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This is the forum for general discussion of the Downing Street minutes, the After Downing Street Coalition, and related matters other than activism, evidence, Congress and the media which have their own forum categories.

Tomgram: Engelhardt, A Trumpian Snapshot of America

This article originally appeared at TomDispatch.com. To receive TomDispatch in your inbox three times a week, click here.

Resume inflation at the NSC: Lt. General McMaster’s Silver Star Was Essentially Earned for Target Practice

By Dave Lindorff

 

In the annals of human conflict, the Gulf War of 1991, when the US dispatched half a million troops and a huge armada of ships, planes and tanks into the desert south of Iraq and Kuwait and then crushed Iraqi forces in both those countries in a six-week blitz from Jan. 17-Feb. 28, surely has to rank as one of the most one-sided wars since Hitler’s Wehrmacht marched through Holland in four days in 1940.

Uh-Oh! Violets in late February?: Signs of an Unusually Early Spring in Southeastern Pennsylvania are No Cause for Celebration

By Dave Lindorff

 

This whole winter has been anomalously warm in southeastern Pennsylvania where I live. My oil guy, Hans, is complaining that the demand for home heating oil is so low this winter that it's killing his business, causing him to lay off workers that he had already trained.

“If We Could Change Ourselves”: The DNC and Transformational Change

The Democratic sweep of 2008 built on an overwhelming public hunger for a shift in the direction the country was moving.  In a skillfully crafted campaign, Barack Obama presented himself as the personification of hope and change.  He and the party turned pent-up demand for a more equal society and a less belligerent foreign policy into a smashing victory.  Obama swept into office along with Democratic majorities in both the House and Senate.

 

Tomgram: Andrew Bacevich, At the Altar of American Greatness

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Bigot boy business: Trump Exposes His Ignorance and Intolerance -- Again

By Linn Washington Jr.

 

Twice in recent weeks President Donald Trump reinforced his image of ignorance on African-Americans with astounding statements. Those statements amplified concerns about this president who rose to the Oval Office through a campaign tarred by brazen bigotry from his surrogates, his supporters and himself.

Tomgram: Danny Sjursen, Mission Unaccomplished, 15 Years Later

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In search of a Trumpian reality: On Killers and Bullshitters

By John Grant

 

* NOTE: The term bullshit is used here in the sense established by Harvard philosophy professor Harry Frankfurt in his little gem of a book titled On Bullshit, which opens with: "One of the most salient features of our culture is that there is so much bullshit."

Tomgram: Frida Berrigan, Donald Trump, a One-Man 9/11?

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Hoist on his own petard: NSC Head Flynn Was Brought Down By the Very Spying Machine He Helped to Build

By Davd Lindorff

            A retired three-star Lt. General, Flynn had previously been director of the Defense Intelligence Agency during the Obama administration. In that role since 2012, he was a key player in the leadership of the sprawling $50-billion US intelligence apparatus that has increasingly been spying not just on Americans but on US allies and, to the extent possible, on the entire world.  Flynn, as DIA director, was the top guy in charge of the so-called “Five Eyes” group of intelligence agencies-- all English-speaking nations including the US, UK, Australia, New Zealand and Canada -- which has coordinated spying on citizens of those nations as well as on the citizens and leaders of such supposed NATO allies as Germany, France, Italy, Spain etc.

            Knowing all this, it’s simply astounding to learn that Flynn himself was using apparently unencrypted email, phones and texting to communicate with, of all people, the Russian Ambassador to the US, discussing such issues as potentially lifting sanctions imposed on Russia by the sitting president of the United States, Barack Obama.

            His political implosion is doubly ironic because Flynn was one of those who was loudly condemning Trump’s presidential opponent, former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, for her use of a private server for her official State Department business, and for her general lax security standards (he actually led a “Lock her up!” chant at one Trump rally!).  Because clearly Flynn was not using secure communications in his own conversations with the Russian ambassador -- communications that are now widely circulating in complete transcript form courtesy of US spy agencies like the National Security Agency.

