The man who worked for the Beast from the Sea: Revelation 13

US Secretary of State Colin Powell holds up a vial that he said could contain anthrax as he presents evidence of Iraq's alleged weapons programs to the United Nations Security Council, Feb. 5, 2003.

Colin Powell: The man who sold the Iraq War

The former US secretary of state was instrumental in paving the way for the invasion of Iraq on spurious intelligence in his infamous speech at the UN in 2003.

Former US secretary of state Colin Powell, who paved the way for the 2003 Iraq War under President George W Bush, died today at the age of 84 from complications from Covid-19.

Born in Harlem of Jamaican heritage, Powell was the nation’s first Black national security adviser, chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, and secretary of state.

A fixture in American politics for decades, he was a four-star army general whose career began in Vietnam and later spanned several Republican administrations, even toying with a presidential run in 1995 before deciding against it.

A tendency towards careerism – what admirers chalked up as “being a good soldier” – was an attribute that would serve him well during his ascent up the US national security bureaucracy.

In Vietnam, Powell was part of the army division that ended up being responsible for the My Lai massacre. While he talked about it in his best-selling memoir, “My American Journey,” he absolved himself by recounting he was unaware of the scale of the institutional coverup.

Never one to buck the system, Powell was the consummate inside man; someone who thought whatever compromises he made were worth it because it would offer him a chance to do the right thing.

Whether that meant participating in Ronald Regan’s Iran-Contra operation, or being an architect behind the invasion of Panama in 1989 and the Persian Gulf war in 1991 under George H W Bush, the ostensibly prudent Powell was, at the end of the day, a yes man.

And there was no better example of that on display than his role in justifying the war in Iraq.

Believed to be a moderating influence in the Bush administration and skeptical of the idea of overthrowing Saddam Hussein, Powell still went out to make the case. Because he was held in such high esteem by members of both parties, the fact that he so forcefully made the case solidified bipartisan support for the war.

Coupled with his infamous UN speech on Iraq harbouring Weapons of Mass Destruction (WMD), the image of Powell holding up a vial of an alleged chemical agent is iconic from that era (along with artistic renderings of what the alleged biological labs would look like), was a display of propaganda the self-advertised moderate found hard to scrub from his legacy.US Secretary of State Colin Powell holds up a vial that he said could contain anthrax as he presents evidence of Iraq’s alleged weapons programs to the United Nations Security Council, Feb. 5, 2003. (Ray Stubblebine / Reuters)

The ‘grand game of Powellian deception’

On February 5, 2003, Powell gave testimony to the UN Security Council in which he claimed that the Iraqi President Saddam Hussein’s government was hiding a secret chemical weapons program from the international community and supporting terrorism following the 9/11 attacks in 2001.

His address was an effort to provide delegates “with additional information…about Iraq’s weapons of mass destruction as well as Iraq’s involvement in terrorism, which is also the subject of resolution 1411 and other earlier resolutions.”

The proof? “My colleagues, every statement I make today is backed up by sources, solid sources. These are not assertions. What we’re giving you are facts and conclusions based on solid evidence.”

Did Iraq revive their nuclear weapons program? “There is no doubt in my mind,” he concluded.

Privately, however, he displayed less certainty. “I wonder how we’ll all feel if we put half a million troops in Iraq and march from one end of the country to the other and find nothing,” he told his chief of staff Larry Wilkerson at the time.

It was all part of a “grand game of Powellian deception,” wrote Binoy Kampmark in Counterpunch.

One of the clues Powell furnished was drawn from an intercepted conversation about UN inspections between Iraqi army officers that he turned on its head: “Clean out all of the areas…Make sure there is nothing there.” None of which was in the intercept.

As Jon Schwarz wrote in The Intercept: “Powell took evidence of the Iraqis doing what they were supposed to do – i.e., searching their gigantic ammunition dumps to make sure they weren’t accidently holding onto banned chemical weapons – and doctored it to make it look as if Iraq were hiding banned weapons.”

“Clearly Powell’s loyalty to Bush extended to being willing to deceive the world: the United Nations, Americans, and the coalition troops about to be sent to kill and die in Iraq,” Schwarz said.

“He’s never been held accountable for his actions, and it’s extremely unlikely he ever will be.”

Despite the eventual hand wringing by acknowledging how the UN speech was a “blot” on his record and a “great intelligence failure,” Powell displayed no sincere remorse over the deaths of hundreds of thousands of Iraqis and thousands of US soldiers. He remained insistent the war was a just one

Wilkerson said Powell’s UN testimony was significant for both its dishonesty and that Powell’s “gravitas” was a crucial “part of the two-year-long effort by the Bush administration to get Americans on the war wagon.”

“That effort led to a war of choice with Iraq, one that resulted in catastrophic losses for the region and the United States-led coalition, and that destabilized the entire Middle East,” wrote Wilkerson in 2018.

Nor was the UN speech the first example of Powell’s acquiescence. Reports revealedhow timid he was in speaking against the Bush administration’s imprisonment and torture policy, despite knowing the legal risks, in another instance where Powell seemed to put career before principles.

Despite falling out with the administration and leaving at the end of Bush’s first term, Powell continued to be held in high regard as a statesman within Beltway circles. His credibility with the American public, however, had been sacrificed at the altar of Iraq.

Following the Bush era, Powell endorsed President Barack Obama in 2008 and voted for the Democratic ticket ever since. He was an outspoken critic of President Donald Trump and the direction the Republican party took under Trump’s presidency.

While publicly walking back some of his blunders on Iraq, Powell embarked on a path of restoration that ultimately assuaged any greater responsibility.

“Iraq was not his debacle but that of others,” argued Kampmark. “He has spent years cultivating his apologias, showing up his peers as imbeciles and he, a warning filled sage of reason.”

It cannot be denied that Powell left an indelible mark on the history of US foreign policy. He, along with Dick Cheney, were two of the chief designers behind the strategic legacies of the Regan and Bush Sr eras. At the core of the new military doctrine was that the US should avoid the kind of protracted engagement that could become politically costly, as it did in Vietnam.

