President Trump did the smart thing last week by calling off a US airstrike on Iran over the downing of an American spy drone near or within Iranian territorial waters. According to press reports, the president over-ruled virtually all his top advisors – Bolton, Pompeo, and Haspel – who all wanted another undeclared and unauthorized US war in the Middle East.
Is Iran really the aggressive one? When you unilaterally pull out of an agreement that was reducing tensions and boosting trade; when you begin applying sanctions designed to completely destroy another country’s economy; when you position military assets right offshore of that country; when you threaten to destroy that country on a regular basis, calling it a campaign of “maximum pressure,” to me it seems a stretch to play the victim when that country retaliates by shooting a spy plane that is likely looking for the best way to attack.
Even if the US spy plane was not in Iranian airspace – but it increasingly looks like it was – it was just another part of an already-existing US war on Iran. Yes, sanctions are a form of war, not a substitute for war.
The media are also a big part of the problem. The same media that praised Trump as “presidential” when he fired rockets into Syria on what turned out to be false claims that Assad gassed his own people, has been attacking Trump for not bombing Iran. From Left to Right – with one important exception – the major media is all braying for war. Why? They can afford to cheer death and destruction because they will not suffer the agony of war. Networks will benefit by capturing big ratings and big money and new media stars will be born.
Trump and company are pressing hard for negotiations that would entail Iran accepting provisions it will never accept. From Moon of Alabama at moonofalabama.com:
fter a somewhat quiet weekend the Trump administration today engaged in another push against Iran.
Today the Treasury Department sanctioned the leaders of the Iranian Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC). It also sanctioned Iran’s Supreme Leader Ayatollah Khamenei and his office! There will be no more Disney Land visits for them.
There is more to come:
Josh Rogin – @joshrogin – 16:18 utc – 24 Jun 2019Mnuchin: “The president has instructed me that we will be designating [Iran’s foreign minister Javad] Zarif later this week.” cc: @JZarif
The Treasury Secretary will designate Javad Zarif as what? A terrorist? Zarif is quite effective in communicating the Iranian standpoint on Twitter and other social media. Those accounts will now be shut down.
The Trump administration’s special envoy for Iran, Brian Hook, said today that Iran should respond to U.S. diplomacy with diplomacy. Sanctioning Iran’s chief diplomat is probably not the way to get there.
All those who get sanctioned by the U.S. will gain in popularity in Iran. These U.S. measures will only unite the people of Iran and strengthen their resolve.
Iran will respond to this new onslaught by asymmetric means of which it has plenty.
On Saturday Trump said that all he wants is that Iran never gets nuclear weapons. But the State Department wants much more. Hook today said that the U.S. would only lift sanctions if a comprehensive deal is made that includes ballistic missile and human rights issues. Iran can not agree to that. But this is not the first time that Pompeo demanded more than Trump himself. Is it Pompeo, not Trump, who is pressing this expanded version to make any deal impossible?
Is Mike Pompeo trustworthy? From the Veteran Intelligence Professionals for Sanity at consortiumnews.com:
UPDATED: VIPS says its direct experience with Mike Pompeo leaves them with strong doubt regarding his trustworthiness on issues of consequence to the President and the nation.
DATE: June 21, 2019
MEMORANDUM FOR: The President.
FROM: Veteran Intelligence Professionals for Sanity (VIPS)
SUBJECT: Is Pompeo’s Iran Agenda the Same As Yours?
After the close call yesterday when you called off the planned military strike on Iran, we remain concerned that you are about to be mousetrapped into war with Iran. You have said you do not want such a war (no sane person would), and our comments below are based on that premise. There are troubling signs that Secretary Pompeo is not likely to jettison his more warlike approach, More importantly, we know from personal experience with Pompeo’s dismissive attitude to instructions from you that his agenda can deviate from yours on issues of major consequence.
Pompeo’s behavior betrays a strong desire to resort to military action — perhaps even without your approval — to Iranian provocations (real or imagined), with no discernible strategic goal other than to advance the interests of Israel, Saudi Arabia and the UAE. He is a neophyte compared to his anti-Iran partner John Bolton, whose dilettante approach to interpreting intelligence, strong advocacy of the misbegotten war on Iraq (and continued pride in his role in promoting it), and fierce pursuit of his own aggressive agenda are a matter of a decades-long record. You may not be fully aware of our experience with Pompeo, who has now taken the lead on Iran.
That experience leaves us with strong doubt regarding his trustworthiness on issues of consequence to you and the country, including the contentious issue of alleged Russian hacking into the DNC. The sketchy “evidence” behind that story has now crumbled, thanks to some unusual candor from the Department of Justice. We refer to the extraordinary revelation in a recent Department of Justice court filing that former FBI Director James Comey never required a final forensic report from the DNC-hired cybersecurity company, CrowdStrike.
It would be hard to find a square inch of the world that the US government does not deem a vital national interest. From Kevin B. Zeese and Margaret Flowers at antiwar.com:
In the last week, the realities of US foreign policy have been exposed by a leaked audio tape, a leak about a US attack on the Russian electrical grid, and US attempts to extradite Julian Assange. All the information points to a foreign policy that violates international law and standards, perpetrates wars and conflict and seeks to undermine press freedom in order to commit its crimes in secret.
