Saturday May 27, 2017
The Great White Father came to Saudi Arabia last week to harangue some 50 Arab and African despots on the glories of Trumpism, democracy and the need to fight what the Americans call terrorism.
Having covered the Mideast for many decades, I cannot think of a more bizarre or comical spectacle. Here was Saudi Arabia, one of the world’s most repressive regimes, hosting the glad-handing US president who hates Islam and the Mideast with irrational passion.
I was amazed to learn that Trump’s speech to the Arab and African attendees had been written by pro-Israel ideologue Stephen Miller, a young senior White House staffer from California who is an extreme Zionist. How very bizarre.
Not only that, Trump’s daughter and son-in-law, who are also strongly pro-Israel, were with him. So too was the powerful commerce secretary, Wilbur Ross, another ardent pro-Israel cabinet member with whom I spent a weekend last year. Billionaire Ross performed the traditional Saudi sword dance with skill and verve.
Listening to Trump and Secretary of State, Rex Tillerson, blast Iran as the font of terrorism provided another big joke. Trump’s tirade against Tehran was delivered in Saudi Arabia, a feudal monarchy that holds no elections, cuts off the heads of some 80-90 people annually, and treats women like cattle.
Friday May 26, 2017
Whenever you see the mainstream media in the United States take time out from trashing President Donald Trump to give him neutral or even grudgingly favorable coverage, be on your guard. It’s a sure sign he’s taken a step away from his campaign pledge to drain the Washington swamp and instead has done something to please the swamp critters.
A smug New York Times, the virulent enemy of Trump and of the deplorable people who elected him, clucked its patronizing approval of his speech to the leaders of over 50 Muslim-majority countries – pointedly excluding Iran and Syria – as a repudiation of his earlier views...
Friday May 26, 2017
Why is there one set of criminal laws for the private sector and another set for U.S. officials?
The inspectors general for the State Department and the Justice Department have released a report that states that DEA officials lied to Congress about an episode in Honduras in which DEA agents killed innocent people. According to the report, the DEA falsely told Congress that its agents had shot drug smugglers in self-defense during a nighttime shootout after a boat containing the victims had collided with a boat containing the DEA agents. The truth was that the boat containing the victims was nothing more than a commercial passenger vehicle that had the misfortune of colliding into the DEA boat.
You can read all the details in this New York Times article and this article from the Intercept.
Obvious, the DEA killings of those innocent people raise an important question: Under what constitutional authority does the DEA or any other U.S. official wage the drug war in Honduras or any other foreign country? Do you see anything in the Constitution that empowers them to do that?
In fact, I don’t see anything in the Constitution that empowers them to enact drug laws here at home? Do you? After all, if it took a constitutional amendment to empower the feds to criminalize the possession and distribution of alcohol, why doesn’t the same principle apply to drugs?
Friday May 26, 2017
Rebels living in England have claimed the UK Government waived travel bans to let them fight Colonel Gaddafi in Libya as investigators probe the Manchester bomber's visits to Tripoli.
Fighters which included Libyan exiles and British-Libyan residents have described how MI5 operated an open door policy for those willing to travel to North Africa to topple the dictator.
It comes as Home Secretary Amber Rudd admitted Salman Abedi, who killed 22 and injured at least 119 people when he blew himself up at Manchester Arena, was known to counter-terror authorities.
Those who travelled to Libya to fight alongside Islamic rebel groups have described how, even though they were subject to counter-terror orders banning them from leaving their homes because they posed a security threat, they were allowed to travel to the hostile warzone.
When they returned to the UK, having spent months alongside groups thought by British intelligence to have links with Al-Qaeda, rebels were said to have been allowed back into the country without hesitation.
Thursday May 25, 2017
In October, 2016, the NSA was forced to admit that it had misused Sec. 702 of the FISA Amendments to spy on far more Americans than it should have. Even the normally very compliant FISA Court condemned the ramped up spying on Americans as raising serious Fourth Amendment issues. The NSA last month told us it would cease using Sec. 702 -- which is supposed to be for foreigners -- to spy in Americans. Should we trust the NSA to police itself? Today's Liberty Report urges that Section 702 of the FISA Act be allowed to sunset at the end of the year. If the government wants to spy on us, let them get a warrant!
