Well, it looks like Trump lied when he said that Soleimani was targeting four U.S. embassies

A few days ago, in an interview with Fox News’s Laura Ingraham, President Donald Trump told the American people that we had no choice but to act quickly and assassinate Iranian General Qasem Soleimani as he was planning not just to “blow up” our embassy in Bagdad, but three others as well. Here’s an excerpt from the Washington Post.

…Trump expanded on comments from a day earlier, when he initially told reporters that Soleimani’s forces “were looking to blow up our embassy” in Baghdad. He later said at a rally in Toledo that “Soleimani was actively planning new attacks, and he was looking very seriously at our embassies, and not just the embassy in Baghdad.”

“Did [Soleimani] have large-scale attacks planned for other embassies?” Ingraham asked. “And if those were planned, why can’t we reveal that to the American people? Wouldn’t that help your case?”

“I can reveal that I believe it probably would’ve been four embassies,” Trump said…

Well, guess what? Today, when asked to identify the four U.S. embassies under imminent threat of attack, U.S. Secretary of Defense Mark Esper said that he “didn’t see” evidence of any such plans. Here he is being interviewed by Jake Tapper this morning, trying to defend Donald Trump by saying that Soleimani “could have been targeting” U.S. embassies.

Here, for those of you unwilling to watch the painful exchange above, in which Esper attempts to defend Trump’s lie, is a brief excerpt from the transcript.

Tapper: Why is Trump telling Fox that Iran was going to attack four embassies when Congress says they haven’t seen evidence of this?

Esper: Trump never said there was specific intelligence.

Tapper: He said he believed it.

Esper: I believe it too.

So, if we’re to believe Esper, U.S. forces assassinated the second most powerful official in the Iranian government because Donald Trump personally “believed” that Soleimani was planning to blow up four embassies, when there was no specific evidence of any such thing actually happening. [I guess, once again, we’re being asked to value Donald Trump’s “emotional truth” over actual truth.]

Here’s Congressman Adam Schiff, the head of the House Intelligence Committee, and a member of the so-called Gang of Eight, saying that he’s yet to see evidence of an “imminent threat” being posed by Soleimani that would justify such an attack.

And, just to recap, this is important because, without evidence of an imminent attack which was disrupted by Soleimani’s assassination, our nation is guilty of having committed an illegal act. As Agnes Callamard, the United Nations official in charge of assessing the legality of targeted killings under international law, said following of the assassination of Soleimani, “The test for so-called anticipatory self-defence is very narrow: it must be a necessity that is ‘instant, overwhelming, and leaving no choice of means, and no moment of deliberation’”. And, with every day that passes — and it’s now been nine — it’s looking less likely that Soleimani’s killing was legal under international law.

As for why Donald Trump would make a move like this against Soleimani when, in addition to being illegal, so many thought it would only serve to escalate tensions in the Middle East, here’s a possible clue from the Wall Street Journal.

Granted, just because Trump told people that he gave the order to kill Soleimani because Republican senators told him to, it doesn’t make it true, but it warrants investigating. And, thankfully, Americans for Oversight have already FOIA’d “senior State Department and DOD officials’ communications with Senators Lindsey Graham, Tom Cotton, and Marco Rubio during the weeks immediately before the strike”. So, with any luck, we’ll find out soon what kind of pressure Donald Trump might have been under from the Iran hawks in the Republican Party… This is a long way from being over.

update Speaking of uncomfortable videos of administration officials lying for Donald Trump, here’s National Security Advisor Robert C. O’Brien telling Chuck Todd that we need to take him at his word when he tells us that there was “exquisite intelligence” about an imminent attack, even though he’s not at liberty to share it, even with members of the House Intelligence Committee… I’m not the biggest Chuck Todd fan, but I loved how, at the end of the clip, he asks O’Brien why, if there was an imminent attack against U.S. embassies in the offing, no embassy personnel were alerted. O’Brien’s response? “It was a very fast moving situation.” If only Chuck Todd had followed up with, “Well, if that’s the case, how is that Donald Trump was talking about the operation to Mar-a-Lago members several days before it happened?”

