Monday, February 7, 2022

The murder of J.F.K. still matters

This is from John Bachtell at PEOPLE'S WORLD:


I’ll tell you off the bat: I liked Oliver Stone’s new documentary, JFK Revisited: Through the Looking Glass. President John F. Kennedy’s 1963 assassination was a seminal tragic event shaping modern U.S. history and my own personal outlook, along with the assassinations of Martin Luther King, Jr., and Robert F. Kennedy, Sept. 11th, and most recently, the Jan. 6th failed coup.

It’s impossible to overstate the relevance of this documentary. The same right-wing extremism that many, including Stone, believe was behind the Kennedy assassination (and coup) is driving the real-time coup by the Trump MAGA GOP today.

New evidence

Stone, who produced and directed the 1991 acclaimed and controversial film, JFK, updates our understanding of the assassination with new information from declassified records and information uncovered by an army of investigators and forensic experts over the past 30 years.

However, as far as I can tell, Stone doesn’t incorporate valuable information learned from Soviet and Cuban archives about the assassination. The meticulously documented JFK and the Unspeakable: Why he Died and Why it Matters , by James Douglass, contains much of this fascinating information.

Stone bases his documentary on information unearthed by the Church Committee hearings in 1975 that exposed the criminal misdeeds of the CIA dating back to the 1950s, the House Select Assassinations Committee, and the Assassination Records Review Board (ARRB) housed at the National Archives, established by the 1992 JFK Records Act.

Over 10,000 records were supposed to have been released by the AARB in December 2021, but only 1,500 documents, primarily duplicates of already declassified material, were divulged. President Joe Biden rescheduled release of the remaining materials for December 2022. The delay is further evidence of stonewalling by the CIA, FBI, and national security agencies, say researchers.


 And this is from Robert Smith (WHO WHAT WHY):


On December 14, the Biden administration released 1,500 documents related to the assassination of President John F. Kennedy. By most estimates, another 10,000 documents still remain secret — either partially redacted or withheld in their entirety.

The 1992 JFK Records Act mandated that all secret government material on the assassination be released no later than October 2017. Only documents that the president declared a threat to national security would be exempted. That year, President Donald Trump began what is now an annual ritual: the executive branch’s failure to comply with the deadline. 

Trump dutifully followed instructions from intelligence and law enforcement agencies — the very “deep state” he would rail against during his later impeachment investigation and trial — and declared approximately 18,000 documents too harmful to national security to share, and accepted the heavy redactions on documents that were released. 

“Certain information should continue to be redacted because of national security, law enforcement, and foreign affairs concerns,” the president said. “I have no choice — today — but to accept those redactions rather than allow potentially irreversible harm to our Nation’s security.”  

Trump also allowed the CIA and FBI to continue deliberating whether to release documents at all — despite the congressionally mandated deadline — for another six months, an extension later pushed back further to a year. 

It’s hard to credit any genuine national security risks in the contents of documents from half a century ago. But along with generations-long stonewalling by the government, this charade also highlights the failings of mainstream media. 

Major news outlets like The New York Times and The Washington Post, loyal defenders of the Warren Commission Report, fail to tell the public the full story behind the JFK records non-release. Moreover, they continue to mischaracterize other key aspects of the assassination and subsequent investigations.  

Media Missteps or Compliance?

Take the Associated Press (AP). The US’s main wire service, considered the paragon of neutrality and accuracy, declared in a short and superficial mention published December 15 that the previous day’s release “satisfies a deadline set in October by Joe Biden and is in keeping with a federal statute that calls for the release of records in the government’s possession.” But that is objectively false: The cited statute, the President John F. Kennedy Assassination Records Collection Act of 1992, mandated the release of all documents by October 2017, with only narrow exceptions for information that tangibly harms US security. 

And nowhere does the AP mention that 10,000 documents are still partially or entirely kept secret, four years after the final deadline.