This is not new information to those of us who closely follow US foreign policy, but these new exposures are broad and are in the mass media where many millions of people can view them and gain a greater understanding of the realities of US actions around the world. Join the People’s Mobilization to Stop the US War Machine this September.
Secretary of State Mike Pompeo Exposes Himself To Jewish Leadership
Secretary of State Mike Pompeo gave a foreign policy speech to the presidents of major Jewish organizations. The speech was remarkable because it shows the special attention this group receives. Very sensitive secrets of US foreign policy were provided to the audience. Thankfully, someone in the audience audio-taped the conversation, and as a result, millions of people in the US and around the world now know the truth about some critical US foreign policy issues. Here are some of the topics he discussed:
US Seeks To Stop Jeremy Corbyn Before He Is Elected: The audio includes Pompeo promising to do his “level best” to stop Corbyn from ever being elected as Prime Minister of the UK. Pompeo was responding to a question, “Would you be willing to work with us to take on actions if life becomes very difficult for Jews in the UK?” This was about the false claim that Corbyn is anti-Semitic because he favors the rights of Palestinians and criticizes Israel. Pompeo responded:
“It could be that Mr. Corbyn manages to run the gauntlet and get elected. It’s possible. You should know, we won’t wait for him to do those things to begin to push back. We will do our level best. It’s too risky and too important and too hard once it’s already happened.”
If John Bolton really controls the administration and Trump, we’re doomed. From Moon of Alabama at moonofalabama.com:
Jeff Bezos’ blog, the Washington Post, has some bits on the discussion and infighting in the Trump administration about the march towards war on Iran. The piece opens with news of a new redline the Trump administration set out:
Secretary of State Mike Pompeo has privately delivered warnings intended for Iranian leaders that any attack by Tehran or its proxies resulting in the death of even one American service member will generate a military counterattack, U.S. officials said.
While such attacks were common during the Iraq War, Pompeo told Iraqi leaders in a message he knew would be relayed to Tehran that a single American fatality would prompt the United States to hit back.
That warning was sent in May when Pompeo visited Baghdad. The issue may soon become critical. Throughout the last days there were rocket attacks in Iraq against targets where U.S. personnel is present. The AFP correspondent in Baghdad lists six of them:
Maya Gebeily – @GebeilyM – 10:20 UTC – 19 Jun 2019Timeline of attacks on US interests in #Iraq
Fri: Mortars hit Balad base, where US troops based
Sun: Projectiles hit #Baghdad mil airport
Mon: Rockets on Taji, where coalition forces based
Tues: Mortars on #Mosul ops HQ
Wed: Rockets on housing/ops center used by IOCs near #Basra
#IRAQ: @AFP learns there were at least *two* attacks near US oil interests in #Basra in last 24 hours – ExxonMobil + Baker Hughes, a GE Company Their senior staff are being evacuated.
At least some of these attacks came from areas where Islamic State underground groups are still active. The weapons used were improvised and imprecise.
That shows how stupid the red line is that Pompeo set out. He would attack Iran if an errant ISIS rocket by chance kills some U.S. soldier? That is nuts.
“This assessment is based on intelligence, the weapons used, the level of expertise needed to execute the operation, recent similar Iranian attacks on shipping, and the fact that no proxy group operating in the area has the resources and proficiency to act with such a high-degree of sophistication,” Pompeo told the press in a statement.
“The United States will defend its forces, interests, and stand with our partners and allies to safeguard global commerce and regional stability. And we call upon all nations threatened by Iran’s provocative acts to join us in that endeavor,” Pompeo concluded before hastily shambling off, taking exactly zero questions.
Is the US government now going to decide who runs the British government? Has anyone told the Brits? From Caitlin Johnstone at caitlinjohnstone.com:
Uh… What Did Pompeo Mean When He Vowed To “Push Back” Against Corbyn?
An audio recording from a private meeting that was leaked to The Washington Post reportedly features US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo vowing to “push back” against surging British Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn, and many are concerned that what he said sounds an awful lot like a top US official promising to interfere in the UK’s democratic process.
At a closed-door meeting with Jewish leaders earlier this month, one of the attendees asked Pompeo if Corbyn becomes Prime Minister, “would you be willing to work with us to take on actions if life becomes very difficult for Jews in the UK?”
Before I get to Pompeo’s response, I should interrupt myself to note that nobody actually believes that Corbyn would make life difficult for Jews in the UK. Anyone who claims to believe this is lying. Usually when you hear people regurgitating bullshit establishment lines they’re people who are acting basically in good faith, who are only spouting bullshit because they have been propagandized. Not so in this case. The idea that a man with a lifelong history of opposing bigotry is a secret antisemite who will facilitate the persecution of Jews if given the opportunity is a completely baseless smear campaign, and everyone knows it, including those who advance it.
The notion that Jeremy Corbyn advances antisemitism is literally just some gibberish the smear merchants made up to prevent the rise of a politician who threatens to upset existing power structures. It’s exactly as believable and exactly as legitimate as if British newspapers were constantly running headlines claiming that Corbyn is actually three children standing on each other’s shoulders inside grown-up’s clothes; the one and only difference is that they were able to make the antisemitism smear stick. Anyone who pretends to believe that Corbyn is a closet antisemite is exactly as honest and credible as someone who solemnly tells you, “I am very concerned about the fact that the Labour Party is led by a man who is secretly a cartoon mascot for a children’s breakfast cereal.”
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