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Why Trump’s Syria 'Surge' Will Fail

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Last week President Trump significantly escalated the US military presence in Syria, sending some 400 Marines to the ISIS-controlled Raqqa, and several dozen Army Rangers to the contested area around Manbij. According to press reports he will also station some 2,500 more US troops in Kuwait to be used as he wishes in Iraq and Syria. 

Not only is it illegal under international law to send troops into another country without permission, it is also against US law for President Trump to take the country to war without a declaration. But not only is Trump’s first big war illegal: it is doomed to failure because it makes no sense.
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Assad Calls US Forces In Syria 'Invaders,' Loses Faith In Trump

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With the Trump administration rapidly shifting its foreign policy stance in recent weeks as the Goldman-led group inside the White House steamrolls all opposition, in the process dashing hopes of a detente between DC and Moscow which now appear set to continue the "cold war" diplomatic ways set under Obama and Hillary Clinton, another foreign leader who is losing faith that Trump will bring any notable change is Syrian President Bashar al-Assad, who in an interview with Chinese TV station Phoenix said US forces in Syria were "invaders" and that he had yet to see "anything concrete" emerge from US President Donald Trump's vow to prioritize the fight against Islamic State. 

Quoted by Reuters, Assad said he initially saw promise in Trump's vows to battle the Islamic State in Syria, where US policy under President Barack Obama had mostly backed rebels fighting Assad and shunned him as an illegitimate leader. That promise, however, has now faded, especially after Trump recently stated he would boost US troops in Syria in an attempt to create "safe zones" in the nation, in the process likely further escalating the 6 year old proxy war in Syria.

"We haven't seen anything concrete yet regarding this rhetoric," Assad said in an interview with Chinese TV station Phoenix. "We have hopes that this administration in the United States is going to implement what we have heard," he said. Well, so do millions of Americans who are hoping that Trump will end Obamacare, not to mention all those still expecting Trump to unveil the "tremendous" tax plan. Maybe get in line.
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Death in Ghayil

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On January 29, 5-year-old Sinan al Ameri was asleep with his mother, his aunt, and 12 other children in a one-room stone hut typical of poor rural villages in the highlands of Yemen. A little after 1 a.m., the women and children awoke to the sound of a gunfight erupting a few hundred feet away. Roughly 30 members of Navy SEAL Team 6 were storming the eastern hillside of the remote settlement.

According to residents of the village of al Ghayil, in Yemen’s al Bayda province, the first to die in the assault was 13-year-old Nasser al Dhahab. The house of his uncle, Sheikh Abdulraouf al Dhahab, and the building behind it, the home of 65-year-old Abdallah al Ameri and his son Mohammed al Ameri, 38, appeared to be the targets of the US forces, who called in air support as they were pinned down in a nearly hourlong firefight.

With the SEALs taking heavy fire on the lower slopes, attack helicopters swept over the hillside hamlet above. In what seemed to be blind panic, the gunships bombarded the entire village, striking more than a dozen buildings, razing stone dwellings where families slept, and wiping out more than 120 goats, sheep, and donkeys.

Three projectiles tore through the straw and timber roof of the home where Sinan slept. Cowering in a corner, Sinan’s mother, 30-year-old Fatim Saleh Mohsen, decided to flee the bombardment. Grabbing her 18-month-old son and ushering her terrified children into the narrow outdoor passageway between the tightly packed dwellings, she headed into the open. Over a week later, Sinan’s aunt Nadr al Ameri wept as she stood in the same room and recalled watching her sister run out the door into the darkness.
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Do We Live in a Police State?

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WikiLeaks and Julian Assange would have gone down in history as the greatest enemies of government oppression of all kinds in any case, but their latest release – a comprehensive exposé of the US intelligence community’s cyberwar tools and techniques – is truly the capstone of their career. And given that this release – dubbed “Vault 7” – amounts to just one percent of the documents they intend to publish, one can only look forward to the coming days with a mixture of joyful anticipation and ominous fear.
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When Whistleblowers Tell The Truth They're Traitors. When Government Lies It's Politics

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Immediately after Wikileaks released thousands of documents revealing the extent of CIA surveillance and hacking practices, the government was calling for an investigation - not into why the CIA has amassed so much power, but rather, into who exposed their invasive policies.

A federal criminal investigation is being opened into WikiLeaks’ publication of documents detailing alleged CIA hacking operations, several US officials,” reportedly told CNN. 

