http://www.ronpaulinstitute.org/archives/featured-articles/rss.aspx?blogid=3 Sat, 26 May 2018 20:55:37 GMT Sat, 26 May 2018 20:55:37 GMT Syria - US Moves To Protect Al-Qaeda And ISIS in Daraa Moon of Alabama http://www.ronpaulinstitute.org/archives/featured-articles/2018/may/26/syria-us-moves-to-protect-al-qaeda-and-isis-in-daraa/

The Syrian government and its Russian ally plan to clean up the southwest region of Syria around the city of Daraa. The move should open the M5 highway, Syria's lifeline, between Damascus and Jordan and secure the border with Jordan as well as the demarcation line with the Israel occupied Golan Heights.

The operation was supposed to start in a day or two, but the US has now threatened to intervene. As the southwest Daraa governorate is infested with a large Islamic State (ISIS) group as well as al-Qaeda and associated groups the US move must be interpreted as protection for these terrorists.

On July 7 2017 The US, Russia and Jordan agreed to set up a de-escalation zone in southwest Syria. The parameters were not publicized and the implementation lagged. Russia had offered to let its military police supervise the zone but the US rejected that. The opening of the important M5 highway to Jordan which was originally part of the plan did likewise not happen. The ceasefire in the region was broken several times. There was also infighting between ISIS and al-Qaeda.

In November 2017 the presidents of the United States and Russia met and agreed to a Memorandum of Principals which covered southwest Syria. The memorandum was not published.

The neo-conservatives at the Institute for the Study of War (ISW) disliked the agreement. It headlined Southern Syria Deal Fails to Constrain Iran, al Qaeda. Israel had demanded that no groups associated with Iran should come near the zone, but no such rule was agreed upon. ISW also noted:
Al Qaeda has exploited the ‘de-escalation zone’ to develop a new durable safe haven along the Syrian-Jordanian border.
Neither al-Qaeda nor the Islamic State are covered by the de-escalation and ceasefire agreement. UN Security Council resolutions 2249 and 2254 demand that all UN members fight Al Qaeda, ISIS, and individuals and groups associate with them. It calls upon UN member states "to eradicate the safe haven they have established over significant parts of Syria".

At that time ISW published a map of southwest Syria which shows the strategic positions taken by ISIS (grey), al-Qaeda (brown) and aligned groups (light brown):

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Click for full size.

In December 2017 the US stopped payments to "rebels" in the south west. Some of the groups, including al-Qaedareceive money, weapons and fire support from Israel.

In April 2018 ISW published a new version of its map of the area. Amusingly al-Qaeda had vanished from it:

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Click for full size.


Over the last days Syrian helicopters have dropped leaflets over "rebel" held towns in the western part of the rebel held areas. They demand that the rebels give up fighting and reconcile with the Syrian government.

The Iranian ambassador to Jordan Mojtaba Ferdowsi-pour publicly declared that Iran has no role in any military operation in south of Syria. He added:
After ending its mission in Syria, Iran will not remain in Syria and whenever Syrian government ask us, Iran will leave the country.
It is obvious that the Syrian government and its Russian allies have all rights to fight ISIS and al-Qaeda independent of any de-escalation agreement. The UNSC resolutions even demand that. But the US thinks different.

Last night the US State Department published this threat:
The United States is concerned by reports of an impending Assad regime operation in southwest Syria within the boundaries of the de-escalation zone negotiated between the United States, Jordan, and the Russian Federation last year and reaffirmed between Presidents Trump and Putin in Da Nang, Vietnam in November. The United States remains committed to maintaining the stability of the southwest de-escalation zone and to the ceasefire underpinning it. We also caution the Syrian regime against any actions that risk broadening the conflict or jeopardize the ceasefire. As a guarantor of this de-escalation area with Russia and Jordan, the United States will take firm and appropriate measures in response to Assad regime violations.
...
One wonders what "firm and appropriate measures" the US has planned for. Strong words? Cruise missile attacks? Nukes?

I have not seen any reaction yet from the Syrian or Russian side.

--- 
Reprinted with permission from Moon of Alabama.

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http://www.ronpaulinstitute.org/archives/featured-articles/2018/may/26/syria-us-moves-to-protect-al-qaeda-and-isis-in-daraa/ http://www.ronpaulinstitute.org/archives/featured-articles/2018/may/26/syria-us-moves-to-protect-al-qaeda-and-isis-in-daraa/ Sat, 26 May 2018 20:55:37 GMT
South Korean President Moons Bolton Ray McGovern http://www.ronpaulinstitute.org/archives/featured-articles/2018/may/26/south-korean-president-moons-bolton/

Thanks no doubt to his bellicose national security adviser John Bolton, President Donald Trump has now lost control of the movement toward peace between the two Koreas.  Trump has put himself in a corner; he must now either reject — or, better, fire — Bolton, or face the prospect of wide war in the Far East, including the Chinese, with whom a mutual defense treaty with North Korea is still on the books.

The visuals of the surprise meeting late yesterday (local time) between the top leaders of South Korea and North Korea pretty much tell the story.  South Korea’s President Moon Jae-in drove into the North Korean side of the demilitarized zone (DMZ), and Seoul quickly released a one-minute video of what, by all appearances, was an extremely warm encounter with Kim Jung-un. It amounted to a smiling, thumbing of two noses at Bolton and the rest of the “crazies” who follow his advice, such as Vice President Mike Pence who echoed Bolton’s insane evocation of the “Libya model” for North Korea, which caused Pyongyang to go ballistic. Their angry response was the reason Trump cited for cancelling the June 12 summit with Kim.

But Trump almost immediately afterward began to waffle. At their meeting on Friday the two Korean leaders made it clear their main purpose was to make “the successful holding of the North Korea-U.S. Summit” happen. Moon is expected to announce the outcome of his talks with Kim Sunday morning (Korean time).

Why is Trump Waffling?

One cannot rule out the possibility that Secretary of State Mike Pompeo has some cojones beneath his girth. He has a personal, as well as a diplomatic stake in whether or not Bolton succeeds in wrecking the summit. (Trump, after all, deputized Pompeo, while he was still CIA director, to set it up.)  It’s also possible some non-crazy advisers are warning Trump about Bolton’s next “March of Folly.” Other advisers may be appealing to Trump’s legendary vanity by dangling the prospect that he may blow his only shot at a Nobel Peace Prize.

The two Korean leaders have made abundantly clear their determination to continue on the path of reconciliation despite the artificial divide created by the U.S. 70 years ago. Now, a lot depends on the unpredictable Trump. If enough people talk sense to him and help him see the dangerous consequences of letting himself be led by Bolton, peace on the Korean peninsula may be within reach.

It is no longer a fantasy to suggest that the DMZ could evaporate just as unexpectedly and quickly as that other artifact of the Cold War did — the Berlin Wall almost four decades ago.

Ray McGovern works with Tell the Word, a publishing arm of the ecumenical Church of the Saviour in inner-city Washington.  In 1963, when he began his 27-year career as a CIA analyst, he was responsible for evaluating Soviet policy toward China and the Far East.  Later, he prepared the President’s Daily Brief for Nixon, Ford, and Reagan, delivering it one-on-one to Reagans five most senior national security advisers from 1981 to 1985.

Reprinted with author's permission from ConsortiumNews.com.]]>
http://www.ronpaulinstitute.org/archives/featured-articles/2018/may/26/south-korean-president-moons-bolton/ http://www.ronpaulinstitute.org/archives/featured-articles/2018/may/26/south-korean-president-moons-bolton/ Sat, 26 May 2018 18:42:01 GMT
Real Patriotism on Memorial Day Means Losing Fewer Soldiers in Meaningless Wars Ivan Eland http://www.ronpaulinstitute.org/archives/featured-articles/2018/may/26/real-patriotism-on-memorial-day-means-losing-fewer-soldiers-in-meaningless-wars/

Most people, when thinking of Memorial Day—if they don’t confuse it with Veterans Day—think of the start of the summer season or great sales at the stores and online. Yet the holiday is supposed to honor those who died in America’s wars. Even some of the limited remembrance on TV and in the news is more superficial than deeply reflective.

Perhaps the greatest tribute to those who have made the ultimate sacrifice might be to reduce the number of those who die in future wars. Unfortunately, throughout US history, but especially after the Cold War ended, politicians of both parties have been too quick to send American boys (and now girls) into harm’s way, rather than thinking of war as a last resort – as the nation’s founders did.

The original patriots realized the expenditure of blood and treasure for the leaders’ political goals usually fell to common citizens. The founders believed that war severely undermined the American republic.

“Of all the enemies to public liberty war is, perhaps, the most to be dreaded, because it comprises and develops the germ of every other,” wrote James Madison, our fourth president and an author of our Constitution. “War is the parent of armies; from these proceed debts and taxes; and armies, and debts, and taxes are the known instruments for bringing the many under the domination of the few. In war, too, the discretionary power of the Executive is extended; its influence in dealing out offices, honors and emoluments is multiplied; and all the means of seducing the minds, are added to those of subduing the force, of the people. ... No nation could preserve its freedom in the midst of continual warfare.”

Modern politicians have forgotten Madison’s words and have put the country into a state of multiple continuous wars in faraway places that are only tangentially related to US national security. For example, the US government has been sending American service personnel to be killed in a futile, never-ending nation-building war in Afghanistan since 2001. The United States needlessly invaded Iraq, then fought an eight-year war of occupation, withdrew in 2011, and then went back for more in 2014.

The US government took a look at the chaos caused by its overthrow of Saddam Hussein and promptly replicated that mayhem by overthrowing Moammar Gadhafi in Libya—in which the United States is still conducting military activity.

The United States is conducting ongoing military operations in Syria, Pakistan, Yemen, Somalia, Niger and perhaps other places that have been kept secret.

The nation’s founders would have been nervous that such wars would have undermined freedom at home and created needless entanglements abroad. Just the example of the significant erosion of cherished US liberties at home during the never-ending quagmire in Afghanistan should confirm the strong urge of the founders to, if possible, avoid war.

The founders, having broken away from a British king, were leery of expanding presidential power to wage war. Congress has abetted such executive aggrandizement, creating an “imperial presidency” by failing to fulfill, since World War II, its constitutional responsibility to declare war.

Most of our current wars have been unilaterally conducted by the president, without any congressional approval on behalf of the American people.

Geography still matters and the founders realized the United States had the tremendous advantage of being located away from the world’s centers of conflict—possessing perhaps the most intrinsically secure position of any great power in world history. For most of the country’s history, major American wars were infrequent—allowing the nation to grow into the world’s primary economic juggernaut.

Now the nation is $21 trillion debt and accounts for 37 percent of the world’s military spending but only 24 percent of its GDP. Such overextension, which has led to excessively expansive and expensive US military commitments overseas, can no longer be afforded.

President Trump alluded to some of these problems during his campaign but has only accelerated these brushfire wars. He is proud of keeping his campaign promises in other areas, yet strangely has been co-opted by Washington’s foreign policy elite and military brass. Such wars should not be draped in faux patriotism.

This Memorial Day, the most genuinely patriotic response to show support for our troops in harm’s way might be to ask politicians of both parties, including President Trump, why they still need to be in such God-forsaken hell holes.

Reprinted with permission from the Independent Institute.]]>
http://www.ronpaulinstitute.org/archives/featured-articles/2018/may/26/real-patriotism-on-memorial-day-means-losing-fewer-soldiers-in-meaningless-wars/ http://www.ronpaulinstitute.org/archives/featured-articles/2018/may/26/real-patriotism-on-memorial-day-means-losing-fewer-soldiers-in-meaningless-wars/ Sat, 26 May 2018 14:23:49 GMT
Your Tax Dollars Bankroll Afghan Child Molesters James Bovard http://www.ronpaulinstitute.org/archives/featured-articles/2018/may/25/your-tax-dollars-bankroll-afghan-child-molesters/

Donald Trump was hailed by the media last August when he announced he was sending more US troops to fight in Afghanistan. A Washington Post editorial praised his “principled realism” and saluted “a rare but welcome story of self-correction” (since Trump had portrayed Afghanistan as a lost cause when he was a presidential candidate). A New York Daily News op-ed praised the president because “Trump said ‘win’ and ‘victory’ more times in 15 minutes than President Barack Obama did in eight years.” CNN cheered that expanding the Afghan war allowed Trump to “stake out a more conventional presidential posture.”

Trump assured the American people that “to prosecute this war, we will learn from history.” But his revised mission to Afghanistan — a low-wattage repeat of Obama’s 2009+ “surge” — ignores the atrocities that the US government has long bankrolled in that sprawling nation.

Since 2002, the United States has spent more than $70 billion financing Afghan security forces, including the Afghan military and police. A law sponsored by Sen. Patrick Leahy (D-Vt.) prohibits the Pentagon from bankrolling any foreign military units if there is “credible information that the unit has committed a gross violation of human rights.”

But members of Congress have finagled to allow the US military to continue bankrolling Afghan units who are committing atrocities. Congressional appropriations bills have specified that funds for Afghan Security Forces “shall be available to the Secretary of Defense, notwithstanding any other provision of the law.” This provision has allowed the Pentagon to completely ignore the record of Afghan units that the US government supports. This clause, which is referred to by Pentagon policymakers as the “notwithstanding authority,” removes legal and moral limits on US government spending in Afghanistan.

The Pentagon did not provide any guidance to troops on reporting human rights violations until a decade after the US invasion. The US government has long known that US-funded Afghan units routinely engage in bacha bazi — boy play. Afghan military commanders and police kidnap boys and use them as sex slaves. American troops have complained of seeing boys chained to beds and hearing their screams at night as they are assaulted. US. soldiers who forcefully tried to stop the abuse were punished by their superiors. Rep. Vern Buchanan (R-Fla.) complained to the Pentagon, “It is bad enough if the Pentagon is telling our soldiers to ignore this type of barbaric and savage behavior, but it’s even worse if we are punishing those who try to stop it.”

After the Taliban took control of Afghanistan, bacha bazi was punished with a death penalty, and the abuse became far less pervasive. But that prohibition ended after the US invasion toppled the Taliban. Army captain Dan Quinn complained that “we were putting people into power who would do things that were worse than the Taliban did — that was something village elders voiced to me.’’ Aaron MacLean, who served in Afghanistan with the Marines, observed that the “Taliban have long used reports of rapes committed by government agents as a recruiting tool. Indeed, among the elements of Mullah Omar’s rise to power was his reputation for taking violent action against those who kidnapped and raped children.”

The Pentagon ignored bacha bazi abuse until a 2015 New York Times exposé of American soldiers’ being punished for protesting atrocities against boys was published. The Times reported that US troops were confounded that “instead of weeding out pedophiles, the American military was arming them in some cases and placing them as the commanders of villages — and doing little when they began abusing children.” Obama White House press secretary Josh Earnest responded to the Times’s bombshell, “The United States is deeply concerned about the safety and welfare of Afghan boys who may be exploited by members of the Afghan national security and defense forces…. Protecting human rights, including by countering the exploitation of children, is a high priority for the US government.” Thanks to the Times report, the US military finally “issued clear guidance and required related training that personnel should report suspected child sexual assault,” according to a recent report — 14 years after the US intervention began.

After the Times’s blockbuster article, 93 members of Congress requested that the Special Inspector General for Afghanistan Reconstruction (SIGAR) investigate the problem. SIGAR finished and submitted its report in June 2017. In a brief section in its July 31, 2017, quarterly report, SIGAR noted, “Afghan officials remain complicit, especially in the sexual exploitation … of children by Afghan security forces.” But the rest of the report was bottlenecked by the Pentagon. The Washington Post reported on November 26 that the Pentagon was blocking the release of the SIGAR report, instead releasing “its own report offering a far less authoritative review” of the abuses.

But the Pentagon’s report was also damning. The Pentagon Inspector General report revealed that some US troops were “told that nothing could be done about child sexual abuse because of Afghanistan’s status as a sovereign nation, that it was not a priority for the command, or that it was best to ignore the situation and to let the local police handle it.” Regarding pedophilia, the Navy gave its members training that “advises readers to control and overcome any frustration caused by cultural differences that they may experience during their deployments,” while Marines were told “to be mentally prepared to encounter this attitude, and to ‘move on,’” according to the IG report.

Eleven allegations of child sexual abuse were reported to the Afghan government but the IG refused to disclose whether anything happened to the perpetrators. Steven Aftergood of the Federation of American Scientists said the Pentagon’s secrecy “looks like an attempt to evade public accountability for criminal acts.”

But the Pentagon still found a way to declare victory. Acting Undersecretary of Defense for Policy Robert Karam asserted that the IG report vindicated the Pentagon because it “did not identify official guidance that discouraged DoD-affiliated personnel from reporting incidents of child sexual abuse.” If investigators did not find written proof of government malfeasance, then the Pentagon must be presumed innocent. The fact that no paper trail was discovered was no consolation to the vast number of Afghan boys who were molested.

This past February, the Pentagon finally approved release of the SIGAR report. SIGAR has done superb work exposing the failures and follies of US operations in Afghanistan since 2008. It delivers clear English without the toxic fog of bureaucratese that blights most Washington reports.

Abuses such as bacha bazi have proliferated in part because the Afghan justice system exempts vast classes of offenders. SIGAR reported that an Afghan government official was surprised that there were not more reports of child-molesting and that “‘maybe most of the cases are not reported or investigated’ because the police do not self-report cases, and people often do not report these cases because they feel they will get in more trouble…. Low-level officers and soldiers have been prosecuted for child abuse because senior-level officers have money and power and can easily threaten someone to keep quiet about a crime.” A non-government organization official told SIGAR investigators that “even though her organization receives reports of child sexual abuse, it did not share information on the allegations with the US government because of fear of reprisal toward victims, their families, or those who report incidents.” This is similar to the lawless situation that exists in some American cities where people are afraid to testify against well-known killers for fear of becoming the next homicide victim.

The US government has spent more than a billion dollars specifically to boost the rule of law in Afghanistan. A 2015 SIGAR report concluded that the program was a dismal failure that had produced almost zero visible benefit. Instead, deluges of US aid have helped make Afghanistan one of the most corrupt nations on Earth. And the United States has provided a horrible example to the Afghans with the games played by the “notwithstanding” clause in congressional appropriations. That Congress proudly bans financing of foreign atrocities, and then quietly adds an opaque phrase to appropriations bills permitting such funding, epitomizes why people cannot trust politicians to stand up for decency.

The February SIGAR report warned that “the full extent of child sexual assault committed by Afghan security forces may never be known.” But part of the reason that the “full extent” will never be known is that US government agencies did not want to know. Admitting the “full extent” of Afghan government crimes would have made it more difficult to justify the continued US support of an oppressive Afghan regime. And what the American people didn’t know would not hurt Pentagon appropriations.

In his August speech announcing more troops for Afghanistan, Trump declared that “we will not dictate to the Afghan people how to live.” But, similarly, Trump has no right to force Americans to pay taxes for activities that shock their conscience. Americans would never tolerate paying federal funds for a notorious child-rape regime in Cincinnati or Omaha. But your tax dollars are underwriting similar sordid abuses in Kandahar and Kabul. Doctors, teachers, and social workers can be jailed for failing to report child abuse here at home. But, 6,000 miles away, US troops risk their career for protesting pederasty.

Bacha bazi is not the only barbaric Afghan practice countenanced by the US government. In 2009, the US-appointed president, Hamid Karzai, approved a law entitling husbands to starve their wives to death if they denied them sex. That edict did not deter Obama from boasting about America’s having brought “democracy” to Afghanistan.

In his August surge speech, Trump declared, “In every generation, we have faced down evil, and we have always prevailed.”

But too often, US government interventions have merely covered up evil — at the same time that US aid allows the evil to multiply. Americans have been encouraged to believe that US foreign policy is on moral automatic pilot and that good things happen wherever the United States intervenes. But piety too easily obscures atrocities. And the media cheerleaders for US warring cannot be trusted to consistently expose the moral and other carnage abroad.

Reprinted with permission from Future of Freedom Foundation.]]>
http://www.ronpaulinstitute.org/archives/featured-articles/2018/may/25/your-tax-dollars-bankroll-afghan-child-molesters/ http://www.ronpaulinstitute.org/archives/featured-articles/2018/may/25/your-tax-dollars-bankroll-afghan-child-molesters/ Fri, 25 May 2018 16:16:20 GMT
For US Congress, Running a Torture Prison Is a Good Career Move Philip Giraldi http://www.ronpaulinstitute.org/archives/featured-articles/2018/may/25/for-us-congress-running-a-torture-prison-is-a-good-career-move/

Gina Haspel has now been confirmed as the new Director of the Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) by a Senate vote of 54 to 45. She had previously been approved by the Senate Intelligence Committee by 10 votes to 5, with six Democrats joining all but three of the committee’s Republicans. Haspel seems fully qualified in terms of her experience to do the job, though it is admittedly difficult to make that judgement because her full professional biography has not been revealed by CIA. Claims by supporters seeking to enhance her record that she was “under cover” for 32 years are meaningless as many officers who serve at Agency Headquarters in Langley have that status.

