It’s the Russia, Stupid

It’s the Russia, Stupid

JAMES GEORGE JATRAS | 16.06.2017

It’s another week in Washington and another horror show. This time it was Attorney General Jeff Sessions being grilled by Senators on whether, when, and how he might have met with certain Russians, or any Russian, or someone who might actually know a Russian. In addition to fishing for any inconsistency that could be used to support an accusation of obstruction of justice or perjury – the usual sleazy methodology of politically motivated investigations here – the transparent aim was to further poison the well on any possible initiative to improve ties with Moscow.

The strategy appears to be working. The Russian Embassy in Washington confirms that for the first time since the Russian Federation’s founding the State Department did not send pro forma national day greetings. Perhaps the bureaucrats were afraid they would be tainted and themselves become targets of multiple investigations into «collusion» with the Kremlin. (Luckily, this intrepid Washington analyst has no qualms about such associations.)

Or more likely, they themselves are part of the Russophobic mob undermining the White House. It has been reported that soon after the inauguration Trump sought to open dialogue with the Kremlin and set an early summit with President Vladimir Putin. This produced a hysterical counteraction from the Deep State. As reported by conservative columnist and former presidential candidate Patrick Buchanan:

«The State Department was tasked with working out the details.

«Instead, says Daniel Fried, the coordinator for sanctions policy, he received ‘panicky’ calls of ‘Please, my God, can you stop this?’.

«Operatives at State, disloyal to the president and hostile to the Russia policy on which he had been elected, collaborated with elements in Congress to sabotage any detente. They succeeded.

«‘It would have been a win-win for Moscow,’ said Tom Malinowski of State, who boasted last week of his role in blocking a rapprochement with Russia. State employees sabotaged one of the principal policies for which Americans had voted, and they substituted their own».

So much for constitutional government and the rule of law…

But now it gets even worse. This week Congress moved legislation designed to codify in statute sanctions imposed on Russia by Barack Obama over Ukraine and evidence-free charges of Russian election interference. Provisions for a presidential waiver, which are standard in any sanctions legislation, are unusually narrow. Congressional proponents are clear that their aim is to take the matter out of the president’s hands. Democrats, seemingly devoid of any other policy agenda or ideas, vow to keep banging the Russia drum through the 2018 Congressional elections.

When all is said and done, there are lots of reasons the political class hates Trump. His heresies on immigration and trade are near the top of the list. But make no mistake: for the Deep State and its mainstream media arm, demonizing Russia and Vladimir Putin personally is a dangerous obsession. (There is reason to suspect «Russian collusion» figured in the thinking of a fanatical Leftist’s shooting attack on Republican Congressmen: «The shooter also signed a petition calling for an investigation into Trump-Russia ties, confirming he was radicalized by the mainstream media’s obsession with conspiracy theories about Russia interfering with the election».)

It remains to be seen whether Oliver Stone’s extended interview with Putin on the Showtime network will have any impact. So far the commentary seems to be divided between descriptions of the substance of the discussion and attacks on Stone for talking with such a bad, bad man: «Speaking after the interview, Stone refuted allegations that he became an unwitting messenger of pro-Putin propaganda or of dishonest information given by the president».

With regard to substance, relatively little attention has been accorded in American media to Putin’s flat accusation that U.S. «special services» have supported terrorists, including in Chechnya. Of course anyone paying attention would know that arming jihadists is a standard part of U.S. policy, going back at least to Afghanistan in the 1980s and repeated in Bosnia, Kosovo, Libya, and today in Syria. Indeed, as early as the 1950s the U.S. had established a very close relationship with the Muslim Brotherhood and its terrorist elements as a weapon against Egypt’s Gamal Abdel Nasser and Baathists in Syria and Iraq, who Washington thought were a little too cozy with the Soviet Union and far too socialist and secular for the taste of our pals in Saudi Arabia and the Gulf.

There is a real symbiosis between the anti-Russian imperative in American foreign policy and support for radical Islamic elements. It did not end when the Soviet Union and communism collapsed but rather was intensified. This is why Moscow’s constant calls for a common front against terrorism are always rebuffed. Such cooperation doesn’t make any sense for anomenklatura whose number one goal is hostility to Moscow and for whom jihadists are at worst «frienemies» – people who may be troublesome but useful.

We can only imagine how completely different the world would be if the U.S. were to recognize that Russia is a country that in many respects is not that different from the United States or Europe and that we had common interests. But for the U.S. Deep State, that would amount to switching sides in a global conflict, where we see jihadists essentially as «freedom fighters» against a geopolitical adversary. These same clueless «elites» are then puzzled when their carefully nurtured, cuddly, «moderate» jihad terrorists attack us back here at home.

This irrational pattern is at the root of the hostility of American policymakers toward Russia and any prospect of normalizing bilateral ties. In large part, it’s what underlies the «soft coup» being directed against Trump, of which the Sessions pillorying was an episode. (A late report based on unreliable, unverified sources suggests that Special Counsel on the Russia probe, Robert Mueller, is expanding his investigation to include potential obstruction of justice by President Donald Trump. Mueller, a close personal friend of ousted FBI Director James Comey, has already packed his team with partisan Democrats.)

Those behind this attempted coup think we can continue to treat Russia as though it were a minor power of the magnitude of Serbia, Iraq, Libya, or Syria, or even Iran. They think if we just keep pushing, pushing, pushing, either the Russians will collapse or back down. They will do everything possible to box Trump in and prevent him from pursuing any path other than the disastrous course laid out by Bill Clinton, George Bush, and Barack Obama. They can see no other outcome than removing Putin and returning Russia to the condition of a Yeltsin-era vassal state – a term Putin used in the Stone interview – or, better yet, its territorial breakup along the lines suggested by the late Zbigniew Brzezinski.

Will the Oliver Stone interview change any minds? It’s too soon to tell. But if the soft coup against Trump succeeds, it might not matter, since then America could not be considered a self-governing constitutional republic even in a residual sense. We may have already passed our own Rubicon and just don’t know it yet.

Vigil to Be Held Outside Christian Zionist Convention in Phoenix June 13-14

 photo cpryrjeru_zpswjrfrq2v.gif

I received this email a couple of days ago from We Hold These Truths concerning an upcoming meeting of the Southern Baptist Convention to take place in Phoenix, Arizona.  As the email relates, WHTT will be holding a vigil outside the convention.

