Archive for January, 2019

They Finally Got Roger Stone!

Posted in On Donald Trump, Playthell on politics with tags , , on January 28, 2019 by playthell

The Master of Dirty Tricks Politics

Will Trump’s Ace Boon Coon Squeal?

Standing before the microphones in a short sleeve sports shirt Roger Stone, who had just stepped out of the Federal Courthouse in Fort Lauderdale Florida, took questions from the press about the seven count indictment that he had just been charged with and calmly pleaded his innocence – while a chorus of boisterous voices shouted “LOCK HIM UP! He seemed unusually relaxed for a man who had to put up a couple of hundred thousand bucks in order to walk out of the court house, where he had been dragged in shackles like a low life crook only a couple of hours before.

In fact, Roger seemed stone cold for a man whose plush home had just been raided by a heavily armed FBI SWAT team. Given Stone’s close and long standing friendship President Trump – 40 years and counting- a relationship he gleefully acknowledged in his response to the press, one wonders if his breezy confidence that he will escape any punishment for the crimes of which he is accused stems from the assurance that he will be pardoned if he stands strong and don’t “rat” Fat Donnie out.

Roger was tutored in the myriad deceptions and treacheries practiced by the churls and scoundrels that pollute the the practice of law and politics by Roy Cohn, the ruthless New York lawyer and political operator that served as legal counsel to Senator Joseph McCarthy, chairman of the committee that conducted the notorious anti-communist witch hunt during the “Red Scare” mass hysteria of the 1950’s. A basic tactic of Cohn’s is to never admit error or culpability and attack your adversaries relentlessly.

We can clearly see this tactic being employed by Roger in his response to the Federal indictment against him; we also see this strategy at work in the tactics of Donald Trump when dealing with media critics and political opponents. This is because Cohn was also a major influence on Trump – who is still searching for Kohn’s replacement and in desperation has misplaced his faith in Rudy Giuliani alas – and Trump is Stone’s creation as a political actor. We can witness Trump’s metamorphosis from media savvy real estate huckster to President of the US in the deeply revealing documentary film “Get Roger Stone.” We also learn that Stone is a malicious maestro at conducting dirty political tricks.

We are shown how his career as a big-time political operative began with his work during the Nixon campaign, when he was a student activists at George Washington University. And Stone’s reverence for Nixon is verified by the tattoo of Nixon he wears on his back. Paul Manafort, the former Trump Campaign Chairman and longtime business partners with Stone, says Stone’s influence on Trump has been so thorough that they think and act alike. Their actions are so in sync it is difficult to separate the actions of one from the other Manafort declares.

That is a frightening thought, because the portrait of Roger stone that emerges from “Get Roger Stone” is of a cynical amoral cretin who adores the exercise of power, and privileges winning over morality or fair play. I remember thinking at the conclusion of the film that Roger Stone was the most amoral, corrupt, avaricious, vicious, malicious, person I had ever witnessed up close. The client list for the lobbying firm run by Stone and Manafort alone – Congo cleptocrat Mobutu Sese Seko, Philiphine strong man Marcos, and a mobbed up real estate mogul Donald J. Trump for instance – would condemn them as point men for the devil.

Yikes! if Trump is Stone’s psychological clone we are in deep trouble I thought after viewing the film. To get an idea of crimes the US president may have conspired with Stone to commit, we need only consult the extensive indictment of Stone by the Mueller Grand Jury. And this is widely believed to be only some of the charges the Special Prosecutor’s Office is prepared to bring.

The carefully detailed 24 page indictment charges Stone with I count of obstruction of justice; 5 counts of making false statements to Congress; and I count of witness tampering. These are all felonious offenses that can send Mr. Stone to jail for the rest of his life if found guilty on all counts. The five counts for false statements in violation of Title 18, United States Code, Sections 1001(a)(2) and 2. carries a maximum sentence of 25 years. The Obstruction of Justice violation under Title18, United States Code, Sections 1505 and 2. carries a max sentence of 5 years. And Witness Tampering -Title 18, United States Code, Section 1512(b)(1). carries a max of 10 years.

Hence Roger Stone is facing a possible forty year incarceration in Federal Prison, which means that he would be 106 years old if he served all of his time! This is why Stone’s apparent nonchalance in the face of these charges are so puzzling and has many seasoned legal eagles and political pundits speculating that Stone is angling for a presidential pardon from his corrupt long time homie: The wannabe mob boss befouling the White House.

As I write, several days after Stone’s arrest in Florida, he was intensifying his attack on the legitimacy of the Mueller Investigation when he arrived in Washington for arraignment– a tactic right out of Roy Cohn’s playbook – while seeming to get a bit wobbly on whether he is willing to cooperate with the Special Prosecutor. Wise and devious old fox that he is, suspicions are rampart that Stone is messaging Trump through the mass media, letting him know that he is willing to button his lips and remain true to the mob code of Omerta, so long as Fat Donnie is willing to come to his rescue with a Pardon. We shall watch his moves with careful interests and will comment on them as developments warrant.

