Seymour Hersh on the Nord Stream cover-up

Seymour Hersh:

In early March, President Biden hosted German Chancellor Olaf Scholz in Washington. The trip included only two public events—a brief pro forma exchange of compliments between Biden and Scholz before the White House press corps, with no questions allowed; and a CNN interview with Scholz by Fareed Zakaria, who did not touch on the pipeline allegations. The chancellor had flown to Washington with no members of the German press on board, no formal dinner scheduled, and the two world leaders were not slated to conduct a press conference, as routinely happens at such high-profile meetings. Instead, it was later reported that Biden and Scholz had an 80-minute meeting, with no aides present for much of the time. There have been no statements or written understandings made public since then by either government, but I was told by someone with access to diplomatic intelligence that there was a discussion of the pipeline exposé and, as a result, certain elements in the Central Intelligence Agency were asked to prepare a cover story in collaboration with German intelligence that would provide the American and German press with an alternative version for the destruction of Nord Stream 2. In the words of the intelligence community, the agency was “to pulse the system” in an effort to discount the claim that Biden had ordered the pipelines’ destruction.

At this point, it must be noted that Chancellor Scholz, whether or not he was alerted of the destruction of the pipeline in advance—still an open question—has clearly been complicit since last fall in support of the Biden Administration’s cover-up of its operation in the Baltic Sea.

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Andrew Wilkie, MP, on his support for Assange

Andrew Wilkie answers Mohamed Elmaazi’s question 18.02.2020.

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Chris Hedges:

The politicians who lied to us — George W. BushDick Cheney, Condoleezza RiceHillary Clinton and Joe Biden to name but a few — extinguished millions of lives, including thousands of American lives, and left Iraq along with Afghanistan, Syria, Somalia, Libya and Yemen in chaos. They exaggerated or fabricated conclusions from intelligence reports to mislead the public. The big lie is taken from the playbook of totalitarian regimes.

The cheerleaders in the media for war — Thomas FriedmanDavid Remnick, Richard CohenGeorge PackerWilliam KristolPeter BeinartBill KellerRobert KaplanAnne ApplebaumNicholas KristofJonathan ChaitFareed ZakariaDavid FrumJeffrey GoldbergDavid Brooks and Michael Ignatieff — were used to amplify the lies and discredit the handful of us, including Michael MooreRobert Scheer and Phil Donahue, who opposed the war. These courtiers were often motivated more by careerism than idealism. They did not lose their megaphones or lucrative speaking fees and book contracts once the lies were exposed, as if their crazed diatribes did not matter. They served the centers of power and were rewarded for it.

Many of these same pundits are pushing further escalation of the war in Ukraine, although most know as little about Ukraine or NATO’s provocative and unnecessary expansion to the borders of Russia as they did about Iraq.

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We got into our automobiles, turned on the headlights, because it was now after nine o’clock, and started driving round. We saw that a large number of stores had been broken into and occasionally we saw soldiers carrying away their booty. Count [Jerzy] Potulicki[-Skórzewski] jumped out of the automobile and stopped some of them. He whistled for a patrol, but there did not seem to be any on the streets. Farther down the street we heard some shots and then a cry. General [Edgar] Jadwin decided that it was impossible for us to organize ourselves into a police force, as we had no authority to arrest Polish soldiers. He therefore decided to go and see the Polish General … General [Daniel] Konarzewski said that he had so few officers that he could not send any of them out as they were needed in the camps to keep the men in hand. His officers had been fighting all day and were too exhausted now to go on patrol duty. General Jadwin pointed out that the soldiers apparently were not too tired to rob.

—Arthur Leman Goodhart, American lawyer and member of the Morgenthau Commission, report on the pogrom in Minsk on August 8, 1919, in Jochen Böhler, Civil War in Central Europe, 1918-1921, (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2018), 147.

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Der Angriff der USA auf den Irak vor 20 Jahren

Die Zeit:

21. März 2003: Auf dem Flugzeugträger “USS Constellation” werden Kampfeinsätze zur Unterstützung der Operation “Iraqi Freedom” vorbereitet. © Felix Garza/​AFP/​Getty Images

Von Australien, Asien über Europa, Afrika bis Südamerika und die USA – der Protest gegen den sich ankündigenden Irakkrieg folgte der aufgehenden Sonne. Er war massenhaft und umspannte den gesamten Globus. 12 bis 14 Millionen Menschen, laut dem Guiness-Buch der Rekorde der größte Protest, den die Welt je gesehen hatte, gingen am 15. März 2003 auf die Straße und riefen: “Die Welt sagt Nein zu diesem Krieg!” Das war fünf Tage, bevor US-Präsident George W. Bush mit der Operation Iraqi Freedom den Einmarsch befahl, einen völkerrechtswidrigen Angriffskrieg, der nicht von einer Resolution des UN-Sicherheitsrats gedeckt war. Dem gewaltigen Chor der Kriegsgegner schlossen sich damals auch viele Regierende an, der sozialdemokratische Bundeskanzler Gerhard Schröder zum Beispiel und Frankreichs konservativer Präsident Jacques Chirac.

