“You can’t simply deal with ISIS and not deal with Assad,” Prince Turki al-Faisal told CBS News in 2014.
The former ambassador to the United States said “if the need” for US ground troops arises in the effort to depose al-Assad he “hopes the president will change his mind.”
Asked if Saudi Arabia would send ground troops, al-Faisal said no way.
”It would be a mistake for the United States, or Great Britain… to send in ground troops and overthrow the Assad regime,” Obama told the BBC in April.
However, around the time Obama made this remark the United States sent 250 ground troops into Syria—in direct violation of that country’s national sovereignty—under the pretense of fighting the Islamic State.
The Saudis scoffed and said the move was little more than “window dressing.”
Asked about a remark by Iran that Saudi Arabia’s participation in the coalition bombing of Syria is illegal, al-Faisal said Iran’s troops on the ground “killing Syrians” is illegal.
The Saudi prince failed to mention that Russia, Syria, Iran, and Iraq formed a coalition to fight the Islamic State in September 2015. The United States was offered to join the coalition but its response was “unconstructive,” according a statement by Russian foreign minister Sergey Lavrov.
As a former diplomat, al-Faisal is undoubtedly aware of the invitation by Syria, but then we have to keep in mind he was talking to an American television audience that knows virtually nothing about the real situation in Syria.
CBS did not clarify.
That would be a deviation from the script.
It was about two years ago to the day I was blacklisted at CNN.
I don’t want to remind them they were sadly wrong, but they were. So write this off however you prefer, but understand that we were lied to again to drag us again into an open-ended war in Iraq-Syria. Last time it was Bush and those missing Weapons of Mass Destruction. This time it was Obama and saving the Yazidi people from genocide.
Wait, what? Who are the Yazidis? How did they get us back into Iraq?
Ah, how fast time flies.
Two years ago a group of Yazidis, a minority spread across Iran, Iraq and Turkey, were being threatened by a group called ISIS few American were focused on. Obama declared a genocide was about to happen, and the U.S. had to act. U.S. officials said they believed that some type of ground force would be necessary to secure the safety of the stranded members of the Yazidi group. The military drew up plans for limited airstrikes and the deployment of 150 ground troops.
No Congressional authorization was sought, no attempt was made to secure UN sanction, no effort was made to seek Iraqi military help to save their own people inside their own country. However, promises were made by the White House of having no American “boots on the ground” and that the airstrikes to kill people were for a humanitarian purpose.
Two years later the U.S. has some 6,000 troops on the ground, including artillery units and aircraft based inside Iraq and Syria. The limited airstrikes have expanded to a 24 month broad-based bombing campaign, which has spread into Syria, with the sideshows of complete collapse of democracy in Turkey, a Russian military presence in Syria, and an Iranian military presence in Iraq. For the record, the Yazidis are pretty much fine, as are ISIS and Syrian president Assad. The Yazadis do occasionally show up in fear-mongering, unsourced stories about ISIS sex slaves, usually spoon-fed to American media, and only American media, by pro-Yazidi ethnic groups safely in the west.
In fact, other than a massive regional death toll and no progress toward whatever the actual goal for the United States is (um, whatever, “destroy” ISIS), things are pretty much the same after two years, +chaos. And whomever is elected this November will be the fifth U.S. president to make war in Iraq.
Back to CNN.
As the Yazidi situation was unfolding, I was invited to tape a discussion there alongside the usual retired U.S. military colonel. I was asked a single question, explained in my answer that the U.S. was in fact using the Yazidi “humanitarian crisis/faux genocide” as an excuse to re-enter the Iraq quagmire, and equated it to George W. Bush’s flim-flam about weapons of mass destruction in 2003.
The host literally said I was wrong. I was not asked another question, though the colonel was given several minutes to explain the urgency of the situation, demand America act where no one else would, and assure the public that Obama planned only limited, surgical strikes and that was it, one and done.
My question was edited out, the colonel’s lengthy answer was played on air, and my very brief moment in the glow of CNN was ended even though I wore a nice suit and a tie. Oh well, we still have each other here, and hey, CNN, my number’s still the same if you wanna call.
As the nation’s largest health insurance companies scale back participation in Obamacare (aka Affordable Care Act) creating what insurance jargon refers to as a death spiral, it was only a matter of time before state Democratic leaders and their agents announced their opposition to ColoradoCare (Amendment 69), a medicare-for-all health care system that will appear on the statewide November 8th ballot.
State Democratic establishment leaders who had already announced their opposition to ColoradoCare include Governor John Hickenlooper, former Governor Bill Ritter and Senator Michael Bennett who is running for re-election.
In an effort to salvage what is left of the President’s most significant (and perhaps only) legislative achievement as Obamacare struggles for relevance, ProgressNow Colorado (PN) held a press conference on August 17th (“ProgressNow Colorado Opposes Amendment 69, Calls For Nationwide Health Reform”) to announce their opposition to CC.
Featured speaker at the PN news conference was State House Majority Leader Cristina Duran, considered a ‘rising star’ who recently spoke on behalf of Hillary Clinton at the Democratic National Convention. In 2016, it has been reported that Duran received campaign contributions from at least a dozen special interest groups associated with the health insurance industry.
In addition, Colorado NARAL joined the PN news event, again voicing their opposition to CC. The lack of availability for abortions is what keeps NARAL functioning. The obvious irony is that if CC is adopted (which will allow abortions), NARAL’s raison d’etre will cease to exist and they will be able to close their doors.
Since it is essential for the President to have a functioning Affordable Care Act to top his Legacy List of accomplishments, it would be foolishly naïve to believe that the DNC’s fingerprints are not all over the opposition to ColoradoCare.
As the state’s ‘largest on line environmental and advocacy organization,’ the PN Colorado’s website identifies its vision to “act as a public relations shop promoting progressive ideals while pushing back on bad policies and bad behavior…” The archives of PN press releases reveals the organization acting as a thinly-veiled extension of the neo-liberal Democratic party as a pr flack rather than an issue-oriented, independent thinking progressive organization focused on societal concerns of Colorado citizens.
Curiously, the PN press release called for “nationwide healthcare reform” but isn’t that what the Democrats offered as the Affordable Care Act in 2010?
Since March, 2012, PN has issued twenty press releases solely dedicated to the benefits of Obamacare including “Colorado Progressives Celebrate Upholding of Obamacare” (June 28, 2012) and “Colorado Progressives Celebrate Another Big Obamacare Victory” (June 25, 2015).
