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Take the Salt Water Challenge

Marwan Barghouti has stopped drinking water. He started his hunger strike thirty-six days ago, together with 1,500 other Palestinians who are being held in Israeli prisons. Each day the strikers have been drinking water mixed with salt, the salt needed to keep their electrolytes functioning to stay alive, but their health has reached a critical phase in which they are experiencing vomiting, fainting and loss of vision. Barghouti, who has been in Israeli prisons for 15 years, is wagering with his own life in a bid to obtain better conditions for the 6,500 Palestinians in Israeli detention, most of whom have been imprisoned on faux terrorism related charges by military tribunals that have a 90% conviction rate. Nearly 500 children are among the prisoners, some of whom are only 12 years old, and there are also an estimated 500 Palestinians held in administrative detention, which permits the Israeli authorities to confine them indefinitely without any charges or any trial.

The Israeli authorities describe the hunger strike as a “violation of prison rules.” In the past, they have responded to such protests by bringing in doctors to help restrain and supervise force feeding of the strikers, but the practice proved very controversial among members of the medical profession and has been suspended, though there have been suggestions that “foreign” doctors might be brought in to do the dirty work. So it is to be presumed that the strike will continue until the protesters either win, begin to die or choose to cease and desist.

I have had the pleasure of speaking recently with Marwan’s youngest son Aarab, a graduate of St. Mary’s College of California with a master’s degree in financial analysis, who has begun a campaign to publicize his father’s resistance against the Israeli prison authorities. He has been asking supporters to themselves drink salt water as a sign of solidarity with the hunger strikers. Many prominent Palestinians have done so publicly and the practice has become widespread both in Gaza and on the West Bank as well as among activists in Europe and the United States. It is also gaining strength on the social media, most particularly on Facebook, with videos of supporters of the Salt Water Challenge Salt Water Challenge inviting their friends to join the movement. Hunger striking is the ultimate personal statement, a peaceful form of protest that can only be effective if it helps to mobilize other forces to bring about change. With that in mind, the account of the suffering of Marwan Barghouti and his comrades in prison deserves the widest possible dissemination worldwide.

Marwan Barghouti is, not surprisingly, a controversial figure. His resistance to the Israeli occupation of his homeland began early at age 15 when he joined Fatah and eventually went on to co-found the organization’s youth movement. He later assumed leadership of its paramilitary wing Tanzim, though he eventually distanced himself from Fatah due to its corruption and for a short time headed his own reform party. He subsequently rejoined Fatah in 2006 and is now a member of the Palestinian Parliament. He is widely regarded as the most popular of Palestinian leaders even though he is in prison, or perhaps in part because of that.

Barghouti’s biography reads like a work of fiction. One of seven children, his father was a migrant worker. He completed high school while in an Israeli prison, where he learned Hebrew, and then went on to complete a BA in history and political science followed by an MA in international relations, both at the Palestinian Birzeit University. It required 15 years to complete his degrees because he was exiled to Jordan by the Israelis from 1987 to 1994 for his involvement in the First Intifada after being charged with “incitement,” a favorite catch-all phrase frequently used by Israel to indict anyone who is perceived as an opponent or critic when no actual charges can be plausibly supported by evidence.

Marwan Barghouti was indeed prominent in both the First and Second Intifadas due to his undoubtedly correct belief that a powerful Israel had no interest in any peaceful accommodation with the beleaguered Palestinians. He supported sometimes violent resistance and provocations directed at Israeli soldiers and settlers on the West Bank, though he did not consider Israeli citizens inside Israel legitimate targets. In 2002, he was arrested in Ramallah by the Israelis during the Second Intifada and eventually convicted of five counts of murder plus additional charges. He was given the maximum sentence of five cumulative life sentences for the alleged murders plus forty additional years for attempted murder and membership in an illegal organization.

In his trial Barghouti denied everything but refused to defend himself, claiming that the court had no jurisdiction and that he was legitimately resisting the Israeli occupation of his home. No one was able to demonstrate that he had actually killed anyone but the prosecution insisted that he had given the orders to do so. It should be noted that it was a political rather than a criminal event and completely illegal as he was a Palestinian living in Ramallah who was being tried in an Israeli court and sentenced to prison in Israel. The Inter-Parliamentary union subsequently reviewed the case and found that it had violated the accused’s rights and that numerous international legal agreements and norms were contravened.

Since 2002, there have been growing demands for Marwan Barghouti’s release, including from some Israeli politicians and peace groups, based on his relative moderation and desire to see a peaceful transition into a two-state solution for Israel and Palestine. He has sometimes been likened to Nelson Mandela as someone who could potentially bring order and justice to an apparently intractable situation. Barghouti is undeniably more popular than either Mahmoud Abbas of Fatah or Ismail Haniya of Hamas. If he were free and an election were held today, he would undoubtedly be elected Palestinian president.

 
Sometimes paranoia is justified

President Donald Trump is not exactly known for his self-restraint. The recent firing of Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) Director James Comey was not handled with any delicacy and has unleashed a firestorm of criticism coming from across the political spectrum. And since Comey’s abrupt dismissal the backstabbing has become even worse, with many coming around to the view that Trump is actually crudely threatening Comey over the issue of what might or might not have been said at dinners and meetings between the two men.

What exactly drove the firing at this time remains somewhat of a mystery though the media has been quick to link it directly to Trump’s reported anger at the seemingly endless investigation into his Administration’s possible ties to Russia, an investigation that nominally Comey headed as FBI Director. But that explanation somehow makes no sense as even a white-hot Trump would have realized that getting rid of Comey would only make the Russiagate problem worse as everyone would assume cover-up and would come after the White House with even greater intensity, which is precisely what has happened. Was Trump dumb enough to dig himself into a deeper hole? Possibly, but it seems unlikely.

What is real, however, is that constant innuendo means that anti-Russian hysteria has been mounting, including completely speculative pieces wondering whether the entourage of Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov had sought to sneak a recording device into the White House during last week’s visit.

And what if there really is a conspiracy against Donald Trump being orchestrated within the various national security agencies that are part of the United States government? The president has been complaining for months about damaging leaks emanating from the intelligence community and the failure of Congress to pay any attention to the illegal dissemination of classified information. It is quite possible that Trump has become aware that there is actually something going on and that something just might be a conspiracy to delegitimize and somehow remove him from office.

