US House Passes Bills To Repeal Open-Ended 2002 AUMF–Authorization to Use Military Force

Lance Cpl. Ryan Volden, assigned to Weapons Company, Battalion Landing Team 3/5, 11th Marine Expeditionary Unit (MEU) observes nearby vessels from the amphibious transport dock ship USS John P. Murtha (LPD 26), during a transit through the Strait of Hormuz August 12, 2019 (Marine Corps photo/Cpl. Adam Dublinske)

The House of Representatives on Thursday passed a pair of bills repealing the 2002 Authorization for Use of Military Force and preventing taxpayer funding from being used to take military action against Iran without congressional authorization.

The 2002 AUMF — which was first passed to approve the U.S. military’s invasion of Iraq the following year and was used to justify the killing of Iranian Maj. Gen. Qasem Soleimani in January — has overstayed its welcome by allowing presidents to deploy troops around the world without congressional approval, argued Rep. Barbara Lee (D.Calif.), who first introduced the repeal measure.

The vote to repeal the 2002 AUMF serves as call to Congress to get back involved in the process of deciding whether or not the United States goes to war, Lee said, a process she thinks Congress has shirked for nearly 20 years.

“We cannot afford to leave outdated AUMFs on the books indefinitely,” Lee said in a statement after the House approved the bill in a largely party line vote of 236 to 166. “It is past time for Congress to finally do our Constitutional duty and vote on matters of war and peace.”

The vote on Thursday is full circle for Lee, who in 2001 gained national attention for being the only member of Congress to vote no on both the 2002 AUMF and it’s 2001 predecessor that authorized the Global War on Terror.

“It was a blank check to the president to attack anyone involved in the September 11 events—anywhere, in any country, without regard to our nation’s long-term foreign policy, economic and national security interests, and without time limit,” Lee later said about her decision. “In granting these overly broad powers, the Congress failed its responsibility to understand the dimensions of its declaration.”

A looming conflict with Iran shows Congress needs to care about declaring war again

Now, 18 years later, Lee and other proponents of repealing the 2002 AUMF — including eleven Republican lawmakers and at least two advocacy groups — hopes this will bring Congress back into the loop.

“Beyond there being no foreign policy reason to keep the 2002 AUMF active, repeal would preserve the proper separation of powers between Congress and the executive branch, no matter who is in office,” wrote Nate Anderson, executive director of the conservative-leaning Concerned Veterans for America, in a letter of support for Lee’s bill on Monday.

Former Army Ranger and member of the conservative Freedom Caucus Rep. Andy Biggs (R-Ariz.) supported the bill in an op-ed that appeared in the Washington Examiner on Wednesday.

“A replacement of the outdated authorizations might include a recognition of our ally Israel, a mechanism to combat terrorism, and a limitation on the temporality of such an authorization,” Biggs wrote. “A new authorization with these criteria would move us away from endless wars that Americans recognize are damaging to the country. Congress can direct us instead to peace and prosperity — if only it would reclaim its power.”

Meanwhile, the second bill, preventing funding from being used to take military action against Iran without congressional authorization, passed 228 to 175, also largely along party lines.

“This Administration’s Iran policy, time and time again, has brought us to the brink of war, risking American security and our constitutional integrity” wrote Rep. Ro Khanna (D-Calif), who introduced the Iran bill, in a statement announcing its passage on Thursday. “A war with Iran would be a disaster for the entire world.”

Republicans were more hesitant to endorse Khanna’s bill.

“The timing is not right, given that our bases are taking fire from Iran and its proxies,” wrote Rep. Chip Roy (R-Texas), who voted in favor of Lee’s bill, in a statement on Thursday. “Instead of blanketly stating ‘no war’ with Iran, I would welcome a review of the 2001 AUMF in light of current circumstances in Afghanistan and the deaths of those responsible for 9/11, including many of their spawn.”

Both bills now go to the Senate, where they will either be rejected or approved and sent to President Donald Trump for his approval. The White House had previously threatened to block both measures.

Kosher Pimple On Trump’s Ass Denigrates All Palestinian People, In the Name of “Peace”

The first son-in-law has warned Palestinians not to “screw up this opportunity” at peace that he’s so graciously given to them.

Jared Kushner Palestinians Have Never Done Anything Right in Their Sad Pathetic Lives
BY SAUL LOEB / GETTY IMAGES.

 

Last June, more than two years after his father-in-law assigned him the task of bringing peace to the Middle East, Jared Kushner held a big kickoff conference in Bahrain to unveil the economic portion of his plan—and it did not go well. For starters, Palestinian leadership boycotted the entire event, feeling that the plan was missing a few key details, such as, just as some examples, solutions for control of the West Bank and Palestinian statehood. Kushner, ever the real estate agent, gave a speech in which he spoke of transforming the Gaza Strip into a tourist destination, failing to mention Israel and Egypt’s 12-year blockade of the Hamas-controlled territory, in addition to Israel’s 52-year-long occupation of the West Bank, which restricts trade and labor movements. When the Boy Prince of New Jersey touched on politics, it was to offer the savvy take that if everyone just stopped “doing terrorism,” it would “allow for much faster flow of goods and people.”