In retrospect, it is now apparent that any mention of CC’s successful petition drive with 156,000 submitted signatures in October, 2015 was a deliberate omission by PN. Even as ‘Petitions Delivered Let CU Students Attend GOP Debate” earned a press release from PN on October 22, 2015, the CC ability to secure a place on the 2016 ballot (November 9, 2015), no small feat, was not applauded by the PN.
State Senator Irene Aquilar (also a doctor), one of the authors of CC, said that when “Organizations mislabeled as ‘progressive’ choose to support the status quo, choose moneyed influence over the lives of the 535 Coloradans who die each year because of lack of health care, it makes me angry.”
As the Colorado Democratic party has exposed its true nature; willing to choose narrow political gain and greed over the long-term health of their citizens, they have revealed little social conscience, except when its suits their partisan agenda.
But what do we expect from a party that has opened its doors to Wall Street money, big business that continues to send American jobs abroad, trade agreements that undermine a nation’s sovereignty, pro war neo cons, drone attacks on civilians, support for the MISI (military-intelligence-surveillance industry) and other corporate globalist leeches that care nothing about our native country or its citizens.
Originally dubbed in 2010 by the President as ‘comprehensive health reform’ and given the Act’s controversial nature throughout its short legislative life, it should come as no surprise that success of the Act relied on competition between insurance companies [and] has failed abysmally. The Act was never a panacea to provide health care; it was always a vehicle to provide insurance to cover health care costs. Therein lies a big difference between Obamacare and CC.
According to the Kaiser Family Foundation, competition among insurance companies will be completely absent in five states (Alabama, Alaska, Oklahoma, South Carolina and Wyoming).
In what promises to be a futile attempt at a legislative fix, the Democrats have come up with a ‘reinsurance’ scheme to cover insurance industry losses while attempting to cover the cost of individual coverage. The mounting evidence, however, confirms that the politics of statutory resuscitation is formidable, if not impossible.
Apparently no one at the White House realized how many sick Americans there are, how expensive it would be to provide them with insurance coverage and that healthy Americans would prefer to take the risk and pay the penalty rather than pay double digit premium increases and exorbitant deductibles. Who did not see that coming?
Who believed that younger, healthier Americans would jump at the chance to sign up, take on health care debt on top of student loan debt – just to impress the President they had supported in 2008? My faith in the millennial generation is restored knowing they have the smarts to put the numbers together.
Some of those departing big leaguers who are abandoning their health care customers due to lack of profits include Aetna which covered 900,000 people in fifteen states and has announced a cut back to four states and suffered a loss of $300 M; Humana is cutting back its coverage from 1,350 counties to 156; Blue Cross lost $715 M in just three states and the nation’s largest health care insurance company, UnitedHealthGroup lost $450 M in 2015 and is cutting back to three states.
In late July, the Department of Justice filed suit to prevent the Humana – Aetna and the Cigna – Anthem mergers from taking place. By mid August, Aetna and Anthem informed the DOJ that they would totally pull out of Obamacare unless their mergers were approved. Any bets on whether these mergers will go forward after the Presidential election?
To date, 70% of the original Obamacare insurance participants have backed out because of financial problems with only seven of the original twenty three insurance providers still offering policies.
Those insurance companies not exiting the marketplace have announced premiums with a nationwide average increase of 24% that is not affordable for many families and yet many Americans have an urgent need for health care.
With a $600,000 bank balance, CC is up against what looks like a omnipotent wall of opposition not limited to such community-minded organizations as the Sheet Metal Workers Union, the Denver Center for Performing Arts, the Colorado Black Chamber of Commerce and the International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers, all of which chose to publicly oppose the CC rather than remain in the background and thus support their fellow citizens who need reliable, affordable health care.
Meanwhile the main opposition group, Coloradans for Coloradans, which crowed about the Democrats joining the opposition, have collected $1 M from Anthem, $450,000 from UnitedHealthCare Services, Healthone Systems and Centura Health $250,000 each, Cigna Health $100,000, PHRMA $100,000, the Colorado Association of Realtors $100,000 and so forth – you might imagine the rest of the list.
Contributions from some of the very same insurance companies that have either pulled out or are dramatically scaling back their participation is indicative of how corporations can afford to sit and wait – until the Federal government sweetens the pot for their re-entry into the healthcare marketplace.
In addition, the Koch Brothers Americans for Prosperity are partners with the Democrats in pummeling Amendment 69 into the ground. This may be the first time that the Koch Brothers and the Democratic party have officially and publicly lined up on the same issue, excluding campaign contributions.
If the Democrats (along with the medical care/health insurance industrial complex and Koch Bros) succeed in defeating CC, they can expect to take the blame for depriving Colorado citizens of an alternative to Obamacare which will predictably continue its spiral.
If, by some miracle of divine intervention, Colorado voters approve Amendment 69, they are telling the Obama Administration that they have no faith in the President’s Affordable Care Act, no faith in the Federal government to fix it and no faith in the Democratic party to protect the public interest.
Renee Parsons has been a member of the ACLU’s Florida State Board of Directors and president of the ACLU Treasure Coast Chapter. She has been an elected public official in Colorado, an environmental lobbyist and staff member of the US House of Representatives in Washington DC. She can be found on Twitter @reneedove31
Patterns have long since emerged. We know that each illegal war of conquest is prefaced by a Public Relations campaign that demonizes the target country’s leader and its government as it lies about on-the-ground realities. Muammar Gaddafi, for example, was presented to Western media consumers as a lunatic and despot. The Western narratives, however, were contradicted by the fact that he earned broad-based support from Libyans, all of whom enjoyed public services such as free healthcare and schooling, and a high standard of living.
The same demonization campaign is being waged against the hugely popular Dr. Bashar al-Assad, the democratically –elected President of Syria.
Terrorist –embedded propagandists teach us that he is an evil dictator who kills his own people, and that “he must go”; however, credible evidence inverts this logic.
Henry Lowendorf, a member of the Executive Board of the U.S Peace Council’s Peace and Fact-Finding Delegation to Syria — recently returned from Syria — reports, that, “What we saw (in Syria) goes against everything we read in the United States.”
He repudiates the Western media’s demonization campaign against the government of President Assad and the Syrian Arab Army in these words:
“When you go to Syria, which I did last month, the popularity of the government and the Syrian Arab Army is rampant. It’s not out of some dream fantasy. It comes obviously from the government and the army being the only thing between living a secular life on the one hand and the hatred and violence of ISIS and the various other terrorist groups underwritten by the terrorist Saudis and US and their allies on the other. The refugees who don’t leave Syria do not flee to the terrorist side, they flee to the government side, in huge numbers. So would all of us in similar circumstances. Syrians do not want their country turned into Afghanistan, Iraq, Libya, Yemen, Sudan, Somalia, or any of the other countries the US has liberated.”
