Monday, September 14, 2020

Paul Craig Roberts is a truth teller

 Paul Craig Roberts served in the Reagan administration.  I knew nothing of him then.  I first encountered him during numerous guest appearances on KPFA.  I do not always agree with him but I do always listen because I know he is sincere and is telling his truth.  This is from his latest at INFORMATION CLEARING HOUSE:

Bob Woodward writes that Trump’s Secretary of Defense, General James Mattis, and Trump’s Director of National Intelligence, Dan Coats, spoke together about taking “collective action” to remove President Trump from office. General Mattis said Trump is “dangerous. He’s unfit.”

This is the same thing that the Generals and the CIA said about President John F. Kennedy. 

When Generals and the CIA say that a president is unfit and dangerous, they mean he is dangerous to their budget.  By “unfit” they mean he is not a reliable cold warrior who will keep hyping America’s enemies so that money keeps pouring into the military/security budget. By serving defense contractors instead of their country, generals end up very wealthy.

Both Kennedy and Trump wanted to normalize relations with Russia and to bring home US troops involved in make-war operations overseas that boost the profits of defense contractors.  

To stop Kennedy they assassinated him.

To stop Trump they concocted Russiagate, Impeachgate, and a variety of wild and unsubstantiated accusations.  The presstitutes repeat the various accusations as if they are absolute proven truth. The presstitutes never investigated a single one of the false accusations.

These efforts to remove Trump did not succeed. Having pulled off numerous color revolutions in which the US has overthrown foreign governments, the tactics are now being employed against Trump.  The November presidential election will not be an election. It will be a color revolution.

See, here and here.

I agree that there has been a real effort by the deep state -- media players and the CIA, etc. -- to destroy Donald Trump.  It has been a never-ending assassination attempt of a sitting president.  I did not vote for President Trump and do not plan to vote for him this November (I will be voting for Howie Hawkins) but I have made a point to call out these government attacks on him and I do believe that there has been an actual conspiracy to destroy him -- a conspiracy that should result in prison terms for many.

This is C.I.'s "Iraq snapshot:"

 Monday, September 14, 2020.  Two liars -- one lying for Joe Biden, the other lying to keep US troops in Iraq -- spew lies but, if put together, you can squeeze a little truth out of them. 

Jimmy Dore calls out the idiot Krugman.

Whores like Paul have to whore.  I'm so glad he exposed himself on the anniversary of the execution of the Rosenbergs all those years ago -- as he used that day to praise the fifties in the US.  That's when we knew he was full of s**t and Bully Boy Bush still occupied the White House.  "He lies for the establishment," Jimmy notes.  

Fortunately, he's not alone in calling out the whore.  Algenon D'Ammassa (LAS CRUCES SUN NEWS) notes:

Memory fades after two decades, but that does not explain a bizarre statement made by New York Times columnist Paul Krugman on Friday. The Nobel-winning economist wrote a series of posts on Twitter in which he stated: “Overall, Americans took 9/11 pretty calmly. Notably, there wasn't a mass outbreak of anti-Muslim sentiment and violence, which could all too easily have happened. And while GW Bush was a terrible president, to his credit he tried to calm prejudice, not feed it.”

It was a maddening erasure of history and Krugman has been justly roasted for it. He also wrote that “home-grown white supremacists” pose a much greater threat, but it came too late. As of Saturday, he had not clarified or deleted his post.

Hate crimes targeting Muslims spiked immediately after 9/11, such that President George W. Bush and Attorney General John Ashcroft made public speeches calling on Americans to knock it off. It wasn’t just Muslims but Sikhs, South Asians, anyone who looked like they might be Middle Eastern, or people with Arabic names.

Mosques were vandalized or burned. Hijabs and other coverings were knocked from people’s heads in our streets. Shopkeepers and laborers were denounced as terrorists, told to “go back” to some country they may never have seen.