President Trump has also been insisting that the “Russian thing” is a made-up story, a view that I happen to agree with. I recently produced my own analysis of the possibility that there is in progress a soft, or stealth or silent coup, call it what you will, underway directed against the president and that, if it exists, it is being directed by former senior officials from the Obama White House. Indeed, it is quite plausible to suggest that it was orchestrated within the Obama White House itself before the government changed hands at the inauguration on January 20th. In line with that thinking, some observers are now suggesting that Comey might well have been party to the conspiracy and his dismissal would have been perfectly justified based on his demonstrated interference in both the electoral process and in his broadening of the acceptable role of his own Bureau, which Trump has described as “showboating.”

Two well-informed observers of the situation have recently joined in the discussion, Robert Parry of Consortiumnews and former CIA senior analyst Ray McGovern of the Veteran Intelligence Professionals for Sanity. McGovern has noted, as have I, that there is one individual who has been curiously absent from the list of former officials who have been called in to testify before the Senate Intelligence Committee. That is ex-CIA Director John Brennan, who many have long considered an extreme Obama/Hillary Clinton loyalist long rumored to be at the center of the information damaging to Team Trump sent to Washington by friendly intelligence services, including the British.

Ray suggests that Brennan and also Comey may been at the center of a “Deep State” combined CIA-NSA-FBI cabal working to discredit the Trump candidacy and delegitimize his presidency. Brennan in particular was uniquely well placed to fabricate the Russian hacker narrative that has been fully embraced by Congress and the media even though no actual evidence supporting that claim has yet been produced. As WikiLeaks has now revealed that the CIA had the technical ability to hack into sites surreptitiously while leaving behind footprints that would attribute the hack to someone else, including the Russians, it does not take much imagination to consider that the alleged trail to Moscow might have been fabricated. If that is so, this false intelligence has in turn proven to be of immense value to those seeking to present “proof” that the Russian government handed the presidency to Donald Trump.

Robert Parry asked in an article on May 10th whether we are seeing is “Watergate redux or ‘Deep State’ coup?” and then followed up with a second Piece “The ‘Soft Coup’ of Russia-gate” on the 13th. In other words, is this all a cover-up of wrongdoing by the White House akin to President Richard Nixon’s firing of Watergate independent special prosecutor Archibald Cox and the resignations of both the Attorney General and Deputy Attorney General or is it something quite different, an undermining of an elected president who has not actually committed any “high crimes and misdemeanors” to force his removal from office. Like Parry, I am reluctant to embrace conspiracy theories, in my case largely because I believe a conspiracy is awfully hard to sustain. The federal government leaks like a sieve and if more than two conspirators ever meet in the CIA basement it would seem to me their discussion would become public knowledge within forty-eight hours, but perhaps what we are seeing here is less a formal arrangement than a group of individuals who are loosely connected while driven by a common objective.

Parry sees the three key players in the scheme as John Brennan of CIA, Director of National Intelligence James Clapper and James Comey of the FBI. Comey’s role in the “coup” was key as it consisted of using his office to undercut both Hillary Clinton and Trump, neither of whom was seen as a truly suitable candidate by the Deep State. He speculates that a broken election might well have resulted in a vote in the House of Representatives to elect the new president, a process that might have produced a Colin Powell presidency as Powell actually received three votes in the Electoral College and therefore was an acceptable candidate under the rules governing the electoral process.

 
Trump leans on Abbas but Israel is afraid of surprises

For many Palestinians, President Mahmoud Abbas is seen as something like a Quisling, a timid man who has dedicated himself to selling out to American and Israeli interests in exchange for his remaining in power. Others, recognizing that a return to an intifada would bring down terrible destruction, accept that the enormous disparity of force between Israel and the Palestinians means that a policy of accommodation with Benjamin Netanyahu and his ever-threatening right-wing government is the only possible course, even as West Bank land continues to be stolen by the brutal Israeli settlers. And Abbas is even viewed somewhat sympathetically and somewhat appreciated by that patient minority of Palestinians which hopes that international pressure on Israel will grow until it reaches a point where the Israelis will eventually be compelled to take steps to recognize Palestinian rights.

Abbas did not expect much from his first face to face meeting with American President Donald Trump, but he reportedly came away from the encounter pleased by what he was hearing even though the discussion was light on specifics. According to various media sources, Trump did indeed privately pressure the Palestinians to comply with the usual Israeli laundry list of “concessions for peace,” namely stopping what is regarded as “incitement” of violence, ceasing negative portrayals of Israel in textbooks and the ending of payments to families of Palestinians in Israeli jails, which the Netanyahu government sees as support of terrorism. Abbas might well have noted that most of the violence in the region is instigated by the Israelis, that Israeli textbooks demonize Arabs, and that settlers are subsidized by the Israeli government to steal and build on more Arab land while terrorizing and imprisoning the local inhabitants, but he prudently kept his mouth shut.

But Trump was also upbeat on the potential for an agreement to end the nearly seventy-year conflict and even described his talk with Abbas as “an honor.” Immediately after the meeting with the Palestinian president, he said a deal was “frankly maybe not as difficult as people have thought over the years…We need two willing parties. We believe Israel is willing, we believe you’re willing, and if you both are willing, we’re going to make a deal.” He also offered “to do whatever is necessary,” acting as mediator: “I’m committed to working with Israel and the Palestinians to reach an agreement.”

To put it mildly, Donald Trump has been inconsistent in terms of what he has said about Israel-Palestine. It is generally accepted that he is much closer to Israel and to Jewish interests than he is to seeking justice for the Palestinians. The first foreign leader Trump spoke to after his election was Netanyahu, the Israeli Prime Minister has already been in Washington for a visit and Trump has indeed said repeatedly that he is the best friend as U.S. president that Israel has ever had. He has backed up that claim by appointing leading Zionists David Friedman as U.S. Ambassador to Israel and Jason Greenblatt as special representative for international negotiations. He has also promised to move the U.S. Embassy to Jerusalem, even if he has slowed up the process that would lead to actually doing so. His Jewish son in law Jared Kushner and Jewish-by-conversion daughter Ivanka are also believed to be involved in promoting initiatives relating to Israel and American Jews.

So why are some Israelis worried about what will come out of Trump’s visit to Jerusalem at the end of this month? To be sure, he has endorsed Israel’s “right” to “keep going” in building settlements but has also asked Netanyahu “hold back a bit,” noting several times that they are bad for the peace process. It was a warning sign that Donald Trump can be unpredictable, similar to his campaign promise to “love Israel” while also telling Republican Jewish donors that he didn’t need their money and pledging to remain “neutral” in any negotiations between the Palestinians and Israelis.

Though it is expected that the president will avoid saying anything dramatic during his day in Israel, there is some fear that he might go off script and press for a new peace initiative, which Netanyahu and those to the right of him in the political spectrum would want to avoid as they currently hold all the cards relative to their Arab opponents. Any American backing for a new discussion on a final settlement of borders or sovereignty would be unwelcome, particularly so for Netanyahu, who is currently believed to be about to face corruption charges and is being pushed by hard liners to be prepared to resign and name a replacement if that takes place.

It has also not gone unnoticed by America-watchers in Israel that Trump has been particularly friendly to Arab leaders, including Abdel Fattah al-Sisi of Egypt, King Abdullah of Jordan and King Salman of Saudi Arabia. The Arabs have long had a formula to end the Israel-Palestine conflict on the table, ready to go, and it is the sort of thing that Trump might find to his liking as it is very much a “deal,” involving trade-offs of land and recognition. The formula was originally proposed by the 22-member Arab League in 2002. It would involve peace agreements and bilateral relations with the Arab League states as well as with 34 other associated Muslim countries, with only Iran as a hold-out. In return Palestine would become a sovereign state roughly based on the 1967 armistice lines, which would mean the West Bank and Gaza, having East Jerusalem as its capital. Israel would have security and international recognition in exchange for permitting the creation of a small Palestinian state, which would also end Israel’s being labeled an apartheid regime and an occupying power. Details about the return of refugees and mutual defense arrangements between the two states would have to be worked out but were considered to be manageable.

Some reports out of Washington suggest that Trump is intrigued by the prospect of hosting a regional peace conference later this summer using the Arab League document as a framework, inviting not only Israel and Palestine but also the Saudis, Jordanians and Egyptians. It would simultaneously address the issues of normalization, border adjustments and statehood creation so that all parties could benefit from the process as it moved along. It is believed that Netanyahu would find it very hard to refuse such an offer if his “good friend” Trump were to push it hard.

But will Trump be able to push hard even if he is inclined to do so? If Israel gets the faintest whiff of a White House demand for a conference it will unleash its dogs of war. Indeed, it has probably done so already with AIPAC’s Myrmidons roaming the halls of Congress and knocking on doors. Israel still holds the whip hand in the legislative branch and among the media.

 
Erdogan's electoral fraud must be challenged

The dizzying spiral of incompetent military and political interventions carried out by Washington in the Middle East suggests strongly that the best U.S. foreign policy would be one that is essentially inert. One only has to look at the inherent contradictions in what appears to be the Trump Administration policy towards Syria to understand how the United States has somehow gone down a path that leads nowhere. Last week, NATO member and nominal U.S. ally Turkey bombed Kurdish militiamen operating against ISIS in Iraq and Syria. Iraq is an American ally and one group of Kurds that suffered twenty fatalities was being advised by U.S. special forces. The Kurds, who are reported to be the most effective soldiers in the American supported pushback against ISIS, are described by the Turkish government as terrorists. No Americans were killed in the Turkish bombing but that was more a matter of luck than any benign intention on the part of the Turks.

Turkish and American policies are largely out of sync because they have different goals. The Trump campaign’s stated Middle Eastern policy, which has already been modified, was to destroy ISIS without any further entanglement in the region. Turkey’s objective has been from the beginning to forestall any creation of an independent Kurdish state near its border that might serve as a haven for what it describes as terrorism from the PKK and other related groups. All other interests are secondary and it has cooperated with ISIS as well as with al-Ansar when it has felt that to be desirable.

Both Washington and Ankara do now agree that it is necessary to replace the government of Syrian President Bashar al-Assad, which, if anything, exemplifies the essential unreality of what the two nations are seeking to accomplish. Washington has, in doing so, inserted itself more deeply into the Syrian quagmire while at the same time seeking to hobble the most effective force against ISIS, which is the Syrian military. And, as collateral damage, it has harmed, possibly beyond repair, the relationship with Russia.

Turkey, for its part, would wind up with a Syria that will lack a strong central government and will produce the devolution into tribal and religio-ethnic units that will undoubtedly include a Kurdish self-rule region similar to that which has developed in neighboring Iraq. Both Washington and Ankara have therefore come down on a policy alignment that cannot be successful without major direct intervention and retention of ground troops along the lines of Afghanistan that will wind up creating even greater problems as the entire situation unravels.

Turkey is undeniably a major player in the Middle East. With a large and relatively well-educated population and a diversified industrial base, it possesses a powerful and well-equipped army. It would be considered important in any reckoning, but it also benefits from geography as a bridge between Europe and Asia, between the Muslim and Christian worlds. For the United States and Western Europe there is another dimension as Turkey is also part of NATO, a treaty that has as Article 5 a key mandate compelling all alliance members to come to the aid of any one member that is attacked. It is referred to as “collective defense.”

Article 5 is particularly important as Turkey has already tried to stage a false flag attack on the part of Syria as well as a shoot-down of a Russian warplane to draw the NATO alliance in on its war to bring down al-Assad. Incredibly, in the false flag attempt on a shrine in Syria guarded by Turkish soldiers, Erdogan and his security chief were willing to kill their own troops to accomplish that end. Erdogan has also threatened to invade and occupy parts of neighboring Iraq and Syria to “protect Turks.” Turkey also has supported ISIS when it suited its government to do so and has reportedly been a supplier of sarin gas to rebels inside Syria.

Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan’s recent margin of victory in a referendum that will grant him near dictatorial powers was razor thin. It was run under a national state of emergency controlled by Erdogan, who worked relentlessly to heighten both xenophobia and the fears of the voters over terrorism. The actual result was nevertheless obtained through nationwide organized fraud, with policemen and local officials standing inside polling stations and demanding that voters mark their ballots in front of them to insure “yes” votes. Even some Kurdish parts of Turkey apparently and mysteriously wound up with large numbers of votes for Erdogan, the man who has called them terrorists and waged a bloody campaign of repression in the country’s southeast. The Stockholm Center for Freedom noted “widespread and systematic election fraud, violent incidents and scandalous steps taken by the biased Supreme Board of Elections.” Germany has called for an inquiry into the allegations of election fraud.

European observers noted critically that in the lead-up to the voting the Turkish public was subjected to an unrelenting barrage of propaganda supporting Erdogan, a reflection of the fact that the potential opposition media had either been shut down or cowed into submission. Opposition rallies were banned and opposition demonstrators were beaten and arrested. When the German and Dutch governments refused to allow Turkish government officials to hold massive rallies of expatriate Turks in their countries, Erdogan called them Nazis, vowed revenge, and threatened to unleash terrorism in Europe.

