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Trump’s Flip-Flop: ‘Imminent Threat’ Not Needed to Kill Soleimani, Only His ‘Horrible Past’


Patrick Henningsen
21st Century Wire

This latest back-peddling move by the US President demonstrates why Washington and the media have been so insistent with their bevy of war propaganda narratives around Iran.

Ever since Washington’s double assassination of Iranian Quds Force leader, General Qasem Soleimani, and senior Iraqi PMU commander, Abu Mahdi al-Muhandis, on January 3rd, the White House and its mainstream media adjuncts have run an incessant propaganda campaign to try and demonize the Iranian military commander, calling him “an evil man” who had “the blood of Americans and Iranians on his hands,” as well as being “the world’s leading terrorist.”

For good measure, Trump even compared him to Osama bin Laden. The propaganda seemed over-the-top at the time, but now we can see why.

A sober review of the timeline of events over the past 18 months reveals exactly how the US were preparing for this latest round of provocations with Iran, including evidence that President Trump had already green-lit the assassination of Soleimani seven months earlier. Prior to Monday, the official Washington line on the double assassination was that the US had received intelligence of an “imminent threat” to US embassies and other assets stationed in the region. Because the threat was deemed ‘imminent’ and therefore urgent, the White House could just about justify its action under an executive authorization of military force, effectively bypassing any Congressional and Constitutional oversight. However, it quickly became clear during their media appearances that neither Trump, Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, nor Defense Secretary Mark Esper – where able to provide any specifics of the alleged threat which everyone was so cock-sure about only days earlier. In the end, it was Esper’s own proverbial face-plant on Sunday’s Face the Nation which finally caused the official narrative to collapse, with Esper visibly panicking on live national TV before letting slip that he actually hadn’t seen any of the supposed ‘intelligence’ which the Administration had previously assured the American public it had.

The awful realization had finally set in – that there was never any intelligence, and that just like previous rogue US Administrations, this President and his Secretary of State had lied to the American people in order to preempt a new war.

Of course, all of this was just a minor formality for a seasoned Manhattan grifter like Trump, who simply moved the goal posts of the official narrative for his dubious military action.

In classic Trumpist on-the-fly revisionist style, the President now insists that “it doesn’t really matter” whether or not there was any genuine or imminent threat posed to US assets in the region, because according to Trump, the Iranian General ‘had it coming’, “because of his horrible past!”

MSM’s Iran Propaganda Blitz

Trump’s newly revised justification for Washington’s double assassination, logged into the public record on Twitter, would not be possible if not for the break-neck propaganda blitz which has taken place over the last two weeks, with General Qasem Soleimani has been repeatedly labeled as a “terrorist”, and the Country of Iran as “the world’s leading state sponsor of terror.” This doesn’t seem to bother the entirety of the western mainstream media that these claims are patently false. In fact, they are the very definition of Fake News. This is literally the weaponization of propaganda by the West.

Washington’s concerted propaganda campaign was essential in order to conceal the inconvenient truth that Soleimani was actually a key figure in the battle against ISIS in Iraq and Syria between 2014 and 2018. One only needs to perform a cursory glance at past coverage to note that even an avid pro-war outlet like CNN had boasted back in 2015 how General Soleimani led the fight against ISIS. His praises were also sung by a number of top US military officials, all acknowledging his role in turning the tide against the Islamic State.

Perhaps the greatest validation of just how much of an enemy Soleimani was to radical jihadists came earlier this week when the official newspaper for ISIS, Al Naba, ran a feature heaping praise on Donald Trump for killing Iran’s Soleimani, while giving “thanks to God” that Washington and Tehran were now fighting each other – which has allowed ISIS some respite and a chance to regroup.

The really dangerous part about this latest flip-flop by Trump is that the US is now attempting to set a precedent – that an “imminent threat” is no longer required to justify military action against anyone on its growing list of enemies. All Washington needs to do is accuse someone of being “a really bad guy,” albeit after the fact.

Putting aside the farcical nature of the various claims made by this US Administration, this disturbing development should be a cause for alarm to everyone who values the rule of law and due process in a democratic society. This new “kill policy” opens the door to new levels of deceit and barbarism by employing a policy of extrajudicial state-sponsored assassinations by the United States and its allies. As always, their key partner in this deceit is the mainstream media – an institution which rarely, if ever, pushes back against the outlandish claims made by US officials in condemning individuals and countries for their alleged offenses. And this will not stop with international targets either. If the public allows the government to act lawlessly in overseas arenas, then it’s only a matter a time before this very same policy becomes normalized at home. Some argue that this is already happening.

The abrogation of due process and international law by western nations doesn’t look to be ending any time soon.

It will not end until the public and their elected representatives recognize just how far society is drifting away from its constitutional principles, and towards authoritarianism.

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Author Patrick Henningsen is an American writer and global affairs analyst and founder of independent news and analysis site 21st Century Wire, and is host of the SUNDAY WIRE weekly radio show broadcast globally over the Alternate Current Radio Network (ACR). He has written for a number of international publications and has done extensive on-the-ground reporting in the Middle East including work in Syria and Iraq. See his archive here.

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