Appendix: Trump Lied About His Planned Iran Strike...

This tab provides supplementary reading, including source articles, for the Justice Integrity Project column published on June 24, 2019 Trump Lied About His Planned Iran Strike, Following A Pattern.

The column began, "President Trump's clumsy explanation Friday of his planned military strike against Iran rapidly collapsed. But it falls within a longer tradition of Executive Branch secrecy and deception regarding history-making United States military and intelligence developments."

The materials are arranged below in reverse chronological order below. They total more than 4,300 words, too much material to include as an appendix to the column.

Related News Coverage

June 24

Vox, Analysis: Chuck Todd’s Trump interview, and the backlash to it, explained, Aaron Rupar, June 24, 2019. President Donald Trump’s pretaped interview on Sunday’s Meet the Press is blowing up — but not for reasons host Chuck Todd, shown at right in an NBC screengrab at djt chuck todd screengrab nbc june 23 2019he White House, or NBC would like.

At numerous points throughout the interview, Todd let Trump get away with blatant falsehoods and gaslighting. Todd also teed up a number of softball questions for the president, like “Do you think you’ve been more successful in business or the presidency?” and “Do you speak to any of the former presidents?”

Trump’s interview with Todd comes at the end of a week that began with George Stephanopoulos’s occasionally hard-hitting hour-long interview with Trump and also featured an episode of Sean Hannity’s Fox News show that was devoted almost entirely to a fawning phone call.

While there were a number of newsworthy moments during the Meet the Press interview, Todd was widely criticized for how he dealt with an NBC star turned president who has made a bit of a cottage industry out of bashing his former business partner.

NYU journalism professor Jay Rosen said the interview “was not public discourse” and compared the proceedings to “feeding English sentences into a wood chipper,” while University College London political scientist Brian Klaas criticized Todd for appearing to be unprepared for Trump’s lies.

washington post logoWashington Post, Opinion: Trump’s lies need to be exposed in real time, Jennifer Rubin, right, jennifer rubin new headshotJune 24, 2019. President Trump has made more than 10,700 false or misleading claims: Washington Post Fact Checker.

Allowing Trump and his ilk to bluster and flat-out lie their way through interviews might be the path of least resistance when trying to cover a lot of ground. However, if Trump and his teammates are not stopped dead in their tracks, the media become a platform for deceiving voters.

Headlines that echo the president — “Trump says Obama did it first” — are equally reprehensible. (It should be “Trump falsely blames Obama for his own policy.”)

We’re at risk of losing not only a shared set of facts but also a uniform belief that there are such things as facts. That’s straight out of the autocratic playbook — one that the media cannot facilitate.

jacob hornberger newFuture of Freedom Foundation, Opinion: The Solution to Trump’s Iran Mayhem, Jacob G. Hornberger, right, June 24, 2019. Undoubtedly, President Trump is fantasizing about the possibility of being awarded the Nobel Peace Prize for deciding at the last minute to not bomb Iran in retaliation for Iran’s shoot-down of a Pentagon drone. Apparently experiencing a crisis of conscience, Trump called off the strike when he learned that it would kill an estimated 150 people, which he decided would be disproportionate to the downing of an unmanned drone.

Meanwhile, Trump is not only continuing his brutal system of sanctions on Iran but actually ratcheting them up even more. His goal? To kill more Iranians through economic deprivation, either through starvation, illness, or domestic plane crashes arising from an inability to secure needed parts for maintenance and repair.

Should the Nobel Peace Prize be awarded to a man who resolves his own crises and then chooses to kill innocent people with sanctions rather than bombs as a way to achieve a political end? Even a blind man can see that Trump’s actions toward Iran have been entirely belligerent, all with the aim of squeezing the Iranian citizenry and bullying their government officials into complying with his dictates or else face a “defensive” U.S. bombing attack.

It’s helpful to remind ourselves of what happened here.

June 23

NBC News, President Trump's full, unedited interview with Meet the Press, Chuck Todd, June 23, 2019. https://www.nbcnews.com/politics/meet-the-press/president-trump-s-full-unedited-interview-meet-press-n1020731

CHUCK TODD:

Let me start right in, what happened last night?