Accurate information on Haspel is hard to come by. Access to a top secret memo reportedly prepared by Committee Democrats concerning her possibly illegal activities has been restricted even among Senators. Nevertheless, as the first woman to become head of the Agency one might reasonably say that Haspel has certainly broken through several glass ceilings to obtain her new position.

During the Senate Intelligence Committee hearings Haspel vowed that, if approved, she would never again permit torture to be employed by the Agency. It was, of course, a necessary though empty gesture in that it appears quite clear that she did not demur at torture being used in the past. Intelligence whistleblower Edward Snowden expressed his opinion with a tweet when news of the confirmation became public, writing that “Gina Haspel participated in a torture program that involved beating an innocent pregnant woman’s stomach, anally raping a man with meals he tried to refuse, and freezing a shackled prisoner until he died. She personally wrote the order to destroy 92 tapes of CIA torture.”

Haspel did indeed do all that and possibly more, but my objection to her is somewhat different. To be sure, torture should never have been employed by any federal government agency, but the confirmation of Haspel sends the clear message that there is no accountability for anyone who is at or near the top of the bureaucracy. Haspel’s willing participation in running a black site prison where torture was carried out was illegal then just as it is illegal now, no matter what some slimy government lawyer whose job depended on pleasing his boss the president might have said. Gina Haspel could have turned the assignment down if she was bothered by what was going, but ambition drove her to accept the position and all it entails, making her current disavowing of torture a bit hard to accept.

The approval of Haspel by the Senate suggests that there is no crime that a government official cannot get away with if it is justified under the aegis of the “war on terror.” On that basis alone, Haspel should have been rejected, but instead she has been rewarded by a government that generally prefers to look the other way. Gina’s success at avoiding any consequences for her action is reminiscent of the slap on the wrist received by former CIA Director David Petraeus, who revealed highly classified information to his lover/biographer Paula Broadwell.

All of which is not to suggest that government officials never get punished. Lower level officials are fair game when the criminal justice system is seeking to demonstrate that no one is above the law. Former CIA officer John Kiriakou was sentenced to prison after he revealed that torture in secret Agency prisons was taking place. Another CIA officer Jeffrey Sterling was imprisoned for allegedly revealing classified information to journalist James Risen. The government could not even prove that he had done so, but he was convicted anyway because “it had to be him.”

If it now a matter of public record that running a torture prison is a good career move, supported by both parties in Congress. And it is also interesting to note how fiercely the CIA fought to keep from having to reveal details of Haspel’s career or even the records of the torture prison. It is unlikely that reports relating to events that took place sixteen years ago could continue to be classified because they would reveal “intelligence sources and methods.” Rather, they remain top secret because they are potentially embarrassing to the participants, to those who directed and approved the activity and to the organizations involved. In that light, the Haspel confirmation’s acceptance of zero accountability is a perfect example of precisely what is wrong with the United States government.

Reprinted with permission from Strategic Culture Foundation.]]>
http://www.ronpaulinstitute.org/archives/featured-articles/2018/may/25/for-us-congress-running-a-torture-prison-is-a-good-career-move/ http://www.ronpaulinstitute.org/archives/featured-articles/2018/may/25/for-us-congress-running-a-torture-prison-is-a-good-career-move/ Fri, 25 May 2018 15:42:04 GMT
Brilliant Strategy Of Offering North Korea 'The Libya Model' Somehow Falls Through Caitlin Johnstone http://www.ronpaulinstitute.org/archives/featured-articles/2018/may/25/brilliant-strategy-of-offering-north-korea-the-libya-model-somehow-falls-through/

Three days before President Trump announced him as the new National Security Advisor, deranged mutant death walrus John Bolton appeared on Radio Free Asia and said of negotiations with North Korea, "I think we should insist that if this meeting is going to take place, it will be similar to discussions we had with Libya 13 or 14 years ago."

Bolton has been loudly and publicly advocating "the Libya model" with the DPRK ever since.

"I think we're looking at the Libya model of 2003, 2004," Bolton said on Face the Nation last month, and said the same on Fox News Sunday in case anyone failed to get the message.

Bolton never bothered to refine his message by saying, for example, "Without the part where we betray and invade them and get their leader mutilated to death in the streets." He just said they're doing Libya again.

This was what John Bolton was saying before he was hired, and this was what John Bolton continued to say after he was hired. This was what John Bolton was hired to do. He was hired to sabotage peace and facilitate death and destruction. That is what he does. That is what he is for. Can openers open cans, John Bolton starts wars. You don't buy a can opener to rotate your tires, and you don't hire John Bolton to facilitate peace.

It should have surprised no one, then, when the administration saw Bolton's Libya comments and raised him a canceled peace talk.

"You know, there were some talk about the Libya model last week," Vice President Pence told Fox News on Saturday. "And you know, as the president made clear, you know, this will only end like the Libya model ended if Kim Jong-un doesn't make a deal."

"Some people saw that as a threat," Fox's Martha MacCallum replied, because there is no other way it could possibly be interpreted.

Pence blathered something about it being "a fact", not a threat, but that is because he is a fake plastic doll manufactured by Raytheon. It was an extremely obvious and blatant threat, so of course North Korea responded accordingly. Below is the full text of the response to Pence's statement by North Korea's Vice Foreign Minister Choe Son Hui, which reportedly was the basis for Trump's cancellation of the scheduled summit in Singapore:
At an interview with Fox News on May 21, US Vice-President Pence made unbridled and impudent remarks that North Korea might end like Libya, military option for North Korea never came off the table, the US needs complete, verifiable and irreversible denuclearisation, and so on.

As a person involved in the US affairs, I cannot suppress my surprise at such ignorant and stupid remarks gushing out from the mouth of the US vice-president.

If he is vice-president of "single superpower" as is in name, it will be proper for him to know even a little bit about the current state of global affairs and to sense to a certain degree the trends in dialogue and the climate of détente.

We could surmise more than enough what a political dummy he is as he is trying to compare the DPRK, a nuclear weapon state, to Libya that had simply installed a few items of equipment and fiddled around with them.

Soon after the White House National Security Adviser Bolton made the reckless remarks, Vice-President Pence has again spat out nonsense that the DPRK would follow in Libya's footstep.

It is to be underlined, however, that in order not to follow in Libya's footstep, we paid a heavy price to build up our powerful and reliable strength that can defend ourselves and safeguard peace and security in the Korean peninsula and the region.

In view of the remarks of the US high-ranking politicians who have not yet woken up to this stark reality and compare the DPRK to Libya that met a tragic fate, I come to think that they know too little about us.

To borrow their words, we can also make the US taste an appalling tragedy it has neither experienced nor even imagined up to now.

Before making such reckless threatening remarks without knowing exactly who he is facing, Pence should have seriously considered the terrible consequences of his words.

It is the US who has asked for dialogue, but now it is misleading the public opinion as if we have invited them to sit with us.

I only wonder what is the ulterior motive behind its move and what is it the US has calculated to gain from that.

We will neither beg the US for dialogue nor take the trouble to persuade them if they do not want to sit together with us.

Whether the US will meet us at a meeting room or encounter us at nuclear-to-nuclear showdown is entirely dependent upon the decision and behavior of the United States.

In case the US offends against our goodwill and clings to unlawful and outrageous acts, I will put forward a suggestion to our supreme leadership for reconsidering the DPRK-US summit.
The message of Trump's withdrawal couldn't be more clear: we get to threaten you, you don't get to threaten us. This extremely one-sided dynamic is not a style of negotiation that any sane person would go along with if they didn't have to, and as Choe pointed out, North Korea doesn't have to. Libya had only the barest rudiments of what could have eventually one day become a nuclear program. North Korea has a full arsenal, and thus a much bigger stack of bargaining chips. A negotiation at gunpoint can only be one-sided if the other side has no gun.

This negotiation was never meant to succeed. Publicly stating that North Korea gets "the Libya model" was like a hostage negotiator offering "the Waco model." It was plainly designed to fail.

Of course the US-centralized empire has no intention of a mutually beneficial negotiation with a sovereign nation. That isn't how imperialism works. You either join the mass of tightly allied nations which function in effective unison on foreign policy, or you are smashed like Libya. This policy of threatening nations to join the empire on pain of decimation is what is causing all nonconforming nations to form into a growing and increasingly close alliance of their own, and it is what is causing them to seek nuclear weapons so that they don't end up like Libya.

If there's a silver lining to be found in all of this, it was summed up by the Ron Paul Liberty Report's Daniel McAdams:
I think Trump is making America great again by making America irrelevant. We are irrelevant in the North and South peace talks right now. The ball is completely in [South Korea President] Moon's court, what is he going to do next; we've basically recused ourselves from the whole process. Which is very, very good for us. So I feel rather upbeat. I think although it's always better to talk to people, and it would be better to talk, but in the current environment, for us to get out of the way is really the non-interventionist position.
America getting out of the way would be great for everyone, especially for the Americans whose resources are being relentlessly consumed by constant aggressive interventionism and an oligarchy whose vastly disproportionate wealth is propped up with the barrel of a gun. The natural drive of plutocratic smash-and-grab imperialism is in the exact opposite direction of non-interventionism, but as people continue to wake up from the madness and the rest of the world refuses to be consumed by the blob, it's possible that the empire ends not with a bang but with a barely noticed fizzle. And that is my sincere prayer for all of us.

Reprinted with author's permission from her website. Support the author's continuing work with a contribution on her Patreon or Paypal site.
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http://www.ronpaulinstitute.org/archives/featured-articles/2018/may/25/brilliant-strategy-of-offering-north-korea-the-libya-model-somehow-falls-through/ http://www.ronpaulinstitute.org/archives/featured-articles/2018/may/25/brilliant-strategy-of-offering-north-korea-the-libya-model-somehow-falls-through/ Fri, 25 May 2018 13:44:35 GMT
A Time to Remember: Some Memorial Weekend Reading Justin Raimondo http://www.ronpaulinstitute.org/archives/featured-articles/2018/may/24/a-time-to-remember-some-memorial-weekend-reading/

We’re headed into the Memorial Day weekend, and what better time to remember those stories that held your attention, briefly, weeks or even months and years ago ? Well, here’s some follow-up:

Perfidious Albion, Revisited – Remember when Judge Andrew Napolitano, the Fox News commentator, was suspended from Fox because he highlighted the British connection to the plot to oust Donald Trump? In light of the Christopher Steele dossier, and the even more recent revelation of the Stefan Halper/Sir Richard Dearlove spying mission, it looks like the Judge was right.

Napolitano contended on air that the Obama White House used the Brits to get transcripts of conversations between Trump officials and their contacts so that “no American fingerprints” would be left on the dirty deeds. Yet it looks like they did go through our own FISA court to get a judge to sign on to the surveillance: however, there are many questions about what evidence they used to convince that judge.

The “dirty dossier” was one piece of the puzzle, the information funneled to the FBI by their spie(s) in the campaign was another, and I believe that information provided by foreign intelligence services, including the Brits, was the third addition to this brew.

The President’s critics, as well as his friends, say he could clear all this up by simply declassifying the relevant documents, but this is easier said than done: those documents doubtless implicate our foreign “allies” as the source of the “collusion” charges leveled at Trump. The Democrats didn’t think this up all on their own: the whole Russia-gate hoax originated, I believe, overseas, and was then eagerly adopted by the Clintonites. Rather than cause an international incident – and a serious one, to be sure – all concerned are doing their best to downplay this aspect of the unfolding drama, yet the truth is bound to come out eventually.

Hitlerian Ukraine – Remember Ukraine? That’s the country Vladimir Putin was going to invade any day now – except it never happened. Oh well, the “imminent” Russian invasion was years ago, so why bring it up now? Because Nazis are overrunning the place, that’s why.

The Forward reports:
“A wave of anti-Semitism has swept over Ukraine. In the past three weeks alone, a far-right leader publicly called for cleansing Ukraine of zhidi (a slur equivalent to ‘kike’); a Holocaust memorial in Ternopil was bombed; hundreds marched through Lviv, in honor of an SS unit, complete with Nazi salutes; ‘Death to Zhidi’ graffiti was scrawled in two cities; a revered rabbi’s tomb was vandalized; a Romani campin Kiev was attacked and burned by far-right nationalists, and hundreds rocked out at a neo-Nazi concert clad in swastikas and throwing up Nazi salutes.”
The piece is entitled “Violent Anti-Semitism is Gripping Ukraine – And the Government is Standing Idly By.” But of course they’re standing idly by: as I pointed out four years ago, that’s because they’re in ideological agreement with the neo-Nazis, who make up a large electoral and military constituency.

The openly Nazi Azov Brigade is one of the crack units of the Ukrainian military. Other far right militias associated with Right Sector, an extreme nationalist group, are being trained in the use of American weapons by Army trainers, all of it paid for by the hapless US taxpayers. Indeed, in 2016 an amendment to the military spending bill that would have banned US funding for the neo-Nazi Azov fighters was stripped from the final bill – a maneuver the Ukraine lobby managed to pull off three times since 2015. Finally this year,thanks to Rep. Ro Khanna, the Ukrainian Nazis found themselves out in the cold once again, as an amendment was adopted that forbids US funding to Azov and any military formation inculcated with Nazi ideology.

The current omnibus spending bill lavishes $620,7 million on Ukraine, including $200 million in “lethal” military aid and the rest a gift from the State Department.

Italexit?! – Hey, remember the right-wing populist threat to All Decent People Everywhere that was slated to take over the world upon the election of Donald Trump? Well, the Italian branch of the Great Populist Revolt has taken power in Italy – except it’s not right-wing per se, but rather a unique electoral coalition: a left-right alliance, featuring the ultra-conservative Lega Nord, founded by northern secessionists who wanted an independent state of “Padania,” and the upstart leftist Five Star movement started by comedian Beppe Grillo.

Both parties are on record as considering the European Union the incarnation of Ultimate Evil, yet they will be forced to go to Brussels seeking debt relief. Which means Rome and the Euro-crats are on a collision course.

Italy is not Greece: its economy is roughly the equivalent of California’s. The Greeks can be dictated to: the Italians must be bargained with. And in the post-Brexit world, the possibility of leaving the European Union is no longer inconceivable: in the context of the populist politics that have eliminated the traditional parties in Italy, Italexit – yes, I’m coining this new term right now! – is more than merely possible.

In Italy we are seeing yet more evidence that the two dominant trends in global politics right now – nationalism and decentralism – are working overtime to dismantle the supra-national structures the Davos crowd stupidly thinks are the future.

As a member of NATO, Italy has been complicit in the alliance’s provocative military “exercises” and propagandistic pronouncements targeting Russia. Will the victorious Italian populists have the courage to chart an independent course for Italian foreign policy?

Both parties have opposed sanctions on Russia, but there will be a lot of pressure for them to dump this plank in their respective platforms. No one expects Italy to leave NATO, but the sanctions issue is bound to come up fairly quickly. And if the Italians make the “wrong” decision and go up against Washington, you can be sure the “soft power” regime-change machine will start to whirr and churn. In the aftermath of World War II, the CIA launched afull-scale covert action program to prevent the Communists from taking power in Rome. And while history doesn’t actually repeat itself, as Mark Twain pointed out it does often rhyme.

In Memoriam – My 2011 Memorial Day column just about says everything I have to say about this holiday. Here’s an excerpt:
The war dead are honored, and yet the real reasons for their sacrifice are entirely forgotten, or – worse – mythologized into their exact opposite. We fought two world wars to “make the world safe for democracy” – not to save the British empire, or to establish its American successor. We fought the commies for the same reason – not to establish Western hegemony over the entire world. The history books say so, and so they must be right: who but marginal cranks can doubt these basic lessons of Official American History 101? After all, both liberals and conservatives agree, and since “politics stops at the water’s edge” that’s the only view we get to hear, and, therefore, the only one worth knowing.
Reprinted with permission from Antiwar.com.]]>
http://www.ronpaulinstitute.org/archives/featured-articles/2018/may/24/a-time-to-remember-some-memorial-weekend-reading/ http://www.ronpaulinstitute.org/archives/featured-articles/2018/may/24/a-time-to-remember-some-memorial-weekend-reading/ Thu, 24 May 2018 20:11:38 GMT
Justice Delayed Is Justice: Mueller Fights To Delay Russian Collusion Trial Jonathan Turley http://www.ronpaulinstitute.org/archives/featured-articles/2018/may/24/justice-delayed-is-justice-mueller-fights-to-delay-russian-collusion-trial/

There is an old joke among criminal defense attorneys that “justice delayed is justice,” a twist of the old adage that “justice delayed is justice denied.”  The joke reflects that fact that the defense almost always benefits from the passage of time and it is the prosecution that often pushes for earlier trial debates to deny the defense enough time to absorb and address evidence. That is not the case with Special Counsel Robert Mueller who has asked federal Judge Dabney L. Friedrich to deny a speedy trial motion and delay any trial of 13 Russians and three Russian companies for efforts to influence the 2016 election. The effort reflects problems in Mueller’s matinee case, including the allegation that he has charged a company that did not exist at the time of the alleged offenses.

Mueller previously tried to delay the trial despite the demand of Concord Management and Consulting for a speedy trial within 70 days of the indictment. That is a right that protects the defendant and is meant to be honored by the court under The Speedy Trial Act absent a waiver or exceptional circumstances. Often defendants waive the time period as a matter of course to allow more time to develop a case. Here it is the prosecution that appears desperate for more time.

One of the Russian companies — Concord Management and Consulting — entered the US, hired American lawyers, and demanded a speedy trial. The Speedy Trial Act is a 44-year old federal law that dictates that a federal criminal case must begin within 70 days from the date of the indictment.

Mueller continuance motion — available here — cited the complexity of the case and the voluminous record as the basis for the delay. He argues that “This case . . . warrants a continuance and exclusion of time to accommodate the voluminous discovery at issue and to allow sufficient time for the Court to resolve certain outstanding procedural issues unique to discovery in this case.”  Mueller notes that the court has the authority to delay the trial “if ‘the ends of justice served by taking such action outweigh the best interest of the public and the defendant in a speedy trial.’”

The speed of the defense, particularly Eric A. Dubelier, a partner with Reed Smith, seems to have taken Mueller’s people by some surprise. The defense is demanding to see evidence which Mueller has been keeping closely held in his office. It could be the first serious disclosure of the cards in Mueller’s hand for defendants and potential targets. Thus far the defense is doing an excellent job in setting Mueller’s team back on its heels.

As a general rule, the desire of the defense for a speedy trial should carry the day. The prosecutors control when to issue an indictment. That triggers the Act and the clock ticking. The danger for Mueller is that, if he is unwilling to show the evidence or go to trial, he could face the embarrassing prospect of pulling the indictment. Conversely, if he is not ready, his matinee case could prove a flop in whole or in part with acquittals or hung juries.

As Dr. Seuss once asked, “How did it get so late so soon?”

Reprinted with permission from JonathanTurley.org.]]>
http://www.ronpaulinstitute.org/archives/featured-articles/2018/may/24/justice-delayed-is-justice-mueller-fights-to-delay-russian-collusion-trial/ http://www.ronpaulinstitute.org/archives/featured-articles/2018/may/24/justice-delayed-is-justice-mueller-fights-to-delay-russian-collusion-trial/ Thu, 24 May 2018 19:45:27 GMT
Trump Yields To Bolton, Cancels Kim Summit Daniel McAdams http://www.ronpaulinstitute.org/archives/featured-articles/2018/may/24/trump-yields-to-bolton-cancels-kim-summit/
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http://www.ronpaulinstitute.org/archives/featured-articles/2018/may/24/trump-yields-to-bolton-cancels-kim-summit/ http://www.ronpaulinstitute.org/archives/featured-articles/2018/may/24/trump-yields-to-bolton-cancels-kim-summit/ Thu, 24 May 2018 16:47:08 GMT
N. Korea Conundrum: ‘Washington Confuses Concept of Negotiation With Surrender’ RT http://www.ronpaulinstitute.org/archives/featured-articles/2018/may/23/n-korea-conundrum-washington-confuses-concept-of-negotiation-with-surrender/

The US is essentially irrelevant to the solution of the Korean problem and, if a deal is made between the North and South, the US will be asked to leave, says Daniel McAdams, executive director of the Ron Paul Peace Institute.

