Blame America? No, Blame Neocons!

Is the current refugee crisis gripping the European Union “all America’s fault”? That is how my critique of U.S. foreign policy was characterized in a recent interview on the Fox Business Channel. I do not blame the host for making this claim, but I think it is important to clarify the point.

It has become common to discount any criticism of U.S. foreign policy as “blaming America first.” It is a convenient way of avoiding a real discussion. If aggressive U.S. policy in the Middle East — for example in Iraq — results in the creation of terrorist organizations like al-Qaeda in Iraq, is pointing out the unintended consequences of bad policy blaming America? Is it “blaming America” to point out that blowback — like we saw on 9/11 — can be the result of unwise U.S. foreign policy actions like stationing U.S. troops in Saudi Arabia?

In the Fox interview, I pointed out that the current refugee crisis is largely caused by bad U.S. foreign policy actions. The U.S. government decides on regime change for a particular country — in this case, Syria — destabilizes the government, causes social chaos, and destroys the economy, and we are supposed to be surprised that so many people are desperate to leave? Is pointing this out blaming America, or is it blaming that part of the U.S. government that makes such foolish policies?

Accusing those who criticize U.S. foreign policy of “blaming America” is pretty selective, however. Such accusations are never leveled at those who criticize a U.S. pullback. For example, most neocons argue that the current crisis in Iraq is all Obama’s fault for pulling U.S. troops out of the country. Are they “blaming America first” for the mess? No one ever says that. Just like they never explain why the troops were removed from Iraq: the U.S. demanded complete immunity for troops and contractors, and the Iraqi government refused.

Iraq was not a stable country when the U.S. withdrew its troops anyway. As soon as the U.S. stopped paying the Sunnis not to attack the Iraqi government, they started attacking the Iraqi government. Why? Because the U.S. attack on Iraq led to a government that was closely allied to Iran, and the Sunnis could not live with that! It was not the U.S. withdrawal from Iraq that created the current instability, but the invasion. The same is true with U.S. regime change policy toward Syria. How many Syrians were streaming out of Syria before U.S. support for Islamist rebels there made the country unlivable? Is pointing out this consequence of bad U.S. policy also blaming America first?

Last year, I was asked by another Fox program whether I was not “blaming America” when I criticized the increasingly confrontational U.S. stand toward Russia. Here’s how I put it then:

“I don’t blame America. I am America, you are America. I don’t blame you. I blame bad policy. I blame the interventionists. I blame the neoconservatives who preach this stuff, who believe in it like a religion — that they have to promote American goodness even if you have to bomb and kill people.”

In short, I don’t blame America; I blame neocons.

The views expressed in this opinion article are solely those of their author and are not necessarily either shared or endorsed by

New Stunning Revelations About Iran And The Nuclear Agreement

Last week, Western Journalism reported that the Obama administration refuses to answer questions by Senator Marco Rubio, R-Fla., about the number of Americans and Israelis that have been killed by Iran since 1979.

On three different occasions, Rubio asked Secretary of State John Kerry about the issue; but in his written response that was obtained by the Washington Free Beacon, Kerry refused to give the data and deflected with statements like, “the death of any U.S. citizen due to acts of terrorism is a tragedy that we take very seriously.”

A CENTCOM report and a testimony of General Joseph Dunford in a Senate hearing this summer shows that at least 500 Americans died between 2005 and 2011 because of Iranian attacks and the use of Iranian weapons. Kerry, however, says that the nuclear agreement has nothing to do with Iran’s terrorist activities because the agreement (dubbed JCPOA) wasn’t about changing Iran’s behavior.

“The JCPOA (Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action) cannot erase decades of Iranian anti-American and anti-Israel rhetoric and actions,” Kerry wrote to Rubio.

Critics of the agreement pointed out that Iran’s behavior cannot be separated from its drive for nuclear weapons, and that the JCPOA would achieve two things that will endanger the world significantly.

First, they argue, the agreement would unblock between $100 and $150 billion in Iranian revenues and assets which will probably be used to strengthen Iran’s military and its proxies in the region. The second point critics use is that the agreement will actually pave the way to an Iranian nuclear weapon because Iran is not required to dismantle any nuclear facility and even gets assistance for developing its program further from the nations that negotiated the deal.