The AP also implicitly praises Trump releasing as many as he did — “about 2,800” records, the AP notes. But in fact, Trump — as advised or directed by intelligence agencies — started the practice of recertifying en masse that each of some 10,000 still-withheld documents could inflict irreversible harm, yet promising that the intelligence agencies would keep looking at them and reconsidering. This is not an observation the AP shares. 

And anyone coming to the AP story fresh would have no idea that for many Americans, the Kennedy assassination remains the republic’s greatest unsolved crime. The most recognition the AP offers to the majority of Americans who believe Oswald did not act alone is to mention “historians and others who, decades after the Kennedy killing, remain skeptical that, at the height of the cold war, a troubled young man with a mail-order rifle was solely responsible for an assassination that changed the course of American history.”

While the AP dutifully notes that the Warren Commission “concluded that Oswald had been the lone gunman,” the wire service ignores the conclusion of the House Select Committee on Assassinations (HSCA) that there was a probable conspiracy to assassinate President Kennedy. 

Instead, the AP invokes the HSCA merely as having found “no evidence to support the theory that the CIA had been involved.” That is hardly an adequate summary of the HSCA’s findings, or of the wide-ranging evidence it compiled, some of which could indeed be construed as implicating intelligence operators. 

Regardless, with more time and much more information than was available to the Warren Commission, on top of being composed of independent elected representatives rather than handpicked selections of President Lyndon B. Johnson, the House committee’s official findings should be given more weight than the Warren Commission’s.  



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

 Monday, February 7, 2022.  No president in Iraq -- despite the October 10th elections, despite the Iraqi Constitution, despite everything.

One minute, Shi;ite cleric and plus-size model Moqtada al-Sadr was screaming, "You should be dancing!'' and rushing to the floor.  The next, former prime minister and forever thug Nouri al-Mliki done f**ked up Moqtada's cabbage patch.

Toeday, the Parliament was supposed to elect Iraq's president.  Seemed not all that difficult.  Moqtada's alliance, the KDP and the alliance of Speaker of Parliament Mohamed al-Halbousi was solid and had delivered what appeared to be control over the next government in Iraq.  The western press certainly thought that was the case.  

So how did it fall apart?  

MIDDLE EAST ONLINE notes, "Iraq's parliament failed on Monday to elect a president as it lacked the quorum to hold a voting session, lawmakers said."  Sinana Mahmoud (THE NATIONAL) reports:

By late afternoon, quorum had not been reached to hold the vote with less than 60 MPs out of 329 in attendance.

The meeting in the Council of Representatives was then turned into a deliberative session where MPs discussed several issues such as agriculture and forming parliamentary committees.

The position for a new president will likely remain vacant until quorum can be made. 

What passes for the government is in violation of the country's Constitution but they've been in violation for months with no one noticing.  The elections were back in October.  October 10th.  The time to name a president is now passing but they didn't convent the Parliament on time -- not per the schedule outlined in the Constitution -- either.

MEMO notes:

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The Kurdistan Democratic Party (KDP) candidate for the presidential election in Iraq said on Sunday that he "respects" the Supreme Court's decision to temporarily suspend his candidacy, Anadolu has reported. Hoshyar Zebari's campaign was suspended due to "corruption claims" against him, a day before the Iraqi parliament was due to vote on the position.

The Supreme Court said it had received a complaint from MPs that Zebari's candidacy was "unconstitutional" because of the corruption claims dating back to 2016. It added that the suspension is "temporary" while the court considers the case.

In 2016, 68-year-old Zebari was removed from his position as finance minister after financial and administrative corruption allegations. He is one of two main contenders for the presidency. The other favoured candidate is the incumbent, Barham Saleh.

"We are confident the court will insist on implementing the rules and conditions for the position of the Iraqi presidency," said Zebari on Twitter, "otherwise this will be just a case of using power."

That's what happened.  How did it happen is another story.

Moqtada is not a king maker.  He nows how to pick out an extra large caftan, he doesn't know how to be a political player.  

