If You Think “Fake News” Is A New Phenomenon, You’re Wrong

The ‘fog of war’ erupts in the confusion caused by the chaos of war. And in the media, it’s an intentional phenomenon that makes it difficult to separate fact from fiction.
While the battles over war narratives evolve, they all have a common goal: to distort reality on the ground.
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On Oct. 10, 1990, a 15-year-old Kuwaiti girl identified only as ‘Nayirah’ told the Congressional Human Rights Caucus that she witnessed Iraqi soldiers removing babies from incubators and leaving them on a cold floor to die.
Her testimony was cited numerous times by senators and even President George H. W. Bush as justification for backing Kuwait in the Gulf War against Saddam Hussein, which erupted just three months later.
However, it was later revealed that ‘Nayirah’ was the daughter of Kuwait’s ambassador to the United States, and her testimony was arranged by a PR firm representing a Kuwaiti-sponsored group lobbying Congress for military intervention.

This post was published at Zero Hedge on Jan 13, 2017.

The Neocon’s Deadly Myths Just Keep Coming – – Petraeus Crowd Calls for ‘Surge 2.0’

The history of post Cold War US involvement in Iraq is the story of the enduring power of myths to drive a false foreign policy narrative and achieve the goals of a singularly-focused pressure group (the interventionist neocons). From the 1990 myth that Saddam Hussein had on his own and in opposition to stated US wishes made a land grab in Kuwait, the myth that Iraqi troops were poised to invade Saudi Arabia, the 2003 myth that Saddam had, ‘in fact, reconstituted nuclear weapons,’ to the myth that the invasion of Iraq would be a ‘cakewalk,’ to the myth that the US attack on Iraq would bring the Iraqi people ‘hope and progress.’
But perhaps one of the most enduring myths of all, endlessly reinforced by the media, has been that after the disastrous aftermath of the 2003 invasion of Iraq, a few brilliant military philosophers in the Pentagon came up with a ‘surge’ in tandem with a new ‘counterinsurgency doctrine’ that snatched victory in Iraq from the jaws of a horrible, scorched earth defeat.
The ‘Surge’ of some 20,000 additional American troops along with the cancellation of out-rotations of many others is said to have been responsible for an end to – or at least a great reduction in – the almost unimaginable levels of violence in Iraq, both among Iraqis and toward the US occupying army. In the words of then-President George W. Bush, the purpose of the surge was ‘to help Iraqis clear and secure neighborhoods, to help them protect the local population, and to help ensure that the Iraqi forces left behind are capable of providing the security.’
In fact none of those goals was reached. Zero.

This post was published at David Stockmans Contra Corner by Daniel McAdams ‘ April 18, 2016.

28 Blank Pages – – Washington’s Cover-Up Of The Saudi Role In The 9/11 Terrorist Attack Continues

Do Americans have the right to learn whether a foreign government helped finance the 9/11 attacks? A growing number of congressmen and senators are demanding that a 28-page portion of a 2002 congressional report finally be declassified. The Obama administration appears to be resisting, and the stakes are huge. What is contained in those pages could radically change Americans’ perspective on the war on terror.
The congressional Joint Inquiry Into Intelligence Community Activities Before and After the Terrorist Attacks of September 11, 2001, completed its investigation in December 2002. But the Bush administration stonewalled the release of the 838-page report until mid 2003 – after its invasion of Iraq was a fait accompli – and totally suppressed a key portion. Former U. S. Sen. Bob Graham (D-Fla.) chairman of the investigation, declared that ‘there is compelling evidence in the 28 pages that one or more foreign governments was involved in assisting some of the hijackers in their preparation for 9/11.’ Graham later indicated that the Saudis were the guilty party. But disclosing Saudi links to 9/11 could have undermined efforts by some Bush administration officials to tie Iraqi leader Saddam Hussein to the 9/11 attacks.
Almost everyone has forgotten how hard the Bush administration fought to torpedo that report. In April 2003, controversy raged on Capitol Hill over the Bush administration’s continuing efforts to suppress almost all of the report by the Joint Intelligence Committee investigation. Some intelligence officials even insisted on ‘reclassifying’ as secret some of the information that had already been discussed in public hearings, such as the FBI Phoenix Memo. On May 13, Senator Graham accused the Bush administration of engaging in a ‘cover-up’ and said that the report from the congressional investigation ‘has not been released because it is, frankly, embarrassing … embarrassing as to what happened before September 11th, but maybe even more so the fact that the lessons of September 11th are not being applied today to reduce the vulnerability of the American people.’ Sen. Trent Lott (R-Miss.) complained that intelligence agencies sought to totally censor the report: ‘The initial thing that came back was absolutely an insult, and it would be laughable if it wasn’t so insulting, because they redacted half of what we had. A lot of it was to redact a word that revealed nothing.’

This post was published at David Stockmans Contra Corner on April 10, 2016.

