Doctors Accuse White House Of Lying

Doctors Accuse White House Of Lying To Justify “Collateral Damage” In Kabul Hospital Bombing

Submitted by Tyler Durden on 10/04/2015

By way of excuse for what President Obama called “a tragic incident,” (and The UN called a ‘war crime’) US officials have claimed that the Taliban were fighting from within the Kabul hospital (which was destroyed by a US air strike yesterday killing at least 19 including 3 children) using aid workers as “a human shield.” However, this justification for the ‘collateral damage’ has been vehemently denied by Medecins Sans Frontier (MSF) who have issued a statement dismissing the US claims, “the gates of the hospital compound were closed all night so no one that is not staff, a patient or a caretaker was inside the hospital when the bombing happened…” but, the US strike has done one thing, as one local health official concluded, “this city is no longer for the living.”

In a statement, President Barack Obama offered condolences to the victims of what he called “the tragic incident” where as we detailed previously, the aid group MSF has said an air strike, probably carried out by U.S.-led coalition forces, killed 19 staff and patients on Saturday in a hospital it runs in Kunduz, leaving 37 wounded. The ‘reason’ offered by US officials, as Reuters reports,

The U.S. military said it conducted an air strike “in the vicinity” of the hospital, as it targeted Taliban insurgents who were directly firing on U.S. military personnel.

In Kabul, the Afghan Ministry of Defense said Taliban fighters had attacked the hospital and were using the building “as a human shield”.

But the medical aid group denied this.

“The gates of the hospital compound were closed all night so no one that is not staff, a patient or a caretaker was inside the hospital when the bombing happened,”Medecins Sans Frontieres said in a statement on Sunday.  “In any case, bombing a fully functioning hospital can never be justified.”

Witnesses said patients were burned alive in the crowded hospital after the airstrike. Among the dead were three children being treated.

Frantic MSF staff telephoned military officials at NATO in Kabul and Washington after the attack, but bombs continued to rain down for nearly an hour, one official of the group said. The medical charity that was a lifeline for thousands in the city said it was pulling most of its staff out of the area because the hospital was no longer functioning. Some staff had gone to help treat the wounded at other hospitals, it added.

Taliban fighters in Kunduz were still holding out against Afghan troops, despite government claims to have taken control of the area.

The Afghan defense ministry on Sunday congratulated residents over the victory and military helicopters dropped 6,000 leaflets urging people to cooperate with the army.”If you see abandoned military vehicles or equipment anywhere turn them over to security forces,” the leaflets read.

A coalition military official in Kabul, who asked not to be named, said, “Our understanding is that the whole area is still contested.”

Corpses lie in the streets and people are too afraid to leave their homes, said one resident, Gulboddin. “You can hear the sound of gunfire all over the city,” said Gulboddin, who has only one name. “Some of the bodies are decomposing.

“Hospitals running out of medicine are struggling to treat growing numbers of patients, said public health official Sayed Mukhtar. “There is no electricity and hospital laboratories are not working,” he added. “This city is no longer for living.”

Which explains why the group has decided to leave the city… International medical charity Doctors Without Borders said Sunday that it has withdrawn from the northern Afghan city of Kunduz

Kate Stegeman, the group’s communications manager, said some staff are working in other health facilities in the city, where troops have been battling Taliban insurgents.

“All critical patients have been referred to other health facilities and no MSF staff are working in our hospital,” she said, using the French abbreviation for the organization.

“Some of our medical staff have gone to work in two hospitals where some of the wounded have been taken,” she said.

*  *  *

The U.S. government promised a full investigation into the incident as the U.N. human rights chief said the bombing could amount to a war crime.

As Glenn Greenwald points out“it’s impossible to fathom what the U.S. media would be saying and doing if Russia did something like this in Syria. By contrast, the reaction to this airstrike by their own government will be muted and filled with apologia, ironically quite similar to the widely vilified caricature of Jeb Bush’s comments about the Oregon shooting spree: stuff happens.”