Not surprisingly, the whole thing was panned by experts, one of whom described Kushner’s plan as “the Monty Python sketch of Israeli-Palestinian peace initiatives.” Undeterred, Kushner got on a call with Arab and Israeli reporters and, putting on his salesman cap, explained that his vision was 100% workable if Palestinian leadership would stop being so “hysterical and stupid.”

Was this the greatest way to convince people to get on board? Probably not! Yet, incredibly, Kushner apparently thought it was exactly the right approach, and we know this because on Tuesday, after the White House unveiled its full vision for peace in the Middle East—which calls for no evacuation of settlements, limits Palestinian presence in Jerusalem, and includes no path to statehood beyond the vague mention of a “future State of Palestine”—he repeated it again, except this time he cranked the a-hole from a 12 to a 45.

Appearing on CNN, Kushner told Christiane Amanpour that critics of his plan—of which there are a comically huge number—must “divorce [themselves] from all of the history” and focus on the deal he has outlined for them. And speaking of history, Kushner posited that if this whole thing fails, it’s not going to be because a glorified slumlord somehow didn’t get it right but because Palestinians are morons who don’t know what’s good for them. Sayeth Kushner:

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You have 5 million Palestinians who are really trapped because of bad leadership. So what we’ve done is we’ve created an opportunity for their leadership to either seize or not. If they screw up this opportunity—which, again, they have a perfect track record of missing opportunities—if they screw this up, I think that they will have a very hard time looking the international community in the face, saying they are victims, saying they have rights. This is a great deal for them. If they come to the table and negotiate, I think they can get something excellent.…

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The Palestinian leadership have to ask themselves a question: Do they want to have a state? Do they want to have a better life? If they do, we have created a framework for them to have it, and we’re going to treat them in a very respectful manner. If they don’t, then they’re going to screw up another opportunity like they’ve screwed up every other opportunity that they’ve ever had in their existence.

Don’t worry, there’s footage of Kushner making this statement, so it can be played back for all eternity:

Oh, and lest anyone start dredging up that tired argument that maybe a guy who has screwed up nearly every job his father has ever given him or paid for him to land, and who couldn’t obtain a security clearance without his wife begging her dad for it, wasn’t qualified to take on this project in the first place, KNOW THIS:

Also, this:

No further questions.

CIA’s “American Soleimani”, a.k.a., “the Dark Prince,” Reportedly Killed In Afghan Spy Plane Downing

The CIA’s Dark Prince Doesn’t Want War With Iran

According to various intelligence analysts spoken to by OilPrice.com, D’Andrea is in favour of dialogue with Iran’s non-IRGC leadership. He is even said to be in favour of talks with Iran’s foremost military leader and the architect of its strategy to create and sustain a ‘crescent of Shia power’ running from Lebanon and Syria through to Iraq and Yemen through asymmetric warfare tactics, the long-serving head of Iran’s al-Quds (‘Jerusalem’) Force, Major General Qassem Soleimani.

Iranian media: CIA agent behind Soleimani killing shot down in Afghanistan

Taliban claims CIA agents were onboard downed plane but won’t verify who

The wreckage of an airplane is seen after a crash in Deh Yak district of Ghazni province, Afghanistan January 27, 2020.
(photo credit: REUTERS)

Iranian media outlets claim “many CIA” officers were killed in a plane crash in Afghanistan on Monday. The Taliban initially asserted large numbers of Americans were killed, and Russian media and Iranian media then said a senior CIA officer responsible for killing IRGC Gen. Qasem Soleimani was on board. The claim has been greeted with skepticism.

Michael D’Andrea’s name began to appear in Farsi media in the wake of the Soleimani killing when articles at Mehr News and Radio Farda claimed he was involved in planning the US operation. Later, on January 27, his name appeared again in rumors after the plane crash. The US says it only recovered two crew from the downed plane, casting doubt on the extraordinary claims.

There are many who might have an interest in spreading conspiracies about the Taliban downing high-ranking US intelligence officers. Nevertheless, Iran’s Tasnim News Agency ran with the story, quoting Russian sources that said the “assassin of Soleimani was on the plane and [was] killed in the crash.” It claims that D’Andrea “is the most prominent figure in the US CIA in the Middle East. He has been in charge of operations in Iraq, Iran and Afghanistan.”

The Taliban was quoted as saying it had shot down the plane. Tasnim refers to D’Andrea as “Ayatollah Mike” and “the Prince of Darkness,” relying on old US newspaper clippings. Press TV of Iran has also included the report, claiming top CIA officers were killed and repeating rumors about D’Andrea. But the original reports from the Taliban only spoke of a plane being shot down and some CIA members allegedly being on it. The US says an American E-11A plane was shot down in Ghazni province, around 900 km. from the Iranian border.

Linking its downing to the Soleimani killing would be a major development and appear to show that Iran is active in Afghanistan with the Taliban,a claim that has been made in the past. Iran watches US movements in Afghanistan carefully and has met with the Taliban recently. Iran has also tried to down US drones that stray near Iran’s border.

The US has dropped a record number of bombs on the Taliban in the last year, as it also tried to push it toward the peace table.

Many social media users are interested in the claim that D’Andrea may have been on the plane. One of the first users to report the claim noted that D’Andrea “masterminded the murder of Imad Mughniyeh, former Hezbollah chief of staff, back in 2008.”

However, others have pointed out that while this could be big news, it could be disinformation, or designed merely to create the appearance that Iran had responded to the Soleimani killing. Iran has promised “hard revenge” against the US. Some Iranians on social media who support the regime in Tehran have been celebrating the downing of the plane.

The Taliban spokesman said it is still investigating who was killed on the plane, and it has not confirmed that the top CIA officer was among the dead. Photos placed online show burned bodies of the dead. A website noted a Taliban statement saying it found some documents on the plane, but the corpses of those on board were burned.

He is known as the Dark Prince or Ayatollah Mike, nicknames he earned as the CIA officer who oversaw the hunt for Osama bin Laden and the US drone strike campaign that killed thousands of Islamist militants and hundreds of civilians.

Now the official, Michael D’Andrea, has a new job. He is running the CIA’s Iran operations, according to current and former intelligence officials, an appointment that is the first major sign that the Trump administration is invoking the hard line the President took against Iran during his campaign.

D’Andrea’s new role is one of a number of moves inside the spy agency that signal a more muscular approach to covert operations under the leadership of Mike Pompeo, the conservative Republican and former congressman, the officials said. The agency also recently named a new chief of counterterrorism, who has begun pushing for greater latitude to strike militants.

Iran has been one of the hardest targets for the CIA. The agency has extremely limited access to the country – no US embassy is open to provide diplomatic cover – and Iran’s intelligence services have spent nearly four decades trying to counter US espionage and covert operations.

The challenge to start carrying out President Donald Trump’s views falls to D’Andrea, a chain-smoking convert to Islam, who comes with an outsize reputation and the track record to back it up: Perhaps no single CIA official is more responsible for weakening al-Qaida.

“He can run a very aggressive program, but very smartly,” said Robert Eatinger, a former CIA lawyer who was deeply involved in the agency’s drone program.

The CIA declined to comment on D’Andrea’s role, saying it does not discuss the identities or work of clandestine officials. The officials spoke only on the condition of anonymity because D’Andrea remains undercover, as do many senior officials based at the agency’s headquarters in Langley, Virginia. Eatinger did not use his name. The New York Times is naming D’Andrea because his identity was previously published in news reports, and he is leading an important new administration initiative against Iran.

Trump called Iran “the number one terror state” and pledged throughout the campaign to dismantle or revise the landmark deal between Iran and six world powers in which Tehran agreed to limit its nuclear program in exchange for sanctions relief.

CIA Director Mike Pompeo, centre, has criticised any nuclear deal with Iran.
CIA Director Mike Pompeo, centre, has criticised any nuclear deal with Iran.Credit:AP 

The President has not gone through with that threat, and his administration has quietly recertified Iran’s compliance with the deal. But he has invoked his hard line on Iran in other ways. Secretary of State Rex Tillerson has described the deal as a failure, and Trump has appointed to the National Security Council hawks eager to contain Iran and push regime change, the groundwork for which would most likely be laid through CIA covert action.

In D’Andrea, the director has found a workaholic to be his Iran sentinel. D’Andrea grew up in northern Virginia in a family whose ties to the CIA span two generations. He met his wife, who is Muslim, on a CIA posting overseas, and converted to Islam to marry her, though he is not known to be particularly observant.

Iranian President Hassan Rouhani, left, with his Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif.
Iranian President Hassan Rouhani, left, with his Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif.Credit:AP 

Asked whether D’Andrea’s appointment was a sign that the CIA planned to take up a more aggressive line toward Iran, Eatinger said, “I don’t think it’s the wrong read.”

D’Andrea’s personal views on Iran are not publicly known. It is also not his job to make policy but to execute it, and he has demonstrated that he is an aggressive operations officer.

In the years after the September 11 attacks, D’Andrea was deeply involved in the detention and interrogation program, which resulted in the torture of a number of prisoners and was condemned in a sweeping Senate report in 2014 as inhumane and ineffective. Only the executive summary of the 6700-page report has been made public; the Trump administration has begun returning copies of the full document to Congress, which is not subject to Freedom of Information Act requests, raising the prospect that it will never be released.

D’Andrea took over the agency’s Counterterrorism Centre in early 2006 and spent the next nine years directing the hunt for militants around the world.

Operatives under his direction played a pivotal role in 2008 in the killing of Imad Mugniyah, the international operations chief for Hezbollah, the Iranian-backed Shiite militant group based in Lebanon. Working with the Israelis, the CIA used a car bomb to kill Mugniyah as he walked home in Damascus, where Hezbollah enjoys strong ties with and support from the Syrian government.

At the same time, D’Andrea was ramping up the drone program inside Pakistan. Drones became the preferred counterterrorism tool of President Barack Obama, who personally approved strikes targeting militant leaders.

The New York Times

THE MIGHTY WURLITZER…how the CIA played the simple-minded American people

The Mighty Wurlitzer

SOURCE

 

A Review by David Edwards

The Mighty Wurlitzer : How The CIA Played America by Hugh
Wilford

This well researched investigation by Hugh Wilford, published in
2008, reveals the extent of the covert front organisation network,
which the Central Intelligence Agency ran from its inception during
the Cold War.

