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by CTuttle

Brennan, Hagel, and Kerry: More Of The Same Failed Obama FP

8:45 pm in Uncategorized by CTuttle

As the Editors of the IntelNews wrote recently…

Obama’s National Security Nominations: Nothing to See Here

…Yet much of the commentary on the nominations of John Kerry for State, Chuck Hagel for the Pentagon, and John Brennan for the CIA, is unduly over-dramatizing what is essentially a routine story. To begin with, it is clear that, in selecting Kerry, Hagel and Brennan for the nominations, the President’s priority was to surround himself with people he knows and trusts. Knowledgeable observers point out that all three nominees come from Obama’s most trusted circle of friends and —if appointed— will allow the President to stay well “within his comfort zone” as he begins his second term in office. In this sense, Obama selected the three candidates, not with some major policy shift in mind, but in order to ensure continuity and permanence in his foreign policy

…Even if we were to accept that Hagel is somehow “anti-Israel”, anyone who thinks that nearly seven decades of American policy on Israel are about to change because Hagel is suspicious of the Israeli lobby in the US, grossly misunderstands the institutional character of American foreign policy. The latter does not change in radical shifts; it evolves over long periods as a result of varying national or economic interests, changing conditions or the ground, or popular pressure. There is no question that Hagel, like Obama himself, is skeptical about military intervention abroad; but this fact points to continuity, not a radical shift in the administration’s policy. If Hagel’s nomination is approved by Congress, his views on Israel, or for that matter any other country or group of countries, will form but one element in a multitude of competing interests that help shape American foreign policy.

President Obama’s national security nominations are certainly noteworthy. But there is little here that is earth shattering. For the most part, the President sought individuals who will help him sustain the foreign policy of his first term in office, not radically alter it. Anyone looking for drama in these nominations will sooner or later be thoroughly disappointed.

Moar DroneZ, Bay-bee…!

Some more, McGovern… The Grilling that Brennan Deserves…

Apparently, it was a slim bench for CIA Director… Jane Harman for CIA Director? Really?

Some more on Hagel…

…Hagel will be in the wrong job to drive a fundamental recasting of the Obama administration’s Iran policy:

“I would take the president’s word that he likes and trusts former Senator Hagel, got to know him in the Senate, likes and trusts his positions and his candor on a range of issues. But I think the calculus to go ahead, and in the way that they are going ahead is that Senator Hagel, for all of the courageous positions he’s taken—on Iran, on Israel, HAMAS, lots of issues—that he will assure his fellow senators that those are positions that he held as a senator and they really will not have very much to do with his position as Secretary of Defense. Those are quintessential foreign policy issues that will be carried out by the Secretary of State and the national security adviser…

Obama now has an all-white-male [national security] cabinet. The question is how long will his national security adviser stay, Tom Donilon. And there I would put a question whether Susan Rice will be back on the scene. And she will certainly constrain Hagel’s attempts—if he has any desire to make these attempts—to change policies…[The White House]thinks that Hagel is going to a good Secretary of Defense, and do quintessentially Secretary of Defense things—not foreign policy.”

In wrapping up, Paul Pillar is right….

Declaring Victory on Iran

…So one side feels a need to crow about a victory, while the other side needs to feel that it has not been kicked in the face. To square that emotional circle, American politicians will have to get most of their triumphalist fix from what has happened already—from getting a negotiation with Iran about curtailing its nuclear program under way at all. Members of Congress can proclaim today (and when they next run for re-election) that all those votes they cast in favor of all of those sanctions were an important part of getting Iran to the negotiating table. After saying that, they should pipe down, get out of the way, and let the negotiators strike a deal.

Amen…!

*gah*

by CTuttle

‘CIA chief Petraeus’ resignation not just about affair’

9:00 pm in Uncategorized by CTuttle

Let’s delve into the weeds on what the f*ck just happened to Betrayus….! I think Emptywheel’s astute observation would be a great starting point…

Petraeus Knew of FBI Investigation During Benghazi Pushback

…To be clear, I’m not saying that means Petraeus’ resignation was about Benghazi. I think it’s possible, but some reporters I trust insist it’s not.