A Refugee Crisis Made In America

A Refugee Crisis Made In America

Submitted by Philip Giraldi via TheAmericanConservative.com,

On April 29th, 2008 I had a Saul on the Road to Damascus moment. I had flipped open theWashington Post and there, on the front page, was a color photo of a two year old Iraqi boy named Ali Hussein being pulled from the rubble of a house that had been destroyed by American missiles. The little boy was wearing shorts and a t-shirt and had on his feet flip-flops. His head was hanging back at an angle that told the viewer immediately that he was dead.

Four days later on May 3rd a letter by a Dunn Loring Virginia woman named Valerie Murphy was printed by the Post. Murphy complained that the Iraqi child victim photo should not have been run in the paper because it would “stir up opposition to the war and feed anti-US sentiment.” I suppose the newspaper thought it was being impartial in printing the woman’s letter, though I couldn’t help but remember that the neocon-dominated Post had generally been unwilling to cover anything antiwar, even ignoring a gathering of 300,000 protesters in Washington in 2005. Rereading the woman’s complaint and also a comment on a website suggesting that the photo of the dead little boy had been staged, I thought to myself, “What kind of monsters have we become.” And in truth we had become monsters. Bipartisan monsters wrapped in the American flag. Bill Clinton’s Secretary of State Madeleine Albright once said that killing 500,000 Iraqi children through sanctions was “worth it.” She is now a respected elder statesman close to the Hillary Clinton campaign.

I had another epiphany last week when I saw the photo of the little Syrian boy Aylan Kurdi washed up on a Turkish beach like a bit of flotsam. He was wearing a red t-shirt and black sneakers. I thought to myself that many Americans will shake their heads when looking at the photo before moving on, more concerned about Stephen Colbert’s debut on the Late Show and the start of the NFL season.

The little boy is one of hundreds of thousands of refugees trying to get to Europe. The world media is following the crisis by focusing primarily on the inability of unprepared local governments to deal with the numbers of migrants, asking why someone somewhere can’t just “do something.” This means that somehow, as a result, the vast human tragedy has been reduced to a statistic and, inevitably, a political football.

Overwhelmed by thousands of would-be travelers, Hungary suspended train service heading towards Western Europe while countries like Serbia and Macedonia deployed their military and police along their borders in a failed attempt to completely block refugees. Italy and Greece have been overwhelmed by migrants arriving by sea. Germany, to its credit, is intending to process up to 800,000 refugee and asylum applications, mostly from Syria, while Austria and Sweden have also indicated their willingness to accept many more. Immediate neighbors of the zone of conflict, notably Turkey, Lebanon and Jordan are hosting more than three million of those who are displaced, but the wealthy Arab Gulf countries and Saudi Arabia have done little or nothing to help.

Demands for a European unified strategy to deal with the problem are growing, to include sealing borders and declaring the seas off of preferred departure points in North Africa and Asia to be military zones where undocumented ships and travelers will be intercepted and turned back. One also has to suspect that the refugee crisis might be exploited by some European politicians to justify NATO “humanitarian” intervention of some sort in Syria, a move that would have to be supported by Washington. But while the bickering and maneuvering goes on, the death toll mounts. The recent discovery of 71 dead would-be migrants who suffocated in the back of a locked truck found in Austria, to include five children and a toddler, horrified the world. And that was before the dead three year old on the Turkish beach.

Many of the would-be migrants are young men looking for work in Europe, a traditional enterprise, but most of the new arrivals are families escaping the horrors of war in Syria, Iraq, Afghanistan, and Yemen. Their plight has been described in the media in graphic terms, families arriving with nothing and expecting nothing, fleeing even worse conditions back at home.

The United States has taken in only a small number of the refugees and a usually voluble White House has been uncharacteristically quiet about the problem, possibly realizing that allowing in a lot of displaced foreigners at a time when there is an increasingly heated debate over immigration policy in general just might not be a good move, politically speaking. But it should perhaps be paying some attention to what caused the problem in the first place, a bit of introspection that is largely lacking both from the mainstream media and from politicians.

Indeed, I would assign to Washington most of the blame for what is happening right now. Since folks inside the beltway are particularly given to making judgements based on numerical data they might be interested in the toll exacted through America’s global war on terror. By one not unreasonable estimate, as many as four million Muslims have died or been killed as a result of the ongoing conflicts that Washington has either initiated or been party to since 2001.