But for someone who established what came to be known as the ‘Powell Doctrine’ – don’t get into a war you don’t know how to get out of – it is somewhat tragically ironic that Powell failed to heed that lesson himself in 2003.

When Colin Powell Squandered His Spectacular Career For Bush Jr: Revelation 13

Colin Powell standing next to an American flag.
Colin Powell in 2009 in Washington. Brendan Smialowski/Getty Images

The Moment When Colin Powell Squandered His Spectacular Career

The revered general and statesman, who died Monday, couldn’t outmaneuver his bureaucratic rivals.

Fred KaplanOct 18, 20212:23 PM

Colin Powell, who was the nation’s top diplomat, its top general, and the first Black man to be either, died on Monday at the age of 84. Rarely, if ever, has an American statesman or warrior risen to such heights of power, then been cut off at the knees by his bureaucratic rivals.

Born in Harlem to Jamaican parents, a classic tale of a working-class kid pulling himself up by his own bootstraps, Powell joined the Army, fought in Vietnam as a grunt, rose through the ranks to corps commander, then, after a stint as President Ronald Reagan’s national security adviser, was named by President George H.W. Bush to be chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff.

As a rare officer who combined battlefield experience with political savvy, Powell turned the chairmanship into a powerhouse, utilizing his large staff—several hundred of the military’s smartest officers, split into several specialized units—in a way that, as one official at the time told me, “ran circles around the rest of the national-security bureaucracy.” It was in that position that Powell emerged as a public figure, devising much of the strategy for the first Gulf War, which pushed Iraq’s invading army out of Kuwait, and explaining the strategy at several televised press conferences.

During that time, he also enunciated what came to be called the “Powell doctrine,” a view that the U.S. should go to war only if the political objectives are vital and defined, if military force can achieve those objectives at an acceptable cost, if all nonviolent means have failed—and then, if war is necessary, that we should go to war only with overwhelming force. The doctrine amounted to a critique of the U.S. intervention in Vietnam—both its flawed rationale and its piecemeal tactics—and has influenced the debate on the proper role of military force ever since.

After Democrats regained the White House in 1992, Powell wrote a bestselling memoir, My American Journey, and considered running for president. (His wife, Alma, urged him not to run, fearing that some racist would assassinate him.) When the Republicans won again in 2000, President George W. Bush named Powell secretary of state, to unanimous acclaim, in what seemed the pinnacle of his rise—but it proved to be the start of his downfall. Taking office with an air of confidence, assuming that he could rule the realm of foreign policy through his clout and popularity, he soon found himself—to his initial surprise—outmaneuvered, on one major issue after another, by the tag team of Vice President Dick Cheney and Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld, who had been friends and colleagues dating back to the Nixon administration.

Powell accomplished a great deal on issues that Cheney and Rumsfeld didn’t care about. In the fall of 2001, they let him conduct the shuttle diplomacy that may well have prevented war between the nuclear-armed nations of India and Pakistan. Powell also helped soothe tensions with China after its shoot-down of a U.S. spy plane. However, he lost almost every other battle. In one of his first statements, Powell declared that he would resume President Bill Clinton’s nuclear negotiations with North Korea—only to be told by Condoleezza Rice, Bush’s national security adviser, that he would do no such thing. He had to eat his words.

Whenever Powell tried to initiate any form of arms control, his undersecretary of state, John Bolton, who had been installed in the job as a spy for Cheney, did his best to sabotage the move. On the few occasions when Powell won a debate in the National Security Council, Cheney would go talk with Bush privately—and usually get the decision reversed.

By the middle of Bush’s first term, his counterparts in Europe—who had celebrated Powell’s appointment and spoke with him frequently—came to realize that his views, which they found agreeable, did not reflect the president’s views, and he lost his influence abroad. When Bush wanted to send a message on the Middle East, he sent Rice. When he dispatched an emissary to Western Europe to lobby for Iraqi debt cancellation, he sent James Baker, the Bush family’s longtime friend who had been his father’s secretary of state.

The war in Iraq might have served as Powell’s off-ramp to redemption but instead deepened his downslide to Nowheresville. As Bush crept toward the invasion, Powell warned him of its pitfalls—most prophetically on what he called “the Pottery Barn rule: you break it, you own it”—but to no avail. (Shortly before the war started, a European diplomat reminded him that Bush was said to sleep like a baby. Powell replied, “I sleep like a baby, too—every two hours, I wake up screaming.”) Once again, though, he was outmaneuvered. Unable to muster support for the invasion, either on the homefront or among allies, Cheney came up with the diabolical idea of having Powell—the one senior Bush official with international credibility—make the case for war before the U.N. Security Council. Initially, Powell resisted, tearing up the script the White House gave him to read. But then, in an effort to be helpful and loyal, he went to CIA headquarters and buried himself in documents and briefings for days on end, tossing out claims that had no support and leaving in those that seemed at least plausible. In the end, he gave his fateful speech, with passion. Many critics of the invasion were won over, in good part because it was Colin Powell making the case.

But all the claims that Powell was believed—all the evidence he recited to support the idea that Saddam Hussein possessed weapons of mass destruction—turned out to be false as well. In his excellent book, To Start a War, Robert Draper wrote that plenty of CIA analysts could have told Powell that the claims were false, or at least dubious—but that CIA Director George Tenet, eager to please Bush with the conclusions Bush wanted to hear, deliberately kept Powell from talking with them.

Powell left the administration after Bush’s first term. Toward the end, he was portrayed in several journalistic accounts, most notably Bob Woodward’s Plan of Attack, as a critic of the war who regarded Cheney as having “the fever” for invasion; but, even a year after leaving his post, Powell stayed mum on these matters in public. As late as June 2005, six months into Bush’s second term, Powell went on The Daily Show With Jon Stewart in one of his first TV guest spots since leaving office. Stewart asked questions that left him wide openings to take jabs at his former colleagues, who were still in power, or at the war, which was still raging. But he took none of them. Sure, there were disagreements, Powell said, but that’s true in any administration. The president is the boss, and he’s a swell guy. Why, he and Laura were just over at his house for dinner the previous week.