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See: 
Amy Goodman on the Documentary about the relationship of Roy Cohn, Stone and Trump
https://www.democracynow.org/2019/1/28/wheres_my_roy_cohn_film_explores
Playthell G. Benjamin
Harlem, New York
January 28, 2016

Air Traffic Controllers Can End Shutdown

Posted in On Donald Trump, Playthell on politics with tags , , on January 24, 2019 by playthell

Guiding Aircraft Safely Through America’s Skies

Walkout, Shutdown Air Traffic, Invoke 13th Amendment!

“Neither slavery nor involuntary servitude,
except as a punishment for crime whereof the party shall have been duly convicted,
shall exist within the United States, or any place subject to their jurisdiction.”

As I write, the government of the United States is paralyzed due to the erratic, reckless, dangerous behavior of Donald Trump; the mobbed up real estate mogul and Moscow Candidate who accidentally became the American president with heaps of help from his shady Russian friends. Trump’s actions are leading many Americans to openly call him “a traitor!”

An increasing number of Americans are saying this in the comment section below the You Tube video’s of news reports on Trump. When I am questioned about the claim that Trump is being controlled by Putin, who they believe is threatening to release the pee pee tapes of Russian whores partying with Trump in Moscow to wiki-leaks, I tell them it doesn’t matter because Trump is behaving like Putin’s pussy hence it becomes a distinction without a difference. If Trump were Putin’s Puppet, carrying out Putin’s policy objectives, what would he do?

Well, he would foment chaos in American society by instigating conflict between different groups of American citizens; use his bully pulpit to undermine the basis institutions upon which our democratic society functions; cripple the ability of the national government to carry out vital functions on every possible occasion, screw up government business, promote the break up of the European Community, and render the NATO alliance impotent. As I write Donald Trump is guilty of all these things.

At this very moment, a member of the FBI Agent’s Association is bitterly complaining, lamenting the fact the government shutdown is beginning to seriously prevent them from carrying out their duties defending this nation from terrorists attacks! Hence the suspicions of some longtime intelligence experts such as the former spy and bestselling author Malcolm Nance, that believe  Devious Donald is being “handled” by the KGB Colonel who presently rules Russia, is not without merit.

Alas, I have long argued that the Republicans – Grand Obstructionist Party – cannot govern. The evidence for this claim is everywhere; it’s omnipresent. This was not always so, but it has been increasingly the case since the presidency of Dwight Eisenhower during the 1950’s. Although some observers will correctly point out that the Republicans were also in power 90 years ago in 1929, when their policies led to the Wall Street crash that initiated the Great Depression which threatened the collapse of the international capitalist system. And despite the fact that scandals, racism, war and incompetence in economic matters have marked Republican governments over the past half century, this Republican Administration is well on the way to becoming the worst ever.

At present Trump has driven the ship of state onto the rocks by shutting down the government, and there is no change of course in sight. Having lived a life of wealth and privilege, Trump cannot relate to the millions of working class Americans whose lively hood he has taken away in a mindless temper tantrum brought on by his failure to persuade Congress to give him five billion dollars to build his vanity wall down on the Mexican border. Trump’s behavior exhibits all the symptom’s of the mental illness he has been diagnosed with by the 70, 000 psychiatrists and psychologists in the “Duty to Warn” group: “Malignant Narcissism and Paranoia.”

This being the case the workers cannot hope for a speedy conclusion to this crisis which the President has inflicted upon the nation, perhaps upon orders from Putin, because one of the symptoms of his illness is an inability to feel empathy for the troubles of others. Hence the workers must take matters into their own hands and by their collective actions force Trump to reopen the government.

Government Workers Assemble in Washington

Dastardly Donnie’s Victims Fighting Back!

In this effort, the group of workers best equipped to force Trump’s hands are the Air Traffic Controllers and TSA agents, who can bring all air traffic in the USA to a halt! Trump has been able to get away with his outrageous, inhumane, actions because most Americans have not been affected by it. Only the stalwart government workers that make our country run have suffered the slings and arrows of Dastardly Don’s scurrilous tactics. To put the matter succinctly, these workers should walk off the job! Those who oppose this course of action are quick to point out that it is illegal for these workers to strike because of their vital role in the American system.

I would argue that these workers are no longer bound by that contract because the government has violated their end of it. Aside from the fact that the government has violated the Labor Relations Act, by forcing Americas to work without pay for a month they are also in violation of the 13th Amendment. As is clear from the epigraph above, “Involuntary labor” is expressly forbidden in the Constitution.

The clarity of this Amendment speaks to it’s origin, which was in the aftermath of the Civil War when slavery had been abolished by executive order but the former slave masters were rapidly creating new systems of forced labor such as share cropping and “chain gangs.” It was clear that they would institute systems which would allow them to exploit black labor under conditions as close to slavery as possible.

