Author Archives: niqnaq

holy monsters tread the boards

In visit to Israel, Trump escalates attacks on Iran
Bill Van Auken, WSWS, May 23 2017

Donald Trump made clear from the moment of his arrival in Israel Monday that the purpose of his trip, promoted by the White House and the media as part of a quest for “Middle East peace,” is the consolidation of reactionary regional alliance in support of a military buildup against Iran. He flew to Tel Aviv directly from Riyadh, where he delivered an inflammatory speech designed to consolidate a military alliance of Sunni oil monarchies and dictatorships against Iran. Portraying the struggle as one of “good against evil” and invoking “god” nine times, Trump made a clear appeal to sectarian divisions to promote what amounts to a holy war by the Sunni regimes against the predominantly Shia Iran. While there was reportedly some disquiet in Israel over his signing of arms deals with the Toads that could total some $350b over the next decade, the speech and the turn by the Trump administration to an aggressively anti-Iranian policy went down well there. Trump kept up his anti-Iranian rhetoric in statements made during meetings with Pres Rivlin and PM Netanyahu. Speaking alongside Rivlin, Trump said:

There is growing realization among your Arab neighbors that they have common cause with you in the threat posted by Iran. Most importantly, USrael can declare with one voice that Iran must never be allowed to possess a nuclear weapon, never ever, and must cease its deadly funding, training and equipping of terrorists and militias, and it must cease immediately.

Appearing with Netanyahu, Trump denounced the P5+1 agreement of 2015 as a “terrible thing,” saying:

We not only gave them a lifeline, we gave them wealth and prosperity and we also gave them the ability to continue with terror.

While Trump has yet to follow through on his vow to rip up the accord and has kept in place waivers on sanctions imposed in relation to Teheran’s nuclear program, the speech delivered in Riyadh and his remarks in Israel spell out a policy of regime change in Iran that threatens to unleash an even more devastating war in the Middle East. Trump’s statements have provoked expressions of unease, particularly in Europe, which has viewed the nuclear deal with Iran as an opening to new markets and sources of profit. The FT of London published an editorial Monday titled “Trump of Arabia takes sides in sectarian conflict,” warning:

Backing Sunni Arab autocrats against Shia Iran will not help the Middle East.

Le Monde editorialized:

Faschingstein was pursuing a “Cold War”-style policy in the Middle East, dividing it between two camps: the Sunni states and USraelis on one side; Iran, Syria and Russia on the other (leading to the) continuation of the endless wars ravaging the region.

The arrogance of Trump’s denunciations of Iran, which last week held a hotly contested presidential election, while praising the Toads, one of the world’s last absolute monarchies and the source of both the religious ideology and financial resources underpinning AQ, Daesh and similar Islamist groups, was denounced by the government in Tehran. Iranian Foreign Ministry spokesman Bahram Qassemi Monday called upon Faschingstein to abandon its “policy of warmongering, meddling, Iranophobia and sales of dangerous and useless weapons to the main sponsors of terrorism.” Pres Rouhani, who was re-elected with a wide margin of victory Friday after running on a program promoting rapprochement with the West, made an indirect reference to the Toad connections to 9/11, saying:

You can’t resolve the issue of terrorism by giving money to super powers. I don’t think the people of Pindostan would trade the blood they gave on 9/11 in exchange for money raised in arms sales.

Rouhani also pointed to the hypocrisy of Trump’s speech in Riyadh, coming in the wake of the Iranian election:

Mr Trump visited the region at the time millions of our people went to the polls. He went to a country whose people haven’t even seen ballot boxes, and elections don’t have any meaning for them. I hope one day the Toads also derive their national strength through elections. Power should not pass on through inheritance, but through elections.

In what amounted to a pair of religiously-themed photo-ops, Trump, Melania, Ivanka and Jared went to both the Church of the Holy Sepulcher and the Western Wall Monday. The visit was the first by any Pindo president to the Old City of Jayloomia, which is regarded internationally as illegally occupied territory, seized by Israel 50 years ago. Trump’s promotion of the charade of a Pindo-brokered Israeli-Palestinian “peace” was a decidedly secondary element of his trip. He presented it almost entirely from the standpoint of a gesture needed to give cover to the reactionary Sunni Arab oil sheikhdoms so that they can openly align themselves with Israel. He said after meeting with Pres Rivlin:

King Salman feels very strongly and, I can tell you, would love to see peace with Israel and the Palestinians.

The Arab monarchies have dropped even their earlier demands for a “two-state solution” that would leave Palestinians trapped in a fragmented, Israeli-dominated mini-state, calling merely for minor concessions. A discussion paper circulated among these regimes that was obtained by the WSJ indicated that in the interests of forging an alliance against Iran, they are prepared to normalize relations with Israel in return for minimal concessions such as the freezing of Israeli settlements in the West Bank and the easing of trade restrictions on the Gaza Strip. On the eve of Trump’s arrival, the Israeli cabinet approved a limited increase in the number of building permits issued to Palestinians living in Area C of the West Bank, which Israel controls directly and aims to eventually annex. It also extended the opening of the Allenby Bridge border crossing between the West Bank and Jordan to 24 hours a day, and allowed for the development of some industrial zones in the occupied territory. A boxtop told the Israeli media:

This is a gesture for Pres Trump’s visit, which does not harm Israel’s interests.

To say that Trump is going through the motions in terms of seeking a resumption of peace talks would be an exaggeration. He is to meet Abu Mazen during a trip Tuesday to Beit Lehem that is scheduled to last for all of one hour. While initially he was to squeeze in more religious tourism with a visit to the Church of the Nativity in Manger Square, this plan was scrapped when it emerged that he would have to pass a protest tent erected in support of the Palestinian political prisoners on hunger strike. Schools, public transit, banks and stores were shut down by a general strike in the occupied West Bank Monday in support of more than 1,300 Palestinian political prisoners who have been on hunger strike since Apr 17. In several demonstrations held in conjunction with the strike, Trump was burned in effigy. More than 1,000 Palestinian demonstrators converged on the Qalandiya checkpoint between Jayloomia and Ramallah carrying placards bearing Trump’s image defaced with a red shoe print declaring:

Pindo policies are a footprint of shame on humanity’s forehead.