The Trumpster Sends The GOP/Neocon Establishment To The Dumpster

Wow. Super Tuesday was an earthquake, and not just because Donald Trump ran the tables. The best thing was the complete drubbing and humiliation that voters all over America handed to the little Napoleon from Florida, Marco Rubio.
So doing, the voters began the process of ridding the nation of the GOP War Party and its neocon claque of rabid interventionists. They have held sway for nearly three decades in the Imperial City and the consequences have been deplorable.
It goes all the way back to the collapse of the old Soviet Union and the elder Bush’s historically foolish decision to invade the Persian Gulf in February 1991. The latter stopped dead in its tracks the first genuine opportunity for peace the people of the world had been afforded since August 1914; and it reprieved instead the fading remnants of the military-industrial-congressional complex, the neocon interventionist camp and Washington’s legions of cold war apparatchiks who would have otherwise been consigned to the dust bin of history.
Yet at that crucial inflection point there was absolutely nothing at stake with respect to the safety and security of the American people in the petty quarrel between Saddam Hussein and the Emir of Kuwait.

This post was published at David Stockmans Contra Corner by David Stockman ‘ March 2, 2016.

The Saudi’s Are Stumbling From Pillar To Post

For the past eight decades Saudi Arabia has been careful.
Using its vast oil wealth, it’s quietly spread its ultra-conservative brand of Islam throughout the Muslim world, secretly undermined secular regimes in its region, and prudently kept to the shadows while others did the fighting and dying. It was Saudi money that fueled the Mujahedeen in Afghanistan, underwrote Saddam Hussein’s invasion of Iran, and bankrolled Islamic movements and terrorist groups from the Caucasus to the Hindu Kush.
It wasn’t a modest foreign policy, but it was a discreet one.
Today that circumspect diplomacy is in ruins, and the House of Saud looks more vulnerable than it has since the country was founded in 1926. Unraveling the reasons for the current train wreck is a study in how easily hubris, delusion, and old-fashioned ineptness can trump even bottomless wealth.
Oil Slick
The kingdom’s first stumble was a strategic decision last fall to undermine competitors by scaling up its oil production and thus lowering the global price.
They figured that if the price of a barrel of oil dropped from over $100 to around $80, it would strangle competitors that relied on more expensive sources and new technologies, including the U. S. fracking industry, companies exploring the Arctic, and emergent producers like Brazil. That, in turn, would allow Riyadh to reclaim its shrinking share of the energy market. There was also the added benefit that lower oil prices would damage oil-reliant countries that the Saudis didn’t like – including Russia, Venezuela, Ecuador, and Iran.
In one sense it worked. The American fracking industry is scaling back, the exploitation of Canada’s tar sands has slowed, and many Arctic drillers have closed up shop. And indeed, countries like Venezuela, Ecuador, and Russia have taken serious economic hits.

This post was published at David Stockmans Contra Corner on November 14, 2015.

Campaign 2016 as a Demobilizing Spectacle

You may not know it, but you’re living in a futuristic science fiction novel. And that’s a fact. If you were to read about our American world in such a novel, you would be amazed by its strangeness. Since you exist right smack in the middle of it, it seems like normal life (Donald Trump and Ben Carson aside). But make no bones about it, so far this has been a bizarre American century.
Let me start with one of the odder moments we’ve lived through and give it the attention it’s always deserved. If you follow my train of thought and the history it leads us into, I guarantee you that you’ll end up back exactly where we are – in the midst of the strangest presidential campaign in our history.
To get a full frontal sense of what that means, however, let’s return to late September 2001. I’m sure you remember that moment, just over two weeks after those World Trade Center towers came down and part of the Pentagon was destroyed, leaving a jangled secretary of defense instructing his aides, ‘Go massive. Sweep it all up. Things related and not.’
I couldn’t resist sticking in that classic Donald Rumsfeld line, but I leave it to others to deal with Saddam Hussein, those fictional weapons of mass destruction, the invasion of Iraq, and everything that’s happened since, including the establishment of a terror ‘caliphate’ by a crew of Islamic extremists brought together in American military prison camps – all of which you wouldn’t believe if it were part of a sci-fi novel. The damn thing would make Planet of the Apeslook like outright realism.

This post was published at David Stockmans Contra Corner on Oct 30, 2015.

Criminal Acts of Presidents and Prime Ministers are Wiped Clean with Each Election by Jason Liosatos

Every time a presidency, prime ministership or government in the West changes hands, it seems as though all of the previous acts of murder and corruption are wiped clean.
Amnesia prevails, and there is a forgetting of the previous criminal activities and crimes against humanity. The change in leadership has the effect of sweeping under the rug the war crimes, lies, deceptions, and other illegal and immoral acts of the previous regime, whose members depart in good standing as if they are innocent of any crimes. We even have the temerity of former UK prime minister Tony Blair, who enabled the destruction of Iraq, being appointed Middle East Peace Envoy.
Tony Blair, George Bush, Dick Cheney, Bill Clinton, Nicolas Sarkozy, Colin Powell and Hillary Clinton have walked away, and now David Cameron, Obama, Merkel and Hollande are walking away from mass murders and unspeakable damage to people, cultures and the planet without a trial or any accountability.
In contrast, Saddam Hussein and Gadaffi were murdered without a trial on the basis of propagandistic assertions. This must change, and the Western criminals must be held accountable for their outrageous crimes.

This post was published at Paul Craig Roberts on October 19, 2015.