Petraeus: Resignation or Sacking?

Stephen Lendman

Some observers call Washington a city of scandals. Lots of intrigue reflects daily life in the nation's capital. Elected and appointed officials come and go. Most often it's uneventful. Other times once powerful figures fell from grace or scandals affecting them rose to the level of affixing a "gate" suffix on what happened. Watergate, Whitewatergate, Iran/Contragate, Koreagate, Travelgate, and Troopergate among others come to mind. Perhaps Petraeusgate will enter the lexicon of political scandals. You read it here first.

Forget resignation over extramarital sex nonsense unless state secrets were compromised. Lots of elected and appointed Washington officials had affairs. Many likely have current ones. Resignations don't generally follow. Newt Gingrich survived sex and ethics scandals. He resigned as House Speaker after the Republicans faired poorly in 1998 off-year elections. In 1999, extramarital sex defrocked Speaker-elect Bob Livingstone. He could have stayed, but opted to become a high-paid DC lobbyist. Extramarital affairs didn't defrock past notable officials. They included Alexander Hamilton, Thomas Jefferson, James Buchanan, Grover Cleveland, Warren Harding, Franklin Roosevelt, Dwight Eisenhower (during WW II), Jack Kennedy, Lyndon Johnson, and Bill Clinton. Unconfirmed rumors also surfaced about GHW and GW Bush. Jimmy Carter once admitted to having "lusted in his heart," but never let it go further than that.


Remembering Russell Means

Stephen Lendman

Over a year ago, he knew he had inoperable esophageal cancer. It spread to his tongue, lymph nodes and lungs. It was just a matter of time. On October 22, it took him. His journey to the spirit world began.

In August 2011, he said:

"I'm not going to argue with the Great Mystery. Lakota belief is that death is a change of worlds. And I believe like my dad believed."

"When it's my time to go, it's my time to go. I've told people after I die, I'm coming back as lightning. When it zaps the White House, they'll know it's me."

Earlier he said:

"The Universe which controls all life, has a female and male balance that is prevalent throughout our Sacred Grandmother, the Earth."

"This balance has to be acknowledged and become the determining factor in all of one’s decisions, be they spiritual, social, healthful, educational or economical."

On October 24, he'll be honored in Pine Ridge, SD, the Republic of Lakota. Other gatherings will also celebrate his life and work.


Is Israel fixing the intelligence to justify an attack on Iran?

Ray McGovern


Prime Minister B. Netanyahu and Defense Minister E. Barak

The likelihood of hostilities with Iran before the presidential election in November is increasing.

Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney's strong pro-Israel statements over the weekend, including his endorsement of Jerusalem as Israel's capital (a reversal of long-standing U.S. policy), increases the pressure on President Barack Obama to prove that he is an equally strong backer of Israel.

The key question is whether Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and Defense Minister Ehud Barak will interpret the presidential campaign rhetoric as an open invitation to provoke hostilities with Iran, in the expectation that President Obama will feel forced to jump in with both feet in support of our "ally" Israel. (Since there is no mutual defense treaty between the U.S. and Israel, "ally" actually is a misnomer — at least in a juridical sense.)

As we saw 10 years ago with respect to Iraq, if one intends to whip up support for war, one needs to find a casus belli — however thin a pretext it might be. How about juxtaposing "weapons of mass destruction" with terrorism. That worked to prepare for war on Iraq, and similar rhetorical groundwork for an attack on Iran is now being laid in Israel.

Mr. Netanyahu broke all records for speed in blaming Iran and Hezbollah for the recent terrorist attack that killed five Israelis in Burgas, Bulgaria, and in vowing that "Israel will react powerfully against Iranian terror."

But what is the evidence on Iranian or Hezbollah involvement? Bulgarian officials keep saying they have no such evidence. More surprising still, government officials in Washington and elsewhere keep warning against jumping to conclusions. So far the "evidence" against Iran consists primarily of trust-me assertions by Mr. Netanyahu.


How Iran Might See the Threats

Ray McGovern

Consortium News Exclusive: Hard-headed realism and outside-the-box thinking might be needed to avert another catastrophe in the Middle East, this time an Israeli attack on Iran and the unpredictable consequences. In that light, ex-CIA analyst Ray McGovern imagines a bleak report that an Iranian intelligence officer might send back to Tehran.