Attention Palestinian Peace Pals:

On June 13 (Tues.) and June 14, 2017 about 5000 Southern Baptists will descend upon Phoenix at the Phoenix Convention Center for their annual meeting. Last year in St. Louis, the SBC (Southern Baptist Convention) passed a resolution supporting Israel (see: “Southern Baptists Reject Peace Plea By Palestinian Pastor,” “Palestinian Pastor Confronts His Fellow Southern Baptist Church Leaders” and, before the 2003 war on Iraq, Richard Land of the SBC and other prominent, evangelical Christian leaders sent a letter to President George Bush stating that a war against Iraq would be a “Just War” according to their interpretation of the Bible. It was not a “Just War” as was reviewed in our 23 minute podcast:  “Will Southern Baptists Become Peacemakers?”

We would love to have you join us at the Phoenix Convention Center and challenge the attendees with signs like: “Choose Life Not War,” “Who Would Jesus Bomb?” “Blessed Are The Peacemakers,” “Where Are The Peacemakers?” “No More Wars For Israel” and “Gaza: Innocent Blood On Our Hands” and help pass out fliers.

Here is our vigil schedule for the convention (the Southern Baptist Convention program, SBC-2017Program.pdf is attached:

What: Vigil For Peace & Justice For Palestine at the Southern Baptist Convention’s 2017 Annual Meeting

Where: Phoenix Convention Center (North): 100 N 3rd Street,Phoenix, AZ 85004 (Map)

When:
Tues., Jun 13, 2017
1. 7:30 am to 9:00 am
2. 11:45 am to 1:30 pm
3. 6:00 pm to 7:30 pm

Wed., Jun 14, 2017
1. 7:30 am to 9:00 am
2. 11:45 am to 1:30 pm
3. 6:00 pm to 7:30 pm

If you can’t join us, take a look at our four minute video, “Challenging A War Willing Church,” and help us promote it. You’ve got your choice where to send to your friends to view it:

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/pg/weholdthesetruthsPSG/videos/?ref=page_internal

WHTT website: http://whtt.org/challenging-war-willing-church/

YouTube: https://www.facebook.com/pg/weholdthesetruthsPSG/videos/?ref=page_internal

***

[ Ed. note – Christian Zionism has had an enormously corrupting influence on the Christian faith. It is a heresy, basically, that has turned followers of the teachings of Jesus into supporters of war crimes and apartheid. But where did it come from, how did it get started, and who promoted it? These questions are explored in the following article by Maidhc Ó Cathail. ]

The Scofield Bible: The Book that Made Zionists of America’s Evangelical Christians

 photo scofield_zpsqwtq09yz.gifBy Maidhc Ó Cathail

Washington Report on Middle East Affairs

“For a nation to commit the sin of anti-Semitism brings inevitable judgement.”

—The New Scofield Study Bible

Since it was first published in 1909, the Scofield Reference Bible has made uncompromising Zionists out of tens of millions of Americans. When John Hagee, the founder of Christians United for Israel (CUFI), said that “50 million evangelical bible-believing Christians unite with five million American Jews standing together on behalf of Israel,” it was the Scofield Bible that he was talking about.

Although the Scofield Reference Bible contains the text of the King James Authorized Version, it is not the traditional Protestant bible but Cyrus I. Scofield’s annotated commentary that is problematic. More than any other factor, it is Scofield’s notes that have induced generations of American evangelicals to believe that God demands their uncritical support for the modern State of Israel.

Blessing Israel, Cursing Its Critics

Central to Christian Zionist belief is Scofield’s commentary (italicized below) on Genesis 12:3:

“‘I will bless them that bless thee.’ In fulfillment closely related to the next clause, ‘And curse him that curseth thee.’ Wonderfully fulfilled in the history of the dispersion. It has invariably fared ill with the people who have persecuted the Jew—well with those who have protected him. The future will still more remarkably prove this principle.”

Drawing on Scofield’s rather tendentious interpretation, Hagee claims,

“The man or nation that lifts a voice or hand against Israel invites the wrath of God.”

But as Stephen Sizer points out in his definitive critique, Christian Zionism: Road-map to Armageddon? (available from AET’s Middle East Books and More): “The promise, when referring to Abraham’s descendants, speaks of God blessing them, not of entire nations ‘blessing’ the Hebrew nation, still less the contemporary and secular State of Israel.”

Notwithstanding this more orthodox reading, The New Scofield Study Bible, published by Oxford University Press in 1984, intensified Scofield’s interpretation by adding,

“For a nation to commit the sin of anti-Semitism brings inevitable judgement.”

“Sustained by a dubious exegesis of selective biblical texts,” Sizer concludes, “Christian Zionism’s particular reading of history and contemporary events…sets Israel and the Jewish people apart from other peoples in the Middle East…it justifies the endemic racism intrinsic to Zionism, exacerbates tensions between Jews and Palestinians and undermines attempts to find a peaceful resolution of the Palestinian-Israeli conflict, all because ‘the Bible tells them so.’”

The Incredible Scofield

In his 2008 book, The Rise of Israel: A History of a Revolutionary State, Jonathan R. Adelman describes the crucial support Israel receives from Christian fundamentalists as “totally fortuitous.” That assertion is belied, however, by the incredible career of the man who wrote “the Bible of Fundamentalism.”

Two years after Scofield’s reported conversion to Christianity in 1879, the Atchison Patriot was less than impressed. Describing the former Atchison resident as the “late lawyer, politician and shyster generally,” the article went on to recount a few of Scofield’s “many malicious acts.” These included a series of forgeries in St. Louis, for which he was sentenced to six months in jail.

Being a “born again” preacher did not preclude Scofield from becoming a member of an exclusive New York men’s club in 1901, either. In his devastating biography, The Incredible Scofield and His Book, Joseph M. Canfield suggests, “The admission of Scofield to the Lotus Club, which could not have been sought by Scofield, strengthens the suspicion that has cropped up before, that someone was directing the career of C.I. Scofield.”

That someone, Canfield suspects, was associated with one of the club’s committee members, the Wall Street lawyer Samuel Untermeyer. As Canfield intimates, Scofield’s theology was “most helpful in getting Fundamentalist Christians to back the international interest in one of Untermeyer’s pet projects—the Zionist Movement.”

