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CIA vs. WikiLeaks: It’s Awn

Of course the fight between them was already on; I’ll get to that in a moment.

President Trump’s CIA director, Mike Pompeo:

CIA Director Mike Pompeo, in his first speech since taking over the agency, lambasted WikiLeaks and its founder Julian Assange — calling the group a “non-state hostile intelligence service” that is often abetted by “state actors like Russia.”

Speaking Thursday at the Center for Strategic and International Studies, Pompeo called Assange a “fraud,” someone with no “moral compass” and a “narcissist who has created nothing of value.”

He asserted that Assange and former National Security Agency staffer and famed leaker Edward Snowden “seek to use that information to make a name for themselves” and they “care nothing about the lives they put at risk or the damage they cause to national security.”

Asked why he would focus on WikiLeaks rather than other issues, Pompeo said he felt it was vital to inform the American people about the threat they pose.

There’s more. RTWT.

Some of Pompeo’s claims are absurd, and others are all too real. First, the absurd: That Snowden did it to make a name for himself.

The guy is almost a prisoner – in Russia, of all places. If he comes back to the U.S., he faces trial. Snowden agrees that he should face trial, and says that he will do so – when he is allowed to mount a public-interest defense (presenting his side of it, that he acted in the public interest when he revealed masses of NSA classified info). But I digress. The point is: Snowden has given up so much to reveal what he revealed, that saying he did it for the fame is ridiculous.

Similar thoughts would apply to Assange, who is almost a prisoner in Ecuador’s embassy in London. While no one is ever perfect, both of these men have acted from their ideals. In denying that so crudely, Pompeo counts on his audience to be stupid.

As to what’s real in Pompeo’s speech: There is no question that both Snowden’s revelations and WikiLeaks make the job of U.S. intelligence agencies much harder. That has to be a bad thing, in many respects. The question is whether, in some other respects, it might also be a good thing?

What has been revealed, first by Snowden and more recently by WikiLeaks Vault 7, is: massive surveillance programs whereby U.S. intelligence agencies spy not only on enemies, but on allies and on ordinary Americans. Really unconstitutional programs and capabilities. So unconstitutional and invasive that they destroy U.S. moral authority and make us understandably hated by the rest of the world.

Until recently, Pompeo’s boss, President Trump, was pro-WikiLeaks (see here – Trump literally said “I love WikiLeaks!”). And against excessive surveillance, such as the Obama administration’s surveillance on Trump before, during and after the 2016 election. Likewise with Pompeo himself. But their love for WikiLeaks was before the Vault 7 revelations and more to come, which could be ugly enough to destroy the CIA as an institution.

In the past, I’ve blogged on my ambivalence about Snowden (example, see here). But, in the last year, I’ve come more to his side; glad that he and Assange did what they do. The more so because of news headlines in the last 5 months: I believe that some leaders of the U.S. intelligence community have tried to damage (if not overthrow) a duly elected President, with a campaign of “intelligence leaks” that are so empty and misleading as to be lies-in-effect. That would be a separate issue. But one that proves the said leaders’ bad faith and anti-constitutional intentions.

In short, we’re at a sad juncture where several issues point to the same conclusion: the U.S. intelligence community is way out of control and in great need of investigation and cleanup.

As always, feel free to disagree or state your view, in the comments. (As always, I’m looking for “agreeable disagreement” and exchange; don’t expect me to come instantly to your viewpoint.)

More conspiracy theories become fact – partly, sort of

On April 8, Cernovich Media claimed that National Security Advisor “H. R. McMaster [is] Manipulating Intelligence Reports to Trump, Wants 150,000 Ground Soldiers in Syria”.

Today, Eli Lake at Bloomberg confirms that McMaster wants to send up to 50,000 ground troops to Syria. And “has been quietly pressing his colleagues to question the underlying assumptions of a draft war plan against the Islamic State that would maintain only a light U.S. ground troop presence in Syria…to facilitate a better interagency process to develop Trump’s new strategy to defeat [ISIS].”

The real news is that Trump has said no to McMaster – at least for the time being. Kudos to those GP commenters who advised me, more or less, that Trump is his own man and wouldn’ t automatically go with McMaster.

As to the rest: it sounds like Cernovich dropped the nuances and exaggerated what was left, but still got much of the essence. And ahead of Bloomberg. Here’s a similar example, this one with Judge Napolitano.

In March, Napolitano claimed that, in spying on Trump, Obama went around U.S. laws that would restrict such spying by having a British intelligence agency access the U.S. NSA surveillance databases, then pass along findings. Obama and the British denied it vehemently.

Today, CNN confirms that “British intelligence passed Trump associates’ communications with Russians on to US counterparts.” CNN suggests that the British did the surveilling themselves, a difference from Napolitano’s story. Still, the British did it under intelligence-sharing agreements and to me, it sounds like Napolitano was in the ballpark.

The real news is that CNN still has no substantive Russian collusion to report against Trump.

Democrats’ Psychotic Desire for War with Russia

I never thought I’d live in a world where Democrats – having been “peace loving” shills for the old Soviet Union, for so many decades – are eager for bellicose confrontation with Russia. But, here we are.