There are, in addition, millions of displaced persons who have lost their homes and livelihoods, many of whom are among the human wave currently engulfing Europe. There are currently an estimated 2,590,000 refugees who have fled their homes from Afghanistan, 370,000 from Iraq, 3,880,000 million from Syria, and 1,100,000 from Somalia. The United Nations Refugee Agency is expecting at least 130,000 refugees from Yemen as fighting in that country accelerates. Between 600,000 and one million Libyans are living precariously in neighboring Tunisia.

The number of internally displaced within each country is roughly double the number of those who have actually fled and are seeking to resettle outside their homelands. Many of the latter have wound up in temporary camps run by the United Nations while others are paying criminals to transport them into Europe.

Significantly, the countries that have generated most of the refugees are all places where the United States has invaded, overthrown governments, supported insurgencies, or intervened in a civil war. The invasion of Iraq created a power vacuum that has empowered terrorism in the Arab heartland. Supporting rebels in Syria has piled Pelion on Ossa. Afghanistan continues to bleed 14 years after the United States arrived and decided to create a democracy. Libya, which was relatively stable when the U.S. and its allies intervened, is now in chaos, with its disorder spilling over into sub-Saharan Africa.

Everywhere people are fleeing the violence, which, among other benefits, has virtually obliterated the ancient Christian presence in the Middle East. Though I recognize that the refugee problem cannot be completely blamed on only one party, many of those millions would be alive and the refugees would for the most part be in their homes if it had not been for the catastrophic interventionist policies pursued by both Democratic and Republican administrations in the United States.

It is perhaps past time for Washington to begin to become accountable for what it does.The millions of people living rough or in tents, if they are lucky, need help and it is not satisfactory for the White House to continue with its silence, a posture that suggests that the refugees are somehow somebody else’s problem. They are, in fact, our problem. A modicum of honesty from President Barack Obama would be appreciated, perhaps an admission that things have not exactly worked out as planned by his administration and that of his predecessor. And money is needed. Washington throws billions of dollars to fight wars it doesn’t have to fight and to prop up feckless allies worldwide. For a change it might be refreshing to see tax money doing some good, working with the most affected states in the Middle East and Europe to resettle the homeless and making an honest effort to come to negotiated settlements to end the fighting in Syria and Yemen, both of which can only have unspeakably bad outcomes if they continue on their current trajectories.

Ironically, American hawks are exploiting the photo of the dead Syrian boy to blame the Europeans for the humanitarian crisis while also demanding an all-out effort to depose Bashar al-Assad. Last Friday’s Washington Post had a lead editorial headlined “Europe’s Abdication,” and also featured a Michael Gerson op-ed urging immediate regime change in Syria, blaming the crisis solely on Damascus. The editorial railed against European “racists” regarding the refugee plight. And it is not clear how Gerson, an evangelical neoconservative former speech writer for George W. Bush, can possibly believe that permitting Syria to fall to ISIS would benefit anyone.

We Americans are in something approaching complete denial about how truly horrible our nation’s recent impact on the rest of the world has been. We are universally hated, even by those who have their hands out to receive their Danegeld, and the world is undoubtedly shaking its head as it listens to the bile coming out of the mouths of our presidential candidates. Shakespeare observed that the “evil that men do lives after them,” but he had no experience of the United States. We choose to dissimulate regarding the bad choices we make followed up with lies to justify and mitigate our crimes. And still later the evil we do disappears down the memory hole. Literally.

In writing this piece I looked up Ali Hussein, the little Iraqi boy who was killed by the American bomb. He has been “disappeared” from Google, as well has the photo, presumably because his death did not meet community standards. He has likewise been eliminated from the Washington Post archive. The experience of Winston Smith in George Orwell’s 1984 immediately came to mind.

Media Consolidation

Submitted by Tyler Durden on 05/04/2014 09:53 -0400

In theory, the media is supposed to keep any given administration, even that of hope and change, “honest”, and to report its flaws, failings, criminality and hypocrisy. In practice, this never happens, since the bulk of US, and global, media outlets are owned by a handful of corporations which in turn do everything in their power to preserve the lucrative arrangement in which the administration pretends to administer, and the media pretends to do its job.

