evidence supporting the claims was so flimsy that even some Republicans balked at approving the chain of events.

Nine Iraqis also died in the attack, including the Iraqi General who headed the Kata’Ib Hezbollah Militia, which had been incorporated into the Iraqi Army to fight against the terrorist group ISIS. During the week preceding the execution of Soleimani, the U.S. had staged an air attack that killed 25 Iraqi members of Kata’Ib, the incident that then sparked the rioting at the American Embassy in Baghdad’s Green Zone.

Bearing in mind that the alleged thwarted terrorist attacks took place seven thousand miles away from the United States, it is hard to make the case that the U.S. was directly threatened requiring a response from NATO under Article 5. No doubt the Mike Pompeo State Department will claim that its Embassy is sovereign territory and therefor part of the United States. It is a bullshit argument, but it will no doubt be made. The White House has already made a similar sovereignty claim vis-à-vis the two U.S. bases in Iraq that were hit by a barrage of a dozen Iranian missiles a day after the killing of Soleimani. Unlike the case of Soleimani and his party, no one was killed by the Iranian attacks, quite possibly a deliberate mis-targeting to avoid an escalation in the conflict.

In spite of the fact that there was no actual threat and no factual basis for a call to arms, last Wednesday, NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg spoke by phone with President Donald Trump “on developments in the Middle East.” A NATO press release stated that the two men discussed “the situation in the region and NATO’s role.”

According to the press release “The President asked the Secretary General for NATO to become more involved in the Middle East. They agreed that NATO could contribute more to regional stability and the fight against international terrorism.” A tweet by White House deputy press secretary Judd Deere later confirmed that Trump had “emphasized the value of NATO increasing its role in preventing conflict and preserving peace in the Middle East.” Prior to the phone call, Trump had announced that he would ask NATO “to become much more involved in the Middle East process.”

As the Trumpean concept of a peace process is total surrender on the part of the targeted parties, be they Palestinians or Iranians, it will be interesting to see just how the new arrangement works. Sending soldiers into unstable places to do unnecessary things as part of a non-existent strategy will not sit well with many Europeans. It should not sit well with Americans either.

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Trump Steps Back From the Edge. Neocons Rage Accordingly — Strategic Culture

Posted by M. C. on January 17, 2020

https://www.strategic-culture.org/news/2020/01/15/trump-steps-back-from-the-edge-neocons-rage-accordingly/

 Matthew Ehret

 

Trump’s response to the attack on two US military bases showcase a hopeful about face on a dark age agenda which many thought could lead nowhere but World War III in the immediate days following Soleimani’s murder on January 3.

Immediately after the Iranian counter-attacks occurred on Wednesday morning at the same hour of Soleimani’s assassination, Iran’s Foreign Minister stated: “Iran took & concluded proportionate measures in self-defence under Article 51 of the UN Charter targeting base from which cowardly armed attack against our citizens & senior officials were launched. We do not seek escalation or war, but will defend ourselves against any aggression.” Iran’s retribution was more moderate than many analysts imagined as fore notice was delivered to the Iraqi government 30 minutes before rockets were launched giving American military personnel in the bases ample time to seek shelter.

In Trump’s remarks the following day, the President stated: “Iran appears to be standing down, which is a good thing for all parties concerned and a very good thing for the world… ISIS is a natural enemy of Iran. The destruction of ISIS is good for Iran, and we should work together on this and other shared priorities.”

Although Trump’s speech characterized Iran as a “major supporter of terrorism” and Gen. Soleimani as a “top terrorist”, his assertion that a common interest exists between the USA and Iran in the combat of ISIS is a spectacular break from the neocon agenda. This break is also one of many in a long line of internal struggles emanating from the corridors of American power in the days since Soleimani’s murder. This includes the memo written to the Iraq government by William Seely, commanding general of the Iraq Task Force saying: “We respect your sovereign decision to order our departure.” Seely’s memo created a major crisis amongst the radical war hawks like Mark Esper and Mark Milley who raced to deny the memo’s validity.

Recent revelations published in the Wall Street Journal demonstrating the incredible back channel discussion set up by Trump through the Swiss embassy in Tehran in the hours after Solemenei’s murder also play into this “movement of sanity” within the USA.