When Rep. Tulsi Gabbard (D – HI), an Iraq war veteran, cautioned her fellow Democrats to slow down and remember the Iraq-WMD situation (such as the Left remembers it), Howard Dean called her a “disgrace” who “should not be in Congress”. So much for the Democrats’ brrrrave fight against misogyny.

Or, as Tucker Carlson put it last night:

Democrats are now the reflexive party of war — all wars, except those with an obvious benefit to us here in the United States. If there is a humanitarian quagmire on the other side of the globe, they are all for committing troops. And you better be for it, too, or they will denounce you.

One of Tucker’s guests was a Democrat strategist, Alfred Mottur. Video, some here and some here. After Mottur claims to be “heartened” by the rising tensions and that Russia “undoubtedly” or “aggressively” “interfered with our elections”, this exchange:

[Carlson] In what sense does this confrontation with Russia now ongoing make our country safer or more prosperous?

[Mottur] With respect to our elections, it makes us safer in our democratic processes to make sure that their integrity is preserved.

Got it? We must destroy American democracy in a potentially-nuclear conflict with Russia, in order to save it.

But note that when China, Saudi Arabia, or our own Deep State “interfere with our elections”, we don’t need to be confrontational with them. Or even talk about them. Oh no, don’t talk about their interference! Only Russia.

Some Democrats’ desire for war with Russia is as bad as some Republicans’ desire for war in Syria (that would likely lead to war with Russia).

The sad irony is that, as I posted a few days ago, Russia didn’t interfere with anything.

  1. Whoever hacked the DNC and Podesta e-mails did us all a favor. (Given that it resulted in 100% true and relevant information coming to the voters.)
  2. Plus, it probably wasn’t Russia. (See the links in that post.)

It seems that today’s Democrats are such psychotic babies that they would rather take us into confrontation with Russia than admit that they lost the 2016 election fairly, after they ran an awful candidate.

And IMO, it appears also as though Deep State’s “intelligence” leaks – all those NothingBurgers meant to make people think that Russia attacked our election, Russia colluded with President Trump who is Putin’s agent, etc. – could have been intentional War propaganda.

NB: I just corrected the spelling of Mottur’s name and improved the video links & transcript.

Syria: Whom do you trust?

Posted by Jeff (ILoveCapitalism) at 11:45 am - April 12, 2017.
Filed under: National Security,War On Terror,World War III

As former U.N. weapons inspector Scott Ritter has put it:

…chemical attacks had been occurring inside Syria on a regular basis… International investigations of these attacks produced mixed results, with…the majority being attributed to anti-regime fighters, in particular those affiliated with Al Nusra Front, an Al Qaeda affiliate.

Some sort of chemical event took place in Khan Sheikhoun; what is very much in question is who is responsible…

A critical piece of information that has largely escaped the reporting in the mainstream media is that Khan Sheikhoun is ground zero for the Islamic jihadists who have been at the center of the anti-Assad movement…

The Russian Ministry of Defense has claimed that Liwa al-Aqsa [anti-Assad jihadists] was using facilities in and around Khan Sheikhoun to manufacture crude chemical shells and landmines…

Al Nusra has a long history of manufacturing and employing crude chemical weapons; the 2013 chemical attack on Ghouta made use of low-grade Sarin nerve agent locally synthesized, while attacks in and around Aleppo in 2016 made use of a chlorine/white phosphorous blend.

If…the building bombed in Khan Sheikhoun on the morning of April 4, 2017 was producing and/or storing chemical weapons, the probability that viable agent and other toxic contaminants were dispersed into the surrounding neighborhood, and further disseminated by the prevailing wind, is high.

Emphasis added. Although the article is at PuffHo and written by a sex offender (teenage girls), it’s a detailed article and worth reading in full.

So, there’s that. The whole thing could have been an accident, when a Syrian government jet did a conventional attack on a facility where the rebels were storing their own, illegal, home-grown(?) chemical weapons.

On the other hand, we have Defense Secretary Mattis stating, “The Syrian regime attacked its own people with chemical weapons. I have personally reviewed the intelligence and there is no doubt the Syrian regime is responsible for the decision to attack and for the attack itself.”

Fifteen years ago, deciding whether to believe the U.S. defense secretary would have been easy: Just believe him! But, disturbingly, Mattis’ briefing gave almost no supporting details – for a story which makes little sense on its surface.

And a lot has changed, in the last 15 years. We now know to a certainty that the U.S. intelligence agencies get things wrong or even mislead on purpose.

  • Most recently, the proverbial “17 intelligence agencies” supported highly doubtful claims of Russian election hacking.
  • Also, they leaked surveillance information in an effort to stoke fires of McCarthyism (hysteria) against a newly-elected President – who, it seemed at the time, wouldn’t go along with the agencies’ desire to attack Syria.

As such, I’m not comforted to know that Mattis “personally reviewed the intelligence” (a fancy way of saying just that he read the agency reports). I remain a skeptic of the official story. As always, feel free to disagree or to tell me what I missed, in the comments.

As to the larger picture: Trump says, “We’re not going into Syria.” But… Spicer is comparing Assad to Hitler and Nikki Haley is still talking Syria regime change. As is McCain. Yuck.

