tag:husseini.posthaven.com,2013:/posts Sam Husseini 2018-05-17T14:33:18Z Osama Husseini tag:husseini.posthaven.com,2013:Post/1284454 2018-05-17T14:22:48Z 2018-05-17T14:33:18Z To US Gov, Israel is, Again, Totally Off The Hook
State Department spokesperson Heather Nauert on Tuesday stopped responding to questions on the Israeli massacre of Palestinians in Gaza.

While proclaiming a regret of loss of life, she effectively justified the killing: "Israel has a right to defend itself. When people are being sent to the border, they are bringing weapons, they are threatening to cross through the fence, they are throwing Molotov cocktails – Israel has a right to defend itself."

When asked "But in so many flashpoints that are sensitive around the world, regularly the U.S. Government calls for restraint on all sides. It’s such a common, simple thing to say. Why in this case is it so difficult? What would be wrong with calling for restraint on the part of Israel?" Nauert responded: "I think this is a complex region. We’re looking at exactly why protests are taking place, why Hamas is encouraging people to go out and protest, why Hamas is encouraging people to go out right up to the border fence, why they’re encouraging people to try to knock down that fence and go into Israel, why they’re sending kites with Molotov cocktails to try to burn down the fields. Michelle, this is not as innocent as it may seem to many people. Hamas is trying to encourage people to do that, and by doing that, they are putting Palestinian lives at risk. ... Let’s move on. I don’t have anything more for you on this, okay?"

I tried to get questions in a several points and she manged to avoid me through the news conference until the very end, which I attempted to pursue a line of questioning starting with examining the notion that Israel was justified. I wish I came up with more creative way to approach this, but her non response and justification for massive killing is notable.

(36:35) HUSSEINI:  How is it not justification for killing – for Israel killing when you say Israel has the right to defend itself?

MS NAUERT:  Okay, we’re – we’re done with this.

HUSSEINI:  Israel has a right to defend itself --

MS NAUERT:  We’ve already been there.

HUSSEINI:  -- and there are no Israeli casualties --

MS NAUERT:  Okay.

HUSSEINI:  -- and there are literally tens of – there’s over ten thousand --

MS NAUERT:  I think – I think we’ve covered this extensively already.

HUSSEINI:  -- Palestinian casualties in the – and a hundred dead.

MS NAUERT:  Okay.  Go on, one last question?

QUESTION:  Yes.

MS NAUERT:    Do you have something else?

HUSSEINI:  Excuse me.

QUESTION:  Yes.  On the Lebanese.

HUSSEINI:  Excuse me.  No, no, no.  That requires a response.  And furthermore, I mean, the U.S. isn’t, you know, mowing down people along the U.S.-Mexican border.

MS NAUERT:   We are --

HUSSEINI:  Isn’t that accurate?

MS NAUERT:  We are done with this issue.  We’ve covered it extensively already.  I’ve taken many questions on this, and we’ve --

HUSSEINI:  So, Israel is off the hook again.  Israel is off the hook again.

MS NAUERT:  Sir, thank you – thank you for your question.  I think we’ve covered this already, okay?  I’m sorry; I’ll get back to you another time, okay?

QUESTION:  That’s okay.

MS NAUERT:  Thank you.

See my last questioning at a State Department briefing on March 23, which similarly ended with me asking: "So Israel’s off the hook?"
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Osama Husseini
tag:husseini.posthaven.com,2013:Post/1281579 2018-05-08T15:37:56Z 2018-05-08T15:37:57Z Gina Haspel and Torture: Not Just Immoral, but a Tool for More War
With the nomination of Gina Haspel to be director of the CIA, there's rightfully some interest in her record regarding torture

Of course, there are questions of legality and ethics and with respect to torture and it's possible as some have argued that the motivation of Haspel and others in overseeing torture and covering it up may be simple sadism

But -- especially given how little we know about Haspel's record -- it's possible that there's an even more insidious motive in the U.S. government practicing torture: To produce the rigged case for more war. Examining this possibility is made all the more urgent as Trump has put in place what clearly appears to be a war cabinet. My recent questioning at the State Department failed to produce a condemnation of waterboarding by spokesperson Heather Nauert. 

Gina Haspel's hearing on Wednesday gives increased urgency to highlighting her record on torture and how torture has been "exploited." That is, how torture was used to create "intelligence" for select policies, including the initiation of war. 

Lawrence Wilkerson, former chief of staff to Colin Powell, has stated that neither he nor Powell were aware that the claims that Powell made before the UN just before the invasion of Iraq where partly based on torture. According to Wilkerson, Dick Cheney and the CIA prevailed on Powell to make false statements about a connection between Al-Qaeda and Iraq without telling him the "evidence" they were feeding him was based on tortured evidence. See my piece and questioning of Powell: "Colin Powell Showed that Torture DOES Work." 

The 2014 Senate torture report noted (in an obscure footnote) the case Wilkerson speaks of: “Ibn Shaykh al-Libi" stated while in Egyptian custody and clearly being tortured that "Iraq was supporting al-Qa’ida and providing assistance with chemical and biological weapons. Some of this information was cited by Secretary Powell in his speech at the United Nations, and was used as a justification for the 2003 invasion of Iraq. Ibn Shaykh al-Libi recanted the claim after he was rendered to CIA custody on February [censored], 2003, claiming that he had been tortured by the [censored, likely ‘Egyptians’], and only told them what he assessed they wanted to hear." (Libi would in due course be turned over to Muammar Gaddafi during a brief period when he was something of a U.S. ally and be conveniently "suicided" in Libyan custody; see my piece "Torture Did Work — to Produce War (See Footnote 857)

The Senate Armed Services Committee in 2008 indicates the attempt to use torture to concoct "evidence" was even more widespread. It quoted Maj. Paul Burney, who worked as a psychiatrist at Guantanamo Bay prison: “A large part of the time we were focused on trying to establish a link between al-Qaeda and Iraq and we were not successful. The more frustrated people got in not being able to establish that link ... there was more and more pressure to resort to measures that might produce more immediate results.” The GTMO Interrogation Control Element Chief, David Becker told the Armed Services Committee he was urged to use more aggressive techniques, being told at one point “the office of Deputy Secretary of Defense [Paul] Wolfowitz had called to express concerns about the insufficient intelligence production at GTMO.”

McClatchy reported in 2009 that Sen. Carl Levin, the chair of the Armed Services Committee, said: “I think it’s obvious that the administration was scrambling then to try to find a connection, a link (between al Qaida and Iraq) ... They made out links where they didn’t exist.”

Exploiting false information has been well understood within the government. Here’s a 2002 memo from the military’s Joint Personnel Recovery Agency to the Pentagon’s top lawyer — it debunks the “ticking time bomb” scenario and acknowledged how false information derived from torture can be useful:

"The requirement to obtain information from an uncooperative source as quickly as possible — in time to prevent, for example, an impending terrorist attack that could result in loss of life — has been forwarded as a compelling argument for the use of torture ... The error inherent in this line of thinking is the assumption that, through torture, the interrogator can extract reliable and accurate intelligence. History and a consideration of human behavior would appear to refute this assumption."

The document (released by the Washington Post, which minimized its most critical revelations and was quickly forgotten in most quarters) concludes:

"The application of extreme physical and/or psychological duress (torture) has some serious operational deficits, most notably, the potential to result in unreliable information. This is not to say that the manipulation of the subject’s environment in an effort to dislocate their expectations and induce emotional responses is not effective. On the contrary, systematic manipulation of the subject’s environment is likely to result in a subject that can be exploited for intelligence information and other national strategic concerns." [See PDF]

So torture can result in the subject being “exploited” for various propaganda and strategic concerns.

New York Times reported in Feb. 2017: “Gina Haspel, C.I.A. Deputy Director, Had Leading Role in Torture,” that “Mr. Zubaydah alone was waterboarded 83 times in a single month, had his head repeatedly slammed into walls and endured other harsh methods before interrogators decided he had no useful information to provide. The sessions were videotaped and the recordings stored in a safe at the CIA station in Thailand until 2005, when they were ordered destroyed. By then, Ms. Haspel was serving at CIA headquarters, and it was her name that was on the cable carrying the destruction orders.” 

Some have made an issue of videos of torture being destroyed --  but it’s been widely assumed that they were destroyed simply because of the potentially graphic nature of the abuse or to hide the identity of those doing the torture. But there’s another distinct possibility: They were destroyed because of the questions they document being asked. Do the torturers ask: “Is there another terrorist attack?” Or do they compel: “Tell us that Iraq and Al-Qaeda are working together.”? The video evidence to answer that question has apparently been destroyed by order of Haspel -- with barely anyone raising the possibility of that being the reason.

Even beyond the legal and ethical concerns, the following questions are in order: 

* Are you familiar with the case of Ibn Shaykh al-Libi? Do you acknowledge that he was tortured at the behest of the U.S. government by the Egyptian government to produce a false confession that Iraq was linked to al Qaeda and therefore a pretext for war; Colin Powell presenting that at the UN?

* Why were others similarly tortured in 2002 and 2003? Was it really to allegedly protect us, or was it to gain fabricated statements that could be used to rig the case for the Iraq invasion?

* Are you familiar with the practice of exploiting torture?

* Have you ever participated in in any way -- or helped cover up -- the exploitation of torture? 

* Why did you order the destruction of the video tapes of the torture?

* What assurance do we have that you and others who were involved in this won't do it all again?

* Why do you approve of and cover up for torture? Is it sadism or is it to achieve strategic purposes? What of the motives of your cohorts and superiors? 