But consider how different this passage from the NYT reads when you understand that Petraeus had already learned the FBI had discovered his former mistress may have been snooping through his emails–not to mention months of his emailed pleas to her to get back together.

Mr. Petraeus’s future has inevitably been the subject of rumors: that he would be Mitt Romney’s running mate, or, more plausibly, that he was interested in the presidency of Princeton. In a statement in late September, he did not rule that out for the future, but said that for the time being he was “living the dream here at C.I.A.” That was before the recriminations this week over Benghazi.

In late September–after Benghazi, mind you, but before he realized this affair had been exposed–Petraeus was still thinking about leading Princeton. But then “recriminations” jeopardized that hope.

The CIA blitz was certainly an attempt to minimize Petraeus’ and CIA’s role in getting an Ambassador killed. But it also reads, now, like an effort to preempt the damage from this.

One more note: the timing appears to be that the affair lasted for some of the period when Petraeus was in Afghanistan–so June 2010 to June 2011. It’s unclear whether the affair continued after Petraeus started at CIA in June 2011–though he did keep emailing Broadwell to try to get her to get back together. The NYT says the investigation started only several months ago…

Now, I don’t exactly see the same ‘rosy scenario’ that Robert Parry paints, in regards to Betrayus’ boot, but, he does raise some compelling points…

Behind Petraeus’s Resignation

The messy departure of CIA Director David Petraeus over an extramarital affair removes the last high-ranking neoconservative holdover from George W. Bush’s administration and gives the reelected President Barack Obama more maneuvering room to negotiate a settlement over Iran’s nuclear program. {…}

Suspect Loyalties

Petraeus’s ideological alignment with the neocons threatened to undercut the administration’s unity behind Obama’s peace initiative. Thus, according to the person familiar with the administration’s thinking, some key figures close to the President wanted Petraeus out and there was no sadness that his personal indiscretions contributed to his departure.

Regarding the facts behind Petraeus’s sudden resignation, the New York Times reported that the FBI had begun an investigation into a “potential criminal matter” several months ago that was not focused on Petraeus. It was in the course of an their inquiry into whether a computer used by Petraeus had been compromised that agents discovered evidence of the relationship as well as other security concerns. About two weeks ago, FBI agents met with Petraeus to discuss the investigation, the Times reported.

According to the Times, one congressional official who was briefed on the matter said Petraeus had been encouraged “to get out in front of the issue” and resign, and that he agreed. {…}

Obama’s decision to entrust a position as crucial as CIA director to Petraeus, an ambitious man with strong ties to the neocons, was always a risk. While Obama may have been thinking that he was keeping Petraeus out of a possible run for the Republican presidential nomination in 2012, the President put Petraeus in a spot where he could manipulate the intelligence that drives government policies.

Finally, as Obama heads into a second term, he appears to be clearing the decks so he can move ahead more aggressively with his own foreign policy. Robert Gates departed in mid-2011; David Petraeus has now resigned in ignominy; and Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, who often sided with Gates and Petraeus in taking neocon-style policy positions, is expected to step down soon…

One can only hope, but, I’m certainly not holding my breath that the neo/ziocons are indeed being purged…!

If Ray McGovern’s suggestions are heeded, I might see some light from Obama’s ‘Nobelist’ intentions…

Pundit Tears for Petraeus’s Fall

Good Riddance

If, by now, you get the idea that I think David Petraeus is a charlatan (and I am not referring to sexual escapades), you would be correct. The next question, however, is his replacement and whether the policies will change.

Mr. President, with the mandate you have just won, you have a golden chance to reverse the March of Folly in Afghanistan. You can select a person with a proven record of integrity and courage to speak truth, without fear or favor, and with savvy and experience in matters of State and Defense.

There are still some very good people with integrity and courage around – former Ambassador Chas Freeman would be an excellent candidate. Go ahead, Mr. President. Show that you can stand up to the Israel lobby that succeeded in getting Freeman ousted on March 10, 2009, after just six hours on the job as Director of the National Intelligence Council.

And there are still some genuine experts around to help you enlist Afghanistan’s neighbors in an effort to ease U.S. troop withdrawal well before the 2014 deadline. The faux experts – the neocon specialists at Brookings, AEI and elsewhere – have had their chance. For God’s sake, take away their White House visiting badges at once.

