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Syria Gas Attack and Russian Election Hacking...Debunking Fake News With Scott Ritter

Former Marine intelligence officer and UN Chief Weapons Inspector for Iraq, Scott Ritter, joins the Ron Paul Liberty Report today to shed light on the phony "17 intelligence agencies agree on Russian election hacking" story and to explain why in his vast intelligence and WMD experience why the UN "investigation" into the April "sarin gas" attack in Syria was deeply flawed and should not be believed. Also don't miss Ritter's fascinating explanation of the real purpose of the so-called "White Helmets" in Syria!
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Trump Ends Syrian Regime Change Campaign

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The headline in the Washington Post said it all: “Trump ends covert CIA program to arm anti-Assad rebels in Syria, a move sought by Moscow.” The madness that has infected what passes for journalism today could not be more starkly dramatized: everything is seen through the distorting lens of Russophobia. It doesn’t matter that that the program had failed to achieve its ostensible goal, and that the US-vetted rebels had for the most part defected to al-Qaedaal-Nusra, and ISIS. Atrocities committed by the “moderate” rebels go unmentioned. That real experts on the region like Joshua Landishailed the move as a step toward a peaceful settlement is ignored. The only thing that matters is that, as one unnamed “current official” cited in the article puts it, “Putin won in Syria.”

From this perspective, the Syrian people are merely pawns in a geopolitical game between Washington and Moscow. Elsewhere in the piece, the authors – Washington Post reporters Greg Jaffe and Adam Entous – bemoan the fact that the US has somehow “lost” Syria. Under the cover of citing anonymous former White House officials, they write:
Even those who were skeptical about the program’s long-term value, viewed it as a key bargaining chip that could be used to wring concessions from Moscow in negotiations over Syria’s future.

’People began thinking about ending the program, but it was not something you’d do for free,’ said a former White House official. ‘To give [the program] away without getting anything in return would be foolish.’
The Syrian people are mere “bargaining chips” as far as the movers and shakers of the American empire are concerned: they have no reality outside the cold calculations of power politics, the maneuvers of our know-it-all political class, who think they are qualified to run the world.
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US Urges All Nationals In North Korea To 'Depart Immediately,' Bans Tourists From Visiting

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Dennis Rodman will be disappointed to learn that the US is set to ban all citizens from traveling to North Korea, according to two agencies that operate tours there. Koryo Tours and Young Pioneer Tours said the ban would be announced on 27 July to come into effect 30 days later, the BBC reported. "After the 30-day grace period any US national that travels to North Korea will have their passport invalidated by their government." The ban comes one month after US student Otto Warmbier died following his imprisonment by the Kim regime.

China-based Young Pioneer Tours, which had taken Warmbier to North Korea, and Koryo Tours said the ban will come into force on July 27 - the anniversary of the end of the Korean War - with a 30-day grace period. Koryo Tours added that the Swedish embassy in Pyongyang, which handles consular affairs for the United States in the North, informed it of the ban, but did not say how long it would last. The U.S. embassy in the South Korean capital, Seoul, did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

Rowan Beard said that the 30-day grace period would "give leeway for any [Americans] currently in the country as tourists or on humanitarian work". Simon Cockerill, of Koryo Tours, said: "It remains to be seen what the exact text is, but the indication is it's just a straight up ban on Americans going." Mr Cockerill told the BBC the agency would still conduct tours and take Americans until the ban came into effect.
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RPI's Peace and Prosperity 2017 Conference: 'Where We're Going and How We'll Get There!'

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We are witnessing a fascinating phenomenon that may signal that the neoconservative movement is nearing its "sell-by" date. As Glenn Greenwald documents in a recent article, there is a mass migration of neoconservative leaders back to the Democratic Party they left in the early 1970s. Why did they leave in the first place? The McGovernite peaceniks were destroying their party and they saw much potential in a Republican Party that had swung back and forth from the non-interventionism of the Taft wing to the big government, national-security-state Republicanism of the Buckleyites and others.
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40,000 Civilian Dead In Mosul?

Writing in The Independent, veteran journalist Patrick Cockburn reports that as many as 40,000 civilians were killed in the nine month siege of Mosul. That is tens of thousands more than the Pentagon is reporting. The reason for the high figure, Cockburn explains, is that bombs flattened multi-story housing structures, smashing everyone inside. The photos from Mosul are jarring. Who won? Watch today's Liberty Report...
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New Survey: Americans Afraid Of Major War. Whose Fault?

