The John Batchelor Show

Monday 9 January 2017

Air Date: 
January 09, 2017

Photo, left: 1956 headline
Co-host: Thaddeus McCotter, WJR, The Great Voice of the Great Lakes
Hour One
Monday 9 January 2017 / Hour 1, Block A: Bill Roggio, Long War Journal senior editor  & FDD, in re:  DoD issues conflicting reports o Special Ops in Syria.  Private news sites report – Syrian Observatory for Human Rights and others – which leads to major press coverage, which obliges DoD to ’fess up.
. . .  May capture one and drone another; perhaps because “it wasn’t feasible” to capture one of them. Could be in a moving vehicle in the desert, or the like.    . . . IS has lost territory in the last ear; but to beat IS is to deny territory which requires ground forces.   . . .  Special Forces vid: huge people – sort of double the body mass of IS members.  Yes, when I went through SEAL jump school, they all looked like corn-fed, large American boys.  Takes a special kind of person to jump out of an aircraft at 25,000 feet with an oxygen mask.   . . . Hezbollah in Iraq, head of Popular Mobilization Forces (military arm of the Iranian govt):  our forces have fought and died in Iraq.  “PM Abadi s fully aware.” Established and trained by Hezbollah.  . . . Jim Mattis has an opinion of Mohandas.
US airstrike kills Islamic State external operations facilitator in Raqqah  Mahmud Al Isawi was killed as the US-led coalition has stepped up its efforts to help drive the Islamic State from its Syrian capital. The Pentagon said that 16 "significant members" of the organization's external operations network have been killed in 2016.  / The raid took place Sunday near a small town along the Euphrates River valley, in the vicinity of the city of Deir al-Zour and deep in the heart of Islamic State territory, according to the officials and Syrian activist groups.
The troops, who landed on helicopters, spent about 90 minutes in the area, then left carrying Islamic State captives and bodies, according to witnesses quoted by the website Deir al-Zour 24, which monitors Islamic State activity in that province.
According to U.S. defense officials in Washington, the U.S. forces intercepted a vehicle carrying an Islamic State militant whom the U.S. military hoped to capture and interrogate. One official, who like others spoke on the condition of anonymity to discuss an operation whose details have not been publicly announced, said that a firefight broke out and the suspect, along with another person in the car, was killed. No Americans were injured.
State Department designates founding member of Al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula  The State Department has designated Ibrahim al Banna as a terrorist. Al Banna has served as an al Qaeda official in Yemen since the 1990s. He originally joined the Egyptian Islamic Jihad (EIJ) and has been one of Ayman al Zawahiri's loyalists for decades. READ MORE →
Pentagon: Airstrikes kill 20 or more al Qaeda fighters in northern Syria The Pentagon is still assessing the results of airstrikes on Jan. 1 and Jan. 3 in northern Syria, but it is believed that 20 al Qaeda "militants" were killed in the bombings. The airstrikes are likely among the most significant carried out against al Qaeda in Syria since Sept. 2014. President Obama reportedly authorized a more robust air campaign against al Qaeda in Syria late last year, after the administration had previously defined down the threat.
US military kills 4 mid-level Islamic State commanders in Iraq and Syria
Monday 9 January 2017 / Hour 1, Block B: Bill Roggio, Long War Journal senior editor  & FDD, in re:  Al Qaeda.  “Osama bin Laden’s son designated as a terrorist by State Department “ – gee, when d’ja figure that out?  ObL constantly concerned about Hamza, for a while even didn't want him to join al Q.  As more leaked/hacked/gov’t-released docs emerge, a lot more names will come to light.  Hope that Gen Flynn and Gen Mattis move on these.    The current administration has pretended that all the exotically-named subgroups weren’t really al Q; but of course they are.
Osama bin Laden’s son designated as a terrorist by State Department  The State Department announced today that Osama bin Laden's son, Hamza, has been added to the US government's list of designated terrorists. Al Qaeda has released several messages from Hamza since Aug. 2015. He has threatened the West, said that all Muslims should support the jihad in Syria, and called for the Saudi government to be overthrown.
. . .  Captured and interrogated by Yemenis . . .
