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Peter Van Buren

Oliver Stone’s New Movie ‘Snowden’ Tackles the Myth

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Snowden
 is a helluva movie, kicking an audience’s ass on a number of levels. I had a chance to see the film last night at a preview event; it opens everywhere on September 16. Go see it.

On one level the film presents Snowden’s story as a political thriller. A brave but frightened man, certain he is doing the right thing but worried if he can pull it off, smuggles some of the NSA’s most secret information out of a secure facility. He makes contact with skeptical journalists in Hong Kong, convinces them of the importance of what he has to say, and then goes on the run from a U.S. government out to arrest, or, possibly assassinate, him.
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US Blocks Former British Ambassador From Entering America to Honor CIA Whistleblower

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The United States over the weekend denied travel to a former British ambassador, Craig Murray, who was also a British diplomat for some 30 years, and is the author of several books. 

Murray has stood twice for election to the House of Commons. He was “honored” by being thrown out of Uzbekistan by its repressive government after risking his life to expose appalling human rights abuses there. He is not a terrorist and is not a social media jihadi. He has no criminal record, no connection to drug smuggling, and does have a return ticket, a hotel reservation and ample funds to cover his expenses.

He is however seen as a threat to the United States.

Ambassador Murray was headed to the US this week to be Master of Ceremonies at an award ceremony honoring John Kiriakou, the CIA torture whistleblower. Kiriakou was the only US government official to go to jail in connection with the torture program, and all he did was help expose it to the media. The event is sponsored by Sam Adams Associates for Integrity in Intelligence (of which I am a member.)
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Tell Us Why We’re At War, Candidates

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When I was a kid, successive presidents told us we had to fight in Vietnam, Cambodia and Laos, because if we didn’t fight them over there, we’d have to fight them on the beaches of California. We believed. It was a lie.

I was a teenager during the Cold War, several presidents told us we needed to create massive stockpiles of nuclear weapons, garrison the world, maybe invade Cuba, fight covert wars and use the CIA to overthrow democratically elected governments and replace them with dictators, or the Russians would destroy us. We believed. It was a lie.

When I was in college our president told us that we needed to fight in El Salvador, Guatemala, Honduras and Nicaragua or the Sandinistas would come to the United States. He told us Managua was closer to Washington DC than LA was. He told us we needed to fight in Lebanon, Grenada and Libya to protect ourselves. We believed. It was a lie.
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Defeating Islamic Terrorism. Here’s How…

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As terrorism struck again in Nice and Germany and… Donald Trump outlined his policy against Islamic State: as president, he will seek a full declaration of war from Congress, the first such formal invocation since Pearl Harbor.

Trump was short on specifics but very clear he would take the strategies of the post-9/11 era into a presidency. Clinton, for her part, intends on “intensifying the current air campaign [and] stepping up support for local forces on the ground.” Their French counterpart, President Francois Hollande, declared “We will continue striking those who attack us on our own soil.”

The problem is that none of that will work. While perhaps necessary at times, military force is far from sufficient in defeating Islamic terrorism.

Post-Germany, Post-Nice, post-Brussels, post-Turkey, post-Paris… it is clear the last 15 years of the war on terror in general, and the last two against Islamic State in particular, have not worked. No society can defend itself fully when any truck can be turned into a weapon. No amount of curating social media will prevent disenfranchised people from becoming radicalized. Ramadi fell, Fallujah fell, Mosul will likely fall, and Nice still happened.

“The effect that’s going to happen now is like stepping on a ball of mercury,” stated one American intelligence analyst. “You step on a ball of mercury, all the pieces break up and spread around the world.”
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