Sam Husseini is senior analyst at the Institute for Public Accuracy. 
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Osama Husseini
tag:husseini.posthaven.com,2013:Post/1264492 2018-03-23T16:24:42Z 2018-04-03T16:25:19Z At State Dept: I Ask About Torture, Saudi Arabia and Israel

Went to State Department briefing on Thursday, March 22. Summary: Spokesperson Heather Nauert announced at the start of the briefing a "new regional counterterrorism academy in Jordan." ... In response to a question from another reporter about Israel sentencing Palestinian Ahed Tamimi, she stated: "I’m not going to weigh in on a case that took place in another country." ... Nauert finally called on me about the Jordanian announcement. I asked, given known use of torture in Jordan, if State viewed torture as illegal. She responded: "are we rolling back the clock to 15 years ago again today?" I responded that given the Trump's CIA nominee, Gina Haspel, "this administration is winding back the clock." ... In response to another question about China, she said, referring to me: "despite what our friend here from The Nation may think, the United States consistently stands up for human rights." I started asking about Saudi Arabia, she tried to duck. Matt Lee of the AP referenced my Saudi question and asked about Bahrain. She started talking about talking to Saudis and Bahrain about human rights. She then did call on me, I asked about Saudi Arabia and Israel, noting she talked about Bahrain, but not Israel. End briefing. Relevant portions below with emphasis added in bold: 

(1:13)   NAUERT: A couple things going on today. First, I’d like to announce a project that we’re pretty excited about, and this is in -- over in Jordan. We’re pleased to announce today that the Department of State and the Government of Jordan have inaugurated a new regional counterterrorism academy in Jordan.


(19:41)  SAID ARIKAT: Yesterday, the Israeli court, behind closed doors, sentenced [Ahed Tamimi] to eight months in prison for slapping an Israeli soldier. On the same day, they reduced the sentence of an Israeli soldier who killed an incapacitated Palestinian in cold blood to almost the same amount of time. Is, in your view, the Israelis sort of deal with the Palestinians with a different scale of justice altogether? …

(20:05)  NAUERT: See, I don’t think that I’m not going to answer that question.  That would be entirely up – no that would be entirely up to law enforcement.  I’m no there to see all the details of the case, so it would be very unfair for me to comment on that.  You know we have talked many times about the importance of – of fair trials; about the importance that all individuals be treated humanely. ... I am just saying I’m not going to weigh in on a case that took place in another country. That would entirely be a matter for them to address with you, okay?


(33:26)  HUSSEINI: You made a Jordan announcement.

(33:27)  NAUERT: Yes, I did.

(33:29)  HUSSEINI: Yes. So, can you tell us more about this so-called counterterrorism site? Jordan -- if you look at human rights organizations, there’s use of torture in Jordan. What is the State Department position on torture, including methods like waterboarding? Does the State Department regard that as illegal?

(33:47)  NAUERT: I – uh - think that the United States’ long-term cooperation with our strong partner in the Middle East, Jordan, is very well known, very well established. Our relationship with Jordan is as strong today as it was a few years ago, as it was 10 years ago, 15 years ago, and much further back than that. They have an excellent military. They have an excellent police force. They are close cooperating partners of the United States and, frankly, many other countries as well. I think our position --

(34:18)  HUSSEINI: (Off-mike.)

(34:21)  NAUERT: I think our position on that, on the part of the U.S. Government, is very clear. We will work with this government and we work with many other governments around the world in the fight against terrorism, and the fight against ISIS.

(34:31)  HUSSEINI: So you’re fine with torture, including waterboarding, with cooperating --

(34:35)  NAUERT: Are we – are we doing this again? Are we doing this? Are we – are we rolling back the clock to 15 years ago again today?

(34:42)  HUSSEINI: Well, it’s just that the CIA --

(34:45)  NAUERT: It’s my friend from The Nation here.

(34:46)  HUSSEINI: -- the CIA nominee destroy – among other things oversaw a site in Thailand that’s been accused of conducting torture and destroyed the video evidence of it --

(34:56)  HAUERT: I’m pretty sure that I work for the State Department --

(34:58)  HUSSEINI: Right.

(34:59)  NAUERT: -- and not the Central Intelligence Agency. So if you have --

(35:00)  QUESTION: So –  I’m not the one winding back the clock --

(35:03)  NAUERT: So if you have any questions about that --

(35:04)  HUSSEINI: This administration is --

(35:05)  NAUERT: -- I’d refer you over to that building.

(35:05)  HUSSEINI: This administration is winding down the clock, so I’d like an answer to the question rather than a divergent that I’m winding back the clock, because this administration is winding back the clock.

(35:15)  NAUERT: I don’t know – I don’t know how you --

(35:16)  HUSSEINI: So you don’t want to answer the question.

(35:17)  NAUERT: I don’t know how you think that. I think our position on torture, on human rights, is very well known.

(35:25)  HUSSEINI: What is it then?

(35:26)  NAUERT: We support the Government of Jordan. We do not support, we do not encourage, any of that kind of use that you – that you allege.

(35:32)  HUSSEINI: Is waterboarding legal, in your view?

(35:35)  NAUERT: The U.S. Government has declared that. Uh - I don’t recall the exact year, but a few years back, maybe it was seven or eight years ago, said that that is not a technique that the U.S. Government endorses. There was a time that the U.S. Government had told personnel that it could use that.

(35:50)  And I will remind you, let me just remind you and go on a little sidetrack here, that our military forces, when our Special Ops go through that training to become Special Forces, Navy SEALs, all of that, they go through that training. They go through what you’re referring to as torture. I just want to put that out there, that that still exists today.

(36:08)  HUSSEINI: So the State Department view is that waterboarding is torture and is illegal?

(36:11)  NAUERT: I’m not gonna – I’m not going to go back and have this conversation --

(36:13)  HUSSEINI: It’s a simple question.

(36:14)  NAUERT: -- with you once again. Okay?

(36:16)  HUSSEINI: It’s a simple question.

(36:16)  NAUERT: I think we’ve taken enough time on this and let’s move on. Said, go right ahead. 
...

(40:47)  QUESTION: Thank you very much, madam. As far as China actually is concerned, finally this president took action against China, because I have been saying for many, many years, according to the press report, China has been using as far as prison labor and also cheap labor. So, my question is: Are you sending message to China that respect human rights and rule of law, freedoms of press and freedom of religion, among others? And also, stop arresting the prison – the innocent people for their cheap labor.

(41:21)  NAUERT: Yeah. Sir, despite what our friend here from The Nation may think, the United States consistently stands up for human rights. China is one of those countries where we may have those conversations, where we talk about the importance of freedom of religion, human rights, fair trials, and all of those other things and ideals that the United States Government holds near and dear to our hearts, because that’s fundamentally what we believe in. We speak to other governments, China in particular, about media freedoms and all of those things consistently in all our diplomatic conversations.

(41:51)  HUSSEINI: (Off-mike.)

(41:52)  NAUERT: I’m going to have to leave it at that.

(41:53)  QUESTION: One more.

(41:54)  NAUERT: Yeah. Yeah, yeah, yeah.

(41:55)  HUSSEINI: Heather, can you tell us about Saudi Arabia?

(41:56)  QUESTION: I want to ask you about --

(41:55)  HUSSEINI: Can you talk about the meetings with Saudi Arabia --

(42:01)  LEE: Bahrain.

(42:00)  HUSSEINI: -- since my name was just invoked?

(42:01)  NAUERT: Go right ahead. Go ahead.

(42:01)  QUESTION: Or, do you --

(42:02)  QUESTION: Heather, I’ve got one --

(42:03)  QUESTION: Before you get to – before --

(42:03)  HUSSEINI: So she’s mentioning my name and not respond --

(42:04)  LEE: Excuse me. Before you get to Saudi, can you uh–

(42:07)  NAUERT: Yeah.

(42:07)  LEE: I have this question I’ve been trying to ask for three days now about this case in Bahrain, about Duaa Alwadaei, who was convicted yesterday and sentenced to two months in absentia. Do you have anything to say about that, given what you just said about the calls for free – fair trials and --

(42:19)  NAUERT: Yeah. Sure. And – and - that is something that we talk with our partners in Bahrain. We have those conversations with the Government of Bahrain, with Saudi Arabia. We have difficult conversations with countries that we also have relationships with. That is a fact. We hold our ideals near and dear to our hearts. Those consistently come up in our private conversations with other governments, who don’t adhere to those ideals that we believe are so important. You ask about – you ask --

(42:47)  HUSSEINI: (Off-mike.)

(42:47)  NAUERT: Excuse me. I’m talking to Matt here. You ask about Duaa Alwadaei. She is residing in London. So, we saw the report that a Bahraini criminal court sentenced her in absentia to two – I believe it was two months in prison for allegedly insulting a state institution. Really? For allegedly insulting a state institution, they sentenced her to two months in prison. So we would say to the Government of Bahrain – and this is a way that we can deliver a message to governments around the world – we strongly urge the government to abide by its international obligations and commitments to respect human rights and fundamental freedoms, and that includes the freedom of expression.

(43:25)  Okay.

(43:25)  HUSSEINI: Heather, when you were -- earlier, about Israel you refused to comment.

(43:26)  QUESTION: Heather, yesterday --

(43:28)  NAUERT: Go ahead. Go ahead. Go ahead. Go ahead.

(43:29)  QUESTION: Excuse me, sir. Excuse me.

(43:30)  HUSSEINI: You refused to comment on Israel.

(43:30)  QUESTION: Heather, yesterday Susan Thornton met with an official from Taiwan. Can – do you have a readout of that?

(43:38)  NAUERT: I do not. I do not. I’m sorry. I don’t.

(43:40)  QUESTION: There was a tweet and a photograph of them meeting yesterday.

(43:44)  NAUERT: Okay. I’ll see if I can provide a readout of that meeting for you, okay? Okay.

(43:48)  QUESTION: (Off-mike.)

(43:49)  NAUERT: Sir, I will let you take that last question. Then we got to go. Go ahead.

(43:52)  HUSSEINI: So you talk about – first of all, could you address Saudi Arabia and why is it that your closest ally in the region seems to be Saudi Arabia -- and Israel? You talk about a trial in Bahrain, but you don’t address it when it comes to the -- when the -- when it comes to Israel. Why is that?

(44:09)  NAUERT: Look, that is a -- uh a uh -- a very sensitive matter, and we handle conversations with different governments differently about sensitive matters. We don’t take the same approach with every single government, the kinds of conversations we have.

(44:22)  HUSSEINI: So Israel’s off the hook?

(44:23)  NAUERT: And uh - No, I’m not saying that at all. Not saying that at all. We have to leave it there. Thank you.

(44:30)  QUESTION: Thanks, Heather.

(44:31)  == Briefing Ends ==

Video and full but somewhat problematic transcript at State Department website. YouTube.