Monday 9 January 2017 / Hour 1, Block C: Gordon G. Chang, Daily Beast &, in re:  . . . Pres Tsai Ing-wen of Taiwan on a trip to Central America, stops in Texas.  On her brief visit she was visited by Texan officials. Beijing shrieks across the world media: It’s a core interest  of China’s.
Probably China and US are headed toward some variety of showdown; Trump tweets that the US “is not bound by Chinas one-China policy.”
Threat to the ego of the Chinese Communist Party – falls back on nationalism.  Punctures CCP ego.   No US president has spoken to a Taiwanese leader since 1979; breaks new ground; watch for tensions.  Can't afford to alienate the US at this difficult moment for China; whose economy is u stable. It could actually fall apart in  a “trade war” with the US- but we're already in a trade war, and need to defend our selves.  A yuan bear: shorts the RMB,  Yuan value fell 6.9% last year; now, Beijing is trying to punish those who short it.  It could even fall to 10-1, or 20-1.  They don't know what to do; deer in headlights.  A trillion dollars of forex have left China in the last 18 months [or perhaps in 2016].   Did Kushner have a jolly dinner with the head of Anbang? Isn't Anbang working head over heels to expatriate money, and isn't it a Party operation?
Ted Cruz and Texas Gov. Greg Abbott met with Taiwanese President Tsai Ing-wen in Houston on Sunday, as she passed through on her way to Central America. In a statement, Cruz said he was “honored” to participate in the controversial get together, saying the group discussed upgrading bilateral relations and economic cooperation between the two countries. (Houston Chronicle)
Hours later, the state-run Chinese tabloid Global Times warned Trump that China would "take revenge" if he backtracked on the  One China policy, which asks the U.S. “not to allow” or have formal government meetings with Tsai. (Reuters)
A Chinese Mystery: Who Owns a Firm on a Global Shopping Spree?
Monday 9 January 2017 / Hour 1, Block D: Gordon G. Chang, Daily Beast &, in re:  Anbang Insurance bought the Waldorf for $2 bil; couldn't get enough currency out of China to buy Starwood. 
November 16 dinner between Kushner and Anbang head, Chairman Wu Xiaohui, who married Deng Hsiao-ping’s daughter.  We don't know exactly close it is to the top of the Party; but contacts through his wife have let it expand enormously swiftly.  . . .  What do they want with the Waldorf?  It’s expensive so they managed to move out a lot of cash. Gave a 100-year management contract and the bldg. needed a lot of repairs, so with no profit it’s fishy.
Hour Two
Monday 9 January 2017 / Hour 2, Block A:   David M Drucker, Washington Examiner Senior Congressional correspondent; John Fund, NRO, in re:  Ceremonial review by Senate of PEOTUS Trump’s nominations for Cabinet posts.  Surprisingly conventional; even Andrew Puzder and Wilbur Ross are big-time GOP donors.  How have nominees been tripped in the past?  Usu a minor offense that gets blown up.  Tillerson; Dems will use him as a piñata to attack Trump’s Russia policy.  Sessions: Sen Leahy of Vermont who’s liked Sessions for years . . .  What interest groups among Dems? Envt, gays, trial lawyers, the usual donor suspects.   . . . Schumer’s rep has been to be Harry Reid with a plan.  Will wait for Trump to fail. 
•       Judiciary Committee, Sessions for attorney general.
•       Homeland Security and Government Affairs, Gen. John Kelly (Ret.), for homeland security secretary
•       Sessions hearing continues
•       Foreign Relations Committee, Rex Tillerson, for secretary of state
•       Select Committee on Intelligence, Rep. Mike Pompeo, for CIA director
•       Health, Education, Labor and Pensions Committee, Betsy DeVos, for education secretary
•       Commerce, Science and Transportation Committee, Elaine Chao, for  transportation secretary
•       Tillerson hearing expected to continue
•       Commerce, Science and Transportation Committee, Wilbur Ross, commerce secretary
•       Banking, House and Urban Affairs, Ben Carson, housing and urban development secretary
Tentatively Senate Health, Education, Labor and Pensions Committee, Andrew Puzder, labor secretary
Monday 9 January 2017 / Hour 2, Block B: David M Drucker, Washington Examiner Senior Congressional correspondent; John Fund, NRO, in re: Dems are pressing Hillary to run for New York mayoralty?  May just want to assert a sort of Democratic primacy, but the party is in search for a leader.(Waggish; to get rid of deBlasio? He’s lazy – shows up for work at 11 AM; is a terrible manager.  A lot of Wall Street Dems hate him.)  To run for the presidency and then run for anything less – not good. Does she want to be known as a failed presidential candidate, or go out as the executive of one of the largest cities in the world? Thaddeus McCotter: As a former County Commissioner, I'd encourage her not to run!