            Talk about someone being hoist upon his own petard!

            You’d think that seeing the kind of trouble the NSA’s “collect it all” motto can wreak even for the powerful and seemingly invincible, Washington’s elite might rethink what the NSA is doing?

            But nah, I wouldn’t count on that happening. There’s more likely to be a lot of shadenfreude among those, both Democrats and traditional Cold War Republicans, who want to see Trump and his band of bozos go down, but hubristic to a fault, they’re not going to go so far as to think, “Hey, this could as easily happen to me!”

            And yet, what we’re seeing here, besides the exposé of a thoroughly inept and out-of-his-depth President Trump, is the workings of the so-called “deep state” -- the permanent power structure the really runs things in the US -- which is taking advantage of its vast powers to rein in the efforts of a loose cannon trying to steer things off on an unorthodox course...

For the rest of this article by DAVE LINDORFF in ThisCantBeHappening!, the uncompromised, collectively run, five-time Project Censored Award-winning online alternative news site, please go to: www.thiscantbehappening.net/node/3452

Tomgram: Michael Klare, A "China First" and "Russia Second" Foreign Policy?

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Tomgram: Rajan Menon, The China Missile Crisis of 2018?

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Tomgram: Rebecca Gordon, The Enemies of Our Enemy Are Not Our Friends

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Tomgram: Engelhardt, It's a Bird... It's a Plane... It's The Donald in the News!

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Crimes of the Trump Era (a Preview)
The 25/8 News Cycle Is Already Rolling, But the Looting of America Hasn’t Really Begun
By Tom Engelhardt

Tomgram: Ira Chernus, Now Who's The Enemy?

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Focus: The Yemen Raid (Part 2) - Feb 5, 2017

 

The Yemen raid was a tragedy, and not by accident. Mistakes were made during the conception, planning, decision making and execution of the mission. Trump was ill-advised and, I guess, deeply regrets to have approved the mission. Civilians, including children, were killed and an American soldier died. It was also costly because multiple units were deployed; Harrier jets, Apache helicopter gunships and drones were involved, and a a $70 million MV-22 Osprey destroyed. The fact that an estimated 14 Al Qaeda members were killed does not make a difference. 


The core question is: Do this kind of raids prove effective in defeating Al Qaeda in Yemen? The International Crisis Group says no: "The raid ignores the local political context, to the detriment of an effective counter-terrorism strategy. The tribesmen targeted had links to AQAP/AAS, yet many, if not most of them, were motivated less by AQAP’s international agenda, including targeting the West, and more by a local power struggle." Through the use of social policies Al Qaeda in Yemen has embedded with local tribes who are armed, well-organized and able to collect intelligence and detect drone activities. The US commando found itself surrounded and shot by all sides, to extricate itself called aerial support which, according to the Pentagon, triggered civilian casualties. Raids are perceived by the locals as an unwanted foreign military interference and "the high number of civilian casualties ... are deeply inflammatory and breed anti-American resentment across the Yemeni political spectrum that works to the advantage of AQAP,”


An effective strategy to defeat Al Qaeda in Yemen must address the internal civil war which created a power vacuum. US should stop siding with the Saudi who are conducting an indiscriminate bombing campaign destroying residential areas, hospitals and crowded places. US should act as a neutral peacemaker promoting a negotiated political settlement of the dispute between the Hadi government and the Huthi/Saleh alliance. It is worth to revisit the "Kerry plan” which called for the formation of a national unity government and offered security guarantees to both parties. The conflict will not be resolved by a military victory. It’s the art of diplomacy.


