If there is one country for which the Thursday assassination of Quds Force Commander Qassem Soleimani was not a lamentable moment, it is Israel. According to reporting right after the popular Iranian military leader was killed by U.S. airstrikes, Soleimani had been planning attacks on Israel, including the movement of “killer drones” to the Golan Heights, as recently as August, “and a thwarted attempt to use them.”
According to Friday’s Jerusalem Post, Israel has charged him with funding, coaching and training “Shi’ite operatives who were supposed to carry out the drone attack on August 22.” Israel responded, according to reporting at the time, by killing two Hezbollah fighters who were working on the drone.
The military industrial complex gets its revenge – it small ways and big – against President Dwight Eisenhower, who not only named it but warned against it’s proliferation during his farewell address in 1961:
In the councils of government, we must guard against the acquisition of unwarranted influence, whether sought or unsought, by the military industrial complex. The potential for the disastrous rise of misplaced power exists and will persist.
Yet here we are in 2019 and this year’s Official White House Christmas Ornament is sponsored by none other than defense industry gigantor Lockheed Martin – and not only that, it is in Eisenhower’s honor. Sure, the presentation seems like benign enough – Sikorsky, owned by Lockheed for a whopping four years, has been building Marine One since Eisenhower was the first to fly in a presidential helicopter in 1957. But really, what are we celebrating here? The homespun historical note seems designed frankly, to justify Lockheed’s sponsorship, rather than the other way around.
In a major victory for Antiwar.com, free speech and journalism, a federal appeals court has ruled that the FBI must expunge surveillance memos that agents had drafted about the website’s co-founders Eric Garris and Justin Raimondo in the early years following the 9/11 attacks.
“It’s been a long fight and I’m glad we had an outcome that could might affect future FBI behavior,” said Garris, who runs Antiwar.com, based in the San Francisco Bay area. “I just wish Justin was still here to know that this has happened.”
WASHINGTON – What is the fate of realism and restraint in the Trump era?
The consensus among the foreign policy luminaries brought together by the American Conservative on Friday: Don’t expect much from the White House, even though global realities, i.e., the ascendency of China, may leave the old U.S. order in the dust.
If there was any hope that Trump would inaugurate a new era of restraint, or even realist thinking, it’s been pretty much overtaken by events. Or, perhaps TAC editor Robert Merry put it best:
“Realism and restraint’ in the Trump era is roughly equivalent to the gigantic ice wall in Game of Thrones after the dragon that came under the spell of the night walkers got through with it,” he said.
That certainly got a laugh from the crowd at George Washington University, but the rest of his remarks about the discrepancies between Trump’s memorable foreign policy speech during the campaign in April 2016, and what he has done so far as president, were anything but funny.
“So many Americans rallied to the Trump campaign because of his hard attacks on the status quo but it turns out he was not the leader to take on the status quo, he just nibbles at the edges of it,” Merry noted, pointing out Trump’s earlier vision about scaling back wars and blasting nation building, only to propose sending more troops to Afghanistan, which has yet to produce a victory – no strong government nor capable Afghan military – in 16 years of U.S. intervention. He also pointed out Trump’s lack of resolve regarding easing tensions with Russia, or putting more pressure on NATO (Merry specifically fingered the expansion to tiny Montenegro, which faces both a backlash here and by the Russian government).
Watch the video of the webcast originally aired live on Monday, “Who Watches The Watchmen?: The Post 9/11 Security State From Then to Now,” on the 16th anniversary of the attacks on New York City and Washington, D.C.
TAC Managing Editor Kelley Vlahos talked to three people who have unique experiences in the post-9/11 period and who can speak to how the promulgation of law enforcement, surveillance, pre-emptive war, and the expanding U.S. footprint abroad has completely changed who we are as a country.
John Kirakou is a former CIA agent in the so-called Global War on Terror who was charged and convicted with leaking classified information after speaking out against waterboarding, and sent to prison in 2013 for two years. Kiriakou is now a staunch advocate for other whistleblowers, and a vocal critic of U.S. war and intelligence policies.
Gareth Porter, an investigative journalist whose work dates back to covering the Vietnam War, has been focusing on how 9/11 created a National Security Inc., in which self-interested bureaucracies within the government have worked hand-in-glove with Big Business to promote war agendas at home and abroad. He is the author of Manufactured Crisis: The Untold Story of the Iran Nuclear Scare (2014).
Miriam Carey is dead and will never be able to tell us what happened on that fateful Oct. 3 day when she led police on a high speed chase through the busy downtown streets of Capitol Hill and was killed shortly after, before she could even exit her car, her 1-year-old daughter in the back seat, a silent witness to it all.
But an autopsy ordered by her grieving family may lend some detail to the sad story.
As we have covered here before, Carey, 34, may have been under some mental duress, and no one quite knows why she drove all the way down to Washington, D.C. from Connecticut with her young daughter that day. The entire incident is still under police investigation so officials did not return calls for comment by local reporters. The autopsy also revealed that she was not under the influence of alcohol or drugs when the incident happened.
Of course the chorus on one side is that police were just doing their jobs, trying to prevent a potential “terror” attack at the Nation’s Capital, which since 9/11 has been functioning in varying degrees of emergency security lock-down. Others say that very post-9/11 mindset has made police hostile and trigger happy and remote as ever from the people to whom they owe their livelihoods and salaries. Instead, everyone is a potential terrorist, until proven otherwise. The reaction from the members of congress and their staffs, many who hailed the police as heroes, in essence, for killing Miriam Carey that day, is a clear indication of how that mindset has set in here Inside the Beltway
Carey may have taken wrong turn and panicked, or, her intent may have been more diabolical. But to her family, this was a senseless loss of life and a stain on law enforcement, and they are suing the Capitol Police, which had the lead in this incident, for $75 million. Stay tuned.