No Respite for the Wicked, Pompeo Unleashed

Getting Bolton out didn’t help much. Or any of the other assholes, there’s always an equal replacement.

Tom Luongo is an independent political and economic analyst March 23, 2020

There are few things in this life that make me more sick to my stomach than watching Secretary of State Mike Pompeo talking. He truly is one of the evilest men I’ve ever had the displeasure of covering.

Into the insanity of the over-reaction to the COVID-19 outbreak, Pompeo wasted no time ramping up sanctions on firms doing any business with Iran, one of the countries worse-hit by this virus to date.

It’s a seemingly endless refrain, everyday, more sanctions on Chinese, Swiss and South African firms for having the temerity in these deflating times to buy oil from someone Pompeo and his gang of heartless psychopaths disapprove of.

This goes far beyond just the oil industry. Even though I’m well aware that Russia’s crashing the price of oil was itself a hybrid war attack on U.S. capital markets. One that has had, to date, devastating effect.

While Pompeo mouths the words publicly that humanitarian aid is exempted from sanctions on Iran, the U.S. is pursuing immense pressure on companies to not do so anyway while the State Dept. bureaucracy takes its sweet time processing waiver applications.

Pompeo and his ilk only think in terms of civilizational warfare. They have become so subsumed by their big war for the moral high ground to prove American exceptionalism that they have lost any shred of humanity they may have ever had.

Because for Pompeo in times like these to stick to his talking points and for his office to continue excising Iran from the global economy when we’re supposed to be coming together to fight a global pandemic is the height of soullessness.

And it speaks to the much bigger problem that infects all of our political thinking. There comes a moment when politics and gaining political advantage have to take a back seat to doing the right thing.

I’ve actually seen moments of that impulse from the Democratic leadership in the U.S. Will wonders never cease?!

Thinking only in Manichean terms of good vs. evil and dehumanizing your opponents is actually costlier than reversing course right now. Because honey is always better at attracting flies than vinegar.

But, unfortunately, that is not the character of the Trump administration.

It can only think in terms of direct leverage and opportunity to hold onto what they think they’ve achieved. So, until President Trump is no longer consumed with coordinating efforts to control COVID-19 Pompeo and Secretary of Defense Mark Esper are in charge of foreign policy.

They will continue the playbook that has been well established.

Maximum pressure on Iran, hurt China any way they can, hold onto what they have in Syria, stay in Iraq.

To that end Iraqi President Barham Salei nominated Pompeo’s best choice to replace Prime Minister Adil Abdel Mahdi to throw Iraq’s future into complete turmoil. According to Elijah Magnier, Adnan al-Zarfi is a U.S. asset through and through.

And this looks like Pompeo’s Hail Mary to retain U.S. legal presence in Iraq after the Iraqi parliament adopted a measure to demand withdrawal of U.S. troops from the country.

Airstrikes against U.S. bases in Iraq continue on a near daily basis and there have been reports of U.S. base closures and redeployments at the same time.

This move looks like desperation by Pompeo et.al. to finally separate the Hashd al-Shaabi from Iraq’s official military. So that airstrikes against them can be carried out under the definition of ‘fighting Iranian terrorism.’

As Magnier points out in the article above if al-Zarfi puts a government together the war in Iraq will expand just as the U.S. is losing further control in Syria after Turkish President Erdogan’s disastrous attempt to remake the front in Idlib.

That ended with his effective surrender to Russian President Vladimir Putin.

The more I watch these moves by Pompeo the more sympathetic I become to the most sinister theories about COVID-19, its origins and its launch around the world. Read Pepe Escobar’s latest to get an idea of how dark and twisted this tale could be.

Rep.MikePompeo | H.R. 4432, Rep. Mike Pompeo Monsanto Safe a… | Flickr
It is sad that, to me, I see no reason to doubt Pompeo and his ilk in the U.S. government wouldn’t do something like that to spark political and social upheaval in those places most targeted by U.S. hybrid war tactics.

But, at the same time, I can see the other side of it, a vicious strike back by China against its tormentors.

And China’s government does itself, in my mind, no favors threatening to withhold drug precursors and having officials run their mouths giving Americans the excuse they need to validate Trump and Pompeo’s divisive rhetoric.

