August 31, 2016

Today’s top stories:

  • Another US Hack Blamed on Russia, Of Course
  • Hillary Clinton Deleted Emails Related to Benghazi Scandal
  • 64 Legislators Sign Letter to Delay Arms Deal for Saudi Arabia

Another US Hack Blamed on Russia, Of Course

There’s another political hack story in the news this week. This time the target was the voter registration systems of Illinois and Arizona.

Since it’s a political hack story, it’s naturally being blamed on Russia. Apparently, US politicians are under the impression that the long-deteriorating relationship with Russia has not quite been tense enough. Thus, they feel perfectly comfortable making strong accusations without meaningful evidence.

For more on this story, read Antiwar.com’s write-up, which explains that this is all just the worst form of electoral politicking. You can also check out our related article, out today, which makes a humble request to the Clinton campaign and the US media:

Hillary Clinton Deleted Emails Related to Benghazi Scandal
In spite of the FBI’s decision not to prosecute Hillary (which wrote about here), the scandal surrounding her email server is alive and well.

That’s because new shady information comes out about it seemingly every day. You can be forgiven if you’re no longer shocked by any of it (or if you’re bored by all of it). But with that disclaimer, the story that broke today is still worth your attention.

According to the State Department, as reported by AP, the FBI investigation recovered some 30 emails related to the Benghazi attack that killed a US ambassador in 2012. And critically, an “undetermined number” of these emails was not turned over by Clinton to the FBI for the purposes of the investigation. Instead, they were apparently deleted, either before the investigation occurred or as part of the “personal” emails.

This is a big deal. The Benghazi scandal is what Republicans were attempting to investigate when the private email server was discovered. Thus, it’s virtually impossible to claim emails related to that scandal were legitimate to delete. We’ve also written previously about the Benghazi scandal itself, noting that it was really a distraction from the larger issue of the Libyan War. Still, it was a legitimate thing to investigate and Clinton was required to fully cooperate with that investigation. This latest report suggests that she and her team may have obstructed that investigation, and the investigation into the email server itself, more explicitly than previously understood.

64 Legislators Sign Letter to Delay Arms Deal for Saudi Arabia
In better news, 64 House members have signed a letter to President Obama to delay finalizing a recently announced arms deal with Saudi Arabia. In the letter, they specifically cite concerns about the ongoing atrocities being committed by the Saudis in the Yemen War, which you may recall, is a war to reinstall a dictator friendly to Saudi Arabia.

The United States Government has been supporting the war to appease its allies in Saudi Arabia, in spite of its clearly anti-democratic purpose and the immense suffering it has caused. This has included rhetorical support (if the issue even comes up, which is rare), and outright logistical support for the Saudi air force. That’s why it’s good news that there’s some pushback on US efforts to provide even more support for the Saudis as they continue to prosecute the war in Yemen.

Granted, 64 isn’t a majority. And they aren’t trying to stop the arms sale outright yet or block explicit US support altogether. But it’s a start.

Also, lest we be accused of hypocrisy, we should note that this situation is markedly different than the arms sanctions imposed on Iran, which we discussed and opposed earlier this year. The reason to oppose new arms sales to Saudi Arabia is because it’s currently engaged in a brutal and baldly illegal aggressive war. The goal is to cut off supplies in the hopes that the aggressor might run out of supplies needed to keep the war going. If Iran was engaged in a similarly aggressive act, then we would oppose arms sales to them also. Right now, they aren’t. (Iranian participation in the Syrian and Iraqi civil wars is in collaboration with the respective governments.)

Read Daniel Larison at The American Conservative for more on this story.

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