FROM Roy Gutman
The plot thickens in Syria Secretary of State John Kerry said last year that Syria's Assad regime helped create ISIS — to distract the US by aiding alternative enemies in the region. Defectors from his regime now claim Assad has even attacked his own facilities — using agents he sent to infiltrate both Al-Qaeda and ISIS. Donald Trump insists that, “Syria is fighting ISIS,” hinting at closer US relations with Syria -- and with Russia, Assad's ally in bombing so-called “moderate” rebels. We look at the possible consequences of changing American policies in the Middle East, where nothing ever is what it seems to be.
The battle over Aleppo brings new pleas for intervention Rebel forces in Syria won a rare victory this month by getting some food to 300,000 starving citizens trapped by constant bombing in the city of Aleppo. The US reportedly looked the other way while moderates teamed up with a former affiliate of al Qaeda. Nevertheless, a crisis of massive proportions is still growing. America's Holocaust Museum, is among those demanding action. President Obama's legacy has already been called into question. But, despite speculation that Russia's involvement is timed to the US election, the Trump and Clinton campaigns have had very little to say.
Presidential Transition and Accountability The Senate Armed Services Committee report says "abusive" interrogation techniques were not the work of a few low-level "bad apples" at Abu Ghraib and Guantánamo Bay. Top Administration officials, including Donald Rumsfeld, Air Force General Richard Myers and Condoleezza Rice, signed off on water-boarding and other practices some call torture. All committee members from both parties agreed that was wrong. Vice President Cheney says he personally approved those practices , and calls them effective — and legal.
New Reports Raise Questions About Bush's Iraq Legacy With a month left in office, the Bush Administration is getting reviews and voicing its own assessments of the past eight years. An unpublished official history of the Iraq reconstruction says it was crippled before it began and bungled in execution. John McCain and other Republicans signed a unanimous Senate report that so-called "abusive" interrogation techniques in the war on terror were not the work of a few low-level "bad apples" at Abu Ghraib and Guantánamo Bay, but that top Administration officials, including Donald Rumsfeld, Air Force General Richard Myers and Condoleezza Rice, signed off on water-boarding and other practices some call torture. Now, Vice President Cheney says that's true . Should he and others be praised for protecting the country or investigated for possible crimes?
Ex-FBI Director Comey tells his side of the story Today, former FBI Director James Comey came close to calling the President who fired him a liar. The White House denied the claim and called it insulting, but Republican Senators did not challenge Comey’s truthfulness. Many questions remain: did the President try to obstruct a federal investigation? Later, we’ll go behind the “velvet rope” for a look at 5-Star health care for the richest Americans.
Terrorism and tweets, hate speech and murder Just days before an election, Britain is coping with a rash of deadly terrorism, and Prime Minister Theresa May is on the defensive. And again today, President Trump has tweeted criticism of the Mayor of London. Later, a double murder in Portland, Oregon has revealed the ugly past of a supposedly “progressive” city. One immediate question: is “hate speech” protected by the First Amendment?
Trump plays scolder-in-chief with NATO allies At the opening of NATO’s dramatic new headquarters in Brussels today, President Trump acknowledged that Article 5 — promising that “an attack on one nation is an attack on all” -- has only been invoked one time: in the aftermath of September 11. But the President failed to provide what 27 other Alliance members have been waiting for: a re-commitment by America’s new leader to Article 5. Instead, they got a scolding.
The Trump agenda: where's the beef? President Trump says big things are happening. After celebrating a House bill on health care, he doesn’t yet have Senate agreement. With James Comey’s public testimony scheduled tomorrow, the President today tweeted his selection of a new FBI Director. Is the Chief Executive all style and no substance? Later, terror attacks in Iran and conflicting claims about who’s behind them.