Donald Trump’s ‘mad dog’ Secretary of War


This video says about itself:

US General says “It’s good fun to shoot people”

The Pentagon has picked General James Mattis as the new head of Central Command.

If confirmed, Mattis will replace General David Petraeus in overseeing the wars in Afghanistan and Iraq along with US military operations across the Middle East.

Mattis oversaw US troops at the bloody battle of Fallujah in Iraq, and led the first conventional forces in the invasion of Afghanistan.

The Centcom chief role is more statesman than warrior though, and the general was reprimanded in 2005 for publicly saying “it’s fun to shoot people”.

Al Jazeera’s Patty Culhane reports. (July 09, 2010)

The disclosure of the statements by a US General who had said its fun to kill Afghans has turned into a problem for the US army.

The US military, still recovering from the shock of the sacking of General Stanley McChrystal, its top commander in Afghanistan — is facing fresh problems over revelations that another top commander declared that it was “fun to shoot people” in Afghanistan.

Mattis has been named as head of US central Command.

He has said at a seminar in 2005: “Actually, it’s a lot of fun to fight. Apparently no humanity has remained in Afghanistan. So it’s a hell of a lot of fun to shoot them.”

By Tom Eley in the USA:

With bipartisan support, Trump defense nominee outlines plans for global war

13 January 2017

General James “Mad Dog” Mattis, President-elect Donald Trump’s nominee for Secretary of Defense, used his confirmation hearing before the Senate Armed Services Committee on Thursday to outline an aggressive war policy, designate Russia and China as enemies and call for a dramatic expansion of military spending, including the “modernization” of nuclear weapons and expansion of cyberwarfare.

All of those present—Democrats and Republicans alike—heaped praise on Mattis during the three-and-one-half hour hearing. Not a single senator asked the nominee how he might scale down US wars, which are currently raging in several countries. Instead, senators vied with each other in appealing to Mattis to identify threats to “national security” that will be immediately confronted by the Trump administration.

No senator, including the supposedly “left” Democrat Elizabeth Warren of Massachusetts, asked the retired Marine General about his record in the occupation of Iraq, where he was implicated in war crimes. Mattis led the savage Marine counteroffensive that retook the Iraqi city of Fallujah in December 2004, and he ordered an air strike that year against a wedding party in which over 40 civilians were killed. Nor was he challenged about a public speech he made in which he stated it was “fun” to kill some people.

Until Thursday, Mattis was not legally eligible to be defense secretary. Federal law prevents selecting any individual who has been out of the military for less than seven years, a rule designed to protect the democratic principle of military subordination to the elected civilian government. Immediately after the hearing, the Armed Services Committee voted 24-3 to waive the law for Mattis, who retired from active command only three years ago, after which he assumed a seat on the corporate board of defense contracting giant General Dynamics. The US Senate quickly followed, voting 81-17 in favor of the waiver.

In a particularly ominous exchange during the hearing, Mattis was asked by the committee chairman, the Republican warmonger John McCain, whether or not he thought the “world order” was under its greatest strain in 70 years. Mattis responded, “I think it’s under the biggest attacks since World War II. And that’s from Russia, from terrorist groups and with what China is doing in the South China Sea.” Later in the hearing, Mattis said, “America has global responsibilities, and it is not to our advantage to leave any of those areas to the world absent from our efforts.”

There will be no end to these global wars, the senators’ questions and Mattis’ answers made clear. The US will “be engaged in global conflict for the foreseeable future,” McCain declared. “Believing otherwise is wishful thinking… Hard power matters, having it, threatening it, leveraging for diplomacy and at times using it.”

Though he was at pains to stress the importance of US alliances, especially NATO, Mattis, like McCain, embraced military unilateralism. The nominee said that the US has only “two fundamental powers,” one of which he called “the power of intimidation.” Necessary for this “intimidation” of other nations is for the US military to be “the top in its game in a competition where second place is last place.”

Starting with McCain, senators repeatedly invited Mattis to denounce Russia and to separate himself from Trump over the president-elect’s less publicly bellicose stance toward Moscow and his open conflict with US intelligence agencies over unsubstantiated allegations of Russian “hacking” of the US election.

Mattis labeled Russia a “strategic competitor” and said that Russian President Vladimir Putin was trying to “break” the NATO alliance, which he hailed as the greatest military alliance in history. “[T]here’s a decreasing number of areas where we can cooperate actively and increasing number of areas where we’re going to have to confront Russia,” Mattis said. He also signaled his deference to US intelligence agencies, saying he has a “very, very high degree of confidence in our intelligence community.”

