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Justin Raimondo

Why Did Robert Mueller Obstruct Congress’s 9/11 Probe?

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Sixteen years after the 9/11 terrorist attacks on the World Trade Center and the Pentagon, we still don’t know what happened. How did a ragtag bunch of hijackers, armed only with box cutters, manage to gain control of those airliners? How did they get into the United States to begin with? Who supported them while they were here? Why didn’t law enforcement – which had plenty of clues as to what they were up to – stop them? Prior to the attacks, our government spent billions on “anti-terrorist” programs designed to prevent precisely what occurred on September 11, 2001 – yet Mohammed Atta and his accomplices managed to slip through the cracks. How?

While some in our government may have at least partial knowledge, the American public doesn’t know the answers to these questions.

What we do know, however, is that our lives were changed forever: propelled into a war without end, the United States launched attacks on Afghanistan, Iraq, and elsewhere that are still ongoing.
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The Bombast of Nikki Haley

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How Nikki Haley got her job as UN ambassador, and a major foreign policy spokesperson for the Trump administration, is a mystery, at least to me. Her vicious personal attacks on Trump when he was a candidate should’ve ruled her out from the get-go. Where oh where is Trump’s vaunted vindictiveness and alleged “narcissism” when we need it? Whereas Obama’s appointments were characterized as a “team of rivals,” Trump’s may rightly be considered a team of enemies.

As Governor of South Carolina, and a member of that state’s House of Representatives, Haley’s foreign policy experience is absolutely nil. Nor does her degree in accounting from Clemson University inspire confidence. Her record thus far has consisted of giving voice to the neoconservative tendency in the GOP – the very people Trump defeated in the GOP primaries. The conventional Republican foreign policy clichés we’ve heard for years pour forth from her mouth like vomit from a drunk. Her recent speech before the American Enterprise Institute on the nuclear deal with Iran is a perfect case in point.

Haley acknowledges that Iran is complying with the terms of the deal, but that, we’re told, is a mere “technical” detail. Compliance is irrelevant, she says...
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The Mini-Skirt Deception: How McMaster Got His Afghan ‘Surge’

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According to reports, Gen. H. R. McMaster convinced President Trump to give up his longstanding opposition to the Afghan war by showing him this photograph, below, of Afghan women in what the media are describing as “miniskirts.” As the Washington Post put it:
One of the ways McMaster tried to persuade Trump to recommit to the effort was by convincing him that Afghanistan was not a hopeless place. He presented Trump with a black-and-white snapshot from 1972 of Afghan women in miniskirts walking through Kabul, to show him that Western norms had existed there before and could return.
The irony is that, in 1972, when this photo was taken on the grounds of Kabul University, Afghanistan was firmly in the orbit of the Soviet Union, as it had been since 1953, when Prime Minister Mohammed Daoud Khan rose to power and instituted a series of progressive reforms, including equal rights for women. The next year, Khan deposed King Mohammed Zahir Shah, and Soviet aid poured in, alongside the Red Army.

More irony: it was the United States, alongside Washington’s then-ally Osama bin Laden, that overthrew the communist regime, and conducted a guerrilla war against the Afghan government and their Soviet sponsors. The last Soviet troops left in 1989 — and there were no more miniskirts to be seen anywhere in Afghanistan.

Gen. McMaster knows all this: our President does not. Does McMaster think he can bring communism back to Afghanistan? I jest, but with serious intent. Because the commies attempted what our President has vowed not to do in Afghanistan: they sought to create a nation out of a collection of mountain-guarded valleys, isolated bastions untouched by time or the vaunted ambitions of their many would-be conquerors.
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Trump Ends Syrian Regime Change Campaign

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

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

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

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Oh, it was glorious fun, yielding the kind of satisfaction that us anti-interventionists rarely get to enjoy: not one but two prominent neoconservatives who have been wrong about everything for the past decade – yet never held accountable – getting taken down on national television. Tucker Carlson, whose show is a shining light of reason in a fast-darkening world, has performed a public service by demolishing both Ralph Peters and Max Boot on successive shows. But these two encounters with evil weren’t just fun to watch, they’re also highly instructive for what they tell us about the essential weakness of the War Party and its failing strategy for winning over the American people.
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Russophobia Hits the Libertarian Movement

