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  1. #81
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    Let's Call Bolton What He Is: A War Criminal with Terrorist Ties, Not Just "Hawkish"

    In a sane society, people like Bolton wouldn’t be allowed on television, much less put in charge of American security.

    John Bolton helped lie our country into an illegal war of aggression that killed several hundred thousand Iraqis, wounded over a million, and displaced 4 million from their homes, helped deliver Baghdad into the hands of Iran, and helped create ISIL, which blew up Paris. In a just world, Bolton would be on trial at the Hague for war crimes. Instead, he has been promoted into a position to do to Iran what he did to Iraq.



    He is also in the back pocket of the MEK Iranian terrorist organization, which despite its violent and smelly past has proved so useful to those plotting the apocalyptic destruction of Iran that the Washington elite decided to take it off the list of terrorist organizations in 2012.



    The acceptable political spectrum inside the Beltway in Washington DC is a marvel to behold. Bernie Sanders, a long-serving senator and public servant won 13.2 million popular votes to 16.8 million votes for Hillary Clinton (i.e. he was backed by 43% of one of the two major parties in the country). But Sanders was virtually blacked out from corporate television coverage during his impressive presidential bid, while Jeff Zucker turned CNN over to Trump every night at 7:30 pm throughout the summer and fall of 2016 and just let him talk, or whatever he does, for an hour without even a semblance of journalistic analysis. Supposedly left-leaning MSNBC did the same thing.

    America’s corporations love the fascist side of the spectrum, which is obvious from the way they promoted Trump and Trumpism. Zucker also hired Cory Lewandowski, who was at the time contractually obligated to avoid criticizing Trump, as a CNN commentator. Fascism after all favors big corporations and vilifies and punishes workers and the poor. Under Mussolini, the Italian poor were plunged into much deeper poverty.

    Television news also loves the maniacal side of the spectrum. You seldom see normal people as commentators on cable news, and much of the commentary is polarized and superficial and often simply incorrect on the facts of the matter
    . Sometimes it is even just a criminal conspiracy. During the Iraq War, the NYT revealed that the Pentagon successfully pressed on CNN a gaggle of former generals, many of them actively making money off of the Iraq War through contracting while they were promoting it on television. They presented an Alice in Wonderland view of the brutal US occupation of that country as a shining success. Tom Fenton, a career television journalist, once wrote a book suggesting that television news is so bad that it is actually a standing risk for US security, since an uninformed or misinformed public cannot play the democratic role of watchdog and is not being alerted to genuine threats. Maybe the maniacs draw eyeballs and increase advertising dollars. Maybe Wall Street doesn’t see people as maniacs as long as they advocate giving billionaires more money.

    The fascination with the far right wing and with the maniacal dovetails in the person of Bolton, now Trump’s National Security Adviser. Jesus said that if the blind leads the blind, both will fall into a ditch. The ditch in this case could well be a ruinous war with Iran.

    In a sane society, people like Bolton wouldn’t be allowed on television, much less put in charge of American security.

    Bolton has assiduously tried to do the same thing he did to Iraq to Iran. Big corporations like wars. Wars mean you have to manufacture more shiny children-murdering weapons and bombs, the ultimate in planned obsolescence.
    No war, and the factories fall silent and the money-counting stops. People called “hawks” in Washington, a euphemism for “murderous maniacs,” often get supported one way or another by the arms industry. Sometimes it is direct and their bank accounts should be examined.

    Iran has never had a nuclear weapons program, and as long as the nuclear deal holds, it has no opportunity to develop them.
    It has no heavy water reactor. It has a limited number of centrifuges. It destroyed its stockpile of uranium enriched to 19.5% for its medical reactor. It is being actively inspected. No country under active UN arms inspections has ever developed a bomb.

    Bolton wants to bomb Iran so badly that he does not care about these facts.
    He wanted to bomb Iran himself if he could, sort of like Slim Pickens in Dr. Strangelove. If not he wanted to have the Israelis do it.

    He has a list. He’d like to bomb nuclear-armed North Korea, too.


