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Monday, December 09, 2019 {{ new Date().getDay() }}

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Trump Aide’s Attack On Obama Backfires

Reprinted with permission from Alternet

One of the “justifications” that officials in President Donald Trump’s administration have been using to defend the killing of Qasem Soleimani is that the Iranian military commander was planning “imminent attacks” against the United States, even though that explanation has crumbled since it was first rolled out.

On Friday, Hogan Gidley (principal deputy press secretary to Trump) reiterated the administration’s “imminent attacks” assertion without evidence, but he then went on to hit back at critics by saying that when President Barack Obama “killed” al-Qaeda leader Osama bin Laden and Libyan dictator Moammar Gadaffi, he did so “without congressional approval.”

This factually challenged claim drew a lot of criticism on Twitter for Gidley.

Politico reporter Andrew Desiderio, responding to Gidley, tweeted that Gadaffi, the late Libyan dictator, “was not killed by the United States” — and the 2011 operation that killed bin Laden, according to Desiderio, came under the Authorization for the Use of Military Force (AUMF).

“Reporters are asking questions about the ‘imminent attacks’ because that was the administration’s stated justification for taking out Soleimani,” Desiderio added.

The Washington Post’s Shane Harris tweeted that Obama’s administration “consulted members of Congress in advance of killing bin Laden.” And Gadaffi, Harris pointed out, was “killed by a mob,” not Obama.

Susan Hennessey, executive editor of Benjamin Wittes’ Lawfare website and a legal/national security analyst for CNN, said of Gidley’s tweet, “Beyond this being factually false, it also completely ignores the fact that Obama was candid with Congress about the factual underpinnings of the threat, whereas Trump appears to be obfuscating and lying.”

She also pointed out that the drone killing of Anwar al-Awlaki, an American citizen who U.S. officials said was a member of al Qaeda, was in fact very controversial and generated pushback against Obama even from within his own party.

@ICanBeAHandful, in response to Gidley, tweeted, “Is pathological lying a requirement to working in this administration? Have you gotten a performance bonus?” And @spdustin posted, “Osama bin Laden wasn’t a general of a sovereign nation,” while @sadielou01 posted, “Where does the WH find you guys? Do you all have to have flunked history for consideration?”

@Joshtpm chastised Gidley, “Dude, can you do the basic level of homework to know that ‘Obama’ didn’t kill Gaddafi? He was caught by a rebel militia and executed, you ridiculous goof.”

Defending Airstrike, Pence Falsely Blames Iran For 9/11 Attack

Attempting to justify the Trump administration’s decision to kill Iranian Gen. Qassem Soleimani, Mike Pence falsely claimed that Iran was involved in planning for the 9/11 terrorist attacks.

“Assisted in the clandestine travel to Afghanistan of 10 of the 12 terrorists who carried out the September 11 terrorist attacks in the United States,” Pence wrote, referring to Iran’s Quds Force, which was under the leadership of Soleimani.

Pence’s claim is at complete odds with the official findings of the 9/11 commission, which exhaustively investigated and examined the attack.

“We have found no evidence that Iran or Hezbollah was aware of the planning for what later became the 9/11 attack,” the report noted. “At the time of their travel through Iran, the al Qaeda operatives themselves were probably not aware of the specific details of their future operation.”

Pence also incorrectly stated the number of terrorists involved in the worst terrorist attack in American history, which claimed the lives of nearly 3,000 people.

There were 19, not 12, hijackers who committed the attacks. Most of the attackers were from Saudi Arabia, with the others coming from Egypt, Lebanon, and the United Arab Emirates. Not Iran.

Pence made his allegation as part of a thread describing Soleimani as involved in “plotting imminent attacks” against American diplomats and military personnel.

That assertion is contradicted by Pentagon officials who spoke to the New York Times.

“National security experts and even officials at the Pentagon said there was nothing new about Iranian behavior in recent months or even weeks,” the Times noted.