The Comeback Scenario. Hillary Watching in Chappaqua Hill and Dale... ;
Monday 9 January 2017 / Hour 2, Block C: Malcolm Hoenlein, Conference of Presidents, in re: On 15 Jan, 70 nations (the whole EU and Arab League) are gathering in Paris at inv of outgoing Pres Hollande to advance the sinister Res 2334,of lawfare favoring bad actors in the Palestinian Authority to render Israel’s borders unsafe. The Quartet will meet immed thereafter to enshrine Kerry’s points from his recent windy speech: communiqué will reiterate Res 2334.  Lame ducks have decided to impose “peace” – continue to send a msg to Abbas that Palestinian in dependence can by achieved without any discussion with Israel.  So far, PA has declined all opportunities. In fact, businesses in West Bank are booming, with eager participation of Palestinian  workers.   Vote of 342-80 in Congress condemning Res 2334.  When Adm Staviridis goes on record to call for an “essential” closer operation with Israel . . .  The scores and scores of UN anti-Israel resolutions despite the hair-raising activities elsewhere – Syria, Nigeria, central Africa, Horn of Africa, Yemen, Iran, Iraq, Afghanistan, Pakistan, Burma, Indonesia, Philippines . . . et al.   Kerry: Netanyahu’s govt is the “most right-wing in history”- hunh?  1. Not. 2.  The physical danger in which Israel finds itself requires mil strength merely to survive.  It pulled out of Gaza and Lebanon; what’d it get? Only more threats. 
Also, 17 Jan UN mtg to attack Israel.   
Monday 9 January 2017 / Hour 2, Block D: Malcolm Hoenlein, Conference of Presidents, in re:  Terrorist attack in Jerusalem by a construction worker: 4 Die as Truck Rams Into Israeli Soldiers in Jerusalem  A Palestinian driver ploughed a truck into a group of people as they were getting off a bus. The police called the episode an act of terrorism.
Iran: Rafsanjani is gone (no hero, he; he was linked to the 1994 Buenos Aires attack, the AMIA bombing, where many died and 300 Portenos were hurt; was president when the Hobart Towers were blown up.   Mahan in Persian Gulf; Iran receiving a shipment of 130 metric tons of uranium ore from Russia as approved by Obama.  US bought Iranian overage of heavy water; “to make up for that,” Obama approved of Russia sending huge shipment of U to Iran, bought for ten nuclear bombs.  Note Iskander missiles  (500 km range) on trucks inside Syria: had to be moved because of heavy weather, so were discovered by satellite.  Iranian look for US weakness; when the US retaliates, they stop.
Ten days to the Trump Adm; can we get there before something breaks?
Obama provoking Kremlin?
Navy destroyer fires warning shots after ‘harassing’ behavior by Iranian patrol boats  The Iranians broke away after the guided-missile destroyer USS Mahan fired three shots Sunday as it traveled through the Strait of Hormuz toward the Persian Gulf, officials said.
Elite U.S. troops carry out rare ground raid targeting ISIS leaders in Syria  U.S. forces landed in eastern Syria and intercepted a vehicle carrying senior Islamic State leaders during a ground operation, U.S. officials said.
Hour Three
Monday 9 January 2017 / Hour 3, Block A:   Michael Ledeen, FDD, in re: The USS Mahan, a guided-missile destroyer, fired three warning shots with a .50-caliber machine gun at four Iranian boats after at least one of them traveled within 900 yards of the Mahan with a sailor manning its main gun. The Mahan was traveling north through the strait toward the Persian Gulf with two other Navy vessels, the amphibious craft USS Makin Island and the oiler USNS Walter S. Diehl, said Navy Capt. Jeff Davis, a Pentagon spokesman.
