Open thread for night owls: Pompeo, Bolton to join fellow warmongers in shady anti-Iran 'summit'
At Lobelog, Eli Clifton and Derek Davison write—Pompeo, Bolton To Headline Shady Anti-Iran Event During UNGA:
On Tuesday, Secretary of State Mike Pompeo and National Security Adviser John Boltonare scheduled to deliver keynote addresses at United Against Nuclear Iran’s (UANI) annual “summit” during the United Nations General Assembly. This raises troubling red flags, to say the least, about the Trump administration’s Middle East policy and its ties to the most aggressive anti-Iran forces in the United States and in the region itself, including the ambassadors from Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates (UAE), and Bahrain.
The Trump administration insists that the goal of its “maximum pressure” policy toward Iran is not to effect regime change but rather to change the “behavior” of the Iranian government. If that’s the case, then the decision to send two senior foreign policy officials to this UANI event is puzzling. According to the organization’s guest list, in attendance will be virtually every prominent official both in the United States and overseas who has pushed for a military confrontation with Iran—a veritable who’s who of warmongers.
Beyond that, the decision to send Pompeo and Bolton to this event may be deeply inappropriate. UANI’s murky financial ties include links to questionable businessmen and shadowy foreign actors with possible ties to the massive 1MDB corruption scandal in Malaysia under investigation by the U.S. Justice Department.
UANI was founded in 2008 to “inform the public about the nature of the Iranian regime, including its desire and intent to possess nuclear weapons.” Its board, chaired by former U.S. senator and ardent Iran hawk Joe Lieberman, includes a number of influential neoconservatives with well-known anti-Iran views, such as former Senator Mark Kirk, Ray Takeyh of the Council on Foreign Relations, and Wall Street Journal columnist Walter Russell Mead of the hardline Hudson Institute. Bolton himself is a past UANI board member and received at least $165,000 in consulting fees from the group’s partner organization, the Counter Extremism Project (CEP). UANI stridently opposed the 2015 Iran nuclear deal (Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action or JCPOA), going so far as to part ways with its then-president, arms control expert Gary Samore, after Samore (who remains on UANI’s board) came out in support of the final deal.
The U.S. intelligence community, Israeli intelligence, and the International Atomic Energy Agency have repeatedly contradicted UANI’s contention that Iran is pursuing nuclear weapons. Likewise, its claims that Iran was involved in the 9/11 attacks have never been proven. Nevertheless, UANI has been a reliable source of talking points on both fronts for anti-Iran policymakers in Washington. It has pushed for a comprehensive array of measures intended to isolate Iran internationally, weaken its economy, and increase the possibility of a U.S.-Iran military confrontation.
Though UANI has become one of the most prominent organizations in the anti-Iran policy world, relatively little is known about its internal workings or its financing. Financial documents acquired by LobeLog reveal that trusts controlled by billionaire investor Thomas Kaplan contributed $843,000 to UANI in 2013, nearly half of the group’s $1.7 million revenue in that year. GOP and Trump megadonors Sheldon and Miriam Adelson also contributed $500,000 in 2013. (That same year Adelson suggested that the United States should fire an “atomic weapon” at Iran rather than negotiate.) UANI’s budget ballooned to almost $5.2 million in 2016, but the source of the group’s ongoing funding is largely shrouded in mystery. [...]
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BLAST FROM THE PAST
On this date at Daily Kos in 2013—Texas Republicans will always be the last horse out of the barn:
Given the caliber of political mind Texas Republicans seem intent on foisting off onto the rest of us, non-Texans might be curious as to what sorts of people they've tapped for state government of late. The simple answer is «more of the same,» as the responses to an AP questionnaire on gay rights sent to GOP candidates for governor, lieutenant governor and attorney general revealed. Lt. Gov. Dewhurst sets the tone:
«Sadly, in a culture infected with political correctness, people of faith are targeted for defending their beliefs with no consideration of their First Amendment rights. I will continue to stand with my fellow Texans in defending our God-given, constitutionally protected freedoms.»
Yes, yes. Why are we even talking about civil rights for gay Americans when people of faith are the real victims here. It's getting so you can't even show your love for Jesus by calling someone names and beating them up anymore.
On today’s Kagro in the Morning show: Any news on KavanOOOHMYGOD! Greg Dworkin recaps the wild weekend and what we learned. A reminder of what's at stake in a Supreme Court seat. And a peek at the «Federalist Society,» that gins up resumes judge costumes to try to win those stakes.
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