Archive for foreign policy

Maddow Demonstrates How Clueless The CIA Really Is

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InspectorClouseauw254h204

When there's something strange in your neighborhood, who you gonna call? Well if you're in the real world. it's not Ghostbusters. And it's certainly not the CIA. You'd have more luck turning on CNN or MSNBC.

Last night Rachel Maddow eviscerated the CIA for a number of hugely important blunders -- their ignorance of major events that affected our nation and our security. In case you missed the royal Rachel M. dress-down, here's a sampling:

It's hard to believe this organization whose middle letter "I" stands for intelligence could be so inept. So out of the loop. So totally ineffective. Oh, and did I leave out, so costly. For 2013, the CIA alone was budgeted for $14.787 billion.

From Rachel's report, it would have been cheaper by $14.787 billion to just turn on CNN. What's that cost, 30 bucks a month as part of basic cable?

How we spend our tax money is important. And what we do in the name of national security is paramount. So this report of incompetence is shocking.

And so is this little tidbit that was reported this morning on Talking Points Memo:

The CIA has launched an internal review after members of Congress complained that the CIA may have been monitoring Senate Intelligence Committee staffers who worked on a report about the agency's detention and interrogation program, according to reports.

This review by the CIA of a review by Congress reminds me of this classic moment:

I'd like to reassure those congressional members who think the CIA has been spying on them that even if they are, Congress has nothing to worry about. It's the same CIA who's been failing at competency reviews for years. They're more Casablanca's Inspector Renault than TV's Inspector Columbo. Now if it was CNN or MSNBC's Rachel Maddow who was running a congressional investigation, perhaps then they should be shaking in their boots.

The GOP have a new catchword, one they're using about Obama and his foreign policy. It's "feckless."

feck·less: lacking initiative or strength of character; irresponsible; "a feckless mama's boy"
synonyms: useless; worthless; incompetent; inept; good-for-nothing

Maybe the GOP neo-cons and their puppets are using the right word, but just in the wrong context.

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McCain Calls Rodman An Idiot For Doing What He Himself Did

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piacchi

Oh, don't we always love the pot calling the kettle black stories -- especially when John McCain doing the name calling? This war hero who named names to his captors (I'm not judging, just reporting) has recently returned from interfering with Secretary of State John Kerry's peace negotiation in Jerusalem. For Kerry, it was official business. He was carrying out official foreign policy.

So what does McCain do? He hurries over there on an unofficial capacity, forces his way into meeting with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and totally kills any potential deal. Kerry came home empty handed. A failed mission. But the reasons why could be attributed to McCain, Lindsay Graham and Wyoming Senator John Barrasso showing up and fighting against Kerry and the US mission he was on. I call it treason. You can read about it here: The Three Stooges, McCain, Graham and Barrasso Commit Treason In Israel.

Evidently when someone other that McCain and his cronies talk to diplomatic representatives from other countries, it's not okay. But when it's kooky Dennis Rodman, it's name calling time for the semi-senile senior senator from Arizona. He says Rodman is an idiot. Really. He's of lower intellect. Is that a racist remark? How come Rodman's still a name 10 years after he's left the NBA. Can you name 10 others who are still in the mainstream media coverage that long after retiring? Dennis is shrewd and perhaps even smart. Not sure those attributes fit McCain any longer. Gramps has really lost it.

Of Kim Jung Un McCain says he participates in unspeakable cruelty and he possesses nuclear weapons. Wait a minute. Is he talking about Kim Jung Un or  Benjamin Netanyahu? Ask the Palestinians how they've been persecuted. Is he anymore unspeakable than the North Korean dictator? I'm all for Israel. Just not for it's hawkish leader who's tried to interfere in American diplomacy in the middle east, Syria and Iran to be exact.

Here's McCain playing Tonio, the clown from Pagliacci. The two faced-traitor McCain gives a dazzling performance. Golden Globe worthy if not the Oscars.

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If Only This Was A Book. Watch The Trailer

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Four horeseman of the Apocalypse

Would you read this book? Here's the plot line, and it's a real pot boiler in tensions and intrigue:

A seemingly benign governor gets elected President of the United States. He's a fairly simple man, both in style and intellect. He's vulnerable to suggestions from his staff which the political party leaders chose for him. He didn't mind. He was a simple king.

Pressure begins to build in the middle east. A crisis is looming so the President, who's hardly traveled outside of his own country, delegates the management of  US foreign policy-making to a small inner group a religious fanatical group of anti-Semitic, right wing Christians.