The first foreign leader to call Erdogan and congratulate him on his win was President Donald Trump and it is also reported that Erdogan will be making a state visit to Washington later this month. Instead of a warm welcome, the United States government should be taking steps to boot Turkey out of NATO and minimize various aspects of its relationship with Ankara.

Erdogan has deliberately and cynically destroyed democracy in Turkey. In the aftermath of the recent referendum he immediately moved to arrest even more citizens who have criticized him and to fire nearly 4,000 more government employees, referring to them as traitors. He is an autocrat who might even better be described as a megalomaniac driven to promote policies that are both self-serving and erratic that rely on incendiary populist appeals to maintain power. He heads an increasingly corrupt regime and has ruthlessly sacrificed his own people to his own ambition while opening the door to a new wave of terror within Turkey itself.

Erdogan has done much of this by exploiting an apparent coup against him in July 2016, which he might have known about in advance. The coup plotters, drawn from the military, appear to have been appalled by the domestic and international violence unleashed by Erdogan, calling themselves a “peace at home council.” Erdogan took advantage of the coup by staging mass arrests and granting to himself emergency powers, an authority that has since been extended and which he still exploits.

 
• Category: Foreign Policy • Tags: Recep Tayyip Erdogan, Turkey 
Will we survive the next 90 days?

There remains one good thing to say about Donald Trump: he is not Hillary. The boneheaded cruise missile attack in Syria would have occurred even earlier under President Rodham Clinton and there would undoubtedly be no-fly and safe zones already in place. Oh, and Ukraine and Georgia would be negotiating their entries into NATO to make sure that old Vlad Putin would be put on notice and understand that the days of namby-pamby jaw-jaw-jaw that characterized the Obama Administration are now ancient history.

Apart from that, I can only observe dumbstruck how yet again a candidate promising peace and dialogue could be flipped so quickly. Or maybe he never believed in anything he said, which is perhaps more to the point. Be that as it may, we now, after only ninety days in office, have a neo-neocon foreign policy and the folks clustered around their water coolers in the Washington think tanks are again smiling. And as the ruinous Syrian civil war continues thanks to American intervention, there are probably plenty of high fives within Israel’s Benjamin Netanyahu government. Bibi again rules the roost.

The Israelis are no doubt particularly delighted to hear Donald Trump’s latest factually exempt voyage into the outer reaches of the galaxy regarding Iran. Or perhaps The Donald is only having continuing digestive problems dealing with “most beautiful piece of chocolate cake that you’ve ever seen” when dining with mortified Chinese leader Xi Jinping while simultaneously launching cruise missiles intended to send a message to Beijing’s ally Russia. It is inevitably Iran’s turn for vilification, so Trump, while conceding that the Iranians have been compliant with the nuclear weapons agreement they signed, also felt compelled to add that they continue to be a threat and have not entered into the “spirit” of the pact. Apparently the spirit codicil was somehow left out of the final draft, an interpretation that will no doubt surprise the other signatories consisting of Russia, China and the European Union.

To make its point that Tehran is somehow a cheater, the White House has ordered a 90 day review of Iran policy which will empower hardliners in that country in upcoming elections as well as nut cases like Senators John McCain and Lindsey Graham on this side of the Atlantic. Iranian opposition groups like the terrorist Mujaheddin e Khalq (MEK) are already rising to the challenge by floating phony intelligence while Graham is currently advocating a preemptive attack on North Korea, conceding that it would be catastrophic for every country in the region while noting smugly that the carnage and destruction would not reach the United States. Too bad that Pyongyang’s fury cannot be directed straight to Graham’s house in South Carolina.

Graham is reportedly a good dancer and multitasker who can pivot back to Iran effortlessly as soon as Pyongyang is reduced to rubble, so those who want to deal with Iran sooner rather than later should not despair. As things continue to go south nearly everywhere, tension in the Middle East will no doubt lead to a rapidly deteriorating situation in the Persian Gulf that will require yet another ham-handed show of strength by the United States of Amnesia. There will be a war against Iran.

There have been a couple of other interesting stories circulating recently, all demonstrating that when Benjamin Franklin observed that we Americans had created a republic, “if we can keep it,” he was being particularly prescient. Robert Parry has observed that all the fuss about Russiagate is misleading as the only country that interferes with the political process in the U.S. persistently and successfully while also doing terrible damage to our national security is Israel. He wonders when we will have Congress convening investigative commissions to look into Israel-gate but then answers his own question by observing that it will never happen given who controls what in the United States. “No one dares suggest a probe of Israel-gate,” he concludes, but it is interesting and also encouraging to note that some Americans are actually starting to figure things out.

One of the curious things relating to the Russiagate scandal is the issue of who in the U.S. intelligence community leaked highly classified information to the media, a question which somehow seems to have disappeared from whatever final reckoning might be forthcoming. The issue is particularly relevant at the moment because there are reports that the Justice Department is pulling together a case against WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange as part of a possible attempt to remove him forcibly from his refuge in Britain and try him for constituting what CIA Director Mike Pompeo describes as a “hostile intelligence service helped by Russia.” It all suggests that low hanging fruit is fair game while some “official” leakers at high levels are somehow being protected.

To cite another example of Justice Department hypocrisy, three current and four former U.S. officials leaked to Reuters last week’s story about a Russian think tank having created a plan to subvert the U.S. election. If that is so, their identities might be discernible or surmised. Why aren’t they in jail? Or is it that many in government now believe that Russia is fair game and are prepared to look the other way?

It is significant that the recent House Intelligence Committee hearing on Russiagate, featuring FBI Director James Comey and NSA Director Mike Rogers, provided very little new information even as it confirmed troubling revelations that had already surfaced regarding the corruption of the nation’s security services. Given that former Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) head John Brennan and former Director of National Intelligence (DNI) chief James Clapper have been most frequently cited as the Obama administration’s possible bag men in arranging for the generation, collection, dissemination, and leaking of information disparaging to Trump, why weren’t they also being questioned?

 
Did Syria actually use chemical weapons?

