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Jacob G. Hornberger

US Policy Toward Cuba Attacked America's Freedom and Values

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The decades-long US interventionist policy against Cuba failed to achieve its goal of removing Fidel Castro from power and replacing him with a pro-US regime, similar to the pro-US Batista regime that the Cuban revolution ousted from power in 1959. More important, interventionism against Cuba ended up attacking the freedom and values of the American people.

During the Cold War, US officials claimed that their interventionist policy against Cuba was justified because Cuba posed a grave threat to US national security. Yet not once did Cuba ever attack or invade the United States or even threaten to do so. Moreover, there was never any possibility that the Cuban military could defeat US military forces in a full-scale war. Throughout the Cold War years, it was always the US government, especially the Pentagon and the CIA, that was the aggressor in the conflict with Cuba.

Consider the brutal economic embargo against Cuba, which exists to this day, more than 25 years after the Cold War supposedly ended. In combination with Cuba’s socialist system, the embargo has squeezed the economic life out of the Cuban people, helping consign them to extreme poverty verging on starvation.

Americans have become so accustomed to economic sanctions and embargoes as a tool of US foreign policy that many of them hardly give a thought to how they operate. Sanctions and embargoes target the population of a foreign country with economic suffering, with the aim of bringing about a change in their government or in how their government operates. The idea is that if the civilian population can be made to significantly suffer, either their regime will abdicate in favor of one that is acceptable to US officials, the regime will agree to comply with US dictates, a military coup will take place, or the civilian population will initiate a violent revolution.
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The Disgrace of Maria Butina's Prosecution

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Some anti-Russianites and Trump critics are saying that the guilty plea by 30-year-old Russian citizen Maria Butina confirms that the Russian government was meddling in the 2016 presidential election. It’s true that Russia might well have been helping Donald Trump, who was committed to establishing friendly relations with Russia, defeat Hillary Clinton, who was committed to maintaining a relationship of anger, animosity, and hatred toward Russia. But that doesn’t necessarily mean that Butina’s guilty plea to agreeing to fail to register as a foreign agent establishes that she was knowingly part of a conspiracy within the Russian government to meddle in the presidential election. 

Anyone who believes that has a genuinely naïve and innocent way of viewing the federal criminal justice system, which is akin to how sausage and congressional laws are made, which many people would rather not see or know about.

Here’s how the federal criminal-justice system works.

When the feds decide to target someone, they charge them with every conceivable crime that even remotely relates to the targeted person’s conduct. The potential time in jail, if convicted on all counts, usually adds up to several decades or even to life in prison.
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Celebrating another Regulatory Conviction in the Anti-Russia Brouhaha

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The mainstream press is tipping its glasses in exultation over the latest regulatory conviction in the anti-Trump, anti-Russia brouhaha. This one comes in form of a upcoming guilty plea by a 28-year-old Russian woman named Maria Butina. Her crime? Failing to register as a foreign agent of the Russian government.

The press is reporting how Butina has infiltrated the conservative movement by dating a GOP operative, making contacts with the Heritage Foundation, the NRA, the National Prayer Breakfast, CPAC, the Trump administration, and others conservative organizations and people.

This is obviously very scary stuff. I mean, just think about it: The entire conservative movement facing the danger of going Red, or at least pro-Russia. Then it’s just a matter of time before the U.S. government falls to the commies, or least the Russkies under former KGB officer Vladimir Putin.

Pardon the Red slip but all this anti-Russia brouhaha really does remind me of the Cold War, when the U.S. national-security establishment was warning Americans of the danger of communist infiltration within our nation. The main danger, the Pentagon, the CIA, and the NSA maintained, was that posed by the Soviet Union, of which the principal member was Russia.
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Why Can the CIA Assassinate People?

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Given that we have all been born and raised under a regime that has the CIA, hardly anyone questions the power of the CIA to assassinate people. The CIA’s power of assassination has become a deeply established part of American life.

Yet, the Constitution, which called the federal government into existence and established its powers, does not authorize the federal government to assassinate people.

If the proponents of the Constitution had told the American people that the Constitution was bringing into existence a government that wielded the power to assassinate people, there is no way that Americans would have approved the deal, in which case they would have continued operating under the Articles of Confederation.

Under the Articles, the powers of the federal government were so weak, it didn’t even have the power to tax, much less the power to assassinate people. That’s because our American ancestors wanted it that way. The last thing they wanted was a federal government with vast powers.

