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Friday, December 09, 2016

The Obama and Clinton ISIS calamity in Syria, Iraq and Libya continues. What were they saying in 2011.

The NATO war of 2011 delivered Libya not to one government with a monopoly over violence, but to a chessboard of competing militia groups who have allegiance to regional powers. 

ISIS flourished in the chaos and the refugee mess has created misery throughout the Middle East and Europe.

Tribalism was unleashed and was aided and abetted by the regime changers in the US and Europe.

Militia groups were either rooted in their cities, in their tribes or in an extremist world-view. 

One of the most powerful militia armies was from the city of Misrata. It is the one that is leading  the fight to remove ISIS from Sirte. 

The US has been bombing Sirte with hundreds of raids, causing additional and continued misery on an incomprehensible scale.

I thought it would be useful to look backwards as to who said and did what. 

Nigel Farage:



Hillary Clinton:



Background on Clinton and Libya:




Thursday, December 08, 2016

Judge in Michigan, Appointed by President Obama, Halts the Recount . It's Over.

Michigan vote recount halted after judge says Jill Stein has no legal standing

The Green party candidate finished fourth in Michigan and didn’t have a chance of winning even after a recount and therefore isn’t ‘aggrieved’, the court said



Election workers recount votes as they begin the process of a statewide recount on Wednesday, before a judge’s ruling effectively ended it.

A federal judge who ordered Michigan to begin its recount effectively ended it on Wednesday, tying his decision to a state court ruling that found Green party candidate Jill Stein had no legal standing to request another look at ballots.
The ruling seals Donald Trump’s narrow electoral victory over Hillary Clinton in Michigan.

US district judge Mark Goldsmith agreed with Republicans who argued that the three-day recount must end a day after the state appeals court dealt a blow to the effort. Stein, who finished fourth in Michigan on 8 November, didn’t have a chance of winning even after a recount and therefore isn’t an “aggrieved” candidate, the appeals court said.

“Because there is no basis for this court to ignore the Michigan court’s ruling and make an independent judgment regarding what the Michigan legislature intended by the term ‘aggrieved’, plaintiffs have not shown an entitlement to a recount,” Goldsmith said of Stein and allies.

It was Goldsmith’s midnight ruling Monday that started the recount in Michigan. But his order dealt with timing – not whether a recount was appropriate. More than 20 counties so far are recounting ballots, and some are finished.

Earlier Wednesday, the Michigan elections board said the recount would end if Goldsmith extinguished his earlier order.

Stein got about 1% of the vote in three states where she’s pushed for recounts – Michigan, Pennsylvania and Wisconsin. Trump narrowly won all three.
Stein insists she’s more concerned about the accuracy of the election. She alleges, without evidence, that the elections may have been susceptible to hacking.
“They present speculative claims going to the vulnerability of the voting machinery – but not actual injury,” Goldsmith said.

A court hearing will be held Friday on a possible recount in Pennsylvania. Wisconsin’s recount, which started last week, has increased Trump’s margin of victory over Clinton thus far.

Clinton needed all three states to flip in order to take enough electoral votes to win the election. Trump has 306 electoral votes to Clinton’s 232; 270 are needed to win. Michigan has 16 electoral votes, Pennsylvania has 20 and Wisconsin has 10. Electors convene 19 December across the country to vote for president.

Sunday, December 04, 2016

This Should Make Your Blood Boil and Demand the Accountability of Clinton, Bush, Obama and Hillary Clinton.

Why everything you’ve read about Syria and Iraq could be wrong


 • DECEMBER 2, 2016
The Iraqi army, backed by US-led airstrikes, is trying to capture east Mosul at the same time as the Syrian army and its Shia paramilitary allies are fighting their way into east Aleppo. An estimated 300 civilians have been killed in Aleppo by government artillery and bombing in the last fortnight, and in Mosul there are reportedly some 600 civilian dead over a month.

Despite these similarities, the reporting by the international media of these two sieges is radically different.

In Mosul, civilian loss of life is blamed on Isis, with its indiscriminate use of mortars and suicide bombers, while the Iraqi army and their air support are largely given a free pass. Isis is accused of preventing civilians from leaving the city so they can be used as human shields.

Contrast this with Western media descriptions of the inhuman savagery of President Assad’s forces indiscriminately slaughtering civilians regardless of whether they stay or try to flee. The UN chief of humanitarian affairs, Stephen O’Brien, suggested this week that the rebels in east Aleppo were stopping civilians departing – but unlike Mosul, the issue gets little coverage.

One factor making the sieges of east Aleppo and east Mosul so similar, and different, from past sieges in the Middle East, such as the Israeli siege of Beirut in 1982 or of Gaza in 2014, is that there are no independent foreign journalists present. They are not there for the very good reason that Isis imprisons and beheads foreigners while Jabhat al-Nusra, until recently the al-Qaeda affiliate in Syria, is only a shade less bloodthirsty and generally holds them for ransom.
These are the two groups that dominate the armed opposition in Syria as a whole. In Aleppo, though only about 20 per cent of the 10,000 fighters are Nusra, it is they – along with their allies in Ahrar al-Sham – who are leading the resistance.
Unsurprisingly, foreign journalists covering developments in east Aleppo and rebel-held areas of Syria overwhelmingly do so from Lebanon or Turkey. A number of intrepid correspondents who tried to do eyewitness reporting from rebel-held areas swiftly found themselves tipped into the boots of cars or otherwise incarcerated.

Experience shows that foreign reporters are quite right not to trust their lives even to the most moderate of the armed opposition inside Syria. But, strangely enough, the same media organisations continue to put their trust in the veracity of information coming out of areas under the control of these same potential kidnappers and hostage takers. They would probably defend themselves by saying they rely on non-partisan activists, but all the evidence is that these can only operate in east Aleppo under license from the al-Qaeda-type groups.

It is inevitable that an opposition movement fighting for its life in wartime will only produce, or allow to be produced by others, information that is essentially propaganda for its own side. The fault lies not with them but a media that allows itself to be spoon-fed with dubious or one-sided stories.

For instance, the film coming out of east Aleppo in recent weeks focuses almost exclusively on heartrending scenes of human tragedy such as the death or maiming of civilians. One seldom sees shots of the 10,000 fighters, whether they are wounded or alive and well.

None of this is new. The present wars in the Middle East started with the US-led invasion of Iraq in 2003 which was justified by the supposed threat from Saddam Hussein’s possession of weapons of mass destruction (WMD). Western journalists largely went along with this thesis, happily citing evidence from the Iraqi opposition who predictably confirmed the existence of WMD.

Some of those who produced these stories later had the gall to criticise the Iraqi opposition for misleading them, as if they had any right to expect unbiased information from people who had dedicated their lives to overthrowing Saddam Hussein or, in this particular case, getting the Americans to do so for them.

Much the same self-serving media credulity was evident in Libya during the 2011 Nato-backed uprising against Muammar Gaddafi.

Atrocity stories emanating from the Libyan opposition, many of which were subsequently proved to be baseless by human rights organisations, were rapidly promoted to lead the news, however partial the source.

The Syrian war is especially difficult to report because Isis and various al-Qaeda clones made it too dangerous to report from within opposition-held areas. There is a tremendous hunger for news from just such places, so the temptation is for the media give credence to information they get second hand from people who could in practice only operate if they belong to or are in sympathy with the dominant jihadi opposition groups.

It is always a weakness of journalists that they pretend to excavate the truth when in fact they are the conduit rather than the originator of information produced by others in their own interests. Reporters learn early that people tell them things because they are promoting some cause which might be their own career or related to bureaucratic infighting or, just possibly, hatred of lies and injustice.
A word here in defence of the humble reporter in the field: usually, it is not he or she, but the home office or media herd instinct, that decides the story of the day. Those closest to the action may be dubious about some juicy tale which is heading the news, but there is not much they can do about it.

Thus, in 2002 and 2003, several New York Times journalists wrote stories casting doubt on WMD only to find them buried deep inside the newspaper which was led by articles proving that Saddam had WMD and was a threat to the world.

Journalists and public alike should regard all information about Syria and Iraq with reasoned scepticism. They should keep in mind the words of Lakhdar Brahimi, the former UN and Arab League Special Envoy to Syria. Speaking after he had resigned in frustration in 2014, he said that “everybody had their agenda and the interests of the Syrian people came second, third or not at all”.

The quote comes from The Battle for Syria: International Rivalry in the New Middle East by Christopher Phillips, which is one of the best informed and non-partisan accounts of the Syrian tragedy yet published. He judiciously weighs the evidence for rival explanations for what happened and why. He understands the degree to which the agenda and pace events in Syria were determined externally by the intervention of foreign powers pursuing their own interests.

Overall, government experts did better than journalists, who bought into simple-minded explanations of developments, convinced that Assad was always on the verge of being overthrown.

Phillips records that at a high point of the popular uprising in July 2011, when the media was assuming that Assad was finished, that the long-serving British ambassador in Damascus, Simon Collis, wrote that “Assad can still probably count on the support of 30-40 per cent of the population.”

The French ambassador Eric Chevallier was similarly cautious, only to receive a classic rebuke from his masters in Paris who said: “Your information does not interest us. Bashar al-Assad must fall and will fall.”

(Reprinted from The Independent by permission of author or representative)

Saturday, December 03, 2016

Foreign Policy with Trump and his Generals

Trump Loves Winning, but American Generals Have Forgotten How

Andrew J. Bacevich, TRUTHDIG

http://www.truthdig.com/report/item/trump_loves_winning_but_american_generals_have_forgotten_how_20161130/

Friday, December 02, 2016

The Bush - Clinton - Bush - Obama - Clinton Iraq Misery Continues

UN: Iraq Troop Deaths Soar With Mosul Invasion

Nearly 2,000 Iraqi Troops Killed in November Fighting


The first full month of Iraq’s Mosul offensive saw a precipitous rise in the already high monthly death tolls for combatants that have plagued Iraq in recent years, with the UN figures showing 1,959 Iraqi troops killed in the fighting, along with countless more wounded.
Between Iraq’s military, militias, and the Kurdish Peshmerga, some 50,000 troops invaded the area around Mosul. The Peshmerga is reporting that they lost a large chunk of fighters by themselves, with 1,600 killed and some 10,000 wounded since late October.
That of course is only a fraction of the overall death toll for the month of November, as some 2,227 ISIS fighters were also killed. Among civilians, the UN only counted 926 killed, but the figure is actually several hundred higher, with the UN continuing to exclude deaths in Anbar from their official figure.
All told, that puts the death toll at 5,719  for Iraq in November, which is roughly in line with October. the November figures show a six-fold increase in Iraqi troop deaths, with ISIS casualties on the decline.

Last 5 posts by Jason Ditz

Wednesday, November 30, 2016

BIG WIN FOR ASSANGE AND WIKILEAKS: UN Rejects UK Appeal on Favorable Julian Assange Ruling


UN ruling to free WikiLeaks’ Assange to stand after British appeal rejected

A national flag flies outside the Ecuadorian Embassy  in London, Britain © Peter Nicholls
The United Nations has rejected a UK appeal against its previous ruling in favor of Julian Assange as “inadmissible," thus requiring both London and Stockholm to end the WikiLeaks founder’s "arbitrary detention."

Earlier this year, a case was concluded at the UN, in which the body instructed the UK and Sweden to take immediate steps to ensure the WikiLeaks founder’s liberty, protection and enjoyment of fundamental human rights.

The UK has appealed the ruling twice, with the UN rejecting its second appeal on Wednesday by pronouncing it “not admissible," Justice for Assange reported, adding that the decision marks the end to London's "attempt to overturn the ruling."


“Now that all appeals are exhausted, I expect that the UK and Sweden will comply with their international obligations and set me free," a statement by Assange read, with the fugitive whistleblower calling his detention "an obvious and grotesque injustice."

The recent development in the Assange case at the UN forces the UK and Sweden - which are parties to his case - "to immediately put an end to Mr. Assange’s arbitrary detention and afford him monetary compensation," Justice for Assange stated, adding that a failure to do so would undermine the UN human rights' protection system.

Julian Assange faces potential, but as yet unfiled charges over rape allegations in Stockholm that date back to 2010. The whistleblower has always denied the accusations, saying that being taken to Sweden would pave the way for a further extradition to the US, where the government has launched a criminal investigation into WikiLeaks following a 2010 diplomatic cables leak.


He has been sheltered by the Ecuadorian Embassy in London since August 2012. Earlier this month, Swedish investigators came to interview Assange inside the embassy concerning rape charges, with the whistleblower saying he has "cooperated fully" with them.