Hypocrisy is not an unfamiliar site in the comments of top political officials, but Secretary of State John Kerry really took it to new levels today, complaining it was “inappropriate” for President-elect Donald Trump to publicly criticize internal policy of other nations, after Trump’s comments panning Germany allowing refugees into the country.
That Trump’s comments were the same sort of simplistic distrust of “illegals” copied and pasted onto another country in a totally different situation is all true, though really beside the point, as Kerry’s argument wasn’t that Trump was wrong, rather it was that he should keep his mouth shut.
Continue reading “Kerry: Inappropriate for Trump to Directly Comment on Other Nations’ Policies”
The Office of the Director of National Intelligence’s latest report on the alleged “election hacking” by Russia includes a substantial section focused around the idea that Russian government-funded channel RT is overtly anti-American. This is a common enough accusation, but when set out in a multi-page report format, a lot of the charges fall remarkable short.
Nowhere was this more apparent, however, than on the first page of the Annex on RT, which presented the fact that RT America hosted US presidential debates which included third-party candidates.
Continue reading “US Spy Chief Presents Third-Party Debates as Proof RT Is Anti-US”
It took a few days to get there, but the Washington Post has finally made the circuitous voyage from a headline declaring “Russian operation hacked a Vermont utility, showing risk to U.S. electrical security, officials say” to finally arriving at “Russian government hackers do not appear to have targeted Vermont utility, say people close to investigation.”
One big thing you’ll notice about the second headline is that it’s not really a story in and of itself. Russia not hacking the US electric grid would not, on its own, be even a low level story in a newspaper, because every single day of history Russia has managed to not hack Vermont and not bring down the nation’s electrical grid.
Continue reading “WAPO Admits: Russia Didn’t Hack US Electrical Grid”
Having passed it around to foreign diplomats as a real thing, and tweeted it on Tuesday with the claim it proved Hezbollah’s “war crimes,” the Israeli military today was forced to admit that a map of “Hezbollah positions” around southern Lebanon was actually totally fabricated by the military itself, and not based on any intelligence.
The tweeted image claimed to have been “declassified,” and was hyped as proving Israel’s massive intelligence-gathering capabilities in southern Lebanon, in anticipation of Israel’s next invasion. Officials also say it was presented to foreign diplomats as proof Hezbollah poses a threat to Israeli territory.
Continue reading “Israeli Army Admits Tweeted Hezbollah Map Actually Fake”
Following an interview with the New York Times, Libertarian Party presidential nominee Gary Johnson is coming under fire for noting a moral equivalence between killing civilians in airstrikes, and killing civilians in airstrikes.
Pressed on the civilian death toll of Syrian airstrikes against populated areas, and whether he saw those as equivalent to US airstrikes against populated areas, Johnson mockingly declared “no of course not – we’re so much better than all that. We’re so much better when in Afghanistan, we bomb the hospital and 60 people are killed in the hospital.”
Johnson is referring to last year’s Kunduz airstrikes, in which a US warplane repeatedly and deliberately bombed a Doctors Without Borders (MSF) hospital near Kunduz, Afghanistan, in what officials later characterized as “a mistake.” The Syrian government has recently been heavily criticized for airstrikes around Aleppo which hit hospitals.
Johnson further went after Hillary Clinton for overly interventionist instincts, noting that a number of civilians have been killed in US airstrikes in Syria as well, and saying that Clinton shares some of the responsibility for those deaths.
While charges of “moral equivalence” against antiwar candidates are a recurring theme in US elections, they have tended in the past to center around at least moderately different methods of killing civilians, like arguing suicide bombings to be “worse” than airstrikes. In this case, however, it’s difficult to avoid equating the two incidents, since they both involve remarkably similar aircraft dropping remarkably similar ordinance on hospitals run by international aid groups.
Johnson also said it would be important to know what sort of “deals” the Obama Administration promised to other nations to join the coalition bombing Syria, though he conceded he was at a disadvantage on that point as, unlike his opponents, he was not given classified briefings on the matter.
While most of the focus on the presidential campaign remains on the weight of a former Miss Universe and unsubstantiated claims of a Russian plot to get Donald Trump elected, a story with at least a tenuous grounding in reality emerged today.
Trump Rented Space to Outlawed Iranian Bank Linked to Terrorism
That’s a headline story if I’ve ever seen one. But is it true? Not really.
The bank in question, Bank Melli, was sanctioned in 2007 by the US Treasury Department on claims that, as a bank that exists in Iran, it had something to do with financial transactions related to Iran’s civilian nuclear enrichment program.
Which it probably did, being Iran’s main bank, which has some 30% of the market there. So did Trump violate sanctions by doing business with an “outlawed” bank? Not at all.
The “story” such as it is, is that Bank Melli rented office space in a Trump-owned building in New York City between 1998 and 2003. The sanctions, as noted above, only happened in 2007, years after the bank moved out of the building.