According to USA Today:
“The inquiry, the official said, will seek to determine whether the disclosure represented a breach from the outside or a leak from inside the organization. A separate review will attempt to assess the damage caused by such a disclosure, the official said.”
Even Democratic representative Ted Lieu, who has been urging whistleblowers to come forward to expose wrongdoing within the Trump administration, has turned his focus away from what the documents exposed and toward determining how it could have possibly happened.
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The Lynching of Lynne Stewart (1939-2017)

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Convicted felon Lynne Stewart passed away on Tuesday. She was a noted criminal defense attorney in New York City who federal officials prosecuted, convicted, and punished for supporting terrorism.

It was a bogus charge, one that perfectly reflects the extent to which the US national-national security state has warped the mindsets, principles, and values of people within the federal government and also within the private sector, especially the mainstream press.

Stewart was representing Sheikh Omar Abdel Rahman, the blind Egyptian cleric who was convicted in US District Court in New York City of conspiracy to commit acts of terrorism.

Stewart was convicted of reading a message from her client to the press. The government said that by reading the message, Stewart committed an act of terrorism.

What did the message say?

The government said that the message called on the Sheik’s followers in Egypt to take up arms — i.e., initiate violence — against the Egyptian government.

Did the message that Stewart read to the press actually say that?
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Race For Raqqa: Major US Escalation In Syria

US boots are on the ground in Syria. Nearly 1,000 to be exact. Not counting CIA or contractors. President Trump has ordered several hundred US Marines onto Syrian soil (without permission) to participate in the attack on Raqqa, and he has sent several dozen Army Rangers to Manbij to try to prevent US-backed forces and Turkish-backed forces from killing each other instead of killing ISIS. The Russians have also sent troops to Manbij -- at the request of the US-backed YPG forces! Is Trump's Syria to just take all that was wrong with Obama's Syria and double it? We discuss in today's Liberty Report...
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Truman Was Right About the CIA

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Say what you will about President Harry Truman, but at least he didn't leave the White House a suspiciously rich man. He also actually went home, to Independence Missouri, and moved into a modest house he didn't own. It was the same house belonging to his wife's family where he had lived with Bess (and his mother-in-law!) decades earlier.

Flat broke, and unwilling to accept corporate board positions or commercial endorsements, Truman sought a much-needed loan from a local Missouri bank. For several years his only income was a $113 monthly Army pension, and only the sale of a parcel of land he inherited with his siblings prevented him from nearly "being on relief," as Truman allegedly stated. In the 1950s, perhaps almost entirely to alleviate Truman's embarrassing financial situation, Congress authorized a $25,000 yearly pension for ex-presidents Truman and the much-wealthier Herbert Hoover. 

Contrast this with the luxe post-presidential life of the Reagans in Bel Air, or the still-unfolding saga of the Obama's jet-setting life between Kalorama, Palm Springs, and Oahu!

But even if Truman's homespun honesty and common man persona sometime wore thin, he deserves credit for the startling admission that he regretted creating the CIA. Speaking to a biographer in the 1960s, less than 20 years after signing the National Security Act of 1947, Truman expressed a sense of foreboding about what the agency had become, and would become...
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Trump's Global Hot Spots - Is He Losing Control?

What is the libertarian response to the Trump era? Is it about building a "movement" or about fighting in the battle of ideas? Have the neocons been put on their back heel by the new Administration or are they still riding high? Mises Institute President Jeff Deist joins today's Liberty Report to discuss where we are in relation to the new US Administration -- and to invite our viewers to continue the conversation with us at our symposium on War and Peace in the Age of Trump taking place next month in Lake Jackson, TX...
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Spygate: America’s Political Police vs. Donald J. Trump

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Everyone is suddenly talking about the Deep State – the configuration of spy agencies, career bureaucrats, and overseas spooks whose murky omnipresence has been brought to light by President Trump’s contention that he was “wiretapped” by his predecessor.

With his usual imprecision, Trump managed to confuse the issue by ascribing the surveillance to Barack Obama, and so naturally spokesmen for the former President had no trouble batting this charge away. But as a former Obama speechwriter put it:  “I’d be careful about reporting that Obama said there was no wiretapping. Statement just said that neither he nor the [White House] ordered it.”

And then there’s the word “wiretapping”: this brings to mind the old-fashioned physical “bug” that our spooks used to plant on their target’s phone lines, installed in the dead of night. But that isn’t how it’s done anymore. As Edward Snowden revealed, the National Security Agency (NSA) scoops up everyone’s communications, and stores them in a database for later retrieval. Loosely-observed “rules” are supposed to make it hard (but not impossible) for the spooks to spy on American citizens, but the reality is that there are plenty of times when such information is scooped up “incidentally,” and in those cases the identities of those spied on must be redacted.

Except not anymore.
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