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Democracy Now/J.Scahill: US "Created the Very Threat We Claim to be Fighting"

To talk more about the crisis in the Middle East, we’re joined by Jeremy Scahill, who first reported from inside Iraq before the 2003 U.S. invasion. He’s co-founder of the TheIntercept.org and author of the book Dirty Wars: The World is a Battlefield. The paperback version of the book has just been published.

Welcome back to Democracy Now!, Jeremy.


AMY GOODMAN: And congratulations on the book being published as a paperback. Talk about the war in Syria and Iraq now.

JEREMY SCAHILL: Well, you know, first of all, it’s sort of like the terrorist flavor of the month that we’re dealing with here. You know, first we had al-Qaeda as this huge global threat. Then it was ISIS. And then the Khorasan group was produced. And the thing is, almost no one in Syria had ever heard of the Khorasan group. In fact, my understanding is that it was a term that was sort of used in the U.S. intelligence community and actually isn’t the name of the people that they claim to be attacking.

And what the entire policy boils down to is that the Obama administration has, in a very Orwellian way, changed the definition of commonly understood terms—primarily, the term "imminent." They were saying that the Khorasan group represented an imminent threat to the United States. But we know from a leaked white paper, that was put out in advance of John Brennan’s confirmation to be the CIA director, that the Justice Department actually has officially changed the definition of the word "imminent" so that it does not need to involve an immediate threat against the United States, that it could be a perception that maybe one day these individuals could possibly attempt to plot—not even carry out—a terrorist attack against the United States. That flimsy justification has been used now to expand this war from Iraq to Syria, potentially beyond.

You know, the Obama administration, in engaging in this policy, is continuing a Bush administration outcome of the decision to invade Iraq. And that is, they’re empowering the very threat that they claim to be fighting. Who is ISIS? What is this group made up of? Is it just people that are radical Islamists that want to behead American journalists? No. One of the top—and this almost is never mentioned in corporate media coverage of this—one of the top military commanders of ISIS is a man named Izzat Ibrahim al-Douri al-Takriti. Who is Izzat Ibrahim? Izzat Ibrahim is the leading Baathist, who was on the deck of cards, that the United States has not captured. He was one of Saddam Hussein’s top military commanders. He was not just some ragamuffin Baathist. He actually was a hardcore general in the Iraqi military during the Iran-Iraq War, and he was a secular Baathist.

Why is he fighting with ISIS? Well, when Bush decided to invade Iraq, and then he put Paul Bremer, who was a radical neocon ideologue who had cut his teeth working for Henry Kissinger—when Paul Bremer was put in charge of the occupation of Iraq, one of the first things he did was to fire 250,000 Iraqi soldiers simply because they were members of the Baath Party. As one senior U.S. official at the time said, it was the day we made a quarter of a million enemies in Iraq. All of these Baathists have been jerked around by the United States, and the Sunnis in western Iraq, jerked around by the United States for a very long time. There was the period of the so-called surge, where the U.S. actually paid Sunnis not to kill the United States, you know, U.S. soldiers. And so, but then the U.S. turned around and put in power a Shiite-led government under Nouri al-Maliki that effectively operated a network of death squads that systematically attacked Sunnis.

So the point I’m making here is, yes, there’s an element of ISIS—I don’t know how dominant it is within the group—that is, you know, trying to establish the caliphate. And they are beheading people. And they are imposing a very strict interpretation of sharia law. But there are also—and I would suspect that they’re best military figures—there is also a large contingent of people that are fighting the same battle that they were fighting when the United States originally invaded. The fact is, there was no al-Qaeda presence in Iraq before George W. Bush took—made the decision to invade it, except in the Kurdish region in the north of Iraq, which was not under Saddam Hussein’s control. In fact, it was under the control of U.S.-backed entities. And that was Ansar al-Islam. Saddam Hussein’s forces were fighting that group.


Yeah, I mean, this is a clown show with these guys. .... The fact that the Obama administration adopted what was effectively the U.S. policy in Iraq when Bush left office says a tremendous amount about how little the Obama administration understood the disaster in Iraq. Had the United States kept in this sort of strike force, which would have been CIA paramilitaries, special operations forces, it would have exacerbated the problem. The problem here isn’t whether or not the U.S. forces would have been there to stabilize Iraq. The issue is how much worse are we going to make Iraq with these policies. And I think it’s almost impossible to imagine that this could have been handled in a worse way. Having more troops there, I mean, that’s—all of these guys, when they write their memoirs, have this brilliant 20-20 vision looking backwards, that they were the one that knew, they would have done this differently. The U.S., basically, since 9/11—and you could make an argument that this has been U.S. policy for many, many decades—you know, U.S. policy has been its own worst enemy, in one sense: We’ve created the very threats we claim to be fighting.