Powell later openly regretted his role in the U.N. speech and denounced those who’d manipulated him at Langley. Too late. If he had resigned in protest before the invasion, he might have stopped the war from happening; if he had spoken out after leaving office, he might have affected its future course. But this wasn’t his way. He was, at heart, a team player, a “good soldier.”

Over time, he turned away from the Republican Party. In the 2008 presidential election, he endorsed Barack Obama, calling him a “transformational” candidate, to the great dismay of his old friend and Obama’s opponent, Sen. John McCain. However, Obama rarely called him for advice on defense issues. Powell subsequently endorsed only Democrats—Obama again in 2012, Hillary Clinton in 2016, and Joe Biden in 2020.

In recent years, apart from the endorsements, Powell remained out of the limelight of national politics—though it wasn’t clear whether this was by choice. He devoted most of his time to personal and public causes, especially the Colin Powell School for Civic and Global Leadership at his alma mater, the City College of New York. He wrote more bestselling books and spoke widely, sometimes for fees, sometimes not. He had a wonderful life. At one pivotal moment in our history, it could have been a more decisive one.

Twenty years after 9/11, terrorists will l go nuclear: Revelation 16

Twenty years after 9/11, terrorists could still go nuclear

By Matthew Bunn | September 16, 2021

As Americans reeled after the 9/11 attacks 20 years ago, one question was at the front of many minds: Could even worse be coming? If the terrorists who attacked on September 11 had a crude nuclear bomb on the plane, it wouldn’t have been just the twin towers—the whole lower half of Manhattan could have been turned to rubble and ash, with hundreds of thousands dead and injured.

Unfortunately, that possibility was all too real. Investigations after the attacks uncovered focused al Qaeda efforts to get nuclear, biological, and chemical weapons. The nuclear program reported directly to Ayman al-Zawahiri, now the leader of the group, and got as far as carrying out crude but sensible conventional explosive tests for the bomb program in the Afghan desert. Weeks before 9/11, Osama bin Laden and Zawahiri met with two senior Pakistani nuclear scientists and discussed how al Qaeda could get nuclear weapons.

But that was then. Today, both al Qaeda and another major jihadist terror group, the Islamic State, have suffered tremendous blows, with their charismatic leaders dead and many others killed or captured. A US-led counterterrorism coalition destroyed the Islamic State’s geographic caliphate in Iraq and Syria. In recent years, many terrorist attacks have not been much more sophisticated than driving a van into a crowd. Al Qaeda has not managed to carry out a single successful attack in the United States since 9/11. Is a terrorist nuclear attack still something to worry about?

The short answer, unfortunately, is “yes.” The probability of terrorists getting and using a nuclear bomb appears to be low—but the consequences if they did would be so devastating that it is worth beefing up efforts to make sure terrorists never get their hands on a nuclear bomb’s essential ingredients. To see the possibilities, we need to look at motive, capability, and opportunity.

Motive. Violent Islamic extremists desperately want to strike back at the “crusader forces” who have inflicted such punishing blows on their organizations. And both the Islamic State and al Qaeda would like a spectacular action to put them firmly back at the forefront of the violent Islamic extremist movement. Years ago, al Qaeda spokesman Sulaiman Abu Ghaith argued that because Western actions had killed so many Muslims, al Qaeda had “the right to kill four million Americans, one million of them children.” That kind of hatred still festers. (Abu Ghaith is serving a life sentence in a US prison.)RELATED: The US government’s comic approach to information warfareNuclear explosives are only one of the paths to mass slaughter that terrorists have pursued. Nuclear efforts must compete for terrorists’ attention with tried-and-true conventional weapons, biological weapons—whose dangers the pandemic has highlighted—chemical weapons, and more. Many of these other types of weapons would be easier for terrorists to acquire, and so their use may be more likely. But the history-changing power of a mushroom cloud rising over a major city has proved attractive to terrorists in the past and may again.Capability. Government studies make clear that if a sophisticated, well-funded terrorist group got hold of the needed plutonium or highly enriched uranium (HEU), they might well be able to put together a crude nuclear bomb. Unfortunately, it does not take a Manhattan Project to build a bomb, when you have weapons-usable fissile material. Indeed, the group needed to make a crude bomb might not have a footprint much bigger than the 9/11 attackers had. Despite the enormous destruction that has been rained on al Qaeda and the Islamic State over the last 20 years, a cell of terrorists could be working on a nuclear project even now, somewhere far from US attention and drone strikes.The intense counterterrorism campaigns of the last two decades have surely reduced terrorists’ ability to plan and carry out such a complex effort. But we simply do not know what capability might remain. The Taliban’s rapid return to power in Afghanistan could add to that capability, making that country a terrorist haven again—but there are many other largely ungoverned or terrorist-controlled places where such a project could be undertaken.And the capability side of the equation can change at remarkable speed. In January 2014, the US intelligence community did not mention the Islamic State in its annual assessment of threats to US security. By summer, the group had seized much of Iraq and Syria and declared a global caliphate.Opportunity. Fortunately, around the world, security for plutonium and HEU is far better than it once was, making it far harder for terrorists to get their hands on the needed ingredients for a bomb. More than half of all the countries that once had such material on their soil have gotten rid of it. While stolen HEU or plutonium was once showing up in parked cars and airplane luggage racks in Europe, there hasn’t been a major seizure of potential nuclear bomb material for a decade now.RELATED: Climate conversations neglect an essential component of a healthy planet: the oceanNevertheless, with the Obama-era nuclear security summits now far in the rearview mirror, the momentum of nuclear security improvement has slowed. There is still a need to ensure that nuclear weapons, materials, and facilities are protected against the full range of plausible threats—especially from insiders, who appear to pose the biggest nuclear security problem. The rise of domestic violent extremists in the United States and other advanced democracies makes the insider threat even more challenging. There is still a need for realistic tests and assessments of nuclear security systems’ real capabilities against intelligent adversaries looking for ways to beat them. And there’s still a need to strengthen nuclear security culture—to make sure the staff and guards at nuclear facilities are giving security the priority it needs, day-in and day-out.If terrorists ever did manage to turn the heart of a modern city into a smoldering radioactive ruin, they would change history. The economic, political, and social consequences would reverberate far and wide. Fears that it could happen again—possibly stoked by terrorist claims that they had more bombs already hidden in cities and would detonate them unless their demands were met—could lead people to flee major cities. The reactions after 9/11—a more aggressive US foreign policy, racist animosity, expanded government powers, cutbacks in civil liberties—would be expanded manyfold, particularly once people realized that the material for such a bomb could be hidden in any suitcase.President Biden has warned of these dangers. Now is the time for him to act. Despite the many other priorities on his desk, it is time for him to launch a new, expanded nuclear security initiative, working to ensure that nuclear stockpiles worldwide are secure and accounted for to the highest standards, that major obstacles are placed in the path of nuclear smugglers, that states are deterred from helping terrorists with nuclear, biological, or chemical weapons, and that terrorist nuclear plots are found and stopped. The risk of a nuclear 9/11 will persist as long as high-capability terrorists and the materials needed to make a nuclear bomb both exist in the world.