One important point that has been absent in the whole discussion about the agreement and Iran’s role in terrorist activity around the world, including the number of Americans that were killed as a result of Iran’s actions, is the Iranian role in the 9/11 atrocity in the United States.

Times and Jerusalem Post columnist Melanie Phillips this weekend published a stunning article about Iran’s role in the 9/11 attacks on the U.S. that read as an exposure, but was based on a 2011 ruling by Judge George B. Daniels of the United States District Court for the Southern District of New York.

Phillips wrote that the judge found the regime in Tehran and the Iranian Revolutionary Guard guilty of providing direct and material aid to al-Qaeda in carrying out the 9/11 atrocity and even found the Revolutionary Guard’s MOIS task force guilty of devising the plot that would crash civilian airplanes into the Twin Towers of the WTC, the Pentagon and the White House.

Here are the most important parts from Melanie Phillips’ article:

The ruling by Daniels upheld evidence from 10 experts, including three former 9/11 commission staff members, and sworn testimony from three Iranian defectors who had been operatives of the Revolutionary Guards and the MOIS.

One of these three, Abolghasem Mesbahi, who had been in charge of spying operations in western Europe, was said in the ruling to have testified in numerous prosecutions of Iranian and Hezbollah terrorists and to be “highly reliable and credible.”

Mesbahi’s evidence was incendiary. He had been part of a Revolutionary Guards-MOIS task force that designed contingency plans for unconventional warfare against the US.

These were aimed at breaking the American economy, crippling or disheartening the US, and disrupting the American social, military and political order – all without the risk of a head-to-head confrontation which Iran knew it would lose.

This group devised a scheme to crash hijacked Boeing 747s into the World Trade Center, the White House and the Pentagon.

The plan’s code name was “Shaitan dar Atash” (“Satan in flames”).

The four aircraft hijacked by the 9/11 terrorists were Boeing 757 and 767s. Due to US trade sanctions, Iran has never possessed Boeing 757 or 767 aircraft. In 2000, said Mesbahi, Iran used front companies to obtain a Boeing 757-767-777 flight simulator which it hid at a secret site and where Mesbahi believed the 9/11 terrorists were trained.

Falling out of favor with regime hardliners, Mesbahi went into hiding in Germany where he was placed on a witness protection program. He remained in touch with trusted Iranian friends who were helping protect his life. During the weeks before 9/11, Mesbahi received three coded messages from a source inside Iran’s government, indicating that Shaitan dar Atash had been activated.

He tried repeatedly to alert German security officials. They didn’t believe him.

The Daniels ruling also directly implicated Khamenei in the 9/11 plot. It stated that he formed a special intelligence apparatus under his direct control engaged in the planning, support and direction of terrorism. A May 14, 2001 memorandum from the overseer of this apparatus directly connected Iran to an impending major attack on the US.

To ensure Iran’s involvement was concealed, Khamenei instructed intelligence operatives that, while expanding collaboration between Hezbollah and al-Qaida, they must restrict communications to existing contacts with al-Qaida’s second-in-command Ayman al Zawahiri and Imad Mughniyeh – Hezbollah’s terrorism chief and agent of Iran, arguably the most formidable terrorist the world has ever seen until his 2008 assassination, and now revealed in this court ruling as a key organizer of the 9/11 attacks.

At the end of her column, Phillips wonders how it could be that no one in the U.S. government acknowledged the ruling that she thinks should have been a game-changer because it shows clearly that the Iranian regime is not a hypothetical threat.

Meanwhile, on Saturday, news broke that Congressman Mike Pompeo, R-Kan., had discovered that there are no signatures on the final agreement between Iran and the P5+1 countries.

Pompeo decided to write a letter to Secretary of State John Kerry in which he asked him to clarify the matter.

Here’s a fragment taken from Pompeo’s letter to Kerry:

I found that the copies provided to Congress of the JCPOA are not signed by any of the P5+1 members nor by Iran.  Having never seen an international agreement of this magnitude not signed by the parties or an agent of the parties, I assume this is simply an oversight or an administrative error.  That is, Congress must not have the final version of the agreement that would necessarily be signed.  I request that you provide us with copies of a final, executed copy of the JCPOA.  In the event that the JCPOA has not yet been signed by the parties, please inform us (a) when signatures will be placed on the agreement, (b) what parties will be signing, and (c) which person you anticipate will sign on behalf of each of those parties, including on behalf of the United States.

I am confident that you intended for the JCPOA to be signed by each of the P5+1 participants.  I can find no international agreement of this “historic” nature that was not signed by the parties.

To make things worse, another revelation by Adam Kredo of the Washington Free Beacon made clear that Kerry had admitted to Senator Marco Rubio and other lawmakers that Russia, China and European countries would be not part of the snap-back mechanism of the sanction regime in case Iran violates the terms of the agreement.

“Secretary of State John Kerry admitted to Sen. Marco Rubio (R., Fla.) that the United States will work with foreign companies who financially engage Iran to shield them from penalties in the aftermath of Iran violating the agreement, a decision experts told the Free Beacon risked a corporate rush into Iran that will permanently bolster the Iranian economy and incentivize Iranian cheating,” Kredo wrote.

In case you might be worried by all this, Iranian President Hassan Rouhani says that you can relax.

In an interview with CBS’ 60 Minutes, Rohani said that the American public should not take the “Death to America” threats literally because the Iranian people respect the American people.

Authoritarians Do Not Get What America Is All About

There is a very lengthy and informative article this week by retired U.S. Army Maj. Todd Pierce, titled, U.S. War Theories Target Dissenters. The article discusses the U.S. Defense Department’s Law of War Manual, which says that journalists can be declared as “unprivileged belligerents” by the government and be placed into military detention without charges or evidence against the accused, or they can be killed.

Maj. Pierce brings up the hysterical West Point law professor William Bradford, who calls for the military to target civilians who express a dissenting point of view of the post-9/11 war on terrorism, and targeting in particular, quoting Bradford, “law school facilities, scholars’ home offices and media outlets where they give interviews.”

And Pierce also quotes retired U.S. Army Lt. Col. Ralph Peters as writing that “‘Future wars may require censorship, news blackouts and, ultimately, military attacks on the partisan media.’ (Emphasis in original.)” Pierce brings up the news media coverage of the Vietnam War, which some U.S. military officers have apparently been brainwashed to believe was a “stab in the back,” even though media critics of the war merely recognized the impossibility of the U.S. winning the Vietnam War, which the military commanders already knew as early as 1967 as was revealed by Daniel Ellsberg in 1971 with the “Pentagon Papers.”

Despite his exercising his Press freedom rights as thoroughly protected by the First Amendment to the U.S. Constitution, Ellsberg was charged with violating the Espionage Act of 1917, even though the information he released was to the American people, and not some foreign government.

You see, deep down, those in power know that their wars and aggressions and power-grabbing are illicit and criminal; and when the lights get shined on them, they not only hide and cover up–but they go after those who shine the lights on them.

More recently, Edward Snowden had been labeled a “traitor” because he revealed a lot of information to the American people regarding the criminality being committed by government agencies against them, the American people. In other words, Snowden revealed what have in fact been treasonous acts, as the U.S. Constitution would define them, being committed by various government employees.

The relevant part of Article III, Section 3 of the U.S. Constitution states:

Treason against the United States, shall consist only in levying war against them, or in adhering to their enemies, giving them aid and comfort.”

By “them,” the writers referred to the United States in the plural sense–that is, the various States of the Union, and the people of the States. So when federal government bureaucrats and their armed enforcers and soldiers direct the forces of the federal government against their own people, including the Press, those acts should be considered acts of “levying war” against the people, and thus should be considered treasonous.

In other words, it is the agents of the federal government in Washington who owe their loyalty to the American people, not the other way around.

There was also another important article this past week, On Conscientious Objection and Moral Injury, by Maria Santelli of the Center on Conscience and War. In that article, Santelli notes the concept of “killology,” in which the U.S. military has been training the soldiers to suppress their conscience, their moral scruples, in order to make it psychologically easier for them to kill innocent people, and to do so reflexively without a second thought. Santelli also notes that much of the trauma experienced by the soldiers is associated with a guilty conscience, a major cause for the 22+ U.S. military veterans committing suicide each day.

Despite such training, it is the soldier or officer who nevertheless retains his sense of moral conscience who is better able to recognize the injustices and crimes being committed by his own government; and real bravery is exhibited by those who reveal the truth.

Former U.S. Army Pvt. Bradley Manning (now known as Chelsea Manning) was the real deal, in my view. Manning witnessed first hand the war crimes being committed by his fellow soldiers overseas, in Iraq, the murders of innocent civilians, and also became aware of criminality committed by U.S. diplomats. Manning acted on his own moral conscience and took great risks releasing troves of documents to WikiLeaks.

Manning didn’t give the information to some foreign regime. He released the material to WikiLeaks because he wanted the American people to know the truth about what their government and military were up to.

Worse than the government’s treatment of Daniel Ellsberg, whose charges of “espionage” were dismissed by the judge at his trial, Bradley Manning’s trial was a farce, a kangaroo court, in which he ended up getting sentenced to 35 years in prison, in addition to the 3 years of mostly solitary confinement and torture he endured upon his initial arrest. So this is much more like the Soviet Union than the America envisioned by the Founding Fathers.

But the government’s treatment of Bradley Manning is how the criminally-minded bureaucracy responds when its crimes are exposed for all to see.

Yet, the U.S. “leaders” have treated actual spies against America much better, such as Robert Hanssen, Aldrich Ames, James Hall and George Trofimoff. They may have sold U.S. government secrets to the Soviets or others, but they apparently didn’t expose embarrassing details of U.S. government incompetence, corruption and war crimes as Manning did.

So the authoritarians of the centralized bureaucracy have it all backwards: these military fascists and their little yes-men minions believe that the federal government is the authority over the people of the States, and the citizens must follow their orders without question. And to criticize them, or expose their wrongdoing, is “treasonous” to these apparatchiks of the regime in Washington. And God forbid someone might satirize or lampoon these fools!

Of course the Vietnam War should have been criticized, by anyone who has a moral conscience. Sec. of Defense McNamara, Sec. of State Kissinger and Presidents Johnson and Nixon were war criminals, as they knowingly and willfully continued to send U.S. troops to their deaths in an unjust war with full knowledge that the war would never be won. They were murderers, in fact, not only of innocents overseas, but of their own fellow Americans.

And in 1991, interventionist President George H.W. Bush attacked Iraq, a country that was of no threat to America, including the bombing of civilian infrastructure, which was followed by sanctions which led to the deaths of hundreds of thousands, which caused retaliation and blowback, more terrorist attacks against the supposedly “civilized” West, a new war on Iraq perpetrated by Bush’s son, an Iraqi Sharia Law theocracy and now ISIS.

So of course those two Presidents Bush not only must be criticized, and their military must be criticized for war crimes; but they are the ones who should be imprisoned, certainly not those who exposed or criticized their crimes!

And of course, the government’s incompetence and criminality in unlawfully apprehending and detaining innocent people and torturing them must be criticized and condemned. When the former CIA officer John Kiriakou reveals the sick torture program and is himself imprisoned but not the criminal torturers, we must condemn that injustice. We must also criticize and condemn CIA directors such as John Brennan who defend indiscriminate bombings of civilian areas and a program of murdering suspects without trial or evidence, goofy generals such as Keith Alexander who model a war room after the bridge on Star Trek, and of course Gen. David Petraeus, whose extramarital affairs make the top headlines. And by the way, if someone like that is going to cheat on his own wife, can we really trust him to be loyal to the people he was appointed to serve?

And in fact, this whole “war on terror” must also be criticized and condemned and de-legitimized, which to many ignorant authoritarians in Washington would be a “treasonous” offense. The “war on terror” in fact has been a war on freedom, and a war on the American people, our security, our property and whatever wealth that hasn’t already been siphoned away. And it is actually these psychopathic terror-warriors who are the actual traitors, as their treason against the American people fits the actual constitutional definition of Treason as discussed above.

But indoctrinated militarist authoritarians believe in a top-down command society, in which the masses are obediently subject to the rule and whim of the “leaders.” The authoritarians do not seem to genuinely understand the ideas of self-determination, self-defense, and each individual’s inherent human right of freedom of thought and conscience, the right to investigate and ask questions, and the right to hold “The Authorities” accountable. Or the authoritarians do understand those ideas, but they merely oppose them. (Perhaps the Soviet Union is more to their liking!)

One thing the authoritarians who are drawn to 21st Century central planning in America don’t seem to understand is, while they love militarism and U.S. military power and oppose the individual rights the American Revolutionaries fought for, those early Americans themselves were opposed to militarism. They, including James Madison, opposed the idea of their new federal government even having a standing army; and Madison warned that governments’ standing armies had been used against their own people.

The Second Amendment to the U.S. Constitution was the Framers’ answer to the possibility of a centralized government turning its weapons against the people. That is one reason why the Second Amendment refers to “the right of the people to keep and bear arms,” not the right of the government to keep and bear arms. The Framers, or at least those who were sincerely concerned with preserving liberty, clearly believed that the people themselves should be armed and responsible for their defense. They did not trust a centralized government army, especially given the early Americans’ conflicts against the British tyrants.

In an article linking the right to keep and bear arms with freedom, Judge Andrew Napolitano wrote: “There have been practical historical reasons for the near universal historical acceptance of the individual possession of this right. The dictators and monsters of the 20th century — from Stalin to Hitler, from Castro to Pol Pot, from Mao to Assad — have disarmed their people, and only because some of those people resisted the disarming were all eventually enabled to fight the dictators for freedom. Sometimes they lost. Sometimes they won.

“The principal reason the colonists won the American Revolution is that they possessed weapons equivalent in power and precision to those of the British government.”

And in recognizing that the new federal government was to be subject to the scrutiny of the American people, and not the other way around, James Madison himself observed in Federalist No. 46 that, “Besides the advantage of being armed, which the Americans possess over the people of almost every other nation, the existence of subordinate governments, to which the people are attached, and by which the militia officers are appointed, forms a barrier against the enterprises of ambition, more insurmountable than any which a simple government of any form can admit of. Notwithstanding the military establishments in the several kingdoms of Europe, which are carried as far as the public resources will bear, the governments are afraid to trust the people with arms.”

Now, the modern militarists and free speech-suppressors can shout about the “terrorists,” the “Islamists,” and ISIS all they want. But because of the existence of the U.S. military and U.S. Presidents’ misuse of such a dangerous institution for over a century, having a central planning monopoly in “defense” has mainly been used for offense and provocation, and not for genuine defense. The modern threats which exist are due to the blowback of the U.S. government’s own aggressions against foreigners, which only provokes them and makes the American people more vulnerable because of it. (See Morris and Linda Tannehill, Hans-Hermann Hoppe, and Gustave de Molinari, for more on how an armed civilian population would be more effective at protecting themselves from foreign aggression, and certainly less threatening to their liberty than an armed government currently is.)

And finally, on the people’s right to express themselves, to be informed on what their government is up to, and to criticize government goons when such goons deserve to be criticized, Thomas Jefferson wrote, “were it left to me to decide whether we should have a government without newspapers or newspapers without a government, I should not hesitate a moment to prefer the latter.”

You bet.

This commentary originally appeared on Scott’s blog

The views expressed in this opinion article are solely those of their author and are not necessarily either shared or endorsed by

Fearing Fear Itself: The Unsettling Aftermath Of September 11th

Two sad and lingering results of 9/11 are prejudice and paranoia.

We are showered by public service announcements and airport advisories telling us to “report suspicious activity.” We look askance at everyone and everything — especially people whose skin color, clothing and accents are unlike our own. Too often, we conflate “suspicious” with “different.”

How awful that America, land of the free and home of the brave, is in many ways neither. Which brings us to the slender, bespectacled 14-year-old student, who was interrogated by five police officers at his school in Irving, Texas, and then taken away in handcuffs.

He had the misfortune to have suspiciously dark skin and the suspicious-sounding name of Ahmed Mohamed. More unfortunate was his choice of a suspicious-looking science project: a harmless homemade clock.

Ahmed’s father told the Dallas Morning News that his son’s treatment is a clear case of Islamophobia. It is that, and more.

It is a reflection of the broader cowardice that grips many Americans and produces an us-versus-them mentality. It’s why Donald Trump gets such hearty applause when he talks about building walls at our border.

But in this one small case at least, the shameful behavior of those who run MacArthur High School in Irving is backfiring. Ahmed is the new face of those who are fed up with rampant prejudice. It didn’t take long for #IStandWithAhmed to trigger an outpouring of support.

NASA scientists have offered Ahmed a visit to their labs. One MIT professor posted that he’s the kind of student she dreams of having. Mark Zuckerberg tweeted, “Having the skill and ambition to build something cool should lead to applause, not arrest.” Ahmed was given an open invitation to visit Facebook headquarters.

Understandably, the shock of seeing planes flying into the World Trade Center and the horror of watching the classroom carnage in Newtown, Connecticut — and so many other recent frights ­— have changed us. How could they not? Schools especially are under enormous pressure to be vigilant in protecting students.

But we simply can’t give in to our suspicions when common sense tells us otherwise. We can’t allow those few who would genuinely do us harm to achieve their highest goal: To have us live in fear.

When I walk through an airport, I don’t want other passengers deciding whether the package I’m carrying is suspicious. And I imagine if my skin were darker and my name different I’d want it even less.

I want the cops to protect me, but I don’t want to be profiled. And I imagine if I drove a different car or lived in a different neighborhood I’d want it even less.

I expect teachers and school administrators to take whatever prudent steps are necessary to keep kids safe. And I imagine if my son’s name sounded different and his appearance placed him in the minority I’d want it even more.

Following his ordeal, Ahmed Mohamed got a tweet that read: “Cool clock, Ahmed. Want to bring it to the White House? We should inspire more kids like you to like science. It’s what makes America great.”

So, young Ahmed will be visiting President Obama and over the next few weeks is likely to become instantly famous.

We should remember, however, that he’s not so much a hero as a victim. And the villains are not those we fear but those of us who have become overly fearful.

The views expressed in this opinion article are solely those of their author and are not necessarily either shared or endorsed by

SHOCK: Comedian Just Apologized For 1 HUGE Lie He Made Up About 9/11

Comedian Steve Rannazzisi claimed for years that his experience being inside the south tower of the World Trade Center on 9/11 inspired him to begin his career as a comedian, but after being confronted by evidence from the New York Times, he recently admitted that he was not inside the World Trade Center on that day.

He told an interviewer in 2009:

“I was there and then the first tower got hit and we were like jostled all over the place.”

He told that interviewer that the event caused him to change careers from working for Merrill Lynch to becoming a comedian. The New York Times discovered that Merrill Lynch had no record of Rannazzisi working for the company nor did the company have offices in the World Trade Center.

Rannazzisi told the interviewer:

“I still have dreams of like, you know, those falling dreams.”

He said in an interview on the podcast “Skarlbro Country” in 2011 about his 9/11 experience:

“I’ve spoken about it before. I just don’t ever want to feel like, anyone, I am cashing in or anything like that.”

Rannazzisi did apologize for his actions in a statement released by his publicist to the New York Times:

“I was not at the Trade Center on that day. I don’t know why I said this. This was inexcusable. I am truly, truly sorry.”

The comedian has a current contract with Buffalo Wild Wings and has held roles at MTV’s “Punk’d,” FXX’s “The League” and Comedy Central’s “Steve Rannazzisi: Manchild.” Comedy Central was set to release a one hour special called “Breaking Dad,” but may no longer do so.

Both Buffalo Wild Wings and Comedy Central are still determining how these lies will affect Rannazzisi’s relationship with them.

h/t: The Blaze