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PARIS, THE NEW NORMAL? — Diana Johnstone files an in-depth report from Paris on the political reaction to the Charlie Hebdo shootings; The Treachery of the Black Political Class: Margaret Kimberley charts the rise and fall of the Congressional Black Caucus; The New Great Game: Pepe Escobar assays the game-changing new alliance between Russia and Turkey; Will the Frackers Go Bust? Joshua Frank reports on how the collapse of global oil prices might spell the end of the fracking frenzy in the Bakken Shale; The Future of the Giraffe: Ecologist Monica Bond reports from Tanzania on the frantic efforts to save one of the world’s most iconic species. Plus: Jeffrey St. Clair on Satire in the Service of Power; Chris Floyd on the Age of Terrorism and Absurdity; Mike Whitney on the Drop Dead Fed; John Wight on the rampant racism of Clint Eastwood’s “American Sniper;” John Walsh on Hillary Clinton and Lee Ballinger on the Gift of Anger.
Bomb Now or Forever Hold Your Peace

Incident at Makr al Deeb

by MIKE WHITNEY

Last week an Iraqi wedding party was bombed in the location of Makr al Deeb near the Syrian border. Approximately 40 members of the party were killed, many of them women and children. So far, there is a great deal of pictorial and anecdotal evidence suggesting that the US made a horrible error in mistaking the get-together for a gathering of foreign fighters.

General Mark Kimmitt, however, has adamantly denied any responsibility for the incident and insists that the site was a legitimate target. Kimmitt said that there was no sign of "wedding decorations, large quantities of food or musical instruments". He also added that, "The men were almost all military aged, no family elders that one would expect to see at an event of this type." He emphatically denied that children were killed in the attack. (All of the eye-witness accounts are directly at odds with Kimmitt’s assessment)

According to BBC, Gen Kimmitt said the site looked "somewhat of a dormitory. There were more than 300 sets of bedding gear in it and about 100 sets of prepackaged clothing.

"It’s suspected that when foreign fighters come in from other countries they change their clothes into typical Iraqi clothing sets."

He said ID-making machines and "the capability to make exit visas for Iraq" were among suspicious items found.

Unfortunately, for Kimmett and his elaborately prepared story, a video of the wedding festivities (with many of the dead included) has now surfaced and has been released on Arab TV. It provides conclusive evidence that the people killed were not foreign fighters, but innocent victims of American aggression.

So, what should we make of Kimmett’s absurd story? And how should we regard this sophisticated hoax that requires "visas and ID-making machines" to cover up US involvement?

First we should recognize that in the last few days a similar incident occurred in Afghanistan and produced the very same untenable denials. Two Afghan children were killed in the bombing raid of a home that was identified as a hideout for terrorists. There’s no doubt that they were killed by errant US bombs. (no other military aircraft even patrol that region) Still, the US is flatly rejecting any culpability.

The incidents suggest that US command in both Afghanistan and Iraq have decided to "preempt" bad publicity by simply rejecting any blame in the killing of innocent civilians. The Pentagon is pursuing a policy that will actively alter the facts on the ground to create "plausible deniability." Visas and ID-making machines are just one more part of a covert war aimed at winning public opinion.

Certainly, no one would be surprised if the bunglers at the Pentagon had decided that lying was the best way to paper-over their mistakes. After all, it’s worked up to this point.

MIKE WHITNEY can be reached at: fergiewhitney@msn.com