“… from behind the scenes, the spies exercised complete control
over the recipients of their covert largesse. …”

Dubbed ‘The Mighty Wurlitzer’, by its architects and critics alike, the
intended implication by the Agency would have been one reflected in
the above quote. A desired projection into the current time, would be
one of an omniscient CIA and it’s larger apparatus, manipulating and
steering the unwitting American public to its ‘merry’ tune.

However, as Wilford’s book shows, in a ‘group by group’ analysis,
control over the various social, political, and labour movements,
which the CIA funded via various dummy foundations and front
groups, was not an easy task to maintain indefinitely. The Cold War
‘counter-intelligence’ network largely collapsed towards the end of the
1960s, with the Cold War consensus fragmented along ‘racial,
generational, and gender lines.’ It is up to this point where this book
inquires into the CIA’s shady past.

Of course the difficulty in investigating the history and scope of a
network shrouded in secrecy, presents its own distinct set of
problems for any researcher. Wilford himself addresses this issue in
his introduction, and the extensive appendices included in the volume
reinforce the factual basis of his analysis, where many others would
be tempted to wildly speculate on such a topic.

“… It is highly likely that we still do not know the identity of all the
groups that received covert subsidies. … it would be impossible to
discuss in detail between the covers of a single volume every
committee and project that is known to have been CIA
financed. Instead, what I have chosen to do is identify the main
groups within American society that participated in the covert
network…”

The groups analysed, and broken down by the author into chapters,
are as follows:

-Emigres
-Labor
-Intellectuals
-Writers, Artists, Musicians, Filmmakers
-Students
-Women
-Catholics
-African Americans
-Journalists

The inspiration for the U.S. use of front organizations in 1948, and
their use for clandestine agitation against the ‘Soviet Threat’ of the
Cold War, took its inspiration from Willi Munzenberg’s ‘Innocents
Clubs’ of the early 1920s to 1940s. These were Trotskyist Socialist
Groups (financed and initiated by Munzenberg), which presented a
united bolshevik front against Fascism and Imperialism. Marxist
intellectuals, united around the exiled figure of Lenin in Zurich, set
about through the use of these front groups in 1917 in leading the
West , and eventually Russia, in a bolshevik led revolution.

“…Munzenberg’s first major assingment was to raise money for
victims of the ghastly famine that swept the Volya region of Russia in
the early 1920s. … Munzenberg’s famine appeal was a propaganda
coup, generating considerable sympathy for the Bolshevik regime,
not least in the United States…
… Out of these early efforts grew the so-called Munzenberg trust, a
vast media empire of newspapers, publishing houses, movie houses,
and theaters which ‘on paper at least,’ stretched from Berlin ‘to Paris
to London to New York to Hollywood to Shaghai to Delhi.’ The
financial profitability of these ventures has probably been
overestimated… but their effectiveness as instruments of propaganda
has not. Particularly successful were Munzenberg’s various ‘front’
groups, committees superficially devoted to some undeniably benign
cause, such as anti-imperialism, peace or anti-fascism, whose real
purpose was to defend and spread the Bolshevik revolution. …
… the front groups would never have got off the ground if they had
not also reflected the particular values and needs of the groups they
represented. …”

In the postwar period of the late 1940s, when the U.S. realised it had
a formidable ideological enemy in Stalin’s U.S.S.R, the world had
cooled into a divided and polarised situation. The Marshall Plan came
into effect in an attempt to rebuild Europe, and prevent any further
spread of communism westward. It was here that the U.S. took
inspiration from Munzenberg’s earlier model, and the Office of
Strategic Services found a new incarnation in the fight against this
new existential threat to U.S. ‘democratic’ interests.

“… The briefly fluid international situation of the immediate postwar
period had frozen into a bipolar world order in which two ideologically
opposed enemies used every means available to them, short of
direct military confrontation, to frustrate the ambitions of the other. It
was against this background of deepening international tension that
the Central Intelligence Agency was conjured into being. …
… American politicians needed to overcome the ‘popular attachment
to the concept of a basic difference between peace and war’ and
‘recognize the realities of international relations.’ … Doing so might
come easier if they realized that they were already engaged in an
overt form of political warfare without knowing it … Covert operations
of whatever kind – ‘clandestine support of ‘friendly’ foreign elements,
‘black’ psychological warfare, and even encouragement of
underground resistance in hostile states’ – were in this sense merely
an extension of existing U.S. government policies. …
… National Security Council directive 10/2, approved on June 18,
1948, superceded NSC 4-A by creating an Office of Special Projects
endowed with powers to conduct ‘any covert activities’ related to
‘propaganda, economic warfare; preventitive direct action, including
sabotage, anti-sabotage, demolition and evacuation measures;
subversion against hostile states, including assistance to
underground resistance movements, guerillas and refugee liberation
groups, and support of indigenous anticommunist elements in
threatened countries of the free world.’ …”