The paper also reported that “one Defense Department official, speaking on the condition of anonymity to discuss internal planning, said that there was nothing new in the threat presented by the Iranian general.”

In 2004 when he was serving in the House of Representatives, Pence falsely claimed that “weapons of mass destruction have been found in Iraq.”

There were no weapons of mass destruction in Iraq.

Published with permission of The American Independent Foundation.

In 2019, America Saw The Human Cost Of Fox News’ Nativism

Reprinted with permission from MediaMatters

On August 3, a gunman entered a Walmart in El Paso, Texas, and murdered 22 people and injured 26 more. In addition to telling police that he drove from a Dallas suburb with the intention of targeting “Mexicans,” the shooter allegedly left a manifesto spelling out his rationale for carrying out the attack — which turned out to be virtually identical to anti-immigrant talking points heard nightly on Fox News.

The shooter’s major ideological influence was the “great replacement” theory: the idea that sinister left-wing forces are bringing Mexicans and other immigrants to the United States to replace white people. We saw that rhetoric on Fox and other conservative media time and time again both before and after the shooting. It was no secret that it was and is a white nationalist conspiracy theory.

Here’s a sampling of Fox’s nativist rhetoric just from this year, before and after the shooting:

Nothing on Fox News changed after El Paso, just as nothing changed in 2018 after another right-wing conspiracy theory inspired a synagogue shooter in Pittsburgh.

The “great replacement” rhetoric is still there. Just days after the shooting, Tucker Carlson declared the notion that white supremacy is a real problem in the U.S. is a “hoax.” The network went out of its way to blame the shooting on video games because, from the Murdochs on down, the network pushes white nationalism to serve President Donald Trump’s agenda. Just look at how the network buried the story of top Trump adviser Stephen Miller’s racist emails.

Anyhow, here’s a list of top Fox News advertisers.

Official Report Says GOP Legislator Plotted ‘Domestic Terrorism’

An NRA-backed Washington state lawmaker has been accused of domestic terrorism by an outside investigation ordered by the legislature. The leader of the Washington House Republican minority called on him to resign immediately over the accusations.

After a four-months-long independent investigation, the Rampart Group LLC sent the state legislature its 108-page report on Thursday. Its findings were that Republican Washington state Rep. Matt Shea played a key role in militia leader Ammon Bundy’s deadly armed 2016 occupation of an Eastern Oregon refuge and two other domestic terrorist acts.

“Representative Shea, as a leader in the Patriot Movement, planned, engaged in and promoted a total of three armed conflicts of political violence against the United States Government in three states outside the state of Washington over a three-year period,” the report stated. “In one conflict Representative Shea led covert strategic pre-planning in advance of the conflict.”

Shea, a six-term representative and former state House Republican caucus chair, also serves as head of the Coalition of Western States, an anti-federal government group. He and his allies have engaged in armed rebellions to protest grazing fees on public lands.

Shea compared himself to the just-impeached Donald Trump as he denounced the report. “Like we are seeing with our President this is a sham investigation meant to silence those of us who stand up against attempts to disarm and destroy our great country. I will not back down, I will not give in, I will not resign,” he posted on Thursday night.

Shea did not immediately respond to an inquiry asking what aspects of the report he disputes.

This follows a long record of extremist behavior. In 2012, he backed legislation to claim that the U.S. dollar is unconstitutional. In 2013, he told the crowd at tea party event to stockpile ammunition for a dystopian future. In 2017, he has proposed that Eastern Washington secede from the rest of the state to escape gun restrictions. In 2018, his “Biblical Basis for War” manifesto leaked, revealing his views that the Old Testament justifies war to force everyone to obey strict biblical law, including ending the right to abortion and same-sex marriage.

The state’s House Minority Leader J.T. Wilcox called on Shea to resign his office. On Thursday night, he announced that Shea had been “suspended from any role in the House Republican Caucus,” and that he “cannot use House Republican staff, he cannot meet with the caucus, [and] his office will be moved.”

Published with permission of The American Independent Foundation.