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Osama Husseini
tag:husseini.posthaven.com,2013:Post/1263915 2018-03-21T17:57:54Z 2018-03-27T09:28:58Z Trump Spokesperson Commemorates Invading Iraq by Claiming U.S. Doesn't Dictate to Other Countries; State Dept. Defends Invasion that Trump Campaigned Against

Trump campaigned on his alleged opposition to the 2003 invasion of Iraq. Now his State Department is defending it.

Exactly 15 years after the U.S. invaded Iraq, White House spokesperson Sarah Sanders on Tuesday, in response to a question about President Trump calling President Putin of Russia "We don't get to dictate how other countries operate." 

That prompted a back and forth at the beginning of the State Department briefing, which I followed up on toward the end of the Q and A there: 

HUSSEINI: Earlier in your discussion with Matt [Lee of the AP] about the U.S. doesn’t dictate to other countries. It’s the 15th anniversary of the Iraq war, and of course, the --

MS NAUERT: I don’t think that I said – I don’t think that I said to Matt that we don’t dictate to other countries.

HUSSEINI: It might have been him. I wasn’t sure.

MS NAUERT: I think Matt said that.

HUSSEINI: Sometimes it's hard to tell.

LEE: I was quoting the --

MS NAUERT: Yeah, yeah, he --

LEE: -- the White House spokeswoman.

MS NAUERT: Yeah.

HUSSEINI: Should the U.S. apologize for regime change operations from meddling in elections in multiple countries through many means over the years?

MS NAUERT: That is a big question. You’re asking me about the entire history of the United States -- should we apologize? That’s the question?

QUESTION: Well, let’s start with the Iraq War.

MS NAUERT: Should we apologize for our government all around the world?

HUSSEINI: No, no.

MS NAUERT: I think that the United States Government does far more good --

HUSSEINI: Are you asking me to clarify?

MS NAUERT: -- than we ever do bad. And certain people in the United States and in other countries have a look or have the perspective that America does more harm than good. I’m the kind of American that looks at it from the other way around. We do far more good.

HUSSEINI: Most Americans are opposed to the Iraq War. Should the U.S. Government apologize for things that were put out by that podium, people who are in this administration who fabricated information to start the Iraq War?

MS NAUERT: Look --

QUESTION: (Off-mike.)

MS NAUERT: -- I get what you’re getting at. You want to be snarky and take a look back.

HUSSEINI: No, I don’t want to be snarky. I want to get real.

MS NAUERT: No, hold on, and take a look – okay, and take a look back --

HUSSEINI: I want to get real.

MS NAUERT: -- at the past 15 years. And Iraq is certainly a country that has been through a lot.

HUSSEINI: Yes.

MS NAUERT: I’ve been to Iraq; many of you have been to Iraq in covering what has taken place there, okay.

HUSSEINI: I’m being anything but snarky.

MS NAUERT: Let me finish, okay. They’ve faced a lot of challenges. Right now the most significant challenge there is ISIS, and the United States remains there at the invitation of the Iraqi Government to fight and take on ISIS. I want to commend the Iraqi Government for something – that is, for the past 15 years, that they have had a history of free and fair elections over 15 years. That is remarkable given where they were under the regime of Saddam Hussein. I recall having met Iraqis at that time – and this dates back to 2004, 2005 – and certainly everyone that I had talked to, an Iraqi citizen had had a family member that was killed in some sort of horrific fashion or disappeared and was never heard from again. I mean, that is something that as an American, when you start talking to citizens, and that is their experience, that is something that’s very difficult for the average American to understand, because that is simply the way of life there.

The United States has a strong relationship with the Government of Iraq. I’m going to look forward from this podium in this room. We have a good relationship with the Government of Iraq; I’m not going to look back at this point, okay?

QUESTION: (Off-mike.)

HUSSEINI: So no responsibility for --

MS NAUERT: Go right ahead.

HUSSEINI: -- the bloodshed of --

MS NAUERT: Go right ahead.

QUESTION: A follow-up question --

HUSSEINI: -- or anything else?

Full video at State Department website at about 32:15. 

See previous questioning: "Questions at State Dept: U.S. as Israeli-Palestinian Mediator and Honduran AP Drug Story." 
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Osama Husseini
tag:husseini.posthaven.com,2013:Post/1254446 2018-02-28T22:06:56Z 2018-03-27T09:28:58Z Pence Claims about Saddam's WMDs and Terrorist Ties in Speech Backing Iraq Invasion
For Saddam Hussein has been America’s warring foe for more than a decade. In 1991, we ceased hostility.  We ended the battle, but Madam Speaker his war took no rest and it shows no mercy, and if in some horrible, yet possible day Saddam and the metastasizing network of terrorists he harbors and protects bring to America another world trade center, another Pentagon, another Oklahoma City, or Khobar Towers. When and not if, but when Saddam creates and uses nuclear weapons what will we tell the American people then?
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Osama Husseini
tag:husseini.posthaven.com,2013:Post/1250634 2018-02-21T03:40:00Z 2018-03-27T09:28:58Z Questions at State Dept: U.S. as Israeli-Palestinian Mediator and Honduran AP Drug Story
Today I started asking questions at the State Department. [Full text and video at 29:50]: 


QUESTION: But how can you maintain both things at the same time, that you have a special relationship with Israel and you want to be the mediator between Israel and the Palestinians, to have --

MS NAUERT: Well, we’ve covered this numerous times before. This administration looks back at the many – numerous decades of inability to bring peace to the Middle East. So the administration is determined that it wants to look at things perhaps a little differently. And that may confound some people --

QUESTION: But --

MS NAUERT: Let me finish. And that may confound some people, and that’s fine. But the administration is still saying that we are willing to sit down and have peace talks, and both sides are going to have to give a little, and that’s something that they’ve not – we’ve not backed away from in terms of our standpoint.

QUESTION: I’m not saying that you’re unique in this respect.

MS NAUERT: Yeah.

QUESTION: Multiple administrations have said we have a special relationship with Israel and we’re going to be the mediator, and it hasn’t worked out well. So aren’t you actually sort of doing the same thing that past administrations have?

MS NAUERT: No, I think the administration is handling this – handling this differently. And there are a lot of examples that I could think of that --

QUESTION: Can I ask about Honduras?

MS NAUERT: Okay.

QUESTION: Thank you.

MS NAUERT: I’m not sure I’m going to have anything for you on Honduras today, but you can --

QUESTION: Well, perhaps --

MS NAUERT: -- take a stab at it.

QUESTION: Thank you, for next time. On January 27th, the AP published a report based on Honduran Government documents describing the involvement of a new national police chief in assisting a drug cartel leader in transporting, quote, “nearly a ton of cocaine.” Subsequently, the Honduran police have formally requested a criminal investigation, quote, “preparatory to a complaint,” not into the police chief, but into the AP reporters who broke the story. It seems a clear attempt to retaliate and intimidate a U.S. media outlet. Is the State Department doing anything on this, especially considering that the revelations are about the police chief Jose David Aguilar Moran’s involvement and that the U.S. Government provides assistance to the Honduran police?

MS NAUERT: I will certainly have to take a look into that. I was not aware of that story. I’ll check with our experts in Honduras and at our Western Hemisphere Bureau as well. Okay, thank you.

ADDENDUM: On Feb. 21, I got an email from a State Department official: 

Below is a response to your taken question of 2/20/18.   Please attribute to a State Department official.

Q:  Is the State Department doing anything on this, especially considering that the revelations are about the policechief Jose David Aguilar Moran’s involvement and that the U.S. Government provides assistance to the Honduran police?


·        We are unwavering in our support for press freedom and the right of journalists to operate without interference in Honduras and around the world.

·        We would refer further questions to the Government of Honduras.

I thought it spoke volumes that State would actually refer questions about this back to the Government of Honduras. 

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Osama Husseini
tag:husseini.posthaven.com,2013:Post/1247491 2018-02-14T14:26:26Z 2018-03-27T09:28:57Z Putting the PRO in Protest
[Unpublished piece from 2008]

"I like to believe that people in the long run are going to do more to promote peace than our governments. Indeed, I think that people want peace so much that one of these days governments had better get out of the way and let them have it."
-- Dwight Eisenhower

People are used to being against Bush, to protesting against Bush. It's been easy for some the last several years -- whatever Bush is for, we're against it.

That will no longer do.

We need to be for things and to change the world to achieve those things.

It's alot easier to just say everything is wrong. It's harder to say, this is what needs to happen -- or atleast, this is how we can figure out what needs to happen.

Some are noting that Obama's policies are highly flawed. Others don't want to seem to be undermining a new president promising fundamental change. Both groups can work and can PROtest if that protest is FOR something. No need to be defined as being against Obama, nor to be passively waiting for him to do the right thing.

Part of the crux is defining the "us" in this equation. The "us" needs to be global. Progressives in the U.S. need to have more in common with an Afghan child or an African child than with Dick Cheney.

The anti-war movement was at its height on Feb. 15, 2003 when a global day of protest saw millions on the streets of London, Madrid, New York, Barcelona, Rome, Johannesburg, Tel Aviv, Tokyo, Hong Kong and hundreds of other cities. The establishment in the voice of the New York Times called the anti-war movement the "second super power."

That has seemingly died.

Or has it?

Certainly, it should not.

We can now build an even greater movement, with millions on those streets as well as millions of others -- including more Muslim countries. Tools of the internet, media like Democracy Now, The Real News, and Al Jazeera can be utilized in such an effort and then the corporate media will be forced to acknowledge that global force. 

Unlike Bush, Obama must listen to such a movement. The lines of communication and coordination must be built on a global scale from the grassroots. Indeed, whenever they have been, progressive forces in the U.S. have been at their strongest. The other high point of progressive action in the last ten years -- other than the Feb. 15 protests -- was the WTO protests in Seattle in 1999. Those too were global in nature. People and organizations -- including environmentalists and labor unions -- on the streets of Seattle in effect made common cause with the representatives of poorer countries against the governments of richer countries and their corporate allies.

It would be tragic if the global stage is dominated by governments of dubious legitimacy and hierarchical corporate elites as they meet and determine the world's future. Meetings that do take place of non-governmental organizations, which gain little attention in the public consciousness -- even the World Social Forums -- are no substitute for visible global PROtests.