Remaining on the fence about this issue isn’t my normal style. But everyone is dirty here and the reality may well be this is a natural event terrible people on both sides are exploiting.

And I can only go by what people do rather than what they say to assess the situation. Trump tries to buy exclusive right to a potential COVID-19 vaccine from a German firm and his administration slow-walks aid to Iran.

China sends aid to Iran and Italy by the container full. Is that to salve their conscience over its initial suppression of information about the virus? Good question.

But no one covers themselves in glory by using the confusion and distraction to attempt further regime change and step up war-footing during a public health crisis, manufactured or otherwise.

While Pompeo unctuously talks the talk of compassion and charity, he cannot bring himself to actually walk the walk.

Because he is a despicable, bile-filled man of uncommon depravity. His prosecuting a hybrid war during a public health crisis speaks to no other conclusion about him.

It’s clear to me that nothing has changed at the top of Trump’s administration. I expect COVID-19 will not be a disaster for Trump and the U.S.

It can handle this. But the lack of humanity shown by its diplomatic corps ensures that in the long run the U.S. will be left to fend for itself when the next crisis hits.

 

U.S. to ICC: We Will Break Your Legs

Secretary of State Mike Pompeo responded by threatening to punish family members of ICC staff.

US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo has threatened the family members of International Criminal Court staff, vowing that Washington will take punitive action against them if the court tries American soldiers for war crimes.

Pompeo also announced an intensification of unilateral US sanctions on Iran and Syria, which are illegal under international law, and which are undermining the countries’ attempts to contain the coronavirus pandemic.

In March 2019, the Pompeo State Department threatened to revoke or deny visas to any International Criminal Court (ICC) personnel investigating crimes committed by American forces.

A year later, on March 5, 2020, the ICC took a defiant step forward, officially approving an investigation into allegations of war crimes and crimes against humanity committed by the US military and CIA in Afghanistan.

Pompeo responded by angrily condemning the court and its proceedings. His broadside was an apparent attempt at discrediting the institution, which the US government is not a party to.

In a subsequent State Department press briefing on March 17, Pompeo launched another tirade against the ICC, belittling it as a “so-called court,” a “nakedly political body,” and an “embarrassment.”

Pompeo, who previously served as director of the CIA, took the denunciations a step further, threatening the family members of ICC staff.

“We want to identify those responsible for this partisan investigation and their family members who may want to travel to the United States or engage in activity that’s inconsistent with making sure we protect Americans,” Pompeo said, according to the US State Department’s official transcript.

Sarah Leah Whitson, the managing director for research and policy at the Quincy Institute for Responsible Statecraft, drew attention to the “shocking attack” on Twitter.

“This isn’t just unlawful collective punishment against family members; it’s not just a disturbing attack on staff of a judiciary — where the US has voted to refer other nations for prosecution; it’s abuse of federal authority to use sanctions against actual wrongdoers,” said Whitson, who previously directed the Middle East and North Africa division at Human Rights Watch.

Whitson called on Democratic presidential candidates Joe Biden and Bernie Sanders to “condemn this US State Department assault on the staff and FAMILIES of ICC – abuse of sanctions authority in flagrant attack on judicial independence, unlawful collective punishment.”

Long history of US threatening multilateral institutions

This blatant US threat against the family members of International Criminal Court prosecutors is part of a longer historical pattern of Washington attacking multilateral institutions.

At the beginning of the George W. Bush administration’s so-called war on terror, in 2002, the US Congress passed a bill called the American Service-Members’ Protection Act — more commonly known as the “Hague Invasion Act.”

This unprecedented piece of legislation, which has no precedent anywhere else in the world, declares that the US government unilaterally grants itself the right to militarily invade the Hague if a citizen of the United States or any allied country is tried at the court.

Nor are Secretary of State Pompeo’s threats the first time US government officials have targeted the family members of international organizations.

José Bustani, the former director of the Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons (OPCW), said hardline neoconservative John Bolton, a former under secretary of state for George W. Bush and national security adviser for Donald Trump, threatened him and his family when Bustani negotiated with the Iraqi government to allow in OPCW weapons inspectors.