Others have been even more explicit about the nature of Scofield’s service to the Zionist agenda. In “Unjust War Theory: Christian Zionism and the Road to Jerusalem,” Prof. David W. Lutz writes, “Untermeyer used Scofield, a Kansas City lawyer with no formal training in theology, to inject Zionist ideas into American Protestantism. Untermeyer and other wealthy and influential Zionists whom he introduced to Scofield promoted and funded the latter’s career, including travel in Europe.”

On one of these European trips, Oxford University Press publisher Henry Frowde “expressed immediate interest” in Scofield’s project. According to a biography of Frowde, although the OUP publisher was “[n]ot demonstrative in his religious views, all his Christian life he was associated with brethren known as ‘Exclusive.’” The “Exclusive Brethren” refers to the group of Christian evangelicals that, in an 1848 split in the Plymouth Brethren, followed John Nelson Darby, the Anglo-Irish missionary generally considered to have been the most influential figure in the development of Christian Zionism, and a major influence on Scofield.

Continued here

Reality and its Enemies – An Analysis (28 May 2017) by Lawrence Davidson

tothepointanalyses

 Part I – Reality

There is an ongoing reality that is destroying hundreds of thousands of lives in the Middle East. And though most Americans are ignorant of the fact, and many of those who should be in the know would deny it, the suffering flows directly from decisions taken by Washington over the last 27 years. Some of the facts of the matter have just been presented by the first Global Conflict Medicine Congress held at the American University of Beirut (AUB) earlier this month (11-14 May 2017). It has drawn attention to two dire consequences of the war policies Americans have carried on in the region: cancer-causing munition matierial and drug-resistant bacteria.

— Cancer-causing munition material: Materials such as tungsten and mercury are found in the casing of penetrating bombs used in the first and second Gulf wars. These have had long-term effects on survivors, especially those who have been wounded by these munitions. Iraqi-trained and Harvard-educated Dr. Omar Dewachi, a medical anthropologist at AUB fears that “the base line of cancers [appearing in those exposed to these materials] has become very aggressive. … When a young woman of 30, with no family history of cancer, has two different primary cancers – in the breast and in the oesophagus – you have to ask what is happening.” To this can be added that doctors are now “overwhelmed by the sheer number of [war] wounded patients in the Middle East.”

— Drug-resistant bacteria: According to Glasgow-trained Professor Ghassan Abu-Sittah, head of plastic and reconstructive surgery at AUB Medical Center, drug resistance was not a problem during the Iran-Iraq War of 1980-1988. However, after the fiasco of Iraq’s invasion of Kuwait, things began to change. In the period after 1990, Iraq suffered under a vicious sanctions regime imposed by the United Nations at U.S. insistence. During the next 12 years “Iraqis were allowed to use only three antibiotics” and bacterial resistance quickly evolved. Those resistant bacteria spread throughout the region, particularly after the American invasion of the country in 2003. Today, according to a Medecins Sans Frontieres analysis, “multidrug resistant [MDR] bacteria now accounts for most war wound infections across the Middle East, yet most medical facilities in the region do not even have the laboratory capacity to diagnose MDR, leading to significant delays and clinical mismanagement of festering wounds.”

Insofar as these developments go, it is not that there aren’t contributing factors stemming from local causes such as factual fighting. However, the major triggers for these horrors were set in motion in Washington. As far as I know, no American holding a senior official post has ever accepted any responsibility for this ongoing suffering.

 

Part II – Hiding Reality

As the cancers and untreatable infections grow in number in the Middle East, there is here in the United States a distressing effort to rehabilitate George W. Bush – the American president whose decisions and policies contributed mightily to this ongoing disaster. It is this Bush who launched the unjustified 2003 invasion of Iraq and thereby – to use the words of the Arab League – “opened the gates of hell.” His rehabilitation effort began in ernest in April 2013, and coincided with the opening of his presidential library. In an interview given at that time, Bush set the stage for his second coming with an act of self-exoneration. He said he remained “comfortable with the decision making process” that led to the invasion of Iraq – the one that saw him fudging the intelligence when it did not tell him what he wanted to hear – and so also “comfortable” with the ultimate determination to launch the invasion. “There’s no need to defend myself. I did what I did and ultimately history will judge.”

The frivolous assertion that “history will judge” is often used by people of suspect character. “History” stands for a vague future time. Its alleged inevitable coming allows the protagonist to fantasize about achieving personal glory unchallenged by present, usually significant, ethical concerns.

Those seeking George W. Bush’s rehabilitation now like to contrast him to Donald Trump. One imagines they thereby hope to present him as a “moderate” Republican. They claim that Bush was and is really a very smart and analytical fellow rather than the simpleton most of us suspect him to be. In other words, despite launching an unnecessary and subsequently catastrophic war, he was never as ignorant and dangerous as Trump. He and his supporters also depict him as a great defender of a free press, again in contrast to Donald Trump. However, when he was president, Bush described the media as an aider and abettor of the nation’s enemies. This certainly can be read as a position that parallels Trump’s description of the media as the “enemy of the American people.”

But all of this is part of a public relations campaign and speaks to the power of reputation remodeling – the creation of a facade that hides reality. In order to do this you have to “control the evidence” – in this case by ignoring it. In this endeavor George W. Bush and his boosters have the cooperation of much of the mainstream media. No sweat here: the press has done this before. Except for the odd editorial the mainstream media also contributed to Richard Nixon’s rehabilitation back in the mid 1980s. These sorts of sleights-of-hand are only possible against the background of pervasive public ignorance.

 

Part III – Closed Information Environments

Local happenings are open to relatively close investigation. We usually have a more or less accurate understanding of the local context in which events play out, and this allows for the possibility of making a critical judgment. As we move further away, both in space and time, information becomes less reliable, if for no other reason than it comes to us through the auspices of others who may or may not know what they are talking about. As a society, we have little or no knowledge of the context for foreign events, and thus it is easy for those reporting on them to apply filters according to any number of criteria. What we are left with is news that is customized – stories designed to fit preexisting political or ideological biases. In this way millions upon millions of minds are restricted to closed information environments on subjects which often touch on, among other important topics, war and its consequences.

So what is likely to be more influential with the locally oriented American public: George W. Bush’s rehabilitated image reported on repeatedly in the nation’s mainstream media, or the foreign-based, horror-strewn consequences of his deeds reported upon infrequently?