The reality is an inversion of the propaganda lies fed to Western audiences. In fact, President Assad must stay, for the sake of civilization, and for the sake of destroying Western-backed terrorism. Each time Empire succeeds in destroying another country, the problem of terrorism worsens – as might be expected. The destruction of Libya, for example, set the stage for the attempted destruction of Syria.
Weapons stolen from Libyan armouries, thanks to the invasion, were covertly shipped to Syria – all beneath the radar of the U.S Congress.
A recently declassified Department of Defense document indicates that,
“Weapons from the former Libya military stockpiles were shipped from the Port of Benghazi, Libya, to the Port of Banias and the Port of Borj Islam, Syria”
And none of this is accidental. Sustainable Western open-source documentation demonstrates that the growth of terrorism is willful, and according to Western plans.
The propaganda lies, the false flags, the terrorist-embedded NGOs , and the use of terrorist proxies to criminally destroy one country after another, is not only empowering terrorism world-wide, but it is also leading us to engineered conflict with nuclear-armed countries, in particular, Russia.
Whereas the propaganda lies further the causes of barbarity and ignorance, we need a redirection towards the polar opposite: towards trajectories that support civilization, progress, and the rule of law.
Prof. Chossudovsky explains in “America’s ‘Humanitarian War’ against the World” that
“What is consequently required is a massive redirection of science and technology towards the pursuit of broad societal objectives. In turn, this requires a major shift in what is euphemistically called ‘US Foreign Policy’, namely America’s global military agenda.”
We need to shift from Death Industries of the Military Industrial Complex, to Life Industries that serve, rather than destroy, humanity. We also need a strong anti-war movement based on a broad-based support of the truth, and a broad-based rejection of the “governing” lies.
In December 2001, the Bush administration issued its Nuclear Posture Review (NPR), asserting the preemptive right to unilaterally declare and wage future wars using first strike nuclear weapons. It remains US policy.
Obama campaigned against militarism, promising all US combat troops out of Afghanistan and Iraq if elected. They’re still there and in lots more places deployed during his tenure.
His 2010 National Security Strategy reflected old wine in new bottles – dressed up language, no substantive change, same old dirty business as usual – including pledged first-strike use of nuclear weapons against any adversary, nuclear armed or not.
Obama’s 2015 National Security Strategy followed the same pattern, including what the late Gore Vidal called assuring “perpetual war for perpetual peace.”
Obama stressed it at the time, saying “(w)e will lead through strength… by example… with capable partners, (using) all instruments of US power.”
Adding he’d “(s)triv(e) for a world without nuclear weapons,” he approved a $1 trillion program to upgrade America’s arsenal over the next 30 years – likely meaning double or triple this amount before completed along with probably using these weapons to wage war preemptively against one or more adversaries.
Throughout his tenure, Obama has been the most belligerent US president in history, bombing seven countries posing no threat to America, replacing sovereign democratic states with despotic US client ones, engaging in ruthless practices to undermine others – notably challenging Russia and China confrontationally.
On August 12, the Wall Street Journal ran a story about an Obama “ ’No First Use’ protocol for nuclear weapons” running into flack from some cabinet officials and allies in Europe and Asia.
The report reads like an administration plant to burnish Obama’s deplorable image. After seven-and-a-half years of naked aggression against multiple nonthreatening states, along with a first-strike nuclear posture, can anyone believe he suddenly became less warrior-like.
His scheme seems like a thinly veiled attempt to soften his deplorable legacy. Opposition from John Kerry, War Secretary Ashton Carter and Energy Secretary Ernest Moniz gives him a convenient out to leave policy unchanged.
According to the Journal, “opposition from critical cabinet members and US allies reduces the likelihood of (any) change. (It’s) unlikely in his remaining months, given the controversy it would stir in the midst of a presidential election…”
Maybe an asterisk in his legacy will say he tried even though throughout his tenure, he “t(ook) (no) concrete steps toward a world without nuclear weapons” as he pledged in an April 2009 Prague speech.
Along with Henry Kissinger and Israeli war criminal leaders, no one less deserved Nobel Peace Prize recognition than Obama – a leader committed to waging endless wars with all weapons in America’s arsenal as necessary, including nuclear, chemical and biological ones.
Stephen Lendman can be reached at email@example.com.
His new book as editor and contributor is titled Flashpoint in Ukraine: US Drive for Hegemony Risks WW III.
Although I admit that Donald Trump’s recent remarks that Obama Administration willfully created the Islamic State were a bit facile, it is an irrefutable fact that Obama Administration’s policy of nurturing the Syrian militants against the Assad regime from August 2011 to August 2014 created the ideal circumstances which led to the creation of not just Islamic State but myriads of other Syrian militant groups which are just as fanatical and bloodthirsty as Islamic State.
It should be remembered here that the Libyan and Syrian crises originally began in early 2011 in the wake of the Arab Spring uprisings when peaceful protests against the Qaddafi and Assad regimes turned militant. Moreover, it should also be kept in mind that the withdrawal of US troops from Iraq, which has a highly porous border with Syria, took place in December 2011.
Furthermore, the Democratic presidential nominee, Hillary Clinton, served as the United States’ Secretary of State from January 2009 to February 2013. Thus, for the initial year-and-a-half of the Syrian civil war, Hillary Clinton was serving as the Secretary of the State and the role that she played in toppling the regime in Libya and instigating the insurgency in Syria is not hidden from anybody’s eyes.
Additionally, it is also a known fact that the Clintons have cultivated close ties with the Zionist lobbies in Washington and the American support for the proxy war in Syria is specifically about ensuring Israel’s regional security as I shall explain in the ensuing paragraphs. However, it would be unfair to put the blame for the crisis in Syria squarely on the Democrats; the policy of nurturing militants against the regime has been pursued with bipartisan support. In fact, Senator John McCain, a Republican, played the same role in the Syrian civil war which Charlie Wilson played during the Soviet-Afghan war in the ‘80s. And Ambassador Robert Ford was the point man in the US embassy in Damascus.
More to the point, the US Defense Intelligence Agency’s report  of 2012 that presaged the imminent rise of a Salafist principality in northeastern Syria was not overlooked it was deliberately suppressed; not just the report but that view in general that a civil war in Syria will give birth to the radical Islamists was forcefully stifled in Washington’s policy making circles under pressure from the Zionist lobbies.