This clandestined group holds secret, yet official meetings with leaders of the middle east and their apocalyptic Christian groups. Together they chart a path for the United States to clear the way for a second coming of Christ.

Sounds kind of Dan Brown conspiracy-like, doesn't it?

This collective group draws up plans for the realignment of Israel's borders to be exactly as those foretold in the bible to bring about the apocalypse and ultimately the great Rapture.

The top guy in the US President's policy making for Africa and the Middle East works in secret with the extremist Christian apocalypse believers to assure them that the President had given permission for the "believers" to divy up the Gaza Strip and still be able to meet the bible's specifications. All Jews must be rounded up and forced into Israel so the Messiah can come down and remove them off the face of the earth, thus allowing for the full destruction of our planet, aka the rapture.

When the President gets wind of this plot, he surprises the plotters and reveals that he too is anti-Semitic and approves the plan. Everything is being secretly prepared for the impending arrival of the Four Horsemen of the Apocalypse.

Complicating the plans is a single reporter who, while investigating another unjustified conflict in the region begun by the President and his warmongering staff, gets wind of these apocalyptic rumors. While looking into the plausibility of these acts against humanity, he's caught and forced to confront the Chief White House National Security adviser. Immediately the stonewalling and threats begin. Denials fly and while buying time, the half-crazed President's plot to bring about the end of the world continues in motion. It becomes a race against time.

The more the official denials come from the administration, the more implausible their refutes became, until ultimately it becomes almost impossible to stop the ticking clock. And in an plot-twist ending worthy of it's undoubted best seller status...

Oh, I don't want to give away the ending of the story for you... You'll just have to read it yourself, or better yet, watch the book trailer starring Rachel Maddow:

Kind of scary, isn't it? GW Bush and Adolph Hitler with similar plans for the Jews - convert and destroy. You can't make these things up. Only ask yourself why we let these people rise to power.

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State Department: All Clear To Watch "Fifth Estate"

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Assange real and actor

Okay, I'm reading my morning feeds of news stories and this headline catches my eye from FOREIGN POLICY.

State Department Employees Cleared to Watch WikiLeaks Movie

Ever since WikiLeaks.org began releasing thousands of classified cables, State Department employees have been forbidden from visiting the website without explicit authorization. (Sure, it was a silly prohibition given the proliferation of mainstream newspaper stories based on the WikiLeaks cables, but them's the rules). So how about viewing WikiLeaks the movie?

Not a problem, the State Department tells The Cable. Watching the hotly anticipated WikiLeaks drama Fifth Estate will not place employees on the naughty list.

Now I know that in the State Department, they have all kinds of rules and regulations about how you conduct yourselves, what you can do, who you can speak with and where you can go. But really, how can an organization expect to run at full efficiency if they clamp on a governor to your viewing habits if these activities are fully legal to anyone else?

It's okay for my barber or kid's teacher to read these reports, or my watching the news and getting them fed to me, but I can't go to the site myself to see what I'm missing? I think there's a screw loose here, or maybe many of them.

I can understand asking a State Department employee from forgoing an activity which could lead to their being blackmailed. But going to Wikileaks? Watching a movie? Where is this line drawn and who gets to make the decision if something is to be  stamped, verboten?

Fifth Estate

Wouldn't it be in the country's best interest if the State Department allowed its workers to have access to a site like Wikileaks -- especially Wikileaks? If Julian Assange is printing things that are false, who would know better than the people who might be fingered on the site? And if the media organization's accusations and reports are true, but considered secret, who would know better?

I think viewing these sites, not by ordained monitors but by the full slate of State Department personnel should not only be allowed, but required. This way, if some secret is being revealed, or someone's safety is compromised, identity or hints insinuated, they can report it to the department. They shouldn't have to rely on some intra-agency readers to shed light on an employee's possible danger.

Doesn't it  make you wonder? Here's a film about a whistle blower (Julian Assange) who published classified info and continues to do so on his site (Wikileaks.org) and it's okay to watch but not visit the actual site?

This is nuts. And maybe John Kerry can explain it. If I was with the State Department, I would want to know everything the public knows, especially if my safety is being compromised. Wouldn't you?

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Add A Pinch Of Salt And You’ve Got Whack-A-Doodle Stew

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King Bachmann Gohmert

Here’s what you get when you send fertilizer over to Egypt and expect the results to be anything less explosive than the Oklahoma City/Timothy McVeigh car bomb.