And let us learn from Bush. It is wrong to simply be against whatever he says. Bush says that he wants democracy in the Arab world. I've always been for authentic democracy in the Arab world. But Bush claims he wants democracy in the Mideast as he occupies the Iraq, backs the Israeli occupation of Palestinian land and the despotic rule of the Saudi government. While many in the anti-war movement have been attacking Bush for being unilateral, have they not also been unilateral by not building the needed global structures, by not reaching out to the rest of the world which agrees with so many of their stated goals?

Failure to do this now will be a historic tragedy. It will either be a great failure or a tacit admission that people living in the West are not interested in reaching out to the rest of the world. That their economic and national privilege is too enticing. Indeed, this may well help to reach into the "internal third world" -- so that poor people in the United States meaningfully participating in political action. That too is threatening to largely middle class movements.

An immediate test of this is at the United for Peace and Justice meeting this weekend: Will it plan to have a protest on the anniversary of the start of the invasion of Iraq, looking backward, being ANTI. Or will it have a PROtest on Feb 15 -- sooner, global, looking forward being for a new world?

There are oppressive forces to be sure, but there are substantial opportunities. If WE decide to take them -- together. The bigger that WE, the better.

Sam Husseini founded the web page www.compassroses.org on Feb. 15, 2003.


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Osama Husseini
tag:husseini.posthaven.com,2013:Post/1243303 2018-02-05T16:09:01Z 2018-03-27T09:28:57Z Rumi: This place is a dream....
[Over the last few years, I've tremendously enjoyed listening to Rumi poetry, especially recited by Duncan Mackintosh and Coleman Barks. Here's one by Mackintosh that I've transcribed (based on this), below. I hope to write about my interpretations of them over time, but for now, I felt it would be good to simply start posting them.] 


This place is a dream.
Only a sleeper considers it real.

Then death comes like dawn,
and you wake up laughing
at what you thought was your grief.

But there's a difference with this dream.
Everything cruel and unconscious
done in the illusion of the present world,
all that does not fade away at the death-awakening.

It stays,
and it must be interpreted.
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Osama Husseini
tag:husseini.posthaven.com,2013:Post/1232870 2018-01-16T18:07:11Z 2018-03-27T09:28:57Z KAL 007: What the U.S. Knew and When it Knew it
The downing of KAL 007 has been in the news following the false missle alarm in Hawaii. Here's "KAL 007: What the U.S. Knew and When it Knew it" by David E. Pearson, cover story for The Nation from 1984. Pearson would go on to write a book on the subject
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Osama Husseini
tag:husseini.posthaven.com,2013:Post/1207267 2017-11-23T15:34:10Z 2018-03-27T09:28:57Z The Potential Miracle of Dreaded Thanksgiving Political Discussion
Many seem to dread political discussion over the Thanksgiving Day table. What to do about you relative who voted for Trump (or Clinton)?

A bit of courage can turn it all around.

Solution is VotePact.org. The duopoly is dividing you and your family. The grassroots left and right want meaningful change and actually agree on some issues.

They keep getting sold out by establishment figures posing as agents of meaningful change like Trump and Obama.

Both sides should acknowledge problems with each major party and candidates and what disagreements they have with them. Do you both want perpetual war? Do you want the government to back Wall Street? That what both Trump and Obama get you.

In the next election, instead of cancelling out each other, you can team up and both vote for the independent candidates of your choice. Syphoning votes in pairs from the establishment parties.

Start now.

You can talk it out so you’re not motivated by nothing better than Trump (or Clinton) hatred. Freedom from hatred. That would be truly something to be thankful for.
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Osama Husseini
tag:husseini.posthaven.com,2013:Post/1204222 2017-11-09T14:38:22Z 2018-03-27T09:28:57Z With Trump in China, Henry Rosemont's Moral Reflections
God I so hate it when this happens. I want to get in touch with an expert, someone whose voice and wisdom is so needed, and find they've died. I remember it happening with China scholar Robert Weil and Kurdish expert Vera Beaudin Saeedpour in years past. 

Today I was -- later than I should have -- trying to get hold of Henry Rosemont, a great scholar of Chinese philosophy and author of Chinese Mirror: Moral Reflections on Political Economy and Society among other books only to find out he died in July from this fine obituary

I think Noam Chomsky originally pointed me in his direction. I never met him, but had several fascinating talks by phone and emailed back and forth at times, putting him on several news releases.

I also enjoyed seeing several of his talks online. Here's one he gave in 2012, titled "Individual Freedom and Human Rights vs Social Justice: A Confucian Meditation", which begins: "Some of what I say this evening will worry liberals greatly. Some of the things I will say will annoy conservatives even more greatly. So that suggests that either I'm totally bipolar -- or Confucius is -- or that it might be helpful for you to try to bracket those kinds of labels and try hard to listen to what I'm going to say on its own terms about the Confucian persuasion." Here's that talk:


Perhaps my favorite quote of his of the dozen or so times I had him on Institute for Public Accuracy news releases over the last 20 years was this one:

“I first went to live in China in 1982. I thought they should build hostels and welcome foreigners to visit inexpensively, in keeping with the egalitarianism the government supposedly championed. Instead, they built five star hotels. Partly it was a matter of the capital needed from Western companies like Holiday Inn but partly they bought into a certain Western economic model.

“While the Cultural Revolution was successful in many respects — it stopped the famines, provided enough clothing — the leadership over the last two decades pursued a plan of growth that virtually no one thought they could achieve, quadrupling the economy. But this came at enormous human and environmental cost. Inequality is stark and worsening in China, life in the countryside is very bleak, especially for women; only in China do more women than men commit suicide, almost 60 percent of the world’s total.

“Many hawks would make China out to be a grave military threat to the U.S., but consider, for example, some very simple facts: The U.S. has 12 aircraft carriers, China has none; the United States has over 700 military bases and other installations outside its borders, while China has none; 250,000 U.S. military are stationed overseas — not counting the mercenaries — but again, China has none. China has 100-400 nuclear weapons, the U.S. has 10,000. The Chinese have much better grounds for fearing the United States than the other way around.”

My latest real interaction with him was after I wrote the posting "'Democracy Now' Gets Nuclear Ban Vote Totally Wrong" late last year. He saw it and responded:

Excellent letter, Sam; thanks for doing it. I'm quite disappointed in Amy Goodman; what has happened?
Have a good weekend,
Henry

I thanked him for his note, wrote that I wanted to get him on a news release soon. I emailed him again in April with no response and -- especially since he was just about the age of my father who died in January -- had an occasional worried thought in the back of my mind, until today.
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Osama Husseini
tag:husseini.posthaven.com,2013:Post/1186550 2017-08-25T22:38:23Z 2018-03-27T09:28:57Z Meditation on Reflections on a DC Metro Bus ]]> Osama Husseini tag:husseini.posthaven.com,2013:Post/1184701 2017-08-18T14:53:12Z 2018-03-20T12:15:09Z How "Both Sides" Forge U.S. Supremacy: The Nationalistic Hypocrisies of "Violence" and "Free Speech"
Many have focused on President Donald Trump's statements on Charlottesville condemning the "violence" from "both sides". Which is understandable, since the killing of Heather Heyer and overwhelming violence came from white supremacists. But virtually no one has scrutinized the first half of his remarks: Trump criticizing the "violence" of others.

How is it that Trump is designated to be in a position of judging the perpetrators of violence? The U.S. government is regularly bombing a number of countries. Just last week, Trump threatened North Korea with nuclear destruction in unusually blunt language -- "fire and fury" rather than the typical Obama administration veiled nuclear attack code lingo "all options are on the table". 

On Monday, the same day Trump read a scripted condemnation of white supremacist violence, Airwars.org reported that in Syria: "Marwa, Mariam and Ahmad Mazen died with their mother and 19 other civilians in a likely Coalition strike at Raqqa." 

You'd be hard pressed to find a "news" story about them. That's the concern with the effects of "violence" when it emanates from the U.S. government. 

But the threats and use of violence are not new, nor is the hypocrisy. As he was ordering the ongoing bombing of Yugoslavia in 1999, President Bill Clinton took time out of his schedule to address the shooting at Columbine High School: “We must do more to reach out to our children and teach them to express their anger and to resolve their conflicts with words, not weapons.” 

Such outbreaks of domestic political violence are used not as openings for introspection about longstanding violence in U.S. society, but for rallying cries to uphold alleged virtues of the nation. The recent attacks are "repugnant to everything we hold dear as Americans" Trump claims.

Since we live "under law and under the Constitution...responding to hate with love, division with unity, and violence with an unwavering resolve for justice. No matter the color of our skin, we all live under the same laws, we all salute the same great flag, and we are all made by the same almighty God."

The words Trump uttered seemed to echo Saint Augustine. Charles Avila in Ownership: Early Christian Teaching, outlines Augustine's beliefs: "The Creator, who alone is Absolute Owner, did not make us human beings so many 'islands,' without any relation to each other, but one human family, 'made from one mud' and sustained 'on one earth.'...We enjoy the same natural conditions: 'born under one law, living by one light, breathing one air and dying one death.'"

Thus, what seemingly originated as a universal theological admonition -- to attack the notion of private property no less -- has been perverted into a narrow nationalist one with universalist trappings. It simultaneously seems to condemn violence while actually facilitating it.

Nor is this new, either. during the presidency of Bill Clinton, he ordered up an "Initiative on Race". It's largely forgotten because its primary goal wasn't actually improving relations between different ethnic groups. Its goal was noted in its title: "One America in the 21st Century”. Not “Finally Overcoming Racism.” Not “Towards an America of Equality.”

National cohesion is the driving concern here. How can we make these differing ethnicities get along well enough to ensure that this stays one nation is a question elites must ask themselves. See my piece at the time: "'One America' -- To what Ends?"

There's a tightrope being walked here. There's a functionality to the "debate" between "both sides". The system requires a great deal of tension to keep people in their partisan boxes. The main thing that each political faction has going for it is the hatred towards the other. 

But there's the threat that it could reach a threshold that tears at national unity, which is why you get Terry McAuliffe and other political figures making Trump-like brazen contradictory statements, pleading for unity one minute and denouncing white supremacists as being repugnant to American values the next, wholly unworthy of engagement. 