The Paradox of America Resolved

This contradictory behaviour is undoubtedly not so confusing for leading figures among Eurasia’s intelligentsia who are not ignorant to the battle occurring within America between nationalists who genuinely wish to end “the forever wars” in the Middle East vs those Pax Americanists embedded throughout the neoconservative and neo-liberal establishments who would rather burn the earth than abandon their dark age ideology. Trump’s many calls for positive relations with Russia and China over the past 3 years terrify these groups, and this potential US-Russia-China alliance has represented a real threat which today’s London-steered impeachment debacle, and years of Russia-gating has always aimed to derail.

With the impeachment bill now sitting in the republican-dominated Senate, the neocons loyal to the Military Industrial Complex which Trump has so loudly criticized have major leverage on the President and are using it. If you are thinking “why would any republican ruin their careers by supporting a democrat-driven impeachment bill against a republican leader?” then you haven’t realized that the drive for war with Iran (as well as Russia and China) is not a matter of “practical politics” for our later day fanatics of the evangelical pre-millennial garb like John Hagee or Benny Hinn who sincerely believe it is man’s duty to usher in Armageddon and fulfill their twisted view of prophecy. Nor is it an issue for their Israeli counterparts who believe essentially in the same prophecy with the small exception that the Savior’s arrival amidst the fires of war will be occurring for the first time rather than the 2nd. If you are reading this thinking “certainly no one could be so nuts”, then let this televised prayer led by Rev. John Hagee and Benny Hinn cause you to think twice:

Bill Kristol, a leading figure behind the neocon cult and co-author of the dystopian Project for a New American Century Manifesto has already poured tens of millions of dollars into billboards, commercials and lobbying teams gunning for Trump’s impeachment. Kristol tweeted on October 17, 2019 that “If Trump is not impeached and removed, the corruption will get even worse, the White House even more lawless, the violations of norms even more routine. The case for impeachment isn’t merely retrospective; it’s prophylactic. And it isn’t merely just; it’s urgent.”

The most recent commercial promoting Trump’s impeachment which Kristol’s think tank Republicans for the Rule of Law released raised the argument that since republicans supported Nixon’s impeachment in 1973, republicans should impeach Trump today.

This argument obviously overlooks the problem that while Nixon actually appeared to have committed crimes, nothing even approximating illegal activity has occurred in Trump’s case.

Things are not as black and white as many believed until recently. Iran’s recent military exercises with Russia and China have demonstrated clearly in the minds of saner Americans that no war with Iran is possible without taking Russia and China on as well. Putin’s brilliant maneuvers in the Middle East have led to the destruction of the Anglo-American plot to grow radical Islam as a geopolitical tool first against the Soviet Union in the 1980s and then against nation states more generally since the Soviet Union’s collapse. For this reason, Putin’s enemies throughout the neocon world and British intelligence have never forgiven him. Although China has not brought much military might to bear in the Middle East, the Belt and Road Initiative has provided a gateway to a durable peace which cannot be overlooked, as BRI projects in Iraq, Afghanistan, Syria, Lebanon and beyond have given the Middle East a new chance for a future.

The question still remains whether or not Trump can continue to move away from the WWIII agenda and into this positive alliance.

 

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Why Is Congress So Afraid to Use Its War Powers? – Rolling Stone

Posted by M. C. on January 16, 2020

The encounter, Wyden says, is a reminder that there are real and dire consequences to Congress’ inaction. “I’m always struck by how these debates that go on in Washington,” he says, “that seem so sterile compared to when a mom is in front of you in a small town in Oregon, crying because for her, what she wants to know, and what she deserves to know, is if her boy on the other side of the world is going to be safe.”

https://www.rollingstone.com/politics/politics-features/trump-iran-congress-war-powers-soleimani-936260/

It was the rarest of sightings: Last week, a bipartisan majority in the House of Representatives approved a resolution to restrict the president’s ability to go to war with Iran. The vote happened one week after the Trump administration assassinated via drone strike Iran’s top general. Government officials have offered only the flimsiest of evidence to justify the attack while putting the country on the path toward yet another conflict in the Middle East.