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Fear and loathing of Russia is all the rage in Washington, D.C., as both liberal Democrats and neoconservative Republicans unite in a campaign to demonize the Kremlin as “the premier and most important threat, more so than ISIS," as Sen. John McCain recently put it. While Hillary Clinton and her dead-ender supporters conjure a Vast Russian Conspiracy to hand the 2016 election to Donald Trump, and the neocons take advantage of this to push their longstanding hatred of Russian President Vladimir Putin, even ostensible libertarians are getting into the act.

This may seem counterintuitive: after all, the modern libertarian movement was born in rebellion against the cold war politics of the Vietnam war era, and libertarians have always opposed Washington’s interventionist foreign policy, such as NATO and a destabilizing and dangerous arms race. Yet even libertarians are not immune to the power of groupthink and the tyranny of political fashion, as the cover story in the most recent edition of Reasonmagazine makes all too clear. 

Provocatively entitled “Russia’s Global Anti-Libertarian Crusade,” and authored by longtime Russophobe Cathy Young – herself an immigrant from Russia – the piece makes the case for viewing Russia in McCain-esque terms, i.e., an implacable enemy, the driving force behind an “illiberal international” dedicated to stamping out the last vestiges of liberty all across the globe.
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Anti-Interventionist Voters Elected Trump

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How did Donald Trump defy all the pollsters, the pundits, and the Twitterverse “experts” and take the White House? According to the Democrats, it was all a Russian plot – Kremlin-directed Twitter “bots” spread “misinformation” and “fake news,” Russian hackers stole the DNC’s emails, and this deprived Hillary Clinton of her rightful place as President of these United States. If we listen to the Bernie Sanders wing of the party, it was all because their man Bernie failed to win the nomination due to corporate influence and the flawed election strategy of the Clinton campaign. And the Republicans tell us it was because – well, they don’t have any coherent theory, but, hey, they’ll take it regardless of why or how it happened.

What hasn’t emerged from the shock and horror of the elites, however, is a reasonably convincing explanation for the Trump victory: the storied “deplorables,” as Mrs. Clinton described them, rose up in rebellion against the coastal elites and delivered them a blow from which they are still reeling. Disdained, forgotten, and left behind, these rural not-college-educated near-the-poverty-line voters, who had traditionally voted Democratic, deserted the party – but why?

No real explanation has been forthcoming. Hillary tells us it was due, in part, to “sexism,” and the rest was a dark conspiracy by Vladimir Putin and James Comey. More objective observers attribute the switch to the relentless emphasis by the Democrats on identity politics, which seems convincing until one examines the actual statistics down to the county level in those key states – Michigan, Wisconsin, and Pennsylvania – that gave the party of Trump the keys to the White House.
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Our Rush to War in Syria -- It’s a Disaster in the Making

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The downing of a Syrian fighter jet by the United States – and, more recently, of an Iranian drone – augurs a confrontation that could take us down the road to World War III. The US media is echoing the Pentagon’s explanation, which is that the Syrian jet bombed (or was threatening to bomb) units of the US-supported Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF) around the town of Tanf. The Syrians say they were attacking forces aligned with ISIS, which both the US and the Syrian government are supposedly fighting.

The reality is that there is no such entity as the “Syrian Democratic Forces.” There are only loosely aligned groups, factions and splinters of factions, which proliferate seemingly on a daily basis in a mosaic of ethno-religious-ideological conflicts that reflect the chaos that has enveloped that country. The failure of the US to unite these various factions into the so-called Free Syrian Army – large units of which kept defecting to the various radical Islamist groups, including ISIS and al-Qaeda – led to an explosion of smaller groups centered around local, tribal, ethnic, and religious affiliations. The SDF is an attempt to solder these groups together in a military force capable of fighting and defeating the “Caliphate” established by ISIS – an effort that is far less successful than it seems.

