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Foreign Agents Registration Act Marked by History of Politicization, Selective Enforcement

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Though it garnered renewed interest thanks to Robert Mueller’s investigation of the Trump administration and the rise of “Russiagate” hysteria, the Foreign Agents Registration Act (FARA) of 1938 has been irregularly enforced over the course of its 79-year history. Despite nearly eight decades on the books, the law has resulted in only a handful of prosecutions and a single conviction, suggesting that the government’s enforcement of the law has been lax — to say the least. 

Originally intended to counter pro-Nazi lobbyists active in the United States in the lead-up to World War II, FARA requires that all agents operating domestically on behalf of a “foreign principal” — that is, a non-U.S. entity operating abroad — must register with the U.S. Department of Justice. Those who register must disclose all of their activities and finances to the federal government, including confidential data and the personal information of employees.

There are, however, many exceptions to those who must register, such as diplomats, artists, priests, and “any news or press service organized under the laws of the United States.” In other words, a law firm lobbying for a foreign government or company must register while news services funded by foreign governments — like Al Jazeera, France24, BBC or Deutsche Welle — are — generally — off the hook.

This last exception is why the U.S. Department of Justice’s announcement on Thursday that the TV news channel Russia Today (RT), which receives its funding from the Russian government and a consortium of Russian banks, must register as a foreign agentcame as a surprise to many. RT, which has been active in the U.S. since 2005, is suddenly being asked to register as a foreign agent under FARA, only after political pressure against Russian entities and perceived state actors reached a boiling point.
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Can Trump Salvage his Presidency?

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As US President Donald Trump marks the first anniversary of his election with a high-profile, 11-day tour of Asia, the spotlight remains largely fixed on Washington investigations into whether his presidential campaign "colluded" with Russia and whether these investigations could truncate Trump's tenure - much as Watergate truncated Richard Nixon's. 

But as the Watergate scandal was closing in on then President Nixon, he did not let fulminating against his critics keep him from extending a foreign policy record that, in retrospect, even many of his detractors and political opponents acknowledge as a hallmark of his presidency. From the start of his second term in January 1973 until his resignation in August 1974, Nixon sustained his historic opening to China, concluded the US withdrawal from Vietnam, and successfully managed the riskiest US-Soviet nuclear standoff since the Cuban missile crisis. 

Today, the key question is: Can President Trump salvage his presidency - or, at least, his legacy - by abandoning the stale, "get tough" sophistry currently shaping US foreign policy debates to positively seize the strategic initiative in critical parts of the world?
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America’s ‘Allies’ Are Setting Up Another Trap for US in the Middle East

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Whatever their plans, the stakeholders in the Middle East must remember that clever plans to remake the Middle East have hitherto been remarkable for their inability to anticipate countermoves by opposing forces.

Tension is increasing all across the Middle East and the United States is again falling into a trap set up by its so-called allies to act against its own interests by getting deeply involved in what might turn out to be an escalating conflict. The recent victories by the Syrian Army and its Russian allies, which suggest that the active phase of the Syrian civil war will soon be drawing to a close, means that the perennial unrest in the region will be shifting gears and possibly leading to new conflict in areas that have until now been quiet. The lack of any real American policy for the region will enable the Saudis and Israelis, who have hegemonistic dreams of their own, to manipulate a casus belli, quite likely starting in Lebanon, where Prime Minister Saad al-Hariri recently resigned his office and fled to Saudi Arabia, claiming that he was fearing for his life due to his resistance to Iran’s influence over his country.

Hariri headed a coalition pulled together in 2016 that included nearly all of Lebanon’s main parties, including Hezbollah. It took office in a political deal that made Michel Aoun, a Maronite Christian who has an understanding with Hezbollah, president. The inclusion of Hezbollah and the presence of a friendly Aoun was seen as a victory for Iran.

The Hariri resignation was certainly carried out in collusion with Riyadh, to include the damning of Iranian influence as his reason for leaving. It suggests that the Saudis and Israelis, who have been hyperbolically claiming that Tehran is about to take control of much of the Middle East, are feeling confident enough to move towards some kind of showdown with the Mullahs. As a first step, expected deteriorating sectarian interaction between Sunni and Shi‘ite Muslims in Lebanon will eliminate any possibility of a bipartisan and functioning government, providing a pretext for foreign intervention to stabilize the situation.
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Manipulation: The US State Department's New Program to Take On Hungarian Media