What’s so striking about the House’s symbolic rebuke of Trump is that Congress bothered to do it at all. For decades, America’s elected representatives have green-lit bloated defense budgets year after year, allowed Democratic and Republican presidents to wage endless wars around the world, and done little to assert the legislative branch’s authority when it comes to one of the most difficult decisions a lawmaker may face. The last time Congress formally declared a state of war was in 1942 with Bulgaria, Hungary, and Romania. In other words, they’ve all but abdicated their constitutional duty to decide when the country goes to war and with whom.

 

“Our system is not designed to have one person in charge of war,” Rep. Justin Amash, an independent from Michigan who quit the Republican Party last year, tells Rolling Stone. “But that’s the system we now have.”

How did this happen? Why is Congress asleep at the wheel?

On September 18th, 2001, Congress passed legislation authorizing the use of military force against the planners of the 9/11 terrorist attacks, paving the way for the Afghan invasion and hunt for Osama bin Laden. Almost a year later, on October 16th, 2002, Congress passed another Authorization for the Use of Military Force, better known as an AUMF. This one paved the way for President Bush’s war in Saddam Hussein’s Iraq.

But in the years that followed, the scope and meaning of the 2001 and 2002 AUMFs were stretched beyond recognition. They were used by Democratic and Republican administrations to justify interventions on multiple continents and against terrorist organizations and individuals that, in some cases, didn’t exist at the time the two AUMFs were enacted. Instead of pushing back, Congress went mute. With a few lonely exceptions over the years, elected officials from both parties stood idly by as different administrations ordered troops all over the world, often with shifting objectives and no end in sight, costing tens of thousands of American lives and trillions of dollars. “We’ve let the executive walk all over this institution,” says Sen. Ron Wyden (D-Ore.).

There’s a constitutional argument for Congress reclaiming its war powers; there’s also a practical one. Elected members of Congress are the voices of the people back home. Without real debate over whether to declare war, citizens have little say over one of the most serious and consequential decisions a government can make.

“I represent more troops than any other member of this body. I buried one of them earlier today at Arlington,” said Rep. Matt Gaetz (R-Fla.), one of Trump’s most ardent supporters in the House, in announcing his intention to vote in favor of the resolution. “If our servicemembers have the courage to fight and die in these wars, Congress ought to have the courage to vote for or against them.”

Interviews with the lawmakers who have resisted endless wars dictated by the White House shed light on why the legislative branch has been reluctant to step up.

Sen. Jeff Merkley (D-Ore.), a stalwart progressive, calls a vote to go to war “one of the most difficult votes anyone can make.” Foreign policy is a difficult and unpredictable issue that can sink the careers of politicians with an eye on higher office. Merkley says members of Congress see limited incentive to do their job given the potential consequences.

“There’s a collective group of senators and House members who are like, ‘Well, if we leave this with the president we don’t have to take these tough votes over the use of force,’” he says. “People look back at the vote to authorize the administration to go after Saddam Hussein. Biden probably thinks about that just about every day.”

In 2018, Merkley introduced legislation that would repeal the 2001 and 2002 AUMFs and put a three-year expiration date on future AUMFs. The bill never got out of the Foreign Relations Committee. Still, Merkley continues to speak out about the need for Congress to challenge presidential war powers. “Presidents did not respect the actual language of the AUMFs,” he says, “so we need to explicitly slap them upside the head and restore the role of Congress.”

Rep. Amash, a libertarian who is a critic of runaway defense spending and interventionist foreign policy, says Congress’ silence on war powers is indicative of a broader abdication by rank-and-file lawmakers on most business…

The most recent debate over the Trump administration’s killing of Qasem Soleimani, who led Iran’s elite Quds Force, revealed another possible reason for Capitol Hill’s reluctance to reclaim its authority on war powers: a fear of looking weak. In one example, Rep. Doug Collins (R-Ga.), the top Republican on the prestigious Judiciary Committee, ridiculously accused House Democrats of being “in love with terrorists” for daring to debate (as is their constitutional duty) President Trump’s authority to declare war and launch future attacks on Iran. Collins, who later apologized, wasn’t the only Republican trotting out this tired weak-on-terrorism soundbite…

