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Winning in Africa

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On October 4 in Niger in central Africa four American special forces soldiers were killed in an ambush by “fifty fighters, thought to be associated with ISIS [Islamic State], a US official said.” In the course of the attack, one US soldier was left behind when the others withdrew, and was subsequently found dead. Nigerien soldiers were also killed, and it is interesting to examine how US media outlets recorded this aspect of what was obviously a disaster for US Africa Command, AFRICOM, the organisation headquartered, bizarrely, in Germany, that has 46 military bases (that we know of) in that continent. (Niger, incidentally, is twice the size of Texas.)

ABC News reported that “a soldier from Niger also died from the attack” while CBS thought that “four Nigerien soldiers died,” and Stars and Stripes went with “several.” CNN’s tally was five but the New York Times didn't mention Nigerien soldiers at all. Fox News, surprisingly, said that four were killed, as did the Washington Post and the Los Angeles Times, which even expanded to record that there had been eight Nigerien soldiers wounded.

It isn’t to be expected that the US media would ever concern themselves with deep research into how many foreign soldiers are killed in any of the countries in which the US is involved in armed conflict, but the sloppy reporting is a good indicator of the shrug factor.

And the western media continues to shrug about the deep involvement of the US military and the CIA in countries throughout Africa.
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Trump’s Fed Picks? More of the Same!

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This week President Trump revealed his final five candidates for Federal Reserve chair. Disappointingly, but not surprisingly, all five have strong ties to the financial and political establishment. The leading candidates are former Federal Reserve governor and Morgan Stanley banker Kevin Warsh and current Fed governor, former investment banker, Carlyle Group partner, and George H.W. Bush administration official Jerome Powell. Gary Cohn, current director of the president’s National Economic Council and former president of Goldman Sachs, is also on Trump’s list.
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'The Police Just F**ked My Life' - Alabamians Outraged As Civil Asset Forfeitures Soar

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The morning of June 29, 2010, began much like any other day for Frank Ranelli, the owner of FAR Computers in Ensley, Alabama. Ranelli, who had owned his computer repair business just outside of Birmingham for more than two decades, was doing some paperwork in his windowless office when he heard loud banging on the front door.  Within a matter of moments Ranelli was placed under arrest and all of the computer equipment in his store, much of which belonged to customers, had been confiscated by Alabama police never to be returned.  PerAL.com:
Within moments, a Homewood police sergeant had declared a room full of customers' computers, merchandise and other items 'stolen goods,' Ranelli recalled. He ordered his officers to 'arrest them all,' according to Ranelli, who was cuffed and taken to the Homewood jail along with two of his shop employees.

The police proceeded to confiscate more than 130 computers - most of which were customers' units waiting to be repaired, though some were for sale - as well as the company's business servers and workstations and even receipts and checkbooks.

'Here I was, a man, owned this business, been coming to work every day like a good old guy for 23 years, and I show up at work that morning - I was in here doing my books from the day before - and the police just f***ed my life,' he said.
Nothing ever came of the case.
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Raqqa Destroyed to Libertate it

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The so-called Islamic State organization was primarily a bogeyman encouraged by the western powers.  I’ve been saying this for the last four years.

I asserted, as a former soldier and war correspondent, that IS would collapse like a wet paper bag if proper western ground forces attacked their strongholds in Syria and Iraq.  This week, the western powers and their local satraps finally took action and stormed the last IS stronghold at Raqqa.  To no surprise, IS put up almost no resistance and ran for its miserable life.

The much-dreaded IS was never more than a bunch of young hooligans and religious fanatics who were as militarily effective as the medieval Children’s Crusade.

In the west, IS was blown up by media and governments into a giant monster that was coming to cut the throats of honest folk in the suburbs.

IS did stage some very bloody and grisly attacks – that’s what put it on the map.   But none of them posed any mortal threat or really endangered our national security.   In fact, the primary target of IS attacks has been Shia Muslims in the Mideast.
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Torturer-in-Chief Turned Savior of Freedom?

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Former President George W. Bush gave a speech yesterday implicitly slamming President Donald Trump for dragging down democracy. Bush told political cronies and other attendees: “We are gathered in the cause of liberty this is a unique moment.” He assured listeners that freedom “should be the defining commitment of our country, and the hope of the world.” Bush invoked the “high ideals” of our nation, declaring, “We become the heirs of James Madison by understanding the genius and values of the US Constitution.”

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Mogadishu Attack Was Revenge for Murderous US-Somali Raid

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On August 25, 2017, a raid involving Somali and U.S. forces took the lives of 10 civilians, including 3 children. Last Saturday (October 14, 2017), in an apparent revenge attack in Mogadishu, two truck bombs killed at least 300 people and injured about an equal number. A report yesterday suggests revenge as a motive:
Following the raid, in which three children aged between six and 10 died, local tribal elders called for revenge against the Somali government and its allies.

Not only was the bomber from the specific community targeted by the raid, but the investigation is also uncovering a series of other links to the town where it took place.
This suggestion of revenge-motivated blowback is definitely pertinent. A U.N. studydated 2017 and titled “Journey to Extremism in Africa” questioned “495 individuals who voluntarily joined violent extremist groups and 78 individuals who were recruited by force; a secondary reference group included 145 individuals with no affiliation to violent extremist groups.” These groups included those targeted by U.S. forces: Boko Haram, Al-Shabaab, ISIL, Al-Qaida, and others.

Among the key findings is that:
A striking 71 percent pointed to ‘government action’, including ‘killing of a family member or friend’ or ‘arrest of a family member or friend’, as the incident that prompted them to join.
Also: “State security-actor conduct is revealed as a prominent accelerator of recruitment, rather than the reverse.”
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An Attack on Iran or North Korea Wouldn’t Be Putting ‘America First’

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Almost every day I am asked by someone what the likelihood is that we may soon be at war with Iran or North Korea, or conceivably both. As it’s unlikely either of those countries will attack the United States since it would be suicidal, the question of war really means: are we going to attack them?

There are those who say all the tub-thumping emanating from Washington is just bluster. For example, Justin Raimondo of Antiwar.com writes that President Donald Trump is just engaging in “rhetorical pyrotechnics and scor[ing] political points with certain [domestic] constituencies while maintaining the status quo: in short, he gets to engage in what is essentially a theatrical performance entirely unrelated to what is actually occurring on the ground. His enemies, mistaking rhetoric for reality, have risen to the bait.”

I hope Raimondo is right but I fear otherwise. Underlying his analysis is the all-too-factual reality that attacking either country would result in catastrophe. “Millions would die, on both sides of the demilitarized zone,” if we were to move first, he writes. “For this reason, the US – despite Trump’s tweets – is not going to launch an attack on North Korea.” Similar logic applies to Iran.

Unfortunately, if a prudent assessment of costs and benefits had guided American policy in recent years, none of our other wars of choice would have taken place either – yet they did. The fact that foreseeable consequences may appear “unthinkable” to rational minds does not mean they are not regarded as quite thinkable to those making the decisions.
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Killing For Peace? More Civilian Deaths Now Than Under Obama

Now that ISIS is all but defeated in Syria, with ISIS control of Raqqa having been ended just last week, why is the US military not going home? After all, that is the mission that was given the military by President Obama in 2014: defeat ISIS. But the US is not going home. In fact it is expanding its presence in Syria and is not about to leave Iraq. Rules of engagement have been loosened, airstrikes have increased. Are the neocons going to "remake the Middle East" yet again? This and more in today's Liberty Report...
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