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  1. Justin Amash
    Posted January 12, 2020 at 2:22 pm | Permalink

    The administration didn’t present evidence to Congress regarding even one embassy. The four embassies claim seems to be totally made up. And they have never presented evidence of imminence—a necessary condition to act without congressional approval—with respect to any of this.


  2. Anonymous
    Posted January 12, 2020 at 2:24 pm | Permalink

    We are incredibly lucky that Iran did not take the bait.

  3. KKT
    Posted January 12, 2020 at 8:15 pm | Permalink

    I was really hoping, when Trump started talking about these imminent embassy attacks, that I was wrong about all of this, and that there really was a threat. Given all of this, it sounds like it was just more of Trump being Trump. Only, in this instance, a plane full of people died because of a fight he tried to start.

  4. Jean Henry
    Posted January 12, 2020 at 8:42 pm | Permalink

    I heard this old tune today. Still 100% apt. We’re all just fronting pretending we have any say. None of this is within our control. None of it is knowable. None of it is even new. Same old story. The thing is we ARE all sheep. All of us, no matter our political perspective. It doesn’t neater what we think or if we are right or wrong. None of this is up to us. Even if it could be, we don’t have the guts to make anything happen. Or we’ll get it terribly wrong. Right now I have no faith in human progress. I’m sure I’ll return to my regularly scheduled delusion tomorrow. For now, fuck it. I can’t use it.

  5. Posted January 12, 2020 at 8:57 pm | Permalink

    That’s a great pick, Jean. Hard to imagine that they same country that gave the word jazz also gave it Donald Trump.

  6. Wobblie
    Posted January 12, 2020 at 9:17 pm | Permalink

    Aloha ditto JH and MM.

  7. Frosted Flakes
    Posted January 13, 2020 at 6:14 am | Permalink

    At 4:22 you can catch a glimps of young Elizabeth Warren and Hillary Clinton dancing in the corner to that jazzy tune. America gives many things.

  8. Shane
    Posted January 13, 2020 at 7:22 am | Permalink

    What will this all mean, if anything, to the voters?

  9. iRobert
    Posted January 13, 2020 at 7:42 am | Permalink

    What are you talking about, FF? Are you high…like everybody else here is apparently now?

  10. iRobert
    Posted January 13, 2020 at 7:44 am | Permalink

    Is Jean gearing up to announce her withdrawal from political life?

  11. Frosted Flakes
    Posted January 13, 2020 at 8:04 am | Permalink

    It wouldn’t hurt iRobert to take a few hits from the Elizabeth Warren peace pipe. He might finally learn how it feels to be groovy.


  12. iRobert
    Posted January 13, 2020 at 8:50 am | Permalink

    The Democrats are trying harder to lose than I’ve ever seen before in a presidential year. It’s incredible. I almost feel I can comfortably call the election for Trump right now.

  13. iRobert
    Posted January 13, 2020 at 8:53 am | Permalink

    At least Wobblie has a wonderful utopia he can flee to now that the US is too far gone. I’m going to be helping him pack.

  14. Hyborian Warlord
    Posted January 13, 2020 at 9:04 am | Permalink

    “there was no specific evidence of any such thing actually happening.”

    How do you think you would know that? Do you have access to classified intelligence?

  15. Wobblie
    Posted January 13, 2020 at 9:18 am | Permalink

    Aloha IRobert. You read my mind. Got my passport got my tickets. Trying to persuade my daughter to do the same. Off to San Salvador. Bahamas. Little speck of dirt in Atlantic that nobody wants. Wife already there I’ll catch up at end of month. Beats going to Canada not only to cold for my old bones, but they also seem to want to get in on the war.
    Remember we are at war and everything our Government tells us will be propaganda.
    and you folks think I’m a dolt.

  16. iRobert
    Posted January 13, 2020 at 9:24 am | Permalink

    Pick a spot that has no Internet connection, Wobblie. Please.