With this kind of informational near-monopoly, corporations – and the media – are far more interested in perpetuating the crony-capitalist status quo, which in conjunction with Wall Street’s bribery funding of the three branches of US government, has come to symbolize just how broken US governance has become.

For 364 days of the year, the theater that the press and the administration are on the opposite sides of the table, continues without a glitch. However, one day a year, during the annual White House Correspondents’ Association dinner, the facade falls and Obama, together with his fawning press corps, have a night of laughs in an Oscar-inspired night of self-congratularoty excess. Which, just like every other night in Washington, is at the taxpayers’ expense.

Among the over 2000 “guests” enjoying the jokes were Jessica Simpson, Patrick Stewart, Matthew Morrison, Anna Chlumsky, Lindsey Vonn, Katharine McPhee, Jeremy Irvine, Lupita Nyong’o, Julianna Margulies, Sofia Vergara, Brad Paisley, Kevin Hart, Cynthia Nixon, Tim Tebow, Kareem Abdul-Jabbar, J.C. Chasez, Julia Louis-Dreyfus, Olivia Munn, Jesse Tyler Ferguson, Fred Armisen, Richard Sherman and Harvey Weinstein.

The good news: the humor – written by others, of course – was good. Here are the highlights from last night’s festivities.

First, Obama’s punchlines reported by Reuters:

“In 2008 my slogan was, ‘Yes we can.’ In 2013, it was control-alt-delete,” Obama joked to an audience also studded with film and television stars.

“At one point, things got so bad the 47 percent called Mitt Romney to apologize,” he said, referring to 2012 presidential campaign scandal in which the Republican candidate was secretly taped saying that 47 percent of Americans have become reliant on government handouts.

The president highlighted some of the low points of his administration’s last year, dwelling on the disastrous rollout of the website for his landmark health insurance reform legislation.

“Of course we rolled out HealthCare.gov. That could have gone better,” he deadpanned.

Later he turned on Republican opponents in Congress who are clamoring to repeal the legislation despite higher than expected enrollment figures in the government health care exchanges: “How well does Obamacare have to work before you stop trying to repeal it?”

At the end of his speech, Obama turned the audience’s attention to a video monitor, which failed to work. Kathleen Sebelius, the health secretary who announced her resignation this month after overseeing the botched rollout of Obamacare, stepped to the podium to try to fix the technical glitch.

Obama also took a swipe at Republicans for blocking his bid to raise the minimum wage. “If you want to get paid for not working you should run for Congress just like everyone else,” he said.

In a self-deprecating crack at his own low popularity ratings, the president referred to his fellow Democrats not wanting to campaign with him for November congressional elections in a wistful joke involving one of his daughters: “I did notice the other day that Sasha needed a speaker for career day and she invited Bill Clinton.”

“Let’s face the facts, you’ll miss me when I’m gone,” Obama directed to the Fox News table. “It will be harder for you to convince Americans that Hillary was born in Kenya.”

Some more from  USA Today:

When McHale took over duties, he aimed straight at Obamacare’s launch.

“It was so bad!” he said from the stage. “I don’t even have an analogy, because the website is now an analogy that people use to describe other bad things. ‘Boy that latest Johnny Depp movie really healthcare.gov’d at the box office.’ ”

A few of McHale’s other best lines:

  • On Chris Christie: “I promise that tonight will be amusing and over quickly. Just like Chris Christie’s presidential bid.”
  • On Rob Ford: “Between Rob Ford, Justin Bieber and Ted Cruz, you just want to tell Canada, ‘Hey, hey, relax. We already have a Florida.’ “
  • On Hillary running for office: Hillary Clinton has a lot going for her as a candidate. She has experience, she’s a natural leader. And as our first female president, we could pay her 30% less! That’s a saving this country could use. Who’s with me??”
  • On Chelsea Clinton’s pregnancy: “In nine months we will officially have a sequel to Bad Grandpa.”

Destiny of a Failing Nation

Are They Lying, Or Just Stupid?

Submitted by Tyler Durden on 05/05/2014 15:05 -0400

Submitted by James H. Kunstler via Kunstler.com,

It’s not always easy to define what exactly is wrong with America, but what ever it is, it’s huge.