That’s why the 13th Amendment expressly forbids slavery and involuntary servitude. Fortunately, lawyers for American Federation of Government Employees, which represents most of these workers, have filed a suit in federal court in which they are seeking relief from involuntary servitude by arguing that the government ordering them to work without pay is a violation their Constitutional rights. However,  union spokesman for the Airline workers are openly warning that the government shutdown is beginning to pose a real and present danger to air travel in chilling language, and some are suggesting that they should all walk out in a general strike!

I agree, let’s see how the public reacts when they are forced to share the pain along with government workers. When they recognize the consequences that has forced the FBI Agents Association to warn the nation that their field agents cannot do their work, of keeping the nation safe due to the lack of funding in a dysfunctional government.  I say to all government employees walk off the job! I say this despite the fact that I need my social security check to arrive on time; but I believe we must fight back against that charlatan and wannabe martinet that befouls the Oval Office. I’m steeled in the fires of struggle, trained for trouble, and ready to rumble!

Let’s see how long the Mango Mussolini can survive a general strike of government employees that he instigated by his reckless ruthless behavior? However we must be aware that Dirty Devious Donald might use the strike to declare a state of National Emergency, which he is itching to do. My next commentary will address the perils posed for the nation should Trump declare a state of emergency.

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Playthell G. Benjamin
Harlem, New York
January 14, 2019

SAUDI GOVERNMENT KILLS JOURNALIST!

Posted in On Donald Trump, On Foreign Affairs, On War and Peace in the Mid East! with tags , , on January 16, 2019 by playthell

Jamal Kahshoggi

DID TRUMP’S POLICIES HAVE ANYTHING TO DO WITH IT?

Waddling along like an overstuffed porcine pugnacious Panda, Mike Pompeo huffs and puffs as he romps around the Middle-East visiting the Trump Administration’s partners in crime. In the land of the Pharoah’s he dutifully dished dirt on the legacy of President Barack Obama at the behest of his jealous master, Devious Donald. The basis of this disdain was Obama’s emphasis on the protection of human rights and the expansion of democratic freedoms for the Egyptian people and other Arab populations that opposed autocratic leaders during the mass upheaval of “The Arab Spring.”

Conversely, the major theme of Trump’s speeches when he visited Arabia and spoke to the Sheikhs of the Gulf area fiefdoms was that America would not interfere in their internal affairs the way President Obama had done; so long as they protect American interests in the region. This is also the major theme in the pronouncements of Secretary Pompeo, who is, after all, Trump’s messenger boy.

Tis a pity that a content analysis of the speeches given by Pompeo and Barack Obama in Egypt is beyond the boundaries of this essay; it would tell us much about dramatic differences in the character and intellect of Barack and his defamers: Dastardly Don and Mikey Mouse. But, alas, the objective of this commemtary is to interrogate the facts around the Murder of Jamal Kashoggi, and try to divine their meaning.

Now that we know Jamal Kashoggi- Saudi citizen, permanent US resident and Washington Post columnist – was the victim of a grotesque murder and dismemberment by agents of the Saudi government in their Turkish embassy, and the CIA has concluded it was ordered by the ruling sovereign, prince Muhammad bin Salman: What is the US government going to do about it?

Well, Donald Trump’s response makes it abundantly clear that he plans to do nothing. Trump is perfectly willing to accept the Saudi government’s bogus exoneration of the Crown Prince over the claims of the CIA, just as he has done with their assessment of Russian interference in the presidential election. Indeed, in a shameless display of moral depravity, Trump threw up his hands in mock despair and said we will probably never know the truth about who was behind the murder of Jamal Khashoggi.

It is obvious that Trump has made a Faustian bargain with the Saudi royals, in which he openly bartered the reputation and moral standing of the United States for petro-dollars, Saudi support for Israel, and promotion of hostile US policies against the neighboring Shiite state of Iran.

In a written statement on the gruesome murder Trump first attacked Iran with a deluge of propaganda – although the Iranians have nothing to do with the issue at hand – then he had this to say regarding the Saudi murderers:

After my heavily negotiated trip to Saudi Arabia last year, the Kingdom agreed to spend and invest $450 billion in the United States. This is a record amount of money. It will create hundreds of thousands of jobs, tremendous economic development, and much additional wealth for the United States. Of the $450 billion, $110 billion will be spent on the purchase of military equipment from Boeing, Lockheed Martin, Raytheon and many other great U.S. defense contractors.

If we foolishly cancel these contracts, Russia and China would be the enormous beneficiaries – and very happy to acquire all of this newfound business. It would be a wonderful gift to them directly from the United States!..Representatives of Saudi Arabia say that Jamal Khashoggi was an “enemy of the state” and a member of the Muslim Brotherhood, but my decision is in no way based on that – this is an unacceptable and horrible crime.
King Salman and Crown Prince Mohammad bin Salman vigorously deny any knowledge of the planning or execution of the murder of Mr. Khashoggi…In any case, our relationship is with the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia. They have been a great ally in our very important fight against Iran. The United States intends to remain a steadfast partner of Saudi Arabia to ensure the interests of our country, Israel and all other partners in the region. It is our paramount goal to fully eliminate the threat of terrorism throughout the world!”