  17. iRobert
    Posted January 13, 2020 at 9:28 am | Permalink

    Maybe you should talk your wife into joining you in Chabahar Bay. It’s a beautiful seaside resort, and you could enjoy the “mature” government there.

  18. Wobblie
    Posted January 13, 2020 at 10:49 am | Permalink

    Aloha IRobert isn’t it great to live in a country that can have satalite footage of rockets being fired half a world away, but no video footage of Epstein’s prison cell. Oh yeah we deleted the footage of the alleged first suicide attempt.
    Remember we are at war and everything our Government tells us will be propaganda.
    Since San Salvador is hardly a tourist destination you can rent a room there quit cheaply. It also helps to have friends—I know it is a surprise but I do have some. They do have intermittent internet access. But since my my phone won’t work there no access for me.

  19. iRobert
    Posted January 13, 2020 at 11:11 am | Permalink

    Is that your argument for how great Iran is, Wobblie?

    I’m not surprised you have friends, Wobblie. I know a lot of crazy assholes who are bomber out of their minds 24/7.

    Move to your utopian Iran, Wobblie. Like you say, all the reports that the government kills protesters by the hundreds is just propaganda.

    Or maybe you should move to eastern Ukraine where your peacemaker Putin is calling the shots.

  20. iRobert
    Posted January 13, 2020 at 11:19 am | Permalink

    By the way, Wobblie, what happened to Epstein happens every day all across this country and all around the world. Are you unaware of that?

  21. iRobert
    Posted January 13, 2020 at 11:30 am | Permalink

    Don’t go to the Bahamas, Wobblie. It’s a part of the evil British Commonwealth. You need to drag your wife straight to the utopia of Iran. I’m sure you could get a decent paying job there exposing the lies of the great Satan. There are lots of truth-seekers there.

  22. iRobert
    Posted January 13, 2020 at 11:43 am | Permalink

    Had I known you were such a fan, I would have bought you a plane ticket to Tehran in time for you to attend Soleimani’s funeral. Supporters said goodbye by trampling each-other to death. I thought that was a fitting tribute. Im sorry you couldn’t be there. I’m certainly impressed with the high level of civilization Iran has achieved.

  23. iRobert
    Posted January 13, 2020 at 11:45 am | Permalink

    I’m sorry I’m posting so much. I don’t want to distract you while you’re packing for your move.

  24. Wobblie
    Posted January 13, 2020 at 11:47 am | Permalink

    Aloha IRobert you have clearly spent to much time conversing with JH. You have developed the same bad habit of erecting straw dogs to knock down. I’m sure Iran is a nice country. I’ve always been fond of the Rubaiyat. Dr Juan Cole has a new translation. Not as prosaic as Fitzgerald’s, more literal. But the basic message of sex, drugs and rock and role still comes through. I’ve never met a Farsi speaker who I could not get along with. Back before the revolution I printed for the Mujahedin. They were all bright middle class students who were tired of the Shahs secret police spying on them. They all went home in 79. I imagine most went home to there families. Some were jailed or killed by the Immans, and some became allies first to Saddam, and now us. I’m sure many also died fighting against Saddam’s invasion in 81-89. I’ve got an Iranian neighbor. His kids went to school with mine. He returned to Iran after the Obama deal. Got back into US just before Trumps travel ban. But we should remember we need to demonize them if we are going to start killing them.

  25. iRobert
    Posted January 13, 2020 at 12:02 pm | Permalink

    A lot of people don’t realize it, because we seem so hostile toward each other here, but Jean and I are the best of friends. We have worked together to help young female Muslims who, against their fathers’ wishes, want to get an education. We will probably be working together soon in organizing some hip hop concerts in Whitnore Lake also.

    I noticed you still haven’t really addressed your comment that the Iranian government is “mature” and honest and forthcoming. Now you want to pretend I’ve said the Iranian people are all bad in some way. Talk about straw-men.

    I guess I always knew you were a bit out there, Wobblie. But I couldn’t imagine just how far. I guess weed can do some really serious damage.

    Please feel free to start responding to my actual comments at any time.