My own brush with this harassment was farcical. A few weeks after the attacks, I was questioned and searched at Orlando International Airport because my carry-on luggage included a compact disk of the Nubian musician Hamza El Din from southern Egypt, and my first name sounded like it might be Arabic.

Brett Wilkins (COMMON DREAMS) notes:

New York Times columnist Paul Krugman faced withering criticism Friday after he claimed that there was no "mass outbreak of anti-Muslim sentiment and violence" following the September 11, 2001 terrorist attacks on the United States. 

"Overall, Americans took 9/11 pretty calmly," Krugman tweeted on the 19th anniversary of the attacks that left nearly 3,000 people dead in New York, Washington, D.C., and Pennsylvania, and led to U.S. wars of choice in Afghanistan, Iraq and elsewhere in which at least hundreds of thousands—and perhaps as many as 2 million—people have died in predominantly Muslim countries. 

[. . .]

Krugman also claimed that President George W. Bush "tried to calm prejudice, not feed it." However, the Bush administration, taking advantage of the nation's collective fear following the attacks, proceeded to lock up thousands of foreign Muslims in "preventive detention" while requiring 80,000 mostly Muslim foreign nationals to register with federal authorities in the hopes that they might net some terrorists. They didn't catch a single one.

Krugman's a whore.  He's far from alone.

Having been part of the Iraq war debate and watched Biden’s role in it for 30 years, I believe it is considerably better than allowed by critics like Gates, or political foes like Sen. Tom Cotton, R-Arkansas. Iraq has a way of making almost anyone look bad if they stay in the conversation long enough. But Biden has also made positive contributions to the policy-making process that need to be weighed in any net assessment of his record.

That's Micheal O'Hanlon making a filthy mess at USA TODAY.  The American people should collectively roll up a newspaper, smack Michael over the nose with it and say, "Outside, O'Hanlon, outside!"

For those who have forgotten, O'Hanlon was one of those arm chair warriors who took to TV to insist upon war on Iraq.  Over and over.  Michael's defense of Joe sounds a lot like his defense of himself.  He's trash and he's a whore.

If you're not getting how bad O'Hanlon lies, let's note this section:

Later, as vice president, Biden consulted frequently with Iraqi leaders of various stripes and attempted to rein in the increasingly sectarian ways of Shiite Prime Minister Nuri al-Maliki, who was trying to ban numerous Sunni leaders from Iraqi politics and stack the government and military with his own lackeys. That Biden was ultimately unsuccessful was tragic, since it led to the rise of ISIS in Iraq in 2014 and other huge setbacks. In retrospect, the United States should have backed the moderate, Ayad Allawi, and his political party more strongly. But with President Barack Obama having decided that our forces would soon leave Iraq, Biden’s leverage was limited. 

So many lies.  Let's bring in another liar, Gabrielle Debinski (GZERO) is frantic that no US troops leave Iraq:

Some analysts fear that amid ongoing regional tumult, Iraq's fragile democracy might collapse without a sustained US presence there.

The US has played a key (albeit very flawed) role in propping up Iraq's democracy — broadly viewed as a kleptocracy — and some observers warn that a US troop drawdown will pave the way for hardline Shiite groups to take center stage within an already deeply divided and corrupt political system. Inevitably, this would also exacerbate sectarian tensions by sidelining minority Sunnis and Kurds.

Indeed, this was the case in 2011 when the US withdrew troops deployed for the 2003 invasion. Shiite domination and subsequent clashes over power-sharing arrangements poisoned Iraq's already troubled politics and helped set the stage for the Sunni-supported rise of the Islamic State in 2014. 