Wednesday May 24, 2017
Western intervention in Libya opened the country up to radical Islamist gangs which had been suppressed under Gaddafi. Just as Gaddafi warned. Same in Syria, where western destabilization efforts have led to an al-Qaeda and ISIS presence that was not there before the west had decided on "regime change" for the secular Assad. Who benefitted from the rise of these radical groups? People like the Manchester suicide bomber, who travelled to both countries for training and radicalization. Western interventionist foreign policy has contributed to the Manchester bombing, a classic "blowback" action. The bomber is guilty, but so are those who endorsed the policies creating conditions for people like him to flourish. Tune in to today's Liberty Report...
Wednesday May 24, 2017
Montenegro is to be officially admitted into the North Atlantic Treaty Organization on June 5. The Montenegrin parliament has approved becoming NATO 29th member country amid a certain degree of popular rejection shared by most of the political opposition, who demanded a public referendum in order to ratify its membership of the military alliance.
The organization has grown from twelve founding members in 1949 to 28 today. The most recent new members, Albania and Croatia, joined in 2009.
There are three officially recognized aspiring members: Bosnia and Herzegovina, Georgia, and Macedonia. Extending membership is currently a topic of debate, including Sweden, Finland. Ukraine and is less likely to join but the membership is not excluded, it’s on the agenda.
The alliance appears to be constantly expanding with new aspiring nations knocking at the door. This fact is often adduced to demonstrate success. With Montenegro to join soon, the bloc’s expansion grabs media headlines. At the same time, little is said about the emerging trend in the opposite direction.
Over 150,000 people have already signed the petition to kick off a referendum on Slovakia’s withdrawal from NATO. The initiative has been launched by the opposition anti-NATO, anti-EU Kotleba – People's Party Our Slovakia. The petition needs 350 thousand signatures to start the process.
The country joined the bloc in 2004. No referendum was held. The recent surveys have shown negative attitude to the idea of membership. According to a Globsec agency’s poll conducted in 2016, 47 percent of Slovaks answered that neutrality would be better than membership in the alliance. "As many as 59 percent of Slovaks see the role of the USA in Europe and in the world in a negative light." the SITA newswire quoted the poll.
Wednesday May 24, 2017
If insanity is doing the same thing over and over in the expectation of a different result, then our foreign policy surely qualifies as madness. Since 2001, in response to the September 11 terrorist attacks, the United States has been in a state of constant warfare: the Afghan conflict has been ongoing since that time, the longest sustained combat in our history. From Iraq to Syria to Somalia and beyond, US forces and their proxies are engaged in a “war on terrorism” that shows no signs of slowing down, only expanding.
And where has it gotten us?
In Afghanistan, more than half the country is under the control of the Taliban, the radical Islamist group that sheltered Osama bin Laden – and they are now joined by ISIS, which has extended its tentacles into that country.
In Iraq, after our war of “liberation,” a civil war pitting Shi’ites against Sunnis is raging, and terrorist attacks are the norm. The Iranians have extended their sphere of influence into the country, and US troops are still fighting there, despite the much-heralded “withdrawal.”
The focus of US military action in the Middle East has now shifted to Syria, where a multi-sided civil war has been raging ever since the so-called Arab Spring. There we have managed to destabilize the regime of Bashar al-Assad by supporting alleged “moderate” Islamists, while we simultaneously fight ISIS – which is tacitly supported by our “moderate” proxies. The result has been a disaster of epic proportions: hundreds of thousands dead, as refugees pour out of the country and into Europe.
Tuesday May 23, 2017
No doubt about it.
The coup d’etat has been successful.
The Deep State—a.k.a. the police state a.k.a. the military industrial complex—has taken over.
The American system of representative government has been overthrown by a profit-driven, militaristic corporate state bent on total control and global domination through the imposition of martial law here at home and by fomenting wars abroad.
When in doubt, follow the money trail.
It always points the way.
Every successive president starting with Franklin D. Roosevelt has been bought—lock, stock and barrel—and made to dance to the tune of the Deep State.
Even Dwight D. Eisenhower, the retired five-star Army general -turned-president who warned against the disastrous rise of misplaced power by the military industrial complex was complicit in contributing to the build-up of the military’s role in dictating national and international policy.
Enter Donald Trump, the candidate who swore to drain the swamp in Washington DC.
Instead of putting an end to the corruption, however, Trump has paved the way for lobbyists, corporations, the military industrial complex, and the Deep State to feast on the carcass of the dying American republic.
Tuesday May 23, 2017
Yesterday's tragedy at a Manchester, UK music concert reminds us that the threat of terrorism remains with us. ISIS claimed responsibility and governments will no doubt respond. But will their response make future attacks more or less likely? Also, we must look at the attack in the context of the emerging larger US/UK/allied war on Iran, Syria, and ultimately Russia. That is precisely what we do...in today's Liberty Report.