This statement raises so many troubling questions that it will require a separate essay to adequately discuss them. Yet even from the excerpts cited here, Devious Donald’s concerns are abundantly clear. There is no shame in his game as he brazenly elevates money above principle, letting the world know that corporate and personal profits mean more than truth, justice, freedom or life to the Trump administration.

After all, Trump has bragged about the enormous sums of money the Saudi royals have spent with his companies, even pulling several of his hotels out of the red. And the President’s bad judgment in citing the Saudi ruling clique’s claim that Mr. Khashoggi was an “enemy of the state” calls to mind his repeated accusation that American journalists are “enemies of the people.”

Hence it is entirely reasonable to assume that this shared attitude toward journalists is what led Crown Prince Muhammad bin Salmam – whom the CIA has fingered as ordering the horrendous hit “with high confidence” – to conclude that there would be no American sanctions for his crime. And if it is left up to his buddy “Dirty Donald” he is right.

However several US Senators have endorsed the conclusion that the crown prince ordered the murder after attending a CIA briefing conducted by by agency Director Gina Haspel. Senator Lindsay Graham, the shifty Carolina charlatan whose moral commitments appear to be negotiable, was unambiguous in his view of the Prince’s role: “I think he’s complicit in the murder of Mr. Khashoggi to the highest level possible.” Another Southern Republican Senator, Richard C. Shelby of Alabama, co-signed Lindsay’s views:”All evidence…leads back to the crown prince.” Senator Shelby went on to declare, “This is conduct that none of us in America would approve of in any way.” This is a significant development because these senators represent the most avidly pro-Trump sections of the country.

Members of Congress who are inclined to support Trump’s amoral coddling of the Royals might view the matter differently when they realize that Trump’s cavalier attitude toward the sins of the Saudi’s – while attacking Iran and pledging unqualified support for Israel – confirms the widely held suspicion among the Arab masses that the Jihadist are right when they say “America is the Great Satan!” This will push many who are ambivalent into the camp of the Jihadists and nullify Trump’s claim that “It is our paramount goal to fully eliminate the threat of terrorism throughout the world!”

Indeed, one need not be a great strategic thinker, or an expert on the Middle East, in order to recognize that Trump’s policies will revitalize anti-American radicalism among the youths in the Islamic world; for it takes away the most powerful weapon the US has in the battle for the hearts and minds of young people from whom the Jihadist recruit their soldiers: The argument that “America stands for freedom, truth and justice.”

Despite the American government’s despicable collaboration with the Saudi murderers, members of the journalistic profession and folks who treasure democracy everywhere, are shocked and appalled as we mourn the death of Jamal Khashoggi, whose only transgression was that he dared to criticize the Saudi Royal family in his writings. To fully understand the true character of the Islamo-fascist Saudi regime, it is essential to understand who Jamal Khashoggi was and the nature of his relationship to the Royals that rule the Kingdom with absolute power. While he has been portrayed as an uncompromising hero of the dissident democratic movement in the Arab world by journalists in the western press, that characterization has been challenged by some radical Arab intellectuals who felt that his criticism of the Saudi royals was milquetoast at best.

For instance, David Hirst of the London Guardian argues Khashoggi was a committed advocate of “truth, democracy, and freedom.” While the Director of Human Rights Watch, which monitors the activities of repressive governments around the world says Khashoggi was a paragon of “outspoken and critical journalism.” However As’ ad AbuKhalil – a lebonese Arab intellectual who is a professor of political science at the California State University at Stanislaus and author of “The Battle for Saudi Arabia” – takes a different view of Khashoggi. Recounting his career as a “journalist” in Saudi Arabia Dr. Abukalil tells us:

“Khashoggi was an ambitious young reporter who knew that to rise in Saudi journalism you don’t need professionalism, courage, or ethics. In Saudi Arabia, you need to attach yourself to the right prince. Early on, Khashoggi became close to two of them: Prince Turki Al-Faysal (who headed Saudi intelligence) and his brother, Prince Khalid Al-Faysal, who owned Al-Watan (The Motherland) where Khashoggi had his first (Arabic) editing job. Khashoggi distinguished himself with an eagerness to please and an uncanny ability to adjust his views to those of the prevailing government. In the era of anti-Communism and the promotion of fanatical jihad in Afghanistan and elsewhere, Khashoggi was a true believer. He fought with Osama bin Laden and promoted the cause of the Mujahideen.”