    The Bulletin of Atomic Scientists that keeps that clock showing how many minutes the world is away from a nuclear midnight can put it away. With Bolton’s appointment, it is past midnight.

    https://www.commondreams.org/views/2...t-just-hawkish

  2. #82
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    “We Know Where Your Kids Live”: How John Bolton Once Threatened an International Official

    video: https://www.facebook.com/ajplusengli...1305420677630/


    Who better to
    advise the bully-in-chief, Donald Trump, on when to make war and kill people than another bully? It’s difficult, after all, to avoid the label — that of a bully — when thinking of John Bolton, the former Bush administration official-turned-Fox News pundit who Trump recently picked as his national security adviser.


    “John Bolton is a bully,” José Bustani, the retired Brazilian diplomat and former head of the Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons, told me when I reached him by phone in Paris earlier this month.


    There are a number of people who claim to have been bullied or intimidated by Bolton — including Bustani. The latter’s criticisms of the famously mustachioed hawk have been public for many years now, but some of the details of his tense encounter with Bolton at the OPCW have never been reported before in English.


    In early 2002, a year before the invasion of Iraq, the Bush administration was putting intense pressure on Bustani to quit as director-general of the OPCW — despite the fact that he had been unanimously re-elected to head the 145-nation body just two years earlier. His transgression? Negotiating with Saddam Hussein’s Iraq to allow OPCW weapons inspectors to make unannounced visits to that country — thereby undermining Washington’s rationale for regime change.


    In 2001, then-Secretary of State Colin Powell had penned a letter to Bustani, thanking him for his “very impressive” work. By March 2002, however, Bolton — then serving as under secretary of state for Arms Control and International Security Affairs — arrived in person at the OPCW headquarters in the Hague to issue a warning to the organization’s chief. And, according to Bustani, Bolton didn’t mince words. “Cheney wants you out,” Bustani recalled Bolton saying, referring to the then-vice president of the United States. “We can’t accept your management style.”


    Bolton continued, according to Bustani’s recollections: “You have 24 hours to leave the organization, and if you don’t comply with this decision by Washington, we have ways to retaliate against you.”


    There was a pause.


    “We know where your kids live. You have two sons in New York.”


    Bustani told me he was taken aback but refused to back down. “My family is aware of the situation, and we are prepared to live with the consequences of my decision,” he replied.


    After hearing Bustani’s description of the encounter, I reached out to his son-in-law, Stewart Wood, a British politician and former adviser to Prime Minister Gordon Brown. Wood told me that he vividly remembers Bustani telling him about Bolton’s implicit threat to their family immediately after the meeting in the Hague. “It instantly became an internal family meme,” Wood recalled. Two former OPCW colleagues of Bustani, Bob Rigg and Mikhail Berdennikov, have also since confirmed via email that they remember their then-boss telling them at the time about Bolton’s not-so-subtle remark about his kids.


    Another former OPCW official, then-Special Assistant to the Director-General for External Relations Gordon Vachon, who was in the room for the meeting with Bolton, has confirmed that the Bush administration official implicitly threatened Bustani. The OPCW chief “could go quietly, with little fuss and restraint on all sides and ‘without dragging your name through the mud,’” Vachon recalled Bolton saying, in an email to The Intercept. “I cannot say from memory that I heard Mr. Bolton mention DG Bustani’s children, probably because I was reeling from Mr. Bolton’s thinly-veiled threat to DG Bustani’s reputation.”


    I reached out to John Bolton and the White House for a response to these allegations. Rather than issue an outright denial, the White House responded via a press spokesperson that referred me to a section of his 2008 memoir, “Surrender is Not an Option: Defending America at the United Nations,” which deals with Bustani and the OPCW. In the book, Bolton said the U.S. viewed Bustani as a “management disaster” (without mentioning Powell’s praise), but claims to have offered him “a gracious and dignified exit” — if, that is, he went quietly.


    To call Bolton’s rhetoric undiplomatic is an understatement. He visited Bustani in his capacity as a top U.S. State Department official, yet his behavior was more thuggish. How on earth can a senior diplomat, representing a democratic government, justify implicitly threatening the children of an international official in order to win a political argument? How is such a person now fit to hold the office of national security adviser — the most senior position in the U.S. government that doesn’t require an election win or Senate confirmation?


