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Trump’s Plan for Iran: Put Terrorists in Charge

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Back in the 2008 presidential race, I explained to then-candidate Rudy Giuliani the concept of “blowback.” Years of US meddling and military occupation of parts of the Middle East motivated a group of terrorists to carry out attacks against the United States on 9/11. They didn’t do it because we are so rich and so free, as the neocons would have us believe. They came over here because we had been killing Muslims “over there” for decades. How do we know this? Well, they told us. Osama bin Laden made it clear why al-Qaeda sought to attack the US. They didn’t like the US taking sides in the Israel-Palestine conflict and they didn’t like US troops on their holy land.
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Trump's War Against Iran

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Israel launched waves of air attacks and ground shelling on a score of alleged Iranian military positions in Syria this week.   Was this a big step forward in the plan by Israel’s leader Benjamin Netanyahu and his ally Donald Trump to provoke a major war with Iran?


It certainly looks so.  The US, Saudi Arabia and Israel all recently suffered a stinging defeat in Syria. Their campaign to overthrow the Assad government in Damascus by using the rag-tag ISIS movement, then Sunni Muslim jihadist wild men, was defeated by the Syrian Army, backed by Russian air power, Lebanon’s Hezbollah and some Iranian militia groups and army advisors.

Israel now claims to have wiped out more than a score of Iranian positions in Syria.  As far as we can tell, these were minor logistics or communications facilities, not the backbone of a supposed Iranian offensive against Israel.

In fact, the alleged Iranian rocket barrage was directed at the Israeli-occupied Golan Heights that were illegally annexed and occupied after the 1973 Arab-Israeli War and are still held, legally, as part of Syria. Israel is very nervous about having world attention drawn to its continued occupation of the strategic Golan Heights from which Israeli heavy artillery can reach Damascus.
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When Washington Think Tanks Call for ‘Action’ in the Balkans, Expect Trouble

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Any time two prestige think tanks in Washington issue a report calling for US “action” in any region of the world, hold onto your hat – you can be sure that trouble is a-brewing. That’s doubly true if the call relates to the Balkans, the place where in the 1990s the post-Cold War pattern was set for American wars of choice and then taken on the road to Iraq, Libya, and Syria.

On May 1, the über-establishment National Committee on American Foreign Policy and the East-West Institute jointly issued a report, “Time for Action in the Western Balkans.” As stated in the summary:
Since the end of the Cold War, the United States has been engaged in the Western Balkans to ensure a Europe that is 'whole, free and at peace' and a reliable partner for dealing with global challenges. Our goal has been to stabilize the Balkans, and to enhance security throughout Europe, through the integration of the Western Balkans into trans-Atlantic structures. We have succeeded only in part.  Although the Western Balkans are better off now than they were in the 1990s, they are stagnating and risk instability as a result of three factors: deficient internal governance and weak economies, continuing tense relations between ethnic groups and neighboring states, and the malign influence of outside forces.
One is reminded of the famous quip by Mary McCarthy about Lillian Hellman: “every word she writes is a lie, including ‘and’ and ‘the.’ 

Perhaps that’s too harsh. Not every word in the summary paragraph is false. There is indeed a region in Europe known as the Balkans, and as the report notes, some countries lie in the western part of it: “Albania, Bosnia-Herzegovina, Kosovo, Macedonia, Montenegro, and Serbia.” (Wait, there’s some fibbing here too. Kosovo is not a country, it’s an occupied province of Serbia. Nobody is quite sure what exactly Bosnia-Herzegovina is supposed to be. Why no Croatia, is it located in another part of Europe now?)
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Leaked Doc Reveals White House Planning 'Regime Change' In Iran

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It appears Rudy Giuliani wasn't lying. 
Just a few days after the former NYC mayor and latest member of President Trump's unexpectedly let it slip that "we got a president who is tough, who does not listen to the people who are naysayers, and a president who is committed to regime change [in Iran]", the Washington Free Beacon has obtained a three-page white paper being circulated among National Security Council officials with drafted plans to spark regime change in Iran, following the US exit from the Obama-era nuclear deal and the re-imposition of tough sanctions aimed at toppling the Iranian regime.
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That Time John Bolton Promised Regime Change In Iran Before 2019

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In July of last year neoconservative death cultist John Bolton, now the National Security Advisor of the United States, gave a speech at the Grand Gathering of Iranians for Free Iran in which he openly called for regime change in Tehran.

Bolton, who is so stupid, crazy and evil that he remains one of the only high-profile individuals on this planet who still insists that the Iraq invasion was a great idea, spoke about the need to prevent the Iranian government from achieving "an arc of control" through Iraq, Syria and Lebanon. He decried the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA), claiming that Iran was still a nuclear threat under the existing agreement, and spoke glowingly of aggressive sanctions against Tehran. He concluded his speech with the following statement:
"There is a viable opposition to the rule of the ayatollahs, and that opposition is centered in this room today. I had said for over 10 years since coming to these events, that the declared policy of the United States of America should be the overthrow of the mullahs' regime in Tehran. The behavior and the objectives of the regime are not going to change, and therefore the only solution is to change the regime itself. And that's why, before 2019, we here will celebrate in Tehran!"
Whoa there, Grandpa Clusterbomb. Back up a bit.
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Europe 'Can No Longer Trust US For Protection.' Good.