Israeli troops attacked the demonstrators with tear gas, rubber bullets and live ammunition. A 16-year-old Palestinian was shot to death by MAGAV cops at a checkpoint northeast of Beit Lehem on Monday. An Israeli police spokesman claimed the youth had tried to stab Israeli border police, none of whom were injured in the alleged assault. Just two days earlier, 23-year-old Mutaz Hussien Hilal Bani Shamsa was shot dead by a Zionist settler who got out of his car and opened fire on a demonstration in support of the hunger strikers. In contrast to the growing militancy of the Palestinian population, the corrupt PA, which is heavily dependent upon funding from the Toads and the Gulf oil sheikdoms, is moving to accommodate itself to Trump’s mid-east policy. Abbas was among those attending Trump’s anti-Iranian diatribe in Riyadh, and he is reportedly prepared to present a new proposal for “peace” negotiations that drops all references to Jerusalem and cedes to Israel three times as much land as the PA previously offered.

USrael = global ZOG = continuous multiple rolling genocides forever

Arms Deal Stories Omit War Crimes Arms Will Be Used For
Adam Johnson, FAIR, May 22 2017

CNBCTrumpsDealsReports on the Trump/Saudi arm deals focused on who would get paid
–and ignored who it would cost.

The Trump administration wrapped up a weapons deal with the Toads this week that will be worth up to $350b over the next ten years. News of the deal came as Trump visited Riyadh and paid fealty to one of Pindostan’s most treacherous vassals in the Middle East. The vast majority of the reports on the topic, however, omitted a rather key piece of context, namely, whom the weapons will be used to kill. The famine and brutal two-year-long war in Yemen being waged by the Toads that has killed over 10,000 civilians wasn’t mentioned once in reports of the $300b deal with the Toads by CNN (5/19/17 & 5/20/17), WaPo (5/19/17), the Independent (5/19/17), NY Daily News (5/20/17), CNBC (5/20/17, 5/22/17), CBS News (5/20/17), Business Insider (5/20/17), Time (5/20/17), Fox News (5/20/17), Reuters (5/20/17), ABC News (5/20/17), Fortune Magazine (5/20/17) or Chicago Tribune (5/20/17). The arms deal was typically framed in vague “security” terms, with an emphasis on the role of the Toads in fighting “terrorism,” such as Fox News’s “The White House says the package includes defense equipment … to help the Arab nation and the rest of the Gulf region fight against terrorism” (5/20/17), despite the fact that the bulk of its military activity is focused on bombing Shia Houthi rebels in Yemen that have nothing to do with terrorism as such. Indeed, the head of AQAP claimed earlier this month his forces were “fighting alongside” the Toad-backed puppet Yemeni government. This detail was also omitted from reports on the arms deal, presumably because it would messy up the “Toads–as–partners–in–GWOT” narrative the press was uncritically echoing. That hundreds of billions of arms would be going to AQ’s allies wasn’t touched on in reports on the arms deal.

APAlQaeda

In his report on the arms deal, the WaPo’s Steven Mufson (5/21/17) got quotes from Lockheed Martin, General Electric and Blackstone, but found no time to interview a human rights expert or aid worker or victim of the Toad bombing of Yemen. Indeed, that bombing wasn’t even mentioned. CNBC (5/22/17) issued a sexed-up press release Monday morning with no mention of who exactly the weapons were killing, headlined:

Defense stocks soar to all-time highs on $110b after Pindo-Toad weapons deal.

Many outlets went with the “jobs” frame, echoing the White House narrative that the selling of arms to a dictatorship waging a brutal war on a neighboring country was, in fact, good because it “created jobs.” The NPR headline (5/20/17) was:

Trump Says Arms Deal He Signed With The Toads Will Create Jobs.

CBS Miami (5/20/17) reported:

Trump Says Toad Deal Will Create ‘Jobs, Jobs, Jobs.’

A Trump campaign ad wouldn’t have framed the issue differently than this CBS Miami report:

CBSJobsJobsJobs

Neither of these reports used the words “Yemen” or “bombing” or “famine.” To the extent the Toad bombing of Yemen was gestured at, it was in vague, game–like terms about how the Toads were a “check” against “Iranian aggression,” an opaque framing that reduces all Shia populations in the Middle East into mindless Iranian drones in urgent need of an application of Toad munitions. CNN Newsroom (5/20/17) euphemistically explained:

Pindostan likes to see the Toads with a strong military because it is seen as a counter to the forces of Iran.

It’s not spelled out that “counter” here means bombing one of the poorest countries on earth for over two years, unleashing what the UN calls “famine-like” conditions affecting nearly 7 million people. In stark contrast, reports in Pindosi media of Russian arms sales to Syria, even before Russia directly entered the war in Sep 2015, would always mention the stakes of the deals in terms of human life. Weapons sales by other countries are put in clear moral terms as they should be. Those by Pindostan are sterilized, rendered abstract by omitting the deaths that will inevitably result. The NYT (5/15/17) did mention the famine and war in Yemen in the context of the arms deal last week, but one article on the subject from Thursday (5/18/17), for unknown reasons, removed this passage expressly noting the Toads’ history of buying Pindo weapons:

The Toads have spent a fortune on Pindo weapons over the years, and a series of new deals that could be worth more than $300b over the next decade are close to completion, Reuters reported this month.