The Obama Administration was fully aware of the consequences of its actions in Syria but it kept pursuing the policy of funding, training, arming and internationally legitimizing the so-called “Syrian Opposition” to weaken the Syrian regime and to neutralize the threat that its Lebanon-based proxy, Hezbollah, posed to Israel’s regional security; a fact which the Israeli defense community realized for the first time during the 2006 Lebanon war during the course of which Hezbollah fired hundreds of rockets into northern Israel. Those were only unguided rockets but was it a wake-up call for Israel’s defense community as to what would happen if Iran passed guided missile technology to Hezbollah whose area of operations lies very close to the northern borders of Israel?
Notwithstanding, how can the US claim to fight a militant group which has been an obvious by-product  of US policy in Syria? Let’s settle on one issue first: there were two parties to the Syrian civil war initially, the Syrian regime and the Syrian opposition; which party did the US support since the beginning of the Syrian civil war in early 2011 to June 2014 until Islamic State overran Mosul?
Obviously, the US supported the Syrian opposition; and what was the composition of the so-called “Syrian Opposition?” A small fraction of it was comprised of defected Syrian soldiers, which goes by the name of Free Syria Army, but a vast majority has been Sunni jihadists and armed tribesmen who were generously funded, trained and armed by the alliance of Western powers, Turkey, Jordan and the Gulf States.
Islamic State is nothing more than one of the numerous Syrian jihadist outfits, others being: al Nusra Front, Ahrar al-Sham, al-Tawhid brigade, Jaysh al Islam etc. The US-led war against Islamic State is limited only to Islamic State while all other Sunni Arab jihadist groups are enjoying complete impunity, and the so-called “coalition against Islamic State” also includes the main patrons of Sunni Arab jihadists like Saudi Arabia, UAE, Kuwait, Qatar, Turkey and Jordan.
Regardless, many biased political commentators of the mainstream media deliberately try to muddle reality in order to link the emergence of Islamic State to the ill-conceived invasion of Iraq in 2003 by the Bush Administration. Their motive behind this chicanery is to absolve the Obama Administration’s policy of supporting the Syrian opposition against the Assad regime since the beginning of the Syrian civil war until June 2014 when Islamic State overran Mosul and the Obama Administration made a volte-face on its previous policy of indiscriminate support to the Syrian opposition and declared a war against a faction of Syrian opposition: that is, the Islamic State.
Moreover, such spin-doctors also try to find the roots of Islamic State in al-Qaeda in Iraq; however, the insurgency in Iraq died down after the “surge” of American troops in 2007. Al-Qaeda in Iraq became a defunct organization after the death of Abu Musab al Zarqawi and the subsequent surge of troops in Iraq. The re-eruption of insurgency in Iraq has been the spillover effect of nurturing militants in Syria against the Assad regime when Islamic State overran Fallujah and parts of Ramadi in January 2014 and subsequently captured Mosul in June 2014.
The borders between Syria and Iraq are highly porous and it’s impossible to contain the flow of militants and arms between the two countries. The Obama Administration’s policy of providing money, arms and training to the Syrian militants in the training camps located at the border regions of Turkey and Jordan was bound to backfire sooner or later.
Notwithstanding, in order to simplify the Syrian quagmire for the sake of readers, I would divide it into three separate and distinct zones of influence. Firstly, the northern and northwestern zone along the Syria-Turkey border, in and around Aleppo and Idlib, which is under the influence of Turkey and Qatar. Both of these countries share the ideology of Muslim Brotherhood and they provide money, training and arms to the Sunni Arab jihadist organizations like al-Tawhid Brigade and Ahrar al-Sham in the training camps located at the border regions of Turkey.
Secondly, the southern zone of influence along the Syria-Jordan border, in Daraa and Quneitra and as far away as Homs and Damascus. It is controlled by the Saudi-Jordanian camp and they provide money, weapons and training to the Salafist militant groups such as al-Nusra Front and the Southern Front of the so-called “moderate” Free Syria Army in Daraa and Quneitra, and Jaysh al-Islam in the suburbs of Damascus. Their military strategy is directed by a Military Operations Center (MOC) and training camps  located in the border regions of Jordan. Here let me clarify that this distinction is quite overlapping and heuristic at best, because al-Nusra’s jihadists have taken part in battles as far away as Idlib and Aleppo.
And finally, the eastern zone of influence along the Syria-Iraq border, in al-Raqqa and Deir al-Zor, which has been controlled by a relatively maverick Iraq-based jihadist outfit, the Islamic State. Thus, leaving the Mediterranean coast and Syria’s border with Lebanon, the Baathist and Shi’a-dominated Syrian regime has been surrounded from all three sides by the hostile Sunni forces: Turkey and Muslim Brotherhood in the north, Jordan and the Salafists of the Gulf Arab States in the south and the Sunni Arab-majority regions of Mosul and Anbar in Iraq in the east.
US officials are considering new economic sanctions against Russia over the DNC email leak released by WikiLeaks, the Wall Street Journal reports, citing sources familiar with the situation.
Officials have not so far, however, reached common ground on how exactly to impose sanctions, the WSJ reports.
Adopting more anti-Russian economic sanctions would mean delivering public accusations against Moscow or exposing links of the alleged hackers to Russia.
The White House has so far not commented, although the FBI and intelligence agencies investigating the cyberattack have “signaled” that the attack was “almost certainly” carried out by “Russian-affiliated hackers,” according to the WSJ.
The breach of the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee, already compared to the Watergate scandal, is far from reaching its peak, as WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange has dropped a broad hint he has much more material to potentially publish.
Speaking in Washington DC on Thursday, House Democratic Leader Nancy Pelosi said she does not know exactly how the notorious DNC leak was possible, but that there could be no mistake about its initiator.
“I know for sure it is the Russians,” Pelosi told reporters, adding “we are assessing the damage.”
“This is an electronic Watergate… The Russians broke in. Who did they give the information to? I don’t know. Who dumped it? I don’t know,” she said, as quoted by the WSJ.
The Democrats are now urging the Obama administration to take decisive action.
“When the administration believes it has sufficient evidence of attribution, it will make that attribution public as well as consider any other steps necessary,” said Adam Schiff, the top Democrat on the House Intelligence Committee.
During President Barack Obama’s two terms in office, relations between Moscow and Washington have dropped to lows similar to those seen in the years of the Cold War.