Sounds like we’ve heard it all before, because we have, back in August 2013, and that turned out to be less than convincing. Skepticism is likewise mounting over current White House claims that Damascus used a chemical weapon against civilians in the village of Khan Sheikhoun in Idlib province on April 4th. Shortly after the more recent incident, President Donald Trump, possibly deriving his information from television news reports, abruptly stated that the government of President Bashar al-Assad had ordered the attack. He also noted that the use of chemicals had “crossed many red lines” and hinted that Damascus would be held accountable. Twenty-four hours later retribution came in the form of the launch of 59 cruise missiles directed against the Syrian airbase at Sharyat. The number of casualties, if any, remains unclear and the base itself sustained only minor damage amidst allegations that many of the missiles had missed their target. The physical assault was followed by a verbal onslaught, with the Trump Administration blaming Russia for shielding al-Assad and demanding that Moscow end its alliance with Damascus if it wishes to reestablish good relations with Washington.

The media, led by the usual neoconservative cheerleaders, have applauded Trump’s brand of tough love with Syria, even though Damascus had no motive to stage such an attack while the so-called rebels had plenty to gain. The escalation to a war footing also serves no U.S. interest and actually damages prospects for eliminating ISIS any time soon. Democratic Party liberal interventionists have also joined with Senators John McCain, Lindsay Graham and Marco Rubio to celebrate the cruise missile strike and hardening rhetoric. Principled and eminently sensible Democratic Congressman Tulsi Gabbard, has demanded evidence of Syrian culpability, saying “It angers and saddens me that President Trump has taken the advice of war hawks and escalated our illegal regime change war to overthrow the Syrian government. This escalation is short-sighted and will lead to more dead civilians, more refugees, the strengthening of al-Qaeda and other terrorists, and a direct confrontation between the United States and Russia—which could lead to nuclear war. This Administration has acted recklessly without care or consideration of the dire consequences of the United States attack on Syria without waiting for the collection of evidence from the scene of the chemical poisoning.” For her pains, she has been vilified by members of her own party, who have called for her resignation.

Other congressmen, including Senators Rand Paul and Tim Kaine, who have asked for a vote in congress to authorize going to war, have likewise been ignored or deliberately marginalized. All of which means that the United States has committed a war crime against a country with which it is not at war and has done so by ignoring Article 2 of the Constitution, which grants to Congress the sole power to declare war. It has also failed to establish a casus belli that Syria represents some kind of threat to the United States.

What has become completely clear, as a result of the U.S. strike and its aftermath, is that any general reset with Russia has now become unimaginable, meaning among other things that a peace settlement for Syria is for now unattainable. It also has meant that the rebels against al-Assad’s regime will be empowered, possibly deliberately staging more chemical “incidents” and blaming the Damascus government to shift international opinion farther in their direction. ISIS, which was reeling prior to the attack and reprisal, has been given a reprieve by the same United States government that pledged to eradicate it. And Donald Trump has reneged on his two campaign pledges to avoid deeper involvement in Middle Eastern wars and mend fences with Moscow.

There have been two central documents relating to the alleged Syrian chemical weapon incidents in 2013 and 2017, both of which read like press releases. Both refer to a consensus within the U.S. intelligence community (IC)and express “confidence” and even “high confidence” regarding their conclusions but neither is actually a product of the office of the Director of National Intelligence, which would be appropriate if the IC had actually come to a consensus. Neither the Director of National Intelligence nor the Director of CIA were present in a photo showing the White House team deliberating over what to do about Syria. Both documents supporting the U.S. cruise missile attack were, in fact, uncharacteristically put out by the White House, suggesting that the arguments were stitched together in haste to support a political decision to use force that had already been made.

The two documents provide plenty of circumstantial information but little in the way of actual evidence. The 2013 Obama version “Government Assessment of the Syrian Government’s Use of Chemical Weapons on August 21, 2013,” was criticized almost immediately when it was determined that there were alternative explanations for the source of the chemical agents that might have killed more than a thousand people in and around the town of Ghouta. The 2017 Trump versionThe Assad Regime’s Use of Chemical Weapons on April 4, 2017,” is likewise under fire from numerous quarters. Generally reliable journalist Robert Parry is reporting that the intelligence behind the White House claims comes largely from satellite surveillance, though nothing has been released to back-up the conclusion that the Syrian government was behind the attack, an odd omission as everyone knows about satellite capabilities and they are not generally considered to be a classified source or method. Parry also cites the fact that there are alternative theories on what took place and why, some of which appear to originate with the intelligence and national security community, which was in part concerned over the rush to judgment by the White House. MIT Professor Theodore Postol, considered to be an expert on munitions, has also questioned the government’s account of what took place in Khan Sheikhoun through a detailed analysis of the available evidence. He believes that the chemical agent was fired from the ground, not from an airplane, suggesting that it was an attack initiated by the rebels made to appear as if it was caused by the Syrian bomb.

 
A world in turmoil, thank you Mr. Trump!

The real Donald Trump has been exposed. The man who promised a sensible and non-interventionist Middle Eastern policy and a reset with Moscow has now reneged on both pledges. His nitwit United Nations Ambassador Nikki Haley has directly linked Russia and Syria for punishment by the omnipotent Leader of the Free World lest anyone be confused.

The unconscionable attack on Syria based on the usual unsubstantiated allegations has shifted the playing field dramatically, with the “new sheriff in town” apparently intent on proving he is a real man who can play hardball with the rest of them. Last week Syria was blamed by all and sundry in the Establishment for an alleged chemical weapons attack just two days after the White House backed away from the Obama Administration demand that President Bashar al-Assad be removed. Was Syria dumb enough to use chemical weapons in a war that it is winning at a point when the overt hostility from Washington had been ratcheted down? Or was it staged by the so-called rebels?

And who benefits from weakening al-Assad of Syria? ISIS and al-Qaeda. Now that Trump has the bit between his teeth on how abysmal approval ratings can skyrocket if one starts a war, look forward to more of the same with my sources telling me that establishment of a no-fly zone is currently being discussed in the Pentagon. A no-fly zone would be toe-to-toe with the Russkies to see who would blink first.

Meanwhile an aircraft carrier battle group is making its way to confront North Korea, which is being warned with the good old “all options are on the table” rhetoric which will almost certainly produce a schizophrenic result of some kind. If I were a resident of Seoul I would be moving out of the city tout suite as it is within range of Pyongyang’s massed heavy artillery batteries along the DMZ.

Trump, regarded by many including myself as the sensible “peace candidate,” appears to be preparing to engage militarily on multiple fronts worldwide. And things are particularly heating up in the Middle East and South Asia. More U.S. troops are being deployed to Iraq and also to Syria, in that latter case without any invitation from Damascus or legal justification or even a phony United Nations mandate, and thousands more soldiers will be returning to Afghanistan to “stabilize” the situation. Meanwhile Yemen continues to suffer as the U.S. supports Saudi aggression.

