Fallujah Residents Caught in the Jaws of a Vice

Beyond the Cusp

Let us pretend for a moment that you and your family are amongst the Forty-five-thousands or so civilian residents remaining in Fallujah and you want to survive; what does one do? If you remain in the city, the unmerciful shelling and other indirect weapons will eventually strike your home destroying it and your terrified family. If you try to leave, both sides will do what it takes to get you killed. The Islamic State desires two things from the Sunni citizens of Fallujah; they want you murdered using the most horrific means possible such that you and your family can be shown in Facebook and in the media who are stanchly supporting the story line and as human shields once the fighting commences. What story line is that, pray tell? Well, that depends again on whose telling the story. The Western coalition will tell the story of your family’s death…

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The EU’s Kiss of Death

The European Union is hell-bent on forcing member states to take “their share” of migrants. To this end, the European Commission has proposed reforms to EU asylum rules that would see enormous financial penalties imposed on members refusing to take in what it deems a sufficient number of asylum seekers, apparently even if this means placing those states at a severe financial disadvantage.

The European Commission is planning sanctions of an incredible $290,000 for every migrant that recalcitrant EU member states refuse to receive. Given that EU countries such as Hungary, Poland, the Czech Republic, Slovakia and Austria have closed their borders to migrants or are in the process of doing so, it is not difficult to discern at whom the EU is aiming its planned penalties.

The EU may yet come to realize, however, that this latest ill-concealed jab at the Central- and Eastern European members of the European Union — if it passes muster by most member states and members of the European parliament — may just signal the beginning of the unraveling of the European Union, an event which, considering the authoritarian structure of the organization, might be a good thing. The EU’s authority comes, undemocratically, from the top down, rather than from the bottom up; it is non-transparent, unaccountable and there is no mechanism for removing European Commission representatives.

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Ben Rhodes’s Fiction Behind the “Iran Deal”

That the Obama administration’s Iran deal is a work of fiction has been known all along, but now Ben Rhodes, Deputy National Security Advisor for Strategic Communications, is taking credit as its author. In a long interview with New York Times reporter David Samuels on Sunday, the world learned that Rhodes is “the master shaper and retailer of Obama’s foreign policy narratives” who “strategized and ran the successful Iran-deal messaging campaign.” Samuels lauds Rhodes as “a storyteller who uses a writer’s tools to advance an agenda packaged as politics.”

Welcome to the post-modern techno-presidency where everything is a text, easily manipulated by skilled writers and disseminated in 140 or fewer characters. Don’t like the facts? Change the narrative. What really counts is “the optics.”

In the midst of his fawning profile, Samuels exposes a number of lies behind the Iran narrative, or rather quotes Rhodes himself doing so. For instance, the first outreach to Iran came in 2012, not in 2013. I’d bet it came even earlier. Rhodes even acknowledges that there is nothing “moderate” about Iranian leaders Rouhani, Zarif or Khamenei. But these dates and facts conflicted with the narrative, so they were finessed, rewritten and sold to the public with different plot-lines and different themes. Outside Washington, D.C. this behavior is sometimes called lying.

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