“This was an unsafe and unprofessional interaction,” Davis said, citing the speed with which the Iranians approached and the manning of the weapons on board. “They only stopped their approach following the warning shots being fired.”
Davis said the incident marks a return to a series of provocative encounters between U.S. and Iranian vessels that had started to wane over the latter half of 2016. The Navy counted 23 interactions that were deemed unsafe and unprofessional by the Iranians in 2015 and 35 in 2016, but the last significant one occurred in August. In that incident, the coastal patrol ship USS Squall fired three warning shots after three Iranian boats approached the Squall and another similar U.S. ship, the USS Tempest, at a high rate of speed
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Donald Trump should invite Ayatollah Boroujerdi to the inauguration.  Such a dramatic move would deliver several important messages:
--Show our support for the brave, honorable dissidents in Iran.
--Demonstrate that the dreadful period of American support for the expansionist, terror-supporting, mass-murdering tyrants of Tehran is blessedly at an end.
--Show that we understand that there are freedom-loving Muslims, and that we believe they are worthy of Western solidarity.  Our war is with radical Islam, and we intend to win.
Boroujerdi is certainly not the only Muslim dissident we should be helping, but he’s a terrific way to start.
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Our Revolution  by Michael Ledeen   The global revolution started with our victory in the Cold War, as the Soviet Union passed away with surprisingly little violence.  We opted to avoid triumphalism and in fact called upon some Soviet satellites to remain in the Moscow orbit (remember the “chicken Kiev” speech urging Ukraine not to declare independence?).
You may recall that President Bush the 41st refrained from declaring victory, and that subsequently President Clinton announced that, henceforth, “war” would be waged with economic weapons, not military ones.  That produced eight years of declining military budgets, and failed efforts at détente with Iran and Russia.
In other words, the United States, despite becoming the world’s lone superpower, deliberately weakened its military strength, and attempted to negotiate friendly relations with its former archenemy and the world’s leading sponsor of terrorism.
Obama later did all these things again and called them “new.”
I think it’s fair to say that the global templates were inevitably going to shift after the fall of the Soviet Empire, but the United States’ decision to withdraw from crucial areas of the world was probably surprising to most people. To be sure, it’s the way we are.  Americans may be the only people in the world who believe that peace is normal, while war’s an aberration, and just as after the first two world wars of the 20th century, our presidents—Bush first and then Clinton—underwrote The Great Retreat.  I seem to remember Clinton bemoaning his bad luck—nothing big happened on his international watch, so he couldn’t show his geopolitical smarts. 
Actually, Clinton was very lucky;  he had the chance to reshape the whole world by advancing the cause of democratic revolution.  But he wasn’t interested in that, nor in going after al Qaeda, even though our Justice Department had indicted bin Laden et. al., and AQ had launched its first attack on the World Trade Center.  I did a little book about it all.
Whereupon we elected George W. Bush, who ran a campaign bereft of any interesting ideas about foreign policy or national security.  His foreign policy would likely have been basically a continuation of Clinton’s, had it not been for the 9/11 attacks.  Which is in keeping with the pattern of our geopolitical action for at least a full century:  our enemies get us involved.
So it was with Bush, who seemed to understand we had to wage a war against the Terror Masters, but then failed to take action against the Iranian regime that gave more support to the terrorists than any other regime on earth.  

Then came Obama, who was and is convinced that the United States was the cause of most of the world’s problems, and set about to reverse our alliance structure by ruining relations with numerous allies and seeking rapprochement with several of our worst enemies. 
Superficially, Obama’s strategy looks like a replay of the Clinton version, but in truth it has been very different.  Most pundits have still not grasped the gravity of this transformation.  They still do not see that Obama has forged a strategic alliance with Iran, arguably our worst enemy, and as a result of the Iran alliance, we find ourselves in cahoots with the Russians. 