PRESIDENT DONALD TRUMP:

Well, you had a situation that was very bad because the night before, they shot down an unmanned drone. And the unmanned is a very big factor. The fact that there was not a person on it, a U.S. person on it, or anybody. And that had an impact on me. I said, "Well, you know, we got a little problem." And I think they did that on purpose because they understand that they will be hit very hard if that were a plane with a person in it. And I think they knew that there was nobody there. So we had a very, you know, modest but pretty, pretty heavy attack schedule.

June 22

iran wants war graphic

World Crisis Radio, Opinion: We have gone to the brink of hell in the last 24 hours, Webster G. Tarpley (author, historian, radio host, shown at webster tarpley 2007right), June 22, 2019 (73:52 min. audio). Thanks to this regime, the great "man of peace," the great non-interventionist, the guy who wanted to eschew all of the stupid wars and bring the troops home and take care of the United States, has been toying, has taken us one millimeter away from the worst catastrophe in modern times for the United States.

Worse than Vietnam. Worse than Iraq. Worse than anything that has been put together. A total debacle, a catastrophe. That is to say, war with Iran over nothing. A drone! A drone is an unmanned aerial vehicle....

 armageddon less you music dcma

Armageddon (Image by Less You Music via DCMA)

OpEdNews, Opinion: As We Face Armageddon the Western World Is Leaderless, Paul Craig Roberts, June 22, 2019. Dr. Paul Craig Roberts, paul craig roberts head sternoenearthlogoright, was deputy Treasury Secretary under Republican President Ronald Reagan and later associate editor of the Wall Street Journal in charge of its opinion pages. According to news reports, the validity of which cannot be ascertained by the general public, a crazed US government came within 10 minutes of igniting a general conflagration in the Middle East, the consequences of which could have been catastrophic for all.

The moronic warmongers in high office — Bolton (below at left), Pompeo, and Pence — and their Israel Lobby masters are determined, and they have not abandoned their campaign for war with Iran. Of course, the liars say that Iran will just accept its john bolton youtube guardianpunishment for defending its territory and there will be no war. But this is not what Iran says. I believe Iran.

Some of the tiny percentage of people in the Western World who are still capable of thought regret that Trump called off the insane plan. They think the consequences would have been the destruction of the Saudi and Israeli governments — two of the most evil in history — and the cut-off of oil to the US and Europe, with the resulting depression causing the overthrow of the Western warmonger governments. They believe that catastrophic American defeat is the only way peace can be restored to the world.

In other words, it is not clear whether Trump calling off the attack saved us or doomed us. The Israel Lobby and their neoconservative agents have not been taught a lesson. Trump has not fired Bolton and Pompeo for almost igniting a conflagration, and he has not dressed down his moronic vice president. So, it can all happen again.

And likely will. The lesson that Bolton and Israel have learned is that the fake news about an Iranian attack on a Japanese freighter, denied by the Japanese, was not sufficient to lock Trump into "saving face" by attacking Iran. So be prepared for a larger orchestrated provocation. Bolton and Israel know that the Western presstitutes will lie for them. Watch for a provocation that allows Trump no alternative to an attack.

Washington's use of fake news and false flag attacks to launch military attacks goes back a long way. In the 21st Century we have had a concentrated dose — Saddam Hussein's weapons of mass destruction, Assad's use of chemical weapons, Iranian nukes, Russian invasions, Maduro starving his own people, the endless lies about Gaddafi.

Yes, I know there are more. I am writing an article, not an encyclopedia.

June 21

ny times logoNew York Times, Analysis: They Backed Off Strikes: Trump in ’19, Obama in ’13, Clinton in ’98, Mark Landler, June 22, 2019. The immediate comparison was to President Barack Obama’s decision not to attack Syria. But the closer one might be to a last-minute choice by President Bill Clinton over a missile strike on Iraq, our reporter writes in an analysis.

The president calls off a missile strike on a Middle Eastern country at the last minute, overruling his national security advisers, confusing allies and adversaries, and provoking criticism from hawks in his own party, who warn that his vacillation could erode America’s credibility in a dangerous world.

ny times logoNew York Times, Opinion: Want War With Iran? Ask Congress First, Editorial Board, June 20, 2019. June 21, 2019 (print ed.). The Trump administration’s campaign of maximum pressure and minimal diplomacy are bringing the two countries ever closer to blows. From the U.S.S. Maine in Havana Harbor in 1898 to the U.S.S. Maddox in the iran flag mapGulf of Tonkin in 1964, maritime incidents, shrouded in the fog of uncertainty, have lured the United States into wars on foreign shoals. Which is why cooler heads must prevail — and Congress must be consulted — as American and Iranian forces inch closer to open conflict in and around the Strait of Hormuz.

The downing of an unmanned American surveillance aircraft on Thursday by an Iranian surface-to-air missile is another worrying click of the ratchet between the Trump administration, which unilaterally abandoned the 2015 nuclear accord for a campaign of “maximum pressure,” and an Iranian government suffering from tighter economic sanctions.

The United States has blamed Iran for recent attacks on shipping and pipelines in the Persian Gulf; Iran says it was not responsible. The United States has responded to the tensions by building up forces in the region.

air force p 8 poseidon file

SouthFront, IRGC Commander Says Iran Refrained From Shooting Down Second U.S. Plane, Staff report, June 21, 2019. Iran refrained from shooting down a manned U.S. Navy plane that was accompanying the downed RQ-4A Global Hawk unmanned aerial vehicle (UAV) over the Persian Gulf, Brig. Gen. Amirali Hajizadeh, head of the Iranian Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC) aerospace division, revealed on June 21. “With the U.S. drone in the region there was also an American P-8 plane with 35 people on board. This plane also entered our airspace and we could have shot it down, but we did not,” the Iranian Tasnim news agency quoted Brig. Gen. Hajizadeh as saying.

Boeing’s P-8 Poseidon, which was first introduced in 2013, is equipped with an array of signal intelligence (SIGINT), electronic intelligence (ELINT) and electronic warfare (EW) systems.

The IRGC’s aerospace division used the locally-made Khordad-3 air-defense system armed with Sayyad-2C missiles to shot down the RQ-4A. While the Khordad-3 system is designed after the Soviet Buk missile system, the Sayyad-2C is actually an Iranian copy of the US-made RIM-66 Standard missile.

washington post logoWashington Post, Opinion: Iran must escape the American chokehold before it becomes fatal, David Ignatius, June 21, 2019 (print ed.).  The most important variable in the david ignatiuscurrent Persian Gulf confrontation is time. The Trump administration wants to play a long game, to draw the sanctions tourniquet ever tighter. Iran needs to play a short game, to escape the U.S. chokehold before it becomes fatal.

This inner dynamic helps explain the past month’s events in the gulf — Iran’s steady escalation of deniable strikes and President Trump’s relatively restrained military response. Each side has a different playbook, dictated by its interests, resources and ability to sustain operations.ong Republicans.

wayne madsen newerWayne Madsen Report (WMR), Opinion: What caused Trump to call off an attack on Iran? Wayne Madsen, right, June 21, 2019 (subscription required). Without a full-time Secretary of Defense, opposition to Trump’s military move would have largely rested with the Joint Chiefs of Staff.

Moon of Alabama (continued from above), Opinion: White House Pushes 'Trump Pulled Back' Story -- He Likely Never Approved To Strike Iran, B, June 21, 2019. Last night U.S President Trump allegedly pulled back from a military strike against Iran after it had already been ordered. That is the official story but there are doubts that it is true.

After the drone shoot down the price of oil jumped 10%. Trump will have noticed that. He was also already warned by Iran that there is no room for talks and that any strike against it would have deadly consequences: 

DUBAI (Reuters):  Iranian officials told Reuters on Friday that Tehran had received a message from U.S. President Donald Trump through Oman overnight warning that a U.S. attack on Iran was imminent....The second official said: “We made it clear that the leader is against any talks, but the message will be conveyed to him to make a decision ... However, we told the Omani official that any attack against Iran will have regional and international consequences.”