This dilemma is not uniquely American, nor is it original to our time. However, its dangerous consequences are a very good argument against the ubiquitous ignorance that allows political criminals to be rehabilitated even as their crimes condemn others to continuing suffering. If reputation remodelers can do this for George W. Bush, then there is little doubt that someday it will be done for Donald Trump. Life, so full of suffering, is also full of such absurdities.

The US-Jihadist Alliance Keeps Threatening the World

The US-Jihadist Alliance Keeps Threatening the World

ERIC ZUESSE | 26.05.2017 | WORLD

The US-Jihadist Alliance Keeps Threatening the World

With its $350 billion ten-year weapons-sale to the Saud family, the U.S. government’s alliance with the main family that funded and participated in the organization of the 9/11 attacks on the United States, and who have been protected now for 16 years by three successive U.S. Presidents — Bush, Obama, and currently Trump — reaches a higher level than ever before, and should finally begin to be recognized and widely discussed, no longer merely ignored, as it has been.

The former bagman who personally collected each one of the million-dollar-plus cash-donations to Osama bin Laden’s Al Qaeda until the organization’s bagman was captured by the FBI, said in his sworn court-testimony on 20 October 2014, «Without the money of the — of the Saudi, you will have nothing» of Al Qaeda. 9/11 required additionally the cooperation of George W. Bush. At first, Osama bin Laden blamed the Israeli government for the 9/11 attacks, but the flow of funds to the attackers came actually from the Saud family and their friends including the other royal families in the Gulf Cooperation Council, who are the other royal oil-Arabs, especially in Qatar and UAE — all of whom are allies of the Sauds and thus of the U.S. government. No money from Jews or from Israelis had actually supported anyone involved in producing the 9/11 attacks.

Furthermore, whereas anti-Semites, and also some anti-Zionists, picked up on bin Laden’s accusation that Israel was behind the 9/11 attacks, and they spread the myth of ‘the five dancing Israelis’ who allegedly had been somehow involved in or connected to the (supposedly unknown) perpetrators of the 9/11 attacks, the FBI’s investigation into that entire question ended finally on 14 April 2004, when an FBI agent in Newark, NJ, closed the case, by saying, after exhaustive investigation into a possible link of those ‘five dancing Israelis’ to the FBI’s PENTTBOM Investigation, which is the FBI’s investigation into the 9/11 attacks, «the evidence related to the above-listed investigation was determined to be of no value to the PENTTBOMB investigation».

So, the FBI’s three-year effort to find evidence that possibly might support bin Laden’s allegation against Israel, ultimately concluded that there was no evidence for it, at all. Actually, Osama bin Laden was a longtime agent of the Saud family to help the U.S. government to weaken the Soviet government, and he subsequently — after the end of the USSR and of its communism and of their entire Warsaw Pact military alliance — helped the U.S. government to weaken the lone rump remaining nation Russia, and to create the jihadist movement in the Chechnya region of Russia, in an attempt to break Russia apart. So, one might say that Osama bin Laden, like Saddam Hussein before him, had been a CIA asset whom the U.S. aristocracy later abandoned and killed, when the U.S. aristocracy concluded him to be no longer overall constructive for their purposes, but more of a detriment than an asset.

Though there is a ceaseless song-and-dance by the U.S. government pretending to oppose Al Qaeda and the many other jihadist groups that are trained and sometimes also led by Al Qaeda, and though Barack Obama in his first Presidential term killed many of Al Qaeda’s top leaders, the U.S. government has been working behind-the-scenes, along with the Sauds and its Arab allies, in order to arm and train the jihadists in Syria, Yemen, Libya, Chechnya, and other nations and regions where allies of either Russia or Iran can be overthrown and replaced by allies of the U.S.-jihadist alliance.

The aristocracies that constitute ‘the Western alliance’ ‘for freedom and democracy’, are actually determined to bring the entire world under their control, and the American aristocracy claims to lead them, but if they were ever to succeed, and both Russia and Iran and their allies were to come under their control, then there would first be a war between the major parties to the alliance in order to determine where the global center of power will be — in the United States, or in Saudi Arabia — one having a Christian majority, and the other being a Sharia law fundamentalist-Sunni-Islamic dictatorship and the symbolic and physical center of the world’s second-largest religion on its way to becoming the largest religion: Saudi Arabia. Israel, the Jewish dictatorship over its non-Jews, is on good terms with both the Saudi and the U.S. aristocracy, and Judaism is a tiny religion except amongst the world’s aristocracies, where it constitutes a significant player. Israel’s dictators would be satisfied regardless of whether the world is led from ‘Christian’ Washington, or from fundamentalist-Sunni Riyadh. Either way, no Shia political force would remain.

However, remarkably little thinking is being devoted to how the world would even be able to reach that stage, a unified dictatorial world government, because both Russia and Iran would need to be conquered in order to reach that stage, and this would inevitably entail a nuclear war between Russia and the United States, which would soon thereafter end life on this planet.

Now, under U.S. President Donald Trump, V.P. Mike Pence, and the entire Trump team, as well as under the prior Obama regime, the old anti-Semitic charge about 9/11, that ‘the Jews did it’, is replaced by the lie that «Iran did it».

President Trump, on 5 February 2017, was asked in a Super Bowl television interview, what his policies would be regarding Iran, and he answered (video here, transcript here): «They have total disregard for our country. They are the number one terrorist state». This (boldfaced) phrase is the standard one that Israel uses to refer to Iran — which, unlike Saudi Arabia, does support terrorism against Israel (which itself is a terrorist state). So: the U.S. President there was representing actually the Israeli people (or, specifically, Jewish Israelis), and not at all the American people. Trump had changed his tune on that as soon as he became elected, when he appointed a team of anti-Iranian bigots to lead his foreign policies, and broke practically every promise he had made in his campaign to go against «radical Islamic terrorism» — which, except against Israel, is entirely fundamentalist-Sunni, not at all Iranian (nor Shiite). Even George W. Bush didn’t blame Iran for it; he blamed Iraq.

But what, then, about «Russia did it?» Iran doesn’t have nuclear weapons, and in an environment such as this, maybe they should. Iranians would be idiots not to recognize where all of this is heading. They are now in America’s cross-hairs. And for Iranians (or anyone) to trust the U.S. would be insanity, under these conditions.

The real questions here are: Why is ‘the Western alliance’ ‘for freedom and democracy’ determined to conquer Russia and Iran? Why did U.S. President George Herbert Walker Bush, on 24 February 1990, secretly double-cross the then-Soviet leader— soon to be Russia’s President — Mikhail Gorbachev, so that the Cold War ended only on Russia’s side, and not also on America’s (NATO’s) side (such as GHW Bush promised but then secretly negated)? What, precisely, was GHW Bush’s actual plan? How did he see this ongoing war against Russia as ending? Was he simply obsessed with America’s global conquest? Why haven’t subsequent U.S. Presidents abandoned his secret plan, instead of carrying it out? Why haven’t the leaders and peoples of Europe, Japan, etc., abandoned the U.S government, and joined with Russia, in order to stave off a globe-ending nuclear war — or even just in order to put a stop to international jihadism? Will the public in at least one of the nations that claim to belong to ‘the Western alliance’ ‘for freedom and democracy’ need to overthrow their own government (not just its leaders) in order for freedom and democracy and peace to be able to return in even just one country?

The global dictatorship is already gripping pretty hard. Look at what has happened to the people of Syria. And of Iraq. And of Libya (now so bad that it’s no longer even being polled). And of Yemen. And of Ukraine. And that’s just for starters.

Douglas Valentine’s acclaimed new book, The CIA as Organized Crime, documents the shocking psychopathy of that organization; and, so, no one should be particularly surprised at the psychopathy of the organization that controls it.

Trump’s First Hundred Days of War Crimes

Photo by Mark Taylor | CC BY 2.0

MAY 19, 2017

President Donald J. Trump closed out his first hundred days in office on April 29.  Not marked by any notable achievements, Trump’s first hundred days did yield an impressive and ever-lengthening list of scandals.

And war crimes.  During his short time in office, Trump has racked up an impressive list of war crimes.  Congratulations, Mr. President!

Where to begin?  Nine days after Trump’s Inauguration, US Navy SEALs together with elite troops from the United Arab Emirates descended on the village of Yaklaa in the Yemeni governorate of Bayda.  At the time, the White House said that the mission’s objective was to enter a compound controlled by Al-Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula (AQAP) and gather intelligence by grabbing computers and cell phones.  It was not until a week later that US military officials stated that the prime objective of the raid was to capture or kill AQAP emir Qassim al-Rimi.

The January 29 raid was executed with the same meticulous care President Trump brings to all facets of his administration.  What was conceived as a swift there-and-gone operation descended into an hour-long firefight with AQAP, bodies everywhere, and the loss of a $70 million MV-22 Osprey aircraft.

Two deaths stand out.  One was the Trump Administration’s first combat fatality: 36- year old Chief Special Warfare Operator William “Ryan” Owens.

The second was an 8-year old American citizen, Nawar Al-Awlaki.  Nawar’s father was the US-born cleric and Al-Qaeda recruiter and propagandist, Anwar Al-Awlaki.  Al-Awlaki was assassinated in a US drone strike in Yemen on September 30, 2011.  Shortly afterwards, Nawar’s 16-year old brother Abdulrahman was also killed by a US drone, probably inadvertently.

Thanks to the US, the Awlakis—father, son, and daughter—are together again.  It’s too bad the Awlakis can’t thank the Pentagon themselves.

Civilian Fatalities

Trump has killed enormous numbers of civilians in drone strikes, attacks by manned aircraft, and ground assaults.  Many of these attacks have taken place far from any battlefield, in places such as Yemen, Pakistan, and Somalia.  International humanitarian law (IHL), however, restricts the use of military force to areas of “armed conflict.”[1] Jeanne Mirer, President of the International Association of Democratic Lawyers and co-chair of the International Committee of the National Lawyers Guild, observes that the United States is not involved in an armed conflict with Pakistan, Yemen, and Somalia.[2]  Nor has any of these countries attacked the United States.  If any of them had, that would have triggered the United States’ right to self-defense under Article 51 of the United Nations Charter.

President George W. Bush maintained that the “armed conflict” against terrorist groups like Al-Qaeda extended over the entire world.  That would have allowed Bush to launch attacks anywhere he pleased.  The World Is a Battlefield, the subtitle of investigative journalist Jeremy Scahill’s 2013 book Dirty Wars, encapsulates this notion.[3]  Barack Obama and Donald Trump, have likewise believed that there are no limits to their power to project force anywhere in the world.

But even when an armed conflict does exist, such as the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, other principles of IHL must be observed.

Under the principle of discernment, civilians are not to be deliberately targeted. (There is an exception for civilians who “directly participate in hostilities.”)  Precautions must be taken to minimize civilian casualties.

The principle of proportionality prohibits using excessive force in achieving a legitimate military objective.  To simplify greatly, you cannot kill one hundred innocents in order to kill one terrorist.

Large numbers of civilians have been killed in US attacks.  Fourteen militants died in Trump’s January 29 raid in Yemen, but US forces also killed twenty-five civilians, including women and nine children under the age of 13—these figures from the independent Bureau of Investigative Journalism.

Not killed was AQAP leader Qassim al-Rimi, the object of the raid.  Al-Rimi got away, later mocking Trump on video as a “fool.”

Trump’s worst slaughter of civilians is the March 17, 2017 US airstrike on west Mosul in Iraq which killed 200+ civilians.  The Iraqi government had told the residents of Mosul, then under occupation by ISIS, to remain indoors.  The US knew or ought to have known west Mosul’s residents were in harm’s way.

War Crimes by Remote Control: Targeted Assassinations by Drone

President Barack Obama had launched ten times as many killer drone strikes as President George W. Bush.  Donald Trump looks set to top Obama’s record.

Micah Zenko is an expert on drone strikes at the Council on Foreign Relations.  In a March 2 tweet, Zenko calculated that Obama conducted a drone strike every 5.4 days; Trump has upped the rate to a drone strike every 1.6 days.

Again, apart from Iraq and Afghanistan, US drone strikes take place outside areas of armed conflict.  Professor Mary Ellen O’Connell, who teaches law and conflict resolution at the University of Notre Dame, writes:  “[T]he law absolutely prohibits … targeted killing beyond armed conflict zones.”

There are some differences between how Obama and Trump have used drones.  President Obama took most drone strikes out of the CIA’s hands.  Instead, Obama left most drone strikes to the Pentagon’s Joint Special Operations Command (JSOC).  Trump has brought the CIA back into the picture.

Obama set certain restrictions on drone strikes outside war zones, such as requiring “near certainty” that civilians will not be injured or killed.  Trump’s National Security Council is considering abandoning the Obama era restrictions.