Hence Abukhalil believes far too much as been made of Khashoggi as a fearless defender of democracy, and he challenges the widely influential columnist David Ignatius, a colleague of Khashoggi’s at the Washington Post, who describes Khashoggi’s stint with the Moujahidin during the anti-Russian Jihad as “an embedded reporter.” According to Abukhalil, Osama bin Laden – a dogmatic theocrat who was no fan of democracy – would never “invite independent journalists to report on their war efforts.” Instead “The entire project of covering the Afghan Mujahideen and promoting them in the Saudi press was the work of the chief of Saudi intelligence, Prince Turki, Khashoggi’s principal patron-prince.”
Abukhalil argues that there is no real honest Journalism or “free press” in Saudi Arabia, where all media is owned or controlled – like everything else – by senior Princes of the House of Saud. Thus, all positions of influence in the Kingdom depends upon sucking up and gaining the favor of one of those princes. Hence the principal cause of Khashoggi’s fall from grace was due to his choice of the “wrong princes” to suck up to, not an uncompromising fight for democracy as we understand it in the US – which professor Abukhalil claims is amply verified by his writings in the Arabic language media, which his defenders like David Ignatious does not read.

Alas, Khashoggi chose two princes who have now fallen from grace with the new absolute ruler Muhammad Salman. According to this analysis, the Saudi government is even more repressive than many western observers of Khashoggi’s fate believed! However this critique of Khashoggi must not be confused with attempts by the Republican right to smear him and besmirch his character. They cite Khashoggi’s participation in the Afghanistan Mujaheddin as part of the Arab contingent in order to associate him with Osama bin Ladin, a leader of the “Afghan-Arabs who went on Jihad against the Russians in Afghanistan, an effort encouraged and supported by the US and Saudi governments.

Indeed, at the time they were engaged in a Cold War with the Soviet Union and the Jihadists were hailed as heroes by the US government and supported by the CIA, who trained Osama bin Ladin in terrorist tactics! Hence the Republican effort to smear him for those activities is based on disinformation that flies in the face of historical fact.

As I write the story the evidence that has been examined by the CIA confirms the Trukish government’s version of what happened. According to Turkish intelligence the Saudi government, presently headed by Crown Prince Salman aka “The Notorious MBS,” sent a hit team to Turkey that murdered and dismembered the Washington Post columnist inside their embassy while he was on an official visit to get documents he needed to get married, as his fiancee waited on him outside.

What the world must do now is demand that the Trump administration release the tapes of the torture and murder of Jamal Khashoggi provided by the Turks. By some accounts we can hear his fingers being cut off before he is beheaded. They say the forensic pathologist who headed the team can be clearly heard telling his ghoulish gang of cowardly assassins – with whom Donald Trump has now cast his lot – to play music as they butcher the journalist’s body for disposal.

Aside from the horror of it all this is an outrageous, reckless display of hubris. A respected American journalists is murdered in cold blood because the Crown Prince was offended by something he said? Although Lindsay Graham is feigning outrage, if you listen closely to his protestations Graham makes it clear that our outrage should be aimed solely at the Crown Prince not the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia; a sophistic statement which offers a distinction without a difference.

Alas, this atrocity was predictable given Donald Trump’s assurance to the Saudi royal Family – and all of the Arab despots of the gulf region – that so long as they keep the oil flowing at a cheap price and support his policies in the region, the US government will turn a blind eye to the oppression of dissenters struggling to democratize their societies. In May 2017 Trump spoke to a gathering of Arab leaders in Saudi Arabia, and he left no doubt about his stance on their repressive policies.

“I stand before you as a representative of the American People, to deliver a message of friendship and hope. That is why I chose to make my first foreign visit a trip to the heart of the Muslim world, to the nation that serves as custodian of the two holiest sites in the Islamic Faith. In my inaugural address to the American People, I pledged to strengthen America’s oldest friendships, and to build new partnerships in pursuit of peace. I also promised that America will not seek to impose our way of life on others, but to outstretch our hands in the spirit of cooperation and trust….And so this historic and unprecedented gathering of leaders—unique in the history of nations—is a symbol to the world of our shared resolve and our mutual respect.”

When you add to this license for governments to abuse their power should they deem in in their interest, Trump’s constant charge that a critical oppositional press is “THE ENEMY OF THE PEOPLE,” this is the result! Alas, shameless, souless, megalomaniacal charlatan that he is; Dirty Donald is unrepentant! In fact, he not only continues to cling to an absurd version of events obviously concocted to shield the Crown Prince from culpability in this treacherous crime, but it appears that the Trump administration may be that co-author of this absurd charade.
Their version, which is as believable as the murder was committed by women from Venus, is clearly designed to provide plausible deniability to the Saudi Crown Prince. Despite the CIA’s conclusion that the order to murder Jamal Khashoggi came straight from the top, the Saudi’s insist the prince was clueless about the entire episode and the American President muses:”it could very well be that the Crown Prince had knowledge of this tragic event – maybe he did and maybe he didn’t!…That being said, we may never know all of the facts surrounding the murder of Mr. Jamal Khashoggi.” Then Devious Donald quickly reaffirms the solidity of the US-Saudi alliance:

“After the United States, Saudi Arabia is the largest oil producing nation in the world. They have worked closely with us and have been very responsive to my requests to keeping oil prices at reasonable levels…As President of the United States I intend to ensure that, in a very dangerous world, America is pursuing its national interests… Very simply it is called America First!”