How the Beast of the Sea Failed: Revelation 13:1

The roots of America’s defeat

The foundations of failure were laid in the days, weeks and months that followed the Sept. 11 attacks, when the guiding assumptions of the “War on Terror” were put together.

Caroline Glick(August 29, 2021 / JNS)

Afghanis crowd the airport in Kabul after U.S. troops get ready to withdraw and the Taliban wait to take over the country, Aug 18, 2021. Credit: John Smith 2021/Shutterstock.

Even before the suicide bombings outside the Kabul airport on Thursday evening, the U.S. media was acting with rare unanimity. For the first time in memory, U.S. media organs across the ideological and political spectrum have been united in the view that U.S. President Joe Biden fomented a strategic disaster for the United States and its allies with his incompetent leadership of the U.S. withdrawal from Afghanistan. Some compare it to the 1961 Bay of Pigs; others to Saigon in 1975; others to the U.S. embassy in Tehran in 1979. Whatever the analogy, the bottom line is the same: Biden’s surrender to the Taliban has already entered the pantheon of American post-war defeats.

Biden is personally responsible for the humanitarian and strategic disaster unfolding before our eyes. He is the only American leader in history who has willfully abandoned Americans and American allies to their fate behind enemy lines. But while Biden is solely responsible for the decision to leave Afghanistan in its current condition, it isn’t Biden’s fault that after 20 years of war, the Taliban was still around, stronger than it was on Sept. 11, 2001, and fully capable of seizing control of the country. The foundations of that failure were laid in the days, weeks and months that followed the Sept. 11 attacks.

In the aftermath of Sept. 11, then-President George W. Bush and his national security team put together the guiding assumptions for what came to be known as the global war on terror. In the years since, some of the assumptions were updated, adapted or replaced as conditions on the ground evolved. But three of the assumptions that stood at the foundation of America’s military, intelligence and diplomatic planning and operations since then were not revisited, save for the final two years of the Trump administration. All three contributed significantly to America’s defeat in Afghanistan and its failure to win the war against global terror as a whole. The first assumption related to Pakistan, the second to Iran and the third to Israel.

By rights, Pakistan should have been the first domino to fall after the Sept. 11 attacks. The Taliban were the brainchild of Pakistan’s jihad-addled ISI intelligence agency. Al-Qaeda operatives also received ISI support. But aside from a few threats and temporary sanctions around the time of the U.S. invasion of Afghanistan in October 2001, the United States took no significant actions against Pakistan. The reason for America’s inaction is easy to understand.

In 1998 Pakistan tested nuclear weapons. By Sept. 11, 2001, Pakistan fielded a significant nuclear arsenal. Following the attacks, Pakistan made clear its view of nuclear war, and the connection between its position and its sponsorship of terror.

In October and December 2001, Kashmiri terrorists sponsored by Pakistan attacked the Jammu and Kashmir parliament and the Indian parliament. When India accused Pakistan of responsibility and threatened reprisals, then-Pakistani President Pervez Musharraf placed the Pakistani military on alert. India began deploying troops to the border and Pakistan followed suit.

Rather than side with India, the United States pressured Delhi to stand down, which it did in April 2002. In June 2002, Pakistani-backed terrorists carried out suicide bombings against the wives and children of Indian soldiers. The countdown to war began again. In June 2002, again bowing to U.S. pressure, India pledged it would not be the first to introduce nuclear weapons to the conflict. Musharraf refused to follow suit.

Rather than rally behind India, the Bush administration wrested an empty promise from Musharraf that he would stop sponsoring terrorism and then pressured India to stand down again. The U.S. message was clear. By credibly threatening to use its nuclear weapons, Pakistan deterred the Americans. Less than six months later, North Korea expelled United Nations inspectors from its nuclear reactor at Yongbyon and withdrew from the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty. Iran escalated its covert nuclear activities at Isfahan and Natanz.

The U.S. decision to dodge a confrontation with Pakistan following the Sept. 11 attacks empowered the ISI to rebuild the Taliban and Al-Qaeda after the United States decimated both in its initial offensive. Taliban leaders decamped to Pakistan, where they rebuilt their forces and waged a war of attrition against U.S. and NATO forces and the Afghan army and government they built. Osama bin Laden was living in what amounted to a Pakistani military base when he was killed by U.S. commandos. That war ended with Biden’s surrender and the Taliban’s recapture of Kabul this month.

This brings us to Iran. In their post-Sept. 11 deliberations, Bush and his advisers decided not to confront Iran, but instead seek to reach an accommodation with the mullahcracy. This wasn’t a new policy. Since the Reagan administration, the dominant view in Washington has been that it is possible to reach an accord with the Iranian regime that would restore the strategic alliance between Washington and Tehran that existed prior to the 1979 Islamic Revolution.

Bush and his advisers were not moved to reassess that view when they learned that Iran provided material support to the September 11 hijackers. They didn’t reconsider their assumption after Al-Qaeda’s leadership decamped to Tehran when the Taliban was routed in Afghanistan. They didn’t reconsider it when Iran served as the headquarters and the arms depot for Al-Qaeda in Iraq or the Shi’ite militias in their war against U.S. and coalition forces in Iraq.

Barack Obama embraced Bush’s assumption on Iran. Instead of confronting Tehran, he tried to realign the U.S. Middle East alliance system toward Iran and away from America’s Arab allies and Israel. He effectively handed Iran control over Iraq when he withdrew U.S. forces. He paved Iran’s path to nuclear arsenal with the 2015 nuclear deal.

After a prolonged fight with the Washington establishment and its representatives in his cabinet who embraced Bush’s assumptions, in his last two years in office, Donald Trump partially abandoned the strategic assumption that Iran could and should be appeased. Biden, for his part, is committed to reinstating and escalating Obama’s policies towards Iran.

As for Israel, in the immediate aftermath of the Sept. 11 attacks, then secretary of state Colin Powell convinced Bush to adopt two related assumptions on Israel. First, he determined that terrorism against Israel was different—and more acceptable—than terrorism against everyone else. And second, Bush determined that the war against terror would be directed at terror groups, but not at governments that sponsored terrorism (except Iraq). As former Bush administration official David Wurmser, who was involved in the post-Sept. 11 deliberations, recalled recently, Powell argued that terrorism threatened the Arabs no less than it threatened America. This being the case, the trick to winning them over to the U.S. side was to give them a payoff that would make it worth their while.

Israel was the payoff. The United States would be able to bring Syria on board by getting Israel to give the Golan Heights to the Assad regime. Washington would bring in the Saudis and the rest of the Sunnis by forcing Israel to give Judea, Samaria, Gaza and Jerusalem to the PLO.

Ahead of the U.S.-led invasion of Iraq in 2003, then-Israeli Prime Minister Ariel Sharon tried to unravel Washington’s guiding assumption about Iran. He told Bush and his advisers that Iraq hadn’t posed a strategic threat to Israel or anyone else in the region since the 1991 Gulf War. If the United States wanted to defeat global terror, Sharon explained, it should act against Iran. The administration ignored him.

As for the administration’s assumptions about Israel, a week after the attacks, Bush deliberately left the terrorism against Israel out of the war on terror when he told the joint houses of Congress that the war would be directed against terror groups “with global reach.”

Recognizing where the Americans were headed, in October 2001, Sharon gave what became known as his “Czechoslovakia speech.”

Following a deadly terror attack in Gaza, Sharon said, “I call on the Western democracies, and primarily the leader of the free world, the United States: Do not repeat the dreadful mistake of 1938, when enlightened European democracies decided to sacrifice Czechoslovakia for ‘a convenient temporary solution.’

“Do not try to appease the Arabs at our expense—this is unacceptable to us. Israel will not be Czechoslovakia. Israel will fight terrorism. There is no ‘good terrorism’ and ‘bad terrorism,’ as there is no ‘good murder’ and ‘bad murder.’”

The administration’s response to Sharon’s statement was swift and furious. Sharon was harshly rebuked by Powell and the White House and he beat a swift retreat.
A month later, Powell became the first senior U.S. official to officially endorse the establishment of a Palestinian state.

Sharon’s failure to convince the Americans to rethink their false assumptions owed to his incomprehension and fear of Washington. Benjamin Netanyahu, in contrast, had an intimate familiarity with the ways of Washington. As a result, his efforts to convince the Americans to reconsider their assumptions about Iran and Israel met with significant success. Netanyahu’s first success in relation to Iran came through the Arabs.

Netanyahu recognized that the Arab Gulf states were as threatened by Iran—and by Obama’s efforts to appease Iran—as Israel was. So he reached out to them. Convinced by Netanyahu, Saudi Arabia led the Arab Gulf states and Egypt in embracing Israel as their ally in their existential struggle against Iran. Confronting Iran, the Saudis explained, was far more important to the Arabs than helping the Palestinians.

Israeli-Arab unity on Iran stymied Obama’s efforts to win congressional approval for his nuclear deal. It also stood at the foundation of Trumps’ decision to abandon Obama’s deal.

Netanyahu used his operational alliance with the Arabs as well in his effort to undo the U.S.’s false assumptions about Israel, particularly in regard to the Palestinians. He also used public diplomacy geared towards influencing Israel’s congressional supporters and public opinion. Netanyahu’s efforts derailed Obama’s plan to dictate the terms of a “peace” settlement to Israel. Under Trump, Netanyahu’s efforts influenced Trump’s decision to move the U.S. Embassy to Jerusalem and convinced Trump to support Israeli sovereignty over parts of Judea and Samaria.

Distressingly, Netanyahu’s successes are being swiftly undone by the Biden administration and the Bennett-Lapid government.

There is a growing sense that Biden’s catastrophic withdrawal from Afghanistan is setting the world back 20 years. But the truth is even more dire. In 2001, the United States was far more powerful relative to its enemies than it is today. And as has been the case for the past 20 years, the situation will only start moving in the right direction if and when America finally abandons the false assumptions it adopted 20 years ago.

Caroline Glick is an award-winning columnist and author of “The Israeli Solution: A One-State Plan for Peace in the Middle East.”

This article first appeared in Israel Hayom.

The unity of the Shi’a Horn: Daniel 8

Iran’s Guards Renew Pledge To Support Iraqi Shiite Militias

The commander of Iraq’s Popular Mobilization Forces (PMF), Falih Al-Fayyadh, has said on Sunday that his organization “owes its existence” to former Iranian general Qasem Soleimani, who was killed by a US drone attack in Baghdad in January 2020.

Fayyadh, who is sanctioned by the United States for human rights abuses in killing Iraqi protesters, met with Hosasein Salami, the commander of the Islamic Revolution Guard Corps, IRGC in Tehran during his trip to attend the inauguration of Islamic Republic’s new president Ebrahim Raisi (Raeesi), which took place on Thursday, the official IRNA new website reported.

The leader of the Iraqi Shiite militia created by Iran’s financial and military support said that “the enemy thought with the martyrdom of Haj Ghasem” the resistance would fall apart but now the US has decided to leave Iraq.