The Democratic Party has to offer people something more than Russia-bashing, and that something seems to be opposition to a war that the party of Jefferson was on the losing side of.

Many were aghast at Trump's remarks about Washington and Jefferson: "So this week, it is Robert E. Lee. I noticed that Stonewall Jackson is coming down. I wonder, is it George Washington next week? And is it Thomas Jefferson the week after? You know, you really do have to ask yourself, where does it stop?"

If we do honest history, it doesn't stop. That's the point. It condemns most of the political class. And would do so to most of current political class. But that's not a conclusion many in the political class are interested in. A line can certainly be drawn from Washington to Lee, as Confederates frequently argued.

As historian Gerald Horne has argued, the U.S. Revolutionary War was largely a war to ensure the continuation of slavery. Part of the "genius" of the U.S. was the "unification" of many non-black and non-native people as "white", including southern and eastern Europeans and some Arabs. So you have a large immigration pool to forge the nation.

Nor of course is slavery the only crime. It's perhaps focused on to at least some extent in our current political discourse because it's the main aspect of the imperial project that created, rather than destroyed, a major domestic constituency that was a victim of it. Native Americans are not a major domestic constituency because, unlike black folks in the U.S., their ancestors were not chained and brought to U.S. shores as slaves, but were driven out, killed en mass or made to die or be confined and marginalized. 

And that project predated the formal creation of the United States. Kent A. MacDougall notes in "Empire—American as Apple Pie" in Monthly Review that "George Washington called the nascent nation 'a rising empire.' John Adams said it was 'destined' to overspread all North America. And Thomas Jefferson viewed it as 'the nest from which all America, North and South, is to be peopled.'"

Of course, Trump isn't raising Washington and Jefferson to broaden the critique of the crimes of white supremacy, but to try to limit it. This is somewhat similar to when Bill O'Reilly said in an interview with Trump that Putin is "a killer" -- Trump replied: "There are a lot of killers. You think our country's so innocent?" Trump thus becomes the only honest person on the national stage, but largely not for the purpose of positive change. He's using what is mostly a left wing critique to entrench the establishment, which is similar to what "neocons" have done. 

Trump's statements, understated as they were, about current U.S. government violence were roundly condemned by most of the political class. CNN's "chief national security correspondent" Jim Sciutto called them "relativistic" -- when they were they are the exact opposite. What's relativistic is condemning the actions of others while approving of similar actions by one's "own side". Of course, Trump is relativistic when he condemns the violence from "many sides" in Charlottesville. 

So we have two relativistic dead ends: Trump "vs" the rest of the establishment. One victim for the time being is people's brain cells who have to endure and try to parse through the constant machinations. 

Comments like those about U.S. violence or the history of Washington give Trump a legitimacy of sorts. The establishment media effectively keep the microphone away from anyone else who would note such defining facts, while giving reams of coverage to Trump. He effectively becomes the leading "dissident" while also being the head inquisitor. This discourse effectively immunizes the establishment from meaningful change or even dialogue. 

Contrast Trump's realistic statement with what passes for dissent on "Democracy Now", which recently reverentially interviewed Ta-Nehisi Coates of the once somewhat dignified journal The Atlantic. Coates stated: "The Civil War was the most lethal war in American history. The casualties in the Civil War amount to more than all other wars—all other American wars combined. More people died in that war than World War II, World War I, Vietnam, etc." 

"People." 

Martin Luther King warned African Americans were "integrating into a burning house." Robert E. Lee said of blacks in the U.S.: "The painful discipline they are undergoing, is necessary for their instruction as a race, & I hope will prepare & lead them to better things." Many have seemingly accepted such instruction. 

A path for "acceptance" by the establishment for African Americans, immigrants and others is to kiss the ring of U.S. supremacy. 

This insular discussion of "both sides" in the U.S. context frequently renders the non-U.S. "other" even more expendable. As I wrote in 2015: "How #AllLivesMatter and #BlackLivesMatter Can Devalue Life": 

Both sides limit who they mean by “lives.” They effectively exclude the victims of the U.S.’s highest officials. When most people use #BlackLivesMatter, they seem to be saying that all black U.S. lives matter when taken unlawfully by the government. And when most people who use #AllLivesMatter use it, they seem to be saying all U.S. lives matter when taken at the hands of police authorities — not just black U.S. lives. But the formulation effectively excludes the lives of millions of people who U.S. officials have deemed expendable for reasons of state.

Coates also claimed: "What you have to understand is, Donald Trump’s very essence, his very identity, is the anti-Obama. ... I mean, there was a piece, I think, like just last week in BuzzFeed. It was talking about, you know, Trump’s foreign policy. And his basic deal is: 'Is Obama for it? Well, I’m against it.'"

This shows remarkable ignorance or deceit about the continuity of U.S. foreign policy in recent decades, which obviously extends to include Obama and Trump. This is especially the case for someone who lives outside the United States. Certainly, the branding and rhetoric is different, but it's supposed to be the job of "public intellectuals" to see beyond that, not calcify it. 

There are many ramifications of the nationalistic blinders that are dutifully imposed by so many. Take the discussion of the ACLU's role in defending the white supremacists marching. The "both sides" here are: We should care so much about bigotry and violence that we should curtail the right of gun wielding white supremacists to march wherever they want. The other side is: Our devotion to free speech is so great that we should even allow this. 

They both ring hollow to me. It is not at all clear that what is happening will root out structural racism; it has been at the level of symbols, which is where the establishment wants it to remain contained. Nor do I see a serious commitment to freedom of speech being displayed by the ACLU and others, as serious infringement of freedom of speech occur with hardly an objection. Partisan establishment apparatchiks dominate media at virtually every level, with government facilitation. Google, Facebook, Twitter and others have effectively taken over much of the town square and are increasingly skewing what speech gets heard. Such is the nature of corporate power, backed by the state, right now. 

The likely "collateral damage" of such "debates" will be critics of U.S. empire. Consider that as the national ACLU seemed to be backtracking from their position, the California ACLU put out a statement that read in part "First Amendment does not protect people who incite or engage in violence." Who is going to be the likely victim of this? White supremacists -- or someone who explains why Hezbollah might want to lob missiles at Israel? The line that the California ACLU seeks to draw would seemingly ironically lynch John Brown, whose actual execution was overseen by none other than Robert E. Lee in blue uniform. 


Hezbollah's Al-Manar television channel -- possibly the most anti-ISIS outlet going -- is banned in the U.S. without outcry; with barely a note. 

The very discussion about "hate groups" is perverse. The entire political culture in the U.S. lives off of hate. The pro Hillary Clinton rhetoric is "Love Trumps Hate", but Clinton, like Trump, feeds off hate. There certainly are explicitly white supremacist groups. And there can be some distinction made between them and the merely implicitly structurally racist establishment. But the Democratic and Republican Parties would implode in a minute if it were not for the hatred of the other. 

What's needed is that freedom of speech triumph and in today's world it's not clear if that is compatible with the nation state and corporate power in their current construct. In its present form and use, the internet is ceasing to be "world wide web" -- it is constricted in a myriad of ways by national boundaries and unaccountable corporate diktat that need to be questioned if not obliterated in our contemporary world. 

The taking down of Confederate monuments poses a some opportunity -- a groundswell of democratic grassroots action could happen. But the tearing down needs to be built upon. In Baltimore, faced with the prospect of activists taking down Confederate statues, city officials abruptly arranged for their overnight disappearance. Local artists put a sculpture of an African American woman atop the pedestal in their place. 

This hints at a greater solution to the immediate controversy over Confederate monuments. I recall the first time I saw, or at least comprehended, a Confederate memorial -- with Lee or some other general atop a horse, I think in New Orleans. I thought the solution would be not to remove them, but to build around them. A tree could hover above with strange fruit hanging down, for example. 

This would diminish the "beauty" that Donald Trump sees in the Confederate statues while acknowledging the history, both in its illusion as to what it pretends to depict -- and the reality of the selective erection of such statues. 

Indeed, perhaps we need more -- not fewer -- monuments to the Civil War, to all wars. If done right, they would actually be monuments for peace. Consider the nature of war, the consequences, the actual reality of mangled corpses beneath the "great men" atop their horses. 

But there are perils at every turn. When the U.S. Treasury decided to put Harriet Tubman on the $20 bill last year, many welcomed it. But it seemed to me to be a subtle but real step to co-opting the legacy of the Underground Railroad to one that could be used to help justify "humanitarian interventionism" -- ie, U.S. militarism with some bogus moral pretext attached. That is, the language of the U.S. Civil War could be used to "free" people around the world as the State Department sees fit, as now with Venezuela. As Simon Bolivar said: “The United States seems destined by Providence to plague America with torments in the name of freedom.”

Ironically, some denouncing Trump's "fascist" proclivities have taken refuge in the actions of corporate bosses who have resigned from the American Manufacturing Council that Trump launched earlier this year. As Noam Chomsky and others have long noted, corporate structure is totalitarian. The saviors here are part of the threat. Perhaps doubly so since the Council was a corporate-government cooperative entity. 

The pretexts and posturing run throughout public discourse in the U.S., as it's dominated by apparatchiks around Trump and around the Democratic Party. Only an ever vigilant parsing of the deceits and actions that are rooted in principles and a sense of the global commons will see us through. 

Special thanks to Berkley Bragg.  

Sam Husseini is founder of VotePact.org, which advocates principled left-right cooperation to break the duopoly. He's also the founder of CompassRoses.org, an art project to make apparent the one world we inhabit. 
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Osama Husseini
tag:husseini.posthaven.com,2013:Post/1184501 2017-08-17T19:14:39Z 2018-03-20T12:15:09Z We Need Many More Civil War Memorials

I recall the first time I saw, or at least comprehended, a Confederate memorial, with Lee or some other general atop a horse. I thought the solution would be not to remove them, but to build around them. A tree should hover above with strange fruit hanging down for example. I'd be delighted if such a thing were to catch on now. 