“You have 24 hours to leave the organization, and if you don’t comply with this decision by Washington, we have ways to retaliate against you,” Bolton reportedly told Bustani, according to his recollection. “We know where your kids live. You have two sons in New York.”

US State Department imposes new sanctions on Iran and Syria as deadly coronavirus spreads

Denigrating the Iranian government as “terrorists” in his State Department press briefing, Mike Pompeo declared new sanctions on the social security investment company of Iran’s military, along with five Iranian nuclear scientists.

Moreover, Pompeo announced State Department sanctions on nine more entities, in South Africa, Hong Kong, and China, for doing business with Iran.

He also unveiled new sanctions on Syria’s minister of defense, citing the Syrian army’s battle to retake Idlib, the last remaining insurgent-held territory in the country, which is occupied by a rebranded al-Qaeda affiliate and other extremist Salafi-jihadists, backed by NATO member Turkey.

US sanctions on Iran have devastated the country’s health infrastructure, greatly exacerbating the coronavirus pandemic.

A new study by researchers at the Sharif University of Technology in Tehran warned that millions of people could die due to Covid-19 — which Pompeo repeatedly referred to as the “Wuhan virus” in his press briefing.

An article by German state broadcaster DW concisely explained how US sanctions have set the stage for mass death in Iran: “Iran’s government applied for a $5 billion (€4.6 billion) loan from the International Monetary Fund (IMF) to fight the epidemic — the first time it has asked the IMF for assistance in over 50 years.

Yet, even if it gets the loan, the administration won’t be able to shop for much-needed medical supplies: US sanctions make the banking transactions required to secure even medical supplies and humanitarian goods virtually impossible.”

Author: Ben Norton

US Secretary of State is an Evilangelical Christian

And it came to pass that the evangelical Christians in America were led into the desert to be tempted by the devil.

And the devil said unto them, “I’ll make America great again, all you need do is reach out your hand and join me.”

And so it was that the crowd responded in unison, “No, we will serve the Lord God and Him only shall we serve.”

But then, intrigued by the offer, Jerry Falwell Jr. stepped out from the crowd, “Perhaps we shouldn’t be so hasty, lets hear what the man has to say first.”–AN EVANGELICAL DEAL WITH THE DEVIL

Michael Richard Pompeo is an American politician and attorney who, since April 2018, has served as the 70th United States secretary of state. He is a former United States Army officer and was director of the Central Intelligence Agency from January 2017 until April 2018.

Mr. Pompeo talks about the rapture. “We will continue to fight these battles,” he said at a “God and Country Rally” in 2015, because there is a “never-ending struggle” until “the rapture.”

The website of the U.S, Department of State currently features a photograph of Secretary of State Mike Pompeo and the words, “Being a Christian Leader.”

The link on the State Dept. homepage goes to a video and the text of Pompeo’s speech to the American Association of Christian Counselors in Nashville, Tennessee on October 11.

That in its self would not be exceptionally disturbing except that Pompeo, an evangelical Christian, has said the Bible “informs everything I do.”

He has said it’s “possible,” when asked if God made Trump president “to help save the Jewish people from the Iranian menace.”

It will be the CIA’s mission and my own if confirmed to ensure that the agency remains the best in the world at its core mission – collecting what our enemies do not want us to know. In short, the CIA must be the world’s premier espionage organization. Mike Pompeo

And he has said the wars in the Middle East are a “never-ending struggle” until “the rapture.”

Here’s how The New York Times explained Pompeo’s biblical views just this past March:

Studies show that white evangelicals are much more likely than other Americans to believe that Israel fulfills a biblical prophecy. Known as Christian Zionists, they believe God promised the land to the Jews, and that the gathering of Jews in Israel is foretold in the prophecy of the rapture — the ascent of Christians into the kingdom of God.

Mr. Pompeo talks about the rapture. “We will continue to fight these battles,” he said at a “God and Country Rally” in 2015, because there is a “never-ending struggle” until “the rapture.”

An L.A. Times opinion piece, referring to those remarks, said Pompeo “has his eye on an End Times cleansing.”