Last month, the United States announced its decision to reduce forces in Iraq and shift the role of remaining units to training Iraqi forces rather than involvement in combat operations.

Former US president Donald Trump decided to kill Soleimani who was Iran’s Middle East military, intelligence and foreign policy chief, when attacks by PMF and other Shiite militias in Iraq increased against US targets, including its embassy in Baghdad in December 2019.

Hossein Salami, commander of IRGC meeting with Falih-Al Fayyadh in Tehran. August 8, 2021

Salami, praising the PMF, or Hashd Al-Shaabi in Arabic, said that “When we speak about the decline of America on the world stage, an important part of it has taken place in Iraq.” He added that “resistance” in Iraq has weakened the United States by imposing a heavy cost on them and “they are caught between two evils, whether to stay or leave Iraq.”

The Islamic Republic and its allies and proxies in the region use the term “resistance” to mean all forces aligned with Tehran and organized to fight Israel and the United States. That includes the PMF and others in Iraq, Hezbollah in Lebanon, the Palestinian Hamas, Houthis in Yemen and the Syria’s Bashar Al-Assad.

Salami also highlighted the role of military forces in politics saying that “fundamental words are always uttered on the battlefield,” adding that PMF is excellent in that respect. “When we and the Muslim nation saw America’s wrath and anger toward you, we were overjoyed because we realized how effective you were,” Iran’s top military commander said.

Salami assured Fayyadh that the Islamic Republic is behind PMF. “We are your protector and backer in continuing this big battle,” Salami said and expressed hope that US forces will leave Iraq.

As the US and its European allies, France, Germany and the United Kingdom negotiate with Tehran for restoring the JCPOA, or the 2015 nuclear agreement, Iran’s role in the region is one of the most intricate issues. Washington wants guarantees from Tehran that it will negotiate over its interventionist policies in the region, while Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei appears to be completely opposed to any discussion except restoring the JCPOA.

For the Islamic Republic, the crucial issue is lifting US sanctions that have devastated its economy. The restoration of JCPOA would mean Washington has to lift a significant part of those sanctions. But once sanctions are lifted, there is no guarantee that Iran will not use the economic lifeline to further expand its political and military influence in the region.

While 9/11 Came Closer, the Beast from the Sea Focused on Saddam Hussein’s WMDs: Revelation 13

The Road to 9/11 Header

While 9/11 Came Closer, George W. Bush’s Team Focused on Saddam Hussein’s WMDs

By William M. Arkin On 8/7/21 at 5:00 AM EDT

In this series, Newsweek maps the road to 9/11 as it happened 20 years ago, day by day.

The Defense Intelligence Agency (DIA) published a secret report on “Iraq’s Reemerging Nuclear Weapon Program,” part of a raging debate within U.S. intelligences community agencies as to the state of Saddam Hussein’s weapons of mass destruction program. United Nation’s inspectors had been banned from inside the country since November 1998, leaving U.S. intelligence to largely speculate as to what was going on.

Intelligence thereafter poured in from the intense American monitoring of Iraq, from regional allies (particularly Israel and Jordan) as well as the Iraqi expatriate community, suggesting that Iraq was pursuing nuclear and biological weapons as well as long-range missile—a phantom that would build in intensity after 9/11. The high priority intelligence collection supported the basic American policy—and the U.N. requirement—to eliminate all of Iraq’s WMD. Before the events that forced Saddam to eject U.N. inspectors—a combination of increasing aggressiveness on the part of the singularly focused U.N. Special Commission (UNSCOM), the discovery of U.S. spying under the guise of the inspection effort—Iraq had been about to receive a clean bill.

We now know that U.S. intelligence not only misread the situation but that much of the reason that Washington (under the Bush and Clinton administrations) believed Saddam was secretly pursuing WMD was that he was lying to his own generals and diplomats, telling them that Iraq indeed had such a capability, hoping the lie would deter major attack and keep him in power.

The main issue on the table on August 7 was the purpose of aluminum tubes that Iraq attempted to import from China, the 3,000 tubs intercepted in Jordan in July. Though the tubes were intended to manufacture multiple rocket launchers, at the time, the DIA, CIA and Department of Energy intelligence component concluded that the thickness and strength of the tubes made them more suitable to be rotors in a gas centrifuge, to be used to enrich uranium. The DIA stated in the August 7 report that “alternative uses” for the tubes were “possible,” but that such alternatives are “less likely because the specifications [of the tubes] are consistent with late 1980’s Iraqi gas centrifuge rotor designs.”

saddam hussein intelligence  9/11 bush clinton iraq
While the U.S. intelligence community failed to see the 9/11 plot, it overestimated the threat of Iraqi WMDs. Iraqi leader Saddam Hussein. Jacques Pavlovsky/Sygma via Getty Images

Though many government analysts would change their view regarding the tubes—and Iraq would argue vociferously, and accurately, that the tubes were indeed intended to build multiple rocket launchers—the debate would continue up until the March 2003 invasion of Iraq. It is now clear in hindsight that Iraq was front and center in Washington and a focus of the Bush administration long before 9/11. The outgoing Clinton administration not only left the status of Iraq’s WMD unclear, and a priority for intelligence collection, but had instituted a policy (adopted by the new Bush team) that there could be no certification of Iraq being free of biological, chemical or nuclear weapons, nor normalization of relations, until there was regime change. The approach left little room for a negotiated settlement, paving the way to eventual war.

Follow the Newsweek live tweet of September 11, 2001 (based upon the new book On That Day) starting at 4:45 a.m. EST @Roadto911.

The cost to upgrade Babylon the Great’s Nukes: Daniel 7

Surprise! Upgrading America’s Nuclear Arsenal Will Be Stupefyingly Expensive

The cost jumped $140 billion in just 2 years. Here’s why.By MAY 26, 2021

The nonpartisan Congressional Budget Office’s (CBO) estimate of nuclear weapon expenditures over the next decade has jumped a staggering $140 billion in just 2 years.

