Tags: Al Qaeda

Obama’s ISIS War is Not Only Illegal, it Makes George W. Bush Look Like a Constitutional Scholar

Rudderless and without a compass, the American ship of state continues to drift, guns blazing.

- Andrew J. Bacevich, the Boston University political science professor and former Army colonel who lost his son in the Iraq war in 2007, in a recent Reuters article.

I have spent the past several days outlining my deep concerns about the “ISIS crisis” and Obama’s willingness to employ extreme propaganda in order to once again embark on another poorly thought out military campaign here and here. What I have also come to realize is that his latest war plan is brazenly illegal and unconstitutional.

While critics have been questioning the legality of U.S. military campaigns consistently since the end of World War II, one trend has become increasingly clear. With each new President and each new war, we have witnessed those who hold the office act more and more like dictators, and less and less like constitutional executives.

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Congresswoman Ileana Ros-Lehtinen: “I’m Glad People Have This 9/11 Mentality Again”

Screen Shot 2014-09-11 at 11.37.09 AMIn the wake of non-stop propaganda from politicians of both parties, as well as a mainstream media desperate for ratings, the American public is finally terrified enough to support another war in the Middle East. This is an unfortunate development I lamented in yesterday’s post: The American Public: A Tough Soldier or a Chicken Hawk Cowering in a Cubicle? Some Thoughts on ISIS Intervention.

With just 6% of likely U.S. voters thinking Congress is doing a good or excellent job according to a recent Rasmussen poll, it’s no surprise to see so many of these corrupt clowns falling over one another to appear tough on ISIS, using myriad hyperbolic and Orwellian statements.

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How I Remember September 11, 2001

I wrote the following a year ago today. I’m reposting because it is more important now than ever in light of the most recent war propaganda:

How I Remember September 11, 2001

I remember 9/11 like it was yesterday. I was one year into my Wall Street career. I got up that morning just like every other morning and headed toward Union Square station to get on the subway down to 3 World Financial Center, the headquarters of Lehman Brothers. I had just purchased breakfast in the cafeteria when I saw one of the human resources folks from my floor yelling to evacuate. I was confused but I got my ass downstairs fast. When I got down there I joined the hundreds of others staring in awe skyward at the gaping hole in the North Tower of the World Trade Center. People speculated that a helicopter had hit the building, but I said no way. It looked like a bomb went off to me.

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The American Public: A Tough Soldier or a Chicken Hawk Cowering in a Cubicle? Some Thoughts on ISIS Intervention

Screen Shot 2014-09-10 at 11.49.21 AMYou gotta love the American public sometimes. For a mass of people so easily terrified by guys in caves funded and armed by our intelligence services and “allies” in the Persian Gulf, the same public talks with such armchair bravado when it comes to launching bombs from drones and sending other people’s children to die.

Makes you wonder though, which one is it? Is the American public actually the tough guy soldier it pretends to be when cheering overseas military interventions, or is it really a scared, propagandized, coward hiding in one of our nation’s endless cubicle rows? Unfortunately, based on recent opinion polls demonstrating approval for military action against ISIS, it appears to be the latter. The former is merely a front put on by that terrified, economically insecure, silently suffering automaton. I really wish this weren’t the case.


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Blockbuster Report from WND – Jordanian Official Claims Americans Trained ISIS

Screen Shot 2014-06-17 at 3.26.39 PMJust yesterday, I wrote what I think was one of my most important articles of 2014, titled: America’s Disastrous Foreign Policy – My Thoughts on Iraq. The key point of the entire article came at the end when I noted that:

So in the course of less than a year, the Obama Administration has proposed an alliance with al-Qaeda in Syria and now an alliance with Iran to fight those very same forces.

If you didn’t get a chance to read that piece yesterday, it’s important to do so before reading further.

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America’s Disastrous Foreign Policy – My Thoughts on Iraq

But in the years they were getting started, a key component of ISIS’s support came from wealthy individuals in the Arab Gulf States of Kuwait, Qatar and Saudi Arabia. Sometimes the support came with the tacit nod of approval from those regimes; often, it took advantage of poor money laundering protections in those states, according to officials, experts, and leaders of the Syrian opposition, which is fighting ISIS as well as the regime.

“Everybody knows the money is going through Kuwait and that it’s coming from the Arab Gulf,” said Andrew Tabler, senior fellow at the Washington Institute for Near East Studies. “Kuwait’s banking system and its money changers have long been a huge problem because they are a major conduit for money to extremist groups in Syria and now Iraq.”

Iraqi Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki has been publicly accusing Saudi Arabia and Qatar of funding ISIS for months. Several reports have detailed how private Gulf funding to various Syrian rebel groups has splintered the Syrian opposition and paved the way for the rise of groups like ISIS and others.

- From the excellent Daily Beast article, America’s Allies Are Funding ISIS

The world is a very complicated place, and the Middle East is a particularly difficult region to try to get your head around. Between decades of colonialism, gigantic oil reserves, governments that are essentially feudal kingdoms, and the never-ending and always shifting Western government propaganda that often changes the targets of demonization on a whim, it’s no wonder people are so confused.I’m not writing this post proclaiming to be an expert on the region, nor am I saying I have all of the answers. What I am trying to do is give my perspective based on what I have seen so far, and more importantly, ask readers to ask their own set of questions.

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The PBOC and Bundesbank Sign Pact to Turn Frankfurt into Yuan Hub….Meanwhile Obama Heads to Saudi Arabia

I haven’t paid too much attention as of late to agreements between China and other nations intended to expand the use of the yuan (renminbi) internationally, because the near-term implications always seem to be exaggerated by many market commentators. That said, this deal between the People’s Bank of China (PBOC) and Germany’s Bundesbank seems quite significant given the importance of Germany within the global economy generally and the E.U. specifically.

From Bloomberg via BusinessWeek:

Germany’s Bundesbank and the ™People’s Bank of China agreed to cooperate in the clearing and settling of payments in renminbi, paving the way for Frankfurt to corner a share of the offshore market.

The central banks signed a memorandum of understanding in Berlin today, when Chinese President Xi Jinping met German Chancellor Angela Merkel, the Frankfurt-based Bundesbank said in an e-mailed statement.

Germany’s financial capital prevailed over Paris and Luxembourg in a euro-area race to win trade in renminbi, which overtook the euro to become the second-most used currency in global trade finance in October, according to the Society for Worldwide Interbank Financial Telecommunication. The U.K. Treasury said on March 26 that the Bank of England would sign an initial agreement with the PBOC on March 31 to clear and settle yuan transactions in London.

“Frankfurt is one of Europe’s foremost financial centers and home to two central banks, making it a particularly suitable location,” said Joachim Nagel, a member of the Bundesbank’s executive board. “Renminbi clearing will strengthen the close economic and financial ties between Germany and the People’s Republic of China.”

China was Germany’s third-biggest foreign trade partner last year, with 140 billion euros in turnover passing between the two countries, according to the Federal Statistics Office in Wiesbaden. China ranks fifth among importers of German goods and is the second-biggest exporter to Germany.

German companies including Siemens AG, the country’s biggest engineering company, and Volkswagen AG are embracing the renminbi internally as a third currency for cross-border trade settlements.

“The potential is vast,” said Stefan Harfich, the Siemens Financial Services manager, who steered the introduction of the yuan at the Munich-based company in October. “The introduction of the renminbi as an official company currency will therefore have a big impact on Siemens’s business in the coming years.”

Daimler AG, the Mercedes manufacturer that sold 235,644 autos in China last year, issued 500 million yuan of one-year notes in Asia’s largest economy on March 14, in the first so-called panda bond by an overseas non-financial company.

With all that in mind, let’s not forget that Obama is currently in Saudi Arabia trying to restore ties with the Medieival Kingdom, i.e., he is trying to figure out a way to arm al-Qaeda in Syria without the American public finding out about it.

From the Wall Street Journal:

RIYADH—Barack Obama’s visit to Saudi Arabia on Friday marks a bid to warm relations that the Saudis hope will result in commitments by the U.S. president to boost the supply of sophisticated weapons to Syrian insurgents.

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How The Washington Post and The New Yorker Refused to Publish an Article on Obama Admin Syria Lies

Seymour Hersh is not some guy off the street with a laptop and a head full of crazy ideas. The pulitzer prize winning journalist broke the My Lai Massacre story during the Vietnam War and also led reporting on the Abu Ghraib scandal in 2004. Well his most recent investigative reporting involves covering some of the blatant lies told by the Obama Administration earlier this year in an attempt to push the nation into a war in Syria on behalf of al-Qaeda, based on some very shaky evidence that Bashar al-Assad used chemical weapons. Bizarrely enough, the publication with which Mr. Hersh is most associated, The New Yorker, refused to publish it. So did The Washington Post.

I don’t know about you, but this sure stinks of self-censopship to me. In particular, I think the Washington Post is playing defense following its reporting of the Edward Snowden leaks, and is afraid to further piss off the crony Obama Administration. It also seems likely The Post didn’t want to publish an article that would have showcased the paper’s own sloppy and irresponsible reporting on the matter. Which if true, is beyond pathetic.

From the Huffington Post:

NEW YORK — Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist Seymour Hersh accused the Obama administration Sunday of having “cherry-picked intelligence” regarding the Aug. 21 chemical attack in Syria that served as evidence for an argument in favor of striking President Bashar Assad’s government.

In his piece — titled “Whose Sarin?” — Hersh reported that al-Nusra, a jihadi group fighting in Syria’s long-running civil war, had also “mastered the mechanics of creating sarin and was capable of manufacturing it in quantity.” Therefore, he wrote, “Obama did not tell the whole story” when stating with certainty that Assad had to be responsible, crossing a so-called “red line” that would trigger U.S. retaliation.

You don’t say…

Hersh is a freelancer, but he’s best known these days for his work in The New Yorker, where he helped break the Abu Ghraib scandal in 2004. While Hersh is not a New Yorker staff writer, it was notable that his 5,500-word investigative piece landed in the London Review of Books, a London literary and intellectual magazine, rather than the publication with which he’s most closely associated.

In an email, Hersh wrote that “there was little interest” for the story at The New Yorker.

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U.S. Military Changes Drone Rules to Make Targeting of Civilians Easier

The drone issue is just another topic in which President Barrack Obama has proven himself to be a world-class liar and master of deception. Despite his claims that drone strikes do little damage to civilian populations, in July we discovered that “of the 746 people killed in drone strikes in Pakistan from 2006-2009, an incredible 20% were civilians and 94 (13% of the total) were children.”

I suppose that number just isn’t good enough, because The Pentagon has decided to change the rules of engagement when it comes to drone strikes, now making it easier to target civilians. From The Washington Times:

The Pentagon has loosened its guidelines on avoiding civilian casualties during drone strikes, modifying instructions from requiring military personnel to “ensure” civilians are not targeted to encouraging service members to “avoid targeting” civilians.

Hey cops, how about you “try to avoid” beating the shit out of people and violating their constitutional rights for no reason. Yeah, because that’ll work.

In addition, instructions now tell commanders that collateral damage “must not be excessive” in relation to mission goals, according to Public Intelligence, a nonprofit research group that analyzed the military’s directives on drone strikes.

Administration officials say the strikes are legal because the U.S. is at war with al Qaeda and its associates. They also insist there is a wide gap between the government’s civilian casualty count and those of human rights groups.

Right, we are at “war with al Qaeda,” when it is convenient to be at war with them. When it is convenient to be allies with al Qaeda, we will do that too.

Despite Mr. Obama’s pledge for more transparency on drone strikes, the administration “continues to answer legitimate questions and criticisms by saying, ‘We can’t really talk about this,’” said Naureen Shah, advocacy adviser at Amnesty International.

Can’t. Make. This. Stuff. Up.

Full article here.

In Liberty,
Mike

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How I Remember September 11, 2001

I remember 9/11 like it was yesterday. I was one year into my Wall Street career. I got up that morning just like every other morning and headed toward Union Square station to get on the subway down to 3 World Financial Center, the headquarters of Lehman Brothers. I had just purchased breakfast in the cafeteria when I saw one of the human resources folks from my floor yelling to evacuate. I was confused but I got my ass downstairs fast. When I got down there I joined the hundreds of others staring in awe skyward at the gaping hole in the North Tower of the World Trade Center. People speculated that a helicopter had hit the building, but I said no way. It looked like a bomb went off to me.

Shortly afterward, the ground started shaking and I heard an enormous explosion and saw fire and debris shooting out from behind the North Tower. The herd starting running and I was trampled on. We all retreated to safer ground, at which point I ran into some co-workers. I mentioned that I was a bit worried these things could fall, but I was ensured by a higher-up at the firm that this was impossible. It was at that point that some co-workers and I decided to take the long walk home to my apartment on east 12th street. As we walked, we saw people jumping from the buildings, and ultimately we saw the first one collapse in front of our eyes as we traversed through Soho.

In the days following the collapse, all I wanted was for the towers to be rebuilt just like before. I wanted the skyline back to what I had know since the day I came into this earth at a New York City hospital to be restored exactly as I had always known it. Career-wise, I felt I should leave Wall Street. I thought about going back to graduate school for political science, or maybe even join the newly created Department of Homeland Security (yes, the irony is not lost on me). I read a lengthy tome on Osama Bin Laden and al-Qaeda. I was an emotional and psychological mess, and it was when I was in this state of heightened distress that my own government and the military-industrial complex took advantage of me.

It wasn’t just me of course. It was an entire nation that was callously manipulated in the aftermath of that tragedy. The courage and generosity exhibited by so many New Yorkers and others throughout the country and indeed the world was rapidly transformed into terrifying fear. Fear that was intentionally injected repeatedly into our daily lives. Fear that translated into pointless wars and countless deaths. Fear that was used to justify the destruction of our precious civil rights. Fear that was used to initiate a gigantic power grab and the source of tremendous profits for the corporate-statists and crony-capitalsits. Unfortunately, that is the greatest legacy of 9/11.

While all of the above is true, I now see a very bright silver lining. Although it took me an embarrassingly long time, I did wake up from the deep haze of propaganda and am now able to see things for what they really are. Of course, I am only one of millions globally who now recognize how badly we have been duped and are working to restore all of the precious things we have lost.

So let’s take 9/11 to remember all the people that were lost on that day, as well as all of those to whom we have done injustice in the name of the Orwellian never-ending “War on Terror.” Let’s strengthen our resolve to right all of these wrongs and make us proud of these United States once again. That is how I remember September 11, 2001.

In Liberty,
Mike