When asked by Democratic Senator Martin Heinrich of New Mexico to identify “key threats” to the US, Mattis began with Russia, but from there developed a list that could include any nation in the world.

“I would consider the principal threat to start with Russia,” Mattis responded, “and then it would certainly include any nations that are looking to intimidate nations around the periphery or nations nearby them whether it is with weapons of mass destruction or—I would call it unusual, unorthodox means of intimidating them.”

This theme was taken up by Warren, who, alongside Vermont Senator Bernie Sanders, is promoted as the “left” face of the Democratic Party.

“Russia wants to promote its security through instability…trying to create a sphere of unstable states along the periphery,” Warren said. “As defense secretary, when it comes to the threats posed by Russia, will you advocate for your views frankly and forcefully to the president to speak about these threats and the need to take them seriously?” Mattis affirmed that he would. “We are counting on you,” pleaded the liberal senator.

Sometimes taking a more militaristic tone than the nominee, the senators also encouraged Mattis to make bellicose statements against China, Iran and North Korea, and solicited declarations that the US military—which spends more each year militarizing than the next eight biggest economies in the world combined—is underfunded. Committee members, Warren and Missouri Democrat Claire McCaskill included, used their questioning to call for major new spending on the nuclear arsenal, the National Guard and cyberwarfare.

Mattis did not retreat from statements made by Rex Tillerson, the former Exxon CEO nominated by Trump for secretary of state, that the US should block China from access to the South China Sea—itself an act of war. Mattis supported the conclusion that China, in its land reclamation projects, is “militarizing” the South China Sea.

Mattis stated his support for increased US aggression in the Middle East, telling the committee that the war on the Islamic State [ISIS] in Iraq and Syria needed to be placed on “a more aggressive timeline.”

In a document submitted to the committee prior to the hearing, Mattis identified Iran as the “biggest destabilizing force in the Middle East” and said that the Trump administration should “checkmate Iran’s goal for regional hegemony.” In previous statements, he has insisted that ISIS was nothing more than a stalking horse for Tehran to project its influence. However, invited by senators to disavow the treaty with Iran concluded by the Obama administration, which removed the immediate threat of war, Mattis said he would uphold it.

Also Thursday, the Senate Intelligence Committee held hearings for Trump’s nominee to head the Central Intelligence Agency, Mike Pompeo, a former Tea Party Caucus Congressman from Kansas with close ties to the multibillionaire Koch brothers. It is also expected that the Pompeo nomination will be ratified with little resistance from Democrats.

Pompeo’s testimony was notable for its belligerent posture toward Russia. He upheld the US spy agencies’ report of hacking, though that report contained not a shred of evidence and was previously questioned by Trump.

“With respect to this report in particular, it’s pretty clear about what took place here, about Russian involvement in efforts to hack information and to have an impact on American democracy,” Pompeo said. “This was an aggressive action taken by senior leadership inside of Russia.” Pompeo also accused Russia of “invading and occupying Ukraine, threatening Europe, and doing nothing to aid in the destruction and defeat of ISIS.”

The bitter fight over the allegations of Russian “interference” in the US elections boils down to a dispute over foreign policy—whether or not to settle scores first with Russia, or to focus on a showdown with China. The media hysteria and the intervention of the intelligence apparatus and leading Republicans such as McCain to support these allegations amounts to an attempt to ensure that the Trump administration will intensify the Obama administration’s anti-Russia policy, which would have been the first order of business in a Hillary Clinton White House.

The confirmation hearings for Donald Trump’s cabinet nominees confirm that his administration intends to vastly intensify US demands for massive economic and strategic concessions from the Chinese regime. In pursuit of the predatory ambitions of a tiny layer of corporate oligarchs, policies are being put forward that could result in a military clash and trigger a nuclear exchange: here.

The US Senate voted Monday night to confirm Representative Mike Pompeo as the next CIA director. The 66-32 vote is likely to be replicated in many other confirmation votes over the next two weeks, as all 52 Republicans were joined by 14 Democrats, including Senate Minority Leader Charles Schumer: here.

Looking For Anti-Trump Protests? Here Are Dozens To Choose From: here.

From bloody Iraq war to bloody Fort Lauderdale, USA airport


This video from the USA says about itself:

9 January 2017

Recently there was a mass shooting at the airport in Ft. Lauderdale that claimed the lives of 5 people, the shooter has been caught and we’re now learning more about him. Ana Kasparian and Cenk Uygur of The Young Turks discuss some new details about the Ft. Lauderdale shooter. Tell us what you think in the comment section below.