  26. iRobert
    Posted January 13, 2020 at 12:05 pm | Permalink

    HW, be forewarned. In 30 years or so, you could end up as deranged as Wobblie. Hopefully, the organic stuff you get is way less destructive than the shit Wobblie’s been smoking for the past 50 years.

  27. Hyborian Warlord
    Posted January 13, 2020 at 12:23 pm | Permalink

    I probably smoke more than all the baynardites combined but tell more truth. Maybe it’s time to reassess your ideas about weeed being destructive.

  28. iRobert
    Posted January 13, 2020 at 12:31 pm | Permalink

    Well, I don’t know what all Wobblie has been smoking. Seems like meth or crack, really.

    Just make sure you’re getting the clean stuff, HW. Let Wobblie’s mental state be your warning. I tell you. The guy has scared me fucking straight.

  29. iRobert
    Posted January 13, 2020 at 1:26 pm | Permalink

    HW, are there organic chewables?

  30. Hyborian Warlord
    Posted January 13, 2020 at 1:42 pm | Permalink

    Not sure about chewables exactly but there is no end to the ways to prepare Cannabis for eating. Like chewable vitamins? Haven’t really heard of that.

  31. wobblie
    Posted January 13, 2020 at 2:17 pm | Permalink

    Aloha iRobert, Glad I performed some thing worthwhile for you. I have never said Iran is a “wonderful utopia “–straw dog argument 1. I can only take you on faith, “Chabahar Bay. It’s a beautiful seaside resort”, so no argument there. I stated that Iran was a “mature” country that required evidence before making accusations. Now that they have evidence of the culpability of members of the Revolutionary Guard having shot down the airliner, I suspect those individuals will face extensive repercussions for their mistake, unlike here in the US where we rehabilitate and or pardon our war criminals (which do you think is more mature).

    As to your argument that the Democrats are throwing the election to Trump–I have been warning on this site for three years that that is what was going to happen. I did not realize you were also a dye in wool imperialist. JH, is obviously troubled by the angst her support for our neo-conservative foreign policy causes her. You on the other hand seem to take an almost HW delight in our current war-mongering.

  32. Bishop Thomas Gumbleton
    Posted January 13, 2020 at 2:31 pm | Permalink

    ” The endless War on Terrorism has fallen short of the Church’s Just War requirements on multiple fronts. Likewise, United States nuclear weapons policy, which targets the world’s children, falls short of Just War requirements. I call on Catholics in the military, including chaplains, as well as all who work for the military or any branch of the armaments industry to heed Pope Francis’s call to set aside the futility of war. All Catholics should refuse to kill and should refuse cooperation with United States wars.”


  33. Hyborian Warlord
    Posted January 13, 2020 at 4:01 pm | Permalink

    What war-mongering, dick? Compare now to Obama/Bush/Clinton.

  34. iRobert
    Posted January 13, 2020 at 4:29 pm | Permalink

    You’re right, Wobblie. You never said Iran is a “wonderful utopia.“ I’m glad you are conscious enough to know that you didn’t say that. Actually, though, I was just making fun of you, and your ridiculous characterization of the Iranian government as “mature” and that requires evidence before making accusations, etc. I’ll make sure to include a disclaimer whenever I making fun of you in the future.

    It’s nice that you as a staunch anti-war revolutionary can still find it in your heart to compliment a government which kills its protesters regularly, openly threatens to wipe other nations out of existence, organizes and finances terrorist attacks on civilians through the Middle East, represses women and girls to the extreme, and works to develop a nuclear weapon against the warnings of the entire international community. You’re quite open-minded.

    If I can do anything for you – help you pack or drive you to the airport – it will me my pleasure.

    Please don’t forget to send us a postcard from your new home.

  35. Wobblie
    Posted January 13, 2020 at 6:08 pm | Permalink

    Aloha iRobert. Thanks for the offer for the lift to the airport. Also thanks for saying all those things I’ve never said about Iran. Did not realize that failing to jump on board the war train made me a supporter. Please tell me what I think about Saudi Arabia my mind is a blank waiting for your enlightenment.

