What We're Reading

Morning Reads: UK Report Says Saddam Was “No Imminent Threat,” Sanders Pushes DNC on Trans-Pacific Trade

A roundup of some of the stories we're reading at BillMoyers.com HQ...

Morning Reads: UK Report Says Saddam Was "No Imminent Threat"

George W. Bush smiles alongside former British Prime Minister Tony Blair prior to presenting him with the Presidential Medal of Freedom in the East Room of the White House in Washington, DC, January 13, 2009. (SAUL LOEB/AFP/Getty Images)

UK role in Iraq War condemned –> Griff Witte at The Washington Post: “A sweeping, multi-year inquiry into Britain’s role in the Iraq War delivered a scathing assessment Wednesday, with investigators blaming the country’s political, military and intelligence leadership for a conflict that could have been avoided and that ended ‘a very long way from success…’

“In exacting detail, the report lays out a series of failures and misjudgments in a war initially sold to the public on both sides of the Atlantic as a vital intervention to rid Iraqi dictator Saddam Hussein of weapons of mass destruction. No such weapons were ever found. The report describes British intelligence painting a flawed picture of Iraqi military capacity, with agencies never considering that the weapons of mass destruction may not exist. The Iraqi leader, it said, posed ‘no imminent threat’ to Britain.

“In making their case to the public, then-Prime Minister Tony Blair and other British officials described the case against Saddam Hussein ‘with a certainty that was not justified.’ In their private deliberations, they ignored warnings that the invasion of Iraq could be a boon to Islamist extremists.”

What Sanders wants on TPP –> Bernie Sanders is pushing the Democratic platform drafting committee to include this sentence: “It is the policy of the Democratic Party that the Trans-Pacific Partnership must not get a vote in this Congress or in future sessions of Congress.” A final committee vote will take place this weekend in Orlando.

And: Although Sanders has vowed to take his fight over the platform all the way to the convention, his influence is already clear in the document, writes MSNBC’s Steve Benen. The draft “is surprising in its audacity on everything from free community college to expanding Social Security, overturning Citizens United to banning assault weapons, criminal justice reform to repealing the Hyde Amendment that prevents public funding of abortion. There can be little doubt that many of these provisions and more — reforming the carried-interest loophole, postal banking, the industry ties of Federal Reserve board members — can be attributed directly to the Sanders campaign’s role in negotiating the terms of the platform. The senator and his team made a concerted effort to move the document to the left, and they achieved their goals in dramatic fashion.”

Gutsy rebuke to Trump’s anti-Semitic imagery –> Dana Schwartz, a writer for the New York Observer, wrote a public letter to her boss, publisher Jared Kushner — who’s also Trump’s son-in-law, campaign advisor and a Jew: “Please do not condescend to me and pretend you don’t understand the imagery of a six-sided star when juxtaposed with money and accusations of financial dishonesty. I’m asking you, not as a ‘gotcha’ journalist or as a liberal but as a human being: how do you allow this? Because, Mr. Kushner, you are allowing this. Your father-in-law’s repeated accidental winks to the white supremacist community is perhaps a savvy political strategy if the neo-Nazis are considered a sizable voting block — I confess, I haven’t done my research on that front. But when you stand silent and smiling in the background, his Jewish son-in-law, you’re giving his most hateful supporters tacit approval. Because maybe Donald Trump isn’t anti-Semitic. To be perfectly honest, I don’t think he is. But I know many of his supporters are, and they believe for whatever reason that Trump is the candidate for them.”

And: White supremacists know what they’re seeing. And you don’t need to take Schwartz’s word for it. Here’s white nationalist David Duke on his radio show yesterday: “The tweet again shows Clinton, it shows a Star of David. Of course later the campaign made the excuse, ‘Well, no, that’s like a sheriff’s badge.’ Well, no way, folks. Clinton, money, the most campaign corrupt person.”

End of the damn emails? –> Don’t count on it. In what many are describing as both the best and worst day of Clinton’s campaign, FBI director James Comey said he would not be recommending a criminal indictment related to her emails while secretary of state — but he said that she and her staff had been “extremely careless” in their handling  of classified information.

Patrick Healey at The New York Times: “A more conventional Republican nominee would probably already be using Mr. Comey’s remarks to churn out new attack ads and bombarding television and radio audiences until every voter had heard the phrase ‘extremely careless’ more than he or she could count. A typical nominee would have allies memorizing Mr. Comey’s best lines and repeating them on cable news and at local political events — assailing Mrs. Clinton’s judgment and experience to exploit and deepen the mistrust that many Americans feel toward her, and to drive up her unfavorability ratings in public opinion polls. But Mr. Trump is not typical.”

Another police shooting –> This time in Baton Rouge, Louisiana. Police, described by witnesses as “aggressive,” killed Alton Sterling, a black man who did not appear to be defending himself. The Guardian has a list of 558 people killed so far this year by police in the US.

Another fossil-fuel infrastructure project down –> Xian Chiang-Waren for Grist: “In what looks like the final death blow to another tar sands pipeline, a Canadian court has overturned federal approval for Enbridge’s $7.9 billion Northern Gateway pipeline meant to transport crude oil from Alberta to British Columbia. The court found the government failed to consult with First Nation tribes in mapping the pipeline’s route, leaving ‘entire subjects of central interest to the affected First Nations… affecting their subsistence and well-being, entirely ignored.’ Northern Gateway is now probably off the table for the foreseeable future, since Canada’s Prime Minister Justin Trudeau spoke out against the pipeline during his campaign.”

Morning Reads is compiled by John Light and Michael Winship. See a story that you think should be included in Morning Reads? Tell us in the comments!

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