Sen. Bernie Sanders cited the potential for such attacks as one reason lawmakers have gone silent on war powers. “I think perhaps the answer has been the fear that somebody will be seen as being soft on terrorism, not prepared to defend the troops or whatever,” Sanders says. “But the truth is we have seen under Republican and Democratic administrations Congress not utilizing its responsibilities under the Constitution.”…

The encounter, Wyden says, is a reminder that there are real and dire consequences to Congress’ inaction. “I’m always struck by how these debates that go on in Washington,” he says, “that seem so sterile compared to when a mom is in front of you in a small town in Oregon, crying because for her, what she wants to know, and what she deserves to know, is if her boy on the other side of the world is going to be safe.”

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“Iran Must Begin Acting Like A Normal Nation,” Says Totally Normal Nation – Caitlin Johnstone

Posted by M. C. on January 15, 2020

In order to become a normal nation, Iran will need to expand its interests from the region and begin toppling noncompliant governments and invading nations all around the world.

In order to become a normal nation, Iran will need to circle the planet with hundreds of Iranian military bases.

In order to become a normal nation, Iran will need to obtain thousands of nuclear weapons, and actually use a couple of them.

The US doesn’t want Iran to be like America. The US wants Iran to be like the other nations which have allowed themselves to be absorbed into the blob of the US-centralized empire.

https://caitlinjohnstone.com/2020/01/13/iran-must-begin-acting-like-a-normal-nation-says-totally-normal-nation/

The government which runs a globe-spanning empire led by a reality TV host keeps talking about the lack of normality in the nation of Iran.

“What we want all countries to join in,” said State Department Spokesperson Morgan Ortagus in a recent Fox News interview, “is to help us not only to de-escalate any tensions with Iran, but to help us bring Iran to a place where they are ready to stop their terrorist and malign behavior, and where they are ready to discuss with the United States, with Europe, with everyone, about how they can change their behavior to act like a normal nation.”

“We want Iran to simply behave like a normal nation,” Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said in a press statement the other day. “We believe that the sanctions we imposed today further that strategic objective.”

These would be the additional sanctions which have been expanded to include virtually the entire Iranian economy, deliberately targeting Iran’s already sanction-starved populace, with the explicit goal of fomenting a civil war in that nation.

Which is of course a perfectly normal thing to do, from a perfectly normal nation.

This would be the same Iran whose cultural heritage sites were threatened with destruction if it retaliated for the totally normal assassination of its top military official via flying robot. The same Iran whose financial system was just threatened with destruction using the totally normal hegemony of American central banking. Perfectly normal, perfectly healthy.

So what can Iran do to become a “normal nation”? Well, since it’s the United States making this demand, we can safely assume that it’s the model Iran should look to.

In order to become a normal nation, Iran will need to expand its interests from the region and begin toppling noncompliant governments and invading nations all around the world.

In order to become a normal nation, Iran will need to circle the planet with hundreds of Iranian military bases.

In order to become a normal nation, Iran will need to obtain thousands of nuclear weapons, and actually use a couple of them.

In order to become a normal nation, Iran will need to become the most dominant military, economic and cultural force in the world, and then use that dominance to destroy any government, political party, ideology, faction, movement or person who stands in its way.

In order to become a normal nation, Iran will need to arm violent extremist factions all around the world with the goal of eliminating all governments that refuse to bow to its interests.

In order to become a normal nation, Iran will need to become the dominant producer of films, music and TV shows and use this influence to propagandize its power structure’s ideology to every possible cultural sphere.

In order to become a normal nation, Iran will need to begin meddling in scores of democratic elections all around the world and then crying for years at the possibility of any nation returning the favor.

In order to become a normal nation, Iran will need to shore up economic control of the world so that it can crush any sort of disobedience by starving civilians and depriving them of medical care while pretending that it’s a force for peace.

In order to become a normal nation, Iran will need to indefinitely occupy a vast region on the other side of the planet with thousands upon thousands of troops and trillions of dollars in military equipment, to no benefit of a single ordinary Iranian, and against the will of the people who live there.

In order to become a normal nation, Iran will need to create a presidency led by a reality TV star oligarch who is only supported because Iran’s populace is so disgusted with the status quo of their government.