  36. iRobert
    Posted January 13, 2020 at 7:00 pm | Permalink

    Wobblie, your exact words were as follows…

    “…unlike our country which makes accusations without sufficient evidence Iran is a mature country that assembles evidence before announcing results.”

    This one sentence is what all my mockery of you is based upon.

    Were you unaware that Iran announced the crash was due to mechanical failure. Then, when the video of the missile taking it down, they changed their story. Still, they are trying to blame others for their shooting down a passenger airliner. They haven’t explained why a commercial airliner was permitted to go airborne while they were anticipating incoming enemy aircraft.

    This is standard operating procedure for Iran, and has been since the late 70s. This is your “mature” country which “assembles evidence before announcing results.”

    I will continue to mock you for this one incredibly stupid statement. Please don’t let that cause you to wonder what more you said to warrant that mockery. All my mockery referencing Iran is based on this one incredibly stupid and untrue statement. When I start mocking you on other stupid and untrue comments you’ve made, I’ll be sure to make it clear which ones I’m referencing.

  37. Posted January 14, 2020 at 1:34 pm | Permalink

    Iran, the “mature country that assembles evidence before announcing results” has arrested the person who posted the video of the Iranian surface-to-air missile bringing down the Ukrainian airliner. I’m glad I live in an immature country.

    From Australian Broadcasting Network:
    “A person who posted a video online of a missile striking a Ukrainian airliner in Iran last week has been taken into custody by the elite Revolutionary Guards, the semi-official Fars news agency reported on Tuesday.”

    Iran makes arrests in relation to Ukrainian plane crash, Justin Trudeau points finger at US


  38. wobblie
    Posted January 14, 2020 at 2:44 pm | Permalink

    Aloha iRobert, for some different perspective

    Remember we are at war and everything our Government tells us will be propaganda.
    by the way Epstein did not kill himself

  39. iRobert
    Posted January 14, 2020 at 4:28 pm | Permalink

    What’s the “different perspective?” Is it the perspective of idiots that launch a missile attack on a neighboring country and then fail to ground all commercial air traffic?

    All governments around the world are reporting essentially the same details in this matter. How is it that you believe we’re being lied to about this by our particular government?

    With regard to Epstein, I was the one who told you and everyone else here he was going to be killed beforehand he was. I am the person who can best describe how it was done, why are you telling me Epstein was murdered? Is your brain really this badly degraded?

    I recall your believing a flake of lipstick was a deepfake conspiracy by the military industrial complex to destroy Tulsi (somehow). You remember I knew what it was as soon as I saw the video?

    Do you see the pattern here?

  40. iRobert
    Posted January 14, 2020 at 4:31 pm | Permalink


    With regard to Epstein, I was the one who told you and everyone else here he was going to be killed well before he was. I am the person who can best describe how it was arranged and was carried out. Why are you now acting like it’s news that Epstein was murdered? Is your brain really this badly degraded? This really seems like brain damage to anyone observing from the outside of your head.

  41. iRobert
    Posted January 14, 2020 at 4:36 pm | Permalink

    Also, Wobblie, why would you say Iran is a “mature country that assembles evidence before announcing results” when it was reported globally that Iran announced the crash was due to mechanical failure? Why do you say this, when Iran arrested the guy who posted online the video of what actually happened?

  42. iRobert
    Posted January 14, 2020 at 4:39 pm | Permalink

    Are you suffering through the same mental problems that made you imagine a flake of lipstick was somehow an indication of a high-tech conspiracy?

    You do realize now that the flake of lipstick was obviously just that right? Or so you still believe there was some government conspiracy behind that?

  43. Kit
    Posted January 18, 2020 at 6:09 pm | Permalink

    It had nothing to do with embassies being threatened.

    CNN’s Kaitlan Collins: Trump told donors that Soleimani was “saying bad things about our country” before the strike, which led to his decision to authorize his killing. “How much of this shit do we have to listen to? How much are we going to listen to?”

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