In audio recording Al Qaeda leader in Yemen labels Donald Trump a ‘fool’, says US raids failed - Reuters


AUDIO (Arabic): New message from leader of Al Qaeda‘s Yemen branch in response to the US raid - jihadology.net


Al Qaeda’s propaganda arm releases a statement condemning the recent American counterterrorism operation in Yemen - Long War Journal


Text of the Al Qaeda statement on the US raid  - Long War Journal


Al Qaeda urges followers to hit back at U.S. following Yemen raid, Militants launch attacks on government-held territory - WSJ


A deadly U.S. raid in Yemen reveals strength of al-Qaeda affiliate - The Washington Post


Locals recount what happened the night the U.S. commando raid - LA Times


Deadly U.S. raid may bolster Yemen's al Qaeda: International Crisis Group - Reuters


Military strikes are no simple answer to al-Qaeda’s rise in Yemen - International Crisis Group


REPORT: Yemen’s al-Qaeda: Expanding the base - International Crisis Group


Saudi failures spurred Al Qaeda in Yemen to sharpen its battle tactics - warisboring.com


Yemen Al-Qaeda flays ‘deviant’ Daesh rivals - Arab News


REPORT: Fighting the Long War: The Evolution of al-Qa`ida in the Arabian Peninsula - Combating Terrorism Center at West Point


ARCHIVE: Al Qaeda winning hearts and minds over ISIS in Yemen with social services - ibtimes.com


ARCHIVE: Al-Qaeda still making big money from Yemen oil - Breibart


ARCHIVE: AQAP in Southern Yemen: Learning, adapting and growing - Jamestown


ARCHIVE: Obama administration's $1 billion arms deal aids Saudi brutality in Yemen, lawmakers say - Washington Times


ARCHIVE: Attack may push U.S. to reconsider support of Saudi Arabia-led air war in Yemen - LA Times


ARCHIVE: America should quit Saudi Arabia's war in Yemen: The senseless killing must stop - Forbes


Focus: The Yemen Raid - Feb 3, 2017


'Almost everything went wrong': Inside the Navy SEAL raid in Yemen targeting al Qaeda - NBC News


SEALs knew ‘they were screwed from beginning' In Yemen raid, went into battle anyway - The Daily Caller


SEAL Team 6 raid in Yemen raises questions, The first is: What was the rush to mount the raid? - CNN.com


How Donald Trump's first military action went from the Obama White House to deadly raid - CNNPolitics.com


What happened behind the scenes before the Yemen raid? We can’t be sure, but it was not a normal vetting process - Slate


The Yemen raid—What was normal and abnormal about the process with lessons for the future - Just Security


Trump’s first counterterrorism operations and the prior interagency review process - Just Security


Raid in Yemen: Risky from the start and costly in the end - NYTimes.com


VIDEO: What went wrong in the deadly raid on al-Qaida in Yemen? Interview with Sanger of The New York Times and Atwood, director of International Crisis Group - PBS NewsHour


A timeline of events on how the controversial Navy SEAL raid on Yemen was planned and carried out - The Washington Post


House Dem wants briefing on Yemen raid - POLITICO

 

VIDEO: Former Obama official says: Spicer SEAL raid story 'B.S.', Obama administration did not approved the Jan. 28 raid on al Qaeda in Yemen - WSJ


US defends release of 10-year-old video seized in Yemen raid - ABC News


Al Qaida takes three Yemen towns days after US raid - GulfNews.com


Yemen is the first battleground in Trump’s confrontation with Iran - Foreign Policy


To contact Bartolo email peaceloverblog[at]yahoo[dot]com (replacing [at] with @, [dot] with .)

Tomgram: William Hartung, Investing in the Military (and Little Else)

This article originally appeared at TomDispatch.com. To receive TomDispatch in your inbox three times a week, click here.

Tomgram: Robert Lipsyte, Donald Trump, Colin Kaepernick, and Me on Super Bowl Sunday

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Tomgram: Nomi Prins, Goldmanizing Donald Trump

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Tomgram: William Astore, A Violent Cesspool of Our Own Making

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Tomgram: John Feffer, A Globalism of the 1%

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Tomgram: Engelhardt, A Living Nightmare of Intelligence Groupthink

This article originally appeared at TomDispatch.com. To receive TomDispatch in your inbox three times a week, click here.

The Future by Committee
The Collective "Wisdom" of the U.S. Intelligence Community
By Tom Engelhardt

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