Read more here.

“The suspect believed to have shot five people to death in a rampage at a Florida airport Friday was being treated in Alaska after complaining of hearing voices and had recently claimed to the FBI that the CIA was forcing him to watch ISIS videos, federal officials said.

THE SHOOTER opened fire at a baggage claim at the Fort Lauderdale-Hollywood International Airport at 12:55 p.m., apparently shooting people at random.

SHOOTER had been “fighting with a lot of people,” his brother, Bryan, told NBC News in a phone interview from Puerto Rico. His aunt and uncle in New Jersey said Santiago had not been the same since a 10-month deployment in Iraq with the Puerto Rico National Guard.”

By Genevieve Leigh in the USA:

Details emerge of Fort Lauderdale shooter’s experience in military

10 January 2017

The suspected gunman in the Fort Lauderdale shooting, 26-year-old Esteban Santiago, was charged on Saturday with performing an act of violence at an international airport, killing five people and injuring six more. The charges brought forth allow a maximum penalty, upon conviction, of death or imprisonment for life.

On Monday, Santiago was ordered held without bond until a detention hearing next week. He was advised of the charges against him by US Magistrate Alicia Valle and was appointed a federal public defender. A bond hearing was scheduled for January 17 and an arraignment, during which Santiago will formally enter a plea for the charges against him, was set for January 23.

Santiago confessed to opening fire on a crowd in the baggage claim area of the Fort Lauderdale airport shortly after being detained on Friday afternoon. Once in custody, Santiago told investigators that he had planned the attack, purchasing a one-way ticket to the Fort Lauderdale airport from Anchorage, Alaska via Minneapolis-St. Paul, with a 9mm semi-automatic handgun as his only piece of checked luggage.

As details emerge concerning Santiago’s personal history, as well as his experiences serving in the US military, the media and political establishment continue to postulate on the cause of the latest shooting spree. These pundits fail in every attempt, many deliberately, to understand the deadly effects which the US military’s unrestrained brutality abroad over the last 15 years, has had on every facet of American life, and most directly on those forced to carry out the bloody campaigns.

The facts of Santiago’s life which have emerged suggest an impoverished adolescent brutalized by the inhumanity of war. Despite his own efforts, and those of his friends and family to seek help, and even to notify the FBI of his condition, Santiago failed to receive the necessary treatment, if such exists, to reverse the damaging experiences of his life.

Santiago was born in New Jersey but moved with his family to the impoverished US territory of Puerto Rico when he was two years old. He is the youngest of six children and spent his childhood in Penuelas, Puerto Rico, which is a small town of about 14,000 residents. Only about 18 percent of Penuelas residents have an education above a high school degree, and 60 percent of the population lives in poverty, with a median household income of only $14,300.

Santiago joined the Puerto Rico National Guard on December 14, 2007, when he was only 17 years old. Reports from those who knew him as a child depict a highly intelligent, kind and quiet adolescent, who joined the military as a way of moving out of his small, poor town. One former neighbor commented to the Associated Press in shock: “He was very peaceful, very educated, very serious.”

According to Guard spokesman Maj. Paul Dahlen, Santiago was deployed to Iraq in 2010 and spent close to a year with an engineering battalion. While in Iraq, Santiago was part of a team clearing roads of improvised explosive devices.

Santiago received numerous medals and commendations during his time in Iraq including the Iraq Campaign Medal, Meritorious Unit Commendation and the Global War on Terrorism Service Medal. While the extent of his participation in direct combat is still undetermined, some of his awards, such as the Iraq Campaign Medal and his Combat Action badge, are combat related honors. Additionally, his mother told reporters that her son witnessed a roadside bomb in Taji, Iraq, just north of Baghdad, which killed two of his fellow 130th Engineer Company soldiers.

Details and reports from friends and family continue to emerge regarding the toll that his time in the military took on Santiago’s mental state.

A grade school classmate of Santiago’s, and fellow member of the National Guard, Rosemarie Zapata, reported to the New York Times that it was Santiago who convinced her to join the Puerto Rico National Guard, before he was deployed to Iraq. When she saw him again after his deployment in a Walgreens parking lot, she said “he was very different,” adding, “He told me: ‘You would never want to go to Iraq. I saw horrible things, horrible.’ He was very different. He was sad.”

One uncle, Hernan Rivera, told the Record, “Only thing I could tell you was when he came out of Iraq, he wasn’t feeling too good.” Friends and family continue to repeat similar sentiments to local and national media outlets.

After returning from Iraq, Santiago served in the Army Reserves and the Alaska National Guard in Anchorage before being discharged for “unsatisfactory performance,” according to Lt. Col. Candis Olmstead. Olmstead, a spokeswoman for the Guard, would not elaborate on the specifics of his discharge, but the Pentagon reports that he went AWOL several times and was first demoted, and then discharged.

Consistent with these reports, Santiago voluntarily turned himself over to the FBI in November 2016, just a little over a month before the deadly shooting, claiming that the CIA was controlling his mind and was forcing him to watch Islamic State [ISIS] videos. The FBI agents then notified the police, who took him in for psychiatric help. The hospital released him and ceased treatment after only four days.

Friday’s shooting marks the fourth time in the United States since 2013 that an individual previously known to the FBI has gone on to carry out a violent attack of some kind. This list includes the Pulse nightclub shooting, also in Florida, which killed over 50 people, and the Boston Marathon bombing in 2013, killing three.

While Santiago may have confessed to the killings in Fort Lauderdale, the ultimate responsibility for the crime lies not with the mentally unstable war veteran; nor is it the outcome some abstract “evil” entity haunting any single individual, as Governor Rick Scott of Florida has claimed. In fact, Santiago is in many ways himself a victim of US imperialism. The blood of these people, along with all of the tens of thousands killed in the wars abroad, and those who suffer here at home, lies in the hands of the American ruling class.

The truly guilty parties of these crimes are George W. Bush; Dick Cheney; the country’s current commander-in-chief, Barack Obama, the first in US history to oversee two full terms with the country at war; as well as the military leaders, the intelligence community, and the members of both political parties who initiated and continue the criminal wars in Iraq, Afghanistan, Pakistan, Syria, Libya, Yemen and beyond; as well as the corrupt media outlets who prop them up.

The horror of the Iraq war, one hundred years from now: here.

Iraq war comes home to Fort Lauderdale, USA


Fort Lauderdale massacre

By Genevieve Leigh in the USA:

Five dead, eight wounded in Fort Lauderdale, Florida airport shooting

7 January 2017

A gunman opened fire early Friday afternoon at Fort Lauderdale-Hollywood International Airport in southeastern Florida, killing five people and injuring at least eight others, before being detained by Broward County police.

The incident began in the crowded baggage claim area of Terminal 2, the shooter then moved through a corridor until he ran out of bullets, at which point he laid on the ground “spread eagle” until apprehended by authorities. No shots were fired by the police.

The shooter has been identified as 26 year old New Jersey native, Esteban Santiago. Reports indicate that Santiago was carrying a concealed carry permit for his gun as well as a military identification for the US Army reserves.

Military officials have confirmed that Santiago served in the Puerto Rico National Guard beginning in 2007 and was deployed to Iraq in 2010 for at least 10 months earning a combat action badge for his service. In 2014 he moved to Alaska serving in the Alaska National Guard as a combat engineer. Lt. Col. Candis Olmstead, an official from the Alaska National Guard reported that he was discharged in August 2016 for unsatisfactory performance.

‘Unsatisfactory performance’ is not that sursprising for a person who may have had PTSD; which was not taken sufficiently seriously by authorities.

Law enforcement officials believe Santiago had arrived on a flight from Anchorage, Alaska, catching a connection in Minneapolis-St. Paul before flying on to Fort Lauderdale. Upon arrival the suspect picked up his firearm at baggage claim, went into the men’s bathroom to unpack and load his weapon with ammunition and began the shooting spree. Authorities are looking into witness reports that the suspect got into an altercation on board his flight to Florida, law enforcement officials said.

According to multiple media reports, Santiago fired openly into the crowd, stopping only to reload his weapon, and did not appear to be targeting anyone specifically. One witness from Minneapolis, who was nearby when the shooting began, described the scene to NBC, “Everyone started screaming and running. The shooter made his way down through baggage claim. He had what looked like a 9mm and emptied his entire clip. People were trying to run.”

Videos on social media show a chaotic scene of large crowds running across the tarmac between terminals, some taking cover behind vehicles. Many who were left unharmed in the wake of the shooting stayed on the scene to help those who had been shot, using items from their luggage to stop the bleeding from gunshot wounds.

Santiago is currently being questioned by the police to determine his motive, however, much information has surfaced regarding his mental state prior to the attack. According to media outlets, Santiago was being treated for mental health problems in Alaska, including hearing voices.

According to law enforcement officials, Santiago entered an FBI office in Anchorage, Alaska in November last year claiming that the CIA, in the form of voices in his head, were forcing him to join ISIS. Officials say local police were promptly called, and he went voluntarily to a mental health facility for treatment.