German Chancellor Angela Merkel and French President Emmanuel Macron are upset that US President Donald Trump pulled the US out of the Iran nuclear agreement. We agree that it was a dumb move on his part that will likely bring us closer to yet another war, but when Merkel said the Europeans needed to start taking care of their own security and stop relying on the Americans, a silver lining was revealed in an otherwise dark cloud. European countries spend very little on defense compared to the US and benefit from the US picking up more than one-fifth the total NATO budget. A Europe that takes care of its own security would likely be less belligerent toward Russia, thus lowering the risks of a catastrophic war. More silver linings in today's Liberty Report...
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A Retirement Community for Drug-sniffing Dogs

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Legalizing marijuana in Illinois would likely cause some drug-sniffing dogs in the state to be killed. That is the claim asserted by Chad Larner, the training director of the K-9 Training Academy in Macon County, Illinois in an in-depth Pantagraph article this week by Ryan Voyles. In Voyles’ article, counterarguments are presented that there will be alternatives to euthanizing such dogs, including involving the dogs continuing to live with their handlers or going through new training. But, assuming such options do not work out for some of the dogs, here is another option that is much better than keeping marijuana legal so some dogs can be saved — send the drug-sniffing dogs to a retirement community for dogs.

Sending drug-sniffing dogs to a retirement community will carry expenses. But, so does the war on marijuana. War on marijuana expenses include the costs of paying police and using police resources — including drug-sniffing dogs — to track down and arrest people for alleged marijuana law violations. Once individuals are arrested, the costs continue to mount with jailing and prosecution expenses. When arrested individuals are found guilty, the costs continue for incarceration or alternative punishments imposed.

The costs are not just on the government’s side. Arrested individuals rack up costs including payments to lawyers, missed work, and even loss of their jobs and homes in the process of asserting their innocence or trying to work out a plea deal. They also suffer with the psychological and physical hardships that come along with being arrested and detained, as well as having the threat of future punishment hanging over them, or the actuality of imposed punishment. Their friends and families tend to suffer as well.
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Trump’s Pyrrhic Victory: the US Opts for a Path That Can Only Lead to War

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Nearly everyone loses by President Donald Trump’s decision on Tuesday to withdraw from the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA) relating to Iran’s nuclear energy program and to reinstate the “highest level” of sanctions while also threatening secondary sanctions on any country that “helps” the Iranians. The whole world loses because nuclear proliferation is a disaster waiting to happen and Iran will now have a strong incentive to proceed with a weapons program to defend itself from Israel and the United States. If Iran does so, it will trigger a regional nuclear arms race with Saudi Arabia and Egypt undoubtedly seeking weapons of their own.
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Washington Secrecy is Creating a Know-Nothing Democracy

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Washington may be more secretive nowadays than at any time in recent decades. Federal policymakers have become accustomed to rationing what they release while citizens are assured that official secrecy makes them more secure. But American democracy cannot survive perpetual bipartisan coverups from the political ruling class.

recent analysis by Reporters Without Borders ranked the United States as 45th in the world in press freedom — worse than Romania and barely better than Botswana. Unfortunately, this dismal grade is not due to Trump’s endless denunciations of the media. The sharpest plunge in America’s press freedom rating occurred during the Obama administration — thanks in part to its zealous prosecutions of journalists. But Trump is continuing policies started by earlier presidents that mock freedom of the press and Americans’ right to know about federal activities.

Secrecy may cast the most important confirmation vote for Trump’s nominee to be CIA chief, Gina Haspel. The CIA withheld from the US Senate much of the information on Haspel’s 33 year career with the agency. The CIA did disclose that Haspel met with Mother Teresa, presumably exonerating Haspel of subsequent sins for her role in Bush-era torture. Even though Haspel wrote the cable ordering the destruction of dozens of videotapes of waterboarding and similar brutalities, the Trump administration apparently expects senators to presume that Haspel would deal straight with Congress and the American people. However, Haspel's evasive testimony Wednesday morning failed to answer key questions about her role in the most controversial aspect of the war on terror.
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Trump Kills Iran Deal - Who Wins? Who Loses?

President Trump's statement upon ending US participation in the Iran nuclear agreement was filled with so many objectively false statements that it almost seems the neocons who crafted it were trying to make a fool out of him. The assertion that Iran is allied with al-Qaeda is so brazenly false that it rivals the tallest of the tall tales served up to lie Americans into supporting the disastrous Iraq war. So now with the US out of the deal...what comes next? What will the Europeans do? How will Americans react to the loss of 100,000 Boeing jobs due to cancellation of a passenger airline contract with Iran? We look at some of the implications of the move in today's Liberty Report...
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