The whole storyline of "a strike was ordered but Trump held back and saved the day" might well be fake.

Unusual High Frequency radio traffic pointed to strike preparation, says the open source analyst IntelCrab. There is also a different plausible explanation why an imminent strike might have been called back. From the Wall Street Journal: "Saudi Plant Struck by Missile, Apparently From Yemen; Senior U.S. officials called back to White House after desalination facility in kingdom hit."

This must have come as a shock for the Saudis. Some 75% of the water the Saudis use comes from desalination plants. Their people will die of thirst when those get destroyed. Did the Saudi King call the White House and urge it to call off the strike against Iran because he feared for his water resources? Was this the real reason why the White House called back its advisors and canceled the strike?

tucker carlson djtYesterday evening Tucker Carlson, a FOX News host with a direct line to the White House, had two strong anti-war segments on his show (vid). In the second segment Carlson (shown in file photos with the president) talks with retired army Colonel Douglas McGregor. Both argue for pulling back on sanctions. This was likely a preplanned exchange (at 9:56 min) designed to give Trump cover for his decision.

Trump may well want some diplomatic exchange with Iran. But Iran will not talk to him as long as the sanctions against it are kept in place. It will continue its maximum pressure campaign by creating new incidents that will again increase the price of oil. The easiest way out for Trump is to abolish sanctions against Iran. He at least should issue waivers for China and others to allow them to again buy Iranian oil.

Unless he does so Iran will hit again and again against those who press for war against it. Yesterday it was a U.S. drone and a Saudi desalination plant that were the targets. The next incident could be in some oil facility in the United Arab Emirates or a symbolic strike against Israel.

washington post logoWashington Post, Trump’s account of planning, then canceling Iran strikes is facing scrutiny, John Hudson, Missy Ryan and Erin Cunningham​, June 21, 2019. President Trump on Friday described a nail-biting decision to call off an imminent attack on Iran in order to avoid disproportionate casualties, but the account is already facing scrutiny from aides around him and military analysts questioning the sequence of events he laid out in tweets and statements.

June 20

ny times logoNew York Times, Trump Approves Strikes on Iran, but Then Abruptly Pulls Back, Michael D. Shear, Eric Schmitt, Michael Crowley and Maggie Haberman, June 20, 2019. President Trump approved military strikes against Iran in retaliation for downing an American surveillance drone, but pulled back from launching them on Thursday night after a day of escalating tensions.

american flagAs late as 7 p.m., military and diplomatic officials were expecting a strike, after intense discussions and debate at the White House among the president’s top national security officials and congressional leaders, according to multiple senior administration officials involved in or briefed on the deliberations.

Officials said the president had initially approved attacks on a handful of Iranian targets, like radar and missile batteries.

The operation was underway in its early stages when it was called off, a senior administration official said. Planes were in the air and ships were in position, but no missiles had been fired when word came to stand down, the official said.

washington post logojennifer rubin new headshotWashington Post, Opinion: This is what happens when you have an unfit commander in chief, Jennifer Rubin, right, June 20, 2019. The Senate repudiating a president of the majority party on a matter of national security would be unusual under any circumstances. That it comes at a time when tensions with a major international foe are boiling over is nothing short of astonishing, a sign of how far President Trump has fallen as commander in chief.

June 19

 

pentagon dc skyline dod photo.

 ny times logoNew York Times, Shanahan Withdraws as Defense Secretary Nominee, Michael D. Shear and Helene Cooper, June 19, 2019 (print ed.). President Trump on Tuesday pulled the nomination of Patrick M. Shanahan, right, to be the permanent defense secretary, saying on Twitter that Mr. Shanahan would devote more time to his family.

patrick shanahan oThe move leaves the Pentagon without a permanent leader at a time of escalating tensions with Iran after attacks on oil tankers in the Persian Gulf. The Trump administration has blamed Iran for the explosions that damaged the two tankers.

raytheon logoMr. Trump named Mark T. Esper, the secretary of the Army and a former Raytheon executive, to take over as acting secretary of defense. He did not say whether Mr. Esper would be nominated for the permanent position.

