Friday, April 28, 2017

Adam Johnson - NYT’s ‘North Korea Nuke Claim Spreads Unchecked by Media // Trump: The Madder he Gets, the More Seriously the World Takes Him: Robert Fisk

NB: What I find astonishing is the number of intellectuals who imagined Trump to be the world's Batman who would fix Islamo-fascism (has there been a blockage of arms supply by the US and UK to Saudi Arabia?); and non-interventionist when it came to military adventures abroad. This draft-dodging twit is so militaristic he will make pacifists of his own military. It's a crying shame that such dangerous war-mongering threatens all of us once more; and is being cheered on by vast segments of the very same media that was calling him out on his lies till yesterday. It's time for a global anti-war movement, larger even than the European Nuclear Disarmament movement of the Reagan era. DS

Adam Johnson - NYT’s ‘North Korea Nuke Claim Spreads Unchecked by Media 
Buoyed by a total of 18 speculative verb forms - five “mays,” eight “woulds” and five “coulds”, New York Times reporters David E. Sanger and William J. Broad (4/24/17) painted a dire picture of a Trump administration forced to react to the growing and impending doom of North Korea nuclear weapons. “As North Korea Speeds Its Nuclear Program, US Fears Time Will Run Out” opens by breathlessly establishing the stakes and the limited time for the US to “deal with” the North Korean nuclear “crisis”
Behind the Trump administration’s sudden urgency in dealing with the North Korean nuclear crisis lies a stark calculus: A growing body of expert studies and classified intelligence reports that conclude the country is capable of producing a nuclear bomb every six or seven weeks. That acceleration in pace - impossible to verify until experts get beyond the limited access to North Korean facilities that ended years ago - explains why President Trump and his aides fear they are running out of time.
But from whence did this meme come? Who, exactly, made this claim? Is there any dissent within the community of “experts” on this prediction? Is there an official document somewhere with people’s names on it who can later be held accountable if it turns out to be bogus? Once again, antecedents of war are being established based on anonymous “experts” and “officials,” and hardly anyone notices

The front-page summary was even more harrowing, with the editors asserting there’s “dwindling time” for “US action” to stop North Korea from assembling hundreds of nukes: From the beginning, the Times frames any potential bombing by Trump as the product of a “stark calculus” coldly and objectively arrived at by a “growing body of expert[s].” The idea that elements within the US intelligence community may actually desire a war - or at least limited airstrikes - and thus may have an interest in presenting conflict as inevitable, is never addressed, much less accounted for.

The most spectacular claim - that North Korea is, at present, “capable of producing a nuclear bomb every six or seven weeks” - is backed up entirely by an anonymous blob of “expert studies and classified intelligence reports.” To add another red flag, Sanger and Broad qualify it in the very next sentence as a figure that is “impossible to verify.” Which is another way of saying it’s an unverified claim. When asked on Twitter if he could say who, specifically, in the US government is providing this figure, Broad did not immediately respond.

Other key claims are either not attributed or attributed to anonymous “officials” (emphasis added):
Unless something changes, North Korea’s arsenal may well hit 50 weapons by the end of Mr. Trump’s term, about half the size of Pakistan’s. American officials say the North already knows how to shrink those weapons so they can fit atop one of its short- to medium-range missiles - putting South Korea and Japan, and the thousands of American troops deployed in those two nations, within range. To offer a bit of outside perspective, Sanger and Broad interview Siegfried S. Hecker, a Stanford professor who directed the Los Alamos weapons laboratory in New Mexico in the late ’80s and early ’90s. The only time he speaks directly to the threat, he does so in the context of a nuclear accident:

At any moment, Dr. Hecker said on a call to reporters organized by the Union of Concerned Scientists, a live weapon could turn into an accidental nuclear detonation or some other catastrophe.
“I happen to believe,” he said, “the crisis is here now.” Hecker and other semi-neutral observers (Hecker worked for the Department of Defense for several years) are understandably worried about more nuclear weapons in the aggregate, especially in the hands of a relatively poor country with a long history of botched missile attempts. But who, exactly, is making the article’s most alarmist predictions? It’s unclear… read more:
http://www.informationclearinghouse.info/46948.htm

Trump: The Madder he Gets, the More Seriously the World Takes Him: Robert Fisk
The more dangerous America’s crackpot President becomes, the saner the world believes him to be. Just look back at the initial half of his first 100 days: the crazed tweeting, the lies, the fantasies and self-regard of this misogynist leader of the Western world appalled all of us. But the moment he went to war in Yemen, fired missiles at Syria and bombed Afghanistan, even the US media Trump had so ferociously condemned began to treat him with respect. And so did the rest of the world. It’s one thing to have a lunatic in the White House who watches late night television and tweets all day.

But when the same lunatic goes to war, it now emerges, he’s a safer bet for democracy, a strong President who stands up to tyrants (unless they happen to be Saudis, Turks or Egyptians) and who acts out of human emotion rather than cynicism. How else can one account for the extraordinary report in The New York Times which recorded how Trump’s “anguish” at the film of dying Syrian babies had led him to abandon “isolationism”?

Americans like action, but have typically confused Trump’s infantile trigger finger with mature decision-making. What else is there to think when a normally sane US columnist like David Ignatius suddenly compares Trump to Harry Truman and praises his demented President for his “flexibility” and “pragmatism”? This is preposterous. A madman who goofs off at something he doesn’t like on CNN is just plain wacky. A man of unsound mind who attacks three Muslim countries – two of which were included in his seven Muslim nation refugee ban – is a danger to the world. 

Yet the moment he fires 59 missiles at Syria after more than 60 civilians die in an apparent chemical attack which he blames on Assad – but none after far more are massacred by a Syrian suicide bomber – even Angela Merkel takes leave of her senses and praises Trump, along with the Matron of Downing Street, Signora Mogherini and sundry other potentates. Hasn’t someone cottoned on to the fact that Trump is now taking America into a shooting war?

Handing more power to the Pentagon – about the most perilous act of any US President – means that Defence Secretary James “Mad Dog” Mattis is now encouraging the head-chopping Saudis to bomb Yemen – adding even more American intelligence “assets” to this criminal enterprise - and encouraging the Gulf Arabs’ delusional idea that Iran wants to conquer the Arab world. “Everywhere you look,” Mattis told his Saudi hosts this month, “if there’s trouble in the region, you find Iran.”
Is that the case with Egypt, then, now under Isis attack as its President “disappears” thousands of his own people? Is that the case in Turkey whose even more crazed President has now locked up tens of thousands of his own people while turning himself into a dictator-by-law?

Let’s just briefly take a look at Trump’s reaction to Erdogan’s dodgy referendum, which has given him a Caliph’s power over Turkey. A round-up of the latest figures from Turkey by the French newspaper Liberation show that there have been 47,000 arrests since last year’s attempted coup, 140,000 passports revoked, 120,000 men and women fired from their jobs (including 8,000 military officers, 5,000 academics, 4,000 judges and lawyers, 65 mayors and 2,000 journalists). One thousand two hundred schools and 15 universities have been closed down, 170 newspapers, television and radio stations shut. And after the referendum which gave Erdogan a narrow (if very dubious) majority to legitimise these outrages, Trump called the Turkish President to congratulate him on his victory. Just as he continues to congratulate Egyptian President Abdul Fattah al-Sisi in his “battle” against “terror”, a war which al-Sisi – whose coup d’etat against Egypt’s first elected president originally brought him to power – appears to be losing. Al-Sisi, Trump enthused, would be someone “very close to him”.. read more: