Tuesday, January 07, 2020

War, Trump's Iran links, and QAnon

We still have no details about the alleged attack that Soleimani was said to be planning. Obviously, if a real attack had been in the works, we would have been given that information days ago. Apparently, they've finally briefed members of Congress about the intel that led to the assassination; those who received this briefing were persuaded that the action was justified.

Trump says that he killed Soleimani to prevent a war, and I'm sure that this is true -- if by "prevent" one means "ignite."

People allied with this administration (and right now, I include John Bolton in that group) seem to have convinced themselves that the killing of Soleimani would spark a rebellion against the Iranian government. In the real world, the man was enormously popular with the Iranian people; even government critics loved Soleimani. The cry for vengeance is a genuinely populist sentiment and don't let anyone tell you otherwise.

When Iranian retaliation comes (as it must), we will have to retaliate against the retaliation. The likely result: A war resulting in thousands of civilian deaths -- a far more atrocious war than the Iraq misadventure. Outside the combat zone, the region will explode with anti-American sentiment, which may take the form of an ISIS resurgence. (In a sense, Trump may heal the ancient Sunni/Shiite rift, since both factions could unite in their hatred of us.) I would not be surprised to see a humiliating withdrawal of American forces -- even from places like Kuwait and Qatar -- resulting in the ceding of the entire region to Russian influence.

Did Bolton really think that this assassination would cause the Iranian regime to fall?

Being ancient, I can't help thinking of Allen Dulles' assurances to JFK that the Bay of Pigs invasion would spark a Cuban counter-revolution. Then as now, the question is: Do these guys actually believe their own bullshit? The evidence now available strongly suggests that Dulles was not naive -- that he deliberately tried to manipulate Kennedy into war.

Is something similar occurring today? And if so, who now plays the Dulles role? Is it Bolton? Or someone else?

Trump and the Iranians. Not long ago, Trump set up a deal to build a hotel in Azerbaijan, an oil-rich former Soviet state bordering Iran. His local partners were in cahoots with, of all people, Qassem Soleimani. Check out this investigation.

Trump's local partners were relatives and close associates of Ziya Mammadov, the corrupt transportation minister of Azerbaijan. The guy somehow became a billionaire even though his salary was supposed to be only $12,000 a year.
Between 2004 and 2014, Mammadov family businesses spent more than half a billion dollars on large construction projects. They also poured money into a major construction-materials company, an insurance firm, and a new headquarters. It’s not clear how the Mammadovs funded such enormous investments while spending so much on themselves. They may have received loans, or secretly owned profitable businesses that supported the flurry of spending. Another explanation is that some of the investment money came from the Revolutionary Guard...
Of course, the Trump family would claim that this was simply one of those licensing deals, and that Trump shouldn't be held accountable for Mammadov's unsavory practices and associations. Turns out Ivanka took a particular interest in this deal and oversaw all of the little details of construction. How could she not know that the funding came from the Iranians?

In the words of an ancient Roman whose name I forget: Pecunia non olet. Money don't stink. That should be the Trump family motto.

The QAnon Qrazies. Someone ought to do a proper study of the popular hallucination that all members of "the elite" are desperate to rape a child while chanting "Hail Satan." Paranoia junkies define an elitist as "Anyone worth more than a million bucks who didn't vote for Trump." This belief has overrun the American brain the way weeds have overrun our backyard. (In warm weather, it looks like Day of the Triffids out there.)

This thread from journalist Kyle Clark, which I have taken the liberty of translating into something closer to normal prose, outlines the latest manifestation of this insanity.
Police say they broke up QAnon plot to kidnap a child in Denver's suburbs. An arrest affidavit outlines a plan for a QAnon "raid" to seize the child from what believers think is a Satanic pedophilia cabal of Democratic politicians and Hollywood stars.

The child being targeted is in the child protective services system. The child's non-custodial mother, Cynthia Abcug, was arrested in Montana last week on kidnapping and conspiracy charges.

An arrest affidavit says Abcug was living in Parker with a man she identified as a QAnon "sniper" and had told someone that she expected there would be injuries when QAnon believers carried out the "raid" to seize the child.

Abcug said child was with "evil Satan worshippers" and "pedophiles," according to an arrest affidavit. QAnon is a conspiracy theory that claims President Donald Trump is engaged in a secret war against a global child trafficking ring of prominent Democrats and celebrities.

Parker Police say the FBI has "identified QAnon-driven extremists as a domestic terrorism threat, the first time a fringe conspiracy theory has been labelled as such." Parker PD says the FBI memo points to previously undisclosed QAnon arrests.

Abcug's supporters had previously reached out to President Trump and his family for help in the custody case. Abcug is out on bond and due to appear in court in February. Our attempts to reach her have been unsuccessful.
Clark links to this local news account.
Abcug's daughter said her mother "had gotten into some conspiracy theories" and was "spiraling down," the warrant says.

She also said that Abcug was "planning a raid" where they "intended to kidnap" her other child, according to the warrant.

Abcug's daughter believed the raid would be carried out by members of the QAnon group. According to the warrant, QAnon is a far-right conspiracy theory detailing a supposed secret plot by an alleged deep state against President Donald Trump and his supporters.

She expressed concern that "people would be injured in the raid" because "those people are evil Satan worshipers," the warrant says.
According to the warrant, Abcug was known to the PPD from a prior case where she was investigated for "factitious disorder imposed on another and medical child abuse." The victim, in that case, is redacted and the outcome of the investigation is not known.
"Factitious disorder imposed on another" refers to what used to be called Munchausen syndrome by proxy -- faking or causing the illness of a family member in order to gain sympathy.
People with this disorder present another person as sick, injured or having problems functioning, claiming that medical attention is needed. Usually this involves a parent harming a child. This form of abuse can put a child in serious danger of injury or unnecessary medical care.
In the past, I've argued that the popularity of the "occult pedophilia" meme among the Alex Jones crowd is a form of projection. Contrary to popular misperception, pedophiles are likely to be low in IQ, income and social status. In other words, the kind of lowbrows who take QAnon and Alex Jones seriously are also likelier than others to feel a sexual attraction to children.

As for occultism: I know from experience that conspiracy buffs -- especially the ones who prattle on and on about Jesus -- tend to have a secret fascination with horoscopes, charms, divination and other forms of magical thinking. I could write a whole book about that.

The current case proves my point. Abcug is a child abuser who insists that others are the real child abusers.


Naturally, the QAnon crazies have responded by accusing the journalists involved -- including Kyle Clark -- of being part of the Satanic child abuse conspiracy.

These cranks are hopelessly sick. And they are legion.
I believe "pecunia non olet" is Plautus. Money doesn't smell, but thieves smell money.
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