In CIA jargon, “Aardwolf” is a label for a special genre of intelligence report from field stations abroad to headquarters in Washington. An Aardwolf conveys the Chief of Station’s formal assessment regarding the direction events are taking in his or her country of assignment – and frequently the news is bad.

An Aardwolf is relatively rare and is avidly read; it is candid — and often unwelcome. (In the 2006 book, State of War, author James Risen describes two Aardwolfs sent to CIA headquarters in the latter half of 2003 by the station chief in Baghdad describing the deteriorating situation in Iraq — and angering many of his bosses.)

So, let’s assume there is an Iranian Chief of Station embedded in, say, Iran’s UN representation in New York. It is quite likely that he or she would be tasked with crafting periodic Aardwolf-type assessments for senior officials of the Islamic Republic.

And in this time of heightened tensions with the United States and the West, Tehran presumably would be interested in a think piece assessing, based on the events of recent months, what the second half of 2012 might have in store on front-burner questions like the nuclear issue and the triangular Iran-U.S.-Israel relationship.


Broken Shards Of The Heart

David Michael Green


People waiting in line for voting to open in Milwaukee. Wis-
consin Republican Gov. Scott Walker took on Democratic
challenger Tom Barrett in a recall election.

I could tell you that my heart was broken by what happened in Wisconsin this week, but in truth that’s not quite accurate.

I grew into political awareness and maturity in the middle of the 1970s. For people my age, then, our entire adult lives have been one long witness to the dismantling of that which we grew up taking for granted as a foundation for any further progress that might come. We lived in the relatively egalitarian country of the New Deal and the Great Society, with its robust middle class and a measure of earnest compassion for the poor. Today, that seems like a foreign country, if not a remote planet.

Over the course of our adult lives:

We watched in shock and horror as the country turned to a Hollywood washout, who was literally a national joke candidate five years earlier, and made him president, following him down every path of joyful self-destruction and absurd deceit.


Honoring a ‘Terror War’ Architect

Ray McGovern

In this season of graduations – and the rush to bestow honorary degrees on the “great and powerful” – one ironic moment will play out at Fordham University, where Jesuits are giving top billing among its honorees to White House counterterrorism chief John Brennan, notes Fordham grad (and ex-CIA analyst) Ray McGovern.

Since even readers of the New York Times are aware of deputy national security adviser John Brennan’s open identification with torture, secret prisons and other abuses of national and international law, Fordham University’s invitation to him to give the commencement address on May 19 brought, well, shock and awe to many Fordham students, faculty and alumni.

It now turns out we didn’t know the half of it. Piling outrage upon indignity, Fordham announced this week that Brennan will enjoy pride of place among the “eight notables” on whom it will confer honorary degrees at commencement. The others receiving a Doctorate in Humane Letters, honoris causa, include Timothy Cardinal Dolan (Archbishop of New York), and Brooklyn congressman Edolphus Towns.

Unlike his co-recipients, Brennan is widely known for his advocacy of kidnapping-for-torture (aka “extraordinary rendition”) and killing “militants” (including U.S. citizens) with “Hellfire” missiles fired by “Predator” and “Reaper” drone aircraft.


CNN Silences War-Skeptical Soldier

Ray McGovern

Exclusive: By obsessing over Iran gaining a nuclear weapon “capability” – even with no actual bomb – while ignoring Israel’s undeclared nuclear arsenal, the U.S. news media proves the point of its own bias. There’s also the usual hostility toward dissenting voices, as ex-CIA analyst Ray McGovern notes.

When CNN interviews a U.S. Army corporal preparing for his third deployment to Afghanistan, should TV viewers be permitted to hear him out on a front-burner issue like Iran’s alleged threat to Israel? For those who might think so, watch what happens when 28-year-old Cpl. Jesse Thorsen touches a neuralgic nerve by suggesting that Israel can take care of itself.

It’s impossible to say exactly what happened to the remote feed that suddenly got lost in transmission back to CNN Central, but the minute-long video is truly worth a thousand words.

The interview, which dates back to Jan. 3 when the Iowa caucuses were the evening’s big news, is at least symbolic of how our Fawning Corporate Media treats dissident voices that clash with the prevailing pro-war-on-Iran bias. I missed the segment when it aired, but I think it still merits comment today as war clouds thicken, again.