Still, Obama was not over-scrupulous in who qualified as a civilian.  Any military-age male in an area where terrorists were active was presumed to be a terrorist himself.  Many victims, under Obama as well as Trump, have been children: “fun-size terrorists” as some drone pilots call them. US drones have attacked weddings and funerals. “Double-tap” strikes fire on first responders hurrying to aid people wounded in a drone’s initial strike.

In a just world, Bush, Obama, and Trump would share a cell at The Hague.  Obama largely escaped criticism from the liberal left for his drone strikes because, as Mike Whitney observes:  “[L]iberals always sleep while their man is in office.”  Whitney might have added that liberals will go back to sleep once the Republicans are out of the White House.

Escalating the Illegal US War in Syria

On April 4, a suspected sarin gas attack killed more than 70 people in the rebel-held town of Khan Sheikhun.  Who launched the attack—rebels or the Syrian government—still hasn’t been proven.  Does it matter?  Those 70 people are just as dead no matter who killed them.  All of the belligerents in Syria have committed war crimes, including the United States.  The antiwar movement holds firm to its demand that the US withdraw from Syria now.

Donald Trump, not a man plagued by doubt, was certain that Syrian President Bashar al-Assad was the culprit.  On April 7, 59 US Tomahawk cruise missiles pounded a government airfield in Syria while Trump was eating chocolate cake at Mar-a-Lago with the President of China.  Whether the US attack accomplished anything is unclear; Syrian military aircraft were taking off from the field a few days later.  At nearly $1.59 million for each Tomahawk missile, Trump would have achieved the same end result if he had burned $93 million on the White House lawn.

It suddenly occurred to the American public that the US was at war in Syria.  It seems to have escaped Americans’ notice that the US has been bombing ISIS in Syria since September 23, 2014 and in Iraq since August 8, 2014.  According to Airwars.org, which monitors Coalition airstrikes in Iraq and Syria, 3,530 civilians have been killed as of May 16.  Also overlooked was the fact that Obama had sent Special Operations Forces to both countries to fight ISIS.  So has Trump.  According to Professor Marjorie Cohn, as of April 5 there were close to a thousand US Special Ops forces, Marines, and Rangers in northern Syria.  The Trump Administration plans to up that number.

The Syrian government, needless to say, has refused consent to both US bombing and the presence of US troops within its borders.  (In sharp contrast, Russian military forces are in Syria at the invitation of the Syrian government.)  US military involvement in Syria is, thus, prima facie a violation of international law.  Article 2(4) of the United Nations Charter requires states to “refrain … from the threat or use of force against the territorial integrity or political independence of any state.”  Article 51 provides an exception for self-defense “if an armed attack occurs” (and then only “until the Security Council has taken measures necessary to maintain international peace and security”).  Syria has not attacked the United States.  Not even the Trump Administration has claimed that the April 7 attack was made defensively.  Instead, the Trump Administration said that the purpose of the US attack was to deter future uses of chemical weapons by Bashar al-Assad’s regime.  That makes the April 7 attack a reprisal.  Reprisals are forbidden under international law.  Professor Mary Ellen O’Connell, one of the foremost authorities on the use of force under international law, quotes the 1970 UN Declaration on Friendly Relations which says: “States have a duty to refrain from acts of reprisal involving the use of force.”

In theory, US attacks on Syria expose Obama and Trump to prosecution for “waging aggressive war,” the principal charge against the Nazis at Nuremberg.  George W. Bush, of course, would face the same charge for his 2003 invasion of Iraq.

I say “in theory” because what court would try them?  President George W. Bush “unsigned” the treaty that created the International Criminal Court.  (And we thought Bush was stupid.)  In the 1990s, the UN Security Council created ad hoc criminal tribunals for Rwanda and Yugoslavia.  The US would veto any attempt to create an ad hoc tribunal empowered to try US leaders for war crimes in Syria.

There have been no prosecutions under the federal War Crimes Act which criminalizes “grave breaches” of the Geneva Conventions.  In fact, President Barack Obama expressly ruled out prosecuting officials from the George W. Bush Administration.

Trump’s actions are by no means a sharp break with the past.  War crimes are how the Pentagon rolls.  Noam Chomsky has stated that if the standards of the Nuremberg Trials were applied, every American president since World War Two would have been hanged as a war criminal.  Something to think about.

Notes.

[1]  IHL is the branch of international law which “prescribes rules for the conduct of war.”  The sources for IHL are primarily the four Geneva Conventions of 1949 together with their two Additional Protocols.  The central concern of IHL is protection of civilians.  Jeanne Mirer, US Policy of Targeted Killing with Drones:  Unsafe at Any Speed, in DRONES AND TARGETED KILLING: LEGAL, MORAL, AND GEOPOLITICAL ISSUES (Marjorie Cohn, ed. 2015) at pages 136, 138.

[2]  Mirer at pages 136, 139.

[3]  JEREMY SCAHILL, DIRTY WARS: THE WORLD IS A BATTLEFIELD (2013), at page 78.

The Rise of the Generals

By Patrick Buchanan

April 28, 2017 “Information Clearing House” – Has President Donald Trump outsourced foreign policy to the generals?

So it would seem. Candidate Trump held out his hand to Vladimir Putin. He rejected further U.S. intervention in Syria other than to smash ISIS.

He spoke of getting out and staying out of the misbegotten Middle East wars into which Presidents Bush II and Obama had plunged the country.

President Trump’s seeming renunciation of an anti-interventionist foreign policy is the great surprise of the first 100 days, and the most ominous. For any new war could vitiate the Trump mandate and consume his presidency.

Trump no longer calls NATO “obsolete,” but moves U.S. troops toward Russia in the Baltic and eastern Balkans. Rex Tillerson, holder of Russia’s Order of Friendship, now warns that the U.S. will not lift sanctions on Russia until she gets out of Ukraine.

If Tillerson is not bluffing, that would rule out any rapprochement in the Trump presidency. For neither Putin, nor any successor, could surrender Crimea and survive.

What happened to the Trump of 2016?

When did Kiev’s claim to Crimea become more crucial to us than a cooperative relationship with a nuclear-armed Russia? In 1991, Bush I and Secretary of State James Baker thought the very idea of Ukraine’s independence was the product of a “suicidal nationalism.”

Where do we think this demonization of Putin and ostracism of Russia is going to lead?