Many of the propaganda methods used in Europe in the 1950s
bordered on the ridiculous, for example a program involving the
spreading of anticommunist leaflets over the Iron Curtain via
balloons, almost resorted to dispersing extra large condoms marked
as ‘U.S. medium,’ in an attempt to project the perception that
American men were ambitiously well endowed. The ludicrous idea
was shelved in favour of other methods of ideological dissemination.
Another CIA propaganda method, deriving inspiration from the
Munzenberg’s bolshevik networks, was the use of radio. On July 4,
1950, the CIA funded station ‘Radio Free Europe,’ began
broadcasting U.S. propaganda through the airwaves in
Czechoslovakia. It’s success inspired various offshoots, including
‘Radio Liberation’ in Germany, and the now infamous ‘Voice of
America.’ Staffed by emigres recruited to the anticommunist cause,
the CIA funded radio stations agitated resistance against the Soviets,
sometimes leading to tragic consequences, such as the failed
uprising in Hungary in 1956, which turned into a massacre. This had
been due to disinformation, broadcasting the a promise of direct U.S.
military intervention in the country in support of the burgeoning
resistance. The ensuing body count amongst the Hungarians and
Soviet soldiers involved in the subsequent fighting was exceptionally
high.

The use of European emigres and defectors in the anticommunist
cause, was problematic as these groups sought autonomy from
Washington, and wished to avoid direct American influence in their
efforts. All retained their left or right leaning sympathies, ethnic
differences caused increasing friction, and they also talked to
conservative U.S. congressmen. This caused a lot of awkward
inquiries, particularly during the Senator McCarthy ‘Red Scare’ witchhunts
of the 1950s. There was a congressional rejection of the use
of Radio Free Europe to broadcast coded signals (as occurred in
Poland), in favour of more overt propaganda in the form of prowestern
news stories.

Echoing Munzenberg’s own eventual resentment of his ‘innocents
clubs’, the National Committee for a Free Europe and its Office of
Policy Coordination handlers began to resent these emigre networks
and their prejudices against the U.S. hand that fed them. The
networks were also easily infiltrated by communist agents, which
presented a security nightmare of counter-productivity. The idea
became rapidly apparent that the situation needed to be brought
under more direct control of Washington. In January 1951, ‘The
American Committee for Liberation for the Peoples of the U.S.S.R’
was established to handle emigres from the Soviet Union.

“… The trouble was that the Soviet emigres proved no less conflict
ridden than the exiles from the satellite countries. …”

Amongst the emigres there was common ground in the outright
rejection of Stalinism, but the Mensheviks and intellectuals with a leftwing
bias wanted to retain the ideological beliefs of Marxism. This
caused problems amongst emigres with a right-wing bias, and this
polarisation caused obvious partisanship within the larger collective
of organisations, and a distinct lack of unity, except against the
common enemy of bolshevism. There was even flirtation with neofacism
amongst groups such as the National Union of Labor
Solidarists, who gained popularity for a while in the 1950s.

“… Together, these various groups constituted a political powder keg,
with their would-be American patrons poised to light the fuse. …”

Control over the many social groups receiving covert subsidies from
the Agency, seemed tentative at best, yet the Cold War method of
the front group subsidy continued for over a decade via the dummy
foundations and committees.

Non-Governmental Organisations and their use as ‘fronts’ for covert
operations, gave (and still give) a huge amount of potential for
administrative ‘plausible deniability’, in the face of scrutiny. A good
example of this mechanism was the National Committee for a Free
Europe, masquerading as an organisation set up and funded by
private individuals. The reality of the Committee was that it was a
clandestine front, through which covert government subsidies were
channelled to propaganda and destabilisation ventures against
Soviet efforts in Europe, and eventually against these same Soviet
efforts in the developing world.

“… The obvious wealth of the National Committee for a Free Europe
created an urgent need for a cover story. This was provided by the
‘Crusade for Freedom,’ a public fund-raising drive devised by Abbot
Washburn, an ex Office of Strategic Services officer and public
relations expert who was seconded from food conglomerate General
Mills for the purpose. Earlier in the century, the Public Relations
genius Edward L. Bernays had adapted such covert techniques as
the front organization for commercial purposes, creating, for
example, the Tobacco Society for Voice Culture, an apparently
independent group dedicated to promoting the message that smoking
improved people’s singing, on behalf of one of his clients,
Chesterfield cigarettes. During World War 2, the U.S. public relations
industry was pressed into the cause of strengthening civilian morale
through the War Advertising Council (later renamed the Advertising
Council), which encouraged the public to buy war bonds and
conserve war materials. Now, Washburn was being invited to draw
on this tradition of secret salesmanship and government service in
order to ‘sell’ the Cold War to the American public – and, in doing so,
provide a plausible explanation for the large sums of cash sitting in
the coffers of the National Committee for a Free Europe. …”

One could argue that this model of covert influence and agitation
against an ‘ideological enemy’ is still in use today in countries where
U.S. interests such as resources and continued access to them are
at stake.

The functioning of these operations depended greatly on
compartmentalisation, and those in the various groups who were
made aware of the true source of the funding (i.e. the U.S.
government via CIA conduits and its ‘dummy’ foundations) were
sworn to secrecy as they were made ‘witting’ by their CIA
handlers. The ‘unwitting’ members of these groups, usually attracted
to the various causes for anticommunist sentiments, found a deep
sense of betrayal and embarrassment when the cover of the fronts
became inevitably blown. Most radical elements preferred to believe
in some semblance of autonomy from government intervention in
their efforts. Inevitable exposure of the antithesis of their
expectations, deepened the general sense of resentment, paticularly
regarding perceptions of any group’s independence and Western
‘democracy’ as a whole. It must be crushing to realise that one’s
perceived mission has all been in the name of propaganda and
almost childish ideological antagonism.