I am kidding, of course. The US government does not want Iran to become like the US. The US government does not want any nation to become like the US. The US likes its abnormality among nations just the way it is, thank you very much. The US is the exception to all its own rules. That’s how American exceptionalism works. This is one of those “do as I say, not as I do” situations.

The US doesn’t want Iran to be like America. The US wants Iran to be like the other nations which have allowed themselves to be absorbed into the blob of the US-centralized empire.

The US would be perfectly happy for Iran to begin acting like Saudi Arabia: arming terrorist factions, beheading heretics, committing war crimes and deliberately creating humanitarian disasters for geostrategic convenience, yet aligning fully with US military, financial, and resource control agendas.

The US would be perfectly happy for Iran to begin acting like Israel: a nuclear-armed military outpost which constantly bombs adjacent nations, interferes in the US and other nations’ politics to shore up support, works toward the slow extermination of its indigenous population and fires upon protesters with live ammunition.

The US would be perfectly happy for Iran to begin acting like Canada, the UK, Australia, New Zealand or the EU: obedient military/intelligence assets who function as extra American states when it comes to foreign policy and international affairs.

That is what the US means by acting “normal”. Not acting moral. Not acting healthy. Certainly not acting like the US. It means acting obedient, compliant, and enslaved.

Which is precisely what Iran is resisting.

________________________

Thanks for reading! The best way to get around the internet censors and make sure you see the stuff I publish is to subscribe to the mailing list for my website, which will get you an email notification for everything I publish. My work is entirely reader-supported, so if you enjoyed this piece please consider sharing it around, liking me on Facebook, following my antics on Twitter, checking out my podcast on either YoutubesoundcloudApple podcasts or Spotify, following me on Steemit, throwing some money into my hat on Patreon or Paypalpurchasing some of my sweet merchandise, buying my new book Rogue Nation: Psychonautical Adventures With Caitlin Johnstone, or my previous book Woke: A Field Guide for Utopia Preppers. For more info on who I am, where I stand, and what I’m trying to do with this platform, click here. Everyone, racist platforms excluded, has my permission to republish or use any part of this work (or anything else I’ve written) in any way they like free of charge.

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Top 10 Warmongering Ideas of the Day

Posted by M. C. on January 10, 2020

https://moneymaven.io/mishtalk/economics/top-10-warmongering-ideas-of-the-day-HI4ORQ85N0WoKOxLWhTMwg

Mish

by

The list of warmongering excuses is nearly endless. Here’s 10 of them.

  1. It’s OK to kill someone today if there is reason to believe they may do something wrong in the future: Senator Lindsey Graham January 3, 2020. “This was not an act of revenge for what he had done in the past. This was a preemptive, defensive strike planned to take out the organizer of attacks yet to come.” Apparently only the US has this right.
  2. Assassinating foreign leaders is OK and does not constitute an act of war. Trump, Graham, Ben Shapiro, and too many neocons to count.
  3. Declared wars, who needs em? Bush, Obama, Hillary, Trump. Rand Paul Mocks the idea October 15, 2019. “Senator Graham and Hillary Clinton stood together to support Islamic extremists in the Syrian civil war. America should come first,” said Paul
  4. It will be a short war: Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld November 2002
  5. Keeping US troops in Iraq will only cost $3.9 billion: Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld 2003
  6. It’s OK for the US to fight everyone else’s war: Bush, Cheney, Obama, Hillary, Trump, and every neocon, too many to name. In contrast, “I’m tired of America always paying for everybody else’s war,” said Rand Paul, February 4, 2019.
  7. Crippling economic sanctions are not an act of war. Who cares how many starve to death? Too many neocons to count.
  8. “We Came, We Saw, He Died!”: Hillary Clinton joked in 2011 when told of news reports of Libyan leader Moammar Gaddafi death at US hands. Libya is now a Jihadist wonderland led by ISIS and Al Qaueda.
  9. Iran’s retaliation in response to Trump’s Assassination of a foreign leader was an “Act of War” but the assassination was not: Senator Lindsey Graham, January 7, 2020.
  10. “In order to get elected, Barrack Obama will start a war with Iran”: Donald Trump November 29, 2011.

Here’s a bonus 11th. “We have to get them over there so they don’t get us here.”