In the aborted one-minute segment, Cpl. Thorsen is interviewed by CNN’s Dana Bash, who presumably picked him out for the live interview because he had a large tattoo on his neck about never forgetting 9/11. The tattoo – plus two tours in Afghanistan behind him (and yet another in front of him) – may have suggested to Bash and her CNN producers that Thorsen was unlikely to say anything to muddle or muffle the new drumbeat for war.

Based on Thorsen’s military appearance alone, the typical CNN viewer could almost settle back in an easy chair and anticipate some stirring patriotic bathos about America standing tall – and the interview ending with the obligatory “thank you for your service,” which any right-thinking journalist utters to show that he or she is part of Team America.

But Bash got more than she bargained for when Thorsen turned out to be a well-informed and articulate young man who began endorsing Ron Paul’s non-interventionist views on U.S. foreign policy, i.e. that the United States should go to war only when absolutely necessary to defend its vital national interests and shouldn’t be picking a fight with Iran on behalf of Israel.


Urging Obama to Stop Rush to Iran War

Ray McGovern & Elizabeth Murray


Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu meeting with
President Barack Obama at the White House in 2009

A torrent of war propaganda against Iran is flooding the American political scene as U.S. neocons and Israeli hardliners see an opening for another war in the Middle East, a momentum that ex-CIA analysts Ray McGovern and Elizabeth Murray urge President Obama to stop.

President Obama needs to put an abrupt halt to the game of Persian Roulette about to spin out of control in the Persian Gulf. If we were still on active duty at the CIA, this is what we would tell him:

This informal memorandum addresses the escalating game of chicken playing out in the waters off Iran and the more general issue of what can be done to put the exaggerated threat from Iran in some kind of perspective.

In keeping with the informality of this memo and our ethos of speaking truth to power, we may at times be rather blunt. If we bring you up short, consider it a measure of the seriousness with which we view the unfolding of yet another tragic mistake.

The stakes are quite high, and as former intelligence analysts with no axes to grind, we want to make sure you understand how fragile and volatile the situation in the Gulf has become.


Pvt. Manning and Imperative of Truth

Ray McGovern


Pvt. Manning on the left. - In today's America, pro-
secutors & hanging judges use any means to convict.

When I was asked to speak at Saturday’s rally at Fort Meade in support of Pvt. Bradley Manning, I wondered how I might provide some context around what Manning is alleged to have done.

(In my talk, so as not to think I had to insert the word “alleged” into every sentence, I asked for unanimous consent to using the indicative rather than the subjunctive mood.)

What jumped into my mind was the letter Rev. Martin Luther King Jr. wrote from the Birmingham City jail in April 1963, from which I remembered this:

“Like a boil that can never be cured as long as it is covered up, but must be opened with all its pus-flowing ugliness to the natural medicines of air and light, injustice must likewise be exposed, with all of the tension its exposing creates, to the light of human conscience and the air of national opinion before it can be cured.”

I suggested that this is precisely what Bradley Manning did when he saw the need to uncover war crimes like the indiscriminate murder of civilians and torture he witnessed in Baghdad and read about in cables.

What he had become witness to was the inevitable result of aggressive war, which the post-World War II Nuremberg Tribunal called the “supreme international crime,” differing from other war crimes only inasmuch as it contains within itself the “accumulated evil of the whole.” Was he to obey orders to keep his mouth shut? Or was he to follow his conscience and lance this ugly boil of accumulated evil?


The Obama Regime Has No Constitutional Scruples

Paul Craig Roberts

The Obama regime opposes military detention, because detainees would have some rights.

During an interview with RT on December 1, I said that the US Constitution had been shredded by the failure of the US Senate to protect American citizens from the detainee amendment sponsored by Republican John McCain and Democrat Carl Levin to the Defense Authorization Bill. The amendment permits indefinite detention of US citizens by the US military. I also gave my opinion that the fact that all but two Republican members of the Senate had voted to strip American citizens of their constitutional protections and of the protection of the Posse Comitatus Act indicated that the Republican Party had degenerated into a Gestapo Party.

These conclusions are self-evident, and I stand by them.

However, I jumped to conclusions when I implied that the Obama regime opposes military detention on constitutional grounds. Ray McGovern and Glenn Greenwald might have jumped to the same conclusions.


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