Donald Trump said during a meeting with the South Korean President Moon Jae-in in the US capital on Tuesday that his much-anticipated summit with North Korean leader Kim Jong-un on June 12 might not happen.

Both Washington and Pyongyang have previously suggested they may not be willing to hold talks unless certain conditions are met.

RT discussed the situation with McAdams, from the Ron Paul Institute for Peace & Prosperity.

Daniel McAdams: It is interesting to see how Trump and his top advisers seem to be at odds with each other. I don’t know if his management style is to create chaos and see if some order comes from it or what in fact may be his style, but a few days ago you saw John Bolton bringing up the issue of the Libya scenario. I don’t believe this was an accident. This is the same Bolton who just before he was confirmed as the president’s national security adviser wrote an article encouraging the US to have a first strike against North Korea. I don’t believe that he has changed his tune in just a couple of months. Here you have him basically talking about Libya as a model for North Korea. We know what happened to Libya: Libya voluntarily gave up its weapons and was overthrown nonetheless. If that is not the red flag to the North Koreans, I don’t know what is. And they did take it as a red flag: they said: “John Bolton is not welcome here. We don’t even want to talk to the South as long as this kind of nonsense is going on.”  

RT: Where does the confusion come from?

DA: The problem is that Washington confuses the idea of negotiation with the idea of surrender. The meeting for Trump and Kim in Singapore should have been the beginning of a dialogue, of a process. Instead John Bolton and others have laid down the law: Here what you got to do. I think Bolton said: “Tell us where we should send our planes, pick up your stuff and take it away.” So, the whole idea is that you immediately surrender and we give you vague promises in the future making you very rich. If I were North Korea, particularly watching how the US tore up the Iran agreement, if you have any mind at all, you would be very skeptical…

RT: Do you think North Korea is taking the talk as seriously as they should knowing how the Trump administration behaves?

DA: I don’t think that is the case because I think the US is essentially irrelevant to the solution of the Korean problem. And that may be one of the silver linings – the fact that the Trump administration seems to have no clue what it is doing. The North and South are clearly moving ahead. We saw the historic meeting on the border. We saw the talks progress. Moon was elected to do exactly what he is trying to do. And I think it’s actually the US interventionist neoconservatives who are isolating the US and making us irrelevant which, from the libertarian perspective, is actually very good thing. I think this will go ahead.

RT: Is the US ever going to pull out of South Korea? It’s not on the cards, is it?

DA: Things happened very quickly. Who would have thought just before December 1989 that the Wall would come down. These things do happen. Historic events do happen.…I think that the ball is in play with North and South Korea and the US is irrelevant. At some point if the deal is made between the North and South, eventually, the US will have to be asked to leave.

Reprinted with permission from RT.]]>
http://www.ronpaulinstitute.org/archives/featured-articles/2018/may/23/n-korea-conundrum-washington-confuses-concept-of-negotiation-with-surrender/ http://www.ronpaulinstitute.org/archives/featured-articles/2018/may/23/n-korea-conundrum-washington-confuses-concept-of-negotiation-with-surrender/ Wed, 23 May 2018 20:26:36 GMT
US Names 18th Afghan War Commander - Are We Turning The Corner Yet? Daniel McAdams http://www.ronpaulinstitute.org/archives/featured-articles/2018/may/23/us-names-18th-afghan-war-commander-are-we-turning-the-corner-yet/
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http://www.ronpaulinstitute.org/archives/featured-articles/2018/may/23/us-names-18th-afghan-war-commander-are-we-turning-the-corner-yet/ http://www.ronpaulinstitute.org/archives/featured-articles/2018/may/23/us-names-18th-afghan-war-commander-are-we-turning-the-corner-yet/ Wed, 23 May 2018 16:51:39 GMT
Mike Pompeo Hurls ‘Assassination’ Charges at Iran, but Nobody Knows What the Hell he’s Talking About Ricky Twisdale http://www.ronpaulinstitute.org/archives/featured-articles/2018/may/23/mike-pompeo-hurls-assassination-charges-at-iran-but-nobody-knows-what-the-hell-he-s-talking-about/

America’s chief foreign negotiator has a message for Iran: stop assassinating people.

The problem is, nobody from security experts to Iranian dissidents has any idea what the hell he means.

The Guardian picks up the story:
Mike Pompeo’s claim that the Iran’s Revolutionary Guard is carrying out 'assassination operations in the heart of Europe' has bewildered security experts and Iranian exiles, who say they are not aware of any evidence for the allegation.

The new US secretary of state referred to the alleged assassinations in his first major speech on Monday, but devoted just a single line to it amid a litany of criticisms of Iranian behaviour, giving no further details. 

'Today, the Iranian Quds Force conducts covert assassination operations in the heart of Europe,' Pompeo said, referring to the external operations arm of the Islamic revolutionary guards corps (IRGC).
Experts told The Guardian there haven’t been any assassinations in which Iran is even considered a suspect, since the early 1990s.

Even the State Department’s spokeswoman was dumbfounded (which admittedly, is not a rare occurrence):
Asked about Pompeo’s statement, the state department spokeswoman, Heather Nauert, said: 'He has information and access to information that I do not. I am not able to comment on that in particular but I can tell the secretary has assured me that there is a basis for that point in his speech and he stands firmly behind that.'

US diplomats specialising in Iran were taken by surprise by Pompeo’s allegations.
The startling charge comes at the same time as Pompeo’s announcement of a list of 12 impudent demands on Iran, most of which have almost no connection to geo-political reality.

Maybe Pompeo has spent too much time on the phone with Bibi Netanyahu lately, and accidentally confused the ongoing killing and abduction activities of Israel’s secret service, Mossad, with those of Iran.

Just last month, on April 21, 2018, a Palestinian engineer named Fadi al-Batashwas shot 14 times and left for dead in Kuala Lumpur. Two suspects of “light skinned, European appearance” sped away on a motorcycle. Mossad is widely suspected.

On December 17, 2016, Palestinian aviation engineer Mohamed Zaouari was murdered in Tunisia, a killing the Palestinian militant group Hamas blamed on Mossad.

On December 21, 2015, Israel killed 12 people in Damascus, including two Iranian intelligence officers, and several members of the Lebanese group Hizbollah.

Israel has even eliminated targets inside Iran itself. On January 11, 2012, Mossad was blamed for killing an Iranian nuclear engineer, Mostafa Ahmadi-Roshan, using a bomb in Tehran.

Mossad also is believed to have assassinated an Iranian general, Hassan Tehrani Moghaddam, who worked on Iran’s ballistic missile program, on November 12, 2011.

Nor is Europe excluded from the field of Israeli operations. Also in 2011, Mossad abducted Palestinian Dirar Abu Sisi from a train in Kharkov, Ukraine, and took him to Israel. Ironically, he was accused of having knowledge of the kidnapping of an Israeli.

So while nobody can name a single assassination conducted by Iran in the last 25 years – not least of which in Europe – multiple Iranians have been killed by Israel in the last decade, including inside Iran itself.

Yes, it seems Mike has definitely been hanging out with Bibi too long.

Of course, Donald Trump’s (or is it Netanyahu’s?) new Secretary of State has been waging a war of words against Tehran since long before he took over the top spot at Foggy Bottom.

Formerly one of the most jingoistic members of congress, Pompeo, “first in his class at West Point”, has argued for more forceful and aggressive US foreign policy towards Iran, Syria, and Russia – to name a few.

Obviously a great choice to lead America’s diplomats.

As we’ve seen in conduct dating back to the Iraq War in 2003, Washington’s spokesmen are not only entitled to their own opinions, they also seem entitled to their own facts.

Reprinted with permission from The Duran.]]>
http://www.ronpaulinstitute.org/archives/featured-articles/2018/may/23/mike-pompeo-hurls-assassination-charges-at-iran-but-nobody-knows-what-the-hell-he-s-talking-about/ http://www.ronpaulinstitute.org/archives/featured-articles/2018/may/23/mike-pompeo-hurls-assassination-charges-at-iran-but-nobody-knows-what-the-hell-he-s-talking-about/ Wed, 23 May 2018 13:52:39 GMT
Pompeo's Bombastic Iran Threats: A Sign Of Weakness? Daniel McAdams http://www.ronpaulinstitute.org/archives/featured-articles/2018/may/22/pompeos-bombastic-iran-threats-a-sign-of-weakness/
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http://www.ronpaulinstitute.org/archives/featured-articles/2018/may/22/pompeos-bombastic-iran-threats-a-sign-of-weakness/ http://www.ronpaulinstitute.org/archives/featured-articles/2018/may/22/pompeos-bombastic-iran-threats-a-sign-of-weakness/ Tue, 22 May 2018 16:43:35 GMT
The Skripal Case Is Being Pushed Down The Memory Hole With Libya And Aleppo Caitlin Johnstone http://www.ronpaulinstitute.org/archives/featured-articles/2018/may/22/the-skripal-case-is-being-pushed-down-the-memory-hole-with-libya-and-aleppo/

On the fourth of March, in the sleepy British cathedral town of Salisbury, an ex-spy named Sergei Skripal was poisoned by an assassin with the most deadly nerve agent known to man.

The Russian government was immediately blamed by a shocked and outraged world. Foreign Secretary Boris Johnson assured the people of Great Britainthat “There’s no doubt” that Moscow was responsible. In a large and sudden leap forward in cold war escalations, Russian diplomats were thrown out of countries all around the globe, including my own Australia, in a show of solidarity with the United Kingdom. It was the largest collective ejection of Russian diplomats in history.

Two months after his earth-shattering assassination, as the world stared spellbound at the weekend’s immensely popular PR spectacle of a royal wedding, Sergei Skripal was quietly discharged from the hospital he’d been staying at. The BBC reports that he is walking and approaching complete recovery.

Wait a second. Haven’t I seen this Python skit before?

So to recap, an ex-spy who had been retired and strategically irrelevant for years was reportedly poisoned by the Kremlin with Novichok, a scary Russian-sounding word which refers to a group of extremely deadly and fast-acting nerve agents that start shutting down the body’s muscles and respiratory system within 30 seconds to two minutes. Except in the case of Sergei Skripal and his daughter Yulia it was several hours with a leisurely stroll, a meal, and beers in between.