And it doesn’t help to look for enlightenment from the cheerleading Fourth Estate, which has been completely coopted by the Establishment point of view. In the eyes of the mainstream media the Syria narrative is all about the evils of its government which Washington is now pledging to remove. Russia meanwhile is indicted without evidence for trying to overthrow our democratic system and the recent terrorist attack in St. Petersburg would have been reported more extensively but for the fact that those Soviet holdovers probably deserved it. No one is asking why the United States should believe itself to be empowered to intervene anywhere unless it is actually being directly and seriously threatened by some other nation.

So it is all a mess, largely of our own creation due to our tendency to get involved in places regarding which we know nothing and could really care less about. And by supplementing all of that with our inclination to believe in the myth of our national Exceptionalism as a genuine force for good, you wind up with a witch’s brew that has fueled anti-Americanism worldwide, led to the deaths of hundreds of thousands and emptied our treasury. Ambassador Chas Freeman has aptly perceived the U.S. government as the “foreign relations equivalent of a sociopath – a country indifferent to the rules, the consequences for others of its ignoring them, and the reliability of its word.”

As bad as that all seems, if I had to pick one place where our inability to discern right from wrong is likely to lead to the next major armed conflict, i.e. a real war, in fairly short order it would have to be Iran. The recent increase in tension between Washington and Tehran combined with the lack of any diplomatic dialogue mean that an actual shooting war might now be a “false flag,” fake intelligence report, or accidental naval encounter away. And once things start to sour, no one would stand up and say “Stop!” as the Trump Administration, Democrats, Republicans and the media all hate Iran.

I have long viewed this visceral hatred of Iran on the part of many Americans as a byproduct of the Iranian revolution and the occupation of the U.S. Embassy. Revolutionary Iran became overnight the dangerous “other,” a source of nightmares for the Washington Establishment. During my time in government, when the hostage taking at the embassy was still fresh, hating Iranians was almost a requirement in the national security community. More recently, Israel and its supporters have used Iran as a punching bag to maintain the myth that the Jewish State is existentially menaced by Tehran and its minions in the region. Being threatened in a serious way insures that the money tap from the U.S. Treasury will continue to be open and it also justifies many of Israel’s other transgressions as it chooses to portray itself as a nation under siege, ever the victim. More recently Saudi Arabia has jumped onto pretty much the same Iran band wagon, blaming Iran for all regional problems and providing justification for the ongoing slaughter in Yemen.

All of that is understandable enough, so far as it goes, but the generation of government officials who were around during the Iran hostage crisis is now retired, while the pleas of Israel and Saudi Arabia are generally best received while holding one’s nose if one has even a basic understanding of what is going on in the Middle East. But that would require some ability to establish a reasonable perspective on what is taking place and what is particularly disturbing is that some people in the government hierarchy who should know better apparently are just as delusional as some junior straight out of college scribbler for The Washington Post.

During his campaign Donald Trump repeatedly denounced the Iran Nuclear Agreement, to my mind one of only two foreign policy accomplishments of the outgoing Obama Administration. Trump said he would tear the agreement up and require Tehran to come up with something better “or else.” He has since backed off the tear-up theme, but has unfortunately appointed to high office a group of former military officers who appear to have swallowed the Iran-as-threat proposition hook-line-and-sinker.

There are some similarities between what is happening with Iran and what has been going on with Russia. Russia, it is being claimed, has been responsible for hundreds military intrusions that required a response from NATO in the Baltic. But Russia borders on the Baltic and it is part of its territorial waters, so what is really being said is that Moscow is operating in and around its own maritime coastal zone and it is NATO that is responded as if it were a threat. Similarly, Iran, which sits on top of the Straits of Hormuz is accused of being aggressive when its small boats patrol in and around its coastal waters. It is the American Fifth Fleet that is the out of region intruder. Both Iran and Russia are being subjected to Washington’s belief that its writ runs worldwide and that it has a right to be the hegemon wherever it seeks to plant the flag.

 
More chickenhawks on parade for war with Russia

The latest Democratic Party shill to demonize Russia is, I am ashamed to say, my state of Virginia’s Senator Mark Warner, who, on Thursday said “Russian President Vladimir Putin ordered a deliberate campaign carefully constructed to undermine our election.” Last Thursday, Warner was the top Democrat on a Senate Intelligence Committee panel investigating Moscow’s alleged interference in last year’s presidential election. The panel inevitably included carefully selected expert witnesses who would agree with the proposition that Russia is and was guilty as charged. There was no one who provided an alternative view even though a little Googling would have surfaced some genuine experts who dispute the prevailing narrative.

Warner joined many of his esteemed colleagues in Congress who have completely accepted the allegations that Russia meddled in the election in spite of the failure of the Obama Administration to provide any indisputable evidence to that effect. Senator Ben Cardin of Maryland has called Moscow’s claimed interference an “attack” and labeled it a “political Pearl Harbor.” A number of other congressmen, to include Bonnie Watson Coleman of New Jersey and Eric Swalwell of California have called it an act of war. And then there are echo chambers Senators John McCain and Mark Rubio on the Republican side of the aisle while former Vice President Dick Cheney was speaking at a business conference in New Delhi saying the same thing. Yes, that Dick Cheney. Why anyone in India would pay to hear him speak on any subject escapes me.

Democrat Adam Schiff of California is leading the charge for his party as he is the ranking Democrat on the House Intelligence Committee. He outlined his case against Russia two weeks ago, providing a heap of minimally factual “information”, relying heavily instead on supposition and featuring mostly innuendo. And again, it was largely evidence-free. One assertion is almost comical: “In July 2016, Carter Page, one of Trump’s former national security advisers, traveled to Moscow after being approved to do so by the Trump campaign. While there, Page gave a speech in which he was critical of the U.S. and its efforts to fight corruption and promote democracy.”

Almost everyone I know who follows such matters is also critical of U.S. (hypocritical) efforts to promote democracy, a formulation wildly popular among Hillary Clinton style Democrats to enable attacking Muslim countries that have somehow offended either Israel or the Washington Establishment. But what is particularly disturbing about the constant denigration of Russia and Vladimir Putin in the media and among the political class is the regular invocation of war doctrine, that hacking a server by a foreign power, if it took place, is in the same category as the attack on Pearl Harbor. That World War 3 would be a nuclear holocaust does not seem to have occurred to politicians seeking a punchy line so they can get cited in The Washington Post. It leads one to the inevitable conclusion that war is far too serious a business to be left to politicians.