According to a new NBC News survey, some 76 percent of Americans are afraid of being drawn into a major war. That is a ten percent increase from just February. What's behind this increased fear? The country that Americans feel most threatened by is North Korea, which has a GDP half the size of the US state of Vermont (which has the smallest GDP in the union). Who's responsible for making Americans so afraid of relatively minor threats? The media? Neocons? Tune in to today's Liberty Report...
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Silencing War Criticism: The Iraq Invasion of 2003

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Jesse Ventura, former governor of Minnesota (1999-2003), was a hot media commodity as the Bush/Cheney administration was preparing for its invasion of Iraq in 2003.  Ventura, a US Navy veteran who gained notoriety as a professional wrestler before he entered politics, was both popular and outspoken.  MSNBC won the bidding war for his services in 2003, signing him to a lucrative three-year contract to create his own show – until, that is, the network learned he was against the Iraq war.  Ventura’s show quickly went away, even as the network paid him for three years to do nothing.

I heard this revealing story from a new podcast, the TARFU Report, hosted by Matt Taibbi and Alex Pareene.  By his own account, Jesse Ventura was bought off by the network, which back then was owned by General Electric, a major defense contractor that was due to make billions of dollars off the war.

Of course, Ventura was hardly the only war critic to run afoul of GE/NBC.  Phil Donahue, the famous talk show host, saw his highly rated show cancelled when he gave dissenters and anti-war voices a fair hearing.  Ashleigh Banfield, a reporter who covered the Iraq war, gave a speech in late April 2003 that criticized the antiseptic coverage of the war (extracts to follow below).  For her perceptiveness and her honesty, she was reassigned and marginalized, demoted and silenced.

So much for freedom of speech, as well as the press.

As Phil Donahue said, his show “wasn’t good for business.”  NBC didn’t want to lose ratings by being associated with “unpatriotic” elements when the other networks were waving the flag in support of the Iraq war.  In sidelining Ventura and Donahue, NBC acted to squelch any serious dissent from the push for war, and punished Ashleigh Banfield in the immediate aftermath of the war for her honesty in criticizing the coverage shown (and constructed) by the mainstream media, coverage that was facilitated by the US military and rubber-stamped by corporate ownership.
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It Took Obama More Than Two Years to Kill This Many Civilians. It Took Trump Less Than Six Months.

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A new investigation shows that President Donald Trump's bombing campaign against ISIS (the Islamic State) over several months has already led to nearly as many civilian deaths as those overseen by the Obama White House over several years.

According to an Airwars investigation conducted for The Daily Beast, at least 2,300 civilians were killed by coalition strikes from 2015 until the end of Obama's term earlier this year. But as of July 13, roughly six months into Trump's presidency, over 2,200 civilians have likely died from coalition strikes.

That translates to roughly 80 civilian casualties each month in Iraq and Syria during the Obama White House; during Trump's short tenure in the White House, it's been roughly 360 per month.

Samuel Oakford writes. "Airwars estimates that the minimum approximate number of civilian deaths from Coalition attacks will have doubled under Trump's leadership within his first six months in office."

The reason for the trend may be attributed to the result of new war plan to defeat ISIS. It includes a shift to what Secretary of Defense James "Mad Dog" Mattis called "annihilation tactics" to defeat ISIS fighters and the president's having "delegated authority to the right level to aggressively and in a timely manner move against enemy vulnerabilities."

In March, the "month after Mattis delivered the new plan, U.S.-led forces likely killed more civilians than in the first 12 months of Coalition strikes—combined," Oakford writes.
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Jeff Sessions Declares War On Liberty

US Attorney General Jeff Sessions delivered a fiery speech yesterday to the National District Attorneys Association. Unfortunately his fire was all directed at our civil liberties. He wants to crack down on guns, ramp up the drug war (including more harassment of doctors), lengthen prison sentences and reduce sentencing flexibility, and expand the government theft of private property known as "asset forfeiture." Sessions' speech was pure authoritarianism from top to bottom. Endless wars overseas expand a war mentality at home, which governments love to exploit. More on Sessions' war declaration in today's Liberty Report...
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US Stumbling into War with Iran

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There are signs that a US military operation against Iran is imminent. The administration is pushing Congress for the authority to build new "temporary" facilities in Iraq and Syria. Its policy statement says the armed forces are hamstrung by legal restrictions on the ability to expand military infrastructure in Syria and Iraq. The Trump administration wants the existing authorities that only cover the "repair and renovation" of facilities extended to also encompass "temporary intermediate staging facilities, ammunition supply points, and assembly areas that have adequate force protection."

According to a 2016 Defense Department of Defense (DoD) report, the Pentagon wastes money on maintaining 22 percent excess infrastructure unnecessary infrastructure. The House and Senate Committee versions of the National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA) deny the military the right to spend money on a new round of Base Realignment and Closures (BRAC), making it pay for the real estate it does not need. Now new military bases in the Middle East may be added to the financial burden.

The added flexibility is supposed to boost the capabilities against the Islamic State (IS) but it does not sound credible. After all, the group is already retreating everywhere and the process is unstoppable. But boosting military infrastructure is the right thing to do if the enemy is a strong military power such as Iran. President Trump appears to have decidedly hardline leanings on that country.
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