The Bogus ‘Emergency’ and the War on Yemen

From The American Conservative:

The State Department attempted to spin the results of the Inspector General investigation into the bogus emergency that Pompeo declared to expedite arms sales to the Saudis and the UAE last year, but the full report included some damning details about Pompeo’s disregard for civilian life in Yemen:

The State Department did not fully consider the risk of civilian casualties when it approved more than $8 billion in arms sales to Middle Eastern countries last year, according to a redacted inspector general report released Tuesday.

An unredacted version of the report, obtained by POLITICO, also raised questions about Secretary of State Mike Pompeo’s assertions that an emergency situation existed, allowing him to greenlight the sales over congressional objections.

The risk to civilians from the weapons that the U.S. has been selling the Saudis and the UAE is the main reason why these arms sales have encountered such strong resistance from Congress. It is not surprising that Pompeo’s State Department did not weigh this risk seriously, because their priority has been to get the weapons to the Saudi coalition no matter what the coalition does with them. That is why Pompeo previously certified that the Saudi coalition was seeking to reduce harm to civilians when all of the evidence and the majority of his own officials said the opposite: he wanted to protect current and future arms sales at any cost. The purpose of abusing the emergency declaration last year was to avoid Congressional scrutiny, because it is undeniable that the Saudis and the UAE have been and would be using these weapons to commit war crimes against innocent people in Yemen. Because the Trump administration could not defend its indefensible Yemen policy, they sought to go around Congress by abusing this provision in the law governing arms exports.

It is significant that the IG report does not give an evaluation of Pompeo’s decision to declare an emergency, so the report does not and cannot exonerate Pompeo on the most important question. The Post reports:

Because the Arms Export Control Act does not define the word “emergency,” the report said, the IG did not evaluate whether Pompeo’s stated reason – aggression from Iran – constituted one. But in making the emergency declaration, it said, the State Department did not meet other requirements to “fully assess risks and implement mitigation measures to reduce civilian casualties and legal concerns associated with the transfer of” precision-guided munitions.

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My Journey to Antiwar.com

August 9th, 2018 was the day I had to do something. On that day, the US-Saudi coalition dropped a bomb on a school bus in North Yemen, killing 40 children.

And nobody cared.

This horrific war crime received more media coverage than most atrocities in Yemen do, and plenty of Yemenis and antiwar activists certainly cared. What I mean is – nobody in my life cared. None of my friends, family, or coworkers even knew about the war in Yemen. And who could blame them?

The lack of mainstream media coverage is staggering. A study from the media watchdog group FAIR showed that between July 2017 and July 2018 MSNBC did not devote a single segment to the war in Yemen.

For that reason, I decided to get involved with independent media, since that’s how I learned about the war in Yemen and other atrocities. But where to start? No experience, no journalism school, just a lot of passion and anger towards the war machine. Around the same time, I met my wife. On our first date, we bonded over our shared opposition to US wars and imperialism – not something you would expect on a first date in New York (so naturally, I had to marry her).

I used to fancy myself a leftist because of my anti-imperialist views, but my wife introduced me to the antiwar libertarians, and perhaps the most important antiwar voice of our time, Scott Horton. Listening to Scott’s show brought me back to Antiwar.com, a website I read in my high school days.

Reading Antiwar.com and combing through Justin Raimondo’s endless masterpieces inspired me to submit a story of my own to the site. I sent a short piece about a brutal execution of Shia protesters inside Saudi Arabia, and Antiwar.com published it.

Getting that first article published was the motivation I needed. Soon, I was sending in a piece or two every week. One day, Eric Garris called and asked if I would like to be more involved and contribute to the news sections that Jason Ditz has been tirelessly working in since 2003. I was thrilled to get the offer, and I dove in headfirst.

It is an absolute honor to be a part of Antiwar.com’s staff as the assistant news editor. I’ve never felt so passionate about something in my life, and it still feels surreal that I found such a great website to work for. I certainly owe a lot to Eric for taking a chance on me and to Scott Horton, who took the time to help me edit my first articles, with all of their grammatical errors.