The estimate, which the agency provided to Congress to give an idea of how much it will take to build new missiles, ships, and planes, as well as revamp America’s vast nuclear infrastructure, comes as key members of the legislature are pushing to cut nuclear weapons spending over the next 10 years.

The CBO’s “Projected Costs of U.S. Nuclear Forces 2021 to 2030” report estimates spending on nuclear weapons between 2021 and 2030 will cost $634 billion. That’s 28 percent higher than in 2019, when the CBO last published an estimate for nuclear spending between 2019 and 2028. The agency says the bulk of the increase is due to inflation and the inclusion of new nuclear programs set to start between 2028 and 2030.

The Pentagon hasn’t spent much—relatively speaking, of course—on new nuclear weapons systems in the 30 years since the end of the Cold War. The U.S. operates just one intercontinental ballistic missile (the Minuteman III), 14 Ohio-class ballistic missile submarines fitted with the Trident II D-5 missile, and a mixture of B-52 and B-2 bombers.

The Minuteman III dates to the 1970s, while the Ohio-class submarines launched in the 1980s, and the bombers are a mixture of 1960s and 1990s aircraft. With the possible exception of a stealth bomber or two, the Pentagon hasn’t built a major nuclear delivery system in the 21st century.

But the U.S.’s spending holiday on nukes is coming to a head. While the Pentagon has updated the three legs of the nuclear triad—ICBMs, submarines, and bombers—the branch has new versions of all three systems in the pipeline.

The Ground Based Strategic Deterrent (GBSD) missile is set to replace Minuteman III, the Columbia-class missile submarines will replace the older Ohio class, and the new B-21 Raider bomber will replace the B-2. The Pentagon also plans to introduce new nuclear-tipped aircraft and submarine-launched cruise missiles.

The B-21 Is the Coolest Plane We’ve Never Seen
The 2-year increase accounts for upgrades to nuclear weapons laboratories, fuel processing facilities, testing grounds, and other sites. Like the weapons inventories themselves, these sites have been passed over for funding as nuclear weapons have taken a backseat to counterterrorism and the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan. The CBO estimates it will cost approximately $142 billion to modernize these sites over 10 years.

The high cost of nuclear weapons is leading calls to cuts in nuclear modernization. The Smarter Approach to Nuclear Expenditures (SANE) Act, which Congress introduced this week, calls for cuts amounting to $78 billion.

The cuts include canceling the GBSD ballistic missile, Long Range Stand Off nuclear cruise missile, and the new submarine-launched nuclear-armed cruise missile. The SANE Act would also reduce the number of active warheads by 500 warheads to 1,000, limit nuclear warhead production, kill the modernization of other warheads, and retire the B83 nuclear gravity bomb, which is the largest warhead in the U.S. arsenal at 1.3 megatons (1,300,000 tons of TNT).

Does a Nuclear ‘Dyad’ Make More Sense?
In killing off a replacement for the Minuteman III, the SANE Act would effectively reduce the nuclear arsenal from a triad of land-based missiles, submarines, and bombers to a dyad of submarines and bombers.

This would save a lot of money in the long run (the total GBSD acquisition costs are an estimated $100 billion) but it could also increase technical risk, as a flaw found in the remaining nukes could suddenly sideline hundreds of weapons. How much risk is the U.S. willing to accept while Russia and China operate hundreds of nukes of their own?

The Beast of the Sea Adds His Insight on Iran: Revelation 13

George W. Bush: ‘Iranian influence’ is behind Hamas attacks on Israel

By Steven Nelson
Former President George W. Bush said in a new interview that Iran helped spur the Hamas terrorist group to attack Israel.

Bush told Fox News that what “you’re seeing playing out is Iranian influence targeted toward Israel.”

“I think the best approach with regard to Iran is to understand that their influence is dangerous for world peace,” he said.

The Republican former commander in chief said “they are very much involved with extremist movements in Lebanon and Syria and Yemen, and they are aiming to spread their influence.”

Hamas is a Palestinian offshoot of Egypt’s Muslim Brotherhood, a Sunni Islamist movement that seeks to infuse religious fundamentalism into government. The US has condemned the group — which has controlled Gaza since 2007 — as a terrorist organization.

Although Iran opposed Sunni extremists in civil wars in Syria and Yemen, it allegedly supports the Palestinian group in fighting common enemy Israel.

The Lebanese Shiite group Hezbollah, which is closely linked to Iran, joined the current fighting by firing its own missiles at Israel this week.

Other Republicans, including Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) have speculated that Iran arms Hamas, which launched about 3,750 rockets over nine days from poverty-stricken Gaza toward Jerusalem and Tel Aviv.

McConnell said Iran backs Hamas and “keeps their rocket arsenals full.”

Hamas launched a barrage of missiles into Israel beginning last week after clashes in Jerusalem sparked by an Israeli court decision that ordered the eviction of Palestinian tenants who stopped paying rent in East Jerusalem.

Although Iran’s precise involvement in regional conflicts often is murky, the head of the Iranian Revolutionary Guard Corps, Gen. Hossein Salami, said Wednesday that “Tehran backs the Palestinians’ fight against the Zionist regime.”

Salami boasted, “The Palestinians have emerged as a missile-equipped nation.”

Bush, who was president from 2001 to 2009, led the US invasion of Afghanistan in 2001 after 9/11 and ordered the US invasion of Iraq in 2003, making claims about weapons of mass destruction that turned out to be bogus.

Rockets fired by Hamas from Gaza City heading towards Israel on May 18, 20219.
Rockets fired by Hamas from Gaza City heading toward Israel on May 18, 2021.
Photo by MAHMUD HAMS/AFP via Getty Images
US military involvement in the Middle East later divided Republicans, with former President Donald Trump calling the invasion of Iraq one of the worst decisions in US history, in part because it allowed Iran’s influence to expand during a long-running insurgency against US troops.

Bush has rarely commented on political issues since leaving office, but told that he’s concerned about efforts by the Biden administration to resurrect a nuclear deal with Iran that was brokered under former President Barack Obama. He said a new deal should be “comprehensive.”