In response to the shooting, Florida Governor Rick Scott told reporters: “The citizens of Florida will not tolerate senseless acts of evil. Whoever is responsible will be held accountable to the fullest extent of the law.”

Scott’s statement is a clear indication that the response of the ruling establishment to the shooting will be no different from the countless others which have plagued American society. No political figure or media newscaster has broached the subject of the social roots of this “evil.”

While a certain level of personal responsibility for the senseless killing of the five individuals on Friday afternoon lies with Santiago, the more fundamental cause of this act of violence is found not in the personal failings of one deranged individual but with the type of society from which he emerged. One need not delve deep to see that this incident is one of many devastating effects of the United States’ quarter century of bloody imperialist wars abroad, coming home.

While it is not clear whether or not Santiago’s mental health issues were present before serving in the military, it is likely that his experience in training and in combat played a role in providing him with the technical know-how to carry out such an attack, and, more profoundly, inflicting the kind of psychological damage that would compel someone to murder innocent people.

Also significant is that fact that the suspect, who seems to be himself a victim of US imperialism, sought help from [the] same institutions which placed him in the situation that likely caused his disorder, the US military establishment.

Far from being equipped to treat the victims of their bloody wars, the dismal state of health care, and moreover psychological care, available to the population at large- let alone veterans– appears to have been inadequate to assist Santiago.

The details of Santiago’s treatment and mental state are still being released and verified, however, if the current facts released remain true, it appears that Santiago may have been a double victim of the capitalist system, both in the suffering the effects of serving as soldier in its imperialist wars abroad and its dismal state of social services at home.

As of this writing none of the victims have been identified, but as is the case with all such outbursts of violence, the devastation inflicted on the victims, their families, those innocent bystanders who will forever be affected by the bloody scene, and all those following the incident from afar, will be significant and irrevocable.

As more details emerge, the establishment’s response to this latest shooting will predictably seek to channel the public’s anxiety and anger toward support of a host of reactionary initiatives – intensification of the phony “war on terror,” the militarization of the police, the need to revive “traditional family values,” and more.

On the Internet, Islamophobes try to blame this violence by a non-Muslim on Islam.

Airport Shooting Suspect Checked Gun, Despite Mental Health Issues. The veteran told the FBI his mind was being controlled by the government. He was never on a no-fly list. 01/07/2017 01:31 pm ET: here.

“Only thing I could tell you was when he came out of Iraq, he wasn’t feeling too good,” his uncle, Hernan Rivera, told The Record newspaper.

Iraq war and US government lies


This video from the USA says about itself:

The People’s Tribunal on the Iraq War, Day Two: Stacy Bannerman

30 December 2016

On Day 2 of the CODEPINK #IraqTribunal, participants provided testimony on the lies that were used to invade Iraq.

This video from the USA says about itself:

The People’s Tribunal on the Iraq War, Day Two: Mairead Maguire

‘This video from the USA says about itself:

The People’s Tribunal on the Iraq War, Day Two: Noam Chomsky

Ex-CIA interrogator debunks Bush’s Iraq lies


This video from the USA says about itself:

CIA Interrogator: At Time of U.S. Invasion, Saddam Hussein Was Focused on Writing Novel, Not WMDs

28 December 2016

Ten years ago this week, on December 30, 2006, former Iraqi dictator Saddam Hussein was executed. Hussein was toppled soon after the U.S. invasion began in 2003. U.S. President George W. Bush launched the invasion on the false premise that Hussein had stockpiled weapons of mass destruction and had ties to al-Qaeda. The invasion destabilized Iraq and the region, leaving over a million people dead. And the fighting continues in Iraq and Syria.

A stunning new book about the Iraq War has just come out from a perspective we have not yet heard from. It is written by John Nixon, the CIA analyst who interrogated Saddam Hussein after his capture 13 years ago. Nixon reveals that much of what the CIA believed they knew about Saddam Hussein at the time of the invasion was wrong. During his interrogation, Hussein revealed that by 2003 he had largely turned over power to his aides so he could concentrate on writing a novel. There was no program of weapons of mass destruction.

Saddam Hussein was also deeply critical of al-Qaeda and other Islamist groups inspired by Wahhabism. During the interrogation, Hussein also had a warning for the United States about Iraq. He said, “You are going to fail. You are going to find that it is not so easy to govern Iraq. You are going to fail in Iraq because you do not know the language, the history, and you do not understand the Arab mind.” We speak to former CIA analyst John Nixon, author of the new book, “Debriefing the President: The Interrogation of Saddam Hussein.”