A much lauded example of the scope of this CIA-led interfering and
manipulation is the witting part played by the great champion of
feminism, Gloria Steinem, in the Independent Research Service.

“… It was a sense of an idealistic, dynamic, even noble cause that
Steinem tried to articulate in 1967, when CIA funding of the
Independent Research Service was revealed. Among the many
individuals named in that year of revelations, Steinem was one of the
most forthright in acknowledging her wittingness and explaining the
reasons why she had become involved in a front operation. …
… more distressing for Steinem personally was the ressurection of
the episode within the women’s movement during the 1970s, when
radical feminists who objected to her relatively moderate position in
the sex war seized on it as evidence that she was a secret agent of
the patriarchal power structure. …”

The Committee of Correspondence was a 1950s women’s movement
which was co-opted by the CIA and funded via the Dearborn
Foundation. It’s story, outlined in the book, would further reinforce
those critics of Steinem, as women manipulated by an extension of
patriarchal oppression. This echoes Edward Bernays’ manipulative
use of debutantes to market cigarettes to women in his infamous
‘torches of freedom’ stunt.

Many instances such as this serve to reinforce the growing
perception that many modern ‘grassroots’ movements, such as
radical feminism and other ‘social justice’ groups, have at their heart
the shadow of clandestine funding and covert direction from think
tanks, foundations and intelligence agencies. This would reflect the
potential and continued use of the CIA ‘front,’ to enact desired social
change for globalised corporate hegemony, using unwitting dupes
such as these as the vehicle. Or maybe this perception was the
intention of such covert backing, and its inevitable exposure, to sow
confusion and destroy trust in such movements?

Where the front system really seemed to fall apart was its
involvement with journalists. It was the exposure of the extent of CIA
involvement, within the National Student Association in the U.S.
press, which brought the house of cards crashing down. The closing
chapter of the book deals largely with the sequence of events which
led to such exposures in the 1960s, when the American public began
to realise the extent which they had been played by the Mighty
Wurlitzer.

The student associations were a rife recruiting ground for potential
CIA operatives, with many of the officer class fed into the system
from Ivy League schools. The neoconservative movement, it would
also seem, also had some of its roots in CIA fronted student
activism. The author gives a detailed account of Henry Kissinger’s
pivotal role in the co-opting of student activism by the CIA. There is
no doubt that he was ‘witting’ as to the extent of these operations.

“… it does seem probable that someone of Kissinger’s political
acumen could have dealt as extensively as he did with the CIA
without having some inkling of just whom he was doing business
with. …”

Another neoconservative policy-maker who had an active role in the
CIA student front operation, whose ideas have shaped the current
geopolitical landscape, is Zbigniew Brzezinski. An anecdotal retelling
of his anticommunist hijinks whilst at an international student
conference, gives a hint as to his ‘wittingness’ with regards to CIA
involvement in student affairs.

The use of this ‘front’ system does bear the hallmarks of syndicated
crime. The more the reader discovers in Wilford’s book, the harder it
is not to see this kind of structural metaphor applied to the way the
Agency has gone, and in all likelihood still goes, about its business.

The application of the ‘front’ model, originally intended for use
regarding eastern bloc ’emigres’, evolved far beyond mere
‘intelligence gathering’ and counter-espionage. The chapter on the
‘Cultural Cold War’, gives insight into the Agency’s use of writers,
artists and film-makers to combat Soviet movements in similar
fields. Indeed, the funding and covert encouragement of the
modernist movement in painting, was a direct response to Soviet
officials derogation of American culture as unintellectual. The CIA’s
direct commissioning of an animated version of George Orwell (Eric
Blair)’s ‘Animal Farm’, went far beyond the mere assigning of funds,
as Agency operatives dictated creative decisions, and even rewrote
the ending of the story. It would appear that this adaptation was the
Agency’s only direct film project, but there was, and still continues to
be, involvement and even censorship on the part of the CIA in the
form of ‘advisers’ within the Hollywood system.

This book offers many fascinating insights into the known methods,
which an intelligence agency such as the CIA used, of covert
manipulation of social ‘activism’ during the Cold War. It would be
naive to think that such activities have wholly ceased in our time, but
with the veil of official secrecy it is difficult to have a current and
objective view as to the level of manipulation that affects our
society. It seems counter productive, in what is perceived to be an
open and free society in the West, to have to protect ‘freedom’
through manipulating in secret. This would indicate a more sinister
agenda of social control at work, and it is certainly worth considering
whether it is worth supporting, if these are the methods needed to
propagate it.