UPDATE: Zero Hedge lists more reasons to question the official story, including:

  • Evidence that it was anhydrous ammonia or chlorine, not sarin. Supposedly, the “first responders” handled the victims without gloves, which should have killed them (if it was sarin).
  • A statement from Veteran Intelligence Professionals for Sanity (VIPS), claiming that local U.S. Army officers in Syria agree with the accidental-release theory (mainly faulting the rebels).

The Tyranny of Fake News

I was advised to google “Syria hoax footage” and see what comes up. A lot comes up. For one thing, here’s video from November 2016 of Syrian “White Helmets” (a pro-rebel group; thus pro-Islamist) carefully STAGING a scene of man whose legs were supposedly crushed in a government attack.

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They all scream on cue, at about 0:22. Afterward, the man – that is, the actor – looks cheerful and takes a photo with his fellow actors. Click here and scroll down to see.

CNN lately has been hitting the “Won’t somebody PLEEEZ think of the children??!” button extra hard, with its clips of Bana, an adorable, wide-eyed Syrian 7-year old who pleads for the freedom to play and go to school.

Here, CNN throws Bana into the face of a rather sensible Congressperson, starting around 1:50.

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It turns out, of course, that each of Bana’s performances and Tweets are scripted and staged by her politically-motivated mother.

Note to CNN: A seven-year old isn’t a U.S. foreign policy expert. Her opinion, even if unscripted, would still be Fake News in the sense that it simply isn’t news. And oh yeah, if we did invade Syria (or bomb it further), it would become even harder for Bana to play or go to school. Tell her that.

The U.S. Intelligence and foreign policy bureaucrats (Deep State) wanted Hillary because, for some reason or other, they want a war in Syria at the least; if not a full-on war with Russia. Along with a few billionaires – like Carlos Slim (New York Times) and Jeff Bezos (Washington Post) and Lady Lynn Forester de Rothschild (Economist magazine) and some others (Time-Warner / CNN) – the Deep State controls the proverbial Controlled Media, which spews War propaganda on command.

That’s reality. That is the world we live in: A tyranny in which relatively non-accountable, secretive bureaucrats manipulate the media – and have the media, in turn, manipulate us with FAKE NEWS.

It doesn’t necessarily mean that the recent Syria chemical attack was a hoax or a false flag. But it means that we’re right to wonder. We’re right to ask our leaders for caution. We’re right to question “the narrative.”


Guess what else? We just got a little more information on how it could have been the murdered DNC-insider Seth Rich, and not the Russians, who hacked/leaked the DNC emails in the 2016 election.

“The consensus of 17 intelligence agencies is that the Russians did it!!1!” was always a shaky story. For one thing, the DNC didn’t even allow the FBI in to look at the alleged crime scene for a couple of weeks after it happened.

Its investigation hampered, the FBI then relied mostly on a report of Russian hacking from CrowdStrike, a Democrat-funded company. And CrowdStrike’s report/story has been more or less debunked. The other 16 agencies then relied on the FBI. I say, phooey. This isn’t the first time the proverbial “17 intelligence agencies!” have gotten it wrong – or even tried to deceive us.

UPDATE: On further reflection, the GatewayPundit link above (after “Guess what else?”) is a NothingBurger. As such, I apologize for having brought up that link.

Nonetheless, Julian Assange of Wikileaks has strongly denied Russian involvement in the DNC leaks (try here) and implied that Seth Rich was his source (try here). That continues to be my hypothesis.

UPDATE: On the other side of the spectrum, Cernovich goes on a limb, claims that McMaster has been lying to Trump in an effort to get 150,000 boots on the ground in Syria. If true: it’s a bad moment for America. And if false: it’s a bad moment for Cernovich – who has been shaky on some things, and astoundingly right on some other things.

My evolution on the topic of “war”

Just speaking for myself. After 9-11, I supported the war in Afghanistan because:

  • Killing al Qaeda terrorists seemed like a good idea, and the Taliban was harboring them.
  • It was only one war.
  • It was legal. (Congress authorized it. As did the United Nations, explicitly.)

A couple years later, I supported the Iraq war because:

  • Killing al Qaeda terrorists seemed like a good idea, and Saddam had begun to harbor some who had just fled from Afghanistan, like Zarqawi.
  • Whether or not Saddam Hussein had ready-to-go WMD, getting him and his thugs off the world stage seemed like a good idea.
  • It was only a second war.
  • It was legal. (Congress authorized it. As did the United Nations, more or less.)

By 2008, both wars seemed almost to be won. Their endings were in sight. But then a strange thing happened.

America elected a feckless socialist (Barack Obama) as President. He promised indeed to end the above two wars. But he didn’t. He messed up our winning positions; meaning the wars dragged on.

Even worse, he started more wars. All were illegal (not authorized beforehand by Congress). All were disastrous.

  • His (and Hillary’s) Libya war destabilized all of northern Africa and eventually drowned Europe in “migrants”.
  • His Ukraine coup (and the war/tensions that followed) was an unprecedented and deliberate rattling of the Russian bear’s cage, re-opening the Cold War that had been won in the 1980s and settled in the 1990s.
  • His Syria war fueled the rise of ISIS in Iraq. (Since ISIS and the Syrian rebels overlap quite a bit, aid to the Syrian rebels quickly becomes ‘de facto’ aid to ISIS.)
  • His Saudi friends’ war in Yemen is no help to anyone.