O'Hanlon's lying to cover for Joe, Debinski's lying to keep US troops on Iraqi soil.  And as they pursue their own objectives, they let just a little bit of truth out.  First, Debinksi with her statement about the 'fragile democracy' and how it might collapse.  For years now, we have told you that US troops remained in Iraq to prop up the government the US created.  That's the sole reason.  Barack Obama went into a panic in 2014 not when ISIS seized Mosul.  He went into a panic when there were reports that ISIS next planned to seize Baghdad and take control of the Green Zone.  She gets honest about that but she lies about what happened to Iraq.  The drawdown of US troops in 2011 followed the US putting Nouri al-Maliki in charge, giving him a second term.  In 2010, March of 2010, Iraqis went to the polls and voted.  They voted thug Nouri out as prime minister.  Per the results, Ayad Allawi should have been the prime minister-designate.  But Nouri refused to step down.

Oh, it was a surprise, no one could have guessed, lie, lie and more lies.

Gen Ray Odierno, then the top US commander in Iraq, saw that possibility in the months ahead of the election.  But Chrissy Hill (Pigpen Ambassador to Iraq -- famous for insulting the Iraqi people to his Iraqi staff and for taking his mid-day naps under his desk) said no, never happen.

Ray was right.

For eight months, Nouri refused to step down.  Had the US backed the Iraqi people, had they stood up for democracy, things would have been different.

Grasp this: Joe keeps tossing out that Donald Trump might not step down if he loses the election.  Yet not one reporter has the guts to point out to Joe that, in Iraq, Nouri refused to step down and Joe went along with it.

Some US troops leaving Iraq was not responsible for the rise of ISIS: Nouri was.  The US gave Nouri a second term via The Erbil Agreement (a pork contracts that gave various parties what they wanted so they'd go along with Nouri getting a second term).  And they knew Nouri was garbage, they knew he was running secret prisons and torture cells.  They knew he was persecuting his 'enemies' (the press, Sunnis, etc).  

Given a second term, Nouri got even worse.  

The rape of Iraqi girls and women in prisons -- picked up by forces for being related to some man they were searching for but couldn't find, the targeting of Sunni politicians (the brother of one politician was killed when Nouri staged a dawn military raid on the politician's home), on and on it went -- and we paid attention and called it out here.  Nouri's actions led to the rise of ISIS.  That's reality.  

B-b-b-but, O'Hanlan is honest sort of about it!!!!!

No, he's not.  Here's what he wrote:

Later, as vice president, Biden consulted frequently with Iraqi leaders of various stripes and attempted to rein in the increasingly sectarian ways of Shiite Prime Minister Nuri al-Maliki, who was trying to ban numerous Sunni leaders from Iraqi politics and stack the government and military with his own lackeys. That Biden was ultimately unsuccessful was tragic, since it led to the rise of ISIS in Iraq in 2014 and other huge setbacks. In retrospect, the United States should have backed the moderate, Ayad Allawi, and his political party more strongly. But with President Barack Obama having decided that our forces would soon leave Iraq, Biden’s leverage was limited. 

That's such a lie.  "More strongly"?  They didn't back Ayad Allawi at all.  Ask him if you don't believe me.  He's been very public about that fact in recent years.  He was diplomatic in real time but he no longer feels that need (nor should he) in recent years and he's very clear about being betrayed -- and democracy being betrayed -- by Joe and Barack.

But more to the point, it was already known that Nouri was a thug.  Then-Senator Hillary Clinton called him that in a public hearing in April of 2008 -- and she was right.  In another hearing that same week, Joe Biden expressed concern about a proposed SOFA with Iraq declaring, "We've pledged we're not only going to consult when there is an outside threat, but also when there is an inside threat.  We've just witnessed when Mr. Maliki engaged in the use of force against another Shia group in the south, is this an inside threat?"

Go to the April 10, 2008 snapshot where we reported on that Senate Foreign Relations Committee -- it's the last third of the snapshot. It's very clear in there that Joe knows Nouri's a thug and that there's no real government there.  From the snapshot:

Biden noted the "internal threat" aspect being proposed and how these requires the US "to support the Iraqi government in its battle with all 'outlaw groups' -- that's a pretty expansive commitment."  He noted that it requires the US "to take sides in Iraq's civil war" and that "there is no Iraqi government that we know of that will be in place a year from now -- half the government has walked out." 