Tea party experts on diplomacy and foreign affairs, stalwarts Michele Bachmann, Louie Gohmert and Steve King spent this past weekend in Egypt thanking the country’s military for overthrowing their elected government. Rumor has it that their real purpose in going there was to get tips on how to overthrow a government because they have plans to do that here in the states.

When it came time to demonstrate this troika’s understanding of the unrest in Eqypt, they began what can best be described as a Saturday Night Live sketch.  Oh, this is priceless. During the threesome’s speeches, they constantly blamed the Muslim Brotherhood for the 9/11 attacks in the U.S.

RAW STORY:

“We have seen the threat that the Muslim Brotherhood has posed here for the people in Egypt. We have seen the threat that the Muslim Brotherhood has posed around the world. We stand against this great evil. We are not for them. We remember who caused 9/11 in America. We remember who it was that killed 3,000 brave Americans. We have not forgotten.”

So much for our Tea party knuckleheads’ understanding of the actual 9/11 details:

In fact, the 9/11 Commission determined that Osama bin Laden and his Al-Qaeda terrorist network were responsible for orchestrating the attacks on Sept. 11, 2001 (not the Muslim Brotherhood). Following the attack, the Muslim Brotherhood “strongly condemned” the action.

Deposed Egyptian President Mohamed Morsi, who was a top Muslim Brotherhood leader at the time of the attacks, called them “a wrong act which we denounce regardless of its doer.”

So this blathering trio, los tres amigos de locura (insanity) continued their road show, gaff after gaff. They hardly got a fact right. What they were doing in Egypt is anyone's guess. A pending war action in Syria, a total failure by President Obama's official emissaries John McCain and Lindsey Graham 10 days earlier that then these "saviors" pop up, to add to the hijinx.

Lorne Michaels once used a Sarah Palin speech, word for word, as an opening for SNL. It was delivered by Tina Fey. It brought down the house. And when the real Sarah Palin then stepped on the stage, the roar could be heard around the world. You have to hand it to Sarah, she knew she was a joke and was a good sport about it.

Here’s the next verbatim sketch from the comic geniuses at SNL:  Bachmann, Gohmert, and King face the people of Egypt. You'll fight to keep a straight face.

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Live Streaming Video- President Obama Holds a Press Conference in Saint Petersburg, Russia 9:50a EDT

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over

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Time to Speak Up

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Cameroon flag
Eric Ohena Lembembe, Gay Rights Activist, Tortured And Killed

This is the headline of an article by Robbie Corey-Boulet that caught my attention, especially during the honeymoon of the victories that the LGBT community has been celebrating since the US Supreme Court rulings. Sometimes we forget how awful things are in other parts of the world.

DAKAR, Senegal -- A prominent gay rights activist in Cameroon was tortured and killed just weeks after issuing a public warning about the threat posed by "anti-gay thugs," Human Rights Watch said.

One friend said Lembembe's neck and feet looked broken and that he had been burned with an iron.

I started to get curious about something. Cameroon. Is this the same Cameroon that I read somewhere was getting billions of dollars in US foreign aid?

Where is it exactly?And what part do we play in their existence. If we have any sway over them, maybe it's time we start using it. So I Googled U.S. foreign aid -- okay, first I Googled a map of Cameroon to get my geography right, then I found the foreign aid numbers.

Cameroon

It's hard to get a real grasp on what we're really spending and even harder to know why. According to the U.S. official development assistance office, the most recent numbers are from 2007 and 2008. In the first of those two years, we officially gave $1.908 billion in aid to Cameroon. We dropped that nearly three-quarters to a mere, $524 Million in 2008. Maybe we need to drop it again, or see to it that it's being put to good use -- educating the people there.

Lembembe was among the most prominent activists in one of Africa's most hostile countries for sexual minorities. First as a journalist and later as executive director of CAMFAIDS, a Yaounde-based human rights organization, he documented violence, blackmail and arrests targeting members of Cameroon's gay community.

Homosexuality is punishable by prison terms of up to five years in Cameroon, and the country prosecutes more people for gay sex than any other in sub-Saharan Africa, according to Human Rights Watch.

We have to start holding countries accountable for human rights if they want our handouts.  From a strategic position, Cameroon offers us little. But from a human standpoint, it offers us a lot. It's a chance to show the world that even small countries matter. But they also have to treat their citizens with respect and dignity or the money for friendship will stop.

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