I’ve said this before, but I think it’s definitely worth highlighting again: WE NEED THE MAINSTREAM MEDIA. I’m not talking about the opinion pages of the New York Times, the Washington Post, or the Wall Street Journal. I’m certainly not talking about CNN or Fox News. Most cable news could probably disappear tomorrow with little loss. But without the old print media titans, we’d know essentially nothing. Living on the ground in Istanbul, I could tell that almost everything the US government said about the war in Syria was a lie. But what gave me the confidence to finally put together my series on the topic was reporting from the New York Times.
It’s frustrating that the narratives that these institutions push often take no notice of the great reporting these institutions do. You can still find the New York Times pushing the idea that “We Didn’t Do Enough In Syria!!!”, even though the New York Times’s own reporting contradicts that story completely. Independent media is tremendously important. The world needs people like me to trumpet what’s really going on. We’re allowed to make the arguments that real reporters can’t. But independent media can’t fund real reporting. Most of what we do is just sifting through the real reporting that’s out there. Both branches are necessary. Today’s video would not have been possible without great reporting done by the Wall Street Journal.
Video Transcript after the jump…
Hey there. Today I am going to be dealing with a single news story, which I don’t normally do. But it is so important, and it says so much about the stuff that this channel covers that I think it’s worth unpacking this in depth. Last week the Wall Street Journal revealed that Secretary of State Mike Pompeo overruled almost everybody at the state department to keep the war in Yemen going. He chose to continue this slaughter to preserve a measly 2 billion dollars of arms sales. This story reveals the sad truth about US policy in Yemen, and US foreign policy more generally.
Let’s start this sad story with a bit of good news. In August the outrageously expensive John S. McCain 2019 National Defense Authorization Act became law. As I have talked about before, opposition to the US Saudi war on Yemen is increasing in Congress. All the serious attempts to stop the war were kept out of the 2019 NDAA, but the war hawks couldn’t keep Yemen out completely. As of last month US refueling of Saudi and UAE planes is contingent on the State department certifying that those countries are making an effort to murder fewer civilians.
This is not enough. But it is something. The defense department has also been required to do a review, but hopes were much higher for the diplomats at the state department. The decision on certification was eagerly awaited. We were all disappointed.
On September 10th Mike Pompeo, the head of the State department, certified that Saudi Arabia and the UAE were making good faith efforts to stop the war, provide humanitarian aid, and correct the policies that have led to the slaughter of of over 16,000 civilians. The certification was accompanied by a standard memo citing the evils of Iran that could have been produced by the Saudi government. This was terribly disappointing.
Last week we learned that we weren’t the only ones who were disappointed. The Wall Street Journal attained a memo that made it clear that all of the State Department’s experts thought Pompeo should not certify. They knew that Saudi Arabia and the UAE were doing none of the things that US Law required them to investigate. The slaughter continues, and the US government is very, very complicit. But Pompeo was more interested in selling another 2 billion dollars of missiles, so he certified anyway, quite probably breaking the law. Why?
At this point I think it’s worth looking into who exactly Secretary of State Mike Pompeo is. He came to national prominence when he was elected as a tea party Republican from Kansas in 2010. Though he endorsed Marco Rubio in 2016, he quickly reconciled himself to Trump World and he was rewarded, first as head of the CIA, then as head of the State Department.
So he looks like a good anti-establishment type of guy right? Tea party guy from Kansas and a born-again Trumpkin? Unfortunately it’s all bullshit.
Mike Pompeo is the elite personified. He was born in hyper wealthy Orange County California. He attended West Point and Harvard Law School, two of the world’s most elite institutions. After law school he worked at one of the most prestigious law firms in the country. In 1998 he moved to Kansas with some West Point buddies to set up a Defense Contractor. His financial disclosure forms make him one of the poorest members of the Trump Administration, but I find that hard to believe, considering the fact that he sold his company to the massive private equity firm Highland Capital Management in 2007. My guess is that his wife or his son is probably a lot richer. His entire resume is filled with links to the Koch brothers and defense contractors like Lockheed Martin and Raytheon. Mike Pompeo is the Military Industrial Complex. This guy isn’t anti establishment. He is the establishment.
And when he had the chance to do the right thing the decent thing, and even the legal thing on Yemen, of course he didn’t do it. His whole career made this inevitable.The fact that this guy is one of the most trusted, powerful and well rewarded members of the Trump administration makes it very clear that Trump doesn’t represent anything new. US foreign policy is just as owned by the Military Industrial Complex as it always has been. This is profoundly sad. But we should be grateful to the Wall Street Journal for running this story and making the Truth about Yemen and the man who runs US Foreign Policy so painfully clear.
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