“Any deal that is done has got to not only focus on its nuclear capabilities, but also its influence in the Middle East,” Bush said. “And you know, any deal, you’ve got to keep in mind the dangers of an aggressive Iran to our allies, and to stability, so it has to be a comprehensive look.”

Bush also offered support for the Abraham Accords negotiated by Trump’s son-in-law Jared Kushner. The accords resulted in the recognition of Israel by four Arab countries.

“Once the sit-in settles down, and if those Abraham Accords hold, it will make it easier to establish peace,” Bush said. “But right now, those who don’t want peace are provoking and attacking Israel, and Israel is, of course, responding for national security reasons.”

Babylon the Great’s Record Nuclear Spending

Biden budget calls for record military spending, nuclear weapons and hypersonic missile

Amid mounting tensions with both Russia and China, the Biden administration has requested the largest military budget in US history, demanding $753 billion, or more than the next 10 biggest militaries combined, in annual military spending.

The budget calls for additional spending on nuclear weapons, the upgrading of the country’s nuclear-capable ballistic submarine fleet, and the development of a whole new range of long-range weapons that military planners say are necessary for the US to fight a major war with Russia or China.

The budget exposes the hollow promises of the “progressive” wing of the Democratic party, including Bernie Sanders and Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, who claimed that a Biden presidency would be a departure from the militarism and warmongering of former president Donald Trump.

The Pentagon (Wikimedia Commons)

Instead, just months into his presidency, the Biden administration has poured gasoline on global flashpoints, creating the greatest period of tensions between the United States and Russia since the 2014 annexation of Crimea, and with China since the 1970s.

Following an announcement by the US proxy regime in Ukraine last month of a plan to militarily retake Crimea from Russia, relations between Washington and Moscow have been on a hair trigger. On Friday, the United States announced plans to deploy warships to the Black Sea, and Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov has warned about the eruption of a “full-scale” war.

At the same time, the Biden administration has moved to deploy offensive weapons on the islands surrounding China and is discussing a military alliance with Taiwan, creating a standoff in both the strait of Taiwan and the South China Sea.

Biden’s budget proposal continues and accelerates the multi-trillion-dollar nuclear buildup initiated under Obama and continued under Trump, featuring the development of smaller, more “usable” nuclear weapons and nuclear-capable cruise missiles.

Foreword to the German edition of David North’s Quarter Century of War

Johannes Stern, 5 October 2020

After three decades of US-led wars, the outbreak of a third world war, which would be fought with nuclear weapons, is an imminent and concrete danger.

The text of the budget request says it will maintain “a strong, credible nuclear deterrent for the security of the Nation and U.S. allies,” adding that “the discretionary request supports ongoing nuclear modernization programs.”

The budget proposal firmly targets China and Russia, declaring, that it “prioritizes the need to counter the threat from China as the Department’s top challenge. The Department would also seek to deter destabilizing behavior by Russia.”

In order to carry this out, the budget explicitly endorses the so-called “Pacific Deterrence Initiative,” which aims to ring China with offensive, land-based missiles previously banned under the Intermediate-Range Nuclear Forces (INF) Treaty.

“Leveraging the Pacific Deterrence Initiative and working together with allies and partners in the Indo-Pacific region and the North Atlantic Treaty Organization, DOD would ensure that the United States builds the concepts, capabilities, and posture necessary to meet these challenges.”

In addition to the development of new forms of previously-banned offensive weapons, the budget prioritizes the development of “hypersonic strike capabilities” capable of evading defenses to deliver nuclear payloads.

The budget declares that “Maintaining U.S. naval power is critical to reassuring allies and signaling U.S. resolve to potential adversaries,” adding, “the discretionary request continues the recapitalization of the Nation’s strategic ballistic missile submarine fleet, and invests in remotely operated and autonomous systems and the next generation attack submarine program.”

Coming after four consecutive years in which Trump increased the Pentagon’s budget, military officials had expected that Biden would keep military spending unchanged, or even cut it. Biden’s defenders among the “progressive” wing of the Democratic Party likewise promoted the belief that Biden would shrink the military budget. Instead, Biden has only intensified the massive inflation of the Pentagon budget.

But the defense budget is just one component of a massive increase in domestic spending aimed at countering China. Earlier this month, Biden announced a $2 trillion infrastructure bill centrally aimed at “strategic competition” with Beijing.

Explaining the bill, Biden said China is “attempting to own the future—the technology, quantum computing,” he said. “That’s the infrastructure of a nation.”

“Do you think China is waiting around to invest in its digital infrastructure or in research and development? I promise you, they are not waiting. But they’re counting on American democracy to be too slow, too limited and too divided to keep pace.”

This week, members of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee unveiled the “Strategic Competition Act of 2021.” The bill will be an “unprecedented bipartisan effort to mobilize all U.S. strategic, economic, and diplomatic tools for an Indo-Pacific strategy that will allow our nation to truly confront the challenges China poses to our national and economic security,” said Senate Foreign Relations Committee Chairman Bob Menendez.

He added that “The Strategic Competition Act of 2021 is a recognition that this moment demands a unified, strategic response that can rebuild American leadership,” and “invest in our ability to out-compete China.”

Such flagrant misuse of society’s resources for the preparation of reckless and destructive wars is doubly criminal while the world is in the grips of an out-of-control pandemic. While capitalist governments declare that the population must “live with” COVID-19 because containing it is too expensive, unlimited resources are made available to plan and prepare for wars that could potentially kill billions of people.

The rapid escalation of the US conflict with China and Russia raises immense dangers. Facing an enormous social crisis at home and a raging pandemic, the United States is desperately seeking to divert internal tensions outward.

But nothing about these war plans is inevitable. Workers must mobilize on the basis of a common, socialist and internationalist perspective, to stop the reckless war drive of the capitalists. The essential precondition for this development is the decisive repudiation of the Democratic party and all those who promote illusions in it.

Babylon the Great test to launch ultra-fast hypersonic missile fails

US Air Force test to launch ultra-fast hypersonic missile fails

Tuesday, April 6th 2021, 11:25 AM EDT