The poison was placed in Yulia Skripal’s suitcase. Actually no, they got that wrong, it was the air vents in their car. Wait, no, that doesn’t work either. Maybe it was administered via weaponized miniature drone! Wait, no, it was the family’s car door handle. Actually, scratch that, it was the front door of the house. Definitely the front door of the house. We’re absolutely sure. Either that or Sergei Skripal’s favorite Russian cereal. They were given 100 grams of Novichok. Wait, no, that’s ridiculous, we retract that. Okay, maybe we have no idea what happened. Oh hey, their pets were completely unaffected by the poison. Let’s incinerate them.

Oh, and Johnson’s claim that the Porton Down laboratory had assured him “There’s no doubt” that Russia was behind the poisoning? Turns out that was just a bald-faced lie; Porton Down said no such thing and it was never its job to make such an assessment. Johnson lied, and both the Foreign Office and British mainstream media attempted to cover it up; tweets were deleted, transcripts were re-written, and narratives were given a good spin of historic revisionism by asserting that the UK government’s unequivocal insistence that the Kremlin poisoned the Skripals had been merely a “suggestion.”

And now both Sergei and Yulia Skripal, alleged victims of a poisoning by highly trained assassins using the deadliest nerve agent ever created, are doing fine. But you’re still supposed to fear and hate Russia. Just don’t think too hard about it or remember too much.

Remember Aleppo? I wouldn’t blame you if you didn’t; corporate media outlets hardly ever talk about it anymore. It’s almost like they want us to forget the horror stories they told us about how the city that had been occupied by good, noble freedom fighters was about to be taken by an army of depraved psychopaths who wanted to rape women, burn children alive, and shoot civilians in their homes. Back at the tail end of 2016, though, it was all you ever heard about. The “fall of Aleppo,” they called it. If the west didn’t intervene to stop Damascus and Moscow from retaking East Aleppo from the good-hearted rebels, everyone there would be raped, tortured, and butchered by the soulless army of the Syrian government.

Well, Moscow and Damascus did recapture East Aleppo, and it turns out that everything we were told about it was a lie. The atrocities the Syrian Arab Army were accused of intending to commit proved to be completely unfounded, those “freedom fighters” were predominantly cruel Al Qaeda affiliates, and the city is now thriving and bustling with busy marketplaces. But after all the constant apocalyptic alarmism, the mass media outlets who’d been warning of all the horrific crimes against humanity which would surely be committed after the “fall of Aleppo” forgot all about the city once they were proven completely wrong about everything.

Aleppo was pushed down the memory hole. It’s a non-thing now. Turns out Gary Johnson was ahead of the curve.

How about Libya? Remember Libya? Libya’s that country that got pushed down the memory hole the second the western empire got the regime change it was after. Before Muammar Gaddafi was mutilated in the streets to the sadistic cackles of Hillary Clinton, we were all told with increasing urgency that humanitarian interventionism was needed because Gaddafi’s troops are doing evil things like taking Viagra to help them commit mass rapes against Libyan civilians. Now Gaddafi is dead, we know that both the case for humanitarian interventionism and the Viagra-for-rape stories were lies, and Libya is a humanitarian disaster with an open slave trade after western interventionism created a failed state.

Where are all those cries for humanitarian interventionism in Libya now? Now that the nation is infinitely worse off than it was under Gaddafi?

Doesn’t matter. Memory hole.

Time and time again, we’re fed these deceitful narratives to manufacture support for the agendas of the western war machine, and when the truth begins to surface that we were lied to once again, the news churn moves on and we’re distracted with something else as the old narrative is shuffled back beyond the reach of memory. Maybe a year or two later we wonder to ourselves “I wonder what ever happened with that major news story? I should google it,” but nothing comes up and most of us shrug and move on.

And now a very suspicious and possibly Christopher Steele-related silence has descended on the matter of the Skripals, to the point where Sergei himself can walk out of the hospital and barely cause a blip in the news, and nobody can talk to either of them but everyone pretends that’s perfectly normal. This case which points very clearly to a mountain of lies and cover-ups by the British government and its affiliates is now being shuffled out of the news cycle and replaced with vapid nonsense about Meghan’s dress and Trump’s latest obnoxious tweet.

But we won’t let them forget. We won’t let the world forget that these steadily increasing imperialist escalations against Russia and its allies were given a hefty bump by lies about what happened in Salisbury. There are plenty of people on alternative media like me who will keep pointing at that big dark hole of unanswered questions and yelling “Hey! What about all those lies you guys told us about the Skripals?”

This one isn’t going down the memory hole, guys. There are some turds that just won’t flush. This one’s staying around forever. We’ll keep reminding everyone. We won’t let anyone forget.

Reprinted with permission from Medium.com. Support the author's work on Patreon or Paypal.]]>
http://www.ronpaulinstitute.org/archives/featured-articles/2018/may/22/the-skripal-case-is-being-pushed-down-the-memory-hole-with-libya-and-aleppo/ http://www.ronpaulinstitute.org/archives/featured-articles/2018/may/22/the-skripal-case-is-being-pushed-down-the-memory-hole-with-libya-and-aleppo/ Tue, 22 May 2018 13:31:23 GMT
Among the Persians Philip Giraldi http://www.ronpaulinstitute.org/archives/featured-articles/2018/may/22/among-the-persians/

I have just spent a week in Mashad and Tehran Iran, speaking at an international conference on the future of Jerusalem as well as other related issues while also meeting with a broad range of Iranians, including journalists, students and government officials. The conference was organized by a non-government organization called New Horizon. It was the sixth such conference, intended to bring together speakers from a number of countries to discuss issues involving Middle Eastern security and identity issues.

To be sure, Iran, threatened as it is from all sides, has certain aspects of a security state. And as what is essentially a partial democracy run along religious lines, it has very clear limits on what constitutes acceptable behavior. But I think the representatives of the thirty or so countries who attended the congress would agree that there was no attempt made to limit free speech or guide discussions. The only attempt to censor the conference and its content has been, I would note, the blocking of sponsor New Horizon’s website on Google and presumably elsewhere in the Zionist/US dominated social media and information-searching world. Indeed, the only coordinated activity that might have been noted at the conference itself was the loud hissing noise that accompanied any mention of the name John Bolton.

Indeed, there was clear criticism of the nature of the Iranian government openly expressed at the conference as well as very heated exchanges on a number of issues surrounding Jewish identity, Israel, the Palestinians, the status of Jerusalem and the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Agreement (JCPOA) on the Iranian nuclear program. Privately, many Iranians we encountered were quite free in expressing their dislike of the religious leadership and their desire for dramatic change. It should be noted that such comments were not provoked by anything that any of us said. We were indeed being careful not to offend the host country or to get the organizers in trouble, perhaps more cautious than we had to be.

One might also mention that the timing of the conference and associated activities was particularly appropriate as it came on the heels of the President Donald Trump’s abandonment of the JCPOA and the slaughter of Palestinian protesters by the Israeli Army in Gaza. We watched in amazement on live television coverage as the snipers shot dead 58 unarmed Arabs and wounded two thousand more. A baby that was in an area far outside of the area where the shooting was taking place died after being suffocated by the clouds of teargas being used by the Israelis. It was ghastly and it was disgusting. Predictably the Israeli shills in both the US and from Israel itself made the victim the guilty party, arguing that the child should never have been so close to the “fighting” there in Gaza in the first place.

And for those who are concerned that the Israeli Army might even run out of bullets, rest assured that all appropriate steps are being taken. Knesset member Avi Dichterreassured the audience on live television the army “has enough bullets for everyone. If every man, woman and child in Gaza gathers at the gate, in other words, there is a bullet for every one of them. They can all be killed, no problem.”

I have been invited to Iran before, but as an ex-CIA it was complicated for me to get a visa to make the journey. In this case, however, the hard work and networking of the conference sponsors prevailed, making it possible for me and some friends formerly working for the Pentagon to speak and also participate in the numerous panels. We were an instant hit among the attendees and also for the Iranian public, being featured in the local and national media and interviewed over and over again.

To be sure, some will say that we were little more than useful idiots, invited to disparage the United States and provide aid and comfort to its enemies, but that would assume there was any effort to enforce uniformity in the speeches and comments, which, as I have already noted, was not the case. There was, indeed, a theme of the conference, which was essentially that the US recognition of Jerusalem was a new catastrophe delivered by Washington on the backs of the long suffering Palestinian people, virtually guaranteeing that a Palestinian state will never be allowed to develop. And US uncritical support of Israel and its fascistic leader Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu is, of course, the root cause of the problem, something that was discussed in some depth.

I will not make any attempt to describe the speeches and speakers at the conference as I am sure that such material will be surfacing independently through the alternative media over the next few days, but I would like to share some impressions as well as some particularly well-made points that emerged about the current and, unfortunately, burgeoning conflict in the Middle East.

Many at the conference came away convinced that the White House’s rejection of JCPOA was a watershed moment. The anger in Europe clearly being expressed in their national media last week reflects an understanding that the United States is no longer interested in cooperating with anyone to reduce the risk of war. If European nations act in support of their rhetoric there will be an increase in efforts to distance themselves from Washington. This will include mechanisms to work around American sanctions, to include buying Iranian oil with Euros instead of dollars and selling to Iran in ways that avoid US banks as conduits. The eventual result, which will undoubtedly be supported by China and Russia, would mean a flight from dollars as the world reserve currency. The reduced acceptability of the dollar in turn would mean that the Federal Reserve will be unable to continue to print fiat money to support US interventions, with severe repercussions for the American economy.

And the participants at the conference would likely agree that the United States government has no credibility, by which I mean NONE. It is not particularly a Trump issue but rather a Trump-Obama-Bush problem that has been festering ever since 9/11 if not before. We conference participants watched the slaying of the Palestinians and, by split screen, also witnessed how someone named Raj Shah at the White House told reporters at a press briefing that “The responsibility for these tragic deaths rests squarely with Hamas. Hamas is intentionally and cynically provoking this response” as “a gruesome and unfortunate propaganda attempt.” Sure didn’t look like that, Raj.

And meanwhile over at the United Nations, the irrepressible so-called American Ambassador Nikki Haley vetoed a Russian proposal seeking an investigation into the carnage, explaining that that Hamas, aided of course by Iran, was to blame for the violence. “I ask my colleagues here in the Security Council: who among us would accept this type of activity on your border? No one would. No country in this chamber would act with more restraint than Israel has.” She then walked out when Riyad Mansour, the Palestinian Permanent Representative to the United Nations began to speak.

