GOP hacks find they disagree with arming radical Sunnis when a Democratic president does it

Ronald Reagan with Afghan mujahideen

The wingnutty Accuracy In Media‘s Citizens’ Commission On Benghazi has released an “interim report” titled How America Switched Sides in the War on Terror. It makes the following “explosive” claim:

The U.S. was fully aware of and facilitating the delivery of weapons to the al-Qa’eda-dominated rebel militias throughout the 2011 rebellion. The jihadist agenda of AQIM, the Libyan Islamic Fighting Group (LIFG), and other Islamic terror groups represented among the rebel forces was well known to U.S. officials responsible for Libya policy. The rebels made no secret of their al-Qa’eda affiliation, openly flying and speaking in front of the black flag of Islamic jihad, according to author John Rosenthal and multiple media reports. And yet, the White House and senior Congressional members deliberately and knowingly pursued a policy that provided material support to terrorist organizations in order to topple a ruler who had been working closely with the West actively to suppress al-Qa’eda. The result in Libya, across much of North Africa, and beyond has been utter chaos, disruption of Libya’s oil industry, the spread of dangerous weapons (including surface-to-air missiles), and the empowerment of jihadist organizations like al-Qa’eda and the Muslim Brotherhood (p. 4).

This is hardly news to anyone who has followed Ronald Reagan’s arming of the Afghan mujaheddin against the Soviets, Bill Clinton’s arming of the Bosnian and Kosovo Muslims against the Serbs, and George W. Bush’s arming of radical Sunni movements throughout the Middle East as a counter-weight against Iranian influence. The fact is that the US has always made use of Sunni radicals with ties to al-Qaeda when it finds it is convenient to do so. It has done this under both Republican and Democratic administrations.

What this report is trying to do is tarnish the Obama administration by asserting that we’ve never armed al-Qaeda tied militants before Obama came into office. Of course, that’s complete and total bullshit. The authors of this report are helpfully profiled at the end of the PDF to give us an idea of the opportunistic Republican shills we are dealing with here. One of them, John A. Shaw:

Established that massive amounts of high explosives and chemical weapons were clandestinely moved to Syria by Russian troops just before the beginning of the Iraq war. Those Iraqi chemical weapons provided a massive foundation for the current Syrian arsenal of chemical weapons. Shaw’s efforts established definitively the presence of WMD in Iraq and the way in which they were dispersed despite a widespread international effort to cover up their presence (p. 28).


So overthrowing a secular dictator in Iraq, thereby giving al-Qaeda and other Islamist radicals a new breeding ground, was perfectly fine of course because a Republican president did it.

The report also entertains the notion that the Obama administration used the Benghazi attack to restrict Americans’ free speech rights:

The CCB conducted an extensive research effort into the elements and sequence of the administration’s two-week campaign to falsely claim that a protest had preceded the attack on our Benghazi mission, and their efforts to blame a YouTube video for the attack. The White House campaign appears to have been well-coordinated with U.S. Muslim Brotherhood organizations as well as Islamic state members of the Organization of Islamic Cooperation (OIC), who all joined in condemnation of the video, and, even more troubling, issued calls for restrictions on Americans’ free speech rights.

This is also not a new allegation. Dana Milbank reported in 2013 that Clare Lopez, one of the authors of this report “speculated that the administration covered up the Benghazi events because Obama wants to make it illegal to criticize Islam” at a Heritage Foundation event.

The report contains some interesting assertions about Gaddafi’s willingness to negotiate–possibly even abdicate his leadership–in order to end the violence plaguing Libya in early 2011. The report alleges that Gaddafi’s pleas were recklessly ignored by the Obama administration, just as the Bush administration ignored Saddam’s attempts to prevent the US military’s invasion of his country.

In short: the report touches upon some important questions and makes some decent points, but is ultimately limited by its authors’ ridiculously partisan and conspiratorial outlook.

Why not apply the #BundyRanch precedent to resistance against US imperialism?

Well, now that the American right-wing has taken on the cause of armed resistance against the US government, how about we globalize that sentiment?

After all, the US government previously decided it had the right to unilaterally invade and occupy the sovereign nation Iraq without just cause, causing hundreds of thousands of Iraqi deaths in the process. So why should Iraqis have refrained from taking up arms and shooting at the jackbooted thugs who served as agents of imperialist aggression? If the right-wing wants to be consistent about this, it should also champion the cause of armed resistance to Israel’s US-funded colonization of the Palestinian territories of the West Bank as well. It has been proven that much of the property Israel is confiscating is privately owned by individual Palestinians. Why the hell shouldn’t Palestinians take up the Bundy doctrine and start shooting at the often armed colonists who illegally occupy it?

So, what do you say American conservatives? How about we internationalize the revolutionary doctrine of Bundyism-Third Worldism and use it against the US empire and US-backed Zionist expansionism?

US Congressmen tour al-Aqsa Mosque compound alongside group founded by Baruch Goldstein supporter

Photo shows Rabbi Chaim Richman of the Temple Institute guiding Representatives Johnson and McKinley on the Temple Mount in February
Photo shows Rabbi Chaim Richman of the Temple Institute guiding Representatives Johnson and McKinley on the Temple Mount in February

Ma’an News Agency, 10 April 2014:

Two members of the US Congress on Thursday joined right-wing Jews who toured the al-Aqsa Mosque compound escorted by Israeli police officers, a Jerusalem-based Fatah official said. Dimitri Daliani told Ma’an that Republicans Bill Johnson of Ohio and David McKinley of Virginia entered the compound with the “extremist” Chaim Richman, director of the rightist Temple Institute.