Full Transcript & Video Here: http://www.democracynow.org/2014/10/3/jeremy_scahill_on_obamas_orwellian_war

Can't help wondering if Joan Bramhall had something on Chris Christie.

Morris murder-suicide: Joan Bramhall's daughter says she feared for mom's safety
By Louis C. Hochman * NJ.com

DENVILLE — The daughter of John and Joan Bramhall — who both died in an apparent murder-suicide earlier this month — says she feared for her mother's safety in the weeks and months before the deaths.

Lori Bramhall, 53, told NJ.com she called police, asking them to do a welfare check on her parents just two weeks before they were found dead on Aug. 7. Lori Bramhall's son had called his grandparents' home, and Joan Bramhall screamed when John Bramhall apparently pulled the phone away, she said. That prompted both Lori and her son to call police, she said.

"I warned the police," she said. "I warned everyone."

Lori Bramhall also said her brothers removed dozens of guns from John and Joan Bramhalls' Denville home in the days before the deaths — leaving only the one John Bramhall used to kill Joan Bramhall, and then himself. John Bramhall had always had a large collection of firearms, she said.

"He had them under beds, under couches," Lori Bramhall said. I was afraid to go there because of all of those guns."

Hedges: "America's 'Death Instinct' Spreads Misery Across the World".

America's 'Death Instinct' Spreads Misery Across the World
Truthdig * By Chris Hedges * Sept. 30, 2014
War and national security are used to justify the surrender of citizenship,
the crushing of dissent and expanding the powers of the state

Those who use violence to shape the world, as we have done in the Middle East, unleash a whirlwind. Our initial alliances—achieved at the cost of hundreds of thousands of dead, some $3 trillion in expenditures and the ravaging of infrastructure across the region—have been turned upside down by the cataclysm of violence. Thirteen years of war, and the rise of enemies we did not expect, have transformed Hezbollah fighters inside Syria, along with Iran, into our tacit allies. We are intervening in the Syrian civil war to assist a regime we sought to overthrow. We promised to save Iraq and now help to dismember it. We have delivered Afghanistan to drug cartels and warlords who preside over a ruin of a nation where 60 percent of the children are malnourished and the Taliban is poised to take power once NATO troops depart. The entire misguided enterprise has been a fiasco of gross mismanagement and wanton bloodletting. But that does not mean it will be stopped.

More violence is not going to rectify the damage. Indeed, it will make it worse. But violence is all we know. Violence is the habitual response by the state to every dilemma. War, like much of modern bureaucracy, has become an impersonal and unquestioned mechanism to perpetuate American power. It has its own internal momentum. There may be a few courageous souls who rise up within the apparatus to protest war’s ultimate absurdity, but they are rapidly discarded and replaced. The state rages like an insane King Lear, who in his madness and desire to revenge himself on his two daughters and their husbands decides that:

It were a delicate stratagem to shoe
A troop of horse with felt. I’ll put ’t in proof.
And when I have stol’n upon these sons-in-law,
Then, kill, kill, kill, kill, kill, kill!

And kill, kill, kill, kill, kill, kill is the mantra chanted with every new setback in the Middle East. How many times have we rejoiced at the murder of those we demonized—Saddam Hussein, Osama bin Laden, Abu Musab al-Zarqawi and dozens of others. But as soon as one hunt for the fountainhead of evil ends, another begins. Those we kill are swiftly replaced. Fresh terrorist groups take the place of the old. The Khorasan Group, the U.S. government assures us, is a more sinister and deadlier version of the Islamic State of Iraq and Greater Syria (ISIS), which was once touted as a more sinister version of al-Qaida. We cannot extinguish our enemies. They spring out of the ground like the legion of hostile warriors that rose up when Cadmussowed his dragon’s teeth. Our violence spawns violence and never-ending configurations of enraged militants. We will keep spawning them until we stop occupying the Middle East.


NBC News: Iraq Pilots Mistakenly Gave Food, Ammunition to ISIS Militants

I posted this first time with link to RT which was the only source I could find,
but then reworded google search found this, by NBC; so it is presumably true.

This is like a massive "Fruedian Slip", or worse.


Iraq Pilots Mistakenly Gave Food, Ammunition to ISIS Militants
Oct. 1, 2014 * NBC News

Iraqi military pilots mistakenly gave food, water and ammunition to enemy ISIS militants instead of their own soldiers, a senior security official and a brigadier-general told NBC News. The supplies were supposed to help besieged Iraqi army officers and soldiers who had been fighting Islamist extremists for a week in Saglawyah and the village of Al-Sijar in the country’s western province of Anbar.