At the Pentagon, officials were internally discussing that a routine F.B.I. investigation for cabinet nominees was dragging on for Mr. Shanahan because of his divorce, which included an allegation from his ex-wife — denied by Mr. Shanahan — that he punched her in the stomach. Mr. Shanahan said that his ex-wife started the fight, and his spokesman said that she was arrested and charged with domestic violence, charges which were eventually dropped.

According to court documents viewed by The New York Times, in 2011 Mr. Shanahan’s son, who was 17 at the time, hit his mother repeatedly with a baseball bat, and she was hospitalized.

Department of Defense SealIn an interview with the Washington Post published Tuesday, Mr. Shanahan said that “bad things can happen to good families.” He called the episode “a tragedy,” and said that dredging it up publicly “will ruin my son’s life.”

During his tenure, Mr. Shanahan was criticized for slighting Lockheed Martin, Boeing’s chief competitor, for its mismanagement of the F-35 Joint Strike Fighter, an aircraft that is years behind schedule and millions of dollars over budget.

He was widely viewed as acquiescing to the White House and other government officials, including John R. Bolton, the national security adviser, and Mike Pompeo, the secretary of state. Mr. Shanahan famously said that the Pentagon would not be viewed as the “Department of No.”

Wayne Madsen Report (WMR), Opinion: There's much more to the Shanahan resignation story, Wayne Madsen (author and former defense contracting executive and Navy intelligence officer), June 19, 2019 (subscription required). There is much more to the sudden decision of acting Defense Secretary Patrick Shanahan to withdraw his name from consideration for Senate confirmation as Secretary of Defense in order to “spend more time with his family.”

June 16

washington post logoWashington Post, Obama’s defense secretary explains his big decisions and major frustrations, Dan Lamothe, June 16, 2019 (print ed.). Then-Defense Secretary Ash Carter was in a meeting at the White House when a National Security Council staff member shoved a surprise his way. Amid debate over the future of the U.S. detention center at Guantanamo Bay in Cuba, the staffer handed out a proposed timetable that would force Carter to make a decision on the transfer of a detainee within a finite number of days.

“This tactic of springing a document on people without warning or vetting — known as ‘table dropping’ — had always been offensive to me,” Carter writes in his memoir of his time at the Pentagon. “It violates all the rules of good process and fair treatment. I picked up the paper, crumpled it into a ball, and threw it at the White House staffer who had given it to me, saying, ‘Don’t table-drop s---.’ ”

The anecdote — reported previously in less colorful terms — is one of several revealing stories that Carter includes in his book, Inside the Five-Sided Box: Lessons From a Lifetime of Leadership in the Pentagon.

Carter, now director of the Belfer Center for Science and International Affairs at Harvard, said he wrote the book as a “user’s guide” for understanding the Defense Department. Carter also airs his frustrations about Congress and the media, praises some of the senior officials who worked with him, and explains the background of some of the most significant decisions he made.

June 14

Atlantic Magazine Exchange, Former Secretary of Defense Ash Carter with Jeffrey Goldberg, Staff report, June 14, 2019 (50:15 mins.). As America’s 25th Secretary of Defense, Ash Carter pushed the military to modernize. Now, in his new book, Inside the Five-Sided Box: Lessons from a Lifetime of Leadership in the Pentagon, he examines “the inner workings of the Pentagon and what it takes to lead it.”

On June 13, Secretary Carter will joined The Atlantic’s editor in chief, Jeffrey Goldberg, for a conversation about the military, leadership, and foreign affairs. Grounded in the 160-year legacy of the magazine, AtlanticLIVE brings the unparalleled journalism of The Atlantic to life through singular event experiences, on stage and off.