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Hypocrisy may be the only consistent guiding principle of US foreign policy. Here's a prime example of the "do as we say, not as we do" that is the core of how the US government acts toward the rest of the world: In the same week that the the US Justice Department demanded that the Russian-backed RT America network register as a foreign propaganda entity or face arrest, the US State Department's Bureau of Democracy, Human Rights and Labor (DNL) has announced that it is launching a program to massively interfere in NATO-partner Hungary's internal media.
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Saudi Escalation: Lebanon And Yemen In The Crosshairs

The Saudi crown prince is rumored to soon take over as king. He has moved against possible rivals within his own family and seized billions of dollars. Meanwhile he's threatened Lebanon and his government has ordered Saudi citizens to leave Lebanon. This while blaming Iran for a Yemeni missile that hit near an airport in Riyadh. The US is backing Saudi moves against Yemen and Lebanon to the hilt. Is something big about to happen? We suspect it is. More today in the Liberty Report...
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South Korea Should 'Brexit' the United States

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With President Trump being accompanied by three U.S. carrier groups during his trip to Korea, South Koreans should pull a “Brexit” on the United States. As I counseled last April and August in two separate articles, South Korea should dissolve their alliance with the United States and kick all U.S. troops out of the country. (See “South Korea Should Give U.S. Troops the Boot” and “South Korea Should Give U.S. Troops the Boot, Part 2.) The time to do so is now, before it is too late.
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Deconstructing 'Russia-Gate'

Both firms used to push the story that the Russians hacked the DNC and John Podesta's emails were in the pay of the DNC. The FBI was blocked from examining the DNC servers that the Democrats claimed were hacked. The Russia-Gate story hinges on some very sketchy and highly compromised objective facts that a little mainstream media scrutiny would likely demolish in short order. But the MSM has no interest in looking for truth. Fortunately international correspondent Joe Lauria is not afraid of where his inquiries into Russia-Gate take him. He shares some astonishing information with us in today's Liberty Report...
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The Creation of 'Russia-Gate'

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The two sources that originated the allegations claiming that Russia meddled in the 2016 election — without providing convincing evidence — were both paid for by the Democratic National Committee, and in one instance also by the Clinton campaign: the Steele dossier and the CrowdStrike analysis of the DNC servers. Think about that for a minute.


We have long known that the DNC did not allow the FBI to examine its computer server for clues about who may have hacked it – or even if it was hacked – and instead turned to CrowdStrike, a private company co-founded by a virulently anti-Putin Russian. Within a day, CrowdStrike blamed Russia on dubious evidence.

And, it has now been disclosed that the Clinton campaign and the DNC paid for opposition research memos written by former British MI6 intelligence agent Christopher Steele using hearsay accusations from anonymous Russian sources to claim that the Russian government was blackmailing and bribing Donald Trump in a scheme that presupposed that Russian President Vladimir Putin foresaw Trump’s presidency years ago when no one else did.

Since then, the US intelligence community has struggled to corroborate Steele’s allegations, but those suspicions may have still been the basis of the thinking of President Obama’s intelligence chiefs who, according to Director of National Intelligence James Clapper, “hand-picked” the analysts who produced the Jan. 6 “assessment” claiming that Russia interfered in the US election.
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Ducks Lining Up: Saudi, Israeli, US Moves On Iran, Lebanon

Why has President Trump's son-in-law/top advisor Jared Kushner been spending so much time with Saudi Crown Prince Mohammad Bin Salman? Last month was his third trip this year? The visit occurred right before Bin Salman purged his political rivals, claimed that Lebanon had declared war on his country, and cited a Yemeni missile strike as a pretext to ramp up tensions with Iran. Are the US, Saudi Arabia, and Israel preparing for a major war with Iran, Lebanon, and Hezbollah? We look at the troubling trends in today's Liberty Report...
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America Breaks Down: The Anatomy of a National Nervous Breakdown

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Another shooting
, another day in America.

Or so it seems.

With alarming regularity, the nation is being subjected to a spate of violence that terrorizes the public, destabilizes the country’s fragile ecosystem, and gives the government greater justifications to crack down, lock down, and institute even more authoritarian policies for the so-called sake of national security without many objections from the citizenry.

Take this latest mass shooting that took place at a small church in a small Texas town.

The lone gunman—a former member of the Air Force—was dressed all in black, wearing body armor, a tactical vest and a mask, and firing an assault rifle. (Note the similarity in uniform and tactics to the nation’s police forces, SWAT teams and military.)

Devin Patrick Kelley, the 26-year-old gunman, had served a year in military prison for assaulting his wife and child in 2012. Domestic disputes aside, Kelley—like many of the other shooters in recent years—was described as a “regular guy” by those who knew him.

This “regular” guy’s shooting rampage left at least 26 people.

President Trump and the Governor of Texas have chalked the shooting up to mental illness.

That may well be the case here.
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