“Some pilots, instead of dropping these supplies over the area of the Iraqi army, threw it over the area that is controlled by ISIS fighters,” said Hakim Al-Zamili, a lawmaker in the Iraqi parliament who is a member of the security and defense committee and acts as a security liaison for service members and commanders formed by anti-American cleric Muqtada al-Sadr. “Those soldiers were in deadly need of these supplies, but because of the wrong plans of the commanders in the Iraqi army and lack of experience of the pilots, we in a way or another helped ISIS fighters to kill our soldiers.”

A brigadier-general in Iraq’s Defense Ministry, who declined to be named, confirmed the incident, which occurred on Sept. 19. “Yes, that's what had happened,” the officer said, adding that some air force pilots “do not have enough experience … they are all young and new.” Both Al-Zamili and the brigadier-general said there would be an investigation to determine the cause of the blunder.

NBC Link with Video: http://www.nbcnews.com/storyline/isis-terror/iraq-pilots-mistakenly-gave-food-ammunition-isis-militants-n214956
RT Link: http://rt.com/news/192160-pilot-iraq-isis-mistake/

Story of a War Foretold: Why We're Fighting ISIS

Story of a War Foretold: Why We're Fighting ISIS
Tuesday, 30 September 2014 11:07
By Nafeez Ahmed, Ceasefire Magazine | News Analysis

As the US, UK and French governments escalate military action in Iraq and Syria against the ‘Islamic State’, in an operation slated to last “years,” they are moving fast to justify the need for mass surveillance measures at home, while neutering calls for surveillance reform. The end result could well be accelerated regional violence and increasing criminalisation of Muslims and activists in the West.

Intervention abroad, policymakers are arguing, must be tied to increased domestic surveillance and vigilance at home. But US and British military experts warn that officials have overlooked the extent to which western policies in the region have not just stoked the rise of IS, but will continue to inflame the current crisis. The consequences could be dire – while governments exploit the turmoil in the Middle East to justify an effective re-invasion of Iraq along with intensified powers of surveillance and control – the end result could well be accelerated regional violence and increasing criminalization of Muslims and activists.

Pre-Empting "Social Contagions"

In a recent article in Defense One, technology editor Patrick Tucker interviewed Dr Erin Fitzgerald, the head of the Pentagon’s controversial Minerva Research Initiative, about how Big Data analytics could have predicted the emergence of the Islamic State.

Founded in 2008, the year of the global financial crash, the Minerva initiative is a multi-million dollar programme funding social science research at universities around the world to support US defence policy. As I reported exclusively in The Guardian and Occupy.com, Minerva-funded projects have focused on studying and modelling the origins and trajectories of “social contagions” to track the propensity for civil unrest and insurgencies that could undermine US strategic interests at home and abroad.

This has included developing powerful new data-mining tools capable of in-depth analysis and automated threat-assessment of social media posts by nonviolent social movements, civil society networks, NGOs, and political activists, as well as potentially those by violent or extreme groups and organisations. These algorithms, according to NSA whistleblower Thomas Drake, could be used, for instance, to fine-tune CIA kill lists for drone warfare at a time when the US defence industry is actively (and successfully) lobbying federal and local government to militarise the homeland with drone technology.


Terrorism Serves the State

Terrorism Serves the State
Monday, 29 September 2014 11:39
By Brian Martin, Truthout | News Analysis

The continual attention to terrorism serves to justify state power. Meanwhile, alternative approaches are marginalized. In the media, it is almost impossible to escape the unending stories about the threat from terrorism. Whether it is the threat from homegrown terrorists, the danger of a new terrorist movement such as Islamic State or the need to eradicate terrorist plots, there seems no let-up in the alarm.

For those who lived through the Cold War, there was a plausible danger: nuclear war, which could have killed hundreds of millions of people and laid waste to cities and the environment. After the end of the Cold War, this existential threat faded from public consciousness, and many people expected a "peace dividend," namely a reorientation of spending from military spending to spending for human needs. But there was little dividend, as most governments maintained military budgets while they looked for a new rationale.

Terrorism provides an ideal pretext for maintaining a massive security apparatus spying on citizens and allied governments as well as enemies. Terrorism, unlike nuclear arsenals, provides no serious threat to the survival of either populations or governments. Terrorism can be said to be a government-generated moral panic, with the threat hyped beyond its objective seriousness.

The biggest dangers to human life from weapons are from governments themselves. One need only think of genocides in Guatemala, Rwanda and ex-Yugoslavia, the pre-2003 blockade of Iraq leading to a million deaths, not to mention millions killed in central African wars, while the western media drums up fear about shoe-bombers on civilian aircraft and airport announcements endlessly repeat warnings about unaccompanied baggage.