The Temple Institute was founded by Rabbi Yisrael Ariel, an avid Kahanist and enthusiastic supporter of settler terrorist Baruch Goldstein after he massacred dozens of Palestinians in Hebron.

From Yedioth Ahronoth, 28 February 2014 (translated by Media Matters):

Eulogies were made for a long time in the Shamgar funeral home. Eulogies as a cover for political sermons. Rabbi Yisrael Ariel, who was the Rabbi of Yamit, compared Goldstein to Judah Maccabee and Samson, who killed 30 Philistines. “He was a martyr. And martyrs are above saints and righteous men. Not everyone can stand with them.”

“Baruch Goldstein,” said Rabbi Ariel, “will be our advocate in heaven.” The Rabbi added: “This was not the act of an individual.” According to the Rabbi, Goldstein “heard the cry of the land being stolen every day by the Ishmaelites and acted to quell that cry.” In conclusion, said the Rabbi: “Our land will not be acquired by peace agreements but by blood.”

Perhaps someone should try contacting either of these Congressmen and ask them if terrorist mass murder is something they would like to be associated with:


Hersh: Obama wanted a “monster strike” against Syria’s infrastructure, military and civilian

Seymour Hersh has a new article on Syria which alleges that the 21 August 2013 Ghouta gas attack was a Turkish-backed false flag operation designed to goad the US into launching air strikes against the Assad regime. While most of the attention will be undoubtedly be paid to the incredible allegations against Erdoğan’s regime in Turkey, I want to focus on a different subject mentioned only briefly in the article.

In the aftermath of the 21 August attack Obama ordered the Pentagon to draw up targets for bombing. Early in the process, the former intelligence official said, ‘the White House rejected 35 target sets provided by the joint chiefs of staff as being insufficiently “painful” to the Assad regime.’ The original targets included only military sites and nothing by way of civilian infrastructure. Under White House pressure, the US attack plan evolved into ‘a monster strike’: two wings of B-52 bombers were shifted to airbases close to Syria, and navy submarines and ships equipped with Tomahawk missiles were deployed. ‘Every day the target list was getting longer,’ the former intelligence official told me. ‘The Pentagon planners said we can’t use only Tomahawks to strike at Syria’s missile sites because their warheads are buried too far below ground, so the two B-52 air wings with two-thousand pound bombs were assigned to the mission. Then we’ll need standby search-and-rescue teams to recover downed pilots and drones for target selection. It became huge.’ The new target list was meant to ‘completely eradicate any military capabilities Assad had’, the former intelligence official said. The core targets included electric power grids, oil and gas depots, all known logistic and weapons depots, all known command and control facilities, and all known military and intelligence buildings.

The Obama administration actually rejected joint chiefs of staff recommendations for Syrian air strikes because they were not “painful” enough. They also wanted to bomb civilian targets such electrical grids and oil and gas depots. As if the sadism that often underlies “humanitarian intervention” was not blatant enough, this seals the deal.


I make comments

I made a comment in response to the National Review‘s “Paul Ryan is right” editorial:

This article is just the same old “get married; problem solved” bootstraps stuff conservatives have been pushing for the past half-century. Plus “systematic discrimination against black people isn’t the problem because we have a black president,” or something.

It fails to take into account the creation of the inner-city ghetto was a direct result of widespread discrimination in housing and subsidized home loans as well as a failure on the part of the feds to combat such discrimination. It also ignores studies like this one showing that employers are more willing to hire white felons than blacks with a clean record.

There is a legitimate issue with means-tested welfare programs providing a perverse incentive to refrain from working or making more money. The solution is to either ease the means-testing part (which conservatives proposed in the first place anyways) or scrap all cash transfer programs and replace it with one Universal Basic Income program. This way people will be able to afford the basic necessities of life but won’t be penalized for getting a job.

I see some comments here citing MLK as if he were a conservative. They should probably read this 1965 interview with him, wherein he endorses a program that would likely be condemned here as “reparations.”

Just felt like sharing.

US government to disclose search warrants & supporting affidavit that authorized FBI raids of antiwar activists

UPDATE, 27 February 2014: The documents have been released. They can be read here or here.

According to a judicial order filed on 19 Feburary 2014 in US District Court for the District of Minnesota, the US government has agreed to unseal the search warrants and supporting affidavit that enabled the FBI to raid numerous antiwar activists’ homes on 24 September 2010. The government had earlier filed a motion on 13 February stating that it was willing to unseal the documents in a redacted format for privacy reasons.

According to the ruling: “The Government is ordered to publicly file the redacted documents [...] within seven (7) days of this Order.”

Anti-war activists raided by FBI in 2010 planning legal challenges on First & Fourth Amendment grounds
FBI documents on criminal investigation of anti-war activists released

New side project: COINTELPRO Docs

Using Google Sites I have created what will (hopefully) be a large online archive for documents concerning the FBI’s COINTELPRO program as well as related cases of political repression in the US. As you can see, there are only two documents completed, both are from the Church Committee‘s Book III of its Final Report: “COINTELPRO: The FBI’s Covert Action Programs Against American Citizens” and “Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., Case Study.” I owe much gratitude to attorney Paul Wolf and his now-defunct COINTELPRO website for originally transcribing the documents. I took the liberty of creating a table of contents with HTML anchor links and adding anchor links to each and everyone of the footnotes for both of the documents.

In the future I hope to add reports on the assassination of Fred Hampton, the FBI’s persecution of CISPES and many other examples of state-sanctioned repression in the US.