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Meltdown, No Mouth Must Scream

Friday, August 12th, 2016

[ by Charles Cameron — two powerful graphic images, one simple truth ]
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Tablet DQ Meltdown Scream

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From a purely graphic angle, the two images mirror one another quite nicely, and arguably the meltdown is the cause for the need to scream.

I generally try to avoid politics, but when it leaks over into the same religious issues I’ve been studying and writing about here for a few years now, I’m liable to voice my opinions.

I’m a loser in Trunp‘s terms by vocation, whether I follow the dictum “go and sit down in the lowest room” (Luke 14.19) or am “content with the low places that people disdain” (Lao Tzu 8), so it won’t bother him when I point out that contrary to his recent statement that President Obama was the founder of ISIS, which he’s doubled down on —

I meant he’s the founder of ISIS. I do. He was the most valuable player. I give him the most valuable player award. I give her, too, by the way, Hillary Clinton.

— he’s just plain wrong, as John Schindler — far from an admirer of Hillary Clinton — reminds us in today’s detailed and thorough Observer piece mildly titled No, Obama Is Not the Founder of ISIS. Some choice paras:

It’s not every day the presidential nominee of the Republican Party calls our commander-in-chief a “founder”—that is a terrorist, a traitor, and “MVP”—of the global Salafist caliphate, an organization that commits mass murder and even genocide. Not to mention that ISIS seeks to kill Americans with gusto at home and abroad.

Trump’s claim is so absurd as to render terror experts speechless. In the first place, ISIS was born in a practical sense in 2006, when elements of Al-Qa’ida in Iraq fused with bitter-enders from the Saddam Hussein regime that the United States overthrew in its invasion of Iraq three years before. Back then George W. Bush was president and Barack Obama was a junior U.S. Senator from Illinois.

None of this is to defend Obama’s track record against ISIS, which in column after column here I’ve lambasted as incompetent and lackadaisical. His pseudo-war on that murder gang and its imaginary caliphate has been a train-wreck of quarter-measures, muddled strategy, and outright lies. Obama ought to never live down his dismissal of ISIS as the “JV team,” but that’s a far cry from “founding” the Islamic State.

There’s no doubt that Obama’s withdrawal of American forces from Iraq in 2011, hailed as a great victory at the time, was strategically harmful and enabled ISIS’s meteoric growth in the Middle East. However, the president had little choice there, since the democratically elected Iraqi government in Baghdad demanded that the U.S. military leave their country. Not to mention that withdrawing our troops from Iraq was supported by Donald Trump.

Saying Obama and Hillary “founded” ISIS therefore is a ridiculous claim that deserves to be taken no more seriously than related tinfoilisms like “Jews did 9/11” or “My cat is the Illuminati.” It’s therefore deeply alarming to see the GOP nominee say it—repeatedly.

It’s not difficult to see where Trump gets such wacky ideas. Mike Flynn, his national security guru, has repeatedly come close to saying the same, hinting that Obama wanted ISIS to succeed. Flynn is a retired Army three-star general whom Obama fired as director of the Defense Intelligence Agency with ample cause.

Since then, Flynn’s gotten cuddly with the Russians, regularly appearing on their propaganda network RT, even admitting he’s taken Kremlin money for a photo op with Vladimir Putin. This is where things get really interesting. “Obama created ISIS” has been a Kremlin trope for a couple years now and it’s frequently trotted out by Putin’s mouthpieces and online trolls. When your campaign is riddled with people on the Kremlin payroll, with deep ties to Moscow, it’s not surprising that the candidate starts mouthing their disinformation.

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Or, to make it very simple, in the words and images of ABC News:

these guys

Wikileaks weak on graphics

Sunday, August 7th, 2016

[ by Charles Cameron — interested in close, not far-fetched, analogies ]
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A while back in 2011, Aaron Zelin picked up on a tweet by Aaron Weisburd and retweeted:

the cover of Inspire 5 is remarkably similar to a wikileaks logo, e.g. http://goo.gl/2wibr coincidence I’m sure…

I posted about it here on Zenpundit, and to me eye the match does have something to be said for it:

wikileaks inspire

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But c’mon, baby.

I was reading through today’s pretty harsh Intercept piece, What Julian Assange’s War on Hillary Clinton Says About WikiLeaks — amazing, considering the origins of the Intercept in the work of Glenn Greenwald and Laura Poitras — and came across another purported similarity, this one claimed by Assange himself.

Only this one really just doesn’t work at all:

wikileaks clinton

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Did Assange invent arrows?

I’m sorry, but that’s just ridiculous.

In any case, Hilary got it from Netflix, where they’re airing the Glenn Close series Damages, with John Goodman playing Howard T Erickson, the boss of High Star, a private security firm..

clinton damages

Case closed.

