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Eric Margolis

America's Longest War Gets Longer

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Anti-Russian hysteria in America reached its apogee this week as Democrats tried to divert attention from embarrassing revelations about how the Democratic Party apparatus had rigged the primaries against Bernie Sanders by claiming Vlad Putin and his KGB had hacked and exposed the Dem’s emails.

This was rich coming from the US that snoops into everyone’s emails and phones across the globe. Remember German chancellor Angela Merkel’s cell phone being bugged by the US National Security Agency?

Unnamed US ‘intelligence officials’ claimed they had ‘high confidence’ that the Russian KGB or GRU (military intelligence) had hacked the Dem’s emails. These were likely the same officials who had ‘high confidence’ that Iraq had nuclear weapons.

Blaming Putin was a master-stroke of deflection. No more talk of Hillary’s slush fund foundation or her status as a subsidiary of Goldman Sachs and the rest of Wall Street. All attention was focused on President Putin who has been outrageously demonized by the US media and politicians.
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The Real Story Behind The Turkish Coup

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September 1961. Geneva, Switzerland. A Turkish classmate of mine named Turgut burst into my room, crying, "those bastards just hanged my father!"

The bastards’ in question were Turkey’s generals. They had overthrown the civilian government of Adnan Menderes and hanged my friend’s father. Since, then, the mighty Turkish armed forces has tried to overthrow the government about every ten years.

Last weekend’s military coup in Turkey was the fifth coup since the 1960’s. Many had believed the mighty, 610,000-man Turkish armed forces, backed by 379,000 trained reserves, NATO’s second largest forces after the US, had finally been driven back to its barracks by the popular democratic AK party government of President Recep Tayyip Erdogan.

So it seemed until last Friday when tanks seized the two Bosphorus bridges in Istanbul, and attacks were staged against key targets, like TV stations, the intelligence HQ, and government buildings. Five very senior generals and 25 colonels were reportedly at the core of the uprising.
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The Horror in Nice

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The French have a saying, "un malheur n’arrive jamais seul." That translates into "when it rains, it pours." This week, the heavens opened and poured on the nation’s national fete, Bastille Day.

The day began with highly embarrassing revelations by a French satirical newspaper that the unpopular president, Francois Hollande, had a staff hairdresser making $11,000 a month at a time of national austerity. This was a genuine "let them eat cake" moment.

That same evening, a frightful attack occurred in Nice. A demented 31-year old man of Tunisian origin, Mohammed Bouhel, who had just lost his job and then his family through divorce, turned his truck into a mass murder weapon.

Bouhel sent his large truck down Nice’s famed seaside Promenade des Anglais, mowing down people celebrating Bastille Day. As of this writing, 86 victims died and scores are gravely injured, including many children. France reeled in horror.
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Whitewash Won’t Cover Blair’s Guilt

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This week’s Chilcot report on Britain’s role in the 2003 invasion of Iraq was as polite and guarded as a proper English tea party. No direct accusations, no talk of war crimes by then Prime Minister Tony Blair or his guiding light, President George W. Bush. But still pretty damning.

Such government reports and commissions, as was wittily noted in the delightful program "Yes, Prime Minister," are designed to obscure rather than reveal the truth and bury awkward facts in mountains of paper.

And beneath mountains of lies. The biggest lie on both sides of the Atlantic was that the invasion and destruction of Iraq was the result of "faulty intelligence." The Bush and Blair camps and the US and British media keep pushing this absurd line.

This writer, who had covered Iraq since 1976, was one of the first to assert that Baghdad had no so-called weapons of mass destruction, and no means of delivering them even if it did. For this I was dropped and black-listed by the leading US TV cable news network and leading US newspapers.
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Do We Really Want War With Russia?

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War with Russia appears increasingly likely as the US and its NATO satraps continue their military provocations of Moscow.

As dangers mount, our foolish politicians should all be forced to read, and then re-read, Prof. Christopher Clark’s magisterial book, ‘The Sleepwalkers: How Europe Went to War in 1914.’ What is past increasingly appears prologue.