Partners in Crime!

A Faustian Bargain

Fred Ryan, Publisher and Executive Editor of the Washington Post, responded in a November 21 Editorial in which he wrote:

“A clear and dangerous message has been sent to tyrants around the world: Flash enough money in front of the president of the United States, and you can literally get away with murder…Failing to demand accountability for these crimes does not make the United States more secure. Stable, peaceful societies, governed by leaders who respect the rights of their people, need journalists who can expose wrongdoing and hold the powerful to account. It is no mere coincidence that many of the worst abusers of press freedom are also some of the world’s most dangerous actors. The CIA has thoroughly investigated Khashoggi’s murder and concluded with high confidence that it was directed by the crown prince. If there is reason to ignore the CIA’s findings, the president should immediately make that evidence public.”

There is an urgent lesson for American journalists in all this, because the way Trump is whipping the highly armed, half baked Republican base into a frenzy against Democrats; the “liberal leftist” and their partners in the “fake news” media, ANYTHING CAN HAPPEN! In fact, just recently Dirty Donald was speaking in Montana, whipping a Republican crowd into a frenzy by singing the praises of a congressman that attacked a reporter for the London Guardian. And this was after a Trump fanatic mailed bombs to his critics in Congress, the press and private citizens.

Who knows what will happen if the Democratic controlled House of Representatives – the legislative branch that best expresses the will of the people – initiates impeachment proceedings against Trump and he whips his base into a state of paranoid hysteria by denouncing it as a conspiracy to bring down his presidency by the lying Press, the Democrats, and the “Deep State” intelligence forces.

It is abundantly clear that the greatest danger to the free press and the personal safety of reporters in America, and around the world, is Donald Trump! If Journalists are assaulted here on American soil by right-wing fanatics it would come as no surprise to me.

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Listen to Kashoggi Discuss the problems of Saudi Leadership

https://www.c-span.org/video/?437464-1/jamal-khashoggi-discusses-saudi-leadership-2017

Did the Soviet Union Fall Due to Afghan War?

Posted in On Donald Trump, On Foreign Affairs, On War and Peace in the Mid East! with tags on January 10, 2019 by playthell

Russian Troops Retreating from Afghanistan

Donald Trump Thinks So

Foreign policy wonks around the world were aghast at the version of the Afghan/Russian war spouted by Donald Trump as he answered reporters questions off the cuff during a cabinet meeting held the day after New Year’s break. Although the fact that Trump is a verbose ignoramus and compulsive liar with an unvarnished contempt for facts has now become conventional wisdom for those who know enough to recognize it, he somehow still manages to say things that astonish us. Given the fact that many Americans already believe that Devious Donald is a Russian puppet at the pinnacle of our government – some even call him “The Moscow Candidate” – it is astonishing that he could take the favorable positions he took regarding the motive and consequences of the 1979 Russian invasion of Afghanistan.

Jimmy Carter, who was President at the time, thought it was such an outrageous act he canceled American participation in the Moscow Olympics! The US government didn’t take this severe action even during the NAZI Olympics Games in Berlin. This was no easy decision for Carter because he understood that he was dashing the hopes and dreams of young American athletes who had labored a life time for a chance at their moment of Olympic glory. Yet Donald J. Trump enthusiastically endorsed the Russian invasion, declaring it the just and wise thing to do. Dumb Donnie opined:

“Russia used to be the Soviet Union, Afghanistan made it Russia, because they went bankrupt fighting in Afghanistan. Russia … the reason Russia was in Afghanistan was because terrorists were going into Russia. They were right to be there. The problem is, it was a tough fight. And literally they went bankrupt; they went into being called Russia again, as opposed to the Soviet Union. You know, a lot of these places you’re reading about now are no longer part of Russia, because of Afghanistan.”

Aside from revealing a deep ignorance of his subject, part of his statement sounds like it was written by a Russian intelligence officer tasked with conducting a disinformation campaign designed to obfuscate rather than clarify events. This passage would be considered a big victory for whoever was managing the disinformation campaign: “the reason Russia was in Afghanistan was because terrorists were going into Russia. They were right to be there.”

Here we have the President of the United States justifying the Russian Invasion of Afghanistan, a major triumph for Russian propaganda. It is almost a verbatim recitation of the new resolution that the Russians have crafted justifying their invasion of Afghanistan.  It is these kind of things that has alarmed some Americans to the point that they are openly calling for the US military to arrest Trump for treason! As crazy and alarming as it is, you can find an abundance of these calls in the comments below You Tube news videos that address Trump’s relationship with Russia!