The US government gave him a large sum of money (a bribe) last fall.  And the thinking there was that they'd try something different.  Soemthing wise?  No, something different.  Nothing else had worked and they'd been opposed to Moqtada this whole time so what if they tried bringing him into the fold?

What did he have to offer?  The many scalps of dead US service members.  He had that.  Which is why some people didn't want to work with him but others in Joe Biden's administration -- egged on by Antony Blinken -- insisted that doing the same thing over and over was the defintion of insanity.

They abosrbed the AA mantra very well.  Common sense?  They had none.  

Common sense would have required an honest evaluation of Moqtada.  Such an evlatuation would have noted that he was out of step and out of touch with Iraq's young people.  That's not a minor point in a country when the median age is 21-years-old.  He's out of step and out of touch and represents yesterday, not today and certainly not tomorrow.

Common sense would have led them to understand that there even among Moqtada's own cult, members were unsatisfied.  That tends to happen when, for example, Moqtada presents himself as a leader for nearly 20 years and yet Sadr City remains a slum.  Forget fixing the country, he can't even improve the conditions in the slum where the bulk of his cult lives.

Yes, wasting money on Moqtada was different than wasting money on other officials.  But different isn't always smarter and it certainly isn't sane.

The US government -- and its security state known as the corporate press -- highly miscalculated.

They all got on board with Moqtada -- a man responsible for the deaths of so many American men and women.  They spat on the veterans.  Now, at some point, you have to make your peace with your enemies and rivals.  That's part of a war ending.  But worshiping at the feet of Moqtada was never a common sense position for the US government.

It's failed and we're not seeing any reflection of that among the press (the security state) that pimped him and hailed him as a king maker.

He was never a king maker.

He's just a fat whore who leads a cult (and a militia) and who has seen his power rapidly decrease.

'He won the elction!'  He really didn't.  His political party did well.  He built an alliance that did better.  But there was no winner in the election.  You could argue that the KDP was the winner in Kurdistan because they so overwhelmingly defeated their rivals (Gorran is no more and the PUK is on the ropes at present).  But throughout Iraq?

The majority position of Iraqi adults was that the process does not work.  That shouldn't have surprised anyone, certainly not Joe Biden.  Belief in elections in Iraq have steadily decreased since 2010.  Joe Biden was vice president back then.  The mind is weak and frail -- and was even then -- but surely he remembers his trip to Iraq where he pushed The Erbil Agreement and insisted everyone had to sign on and ridiculously compared the whole thing to Ireland.  What the hell was he talking about?  No one knew.  Not even the non-Iraqis present.  They all thought it was a senior moment.  

Emma Sky has written about it many times, including in her book The Unraveling: High Hopes and Missed Opportunities in Iraq.

If you're late to the party, you might try reading it.  The Erbil Agreement overturned the votes of the Iraqi people who showed up at the polls to vote Nouri al-Maliki out as prime minister.  The Erbil Agreement was a contract overseen by the US government which overturned the votes and was signed off on by leaders of the various Iraqi political parties.  It gave Nour a second term.

Iraqis risked their lives to vote in 2010 amidst violence.  Their reward was to have the US government overturn their votes.

It's no suprrise that this resulted in a lower turnout in subsequent elections.

Not a surprise at all, we warned about it in real time.

And then we came to October 10th of last year and the Iraqi people stayed home.  The lowest turnout since the elections started post-2003 invasion.

Failed leader Moqtada benefitted from the lowest turnout in an Iraq election since the 2003-US-led invasion.  Even with Moqtada telling his cult to vote -- ordering them to -- his candidates still got less votes -- the lowest number that they've ever gotten.  A detail the soft-on-Sadr western press loved to ignore.  He doesn't even have the hold on hs followers hat he once had.

REUTERS reported yesterday:

Iraq's Supreme Court on Sunday suspended a former foreign minister's presidential bid over graft allegations and many lawmakers said they would boycott a Monday vote for a new head of state, prolonging a political standoff.

The court said the candidacy of Hoshyar Zebari, a Western-friendly veteran Iraqi Kurdish statesman, could not proceed until corruption charges from a separate 2016 stint as finance minister were dealt with.