Prof. Clark carefully details how small cabals of anti-German senior officials in France, Britain and Russia engineered World War I, a dire conflict that was unnecessary, idiotic, and illogical. Germany and Austria-Hungary of course share some the blame, but to a much lesser degree than the bellicose French, Serbs, Russians and British.

We are seeing the same process at work today. The war party in Washington, backed by the military-industrial complex, the tame media, and the neocons, are agitating hard for war.
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Remember the Golan Heights?

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During the 1973 Arab-Israeli War, Syrian forces had surprised Israel and were fast approaching the edge of the steep Golan Heights, captured by Israel during the 1967 war. It seemed as if Syrian armor and infantry would retake Golan, then pour down into Israeli Galilee.

Soviet recon satellites observed Israel moving its nuclear-armed, 500km-range Jericho missiles out of protective caves and onto their launch pads. At the same time, Israel was seen loading nuclear bombs on their US-supplied F-4 fighter-bombers at Tel Nof airbase.

Believing Israel was about to use nuclear weapons against Syria and Egypt, Moscow put huge pressure on both to rein in their advancing forces. Damascus, already in range of Israeli artillery on Golan, ordered its armored forces on Golan to halt, allowing Israel to mount powerful counter-attacks and retake the strategic heights.
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Defending Democracy to the Last Drop of Oil

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Poor President Barack Obama flew to Saudi Arabia this past week but its ruler, King Salman, was too busy to greet him at Riyadh’s airport.

This snub was seen across the Arab world as a huge insult and violation of traditional desert hospitality. Obama should have refused to deplane and flown home.

Alas, he did not. Obama went to kow-tow to the new Saudi monarch and his hot-headed son, Crown Prince Muhammed bin Nayef. They are furious that Obama has refused to attack Iran, Hezbollah in Lebanon, and Syria’s Assad regime.

They are also angry as hornets that the US may allow relatives of 9/11 victims to sue the Saudi royal family, which is widely suspected of being involved in the attack.

Interestingly, survivors of the 34 American sailors killed aboard the USS Liberty when it was attacked by Israeli warplanes in 1967, have been denied any legal recourse.
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The Phony War in Syria

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The great, long-awaited counterattack against ISIS has finally begun. The offensive that spans Syria and western Iraq is targeting the ISIS-held cities of Raqqa and Mosul, Iraq’s second largest city.

For a variety of reasons, the much ballyhooed “final offensive” against ISIS is moving with all the speed of a medieval army of drunken foot soldiers and all the audacity of a lady’s garden party.

As a former soldier and war correspondent, I find the spectacle both pathetic and weird. Back in my army days, our tough sergeants used to call such behavior “lilly-dipping.” There’s no risk that this pathetic campaign will go down in the annals of military history.

In fact, the whole business smells to high heaven.
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Bush Haunts The GOP

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“The evil that men do lives after them,” wrote Shakespeare. A prime example, former US President George W. Bush who appeared last week campaigning in South Carolina for his amiable younger brother, Jeb.

George W. continues to haunt the Republican Party and damage its electoral chances. At home, Bush has been staying out of public gaze; abroad, he is widely hated and limits overseas travel due to fear of war crimes arrest for his 2003 invasions of Iraq.

Republican spin doctors and the rightwing US media has been trying to soft soap Bush and his mentor, Dick Cheney, for years and slowly expunge their disastrous Iraq and Afghanistan Wars that opened a Pandora’s Box of horrors across the Muslim world. Democrats who cheered the war have equally sought to dodge responsibility. However, Hillary Clinton can’t seem to escape her tawdry war record.

The US, claim the Bush/Cheney amen chorus, was “misled” into invading Iraq by “faulty intelligence,” misled by the hope to promote democracy among the benighted Muslims; on a noble quest to remove a frightful dictator Saddam; and, of course, the famous missing “weapons of mass destruction.”
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