Robert Mueller isn’t going to indict himself or his buddies, but somebody might. There’s certainly plenty of raw material for indictments. From James Howard Kunstler at kunstler.com:
And so now along comes Andy McCabe, former Number Two at the FBI, publicizing his new book, The Threat: How the FBI Protects America in the Age of Terror and Trump, on this Sunday’s CBS 60-Minutes show, confirming what I said on this blog two years ago — that the Deep State would try to run over the Golden Golem of Greatness with the 25th Amendment.
The specter of Mr. Trump entrained by the nuclear “football” — the briefcase with launch codes for World War Three — gave US Intel communitarians such a case of the heebie-jeebies that they first sought desperately to impede his election by unlawful means and, failing in that, concocted a fog of Russian collusion conspiracy to cover up all that and much more nastiness emanating from the Hillary Clinton orbit.
It’s been the opinion here at CFN that Mr. McCabe and a long list of DOJ / FBI / and Intel employees would eventually be summoned to grand juries on charges ranging from lying to their Internal Affairs colleagues all the way to sedition. Those worms now seem to be turning. Both house and senate committees investigating the Russia narrative declared that they turned up no evidence for it. And late this week, William Barr was confirmed as a new Attorney General, meaning the extreme case of bureaucratic constipation in that department may be resolving in a shitstorm of counter-revelations and prosecutions in what amounted to an attempted coup d’etat. A lot of the evidence for that is already public and overwhelming. It includes:
This regime change business is tougher than it looks. From Moon of Alabama at moonofalabama.org:
On January 25, two days after Random Guyidó declared himself President of Venezuela, the lack of planing in the U.S. coup attempt was already obvious:
My impression is that Trump was scammed. It was long evident that he gives little attention to details and does not think things through. Most likely Bolton, Pompeo and Rubio presented him with a three step plan:Phase 1. Support the self declared president Guaidó; Phase 2: … (wishful thinking) …; Phase 3: Take half of their oil!
Bolton and Pompeo are both experienced politicians and bureaucrats. They likely knew that their plan was deeply flawed and would require much more than Trump would normally commit to. My hunch is that the soon coming mission creep was build into their plan, but that they did not reveal that.
The U.S. coup planners and their Venezuelan puppets had hoped that the Venezuelan military would jump to their side. That was wishful thinking and unlikely to happen. They also thought up some “humanitarian aid” scheme in which pictures of trucks crossing a long blocked bridge would soon shame the Venezuelan president into stepping down. That was likewise nonsense.
Unless the U.S. is willing and able to escalate, the coup attempt is destined to fail.
‘Western’ media now recognize that phase 2 of the coup plan is in deep trouble. Today the Guardian, Bloomberg and the New York Times all describe growing frustration with the lack of success.
The media have compared Trump to Hitler since he won the election, but the comparisons stop when Trump acts like a Hitler and threatens Venezuela with regime change. From C.J. Hopkins at unz.com:
Maybe Donald Trump isn’t as stupid as I thought. I’d hate to have to admit that publicly, but it does kind of seem like he has put one over on the liberal corporate media this time. Scanning the recent Trump-related news, I couldn’t help but notice a significant decline in the number of references to Weimar, Germany, Adolf Hitler, and “the brink of fascism” that America has supposedly been teetering on since Hillary Clinton lost the election. I googled around pretty well, I think, but I couldn’t find a single editorial warning that Trump is about to summarily cancel the U.S. Constitution, dissolve Congress, and proclaim himself Führer. Nor did I see any mention of Auschwitz, or any other Nazi stuff … which is weird, considering that the Hitler hysteria has been a standard feature of the official narrative we’ve been subjected to for the last two years.
So how did Trump finally get the liberal corporate media to stop calling him a fascist? He did that by acting like a fascist (i.e., like a “normal” president). Which is to say he did the bidding of the deep state goons and corporate mandarins that manage the global capitalist empire … the smiley, happy, democracy-spreading, post-fascist version of fascism we live under.
I’m referring, of course, to Venezuela, which is one of a handful of uncooperative countries that are not playing ball with global capitalism and which haven’t been “regime changed” yet. Trump green-lit the attempted coup purportedly being staged by the Venezuelan “opposition,” but which is obviously a U.S. operation, or, rather, a global capitalist operation. As soon as he did, the corporate media immediately suspended calling him a fascist, and comparing him to Adolf Hitler, and so on, and started spewing out blatant propaganda supporting his effort to overthrow the elected government of a sovereign country.
Bizarre but true. It’s harder now for a president to end a war than to start one. From Ron Paul at ronpaulinstitute.com:
Last week’s bipartisan Senate vote to rebuke President Trump for his decision to remove troops from Syria and Afghanistan unfortunately tells us a lot about what is wrong with Washington, DC. While the two parties loudly bicker about minor issues, when it comes to matters like endless wars overseas they enthusiastically join together. With few exceptions, Republicans and Democrats lined up to admonish the president for even suggesting that it’s time for US troops to come home from Afghanistan and Syria.
The amendment, proposed by the Senate Majority Leader and passed overwhelmingly by both parties, warns that a “precipitous withdrawal of United States forces from the on-going fight…in Syria and Afghanistan, could allow terrorists to regroup.” As one opponent of the amendment correctly pointed out, a withdrawal of US troops from Afghanistan is hardly “precipitous” since they’ve been there for nearly 18 years! And with al-Qaeda and ISIS largely defeated in Syria a withdrawal from that country would hardly be “precipitous” after almost five years of unauthorized US military action.
Senators supporting the rebuke claim that US troops cannot leave until every last ISIS fighter is killed or captured. This is obviously a false argument. Al-Qaeda and ISIS did not emerge in Iraq because US troops left the country – they emerged because the US was in the country in the first place. Where was al-Qaeda in Iraq before the 2003 US invasion the neocons lied us into? There weren’t any.
US troops occupying Iraqi territory was, however, a huge incentive for Iraqis to join a resistance movement. Similarly, US intervention in Syria beginning under the Obama Administration contributed to the growth of terrorist groups in that country.
Well how about that, there’s a country out there that doesn’t think US occupation is an unmitigated blessing. From Elijah J. Magnier at ejmagnier.com:
US president Donald Trump’s statement of his intention to remain in Iraq in order to “be looking a little bit at Iran because Iran is a real problem” has created a political storm in Mesopotamia among local politicians and groups now determined to put an end to the US presence in the country. Many are upset by Trump’s statement, saying that the “US forces are departing from their initial mission to fight terrorism, the reason for which they are allowed to stay in Iraq”. Iraqi President Barham Saleh commented that the US administration did not ask Iraq’s permission for US troops stationed in the country to “watch Iran”.
US forces have been deployed in Iraq in large numbers since 2014 when ISIS occupied a third of the country. The US establishment under president Obama refrained from rushing to support the Iraqi government, leaving room for Iran to act rapidly and send weapons and military advisors to Baghdad and Erbil. The intentionally slow US reaction pushed the Grand Ayatollah Sayyed Ali Sistani to call for the mobilisation of the population, a call that led to
the creation of the Popular Mobilisation Forces (PMF), called Hashd al-Shaabi, who managed to stop ISIS’s advance.
Moreover, in response to Iraq’s request, a joint military operational room was formed in Baghdad’s “Green Zone” where Russian, Iranian, Iraqi and Syrian high-ranking officers are still present, coordinating military attacks and sharing electronic and other intelligence information about ISIS whereabouts and the movements of its militants, sleeping cells and leaders.
The US also offered to conduct intelligence operations and air strikes against ISIS. Nevertheless, during the period that the ISIS threat diminished the number of the US forces has more than doubled, from 5,200to 11,000, according to sources within the Iraqi government; some Iraqi sources claim the real numbers are much larger, with as many as 34,000 US servicemen spread over 31 bases and locations, along with Iraqi forces. There are no military bases for US forces only.
US forces are officially based at Camp Victory within the perimeter of Baghdad airport, Camp Al-Taji situated 25 km north of Baghdad, Balad Airbase which is 64 km north of Baghdad, Al-Habbaniyah Camp between Ramadi and Fallujah, Qay’yara Airfield 300 km north of Baghdad, Kariz base in Zummar Nineveh, Ayn al-Assad Airbase close to Baghdadi in al-Anbar province, Kirkuk al-Hurriya Airbase, Bashur base in Erbil, Erbil International Airport command and control base, Harir Shaqlawa Kurdistan in Erbil and Atrush Field in Duhok. US forces constructed a new Airbase close to al-Qaem on the Iraqi-Syrian borders and another close to al-Rutbah east of Ramadi and close to the Syrian borders. The US forces have a military presence within the Iraqi security forces in various locations and camps, mainly within the Counter-Terrorism units.
Trump visited one of these bases, Ayn al-Assad, during the Christmas and New Year holidays. The breach of protocol associated with his visit created domestic upheaval, leading many Iraqis to call on the Parliament to expel US forces from Iraq; the three leading Iraqi officials (Speaker, President and Prime Minister) refused to meet him at the US part of the base. For security reasons the US President was forced to keep secret his visit to a country where he has thousands of forces on the ground. By contrast the Iranian Foreign Minister, Mohammad Jawad Zarif, visited Iraq for five daysmeeting local officials in Baghdad, Najaf and Karbala.
Iraqi organisations – who fought ISIS for years, and share Iran’s goal of rejecting US hegemony in the region – threatened to attack US forces if they didn’t leave the country immediately. However, sources close to decision makers report that “Iraqi groups are not expected to attack US forces immediately”.
“Iran has asked all their friends in Iraq to refrain from attacking the US forces and instead to arm themselves with patience for the day when US forces refuse to leave if and when the Parliament approves a bill asking them to return home. Should this happen, US forces would be considered an occupation force, giving legitimacy for the Iraqi resistance to attain their goal”, said the source.
These Iraqi organisations are keeping a close watch on the US forces’ movement in the country. They consider the US establishment a source of trouble to the country and the region. Last week, Iraqi security Forces Hashd al-Shaabi forced a US patrol to return from their mission, preventing them from entering the city of Mosul on foot. The Iraqi forces consider the US is diverging from its mission to help Iraq fight terrorism when US forces patrol Iraqi cities for their own training purposes.
Hashd al-Shaabi has a grudge against the US forces for having bombarded Iraqi forces on the borders between Iraq and Syria, causing dozens of casualties. US officials offered repeated apologies, accusing Israel of the bombing and promising that such “mistakes” would not be repeated in the future. US officials feared the Hashd reaction and were concerned about their own troops on the ground.
According to Iraqi sources, the Parliament “needs several months to coordinate a large action and the preparation of a bill asking for the withdrawal of the US forces from the country. This campaign is expected to be guided by the Sadrist leader Sayyed Moqtada al-Sadr”. The Sadrist groups are feared by the US for their long history of attacks against US forces during the occupation of Iraq between 2003 and 2011. Those mainly responsible for attacking and killing US occupation forces were Sadrists leaders who today lead their own groups: Asaeb Ahl al-Haq, Kataeb al-Imam Ali and Harakat al-Nujaba’.
From 2003-11, the US declared themselves an occupation force. Today, these forces are present following an official request from the central government in Baghdad. Thus, their departure should follow on a parliamentary initiative, according to article 61 of the constitution.
The Iraq government would like to avoid an aggressive stand against the US and is not looking to have Washington as an enemy. At the same time, Iraq doesn’t want to be considered submissive and under the wing of the US and its policies. The US aims to pull out its forces from Syria – if Trump’s warmonger advisors allow him to do so – to deploy them in Iraq–a move that should increase the number of US forces in Iraq. This would represent a further provocation to the Iraqis.
Simultaneously, Iraq is cooperating with Iran on all commercial levels, especially with regard to energy. Washington would like to prevent any selling of Iranian oil and would like to make sure Iraq is not helping Iran or becoming hostile to Israel.
It is too late: the three Iraqi leaders (the president,the prime minister, the speaker) are closer to Iran than the US. Nevertheless, these leaders, unlike, for example, a figure such as Nuri al-Maliki,do not have a record of hostility to the US. Nevertheless, Trump is mistaken if he believes Mesopotamia will bow to his wishes and become the platform for an attack on Iran.
President Trump wasn’t going to ruin his State of the Union address by mentioning America’s inconsequential national debt. From MN Gordon at economic prism.com:
Another week. Another week of distractions. On Tuesday, for instance, was the great State of the Union Address. To this, many opinions and observations have been offered. Here, we’ll contribute several of our own…
President Trump is a showman of stout ego. How he must have relished the run-up to Tuesday’s primetime address with impatient anticipation. What a disappointment it must have been to look out from the podium of the House of Representatives at the 116th Congress and see the greatest assemblage of political crooks, lowlifes, and losers in living memory staring back at him.
But the show must go on…disappointments and all. For life’s full of disappointments. The many botched opportunities. The countless hours wasted on bids for ridiculous jobs. Super Bowl Sunday. Duds, dissatisfactions, and disappointments come a dime a dozen.
Words are also the source of many disappointments. Words that shouldn’t have been said. Words that should have been said.
So, too, words, and the absence of words, can be distractions. And within a sequence of words there are sometimes obvious omissions.
For example, nowhere within the 82 minute State of the Union Address was there a single word of the country’s burgeoning $1 trillion budget deficit. Nowhere was there a word of the great $22 trillion national debt default that’s bearing down upon us like a savage hurricane along the Gulf Coast. Nowhere was there mention of the $122 trillion in unfunded liabilities, which includes the sacred cows of social security and Medicare.
Despite the storm and fury, the Syria withdrawal policy is unambiguous and going forward.
President Donald J. Trump speaks with reporters during a briefing with military leadership members Wednesday, December 26, 2018, at the Al-Asad Airbase in Iraq. (Official White House Photo by Shealah Craighead)
Few other foreign policy decisions of this administration have sparked more criticism than Donald Trump’s announcement that he will remove U.S. troops from Syria. Even as he declared last night during his State of the Union address that “as a candidate for president, I loudly pledged a new approach…. Great nations do not fight endless wars,” he drew a tepid response from Congress. The planned applause line fell discernibly flat.
Perhaps that’s not a surprise, given that the withdrawal has been condemned by leaders from across the political spectrum—including from Trump’s own party. South Carolina’s Lindsey Graham called keeping troops in Syria “vital to our national security interests.” Senator Marco Rubio described the decision as “a major blunder.” Nebraskan Ben Sasse said that Iran, ISIS, and Hezbollah were “high-fiving” the move. Finally, last Thursday, Republican leader Mitch McConnell orchestrated a resolution condemning the withdrawal—which passed the Senate in a lopsided vote.
Graham, Rubio, Sasse, and McConnell have been joined in their condemnation by a host of establishment heavyweights. Richard Haass, the president of the Council on Foreign Relations, called the withdrawal “a bad idea” that constituted a “strategic defeat” for the U.S. Neocon penitent and Washington Post columnist Max Boot said the decision was a betrayal of America’s Kurdish allies—comparing it to America’s serial betrayals of “the South Vietnamese in the 1970s, the Afghans in the 1990s, and the Iraqis after 2011.” A bevy of retired military types joined the chorus, including MSNBC regular General Barry McCaffrey and former Army vice chief of staff Jack Keane, not to mention former Marine General James Mattis, who announced his resignation as secretary of defense following the announcement.
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