Washington has already imposed a wide range of sanctions against Russian politicians and state companies following the reunification of Crimea with Russia, and accuses Moscow of being involved in the civil war in Ukraine.
Moscow has consistently denied allegations about its possible role in the hacking of US Democratic Party emails published by WikiLeaks.
“We are again seeing these maniacal attempts to exploit the Russian theme in the US election campaign,” Russian presidential spokesman Dmitry Peskov said.
Last year, President Obama signed an executive order that facilitates imposing sanctions against any country endangering US national security through cyberattacks.
“Our tools now include an executive order authorizing sanctions against those that engage in significant malicious cyber activities, such as harming our nation’s critical infrastructure – our transportation systems or power grid,” White House counterterrorism adviser Lisa Monaco said last month.
“Nations like Russia and China are growing more assertive and sophisticated in their cyber operations,” the US counterterrorism adviser claimed, before mentioning cyber threats from “non-state actors,” including Islamic State (IS, formerly ISIS/ISIL).
There is the view in the US that the DNC breach is a tit-for-tat payback operation.
“They believe we are trying to influence political developments in Russia, trying to effect change, and so their natural response is to retaliate and do unto us as they think we’ve done unto them,” the director of US national intelligence, James Clapper, said last month, without making specific statements about the alleged Russian role in the DNC breach.
Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton seems to have no doubts whatsoever about the Russian involvement in the leaks.
“Russian intelligence services, which are part of the Russian government, which is under the firm control of Vladimir Putin, hacked into the DNC and we know that they arranged for a lot of those emails to be released…,” Clinton told Fox News earlier this week.
Photo by Ali Tweel on Flickr. Original: https://flic.kr/p/HWGom3
While it is impossible to know all the dirty deeds of America’s sprawling global empire, news that US ground forces are now fighting in Libya means that US troops are involved in at least four active wars:
Afghanistan: A planned draw-down of troops in 2015 was curtailed by President Obama to leave more troops for combat and advisory missions. This week, US forces were forced to abandon military equipment that then fell into the hands of ISIS.
Iraq: After a removal of major combat forces in 2011, Iraq has become a battleground once again. President Obama has sent roughly 4,600 troops in for combat and advisory roles and built a new base in northern Iraq called “Firebase Bell.”
Syria: Though the US had been supporting Syrian rebel groups, including jihadists, since 2013, US troops have entered the fighting in the country. In January of this year, US special forces took control of a military base in northern Syria.
Libya: In 2011, the US assisted in the overthrow of the Gaddafi government in Libya. In the aftermath, Libya has fallen into total chaos, making it ripe for ISIS to establish a significant presence. Now, according to the Pentagon, US forces are fighting on the ground to drive ISIS out.
This excludes all of the off-the-books special operations in over 100 countries, and the major role the US is playing in supplying weapons for Saudi Arabia’s war on Yemen. Among those weapons are controversial cluster bombs, which are banned by many countries for their impact on civilians.
Preceding the Yemen civil war, the US had an active drone assassination program in the country, which included the targeted killing of American citizens. The drone assassination program continues throughout the greater Middle East.
According to the Obama Administration, these military operations are legally justified by the 2001 Authorization for Use of Military Force [PDF], which stated “the President is authorized to use all necessary and appropriate force against those nations, organizations, or persons he determines planned, authorized, committed, or aided the terrorist attacks that occurred on September 11, 2001, or harbored such organizations or persons, in order to prevent any future acts of international terrorism against the United States by such nations, organizations or persons.”
The bland, vague language apparently justifies any war in any part of the world. So, maybe the US will soon have troops in five active wars. Hell, make it six.
The Pentagon Money Pit: $6.5 Trillion in Unaccountable Army Spending, and No DOD Audit for the Past Two Decades
What if the inspector general of the Department of Health and Human Services were to report that $6.5 billion in spending by that federal agency was unaccounted for and untraceable? You can imagine the headlines, right? What if it was $65 billion? The headlines would be as big as for the first moon landing or for troops landing on Omaha Beach in World War II.
But how about a report by the Pentagon’s Office of Inspector General saying that the US Army had $6.5 trillion in unaccountable expenditures for which there is simply no paper trail? That is 6,500 billion dollars! Have you heard about that? Probably not. That damning report was issued back on July 26 — two whole weeks ago — but as of today it has not even been reported anywhere in the corporate media.
It’s not that it’s secret information, or hard to come by. The report is available online at the Department of Defense’s OIG website. And as it states:
The Office of the Assistant Secretary of the Army (Financial Management & Comptroller) (OASA[FM&C]) and the Defense Finance and Accounting Service Indianapolis (DFAS Indianapolis) did not adequately support $2.8 trillion in third quarter journal voucher (JV) adjustments and $6.5 trillion in yearend JV adjustments made to AGF data during FY 2015 financial statement compilation.2 The unsupported JV adjustments occurred because OASA(FM&C) and DFAS Indianapolis did not prioritize correcting the system deficiencies that caused errors resulting in JV adjustments, and did not provide sufficient guidance for supporting system‑generated adjustments.
In addition, DFAS Indianapolis did not document or support why the Defense Departmental Reporting System‑Budgetary (DDRS-B), a budgetary reporting system, removed at least 16,513 of 1.3 million records during third quarter FY 2015. This occurred because DFAS Indianapolis did not have detailed documentation describing the DDRS-B import process or have accurate or complete system reports.
As a result, the data used to prepare the FY 2015 AGF third quarter and yearend financial statements were unreliable and lacked an adequate audit trail. Furthermore, DoD and Army managers could not rely on the data in their accounting systems when making management and resource decisions.
This dense bureaucrateze doesn’t mean that $6.5 trillion has been stolen, or that this is money in addition to the $600 billion that the Pentagon spent in fiscal 2015. It means that for years — and $6.5 trillion represents at about 15 years’ worth of US military spending — the Department of Defense (sic) has not been tracking or recording or auditing all of the taxpayer money allocated by Congress — what it was spent on, how well it was spent, or where the money actually ended up. There are enough opportunities here for corruption, bribery, secret funding of “black ops” and illegal activities, and of course for simple waste to march a very large army, navy and air force through. And by the way, things aren’t any better at the Navy, Air Force and Marines.
Incredibly, no mainstream reporter or editor in the US has seen this as a story worth reporting to the American public.