"Just understand my frustration," Biden explained.  "We want to normalize a government that really doesn't exist."  Senator Russ Feingold wanted to know if there were "any conditions that the Iraq government must meet?"  No, that thought never occurred to the White House.  "Given the fact that the Maliki government doesn't represent a true colation," Feingold asked, "won't this agreement [make it appear] we are taking sides in the civil war especially when most Iraqi Parliamentarians have called for the withdrawal of troops?"  The two witnesses didn't appear to have heard that fact before.  Feingold repeated and asked, "Are you not concerned at all that the majority of the Iraqi Parliament has called for withdrawal"  Satterfield feels the US and the agreement "will enjoy broad popular support" in Iraq.  Satterfield kept saying the agreement wasn't binding.  And Feingold pointed out, "The  agreement will not bind the Congress either, if the Congress were to" pass a law overriding it which seemed to confuse Satterfield requiring that Feingold again point that out and ask him if "Congress passed a clear law overriding the agreement, would the law override the agreement."  Satterfield felt the White House "would have to look carefully at it at the time" because "it would propose difficult questions for us."

He knew what Nouri was years before 2011.  O'Hanlan doesn't want to acknowledge that.  Maybe, O'Hanlan feels now, they should have backed Ayad Allawi.

Even that maybe misses the point.

It wasn't about backing Allawi.  It was about backing the Iraqi people.  It was about showing them that their votes did matter.  Grasp that they risked their lives to vote and saw their votes overturned by the US government.

Grasp that the Iraqi people, voting for Iraqiya, were voting for a national identity.  Imagine how much further along the country of Iraq would be today if democracy had been backed and a national identity fostered?

O'Hanlan doesn't want to deal with that reality, does he?  He does want to insist that, in 2011, Joe didn't have any power to force Nouri out because (some) US forces were leaving.  Hmmm.  That doesn't stand well with this section of the same O'Hanlan column:

Speaking of ISIS, despite earlier mistakes, the Obama-Biden team recovered smartly in 2014 — forcing Maliki out of power as a precondition for U.S. military support in an Iraq-led campaign against the caliphate. 

In 2010, they're powerless to stand up to Nouri but in 2014, they have the power to?  

In what world does that make sense?

They had more power in 2010 because they had the will of the Iraqi people wanting Nouri out of office.  

It's all garbage from garbage liars.

The US will leave Iraq at some point -- I hope during my lifetime.  And the Iraqi people will build their own government.  Until then?  A paternalistic approach that says we must remain in Iraq to protect it.  It's a bit like being scared Junior's going to get some girl or woman pregnant so, as parents, we go on every date Junior has -- every date from his teens to his 20s to his 30s . . . 

We're less than a month away for a full year of persecution of activists in Iraq.  The persecution continues.  They are tracked, they are hunted, they are attacked and they are killed.  By whom?  ALJAZEERA has a special set to air today on this topic:

On Monday, September 14 at 19:30 GMT:
Nearly a year has passed since a wave of popular protest began in Iraq, with people across the country voicing their frustration over issues such as poor public services, unemployment, and corruption. Regular demonstrations have continued, but a string of attacks against activists and analysts has highlighted the ever-present danger of speaking out. 

Two deadly attacks in Basra recently made headlines around the world. Reham Yacoub, a 30-year-old doctor and women's rights advocate, was shot dead by unidentified assailants in the southern port city on August 19. She was killed five days after Tahseen Osama, a father-of-four who regularly took part in anti-corruption protests, was shot dead by attackers who stormed the internet centre he owned. Two other activists in Basra were hurt in an apparent assassination attempt that same week.

News of the assaults was met with anger by Iraqis already on edge over the killing in July of Hisham al-Hashemi, an expert on armed groups who had received threats from Iran-backed militia organisations. Iraq's Prime Minister Mustafa al-Kadhimi has sacked Basra's police chief and says the killers of Yacoub and Osama will be brought to justice.

