Erasing Obama’s Iran Success

The nihilism of modern American politics extends globally with one side seeking to destroy any positive legacy of the other, as the Trump administration continues its drive to sabotage President Obama’s successful Iran nuclear accord, reports ex-CIA analyst Paul R. Pillar.

By Paul R. Pillar

Those wishing to kill the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA), the agreement that restricts Iran’s nuclear program, have never given up.  The agreement’s ever-lengthening successful record, now more than two years old, of keeping closed all possible pathways to an Iranian nuclear weapon ought to have discouraged would-be deal-slayers.  But the slayers got a new lease on life with the election of Donald Trump, who, as part of his program of opposing whatever Barack Obama favored and destroying whatever he accomplished, has consistently berated the JCPOA.

Secretary of State John Kerry and his team of negotiators meeting with Iran’s Foreign Minister Javad Zarif and his team in Switzerland on March 26, 2015. (State Department photo)

The themes that the agreement’s opponents push are now familiar.  One of those themes is that the Obama administration was over-eager to get the agreement and consequently gave up the store to conclude the accord.  This argument never made sense, given the terms of the JCPOA.  The asymmetries in the agreement go against the Iranians, who came under a more intrusive nuclear inspection arrangement than any other country has ever willingly accepted, and who had to fulfill almost all of their obligations to break down and set back their nuclear program before gaining an ounce of additional sanctions relief.  But the argument has had the attraction for the opponents of not being directly disprovable as far as any mindset of former officials is concerned, and of jibing with the opponents’ further theme of a mythical “better deal” that supposedly was there for the taking.

An additional theme from the opponents has been that the JCPOA fails to address other Iranian policies and actions that have ritualistically come to be labeled as nefarious, malign, destabilizing behavior (NMDB).  This argument hasn’t made sense either, given that it was clear from the outset of negotiations that no agreement restricting Iran’s nuclear program would be possible if the parties negotiating the agreement dumped onto the table their other grievances against each other.  Any such futile expansion of the negotiating agenda would have meant that the Iranian nuclear program would have advanced ever closer to the capability of making a bomb and there still would have been the NMDB.  Nonetheless, the theme has been a favorite of opponents because it distracts attention from the success of the JCPOA in preventing an Iranian nuke, because there always will be some sort of objectionable Iranian action that can be pointed out, and because the NMDB mantra has now been chanted so much that it has come to be accepted as an unquestioned given.

Josh Meyer recently offered a variant on these themes with an extended article in Politico under the tantalizing title, “The secret backstory of how Obama let Hezbollah off the hook”.  The attention-getting theme that the author pushes is that a task force of the Drug Enforcement Administration investigating drug trafficking and other criminal activity of Lebanese Hezbollah was stymied by “the White House’s desire for a nuclear deal with Iran”.  Unsurprisingly, this theme has been replayed by the usual players dedicated to bashing the JCPOA or anything Obama-related, such as the Wall Street Journal editorial writers.  Some Republicans in Congress and even Eric Trump have echoed the theme.

The 13,000-word article aims to overwhelm with detail.  Through the sheer volume of leads, tips, suspicions, and genuine facts, the reader gets the impression of a thoroughly reported piece.  And Meyer clearly put a lot of work into it.  But as Erik Wemple of the Washington Post points out in an article about the article, Meyer never produces any direct evidence that the White House intentionally impeded the task force’s work, much less that any such interference had to do with the impending nuclear agreement.  After wading through all the detail, the careful reader can see that the attention-getting thesis about the Obama administration supposedly sacrificing drug and crime enforcement on the altar of the nuclear agreement rests on suspicion and innuendo.  It rests on statements such as that some decisions about the Hezbollah case “might have been influenced” by an inter-agency group’s awareness of the nuclear negotiations—meaning that, as Wemple notes, the decisions just as easily might not have been influenced by such awareness.

There is ample evidence that the Obama administration took numerous tough sanctions and law enforcement actions against Hezbollah, both before and after conclusion of the JCPOA.  Meyer includes in his article—and give Meyer credit for this inclusion—statements by former Obama administration officials alluding to those actions.  The very separation of the nuclear file from other grievances by or against Iran—which, as noted above, was essential to concluding any nuclear agreement at all—implied that there would not be any moratorium on enforcement actions against Iran’s Lebanese ally Hezbollah.

Meyer’s piece suffers from a sourcing problem in that it relies heavily on just two sources who currently are employed by, or affiliated with, organizations in the forefront of opposing the JCPOA.  One of those sources, David Asher, is on an advisory board of the Foundation for Defense of Democracies, which has become mission control for undermining and trying to kill the nuclear agreement.

Whether or not such institutional connections affected what was told to Meyer, the account of a task force within DEA that felt frustrated that the rest of the government did not run fast and run automatically with whatever case it was building has the familiar ring of something that happens regularly, and quite properly and understandably, inside government.  Such happening need not have anything to do with White House interference or with any pending international agreement such as the JCPOA.  When a team of officials works hard on a project—as this team in DEA that was investigating some of Hezbollah’s activities undoubtedly did—its members naturally will feel frustrated by any inter-agency review that keeps the government from acting fully and immediately on whatever the team came up with (by, say, quickly filing a criminal indictment in federal court).  Such review is vital.  Typically there are not just one but several important national interests and equities that need to be considered, and that go beyond what the more narrowly focused team members would have had in mind.

In the case of Hezbollah and drug-running, those other considerations would have included such things as the possibility of violent responses, the cost of possibly losing sources of information on the group being investigated, and the legal soundness of any criminal case brought to court.  Some of these considerations get misleadingly presented in Meyer’s article as if they were part of some Obama administration effort to put brakes on legal actions against Hezbollah for the sake of preserving the nuclear agreement.  For example, former counterterrorism adviser Lisa Monaco is said to have “expressed concerns about using RICO [Racketeer Influenced and Corrupt Organizations Act] laws against top Hezbollah leaders and about the possibility of reprisals”.  As the Post’s Wemple observes, “ ‘Expressing concerns’ about certain law enforcement strategies may have been Monaco’s way of, like, using her governmental experience to sharpen U.S. policy, rather than working as the cog in an alleged plot to take it easy on Hezbollah.”

Beyond the multiple severe weaknesses in Meyer’s argument about what the Obama administration did or did not do are two important pieces of context that he never addresses.  One concerns just what difference a more aggressive campaign against Hezbollah during the period in question, even if it were possible, would have made.  Meyer makes it sound as if doing or not doing everything that this one task force in DEA wanted to do was the difference between crippling or not crippling a grave security threat.  In an interview on NPR, Meyer asserted that the Obama administration “did allow a group that was a regionally focused militia-slash-political organization with a terrorist wing to become a much more wealthy global criminal organization that has a lot of money that can now be used to bankroll terrorist and military actions around the world.”  No, it didn’t.  Even if one were to believe everything that Meyer’s piece insinuates about an alleged White House obstructionist operation motivated by nuclear negotiations, this would not have made Hezbollah “a much more wealthy” organization, much less have made it more likely to conduct terrorist and military actions “around the world”.

Hezbollah has been in existence for more than three decades.  During that time it has grown into a strong and multifaceted organization, including being recognized as a major political movement, with seats in the Lebanese parliament and portfolios in the Lebanese government.  Money-making criminal operations have long been a part of Hezbollah’s activity, and investigations and legal action—through several U.S. administrations—have long been a part of the U.S. response to that activity.  What one disgruntled team in DEA wanted to do during one administration was a minor episode in this story, not the make-or-break development that Meyer portrays it as.

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu at the United Nations in 2012, drawing his own “red line” on how far he will let Iran go in refining nuclear fuel.

Another piece of context applies to the whole theme, of which Meyer’s article is one manifestation, about the Obama administration supposedly drooling over a prospective nuclear agreement with Iran and giving it priority over everything else.  It wasn’t Obama who gave the specter of an Iranian nuclear weapon overriding priority.  It was other people who did that, and especially people who today lead the charge for aggressive confrontation with Iran and for killing the JCPOA.  Well before the negotiations that would lead to the JCPOA ever began, the rallying cry of these forces was that an Iranian nuclear weapon would be one of the gravest dangers the United States ever faced.  During the 2012 presidential campaign, Republican candidate Mitt Romney identified this possibility as the single most serious security threat against the United States.  Most prominent among the alarmists was Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, who made sure the whole world would understand his dumbed-down message by displaying a cartoon bomb before the United Nations General Assembly.  It was only after the JCPOA closed all possible avenues to an Iranian nuclear weapon—and drained Netanyahu’s Looney Tunes bomb in the process—that we started hearing from the same forces more about how the JCPOA supposedly is bad because it doesn’t address other nefarious Iran-related activity.  Activity such as drug-running by Hezbollah.

Imagine that everything Meyer’s piece says or implies were true.  Imagine that the Obama administration really did see a choice between getting the JCPOA and cracking down on Hezbollah’s criminal activity. And imagine that the Obama administration said “yes” to everything that gung-ho team in DEA may have wanted to do.  Then presumably the administration also would have to say, “Well, yes, we did have a chance to negotiate an agreement that would prevent an Iranian nuclear weapon, but we thought a drug bust was more important.”  How would the alarmists, who had been ringing the alarm bell so long and hard about an Iranian nuclear weapon, react to that?  We can be confident the reaction would not be to express compliments to Mr. Obama.

The gross inconsistency of those opposing the JCPOA reflects how their real objectives have little to do with the terms of the agreement or how it was negotiated.  Their objectives have more to do with not wanting anyone to have any agreement with Iran on anything (Netanyahu’s objective, while he portrays Iran as the sole source of everything bad in the Middle East), or about staying in step with American supporters of Netanyahu’s government, or about not wanting any of Barack Obama’s accomplishments to survive.

Paul R. Pillar, in his 28 years at the Central Intelligence Agency, rose to be one of the agency’s top analysts. He is author most recently of Why America Misunderstands the World. (This article first appeared as a blog post at The National Interest’s Web site. Reprinted with author’s permission.)

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96 comments for “Erasing Obama’s Iran Success

  1. Tim Chambers
    January 9, 2018 at 1:49 am

    It reminds one of the Nihilism decried in Dostoyevsky’s writings one generation prior to the 1917 revolution and the moral decay of the Weimar Republic as Hitler was rising to power. If there is one thing that surely leads to tyranny it is the the belief that all that came before must be destroyed.

  2. Abe
    January 7, 2018 at 11:54 pm

    Israel is heavily involved in drug trafficking and money laundering operations. The drug trade in Israel is controlled by the Israeli government and police, in cooperation with the Israeli mafia, consisting largely of Russian Jewish Israelis.

    Israel is a major trafficking hub for heroin, cocaine, marijuana, hashish, and methamphetamine, largely brought in by sea and air from Europe, and across Israel’s borders with Lebanon, Egypt and Jordan.

    Israel has been the global trafficking hub for the drug Ecstasy. Israeli drug-trafficking organizations served as the main source of distribution of the Ecstasy to groups in the United States.

    Israeli crime organizations such as the Abergil crime family and Zeev Rosenstein were heavily involved in ecstasy trafficking in the United States.[20] In a statement before Congress in 2000, officials with the U.S. Customs Service noted that “Israeli organized-crime elements appear to be in control” of the multibillion-dollar U.S. ecstasy trade, “from production through the international smuggling phase”.[21] The main drug supplier of former Gambino crime family underboss Sammy Gravano in his Arizona drug ring allegedly was New York based Israeli mobster Ilan Zarger,[22] who allegedly distributed more than one million ecstasy pills from May 1999 to May 2000 with a wholesale value of $7 million.[23][24] He pleaded guilty to charges of running a drug gang that flooded Arizona and New York with almost four million ecstasy pills over three years.[25] Another Israeli, Oded Tuito, said to head one of the largest ecstasy-smuggling organization, which imported millions of ecstasy pills from Paris, Brussels and Frankfurt into New York, Miami and Los Angeles, was arrested in May 2001.[26]

    In 2006 Zeev Rosenstein was extradited to the U.S., after being arrested in Israel. He pleaded guilty before a federal court in Florida to charges that he distributed ecstasy pills and was sentenced to 12 years in prison which he serves in Israel. In January 2011, Itzik Abergil and Meir Abergil and three other suspects were extradited to the U.S.

    They faced 77-page, 32-count federal indictment that alleges murder, massive embezzlement, money laundering, racketeering and running a large Los Angeles-based ecstasy ring.

    Israeli professor Israel Shahak discussed Israeli role the drug trade in Open Secrets: Israeli Foreign and Nuclear Policies:

    “Israeli involvement in the drug trade warrants even more important conclusions in regard to the nature of political realities in the Middle East. In the first place, we should bear in mind the date when the two Israeli Police ‘models’ were approved. The conclusion is inescapable that Israeli involvement in drug trafficking in Lebanon was initiated by the ‘national unity government’ formed after the 1984 elections, that is, by the twin architects of ‘the peace process’, Shimon Peres who then became Prime Minister and his Defence Minister, Yitzhak Rabin.

    “Second, there are grounds to suspect that Israeli encouragement of the drug trade and consequently also of drug consumption, cannot be entirely explained by the categories of acquiring intelligence, extending influence and reaping profits. Part of the motivation must have been to weaken the disaffection of Middle Eastern masses with policies of their governments (Israeli and Arab alike) by encouraging drug addiction and thereby political apathy. The suspicion can be buttressed if we consider the effects of Israeli succour for Lebanese drug traffickers upon the Lebanese population […], and the well-known facts about the encouragement of Palestinian drug dealers by Israeli occupation authorities. The coddling of Palestinian drug dealers was one of the reasons of the outbreak for the [First] Intifada, but it was resumed in 1991.

    “Lastly, massive involvement of Israeli Intelligence in drug trafficking must be well known to (and is probably approved by) its American opposite numbers. Ample precedents for that exist. During the Vietnam War the CIA was engaged in encouraging its allies in drug trafficking. Moreover, US indirect support for the Israeli drug trade is much safer than direct involvement in this business.
    If Israeli involvement in the drug trade were exposed in the US, some powerful organizations such as the American Israeli Political Action Committee (AIPAC) and organized American Jewry in general would scream bloody murder. A lot of American liberals, usually happy to denounce American Intelligence for encouraging drug traffickers, would protest if Israeli Intelligence were denounced for anything. The combined influence of organized American Jews and such pseudo-liberals upon the US media is immeasurable. The invasion of Panama was said to be launched for the sake of suppressing the drug trade: yet well-documented Israeli connections with Noriega passed almost unnoticed in the US. It can therefore be tentatively presumed that in its encouragement of drug traffic and traffickers, as in much else, Israel acts as a proxy executor of the American will. This would at least partly explain why this policy works.” [Open Secrets, pages 120-121]

    The Russian Jewish mafia saw Israel as an ideal place to launder money, as Israel’s banking system was designed to encourage aliyah, the immigration of Jews, and the accompanying capital. Following the trend of global financial deregulation, Israel had also implemented legislation aimed at easing the movement of capital. Combined with the lack of anti-money laundering legislation, Russian Jewish organised crime found it an easy place to transfer money.

    Russian and Ukrainian Jewish criminals have also been able to set up networks in the United States, following the large migration of Russian Jews to New York City and Miami, but also in European cities such as Berlin and Antwerp. Many of these Russian gangsters have Israeli passports as well. Jewish criminal groups in the United States are involved in racketeering, prostitution, drug trafficking, extortion, and fraud as well as murder.

    Family-based organized crime groups were formed among Georgian Jewish immigrants to Israel as well. Georgian-Jewish crime families have been able to expand their operations to Western European cities such as Antwerp. They are involved in counterfeiting, fraud, money laundering, drug trafficking, weapon trafficking, prostitution and armed robbery.

    • Abe
      January 8, 2018 at 5:03 pm

      When investigating drug trafficking and other criminal activity, Israeli “interests and equities” are always considered, so that US actions do not “go beyond what the more narrowly focused” pro-Israel Lobby “would have had in mind”.

  3. Virginia
    January 5, 2018 at 2:01 pm

    Thank you, Mr. Pillar. This article complements your sequel, which I inadvertently read first. The two together well portray what is going on in Iran and what lies behind it.

  4. backwardsevolution
    January 4, 2018 at 10:08 pm

    From July, 2015:

    “President Barack Obama said Russia was a “help” in securing the deal to limit Iran’s nuclear program.

    In addition to that praise, printed in the New York Times, Obama talked with Russian President Vladimir Putin by telephone Wednesday, thanking Putin for Russia’s role in the negotiations.

    Simon Saradzhyan, a researcher at Harvard University’s Belfer Center, said Obama was underestimating the role Russia played in securing the agreement.

    For starters, Saradzhyan said, Moscow refrained from vetoing the U.N. sanctions that ultimately forced Iran to “negotiate in earnest.”

    “This deal would not have happened if Russia had not supported it,” Saradzhyan said.

    Russia’s motivations

    He also said that while Moscow’s relations with the West have deteriorated over Ukraine, Russia sees preventing the emergence of another nuclear armed power near its borders as a vital national interest.

    “Especially if that neighbor has had a long history of competing with Russia for control of territories and influence in such strategically important areas as the South Caucasus,” Saradzhyan said.

    Steven Pifer, senior fellow at the Brookings Institution and former U.S. Ambassador to Ukraine, said, “At the end of the day, Russia does not want to see Iran with nuclear weapons.”

    “So they basically share with the other P5 nations and Germany the interest in trying to freeze Iran’s nuclear program,” Pifer said.

    Saradzhyan said Russia also feared the U.S. and some of its allies might take military action against Iran if the nuclear talks failed, which would have “a strong destabilizing impact on regional security.”

    Moscow, he added, also worried about the possibility of “regime change” in Iran, which would create “another pressure point on Russia in what its leadership sees as a wide-ranging competition with the West for influence over Russia’s neighbors.”

    https://www.voanews.com/a/russias-stake-in-iran-nuclear-deal/2867710.html

    Moscow was smart to think about “regime change” in Iran. They must have had a crystal ball or something.

    • Abe
      January 6, 2018 at 12:47 pm

      Steven Pifer is a Senior Fellow at the Brookings Institution, a top think tank of the pro-Israel Lobby that is populated by war hawks urging “regime change” war with Iran.

      Pifer is a co-author of “The Opportunity: Next Steps in Reducing Nuclear Arms” with Michael E. O’Hanlon, a signatory of the neocon Project for the New American Century (PNAC).

      O’Hanlon was a member of the team of pro-Israel war hawks headed by Martin Indyk, a former staffer at the American Israel Public Affairs Committee, that authored the 2009 Brookings document on Iran:

      Which Path to Persia?: Options for a New American Strategy toward Iran
      https://www.brookings.edu/wp-content/uploads/2016/06/06_iran_strategy.pdf

      Pifer is a 1976 graduate of Stanford University with a bachelor’s in economics. He was a foreign service officer with the US State Department (1978 to 2004) focusing on US relations with the former Soviet Union and Europe, as well as arms control and security issues.

      From 1996 to 1997, Pifer served Special Assistant to the President and Senior Director for Russia, Ukraine and Eurasia on the National Security Council.

      He served as deputy assistant secretary of state in the Bureau of European and Eurasian Affairs with responsibilities for Russia and Ukraine (2001-2004), ambassador to Ukraine (1998-2000), and special assistant to the president and senior director for Russia, Ukraine and Eurasia on the National Security Council (1996-1997). In addition to Ukraine, Pifer served at the U.S. embassies in Warsaw, Moscow, and London as well as with the U.S. delegation to the negotiation on intermediate-range nuclear forces in Geneva. From 2000 to 2001, he was a visiting scholar at Stanford’s Institute for International Studies.

      From 2006 to 2009, Pifer was a Senior Adviser at the Center for Strategic & International Studies (CSIS), a right-wing, neoconservative think tank. He also joined the Brookings Institution in 2008.

  5. Realist
    January 4, 2018 at 8:42 pm

    In a universe of strict causality, how ironic should the world come to an end because habitual trash-talking Barrack Obama just couldn’t resist making Donald Trump look like an embarrassed imbecile with a few stinging wise cracks at that White House Correspondents’ Dinner. Without that incentive for Trump to run for the presidency, the Iranian nuclear treaty probably remains rock solid with security achieved and money being made by many diverse trading partners.

    • Joe Tedesky
      January 4, 2018 at 11:20 pm

      I’ll have to show your comment to my wife, because she always refers to that 2011 White Correspondent Dinner as the springboard for Trump’s 2016 presidential bid. Damn Obama. Joe

    • Zachary Smith
      January 5, 2018 at 12:11 pm

      Personally, I rate the Obama-insulting-Trump affair as a part of the TRUE conspiracy to first recruit, then “elevate” Trump to the status of GOP candidate. I expect there were a lot of other things going on to lure/push Trump into joining the race. One wonders if the hundreds of millions of free Corporate Media coverage for Trump during the Primary campaign wasn’t part of it as well.

      • Realist
        January 5, 2018 at 4:30 pm

        Connecting the dots, eh? Most of us also noticed what you say about the massive free coverage of Trump’s campaign by the media. They thought they were setting up a patsy for Hillary to easily take down. Back then, Rachel Maddow provided more cost-free media exposure to Trump than Sheldon Adelson subsidized with campaign donations. Someday all the details of this massive conspiracy to manipulate the election will be made known, and Russia will not even be a footnote.

        • Joe Tedesky
          January 5, 2018 at 4:50 pm

          Realist I’m glad you brought this up, if you remember a while back JP Sottile reported how Trump received 4.9 billion dollars worth of commercial free advertisement, from a media who thought that they were merely making fun of the bombastic buffoon who wants to make America great again. Little did these media numbskulls give any notice to how this constant Trump stump speech reality show the media was producing for Trump, was playing in fly over country. Hillary was faced to spend more as a result of this media bonanza bestowed upon Trump, and the rest is well known current history. Just thought I would add to your comment. Joe

        • Zachary Smith
          January 6, 2018 at 10:01 pm

          Another “dot” or two now.

          Just before Donald Trump announced his candidacy for President of the United States, he had a conversation with Bill Clinton.

          According to five different aids (sic) present for the conversation “Clinton encouraged Trump’s efforts to play a larger role in the Republican Party”.

          While I am one to usually dismiss conspiracy theories out of hand, I recalled at the time wondering why Bill Clinton would be advising his friend Donald Trump to run for president as a Republican.

          The obvious part is that Bill Clinton did some encouraging. The article goes on to say that Trump had been a life-long Democrat. I’ve no idea if that’s true or not, but if it was, somebody gave him some useful advice on shedding his previous support of women’s right to not be forced to continue an unwanted pregnancy. Somebody had to give Trump some suggestions for coming across as a racist, something he hadn’t done much of in the past. Trump also had to shed his previous support of Universal Health Care.

          In other words, Trump was getting a lot of help from “somebody” on how to act like a typical Right-Wing-Nut Republican.

  6. January 4, 2018 at 10:49 am

    As near as I can tell the Iranian gov has just earned two more units of coordinated gold star leadership by responding to the TNT mouth TRUMPs promise to support invasive violent overthrow of nations foreign to
    America at the expense of course of the parts of the underlying populations that don’t care or who support the existing but Trump targeted government. Have a look at this and carefully read the words.. http://www.presstv.com/Detail/2018/01/04/547789/Iran-Rallies-Violence
    The job of every human around the globe is find out who is telling the truth? Where can reliable news be obtained?
    Where can the real underlying intentions of the governments be discovered. Which governmentsrespond to those they govern, and which governments force those they govern to respond to the government.
    Which governments use propaganda and mind control devices to trick, cajole, force, those they govern to do things against their will or without their knowledge, and which governments compete with those they govern to find and establish among the governed, a just place for government to help their societies find ways to flourish.

    Every single thing (rights;privileges;so called first amendment rights) that protects Americans from the powerful people and corporations that have the power to use Government to support their Tyranny came from organized populous Dissent.
    Explain the how merely associating with someone who riots gets you 50 years in America, see following.
    D. C. Riot Statute: he who “willfully associates” with some other person [“assemblage”] that ends up threatening to cause tumult or some how gets involved in violence, is a rioter , and can therefore be criminally prosecuted (see US v. Mathews). Guilty if you “merely agree” ?that’s all it takes–> to be incarcerated for 50 years. USSC ruling, I reported elsewhere, the supreme court sought to distinguish riot from legitimate protest. https://theintercept.com/2017/12/17/j20-inauguration-protest-trump-riot-first-amendment/ but its finding seems to criminalize “association”. If defendant can be identified to a group or person that engages or merely threatens tumult or violence the statute seems to apply. Judge not interested to hear 1st amendment pleas, seeks only facts that associate? Raises the question is visiting a website sufficient association if one of the supporters of the website engages in a riot?
    We Americans must remember the people that the designed the US constitution(were not the leadership that defeated the British, GW was hired to be the general of the Army at Valley Forge, because he was among the richest and had sufficient contacts to help pay the bills) did not include the bill of rights in their constitution.. it to rebellious, riotous refusal on the parts of the member states and the populations in those member 13 states that made up the then sitting government (the Articles of Confederation: the American government that defeated Great Britain and served Americans from 1776 to 1789). Not once in 250 have the people with the power to install, amend or enforce the USA Constitution done anything to yield power back to the people in America anything the people did not force on them by rioting and other means.
    Every single thing (rights;privileges;so called first amendment rights) that protects Americans from the powerful people and corporations that have the power to use Government to support their Tyranny came from organized populous Dissent

    • mike k
      January 4, 2018 at 12:52 pm

      The ability of “the people” to mount an organized dissent is seriously in question in the USA today. If we are waiting for this action by the public to deliver us from the escalating evil of this Empire, we may all be dead long before the cavalry arrives. Sadly, the “public” is what brought us Trump.

      … And what rough beast, its hour come round at last,
          Slouches towards Bethlehem to be born? (Yeats)

  7. January 4, 2018 at 8:53 am

    ” Money-making criminal operations have long been a part of Hezbollah’s activity, and investigations and legal action—through several U.S. administrations—have long been a part of the U.S. response to that activity. What one disgruntled team in DEA wanted to do during one administration was a minor episode in this story, not the make-or-break development that Meyer portrays it as.”

    I have to admit ignorance on Pillar’s point. My uneducated hunch is that these investigations of Hezbollah’s criminal activities arises from its opposition to Israel’s occupation of southern Lebanon and the reasons for its withdrawal but am open to be enlightened.

    Pillar’s cites no disclaimers regarding Hezbollah’s “criminal” activities but only that Obama did not use it as reason for not reaching agreement with Iran on nuclear weapons.

    • Skip Scott
      January 4, 2018 at 11:48 am

      Herman-

      I too wonder at the veracity of the claims of Hezbollah’s drug running. I would like to see them supported. I am also curious as to how all this heroin gets to the USA all the way from Afghanistan. Maybe the CIA is worried about competition!

      • Joe Tedesky
        January 4, 2018 at 3:17 pm

        Hey Skip, over the holidays a friend of mine who is retired from a State Police job working aside Homeland Security, at least by his experience told me that ‘yes’ Hezbollah does sell drugs into the U.S.. After having heard that, I then thought of the huge worldwide drug market, and gave thought to how maybe Hezbollah feels compelled to steal some of that huge drug market away from it’s geopolitical rivals. In any case we are living in the age of the lessor of the two evils Skip, and with that it is always hard to pin a badge on the good guys.

        Possibly we Americans should worry about cleaning out our own house, before we go off chasing waterfalls in other countries. What’s good for the goose is good for the gander, just may apply here. Joe

        • PB
          January 4, 2018 at 9:52 pm

          I thought everybody, State actors and sub-State actors alike all sold drugs into the US for handy off-the-books spending money.

          • Joe Tedesky
            January 4, 2018 at 11:17 pm

            Good question to ask the Clinton’s and the Bush’s.

        • Skip Scott
          January 6, 2018 at 9:04 am

          This is the first I’ve heard of Hezbollah being in the drug trade, but I guess it does make some sense. I’ve also heard that the Taliban is in the drug trade, which I find surprising. I had heard that they destroyed the opium crop to a large extent while they were in charge. I guess the need for cash for their cause is the over-riding factor in both cases.

          • Joe Tedesky
            January 7, 2018 at 2:10 pm

            Skip on the other hand buying into the Hezbollah drug story, is once again accepting that the same people who told us about WMD in Iraq, and that Gaddafi was handing out Viagra for his troops to rape innocent women, is the truth. I’m not that convinced, no matter what my retired state cop friend had to say (he’s been wrong before), and that we are being fed another pack of lies by the world hegemony crowd. I mean where’s the credibility? Joe

  8. backwardsevolution
    January 4, 2018 at 5:27 am

    From Moon of Alabama:

    “If this [is] the “regime change” operation I presume, the protests will soon get bigger. When the people need money a few thousand dollars are enough to create a large crowd. Small groups will riot while hiding within the larger protests of maybe genuinely concerned people. The “western” media will engage with their usual pseudo liberal humanism and concern trolling. When the police in Iran tries to arrest those rioters who are raising havoc the media will scream “brutality”. Some “martyr” will be created and iconified. Rumors of censorship and suppression will be raised (see Carl Bildt above), fake news will come from everywhere and hundreds of sock puppet Twitter and Facebook accounts will suddenly be “Iranian” and breathlessly report “from the scene” of their Langley offices.

    For the Iranian politicians and police the issue is tricky. Economic protests are clearly justified with even Khameni voicing support for the issue. But rioting in the streets must be suppressed before it further escalates and becomes uncontrollable. Weapons on the protesters site firing in all directions may soon become a problem. The Mossad and the MEK are not shy of killing random people.

    But the Islamic Republic in Iran has genuine support in large parts of the society. There are big civil organizations that support the government – not on every issue but in its general framework. Most Iranian’s are proud nationalists and will be difficult to divide. If this is indeed the “regime change” attempt I suspect, I predict that it will fail.”

    http://www.informationclearinghouse.info/48512.htm

    Let’s hope it fails. Syria, Ukraine, Libya – and now Iran. Same play book. Iran must stop this quickly.

    • mike k
      January 4, 2018 at 8:28 am

      Dealing with the Empire’s dirty regime change games is a tricky business, as they intend it to be. All kinds of lies, propaganda, bribes, false flag killings, paid agitators, etc. are in play. If the Iranians keep a cool head in all of this they will weather the storm. Nothing short of armed intervention will overthrow their hard won republic.

      • mike k
        January 4, 2018 at 8:36 am

        The Deep State American Empire operates as evil incarnate. Any vicious, lying, violent means will be relentlessly applied to achieve their goal of total world domination. Do not expect that they will relent in their madness until they are decisively crushed. Will that come to pass? Nobody knows – stay tuned, and keep working to overthrow these determined fanatics. The Empire will not be stopped without those who oppose it matching it’s tenacity and intensity of purpose.

    • Drogon
      January 4, 2018 at 3:34 pm

      “When the police in Iran tries to arrest those rioters who are raising havoc the media will scream “brutality”. Some “martyr” will be created and iconified. Rumors of censorship and suppression will be raised (see Carl Bildt above), fake news will come from everywhere and hundreds of sock puppet Twitter and Facebook accounts will suddenly be “Iranian” and breathlessly report “from the scene” of their Langley offices.”

      Let’s not go overboard here. I’ll agree without qualification that Israeli hardliners and U.S. neocons will exploit this situation to further their interventionist agenda. And I have no doubt that American intelligence agencies are currently engaging in “meddling” on a level that would make Russia green with envy. But just because the world would be FAR better off with a stable, effective Iranian government doesn’t mean that Iranian leaders are in any way innocent or benevolent. Like virtually every government on earth, they care about preserving their own power and moral values first, and about promoting liberty and justice second (or not at all). This will undoubtedly end with brutality, censorship, and political suppression. Sadly, that’s not “fake news.” That’s merely the human condition.

      • backwardsevolution
        January 4, 2018 at 5:56 pm

        Drogon – and the sanctions don’t help either. The people have really suffered under years of sanctions.

        • Drogon
          January 4, 2018 at 6:26 pm

          backwardsevolution: although you and I have disagreed with each other in the past, I couldn’t agree more with your sentiment. The US shoots itself in the foot every time it sanctions Iran.

      • Abe
        January 4, 2018 at 6:08 pm

        Comrade “Drogon” trolls in with the Hasbara “But…”

        What is clear is not that “qualification that Israeli hardliners and U.S. neocons will exploit this situation” at some point, but that the Israeli-Saudi-US Axis directly instigates conflict in nations targeted by their interventionist “regime change” agenda.

        Given the examples of “regime change” nightmares from Iraq to Libya to Syria, to run in with “Let’s go overboard here” is sheer Hasbara hilarity.

        Hasbara propaganda is an ongoing effort to dilute, disrupt, distort and diffuse discussions of Israeli-Saudi-US Axis “regime change” operations.

        Comrade “Drogon” here insists that surge of unrest in Iran “merely” manifests “the human condition”… or something.

        Comrade “David Smith” above wants everyone to “ignore” the “lashing out” of those “losers” in Tel Aviv, Riyadh and Washington, who are undisputed experts in brutality, censorship, and political suppression.

        Iran’s people and government will continue to take necessary actions in the face of the Israeli-Saudi-US Axis threat to their sovereignty.

        And the Hasbara trolls will continue outgassing and trolling their “But”s off in the face of the facts.

        • Drogon
          January 4, 2018 at 6:21 pm

          Dude. Nobody even knows what “Hasbara trolls” are, but I guarantee you I’m not one. Mainly because I’ve never even heard the term aside from your posts. Knock of the ad hominem attacks, “Comrade Abe” and just address the content of the comments. If you’re actually able to, that is.

          • Skip Scott
            January 5, 2018 at 9:12 am

            Drogon-

            Welcome to the club. Substitute “witch” with “Hasbara Troll”, and here’s Abe’s whole schtick.

            https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=yp_l5ntikaU

            Hilarity ensues.

          • Abe
            January 5, 2018 at 8:24 pm

            Dude. Two weeks ago, “Skip” was like totally a huge fan of “evidence based arguments” and “continuing education”.

            See the following comments by “Skip” for “The Strangelovian Russia-gate Myth” (December 22, 2017) at CN:

            Skip Scott (December 23, 2017 at 2:13 pm)
            “Thanks a bunch Abe. I am truly enjoying the continuing education you provide for us here at CN.”

            Skip Scott (December 23, 2017 at 8:02 am)
            “Thanks Abe for your continuing education […] I would really appreciate any useful links you could provide to further my education […] So far I’ve only gotten bits and pieces, mostly from you and […]”

            Skip Scott (December 29, 2017 at 9:57 am)
            “Thanks Abe. Ever notice how Mr. Cash never responds to a rebuttal, and slanders commenters here without presenting any evidence based arguments? Kind of reminds me of our old troll Michael Kenny. Guess he finally got 86’ed.”

            Apparently “Skip” didn’t have a problem with the “trolls” thing way back then.

            Then “Skip” became curiously “dismayed” when I mentioned several inconvenient facts during my tête-à-têtes with a couple of his “alliances” besties.

            – See comments for “The Still-Missing Evidence of Russia-gate” (January 1, 2018) at CN:

            “Skip” suddenly insisted that “the whole ‘Hasbara trolls’ thing” is “bordering on McCarthyism” (January 3, 2018 at 10:23 am)

            I replied that there’s “no Hasbara ‘witch hunt'” happening here (January 3, 2018 at 3:09 pm)

            Suddenly, “Skip’s” timeline-and-fact-challenged comrade “backwardsevolution” professed to “know what a ‘witch hunt’ feels like” (January 4, 2018 at 5:11 am)

            You see, “Skip” and his Hasbara comrades do not like it one bit when the actual “content of their comments” is addressed with reference to specifics and regard for those annoying things called facts.

            Of course, comrade “mike k” is still foaming about “evil”, and “backwardsevolution” understands that it’s “easy to sell people things”.

            And “Skip” is busy with his “alliances” schtick, running interference for his BFF “Drogon” on behalf of the “club”.

            Of course, that Monty Python “witch” video is every bit as hilarious as it was when I posted it six months ago:

            Abe (June 17, 2017 at 1:34 pm}
            “They’ll need plenty of ducks”
            https://consortiumnews.com/2017/06/16/the-fallacies-of-the-russia-truthers/
            [See comment with YouTube link to Monty Python “witch” video]

            Skip Scott (June 17, 2017 at 7:43 am)
            “Thanks Abe. I have to say that your posts are as interesting as the articles here on CN.”

            Well, thanks back at ya, “Skip”. Glad you find the attention to the Hasbara “club” so “interesting”.

            Of course, we all understand that the “club” desperately wants to convince us that there’s no such thing as Hasbara trolls, and that it’s all merely “personal attacks and bickering”.

            Keep up the hilarity, comrades. We’re enjoying the continuing education in Hasbara propaganda you provide for us here at CN.

          • Abe
            January 6, 2018 at 1:43 pm

            Dude. Two weeks ago, “Skip” was like totally a huge fan of “evidence based arguments” and “continuing education”, and definitely not a “troll” lover.

            See the following comments by “Skip” for “The Strangelovian Russia-gate Myth” (December 22, 2017) at CN:

            Skip Scott (December 23, 2017 at 2:13 pm)
            “Thanks a bunch Abe. I am truly enjoying the continuing education you provide for us here at CN.”

            Skip Scott (December 23, 2017 at 8:02 am)
            “Thanks Abe for your continuing education […] I would really appreciate any useful links you could provide to further my education […] So far I’ve only gotten bits and pieces, mostly from you and […]”

            Skip Scott (December 29, 2017 at 9:57 am)
            “Thanks Abe. Ever notice how Mr. Cash never responds to a rebuttal, and slanders commenters here without presenting any evidence based arguments? Kind of reminds me of our old troll Michael Kenny. Guess he finally got 86’ed.”

            Obviously “Skip” didn’t have a problem with the “trolls” thing way back then.

            Then “Skip” became curiously “dismayed” when I mentioned several inconvenient facts during my tête-à-têtes with a couple of his “alliances” besties.

            – See comments for “The Still-Missing Evidence of Russia-gate” (January 1, 2018) at CN:

            “Skip” suddenly insisted that “the whole ‘Hasbara trolls’ thing” is “bordering on McCarthyism” (January 3, 2018 at 10:23 am)

            I replied that there’s “no Hasbara ‘witch hunt’” happening here (January 3, 2018 at 3:09 pm)

            Suddenly, “Skip’s” timeline-and-fact-challenged comrade “backwardsevolution” professed to “know what a ‘witch hunt’ feels like” (January 4, 2018 at 5:11 am)

            You see, “Skip” and his comrades do not like it one bit when the actual “content of their comments” is addressed with reference to specifics and regard for those annoying things called facts.

            Now “Skip” is busy with the hilarious new schtick of running interference, here for his comrade “Drogon”

          • Abe
            January 6, 2018 at 1:46 pm

            Thanks, “”Skip”. That Monty Python “witch” video is every bit as hilarious as it was when I posted it six months ago:

            Abe (June 17, 2017 at 1:34 pm}
            “They’ll need plenty of ducks”
            https://consortiumnews.com/2017/06/16/the-fallacies-of-the-russia-truthers/
            [See comment with YouTube link to Monty Python “witch” video]

            Skip Scott (June 17, 2017 at 7:43 am)
            “Thanks Abe. I have to say that your posts are as interesting as the articles here on CN.”

            So thanks back at ya, “Skip”. Glad you find the attention to the Hasbara “club” so “interesting”.

            Of course, we all understand that the “club” desperately wants to convince us that there’s no such thing as Hasbara trolls, and that it’s all merely “personal attacks and bickering”.

            Keep up the hilarity, comrades. We’re enjoying the continuing education in Hasbara propaganda you kids provide for us here at CN.

          • Skip Scott
            January 7, 2018 at 8:45 am

            Abe-

            I stand by my comment that you have “gone around the bend”. I realize that there are Hasbara trolls, and that some are on this site from time to time. I don’t however think that backwardsevolution or mike k are hasbara trolls. Nor am I.
            Now it seems that you see one behind every bush. A comment section is for comments, which I take to be opinions based on facts, and a rational, and hopefully civil discussion of those opinions. You have taken it upon yourself to be some “knight in shining armor” policing this comment board. I will leave it to the other commenters to be the judge of your and my recent behavior.

            I have very much enjoyed your presentation of the connection between RussiaGate and IsraelGate. And I have agreed with you many times when I felt as you did that certain commenters were trolling this site. Now I think your criteria has broadened to include commenters that I have enjoyed hearing from for months. Maybe it is a character flaw of mine that I choose to defend my friends when I think they have been unjustly attacked. I don’t intend to change my ways.

          • Abe
            January 7, 2018 at 5:39 pm

            Apparently “Skip” does not “think” he and any of his so-called “friends” are Hasbara trolls
            https://consortiumnews.com/2018/01/01/the-still-missing-evidence-of-russia-gate/

            Our shining knight “Skip” has heroically declared that he will “choose to defend my friends when I think they have been unjustly attacked”.

            But comrade “Skip” obviously didn’t “choose” to “stand up” and “defend” his “friend” comrade “mike k” when he was “unjustly” subjected to “ad hominem attacks” by his other “friend”, comrade “backwardsevolution”.

            Comrade “backwardsevolution” called “mike k” an “Israeli troll”, and was none too happy with “Skip”.

            It seems that “bickering” and “personal attacks” are perfectly OK when it’s all among “friends”.

            Now “Skip” offers an emotional appeal based on what he “thinks” about these “friends” he “enjoyed hearing from”.

            But when specific concerns are raised about the behavior of these “friends” of his, suddenly “Skip” insists that the facts are “around the bend” somehow.

            Inverted Hasbara (false flag “anti-Israel” / “anti-Zionist”) propaganda trolls typically post “anti-Israel” comments and links that contain factual inaccuracies and spin that distorts, dilutes, and diverts attention from actual Israeli government or pro-Israel Lobby activities.

            Fortunately, we don’t have to “leave it to the other commenters to be the judge”. We have the facts.

            At this critical time, when a catastrophic new war Middle East war appears imminent, it is vitally necessary to be watchful for Hasbara troll disinformation and distortion in our comments section.

            No challenges are raised when “Skip” and “friends” post comments minus the Hasbara propaganda spin. The challenges arise when they turn to those hilarious “ways” of theirs.

          • Abe
            January 7, 2018 at 5:44 pm

            Facts have nothing to with whether someone “very much enjoyed your presentation”, “agreed with you many times”, or is your “friend” or not.

            Consortium News is a highly respected independent investigative journalism source.

            CN isn’t “pro-Israel” or “anti-Israel’.

            But CN does dare to present fact-based investigation and analysis of Israeli government behavior, and pro-Israel Lobby interference in American elections and foreign policy.

            And that makes it a target of online Hasbara propaganda trolls.

            I am a Jewish citizen of the United States with a great many Jewish Israeli friends, and countless friends of all faiths and beliefs in America and abroad who are pro-peace, pro-social justice, and pro-democracy.

            I am not “pro-Israel” or “anti-Israel”.

            I stand up to challenge Hasbara propaganda that distorts, distracts, diverts, dilutes or denies the facts.

            I stand up to challenge Hasbara propaganda that conceals or minimizes the facts of Israeli government Apartheid, discrimination against non-Jewish Israeli citizens, oppression of residents of the illegally occupied Palestinian territory, Israeli militarism, and Israel’s destabilizing arsenal of nuclear, chemical and biological weapons.

            As an American citizen, I stand up against Israeli government meddling in American politics, and pro-Israel Lobby interference in US elections, and pro-Israel warhawk think tank (Brookings Institution, Atlantic Council, et cetera) influence on American foreign policy.

            And I stand up to support investigative journalism sites like Consortium News that report the facts about Israeli-Saudi-GCC-US war efforts and propaganda.

            The number of Hasbara trolls online in general, and on Consortium News in particular, has surged with recent Israeli-Saudi-US war moves against Iraq, Libya, Syria, Lebanon and Iran.

            To describe Hasbara troll activity at CN as “some are on this site from time to time” is a hilarious understatement of the facts.

            The Israeli government and pro-Israel Lobby has accelerated recruitment and escalated Hasbara troll “club” activity online, in website comment boards and on social media.

        • Abe
          January 4, 2018 at 6:22 pm

          Correction: Comrade “Drogon” ran in with “Let’s not go overboard here.”

          Hilarity ensues.

          • Drogon
            January 4, 2018 at 6:28 pm

            Alright, I’m officially declaring Comrade Abe a troll and disengaging with him/her/it in the future. Thankfully it’s not at all representative of the quality of comments on this site.

          • Drogon
            January 4, 2018 at 6:43 pm

            Alright, against my better judgement, I’m actually going to engage with Comrade Abe. Because regardless of what he claims, I’m not a troll. I’m a real person who legitimately believes in the comments he posts to this site. Specifically, here are a few of the things I believe:

            1) Among all the Muslim majority nations, Iran is probably the most natural ally to the USA. In spite of the theocratic leanings of their government, they have a robust democracy and highly educated citizens.

            2) Israel either needs to come up with a just settlement with the Palestinians or be relegated to the status of international pariah, similar to South Africa in the 80s.

            3) In spite of points #1 and #2 above, I stand by my original comment that the government of Iran (like ALL governments) could do better.

            With that in mind Comrade Abe, do you disagree with ANY of these points? If so, please tell my why with specific examples instead of calling me a “Hasbara troll.”

        • Abe
          January 4, 2018 at 8:46 pm

          Comrade “Drogon”, back so soon after your loud declaration of “disengagement”.

          What a “person” does or does not “believe” is of absolutely no concern here.

          The concern is with the facts.

          So by all means, let’s examine that “better judgement” of yours.

          Unfortunately, the fact is: “the government of Iran (like ALL governments) could do better” was NOT your “original comment”.

          Your “original comment” was: “Let’s not go overboard here” and that the situation in Iran “will undoubtedly end with brutality, censorship, and political suppression”.

          So your “original comment” and this new “thing” you “believe” are not the same.

          It appears that you don’t even know what “facts” are.

          I guarantee you that “facts” are not “things” one has to “believe” in.

          Now, let’s examine this new li’l laundry list of “things” you “believe”.

          1) “Iran is probably the most natural ally to the USA”

          Presumably that’s because of all that “brutality, censorship, and political suppression” stuff that you “believe”, in addition to all these other nice “things” you “believe” about Iran.

          In fact, Iranian efforts at reconciliation with the United States are fiercely resisted by Israeli government meddling and pro-Israel Lobby interference in American elections and foreign policy.

          2) “Israel either […] or”

          In case you haven’t noticed, Israel’s Apartheid government and Israel’s 50 year illegal military occupation of Palestinian territory already has relegated the regime to the status of an “international pariah”.

          In fact, the global Boycott, Divestment, Sanctions (BDS) movement is rapidly increasing pressure on Israel to stop the Israeli Apartheid occupation of Palestine. And Israel is making every effort to oppose BDS.

          Nevertheless, you make it very clear, that “in spite of” these two “points” of yours, you “stand by” your “original comment”.

          So it’s not at all clear why all the “points #1 and #2” rigamarole was necessary.

          Now you seem intensely interested in whether or not someone will “disagree” with “things” you “believe”.

          But facts are no more “things” to “agree” or “disagree” about than they are “things” to “believe in.

          In fact, objective fact-based geostrategic analysis indicates that Iran is by far a more advantageous regional ally of the United States than Israel.

          But US foreign policy assiduously ignores fact-based objective geostrategic analysis about Iran, significantly due to Israeli government meddling and pro-Israel Lobby interference that demonizes Iran.

          A signature Hasbara propaganda tactic is to shift the focus away from fact-based discussion about Israel and the pro-Israel Lobby, and divert the discussion toward “things” one “believes”.

          So it’s not about quite obvious and undisputed points of fact.

          It’s not about the fact that Iran is an ideal regional ally for peace, stability and prosperity in the Middle East.

          Nor is it about the fact that Israel is a racist Apartheid state.

          Funny how the obvious difference between a fact and a “belief” is perfectly easy to understand for everyone but the Hasbara trolls.

          • Abe
            January 5, 2018 at 8:43 pm

            Funny how trolls are not so willing to “engage” when the actual content of their comments is addressed.

            Downright hilarious how trolls are not so eager to “stand by” when specific examples of their comments are examined with reference to facts instead of “things” they “believe”.

    • Dave P.
      January 5, 2018 at 2:29 am

      backwardsevolution – The regime change operations – mainly by U.S. with U.K. as a junior partner – had been going on for seventy years now in dozens of countries all over the World. This is not something new. Under its rules, some kind of pseudo democracy may be allowed with the country as a Vassal State. Even now a leader in a country in Eastern Europe like Hungary who refuse to follow this rule will be taken care of.

      I do wonder sometimes why the leaders of the Western Countries are doing it. Tony Blair is still frantically working to upturn the Brexit decision by U.K. electorate and for a regime change in Syria. Here is how the World is going to look like by the end of this Century:

      U.K.’s population is going to be one quarter Muslim by 2050 and half Muslim by the end of Century. The populations of France, Sweden, and a few other Western European Countries is going to be half Muslim much earlier – by 2070 for sure.

      All they – the leaders of the Western Nations – are doing for the last few years are bashing Russia 24/7. The other day I went to Barnes and Noble. Standing in the queue to buy some books, my eyes fell on Newsweek with Vladimir Putin’s picture and with the words “Putin is preparing for World War III”.
      I came home and the TV was on with PBS news my wife watches. The rantings of the anchor and the invited guest you can guess was this Russia problem. As I am writing these comments, I can hear the TV going on in the family room; first Rachel Maddow, Anderson Cooper, Lawrence O’Donnell – all ranting about Russia, Putin, Trump’s firing of FBI director Comey to stop Russia investigation – interference in the justice system.

      This shows what our written media has become. The elected leaders and government functionaries are not much better either. One wonders if these people are really sane. This has been going on for too long now – all this garbage, and lies. What they are doing to the people of this country with this hysteria about Russia is going to be much worse than McCarthyism. We live in sad times.

      • backwardsevolution
        January 5, 2018 at 4:50 am

        Dave P. – Happy New Year to you. Great post, Dave. You are so right, these people are insane.

        I’m always reminded of that great movie “Bridge on the River Kwai” where the senior officer builds a bridge for the Japanese. All he sees is the bridge. He doesn’t see what he’s doing. He doesn’t see the big picture.

        Before the insane realize what they’ve done, Europe will be Muslim. The Chambers of Commerce are sucking them into thinking that this is actually a good idea, and if they protest, they’re labeled a racist and are liable to spend time in jail. And they’re actually buying into this crap. Walking dead.

        I’m torn between giving up and stuffing myself with my favorite foods and just enjoying life, or fighting back. I’ll let you know which side wins when I figure it out.

        And the lies and hysteria over Russia is actually asylum-crazy stuff. No wonder it’s so easy to sell people things. Just bombard them with propaganda and they fall for anything.

        Heard one lady describe the progressive left. She said they have a hierarchy of values. On the top is multiculturalism. So even if you have a Muslim guy who is beating the crap out of his wife, or selling his fifteen year-old daughter off to the highest bidder, it doesn’t matter because that’s his “culture”. Multiculturalism wins out. All else is dismissed in favor of multiculturalism.

        Cheers.

      • Skip Scott
        January 6, 2018 at 8:56 am

        Great post Dave P. I am wondering if all this non stop Russia bashing is a panicked response to alternative sites like CN. Networks like CNNdless and MSDNC repeat the same stories over and over all day long. They just swap out talking heads every couple hours. I can’t imagine anyone actually stays with it all that long out of boredom, so I think they keep running the same stories to make sure the most people possible get at least one dose. The upside of this is that I think more people are starting to see the desperation, and maybe a few begin to question. They get a glimpse of the “man behind the curtain”.

        I am hopeful that Consortium News is attracting an ever-widening audience, and especially more young people. I don’t know if there is any hi-tech way to measure it. I imagine there is. Let’s hope Robert Parry has a full recovery and can keep fighting the good fight.

        • Dave P.
          January 6, 2018 at 2:40 pm

          Skip, behind all this seems to be this fanatic and ruthless drive by U.S. in cahoot with other Western Powers to rule over the whole World by few under the garb of this spreading of Western liberal democracy and freedom – the Neoliberal Economic Order under the West’s hegemony.

          Communism failed. Some of the ideas behind it, like common ownership of land was old. American Indians used the land in common for the benefit of all. And they were free people. Many other civilizations and cultures, people as a tribe worked together sharing resources for the benefit of all. This new system they are trying to forcibly impose on the Whole Earth contradicts all principles of freedom and human welfare. It has greed and glorification of the individual at it’s core.

          It is not going to lead to Green Earth. Instead it is going to lead to destruction of the planet and the people. Can’t the people see from all the wars, and death and destruction which is happening on the planet? Can’t the academia in our exalted Universities see this? How can you forcibly rule the people of the whole Earth! And Impose the same system and values on them.

          This annual Hollywood Extravaganza is coming. All the American movie idols with tear in their eyes are going to proclaim to make Earth Green. And of course now you can blame Trump for all this – and may be they will blame Russia too. These people are all hypocrites – most of in the service of the elites who run this Neoliberal Economic Order

  9. James Titcomb
    January 4, 2018 at 3:38 am

    Two questions, Paul. One, are you seriously claiming that Iran is submitting to on-site inspections of its nuclear facilities? And two, are you also seriously claiming that the Obama administration did not stymie the investigation into Hezbollah’s drug and money laundering operations? Just wondering, since you go to lengths to obfuscate these two facts.

    • mike k
      January 4, 2018 at 8:23 am

      Just as previously in Iraq, the intrusive inspections of Iran’s nuclear programs indicate that they are NOT secretly building a bomb. What evidence can you point to that proves otherwise? I thought not……..

    • Tannenhouser
      January 4, 2018 at 11:11 am

      James. The international partners in the deal seem to think so…… sans of course the current administration. Do you have sources beyond the POTUS that prove otherwise.

      Iran contra ring any bells James, not sure what your point here is, please elaborate.

    • Abe
      January 5, 2018 at 9:52 pm

      The International Atomic Energy Agency reports on Iran make it clear that IAEA inspectors have conducted complimentary accesses (IAEA terminology for inspections) under the Additional Protocol to all the sites and locations in Iran which it needed to visit.

      https://www.iaea.org/newscenter/focus/iran/iaea-and-iran-iaea-reports

    • Abe
      January 5, 2018 at 10:56 pm

      Pro-Israel Lobby media partisans are in a frenzy, presenting Josh Meyer’s Politico piece as if it was some kind of smoking gun.

      Iran remains in full compliance with the IAEA’s inspections regime.

      And Meyer’s sensational claims are by no means verified.

      The so-called “two questions” posed by “James Titcomb” are actually assertions (the one about Iran inspections is clearly false) couched in “are you seriously claiming that” rhetoric.

      “Just wondering, since you go to lengths to obfuscate these two facts.” is unadulterated Hasbara trollspeak.

      Of course, this is to be expected.

  10. Abe
    January 3, 2018 at 11:12 pm

    “The Brookings Institution in its 2009 “Which Path to Persia? Options for a New American Strategy toward Iran,” report dedicated an entire chapter to plotting the overthrow of the Iranian government. […]

    “Just as the US hoped for speedy regime change in Syria in 2011, but settled for the destruction of the nation, the division of its territory, and the weakening of the Syrian military, the US likewise has primary and secondary goals already laid out for regime change plans versus Iran.

    “The Brookings report admits:

    “‘…even if U.S. support for an insurgency failed to produce the overthrow of the regime, it could still place Tehran under considerable pressure, which might either prevent the regime from making mischief abroad or persuade it to make concessions on issues of importance to the United States (such as its nuclear program and support to Hamas, Hizballah, and the Taliban). Indeed, Washington might decide that this second objective is a more compelling rationale for supporting an insurgency than the (much less likely) goal of actually overthrowing the regime.’

    “In other words, US regime change again is openly admitted as an act of geopolitical coercion, not self-defense. The strategy laid out by Brookings is more than mere ‘suggestions.’ It is an enumerated list of prescribed actions that have demonstrably been executed since in Syria, Libya, and Yemen and are now manifesting themselves in nearby Iran.

    “In the world of geopolitical analysis, it is not often that a signed and dated confession can be cited when describing conspiracies against another nation-state. In the case of US meddling in Iran, Brookings provides just such evidence – nearly 200 pages long – detailing everything from fabricated opposition, US sponsorship of terrorism, and even engineered provocations by the US and Israel to trigger a full-scale war.”

    Iranian Protests: Deep State’s Unfinished Business
    By Tony Cartalucci
    http://landdestroyer.blogspot.com/2018/01/iranian-protests-deep-states-unfinished.html

    • Joe Tedesky
      January 4, 2018 at 12:06 am

      I read that Cartalucci piece early, and like it. Then I read this…..

      https://ahtribune.com/world/north-africa-south-west-asia/palestine/2084-somebody-who-supports-israel.html

      Good posting Abe. Joe

      • Tannenhouser
        January 4, 2018 at 11:03 am

        Joe. Yep. I was gonna suggest this one at your first comment. Glad I waited……

        In regards to first comment Joe. I’m not sure Iranians are war weary in the sense you seem to. It is my belief the average Iranian understands the righteous nature of their homeland defense via battle in Syria. It will be interesting to see how they handle the border with Afghanistan, as that’s most likely where the jihads will come from. American refocusing on Afghanistan and reports of ISIS airlifts from Syria to the area add credence to this line of reasoning.

        • Joe Tedesky
          January 4, 2018 at 11:36 am

          Would you say, that the average Iranian could be ever burdened by a country plagued with the drip, drip, drip of war, coupled with the suffering of imposed sanctions? Could you and I even come close to imagining what it must be like to be an Iranian citizen living under this dark cloud? I’m not rebuffing what you said, in as much as I’m looking for your opinion. I’m willing to learn, if you are willing to teach me, so fire away. I am not up on what Iran is doing on it’s Afghanistan border, so I’m ready to learn if you feel up to it. Joe

          • Tannenhouser
            January 5, 2018 at 9:55 am

            Absolutely Joe, any country could and I suppose eventually would suffer the war drip. my point is that I do not believe Iranian’s are there. Given what they have been through already (just even in my lifetime) they can take much more. Just my opinion of course, based on who I know, read, converse with and of course my life experiences.

            Geographically and considering where the recent protests started, Afghanistan is the logical place. there would also be concern from so called autonomous Kurdish regions in Iraq and Syria. As the Iranians and Iraqi’s appear to have developed strategic ties in their recent battles with Daesh I would say the Kurdish area’s are less of a threat atm.

            The geographical nature and size of the Afgan border make it the logical area. Again just my opinion.

      • Skip Scott
        January 4, 2018 at 11:40 am

        Good article Joe, thanks for sharing.

        • Joe Tedesky
          January 4, 2018 at 2:57 pm

          I’m glad you enjoyed reading Miko Peled, Skip. I have been trying to follow Peled ever since I read about him on consortiumnews. I also wasn’t trying to attempt to infer that this article was any better than Abe’s posting of Cartalucci, it just may have sounded that way. I am a huge fan of Cartalucci. Joe

      • Dave P.
        January 4, 2018 at 12:17 pm

        Joe, it seems like Middle East including Iran and Afghanistan are going to get real hot in 2018 according to retired Career Indian Diplomat’s M.K. Bhadrakumar’s blogs. He knows the area. Besides serving as Ambassador to Turkey and Uzbekistan, he served in diplomatic missions in Western Countries, Russia, and Iran during his career. He writes for Asia Times.

        The link to the blogs is:

        http://blogs.rediff.com/mkbhadrakumar/author/bhadrakumaranrediffmailcom/

        With the following headings,

        1. 2018 will see U.S. fighting three and a half Wars in ME, Dec. 31, 2017

        2. 2018 Hot Spots in Eurasia and ME, Dec 29, 2017

        3. Russia to meet ISIS threat from Afghanistan, Dec 27, 2017

        Add Ukraine to that as well. There will be more death and destruction and more refugees, pretty disheartening future for the people of that area and many others in the World. It seems like The Entire West is coordinating to confront and contain first Russia, and then China at any cost.

        • Joe Tedesky
          January 4, 2018 at 3:07 pm

          Thanks for the link Dave. I have been saying for sometime now, that when the big one gets started, that it will encompass the whole planet. In fact, if this happens it will be one interesting thing to watch to if the global U.S. military will be able to coordinate all these hot spots that will be needed to snuff out all these blazing fires of war. This will be especially hard, if the U.S. is constricted to a limited supply of allies, to if allies keep flaking away due to their objections over current U.S. policies.

          This would be as good of a time as any to if the U.S. were to turn down the volume on it’s saber rattling, and ramp up big time the U.S. diplomatic core to if we even have that capability anymore. Soft diplomacy will create a world of friendship, where war doctrine only recruits more terrorist. Which one will it be? Joe

    • David Smith
      January 4, 2018 at 1:30 am

      Another Cartalucci Nothingburger. If Cartalucci was an analyst he would understand that the rigged protests in Iran are merely a lashing out by the losers: USA, KSA, zionist entity et al. The protests will go nowhere and now US agent networks in Iran will be exposed. The attempt to capture the Russian MP’s and the mortar attack that killed the Russian general were also lashing out by losers. None of these actions serve an initiative and can therefore be ignored. Cartalucci produces fluff with no intellectual content, but it does pay the bills in Bangkok, although I’m sure T.C. is disappointed that Nataree closed(I am too).

      • Abe
        January 4, 2018 at 4:15 pm

        Comrade “David Smith” trolls in to loudly proclaim that “lashing out by losers” can “therefore be ignored”.

        The analysis from Cartalucci is sound, and the Iranian people and their allies obviously have not been ignoring Israeli-Saudi-US Axis “regime change” efforts.

        That won’t prevent “David Smith” from offgassing.

        • David Smith
          January 4, 2018 at 4:49 pm

          Abe, you obviously do not understand what “…none of these actions serve an initiative….” means.

          • Abe
            January 4, 2018 at 11:57 pm

            “David Smith” obviously does not understand the meaning of facts, or the difference between fact-based analysis and his own loudly proclaimed mere “opinion” and “belief”.

            In fact, rigged protests have been a prominent feature of “regime change” projects in Iraq, Libya, Syria, and Ukraine.

          • Tannenhouser
            January 5, 2018 at 10:15 am

            Not sure how killing a general can serve no initiative. The Mp’s would have lost high ground I believe as well as a PR coup, and a slap in Russia’s face.. Recent protests in Iran serve the initiative of drawing the EU further from Iran as well as the UNSC meeting upcoming. I hope Russia and China school the Americans here. I agree the protest will amount to nothing and expose networks. Yes they were all actions by loser’s, not so sure they should be ignored, although I do see your point.

          • David Smith
            January 5, 2018 at 12:06 pm

            Tannenhouser, ignored strategically. An initiative must have a strategic goal and pushes forward the timetable for victory in the war as a whole. Germany’s Battle of the Bulge offensive was not an initiative. It had no certainty of victory, no strategic goal and did nothing to help Germany win the war. It was merely the lashing out of a loser. For the United States, it was a nasty tactical situation that must be dealt with, but could be ignored as the Allies concentrated on their own initiative.

        • Joe Tedesky
          January 4, 2018 at 5:58 pm

          I will bet he believes the earth is flat, and that Thomas Friedman is a genius reporter.

          • David Smith
            January 4, 2018 at 9:46 pm

            Abe completely failed to understand my comment, and so have you J.Tedesky. Zero reading comprehension combined with arrogant snark makes an absurd and nauseating picture.

          • Abe
            January 5, 2018 at 3:46 pm

            Nah, Joe.

            “David Smith” believes he is a genius “analyst”.

            That’s why the good comrade takes up valuable time and space as is the wont of trolls, loudly proclaiming that everybody has “completely failed to understand” him.

      • Abe
        January 5, 2018 at 2:28 pm

        Gaslighting troll “David Smith” merely presents fact-free opinion, like so many previous efforts.

        Now, by all means, our dear comrade is perfectly entitled to the opinion that current events in Iran reflect “lashing out by losers”.

        However, that opinion is neither cogent nor sufficient to serve as any sort of rebuttal to the geopolitical analysis cited above.

        Obviously our “intellect content” peacock imagines that he’s brilliant when setting his offgassings alight.

        But the latest fascinating li’l self-flaming exercise by “David Smith” contributes little toward understanding Israeli-Saudi-US efforts to enforce “regime change” against Iran.

        While “David Smith” remains curiously preoccupied with strategic “initiative” in terms of mid-twentieth century land battles (there must have been a cheap Battle of the Bulge history in the lobby of his favorite soapy massage parlor in Bangkok), the concept has other applications.

        The term “initiative” as a geopolitical concept appears repeatedly in the June 2009 Brookings Institution document on Iran.

        “Which Path to Persia?: Options for a New American Strategy toward Iran” was authored by a team of pro-Israel war hawks headed by Martin Indyk, a former staffer at the American Israel Public Affairs Committee.

        https://www.brookings.edu/wp-content/uploads/2016/06/06_iran_strategy.pdf

        On 3 December 2017, Jared Kushner, Donald Trump’s son-in-law and senior adviser on Middle East/Israel issues, gave his first on-the-record appearance at the Saban Forum at the Brookings Institution.

        Addressing the audience at Brookings, Kushner said, “It’s really an honor to be able to talk about this topic with so many people who I respect so much, who have given so much to this issue.” He acknowledged that “We’ve solicited a lot of ideas from a lot of places.”

        Kushner used pro-Israel Lobby bellicose rhetoric about “Iran’s aggression” and claims about “their nuclear ambitions and their expansive regional mischief”.

        Trump’s Administration, as Kushner’s remarks clearly indicate, obviously bases its understanding of “regional dynamics” on “a lot of ideas” from the pro-Israel war hawks at the Brookings Institution.

        Indyk, the “director” of the Saban Center at Brookings, cofounded the Washington Institute for Near East Policy in 1985 with the wife of AIPAC Chairman Lawrence Weinberg and former president of the Jewish Federation, Barbi Weinberg. Despite his well known affiliation with the Israel Lobby and his Australian nationality, Bill Clinton appointed Indyk as the first foreign-born US Ambassador to Israel in 1995. The issuance of his US nationality had been expedited for his previous appointment by Clinton in 1993 as Middle East adviser on the National Security Council.

        Kenneth M. Pollack, the “director of research” at the Saban Center, is a former CIA analyst and National Security Council staffer under Bill Clinton. A prominent “liberal hawk” cheerleader for the Iraq War, Pollack is credited with persuading liberals to endorse the invasion of Iraq. His 2002 book, The Threatening Storm, was influential in selling the “WMD” case. His 2005 book, The Persian Puzzle, recycled many of the same arguments, this time directed at Iran.

        Michael E. O’Hanlon, the “director of foreign policy research” at Brookings, is a war hawk and frequent op-ed writer for major news outlets like the Washington Post. In recent years, O’Hanlon has pushed for U.S. intervention in Syria. In April 2007, O’Hanlon and Fred Kagan urged the United States to invade and occupy Iran.

        In March 2003, shortly after the United States invaded Iraq, O’Hanlon contributed his name to an open letter published by the Project for the New American Century (PNAC), a neoconservative advocacy outfit closely associated with American Enterprise Institute that played a major role generating public support for the invasion of Iraq and pushing an expansive “war on terror.” Among those contributing their names to the document were hardline neocons like Max Boot, Eliot Cohen, Joshua Muravchik, and William Kristol, as well as liberal interventionists like O’Hanlon and Ivo Daalder, also a scholar based at Brookings.

        In their landmark book, The Israel Lobby and US Foreign Policy (2007), American political scientists John Mearsheimer and Stephen Walt note that the Saban Center at Brookings is “part of the pro-Israel chorus” (pg 156).

        Mearsheimer and Walt observed that “Saban Center publications never question US support for Israel and rarely, if ever, offer significant criticism of key Israeli policies.”

        Our beloved comrade “David Smith” seems rather insistent Iran and presumably we should all “ignore” the antics of that “zionist entity” and the rest of those “losers”.

  11. John P
    January 3, 2018 at 9:42 pm

    It’s so easy to buy Trump, just put his name on a building. Another indignity towards Palestinians.

    http://mondoweiss.net/2017/12/israeli-palestinian-feature/

    “New Israeli train line with station named after Trump was built on stolen Palestinian land.
    Now, this train line is back in the news, but this time for an all-together different reason: a stop on the route will be named after Donald Trump, according to a statement made by Israel’s traffic minister yesterday, reported the Jerusalem Post. The station will be near the Western Wall in Jerusalem’s Old City, notably in occupied East Jerusalem.” Article from Mondoweiss

  12. January 3, 2018 at 8:33 pm

    Article of interest at ink below.
    —————————————————–
    US Empire Is Running The Same Script With Iran That It Ran With Libya, Syria
    By Caitlin Johnstone
    January 01, 2018
    http://www.informationclearinghouse.info/48522.htm

  13. January 3, 2018 at 7:47 pm

    I believe we are in the hands of maniacs (past and present) and war criminals to boot. I Believe Iran is the next target of these maniacs of militarism, that are the biggest warmongers on the planet.
    ————————————————————————————————————–
    September 18, 2017
    The Biggest Warmonger on the Planet

    The biggest warmonger on the planet is seeking more wars
    This warmonger and its helpers are responsible for lots of blood and gore
    They have slaughtered millions and destroyed a number of countries
    Now they are seeking more targets, is their no end to their effronteries?

    Their propaganda pushers are promoting more military confrontations
    Could North Korea, China, Iran and Russia be their next target nations?
    Will the ‘Great Satan’ and his Nato-rious gang bring about the end game?
    Will we all be nuclear incinerated by politicians and generals, who are insane?

    The latest “war leader” talks about fighting terrorists along with his war criminal crew
    At the same time he is part of a coalition, that arms and trains terrorists too
    Hypocrisy is the forte of this evil satanic war mongering dirty coalition
    Unfortunately they are in the halls of power and will lead us all to perdition

    Has the rule of law become the rule of outlaws and war criminals?
    Are we in the hands of depraved and deranged bloody imbeciles?
    Has the world stage become a platform for killing and those that plan it?
    Are we all prisoners of the biggest warmonger and its helpers on the planet?…
    [more info at link below]
    http://graysinfo.blogspot.ca/2017/09/the-biggest-warmonger-on-planet.html

  14. Stygg
    January 3, 2018 at 7:45 pm

    Meanwhile Iran still isn’t trying to make nuclear weapons, so what’s the big deal?

    • John P
      January 3, 2018 at 8:07 pm

      I think you are right Stygg. Israel and the US don’t like Iran because it supports the Shia faction, Hezbollah which grew out of the Israeli occupation of southern Lebanon. The Saudis don’t like it because it’s a thorn in their side creating a Sunni controlled region. Britain and America installed the despicable Shah in the 50s to stop the legit Iranian government from nationalising the oil industry so Iran could get their fair share of revenue.
      All the pressure on Iran from Israeli interests to create their Greater Israel, America for petroleum control and Christian Zionists theology, and the Saudi desire for a huge Sunni controlled region, is bound to make Iran edgy.
      The Palestinians are being sold out by Trump, and their strongest support from outside comes from Iran and it’s allies. Iran had a deal with the US, which they have followed through on, but with Trump, Will that continue?!.

      • Kianoosh
        January 3, 2018 at 11:47 pm

        Iran is disliked because there are three independent movements in political Islam in that region: 1) Muslim Brotherhood which is neutralized; 2) The Jihadists led by ISIS and Al-Qaeda who are just a bunch of bloodthirsty prehistoric warriors; 3) Shia forces that are organized and have a patron with a strategy.

  15. Dr. Ibrahim Soudy
    January 3, 2018 at 7:42 pm

    Why should the US have nuclear weapons but not Iran?!

    • PB
      January 4, 2018 at 9:48 pm

      And, doesn’t the Iranian leadership have a duty to seek any means of protection for the Iranian Nation, given the constant barrage of agitated threats emanating from nuclear-armed, and uninspected Israel?

    • Lisa
      January 5, 2018 at 9:49 am

      Why should Pakistan have nuclear weapons, but not Iran?

    • Joe Tedesky
      January 6, 2018 at 3:58 pm

      I’m totally on board with this comment of yours Doctor, good one.

  16. Zachary Smith
    January 3, 2018 at 7:14 pm

    Like everybody else, I have “thoughts” about the Iran Nuclear Deal. Some of them may be dumb, and some may not.

    Back when it was being put together I read a blogger who claimed the deal was just a “stall” until the war in Syria was over. To put any kind of “peacemaker” label on Obama strikes me as silly, and at least as nutty as awarding the man a preemptive Nobel Peace Prize. IMO Obama was our third CIA president if you count Bush the Dumber – and a reliable marionette of the CIA. Puppet Obama did what he was told to do, and when somebody told him to put together a Nuclear Deal with Iran he did just that.

    Yes, the dummy Trump has been destroying that deal, but does anybody suppose President Hillary would have done otherwise? Syria may not have turned out quite the way the Neocons expected, but that front is closing down. On To Iran!

    The time the necons gained wasn’t useless. It has taken a while to set up the current riots going on in Iran. Israel is now taking delivery of its free F-35s, and is already outfitting them with conformal fuel tanks for longer range. Until just recently the air defense systems in Iran, primitive though they were, made the prospect of an attack just a little too risky. With the new airplanes and the final conversion of Trump into a rabid warmonger, 2018 looks a lot better in most ways.

    The defenddemocracy site may be a crazy neocon place, but IMO they’re not entirely wrong. North Korea has made an awful lot of progress with its nukes. If Iranian scientists have been helping, that would account for some of the successes. Remember when one of the US Big Intelligence agencies got the bright idea of giving Iran some complete blueprints of a nuclear weapon with only a couple of minor issues? That wouldn’t have slowed things down! Likewise, back when the USSR broke up, Iran and North Korea would have been among the nations seeking to buy some of the nuclear weapons from the disintegrating nation. Having a genuine working bomb on the lab table would have been a terrific booster to NK’s work. Echoing what we used to say in High School Chemistry, it would become simple “cookbook” stuff.

    Nobody seems to agree with my theory about North Korea planning to be a Big Box store for nukes. But what if they DO owe Iran a handful of working weapons? Failing that, what if they are willing to sell Iran a handful of working weapons? What if one or the other of these has already happened?

    Israel had better tread softly these days, for with the increasing accuracy of Iran’s missiles, they might be looking at a small NK nuke landing on the South lawn of the Dimona nuke plant instead of the North one. And of course, there is always a “shot across the bow” or retaliation possibility – like an EMP weapon going off about 200 miles directly above Tel Aviv. If this happened in the daytime I doubt if anybody would even notice – until they saw nothing electrical was working anymore.

    • Annie
      January 4, 2018 at 1:19 am

      No, Obama is no Peace Prize president, and I certainly didn’t approve of some of his policies, and the most flawed was going along with Clinton in overthrowing Gaddafi which he has called his greatest failure. Maybe he was lying about that, who knows, since the overthrow of Gaddafi had nothing to do with any humanitarian crisis the US claimed it wanted to prevent. However he did stand up to Netanyahu when he made the Iran deal, and I have to give him credit for that. If it was just a stall until Syria was overthrown why would he even bother? I think if Clinton was in the White House she would have sought every means to get rid of it, since she is a real hawk, and very pro-Israel. Also Obama didn’t cross that red line, and attack Syria for that so called sarin gas attack. However the US did continue to supply Al Qaeda with a cache of weapons to try an overthrow Assad. Politics is really a dirty business, and I think many who participate in it are flawed human beings, well, not quite human.

      • JWalters
        January 5, 2018 at 9:24 pm

        “However he did stand up to Netanyahu when he made the Iran deal, and I have to give him credit for that.”

        I completely agree. We must consider the power of the oligarchy he was up against, e.g.
        “What Obama is up against”
        http://whowhatwhy.org/2010/03/10/what-obama-is-up-against/

        Yet hhe managed to (1) block the Israeli/Neocons from pushing the US into a war with Iran, as they did with Iraq, and (2) removed the Israeli/Neocons’ main justification for attacking Iran with an international agreement that is difficult to change.

        He also managed to expand health care in America with the ACA, despite its flaws.

        All this was done under a barrage of racism unofficially approved and stoked by the Republicans, and the ever-present threat of assassination (JFK, MLK, RFK). Any sane person would tread carefully in those circumstances. I recall one poster (on another site) who adamantly wanted Obama to go full blast against the oligarchy, even though he acknowledged it would be a suicide mission.

  17. mike k
    January 3, 2018 at 5:55 pm

    For this act alone, Donald Trump needs to be impeached. His every action as president has brought nuclear war closer to our fragile world. We need to get him out of there before he kills us all. Only the American public could be foolish enough to elect this unstable fool to lead them. Unfortunately for those of us who did not support him, we are still going to have to live with the consequences of our fellow citizen’s bad decision – unless we can reverse it by impeachment. If we do not support this desperate effort to unseat him, then we too will bear responsibility for the disaster he is inevitably going to trigger.

    • John P
      January 3, 2018 at 6:53 pm

      Mike, the problem is not only Trump but Penske and others. Are we in for a age of fascism? There are some signs from the brashness and bullying from the White House that might be developing. Few of the people in the White House, if any now, are appropriate to lead such a powerful country that has peaked. Wars are a common cause for a nations demise. Their policies could like the fires in California, race across Asia, and seasoned warriors lead and teach agents in our own countries. I have heard that not many in the White House are that into the true history especially of the Middle East, nor seasoned in diplomacy. These are dangerous times, and Trump will possibly alienate America.

      Trump, Pence, Jerusalem: the Christian Zionism Connection
      Paul Rogers 14 December 2017

      The political use of a religious vision spells danger for Israel, America, and the world.

      https://www.opendemocracy.net/paul-rogers/trump-pence-jerusalem-christian-zionism-connection
      ———————
      Christian Zionism and Netanyahu’s Speech
      Paul Rogers 5 March 2015

      The Israeli prime minister’s purpose in Washington was to consolidate a vital and largely unrecognised political-religious alliance.

      https://www.opendemocracy.net/paul-rogers/christian-zionism-and-netanyahu%27s-speech
      ——————-
      What you need to know about Mike Pence’s speech to Christians United for Israel
      Dan Hummel – July 17, 2017

      On Monday, Vice President Pence will deliver the keynote address at the annual summit of Christians United for Israel in Washington, D.C. Pence will be the first sitting vice president or president to speak to the Christian Zionist organization in its 11-year history. His speech marks a fundamental change in the language that the White House has historically employed to articulate the United States’ relationship with Israel.

      https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/made-by-history/wp/2017/07/17/what-you-need-to-know-about-mike-pences-speech-to-christians-united-for-israel/?utm_term=.596ff3f16add

    • JNDillard
      January 4, 2018 at 5:40 am

      Mike k: Very short term thinking. You presume Pence would be a better President. Pence is right up there with Hillary in sucking up to both the plutocracy and Israel.

      • mike k
        January 4, 2018 at 8:14 am

        I doubt that anyone could prove to me that Pence would be worse as president than Donald Trump. Trump is a proven (by his deeds) clear and present danger to the world and the continued existence of humankind. Let’s deal with first things first, and get him out of there before he ends the human story for all of us. Your suggestion seems to be to continue to bet on crazy Donald to avoid Pence. I don’t think you are assessing the danger Trump represents accurately.

        • Tannenhouser
          January 4, 2018 at 11:33 am

          Just wondering which deeds you refer to mike k? To my mind he hasn’t done anything any other POTUS hasn’t. Except of course prove the arrogant rude and obnoxious American stereotype true. Hardly impeachment territory. I’m no fan of the current POTUS, however the chicken little anti trump stuff is pretty ridiculous, considering the numerous and actual points of policy the man could be called out on. Why the continuous default to negative emotionally charged nothing burgers?

          • Nancy
            January 8, 2018 at 2:56 pm

            Have to agree with you. Trump is just a symptom of the diseased system.

          • michael
            January 8, 2018 at 9:30 pm

            Agreed. Trump is a noticeable symptom, not the disease. Transparency can be painful, but is preferable to the 30+ years that brought America to the present state.

  18. Joe Tedesky
    January 3, 2018 at 5:19 pm

    Today’s Washington thrives on “suspicion and innuendo”, and to combat it a leader being accused of wrongdoing should just do what President Trump does, and call it for what it is….fake news! Besides that, all this pondering over the fate of the JPOCA agreement can find it’s future fate if one reads the Brookings Report ‘WHICH PATH TO PERSIA? Options for a New American Strategy toward Iran”, and you will see the strategy being used towards Iran.

    I have also been seeing articles where Iran is being accused of buying nuclear grade weapons from N Korea. While I’m not sure if this is so, I also could see it being found by the Iranian government as a suitable Plan B towards keeping Israel and the Saudi’s with American support at bay. Maybe I’m wrong, but again if Iran is found to be purchasing such weaponry from N Korea well we should at least walk a mile in their Iranian shoes to at least try and understand why such an Iranian and N Korean deal could come to be.

    Lastly, with the downtrodden Iranian public, who by now are weary from all their country’s warring in Syria, along with the financial suffering put upon them being imposed by the U.S. sanctions, as it only makes one wonder to how the Iranian government will survive these citizen protest. I’ve even wondered to if Iran may soon have a new government headed up by Major General Qasem Soleimani. Will he be Iran’s modern day George Washington? You tell me.

    • mike k
      January 3, 2018 at 6:04 pm

      The rumor that Iran is buying nukes from N. Korea sounds like a Zionist plant.

      There is no way this protest season in Iran is going to unseat their government, which enjoys widespread support from the populace at large. Many there can clearly see the hand of Israel and the US in egging on these folks who are mainly protesting economic conditions brought on by the Saudi oil dump and economic pressure from the US.

      • January 3, 2018 at 8:36 pm

        Perfect comment and response. And now, some of those photos of demonstrations in the MSM have been demonstrated to be fakes, taken elsewhere, as published today, on R/T I believe. And now too, a leader of one demonstration has been arrested and is European. This is all the false flag, deceit and regime overthrow routine by the USA, experts at it, certainly also with the blessings / involvement of Israel and SA. Seems fairly blatant to me, it’s so scripted, boiler-plated in any case.

      • Joe Tedesky
        January 4, 2018 at 12:28 am

        I too would not doubt this Iranian N Korean nuclear business arrangement story is a hoax, but I would not blame Iran for taking such precautions. I mean just take a look at Saddam and Gaddafi, and what happened to them after their disarmament of their bio and nuclear grade weapons equipment was given up. Plus, since the JPOCA has been signed the U.S. has done everything in it’s power to retain Iranian assets, and this in my opinion is a breach of the agreement, and if it isn’t it should be.

        The Rouhani government far beyond it’s good faith at the bargaining table appears to have come up empty, in the eyes of the Iranian people. I mean they have 12% unemployment, and foreign sanctions haven’t helped to propel the average Iranian citizens standard of life by a long shot. Add to that Iranian soldiers coming home in coffins, after fighting in the Syrian war theater, just doesn’t make for a very cheerful country either.

        I just wish America didn’t always play the role of the instigator, and I seriously pray that Israel and Saudi Arabia would just someday up and go away. Sorry, that’s how I feel, but I’m all for diplomacy over war, and I know you are too mike. Joe

        • michael
          January 8, 2018 at 9:25 pm

          Somehow I feel Saudi Arabia and Israel should have been mentioned more in this article about tearing up agreements with Iran, and Donald Trump’s eagerness to overturn Obama’s legacy much less. Trump has been stymied even with blocking immigrant entries from Obama’s seven War countries; immigration is the President’s domain. He could not be interfering with Iran treaties without a lot of support and direction from neolibs and neocons in Congress, the Russiagate advocates, and Israeli and Saudi lobbyists.

          • backwardsevolution
            January 9, 2018 at 6:02 am

            michael – very well put!

          • Joe Tedesky
            January 9, 2018 at 5:22 pm

            Michael you make a good point, and we should never forget how deep Israel and Saudi Arabia is involved when the U.S. is planning something for the Middle East. Bannon overreached by convincing Trump to do the early attempt at the travel ban, and for this Trump had nothing but chaos and protest in our nations airports while implementing the ban, but according to Michael Wolff ‘Fire & Fury’ Bannon loved it. When it comes to Trump waging war, well of course the Neocons and the Neolibs will all be on board, since war is their main game. I mean war in the Middle East is especially what thrills the Neocons, as Israel and Saudi Arabia have provided the many Think Tanks along the Potomac with enough funding to allow these mindless genius’s who serve the Israeli/Saudi ambitions to survive in their expensive Townhouse flats, or Mansions, that they reside in so comfortably. Joe

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