Create White House badges for genuine experts like former National Intelligence Officer for the Near East Paul Pillar, former State Department Chief of Staff Lawrence Wilkerson, and military historian and practitioner Andrew Bacevich (Lt. Col., USA, ret.). These are straight-shooters; they have no interest in “long wars”; they will tell you the truth; all you need do is listen.

Do NOT listen this time to the likes of your counter-terrorism adviser, John Brennan, a former CIA functionary who was staff director for CIA Director George “slam-dunk” Tenet. Brennan will probably push for you to nominate Petraeus’s deputy and now Acting CIA Director Michael Morell, who did the same dirty work for Tenet that Brennan did.

Morell is even more likely to take his cues from Brennan and tell you what he and Brennan want you to hear. At best, Morell is likely to let things drift until you move on Petraeus’s replacement. And this is no time for drift.

There is absolutely no reason to prolong the agony in Afghanistan until the end of 2014. Doubling down on Afghanistan might have seemed a smart political move at the time, but you now should face the fact that it was a major blunder. Troops out now!

Politico posted their list of likely candidates…Possible post-David Petraeus CIA picks…!

Now, let’s parse some of the latest spin… FBI probe of Petraeus triggered by e-mail threats from biographer, officials say… And ABC news is pushing this… David Petraeus Affair: FBI Probe Into Inbox of Paula Broadwell Uncovers ‘Human Drama’…

I’m more inclined to think that either the CIA or the FBI stumbled upon it when they followed up when Broadwell’s personal email appears on a list of compromised accounts of the commercial intelligence firm Stratfor. But, that would presume some real actionable intelligence to follow through on…!

In summing up, Col. Lang, did an excellent job…

Don’t cry over this guy. He has had a hell of a run. IMO someone “dropped a dime” on him with the FBI. Once that happened an investigation into the limits of his lover’s access to classified information through her relationship with him was inevitable. The FBI has the power to investigate anyone in the US Government, including the director of the CIA, and they relish the responsibility. {…}

He was never much liked in the Army. “Clever” is a term of art in the Army for someone “foxy,” slippery and politically adroit. He was always clever…

He has a terrible reputation in the Army for egomania smoothly concealed beneath the appearance of the warrior scholar. He can and has charmed all, or almost all. His fluency in the English language and his ability to interact with congressmen and the press are superb…

His success” in Iraq led to sending him to Afghanistan to apply the supposedly victorious doctrine of COIN there as well. We see the reult.

As I said, don’t grieve for him. He had a long run and will now make a lot of money somehow. He is clever. pl

Too clever by half…!

Now, will he run in ’16…?

*gah*

by CTuttle

False Flags and Persian Fantasies

8:40 pm in Uncategorized by CTuttle

Why does the Grey Lady continue to employ David Sanger, didn’t they learn anything from the sordid Judith Affair…? Of course, AIPAC stoolie, Ethan Bronner is just as bad…! Anyways, let the hatchet’s blade fall where it may…

Iran Offers Plan, Dismissed by U.S., on Nuclear Crisis

With harsh economic sanctions contributing to the first major protests in Iran in three years, Iranian officials have begun to describe what they call a “nine-step plan” to defuse the nuclear crisis with the West by gradually suspending the production of the uranium that would be easiest for them to convert into a nuclear weapon.

But the plan requires so many concessions by the West, starting with the dismantling of all the sanctions that are blocking oil sales and setting off the collapse of the Iranian currency, that American officials have dismissed it as unworkable. Nonetheless, Iranian officials used their visit to the United Nations last week to attempt to drum up support, indicating that the country’s supreme leader, Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, is finally feeling the pressure.

“Within the intelligence community, I think it’s fair to say that there is split opinion about whether the upper level of the regime is getting seriously worried,” one senior intelligence official said when asked why the Iranians appeared to be backing away from their earlier stand that nothing would stop them from producing more medium-enriched uranium, which can be turned into bomb fuel in a matter of months.