That’s what you get with Antiwar.com. A small group of people who care so much about one thing – ending war. We might not all be perfectly polished journalists, but we are dedicated, and we will work tirelessly to expose the War Party and provide our readers with the truth.

But no matter how much dedication and passion we have, we need our readers for support. Some major donors pledged up to $34,000 for our current fundraiser, but in order to secure these funds, we need our smaller donors to match that amount.

Please help me continue my journey with Antiwar.com!

Please make your tax-deductible contribution today.

US Marines Seized Panama in 1903 (video)

The Isthmus of Panama was attractive to the growing American empire. A canal across these 37 miles would be hugely profitable, improve American commerce, and speed military movements. One problem was that Panama was a province of Columbia since 1821 that demanded a large share of the profits a canal would generate. The solution was to send US Marines to invade Panama and steal it! This fact does not appear in official history, which pretends that Panamanians declared independence from Colombia in 1903 then gave the land to the United States.

Sources here.

Trump Names Neocon Regime Changer as Iran Envoy

From The American Conservative:

The New York Times reports on the resignation of Brian Hook, who will be replaced by none other than Elliott Abrams:

Mr. Hook will be succeeded by Elliott Abrams, a conservative foreign policy veteran and Iran hard-liner who is currently the State Department’s special representative for Venezuela.

As the administration’s special envoy, Hook had no success in gaining support from other governments for the “maximum pressure” campaign against Iran. His brief stint as a negotiator with our European allies yielded nothing, and when he was trying to negotiate with them Trump famously had no idea who he was. He mostly served as one of the administration’s leading propagandists. He was responsible for lies about Yemen, cringe-inducing video messages, promoting the administration’s weird fixation with Cyrus the Great, and embarrassing historical revisionism about the 1953 coup. When he wasn’t trying to bribe ships’ captains to steal Iranian cargo, he was insulting our intelligence with phony claims of wanting to normalize relations with Tehran. Last year he came under fire from the State Department’s Inspector General for his role in the mistreatment of Sahar Nowrouzzadeh, who was the target of political retaliation at the department on account of her support for the JCPOA and at least partly because of her Iranian heritage. Hook is described in the Times‘ report as a “survivor,” but they neglect to mention that the reason he has survived so long in the Trump administration is his cowardice.

Perhaps the most bizarre thing about the coverage of Hook·s resignation is that it is framed as somehow undermining the chances of diplomacy with Iran.

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Veterans Group Forewarns Republican Candidates Endorsed or Financed by ‘Chicken Hawk Cheney’

Washington, D.C. – BringOurTroopsHome.US, a national right-of-center group of Afghanistan and Iraq war veterans, in a letter Wednesday urged Republican Congressional candidates to disavow any endorsement or contributions from Rep. Liz Cheney, R-Wyo., because of Cheney’s obstruction of President Donald Trump’s attempts to withdraw the U.S. from involvement in nearly two-decade old wars in the Middle East.

“I am writing you with a warning and a plea,” former Idaho Army National Guard Sgt. Dan McKnight wrote GOP candidates. “Your campaign for Congress may be approached by or may already have been endorsed by Rep. Liz Cheney of Wyoming. I urge you in the strongest possible terms to reject any such endorsement. And if you have already received such backing, I urge that you immediately and publicly renounce it and return any funds she may have sent you.”

McKnight also urged GOP candidates, if elected, “to oppose the election of Rep. Cheney to any position of leadership in the Republican caucus. …Her retention of a leadership spot in Congress is an insult to America’s veterans and all who value their 2nd Amendment rights.”

McKnight said Cheney’s opposition to withdrawing U.S. troops from Afghanistan, Iraq, and other foreign civil wars “put her at odds with the overwhelming majority of Americans, a huge majority of Republicans, and with President Trump.”

Continue reading “Veterans Group Forewarns Republican Candidates Endorsed or Financed by ‘Chicken Hawk Cheney’”