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In A Dramatic Pivot, Shia Militia Leader Tells US: 'Get Ready To Leave Iraq'

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A prominent Iraqi militia leader with close ties to Iran has told the United States to go home while also accusing US forces of not actually being interested in fighting ISIS: “Your forces should get ready to get out of our country once the excuse of Daesh’s presence is over," said Sheikh Qais al-Khazali, the commander of the Shiite PMU group Asaib (Popular Mobilization Unit), through the group's TV channel on Monday. The threatening statement was issued the same day Iraqi Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi publicly rejected Secretary of State Rex Tillerson's earlier suggestion that Iraqi paramilitary units who have for years fought Islamic State terrorists are actually "Iranian" and not Iraqi nationals.  

On Sunday Tillerson controversially asserted that Iranian "militias" need to leave Iraq as the fight against Islamic State militants was coming to an end while in Riyadh where he engaged in rare high level talks with Abadi and Saudi Arabia’s King Salman. “Certainly Iranian militias that are in Iraq, now that the fighting against (the Islamic State group) is coming to a close, those militias need to go home,” Tillerson said during a press conference in Riyadh, just before boarding a plane for Baghdad. "All foreign fighters need to go home,” he added.

But Iraqi PM Abadi pushed back against the Secretary of State in a face to face meeting in Baghdad on Monday. Abadi's words to Tillerson were publicized through a statement on the prime minister's official Facebook page posted late Monday, which has been translated by Zero Hedge (emphasis ours):
Prime Minister Dr. Haider al-Abadi during his meeting with the American Secretary of State Rex Tillerson assured him that the fighters of al-Hash'd al Shaabi [PMU militias] are Iraqi fighters who fought terrorism and protected their country, they sacrificed in order to win against Daesh [ISIS], and that Hash'd al Shaabi is an official institution under the state. The Iraqi Constitution doesn’t allow for foreign armed groups under state institutions, and further said that we should encourage these fighters because they are the hope of our country and for the region.
And a separate statement issued earlier in the day by the prime minister's media office warned, "No party has the right to interfere in Iraqi matters.” So it appears, based on today's rebuttals, that the Iraqi government and its paramilitary forces increasingly see American troop presence as the actual foreign menace which potentially threatens Iraqi national sovereignty.
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Mutual Assured Destruction: Missile Defense Might be a Lie

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Sometimes it is possible to read or view something that completely changes the way one looks at things. I had that experience last week when I read an article at Lobelog entitled “A Plea for Common Sense on Missile Defense,” written by Joe Cirincione, a former staffer on the House Armed Services Committee who now heads the Ploughshares Fund, which is a Washington DC based global foundation that seeks to stop the spread of nuclear, chemical and biological weapons.

The article debunks much of the narrative being put out by the White House and Pentagon regarding missile defense. To be sure, it is perfectly reasonable to mistrust anything that comes out of the federal government justifying war given its track record going back to the War of 1812. And the belligerent posture of the United States towards Iran and North Korea can well be condemned based on its own merits, threatening war where there are either no real interests at stake or where a diplomatic solution has for various reasons been eschewed.

But the real reason why the White House gets away with saber rattling is historical, that the continental United States has not experienced the consequences of war since Pancho Villa invaded in 1916. This is a reality that administration after administration has exploited to do what they want when dealing with foreign nations: whatever happens “over there” will stay “over there.”

Americans consequently do not know war except as something that happens elsewhere and to foreigners, requiring only that the U.S. step in on occasion and bail things out, or screw things up depending on one’s point of view. This is why hawks like John McCain, while receiving a “Liberty” award from Joe Biden, can, with a straight face, get away with denouncing those Americans who have become tired of playing at being the world’s policeman. He describes them as fearful of “the world we have organized and led for three-quarters of a century, [abandoning] the ideals we have advanced around the globe, [refusing] the obligations of international leadership and our duty to remain ‘the last best hope of earth’ for the sake of some half-baked, spurious nationalism.”
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Cold War Returned: B-52s Back On 'Ready Alert'

The US fleet of B-52 bombers is more than 60 years old. It's been 26 years -- since the end of the Soviet Union -- that these bombers have been ready to take off and drop nuclear weapons at a moment's notice. Over the weekend, US Air Force chief of staff, Gen. David Goldfein, announced that the US would be going back to the future -- restoring this long-dead feature of the Cold War. Is this just a case of weapons in search of a war? Are we really back to the 1950s? Tune in to today's Liberty Report...
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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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