You can see the original, as reprinted in the Boston Globe, here. As of Monday afternoon, no major newspaper, eg the NYT, the WaPo, the WSJ, Pindostan Today, the LA Times, the Chicago Tribune or the NY Daily News, has run an editorial condemning Trump for cozying up with and selling massive amounts of arms to the Toad dictatorship. As FAIR noted last week (5/17/17), this outrage remains solely directed at dictatorships not in good standing with the State Dept. Such is most reporting on Pindostan’s relationship with the Toads. The human rights framework so much of the pundit class lives by, the moral positioning that gives Pindostan the unique right to interfere in conflicts throughout the globe, is suddenly and without explanation suspended. Pindostan backs Toad war crimes despite their brutality, never because of it. It sells arms in hopes they will reform, never because they have. And unlike our enemies, no one in particular is responsible. No “Salman regime did X,” no “Forces loyal to Salman regime bombed Y.” The Toads remain a moral hot potato: no-one is to blame, and somehow everyone is a reformer!

NATO & G7 meetings in yurp this week for the donald

Trump’s speech chez Toads intensifies tensions with Europe
Peter Schwarz, WSWS, May 23 2017

Trump’s speech on Saturday chez Toads provoked sharp reactions in Europe. While politicians expressed themselves cautiously, since they will meet with Trump at a NATO summit in Brussels on Thursday and a G7 summit on Friday in Sicily, several media outlets sharply criticized his speech. The central criticism was that with his clear partisanship towards the Toads and hostility towards Iran, Trump further escalated the conflict between Sunnis and Shiites. Le Monde wrote:

Trump described the Islamic Republic (of Iran) as an equally important opponent as the Sunni extremist AQ or Daesh. This is a shift in course.

Le Monde accused Trump of strengthening “the Toad monarchy, the most dictatorial and backward in the region.” Die Zeit commented

With such blanket partisanship — here the ally the Toads, and the enemy Iran over there — Trump is intensifying the conflict in the region.

The Tageszeitung wrote:

Although Trump rejected the ‘struggle between different religions,’ he simultaneously further incited the conflict within Islam between Sunnis and Shiites.

The Italian newspaper Il Sole 24 Ore also accused Trump of “further provoking the conflict between Sunnis and Shiites” by reviving the old strategy of isolating Iran. The European powers are no less willing than Pindostan to provoke ethnic and religious conflicts in the Middle East in pursuit of their economic and great power interests. Almost all of them are involved in the wars in Afghanistan, Syria and Iraq with military forces, arm various regimes and militias, and played a decisive role in inciting the Syrian civil war. If the European media is now complaining about an intensification of the conflict by Trump, there are two main reasons:

  1. They fear that further wars in the Middle East could destabilise Europe and lead to the breaking apart of the EU. In 2015, the arrival of hundreds of thousands of refugees resulted in bitter conflicts within the EU. The EU was only able to halt the flow of migrants by reaching an extremely fragile deal with Erdogan and by sealing off the Mediterranean Sea, leading to the deaths of thousands of refugees every year. If conflicts escalate further, even these brutal methods would prove insufficient to prevent desperate people from fleeing to Europe.
  2. Trump’s clear siding with the Toads and Israel collides with the strategic interests of the European powers. Germany and France are banking on the opening up of Iran as a way to establish a foothold in the region. With Iran’s large oil reserves and young, well-educated population, Germany and France have more economic interest in the country than the Toads.

Germany also has a strong interest in China’s “new silk road” project, which also plans to incorporate the Gulf region. It is therefore opposed to Trump’s confrontational approach towards Iran, which is also aimed at China. Germany’s Foreign Ministry was heavily involved in bringing about the 2015 P5+1 deal with Iran, which was supposed to gradually relax sanctions on the country and open up Iran to international investment. Several comments have therefore urged Germany and the European governments to more aggressively pursue their interests in the region against Pindostan. Typical was a piece in the Rhein-Zeitung which stated:

Precisely at the moment when the reformer Hassan Rohani has won the election in Iran and many Iranians are hoping for a further opening to the west, Trump declares the country to be the … arch enemy and criticises its democracy … This is a slap in the face to the reform forces in Iran. Opening up this new front is strategically stupid.

The Süddeutsche Zeitung wrote:

Trump and his people (want to) isolate and contain Iran … In this situation, Europe can and must adopt an arbitrator role, even if it is lacking the hard tools of power to really exert influence. Sticking to the nuclear agreement with Iran is part of this, just as much as the maintenance of relations with both sides of the Gulf.

Trump’s policies are reactionary, but the criticism of them in the German media have no progressive content. It is bound up with an intensive military build-up, which will be aimed at giving Germany and the other European powers “the hard tools of power” which they are “lacking, to really exert influence.” At the NATO summit on Thursday, the European heads of government will once again give Trump the assurance that they will increase their military spending to 2% of GDP, which for Germany amounts to almost a doubling of defence spending. The events in the Middle East show that this spiralling rearmament will be accompanied with mounting conflicts which could lead to war between the current NATO vassals. The extent of the tensions already present in Pindo-German relations was shown by the lead article in the latest edition of Der Spiegel, which was written prior to Trump’s speech in Riyadh. Such a denunciation of a Pindosi president has not been seen in an established German newspaper since 1945. The news magazine’s editor-in-chief, Klaus Brinkbäumer, wrote:

Pres Trump is a convicted liar a hundred times over, a racist, a fraudster … a danger for the world.