But what particularly offends me personally about those eager to go toe to toe with the Russians is their complete venality and fundamental cowardice. As a Vietnam era vet, I understand full well how it feels to have your life disrupted to go off and possibly die to fight a war that was totally meaningless. Our crowd of politicians is fond of talking about war as if it were some kind of diversion being featured on a monopoly board and that is precisely because they have no skin in the game. They somehow fancy that a shooting war will somehow not happen, that Russia will back down in a confrontation with force majeur, and they deep down feel completely immune to the consequences that might result from their ill-advised actions. And they are unfortunately in large part correct to feel so, as no one was ever held accountable for Iraq. Consequences that apply to the “little people” in the U.S. do not apply to them.

Under the rule of our bipartisan war-loving elites the United States has evolved from a bumbling giant into something far more threatening. The completely useless wars since 9/11 have killed nearly 10,000 American soldiers and contractors as well as hundreds of thousands, if not millions, of the inhabitants of the countries that we have attacked. I would hold Congress, the White House and the mainstream media as directly responsible for those deaths. As former Ambassador Chas Freeman puts it, “America has now chosen publicly to redefine itself internationally as the foreign relations equivalent of a sociopath – a country indifferent to the rules, the consequences for others of its ignoring them, and the reliability of its word. No nation can now comfortably entrust its prosperity or security to Washington, no matter how militarily powerful it perceives America to be.”

Which inevitably leads to the subject of Dick Cheney. When it comes to hypocrisy over war as a constant state for the American Republic with absolutely no consequences for those who lead, no one takes a back seat to good old Dick. Dick had five deferments during Vietnam and he has explained that he had had “other priorities.” He and his consigliere Scooter Libby, together with Paul Wolfowitz at the Pentagon, might have had more to do with America’s march to war in Iraq than any other individuals in the Bush Administration. And none of them paid any price except Libby who was convicted of having committed perjury connected to his apparent outing of CIA officer Valerie Plame as revenge for her husband’s refutation of claims about Iraq buying uranium from Niger. Libby was sentenced to 30 months in prison but had his jail time commuted by President George W. Bush.

One might even suggest that the architects of devastating policies were actually rewarded, most particularly Wolfowitz, who was named president of the World Bank before having to resign over a sex scandal that he initiated. Today Wolfowitz is a Visiting Scholar at the American Enterprise Institute and Libby is a Senior Vice President at the neocon Hudson Institute. Cheney is retired comfortably on the somewhere between $19 and $86 million he made, mostly while working for five years at defense contractor Halliburton. His truly frightening daughter Liz is in congress representing Wyoming, continuing the family legacy of bone headed knee jerk reactionaryism combined with egregious self-aggrandizement that Dick is best known for.

 
Hava Nagila, y'all

Spring in Washington would not be complete without the city’s famous cherry blossoms and the annual “Policy Conference” meeting of the American Israel Public Affairs Committee (AIPAC). The 15,000 plus participants began arriving on Sunday and will be here at the Walter E. Washington Convention Center until tomorrow morning, at which point many of them will descend on Congress like a swarm of ravenous locusts to make sure that our Solons on the Potomac are doing what is right by Israel.

AIPAC is the most powerful foreign policy lobby in Washington. Its annual budget exceeds $77 million plus it has an endowment of $100 million. It has nearly 400 employees and also supports local chapters and initiatives throughout the United States. What do all those employees do? They mostly lobby Congress and increasingly state legislatures shamelessly on behalf of a foreign country that has little in the way of actual common interests with the United States. When anything happens in the Middle East, AIPAC’s drones get to work, drafting up position papers detailing the Israeli position which are then placed by runners on the desks of every single congressman within a matter of hours. The congressmen, too lazy to engage in any real inquiry into what is going on, rely on the AIPAC research. That is, lamentably, how our system works. And if the congressman ignores the “expert” advice, AIPAC and its friends makes sure he or she has a strong, well-funded opponent in the next election, someone who knows how to say “I love Israel” without moving his or her lips.

The current speakers’ list for the 2017 conference includes many of the leading political parasites that have long made the nation’s Capitol a “must miss” destination. I will not attempt to summarize what Michael Pence, Mitch McConnell, Chuck Schumer, Paul Ryan, Nancy Pelosi, Kevin McCarthy, Steny Hoyer and others said on Sunday night and yesterday as it was all basically the same speech, declaring undying love for Israel and the Jewish people and pledging that the United States will always have “Israel’s back,” whatever that is supposed to mean. Twenty-nine congressmen were featured as attendees on the AIPAC website but more than two thirds of the entire Congress is expected to appear for a photo op while muttering something about that apparently vulnerable “back.” Or do they mean backside? Whatever. I won’t name any more of the specific panderers as the reader probably already has a good idea who they are.

And, of course, the redoubtable Professor Alan Dershowitz was also a featured speaker, a wonderful human being who recently told us goyim that Jewish power in this country is both deserved and granted by Jehovah. It is interesting how Jews among themselves boast about their power but if a gentile so much as suggests the same thing it is anti-Semitism.

There were also two certifiable loonies among the speakers, apart from Dershowitz. They were Nikki Haley, America’s stalwart U.N. Ambassador, and Stephen Harper, until recently Prime Minister of Canada. Those who are following Haley’s meteoric career are probably aware that while governor of South Carolina she took the lead on making her state the first in the nation to legislate against the Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions movement (BDS) which supports peaceful pressure on Israel to abandon its apartheid policies when dealing with its own Arab citizens as well as the Palestinians on the West Bank and Gaza. Such legislation is an abrogation of First Amendment rights and will likely prove to be unconstitutional if it ever gets to the Supreme Court, but Haley clearly believed then and believes now that nothing is too good when it comes to Israel. Since going to the U.N., Haley has spoken more about Israel than about any possible American interests, pledging full support and protection for Netanyahu and his government. She blocked the appointment of a well-qualified Palestinian to a senior U.N. position purely because he was Palestinian. Ignorant of nearly everything that goes on in the world outside the U.S., it might be said that she is so horribly inept that she actually makes her ghastly predecessor Samantha Power look good.

Stephen Harper is another certified knee jerker when it comes to Israel. A fundamentalist Christian who believes the second coming of Christ is imminent, while Prime Minister he led what was possibly the world’s most pro-Israeli government. Harper described Israel as a light that “…burns bright, upheld by the universal principles of all civilized nations – freedom, democracy justice.” He has also said “I will defend Israel whatever the cost” to Canada, an interesting proposition for those who might have believed that his duty was to protect his own country and advance its interests. Harper, who has received awards from both Canadian and American Jewish organizations, personally endorsed Israel’s bombing of Lebanon in 2006, calling it “measured” even when Canadian peacekeepers were killed in the bombardment.