That goes back at least to the wonderful domino theory and false flag incident that kicked off the Vietnam War.

Iran History Lesson

Iran has every reason to mistrust if not hate the US for its role in the 1953 Iranian Coup D’état

If you don’t support war, you get accused of being an Incomprehensible America Hating Sissy.

Let’s make that Warmongering Idea Number 12.

John Bolton’s Warmongering Notes

Image from John Bolton’s Warmongering Notes by Brian McFadden on The Nib.

 

…Could we not make better use of that money on US infrastructure than blowing up the world and making enemies in the process?

Nah. That kind of thinking is for sissies. Real men are willing to kill innocent men women and childrens with drones and blow up cultural sites in the name of peace.

Mike “Mish” Shedlock

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Another Crisis in the Middle East – When Will We Ever Learn?

Posted by M. C. on January 9, 2020

https://boydcatheyreviewofbooks.blogspot.com/

by Boyd Cathey

Friends,

Qasem Soleimani is dead, his life snuffed out by missiles shot from American drones which targeted his convoy near Bagdad International Airport. By all accounts this man, in many ways the second most important figure in Iran, was the mastermind of numerous violent actions—we call them “terrorist” acts—throughout the Middle East, and very likely was indirectly (maybe directly) responsible for the deaths of dozens of Americans in the region, at least if we can believe our discredited intelligence agencies (it’s ironic that most of those who rightly indict these agencies for their anti-constitutional attempts to “take out” President Trump, now enthusiastically embrace the assessments of those very same agencies when it comes to Iran).

And now the Iranians have reacted directly by firing ground-to-ground missiles aimed at Iraqi army bases; from reports no Americans, military or civilian, were killed or injured in these attacks. That may or may not indicate a particular strategic calculation on the part of the Iranians. Indeed, if this should be the only major response to Soleimani’s death it may—underline “may”—indicate an implicit desire to lower the level of high stakes hostilities…and a realization that the United States under President Trump is unlike previous American administrations. After all, Soleimani was arguably the most powerful and most significant military leader in Iran; the Iranians, given his death, had to react. As our leaders recognized, that was certain, and the attacks by the Iranians did not come as a surprise.

But now that this is done, multiple questions arise.

Watching “Fox & Friends” this morning there appeared former Speaker of the House Newt Gingrich and newscaster Brian Kilmeade, all a-twitter—almost in a frenzy—talking about “regime change” in Iran, about a “future strategy” to “take out” the regime in Tehran, about a Middle East strategy of total American involvement which takes hardly any account of the fall of Soviet Russia or the sorry record of repeated American disaster in that region of the world (e.g. Syria, Afghanistan, Iraq, Libya, Egypt, etc.).

President Trump ran for office on a platform of strategic disengagement from many areas of the world, the draw-down of American troops, including from the immense and complex quagmire of the Fertile Crescent.

The fall of Communism in late 1991 as a world threat radically altered global politics. Winst0n Churchill once described Soviet Russia as “a riddle, wrapped in a mystery, inside an enigma”; if that was the case with Communist Russia, it certainly describes tenfold the situation in places like Iraq or Syria…

But American interests in this case do not coincide with the interests of either Israel or with the Neocons policy wonks who zealously continue to push what they call “democratic regime change” (at the price of thousands of dead Americans). Since 1991 that has been attempted too many times with horrendous results. It is not in the interest of the United States.

No; we have made our point in Iraq. We need now to find a way to withdraw our troops from that nation whose parliament just asked us to leave (Iraq is, after all, a sovereign nation). Our invasion and toppling of Saddam Hussein in 2003, while presented as necessary by the G. H. W. Bush administration was a tragic mistake, based on faulty and contrived intelligence. Yes, he was a cruel dictator, but he was a Sunni Muslim (who favored Iraq’s large Christian population) and a staunch opponent of Iran. What we “achieved” by that invasion was rule by a fanatical Shi’a majority, favorable to Iran…just the reverse that those think-tank ensconced Neocon “experts” and advisers promised us. And with dozens of body bags on their way back to American shores.

Let us hope that America will now finally come to its senses.

Let us pray that President Trump will honor his campaign promises…

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