For the first time in U.S. history, we were at war every single day of someone’s 8-year presidency. And his preferred successor (Hillary Clinton) wanted to extend those wars. The U.S. has “achieved” an Orwellian state of Continuous War. That’s bad.

Ever read Thucydides? Athens – the progressive, open, commercial-democratic society of that era – failed. Basically, she over-extended herself in too many wars. She couldn’t afford them – whether financially, militarily, politically or morally. I don’t think we can, either.

Sometimes it’s better to retreat and retrench, and patriotic to advocate for it. If you catch me striking a different tone on our wars than I did 5-10 years ago, that’s why.

We should shore up our borders and defenses, our infrastructure, our industry, our national finances, our energy independence, and our commitment to liberty, here at home. We can probably still keep our commitments to Europe, Japan, Korea and Israel (which means I’m no isolationist). But, apart from the historical commitments just mentioned, we should accept a multi-polar world order and NOT look for wars to get into.

In my opinion. Please feel free to criticize or to state yours, in the comments.

Lindsey Graham is insane

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In the clip above: Senator Lindsey Graham (R – SC) takes the position that we should now fight ISIS plus every major faction in Syria at the same time plus the Russians if they should dare to oppose us, with ground troops and “advisers” to do nation-building in Syria, which somehow isn’t nation-building because it’s letting the “Syrians take care of Assad”, and all of which is directly needed to protect “the homeland” because it would have prevented 9-11 (a strike over here by Saudi terrorists) if only we had done it 16 years ago in Afghanistan. Also, it will save us money.

Even the intelligent Tucker Carlson can’t make sense of it.

Graham’s tone is so deadpan – so authentically uncaring about the lives involved, whether U.S. troops or Syrian locals or even U.S. taxpayers – that it gave me the creeps, once my head stopped spinning.

At the end of the clip, Carlson notes that articles in the Democrat-leaning New York Times and Washington Post have declared that anyone who would OPPOSE the U.S. bombing the brown people of Syria is somehow a “white nationalist”. Anyone who would oppose the Establishment’s new war plans is somehow – did you see this coming? – “racist, anti-Semitic and sexist”.

Do you need more evidence that, by now in 2017, America is in the grip of a war-mongering, out-of-control Deep State? Which opposed Trump fiercely – until a few days ago, when apparently he caved? And that what we have been calling “the mainstream/liberal media” and “the party Establishments” all this time are really the Deep State’s servants?

Syria smells like a hoax

…or more precisely, like a False Flag attack to stampede President Trump into attacking Syria (and indirectly Russia) rather than ISIS. Here’s why. Please note:

  • I’m NOT claiming that it *is* a hoax or a false flag. Only saying why it might be, on present information. Why we should want everyone to take a deep breath and slow down.
  • For brevity, I’ll say Deep State to mean “the consensus of the U.S. intelligence agencies” or “the permanent bureaucracy of the U.S. intelligence community”.
  • For brevity, I’ll say Controlled Media to mean “the mainstream media, largely controlled by Deep State and certain billionaires”.

Now for the reasons.

  1. Syria’s dictator Assad has nothing to gain by chemical attacks on his own people. He gains no strategic territory. He does not intimidate his opponents, nor kill many of them, nor destroy much of their equipment. He only unites the world against him. It does not help him win.

    Even if Assad is the New Hitler testing the nerve of the West: History shows that megalomaniacs always test their opponents’ nerve by going for a worthwhile objective, a genuine win. For example: Hitler in 1936 re-militarized the Rhineland; Saddam in 1990 seized Kuwait and its rich oil fields. Nothing like that, here.

  2. Until recently, Deep State claimed that Assad had absolutely NO chemical weapons. Here’s a Rewind reel to refresh your memory.

    Of course the Deep State could have been wrong (whether mistaken or deceptive), when its politicians and Controlled Media said those things. The point is: They were said. The sudden reversal requires explanation and accounting. Which, so far, has not been given.

  3. ISIS and the Syrian rebels (they’re much the same people, on adjoining territory) do have chemical weapons. Even Foreign Policy magazine says so.
  4. ISIS and the Syrian rebels, and the Deep State factions which back them, do gain by a false-flag attack that gets President Trump to bomb Assad – instead of moving to “eliminate” ISIS, as he was promising.
  5. Suddenly, it’s The Children. Normally, the Controlled Media will avoid showing pictures of maimed children. The exception is when they’re out to whip people up toward some specific end – like, say, a war. This time, they’ve been showing the dead kids (whom we all pity) a great deal.

    Yesterday, I watched both Nikki Haley’s speech to the U.N., and President Trump’s statement to the nation. Both were high on emotion and very short on facts, evidence or logic. That’s a giant red flag.

  6. Deep State and Controlled Media have hoaxed us before. Some would bring up the Iraq War and WMD, as an example. I wouldn’t, but that’s a long story. It doesn’t matter, because we have other examples.

    Are you old enough to remember Nariyah? She got us into the first Gulf War with her tearful tale of Iraqi soldiers ripping babies from incubators – and it was fake, fake, fake.

  7. We’ve had reports in the not-too-distant past, that Deep State was planning false-flag chemical attacks in Syria. Click on this one, allegedly from the Daily Mail. So, the idea isn’t all that far-fetched.
  8. The wrong people are praising Trump’s response of bombing Syria.
  9. When known, Deep State-backed war-mongers like Hillary Clinton, John “Landslide” McCain, and the Saudis approve of your attack on some country, it’s a good time to think twice.

I’m open to solid evidence that Assad did the attack. But if it’s a hoax: then it’s a pity that it has worked; Trump is bombing Syria. After months of failed and ridiculous “Trump is a Russian spy!!1!” innuendo, have the Deep State and Controlled Media found a different way to manipulate him into doing their wars?

Trump’s emotional statement, yesterday, was all-too genuine and sincere. Pictures of dead kids are, it seems, a way to corner him into changing policy and doing your bidding.

I think we should still be going after ISIS. Given that ISIS is largely a creation of the Saudis and certain U.S. Deep State factions, it makes perfect sense to me that the latter – and their minions in the Controlled Media and both U.S. political parties – would be so determined to either knock Trump out of office, or yank him over to their preferred policy of war on Syria/Assad/Russia (largely ignoring ISIS).

Break Out the Pudding

Posted by V the K at 7:43 pm - December 1, 2016.
Filed under: Military,National Security

“Demonstrate to the world there is “No Better Friend, No Worse Enemy” than a U.S. Marine. Be polite, be professional, but have a plan to kill everybody you meet.” — America’s next Secretary of Defense

After Trump, part 2

I tried to find a unifying angle but I’m in a hurry.

  • First, it looks like Hillary has, just barely, won the official, popular vote. She lost geographically. Only in minority-dominated counties and the biggest cities, did majorities of people like her. States (or the Electoral College) still matter.
  • We’re getting a look at Trump’s possible Cabinet. Sadly, Trump is considering people from Big Banking (Goldman Sachs or in other rumors, JP Morgan) for his Treasury secretary. Trump could turn out to be rather less anti-Establishment than some have hoped.
  • Rudy Giuliani, a candidate for Trump’s Attorney General, has publicly suggested that President Obama not pardon Hillary. That’s good advice.

    In general, Democrats (like Obama) are trying to spread the myth that prosecuting Hillary would only be political. The true issue would be the Clinton Foundation’s corruption and/or Hillary’s major security breaches. And whether or not the Clintons are allowed to lie, destroy evidence, etc. to obstruct justice? Let normal processes of investigation and justice do their work.

  • It looks like Trump and Obama are both playing grownup in the transition. Obama called their conversation “excellent”. But, if Trump is such a racist xenophobic bigoted monster (as the Left tells us), how could that be?
  • Speaking of Obama, I still remember being told in 2008 that the Lightworker’s brown skin would make foreigners love us. Update: In Greece, anti-Obama protestors storm the U.S. consulate.
  • And the big winner of the 2016 election was… Weed.

For the record: YES, Hillary is a criminal

…who sought-and-received such special treatment that now, in her own person, she embodies the most corrupt, disgraceful and dangerous aspects of American political life.

Allen B. West gives a summary:

…here’s what FBI Director Comey said regarding Hillary Clinton and this email server episode:

  • He concluded Hillary was “extremely careless” in handling our nation’s secrets.
  • He admitted no reasonable person could have believed putting these emails on a private server was at all appropriate or acceptable.
  • He admitted 110 emails on the server were classified at the time they were sent — showing Hillary not only lied, but knowingly endangered national security as secretary of state.
  • He admitted Hillary deleted work-related emails before turning them over to the State Department, despite her claims otherwise.
  • And, most shocking, Mr. Comey even admitted it’s likely foreign governments hacked her emails — and our adversaries could know critical secrets about the U.S. government because of Hillary’s actions.

[…]
Consider that just last week, there was a secret, private meeting between former President Bill Clinton and U.S. Attorney General Loretta Lynch…Over the weekend, quietly, Hillary Clinton visited FBI headquarters and then came out to give an interview with MSNBC’s Chuck Todd — who stated he had inside information there would be no charges. Then…Director Comey announces a press conference — as the pre-flight checks were being conducted on Air Force One, preparing to fly President Obama and Hillary Clinton on a campaign ride to North Carolina…Comey announces no charges, and Air Force One takes off. Barack Obama is flying, on taxpayer dollar, not with someone under criminal investigation — but a recently-exonerated Hillary Clinton. This, Ladies and Gents, is the “policy of political corruption” on full display.
[…]
When Barack Obama and Hillary Clinton stood together on that stage [in North Carolina last weekend], you saw two people who abandoned Americans to die and lied about it.

In short, and even if we leave aside the Benghazi deaths, Hillary Clinton is 100% guilty of crimes of negligence – and obstruction of justice (lying to prevent investigation). She was given a giant pass, for no reason except politics.

David Petraeus, convicted.  Scooter Libby, convicted.  Youtube filmmaker, jailed.  Edward Snowden, charged.  Hillary Clinton, Democratic nominee for President.

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This is weird

Posted by Jeff (ILoveCapitalism) at 9:53 pm - March 4, 2015.
Filed under: Iraq,National Security,Obama Incompetence

Iran’s news agency, apparently with the support of some Iraqis, has been pushing a story that ISIS is a UK / US creation. They started pushing it in 2014, but the following is from Feb 23 of this year:

Iraqi Army Downs 2 UK Planes Carrying Weapons for ISIL

TEHRAN (FNA)- Iraq’s army has shot down two British planes as they were carrying weapons for the ISIL terrorists in Al-Anbar province, a senior [Iraqi] lawmaker disclosed on Monday.

“The Iraqi Parliament’s National Security and Defense Committee has access to the photos of both planes that are British and have crashed while they were carrying weapons for the ISIL,” Head of the committee Hakem al-Zameli said, according to a Monday report of the Arabic-language information center of the Islamic Supreme Council of Iraq.

Obviously, I don’t want to quote the entire linked article; you can read it. It goes on for awhile, giving names of Iraqi lawmakers and their specific charges about the U.S.-led effort against ISIS being a mask for Western aid to ISIS, “as it does not want the ISIL crisis to come to an end.”

I do NOT automatically believe this story, because Iran’s news agency is hardly a reliable source. And because many Iraqi lawmakers are probably on Iran’s payroll; as fellow Shias, they would oppose ISIS – while preferring Iran to lead the effort.

Sad to say, I also can’t automatically disbelieve this story, for the following reasons:

  • *If* the Sunni-Shia divide really matters (and I’m not 100% persuaded that it does), we must grant at least a little sincerity to Iran’s opposition to ISIS.
  • We know that in Syria, the Obama administration supports Islamist, al Qaeda-type “rebels” who are much the same as ISIS. Even after we discard any notion that the US / UK created ISIS on purpose, we must still consider whether ISIS could be an *inadvertent* US / UK creation – as the well-supplied, Sunni Islamist “rebels” from one theater (Syria) simply drive a few hundred miles across the desert to their buddies in the other theater (northern Iraq).
  • And it would be just like the Obama administration to stumble into such a foolish, contradictory policy. We do know that ISIS has a lot of U.S. weapons; it’s just that they are normally viewed as captured weapons.

If you can shed any light on this, please post in the comments. I’d be looking either for some proof of the story that doesn’t merely come from an anti-U.S. mouthpiece (like Iran or Alex Jones) – or/and, for some disproof of the story that doesn’t merely come from a pro-Obama mouthpiece.

Snowden watch

As I’ve blogged before, I have mixed feelings about Edward Snowden and his revelations about U.S. government spying on everybody. I understand why some consider him a traitor – because yes, we do need to fight Islamic terrorism.

And I understand why some consider him a hero – because we need to fight Islamic terrorism with appropriate tools; not tools that expand government power to the point where it could easily be used (and perhaps already gets used?) for purposes of tyranny. With that in mind, here are a couple of news items:

  • China drops Apple, Cisco, Intel and other U.S. tech leaders from its “approved state purchase lists”. China’s action may have several motives; but fear of the expansive NSA spying (that Snowden revealed) is surely among them.
  • Snowden gets libertarian, arguing for limited government and the right of the governed (us) to reject excessive government control.

    There must always be a balance of power between the governing and the governed…

    Our rights are not granted by governments…They are inherent to our nature. But it’s entirely the opposite for governments: their privileges are precisely equal to only those which we suffer them to enjoy.

    A viewpoint which all Americans ought to support, considering our origins.

Your thoughts?

While we’re at it: According to The Guardian (a left-wing British paper), Rahm Emanuel’s Chicago Police are running their own black site for secret interrogations – and not just for anti-terrorism. True? Exaggerated? From the comments: A Chicago cop says it’s BS.

Obama’s foreign-policy brilliance

Posted by Jeff (ILoveCapitalism) at 12:12 am - February 17, 2015.
Filed under: Iraq,National Security,Obama Incompetence

Why is the U.S. pushing weapons deliveries to feed the ongoing war in Ukraine – and just barely fighting to stabilize Iraq, by destroying the Islamic State?

Our allies don’t want want a war over Ukraine’s ethnic Russians. Even Nicolas Sarkozy, perhaps the only pro-U.S. Frenchman, thinks we’re nuts. While Greece and even Egypt drift toward Russia.

If Mitt Romney was such an old-fashioned dummy in 2012 for saying that Russia was still our main geopolitical enemy: why are we now pushing sticks into Russia’s eyes? When the IS will be the threat – if (or after) it takes over Iraq-Syria-Jordan-Yemen-Egypt, and destroys Saudi Arabia? It’s already getting a foothold in Libya.

President Smart Power always suggested that *he* would astutely settle our differences with Russia. OK then, why hasn’t he? Couldn’t we use Russia’s help in beating Islamism?

And given that ISIS exists, is the Iraq war really “ended”, as President Obama has claimed? I don’t think so. I think the worst is yet to come. (Assuming we don’t just surrender to Islam, first.)

Update (and from the comments): Part of the answer to these questions is, of course, Marie Harf. Not her personally; but her as an example of leftie/Obama thinking. In her recent comments, the “root cause” of the Islamic State would be the Middle East’s “lack of opportunity for jobs…We can help them build their economies so they can have job opportunities.” What. A. Tool.

It’s nice that he’s asking, this time

Remember the Left going on and on about President Bush’s supposedly “illegal” and “unilateral” Iraq war? When, in reality, the Bush administration had gone to great lengths to obtain (and did obtain) authorization for Iraq from both Congress and the U.N.

Even Senator Obama got in on the act, saying later in 2007 that “The President does not have power under the Constitution to unilaterally authorize a military attack in a situation that does not involve stopping an actual or imminent threat to the nation.” His words were correct – but again, irrelevant to the Bush case (since Bush had Congressional, bipartisan approval).

Then President Obama felt like bombing Libya out of the blue (no terrorist threat was involved – until after Ghaddafi was gone). And he sought no authorization from Congress. Did the Left care? A little; but really not much.

President Peace Prize also went on to embroil the U.S. in wars in Syria and Ukraine – unilaterally and with no authorization. And to blow any gains of the Iraq war, allowing ISIS to take hold; an event that President Orwell referred to as his having “ended the war”.

Now that he has done so, he proposes to resume the Iraq war. Except this time, he finally wants authorization first. I suppose that’s nice of him. I suppose we must be grateful, to such a terribly great man, for the small graces that he grants to us, his subjects.

When public lying is your job

Posted by Jeff (ILoveCapitalism) at 11:19 am - December 9, 2014.
Filed under: Government Accountability & Ethics,National Security

HotAir had this clip a few days ago, making the point that President Obama is flailing on his Egypt policy. I’m more into the “human interest” side of it.

The State Dept. spokeswoman has only meaningless answers on Egypt. Her smile frozen, she delivers her lines to her skeptical audience in a patronizing tone. When it’s over, she confessionally mutters, “That Egypt line is ridiculous.”

I almost feel sorry for her. But, if being Bree on Desperate Housewives were my job, I’d quit.

Video via the Washington Free Beacon; also on Russia Today via Zero Hedge.

ISIS to U.S.: It’s on

Posted by Jeff (ILoveCapitalism) at 5:54 pm - November 14, 2014.
Filed under: Economy,Iraq,National Security

As noted today on Zero Hedge and The Telegraph, ISIS has released some details of its plans for a gold-backed currency:

What does this mean? As I’ve tried to explain before, the U.S. dollar has been the center of world trade and finance since the end of WW2. Oil, among other things, has been traded in dollars. So other countries need dollars (e.g., before they can buy oil). When they invest in bonds, they also like U.S. Treasury bonds.

All that has let the U.S. get away with running large deficits (both trade deficit and fiscal deficit). Other countries send us real goods in exchange for our paper (or electronic) dollars and Treasury bonds. That is why Walmart and Target have been able to supply cheap goods to Americans, all these years.

ISIS is saying, forget that! ISIS will exclude the dollar from its own financial system, and probably from its dealings with other countries. Remember, if these guys are successful, they will sell (or control) a lot of oil. If successful, they will be wealthy and important. Now they’re saying that their financial system will be founded on precious metals – i.e., NOT on the U.S. dollar or the U.S. Treasury bond. I feel certain that, if they aren’t doing so already, ISIS will also be trading oil only in non-U.S. currencies like the Euro or yen, and/or in gold.

If ISIS succeeds as a country, then, it’s another step in the world’s process of “de-dollarization”, or removing the U.S. dollar as the centerpiece of the world system. Although it is arguably an understandable and well-justified act, it is not a friendly act: ISIS is taking aim at (what they perceive to be) the heart of U.S. prosperity and power in the world.

I expect that the alarm bells in Washington are ringing a bit louder. At a minimum, look for President Obama to escalate his rhetoric against ISIS, with bipartisan support. (Which will mean, in the Democrats’ case, going against their own anti-U.S. / pro-Islam instincts; but they will.)

Too clever for anyone’s good

Posted by Jeff (ILoveCapitalism) at 9:45 am - October 17, 2014.
Filed under: Bush-hatred,Iraq,National Security,Republican Embarrassments

To follow up on V’s post about chemical weapons found in Iraq: Guess Who, in the Bush administration, didn’t want anyone talking about the weapons?

Theories vary, but according to Eli Lake’s article, it would have been Karl Rove:

Starting in 2004, some members of the George W. Bush administration and Republican lawmakers began to find evidence of discarded chemical weapons in Iraq. But when the information was brought up with the White House, senior adviser Karl Rove told them to “let these sleeping dogs lie.”

The issue of Iraq’s WMD remnants was suddenly thrust back into the fore this week, with a blockbuster New York Times report accusing the Bush administration of covering up American troops’ chemically induced wounds…

Dave Wurmser—who served at the time as a senior adviser to Vice President Dick Cheney on national-security issues—remembers…“In 2005-6, Karl Rove and his team blocked public disclosure of these findings and said, ‘Let these sleeping dogs lie; we have lost that fight so better not to remind anyone of it.’”

Rove’s reasons make sense. Except they don’t.

It’s true that a lot of politics is about Controlling The Narrative, and you want people talking about the narratives that work for your side. So you talk up the narratives that do, and you shut up about the ones that don’t. It is sometimes called “message discipline” or “staying on message”.

Except in one important case: WHEN YOU’VE BEEN LIED ABOUT. When someone (the Left) has lied about your integrity or key issue maliciously, you don’t pass up chances to air the exculpatory evidence – also known as The Truth – which will expose your opponents as liars. Especially when those chances to air the truth aren’t going to cost you much.