Paul Kagame, President of the Republic of Rwanda, also spoke at the conference. Why? I don’t know but it probably has something to do with characteristically liberal American Jews pulling their usual doublespeak trick, trying to pretend that fundamentally racist Israelis are not actually racist by inviting a black man to speak at a pro-Israel conference. I’ll bet he was paid handsomely to do so.

 
• Category: Foreign Policy, Humor • Tags: AIPAC, Israel Lobby 
Criticizing their thuggery is anti-Semitism?

We have a president who is belligerent towards Iran, who is sending “boots on the ground” to fight ISIS, who loves Israel passionately and who is increasing already bloated defense budgets. If one were a neoconservative, what is there not to like, yet neocons in the media and ensconced comfortably in their multitude of think tanks hate Donald Trump. I suspect it comes down to three reasons. First, it is because Trump knows who was sticking the knife in his back during his campaign in 2016 and he has neither forgiven nor hired them. Nor does he pay any attention to their bleating, denying them the status that they think they deserve because of their self-promoted foreign policy brilliance.

And second, Trump persists in his desire to “do business” with Russia. The predominantly Jewish neocons always imagine the thunder of hooves of approaching Cossacks preparing to engage in pogroms whenever they hear the word Russia. And this is particularly true of Vladimir Putin’s regime, which is Holy Russia revived. When not musing over how it is always 1938 and one is in Munich, neocons are nearly as unsettled when they think it is 1905 in Odessa.

The third reason, linked to number two, is that having a plausible and dangerous enemy like Russia on tap keeps the cash flowing from defense industries to the foundations and think tanks that the neocons nest in when they are not running the Pentagon and National Security Council. Follow the money. So it is all about self-interest combined with tribal memory: money, status and a visceral hatred of Russia.

The hatred of Trump runs so deep that a leading neocon Bill Kristol actually tweeted that he would prefer a country run by bureaucrats and special interests rather than the current constitutional arrangement. The neocon vendetta was as well neatly summed up in two recent articles by Max Boot. The first is entitled “Trump knows the Feds are closing in on him” and the second is “WikiLeaks has joined the Trump Administration.”In the former piece Boot asserts that “Trump’s recent tweets aren’t just conspiratorial gibberish—they’re the erratic ravings of a guilty conscience” and in the latter, that “The anti-American WikiLeaks has become the preferred intelligence service for a conspiracy-addled White House.”

Now, who is Max Boot and why should anyone care what he writes? Russian-born, Max entered the United States with his family through a special visa exemption under the 1975 Jackson-Vanik Amendment even though they were not notably persecuted and only had to prove that they were Jewish. Jackson-Vanik was one of the first public assertions of neoconism, having reportedly been drafted in the office of Senator Henry Jackson by no less than Richard Perle and Ben Wattenberg as a form of affirmative action for Russian Jews. As refugees instead of immigrants, the new arrivals received welfare, health insurance, job placement, English language classes, and the opportunity to apply for U.S. citizenship after only five years. Max went to college at Berkeley and received an M.A. from Yale.

Boot, a foreign policy adviser to Mitt Romney in 2012, networked his way up the neocon ladder, including writing for The Weekly Standard, Commentary, The Wall Street Journal and The Washington Post. He was a member of the neocon incubator Project for a New American Century and now sits on the heavily neocon Council on Foreign Relations. Boot characteristically has never served in the U.S. military but likes war a lot. In 2012 he co-authored “5 Reasons to Intervene in Syria Now.” He is a reliable Russia and Putin basher.

Max Boot’s articles are smears of Donald Trump from top to bottom. The “closing in” piece calls for establishment of a special counsel to investigate every aspect of the Trump Team/Russian relationship. Along the way, it makes its case to come to that conclusion by accepting every single worst case scenario regarding Trump as true. Yes, per Boot “Putin was intervening in the presidential election to help Trump.” And President Barack Obama could not possibly have “interfered with the lawful workings of the FBI.” As is always the case, not one shred of evidence is produced to demonstrate that anyone associated with Donald Trump somehow became a Russian useful idiot, but Boot assumes that the White House is now being run out of the Kremlin.

Max is certainly fun to read but on a more serious note, the National Review is working hard to make us forget about employing the expression “neocon” because it is apparently rarely understood by the people who use the term. Plus its implied meaning is anti-Semitic in nature, something that David Brooks in an article pretty much denying that neocons really exist suggested thirteen years ago when he postulated that it was shorthand for “Jewish conservative.”

National Review actually searched hard to find a gentile who could write the piece, one Kevin D. Williamson, who is described as a “roving correspondent” for the magazine. His article is entitled “Word Games: The Right Discovers the Deep State.” Williamson begins by observing that using “neocon” disparagingly in the post-9/11 context acts either “as a kind of catalyst enabling a political reaction that revived a great many stupid and ugly myths about Jewish bankers orchestrating wars for profit…” or serves as a standby expression for a “Jew with politics I don’t like.”

Interestingly, I have never heard the “Jewish bankers” theory or disparagement of Jewish “politics” from the many responsible critics who have been dismayed by the aberrant U.S. foreign policy that has evolved since 2001. I don’t know how much money Goldman Sachs has made since the World Trade Center went down and that is not really the issue, nor is the fact that Jews overwhelmingly vote Democratic, which is a party that I don’t particularly like. Williamson dodges the increasingly held view that America slid into the abyss when Washington declared war on the entire world and invaded Iraq based on a tissue of lies, in large part to benefit Israel, which is what matters and why the enabling role of the neocons is important.

 
Philip Giraldi
About Philip Giraldi

Phil Giraldi is a former CIA Case Officer and Army Intelligence Officer who spent twenty years overseas in Europe and the Middle East working terrorism cases. He holds a BA with honors from the University of Chicago and an MA and PhD in Modern History from the University of London. In addition to TAC, where he has been a contributing editor for nine years, he writes regularly for Antiwar.com. He is currently Executive Director of the Council for the National Interest and resides with his wife of 32 years in Virginia horse country close to his daughters and grandchildren.


Personal Classics
A Modern Guernica Enabled by Washington
Pressuring Candidates Even Before They Are Nominated
But is it even a friend?
The gagged whistleblower goes on the record.
Today’s CIA serves contractors and bureaucrats—not the nation.
Pay no mind to the Mossad agent on the line.