Just to give a sense of the scale of this outrage, consider that total federal discretionary spending in FY 2015 was just over $1.1 trillion. That includes everything from education ($70 billion), housing and community development ($63 billion), Medicare and health ($66 billion), veterans’ benefits ($65 billion), energy ($39 billion), transportation ($26 billion) and international affairs ($41 billion), and of course that $600 billion for the military.
All the other agencies that are responsible for those other outlays, like the Dept. of Education, the Dept. of Veterans Affairs, the Dept. of Housing and Urban Development, etc., have been required by Congress since 1996 to file reports on annual audits of their budgets. The Pentagon was subject to that same act of Congress too, but for 20 years and running it has failed to do so. It has simply stonewalled, and so far has gotten away with it.
Nobody in Congress seems to care about this contempt of Congress. Neither of the two mainstream political candidates for president, Republican Donald Trump nor Democrat Hillary Clinton, seems to care either. Neither one has mentioned this epic scandal.
According to the OIG’s report, this problem actually goes back a generation, to 1991, five years before Congress even passed the law requiring all federal agencies to operate using federal accounting standards and to conduct annual audits, when the Government Accountability Office found “unsupported adjustments” were being made to the military’s financial statements during an audit of FY 1991 Army financial statements. Fully 17 years later, the Army, in its FY 2008 statement of Assurance on Internal Controls, said that the “weakness” found in 1991 “would be corrected by the end of FY 2011,” an outrageous decade later. But the OIG report goes on to say:
However, the FY 2015 Statement of Assurance on Internal Controls indicated this material weakness remained uncorrected and may not be corrected until third quarter 2017.
Such a lackadaisical attitude on the part of the Pentagon, Congress and the media towards such a massive accounting failure involving trillions of dollars is simply mind-boggling, and yet there is nobody in Congress jumping up and down in the well of the House or or at Armed Services Committee hearings demanding answers and heads. No president or presidential candidate is denouncing this atrocity.
Aside from the political question of how much the US should actually be spending on the military — and clearly, spending almost as much as the rest of the world combined on war and war preparedness is not justifiable — how can anyone, of any political persuasion, accept the idea of spending such staggering sums of money without insisting on any accountability?
Consider that politicians of both major political parties are demanding accountability for every penny spent on welfare, including demanding that recipients of welfare prove that they are trying to find work. Ditto for people receiving unemployment compensation. Consider the amount of money and time spent on testing students in public schools in a vain effort to make teachers accountable for student “performance.” And yet the military doesn’t have to account for any of its trillions of dollars of spending on manpower and weapons — even though Congress fully a generation ago passed a law requiring such accountability.
Phone and email requests to the DOD press office for the Office of Inspector General asking for comment went unanswered.
Mandy Smithberger, director of the Straus Military Reform Project at the Project on Government Oversight (POGO), says, “Accounting at the Department of Defense is a disaster, but nobody is screaming about it because you have a lot of people in Congress who believe in more military spending, so they don’t really challenge military spending.” She adds, “You won’t see anything change unless Congress cuts the Pentagon budget in order to get results, and they’re not going to do that.”
She might have added that the reporters and editors and publishers of the corporate media also support military spending, so the media are not reporting on this scandal either, meaning that the public remains in the dark and unconcerned about it. Sure, the media will report on a $600 air force toilet seat and the public will be appropriately outraged, but there is no word about an untraceable $6.5 trillion in Army spending and no public outrage… except perhaps among those who read alternative publications like this one.
Enough! I don’t want to hear another complaint about government spending on welfare, education, environment, health care subsidies, immigrant benefits or whatever, until the Pentagon has to report on, account for and audit every dollar that it is spending on war.
No more free ride for the military.
With the battle for Aleppo raging in Syria, another crucial battle in the east of the Greater Middle East, in Afghanistan, is being joined, the outcome of which is going to be no less fateful. The Associated Press flashed the news today that the key southern Afghan city of Lashkar Gah, capital of Helmand province, has been “completely surrounded” by the Taliban and the government forces are regrouping for a last-ditch defence.
The head of the Helmand provincial council estimates that the Taliban may capture Lashkar Gah within days. (UPI )
The development comes as a huge embarrassment for the Barack Obama administration. The entire mythology built around the famous “surge” ordered by President Obama in 2010 and the massive campaign in the Hindu Kush led by the general with the Roman nose, David Petraeus, with over 100,000 American troops under his command, is unravelling.
The “surge” was mostly concentrated on Helmand and Kandahar provinces. Rajiv Chandrasekharan of the Washington Post who covered the war in Helmand and Kandahar wrote a beautiful book on it, Little America, which is a brilliant recount of the political foibles and ambitious goals set by feckless Americans and about the Hobbesian world in which the “surge” slithered its way like a serpent through the great poppy fields, across irrigation canals and culverts and beyond the mud walls into the orchards of pomegranates, grapes and sweet melons into the seamless desert plateau with rocky outcrops — creating Potemkin progress but in reality letting loose a tidal wave of corruption and venality and mindless horrific violence and destruction. (Guardian )
The big question today for Obama, therefore, is: Just what was the point? Yet, he’s decided to abandon his 2008 election pledge and bow to the military commanders’ wish once again to keep troop levels at a threshold that would give the option for his successor in the White House to order a second “surge”, which is, in fact, what Gen. Petraeus has demanded in a recent opinion piece. (Wall Street Journal )
Without doubt, the capture of Helmand province will be a turning point in the Afghan war. Several factors come into play. First and foremost, the Taliban will have made a big point underscoring their capability – how quick they have been able to take advantage of the withdrawal of the thousands of British and American soldiers as recently as in 2014. The message will resonate all across the mountains and valleys of Afghanistan.
In “operational” terms, Taliban have made a slow, steady pincer movement lasting months, closing in from the north and south toward Lashkar Gah, exposing the poor leadership of the Afghan army and police. On their part, Taliban demonstrated tenacity, organizational skill and access to resources.
Helmand is the biggest single centre of opium production in Afghanistan. Taliban are set to get a sizeable share of the drug business, which has always been a major source of funding for the insurgency. Beyond its opium economy, Helmand is strategically located – bordering Pakistan’s Baluchistan province and close to the Iranian border, which provide good exit routes to escape in an emergency – or, alternatively, to bring in reinforcements – as well as supply lines to other regions of Afghanistan.
Suffice it to say, Helmand has the potential to become Taliban’s core territory where the ‘Quetta Shura’ could be ‘headquartered’, which could become a ‘provisional government’ on Afghan soil at some point.