2013

Dec.19

The London Review of Books, Whose sarin? Seymour M. Hersh, Dec 19, 2013. Barack Obama did not tell the whole story this autumn when he tried to make the case that Bashar al-Assad was responsible for the chemical weapons attack near Damascus on 21 August. In some instances, he omitted important intelligence, and in others he presented assumptions as facts.

Most significant, he failed to acknowledge something known to the US intelligence community: that the Syrian army is not the only party in the country’s civil war with access to sarin, the nerve agent that a UN study concluded – without assessing responsibility – had been used in the rocket attack.

Sept. 4

Justice Integrity Project, Learn the Truth About Benghazi Before Syria Vote! Andrew Kreig, Sept. 4, 2013. The public deserves to know the facts about the Benghazi massacre in 2012 before approving the bombing of Syria sought by President Obama. Persistent reports suggest the CIA was using Benghazi last year as a base to smuggle arms and foreign fighters to overthrow Syria’s government.

That bombing would have been without congressional, NATO, or other significant international military support aside from enthusiasm from France, Syria's former colonial ruler. The war could potentially escalate to a vastly wider war.

Sept. 3

Justice Integrity Project, Did America's Top General Save Nation From Open-Ended War in Syria? Andrew Kreig, Sept. 3, 2013. President Martin DempseyObama was ready to launch the United States into a new Middle East war in Syria over the Labor Day weekend until the nation's top general persuaded him that he would be blamed for serious unintended consequences that could arise, according to usually well-informed sources speaking in confidence.

The general was Martin E. Dempsey, right, a career Army officer who became chairman of the U.S. Joint Chiefs of Staff in 2011. He persuaded the president that military implications could escalate beyond the limited boundaries White House civilian advisors had claimed in convincing the president as of late Friday night to move forward with bombing campaign.

Aug. 28

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Wayne Madsen Report (WMR), Obama's Syrian chemical attack "proof" relies solely on Israeli intelligence, Wayne Madsen, right, Aug. 28, 2013 (subscription wayne madsen newerrequired). WMR's sources inside the Washington Beltway report that President Obama relied solely on signals intelligence (SIGINT) provided by Israel's version of the U.S. National Security Agency, Unit 8200, to conclude that Syria's government ordered the August 21 chemical attack on the Damascus suburb of Ghouta.

Unit 8200 claimed it had intercepted a communication from a Syrian army unit operating near Ghouta on August 21. The Israelis concluded from the intercept that Syria's army carried out the chemical attack on Ghouta, although there has been no independent confirmation from Medecins Sans Frontieres (Doctors Without Borders) or the UN weapons inspection team as to who carried out the attack and even what type of chemical weapons were used.

Obama claims that his pursuit of NSA whistleblower Edward Snowden is intended to safeguard NSA's most closely-guarded secrets that are used to combat terrorism.

However, Obama, in his decision to accept the Israeli SIGINT as prima facie evidence of a Syrian chemical attack on civilians, has bypassed NSA's own SIGINT product, which is flowing into the joint NSA/British Government Communications Headquarters (GCHQ) interception facility in Cyprus, to push the notion that Syrian President Bashar al Assad carried out the attack. NSA's and GCHQ's intelligence do not conclusively prove Syrian government involvement.

Backgrounder

Barack Obama and National Security Staff 8-31-13At right, President Barack Obama is shown meeting in the Situation Room with his national security advisers to discuss strategy in Syria on  Saturday, Aug. 31, 2013.

Susan Rice, the national security adviser, is seated as usual on the president's left.

Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel is on her left with more junior personnel, for the most part, to the immediate left.

Vice President Biden, who argued as a senator (as did Obama) that presidentially ordered war-making was unconstitutional without consultation with Congress, is at the president's right. Kerry and Attorney General Eric Holder are to Biden's right. Uniformed personnel far in the background,as befits a country with a tradition of civilian military leadership.

Yet civilian war advocates often prevail with their political narratives over the argumens of those with military experience, recent history has shown. Partly for those reasons, Hagel, an award-winning combat veteran of Vietnam, had difficulty winning Senate confirmation earlier in 2013. (Official White House Photos of the Day by Pete Souza)

 

    

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