To get Xi Jinping to help with our Pyongyang problem, Trump has dropped all talk of befriending Taiwan, backed off Tillerson’s warning to Beijing to vacate its fortified reefs in the South China Sea, and held out promises of major concessions to Beijing in future trade deals.

“I like (Xi Jinping) and I believe he likes me a lot,” Trump said this week. One recalls FDR admonishing Churchill, “I think I can personally handle Stalin better than … your Foreign Office … Stalin hates the guts of all your people. He thinks he likes me better.”

FDR did not live to see what a fool Stalin had made of him.

Among the achievements celebrated in Trump’s first 100 days are the 59 cruise missiles launched at the Syrian airfield from which the gas attack on civilians allegedly came, and the dropping of the 22,000-pound MOAB bomb in Afghanistan.

But what did these bombings accomplish?

The War Party seems again ascendant. John McCain and Lindsey Graham are happy campers. In Afghanistan, the U.S. commander is calling for thousands more U.S. troops to assist the 8,500 still there, to stabilize an Afghan regime and army that is steadily losing ground to the Taliban.

Iran is back on the front burner. While Tillerson concedes that Tehran is in compliance with the 2015 nuclear deal, Trump says it is violating “the spirit of the agreement.”

How so? Says Tillerson, Iran is “destabilizing” the region, and threatening U.S. interests in Syria, Yemen, Iraq and Lebanon.

But Iran is an ally of Syria and was invited in to help the U.N.-recognized government put down an insurrection that contains elements of al-Qaida and ISIS. It is we, the Turks, Saudis and Gulf Arabs who have been backing the rebels seeking to overthrow the regime.

In Yemen, Houthi rebels overthrew and expelled a Saudi satrap. The bombing, blockading and intervention with troops is being done by Saudi and Sunni Arabs, assisted by the U.S. Navy and Air Force.

It is we and the Saudis who are talking of closing the Yemeni port of Hodeida, which could bring on widespread starvation.

It was not Iran, but the U.S. that invaded Iraq, overthrew the Baghdad regime and occupied the country. It was not Iran that overthrew Col. Gadhafi and created the current disaster in Libya.

Monday, the USS Mahan fired a flare to warn off an Iranian patrol boat, 1,000 meters away. Supposedly, this was a provocation. But Iranian foreign minister Javad Zarif had a point when he tweeted:

“Breaking: Our Navy operates in – yes, correct – the Persian Gulf, not the Gulf of Mexico. Question is what US Navy doing 7,500 miles from home.”

Who is behind the seeming conversion of Trump to hawk?

The generals, Bibi Netanyahu and the neocons, Congressional hawks with Cold War mindsets, the Saudi royal family and the Gulf Arabs – they are winning the battle for the president’s mind.

And their agenda for America?

We are to recognize that our true enemy in the Mideast is not al-Qaida or ISIS, but Shiite Iran and Hezbollah, Assad’s Syria and his patron, Putin. And until Hezbollah is eviscerated, Assad is gone, and Iran is smashed the way we did Afghanistan, Iraq, and Yemen, the flowering of Middle East democracy that we all seek cannot truly begin.

But before President Trump proceeds along the path laid out for him by his generals, brave and patriotic men that they are, he should discover if any of them opposed any of the idiotic wars of the last 15 years, beginning with that greatest of strategic blunders – George Bush’s invasion of Iraq.

Patrick J. Buchanan is the author of a new book, out in May, “Nixon’s White House Wars: The Battles That Made and Broke a President and Divided America Forever.” To find out more about Patrick Buchanan and read features by other Creators writers and cartoonists, visit the Creators website at www.creators.com .

The views expressed in this article are solely those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the opinions of Information Clearing House.

 

 

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Trump Should Rethink Syria Escalation

 

Trump Should Rethink Syria Escalation

EDITOR’S CHOICE | 27.04.2017

Trump Should Rethink Syria Escalation

More than two dozen ex-U.S. intelligence officials urge President Trump to rethink his claims blaming the Syrian government for the chemical deaths in Idlib and to pull back from his dangerous escalation of tensions with Russia.

MEMORANDUM FOR: The President

FROM: Veteran Intelligence Professionals for Sanity (VIPS)*

SUBJECT: Syria: Was It Really “A Chemical Weapons Attack”?

1 – We write to give you an unambiguous warning of the threat of armed hostilities with Russia – with the risk of escalation to nuclear war. The threat has grown after the cruise missile attack on Syria in retaliation for what you claimed was a “chemical weapons attack” on April 4 on Syrian civilians in southern Idlib Province.

President Trump at a news conference with Jordan’s King Abdullah II on April 5, 2017, at which the President commented on crisis in Syria. (Screen shot from whitehouse.gov)

2 – Our U.S. Army contacts in the area have told us this is not what happened. There was no Syrian “chemical weapons attack.” Instead, a Syrian aircraft bombed an al-Qaeda-in-Syria ammunition depot that turned out to be full of noxious chemicals and a strong wind blew the chemical-laden cloud over a nearby village where many consequently died.

3 – This is what the Russians and Syrians have been saying and – more important –what they appear to believe happened.

4 – Do we conclude that the White House has been giving our generals dictation; that they are mouthing what they have been told to say?

5 – After Putin persuaded Assad in 2013 to give up his chemical weapons, the U.S. Army destroyed 600 metric tons of Syria’s CW stockpile in just six weeks. The mandate of the U.N.’s Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons (OPCW-UN) was to ensure that all were destroyed – like the mandate for the U.N. inspectors for Iraq regarding WMD. The U.N. inspectors’ findings on WMD were the truth. Rumsfeld and his generals lied and this seems to be happening again. The stakes are even higher now; the importance of a relationship of trust with Russia’s leaders cannot be overstated.

6 – In September 2013, after Putin persuaded Assad to relinquish his chemical weapons (giving Obama a way out of a tough dilemma), the Russian President wrote an op-ed for the New York Times in which he said: “My working and personal relationship with President Obama is marked by growing trust. I appreciate this.”

Détente Nipped in the Bud

7 – Three-plus years later, on April 4, 2017, Russian Prime Minister Medvedev spoke of “absolute mistrust”, which he characterized as “sad for our now completely ruined relations [but] good news for terrorists.” Not only sad, in our view, but totally unnecessary – worse still, dangerous.