    “The problem with this man is that he’s so ideological, so brutal; he doesn’t open the door to dialogue,” the former OPCW chief told me on the phone. “I don’t know how people can work for him.”


    Bolton’s history of bullying, in fact, is well-documented. Carl W. Ford Jr, the State Department’s former intelligence chief, called Bolton “a serial abuser” of junior employees and “a quintessential kiss-up, kick-down sort of guy.” Testifying before the Senate in 2005, Ford discussed the case of Christian Westermann, the former chief bioweapons analyst at the State Department who had refused to sign off on a speech accusing Cuba of possessing a secret bioweapons program and had been “berated” by Bolton, who “then tried to have him fired.”


    Melody Townsel, a former U.S. Agency for International Development contractor, said she was harassed by the short-tempered Bolton, then a lawyer in the private sector, on a visit to Kyrgyzstan in 1994: “Mr. Bolton proceeded to chase me through the halls of a Russian hotel — throwing things at me, shoving threatening letters under my door and, generally, behaving like a madman,” she later recalled, in a letter to the Senate Foreign Relations Committee.


    According to Time magazine, his former boss Colin Powell privately warned Republican senators in 2005, during the confirmation hearings for Bolton’s controversial nomination as U.S. ambassador to the United Nations, that “he had been troubled by the way Bolton had treated subordinates who did not agree with him.”


    Yet the big problem is that Bolton — the “madman,” the “serial abuser,” the “bully” — happens to also be pretty effective at getting things done. This is perhaps what makes him so dangerous. Take the case of Bustani and the OPCW: Bolton succeeded in having the Brazilian removed from his post. Only a few weeks after the U.S. official’s visit to the Hague, the OPCW chief was “pushed out of office” in an extraordinary meeting of the organization’s member countries (and in a decision, incidentally, that an administrative tribunal of the International Labour Organization would later call “unlawful”).


    Bolton himself proudly recalled in his memoir how then-Sen. Joe Biden, D-Del., criticized his views while praising his abilities during the 2001 congressional hearings to confirm him as under secretary of state. “My problem with you, over the years, has been, you’re too competent,” Biden remarked, according to Bolton. “I mean, I would rather you be stupid and not very effective.


    Now, therefore, is the time to panic; now is the moment to sound the alarm. The bullies have come together. The “ideological” and “brutal” Bolton is about to be given a desk a few feet away from the Oval Office. As national security adviser, he’ll be the first one in the room and the last one out. “Trump is utterly ignorant of the world, prone to making impulsive decisions, and tends to defer to the most forceful voice in the room, especially when it conveys information with confident bluster,” observed Damon Linker in the The Week. “That would give Bolton enormous power to shape policy — which means the power to get the United States to launch big new wars as well as expand the numerous ones we’re already waging across wide swaths of the Middle East, Africa, and South Asia.”


    Is it any wonder, then, that Bustani — who did so much to prevent the threat of conflict and the proliferation of chemical weapons before being ousted by Bolton — believes the latter’s appointment as Trump’s national security adviser could spell “disaster” for the world?


    https://theintercept.com/2018/03/29/...ani-kids-opcw/

  3. #83
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    The White House releases a photo of its interns, and the Internet asks: Why so few people of color?



    The latest class of White House interns is a reminder that diversity in government isn’t an issue only at senior levels; it starts at the bottom.

    The White House released a photo Friday of its spring 2018 interns — and the Internet quickly noted a lack of people of color.

    On the other hand, it is possible that people of color weren’t eager to sign up to work in Trump’s White House. Some of the president’s lowest approval marks come from people of color and millennials, according to Gallup.

    The absence of diversity in the White House and administration as a whole has attracted attention since the earliest days of the Trump presidency.

    When Omarosa Manigault Newman left in December from her post as the director of communications for the White House Office of Public Liaison, it was again a reminder of the absence of African Americans in senior positions in Trump’s White House. She was the only black senior adviser.