And perhaps we need more -- not fewer -- monuments to the Civil War, to all wars. If done right, they would actually be monuments for peace. Consider these images that confront the reality below the "great men" atop their horses: 






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Osama Husseini
tag:husseini.posthaven.com,2013:Post/1176618 2017-07-24T16:55:14Z 2018-02-27T09:02:17Z Chame
Video processing failed. — Download chame.mov
This is part of "The Human Condition" art project. 
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Osama Husseini
tag:husseini.posthaven.com,2013:Post/1172272 2017-07-10T22:39:12Z 2018-02-14T19:47:21Z "Democracy Now" Again Misreports Nuclear Ban Treaty
Last October, I wrote the piece "'Democracy Now' Gets Nuclear Ban Vote Totally Wrong". 

This morning, again, "Democracy Now" got crucial information about the treaty wrong. The lead headline on this morning's show was: 

At the United Nations headquarters in New York, 122 countries have approved a global treaty to ban the use of nuclear weapons, despite the United States leading the opposition to the treaty.

Actually, unacknowledged in the transcript (and spliced on the current online version) is that during broadcast, Amy Goodman initially read the headline as "despite the United Nations leading the opposition to the treaty" -- and then corrected it at the end of headlines, which is somewhat darkly amusing.

But the core statement is not true [perhaps I should have written the core statement is an drastic understatement that distorts what's happening]. The treaty doesn't "ban the use of nuclear weapons" -- it bans possession. The name of the agreement is "Treaty on the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons".

The treaty states

Each State Party undertakes never under any circumstances to: (a) Develop, test, produce, manufacture, otherwise acquire, possess or stockpile nuclear weapons or other nuclear explosive devices;...

"Democracy Now" should correct this and be be far more serious about reporting on the role of the U.S. government in forcing the continued possession and threatening use of nuclear weapons. 
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Osama Husseini
tag:husseini.posthaven.com,2013:Post/1161261 2017-06-06T20:13:05Z 2018-02-13T09:16:08Z After a Terrorist Attack, Spain Rejected Its Hawks. Will Britain?
[This piece originally appeared at The Nation magazine on June 5.] 

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

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 East–related 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 José María Aznar (now a director at Rupert Murdoch’s 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 ETA’s involvement in the first place? It assessed—probably correctly—that the Spanish people would be furious that so much blood had been shed in Madrid in retaliation for Spain’s involvement in the invasion of Iraq, which was already deeply unpopular.

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 Syria—a former French colony. It has also become far more of a target of terrorism in the name of Islam in recent years.

It’s 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, NPR’s “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 doesn’t guarantee an end to terrorist attacks in Britain. For one, it’s 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 Labour 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 NewsPaul 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.” He’s 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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Osama Husseini
tag:husseini.posthaven.com,2013:Post/1159035 2017-05-30T21:46:31Z 2018-02-03T03:01:49Z Brzezinski's Biggest Disaster: Camp David
On Tuesday's "Morning Joe," Zbigniew Brzezinski was eulogized by Jimmy Carter along with the MSNBC show co-hosts, Joe Scarborough and Mika Brzezinski — daughter of the former national security advisor.

The segment, of course, avoided issues that Brzezinski has been criticized for, see "How Jimmy Carter and I Started the Mujahideen." Though even the New York Times obit noted: "But in at least one respect — his rigid hatred of the Soviet Union — he had stood to the right of many Republicans, including Mr. Kissinger and President Richard M. Nixon. And during his four years under Mr. Carter, beginning in 1977, thwarting Soviet expansionism at any cost guided much of American foreign policy, for better or worse. He supported billions in military aid for Islamic militants fighting invading Soviet troops in Afghanistan."

The shadow cast by such policies quite arguably lead to the 9/11 attacks and a great deal of other pain and suffering in the Mideast and beyond. 

Few have delved into the depths and aims of Brzezinski's anti-Russian bias. He wrote in “A Geostrategy for Eurasia” in the journal Foreign Affairs (1997): “A loosely confederated Russia — composed of a European Russia, a Siberian Republic, and a Far Eastern Republic — would also find it easier to cultivate closer economic relations with its neighbors. Each of the confederated entities would be able to tap its local creative potential, stifled for centuries by Moscow’s heavy bureaucratic hand. In turn, a decentralized Russia would be less susceptible to imperial mobilization.” 

Indeed, two main strains that we see in our current foreign policy owe a great deal to Brzezinski. One is a desire of much of U.S. establishment to further neuter — if not actually break up — Russia. The other — being employed in Syria now — is using militarized fanatics fighting in the name of Islam for foreign policy purposes.

What was highlighted by Carter and others after Brzezinski's death was the "triumph" of the Camp David agreement between Israel and Egypt. 

And this is something that few question, though such praise leads to some wild statements, as in this MSNBC interview. 

Joe Scarborough claimed: "Mr. President, I was talking to Mika's daughters this weekend and trying to explain the impact that you all had on the world and talking about the Middle East. You hear about the Middle East peace. But you know, President Carter's peace efforts between Israel and Egypt prevented a ground war in the Middle East for 40 years."

Huh? Joe Scarborough is unaware of any ground wars in the Mideast over the last 40 years. He must have tuned out the Iran-Iraq war in the 1980s, the 1991 Gulf War, as well as the 2003 U.S. invasion of Iraq. Never mind the numerous Israeli invasions of Lebanon. 

And it's quite arguable that Camp David actually set the stage for all those things. As the late Eqbal Ahmad stated in 1990 (at an event I attended):

There has been nothing (that I have seen) in the media about what compels Saddam Hussein's extraordinary ambitions. ... What has suddenly in 1990 compelled his ambition, that requires 350,000 American troops to control? What did it?

No one has named the Camp David Accords. And Saddam Hussein's ambitions are directly attributable to the Camp David Accords. I won't go into details of it — just in two sentences, remember the following. Since the decline of the Ottoman Empire (in other words, since the beginning of the 19th Century) Egypt has played the role of the regional influential in the Arab World. Politically, culturally, even militarily, Egypt has led the Arab World (and ideologically). The Camp David Accords' supreme achievement was to isolate Egypt from its Arab milieu.

When Anwar Sadat signed that piece of paper, his hope had been that this would lead to the return of Egyptian territory to Egypt. Occupied territories, one (which he did get). And two, a modicum of justice for the Palestinians. So that, over time his isolation will be ameliorated. And that minimum that was promised to Sadat in the Camp David Accords was not honored. In fact, the maximum was dishonored.

To remind you of one reality alone, Carter, and Saunders, and William B. Quandt — the three American negotiators from top to the bottom (with Carter at the top, Saunders in the middle, and Quandt at the bottom) — have testified and recorded in their books that in the last three days of the Camp David negotiations, the negotiations had broken down on one issue. And the issue was Sadat's insistence that there should be written in the Camp David Accords that Israel will put up no more settlements in the West Bank and Gaza. And Begin would say, "I am willing to agree on it informally, but won't do it in writing." And Carter weighs in and says, "You must understand Begin's difficult position. I give you guarantee that there will be no settlements. ...

Now, obviously, Camp David meant moral, ideological, political isolation of Egypt from its Arab milieu. There would be a political vacuum in the Middle East after Camp David. And smaller players — like Syria and Iraq — would love, would aim at, would have the ambition, to fill that vacuum.

Similarly, the late Patrick Seale wrote in 2011 in "The future of the (de)stabilizing Egypt-Israel Peace Treaty": 

By removing Egypt — the strongest and most populous of the Arab countries — from the Arab line-up, the treaty ruled out any possibility of an Arab coalition that might have contained Israel or restrained its freedom of action. As Israeli Foreign Minister Moshe Dayan remarked at the time: "If a wheel is removed, the car will not run again."

Western commentators routinely describe the treaty as a "pillar of regional stability," a "keystone of Middle East diplomacy," a "centerpiece of America’s diplomacy" in the Arab and Muslim world. This is certainly how Israel and its American friends have seen it.

But for most Arabs, it has been a disaster. Far from providing stability, it exposed them to Israeli power. Far from bringing peace, the treaty ensured an absence of peace, since a dominant Israel saw no need to compose or compromise with Syria or the Palestinians.

Instead, the treaty opened the way for Israeli invasions, occupations and massacres in Lebanon and the Palestinian territories, for strikes against Iraqi and Syrian nuclear sites, for brazen threats against Iran, for the 44-year occupation of the West Bank and the cruel blockade of Gaza, and for the pursuit of a "Greater Israel" agenda by fanatical Jewish settlers and religious nationalists.

In turn, Arab dictators, invoking the challenge they faced from an aggressive and expansionist Israel, were able to justify the need to maintain tight control over their populations by means of harsh security measures.

All these factors deflated Arab Nationalism and ultimately opened the way for Saudi dominance of much of the region. This helped lead to the collapse of the three other major secular states in the region: Iraq, Syria and Libya. Egypt itself has been relegated to the role of puppet police state and may descend further given the current dynamics. 


Sam Husseini is communications director for the Institute for Public Accuracy and founder of VotePact.org. Thanks to Berkley Bragg for research help.
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Osama Husseini
tag:husseini.posthaven.com,2013:Post/1158925 2017-05-30T16:20:32Z 2018-01-15T18:21:30Z Postol: The New York Times Video Analysis of the Events in Khan Sheikhoun on April 4, 2017: NONE of the Cited Forensic Evidence Supports the Claims
[I just received this from Theodore A. Postol (professor emeritus of science, technology, and national security policy at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology) regarding claims put forward by the New York Times and others about Syria. Note full report is PDF at bottom.] 

May 30, 2017 

The New York Times Video Analysis of
the Events in Khan Sheikhoun on April 4, 2017:
NONE of the Cited Forensic Evidence Supports the Claims

Theodore A. Postol
Professor Emeritus of Science, Technology, and National Security Policy
Massachusetts Institute of Technology

Summary

On April 26, 2017 the New York Times released a video titled How Syria and Russia Spun a Chemical Strike.  This video provides extensive forensic evidence that the New York Times used to develop its conclusions about an alleged nerve agent attack in Khan Sheikhoun on April 4, 2017.  In this report, I show that NONE of the forensic evidence in the New York Times video and a follow-on Times news article supports the conclusions reported by the New York Times.