In fact, the purpose of the Constitutional Convention was simply to amend the Articles of Confederation. During the 13 years of operating under the Articles, problems had arisen, such as trade wars between the states. The convention was intended to fix those problems with amendments to the Articles.
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The Reason for Killing Iranians

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While US sanctions technically permit Iran to import medicines, it is actually just a ruse to make it look like US officials are kind, compassionate, and benevolent. In actuality, the way the sanctions work will mean that the Iranian people will inevitably be deprived of much-needed medicines. That’s because the US extends its sanctions system to banks that process payments to Iran, which is likely to inhibit the importation of medicines into Iran.

But that’s the point behind the sanctions: to kill as many Iranians as possible in the hope that they will rise up in a violent revolution, oust Iran’s anti-US regime from power, and install another pro-US regime, like that of the Shah of Iran, who the CIA installed into power in its 1953 coup that destroyed Iran’s experiment with democracy.

Never mind that the Iranians, who live in a country that has strict gun control, lack the means to violently overthrow their government. And never mind that hundreds of thousands of Iranians would likely die in such a revolution, just like what has happened in the US-supported revolution in Syria.


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The Korean War: The Moral Bankruptcy of Interventionism

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An article in Sunday’s New York Times entitled “Remembering the Forgotten War” demonstrates perfectly the moral bankruptcy of the philosophy of foreign interventionism. Calling for the Korean War to become more highly remembered, the author, Hampton Sides, extols some of the popular justifications for subjecting US troops to death, injury, and maiming in the Korean War.
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Did the Russians Influence My Vote?

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I voted Libertarian yesterday, and the New York Times has me really worried. In an article yesterday entitled “Russians Meddling in the Midterms? Here’s the Data,” the authors, Jonathan Morgan and Ryan Fox, state that while Russian meddling in the midterm election was not as extensive as it purportedly was in the 2016 election, it was nonetheless still pervasive. Morgan and Fox, who run a cybersecurity company, pointed out, “Indeed, our company is currently detecting more overall activity in real time from continuing Russian online influence operations targeting the midterm elections than has been disclosed by social media platforms or detected by researchers during the same period before the election in 2016.”
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Why Do We Need a National Security State?

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Given President Trump’s impulsive decision to suddenly send 5,200 armed US soldiers to the US-Mexico border to prevent a few thousand women and children and others from seeking refugee status in the United States, which foreign citizens are entitled to do under US law, a question naturally arises with respect to those troops: What were they doing before they were sent to the border?

The answer is: Nothing, at least nothing productive.

Oh sure, one can say that they were training to kill more people in Iraq, Afghanistan, Syria, Africa, or other parts of the world. Or they might have been preparing an invasion of some other country in the world. Or they might be figuring out how to best enforce the embargoes and sanctions against the people of Iran, Cuba, North Korea, and elsewhere.

But how can any of that possibly be considered productive? None of the people they are killing are attacking and invading the United States. Neither are the governments in the countries in which the victims are citizens. Moreover, the constant, never-ending killing brings the constant, never-ending danger of terrorist blowback against the United States, which US officials then use as an excuse to destroy further our own freedom and privacy here at home.

How is that productive?
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Still Dying for Nothing in Afghanistan

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It wasn’t until history class in college that I heard of the Thirty Years War. My immediate reaction was: No way! It just wasn’t possible that a war could last 30 years. Nobody would be that dumb.

But given that the US war in Afghanistan has now been going on for 17 years, it’s now easier for me to understand how a war could go on for 30 years. Just think: Another 13 years, and the US government can tie that record.

Over the past weekend, another US soldier was killed in Afghanistan and another was wounded in what the media calls an “insider attack.” That means that a member of the Afghan military or police was the one who killed and wounded those two soldiers. At the risk of belaboring the obvious, it is rather difficult to protect against an attack from your friends.

That was the sixth US soldier killed in Afghanistan this year, bringing the total death toll to 2,200.
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Trump is Right About 'Flipping'

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In the wake of the federal criminal conviction of former Trump official Paul Manafort and the guilty plea in federal court of former Trump lawyer Michael Cohen, the mainstream press is singing the praises of special prosecutor (and former FBI Director) Robert Mueller and the Justice Department.

In the process, Trump’s critics are condemning his denunciation of “flipping,” the process by which federal prosecutors offer a sweet deal to criminal defendants in return for testifying against a “higher-up” who the feds are also prosecuting. The press and the anti-Trumpsters say that such a practice is part of the “rule of law” and essential to the proper administration of justice.

Nothing could be further from the truth. Whatever else might be said about Trump, he is absolutely right on this point. The process of offering sweetheart deals to people in return for their “cooperation” to get someone else convicted has long been one of the most corrupt aspects of the federal criminal-justice system, especially as part of the federal government’s much-vaunted (and much-failed) war on drugs.
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