“… There is perhaps a lesson to be learned here by those currently
concerned about improving the United States’s image
abroad. Indeed, a number of the issues raised by the history of the
Mighty Wurlitzer are very much alive today, at a time when the CIA
still holds a large stake in areas of American civil society. …
… If anything, these practices have intensified in recent years, with
the ‘war on terror’ recreating the conditions of total mobilization that
prevailed in the first years of the Cold War. …
… The front group also has in recent years undergone a revival of
sorts. Neoconservative intellectuals have employed tactics and
techniques first used on American soil by the old Left during the
1930s, which were then resurrected by a CIA front, the American
Committee for Cultural Freedom, during the 1950s. Ventures such
as the Project for a New American Century prosecute
the neoconservatives’ notion of a ‘global democratic revolution’ in the
Middle East. …
… the fact remains that the front tactic was based on secrecy and
deception, making it all the more problematic when undertaken in a
nation avowedly dedicated to the principles of freedom and
openness. …”

Repeal the Iraq War Authorization

The Case for Repealing, and Not Replacing, the Iraq War Authorization

January 3, 2017: Members of the 115th congress and their familes mingle on the house floor while attending the joint session on the opening day of the session.

It should be a top priority for Congress to correct its historic blunder of passing the buck when it comes to war and peace.

We very recently almost found ourselves in a new war with Iran. As part of its continued response to that crisis, the House of Representatives is planning to vote on repeal of the Iraq war authorization. These two things may seem totally unrelated, but the Trump administration’s reckless Soleimani assassination is actually the perfect example of why Congress can no longer afford to put off repealing — and not replacing — this long-outdated law. Here’s why.

To be clear, the resolution on the chopping block is the 2002 Authorization for the Use of Military Force (AUMF). It was enacted by Congress to approve a disastrous war of choice — invading Saddam Hussein’s Iraq — and has since been used to justify unrelated and unauthorized military activity. Most recently, it was cited by the Trump administration amidst its flurry of contradictory rationales for the Soleimani strike. It’s legally laughable that this authority could cover a drone strike against an Iranian official in 2020, but this episode makes clear a dangerous reality: if the authorization remains on the books, it will continue to be used.

Indeed, the Soleimani assassination was not just a reckless and dangerous escalation, it was the exact outcome that advocates of repeal have long been working to prevent. While this moment rightfully became an opportunity to mobilize against a new war, it must next lead to a long-overdue reckoning. For nearly two decades, Congress has allowed this expansive war authority to remain on the books, ripe for exploitation by a conflict-prone executive. What was once a persistent warning alarm should be now blaring like an emergency siren: repeal of the Iraq war authorization must become a top priority, in order to prevent future similar crises.

Frustratingly, it was barely a month ago that Congress actually had a prime opportunity to do just that. The House version of the National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA), on a bipartisan basis, adopted a provision led by Rep. Barbara Lee to do away with the 2002 Iraq authorization. It shouldn’t have been, and wasn’t, controversial. Repeal is also popular among the public. Hundreds of people from all over the country assembled in Washington, D.C. this fall as part of the Friends Committee on National Legislation’s annual gathering in support of repeal. It’s just one example of many. Letters have been sent, phone calls have been made, and events have been organized. But at the last minute, the provision was stripped from the bill.

The recent brush with a new Iran war shows why it’s so important for Congress to act boldly for repeal. This is not an academic exercise or a simple matter of getting paperwork in order. It’s not just process for the sake of process. There are real consequences and real lives at stake. Congress’ power to authorize force, and accountability to the voters for how they wage that authority, is supposed to serve as an extra step between the whims of the executive and potentially deadly results. It’s a matter of a functioning democracy to ensure that that these checks and balances are in place. Indefinite authorizations like the Iraq war AUMF let Congress off the hook and put war on autopilot.

Enough is enough. It should be a top priority for Congress to correct its historic blunder of passing the buck when it comes to war and peace. After all, those who voted for the Iraq war authorization in the first place have been haunted by their choices years later. Consistently, across the ideological spectrum, the Iraq war is widely reviled and politically toxic. So, too, should those who decline to finally repeal that authority fear both the political and human consequences of their continued failure to act.

It’s time for Congress to follow the lead of advocates by not stopping until this authorization, which has caused so much suffering and will continue to do so until it is gone, takes its rightful place in the dustbin of history.

Elizabeth Beavers is an advisor to the Friends Committee on National Legislation, a Quaker lobby in the public interest, on issues of militarism and human rights.

US Continues To Manipulate Massive Anti-US Iraqi Demonstrations and Conspirators

Crowds turn out in Iraq for anti-US and anti-Israel protest

Sadr betrays Iraq’s protests and tries to hijack them with his own

Al-Sadr announces halt of resistance against US in Iraq

Iraqi security forces raid protest camps after Sadr supporters withdraw

The mass protests in Iraq and the US drive to recolonize the Middle East

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https://twitter.com/i/status/1220641129651003392

Iraq US troops Feature photo

POPULAR RESISTANCE

Enormous Crowds at Iraq’s Million Man March Tell America to Leave for Good

An estimated 2.5 million Iraqis descended on Baghdad to stage a “Million Man March” calling for an end to the nearly 17 year-long U.S. occupation of their country.

People from all over Iraq have descended upon its capital Baghdad, heeding the call from influential Shia cleric Muqtada al-Sadr for a “million man march” calling for an end to the nearly 17 year-long U.S. occupation of the country. Images from the event show seas of peaceful crowds walking together through the city center. Sayed Sadiq al-Hashemi, the director of the Iraqi Center for Studies, estimated that more than 2.5 million took part in the demonstrations. While there are many divisions in Iraqi society, marchers hope to send a united message against American imperialism.