To get rid of him, he proposes “five possible solutions,” the first four of which he immediately abandons as unrealistic: Trump must resign, be removed through an impeachment process, be declared to be unfit for office by a majority of his cabinet, or replaced after the mid-term elections in 18 months’ time. As the fifth variant, the “necessary and possible” option, Brinkbäumer proposes:

The world community wakes up. Finds ways to get around the White House. Becomes capable of acting without Pindostan.

jew gerstein ‘under the radar’

Judge won’t move libel suit against BuzzFeed over Trump dossier
Josh Gerstein, Politico, May 22 2017

A federal judge has turned down BuzzFeed’s request to move a libel suit over its publication of a dossier containing unverified allegations against President Donald Trump. BuzzFeed and its editor-in-chief Ben Smith asked that the case be relocated to New York City, but Miami-based Federal District Court Judge Ursula Ungaro issued a ruling Monday refusing to give up the case filed by Russian tech executive and entrepreneur Aleksei Gubarev. BuzzFeed published the 35-page dossier in January, after press reports said it was mentioned in reports Pindo intelligence agencies circulated to top boxtops in the Obama administration and the incoming Trump team. Smith acknowledged that his reporters could not verify the accuracy of the facts in the dossier, but he said the public should be able to see it since it had circulated widely in Faschingstein and was affecting policy discussions. However Gubarev, owner of a Dallas-based web hosting firm called Webzilla, sued in February over the inclusion of a reference to Gubarev and his companies using “botnets and porn traffic to transmit viruses, plant bugs, steal data and conduct ‘altering operations’ against the Demagog Party leadership.” The report actually called him “GUBAROV.” BuzzFeed apologized to Gubarev around the time the suit was filed. The news outlet also redacted the references to Gubarev from the version of the report currently accessible on its site. However, the Russian venture capitalist pressed on with his suit, targeting BuzzFeed and Smith over what Gubarev’s attorneys caustically branded “one of the most reckless and irresponsible moments in modern ‘journalism.'”

Gubarev’s lawyers initially filed the case in Broward County, Florida, citing the fact that Webzilla is incorporated in Florida. A few weeks later, BuzzFeed moved the case to federal court in Miami and then sought to transfer it to federal court in Manhattan. In a 30-page ruling, Ungaro waded through a complex set of factors used to assess such transfer motions and concluded that it made more sense to keep the case in Florida. Like other media lawyers, BuzzFeed’s attorneys warned that allowing the plaintiffs in the case to use the fact that news is distributed through the internet to pick virtually any forum in the country to bring the suit gave them an unfair advantage. However, the Bush-41-appointed judge concluded that BuzzFeed’s ties to Florida are “extensive.” The judge wrote:

Based upon the evidence proffered by the parties, it is clear that Defendants do not passively operate a website that is merely accessible in Florida; rather, Defendants’ connections to Florida are extensive – Defendants regularly send reporters to Florida to cover Florida-based stories … regularly author and publish articles that are aimed at a Florida audience … and Defendants derive revenues from Florida-based advertising client, including VisitFlorida.com, which is the Official Florida Tourism Industry Marketing Corporation,”. “Thus, the Court finds a direct relationship between Defendants, the State of Florida, and Plaintiffs’ defamation claims.

Ungaro also noted that the federal courts in Manhattan are notably slower than those in South Florida, with the Florida cases reaching trial “in half the time” of those filed in New York. A spokesman for BuzzFeed said the outlet expects to prevail despite Monday’s setback. BuzzFeed spokesman Matt Mittenthal said:

While we are disappointed in the judge’s ruling, we’re confident that Mr Gubarev’s suit will be dismissed wherever we are forced to fight it.

Val Gurvits, an attorney for Gubarev, said:

We considered the present Motion to be a delay tactic by the Defendants. My clients, however, want to clear their good name and restore their reputation as soon as possible. Luckily, the Southern District of Florida has smart and efficient judges, and cases move along.

for over a year, i’ve been hag-ridden by coercive telepathy, apparently coming from this unlikely source

zakharova & co

anatomy of a smear

Fox News Staffers ‘Embarrassed’ by Hannity’s Conspiracy Theory Crusade
Andrew Kirell, Asawin Suebsaeng, Daily Beast, May 22 2017

Fox News staffers are growing increasingly dismayed as network star Sean Hannity and others continue to promote the unfounded conspiracy theory that Seth Rich, a DNC staffer was murdered last year for talking to WikiLeaks. The Daily Beast spoke to nearly a dozen reporters, pundits, and hosts inside Fox News who all conveyed the same sentiment: Hannity is “embarrassing” the network, and the promotion of the Rich conspiracy theory is senselessly cruel to a grieving family. One Fox News political reporter says they are furious that the conservative cable-news giant is entertaining the conspiracy theory. The reporter messaged the Daily Beast when informed of recent coverage:

ARE WE STILL AIRING THAT SHIT?!

The theory that the Hillary Clinton political machine had Seth Rich murdered because he allegedly had contact with WikiLeaks has been fodder for pro-Trump trolls on Reddit, 4Chan and Twitter for months. No actual evidence exists proving the theory, beyond conspiratorial innuendo from trolls and Julian Assange. Faschingstein police suspected that Rich was killed last summer in a botched robbery in the neighborhood. And yet the conspiracy came back to Hannity’s attention last week when Fox regular Rod Wheeler, a private investigator allegedly hired by a Trump-supporting millionaire, claimed that proof existed of Rich’s contacts with WikiLeaks. Fox 5 DC ran with his assertion, as did FoxNews.com. Major players in viral conservative media including Breitbart, Gateway Pundit and the Drudge Report immediately latched onto this as a smoking gun. Hours later, the story began to crumble. Wheeler since rescinded the claim after the Rich family sent him a cease-and-desist letter. The family, via a spokesman, has additionally pleaded with Hannity and others to stop manipulating “the legacy of a murder victim in order to forward their own political agenda.” Nevertheless, the conspiracy theory has persisted on Fox News. It gained an additional on-air advocate on Sunday when Newt Gingrich told reliably unskeptical Fox & Friends hosts:

We have this very strange story now of this young man who worked for the DNC, who apparently was assassinated at four in the morning, having given WikiLeaks something like 53,000 emails and 17,000 attachments.

The Russian Embassy in Britain also got in on the action last week, following Fox News’ lead, tweeting:

Hannity angrily responded on Sunday to critics on Twitter:

Fellow Fox News star Geraldo Rivera embraced the conspiracy on Monday afternoon, tweeting:

Multiple sources said that hard-news reporters and staffers at the network are aghast at the network’s ongoing coddling of the baseless story and wonder why it has been allowed to continue. Fox News staff spoke to the Daily Beast on the condition of anonymity. Another Fox reporter said:

The other reporters I’ve talked to are similarly pissed about the whole thing. Some find it embarrassing, others downright heartless. It’s just gross.

Another news reporter said he is “befuddled” that the network hasn’t intervened to decisively put an end to Hannity’s incessant support for and coverage of this particular conspiracy theory. Fox News has long prided itself on a supposed firewall between its “straight-news” reporting and its right-wing commentary side. Such a distinction often becomes the network’s line of defense when critics lambast anything its opinion hosts say on-air, and yet several of the network’s opinion pundits expressed disgust at the conspiracy theorizing, using words like “absurd” and “unhinged” to describe Hannity’s antics. The network, however, did not respond to the Daily Beast’s request for comment on the ongoing saga. Hannity declined to comment on the record. As the most openly partisan host at Fox News, Hannity is widely considered to be an island unto himself, unbound by the journalistic standards applied to someone like Fox News Sunday host Chris Wallace. Hannity, for instance, simultaneously served as a Fox News host while acting as an informal Donald Trump campaign adviser last year. During this latest affair, however, the closest anyone at Fox News has gotten to publicly criticizing Hannity’s conspiracy-mongering is liberal contributor Jew blackmailer Julie Roginsky, who recently sued the network for sexual harassment, posted a digital-only video Monday:

Several staffers said there exists a general sense of exhaustion from the network’s endless stream of controversies, from sexual-harassment and racial-discrimination lawsuits to the scandal-plagued ousting of several executives and primetime stars. One politics reporter told the Daily Beast:

Mostly we’re keeping our heads down. I mean, have you seen some of the stuff we put on air?

i don’t blame anybody but the jews

allah doesn’t play dice

At CNN, Imagining an Absurd Iran-Daesh Alliance
Jim Naureckas, FAIR, May 19 2017

Pro-torture legal scholar Alan Dershowitz was on CNN Anderson Cooper 360 the other night (5/17/17) arguing that the person who told the WaPo that Donald Trump had disclosed classified information about Daesh to Russian visitors in the Oval Office was “a felon, a criminal and should go to jail.” After former Obama strategist demurred that publishing leaks was sometimes in the public interest, Dershowitz replied:

I have no problem with the WaPo publishing it or the NYT publishing it. I do have problems with the people who work for the national security agencies leaking confidential information that may cost lives, may make it much more difficult to detect laptops. Remember, the only way Daesh got this information is through the leak.

CNNDershowitz-e1495222991776Alan Dershowitz denounces Trump whistleblower as “a felon, a criminal.” (5/17/17)

Anderson Cooper took issue with this last claim, insisting:

You can’t say definitively what Russia would have done with the information!

To which Dershowitz replied, accurately enough:

They’re not giving it to Daesh! They’re not on talking terms!

Axelrod chimed in:

What about Iran? Professor, what about Iran? Assad has certainly done things which are actually helpful to Daesh in Syria. It’s not as if Assad is fighting a war against Daesh.

Legal analyst Jeffrey Toobin attempted to clarify:

David is saying he’s allied with Iran.

It’s not clear whether the “he” in question was Assad or Putin. Leading to this finale of the discussion:

DERSHOWITZ: That’s very speculative!
COOPER: Oh, we just don’t know!
DERSHOWITZ: We know the first public disclosure of it came from the leaks from within the national security agencies, and those leaks should be plugged.

CNNAndersonCooperAnderson Cooper suggests that Russia would give secret intelligence to Daesh. (5/17/17)

We do know, contra Cooper’s assertion, that Assad is fighting a war against Daesh, along with a variety of other rebel factions. As Newsweek (5/5/17) reported earlier this month:

With support from Russia, Iran and pro-government militias, the Syrian military has secured most of the country’s population centers taken over by insurgents and Daesh earlier throughout the nation’s six-year war. After retaking the former rebel bastion of Aleppo in December, Syrian troops and their allies ousted Daesh from the historic city of Palmyra earlier this year. Assad’s forces pushed further Thursday, capturing four areas from the Jihadis in Palmyra’s south-eastern countryside, according to pro-government al-Masdar News. The SAA is aiming to relieve an enclave of fellow soldiers and tens of thousands of civilians under siege since 2014 in the eastern city of Deir al-Zour by Daesh.

ReutersISISMass videotaped executions of Syrian soldiers by Daesh. (8/28/14)

Axelrod’s suggestion that Iran might be sharing intelligence with Daesh is absurd. Daesh’s stance toward Shia Islam is openly genocidal: “Shi’a have no medicine but the sword,” an ISIS video proclaimed, showcasing Shi’a decapitated by Daesh militants (3/20/14). The Iranian government is predictably hostile toward a movement that would exterminate 90% of its citizens. Gen Qassem Soleimani, commander of the IRGC Quds Force, called Daesh “a plague and a grave catastrophe in the world” in explaining why Iran was supporting the government in Syria’s civil war (3/8/15):

We need to quarantine our borders and aid our neighbors so this cancer does not spread to our country.

Donald Trump was rightly scorned when he gave a foreign policy speech which seemed to not understand the Shia/Sunni division in the Muslim world. The NYT editorial board (8/16/16) lectured him:

Lumping Iran, which is a Shi’ite nation, with the Sunni militants of Daesh and AQ makes no sense. In fact, Iran and the Sunni groups are enemies.