If Lake’s story is accurate, Rove was so clever about Controlling The Narrative that he lost sight of the most important narrative of all: Spreading the truth. Getting the real story out.

Rove may also have lost sight of the next most important narrative, Obeying the law:

After the U.S. found thousands of the old chemical-weapons shells, Wurmser and others at one point argued that they had an obligation to declare the stocks of chemical weapons under the Chemical Weapons Convention and destroy them. The United States was, after all, the occupier of Iraq and had assumed the country’s sovereign responsibilities as a signatory to the convention.

“It was all for nothing; Rove wanted the issue buried,” Wurmser said.

The law being the Chemical Weapons Convention, in this case.

I should acknowledge here that, if Lake’s story is accurate, then the rise of ISIS isn’t 100% the Obama administration’s fault. Oh yes, it’s largely their fault: the Obama administration was quite negligent in letting the Islamists in Iraq make a comeback. But apparently, the Bush administration may have been negligent in its failure to declare-and-destroy Saddam’s WMD stockpiles.

What to make of these items?

Posted by Jeff (ILoveCapitalism) at 11:54 am - October 10, 2014.
Filed under: Debt Crisis,Media Bias,National Security

I come across items from time to time, of which I don’t know what to make. Conspiracy theorists make something of them. Not tending to be one, I file them in the back of my mind and await more information.

The latest is, a prominent German journalist discussing how intelligence agencies manage the media, whether by perks, bribes, help in writing stories (which are thus ‘planted’ stories), or harassment and retaliation on journalists who don’t co-operate. The implication is that our biased media is managed, not only by the political Left, but by the U.S. and other governments.

Another is this year’s spate of deaths among mid-level bankers (previously mentioned here). Most of them are officially suicides, but it’s an odd cluster; the more so as the last few years have been great for the financial sector. Whether these deaths are murders (to cover up something) or genuine suicides by the despondent, either way they would suggest a banking system much worse off than is generally believed.

Finally, there’s this chart:

The first implication is that, while the Taliban’s rule of Afghanistan in 2001 was repressive, at least they shut down heroin production. The darker-minded might also suggest that wealthy narcotics interests (and by extension, banking interests?) were particularly offended by the Taliban and eager to see them go. Which, if true, could make Afghanistan at least partly (apart from the al Qaeda/9-11 aspect) a modern-day Opium War.

P.S. If you want to help make sense of any of these in the comments, be my guest!

Wait…Who underestimated ISIS?

Obama says US ‘underestimated’ rise of ISIS, admits ‘contradictory’ Syria policy:

President Obama acknowledged Sunday that U.S. intelligence officials “underestimated” the threat posed by the Islamic State and overestimated the Iraqi army’s capacity to defeat the militant group…

Let’s be clear: Officials who were chosen and supported by Obama. The administration of Barack Hussein Obama underestimated ISIS.

Or else, we can make this entry #39,422 in the files of “Obama pretends that he hasn’t been president all these years”. In the interview, Obama goes on to also blame Iraq’s PM al-Maliki for the problems; never himself.

One more thing. Does Obama still have the U.S. backing the world’s evil dictators? It seems so:

Obama also acknowledged that the U.S. is dealing with a conundrum in Syria, as the U.S.-led military campaign against the Islamic State is helping Syrian President Bashar Assad, whom the U.N. has accused of war crimes.

“I recognize the contradiction in a contradictory land and a contradictory circumstance,” Obama said…

Bush practically would have been impeached, for saying that. (And Bush wouldn’t have said it because Bush did what he could, to push U.S. policy in the direction of overthrowing the world’s evil dictators.)

One more thing. Has Obama made it a thing of the past, that the U.S. might strike its enemies pre-emptively (or perhaps unilaterally, as the Left calls it)? Not so much:

Obama called the threat from the Islamic State, also known as ISIS or ISIL, and other terror groups a more “immediate concern that has to be dealt with…” “…in terms of immediate threats to the United States, ISIL, Khorasan Group — those folks could kill Americans,” he said…

Both groups have been targeted by U.S. airstrikes in recent days…

Barack Obama: Just what the Left always *accused* Bush of being. And of course, the media lets him get away with it.

UPDATE: Some Democrats agree that it was the Obama White House, more than the U.S. intelligence community, which underestimated ISIS.

Former Rear Admiral Joe Sestak, a two-term Democratic member of the House of Representatives…appeared to surprise his MSNBC interlocutor when he noted that the only people who got ISIS wrong work in the Obama administration.

“If you remember back in January and February, the head — the general, the Defense Intelligence Agency, actually testified before the House and Senate that in 2014, ISIS would take over large swaths of territory,” the Navy veteran asserted. “In fact, at the time he testified, they had already seized Ramadi and Fallujah — 35 miles from Baghdad.”

A decade ago, Fallujah was a crucial victory for the Marines (some of whom gave their lives) against an earlier version of ISIS. I guess Obama threw it back.

UPDATE: A report that Obama was warned about ISIS in 2012. As Ed Morrissey puts it:

…the US intelligence community told him of the danger at the same time Obama ridiculed Mitt Romney during the presidential debates…for wanting a residual force in Iraq to prevent exactly what Romney warned would happen.