The forensic evidence and analytical claims in all of these reports can be traced back to a single source, an organization called Bellingcat.  This organization represents itself as “specializing in analyzing information posted online.”  As will be shown in what follows, not a single claim made by Bellingcat is supported by the forensic evidence it used to reach its conclusions.

The particular evidence of concern in this report are claims made by Bellingcat about three sites that were attacked by air on April 4, 2017 in Khan Sheikhoun with general-purpose bombs.  Bellingcat’s claims about forensic evidence of an alleged sarin release in Khan Sheikhoun on April 4, 2017 are addressed in my previous report, The Human Rights Watch Report of May 1,2017 Cites Evidence that Disaffirms Its Own Conclusions About the Alleged Nerve Agent Attack at Khan Sheikhoun in Syria on April 4,2017, issued on May 8, 2017.  This earlier report shows that Bellingcat’s claims of forensic proof for the sarin release site is based on evidence that does not exist.

This report shows that NONE of the bomb-damage areas identified by Bellingcat and shown in the New York Times video show any indication of bomb damage from 500 to 1000 pound bombs.  That is, the data from a composite panoramic view that is the foundation of the Bellingcat and New York Times analyses is clearly and unambiguously inconsistent with the claims of bomb damage from before and after satellite photographs used in the same analyses.  In fact NONE of the forensic data claimed by Bellingcat and the New York Times as evidence of general-purpose bomb damage on April 4 supports the conclusions that are said to have been derived from the forensic data.  In all, when these false claims about information provided in the forensic data are brought together with the claims about a sarin release site, the conclusion is inescapable that all of the evidence referred to by Bellingcat in the New York Times contains no forensic proof to support their narrative.

Thus, the narratives put forward by the New York Times, and the closely related Human Rights Watch report of May 1, are all based on forensic evidence and conclusions that are unambiguously false.

The specific problems with the forensic analysis produced by Bellingcat are as follows:

]]> Osama Husseini tag:husseini.posthaven.com,2013:Post/1153039 2017-05-10T20:33:11Z 2017-05-11T00:38:35Z In Search of an Empire without an Emperor: Dynamics Behind the Comey Firing
In a very short amount of time, it's become something of cliche to talk of Trump's firing of Comey as the equivalent of Nixon's "Saturday Night Massacre, in which Nixon fired anyone at the Department of Justice unwilling to fire the Watergate independent prosecutor.

If that does turn out to be an apt analogy, it's hardly surprising that this is happening in many respects.

The crimes of Watergate came out of the Vietnam War, though this is poorly understood. The Watergate “plumbers“ were originally set up to plug the leaks about the Vietnam War.

And so, with the rise of the imperial presidency, it was hardly surprising that someone like Nixon would use the mechanisms of Empire -- the capacity for secrecy, for surveillance and for violence -- for his own political purposes. Indeed, Hoover, atop the FBI, had been doing so for decades.

The late Watergate historian Stanley Kutler writes in his book Abuse of Power that Nixon railed to his aides about papers regarding the Vietnam War that he thought were at the then liberal Brookings Institution.

“I want it implemented…. God damn it, get in and get those files. Blow the safe and get it.” 

The documents Nixon apparently wanted to get hold of allegedly showed that Johnson curtailed the bombing of Vietnam in 1968 to boost the Democrats’ election prospects of winning the election that year. 

A great irony now is that the establishment Democrats are going after Trump in a number of personal ways, but collude in others, and indeed stiffen up his use of violence. When Trump uses military violence in Yemen or Syria, he is lauded by presumed liberals like Van Jones and Fareed Zakaria as presidential. 

Johnson was thought to curtail bombing for political gain. Trump now gains politically when he engages in bombing. 

The U.S. establishment seems to want an Emperor who will go around the world spying on people and killing them as he sees fit, but want to make sure he abides by legal niceties in the U.S. 

The obsessiveness over secrecy and the intense “principless“ partisanship give us a situation where the political factions spew allegations to the public that are at best difficult to discern, even if you follow politics full time, much less if you're trying to hold down a regular honest job. 

This leads to a political culture based on loving or hating various political figures, or just checking out of politics, which much of the political establishment may want for large sectors of the public. 

The secrecy and the surveillance are sold to the public as necessary for their own protection, but the opposite is true. The little known Katharine Gun case highlights how the actual target of surveillance is frequently not "terrorism", but the threat of peace. 

So, the Trump administration's ridiculous claims about the reasons for the Comey firing are fairly similar to the lying pretexts that U.S. officialdom used to justify the Iraq invasion. Empire is compatible with democracy only with a series of dehumanizing triple standards. It's fine there, just don't do it here. 

After all, the main victims of the Iraq invasion were the Iraqi people, and they are off screen and the officials who inflicted horrors on them have all walked away nice and clear. 

The mechanisms of Empire are tolerated, until someone like Trump seems to be using them for his own personal ends. 

In terms of Trump's own crimes, he is quite impeachable on the domestic emoluments clause, but the establishment Democrats seem quite uninterested in pursuing that.

They have focused on his apparent ties to Russia. There may well be something there, Trump is a corrupt figure and it's well within his capacities to engage in massive, if at times possibly buffoonish, coverup. But it is incredibly dangerous that the establishment Democrats seem intent on risking escalations with the other major nuclear power on the planet so they can beat Trump over the head.


Sam Husseini is communications director of the Institute for Public Accuracy and founder of VotePact.org, which encourages principled progressives to work with conscientious conservatives. 


]]> Osama Husseini tag:husseini.posthaven.com,2013:Post/1152911 2017-05-10T08:47:32Z 2017-05-10T08:47:32Z Comey Firing: Springtime in Berlin

Hard time sleeping in Berlin...

With Comey firing, my mind is going to how nefarious foreign policy instruments eventually get turned against political opponents. But the political culture cares not for the fp dimension bc the victims are non people.

Nixons "plumbers" originally stopped leaks re Vietnam War. ... Katharine Gun exposed how the target of surveillance is not "terrorism", but threat of peace in Iraq. ...

Greenwald wrote: "In fact, the idea of collecting everything was something pioneered by Gen. Alexander when he was deployed in Baghdad during the Iraq war. What we really have now is a communications strategy that was developed for an enemy population in a time of war that has now been imported onto American soil and aimed at our own population. I think that’s an expression of just how radical it is.”

God knows the result of the massive surveillance in Iraq. Hard to know, but I suspect any political actor not going along with US was targeted in one way or another.

Comey firing ridiculous pretexts remind me of fairly typical ridiculous US fp pretexts -- but they are generally accepted in that arena. Empire is compatible with democracy only with a series of dehumanizing triple standards.

]]> Osama Husseini tag:husseini.posthaven.com,2013:Post/1151682 2017-05-04T19:04:56Z 2017-05-04T19:08:27Z Beyond Being Drones
Frederick Clarkson notes in an Institute for Public Accuracy (where I work) news release today that the Trump administration, following a long standing agenda, is using "religious liberty" to pursuing anti-women and anti LGTB policies, on this, National Prayer Day. 

A microcosm of how the U.S. government is aggressor and paints itself as victim, the religious right at times attempts to play the role of the oppressed while oppressing others. 

But what gets me is that we don't talk about other people being prosecuted by the state for religiously inspired actions. When religious folks fought against slavery, their religious motivation was properly cited by them and others (I think). 

But now, we have for example, people protesting against U.S. government drone assassinations in upstate New York outside Hancock Air Force base where drones are being operated to kill people in the other countries. My colleague Norman Solomon just wrote an important piece about what's happening there: "Finding New Homes for Lethal Drones." 

Some -- though certainly not all -- of the protesters against drone killing emanating from upstate New York are people associated with the Catholic Worker or other religious movements. And they are frequently using religious imagery. Norman notes that one protest outside the military base had a nativity tableau. The signs featured around Christmas time were "Peace on Earth" and "If Herod Had Drones, Jesus, Mary, and Joseph Would Have Been Incinerated" outside the military base. 

Around Easter time, just last month, protesters depicted three people being crucified upon drones. Read their "Good Friday" statement: "As Jesus and others were crucified by the Roman Empire, drones are used by the U. S. Empire in a similar fashion. In Roman times, crosses loomed over a community to warn people that they could be killed whenever the Empire decided. So too, our drones fly over many countries threatening extrajudicial killings of whoever happens to be in the vicinity."

Years ago, I wrote a piece for the media watch group FAIR about how the major media ignore the religious left. But part of the reason for that is that frequently the left -- including at times even the religious left -- ignores the religious left. 

And part of the reason for that might be that because the religious right has so dominated discourse around religion that people don't want to be associated with being a "bible thumper" who forces their beliefs on others. Jesus did instruct his followers to pray in private -- but then, seemingly contradictorily, admonished them not to hide their light. 

Of course, lots of people are "against" drone killing in that they might say something about it, blog about it, tweet about it. What's interesting about what's going on in upstate New York is that they are confronting it, frequently facing jail time. (They are hardly alone in this -- as I write, activist Desiree Fairooz of CodePink is facing jail time for laughing at Jeff Sessions' confirmation hearings.) 

We're all weak in many ways, but I've found that frequently, people who are religiously motivated are -- sometimes for good and sometimes for ill -- more prone to putting themselves on the line. It's possible that religious conviction and community embolden people to act out their convictions. 

And the folks in upstate New York don't seem to be doing what they're doing because they hate Trump; they didn't start doing it a few years ago because they hated Obama. They don't hate the people at the military base. They are doing it because they love the people -- who they don't know -- who are being killed by their government using drone technology. And perhaps they love the people at the military base enough that they don't want them destroying their souls by killing their fellow human beings on the other side of our planet. 

The challenge before us is to develop ways of relating with each other, working with each other, to achieve a more peaceful and more just world. To do that, we need to develop the structures that are both steeped in meaning, drawing from the best of traditions, while they are universal, free from chauvinism. 

Such structures need to be resilient enough to withstand the onslaught of oppressive corporate and state forces -- and gentle enough so that people want to be part of them. Such structures, should they succeed in bringing about a better world, may well be the same structures that provide what we actually need as humans in that future world. It's possible that attempts like those happening in upstate New York are some of those structures in embryonic form. 
]]> Osama Husseini tag:husseini.posthaven.com,2013:Post/1150192 2017-04-28T23:12:54Z 2017-05-01T17:34:05Z The Twistedness of "No Trump Accomplishments" in First 100 Days
A CNN headline blares a few days before the end of his "First 100 Days": "Trump's race against the clock to do something."