Indeed, it’s the kind of thing you’d want a presidential candidate to know. But it’s also something you’d hope that hosts and leading analysts on national cable news networks would understand as well. Dershowitz’s proposal to put journalists’ sources in prison deserves a better retort than this geopolitical nonsense.

Trump’s speech in Riyadh signals escalation against Iran
Bill Van Auken, WSWS, May 22 2017

Riddled with hypocrisy, clichés and absurdities, Pres Trump’s speech Sunday before an assembly of monarchs and despots chez Toads spelled out an agenda of escalating militarism throughout the Middle East and a buildup in particular toward war with Iran. Hailed by a fawning MSM as “presidential,” supposedly eclipsing for the moment the crises and factional struggles engulfing the administration, the speech was reportedly drafted by Stephen Miller, the extreme right-wing ideologue credited with being the chief architect of Trump’s abortive executive order banning people from seven predominantly Muslim nations from entering Pindostan. Much in Trump’s half-hour address echoed the speech delivered by Obama in Cairo eight years earlier. Both presidents declared their desire to reset relations with the Middle East, while absurdly posturing as leaders of a pacifist nation seeking only good for the region and offering to head up a united struggle against “violent extremism.” In what was meant as a rhetorical invocation to action against terrorism, Trump told his audience:

Drive them out! Drive them out of your places of worship! Drive them out of your communities! Drive them out of your holy land! And drive them out of this earth!

Like Obama before him, Trump had no interest in dealing with who brought AQ and similar forces in, as the historical trail leads directly to the CIA in Afghanistan, and Pindostan’s long-standing support for right-wing Islamist organizations and terrorist groups as a counterweight to left nationalist and socialist influence in the Arab and Islamic world. Jointly, the Pindos & the Toads continue to fund and arm such forces in their drive for regime change in Syria. Both speeches were laced with flowery tributes to Islamic culture. Trump noted in particular how impressed he was with “splendour” chez Toads and the “grandeur” of the palace in which the so-called Arab Islamic Pindosi Summit had been convened. What separated the two addresses were the different shifts in strategy by Faschingstein. While Obama sought to repair the damage done by the Bush administration’s criminal war in Iraq, Trump wanted to make clear his administration’s break with Obama’s policy of seeking a rapprochement with Iran based on the 2015 nuclear deal. He adopted an openly confrontational stance toward Tehran, proclaiming in what stood out as the most blatant of the many lies in his brief address:

Above all, Pindostan seeks peace, not war!

The reality is that Pindo wars in the region have killed millions over the past decade and a half. And the thrust of Trump’s visit to the Toads, his first stop in a nine-day foreign tour, is the preparation for new and even bloodier conflicts. This was made plain by the principal agreements forged between Trump and the Toads, which included a $110b arms deal that incorporates the option to purchase $350b worth of weapons over the next 10 years. Tillerson told reporters in Riyadh:

This agreement supports the long-term security of the Toads and the entire Gulf region, in particular in the face of the malign Iranian influence and Iranian-related threats which exist on Toad borders on all sides.

In his speech, Trump painted Iran as the principal state sponsor of terrorism, accusing Tehran of providing terrorists with “safe harbor, financial backing, and the social standing needed for recruitment … (stoking) the fires of sectarian conflict and terror,” charges that could be leveled with justification against the Toads. He portrayed his cruise missile attack on Syria last month, followed just last week by his bombing of a pro-government militia in the south-eastern part of the country, as part of a wider struggle against Iranian influence. He went on to call upon “all nations of conscience” to “isolate Iran, deny it funding for terrorism and pray for the day when the Iranian people have the just and righteous government they deserve.” That he was speaking chez the Toads, a brutally repressive absolute monarchy, just two days after more than 70% of Iranian voters participated in a sharply-contested election, did nothing to blunt Trump’s call for regime change. He specifically praised the Toads and their vassals for having “taken strong action against Houthi militants in Yemen.” The near-genocidal Toad war has killed some 12,000 Yemenis, while destroying basic infrastructure in the Arab world’s poorest country, leaving over 7 million people on the brink of starvation and unleashing a cholera epidemic that threatens a massive death toll. In March, Mad Dog Mattis issued a memo calling for stepped-up support for this criminal war, in which the Pentagon is already supplying intelligence and logistical backing to the Toads. Part of the weapons deal signed by Trump involves the shipment of precision-guided munitions that had been cut off in a highly-limited gesture of disapproval of Toad tactics in Yemen by the Obama administration, which itself concluded over $100b worth of weapons deals with Riyadh. Also included in the new deal are tanks, artillery, helicopters and other weaponry that can be directly funneled into the slaughter in Yemen.

In addition to his speech and the signing of arms and investment deals, Trump participated in a meeting of the GCC, the Toad-led coalition of Gulf oil sheikhdoms. Trump administration officials have raised the objective of using the GCC as the foundation of a Sunni Arab version of NATO directed at military confrontation with Iran. Beyond the drive to militarily confront Iran, a principal regional rival to Pindo imperialism in the Middle East, and the huge profits that Toad arms purchases reap for the Pindo military industrial complex, there are broader strategic considerations in the Pindo turn toward a closer alliance with Riyadh. Some of these issues were outlined on the eve of Trump’s trip in a piece published by CSIS and authored by Anthony Cordesman. First among them is “the continued level of Pindo dependence on Toad help in securing the stable flow of Gulf oil.” While Pindo imports from the Gulf have fallen sharply over the past quarter century, Cordesman cites “indirect dependence” in terms of the impact a disruption in oil exports would have on global energy prices and the world capitalist economy. In particular, he points to the dependence of Asian economies on Gulf petroleum exports. Cordesman continues:

If we fail in providing power projection forces and arms to the region, China may fill the void. China may not yet be ready to try to assume the role, but the entire South China Sea crisis would pale to near insignificance if China became the de facto guarantor of Gulf stability. The real-world nature of Pindo influence and power in the Pacific would be cut massively, China’s leverage over other major Asian economies like Japan and South Korea would be sharply increased, and the potential rise in tension between China and India, and cut in India’s relative position, would have a massive impact on the balance of power in South Asia and the Indian Ocean.