The Afghan army faces an uphill task to retrieve control of Helmand, which is dominated by the Ishaqzai tribe. The Ishqzais have been virulently ‘anti-American’ all along. Besides, the Taliban can also cash in now on their sympathy, since Mullah Akhtar Mansour whom the Americans killed in a drone strike in April also happened to be an Ishaqzai. There is a blood feud the Ishaqzais have to settle with Obama.
Helmand is Afghanistan’s largest province; it is twice the size of Belgium and 16 times bigger than Panjshir. It is a fertile region with a developed irrigation system. The famous marble mines of Khanashin become another source of financing for the Taliban. Helmand is on the highway connecting the western regions (Herat, Farah, Nimroz, etc.) with the southern provinces (Kandahar, Ghazni, Khost, etc.) and with Kabul. If the Taliban gain control of Helmand province, they can dominate vital communication links.
However, the full gravity of the emergent politico-military situation in Afghanistan will not sink in unless the crisis of legitimacy facing the so-called National Unity Government in Kabul is also understood. The point is, the NUG has no mandate to rule beyond September unless a Loya Jirga is convened. No one other than former president Hamid Karzai has pointed this out.
Now, about half the members of a legally-constituted Loya Jirga would be the chairs of district council. But elections to the district councils cannot be held in the prevailing security situation with the government steadily conceding territory to the Taliban. The alternative will be to convene a ‘traditional’ Loya Jirga comprising tribal elders chosen at random. But then, who holds the authority to convene a ‘traditional’ Loya Jirga that could in turn constitute an interim government?
Meanwhile, tension is also growing within the NUG between the factions led by the president and the chief executive officer. Over and above hangs the dangerous question, which no one wants to think about, as to how long will the army remain intact regardless of political crises.
All in all, the fall of Helmand to the Taliban can only deepen the crisis of legitimacy haunting the Afghan government. Read a recent report by the veteran Afghan hand Barnett Rubin – THE U.S. PRESENCE AND AFGHANISTAN’S NATIONAL UNITY GOVERNMENT: PRESERVING AND BROADENING THE POLITICAL SETTLEMENT
Many of our interlocutors have been purged or arrested.
James Clapper, US Director of Intelligence on Turkish Coup, Financial Times, 8/3/16, p. 4
Washington has organized a systematic, global, no holds barred campaign to oust Republican Presidential candidate Donald Trump from the electoral process. The virulent anti-Trump animus, the methods, goals and mass media resemble authoritarian regimes preparing to overthrow political adversaries.
Comparable propaganda efforts led to political coups in Chile in 1973, Brazil 1964, and Venezuela in 2002. The anti-Trump forces include both political parties, a Supreme Court judge, Wall Street bankers, journalists and editorialists of all the major media outlets and the leading military and intelligence spokespeople.
Washington’s forcible and illegal ouster of Trump is part and parcel of a world-wide campaign to overthrow leaders and regimes which raise questions about aspects of the imperial policies of the US and EU.
We will proceed to analyze the politics of the anti-Trump elite, the points of confrontation and propaganda, as a prelude to the drive to oust opposition in Latin America, Europe, the Middle East and Asia.
The Anti-Trump Coup
Never in the history of the United States, has a President and Supreme Court Judge openly advocated the overthrow of a Presidential candidate. Never has the entire mass media engaged in a round-the-clock one-sided, propaganda war to discredit a Presidential candidate by systematically ignoring or distorting the central socio-economic issues of their opposition.
The call for the ouster of a freely elected candidate is nothing more or less than a coup d’état.
Leading television networks and columnists demand that the elections be annulled, following the lead of the President and prominent Republican and Democratic Congressional and Party leaders.
In other words, the political elite openly rejects democratic electoral processes in favor of authoritarian manipulation and deception. The authoritarian elite relies on magnifying tertiary, questionable personal judgement calls to mobilize coup backers.
They systematically avoid the core economic and political issues which candidate Trump has raised – and attracted mass support – which challenge fundamental policies backed by the two Party elites.
The Roots of the Anti-Trump Coup
Trump has raised several key issues which challenge the Democratic and Republican elite.
Trump has drawn mass support and won elections and public opinion polls by:
(1) rejecting the free trade agreements which has led major multinationals to relocate abroad and disinvest in well-paying industrial jobs in the US.
(2) calling for large scale public investment projects to rebuild the US industrial economy, challenging the primacy of financial capital.
(3) opposing the revival of a Cold War with Russia and China and promoting greater economic co-operation and negotiations.
(4) rejecting US support for NATO’s military build-up in Europe and intervention in Syria, North Africa and Afghanistan.
(5) questioning the importation of immigrant labor which lowers job opportunities and wages for local citizens.
The anti-Trump elite systematically avoid debating these issues; instead they distort the substance of the policies.
Instead of discussing the job benefits which will result from ending sanctions with Russia, the coupsters screech that ‘Trump supports Putin, the terrorist’.
Instead of discussing the need to redirect investment inward to create US jobs, the anti-Trump junta mouth clichés that claim his critique of globalization would ‘undermine’ the US economy.
To denigrate Trump, the Clinton/Obama junta resorts to political scandals to cover-up mass political crimes. To distract public attention, Clinton-Obama falsely claim that Trump is a ‘racist’, backed by David Duke, a racist advocate of “Islamophobia”. The anti-Trump junta promoted the US-Pakistani parents of a military war casualty as victims of Trump’s slanders even as they rooted for Hillary Clinton, promotor of wars against Muslim countries and author of military policies that sent thousands of US soldiers to their grave.
Obama and Clinton are the imperial racists who bombed Libya and Somalia and killed, wounded, and displaced over 2 million sub-Saharan Black-Africans.
Obama and Clinton are the Islamaphobes who bombed and killed and evicted five million Muslims in Syria and one million Muslims in Yemen, Afghanistan, Pakistan and Iraq.
In other words, Trump’s mistaken policy to restrict Muslim immigration is a reaction to the hatred and hostility engendered by the Obama-Clinton million-person Muslim genocide.
Trump’s “America First” policy is a rejection of overseas imperial wars – seven wars under Obama-Clinton. Their militarist policies have inflated budget deficits and degraded US living standards.
Trump’s criticism of capital and job flight has threatened Wall Street’s billion-dollar profiteering – the most important reason behind the bi-partisan junta’s effort to oust Trump and the working class’s support for Trump.
By not following the bi-partisan Wall Street, war agenda, Trump has outlined another business agenda which is incompatible with the current structure of capitalism. In other words, the US authoritarian elite does not tolerate the democratic rules of the game even when the opposition accepts the capitalist system.