Yet, given the absurdity of Trump’s claim that the Russia invasion was a response to the “terrorist” threat, it does not require a dramatist’s imagination to envision Putin laughing out loud. For it is obvious that Trump has no clue how the US government’s response to the Russian invasion of Afghanistan led to the 9/11 attack, in response to which his Republican predecessor launched a disastrous war of choice in Iraq and invaded Afghanistan; falling into the quagmire the Russians had left. These wars continue as I write, albeit on a reduced scale, and are now America’s longest wars. And at a price of four trillion dollars they are also the most costly! Yet the “terrorists” we are fighting were created by the American Central Intelligence Agency, including Osama bin Laden, who organized and directed the devastating 9/11 attack!

What Putin, a former KGB intelligence officer, understands well is that it was the USA who equipped the Taliban with the modern weapons they later used wreak havoc on US forces a few years after the Russian retreat from Afghanistan. There is even a major movie about it featuring Tom Hanks, Charlie Wilson’s War, which details how the Texas Republican Congressman Charlie Wilson persuaded the US government to supply the Afghan Rebels with Stinger Missiles, a high tech shoulder held surface to air missile that can bring down a heavily armored attack helicopter. Although the claim that the introduction of this weapon was a game changer in the Russian/Afghan War is in dispute, there is no doubt they were deployed to great effect against American forces in the war against the Taliban after 9/11.

Why did the US do it, why did the American government go down a road that has cost this nation so much blood and treasure? It was a classic case of folly that should be a crime. In a Pulitzer Prize winning book, The March of Folly, historian Barbara Tuckman analyzes elites across time and place that pursued self-defeating policies, despite the fact that all the observable evidence suggested that it would lead to disaster. And she labeled this class of phenomenon “Folly!”

A careful examination of the facts, viewed in retrospect, leaves no doubt that the decision to arm and train the Afghan Jihadists who came from all over the Islamic world to answer the call to Jihad against the Russians, was a classic case of folly! They called themselves Mujaheddin, “Holy Warriors,” and the US government celebrated them as “heroes,” with little skepticism, and no public opposition from the American media. Instead the media were willing mouth pieces for the government’s point of view…which is what happens when objectivity is overwhelmed by the passions of patriotism.

Alas, US policymakers should have know better. After all, the experience of Iran offered compelling evidence of the dangers of intervening in the affairs of a Muslim nation and helping to overthrow a secular government that that the US disliked. In 1953 the CIA engineered a military coup that toppled Muhammad Mossedeh – the democratically elected Swiss educated liberal secular leader – because he wanted to nationalize Iran’s vast oil resources and demand a fair price from the US and British companies. This nefarious covert action set forces in motion that would radically change Iranian society.

In President Mossedeh’s place the Eisenhower Administration installed the arrogant, oppressive, autocrat Shah Reza Palevi, whose excesses led to the first Islamic Revolution in the modern world and put the Ayatollah’s in power.  And they declared America “The Great Satan!” All of our present troubles with Iran stemmed from this misbegotten decision to overthrow their secular elected government.

Having witnessed the myriad problems posed by a radical Islamic state, prudence dictated that we avoid empowering Muslim Fundamentalists elsewhere. It was easy to see as a white elephant in a crowd of pigs. So why did wise men rush in where fools feared to tread?

It is impossible to understand the folly of America’s decision to arm the Muslim fundamentalists in Afghanistan, unless we view it from the perspective of the Cold War – the term of art employed to describe the struggle for global dominance between the US and the Soviet Union short of direct military confrontation between these nuclear armed nations check mated by the MAD – Mutually Assured Destruction – doctrine. Aside from psychological warfare designed to win the hearts and minds of the hundreds of millions in emerging Third World Nations, the US supported “proxy wars” against pro-Russian forces all over the globe.

Based on this strategic view of the relationship of forces in the world, it made perfect sense for the US government to promote a militant Islamic Jihad in Afghanistan so long as they were willing to kill Russians! It was a short sighted view; the definition of Folly. Had US policymakers viewed the Afghan struggle from the Jihadists point of view they would have known their efforts would eventually backfire, because it is clear in the theology which guides their actions that the Jihadists found American beliefs as odious as Russia’s.

To the Muslim Jihadists who eventually overthrew the Marxist pro-Russian government of President Mohammad Najibullah in 1991, two years after the departure of Russian forces, both democratic Christian American Capitalism and totalitarian atheistic Russia communism are abominations; the work of barbaric apostates contemptuous of Sharia Law, Allah’s divine plan for man. Their alliance with the US in the Holy War against Russia was based on the old Muslim adage: “The enemy of my enemy is a friend.”

Hence, when the Saudi government called upon the US to oust Sadam Hussein from Kuwait, and offered to provide a base for American operations on Saudi soil, Osama bin Laden, a leader of the “Afghan -Arab” contingent that answered the call to Jihad in Afghanistan, pleaded with them not to station swine eating liquor drinking American barbarians on the sacred soil of Arabia where Mecca and Medina – the holiest cities in the Islamic world – are located. He begged the king to support his veterans from the Afghan war that had played a decisive role in their “victory” over a European super power.