In other words, the turn toward closer relations with the Toads and the related Gulf oil sheikdoms is bound up with Pindo imperialism’s mounting conflict with China, which it has identified as the principal challenge to the drive for Pindo global hegemony. Faschingstein is determined to dominate Asia, including China, by maintaining the military power to choke off the region’s energy imports. The fact that the sclerotic Toads, among the world’s last absolute monarchs, have become a lynchpin of Faschingstein’s imperialist strategy, not only in the Middle East but globally, is a measure of the crisis of Pindo & world capitalism. Oil revenues, which account for fully 90% of the KSA’s export earnings, have been cut nearly in half since 2014. Last month, the government was forced to reverse itself on austerity measures that hit the military and public employees, over fear that declining living standards and rising unemployment are creating the conditions for social revolt. In the predominantly Shi’a Eastern Province, the center of the KSA’s oil production, security forces laid siege to the town of Awamiyah, a center of resistance to the regime, during the week preceding Trump’s visit. Combined with the failure of the Toad bid to topple the Assad regime in Syria by supporting AQ-linked militias and the regime’s inability to retake Yemen from the Houthis, the deepening domestic crisis is creating the conditions for revolutionary upheavals against Faschingstein’s principal ally in the Arab world.

yid blackmail war slackens momentarily after requisite warmongering from trump

Media to Trump: Don’t Cozy Up to Dictators Unless They’re the Right Dictators
Adam Johnson, FAIR, May 17 2017

After a series of friendly gestures by Pres Trump toward Filipino Pres Duterte and Egypt’s Pres Sisi over the past few months, Pindo media have recoiled with disgust at the open embrace of governments that ostensibly had heretofore been beyond the pale. The NYT‘s editorial position was that Trump was “Enabling Egypt’s Sisi, an Enemy of Human Rights,” (4/4/17), followed by “Donald Trump Embraces Another Despot” (5/1/17).

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A week later, Walnuts McCain lectured Rex Tillerson on the NYT op-ed page (5/8/17) on “Why We Must Support Human Rights.” WaPo columnist Anne Applebaum’s lament in the WaPo was entitled “How Trump Makes Dictators Stronger” (5/1/17). An upset Philip Rucker reported in the WaPo: “Trump keeps praising international strongmen, alarming human rights advocates.” (5/2/17). WaPo cartoonist Tom Toles added “Trump invites ruthless dictators to the White House.” (5/2/17). Trump had gone too far, was the media message, crossing a line with his enthusiastic outreach to brutal tyrants. So the Trump administration’s announcement of a plan for not just a friendly visit chez Toads, scheduled for May 20–21, but also the sale of up to $300b in weapons to the oppressive regime, must have provoked the same outcry from these critics, right? Actually, no. Thus far, the LA Times, CNN, NBC, MSNBC, CNN, ABC and CBS haven’t reported on Trump’s massive arms deal with the Toads, much less had a pundit or editorial board condemn it. The Toads’ war on Yemen has killed at least 10,000 civilians, resulted in near-famine conditions for 7 million people and led to a deadly cholera epidemic, all made possible with Pindo weapons and logistical support. Walnuts McCain, whose NYT op-ed was un-ironically shared by dozens of high-status pundits, aggressively backs the Toads’ brutal bombing of Yemen, and has called for increased military support to the absolute monarchy. The NYT hasn’t written an editorial about the Toads since Oct 2016 (10/1/16) when for the second time in a week, the paper defended them against potential lawsuits over their role in the 9/11 attacks. The first of the week’s headlines (09/28/16) was “The Risks of Suing The Toads for 9/11.”

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When the NYT does speak out on the topic of the Toads, it does so to run interference for their possible connection to international terrorism. Nice words to the wrong dictators unleash a torrent of outrage from our pundit class. Nice words to the right dictators, along with billions in military hardware, which unlike nice words will be used to continue to slaughter residents of a neighboring country and suppress domestic dissent, result in uniform silence. Not a word from Anne Applebaum, no condemnation from Philip Rucker, no moral preening from Walnuts McCain, no sense that any line had been crossed from the NYT editorial board. Pindostan’s warm embrace and arming of the Toads is factored in. It’s bipartisan, and thus not worthy of outrage. While the NYT’s news pages did note the $100b to $300b weapons sale to the Toads, they did so only in passing, in paragraph six of a broader article about Trump’s Middle East trip (5/15/17) though to his credit, reporter Nick Cumming-Bruce did note:

Criticism that Pindostan is supporting Toad military operations that have struck hospitals, schools, markets and mosques and inflicted thousands of civilian casualties.

The WaPo (5/17/17) reported on the arms deal in paragraph 12 of a story about Trump attempting to create an “Arab NATO.” The WaPo’s reporting on the Toads in the run-up to Trump’s visit echoed the “reformist” narrative advanced by WaPo columnist David Ignatius (4/28/17). “It seems promising,” Cairo bureau chief Sudarsan Raghavan (5/12/17) wrote of the Toad King’s “calls” for “reform.” Jackson Diehl (5/14/17) even suggested in earnest that Trump could “lead on human rights,” finishing off his sheepish semi-self-aware headline with “Really.”