Combining the words “Israel” and “restraint” in one sentence just might be a breakthrough moment for the hard charging Nikki, but one hopes for another breakthrough on her part in the ability to see dead Palestinian children as real human beings rather than just as targets for Israeli sharpshooters. Indeed, Haley might must consider that there are a lot of human beings floating around who are perfectly decent individuals finding themselves just a bit tired of being stamped on by the United States and its mad dog Israel.

The biggest lesson I learned in Iran was that in spite of all the years of abuse, Iranians still like and respect Americans. I heard over and over again expressions of that fact from ordinary people and sophisticates alike. They would love to have a good relationship and an American Embassy run by proper diplomats who are willing to talk and listen. The only problem is that the United States doesn’t do that anymore. For that reason, the Iranians expressing their liking for the US did have one problem. They can’t stand what the US government is doing all over the world. Well, neither can I and I told them so, as did the twenty or so other Americans present at the conference. I also told them that, unfortunately, the door to Washington is controlled by Israel, which has been doing an expert job at defaming Iran for the past thirty years. The door won’t open anytime soon.

And as sometimes what is expected does not take place, I have to report that I was not harassed by the US authorities when I returned home. Other American conference participants who had long involvement in the peace movement had told harrowing stories of being hounded by the federal government every time they left the country and returned. In my case, I had been headlined in the Iranian and Middle Eastern media during the whole time of the conference and surely was picked up through the intensive USGOV monitoring of all things going on in Iran. I had fully expected to be approached by two thugs with badges on arrival, but they didn’t show up. Maybe next time.

Reprinted with permission from Unz.com.]]>
http://www.ronpaulinstitute.org/archives/featured-articles/2018/may/22/among-the-persians/ http://www.ronpaulinstitute.org/archives/featured-articles/2018/may/22/among-the-persians/ Tue, 22 May 2018 12:50:06 GMT
Haspel is Not the Problem. The CIA is the Problem. Ron Paul http://www.ronpaulinstitute.org/archives/featured-articles/2018/may/21/haspel-is-not-the-problem-the-cia-is-the-problem/

As a general rule, when Dick Cheney favors a foreign policy position it’s best to be on the opposite side if you value liberty over war and authoritarianism. The former vice president’s enthusiastic endorsement of not only Gina Haspel as CIA director but of the torture program she oversaw should tell us all we need to know about Haspel.

Saying that Haspel would make a great CIA director, Cheney dismissed concerns over the CIA’s torture program. Asked in a television interview last week about the program, Cheney said, “if it were my call, I’d do it again.”

Sadly, the majority of the US Senate agreed with Cheney that putting a torturer in charge of the CIA was a good idea. Only two Republicans – Senators Paul and Flake – voted against Haspel. And just to confirm that there really is only one political party in Washington, it was the “yes” vote of crossover Democrats that provided the margin of victory. Americans should really be ashamed of those sent to Washington to represent us.

Just this month, the New York Times featured an article written by a woman who was kidnapped and send to the secret CIA facility in Thailand that Haspel was said to have overseen. The woman was pregnant at the time and she recounted in the article how her CIA torturers would repeatedly punch her in the stomach. She was not convicted or even accused of a crime. She was innocent. But she was tortured on Haspel’s watch.

Is this really what we are as a country? Do we really want to elevate such people to the highest levels of government where they can do more damage to the United States at home and overseas?

As the news comes out that Obama holdovers in the FBI and CIA infiltrated the Trump campaign to try and elect Hillary Clinton, President Trump’s seeming lack of understanding of how the deep state operates is truly bewildering. The US increasingly looks like a banana republic, where the permanent state and not the people get to decide who’s in charge.

But instead of condemning the CIA’s role in an attempted coup against his own administration, Trump condemned former CIA director John Brennan for “undermining confidence” in the CIA. Well, the CIA didn’t need John Brennan to undermine our confidence in the CIA. The Agency itself long ago undermined the confidence of any patriotic American. Not only has the CIA been involved in torture, it has manipulated at least 100 elections overseas since its founding after WWII.

As President Trump watched Gina Haspel being sworn in as CIA director, he praised her: “You live the CIA. You breathe the CIA. And now you will lead the CIA,” he said. Yes, Mr. president, we understand that. But that’s the problem!

The problem is not Haspel, it’s not John Brennan, it’s not our lack of confidence. The problem is the CIA itself. If the president really cared about our peace, prosperity, and security, he would take steps to end this national disgrace. It’s time to abolish the CIA!]]>
http://www.ronpaulinstitute.org/archives/featured-articles/2018/may/21/haspel-is-not-the-problem-the-cia-is-the-problem/ http://www.ronpaulinstitute.org/archives/featured-articles/2018/may/21/haspel-is-not-the-problem-the-cia-is-the-problem/ Mon, 21 May 2018 21:33:55 GMT
Deep State Coup Exposed: CIA Infiltrated Trump Campaign Daniel McAdams http://www.ronpaulinstitute.org/archives/featured-articles/2018/may/21/deep-state-coup-exposed-cia-infiltrated-trump-campaign/
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http://www.ronpaulinstitute.org/archives/featured-articles/2018/may/21/deep-state-coup-exposed-cia-infiltrated-trump-campaign/ http://www.ronpaulinstitute.org/archives/featured-articles/2018/may/21/deep-state-coup-exposed-cia-infiltrated-trump-campaign/ Mon, 21 May 2018 17:01:46 GMT
Gaza Massacre Exposes Western Hypocrisy on Russia’s ‘Annexation’ of Crimea Finian Cunningham http://www.ronpaulinstitute.org/archives/featured-articles/2018/may/19/gaza-massacre-exposes-western-hypocrisy-on-russia-s-annexation-of-crimea/

This week, Russian President Vladimir Putin unveiled a new 19-kilometer bridge linking the Crimean Peninsula with mainland southern Russia. Thousands of kilometers away, in occupied Palestine, a massacre was being carried out by Israeli soldiers with full support of the United States as it opened a new embassy.

The two events are not as disparate as one might think at first glance. They both involve “annexation” – one fictitious, the other very real. But Western hypocrisy inverts the reality.

While US dignitaries were opening the new American embassy in Jerusalem amid pomp and ceremony, some 60 unarmed Palestinian protesters were shot dead in cold blood by Israeli snipers. Among the dead were eight children. Thousands of others were maimed by live fire. The bloodshed could increase in coming days.

The relocation of the American embassy from Tel Aviv to the Israeli-occupied city of Jerusalem, ordered by President Trump, has been rebuked by the majority of nations. The American move pre-empts any negotiated peace settlement which was supposed to bequeath East Jerusalem as the capital of a future Palestinian state.

Trump’s decision to relocate the American embassy effectively endorses Israeli claims to the whole of Jerusalem as the “undivided capital of the Jewish state”. Israel has occupied all of Jerusalem in contravention of international law since the 1967 Six Day War.

In other words, Washington has shifted from tacit acceptance to an openly complicit policy in Israeli annexation of Palestinian territory, an annexation which has been going on for seven decades since the inception of the Israeli state in 1948. The now de facto American approval of the annexation of all Jerusalem marked by the opening of the US embassy is the culmination of 70 years of Israeli expansion and occupation.

Meanwhile, Putin’s unveiling this week of the bridge linking southern Russian mainland to the Crimea Peninsula is a timely reminder of the brazen hypocrisy of American and European states.

Since Crimea voted in a referendum in March 2014 to rejoin its historic homeland of Russia, Washington and its allies have continually complained about Moscow’s alleged “annexation” of the Black Sea peninsula.

Never mind that the Crimean people were prompted to hold their accession referendum following a bloody coup in Ukraine against an elected government by CIA-backed Neo-Nazis in February 2014. The people of Crimea voted in a peacefully constituted referendum to secede from Ukraine to join Russia, which it was historically a part of until 1954 when the Soviet Union arbitrarily assigned Crimea to the jurisdiction of the Soviet Republic of Ukraine.

For the past four years, Western governments, their corporate news media and think-tanks, as well as the US-led NATO military alliance, have mounted an intense anti-Russian campaign of economic sanctions, denigration and offensive posturing all on the back of dubious claims that Russia “annexed” Crimea.

Relations between the US and the European Union towards Russia have descended into the freezer of a new and potentially catastrophic Cold War, supposedly motivated by the principle that Moscow had violated international law and changed borders by force. Russia’s alleged “annexation” of Crimea is cited as a sign of Moscow threatening Europe with expansionist aggression. Putin has been vilified as a “new Hitler” or “new Stalin” depending on your historical illiteracy.

This Western distortion about the events that occurred in Ukraine during 2014, and subsequently, can be easily disputed with hard facts as a blatant falsification to conceal what was actually illegal interference by Washington and its European allies in the sovereign affairs of the Ukraine. In short, Western interference was about regime change; with the objective of destabilizing Moscow and projecting NATO force on Russia’s borders.

That is one way of challenging the Western narrative about Ukraine and Crimea. Through weighing up factual events, such as the CIA-backed false-flag sniper shootings of dozens of protesters in Kiev in February 2014. Or the ongoing Western-backed military offensive by Kiev’s Neo-Nazi forces against the breakaway republics of Donbas in Eastern Ukraine.

Another way is to ascertain the integrity of supposed Western legal principle about the general practice of annexation of territory.

From listening to the incessant public consternation expressed by Western governments and media about Russia’s alleged annexation of Crimea, one might think that the putative expropriation of territory is a most grievous violation of international law. Oh how chivalrous, one might think, are Washington and the Europeans in their defense of territorial sovereignty, judging by their seeming righteous repudiation of “annexation”.

However, this week’s grotesque opening of the US embassy in Jerusalem accompanied by the massacre of protesting unarmed Palestinians shows that Western professed concerns about “annexation” are nothing but a diabolical sham. In seven decades of expanding illegal occupation of Palestinian territory by the Israelis, Washington and the Europeans have enacted no opposition.

But when it comes to Crimea, even though their case is not valid, the Western powers never stop hand-wringing about Russia’s “annexation” as if it was the biggest crime in modern history.

Worse than hypocrisy, the US and European Union have been silently complicit in allowing Israel to continue annexing more and more Palestinian territory despite the stark violation of international law. Periodic massacres and whole populations held under brutal military siege in the Gaza Strip and West Bank have never registered any effective opposition from Western powers.