8 – With Moscow’s cancellation of the agreement to de-conflict flight activity over Syria, the clock has been turned back six months to the situation last September/October when 11 months of tough negotiation brought a ceasefire agreement. U.S. Air Force attacks on fixed Syrian army positions on Sept. 17, 2016, killing about 70 and wounding another 100, scuttled the fledgling ceasefire agreement approved by Obama and Putin a week before. Trust evaporated.

The guided-missile destroyer USS Porter conducts strike operations while in the Mediterranean Sea, April 7, 2017. (Navy photo by Petty Officer 3rd Class Ford Williams)

9 – On Sept 26, 2016, Foreign Minister Lavrov lamented: “My good friend John Kerry… is under fierce criticism from the US military machine, [which] apparently does not really listen to the Commander in Chief.” Lavrov criticized JCS Chairman Joseph Dunford for telling Congress that he opposed sharing intelligence with Russia on Syria, “after the [ceasefire] agreement, concluded on direct orders of Russian President Vladimir Putin and US President Barack Obama, had stipulated that the two sides would share intelligence… It is difficult to work with such partners. …”

10 – On Oct. 1, 2016, Russia’s Foreign Ministry spokesperson Maria Zakharova warned, “If the US launches a direct aggression against Damascus and the Syrian Army, it would cause a terrible, tectonic shift not only in the country, but in the entire region.”

11 – On Oct 6, 2016, Russian defense spokesman Maj. Gen. Igor Konashenkov cautioned that Russia was prepared to shoot down unidentified aircraft – including any stealth aircraft – over Syria. Konashenkov made a point of adding that Russian air defenses “will not have time to identify the origin” of the aircraft.

12 – On Oct 27, 2016, Putin publicly lamented, “My personal agreements with the President of the United States have not produced results,” and complained about “people in Washington ready to do everything possible to prevent these agreements from being implemented in practice.” Referring to Syria, Putin decried the lack of a “common front against terrorism after such lengthy negotiations, enormous effort, and difficult compromises.”

13 – Thus, the unnecessarily precarious state into which U.S.-Russian relations have now sunk – from “growing trust” to “absolute mistrust.” To be sure, many welcome the high tension, which – admittedly – is super for the arms business.

14 – We believe it of transcendent importance to prevent relations with Russia from falling into a state of complete disrepair. Secretary Tillerson’s visit to Moscow this week offers an opportunity to stanch the damage, but there is also a danger that it could increase the acrimony – particularly if Secretary Tillerson is not familiar with the brief history set down above.

15 – Surely it is time to deal with Russia on the basis of facts, not allegations based largely on dubious evidence – from “social media,” for example. While many would view this time of high tension as ruling out a summit, we suggest the opposite may be true. You might consider instructing Secretary Tillerson to begin arrangements for an early summit with President Putin.

* Background on Veteran Intelligence Professionals for Sanity (VIPS), a list of whose issuances can be found at consortiumnews.com.

A handful of CIA veterans established VIPS in January 2003 after concluding that Dick Cheney and Donald Rumsfeld had ordered our former colleagues to manufacture intelligence to “justify” an unnecessary war with Iraq. At the time we chose to assume that President George W. Bush was not fully aware of this.

We issued our first Memorandum for the President on the afternoon of Feb. 5, 2003, after Colin Powell’s ill-begotten speech at the United Nations. Addressing President Bush, we closed with these words:

No one has a corner on the truth; nor do we harbor illusions that our analysis is “irrefutable” or “undeniable” [adjectives Powell applied to his charges against Saddam Hussein]. But after watching Secretary Powell today, we are convinced that you would be well served if you widened the discussion … beyond the circle of those advisers clearly bent on a war for which we see no compelling reason and from which we believe the unintended consequences are likely to be catastrophic.

Respectfully, we offer the same advice to you, President Trump.

* * *

For the Steering Group, Veteran Intelligence Professionals for Sanity

Eugene D. Betit, Intelligence Analyst, DIA, Soviet FAO, (US Army, ret.)

William Binney, Technical Director, NSA; co-founder, SIGINT Automation Research Center (ret.)

Marshall Carter-Tripp, Foreign Service Officer and former Office Director in the State Department Bureau of Intelligence and Research, (ret.)

Thomas Drake, Senior Executive Service, NSA (former)

Bogdan Dzakovic, Former Team Leader of Federal Air Marshals and Red Team, FAA Security, (ret.) (associate VIPS)

Robert Furukawa, Capt, CEC, USN-R, (ret.)

Philip Giraldi, CIA, Operations Officer (ret.)

Mike Gravel, former Adjutant, top secret control officer, Communications Intelligence Service; special agent of the Counter Intelligence Corps and former United States Senator

Matthew Hoh, former Capt., USMC, Iraq and Foreign Service Officer, Afghanistan (associate VIPS)

Larry C. Johnson, CIA & State Department (ret.)

Michael S. Kearns, Captain, USAF (Ret.); ex-Master SERE Instructor for Strategic Reconnaissance Operations (NSA/DIA) and Special Mission Units (JSOC)

John Brady Kiesling, Foreign Service Officer (ret.)

John Kiriakou, former CIA analyst and counterterrorism officer, and former senior investigator, Senate Foreign Relations Committee

Linda Lewis, WMD preparedness policy analyst, USDA (ret.) (associate VIPS)

Lisa Ling, TSgt USAF (ret.) (associate VIPS)

Edward Loomis, NSA, Cryptologic Computer Scientist (ret.)

David MacMichael, National Intelligence Council (ret.)

Ray McGovern, former US Army infantry/intelligence officer & CIA analyst (ret.)

Elizabeth Murray, Deputy National Intelligence Officer for Near East, CIA and National Intelligence Council (ret.)

Torin Nelson, former Intelligence Officer/Interrogator, Department of the Army

Todd E. Pierce, MAJ, US Army Judge Advocate (Ret.)

Coleen Rowley, FBI Special Agent and former Minneapolis Division Legal Counsel (ret.)

Scott Ritter, former MAJ., USMC, and former UN Weapon Inspector, Iraq

Peter Van Buren, U.S. Department of State, Foreign Service Officer (ret.) (associate VIPS)

Kirk Wiebe, former Senior Analyst, SIGINT Automation Research Center, NSA

Sarah G. Wilton, Commander, US Naval Reserve (ret), DIA (ret.)

Robert Wing, former Foreign Service Officer (associate VIPS)

Ann Wright, U.S. Army Reserve Colonel (ret) and former U.S. Diplomat

consortiumnews.com

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