Benghazi, the election, and a look in the mirror

Saturday, July 23rd, 2016

[ by Charles Cameron — the current score seems to be bipolar 1, bipartisan 0 ]
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You may believe:

You may believe:

Old Hat — I was on my way to DoubleQuote Trump & Clinton

Thursday, July 14th, 2016

[ by Charles Cameron — folks you might not entrust with your secrets ]
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I was on my way to DoubleQuote two Presidential candidates that some people wouldn’t want to entrust with secret briefings from the Intelligence Community — Trump & Clinton — citing Shane HarrisSpies Worry Candidate Trump Will Spill Secrets piece from The Beast and Brent Scher‘s Former White House Counsel: Hillary Clinton Should Not Get Intelligence Briefings at the Washington Free Beacon — old stories, both of them, but they just now clicked together for me —

But why worry, when Kristina Wong at The Hill has done it for me?

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Trump Clinton and IC briefings

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This is all old hat, of course — Wong’s piece was posted more than a month ago — but still, as she said..

Some U.S. intelligence officials are worried about providing a routine intelligence briefing to Donald Trump once he becomes the official Republican presidential nominee, according to a report.

Eight senior security officials told Reuters they were concerned that Trump’s “shoot from the hip” style could pose national security risks, as they prepare to give him a routine pre-election briefing for presidential nominees.

They also cited his lack of foreign policy experience, and his little known team of foreign policy advisers.
“People are very nervous,” one senior U.S. security official said.

However, the officials, who requested anonymity to discuss a political domestic issue, said they would not deviate from the usual “Top Secret” briefing format, to avoid any appearance of bias.

Current and formal officials also expressed concern over briefing Democratic presidential front-runner Hillary Clinton, according to Reuters.

They cited the scandal over her use of emails when she was secretary of State and her handling of sensitive information. She is currently facing an FBI probe over whether she compromised security and broke laws over her use of a private email server for government work at State.

“The only candidate who has proven incapable of handling sensitive information is Hillary Clinton,” Michael Short, a spokesman for the Republican National Committee, told Reuters. “If there is anyone they should be worried about it is Hillary Clinton.”

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And all of this brings me to my Totally Impractical Question — which if anything gets more interesting as the weeks go by:

If someone has loose enough lips — or email servers — to be unworthy to receive Top Secret briefings as a candidate, do they really suddenly get a whole lot more reliable, once they’re elected?

Clinton Comey?

Wednesday, July 6th, 2016

[ by Charles Cameron — with a side dish of Tzipi Livni ]
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Ckinton Comey
photo credit: Greg Nash via The Hill

I’ll be socratic here, asking questions to illuminate my hunches.

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I’m seldom fully convinced by anything that comes from the left and reads the way I’d expect the left to read, and seldom convinced by anything that comes from the right and reads the way I’d expect the right to read, so I don’t take the left’s assertions downplaying H Clinton’s security behavior with reflex belief, and on the whole I’m inclined to follow John Schindler, who — both as an ex-NSA analyst and as a regular at The Observer — takes a very hard line on Clinton’s security behavior, writing just a couple of weeks ago under the title, The Coming Constitutional Crisis Over Hillary Clinton’s EmailGate.

I also follow War on the Rocks, though, and was struck a while back by a post there from Mark Stout, drawing some interesting distinctions in line with its subtitle, “A former intelligence analyst who worked at both the CIA and the State Department explains how different approaches to classifying information sits at the heart of the scandal that threatens to undo Hillary Clinton.”

Which does somewhat complicate matters, while somewhat helping us understand them.

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I’m neither an American nor a lawyer, and as someone who is generally inclined more to bridge-building than to taking sides in any case, I don’t feel qualified to debate the Comey-Clinton affair – but was interested to see emptywheel’s Marcy Wheeler, whom I take to be leftish, coming out today describing Comey’s decision as an “improper public prosecutorial opinion”. She writes:

Understand, though: with Sterling and Drake, DOJ decided they were disloyal to the US, and then used their alleged mishandling of classified information as proof that they were disloyal to the US ..Ultimately, it involves arbitrary decisions about who is disloyal to the US, and from that a determination that the crime of mishandling classified information occurred.

Comey, in turn, seems to have made it pretty clear that “Secretary Clinton or her colleagues“ were extremely careless in their handling of very sensitive, highly classified information” – specifically:

.. seven email chains concern matters that were classified at the Top Secret/Special Access Program level when they were sent and received.  These chains involved Secretary Clinton both sending emails about those matters and receiving emails from others about the same matters.

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Is there, in your views, special treatment in this matter for persons of high rank present here?

livni

And out of curiosity, if so, do you see a similar case of special treatment for persons of high rank over in the UK, known to be substantially less Israel-friendly than the US, where Scotland Yard wanted to question Tzipi Livni about alleged Israeli war crimes in Gaza under her watch as Foreign Minister, and “after diplomatic talks” Livni was “granted special diplomatic immunity”?

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On the one hand, I don’t like show-trials, trials-by-press, banana courts or mob justice, and far prefer just laws justly applied – and on the other, I can understand that the scrutiny those in high office find themselves under can render them legally vulnerable in ways that may unduly influence their decision-making – and justice may be platonically blind, but is not always uniformly applied in practice. Such, it seems to me, is the human dilemma.

What say you?


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