Likewise, Washington’s quest for ‘mono-power’ extends across the globe. Capitalist governments which decide to pursue independent foreign policies are targeted for coups.
Obama-Clinton’s Junta Runs Amok
Washington’s proposed coup against Trump follows similar policies directed against political leaders in Russia, Turkey, China, Venezuela, Brazil, and Syria.
Russian President Putin has been demonized by the US propaganda media on an hourly basis for the better part of a decade. The US has backed oligarchs and promoted economic sanctions; financed a coup in the Ukraine; established nuclear missiles on Russia’s frontier; and launched an arms race to undermine President Putin’s economic policies in order to provoke a coup.
The US backed its proxy Gulenist ‘invisible government’ in its failed coup to oust President Erdogan, for failing to totally embrace the US Middle East agenda.
Likewise, Obama-Clinton have backed successful coups in Latin America. Coups were orchestrated in Honduras, Paraguay, and more recently in Brazil to undermine independent Presidents and to secure satellite neo-liberal regimes. Washington presses forward to forcibly oust the national-populist government of President Maduro in Venezuela.
Washington has escalated efforts to erode, undermine and overthrow the government of China’s President Xi-Jinping through several combined strategies. A military build-up of an air and sea armada in the South China Sea and military bases in Japan, Australia, and the Philippines; separatist agitation in Hong Kong, Taiwan, and among the Uyghurs; a US-Latin American-Asia free trade agreement which excludes China.
Washington’s strategy of illegal, violent coups to retain the delusion of empire stretches across the globe, ranging from Trump in the US to Putin in Russia, from Erdogan in Turkey to Maduro in Venezuela to Xi Jinping in China.
The conflict is between US-EU imperialism backed by their local clients against endogenous regimes rooted in nationalist alliances.
The struggle is ongoing and sustained and threatens to undermine the political and social fabric of the US and the European Union.
The top priority for the US Empire is to undermine and destroy Trump by any means necessary. Trump already has raised the question of ‘rigged elections’. But each elite media attack of Trump seems to add to and strengthen his mass support and polarize the electorate.
As the elections approach, will the elite confine themselves to verbal hysteria or will they turn from verbal assassinations to the ‘other kind’?
Obama’s global coup strategy shows mixed results: they succeeded in Brazil but were defeated in Turkey; they seized power in the Ukraine but were defeated in Russia; they gained propaganda allies in Hong Kong and Taiwan but suffered severe strategic economic defeats in the region as China’s Asian trade policies advanced.
As the US elections approach, and Obama’s pursuit of his imperial legacy collapses, we can expect greater deception and manipulation and perhaps even frequent resort to elite-designed ‘terrorist’ assassinations.
In a much-awaited step toward uncovering the historical truth of the U.S.-backed Dirty War in Argentina in the 1970’s and 80’s, the United States has delivered over 1,000 pages of classified documents to the South American country. But critics argue that there are major gaps in the files, including the exclusion of CIA documents, that keep in the dark important details of the extent of human rights violations and the U.S. role in such abuses.
The Argentine government delivered the newly-declassified documents to journalists and human rights organizations on Monday after U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry presented the files to President Mauricio Macri during a state visit last week.
The 1,078 pages from 14 U.S. government agencies and departments are the first in a series of public releases over the next 18 months of declassified documents related to Argentina’s last military dictatorship, including Argentine Country Files, White House staff files, correspondence cables, and other archives, according to a statement from the U.S. Office of the Director of National Intelligence.
The files include grisly descriptions of torture, rape, assassinations, and forced disappearances carried out by the military regime under General Jorge Rafael Videla, installed after the 1976 coup against left-wing President Isabel Peron.
The documents also detail Henry Kissinger’s applause of the Argentine dictatorship and its counterinsurgency strategy, including during a visit to General Videla during the 1978 World Cup. National Security staffer Robert Pastor wrote in 1978 that Kissinger’s “praise for the Argentine government in its campaign against terrorism was the music the Argentine government was longing to hear.”
Argentina’s so-called anti-terrorism policy was in reality a brutal crackdown on political dissidents, human rights defenders, academics, church leaders, students, and other opponents of the right-wing regime. It was also part of the regional U.S.-backed Operation Condor, a state terror operation that carried out assassinations and disappearances in support of South America’s right-wing dictatorships. In Argentina, up to 30,000 people were forcibly disappeared during the Dirty War.
The documents also detail how then-U.S. President Jimmy Carter raised concern over the human rights situation in Argentina, including in a letter to General Videla rather gently urging him to make progress with respect to human rights. At the time, Kissinger reportedly demonstrates a “desire to speak out against the Carter Administration’s human rights policy to Latin America,” according to a memo by National Security’s Pastor.
The further confirmation of Kissinger’s atrocious legacy in Latin America comes as U.S. presidential hopeful Hillary Clinton courts an endorsement from Kissinger, widely condemned as a war criminal by human rights groups.
However, despite the revealing details, the batch of documents is also lacking in key archives, the Argentine publication El Destape pointed out. The package does not include files from the CIA or the Defense Intelligence Agency, which specializes in military intelligence.
What’s more, although the documents were expected to cover the period of 1977 to 1982, the latest documents are dated 1981, which means that cables related to the 1982 Malvinas War between Argentina and Britain and the U.S. role in the conflict are not included.
The Macri administration hailed the release of the documents as the result of a “new foreign policy” that has steered the country to rekindle ties with the United States after former Presidents Nestor Kirchner and Cristina Fernandez championed anti-imperialist politics for 12 years. But the self-congratulatory government narrative ignores the fact that Argentine human rights organizations have demanded for years that the archives be released in a fight for historical truth that first bore fruit in 2002 with the release of over 4,500 U.S. documents.
Furthermore, Macri has come under fire for undermining investigations into dictatorship-era crimes after his sweeping austerity campaign scrapped departments charged with gathering historical evidence in certain public institutions. The Argentine president has also been criticized over his indirect ties to the military regime, which proved to hugely benefit his family business, the Macri Society, also known as Socma.
U.S. President Obama described the move as a response to the U.S. “responsibility to confront the past with honesty and transparency.” Obama announced plans to release documents related to the Dirty War during a visit with Macri in Argentina in March, which coincided with the 40th anniversary of the 1976 military coup.
Obama’s visit was widely criticized by human rights activists over the insensitivity of the timing. Although he announced plans for the United States to “do its part” with respect to uncovering historical truth about the dictatorship period, he did not apologize for the United States’ involvement in human rights abuses and widespread forced disappearance.