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Sunday, May 17, 2015

It's a mysterious world...

The Abu Sayyaf assassination has turned into a genuine mystery. We will return to that topic soon enough. In the meantime, let's look at a few other noteworthy items...

GOP candidates embrace Obama's foreign policy while pretending to attack it.  Yes, they do assail Obama's policies, but their criticisms are ridiculous. They don't disagree with Obama's overall goals; they say that Obama has been insufficiently monstrous in his pursuit of neoconservativism. Example:
Former Sen. Rick Santorum's answer for handling Iran, one of four countries on the U.S. list of nations accused of repeatedly supporting global terrorism, was to "load up our bombers and bomb them back to the seventh century."

Earlier in the day, former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush praised U.S. commandos who had reportedly killed the IS leader, described as the head of oil operations for IS. Bush gave no credit to Obama, whom Bush accused of allowing the rise of IS by pulling back U.S. forces from Iraq.

"It's a great day, but it's not a strategy," Bush told reporters in eastern Iowa.
Santorum is simply a subhuman brute, and there is no reason to counter his ape-like howlings. But Bush's bizarre statement must not go unchallenged.

ISIS rose up not because Obama withdrew from Iraq, but because the jihadis received funding and aid from our buddies in Saudi Arabia, Qatar and Turkey. I cannot believe that those countries created ISIS against our wishes. ISIS functions as our proxy army, fighting the kind of fight desired by thugs like Rick Santorum.

For the same reason, we have been quietly aiding Al Qaeda (now called the Nusra front) in Syria.

It is true that the US did not expect ISIS to veer into Iraq. The jihadis went into that country because a power vacuum created an opportunity. The person who made that country so unstable was not Obama but Jeb Bush's idiot brother. The invasion, not the belated pull-out, is what set the stage for the rise of religious extremism.

If there were any kind of true democracy in this country, one would expect the Republicans to scream: "Obama is helping Al Qaeda and ISIS come to power in Syria!" That would be a powerful line of attack. That strategy would insure a GOP win in 2016.

But no. The Republicans won't say that. They would rather lose the election than tell the truth about what's going on in Syria. What does that fact tell you about modern America?

And that brings us to...

The right attacks Hillary from the left. I'm glad that the NYT wrote about this. It is not surprising to see right-wing front groups use social media to foment distrust of Hillary Clinton. But it is surprising to see Republicans do so while pretending to be Elizabeth Warren supporters.

Hillary is a legitimate target for progressive criticism. But an inauthentic critique is pure deviousness, and always to be condemned.

Even when they play the wolf-in-sheep's-clothing game, the Republicans won't slam Hillary for her neoconservative foreign policies. The GOP wants to maintain the bipartisan consensus on neoconservativism -- and they will do nothing to endanger that consensus, even when doing so might give them a tactical advantage.

And that brings us to...

Hersh and Osama.  Several substantive new pieces look at the Hersh version of Osama Bin Laden's death. Jon Schwarz in The Intercept notes that Politico published a critique by CIA spokesman Bill Harlow without bothering to mention Harlow's record of deception.
In 2003, Harlow himself participated in a massive conspiracy to lie to you about Iraq’s purported WMD. Indeed, he personally engaged in some of most egregious government dishonesty on the issue when he blatantly lied about a Newsweek story published just before the war that strongly suggested Iraq had no remaining banned weapons. Since leaving the CIA, Harlow has co-written three books with former top CIA officials, all of which defend the agency’s use of torture, and Sen. Dianne Feinstein recently accused Harlow of making “false charges” about the Senate’s torture investigation.
Harlow exemplifies the reasons why so many Americans feel that they cannot trust their government.

Neither can we trust our media. Both Pando and the Columbia Journalism Review have offered excellent overviews of mainstream journalism's deceptive attacks on Hersh.

You will also want to check out John Gardner's piece on "The Bin Laden Murder Mystery," published a few days ago in The Consortium. Gardner doesn't believe in the Hersh scenario, but he also doesn't believe in the official story.

To his credit, Gardner does not feel obligated to concoct a theory as to what really happened. He simply does not buy any of the stories we have heard so far.

Gardner correctly feels that Pakistan must have known about where Bin Laden was staying, and he believes that the Pakistani military must have colluded in the raid itself. Moreover, nothing about the "burial at sea" story adds up. Why no video? Why no photos? Why no first-hand testimony?