The main military component of the SDF is the People’s Protection Units (Yekîneyên Parastina Gel/YPG), consisting of about 45,000 fighters, including the all-female unit. The YPG is the armed wing of the Kurdish Democratic Union Party, a far-leftist formation which adheres to the “democratic confederalist” vision of Kurdish Workers Party (PKK) founder Abdullah Ocalan, who in turn credits anarcho-communist theoretician Murray Bookchin as his inspiration. The YPG is the official army of “Rojava,” a non-contiguous union of Kurdish-controlled territories that is supposedly secular, egalitarian, and socialist.
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Hodgkinson’s Disease: Politics and Paranoia in the Age of Trump

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James T. Hodgkinson, the would-be assassin of Republican congressmen, wasn’t a radical. If you look at his published output – a series of letters to his local newspaper in Belleville, Illinois, as well as the majority of his Internet postings – it’s mostly about matters nearly every progressive cares about: taxes (the rich don’t pay enough), healthcare (the government must provide), income inequality (it’s all a Republican plot). All in all, a pretty unremarkable worldview that any partisan Democrat – either a Bernie Sanders supporter, as Hodginkinson was, or a Hillary fan – could sign on to.

So what drove him over the edge?

One of his more recent Facebook posts was a link to a petition that called for “the legal removal of the President and Vice-President, et. al., for Misprision of Treason.” Hodgkinson had signed it and he was asking his readers to follow suit: “Trump is a Traitor,” he wrote, “Trump Has Destroyed Our Democracy. It’s Time to Destroy Trump & Co.”  He was also a big fan of Rachel Maddow, who – incredibly — has spent the majority of her airtime ranting about “The Russian Connection,” as this Intercept piece documents. Hodgkinson was also a member of a Facebook group ominously dubbing itself “Terminate the Republican Party,” an appellation Hodgkinson apparently took quite literally. The group has over 13,000 members. The main page of the Terminators is adorned with a cartoon of Putin manipulating Trump like a puppet.

When Hodgkinson left his home and his job to travel to Alexandria, Virginia, he told his wife he was going to “work on tax issues.” But is that what motivated his murderous spree? Do “tax issues” really seem like something that would inspire someone to plan and carry out an assassination attempt that, but for the presence of Capitol police on the scene, would have certainly resulted in a massacre?

Hodgkinson clearly believed that the President of the United States was an agent of a foreign power. He had signed on to the idea that Trump not only benefited from a Russian campaign to discredit Hillary Clinton, but that he is engaged in a war against his own country.
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The Saudi War Against Qatar

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What in the name of Allah is going on with the spat between Qatar, on one side, and the Saudis, the United Arab Emirates, and most of the rest of the Arab states on the other? Accusations that Qatar is the fulcrum of “terrorism” in the region, emanating from Riyadh and Abu Dhabi – the twin epicenters of Islamic extremism on earth – seemed to have been broadcast from Bizarro World. And the incident that sparked the controversy — in which much of the Arab world, led by the Saudis, blockaded tiny Qatar — added the extra-hot spice of cyber-espionage to an already indigestible dish.

Shortly after President Donald Trump’s visit to Saudi Arabia, where he announced his “anti-terrorist” initiative, the web site of the Qatar News Agency, run by the Qatari government, was hacked. A “fake news” story was posted by the hackers, purporting to describe a speech given by the current Emir, Sheikh Tamim Bin Hamad al-Thani, in which he called for better relations with Iran, praised Hamas and Hezbollah, and predicted that Trump’s term in the White House would be short.

Despite the Qataris’ claim – since verified by the FBI, according to Qatar’s foreign minister – that the Qatar News Agency site had been hacked, and that the Emir had given no such speech, both the Saudis and the UAE, through their official media outlets, launched a campaign targeting Qatar. Overflight rights were revoked: diplomatic contacts ended: Qatar citizens were forbidden to enter Saudi/UAE territory even to change planes. And in a public statementdelivered in the rose garden of the White House President Trump clearly sided with the Saudi/UAE consortium, complementing a series of remarkably stupid tweets that basically said the same thing.
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