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Sevim Dağdelen on Iraq invasion anniversary and Julian Assange

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Gerhard Schröder, 18.03.2003

Ingar Solty:

In Deutschland betrachteten CDU/CSU die deutsche Gegnerschaft zum bevorstehenden Irakkrieg als diplomatisches Desaster. Angela Merkel, die damalige konservative Oppositionsführerin, die zwei Jahre später für die nächsten 16 Jahre Bundeskanzlerin werden sollte, flog eigens in die USA, um sich für die Entscheidung von Bundeskanzler Gerhard Schröder zu entschuldigen, und schrieb einen Gastbeitrag in der Washington Post mit dem Titel «Gerhard Schröder spricht nicht für alle Deutschen».

Das stimmte jedoch nicht, denn Schroeders Kurs hatte ihm tatsächlich gerade dazu verholfen, das bis dahin Unrealistische zu schaffen: seine Wiederwahl.

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Machines learning

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André Hahn on Nord Stream

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Iraqi drone, 12.03.2003

Associated Press:

A remotely piloted aircraft that the United States has warned could spread chemical weapons appears to be made of balsa wood and duct tape, with two small propellers attached to what look like the engines of a weed whacker.

Iraqi officials took journalists to the Ibn Firnas State Company just north of Baghdad on Wednesday, where the drone’s project director Brigadier Imad Abdul Latif accused US Secretary of State Colin Powell of misleading the UN Security Council and the public.

In Washington’s search for a “smoking gun” that would prove Iraq is not disarming, Powell has insisted the drone, which has a wingspan of 7.4 metres (24.5 feet), could be fitted to dispense chemical and biological weapons.

He has said it “should be of concern to everybody”.

The drone’s white fuselage was emblazoned on Wednesday with the words “God is great” and the code “Quds-10.”

Its balsa wood wings were held together with duct tape. Officials said they referred to the remotely piloted vehicle as the RPV-30A.

Latif said the plane is controlled by the naked eye from the ground, and couldn’t be controlled from more than eight kilometres (five miles). The limit imposed by the United Nations is 150-kilometres (93-miles). He added that the range will be determined when the drone passes to the next testing stage, but insisted it would never exceed the UN limit.

Speaking to media at the Ibin Fernaz Military Aviation Training facility, about 60kms south west of Baghdad, a spokesperson for the monitoring directorate said the RPV on show was only for “air-defence purposes, reconnaissance and jamming”.

The U.S. ambassador to the United Nations, John Negroponte, complained this weekend that chief UN weapons inspector Hans Blix didn’t mention the drone in his oral presentation to the Security Council on Friday.

Blix mentioned the drone in a 173-page written list of outstanding questions about Iraq’s weapons programs last week. While small, Blix said, drones can be used to spray biological warfare agents such as anthrax. He said the drone hadn’t been declared by Iraq to inspectors.

But Iraq insisted it declared the drone in a report in January – and Hussein held up its declaration to prove it. The confusion, he said, was the result of a typo: The declaration said the wingspan was 4.4 meters (39.6 feet) instead of 7.4 meters (24.4 feet).

Hiro Ueki, spokesman for the UN weapons inspectors, said the United Nations was investigating the drone’s capabilities, and said he was unsure whether Iraq reported the drone before inspectors found it on an airfield or after.

Meantime, UN arms experts continued their inspections with a visit to the That Al Sawari chemical company at Al Taji.

At the time I had relatives who avoided travel into downtown Philadelphia for fear that drones of this nature launched from Iraqi fishing trawlers lurking off the Atlantic coast might fly over Philadelphia and release anthrax spores. I was astounded by the gullibility of Americans who could believe what to me — and millions of others around the world — were so obviously government lies. In cities around the globe we turned out in millions to protest the imminent US/UK invasion.

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Guardian UK view of mass murder based on lies

Patrick Wintour, Guardian:

At this distance, on the eve of the twentieth anniversary on 20 March, it seems to matter less whether the war was launched on a deceit, a distortion, a wilful misapprehension, or a sincere false premise. It was a blunder that looks worse with every passing anniversary and memoir. Barack Obama drew one lesson from the episode: “Don’t do stupid shit.”

Richard Norton-Taylor, Guardian, May 4, 2019:

Early in 2003 Katharine Gun, a young GCHQ translator, leaked a document, subsequently passed to the Observer, showing how the US had asked GCHQ to bug the phones of diplomats from the so-called UN “swing states” – countries believed to be open to persuasion to back an invasion of Iraq.

She was charged under the 1989 Official Secrets Act which had replaced the discredited “catch-all” statute. The case against her was suddenly dropped when the prosecution realised that evidence would emerge at Gun’s trial that even British government lawyers believed the invasion was unlawful.

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Berliner Zeitung:

Erschütternd sei aber eine Einsicht, die sich aus Gesprächen mit Ukrainern ergebe: Dass sich reiche ukrainische Männer vom Krieg freikaufen könnten. 10.000 Euro würde es heute kosten, das Land zu verlassen, wenn man nicht eingezogen werden möchte, erzählt ein Taxifahrer. Die Armen in der Ukraine, sie tragen das Leid auf ihren Schultern, sagt er. Sie hätten keine Wahl und müssten kämpfen. Es ist eine von vielen polnischen Perspektiven auf den Krieg.

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