This week, Washington has gone one step further to, in effect, exult in the Israeli annexation of Palestinian territory in the most provocative way by opening its embassy in occupied Jerusalem. Then on top of that violation of international law, we have the obscenity of the Trump White House defending the massacre of unarmed civilians as “an act of self-defense” by the illegally occupying and US-armed Israeli military. A White House license to kill.

The pathetic, muted response from the European Union and the United Nations towards this state terrorism and criminality exposes their cowardly complicity.

US ambassador to the United Nations Nikki Haley has for months been hysterically accusing Russia of violations in Ukraine and Syria. Yet, on the mass murder of Palestinians this week, Haley was silent. Her only remarks were to congratulate Israel over the new US embassy in occupied Jerusalem.

So, the next time we hear Washington and its European allies pontificate to Russia about “annexation”, the only fitting response should be one of contempt for their vile hypocrisy towards Palestinian rights and the ongoing genocide of its people under Western-backed occupation.

Reprinted with permission from Strategic Culture Foundation.]]>
http://www.ronpaulinstitute.org/archives/featured-articles/2018/may/19/gaza-massacre-exposes-western-hypocrisy-on-russia-s-annexation-of-crimea/ http://www.ronpaulinstitute.org/archives/featured-articles/2018/may/19/gaza-massacre-exposes-western-hypocrisy-on-russia-s-annexation-of-crimea/ Sat, 19 May 2018 05:17:59 GMT
Will Trump’s Pyrrhic Victory End with America’s Role As Global Bully? Philip Giraldi http://www.ronpaulinstitute.org/archives/featured-articles/2018/may/17/will-trump-s-pyrrhic-victory-end-with-america-s-role-as-global-bully/

I am in Iran speaking at a conference on the future of the Middle East. The timing for the meeting is particularly appropriate due to the recent American withdrawal from the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA), which limited the Iranian nuclear program in exchange for suspension of sanctions. Initial discussions with Iranians revealed that they are less pessimistic about the development than are the Americans and Europeans present, believing as they do that the situation can somehow be reversed either by Congressional refusal to endorse the Trump decision or by rejection of the demands being made by the White House that all parties who were also signatories to the agreement (Britain, France, Russia, China and Germany) should also withdraw or themselves face secondary sanctions.

The Iranians concede that the move by President Donald Trump will bring with it additional economic suffering and will also likely upset the delicate political balancing act prevailing in their country, with President Hassan Rouhani being blamed by conservatives for having entered into the agreement in the first place. It was an agreement regarding which the president had expended considerable political equity, and he has also been accused of exaggerating its benefits, having claimed some months ago that all sanctions had been lifted, which was not the case. The stagnant state of Iran’s economy has produced considerable unrest in recent months and it is anticipated that more will be on the way as the economy continues to decline.

Iran’s hopes that Europe will develop a spine and will reject the American overtures, joined by China and Russia, is perhaps too optimistic as banks will be reluctant to lend money for Iranian projects and foreign companies will be unlikely to risk entering into anything but very short-term contracts with the Iranian government for much needed infrastructure improvement.

The major debate taking place is over where one goes from here. There are two distinct schools of thought, one of which basically asks whether continuation of what is essentially a unipolar world, supported by US power, in which the United States continues to be able to assert its vision of world global good order. This has been defined by Washington as a mixture of expansion of liberal democracy plus more-or-less free trade.

Even though it was Israel and Saudi Arabia that were driving the rejection of the Iran deal, it was the United States that had the economic, military and political muscle to take the steps necessary to disrupt an international agreement that had other major signatories and the endorsement of the UN Security Council.

The alternative view is quite different, asserting that Washington’s blow against Iran will ultimately be a Pyrrhic victory for Donald Trump as the blatant interference in what was a universally accepted largely successful treaty in which Iran was fully compliant will produce a global backlash against American interests. US military power and economic might give it considerable leverage to protect itself against any number of adversaries, but its huge and ultimately unsustainable budget deficits and debt make it potentially vulnerable. It is therefore likely that the first counterstrokes against Trump’s vision of America First will be to accelerate steps directed against the use of the US dollar as the world’s principal reserve currency.

There have already been moves in that direction, but they have succeeded in going only so far before being marginalized. This time they might stick because there is a large and growing consensus that America has finally gone too far in its role as global bully. One keen observer opines that the shift to a multipolar polity has now become inevitable due to American insensitivity and political blindness. The economic shifts that will, by some judgements, sink the US economy in five to ten years and lead to the rise of competing economic centers in countries like Russia and Brazil. It will be the beginning of an era in which Washington no longer will have either the resources or the will to attempt to maintain some form of global hegemony.

No surprisingly, the participants at the multinational conference I am attending would welcome the day when an interventionist “leader of the free world” America ceases to be. Many Americans would also welcome it, though without the economic disruption.

Reprinted with permission from Strategic Culture Foundation.]]>
http://www.ronpaulinstitute.org/archives/featured-articles/2018/may/17/will-trump-s-pyrrhic-victory-end-with-america-s-role-as-global-bully/ http://www.ronpaulinstitute.org/archives/featured-articles/2018/may/17/will-trump-s-pyrrhic-victory-end-with-america-s-role-as-global-bully/ Thu, 17 May 2018 21:08:43 GMT
Spare me claims Gina Haspel will 'speak truth to power'. Real truth-tellers go to jail. James Bovard http://www.ronpaulinstitute.org/archives/featured-articles/2018/may/17/spare-me-claims-gina-haspel-will-speak-truth-to-power-real-truth-tellers-go-to-jail/

In the Senate Intelligence Committee secret vote today on whether to confirm Trump nominee Gina Haspel as chief of the CIA, she will likely again be praised for promising to “speak truth to power.” This has recently become one of the favorite accolades in the least trusted city in America. But will Americans be as gullible this time around?

Porter Goss muzzled CIA

When 7-term congressman and dutiful Republican functionary Porter Goss was nominated in 2004 to become CIA chief, Sen. Barbara Mikulski (D-MD) endorsed him after he promised to “always speak truth to power.” Fat chance: after he was confirmed, Goss speedily sent a memo to CIA employees muzzling them, declaring that their job was to "support the administration and its policies in our work.” Goss bungled the CIA so badly that the Bush administration heaved him out after less than two years on the job; Goss later became a lobbyist for the Turkish government.

“Speaks truth to power” had a starring role in the 2005 Senate coronation of John Negroponte, America’s first Director of National Intelligence. While working as Reagan’s ambassador to Honduras, Negroponte perennially denied that the Honduran regime was committing vast atrocities, despite its killing of tens of thousands of its own citizens. (Honduras was aiding the Nicaraguan Contras at the time.) But that did not deter Sen. Jay Rockefeller, D-W.Va., Sen. Jon Corzine, D-N.J., and Sen. Mikulski from recycling the “truth to power” phrase in speeches endorsing Negroponte.

When Michael Hayden was nominated as CIA chief in 2006, Sen. Carl Levin (D-MI) vouched that Hayden would “speak truth to power.” But Hayden profoundly misled Congress regarding the CIA’s torture program and his credibility was demolished in the 2014 Senate Intelligence Committee report on the enhanced interrogation program.

James Clapper false testimony

From 2010 to 2016, James Clapper served as Director of National Intelligence. He scored a “speaks truth to power” honorific when Defense Secretary Ash Carter awarded him the Distinguished Civilian Service Medal in 2016. He is much better known for his false 2013 congressional testimony denying that the National Security Agency collected data on millions of Americans.

And now it is Gina Haspel’s turn. The Haspel nomination is perhaps the biggest charade of the season since she, as acting CIA chief, has discretion to determine exactly what details from her 33 year CIA career are disclosed to Congress. The public heard about Haspel meeting Mother Teresa but details on Haspel’s linchpin role in thetorture scandal and the destruction of evidence have been sparse.

Praising nominees’ candor seeks to make Americans believe that honesty has a snowball’s chance in hell inside the Beltway. But people who speak truth to power tend to end up fired, exiled, or imprisoned:

► Lawrence Lindsay was former president George W. Bush’s economic advisor — until he predicted that Bush’s war on Iraq could cost $200 billion. (The actual costs of the war far exceeded $2 trillion.)

► Eric Shinseki was U.S. Army chief of staff — until he testified to Congress in 2003 that “several hundred thousand soldiers” would be necessary to occupy Iraq after Bush invaded that nation.

► CIA agent Valerie Plame’s career was ruined by leaks by Bush administration officials in retaliation for her husband, former ambassador Joseph Wilson, exposing Bush’s falsehoods on the Iraqi regime’s pursuit of nuclear weapons material.

► CIA agent John Kiriakou disclosed that the CIA was waterboarding detainees and was prosecuted by the Obama administration Justice Department — the only CIA official to be sent to prison for the torture scandal.

► Former NSA staffer Edward Snowden exposed a vast NSA illegal surveillance network and remains living in exile in Russia, perhaps because a top congressman and former intelligence agency chief publicly joked about putting him a “kill list.”

The notion that some official will stalwartly tell the truth is supposed to spur Americans’ faith that Washington can be redeemed — as if  we are only two or three nominations away from honest government.  This is why “speaks truth to power” is lathered onto almost any nominee without multiple perjury convictions.  But it is remains the political equivalent of a used car dealer swearing a vehicle was previously owned by a grannie who only drove on Sunday afternoons.

 “Truth delayed is truth defused” is a much better guide on how most political appointees will behave. But, as former New York City mayor Michael Bloomberg declared in a recent commencement address, “When we tolerate dishonesty, we get criminality.” Bloomberg labeled “our own willingness to tolerate dishonesty in service of party, and in pursuit of power” as “the greatest threat to American democracy.” Unfortunately, Bloomberg’s warnings will have little or no impact on the Senate’s conduct regarding Haspel or future nominees.

James Bovard is author of Attention Deficit Democracy

Reprinted with author's permission from USA Today.]]>
http://www.ronpaulinstitute.org/archives/featured-articles/2018/may/17/spare-me-claims-gina-haspel-will-speak-truth-to-power-real-truth-tellers-go-to-jail/ http://www.ronpaulinstitute.org/archives/featured-articles/2018/may/17/spare-me-claims-gina-haspel-will-speak-truth-to-power-real-truth-tellers-go-to-jail/ Thu, 17 May 2018 19:57:32 GMT