Similarly, "Democracy Now" headlines a segment: "'It Has Not Gone Well': 100 Days of President Trump and No Major Achievements."

It certainly hasn't gone well, but Trump has in fact accomplished a great deal. Neil Gorsuch was put on the Supreme Court using the rhetoric of "pro-life" and has already facilitated death. His ascension basically consolidates rightwing control over all three branches of government. 

Trump has assembled a incredible cabinet of corporate bosses and Wall Street and pro-war apparatchiks. 

He has adroitly broken the letter and spirit of virtually any positive promises he made to curtail U.S. interventionism and warmaking around the world; to take on Wall Street; to up taxes on the wealthy, etc. He appears to be escalating Obama's war on whistleblowers to a war on publishers

What are euphemistically called "flip flops" are actually betrayals of the interests of most of the people who actually voted for Trump. 

This is a phenomenal accomplishment. 

Like Obama before him, he has ensured the continued solidification of an oppressive pro war and pro Wall Street establishment that runs at odds to the aspirations and interests of much of U.S. public, to say nothing of the global public. 

By putting forward the "crit" that Trump has "no major achievements," do alleged opponents of Trump pretend that they are helping prevent further damage by him?

Trump could be carrying out horrific policies and many would ignore that if he just makes a dumb comment. Oh, wait, that's what's happening. He can bomb human beings in any nation and it gets minimal coverage because -- stop the presses -- the White House misidentified Steven Mnuchin as "commerce secretary" when he's actually treasury secretary. 

They should identify Mnuchin as a Goldman Sach insider, foreclosure king, or someone whose net financial worth -- estimated at $46 million -- is only a fraction of that of Wilbur Ross, the actual commerce secretary, who has $2.5 billion. 

This non-crit of Trump will actually empower him to do more damage. 

The problem here is quite similar to how George H. W. Bush was depicted early in his administration by liberals: "A wimp." The typically sensible media watch group FAIR even ran a piece way back then scrutinizing the Bush administration's attempts to characterize him as a "rough rider."  

This depiction of Bush as "wimp" actually helped enable his use of military violence, with the invasion of Panama and then the first attack on Iraq in the early 90s. 

It's clear that when Van Jones calls Trump "presidential" when he uses military violence, that that increasing the likelihood of more violence. But a similar effect is achieved in other ways. 

And as Trump racks up "accomplishments" -- as he and his cabal of corporate bosses cut deals with Paul Ryan and Mitch McConnell -- the liberal "crit" of Trump "not accomplishing anything" will deserve an assist on every one of those "accomplishments." 

Mission accomplished? 
]]> Osama Husseini tag:husseini.posthaven.com,2013:Post/1146482 2017-04-14T23:23:03Z 2018-04-14T02:09:22Z How Trump and Obama are Exactly Alike
Not until faithfulness turns to betrayal
And betrayal into trust
Can any human being become part of the truth.
-- Rumi

Trump won the 2016 nomination and election largely because he was able to pose as a populist and anti-interventionist "America Firster". 

Similarly, Obama won the 2008 election in good part because he promised "hope and change" and because he had given a speech years earlier against the then-impending invasion of Iraq.

Short of disclosure of diaries or other documents from these politicians, we can't know for certain if they planned on reversing much of what they promised or if the political establishment compelled them to change, but they both eventually perpetrated a massive fraud.

What is perhaps most striking is actually how quickly each of them backtracked on their alleged purpose. Particular since they were both proclaimed as representing "movements".

Even before he took office, Obama stacked his administration with pro-war people. He incredibly kept Bush's head of the Pentagon, Robert Gates; nominated Hillary Clinton for Secretary of State, who he beat largely because she voted for giving Bush authorization to invade Iraq. Other prominent Iraq War backers atop the administration included VP Joe Biden, Susan Rice and Richard Holbrooke. Before he was sworn in, Obama backed the 2008 Israeli slaughter of Palestinians in Gaza. See from 2008: "Anti-War Candidate, Pro-War Cabinet?

]]> Osama Husseini tag:husseini.posthaven.com,2013:Post/1146256 2017-04-13T20:18:57Z 2018-01-15T18:15:35Z Ted Postol Updated Assessment of U.S. Gov Claims Regarding the Khan Shaykhun, Syria Attack
I just received this updated critical assessment from Theodore A. Postol (professor of science, technology, and national security policy at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology) of U.S. government claims. 

"A Quick Turnaround Assessment of the White House Intelligence Report Issued on April 11, 2017 About the Nerve Agent Attack in Khan Shaykhun, Syria." 
]]> Osama Husseini tag:husseini.posthaven.com,2013:Post/1145532 2017-04-10T21:40:04Z 2017-04-13T03:51:21Z Executing Birth

Today [April 9] is my dad's birthday, he died on January 26. The song that's been going through my head about him the last month or so is "The Mercy Seat". It overlays with my dad in many ways. World weariness at the end, a pleading to be with Jesus. It's about a man being executed while maintaining that he is innocent, though he admits at the end of the song that he lied, but not about what. The Mercy Seat my dad climbed into was his mother's grave, with her bones now upon his abdomen.
]]> Osama Husseini tag:husseini.posthaven.com,2013:Post/1144863 2017-04-07T21:17:43Z 2017-04-11T02:24:42Z Is U.S. Policy to Prolong the Syrian War?
Many are claiming that Trump is being inconsistent in illegally attacking the Syrian regime with cruise missiles. 

After all, he had been saying the U.S. should focus on defeating ISIS, and now he seems to be going after Assad. But contradictions from Trump are a dime a dozen. 

A closer examination shows a deeper pattern of remarkable consistency in U.S. policy toward Syria that is far more critical than the perennial contradictions of politicians like Trump.  

To summarize U.S. actions and non-actions in terms of direct publicly announced U.S. air attacks targeting the Syrian regime: In 2013, when Assad was losing the war, Obama refrained from strikes that may well have ended his regime. Now, four years later, when Assad seems close to winning the war, Trump with a revamped NSC does a 180 on his previous pronouncements and attacks Assad.

Push away the personalities. Dispense with the rhetoric. Free yourself from the spin cycle that much of the media obsess over. Just follow the policy. 

The evidence is that the underlying U.S. policy -- whether the president is Obama or Trump -- is to prolong the Syrian war as much as possible. Let Assad off the hook when he's cornered, hit him when he's about to win. 
]]> Osama Husseini tag:husseini.posthaven.com,2013:Post/1143466 2017-04-03T01:18:53Z 2018-04-03T13:03:53Z Martin Luther King Escalated his Attack on Vietnam War and Establishment Media 50 Years Ago

After Martin Luther King, Jr was denounced by major media following his April 4, 1967 speech at the Riverside Church in New York City, he actually responded in stronger terms, including in this Sermon at the Ebenezer Baptist Church on April 30, 1967:

Excerpts on YouTube:

The sermon which I am preaching this morning in a sense is not the usual kind of sermon, but it is a sermon and an important subject, nevertheless, because the issue that I will be discussing today is one of the most controversial issues confronting our nation. I'm using as a subject from which to preach, "Why I Am Opposed to the War in Vietnam." 

Now, let me make it clear in the beginning, that I see this war as an unjust, evil, and futile war. I preach to you today on the war in Vietnam because my conscience leaves me with no other choice. The time has come for America to hear the truth about this tragic war. In international conflicts, the truth is hard to come by because most nations are deceived about themselves. Rationalizations and the incessant search for scapegoats are the psychological cataracts that blind us to our sins. But the day has passed for superficial patriotism. He who lives with untruth lives in spiritual slavery. Freedom is still the bonus we receive for knowing the truth. "Ye shall know the truth," says Jesus, "and the truth shall set you free." Now, I've chosen to preach about the war in Vietnam because I agree with Dante, that the hottest places in hell are reserved for those who in a period of moral crisis maintain their neutrality. There comes a time when silence becomes betrayal. 

]]> Osama Husseini tag:husseini.posthaven.com,2013:Post/1141346 2017-03-24T21:23:55Z 2017-03-24T21:23:55Z Ilan Pappe Response to Questions on Expulsion And Genocide

I asked author Ilan Pappe what -- exactly --was preventing Israel from doing another mass expulsion. The following question was about why he doesn't use the term genocide. I don't agree with all Pappe said, and will likely come back to this with some depth, but it was a thoughtful reply on some of the core, long term issues. (I'd be happy to post if someone transcribed this.)

]]> Osama Husseini tag:husseini.posthaven.com,2013:Post/1135133 2017-03-01T13:30:42Z 2017-03-01T21:24:57Z Behind the Liberal Embrace of Trump's Speech
I can't say I'm surprised by the liberal turn on Trump. I said a couple of weeks ago that Trump and the establishment media were like George and Martha in "Who's Afraid of Virginia Woolf?" What I meant was that they are a deranged, destructive couple who argue like mad, but ultimately collude to destroy others. So, anger and hate give way to insidious bond and admiration in how they each fulfill their roles in the larger manipulative project.

So, Van Jones is admiring of Trump now really "becoming the President" because of Trump's emotional manipulation in the person of Carryn Owens. Jones did this because he's a triangulator himself and because he is very much part of the continuing imperial project.

Some of this rather reminds me of how the media used Jessica Lynch to pretend she was in danger to continue selling the invasion of Iraq at a critical moment in 2003. The actual scandals are pushed aside: The criminal invasion of Iraq then; the US-backed Saudi destruction of Yemen now.

Disinformation and emotional manipulation for the privileged "race" of USians is the order of the day. Feminism and femininity are weaponized as all emotion is focused on one person to the exclusion of the suffering of others. I imagine it's how The Passion Plays were used to fuel hatred of Jews; it's how Israel uses the Nazi Holocaust to excuse all its criminality.

The other major such manipulation last night was highlighting African American "victims" of public schools and "illegal immigrants". This allows Trump to ridiculously pose as an anti-racist xenophobe. As Martin Luther King warned in his final days: "We're integrating into a burning house."
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Osama Husseini