    “As the only African American woman in this White House, as a senior staff and assistant to the president, I have seen things that have made me uncomfortable, that have upset me, that have affected me deeply and emotionally, that has affected my community and my people,” she told “Good Morning America” after her departure.

    While there are notable people of color in the Trump administration — Surgeon General Jerome M. Adams, Housing and Urban Development Secretary Ben Carson, Transportation Secretary Elaine Chao, Labor Secretary Alexander Acosta and U.N. Ambassador Nikki Haley — Trump's Cabinet is predominantly white.

    But the intern photo — and the photos of previous intern groups of the Trump White House — provided a window into understanding why there could be such low representation of people of color at top levels of the Trump administration: Diversity has to start at the bottom.

    https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/...=.11e1aacd16dd

  4. #84
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    US Commander: ‘US Troops Prepared to Die for Israel’ in War against Syria, Hezbollah

    by Whitney Webb - March 13, 2018

    TEL AVIV, ISRAEL – Last Sunday, the largest joint military exercise between the United States and Israel began with little fanfare. The war game, dubbed “Operation Juniper Cobra,” has been a regular occurrence for years, though it has consistently grown in size and scope. Now, however, this year’s 12-day exercise brings a portent of conflict unlike those of its predecessors.

    Previous reports on the operation suggested that, like prior incarnations of the same exercise, the focus would be on improving Israeli defenses. “Juniper Cobra 2018 is another step in improving the readiness of the IDF [Israeli Defense Forces] and the IAF [Israeli Air Force] in particular to enhance their operational capabilities in facing the threat posed by high-trajectory missiles,” Brig. Gen. Zvika Haimovitch, the IDF’s Aerial Defense Division head, told the Jerusalem Post.

    However, this year’s “Juniper Cobra” is unique for several reasons. The Post reported on Thursday that the drill, set to end on March 15, was not only the
    largest joint U.S.-Israeli air defense exercise to ever happen but it was also simulating a battle “on three fronts.” In other words, Israel and the U.S. are jointly simulating a war with Lebanon, Syria, and Palestine – namely, the Gaza strip – simultaneously.

    What makes this last part so concerning are Israel’s recent statements and other preparations for war with all three nations, making “Juniper Cobra” anything but a “routine” drill. It is instead yet another
    preparation for a massive regional conflict, suggesting that such a conflict could be only a matter of months away.

    As MintPress recently reported, Israeli officials recently told a bipartisan pair of U.S. Senators that it needed “ammunition, ammunition, ammunition” for a war against Hezbollah in Lebanon — a war that will expressly target Lebanese civilians and civilian infrastructure, such as hospitals, schools, and apartment buildings. The alleged motive for the invasion is the presence of Iranian rocket factories. However, this allegation is based solely on the claims of an anonymous deputy serving in the Iranian Revolutionary Guard and was first reported on by a Kuwaiti newspaper known to publish stories planted by the Israeli government.

    In addition,
    Israel has been laying the groundwork for an invasion of Syria since last year and is largely responsible for the current conflict in Syria that has raged on for seven years. Israel’s current push to invade Syria is also based on flimsy evidence suggesting that Iran is establishing bases in Syria to target Israel.

    Israel has also been preparing for a conflict on the embattled Gaza strip, which – owing to the effects of Israel’s illegal blockade and the devastation wrought by past wars – is set to be entirely uninhabitable by 2020. Reports have quoted officials of the Palestinian resistance group Hamas, which governs the Gaza strip, as saying that they place the chances of a new war with Israel in 2018 “at 95 percent” and that war games, like Operation Juniper Cobra, were likely to be used to plan or even initiate such a conflict. This concern was echoed by IDF Chief of Staff Gadi Eizenkot, who stated that another Israeli invasion of Gaza, home to 1.8 million people, was “likely” to occur this year. Eizenkot ironically framed the imminent invasion as a way to “prevent a humanitarian collapse” in Gaza.