Here's why Gardner thinks that the Hersh version is as problematical as the White House version...
Why would senior Pakistani ISI officials possibly permit their obvious collaboration be exposed by having U.S. Navy Seals pull off such an improbable stunt that would render their purported lack of involvement implausible?

And, more: Why would they possibly concoct, as Hersh says they and the U.S. government did, a cover story that Bin Ladin was killed by an American drone strike somewhere in Waziristan? Why not simply take him to Waziristan, leave his dead body, let Americans know the coordinates, and have the real smash-and-grab take place there?
I don't know what actually occurred, but it seems clear that there was a lot of last-minute improvisation. The US and the Pakistanis simply did not have their shit together.

To be honest, I've seen no proof that Bin Laden was killed at all.

There were other people in that household; they were whisked away by the ISI. I understand that they were sent off to Saudi Arabia. Why have none of the witnesses been interviewed?

Have you read any "I saw what really happened" accounts?
You must except Rand Paul who correctly pointed out Killary was to Libya what Bush was to Iraq.
But since Rand made clear he wants to continue the NSA, just rein it in a little, he's still closer to Hillary than to his dad who wants to abolish it.
So I wouldn't walk around the block to vote for either of them.
I wish I could prove it, but there's little doubt in my mind that the reason we didn't see bin laden death photos is because he was killed with 7.62 mm rounds not .227.

The other reason is that the corpse had freezer burn.

The last is in jest but I spoke to someone who claimed that a confidante had seen the photos and that indeed it did not look like a SEAL round. Now, it's also possible they let those guys use what they are comfortable with and the AK47 is a very reliable weapon ...but at the end of the day, anYone who believes the official story is a fool.

Joe I WONt vote for Hillary because she went along with the the charade. I also believe her husband is ultimately responsible for the atrocity at Mount Carmel.

Joe why do you never mention Jim Webb?
I know I sound like a broken record when I come here and say this all the time, but if the shoe fits...

The current global power structure is such that candidates who honestly espouse and pursue policies designed to improve the quality of life for the masses at the expense of the ruling elite need not apply.

The ruling elite control finance, industry, government, media, and the military by placing agents sympathetic to the elite agenda in key positions of power and authority. Not only are they able to control and compromise potentially damaging investigations, they also control the media which insures that no muckraking journalist are informing the proletariat of their machinations. Those quasi-mainstream outlets which ostensibly represent the opposition point of view are more often than not just limited hangouts wherein left gatekeepers insure that the goalposts of acceptable discourse never stray into "conspiracy" territory.

From time to time a politician or media personality will manage to infiltrate the first line defenses the syndicate maintains and will threaten to draw attention to the myriad falsehoods and lies the ruling elite depend upon to maintain their status, and those individuals quickly learn exactly how expendable they truly are and how ruthless those in power had to be not only to gain their power, but also the lengths to which they'll go in order to maintain said power.

I could repeat the laundry list of influential individuals who have conveniently met untimely demises to the benefit of the deep state, but we all know who they are.

This is why we don't get the candidates we'd like to see. This is why Elizabeth Warren refuses to run for office. This is why the worst of the worst succeed in politics and media: because anyone with a conscience or empathy is DOA because the crime syndicate has gone all in in terms of seizing power and control, and they cannot afford any legitimate scrutiny of their actions.

Anyone with enough information or influence to legitimately threaten to expose our criminal overlords should make sure their affairs are in order.
James, you raise some good points. My sense of it is that society is becoming increasingly tribalized, all the while living off the fiction that the broader democratic mechanisms -- including an independent media -- are still functioning. They're not. People now belong to multiple tribes and clans that form alliances: the political insider tribe, intelligence services tribe, police and military tribes, financial and media tribes. Their success -- financial and political -- is dependent on others in their local alliances. The overarching idea of democracy as the will of the people, a Congress that truly represents them, a healthy regulatory oversight of financial markets, an independent judiciary and media, have all been hollowed out. We are dealing with public theater.

I still believe that the most signal domestic US event in recent times was the nation-wide shut down of the Occupy movement in just one week in Nov 2011. Everything was on show: the collusion of the intelligence services, major corporations and government agencies; the spurious excuses of 'public health and safety'; the complete lack of protest or alarm by the media. It's over with. The will of the people is done. All we are left with is case management by tribal elites. There is a deep moral emptiness at the core of US and allied nations that sees the only way forward as militarism and police state. This is all they have left to offer.
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