More Bullying by Cops: "Lynn police block complaints with threats of arrest"

Lynn police block complaints with threats of arrest
By Maya * September 26, 2014 * Bay State Examiner

While I was covering the one year memorial march for Denis Reynoso on September 5, I saw Lynn police officers, some in plainclothes, monitoring the protesters. Reynoso’s family have staged about half a dozen rallies in the year since a Lynn police officers ended Reynoso’s life under questionable circumstances and I have attended all but one of them. I have not seen any violence or criminality (or any calls for such) at any of these gatherings.

As we marched, I spotted an undercover police officer shadowing us in a beat-up Camry. I wondered why police were monitoring a peaceful protest, so I approached the officer’s vehicle and asked him for his ID. I intended to include his presence in my story about the march and I wanted to follow up with the department about why police had been assigned to monitor the protest.

I cannot speak to the officer’s intent when he drove into me but I can say that he was very clearly aware of my location in proximity to his vehicle when he began driving and when he hit me with his mirror. Just before the officer began to drive, he waved to me and then he stared at me as he drove. He hit me with enough force that the side mirror folded back. I was not injured.

The officer stopped after he hit me and got on his radio, but at no time did he check on me, identify himself, or offer any aid. I left at that point because it was clear that the officer, who had not even rolled down his window, had no desire to speak with me. The officer drove past me a short while later without any attempt to get my attention as he returned to the police station.


Koch Bros. US Senate candidate Wehby refuses to debate Senator Merkley (D-OR)

Not too surprising. I wouldn't want to debate Merkley either if I was a Koch-Bros-funded nitwit, a stalker, known primarily for her plagiarism and sleazy attack ads.

Wehby refuses invitation to debate Merkley
by John Tierney * Statesman Journal * Sept. 26, 2014

PORTLAND, Ore. – Dr. Monica Wehby has refused an invitation from KGW and The Oregonian to appear in a televised debate against Sen. Jeff Merkley.

Wehby, the Republican candidate, is trying to knock Merkley, a Democrat, out of his U.S. Senate seat in November's election.

KGW and The Oregonian invited Wehby to appear in the debate shortly after she won her Republican primary race in May. After months of back and forth KGW ultimately set a deadline of noon Friday for Wehby to accept or decline the offer.

The noon deadline passed with a Wehby spokesman only saying "we're keeping all options on the table."


Uugghh! Louisiana cop fatally shoots 14-year-old ‘four or five times in the back’

Oh and surprise, surprise ...this 14-year-old boy just "happened" to be black.

Louisiana deputy fatally shot 14-year-old ‘four or five times in the back’: family


Louisiana State Police were investigating on Wednesday after a Terrebonne Parish Sheriff’s deputy fatally shot a 14-year-old boy.

Louisiana State Police Trooper Evan Harrell said that deputies responded at around 6 p.m. on Tuesday to a 911 call alleging that armed individuals were seen running into an abandoned home in Houma’s Village East neighborhood, The Time-Pacayune reported.

The first deputy to enter the home reportedly shot the boy. Harrell said that a weapon was found “in close proximity” to the dead body. The family of the boy, who was identified him as 14-year-old as Cameron Tillman, said that he was “shot four or five times in the back,” according to WWLTV.

Tillman’s brother, Andre, said that his brother heard a knock at the door of the abandoned home and opened it because he thought it was a joke. “My little brother thought somebody was just clowning, because somebody is always clowning by the door,” Andre Tillman recalled. “He opened and the man just shot him. He didn’t have nothing in his hand.”


Huh? "Most Members of the Black Caucus Have Supported Police Militarization"?

Most Members of the Black Caucus Have Supported Police Militarization
Monday, 22 September 2014 12:07 * By Sharmini Peries * The Real News Network


SHARMINI PERIES, EXEC. PRODUCER, TRNN: This is The Real News Network. I'm Sharmini Peries, coming to you from Baltimore.

Welcome to the Glen Ford Report on The Real News Network. Glen is the executive editor of the Black Agenda Report and a regular commentator on The Real News Network.

Glen, in a report recently on the Black Agenda Report, you wrote that 80 percent of the members of the Congressional Black Caucus refused to defund Pentagon's militarization of local police departments, also known as the Grayson amendment. That is shocking news, given the police brutality of the black community in this country. And I'm wondering if you have more to say on that.

GLEN FORD, EXEC. EDITOR, BLACK AGENDA REPORT: Well, actually, it was 27 who voted against Alan Grayson's measure that would have forced the Pentagon to stop sending all these weapons and military gear to local police department. Twenty-seven voted against the amendment. Five abstained, which is just as good as voting against it. And that makes 32 out of only 40 caucus full-voting members. That's four out of five of the Black Caucus voted to continue the Pentagon's massive infusions of guns and tanks and other military gear into local police departments.
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