But security experts warn that Iraq's perennially weak government has little control over militia groups, particularly in southern Iraq. Meanwhile, protesters commonly face abuse, arbitrary arrest and assault by Iraqi security forces, according to a report (PDF) released by the United Nations in August. Iraq's government said on July 30 that at least 560 people - protesters and police - had died since October in protests and demonstrations.

The Stream will look at what spurred the attacks in Basra, the daily risks that pro-change voices in Iraq are facing, and what more the country's government can and should do to protect them. Join the conversation.

On this episode of The Stream, we are joined by:
Dorsa Jabbari, @DorsaJabbari
Correspondent, Al Jazeera English

Hamzoz, @Hamzoz
Founder and CEO, Iraqi Network for Social Media

Ali Al Bayati, @aliakramalbayat
Member, Iraqi Independent High Commission for Human Rights

Read more:
Iraqis protest as hospitals overwhelmed by COVID-19 patients - Al Jazeera
Protesters set fire to Iraq parliament's regional office in Basra - Al Jazeera

In other news, at the end of July, Iraq's prime minister Mustafa al-Kadhimi declared that parliamentary elections would take place in June (June 6th).  Today?  Lawk Ghafuri (RUDAW) reports, "Iraq's three leaders, the president, prime minister, and parliament speaker, are united in their support for a statement from the highest Shiite authority in Iraq, Grand Ayatollah Ali al-Sistani, backing early elections held with 'integrity and transparency'."  AP adds, "Grand Ayatollah Ali al-Sistani’s comments came in a statement released by his office after a meeting with the U.N. envoy to Iraq, Jeanine Hennis-Plasschaert. A photo released by al-Sistani’s office showed the black-turbaned cleric meeting with the U.N. envoy and an interpreter." Mina Aldroubi (THE NATIONAL) reports:

It was his first public face-to-face meeting with a foreign official since the outbreak of coronavirus in Iraq.

Iraq has been hit hard by the pandemic, recording more than 290,000 confirmed cases and more than 8,000 deaths.

Mr Al Sistani does not make public appearances and typically issues a weekly Friday sermon through a representative.

He is Iraq’s most influential Shiite cleric and has given significant support to the country’s protest movement.

UNAMI Tweets:

SRSG Jeanine Hennis-Plasschaert was received today in Sulaymaniyah by the President of the Republic of #Iraq, Barham Salih. They discussed the current political and security situation in the country, including preparations for the forthcoming early elections.

REUTERS notes:

 A debate within Iraq over whether it should ask to be exempt from Opec+ oil supply cuts has resurfaced as low prices squeeze its finances, challenging a government struggling to tackle the destruction of years of war and rampant corruption.
Opec’s second-biggest producer, Iraq has failed in the past to fully comply with Opec+ oil output reductions, pumping above its production targets since the pact was first signed in 2016 between Opec and its allies led by Russia.
“Iraq always believed they were not properly treated in December 2016 when they were not exempted. As the economy continues to reel from low prices this issue keeps resurfacing,” said an Opec source.
Iraq’s economy and oil sector were battered by years of wars, sanctions and a stubborn insurgency triggered by the US invasion.
Baghdad complained it had struggled to revive its stagnating oil industry, at a time where other Opec members benefited and boosted their market share.
Iraq relies on oil to fund 97% of its state budget.

In a bit of good economic news for Iraq, BLOOMBERG MARKETS notes, "Iraq will offer barley for export for the first time after ample rains and price incentives spurred farmers to grow a surplus of the grain. The government plans to start auctioning 700,000 tons of the grain next week and anticipates interest from Gulf Arab states, Jordan and countries in North Africa, agriculture ministry spokesman Hameed Al-Nayef said by phone. It’s setting a minimum price of $125 per ton."

Kat's "Kat's Korner: Maria McKee and Bright Eyes both return" went up yesterday.