The decision was a blow to populist Shi'ite Muslim cleric Moqtada al-Sadr, who was the biggest winner in an October election and has vowed to quickly push through a government that could exclude Iranian allies.

Sadr, the Kurdish Democratic Party (KDP) of which Zebari is a member and an alliance of Sunni Muslim lawmakers had supported Zebari's bid for president.

Hoshayr Zebari is, of course, Hillary Cinton's good friend.  He's many other things as well but, right now, he's an example of corruption in Iraq.

Is Hoshyar himself corrupt?  I have no idea.  At the time the charges were made, it was said by many that these were smears being used to derail his political career.  True?  If not true, Iraq is incredibly corrupt in every way because they never, in six years, moved forward on the legal charges.  Instead, they just sat them aside.

Now Hoshyar is attempting to run for another office and the charges are brought back up.  

Either they were smears -- and this is a smear as well -- or the Iraqi government from 2016 forward has been so corrupt that they've let a guilty person go free.

Tim Borlay (TURNED NEWS) adds:

On Saturday, the first force in parliament, the current of the influential Shiite cleric Moqtada Sadr, announced that its 73 deputies would not participate.

Sunday evening, the sovereignty coalition, ie 51 deputies led by the speaker of parliament Mohamed al-Halboussi, a Sadrist ally, also revealed its absence.

Later in the evening, the third pillar of this informal alliance, the influential Democratic Party of Kurdistan (PDK, 31 deputies), in turn announced its absence, with the aim of continuing consultations and dialogue between the political blocs.

Moqtada's deal making depends upon him holding the players -- that would be the KDP and an al-Halboussi's coalition.  Without them, he has no hold and Nouri al-Maliki is the one in control.

Former prime minister and forever thug Nouri?  His hands are all over this.  Well played, Nouri.  It's highly treminiscent of how he used the electoral commission and the Justice and Accountability Commission (remember them?  If you don't sit down because you have no analysis to share) and the Supreme Court throughout 2006 and 2010.  He's yet again attempting to derail a candidacy by using a supposedly impartial body.  

And if he succeeds, it brings him ever closer to control of Iraq.

Thursday, the Atlantic Council's Abbas Kadhim observed:

Sadr would like to increase his coalition by adding a number of his Shia competitors, but he is vehemently opposed to allying with former Prime Minister Nuri al-Maliki, whose State of Law coalition currently has thirty-eight seats in the COR. Maliki just managed to secure a renewal of his term as chairman of the Da’wa Party on January 15, and seems to have been able to keep his large non-Sadrist alliance together (until now), despite Sadr’s multiple attempts to court some of Maliki’s allies.

Ahead of the election, we repeaedly warned Nouri was still a player.  The western press ignored him.  Since the election, we've repeatedly warned Nouri is a player and the western press has ignored that reality.  More and more people are starting to realize that they can't cover the politial climate currently without covering Nouri.

Nouri used to be the US government's pet.  Bully Boy Bush backed him in 2006 because the CIA's analysis found Nouri to be incredibly paranoid and it was felt that the US government could use thta paranoia to control him.  In 2010, Barack and Joe backed Nouri -- despite it being already known that he had torture chambers and secret prisons -- because Samantha Power argued convincingly (to them anyway) that Nouri could be manipualted to keep US troops in Iraq.  In 2012, the US government worked against bascially everyone not in Nouri's State of Law by derailing a no-confidence vote against Nouri supported by Amir al-Hakim, Moqtada al-Sadr, the KDP, Iraqiya . . .  When Nouri wanted his third term, as Mosul and other parts of Iraq had fallent o ISIS (an organization created in opposition to Nouri), Barack Obama was telling Nouri it was over and step aside.

Nouri still wants that third term, still wants to be prime minister.  And he was trained to fight dirty by the uS government and he was encouraged to fight dirty by the US government.

Why is anyone surprised to discover Nouri doing just that today?

The following sites updated: