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Comey Hearing: Little New, More Doubt About "RussiaGate" – NewsClick

Aaron Mate: It’s The Real News. I’m Aaron Mate. In his long awaited senate testimony, former FBI Director James Comey said President Trump pressured him to drop the investigation into former National Security Advisor Michael Flynn. Comey also said he takes the President at his word that he was fired over the Russia probe.

James Comey: I know I was fired because of something about the way I was conducting the Russian investigation was in some way putting pressure on him, and in some way irritating him, and he decided to fire me because of that. I can’t go farther than that.

Aaron Mate: Comey also revealed he documented his private conversations with the President because he didn’t trust Trump to tell the truth. And he said he shared details of those conversations to spur a Special Council. Trump critics hope Comey’s testimony will help build the case for obstruction of justice. They’re also hoping for evidence of Trump’s alleged collusion with Russia, but no evidence of that has emerged, and Comey didn’t offer any today. In fact, he said in a New York Times report that Trump officials had contact with Russians is not true. Joining me are two guests.

Max Blumenthal is an award winning journalist, best selling author, and Senior Editor of AlterNet’s Grayzone Project, and Coleen Rowley was a Special Agent for the FBI from 1981 to 2004. She is well known for blowing the whistle on the FBI’s failure to prevent the 9/11 attacks. Welcome to you both. Max, I’ll start with you. Your impressions of Comey’s testimony today?

Max Blumenthal: Well, the phrase that kept echoing in my head was Walter Mondale on Reagan’s economic plan, “Where’s the beef?” I want to know why Washington practically shut down and people were hanging out in bars playing drinking games for this testimony, when we didn’t really learn anything new. We learned that the investigation really focused on Michael Flynn. Only the Russian aspect of that investigation was even remotely discussed. While Flynn does possibly face investigation for not being forthright about his Turkey lobbying contract, we learned that Trump said in private what he also said in public, which is that he wants the investigators, the FBI, to lay off Flynn.

We learned that there was no investigation of Trump and that Trump pressured Comey to say so publicly. I don’t understand why there was no leak of the fact that there was no investigation of Trump, and finally we learned that Trump, according to Comey, was fine with the investigation proceeding. Then, there’s the other aspect that you see thousands of retweets about from mainstream Beltway journalists which is that the Muller investigation will look into whether Trump obstructed justice. Comey mentioned that it might do that, but it’s not clear that Trump is even under investigation for obstruction of justice, so beyond that, then we have just the allegation that Russia definitely hacked into the DNC server.

The big reveal there, which confirmed testimony that Comey gave earlier this year, is that the FBI, James Comey, the whole bureau, never had any access to the DNC server to investigate whether Russian hackers did indeed do that. This was kind of brushed over by not only the press, but by the Senate Republicans. There’s a lot to say about that, but I really don’t see why there’s so much focus on this when there’s so little beef there.

Aaron Mate: Yeah, Max. There’s a lot there, but on the point of the server, if the FBI didn’t access it, that meant it’s strictly under the control of this firm, Crowdstrike, right?

Max Blumenthal: Right.

Aaron Mate: Which has ties to the DNC, and they have been a major source for all these Russia hacking collusion claims.

Max Blumenthal: Well, Comey under questioning from Senator Richard Burr, the Republican from North Carolina, admitted that his bureau did not have access to the DNC servers that had been hacked, which is amazing, because they could easily subpoena those servers if they wanted to. What wasn’t mentioned was number one, Crowdstrike was the firm that the FBI relied on. Comey just referred to a very well respected firm, and it’s not a very well respected firm. It’s a largely discredited firm that had to retract a report it issued subsequent to its DNC report, claiming that Russia hacked into Ukraine’s artillery guiding apparatus through an electronic application. The Ukrainian military denied that. The who’s who of officials who designed the application for the Ukraine military denied it, and the report was basically retracted.

Jeffrey Carr absolutely savaged the report on the DNC, so there’s no way that Crowdstrike’s report on the DNC servers is necessarily even credible itself. Beyond that, what is Crowdstrike? It’s run by Dmitri Alperovitch, a Russian exile, who is a partisan figure, dedicated to undermining government of Russia. He is housed at the Atlantic Council and militaristic think tank in the Beltway, funding by NATO, Saudi Arabia, arms manufacturers, oil extraction industry, you name it. Also, funded by Victor Pinchuk. Ukrainian nationalist billionaire, and close friend of the Clintons who donated to the Clinton Foundation, and funded Bill Clinton’s birthday.

This firm, is in my opinion, partisan. It’s a for-profit firm, it’s shady, and for the FBI to rely entirely on this firm, and now for the whole mainstream media, the senate, Senator Mark Warner, whoever alleged that there was Russian hacking of the DNC, to even make that allegation, this raises serious questions about why this investigation is proceeding. Now, let’s say Trump is obstructing justice, he’s probably doing it as Comey admitted because there’s a cloud over his administration and you can’t get anything done because of the Russia investigation. That’s what the Democrats want, but it doesn’t establish that there was collusion between the Trump administration and Russia, and it definitely doesn’t establish that Russia hacked into the DNC servers. We need to see those servers and we need to ask why the FBI hasn’t subpoenad them, and what was their business with Crowdstrike?

Aaron Mate: Coleen Rowley, you’re a former FBI Special Agent. Your thoughts on today’s hearing?

Coleen Rowley: Well, I totally agree with Max Blumenthal. I notice there were a lot of contradictions in Comey’s testimony, and I wished I had been in the room to have shouted out a couple of questions. For instance, when Comey admitted that he was actually the one who directed the leak of his important memo written about Flynn’s being fired, that he had made sure that this went into a memo and then later of course, we all learned about that memo. When he testified that he told a colleague to give it to the press in order to get a special council, that should have been followed up on.

I mean, there were many possible follow-up questions. One of which was, “How many other leaks are you aware of? How many other leaks were you personally involved in as you were involved in the leak of your own memo?” Of course, nobody asks those questions. Another contradiction was when Comey testified that he had told Sessions that he was afraid to be alone with Trump. The story now is that on January 6th, it was purposely set up that Comey would be alone with Trump in order to brief him on what today he only called the “salacious memo.” He called it the “salacious information.” Now, that actually has to refer to the Steele dossier, and if you think about it, and actually Comey even testified, “Well, I didn’t want to be seen as J. Edgar Hoover.” What is he referring to? He’s referring to the fact that Hoover used sex related blackmail, even on people like Martin Luther King.

So, when this January 6th meeting occurs between … Alone, by the way, at the end of it, it’s alone with Comey and Trump, he tells him what they have on him, and not only does he tell them the sex related dossier, but he says, “It’s going to be leaked to the press right away. That’s why we’re telling you.” If you put yourself into Trump’s position, or going back to when this happened to Martin Luther King Jr’s position, you can see where Trump is obviously alarmed. Now, Comey testifies that’s why he decides to keep memos. I mean, again, the contradiction, there’s another contradiction here which is that when Comey and Muller have been through everything in the Bush administration after 9/11, where a form of martial law was instituted through John [inaudible 00:09:30] memos, and they learned of this, they learned about torture tactics, they learned about warrantless monitoring and all of the other highly illegal things that were taking place, it never occurred to James Comey that he should document things in a memo then.

But now when he’s briefing Trump on an unverified, salacious piece of information that he says is going to leak to the media right away, then he knows he has to document it. I mean, if I had been in the room, I would have asked a few questions about this because Comey is using … Maybe he’s unwitting too, in a way. Maybe he’s not even realizing that he has been used to some extent for these purposes, but he’s also a part of a whole ambiance here, where there is a lot of leaking, probably a lot of it is the same way Comey leaks, second hand, third hand, so that they are not the direct contacts with the media. I think there were a lot of questions that could have been asked that weren’t, and I totally agree that this is media hyperventilation, and the public has never learned, other than through this one report that they put out in January. All that really focused on was Russian media.

It focused on the fact that Russian media is propaganda, and that it, the media itself influenced the election. There was absolutely little or no proof shown, no evidence shown of any real hacking into the DNC, no proof or evidence of that.

Aaron Mate: Echoing on the point of Comey memo, and deliberately leaking, he also said that that was a deliberate decision because he wanted to spur a special council. Basically him saying there that he’s joining the ranks of Edward Snowden who also leaked because he wanted to see investigations and things changed.

Coleen Rowley: That’s exactly right. He could have been asked, “Did you have a special council in mind? Was that special council that you had in mind that you were attempting to get, was that one of your closest confidants and close colleagues, Robert Muller?” He certainly is not shy about touting how great Robert Muller is. They go all the way back, decades. They’ve stood together in different situations, they both unfortunately, I’ve written about this, but the media has a big forget right now in all of the debacles that they’ve actually been involved in. Muller has been criticized any number of times in front page stories for national security letters, for the anthrax investigation, going after the wrong person, even for his involvement in the Whitey Bulger investigation decades ago.

None of the media’s remembering that these are not the pillars of integrity that they are made out to be, and who knows if they haven’t talked or colluded before this. We don’t know. No one asked him about that.

Aaron Mate: Max, I want to play for you what I thought was a really striking moment, which is when Senator Angus King was questioning Comey, and King asked Comey whether closing out the Flynn investigation would hurt the Russia investigation. Comey’s answer to me was quite important. This is what happened.

Angus King: Would closing out the Flynn investigation have impeded the overall Russian investigation?

James Comey: No. Unlikely, except to the extent … There’s always a possibility if you have a criminal case against someone, and you bring in and squeeze them, you flip them, and they give you information about something else, but I saw the two as touching each other, but separate.

Aaron Mate: Max, that to me was an important moment because the assumption all along amongst Trump’s Democratic critics especially was that he was leaning on Comey to stop investgating Flynn because he wanted to stop the Russia investigation. Here Comey is saying is that Flynn and the Russia investigation are touching each other, but separate, and that stopping the Flynn investigation would not impede the overall Russia investigation.

Max Blumenthal: Right, but what would be left of the Russia investigation? It appears to focus almost entirely around Flynn, and then there’s a lot of speculation about other figures like Carter Page, Jared Kushner, who appears to have done something completely normal within the world of diplomacy, although it’s abnormal that the son-in-law of the President gets that role, but seeking a back channel with the Russian Ambassador to basically handle deconfliction and deescalation in Syria seems to be completely within the realms of diplomatic protocol, or diplomatic precedent, if you consider that Henry Kissinger had done the same thing with Moscow.

But here with Flynn, you have the only abnormal aspect, he had made a phone call to Ambassador Kislyak while he was out of the country, so his phone was tapped through a FISA court, and it proved that he had lied to Mike Pence who was in charge of vetting the new administration about contacts with foreign officials, but the FBI investigated that call, this was reported in the Washington Post in January, and found that nothing illicit took place there. Sanctions were discussed but nothing illicit, meaning illegal, took place in the call. I’m not sure what’s there. Comey was asked later, I don’t remember who the senator was, but it was a very revealing question. “Was the Flynn investigation close to being closed?” Comey said as he did over and over, that he was not comfortable discussing that in an open hearing.

That senator likely knew something about the investigation into Flynn being nearly closed. If the investigation into Flynn were closed, I don’t know what the Democrats would have to hang their hats on, really. I mean, Flynn took $40,000 from the Russian government to appear at RT’s 10th anniversary, and that was a speaking fee through his speaker’s bureau. He had that call with Kislyak. I don’t know what else is there, except that he lied to Pence. Again, when we’re talking about collusion with Russia here, I haven’t seen anything concrete, and the closest they have to that relationship is with Flynn who just seems to be an erratic figure who is obviously not above board ethically.

The idea of collusion is absurd, and once again, it seems absurd based on what they’d produced. As Coleen mentioned, there is the ODNI report, the Director of National Intelligence tried to prove what the 17 intelligence agencies had said was high confidence that Russia had hacked into or attempted to influence the election. By the way, among those 17 agencies is the Coast Guard. They’re really savvy Russia sleuths. Anyway, the ODNI report, as Coleen mentioned, 8 of the 23 pages dealt with RT, the Russian TV news outlet, which has a bureau in Washington and most of those 8 pages related to breaking the set, show, by left wing broadcast personality and journalist Abby Martin, whose show was canceled two years ago, two years before the report was even issued, two years before the election.

The report was absolute trash and no one mentions that it was trash, just as no one even bothers to mention that the 17 intelligence agencies just simply said they had high confidence. Again, where’s the beef?

Aaron Mate: Yeah, Coleen, I’m wondering if you can pick up on that.

Max Blumenthal: Or the borscht. Where’s the borscht?

Aaron Mate: Where’s the … Coleen, I’m wondering if you want to pick up on that and respond to this clip that I played of Comey saying that closing down the Flynn investigation wouldn’t really impact the Russia investigation, which as Max says, it makes you wonder what’s actually there?

Coleen Rowley: Yeah. I wasn’t sure when Comey testified, if there wasn’t some false statement. The same type of thing that got Scooter Libby into trouble. If the FBI had somehow talked to Flynn and he had said something similar to what he said to Pence, then maybe they were trying to make that into a false statement to the FBI. I wasn’t sure about that, but Comey also testified, and you just replayed it, that there was a chance that they were going to squeeze Flynn. So that means you’re trying to flip him then. You say you have information that’s incriminating about him, and then he will cooperate, and then tell you about whatever other collusion he might know about.

Of course, that was Comey’s answer there, and obviously that’s always the case, but it’s still in a case like this, where you have a President who really should be focusing on the terrorism problem. We have all kinds of attacks taking place in Europe, and now even in Iran, and elsewhere. We have really important things and to spend hours and really again, to suck all of the oxygen out of the media, out of the Trump administration, and their ability to really do anything that’s helpful here, to reduce terrorism, especially when it’s getting so bad, I think is unconscionable. I think this whole thing right now, if it’s not more than this report castigating the Russian media and saying they must be after us because we’re the shining city on the hill, if there’s nothing more than that, really the politicians in Washington really should get back to work and stop trying to use this political soap opera.

Aaron Mate: Yeah Max, on that point, your thoughts on this? Especially in the context of what Democrats chief focus has been. Jennifer Palmieri who was a top official on the Clinton campaign famously said that, “We should focus on Russia above all else.”

Max Blumenthal: Above all else.

Aaron Mate: You just went to this rally in Washington D.C. this past weekend, did a great report for us here on The Real News, speaking to protesters, demanding the truth about Trump and Russia. Representation of what a top issue this has been amongst Democratic voters.

Max Blumenthal: Yeah, and to pick up on Coleen’s point, two days ago Iran was attacked by ISIS. There was a slaughter in the Iranian parliament by ISIS, weeks after Saudi Arabian Crown Prince, Mohammad Bin Salman, warned that his country, that Saudi Arabia would strike inside Iran. This is as Qatar is under siege by land and air, as Turkish troops are moving into Qatar, to prevent a Saudi land invasion. Trump has taken credit for this disastrous and terrifying escalation in the Middle East, and not only that, in his two line statement which should have been read by Marlon Brando in the voice of Don Corleone, Trump said that countries that support terror, like Iran, deserve what they get.

Trump endorsed an ISIS attack and echoed ISIS propaganda. It’s the most vile thing I can remember an American President saying almost ever. It’s more vile than anything that upset liberals that Trump said, and we hear very little noise about it. Comey has sucked up all the oxygen, Russia’s sucked up all the oxygen, and let’s not forget Russia was desperate to coordinate with the United States against ISIS and Al-Qaeda in Syria, and we blew up that deal. Now, Jared Kushner, who I have absolutely no sympathy for, nothing but contempt for this figure, had attempted to establish a diplomatic back channel to take on ISIS and Al-Qaeda with Russia, and work out a deal in Syria.

He is now paying the price. Our national security state is behind this escalation, Trump is taking credit for it, and it just seems like no one is concerned within the mainstream media. I went to this rally as you mentioned, Rally For Truth on the National Mall two days ago. It was to get liberals excited, the resistance, the organized grassroots of the Democratic Party, get them excited about the Comey testimony and putting more pressure on Trump. What I saw there, and mostly older liberals, the kind of people who watch Rachel Maddow, as you wrote Aaron, in a really excellent report, most of her content is dedicated to Russia and her ratings are through the roof.

These are the same kind of people that I would meet at anti-war rallies over 10 years ago, the same kind of people that would go out and protest climate change and the denial of it, the same kind of people who would show up at Black Lives Matter rallies, and their energy is being chanelled into a militaristic neoconservative narrative, and the keynote speaker was supposed to be the star progressive of the senate, Jamie Raskin from Takoma Park, one of the most liberal districts in America, the son of Marcus Raskin, the Founder of IPS, the leftie think tank in Washington. He gets up and calls for regime change in Venezuela, Philippines, two countries with democratically elected governments, and of course Syria, and he says Russia is the head of the axis of evil in he called it the “unfree world.”

He just got up and sounded like a complete neocon, and when I confronted him on it, his whole argument fell apart, so what the hell is happening with progressives? We can’t just see this Russia investigation within a vacuum in Congress, or within a partisan bubble. It’s corrosive to the entire composition and direction of the progressive movement, the base of the Democratic Party, and it’s toxic to our political culture in general, and it’s not only overshadowing the fact that we stand on the brink of war, of a regional war in the Middle East, it is actually part of the narrative that’s pushing us towards war with the only country in the world that’s capable of striking us with nuclear weapons and destroying us all.

Aaron Mate: Max, just tying two issues that you raised there together, you mentioned President Trump’s response to the Iran attack was to essentially suggest that the Iranian government was responsible for it. Then, you had Democrats response to the Iran attack which came in the form of this vote yesterday in the senate. Many Democrats joining Republicans to vote for beginning debate on imposing new sanctions on Iran, the same day as the attack.

Max Blumenthal: Bernie Sanders was one of the only senators to stand up against the sanctions which were completely unneccesary. The sanctions are punishing Iran for having free and fair elections, and reelecting the the liberal President Hassan Rouhani, and ratifying this process of internal reform. It’s punishing Iran, only six senators stood with Bernie Sanders, and he said, “How dare we do this on the day that Iran was attacked by the force that is supposed to be our adversary?” It was the force that Trump said that he would smash, that he would destroy, and we’re talking about ISIS.

When Trump went to Riyadh, in the heart of this fake global counter-terrorist center, what he did was downgrade ISIS on the threat level and upgrade Iran, a country that’s cooperating with us in the fight against ISIS, which has just signed a landmark nuclear deal with us, and so I wonder where is the concern for national security within the national security state? This is all about empire, and it’s not only delusional, it’s incredibly dangerous. The Russia hysteria that’s been stoked even by progressive media is of a part with it.

Aaron Mate: Coleen Rowley, taking this back to Comey, your final thoughts on what we saw today and where you want to see the conversation go around the Trump/Russia investigation going forward?

Coleen Rowley: Well, I would hope that people would pick up on Max Blumenthal’s last thoughts which I totally agree with. This is simply distracting from the real issues. This war on terror that began, by the way, with Muller onboard and Comey onboard shortly thereafter, doing some terrible things, has actually increased terrorism exponentially, and because there’s no good journalism and there’s no good writing about this, certainly not good questions by the politicians. They are all distracted by this new wrinkle on Russia, completely distracted. No one is dealing with the real problem, and the real problem is that Al-Qaeda and its like groups in the Mid East is going full force. We’re actually making things worse, and so I would like to see it go where you do have some people starting to write about this.

I think right now we do need a little more bipartisan … We need less of the war mongering Rachel Maddow bipartisanship, and we need some more critical thinking to break through this groupthink that Max just described so well.

Aaron Mate: Well, that’s what we’re all trying to do, and we really appreciate you both joining us for this discussion. Max Blumenthal, award winning journalist, best selling author, Senior Editor of AlterNet’s Grayzone Project, and Coleen Rowley, a former Special Agent for the FBI. Thanks to you both.

Max Blumenthal: Thanks a lot.

Coleen Rowley: Thanks.

Aaron Mate: And thank you for joining us on The Real News.

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Comey Hearing: Little New, More Doubt About "RussiaGate" – NewsClick

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Civil War: Progressive media starting to push back against Democrat … – legal Insurrection (blog)

As Comey prepares to testify, Democrats ignore progressives questions about Russia

Progressive media outlets have been feeding the resist we much mobs since President Trumps election, and one of their favorite lines of attack has been hammering the Russia collusion / hacking non-story. Recently, however, progressive sites have been warning against pursuing it . . . even as Democrat politicians stay focused on it, seemingly to the exclusion of all else. As Comey gets ready to testify before the Senate Intelligence Committee, it will be interesting to see how this all plays out.

Among those calling for Democrats to pivot away from the Russia story are the editor and publisher of The Nation, the Daily Kos, the Young Turks. What is not entirely clear is why they are urging this shift after spending so much devoted, almost single-mindedly, to it.

The Nations editor and publisher Katrina Vanden Huevel states that she thinks the focus on Russia may distract from their ability to combat the rest of Trumps agenda. She notes, too, that the left has become too hyperbolic about Trump administration or campaign officials meeting with Russians.

Townhall reports:

The Nations editor and publisher Katrina Vanden Huevel warned that Democrats obsession about Russia was a mistake and could torpedo efforts to effectively combat the Trump agenda. Granted, the latter part is typical run-of-the-mill progressive talk, The Nation is a left wing magazine, but in March, Vanden Huevel ripped into Democrats for the Neo-McCarthyite furor that has engulfed the party over Russia.

She noted that Russian interference during the 2016 election needs to be investigated, but the political Left has devolved into thinking that mere meetings with Russian officials are akin to treason.

Not only is this nonsensical, but it is self-defeating. Not noted by Hueval is that their hand-wringing and clothes-rending over things like Flynn sitting next to Putin at a formal eventa table at which 2016 Green Party candidate Jill Stein was also sittingdoesnt just distract from the resistances anti-Trump agenda, but it also makes them less credible.

The Daily Kos sounded the alarm last month, stating that the focus on Russia was going to hurt Democrat prospects in 2018.

Russia is a critical story. But its notthe story that affects Americas dinner table, health, or financial well-being. Many of us in the liberal intelligentsialove the intricacies of this story. After all, who would believe that the Republican leadership would be so soft on their patriotism that theyrewilling to put their heads in the sand and play dumb?

. . . . The Trump voter knew that Trump had some relationship with the Russians. In fact, Fox News and Republicans were praising Vladimir Putin as a better leader than President Obama. The Trump voter saw a candidate whorefused to criticize Putin, regardlessof whatever vile act he committed.

. . . . In watching the hyperventilation on Russia, it is clear that progressivesare repeating the same mistakes of thelast several elections that have decimated the Democratic bench throughout the states and in the federal government.The peoples party, the Democrats, are out of step with the people.

Theyre not wrong.

The Washington Post notes that reporters such as Max Blumenthal and the Young Turks Michael Tracey are putting pressure on Democrat politicians regarding their fixation on the Russia story.

Blumenthal directly asks Jamie Raskin (D-MD) if hes been feeding lies to progressive journalists and bloggers.

Rep. Jamie B. Raskin (D-Md.) strolled offstage and straight into quicksand. Max Blumenthal, a dogged reporter working with the Baltimore-based Real News Network, brought Raskin on camera to ask what, exactly, Democrats wanted to know.

We need an independent commission to get all the facts, Raskin said, offering the litany of possible Trump-Russia ties that hed given to progressive and mainstream media for months.

Blumenthal wasnt sold. You said that Russia attempted to hack [Emmanuel] Macron in the French elections, he said.

Well, we know that! said Raskin.

The Washington Post has reported that the French cyber-intelligence agency has said that its not true, said Blumenthal.

Well, certainly, Macron was convinced of it, said Raskin.

It was reported days ago, said Blumenthal.

For four minutes, until the congressman was pulled away by a staffer, an award-winning journalist with bylines at the Nation and Salon asked whether hed been telling bellicose lies about Russia and the Trump team. Why arent we talking about jobs or racism? Blumenthal asked.

. . . . Michael Tracey, a reporter for the Young Turks news network who had Rep. Maxine Waters (D-Calif.) push past him after he asked skeptical Russia questions, asked why Democrats were so satisfied to keep searching for a smoking gun that never appears.

This whole issue has been characterized from this lurching, ramping up of expectations that the smoking gun will be discovered imminently, said Tracey. Thats how this story has played out. Its sort of monomaniacal.

Traceys question regarding the reason Democrat politicians are so intent to keep the Russia story alive may have been answered by Red State.

Right now the Democrats are raising money off this meme. They will continue to raise money off it as the investigation pays out. In the end, when nothing is uncovered, they will raise money off the GOP tools, like Comey, who led the investigation. They will gamble that outrage will generate income and tribalism will prevent any price being extracted at the polls.

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Stop adding fuel to the ‘terrorism’ fire – Jordan Times

Stop adding fuel to the 'terrorism' fire
Jordan Times
The other is a recent Alternet article by American journalist Max Blumenthal. In the The Manchester Bombing is Blowback from the West's Interventions and Covert Proxy Wars, Blumenthal explains how the US and the UK helped bring Jihadists like Salem …

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UK Polls: Labour’s Jeremy Corbyn Closes in on Right Wing Theresa May – Google (press release)

LONDON: This June 8, British voters will decide whether or not to continue with the conservative status quo, or take a chance on a new kind of left-wing politics that would represent a firm break with the orthodoxies of the ruling Conservative Party and the Labour Partys establishment wing.

Jeremy Corbyn, the Labour Partys intrepid new socialist leader, has pledged to drastically change his society. His partys leftist manifesto calls for more funding for the socialized health care system, nationalizing the countrys tattered railways and putting a stop to massive cuts in social spending.

Yet Corbyn has also taken a step further than others in his party have dared, pledging to do what to many progressives remains a shibboleth: oppose war and imperialism and limit the violent blowback they have caused back home.

The liberal political establishment in the U.S. and across Western Europe has uncritically supported wars from Iraq, to Libya, to the push for regime change in Syria, often in the name of humanitarianism and civilian protection.

While many progressives have portrayed the so-called War on Terror as an unfortunate but necessary evil, Corbyn has made a crucial break with the norms of the political establishment, condemning the imperial wars the West has waged and emphasizing that this military intervention has only fueled the violent extremism the British government claims to be combating.

A new series of polls shows Corbyn has slashed Prime Minister Theresa May’s enormous lead to just 3 points, and has surged ahead of her in London.

On May 22, a man detonated a suicide bomb at a concert in Manchester, England, killing two dozen civilians and wounding more than 100, many of them children. The Salafi-jihadist group ISIS took credit for the attack.

Salman Abedi, the attacker, was a British citizen not a refugee from a family that was part of the Western government-backed right-wing Libyan opposition to longtime leader Muammar Qaddafi.

As Max Blumenthal detailed in an article on AlterNet, the British intelligence services played a direct role in supporting Islamist militancy in Libya, working closely with the Al Qaeda-affiliated Libyan Islamic Fighting Group (LIFG) in a cynical bid to topple Qaddafi. When NATO escalated 2011 protests in Libya into an explicit regime change operation, the U.S. and U.K. governments encouraged foreign fighters to travel to the North African nation to help fight. Among those who took the MI6 ratline from Manchester to Libya was Ramadan Abedi, the father of the bomber.

During her tenure as Home Secretary, Theresa May was in charge of overseeing MI6 operations. It was during this time that Libya was flooded with fighters from the U.K., with passports being handed even to British-Libyan citizens under government control orders for their alleged ties to extremist groups.

According to Akram Ramadan, a mechanic from Manchester who fought with the LIFG, roughly three-quarters of all foreign fighters in Libya arrived from his hometown in Britain.

With Ramadan Abedi on the Libyan front lines, his children eventually followed in his footsteps. His youngest son, Hamza, arrived in the country and joined up with an ISIS affiliate, while Salman took a trip to Libya just days before the bombing. Abedi had also reportedly visited Syria, apparently to make common cause with the jihadist groups battling the Syrian government with arms and support from the West and its Gulf allies.

In the past, right-wing politicians have successfully exploited terror attacks like the kind carried out in Manchester, stoking fear and anti-Muslim bigotry to shift public opinion. Jeremy Corbyn, a left-wing anti-war stalwart, upended the dynamic by introducing a counter-narrative that challenged violent extremism at its roots.

While many liberals spoke of the bombing as a mere tragedy, whitewashing its politicized nature, Corbyn pointed his finger at interventionism and empire.

In a groundbreaking speech on May 26, Jeremy Corbyn pledged to change what we do abroad. He linked Western wars of aggression to the plague of violent jihadist attacks targeting soft targets in the West.

Many experts, including professionals in our intelligence and security services, have pointed to the connections between wars our government has supported or fought in other countries, such as Libya, and terrorism here at home, Corbyn noted.

Many experts have pointed to the connections between wars our government has supported or fought in other countries & terrorism here at home pic.twitter.com/6nlWf67WsI

Jeremy Corbyn (@jeremycorbyn) May 26, 2017

The leftist Labour leader forcefully condemned the horrific terror and the brutal slaughter of innocent people. But unlike his political peers, Corbyn did not depoliticize the bombing. He explained that in order to prevent future attacks, Britains foreign policy must change. Foreign wars may not be the only thing fueling this violence, he noted, but they are a key factor.

We must be brave enough to admit the War on Terror is simply not working, Corbyn emphasized. We need a smarter way to reduce the threat from countries that nurture terrorists and generate terrorism.

That assessment in no way reduces the guilt of those who attack our children, he added. Those terrorists will forever be reviled and implacably held to account for their actions.

Ultimately, in order to defeat terrorism, Corbyn stressed, we must understand what fuels it: Protecting this country requires us to be both strong against terrorism and strong against the causes of terrorism.

Jeremy Corbyns comments provoked a predictable festival of mock outrage from his Tory opponents, who borrowed a line from their Republican counterparts across the pond and accused him of denigrating the “troops. The attacks were accompanied by a wave of tabloid headlines alleging that Corbyn had fostered deep friendships with terrorist groups from Hamas to the IRA.

The Conservative Party issued a ham-handed attack, claiming the Labour leaders speech has shown today why he is not up to the job of keeping our country safe. The statement continued, Jeremy Corbyn has a long record of siding with our enemies. Britains Conservative security minister smeared Corbyn, claiming his speech justified terrorism.

Centrist Blairites also chimed in. The liberal interventionist and pro-Israel activist Nick Cohen lashed out at Corbyn, writing a hackneyed op-ed that utterly ignored the Western wars he has wholeheartedly supported that have destabilized the Middle East and fueled Salafi-jihadism. Cohen instead framed violent extremism as a matter of values, subtly reinforcing the line of far-right Islamophobes like UKIP leader Nigel Farage.

The corporate media did its part, tarring and feathering the leftist Labour leader. A columnist at the right-wing Telegraph published a hatchet job not so subtly titled Jeremy Corbyn has long hated Britain.

Analysis from Loughborough Universitys Center for Research in Communication and Culture showed the almost comically ridiculous bias Labour faces in the British media.

Few media outlets, even ostensibly left-leaning newspapers like the Guardian, acknowledged that, in reality, the policies pursued by the U.K.s right-wing government, with the support of Theresa May, have led to the spread of the type of violent extremism that fueled the Manchester attack.

Virtually no one cited the British government reports that corroborate Corbyns argument.

Behind the bluster, multiple reports released by the British government backed up Corbyns remarks.

In 2016, the British House of Commons bipartisan Foreign Affairs Committee published a detailed report on the 2011 war in Libya exposing that the NATO military intervention had been sold on lies.

Among the deceptions deployed to justify NATO regime change was the myth that the Libyan opposition was politically moderate. The Foreign Affairs Committee report on the other hand noted that the British government failed to identify that the threat to civilians was overstated and that the rebels included a significant Islamist element.

The House of Commons report added, It is now clear that militant Islamist militias played a critical role in the rebellion from February 2011 onwards.

Moreover, the U.K. governments enormous, decade-long Iraq Inquiry, popularly known as the Chilcot Report, revealed in 2016 that before the 2003 invasion of Iraq, British intelligence officials had repeatedly warned that the joint American-British war would fuel and empower Salafi-jihadist groups like al-Qaeda.

Despite these reports, centrist former Labour prime minister Tony Blair teamed up with the U.S. in an invasion that the United Nations explicitly said violated international law. Blair admitted in 2015 that the Iraq War, in which he played President George W. Bushs junior partner, gave rise to ISIS.

With mere days before the election, Jeremy Corbyn has managed to close the once large chasm between his party and the Tories. And he has done this despite enormous odds and tremendous opposition from his partys ossified establishment.

When the snap election was scheduled by Prime Minister May in April, it seemed a Tory victory was all but certain. In the months since, support for Labour has slowly increased. On May 31, leading pollster YouGov put Labour just 3 percent behind the Conservatives, which could lose its parliamentary majority. Corbyn and May are neck and neck.

Corbyn has managed to do this in spite of a level of media bias that is almost unprecedented in British politics. Even the Guardian has treated Corbyn as a pariah.

Yet the British public has rejected the elite medias torrent of attacks, sending a surge of support for Labour. While the political establishment and the corporate media have been unable to explain why the scourge of violent extremism continues, Corbyn has provided the public the answers it has been desperately seeking. His deft response to the Manchester attack appears to be paying dues.

For years, Corbyn has been an outspoken, principled critic of Western wars. He has long been a leader in the Stop the War Coalition. (In a symbolic anecdote, Chelsea Clinton interrupted a Stop the War Coalition event in 2001 that featured Corbyn as a speaker.)

Jeremy Corbyn is trying to mainstream a left-wing alternative to the discredited centrist and the far-right fringe. Rather than running from his political identity, he has put it front and center, reminding British voters after Manchester, I have spent my political life working for peace and human rights and to bring an end to conflict and devastating wars.

Corbyn may not beat the odds and unseat May, but his unexpected surge in the polls has served as a stunning rebuke to the militaristic political elite, and gives a glimmer of hope to those who still imagine an end to the forever war.

(Ben Norton is a reporter for AlterNet’s Grayzone Project)

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After a Terrorist Attack, Spain Rejected Its Hawks. Will Britain? | The … – The Nation.

Spanish voters turned against the incumbent conservative party after the 2004 Madrid bombings.

Prime Minister Theresa May speaks outside 10 Downing Street after an attack left seven people dead and dozens injured, June 4, 2017. (Reuters / Hannah McKay)

On March 11, 2004, just a few days before a critical election, a series of nearly simultaneous bombs exploded on four commuter trains in Madrid, killing over 190 people. Before the bombing, the Socialist Party (PSOE) was about five points behind in the polls, but it ended up winning by five points. The party promised that if it won the election, Spain would get out of Iraq in six months. That happened after only five. I can find no evidence of any Middle Eastrelated terrorism in Spain since, though there apparently have been thwarted plots.

This history may offer a critical lesson to Britain now, just days away from an election following a series of attacks near London Bridge. Incumbent Prime Minister Theresa May has backed virtually every war that Britain has participated in. In contrast, Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn had criticized virtually every war.

The situation in Spain was heightened by the incumbent government of Jos Mara Aznar (now a director at Rupert Murdochs News Corporation), which blamed the Basque group ETA for the attack. This move certainly crystallized public disgust with the government. But why did the government lie about ETAs involvement in the first place? It assessedprobably correctlythat the Spanish people would be furious that so much blood had been shed in Madrid in retaliation for Spains involvement in the invasion of Iraq, which was already deeply unpopular.

THE STAKES ARE HIGHER NOW THAN EVER. GET THE NATION IN YOUR INBOX.

Contrast the path that Spain took with that of France, which had originally criticized the invasion of Iraq. Since then, France has become more interventionist, particularly in Syriaa former French colony. It has also become far more of a target of terrorism in the name of Islam in recent years.

Its noteworthy that the interrelation between the 2004 Madrid attacks and the election has been either ignored or totally misrepresented. Last year, following the massacre in Orlando by Omar Mateen, in a discussion about how that attack might affect the US election, Dina Temple-Raston, NPRs counterterrorism correspondent exactly reversed the apparent lesson of Madrid. She claimed that after the Madrid attack the more conservative party won. NPR refused to offer an on-air correction for this brazen falsehood.

Of course, the election of a Corbyn government doesnt guarantee an end to terrorist attacks in Britain. For one, its not clear that Corbyn will adhere to a pro-peace, non-interventionist stance. Recently, he has seemed to distance himself from prior positions, like withdrawal from NATO. While the Socialist Party in Spain pledged to withdraw from Iraq, the Labor Manifesto contains no such explicit pledge.

Theresa May, however, has supported interventionist policies that helped create the conditions for radicalization. Specifically, while May was home secretary, the UK allowed extremists from the Libya Islamic Fighting Group (of which the Manchester bomber was a member) to freely travel to Libya to take out Muammar Gaddafi (see John Pilger at Consortium News, Paul Mason at The Guardian, and Max Blumenthal at Alternet). This is a point that Corbyn has raised in less specific but notable terms: Many experts have pointed to the connections between wars our government has supported or fought in other countries and terrorism here at home. Hes also added: We do need to have some difficult conversations, starting with Saudi Arabia and other Gulf states that have funded and fueled extremist ideology.

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RT America — June 2, 2017 – RT

Published time: 3 Jun, 2017 02:03

Netanyahu willing to overlook Trumps embassy flip-flop journalist

As a candidate, Donald Trump emphatically promised to move the US embassy in Israel from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem. But President Trump has just signed a waiver to keep the embassy at its current location, much to the chagrin of the Israeli right-wing. The reason given for delaying to the move is so that the US can maintain the semblance of neutrality in the Palestinian question. Author and journalist Max Blumenthal joins RT Americas Manila Chan to give his reaction.

Twitter warfare continues over Hillarys blame game

Following Hillary Clinton’s recent claims that DNC data was mediocre to poor, non-existent, wrong and a factor in her failure, Andrew Therriault, a former DNC staffer with her campaign, lashed out on Twitter, pointing out that their models had correctly predicted trouble in Michigan, Wisconsin and Pennsylvania but that Clintons inner circle thought they knew better. He has since deleted his Twitter comments and apologized for his response. Meanwhile, President Donald Trump blasted Hillary Clinton for her finger-pointing, in turn provoking venom from her. Around and around it goes.

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RT America — June 2, 2017 – RT

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Jeremy Corbyn Dares to Speak Truth About the ‘War on Terror’ – AlterNet

Jeremy Corbyn – Take Back Our World! – Global Justice Now. Cropped. 21 February 2015, 00:00 Photo Credit: By Global Justice Now (Jeremy Corbyn) [CC BY 2.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/2.0)], via Wikimedia Commons

This June 8, British voters will decide whether or not to continue with the conservative status quo, or take a chance on a new kind of left-wing politics that would represent a firm break with the orthodoxies of the ruling Conservative Party and the Labour Partys establishment wing.

Jeremy Corbyn, the Labour Partys intrepid new socialist leader, has pledged to drastically change his society. His partys leftist manifesto calls for more funding for the socialized health care system, nationalizing the countrys tattered railways and putting a stop to massive cuts in social spending. Yet Corbyn has also taken a step further than others in his party have dared, pledging to do what to many progressives remains a shibboleth: oppose war and imperialism and limit the violent blowback they have caused back home.

The liberal political establishment in the U.S. and across Western Europe has uncritically supported wars from Iraq to Libya to the push for regime change in Syria, often in the name of humanitarianism and civilian protection. While many progressives have portrayed the so-called war on terror as an unfortunate but necessary evil, Corbyn has made a crucial break with the norms of the political establishment, condemning the imperial wars the West has waged and emphasizing that this military intervention has only fueled the violent extremism the British government claims to be combatting.

Manchester Attack and Government Complicity

On May 22, a man detonated a suicide bomb at a concert in Manchester, killing two dozen and wounding more than 100, many of them children. The jihadist group ISIS took credit for the attack. Salman Abedi, the attacker, was a British citizen, not a refugee, from a family that was part of the Western government-backed right-wing Libyan opposition to longtime leader Muammar Gaddafi.

As Max Blumenthal detailedin an article on AlterNet,the British intelligence services played a direct role in supporting Islamist militancy in Libya, working closely with the Al Qaeda-affiliated Libyan Islamic Fighting Group (LIFG) in a cynical bid to topple Gaddafi. When NATO escalated2011 protests in Libya into an explicit regime change operation, the U.S. and U.K. governments encouraged foreign fighters to travel to the North African nation to help fight. Among those who took the MI6 ratline from Manchester to Libya was Ramadan Abedi, the father of the bomber.

During her tenure as Home Secretary, Theresa May was in charge of overseeing MI6 operations. It was during this time that Libya was flooded with fighters from Britain, with passports being handed even to British-Libyan citizens under government control orders for their alleged ties to extremist groups.

According to Akram Ramadan, a mechanic from Manchester who fought with the LIFG, roughly three-quarters of all foreign fighters in Libya arrived from his hometown in the U.K.

With Ramadan Abedi on the Libyan front lines, his sons eventually followed in his footsteps. His youngest son, Hamza, arrived in the country and joined up with an ISIS affiliate, while Salman took a trip to Libya just days before the bombing. Abedi had also reportedly visited Syria, apparently to make common cause with the jihadist groups battling the Syrian government with arms and support from the West and its Gulf allies.

In the past, right-wing politicians had successfully exploited terror attacks like the kind carried out in Manchester, stoking fear and anti-Muslim bigotry to shift public opinion. Jeremy Corbyn, a left-wing anti-war stalwart, upended the dynamic by introducing a counter-narrative that challenged violent extremism at its roots.

While many liberals spoke of the bombing as a mere tragedy, whitewashing its politicized nature, Corbyn pointed his finger at interventionism and empire.

Groundbreaking Speech

In a groundbreaking speech on May 26, Jeremy Corbyn pledged to change what we do abroad. He linked Western wars of aggression to the plague of violent jihadist attacks targeting soft targets in the West.

Many experts, including professionals in our intelligence and security services, have pointed to the connections between wars our government has supported or fought in other countries, such as Libya, and terrorism here at home, Corbyn noted.

The leftist Labour leader forcefully condemned the horrific terror and the brutal slaughter of innocent people. But unlike his political peers, Corbyn did not depoliticize the bombing. He explained that in order to prevent future attacks, Britains foreign policy must change. Foreign wars may not be the only thing fueling this violence, he noted, but they are a key factor.

We must be brave enough to admit the war on terror is simply not working, Corbyn emphasized. We need a smarter way to reduce the threat from countries that nurture terrorists and generate terrorism.

That assessment in no way reduces the guilt of those who attack our children, he added. Those terrorists will forever be reviled and implacably held to account for their actions.

Ultimately, in order to defeat terrorism, Corbyn stressed, we must understand what fuels it: Protecting this country requires us to be both strong against terrorism and strong against the causes of terrorism.

The Medias War on Corbyn

Jeremy Corbyns comments provoked a predictable festival of mock outrage from his Tory opponents, who borrowed a line from their Republican counterparts across the pond and accused him of denigrating the “troops. The attacks were accompanied by a wave of tabloid headlines alleging that Corbyn had fostered deep friendships with terrorist groups from Hamas to the IRA.

TheConservative Party issued a ham-handed attack, claiming the Labour leaders speech has shown today why he is not up to the job of keeping our country safe. The statement continued, Jeremy Corbyn has a long record of siding with our enemies. Britains Conservative security minister smeared Corbyn, claiming his speech justified terrorism.

Centrist Blairites also chimed in. The liberal interventionist and pro-Israel activist Nick Cohen lashed out at Corbyn, writing a hackneyed op-ed that utterly ignored the Western wars he has wholeheartedly supported that have destabilized the Middle East and fueled Salafi-jihadism. Cohen instead framed violent extremism as a matter of values, subtly reinforcing the line of far-right Islamophobes like UKIPs Nigel Farage.

The corporate media did its part, tarring and feathering the leftist Labour leader. A columnist at the right-wing Telegraph published a hatchet job not so subtly titled, Jeremy Corbyn has long hated Britain.

Analysis from Loughborough Universitys Center for Research in Communication and Culture showed the almost comically ridiculous bias Labour faces in the British media.

Few media outlets, even ostensibly left-leaning newspapers like the Guardian, acknowledged that in reality, the policies pursued by the U.K.s right-wing government, with the support of Theresa May, have led to the spread of the type of violent extremism that fueled the Manchester attack.

Virtually no one cited the British government reports that corroborate Corbyns argument.

The Governments Own Findings Back Corbyn Up

Behind the bluster, multiple reports released by the British government backed up Corbyns remarks.

In 2016, the British House of Commons bipartisan Foreign Affairs Committee published a detailed report on the 2011 war in Libya exposing that the NATO military intervention had beensold on lies.

Among the deceptions deployed to justify NATO regime change was the myth that the Libyan opposition was politically moderate. The Foreign Affairs Committee report on the other hand noted that the British government failed to identify that the threat to civilians was overstated and that the rebels included a significant Islamist element.

The House of Commons report added, It is now clear that militant Islamist militias played a critical role in the rebellion from February 2011 onwards.

Moreover, the U.K. governments enormous, decade-long Iraq Inquiry, popularly known as the Chilcot Report,revealed in 2016 that before the 2003 invasion of Iraq, British intelligence officials had repeatedly warned that the joint American-British war would fuel and empowerSalafi-jihadist groups like al-Qaeda.

Despite these reports, centrist former Labour prime minister Tony Blair teamed up with U.S. President George W. Bush, in an invasion that the United Nations explicitly said violated international law. Blair admitted in 2015 that the Iraq war, in which he played Bushs junior partner, gave riseto ISIS.

Closing the Gap

With mere days before the election, Jeremy Corbyn has managed to close the once large chasm between his party and the Tories. And he has done this despite enormous odds and tremendous opposition from his partys ossified establishment.

When the snap election was scheduled by Prime Minister May in April, it seemed a Tory victory was all but certain. In the months since, support for Labour has slowly increased. On May 31, leading pollster YouGov put Labour just 3 percent behind the Conservatives, which could lose its parliamentary majority. Corbyn and May are neck and neck.

Corbyn has managed to do this in spite of a level of media bias that is almost unprecedented in British politics. Even the Guardian has treated Corbyn as a pariah.

Yet the British public has rejected the elite medias torrent of attacks, sending a surge of support for Labour. While the political establishment and the corporate media have been unable to explain why the scourge of violent extremism continues, Corbyn has provided the public the answers it has been desperately seeking. His deft response to the Manchester attack appears to be paying dues.

For years, Corbyn has been an outspoken, principled critic of Western wars. He has long been a leader in the Stop the War Coalition. (In a symbolic anecdote, Chelsea Clinton interrupted a Stop the War Coalition event in 2003 that featured Corbyn as a speaker.)

Jeremy Corbyn is trying to mainstream a left-wing alternative to the discredited centrist and the far-right fringe. Rather than running from his political identity, he has put it front and center, reminding British voters after Manchester, I have spent my political life working for peace and human rights and to bring an end to conflict and devastating wars.

Corbyn may not beat the odds and unseat May, but his unexpected surge in the polls has served as a stunning rebuke to the militaristic political elite, and gives a glimmer of hope to those who still imagine an end to the forever war.

Ben Norton is a reporter for AlterNet’s Grayzone Project. You can follow him on Twitter at @BenjaminNorton.

Max Blumenthal is a senior editor of the Grayzone Project atAlterNet, and the award-winning author of Goliath andRepublican Gomorrah. His most recent book isThe 51 Day War: Ruin and Resistance in Gaza.Follow him on Twitter at @MaxBlumenthal.

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The Manchester Bomber Is The Spawn Of Hillary And Barack’s Excellent Libyan Adventure – Mintpress News (blog)

Manchester is the latest iteration of a scenario weve gone through so many times now, like some groundhog-day dream.

An armed Libyan rebel shoots an AK-47 at a poster of Muhammar Gaddafi in the captured rebel town of Ras-Lanuf in the east of the country (Photo: Andrey Stenin/Sputnik)

On November 20, 2015, two jihadi militants attacked the Radisson Blu hotel in Bamako, Mali, seizing about 100 hostages and leaving bodies strewed across the building. When it was over, 22 people (including the attackers) had been killed. As the New York Times reported:

Mali has been crippled by instability since January, 2012, when rebels and Al Qaeda-linked militants armed with the remnants of late Libyan leader Col. Muammar el-Qaddafis arsenal began advancing through the countrys vast desert in the north and capturing towns.

Not much has been made in American and Western media of this attack. Most of the dead were Malians, Russians, and Chineseand, hey, it was in Africa; Shit happens. Especially there. How many people reading this even remember that it happened? Follow-up analysis? It was Africa. That kind of coverage. (I did post about it at the time, making many points that unfortunately bear repeating here.)

Last Monday, jihadi suicide bomber Salman Abedi blew himself up at an Ariana Grande concert in Manchester, England, killing 22 people. Salman grew up in an anti-Qaddafi Libyan immigrant family. In 2011, his father, Ramadan Abedi, along with other British Libyans (including one who was under house arrest), was allowed to go [to Libya], no questions asked, to join the Libyan Islamic Fighting Group (LIFG), an al-Qaeda-affiliate, to help overthrow Qaddafi. In Manchester, as Max Blumenthal puts it, in his excellent Alternet piece, it was all part of the rat line operated by the MI5, which hustled anti-Qaddafi Libyan exiles to the front lines of the war. In Manchester, Salman lived near a number of LIFG militants, including an expert bomb maker. This was a tough bunch, and everybodyincluding the cops and Salmans Muslim neighborsknew they werent the Jets and the Sharks. As Middle East Eye reports, he was known to security services, and some of his acquaintances had reported him to the police via an anti-terrorism hotline.

Could it be any clearer? The Abedi family was part of a protected cohort of Salafist proxy soldiers that have been used by the West to destroy the Libyan state. There are a number of such cohorts around the world that have been used for decades to overthrow relatively prosperous and secular, but insufficiently compliant, governments in the Arab and Muslim worldand members of those groups have perpetrated several blowback attacks in Western countries, via various winding roads. In this case, the direct line from Libya to Mali to Manchester is particularly easy to trace.

Too bad more people in Britain and the West hadnt paid attention to what happened in Mali two years ago. Too bad they hadnt thought too much about the chain of jihadi proxy interventions that the United States and its allies, or about the connection with the chain of jihadi attacks in Western countries. Too bad they hadnt recognized the continuing arrogance of the Western (U.S./NATO) and Middle Eastern (Gulf, Israel) powers who think they can unleash and re-leash these jihadi fighters at will. Too bad they dont understand the contradiction between mourning the bombing of Manchester and crying for the bombing of Syria.

Too bad the Western (i.e., American-directed) media dont provide what would be necessary to understand these things: ongoing coverage and analysis of the obvious relation between the continuing series of horrors perpetrated by jihadi militants and the continuing series of horrors perpetrated by Western and allied governments. Its a good bet nobody will have forgotten the Manchester bombing two years from now. It was in merry old England, after all and many of the victims were beautiful British girls. Its also a good bet that the media analysis will continue to have everyone scratching their heads about why these death-loving Muslims hate us so much. That kind of coverage.

The jihadi attackers in Mali and the jihadi bomber in Manchester were direct productsnot accidental by-products, but deliberately incubated protgsof American-British-French-NATO regime change in Libya, a project that was executed by the Obama administration and spearheaded by Hillary Clinton.

Before the glorious revolution, Libya under Ghaddafi had the highest standard of living of any country in Africa, according to the UN Human Development Index. Before the jihadi onslaught backed by NATO bombing campaign, Ghaddafis Libya was an anchor of stability in North Africa, as even the U.S. and British governments knew and acknowledged, per a 2008 cable from American foreign service officer Christopher Stevens, published by Wikileaks:

Libya has been a strong partner in the war against terrorism and cooperation in liaison channels is excellentMuammar al-Qadhafis criticism of Saudi Arabia for perceived support of Wahabi extremism, a source of continuing Libya-Saudi tension, reflects broader Libyan concern about the threat of extremism. Worried that fighters returning from Afghanistan and Iraq could destabilize the regime, the [government of Libya] has aggressive pursued operations to disrupt foreign fighter flows, including more stringent monitoring of air/land ports of entry, and blunt the ideological appeal of radical Islam.

The US-British-French-NATO humanitarian intervention put an end to that by overthrowing the Libyan government under entirely phony pretexts, in contravention of fundamental international law, and in violation of the UN resolution, they claimed as a justification. The executioners and beneficiaries of that aggression where the jihadis who have been rampaging from Mali to Manchester. Its a bright, clear line.

Britains Prime Minister Tony Blair (L) shakes hands with Libyan leader Muammar Gaddafi near Gaddafis home town of Sirte. May 29, 2007. (Leon Neal/Reuters)

Ghaddafi himself warned Tony Blair that an organization [the LIFG].has laid down sleeper cells in North Africa called the Al Qaeda organization in North Africa. Ghaddafis son, Saif, warned that overthrowing Libyas would make the country the Somalia of North Africa, of the Mediterranean and You will see millions of illegal immigrants. The terror will be next door.

Thanks to Blair and Obama and Clinton and Sarkozy, thats exactly what happened. Libya was destroyed as a functioning state, and the terror is now inside every Western door.

Westerners and Americans transfixed by Ghaddafis garish posturing may have, and may still, find it hard to accept, but it needs to be said aloud: In 2011, Ghaddafi was right about what was going in in Libya, and all best and brightest militaristic conservatives and humanitarian liberals, in and out of government, were wrong. A lot of radical lefties, too, myself included; though I always vehemently opposed the US-NATO intervention, I, too, took Ghaddafis complaints for excuses. But lesson learned (by some): What was going on in Libya was the same thing that went on in Afghanistan in the 80s, and the same thing that is going on in Syria today, supercharged by the intervening war in Iraq

Throughout this nefarious chain of destruction, nobody in the world has committed worse crimes than all the humanitarian liberals in and out of government who have enacted and/or gone along with the imperialist chaos program of destroying relatively prosperous and secular societies in the Arab and Muslim world, and replacing them with sectarian jihadi playgrounds. And no force in the world is more responsible for the rampaging jihadi wolves, lone and in packs, than the United States and its compliant allies, including Great Britain.

Whether any American liberal wants to or not, anyone who is mourning Manchester needs to hear it said: Were crying over the horror in Manchester today because yesterday Hillary Clinton was laughing about the horror she inflicted on Libya including the killing of Ghaddafi by those protected Salafist proxies who sodomized him with a bayonet: We came. We saw. He died. [big smile, joyous laugther] Yes, exactly that.

Ha, Ha. Maybe she can get a gig in a comedy club in Manchester.

Really, knowing what we do about Libya through to Manchester, does any of the outrageous things weve from Trump equal the despicableness of Hillarys perverse glee in this video? Its an image not to be forgotten.

Im sure that our current president, if hes given the timeand, if hes not, some other Republican or Democratwill meet or exceed the high standards that have been set, but Donald Trump has not yet come near committing the series of crimes for which Hillary Clinton and Barack Obama (following the precedent of five previous American administrations) are responsible. These crimes produced the twin horrors of imperialist and jihadi chaos, of which the destruction of the Libyan state was one egregious example, and the killing of young concertgoers in Manchester another. This represents a deep, persistent bipartisan policy that is much more important and difficult to confront than the question of which front man or woman will be selling it.

Manchester is the latest iteration of a scenario weve gone through so many times now, like some groundhog-day dream. At the end of my post two years ago, I was urging and hoping that Americans would wake up. But a lot of American liberals and lefties, including Berniebots, still like to imagine theres a political space they can inhabit called Progressive Except Imperialism. There isnt. Imperialism with Social Security and Medicare and Obamacareeven single-payer healthcareis imperialism, and its reactionary and supremacist. Equal-opportunity imperialism is imperialism. African-American, women, Latinx, or LGBTQ presidents, generals, and drone operators do not make it any less criminal, or dangerous, or any less inevitably erosive of all those cherished progressive domestic programs.

Ignoring or putting aside what the U.S. does in Libya, or Iraq, or Syria, or Palestine becauseTrump! The Republicans! is ignoring a fundamental element of a progressive politics as well as an immediate danger to the country. One can do it, but those who do, cant claim to be seriously confronting the horrors of a tragedy like Manchester, no matter how many tears they shed.

Im afraid that is where were stuck. The absurdity of Trump is drawing more well-meaning people into the flames of nostalgia for an imaginary Democratic copasetic state that disappeared on January 20th. The #Resistance cant even get its act together for single-payer healthcarethe easiest sell imaginable; its not only avoiding the more contentious issues regarding American aggression in places like Libya and Syria, its succumbing to the dangerous, war-mongering, Russophobic program of the military-intelligence complex.

Its still dream on, and I fear it will take a shock much greater than Manchester before Americans finally get the news.

The views expressed in this article are the authors own and do not necessarily reflect Mint Press News editorial policy.

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The Manchester Bomber Is The Spawn Of Hillary And Barack’s Excellent Libyan Adventure – Mintpress News (blog)

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Legacy of Hillary, Barack’s Libyan adventure – The Herald

Barack Obama

Jim Kavanagh Correspondent On November 20, 2015, two jihadi militants attacked the Radisson Blu Hotel in Bamako, Mali, seizing about 100 hostages and leaving bodies strewed across the building.

When it was over, 22 people (including the attackers) had been killed. As the New York Times reported:

Mali has been crippled by instability since January, 2012, when rebels and Al Qaeda-linked militants armed with the remnants of late Libyan leader Colonel Muammar Gaddafis arsenal began advancing through the countrys vast desert in the north and capturing towns.

Not much has been made in American and Western media of this attack.

Most of the dead were Malians, Russians, and Chinese and, hey, it was in Africa; Shit happens. Especially there. How many people reading this even remember that it happened? Follow-up analysis? It was Africa. That kind of coverage.

Last Monday, jihadi suicide bomber Salman Abedi blew himself up at an Ariana Grande concert in Manchester, England, killing 22 people.

Salman grew up in an anti-Gaddafi Libyan immigrant family. In 2011, his father, Ramadan Abedi, along with other British Libyans (including one who was under house arrest), was allowed to go [to Libya], no questions asked, to join the Libyan Islamic Fighting Group (LIFG), an al-Qaeda-affiliate, to help overthrow Gaddafi.

In Manchester, as Max Blumenthal puts it, in his excellent Alternet piece, it was all part of the rat line operated by the MI5, which hustled anti-Gaddafi Libyan exiles to the front lines of the war.

In Manchester, Salman lived near a number of LIFG militants, including an expert bomb maker. This was a tough bunch, and everybody including the cops and Salmans Muslim neighbours knew they werent the Jets and the Sharks. As Middle East Eye reports, he was known to security services, and some of his acquaintances had reported him to the police via an anti-terrorism hotline.

Could it be any clearer? The Abedi family was part of a protected cohort of Salafist proxy soldiers that have been used by the West to destroy the Libyan state. There are a number of such cohorts around the world that have been used for decades to overthrow relatively prosperous and secular, but insufficiently compliant, governments in the Arab and Muslim worldand members of those groups have perpetrated several blowback attacks in Western countries, via various winding roads. In this case, the direct line from Libya to Mali to Manchester is particularly easy to trace.

Too bad more people in Britain and the West hadnt paid attention to what happened in Mali two years ago. Too bad they hadnt thought too much about the chain of jihadi proxy interventions that the United States and its allies, or about the connection with the chain of jihadi attacks in Western countries. Too bad they hadnt recognised the continuing arrogance of the Western (US/Nato) and Middle Eastern (Gulf, Israel) powers who think they can unleash and re-leash these jihadi fighters at will. Too bad they dont understand the contradiction between mourning the bombing of Manchester and crying for the bombing of Syria.

Too bad the Western (i.e., American-directed) media dont provide what would be necessary to understand these things: ongoing coverage and analysis of the obvious relation between the continuing series of horrors perpetrated by jihadi militants and the continuing series of horrors perpetrated by Western and allied governments.

Its a good bet nobody will have forgotten the Manchester bombing two years from now.

It was in merry old England, after all and many of the victims were beautiful British girls.

Its also a good bet that the media analysis will continue to have everyone scratching their heads about why these death-loving Muslims hate us so much.

That kind of coverage.

The jihadi attackers in Mali and the jihadi bomber in Manchester were direct products not accidental by-products, but deliberately incubated protgs of American-British-French-NATO regime change in Libya, a project that was executed by the Obama administration and spearheaded by Hillary Clinton.

Hillary Clintion

Before the glorious revolution, Libya under Gaddafi had the highest standard of living of any country in Africa, according to the UN Human Development Index.

Before the jihadi onslaught backed by Nato bombing campaign, Gaddafis Libya was an anchor of stability in North Africa, as even the US and British governments knew and acknowledged, per a 2008 cable from American foreign service officer Christopher Stevens, published by WikiLeaks:

Libya has been a strong partner in the war against terrorism and cooperation in liaison channels is excellent . . . Muammar Gaddafis criticism of Saudi Arabia for perceived support of Wahabi extremism, a source of continuing Libya-Saudi tension, reflects broader Libyan concern about the threat of extremism. Worried that fighters returning from Afghanistan and Iraq could destabilise the regime, the [government of Libya] has aggressive pursued operations to disrupt foreign fighter flows, including more stringent monitoring of air/land ports of entry, and blunt the ideological appeal of radical Islam.

The US-British-French-Nato humanitarian intervention put an end to that by overthrowing the Libyan government under entirely phony pretexts, in contravention of fundamental international law, and in violation of the UN resolution they claimed as a justification.

The executioners and beneficiaries of that aggression where the jihadis who have been rampaging from Mali to Manchester.

Its a bright, clear line.

Gaddafi himself warned Tony Blair that an organisation [the LIFG] has laid down sleeper cells in North Africa called the Al Qaeda organisation in North Africa.

Gaddafis son, Saif, warned that overthrowing Libyas government would make the country the Somalia of North Africa, of the Mediterranean and You will see millions of illegal immigrants. The terror will be next door.

Thanks to Blair and Obama and Clinton and Sarkozy, thats exactly what happened.

Libya was destroyed as a functioning state, and the terror is now inside every Western door.

Westerners and Americans transfixed by Gaddafis garish posturing may have, and may still, find it hard to accept, but it needs to be said aloud: In 2011, Gaddafi was right about what was going on in Libya, and all best and brightest militaristic conservatives and humanitarian liberals, in and out of government, were wrong.

A lot of radical lefties, too, myself included; though I always vehemently opposed the US-Nato intervention, I, too, took Gaddafis complaints for excuses.

But lesson learned (by some): What was going on in Libya was the same thing that went on in Afghanistan in the 80s, and the same thing that is going on in Syria today, supercharged by the intervening war in Iraq

Throughout this nefarious chain of destruction, nobody in the world has committed worse crimes than all the humanitarian liberals in and out of government who have enacted and/or gone along with the imperialist chaos program of destroying relatively prosperous and secular societies in the Arab and Muslim world, and replacing them with sectarian jihadi playgrounds.

And no force in the world is more responsible for the rampaging jihadi wolves, lone and in packs, than the United States and its compliant allies, including Great Britain.

Whether any American liberal wants to or not, anyone who is mourning Manchester needs to hear it said: Were crying over the horror in Manchester today because yesterday Hillary Clinton was laughing about the horror she inflicted on Libya including the killing of Gaddafi by those protected Salafist proxies who sodomised him with a bayonet: We came. We saw. He died. [big smile, joyous laughter] Yes, exactly that.

Ha, Ha. Maybe she can get a gig in a comedy club in Manchester.

Really, knowing what we do about Libya through to Manchester, does any of the outrageous things weve from Trump equal the despicableness of Hillarys perverse glee in this video? Its an image not to be forgotten.

Im sure that our current president, if hes given the timeand, if hes not, some other Republican or Democratwill meet or exceed the high standards that have been set, but Donald Trump has not yet come near committing the series of crimes for which Hillary Clinton and Barack Obama (following the precedent of five previous American administrations) are responsible. These crimes produced the twin horrors of imperialist and jihadi chaos, of which the destruction of the Libyan state was one egregious example, and the killing of young concertgoers in Manchester another. This represents a deep, persistent bipartisan policy that is much more important and difficult to confront than the question of which front man or woman will be selling it.

Manchester is the latest iteration of a scenario weve gone through so many times now, like some groundhog-day dream

Its still dream on, and I fear it will take a shock much greater than Manchester before Americans finally get the news. Counterpunch

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Legacy of Hillary, Barack’s Libyan adventure – The Herald

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May 30, 2017   Posted in: Max Blumenthal  Comments Closed

Comey Hearing: Little New, More Doubt About "RussiaGate" – NewsClick

Aaron Mate: It’s The Real News. I’m Aaron Mate. In his long awaited senate testimony, former FBI Director James Comey said President Trump pressured him to drop the investigation into former National Security Advisor Michael Flynn. Comey also said he takes the President at his word that he was fired over the Russia probe. James Comey: I know I was fired because of something about the way I was conducting the Russian investigation was in some way putting pressure on him, and in some way irritating him, and he decided to fire me because of that. I can’t go farther than that. Aaron Mate: Comey also revealed he documented his private conversations with the President because he didn’t trust Trump to tell the truth. And he said he shared details of those conversations to spur a Special Council. Trump critics hope Comey’s testimony will help build the case for obstruction of justice. They’re also hoping for evidence of Trump’s alleged collusion with Russia, but no evidence of that has emerged, and Comey didn’t offer any today. In fact, he said in a New York Times report that Trump officials had contact with Russians is not true. Joining me are two guests. Max Blumenthal is an award winning journalist, best selling author, and Senior Editor of AlterNet’s Grayzone Project, and Coleen Rowley was a Special Agent for the FBI from 1981 to 2004. She is well known for blowing the whistle on the FBI’s failure to prevent the 9/11 attacks. Welcome to you both. Max, I’ll start with you. Your impressions of Comey’s testimony today? Max Blumenthal: Well, the phrase that kept echoing in my head was Walter Mondale on Reagan’s economic plan, “Where’s the beef?” I want to know why Washington practically shut down and people were hanging out in bars playing drinking games for this testimony, when we didn’t really learn anything new. We learned that the investigation really focused on Michael Flynn. Only the Russian aspect of that investigation was even remotely discussed. While Flynn does possibly face investigation for not being forthright about his Turkey lobbying contract, we learned that Trump said in private what he also said in public, which is that he wants the investigators, the FBI, to lay off Flynn. We learned that there was no investigation of Trump and that Trump pressured Comey to say so publicly. I don’t understand why there was no leak of the fact that there was no investigation of Trump, and finally we learned that Trump, according to Comey, was fine with the investigation proceeding. Then, there’s the other aspect that you see thousands of retweets about from mainstream Beltway journalists which is that the Muller investigation will look into whether Trump obstructed justice. Comey mentioned that it might do that, but it’s not clear that Trump is even under investigation for obstruction of justice, so beyond that, then we have just the allegation that Russia definitely hacked into the DNC server. The big reveal there, which confirmed testimony that Comey gave earlier this year, is that the FBI, James Comey, the whole bureau, never had any access to the DNC server to investigate whether Russian hackers did indeed do that. This was kind of brushed over by not only the press, but by the Senate Republicans. There’s a lot to say about that, but I really don’t see why there’s so much focus on this when there’s so little beef there. Aaron Mate: Yeah, Max. There’s a lot there, but on the point of the server, if the FBI didn’t access it, that meant it’s strictly under the control of this firm, Crowdstrike, right? Max Blumenthal: Right. Aaron Mate: Which has ties to the DNC, and they have been a major source for all these Russia hacking collusion claims. Max Blumenthal: Well, Comey under questioning from Senator Richard Burr, the Republican from North Carolina, admitted that his bureau did not have access to the DNC servers that had been hacked, which is amazing, because they could easily subpoena those servers if they wanted to. What wasn’t mentioned was number one, Crowdstrike was the firm that the FBI relied on. Comey just referred to a very well respected firm, and it’s not a very well respected firm. It’s a largely discredited firm that had to retract a report it issued subsequent to its DNC report, claiming that Russia hacked into Ukraine’s artillery guiding apparatus through an electronic application. The Ukrainian military denied that. The who’s who of officials who designed the application for the Ukraine military denied it, and the report was basically retracted. Jeffrey Carr absolutely savaged the report on the DNC, so there’s no way that Crowdstrike’s report on the DNC servers is necessarily even credible itself. Beyond that, what is Crowdstrike? It’s run by Dmitri Alperovitch, a Russian exile, who is a partisan figure, dedicated to undermining government of Russia. He is housed at the Atlantic Council and militaristic think tank in the Beltway, funding by NATO, Saudi Arabia, arms manufacturers, oil extraction industry, you name it. Also, funded by Victor Pinchuk. Ukrainian nationalist billionaire, and close friend of the Clintons who donated to the Clinton Foundation, and funded Bill Clinton’s birthday. This firm, is in my opinion, partisan. It’s a for-profit firm, it’s shady, and for the FBI to rely entirely on this firm, and now for the whole mainstream media, the senate, Senator Mark Warner, whoever alleged that there was Russian hacking of the DNC, to even make that allegation, this raises serious questions about why this investigation is proceeding. Now, let’s say Trump is obstructing justice, he’s probably doing it as Comey admitted because there’s a cloud over his administration and you can’t get anything done because of the Russia investigation. That’s what the Democrats want, but it doesn’t establish that there was collusion between the Trump administration and Russia, and it definitely doesn’t establish that Russia hacked into the DNC servers. We need to see those servers and we need to ask why the FBI hasn’t subpoenad them, and what was their business with Crowdstrike? Aaron Mate: Coleen Rowley, you’re a former FBI Special Agent. Your thoughts on today’s hearing? Coleen Rowley: Well, I totally agree with Max Blumenthal. I notice there were a lot of contradictions in Comey’s testimony, and I wished I had been in the room to have shouted out a couple of questions. For instance, when Comey admitted that he was actually the one who directed the leak of his important memo written about Flynn’s being fired, that he had made sure that this went into a memo and then later of course, we all learned about that memo. When he testified that he told a colleague to give it to the press in order to get a special council, that should have been followed up on. I mean, there were many possible follow-up questions. One of which was, “How many other leaks are you aware of? How many other leaks were you personally involved in as you were involved in the leak of your own memo?” Of course, nobody asks those questions. Another contradiction was when Comey testified that he had told Sessions that he was afraid to be alone with Trump. The story now is that on January 6th, it was purposely set up that Comey would be alone with Trump in order to brief him on what today he only called the “salacious memo.” He called it the “salacious information.” Now, that actually has to refer to the Steele dossier, and if you think about it, and actually Comey even testified, “Well, I didn’t want to be seen as J. Edgar Hoover.” What is he referring to? He’s referring to the fact that Hoover used sex related blackmail, even on people like Martin Luther King. So, when this January 6th meeting occurs between … Alone, by the way, at the end of it, it’s alone with Comey and Trump, he tells him what they have on him, and not only does he tell them the sex related dossier, but he says, “It’s going to be leaked to the press right away. That’s why we’re telling you.” If you put yourself into Trump’s position, or going back to when this happened to Martin Luther King Jr’s position, you can see where Trump is obviously alarmed. Now, Comey testifies that’s why he decides to keep memos. I mean, again, the contradiction, there’s another contradiction here which is that when Comey and Muller have been through everything in the Bush administration after 9/11, where a form of martial law was instituted through John [inaudible 00:09:30] memos, and they learned of this, they learned about torture tactics, they learned about warrantless monitoring and all of the other highly illegal things that were taking place, it never occurred to James Comey that he should document things in a memo then. But now when he’s briefing Trump on an unverified, salacious piece of information that he says is going to leak to the media right away, then he knows he has to document it. I mean, if I had been in the room, I would have asked a few questions about this because Comey is using … Maybe he’s unwitting too, in a way. Maybe he’s not even realizing that he has been used to some extent for these purposes, but he’s also a part of a whole ambiance here, where there is a lot of leaking, probably a lot of it is the same way Comey leaks, second hand, third hand, so that they are not the direct contacts with the media. I think there were a lot of questions that could have been asked that weren’t, and I totally agree that this is media hyperventilation, and the public has never learned, other than through this one report that they put out in January. All that really focused on was Russian media. It focused on the fact that Russian media is propaganda, and that it, the media itself influenced the election. There was absolutely little or no proof shown, no evidence shown of any real hacking into the DNC, no proof or evidence of that. Aaron Mate: Echoing on the point of Comey memo, and deliberately leaking, he also said that that was a deliberate decision because he wanted to spur a special council. Basically him saying there that he’s joining the ranks of Edward Snowden who also leaked because he wanted to see investigations and things changed. Coleen Rowley: That’s exactly right. He could have been asked, “Did you have a special council in mind? Was that special council that you had in mind that you were attempting to get, was that one of your closest confidants and close colleagues, Robert Muller?” He certainly is not shy about touting how great Robert Muller is. They go all the way back, decades. They’ve stood together in different situations, they both unfortunately, I’ve written about this, but the media has a big forget right now in all of the debacles that they’ve actually been involved in. Muller has been criticized any number of times in front page stories for national security letters, for the anthrax investigation, going after the wrong person, even for his involvement in the Whitey Bulger investigation decades ago. None of the media’s remembering that these are not the pillars of integrity that they are made out to be, and who knows if they haven’t talked or colluded before this. We don’t know. No one asked him about that. Aaron Mate: Max, I want to play for you what I thought was a really striking moment, which is when Senator Angus King was questioning Comey, and King asked Comey whether closing out the Flynn investigation would hurt the Russia investigation. Comey’s answer to me was quite important. This is what happened. Angus King: Would closing out the Flynn investigation have impeded the overall Russian investigation? James Comey: No. Unlikely, except to the extent … There’s always a possibility if you have a criminal case against someone, and you bring in and squeeze them, you flip them, and they give you information about something else, but I saw the two as touching each other, but separate. Aaron Mate: Max, that to me was an important moment because the assumption all along amongst Trump’s Democratic critics especially was that he was leaning on Comey to stop investgating Flynn because he wanted to stop the Russia investigation. Here Comey is saying is that Flynn and the Russia investigation are touching each other, but separate, and that stopping the Flynn investigation would not impede the overall Russia investigation. Max Blumenthal: Right, but what would be left of the Russia investigation? It appears to focus almost entirely around Flynn, and then there’s a lot of speculation about other figures like Carter Page, Jared Kushner, who appears to have done something completely normal within the world of diplomacy, although it’s abnormal that the son-in-law of the President gets that role, but seeking a back channel with the Russian Ambassador to basically handle deconfliction and deescalation in Syria seems to be completely within the realms of diplomatic protocol, or diplomatic precedent, if you consider that Henry Kissinger had done the same thing with Moscow. But here with Flynn, you have the only abnormal aspect, he had made a phone call to Ambassador Kislyak while he was out of the country, so his phone was tapped through a FISA court, and it proved that he had lied to Mike Pence who was in charge of vetting the new administration about contacts with foreign officials, but the FBI investigated that call, this was reported in the Washington Post in January, and found that nothing illicit took place there. Sanctions were discussed but nothing illicit, meaning illegal, took place in the call. I’m not sure what’s there. Comey was asked later, I don’t remember who the senator was, but it was a very revealing question. “Was the Flynn investigation close to being closed?” Comey said as he did over and over, that he was not comfortable discussing that in an open hearing. That senator likely knew something about the investigation into Flynn being nearly closed. If the investigation into Flynn were closed, I don’t know what the Democrats would have to hang their hats on, really. I mean, Flynn took $40,000 from the Russian government to appear at RT’s 10th anniversary, and that was a speaking fee through his speaker’s bureau. He had that call with Kislyak. I don’t know what else is there, except that he lied to Pence. Again, when we’re talking about collusion with Russia here, I haven’t seen anything concrete, and the closest they have to that relationship is with Flynn who just seems to be an erratic figure who is obviously not above board ethically. The idea of collusion is absurd, and once again, it seems absurd based on what they’d produced. As Coleen mentioned, there is the ODNI report, the Director of National Intelligence tried to prove what the 17 intelligence agencies had said was high confidence that Russia had hacked into or attempted to influence the election. By the way, among those 17 agencies is the Coast Guard. They’re really savvy Russia sleuths. Anyway, the ODNI report, as Coleen mentioned, 8 of the 23 pages dealt with RT, the Russian TV news outlet, which has a bureau in Washington and most of those 8 pages related to breaking the set, show, by left wing broadcast personality and journalist Abby Martin, whose show was canceled two years ago, two years before the report was even issued, two years before the election. The report was absolute trash and no one mentions that it was trash, just as no one even bothers to mention that the 17 intelligence agencies just simply said they had high confidence. Again, where’s the beef? Aaron Mate: Yeah, Coleen, I’m wondering if you can pick up on that. Max Blumenthal: Or the borscht. Where’s the borscht? Aaron Mate: Where’s the … Coleen, I’m wondering if you want to pick up on that and respond to this clip that I played of Comey saying that closing down the Flynn investigation wouldn’t really impact the Russia investigation, which as Max says, it makes you wonder what’s actually there? Coleen Rowley: Yeah. I wasn’t sure when Comey testified, if there wasn’t some false statement. The same type of thing that got Scooter Libby into trouble. If the FBI had somehow talked to Flynn and he had said something similar to what he said to Pence, then maybe they were trying to make that into a false statement to the FBI. I wasn’t sure about that, but Comey also testified, and you just replayed it, that there was a chance that they were going to squeeze Flynn. So that means you’re trying to flip him then. You say you have information that’s incriminating about him, and then he will cooperate, and then tell you about whatever other collusion he might know about. Of course, that was Comey’s answer there, and obviously that’s always the case, but it’s still in a case like this, where you have a President who really should be focusing on the terrorism problem. We have all kinds of attacks taking place in Europe, and now even in Iran, and elsewhere. We have really important things and to spend hours and really again, to suck all of the oxygen out of the media, out of the Trump administration, and their ability to really do anything that’s helpful here, to reduce terrorism, especially when it’s getting so bad, I think is unconscionable. I think this whole thing right now, if it’s not more than this report castigating the Russian media and saying they must be after us because we’re the shining city on the hill, if there’s nothing more than that, really the politicians in Washington really should get back to work and stop trying to use this political soap opera. Aaron Mate: Yeah Max, on that point, your thoughts on this? Especially in the context of what Democrats chief focus has been. Jennifer Palmieri who was a top official on the Clinton campaign famously said that, “We should focus on Russia above all else.” Max Blumenthal: Above all else. Aaron Mate: You just went to this rally in Washington D.C. this past weekend, did a great report for us here on The Real News, speaking to protesters, demanding the truth about Trump and Russia. Representation of what a top issue this has been amongst Democratic voters. Max Blumenthal: Yeah, and to pick up on Coleen’s point, two days ago Iran was attacked by ISIS. There was a slaughter in the Iranian parliament by ISIS, weeks after Saudi Arabian Crown Prince, Mohammad Bin Salman, warned that his country, that Saudi Arabia would strike inside Iran. This is as Qatar is under siege by land and air, as Turkish troops are moving into Qatar, to prevent a Saudi land invasion. Trump has taken credit for this disastrous and terrifying escalation in the Middle East, and not only that, in his two line statement which should have been read by Marlon Brando in the voice of Don Corleone, Trump said that countries that support terror, like Iran, deserve what they get. Trump endorsed an ISIS attack and echoed ISIS propaganda. It’s the most vile thing I can remember an American President saying almost ever. It’s more vile than anything that upset liberals that Trump said, and we hear very little noise about it. Comey has sucked up all the oxygen, Russia’s sucked up all the oxygen, and let’s not forget Russia was desperate to coordinate with the United States against ISIS and Al-Qaeda in Syria, and we blew up that deal. Now, Jared Kushner, who I have absolutely no sympathy for, nothing but contempt for this figure, had attempted to establish a diplomatic back channel to take on ISIS and Al-Qaeda with Russia, and work out a deal in Syria. He is now paying the price. Our national security state is behind this escalation, Trump is taking credit for it, and it just seems like no one is concerned within the mainstream media. I went to this rally as you mentioned, Rally For Truth on the National Mall two days ago. It was to get liberals excited, the resistance, the organized grassroots of the Democratic Party, get them excited about the Comey testimony and putting more pressure on Trump. What I saw there, and mostly older liberals, the kind of people who watch Rachel Maddow, as you wrote Aaron, in a really excellent report, most of her content is dedicated to Russia and her ratings are through the roof. These are the same kind of people that I would meet at anti-war rallies over 10 years ago, the same kind of people that would go out and protest climate change and the denial of it, the same kind of people who would show up at Black Lives Matter rallies, and their energy is being chanelled into a militaristic neoconservative narrative, and the keynote speaker was supposed to be the star progressive of the senate, Jamie Raskin from Takoma Park, one of the most liberal districts in America, the son of Marcus Raskin, the Founder of IPS, the leftie think tank in Washington. He gets up and calls for regime change in Venezuela, Philippines, two countries with democratically elected governments, and of course Syria, and he says Russia is the head of the axis of evil in he called it the “unfree world.” He just got up and sounded like a complete neocon, and when I confronted him on it, his whole argument fell apart, so what the hell is happening with progressives? We can’t just see this Russia investigation within a vacuum in Congress, or within a partisan bubble. It’s corrosive to the entire composition and direction of the progressive movement, the base of the Democratic Party, and it’s toxic to our political culture in general, and it’s not only overshadowing the fact that we stand on the brink of war, of a regional war in the Middle East, it is actually part of the narrative that’s pushing us towards war with the only country in the world that’s capable of striking us with nuclear weapons and destroying us all. Aaron Mate: Max, just tying two issues that you raised there together, you mentioned President Trump’s response to the Iran attack was to essentially suggest that the Iranian government was responsible for it. Then, you had Democrats response to the Iran attack which came in the form of this vote yesterday in the senate. Many Democrats joining Republicans to vote for beginning debate on imposing new sanctions on Iran, the same day as the attack. Max Blumenthal: Bernie Sanders was one of the only senators to stand up against the sanctions which were completely unneccesary. The sanctions are punishing Iran for having free and fair elections, and reelecting the the liberal President Hassan Rouhani, and ratifying this process of internal reform. It’s punishing Iran, only six senators stood with Bernie Sanders, and he said, “How dare we do this on the day that Iran was attacked by the force that is supposed to be our adversary?” It was the force that Trump said that he would smash, that he would destroy, and we’re talking about ISIS. When Trump went to Riyadh, in the heart of this fake global counter-terrorist center, what he did was downgrade ISIS on the threat level and upgrade Iran, a country that’s cooperating with us in the fight against ISIS, which has just signed a landmark nuclear deal with us, and so I wonder where is the concern for national security within the national security state? This is all about empire, and it’s not only delusional, it’s incredibly dangerous. The Russia hysteria that’s been stoked even by progressive media is of a part with it. Aaron Mate: Coleen Rowley, taking this back to Comey, your final thoughts on what we saw today and where you want to see the conversation go around the Trump/Russia investigation going forward? Coleen Rowley: Well, I would hope that people would pick up on Max Blumenthal’s last thoughts which I totally agree with. This is simply distracting from the real issues. This war on terror that began, by the way, with Muller onboard and Comey onboard shortly thereafter, doing some terrible things, has actually increased terrorism exponentially, and because there’s no good journalism and there’s no good writing about this, certainly not good questions by the politicians. They are all distracted by this new wrinkle on Russia, completely distracted. No one is dealing with the real problem, and the real problem is that Al-Qaeda and its like groups in the Mid East is going full force. We’re actually making things worse, and so I would like to see it go where you do have some people starting to write about this. I think right now we do need a little more bipartisan … We need less of the war mongering Rachel Maddow bipartisanship, and we need some more critical thinking to break through this groupthink that Max just described so well. Aaron Mate: Well, that’s what we’re all trying to do, and we really appreciate you both joining us for this discussion. Max Blumenthal, award winning journalist, best selling author, Senior Editor of AlterNet’s Grayzone Project, and Coleen Rowley, a former Special Agent for the FBI. Thanks to you both. Max Blumenthal: Thanks a lot. Coleen Rowley: Thanks. Aaron Mate: And thank you for joining us on The Real News.

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June 10, 2017   Posted in: Max Blumenthal  Comments Closed

Civil War: Progressive media starting to push back against Democrat … – legal Insurrection (blog)

As Comey prepares to testify, Democrats ignore progressives questions about Russia Progressive media outlets have been feeding the resist we much mobs since President Trumps election, and one of their favorite lines of attack has been hammering the Russia collusion / hacking non-story. Recently, however, progressive sites have been warning against pursuing it . . . even as Democrat politicians stay focused on it, seemingly to the exclusion of all else. As Comey gets ready to testify before the Senate Intelligence Committee, it will be interesting to see how this all plays out. Among those calling for Democrats to pivot away from the Russia story are the editor and publisher of The Nation, the Daily Kos, the Young Turks. What is not entirely clear is why they are urging this shift after spending so much devoted, almost single-mindedly, to it. The Nations editor and publisher Katrina Vanden Huevel states that she thinks the focus on Russia may distract from their ability to combat the rest of Trumps agenda. She notes, too, that the left has become too hyperbolic about Trump administration or campaign officials meeting with Russians. Townhall reports: The Nations editor and publisher Katrina Vanden Huevel warned that Democrats obsession about Russia was a mistake and could torpedo efforts to effectively combat the Trump agenda. Granted, the latter part is typical run-of-the-mill progressive talk, The Nation is a left wing magazine, but in March, Vanden Huevel ripped into Democrats for the Neo-McCarthyite furor that has engulfed the party over Russia. She noted that Russian interference during the 2016 election needs to be investigated, but the political Left has devolved into thinking that mere meetings with Russian officials are akin to treason. Not only is this nonsensical, but it is self-defeating. Not noted by Hueval is that their hand-wringing and clothes-rending over things like Flynn sitting next to Putin at a formal eventa table at which 2016 Green Party candidate Jill Stein was also sittingdoesnt just distract from the resistances anti-Trump agenda, but it also makes them less credible. The Daily Kos sounded the alarm last month, stating that the focus on Russia was going to hurt Democrat prospects in 2018. Russia is a critical story. But its notthe story that affects Americas dinner table, health, or financial well-being. Many of us in the liberal intelligentsialove the intricacies of this story. After all, who would believe that the Republican leadership would be so soft on their patriotism that theyrewilling to put their heads in the sand and play dumb? . . . . The Trump voter knew that Trump had some relationship with the Russians. In fact, Fox News and Republicans were praising Vladimir Putin as a better leader than President Obama. The Trump voter saw a candidate whorefused to criticize Putin, regardlessof whatever vile act he committed. . . . . In watching the hyperventilation on Russia, it is clear that progressivesare repeating the same mistakes of thelast several elections that have decimated the Democratic bench throughout the states and in the federal government.The peoples party, the Democrats, are out of step with the people. Theyre not wrong. The Washington Post notes that reporters such as Max Blumenthal and the Young Turks Michael Tracey are putting pressure on Democrat politicians regarding their fixation on the Russia story. Blumenthal directly asks Jamie Raskin (D-MD) if hes been feeding lies to progressive journalists and bloggers. Rep. Jamie B. Raskin (D-Md.) strolled offstage and straight into quicksand. Max Blumenthal, a dogged reporter working with the Baltimore-based Real News Network, brought Raskin on camera to ask what, exactly, Democrats wanted to know. We need an independent commission to get all the facts, Raskin said, offering the litany of possible Trump-Russia ties that hed given to progressive and mainstream media for months. Blumenthal wasnt sold. You said that Russia attempted to hack [Emmanuel] Macron in the French elections, he said. Well, we know that! said Raskin. The Washington Post has reported that the French cyber-intelligence agency has said that its not true, said Blumenthal. Well, certainly, Macron was convinced of it, said Raskin. It was reported days ago, said Blumenthal. For four minutes, until the congressman was pulled away by a staffer, an award-winning journalist with bylines at the Nation and Salon asked whether hed been telling bellicose lies about Russia and the Trump team. Why arent we talking about jobs or racism? Blumenthal asked. . . . . Michael Tracey, a reporter for the Young Turks news network who had Rep. Maxine Waters (D-Calif.) push past him after he asked skeptical Russia questions, asked why Democrats were so satisfied to keep searching for a smoking gun that never appears. This whole issue has been characterized from this lurching, ramping up of expectations that the smoking gun will be discovered imminently, said Tracey. Thats how this story has played out. Its sort of monomaniacal. Traceys question regarding the reason Democrat politicians are so intent to keep the Russia story alive may have been answered by Red State. Right now the Democrats are raising money off this meme. They will continue to raise money off it as the investigation pays out. In the end, when nothing is uncovered, they will raise money off the GOP tools, like Comey, who led the investigation. They will gamble that outrage will generate income and tribalism will prevent any price being extracted at the polls.

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Stop adding fuel to the ‘terrorism’ fire – Jordan Times

Stop adding fuel to the 'terrorism' fire Jordan Times The other is a recent Alternet article by American journalist Max Blumenthal . In the The Manchester Bombing is Blowback from the West's Interventions and Covert Proxy Wars, Blumenthal explains how the US and the UK helped bring Jihadists like Salem … and more »

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UK Polls: Labour’s Jeremy Corbyn Closes in on Right Wing Theresa May – Google (press release)

LONDON: This June 8, British voters will decide whether or not to continue with the conservative status quo, or take a chance on a new kind of left-wing politics that would represent a firm break with the orthodoxies of the ruling Conservative Party and the Labour Partys establishment wing. Jeremy Corbyn, the Labour Partys intrepid new socialist leader, has pledged to drastically change his society. His partys leftist manifesto calls for more funding for the socialized health care system, nationalizing the countrys tattered railways and putting a stop to massive cuts in social spending. Yet Corbyn has also taken a step further than others in his party have dared, pledging to do what to many progressives remains a shibboleth: oppose war and imperialism and limit the violent blowback they have caused back home. The liberal political establishment in the U.S. and across Western Europe has uncritically supported wars from Iraq, to Libya, to the push for regime change in Syria, often in the name of humanitarianism and civilian protection. While many progressives have portrayed the so-called War on Terror as an unfortunate but necessary evil, Corbyn has made a crucial break with the norms of the political establishment, condemning the imperial wars the West has waged and emphasizing that this military intervention has only fueled the violent extremism the British government claims to be combating. A new series of polls shows Corbyn has slashed Prime Minister Theresa May’s enormous lead to just 3 points, and has surged ahead of her in London. On May 22, a man detonated a suicide bomb at a concert in Manchester, England, killing two dozen civilians and wounding more than 100, many of them children. The Salafi-jihadist group ISIS took credit for the attack. Salman Abedi, the attacker, was a British citizen not a refugee from a family that was part of the Western government-backed right-wing Libyan opposition to longtime leader Muammar Qaddafi. As Max Blumenthal detailed in an article on AlterNet, the British intelligence services played a direct role in supporting Islamist militancy in Libya, working closely with the Al Qaeda-affiliated Libyan Islamic Fighting Group (LIFG) in a cynical bid to topple Qaddafi. When NATO escalated 2011 protests in Libya into an explicit regime change operation, the U.S. and U.K. governments encouraged foreign fighters to travel to the North African nation to help fight. Among those who took the MI6 ratline from Manchester to Libya was Ramadan Abedi, the father of the bomber. During her tenure as Home Secretary, Theresa May was in charge of overseeing MI6 operations. It was during this time that Libya was flooded with fighters from the U.K., with passports being handed even to British-Libyan citizens under government control orders for their alleged ties to extremist groups. According to Akram Ramadan, a mechanic from Manchester who fought with the LIFG, roughly three-quarters of all foreign fighters in Libya arrived from his hometown in Britain. With Ramadan Abedi on the Libyan front lines, his children eventually followed in his footsteps. His youngest son, Hamza, arrived in the country and joined up with an ISIS affiliate, while Salman took a trip to Libya just days before the bombing. Abedi had also reportedly visited Syria, apparently to make common cause with the jihadist groups battling the Syrian government with arms and support from the West and its Gulf allies. In the past, right-wing politicians have successfully exploited terror attacks like the kind carried out in Manchester, stoking fear and anti-Muslim bigotry to shift public opinion. Jeremy Corbyn, a left-wing anti-war stalwart, upended the dynamic by introducing a counter-narrative that challenged violent extremism at its roots. While many liberals spoke of the bombing as a mere tragedy, whitewashing its politicized nature, Corbyn pointed his finger at interventionism and empire. In a groundbreaking speech on May 26, Jeremy Corbyn pledged to change what we do abroad. He linked Western wars of aggression to the plague of violent jihadist attacks targeting soft targets in the West. Many experts, including professionals in our intelligence and security services, have pointed to the connections between wars our government has supported or fought in other countries, such as Libya, and terrorism here at home, Corbyn noted. Many experts have pointed to the connections between wars our government has supported or fought in other countries & terrorism here at home pic.twitter.com/6nlWf67WsI Jeremy Corbyn (@jeremycorbyn) May 26, 2017 The leftist Labour leader forcefully condemned the horrific terror and the brutal slaughter of innocent people. But unlike his political peers, Corbyn did not depoliticize the bombing. He explained that in order to prevent future attacks, Britains foreign policy must change. Foreign wars may not be the only thing fueling this violence, he noted, but they are a key factor. We must be brave enough to admit the War on Terror is simply not working, Corbyn emphasized. We need a smarter way to reduce the threat from countries that nurture terrorists and generate terrorism. That assessment in no way reduces the guilt of those who attack our children, he added. Those terrorists will forever be reviled and implacably held to account for their actions. Ultimately, in order to defeat terrorism, Corbyn stressed, we must understand what fuels it: Protecting this country requires us to be both strong against terrorism and strong against the causes of terrorism. Jeremy Corbyns comments provoked a predictable festival of mock outrage from his Tory opponents, who borrowed a line from their Republican counterparts across the pond and accused him of denigrating the “troops. The attacks were accompanied by a wave of tabloid headlines alleging that Corbyn had fostered deep friendships with terrorist groups from Hamas to the IRA. The Conservative Party issued a ham-handed attack, claiming the Labour leaders speech has shown today why he is not up to the job of keeping our country safe. The statement continued, Jeremy Corbyn has a long record of siding with our enemies. Britains Conservative security minister smeared Corbyn, claiming his speech justified terrorism. Centrist Blairites also chimed in. The liberal interventionist and pro-Israel activist Nick Cohen lashed out at Corbyn, writing a hackneyed op-ed that utterly ignored the Western wars he has wholeheartedly supported that have destabilized the Middle East and fueled Salafi-jihadism. Cohen instead framed violent extremism as a matter of values, subtly reinforcing the line of far-right Islamophobes like UKIP leader Nigel Farage. The corporate media did its part, tarring and feathering the leftist Labour leader. A columnist at the right-wing Telegraph published a hatchet job not so subtly titled Jeremy Corbyn has long hated Britain. Analysis from Loughborough Universitys Center for Research in Communication and Culture showed the almost comically ridiculous bias Labour faces in the British media. Few media outlets, even ostensibly left-leaning newspapers like the Guardian, acknowledged that, in reality, the policies pursued by the U.K.s right-wing government, with the support of Theresa May, have led to the spread of the type of violent extremism that fueled the Manchester attack. Virtually no one cited the British government reports that corroborate Corbyns argument. Behind the bluster, multiple reports released by the British government backed up Corbyns remarks. In 2016, the British House of Commons bipartisan Foreign Affairs Committee published a detailed report on the 2011 war in Libya exposing that the NATO military intervention had been sold on lies. Among the deceptions deployed to justify NATO regime change was the myth that the Libyan opposition was politically moderate. The Foreign Affairs Committee report on the other hand noted that the British government failed to identify that the threat to civilians was overstated and that the rebels included a significant Islamist element. The House of Commons report added, It is now clear that militant Islamist militias played a critical role in the rebellion from February 2011 onwards. Moreover, the U.K. governments enormous, decade-long Iraq Inquiry, popularly known as the Chilcot Report, revealed in 2016 that before the 2003 invasion of Iraq, British intelligence officials had repeatedly warned that the joint American-British war would fuel and empower Salafi-jihadist groups like al-Qaeda. Despite these reports, centrist former Labour prime minister Tony Blair teamed up with the U.S. in an invasion that the United Nations explicitly said violated international law. Blair admitted in 2015 that the Iraq War, in which he played President George W. Bushs junior partner, gave rise to ISIS. With mere days before the election, Jeremy Corbyn has managed to close the once large chasm between his party and the Tories. And he has done this despite enormous odds and tremendous opposition from his partys ossified establishment. When the snap election was scheduled by Prime Minister May in April, it seemed a Tory victory was all but certain. In the months since, support for Labour has slowly increased. On May 31, leading pollster YouGov put Labour just 3 percent behind the Conservatives, which could lose its parliamentary majority. Corbyn and May are neck and neck. Corbyn has managed to do this in spite of a level of media bias that is almost unprecedented in British politics. Even the Guardian has treated Corbyn as a pariah. Yet the British public has rejected the elite medias torrent of attacks, sending a surge of support for Labour. While the political establishment and the corporate media have been unable to explain why the scourge of violent extremism continues, Corbyn has provided the public the answers it has been desperately seeking. His deft response to the Manchester attack appears to be paying dues. For years, Corbyn has been an outspoken, principled critic of Western wars. He has long been a leader in the Stop the War Coalition. (In a symbolic anecdote, Chelsea Clinton interrupted a Stop the War Coalition event in 2001 that featured Corbyn as a speaker.) Jeremy Corbyn is trying to mainstream a left-wing alternative to the discredited centrist and the far-right fringe. Rather than running from his political identity, he has put it front and center, reminding British voters after Manchester, I have spent my political life working for peace and human rights and to bring an end to conflict and devastating wars. Corbyn may not beat the odds and unseat May, but his unexpected surge in the polls has served as a stunning rebuke to the militaristic political elite, and gives a glimmer of hope to those who still imagine an end to the forever war. (Ben Norton is a reporter for AlterNet’s Grayzone Project)

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After a Terrorist Attack, Spain Rejected Its Hawks. Will Britain? | The … – The Nation.

Spanish voters turned against the incumbent conservative party after the 2004 Madrid bombings. Prime Minister Theresa May speaks outside 10 Downing Street after an attack left seven people dead and dozens injured, June 4, 2017. (Reuters / Hannah McKay) On March 11, 2004, just a few days before a critical election, a series of nearly simultaneous bombs exploded on four commuter trains in Madrid, killing over 190 people. Before the bombing, the Socialist Party (PSOE) was about five points behind in the polls, but it ended up winning by five points. The party promised that if it won the election, Spain would get out of Iraq in six months. That happened after only five. I can find no evidence of any Middle Eastrelated terrorism in Spain since, though there apparently have been thwarted plots. This history may offer a critical lesson to Britain now, just days away from an election following a series of attacks near London Bridge. Incumbent Prime Minister Theresa May has backed virtually every war that Britain has participated in. In contrast, Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn had criticized virtually every war. The situation in Spain was heightened by the incumbent government of Jos Mara Aznar (now a director at Rupert Murdochs News Corporation), which blamed the Basque group ETA for the attack. This move certainly crystallized public disgust with the government. But why did the government lie about ETAs involvement in the first place? It assessedprobably correctlythat the Spanish people would be furious that so much blood had been shed in Madrid in retaliation for Spains involvement in the invasion of Iraq, which was already deeply unpopular. THE STAKES ARE HIGHER NOW THAN EVER. GET THE NATION IN YOUR INBOX. Contrast the path that Spain took with that of France, which had originally criticized the invasion of Iraq. Since then, France has become more interventionist, particularly in Syriaa former French colony. It has also become far more of a target of terrorism in the name of Islam in recent years. Its noteworthy that the interrelation between the 2004 Madrid attacks and the election has been either ignored or totally misrepresented. Last year, following the massacre in Orlando by Omar Mateen, in a discussion about how that attack might affect the US election, Dina Temple-Raston, NPRs counterterrorism correspondent exactly reversed the apparent lesson of Madrid. She claimed that after the Madrid attack the more conservative party won. NPR refused to offer an on-air correction for this brazen falsehood. Of course, the election of a Corbyn government doesnt guarantee an end to terrorist attacks in Britain. For one, its not clear that Corbyn will adhere to a pro-peace, non-interventionist stance. Recently, he has seemed to distance himself from prior positions, like withdrawal from NATO. While the Socialist Party in Spain pledged to withdraw from Iraq, the Labor Manifesto contains no such explicit pledge. Theresa May, however, has supported interventionist policies that helped create the conditions for radicalization. Specifically, while May was home secretary, the UK allowed extremists from the Libya Islamic Fighting Group (of which the Manchester bomber was a member) to freely travel to Libya to take out Muammar Gaddafi (see John Pilger at Consortium News, Paul Mason at The Guardian, and Max Blumenthal at Alternet). This is a point that Corbyn has raised in less specific but notable terms: Many experts have pointed to the connections between wars our government has supported or fought in other countries and terrorism here at home. Hes also added: We do need to have some difficult conversations, starting with Saudi Arabia and other Gulf states that have funded and fueled extremist ideology.

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RT America — June 2, 2017 – RT

Published time: 3 Jun, 2017 02:03 Netanyahu willing to overlook Trumps embassy flip-flop journalist As a candidate, Donald Trump emphatically promised to move the US embassy in Israel from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem. But President Trump has just signed a waiver to keep the embassy at its current location, much to the chagrin of the Israeli right-wing. The reason given for delaying to the move is so that the US can maintain the semblance of neutrality in the Palestinian question. Author and journalist Max Blumenthal joins RT Americas Manila Chan to give his reaction. Twitter warfare continues over Hillarys blame game Following Hillary Clinton’s recent claims that DNC data was mediocre to poor, non-existent, wrong and a factor in her failure, Andrew Therriault, a former DNC staffer with her campaign, lashed out on Twitter, pointing out that their models had correctly predicted trouble in Michigan, Wisconsin and Pennsylvania but that Clintons inner circle thought they knew better. He has since deleted his Twitter comments and apologized for his response. Meanwhile, President Donald Trump blasted Hillary Clinton for her finger-pointing, in turn provoking venom from her. Around and around it goes.

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Jeremy Corbyn Dares to Speak Truth About the ‘War on Terror’ – AlterNet

Jeremy Corbyn – Take Back Our World! – Global Justice Now. Cropped. 21 February 2015, 00:00 Photo Credit: By Global Justice Now (Jeremy Corbyn) [CC BY 2.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/2.0)], via Wikimedia Commons This June 8, British voters will decide whether or not to continue with the conservative status quo, or take a chance on a new kind of left-wing politics that would represent a firm break with the orthodoxies of the ruling Conservative Party and the Labour Partys establishment wing. Jeremy Corbyn, the Labour Partys intrepid new socialist leader, has pledged to drastically change his society. His partys leftist manifesto calls for more funding for the socialized health care system, nationalizing the countrys tattered railways and putting a stop to massive cuts in social spending. Yet Corbyn has also taken a step further than others in his party have dared, pledging to do what to many progressives remains a shibboleth: oppose war and imperialism and limit the violent blowback they have caused back home. The liberal political establishment in the U.S. and across Western Europe has uncritically supported wars from Iraq to Libya to the push for regime change in Syria, often in the name of humanitarianism and civilian protection. While many progressives have portrayed the so-called war on terror as an unfortunate but necessary evil, Corbyn has made a crucial break with the norms of the political establishment, condemning the imperial wars the West has waged and emphasizing that this military intervention has only fueled the violent extremism the British government claims to be combatting. Manchester Attack and Government Complicity On May 22, a man detonated a suicide bomb at a concert in Manchester, killing two dozen and wounding more than 100, many of them children. The jihadist group ISIS took credit for the attack. Salman Abedi, the attacker, was a British citizen, not a refugee, from a family that was part of the Western government-backed right-wing Libyan opposition to longtime leader Muammar Gaddafi. As Max Blumenthal detailedin an article on AlterNet,the British intelligence services played a direct role in supporting Islamist militancy in Libya, working closely with the Al Qaeda-affiliated Libyan Islamic Fighting Group (LIFG) in a cynical bid to topple Gaddafi. When NATO escalated2011 protests in Libya into an explicit regime change operation, the U.S. and U.K. governments encouraged foreign fighters to travel to the North African nation to help fight. Among those who took the MI6 ratline from Manchester to Libya was Ramadan Abedi, the father of the bomber. During her tenure as Home Secretary, Theresa May was in charge of overseeing MI6 operations. It was during this time that Libya was flooded with fighters from Britain, with passports being handed even to British-Libyan citizens under government control orders for their alleged ties to extremist groups. According to Akram Ramadan, a mechanic from Manchester who fought with the LIFG, roughly three-quarters of all foreign fighters in Libya arrived from his hometown in the U.K. With Ramadan Abedi on the Libyan front lines, his sons eventually followed in his footsteps. His youngest son, Hamza, arrived in the country and joined up with an ISIS affiliate, while Salman took a trip to Libya just days before the bombing. Abedi had also reportedly visited Syria, apparently to make common cause with the jihadist groups battling the Syrian government with arms and support from the West and its Gulf allies. In the past, right-wing politicians had successfully exploited terror attacks like the kind carried out in Manchester, stoking fear and anti-Muslim bigotry to shift public opinion. Jeremy Corbyn, a left-wing anti-war stalwart, upended the dynamic by introducing a counter-narrative that challenged violent extremism at its roots. While many liberals spoke of the bombing as a mere tragedy, whitewashing its politicized nature, Corbyn pointed his finger at interventionism and empire. Groundbreaking Speech In a groundbreaking speech on May 26, Jeremy Corbyn pledged to change what we do abroad. He linked Western wars of aggression to the plague of violent jihadist attacks targeting soft targets in the West. Many experts, including professionals in our intelligence and security services, have pointed to the connections between wars our government has supported or fought in other countries, such as Libya, and terrorism here at home, Corbyn noted. The leftist Labour leader forcefully condemned the horrific terror and the brutal slaughter of innocent people. But unlike his political peers, Corbyn did not depoliticize the bombing. He explained that in order to prevent future attacks, Britains foreign policy must change. Foreign wars may not be the only thing fueling this violence, he noted, but they are a key factor. We must be brave enough to admit the war on terror is simply not working, Corbyn emphasized. We need a smarter way to reduce the threat from countries that nurture terrorists and generate terrorism. That assessment in no way reduces the guilt of those who attack our children, he added. Those terrorists will forever be reviled and implacably held to account for their actions. Ultimately, in order to defeat terrorism, Corbyn stressed, we must understand what fuels it: Protecting this country requires us to be both strong against terrorism and strong against the causes of terrorism. The Medias War on Corbyn Jeremy Corbyns comments provoked a predictable festival of mock outrage from his Tory opponents, who borrowed a line from their Republican counterparts across the pond and accused him of denigrating the “troops. The attacks were accompanied by a wave of tabloid headlines alleging that Corbyn had fostered deep friendships with terrorist groups from Hamas to the IRA. TheConservative Party issued a ham-handed attack, claiming the Labour leaders speech has shown today why he is not up to the job of keeping our country safe. The statement continued, Jeremy Corbyn has a long record of siding with our enemies. Britains Conservative security minister smeared Corbyn, claiming his speech justified terrorism. Centrist Blairites also chimed in. The liberal interventionist and pro-Israel activist Nick Cohen lashed out at Corbyn, writing a hackneyed op-ed that utterly ignored the Western wars he has wholeheartedly supported that have destabilized the Middle East and fueled Salafi-jihadism. Cohen instead framed violent extremism as a matter of values, subtly reinforcing the line of far-right Islamophobes like UKIPs Nigel Farage. The corporate media did its part, tarring and feathering the leftist Labour leader. A columnist at the right-wing Telegraph published a hatchet job not so subtly titled, Jeremy Corbyn has long hated Britain. Analysis from Loughborough Universitys Center for Research in Communication and Culture showed the almost comically ridiculous bias Labour faces in the British media. Few media outlets, even ostensibly left-leaning newspapers like the Guardian, acknowledged that in reality, the policies pursued by the U.K.s right-wing government, with the support of Theresa May, have led to the spread of the type of violent extremism that fueled the Manchester attack. Virtually no one cited the British government reports that corroborate Corbyns argument. The Governments Own Findings Back Corbyn Up Behind the bluster, multiple reports released by the British government backed up Corbyns remarks. In 2016, the British House of Commons bipartisan Foreign Affairs Committee published a detailed report on the 2011 war in Libya exposing that the NATO military intervention had beensold on lies. Among the deceptions deployed to justify NATO regime change was the myth that the Libyan opposition was politically moderate. The Foreign Affairs Committee report on the other hand noted that the British government failed to identify that the threat to civilians was overstated and that the rebels included a significant Islamist element. The House of Commons report added, It is now clear that militant Islamist militias played a critical role in the rebellion from February 2011 onwards. Moreover, the U.K. governments enormous, decade-long Iraq Inquiry, popularly known as the Chilcot Report,revealed in 2016 that before the 2003 invasion of Iraq, British intelligence officials had repeatedly warned that the joint American-British war would fuel and empowerSalafi-jihadist groups like al-Qaeda. Despite these reports, centrist former Labour prime minister Tony Blair teamed up with U.S. President George W. Bush, in an invasion that the United Nations explicitly said violated international law. Blair admitted in 2015 that the Iraq war, in which he played Bushs junior partner, gave riseto ISIS. Closing the Gap With mere days before the election, Jeremy Corbyn has managed to close the once large chasm between his party and the Tories. And he has done this despite enormous odds and tremendous opposition from his partys ossified establishment. When the snap election was scheduled by Prime Minister May in April, it seemed a Tory victory was all but certain. In the months since, support for Labour has slowly increased. On May 31, leading pollster YouGov put Labour just 3 percent behind the Conservatives, which could lose its parliamentary majority. Corbyn and May are neck and neck. Corbyn has managed to do this in spite of a level of media bias that is almost unprecedented in British politics. Even the Guardian has treated Corbyn as a pariah. Yet the British public has rejected the elite medias torrent of attacks, sending a surge of support for Labour. While the political establishment and the corporate media have been unable to explain why the scourge of violent extremism continues, Corbyn has provided the public the answers it has been desperately seeking. His deft response to the Manchester attack appears to be paying dues. For years, Corbyn has been an outspoken, principled critic of Western wars. He has long been a leader in the Stop the War Coalition. (In a symbolic anecdote, Chelsea Clinton interrupted a Stop the War Coalition event in 2003 that featured Corbyn as a speaker.) Jeremy Corbyn is trying to mainstream a left-wing alternative to the discredited centrist and the far-right fringe. Rather than running from his political identity, he has put it front and center, reminding British voters after Manchester, I have spent my political life working for peace and human rights and to bring an end to conflict and devastating wars. Corbyn may not beat the odds and unseat May, but his unexpected surge in the polls has served as a stunning rebuke to the militaristic political elite, and gives a glimmer of hope to those who still imagine an end to the forever war. Ben Norton is a reporter for AlterNet’s Grayzone Project. You can follow him on Twitter at @BenjaminNorton. Max Blumenthal is a senior editor of the Grayzone Project atAlterNet, and the award-winning author of Goliath andRepublican Gomorrah. His most recent book isThe 51 Day War: Ruin and Resistance in Gaza.Follow him on Twitter at @MaxBlumenthal.

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The Manchester Bomber Is The Spawn Of Hillary And Barack’s Excellent Libyan Adventure – Mintpress News (blog)

Manchester is the latest iteration of a scenario weve gone through so many times now, like some groundhog-day dream. An armed Libyan rebel shoots an AK-47 at a poster of Muhammar Gaddafi in the captured rebel town of Ras-Lanuf in the east of the country (Photo: Andrey Stenin/Sputnik) On November 20, 2015, two jihadi militants attacked the Radisson Blu hotel in Bamako, Mali, seizing about 100 hostages and leaving bodies strewed across the building. When it was over, 22 people (including the attackers) had been killed. As the New York Times reported: Mali has been crippled by instability since January, 2012, when rebels and Al Qaeda-linked militants armed with the remnants of late Libyan leader Col. Muammar el-Qaddafis arsenal began advancing through the countrys vast desert in the north and capturing towns. Not much has been made in American and Western media of this attack. Most of the dead were Malians, Russians, and Chineseand, hey, it was in Africa; Shit happens. Especially there. How many people reading this even remember that it happened? Follow-up analysis? It was Africa. That kind of coverage. (I did post about it at the time, making many points that unfortunately bear repeating here.) Last Monday, jihadi suicide bomber Salman Abedi blew himself up at an Ariana Grande concert in Manchester, England, killing 22 people. Salman grew up in an anti-Qaddafi Libyan immigrant family. In 2011, his father, Ramadan Abedi, along with other British Libyans (including one who was under house arrest), was allowed to go [to Libya], no questions asked, to join the Libyan Islamic Fighting Group (LIFG), an al-Qaeda-affiliate, to help overthrow Qaddafi. In Manchester, as Max Blumenthal puts it, in his excellent Alternet piece, it was all part of the rat line operated by the MI5, which hustled anti-Qaddafi Libyan exiles to the front lines of the war. In Manchester, Salman lived near a number of LIFG militants, including an expert bomb maker. This was a tough bunch, and everybodyincluding the cops and Salmans Muslim neighborsknew they werent the Jets and the Sharks. As Middle East Eye reports, he was known to security services, and some of his acquaintances had reported him to the police via an anti-terrorism hotline. Could it be any clearer? The Abedi family was part of a protected cohort of Salafist proxy soldiers that have been used by the West to destroy the Libyan state. There are a number of such cohorts around the world that have been used for decades to overthrow relatively prosperous and secular, but insufficiently compliant, governments in the Arab and Muslim worldand members of those groups have perpetrated several blowback attacks in Western countries, via various winding roads. In this case, the direct line from Libya to Mali to Manchester is particularly easy to trace. Too bad more people in Britain and the West hadnt paid attention to what happened in Mali two years ago. Too bad they hadnt thought too much about the chain of jihadi proxy interventions that the United States and its allies, or about the connection with the chain of jihadi attacks in Western countries. Too bad they hadnt recognized the continuing arrogance of the Western (U.S./NATO) and Middle Eastern (Gulf, Israel) powers who think they can unleash and re-leash these jihadi fighters at will. Too bad they dont understand the contradiction between mourning the bombing of Manchester and crying for the bombing of Syria. Too bad the Western (i.e., American-directed) media dont provide what would be necessary to understand these things: ongoing coverage and analysis of the obvious relation between the continuing series of horrors perpetrated by jihadi militants and the continuing series of horrors perpetrated by Western and allied governments. Its a good bet nobody will have forgotten the Manchester bombing two years from now. It was in merry old England, after all and many of the victims were beautiful British girls. Its also a good bet that the media analysis will continue to have everyone scratching their heads about why these death-loving Muslims hate us so much. That kind of coverage. The jihadi attackers in Mali and the jihadi bomber in Manchester were direct productsnot accidental by-products, but deliberately incubated protgsof American-British-French-NATO regime change in Libya, a project that was executed by the Obama administration and spearheaded by Hillary Clinton. Before the glorious revolution, Libya under Ghaddafi had the highest standard of living of any country in Africa, according to the UN Human Development Index. Before the jihadi onslaught backed by NATO bombing campaign, Ghaddafis Libya was an anchor of stability in North Africa, as even the U.S. and British governments knew and acknowledged, per a 2008 cable from American foreign service officer Christopher Stevens, published by Wikileaks: Libya has been a strong partner in the war against terrorism and cooperation in liaison channels is excellentMuammar al-Qadhafis criticism of Saudi Arabia for perceived support of Wahabi extremism, a source of continuing Libya-Saudi tension, reflects broader Libyan concern about the threat of extremism. Worried that fighters returning from Afghanistan and Iraq could destabilize the regime, the [government of Libya] has aggressive pursued operations to disrupt foreign fighter flows, including more stringent monitoring of air/land ports of entry, and blunt the ideological appeal of radical Islam. The US-British-French-NATO humanitarian intervention put an end to that by overthrowing the Libyan government under entirely phony pretexts, in contravention of fundamental international law, and in violation of the UN resolution, they claimed as a justification. The executioners and beneficiaries of that aggression where the jihadis who have been rampaging from Mali to Manchester. Its a bright, clear line. Britains Prime Minister Tony Blair (L) shakes hands with Libyan leader Muammar Gaddafi near Gaddafis home town of Sirte. May 29, 2007. (Leon Neal/Reuters) Ghaddafi himself warned Tony Blair that an organization [the LIFG].has laid down sleeper cells in North Africa called the Al Qaeda organization in North Africa. Ghaddafis son, Saif, warned that overthrowing Libyas would make the country the Somalia of North Africa, of the Mediterranean and You will see millions of illegal immigrants. The terror will be next door. Thanks to Blair and Obama and Clinton and Sarkozy, thats exactly what happened. Libya was destroyed as a functioning state, and the terror is now inside every Western door. Westerners and Americans transfixed by Ghaddafis garish posturing may have, and may still, find it hard to accept, but it needs to be said aloud: In 2011, Ghaddafi was right about what was going in in Libya, and all best and brightest militaristic conservatives and humanitarian liberals, in and out of government, were wrong. A lot of radical lefties, too, myself included; though I always vehemently opposed the US-NATO intervention, I, too, took Ghaddafis complaints for excuses. But lesson learned (by some): What was going on in Libya was the same thing that went on in Afghanistan in the 80s, and the same thing that is going on in Syria today, supercharged by the intervening war in Iraq Throughout this nefarious chain of destruction, nobody in the world has committed worse crimes than all the humanitarian liberals in and out of government who have enacted and/or gone along with the imperialist chaos program of destroying relatively prosperous and secular societies in the Arab and Muslim world, and replacing them with sectarian jihadi playgrounds. And no force in the world is more responsible for the rampaging jihadi wolves, lone and in packs, than the United States and its compliant allies, including Great Britain. Whether any American liberal wants to or not, anyone who is mourning Manchester needs to hear it said: Were crying over the horror in Manchester today because yesterday Hillary Clinton was laughing about the horror she inflicted on Libya including the killing of Ghaddafi by those protected Salafist proxies who sodomized him with a bayonet: We came. We saw. He died. [big smile, joyous laugther] Yes, exactly that. Ha, Ha. Maybe she can get a gig in a comedy club in Manchester. Really, knowing what we do about Libya through to Manchester, does any of the outrageous things weve from Trump equal the despicableness of Hillarys perverse glee in this video? Its an image not to be forgotten. Im sure that our current president, if hes given the timeand, if hes not, some other Republican or Democratwill meet or exceed the high standards that have been set, but Donald Trump has not yet come near committing the series of crimes for which Hillary Clinton and Barack Obama (following the precedent of five previous American administrations) are responsible. These crimes produced the twin horrors of imperialist and jihadi chaos, of which the destruction of the Libyan state was one egregious example, and the killing of young concertgoers in Manchester another. This represents a deep, persistent bipartisan policy that is much more important and difficult to confront than the question of which front man or woman will be selling it. Manchester is the latest iteration of a scenario weve gone through so many times now, like some groundhog-day dream. At the end of my post two years ago, I was urging and hoping that Americans would wake up. But a lot of American liberals and lefties, including Berniebots, still like to imagine theres a political space they can inhabit called Progressive Except Imperialism. There isnt. Imperialism with Social Security and Medicare and Obamacareeven single-payer healthcareis imperialism, and its reactionary and supremacist. Equal-opportunity imperialism is imperialism. African-American, women, Latinx, or LGBTQ presidents, generals, and drone operators do not make it any less criminal, or dangerous, or any less inevitably erosive of all those cherished progressive domestic programs. Ignoring or putting aside what the U.S. does in Libya, or Iraq, or Syria, or Palestine becauseTrump! The Republicans! is ignoring a fundamental element of a progressive politics as well as an immediate danger to the country. One can do it, but those who do, cant claim to be seriously confronting the horrors of a tragedy like Manchester, no matter how many tears they shed. Im afraid that is where were stuck. The absurdity of Trump is drawing more well-meaning people into the flames of nostalgia for an imaginary Democratic copasetic state that disappeared on January 20th. The #Resistance cant even get its act together for single-payer healthcarethe easiest sell imaginable; its not only avoiding the more contentious issues regarding American aggression in places like Libya and Syria, its succumbing to the dangerous, war-mongering, Russophobic program of the military-intelligence complex. Its still dream on, and I fear it will take a shock much greater than Manchester before Americans finally get the news. The views expressed in this article are the authors own and do not necessarily reflect Mint Press News editorial policy.

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June 1, 2017   Posted in: Max Blumenthal  Comments Closed

Legacy of Hillary, Barack’s Libyan adventure – The Herald

Barack Obama Jim Kavanagh Correspondent On November 20, 2015, two jihadi militants attacked the Radisson Blu Hotel in Bamako, Mali, seizing about 100 hostages and leaving bodies strewed across the building. When it was over, 22 people (including the attackers) had been killed. As the New York Times reported: Mali has been crippled by instability since January, 2012, when rebels and Al Qaeda-linked militants armed with the remnants of late Libyan leader Colonel Muammar Gaddafis arsenal began advancing through the countrys vast desert in the north and capturing towns. Not much has been made in American and Western media of this attack. Most of the dead were Malians, Russians, and Chinese and, hey, it was in Africa; Shit happens. Especially there. How many people reading this even remember that it happened? Follow-up analysis? It was Africa. That kind of coverage. Last Monday, jihadi suicide bomber Salman Abedi blew himself up at an Ariana Grande concert in Manchester, England, killing 22 people. Salman grew up in an anti-Gaddafi Libyan immigrant family. In 2011, his father, Ramadan Abedi, along with other British Libyans (including one who was under house arrest), was allowed to go [to Libya], no questions asked, to join the Libyan Islamic Fighting Group (LIFG), an al-Qaeda-affiliate, to help overthrow Gaddafi. In Manchester, as Max Blumenthal puts it, in his excellent Alternet piece, it was all part of the rat line operated by the MI5, which hustled anti-Gaddafi Libyan exiles to the front lines of the war. In Manchester, Salman lived near a number of LIFG militants, including an expert bomb maker. This was a tough bunch, and everybody including the cops and Salmans Muslim neighbours knew they werent the Jets and the Sharks. As Middle East Eye reports, he was known to security services, and some of his acquaintances had reported him to the police via an anti-terrorism hotline. Could it be any clearer? The Abedi family was part of a protected cohort of Salafist proxy soldiers that have been used by the West to destroy the Libyan state. There are a number of such cohorts around the world that have been used for decades to overthrow relatively prosperous and secular, but insufficiently compliant, governments in the Arab and Muslim worldand members of those groups have perpetrated several blowback attacks in Western countries, via various winding roads. In this case, the direct line from Libya to Mali to Manchester is particularly easy to trace. Too bad more people in Britain and the West hadnt paid attention to what happened in Mali two years ago. Too bad they hadnt thought too much about the chain of jihadi proxy interventions that the United States and its allies, or about the connection with the chain of jihadi attacks in Western countries. Too bad they hadnt recognised the continuing arrogance of the Western (US/Nato) and Middle Eastern (Gulf, Israel) powers who think they can unleash and re-leash these jihadi fighters at will. Too bad they dont understand the contradiction between mourning the bombing of Manchester and crying for the bombing of Syria. Too bad the Western (i.e., American-directed) media dont provide what would be necessary to understand these things: ongoing coverage and analysis of the obvious relation between the continuing series of horrors perpetrated by jihadi militants and the continuing series of horrors perpetrated by Western and allied governments. Its a good bet nobody will have forgotten the Manchester bombing two years from now. It was in merry old England, after all and many of the victims were beautiful British girls. Its also a good bet that the media analysis will continue to have everyone scratching their heads about why these death-loving Muslims hate us so much. That kind of coverage. The jihadi attackers in Mali and the jihadi bomber in Manchester were direct products not accidental by-products, but deliberately incubated protgs of American-British-French-NATO regime change in Libya, a project that was executed by the Obama administration and spearheaded by Hillary Clinton. Hillary Clintion Before the glorious revolution, Libya under Gaddafi had the highest standard of living of any country in Africa, according to the UN Human Development Index. Before the jihadi onslaught backed by Nato bombing campaign, Gaddafis Libya was an anchor of stability in North Africa, as even the US and British governments knew and acknowledged, per a 2008 cable from American foreign service officer Christopher Stevens, published by WikiLeaks: Libya has been a strong partner in the war against terrorism and cooperation in liaison channels is excellent . . . Muammar Gaddafis criticism of Saudi Arabia for perceived support of Wahabi extremism, a source of continuing Libya-Saudi tension, reflects broader Libyan concern about the threat of extremism. Worried that fighters returning from Afghanistan and Iraq could destabilise the regime, the [government of Libya] has aggressive pursued operations to disrupt foreign fighter flows, including more stringent monitoring of air/land ports of entry, and blunt the ideological appeal of radical Islam. The US-British-French-Nato humanitarian intervention put an end to that by overthrowing the Libyan government under entirely phony pretexts, in contravention of fundamental international law, and in violation of the UN resolution they claimed as a justification. The executioners and beneficiaries of that aggression where the jihadis who have been rampaging from Mali to Manchester. Its a bright, clear line. Gaddafi himself warned Tony Blair that an organisation [the LIFG] has laid down sleeper cells in North Africa called the Al Qaeda organisation in North Africa. Gaddafis son, Saif, warned that overthrowing Libyas government would make the country the Somalia of North Africa, of the Mediterranean and You will see millions of illegal immigrants. The terror will be next door. Thanks to Blair and Obama and Clinton and Sarkozy, thats exactly what happened. Libya was destroyed as a functioning state, and the terror is now inside every Western door. Westerners and Americans transfixed by Gaddafis garish posturing may have, and may still, find it hard to accept, but it needs to be said aloud: In 2011, Gaddafi was right about what was going on in Libya, and all best and brightest militaristic conservatives and humanitarian liberals, in and out of government, were wrong. A lot of radical lefties, too, myself included; though I always vehemently opposed the US-Nato intervention, I, too, took Gaddafis complaints for excuses. But lesson learned (by some): What was going on in Libya was the same thing that went on in Afghanistan in the 80s, and the same thing that is going on in Syria today, supercharged by the intervening war in Iraq Throughout this nefarious chain of destruction, nobody in the world has committed worse crimes than all the humanitarian liberals in and out of government who have enacted and/or gone along with the imperialist chaos program of destroying relatively prosperous and secular societies in the Arab and Muslim world, and replacing them with sectarian jihadi playgrounds. And no force in the world is more responsible for the rampaging jihadi wolves, lone and in packs, than the United States and its compliant allies, including Great Britain. Whether any American liberal wants to or not, anyone who is mourning Manchester needs to hear it said: Were crying over the horror in Manchester today because yesterday Hillary Clinton was laughing about the horror she inflicted on Libya including the killing of Gaddafi by those protected Salafist proxies who sodomised him with a bayonet: We came. We saw. He died. [big smile, joyous laughter] Yes, exactly that. Ha, Ha. Maybe she can get a gig in a comedy club in Manchester. Really, knowing what we do about Libya through to Manchester, does any of the outrageous things weve from Trump equal the despicableness of Hillarys perverse glee in this video? Its an image not to be forgotten. Im sure that our current president, if hes given the timeand, if hes not, some other Republican or Democratwill meet or exceed the high standards that have been set, but Donald Trump has not yet come near committing the series of crimes for which Hillary Clinton and Barack Obama (following the precedent of five previous American administrations) are responsible. These crimes produced the twin horrors of imperialist and jihadi chaos, of which the destruction of the Libyan state was one egregious example, and the killing of young concertgoers in Manchester another. This represents a deep, persistent bipartisan policy that is much more important and difficult to confront than the question of which front man or woman will be selling it. Manchester is the latest iteration of a scenario weve gone through so many times now, like some groundhog-day dream Its still dream on, and I fear it will take a shock much greater than Manchester before Americans finally get the news. Counterpunch

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May 30, 2017   Posted in: Max Blumenthal  Comments Closed


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