— Roel Ilargi Meijer, The Automatic Earth.com

 

Nobody knows, from sea to shining sea, why we’re having all this trouble with our Republic.

— Tom McGuane, Ninety-Two in the Shade

Despite its Valley Girl origins, the simple term clueless turns out to be the most accurate descriptor for America’s degenerate zeitgeist. Nobody gets it — the “it” being a rather hefty bundle of issues ranging from our energy bind to the official mismanagement of money, the manipulation of markets, the crimes in banking, the blundering foreign misadventures, the revolving door corruption in governance, the abandonment of the rule-of-law, the ominous wind-down of the Happy Motoring fiasco and the related tragedy of obsolete suburbia, the contemptuous disregard for the futures of young people, the immersive Kardashian celebrity twerking sleaze, the downward spiral of the floundering classes into pizza and Pepsi induced obesity, methedrine psychosis, and tattooed savagery, and the thick patina of public relations dishonesty that coats all of it like some toxic bacterial overgrowth. The dwindling life of our nation, where anything goes and nothing matters.

It’s not just the individual cluelessness of ordinary people leading lives too frantic for a moment’s reflection about anything, but the appalling institutional cluelessness of enterprises where you’d think combined intellects might tend toward a more faithful view of reality. But these days all we get is a low-order of wishful and clownish group-think, such as this item from today’s New York Times discussing a proposed reversal of Gazprom pipelines along the Ukraine / Slovakian frontier as the solution to the Kiev government’s fuel problem:

Nearly all the gas Washington and Brussels would like to get moving into Ukraine from Europe originally came from Russia, which pumps gas westward across Ukraine, into Slovakia and then on to customers in Germany and elsewhere. Once the gas is sold, however, Gazprom ceases to be its owner and loses its power to set the terms of its sale.

Get that? To avoid depending on Russian gas, they’re going to buy Russian gas from sources other than Russia. What New York Times editor can read this story without spraying her video display with coffee? What genius in John Kerry’s “Haircut-in-Search-of-a-Brain” State Department dreamed up this dodge? Who would think that you could improve a Chinese fire drill by tacking on a Polish blanket trick (i.e. trying to make your blanket longer by cutting a foot from the top and sewing it onto the bottom).

The only conclusion the casual observer can come to is, to put it mildly, these institutions have gone completely meshugga. Since I follow the behavior of these organizations, I know that this is not an isolated example. For the State Department, the entire gambit in Ukraine has been a chain of obvious bungles and miscalculations, starting with our sponsored overthrow of the original elected Kiev government, and the absurd presumption that Russia had no legitimate interest in that region’s stability to the strategy of shoot-yourself-in-the-foot financial sanctions. The New York Times (once America’s “Newspaper of Record”), is now a completely unreliable conduit for un-parsed White House backgrounder propaganda and raw State Department spin, with an overlay of editorial PMS brain fog.

Another humdinger on a somewhat different issue caught my attention the other day in the formerly eminent, now degenerate journal Foreign Affairs (May / June 2014): The United States of Gas, by Robert Hefner III . This idiotic article in the current issue hits on all the usual wishful thinking delusions du jour concerning this country’s energy prospects, namely: due to fracking in shale deposits we’ve entered an energy-and-manufacturing renaissance, we’re soon-to-be the premier energy exporter to the world, and US “consumers” (i.e. citizens) can be assured of driving to WalMart forever — in other words, all economic problems solved. These idiots (editors and fact-checkers included) must get all their information straight out of the Cambridge Energy Research Associates (CERA) PR handouts. CERA, of course, is the official public relations shop of the oil and gas industry.

It’s one thing that this article is patently misleading. What’s worse is the complete absence of any understanding of the fundamental dynamic between the high cost of unconventional oil and gas and its effect on capital formation. In other words, the capital investment for continued future drilling will simply not exist. What a surprise that will be to the people who run this land.

There comes a point in the destiny of a failing nation when official lying is no longer distinct from official stupidity. We’ve crossed that boundary in the USA. It pays to remember that societies get what they deserve, not what they expect.