    U.S. lights match, prepares troops


    Such a war is likely to be ignited by the unrest destined to follow the U.S.’ imminent move of its embassy from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem. The move, set to take place in May, led Hamas to call for a third intifada, or uprising, in response to the U.S.’ unilateral decision to recognize Jerusalem as the capital of Israel in defiance of the international consensus.

    Beyond the fact that Israel is preparing to go to war with several countries simultaneously is the fact that
    U.S. ground troops are now “prepared to die for the Jewish state,” according to U.S. Third Air Force Commander Lt. Gen. Richard Clark. “We are ready to commit to the defense of Israel and anytime we get involved in a kinetic fight there is always the risk that there will be casualties. But we accept that, as in every conflict we train for and enter, there is always that possibility,” Clark told the Post.

    However, more troubling than the fact that U.S. troops stand ready to die at Israel’s behest was Clark’s assertion that Haimovitch would “probably” have the last word as to whether U.S. forces would join the IDF during war time. In other words, the
    IDF will decide whether or not U.S. troops become embroiled in the regional war for which Israel is preparing, not the United States. Indeed, Haimovitch buoyed Clark’s words, stating that: “I am sure once the order comes we will find here U.S. troops on the ground to be part of our deployment and team to defend the state of Israel.”

    Operation Juniper Cobra is not a routine exercise; it is a portent of a potentially devastating war for which Israel is actively preparing, a war likely to erupt within the coming months. In addition to overtly targeting civilians, these preparations for war — as Juniper Cobra shows — directly involve the United States military and give the war-bent Israeli government the power to decide whether or not American troops will be involved and to what extent. This is a devastating giveaway of national sovereignty by U.S. President Donald Trump.

    While the potential involvement of the U.S. forces in such a war is being framed as limited in scope, there is no indication that such a war will be so in practice. Indeed, the U.S. is currently occupying 25 percent of Syria and the Trump administration has economically attacked Palestinians living in Gaza by withdrawing crucial aid, as well as Hezbollah by enforcing new sanctions against the group. Furthermore, Israel’s nuclear arsenal and the fact that Iran — and even Russia — could become involved in such a conflict means that it could quickly spiral out of control.


  5. #85
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    Man Wearing ‘Make America Great Again’ Hat Attacked Hispanic Man At Random, Pushed Him Onto Subway Track

    Police in New York City are searching for the attacker, who yelled anti-Hispanic slurs at the stranger.


    Police in New York City are hunting for a supposed Donald Trump supporter who attacked a Hispanic stranger seemingly at random, pushing the man onto a subway track.

    The attack took place on Friday on the city’s No. 4 train, where police said the African-American man wearing Trump’s trademark “Make America Great Again” hat attacked a Hispanic man seemingly at random. As the New York Post noted, the attacker yelled anti-Hispanic slurs at the 24-year-old victim while they were on the subway and continued the attack when the train stopped. When they both got off at Union Square, the attacker shoved the man onto the subway track.

    The victim was able to escape without major injuries and was helped back up onto the platform by a friend. He was treated for a cut on his head, the New York Post reported. The attacker then boarded another subway and escaped.

    The city appears to be investigating the incident as a hate crime. The NYPD’s Hate Crimes Task Force released video of the attacker in the hope of identifying the man. According to NY1 reporter Myles Miller, the attacker yelled something at the victim about “stealing jobs,” apparently borrowing one of the common themes from Donald Trump that illegal immigrants are taking jobs from Americans.

    This is not the first time that the “Make America Great Again” hat has been connected to a major crime
    incident. In February, the Stoneman Douglas High School shooting suspect was identified as Nikolas Cruz, a former student at the school who had pictures online where he sported the Trump-supporting hat.

    There had been some previous rumors that Cruz was a supporter of far-left causes, but those were later verified as false. As CNN would later report, group chat messages showed that Cruz was obsessed with race and violence, writing that he hated “jews, ni**ers, and immigrants.”

    Police in New York City are still searching for the alleged Trump-supporting attacker. They said he had a heavy build and wore blue pants, a red shirt, and a “Make America Great Again” hat. They have asked the public to share any information that might identify the man.

    https://www.inquisitr.com/4874161/tr...-subway-track/


 

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