WaPoTrumpHumanRights

In the piece, “human rights” is used as a placeholder for getting Pindo citizens out of foreign prisons, which is a perfectly fine suggestion, but more about Pindo rights than human ones. And, like the WaPo’s editorial board and the rest of the opinion section, Diehl’s musing on the topic of human rights entirely omitted Trump’s cozying up with the Toads. This isn’t to say that major Pindo media shouldn’t note when Pindo leaders glad-hand despotic governments. They certainly should. But their almost uniform silence on Trump’s ramping up ties with one of the world’s worst human rights offenders, and the material, physical act of selling them munitions to use on murder Yemeni civilians, speaks to the arbitrary and self-serving nature of Pindo media’s moral posture.

WaPo and NYT urge pullback on calls for Trump impeachment
Patrick Martin, WSWS, May 22 2017

In editorials published simultaneously for their Sunday editions, the NYT and the WaPo called for caution in the anti-Trump campaign they have been spearheading with claims of nefarious connections between the Trump presidential campaign and the Russian government. The NYT editorial cites comparisons between the crisis of the Trump administration and the Watergate scandal of 43 years ago, only to suggest that impeachment or forced resignation is not yet the order of the day. After repeatedly slamming Trump as a stooge of Pres Putin and a threat to Pindo national security, including the publication last week of an editorial with comparisons to Watergate, the NYT now counsels the Demagogs to proceed cautiously and avoid “distraction.” It advises leveraging the official investigations into possible collusion between the Trump campaign and Russia, along with the continuing decline in Trump’s poll numbers, to “win back a majority next year in at least one house of Congress.”

The WaPo editorial similarly suggests that the anti-Trump campaign “will require time” for special counsel Robert Mueller and the various House and Senate committees investigating alleged Russian intervention into the 2016 election. The WaPo editorial demands that the Demoagogs “talk about something other than impeachment in the coming weeks,” and that the Thugs “face the task at which they have so far failed: governing responsibly.” The WaPo is more explicit about the social and class policies underlying the campaign over alleged Trump-Russia connections. It demands action on health care to reduce “uncertainty among the insurers upon which the system relies.” In other words, the two big-business parties must contain their mutual mudslinging and get on with the pro-corporate austerity measures demanded by the financial elite. Similarly, Congress must “pass a new budget and raise the debt ceiling.” It must carry through “tax reform,” which means cutting taxes for the wealthy and for corporations, while making sure that such actions “cannot result in higher deficits.” In other words, tax cuts for the rich must be paid for by slashing social programs for working people. Last but by no means least, the editorial cites concerns about Trump’s foreign policy in relation to North Korea, Syria, Daesh, Iran, Russia and “other hostile powers.”

Neither newspaper attempts to square the intensity of their onslaught against the Trump administration, particularly over the past two weeks, with their current declarations in favor of caution and biding one’s time. The situation could shift quickly, but the editorials from the NYT and WaPo reflect a broader pullback from immediate calls for impeachment and references to Watergate from within the media and political establishment. In recent days, prominent congressional Demagogs such as Adam Schiff, the ranking member of the House Intelligence Committee, and Elijah Cummings, the ranking Democrat on the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee, have called talk of impeachment premature. These developments underscore the fact that there is no progressive content to the opposition to Trump from within the political establishment and the capitalist state. The Demagog Party and the media are not troubled at having a fascist-minded president and an administration packed with corporate CEOs and generals dedicated to waging war, tearing up social programs and organizing a further redistribution of wealth to the rich. On such matters, there is far more that unites the ruling class than divides it. What are the considerations driving the warnings about proceeding too rashly on the question of impeachment?

  1. Tthe central concern of Trump’s opponents within the ruling class since his inauguration has always been to force a shift in policy, particularly foreign policy. On the war in Syria, the maintenance of the NATO alliance, and above all aggression toward Russia, Trump was deemed to be not on message by the dominant factions of the military and intelligence apparatus. The president has already sought to appease such concerns by ordering a missile strike on Syria, followed last week by a bombing raid on a pro-Syrian government militia and approval of a Pentagon plan to escalate intervention in Syria, Iraq and North Africa. There are related concerns that a perpetual crisis at the center of the Pindosi state and a protracted impeachment process pose a threat to the international standing of Pindostan and the overall interests of Pindo imperialism.
  2. There are the concerns outlined by the WaPo that a full-scale impeachment crisis will derail the administration’s program of corporate tax cuts, deregulation and the gutting of social programs upon which Wall Street has been banking and is determined to see pushed through. This was the message sent by the financial markets in last week’s huge one-day sell-off. That the message was received was indicated by the announcement the same day of the appointment of a special counsel to take the political faction fight in hand.
  3. There are fears that a full-scale constitutional crisis and fratricidal struggle within the ruling class can create an opening for an independent intervention by the working class. Under conditions of mass disaffection from both political parties, rising social anger and a general discrediting of all official institutions of power, the destabilization of the political system has potentially revolutionary implications.

The appointment of Mueller, who headed the FBI for 12 years, under both Bush and Obama, puts the Trump administration under the effective receivership of the intelligence agencies, with the constant threat that if he steps too far out of line, he could quickly be faced with criminal charges. References to the formation of some sort of caretaker regime have begun appearing in the press. A WaPo op-ed by Dana Millbank devoted to celebrating the anti-Russian campaign as a heroic journalistic exploit, while acknowledging that it was made possible by systematic leaking from the military-intelligence apparatus, concludes by describing Mueller as “a regent, if you will, to protect against future abuses.” All of this underscores the completely reactionary character of both factions of the ruling class, whatever turn the crisis might take in the days and weeks to come. It demonstrates the political dead-end of subordinating the struggle against the Trump administration to the Demagogs, whose opposition to Trump is entirely different from and hostile to the concerns and interests of millions of workers. They must intervene on the basis of their own socialist program and perspective.