The king chose to rely on American armed forces instead, and when US forces put boots on the ground in Arabia both the Royal Family and the US became targets of the Jihadists; resulting in the 9/11 attack on the US homeland. Planned and ordered by the former CIA apprentice in terrorist tactics Osama bin Laden, who had returned to Afghanistan to build Al Qaeda, the spectacular terrorist assault was carried out by 15 Saudi citizens and four from Egypt, the United Arab Emirates and Lebanon. All counties that enjoyed good relations with the US. And, contrary to conventional wisdom on the subject, the Jihadists were not all from the poorer classes, some were quite well to do. Osama’s personal fortune was put at nearly 300 million dollars.

In retaliation George Bush ordered the invasion of Afghanistan, and was also talked into invading Iraq by the neo-con clique of warmongers from the Project For a New American Century that “Dirty Dick “ Chaney had installed in the Bush National Security establishment.* The overthrow of Sadam Hussein, a secular military strongman, who had prevented the rise of a militant Muslim movement in Iraq, opened the floodgates for a host of Jihadists to enter Iraqi territory.

This development was a major factor in creating the conditions for Al Qaeda to operate on Iraqi territory and gave rise to ISIS, a new militant Jihadist formation. All of these developments have their roots in the American intervention on behalf of the Mujaheddin in Afghanistan. That is the lesson that is not being discussed in the hail of rhetoric being banded about regarding Trump’s musings on the causes and consequences of the Russian- Afghan War.

Of course Trump’s claims about the central role of that war in the collapse of the mighty Soviet Union stray even further from reality, and thus offer no useful insights. The remembrances of Robert Gates and Morton Abramowitz are far more valuable in helping us understand what actually happened. Although Gates is primarily known as the Secretary of Defense during the Administration of George W. Bush, and was held over by President Obama, he was a CIA officer in 1979.

Hence Gates was present at the meeting when the CIA decided to arm and train the Mujahideen. Gates recalls that their objective was “sucking the Soviets into a Vietnamese quagmire.”  In other words, they hoped Afghanistan would become for Russia what Vietnam was for the USA, a historic blunder in which they would expend massive amounts of blood and treasure in a futile war.

However in an interview with the London Guardian Morton Abramowitz, who was the Director of the State Department’s Bureau of Intelligence recalls: “In 1985, there was a real concern that the Mujahideen were losing, that they were sort of being diminished, falling apart. Losses were high and their impact on the soviets was not great.”

The first hand testimony of these principle players in the Afghan drama Trumps the fallacious fables of dumb devious Donald.
The reasons for the fall of the Russian Communist Party are complex- which is really what we are talking about- are far beyond the scope of this essay. Yet I feel compelled to address the issue since Trump was so emphatic in his views. The best way to sum up the problem that led to the collapse of the Communist experiment in Russia is to reiterate the views of the official Ideologist to soviet leader Andropov, who confessed in a PBS interview: “When reality contradicted our ideology, we dismissed reality.”

That’s why they were able to ignore flaws in the system that were baked in at the beginning. Things like the lack of economic incentives for excellence; the growing evidence that government bureaucrats cannot manage a large industrial economy efficiently, and the “dictatorship of the proletariat” had degenerated into the Dictatorship” of the Communist Party.

This critical flaw in the leadership model was noted by the seasoned revolutionary anarchist Emma Goldman, a Russian born naturalized American citizen who returned to Russia in January 1920, after the triumph of the communist led 1917 revolution that overthrew the Romanovs. A brilliant and careful student of revolutions, Emma was a sympathizer with the Russian revolution;  yet she would later write searing a book – “My Disillusionment  In Russia” –  richly detailing her disappointment at what she found:

“The Russian workers, like the peasants, also employed direct action.  They possessed themselves of the factories, organized their own shop committees, and were virtually in control of the economic life of Russia.  But soon they were stripped of their power and placed under the industrial yoke of the Bolshevik regime…Just because I am a revolutionist I refuse to side with the master class, which in Russia is called the Communist party.”

Yet upon reflection it is clear that the situation could not have been otherwise.  For despite the ideal of a “dictatorship of the proletariat,” the true proletariat does not possess the education or the leisure that’s required to read and comprehend the complex texts of Karl Marx; hence the great Russian “proletarian” revolution was led by de-classe intellectuals like Lenin, Trotsky and Stalin.

Alas the “workers paradise” became something of a nightmare when the need for internal peace and economic stability became the paramount objectives of the Communist Party, who considered any independent workers organizations to be counter-revolutionaries because the party represented the interests of revolutionary workers. And when attempts to criticize these arrangements resulted in harassment, prison and even death, the seeds of the system’s eventual destruction were sown…it was just a matter of time. When compared to these unresolved issues Afghanistan was a sideshow.

Dumb Donald Holding Forth on the Afghan War

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Playthell G. Benjamin
Harlem, New York
1/10/2019