Anyone looking honestly at the world today must conclude that Obama wants Iran to win.  He supports their policies in Syria, Iraq and Lebanon.  He arms them.  His special forces fight alongside them, a true horror.  Not so long ago, Iran was on the verge of losing Syria;  the mullahs were saved by a combination of Russian and American military power. Today, nobody expects the Iranians to be driven out of Syria and/or Iraq, but they have lost thousands of fighters and invested billions of dollars (of our money, lest we forget).
Enter Trump.  What does he want?  I think the best way to answer this question is to look at the people he has chosen to deal with our national security.  Generals Flynn, Mattis and Kelly, and Representative Pompeo, are all hawks on Iran.  All have been outspokenly critical of the Iran Deal, and all have said they would like the United States to be tougher on the battlefield.  I believe all would favor efforts to support regime change in Tehran.  I don’t think Trump would have appointed such men if he didn’t agree with them.  So I think we will see open criticism of the Islamic Republic from our top policy makers, and very likely from the new president as well.
If that happens, America can resume its rightful role as the world’s premier revolutionary nation.  The radical Muslims have had lots of opportunities during the last eight years, and they have botched almost all of them.  An amazing chunk of Islamic countries now openly yearn for America’s assistance and friendship.  You don’t hear all that malarkey about how the “Arab street” hates America very much nowadays, do you?
I think Donald Trump may be a lucky man.  He comes to office as our worst enemies face daunting internal and foreign crises, and he comes with exactly the words our allies and would-be allies most want to hear from 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue.  They too want America to be great again.
Life is full of surprises.  It’s our revolution the world yearns for.  Maybe we’ll do it.
Opinion 1/04/2017
Monday 9 January 2017 / Hour 3, Block B:   Harry Siegel, New York Daily News and Daily Beast, in re:
Monday 9 January 2017 / Hour 3, Block C:   John Bolton, AEI, in re: “…Why has Obama gone to such lengths, which he knows are completely contrary to the policies of the new administration and Republican congressional majorities? While every outgoing administration engages in such activities to some degree, that being human nature, none recently has matched Obama's frenetic pace. Certainly, building his legacy, boxing in the Trump White House and exacting a bit of political revenge are likely factors.
But the surest explanation is that Obama, like most political leaders, Republican and Democrat, simply did not expect Trump to beat Hillary Clinton. Much of what Obama is now doing he would not have done before Nov. 8 for fear of providing ammunition to his political opposition. Since our presidential campaign season is basically now two years long, Obama had little leeway after losing control of the Senate in 2014 (having already lost the House of Representatives in 2010).
His administration likely did not foresee any problems in a surge of post-Nov. 8 activity because, assuming Clinton won, they did not fear his initiatives would be reversed. He could take controversial steps, receive both the credit and the criticism, and leave Clinton a clean slate. Almost surely she would not have rolled back any significant measures. Trump's victory changed everything, confronting Obama with the unpleasant reality that both his plans for the transition period and his entire legacy were suddenly in jeopardy….”  /
Monday 9 January 2017 / Hour 3, Block D:  Larry Johnson, NoQuarter, in re:  Let me try to clear up some confusion that may exist out there regarding my views on Russia. I do not believe that Russia is a benign threat to the United States anymore than I believe that the United States is a benign threat to Russia. Both are nuclear powers, both have global interests and both spy on each other.
I do not deny that Russia has a cyber warfare capability and is constantly probing for weak points in the United States, collecting information and preparing target packages. Duh! So are we. This is what professional intelligence organizations, particularly those with cyber capabilities should be doing.   /
Hour Four
Monday 9 January 2017 / Hour 4, Block A:  Ike's Gamble: America’s Rise to Dominance in the Middle East, by Michael Doran; Part II of II (segment 5 of 8)
Monday 9 January 2017 / Hour 4, Block B:  Ike's Gamble: America’s Rise to Dominance in the Middle East, by Michael Doran; Part II of II (segment 6 of 8)
Monday 9 January 2017 / Hour 4, Block C:  Ike's Gamble: America’s Rise to Dominance in the Middle East, by Michael Doran; Part II of II (segment 7 of 8)
Monday 9 January 2017 / Hour 4, Block D:  Ike's Gamble: America’s Rise to Dominance in the Middle East, by Michael Doran; Part II of II (segment 8 of 8)
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