“Pompeo keeps going on about respecting Iraqi sovereignty. Well Iraqis want you out of their country,” said Lebanese-American journalist Rania Khalek, adding that the recent U.S. assassination of Major General Qassem Soleimani of the Iranian Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC) has seriously backfired, leading to a huge show of anti-American sentiment. She also took aim at the media coverage; “Whenever a couple hundred people protest against Iran, it trends on twitter. Yet when hundreds of thousands in Iraq protest against the US? No trending,” she said.

Khalek’s words were prophetic. The march has already concluded, yet coverage in Western media has been sparse, to say the least. A search for “Iraq” into the Google News search engine at 16:00 GMT Friday elicited just two articles in the Western press. Meanwhile, Bloomberg’s Quick Take released a since-corrected video, incorrectly describing the mass protests as merely “anti-government demonstrations.”

The message of the million man march was impossible to miss: the main stage of the event featured a huge banner with the words “GET OUT AMERICA” printed in giant upper case English letters, while protesters carried signs that featured slogans like “Americans elect moron criminals & the rest of the world suffers destruction,” “Trump is destroying America and the world,” and, perhaps most ominously, “You arrived vertically but will leave horizontally.”

 

The most comprehensive English language coverage by far was, ironically, from Iranian-government owned channel Press TV, who had live video feeds of the events with round-the-clock coverage and commentary in English. Ironic because last week Google deleted Press TV from its platforms, including YouTube, making it far harder for Western audiences to access it. The media attack on the public’s ability to hear alternative opinions continued as Facebook announced that, because of U.S. sanctions, it was legally compelled to remove all content that contradicted the Trump administration’s position on Soleimani’s assassination or shared an Iranian government perspective. “We operate under U.S. sanctions laws, including those related to the U.S. government’s designation of the IRGC and its leadership,” a Facebook spokesperson said. This is particularly problematic as Soleimani was, according to American surveys, “the most popular Iranian public figure” with over 80 percent of the country having a positive or very positive opinion of him. This effectively means that the Trump administration has control over the opinions that the world – and Iranians themselves – see on social media.

Although Soleimani’s assassination on January 3 sparked outrage in Iran, it was also deeply unpopular with Iraqis, who saw it as the latest example of the contempt the U.S. has for their country’s sovereignty. Little known outside the region is that the Soleimani had traveled to Baghdad for peace talks with Saudi Arabia at the behest of Iraqi Prime Minister Adil Abdul-Mahdi. Abdul-Mahdi specifically asked Trump for permission to invite him to his country. Trump acquiesced, then used the opportunity to kill him.

In response, the Iraqi parliament passed a unanimous resolution on January 5 (with many abstentions), calling for the expulsion of all U.S. troops. There are currently an estimated 5,000 American soldiers in Iraq, plus large numbers of mercenary contractors.

The Trump administration, however, has flatly refused to leave. In fact, it is greatly increasing the number of military personnel in the country as it prepares for a possible attack on Iran. “At this time, any delegation sent to Iraq would be dedicated to discussing how to best recommit to our strategic partnership — not to discuss troop withdrawal, but our right, appropriate force posture in the Middle East,” said State Department spokesperson Morgan Ortagus. Donald Trump was even more imperious, threatening the entire country with “very big sanctions” as a punishment for telling America to leave.

Iraqis know the consequences of sanctions. American engineered sanctions killed over one million Iraqis during the 1990s, including half a million children, as the country literally starved to death under the economic blockade. The sanctions were labeled “genocidal” by successive U.N. diplomats who were charged with overseeing them. At the time, Secretary of State Madeline Albright brushed off the deaths, stating that they were a price worth paying. As a result of the millions of deaths caused by the sanctions and the 2003 invasion and occupation, the country has an unusually young population: the median age of an Iraqi is just 20 (in the U.S. it is 38). Therefore, most Iraqis have never seen their country free of American troops.

Feature photo | Demonstrators carry placards depicting U.S. President Donald Trump at a protest against the presence of US troops in Iraq on Jan. 24, 2020. Ala’a Al-Marjani | Reuters

Alan MacLeod is a Staff Writer for MintPress News. After completing his PhD in 2017 he published two books: Bad News From Venezuela: Twenty Years of Fake News and Misreporting and Propaganda in the Information Age: Still Manufacturing Consent. He has also contributed to Fairness and Accuracy in ReportingThe GuardianSalonThe GrayzoneJacobin MagazineCommon Dreams the American Herald Tribune and The Canary.

Iran Fingers Kuwait As Source of Drone That Killed Soleimani, Making Kuwait An American Accomplice

Kuwait Denies Drone Used to Attack Soleimani Flew from its Territories

Farah Elbahrawy and Golnar Motevalli
(Bloomberg) — Iran’s Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps said the U.S. drone used to kill a top Iranian general in Baghdad took off from a military base in Kuwait, the semi-official Fars news agency reported, citing Brigadier General Amirali Hajizadeh, the commander of the Guards’ aerospace force.
The Guards had detected activity from the drone and fighter jets near Baghdad airport but didn’t know they were planning to target Qassem Soleimani, according to Hajizadeh. At least four military bases in the Persian Gulf were involved in the Jan. 3 operation, he said, according to the report late Wednesday.