“He’s erratic, and we’ve seen him walk up to the edge of deals before and walk away,” the official said, referring to Ayatollah Khamenei.” {…}

Obama administration officials say the deal is intended to generate headlines, but would not guarantee that Iran cannot produce a weapon. “The way they have structured it, you can move the fuel around, and it stays inside the country,” a senior Obama administration official said. “They could restart the program in a nanosecond. They don’t have to answer any questions from the inspectors” about evidence that they conducted research on nuclear weapons technology, but nonetheless would insist on a statement from the agency that all issues have been resolved.

Yet we’re supposed to lift sanctions that would take years to reimpose, if we could get countries to agree,” the administration official said.

‘twould be a pity if the 120 nations of the NAM caught wind of our IAEA shenanigans, eh…?

And look. it’s the old ‘Mad Mullah’ dodge, too…! Despite the fact that everybody, that has any inkling of a clue of Islamic law and/or their traditions, would’ve soon realized that Iran is indeed Not pursuing a Nuke…! Nuclear weapons are forbidden in Islam, says Ayatollah Khamenei…! Something that 16 of our 17, US Intel/MIC bureaus agree with, alongside, the entire Israeli Intel/IDF apparatchik…!

To be sure…Robert Gates: War on Iran Would Be ‘Catastrophic,’ Make Tehran Nukes ‘Inevitable’ Which is the exact same sh*t every, sane, sober, ‘Iran Expert’, has been saying, for years and years…!

Yes, we must indeed resist thy temptations of total war or rather Complete Spectrum Dominance

The Temptation of Regime Change…

…Holding out hope that sustained pressure will hasten regime change in this case represents a bad bet. It means placing trust in a very uncertain process—notwithstanding the tear gas in Tehran streets—while jettisoning an important tool that if properly used would help lead to an agreement that would satisfy all legitimate concerns about nuclear proliferation as it pertains to Iran.

Even if regime-change-wishers had a better bet to make, they need to think hard about what they are wishing for. Much of what they don’t like about Iran is not unique to the Islamic Republic and would continue under any imaginable successor regime. That includes the current nuclear program, which began under the shah and has broad public support. It also includes many other things, including opposition to Israeli policies in the region.

We should have learned some things in this regard from our regime-changing experience in Iraq, where the regime we have been left with is narrowly sectarian, increasingly authoritarian, and pro-Iran.

And, lest you forget that Economic Sanctions are indeed illegalUN chief: sanctions harm Iranians…

Speaking of Iraq… Russia to sign $5-billion defense contract with Iraq…! Fancy that…?

So, once again, WTF, over…?

Now, somebody that was several pay-grades above me in the Army had smelt the very same rat I had(amongst others)… Martyrs Brigade in Syria has 120 mm. mortars…!

The purported ‘mortar’ fire is not the same as the Nato/Turkish Field Artillery(either 105mm or 155mm) that had pounded Syria for two days, in spite of, Assad apologizing and promising to investigate the incident…!

The ever intrepid, b @ MOA, has been all over it… Erdogan Made To Step Back From The Brink

…If this incident was a false flag operation, which seems more and more likely, it only achieved a part of what it was supposed to achieve. Erdogan did get the Turkish parliament to give him war powers. But the more important backing from NATO did not come through…

Thank Dawg, for small favors…!

Anyways, the natives are getting mighty restless all over the MENA…! So, where shall I start…?

I suppose I should start with the very spot that sparked it all… Protesters in Tunisia storm city hall in town where revolution began…!

King ‘Playstation’ in Jordan, has just dissolved Parliament in a bid to fend off a open populist revolt…

Also, something that most sober observers on the Syrian fiasco have long predicted is coming to fruition… Syria unrest sparks rifts among Lebanon’s Palestinian factions…!

And if that wasn’t enough, Bahrain continues it’s jackbooted crackdown on the Shi’a…

Shias clash with police in Bahrain

…Riot police in Bahrain used water cannons and tear gas yesterday to disperse hundreds of anti-government protesters trying to reach a heavily guarded site that was once the hub of their uprising.

The demonstrators marched toward Pearl Square in Bahrain’s capital, Manama, after a funeral procession for a protester who died in custody. The government said the man died of a blood disease…

In summing up all this f*ckery afoot… Don’t drone me, Bro…!

And, last but not least…. Why I Dislike Israel…!

And how…! *gah*